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To have and to audit, with thetans and without, till Xenu do us part.
November 18, 2006 7:47 PM   Subscribe

To celebrate Tom Cruise's wedding, ABC News reprints the 1992 Ted Koppel interview with Cruise's best man, and spiritual leader, Religious Technology Center chairman David Miscavige. It was his first and last significant interview, and you can see why.
posted by Arcaz Ino (81 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
i always found it amusing that his name reminds me of miscarriage.
posted by quonsar at 7:54 PM on November 18, 2006


Yes! I also find that amusing.
posted by Arcaz Ino at 7:55 PM on November 18, 2006


Ted Koppel is the man. And damn, you could bounce a quarter off Miscarriage's coif.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson at 8:03 PM on November 18, 2006


Wow. He says he wants to clear up misconceptions, but he never actually says what the misconceptions are or does anything to clear them up.

I'd like to hear what he thinks are misconceptions, and why.

Also, his vocal cadence is uncannily similar to Tom Cruise's Today Show appearance. Bizarre.
posted by JekPorkins at 8:13 PM on November 18, 2006


Thanks very much for posting this. Miscavige is such an enigma that I've wondered for a long time how he comes off in person. I find it somehow comforting that this man, this destroyer of lives, is nothing more than another instance of the executive-type spinning the truth to protect his market share.

I'd imagined him to be more charismatic, I suppose.
posted by felix betachat at 8:14 PM on November 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


If you bounce a silver dollar off his coif you achieve enlightenment!
posted by Arcaz Ino at 8:14 PM on November 18, 2006


His speech patterns and "music" reminded me a lot of Tom Cruise, too. Definitely eerie.
posted by tentacle at 8:16 PM on November 18, 2006


I don't know, I was expecting an abysmal performance, which wasn't really what I saw on the video. "You can see why"? No, really, I can't.
posted by jayder at 8:20 PM on November 18, 2006


I was talking about the transcript. The interview is an hour long.
posted by Arcaz Ino at 8:21 PM on November 18, 2006


Oh, okay.
posted by jayder at 8:26 PM on November 18, 2006


Reminder: this is Hubbard's successor, he who covers his water glass with plastic wrap to prevent conspirators from poisoning him in a coup attempt.

Link to reprint (?) of Time story from a few years back.
posted by rokusan at 8:33 PM on November 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


The full Nightline episode can be found here.
posted by felix betachat at 8:34 PM on November 18, 2006 [3 favorites]


this post is missing a tag...
posted by owhydididoit at 8:55 PM on November 18, 2006


done
posted by Arcaz Ino at 8:58 PM on November 18, 2006


Thank you felix. Admins, please add that to the post.
posted by Arcaz Ino at 8:59 PM on November 18, 2006


Miscavige looks, speaks and acts very much like Martin Short's character Nathan Thurm. "These are baseless accusations. Why would you think that? It's so funny to me that you'd think that."
posted by aladfar at 9:12 PM on November 18, 2006


"Boxed them up in boxes, threw them into space planes. DC-8 airplane is the exact copy of the space plane of that day. No difference, except the DC-8 had fans, propellers on it, and the space plane didn't."

Space. Planes.

The more I think about Hubbard's space planes, the less I imagine any rational or subrational human being ever hearing the Xenu explanation with anything approaching a nod of acceptance. The only conclusion, at least as an explanation for the celebrity acceptance, is that there must be some incredibly damning photos hidden in a Clearwater vault.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:17 PM on November 18, 2006


People persecute/laugh at/disagree with us, so we must be right.

How nice it must be to have that as one of the guiding priciples of your life.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:30 PM on November 18, 2006


grabbingsand: that's actually a well-known technique of theirs. They keep records of EVERYTHING you tell them. During their 'clearing' process, they go after your skeletons.

It's kind of like confession, only in this case, the priest keeps a file on you, and if you decide to stray from the flock, he'll use it to keep you in line.... or destroy your life if you persist in leaving.
posted by Malor at 9:31 PM on November 18, 2006


Hey, Forrest - Compton is south of LA. Long Beach is south of LA. Hemet; it's significantly more to the east. Not knowing where you are kinda takes the edge of your reporting....
posted by forallmankind at 9:32 PM on November 18, 2006


(nice post though - thanks.)
posted by forallmankind at 9:32 PM on November 18, 2006


or destroy your life if you persist in leaving.

Is there some example of a case of this actually happening?
posted by JekPorkins at 9:33 PM on November 18, 2006


Is there some example of a case of this actually happening?

Fair Game Law.
posted by luftmensch at 9:47 PM on November 18, 2006




The full Nightline episode can be found here.

That's longer, but not complete, either.
posted by dobbs at 10:12 PM on November 18, 2006


Fascinating interview. Thanks for posting.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 10:19 PM on November 18, 2006


That's longer, but not complete, either.

No, it is. I just finished watching it. It's divided up into seven RealMedia files. The last one is ~30 minutes, representing the part of the show which ran overlong. It has probably the roughest and most revealing part of the give and take between Koppel and Miscavige.
posted by felix betachat at 10:38 PM on November 18, 2006


Wow, I just watched that whole interview from Felix Betachat's link. You'd think that Scientology would have a more able representative.

I am left thinking that Ted Koppel is very professional and almost too gracious. I would also like to see any academic psychiatrist or psychologist go head to head with a Scientology spokesperson. But that, of course, would involve exposing that cult to actual scientific scrutiny. Something they avoid as much as possible. Oh wait, that's because scientists have ulterior motives. Their jobs are threatened by Scientology and that's why they make their baseless allegations.
posted by redteam at 10:39 PM on November 18, 2006


I agree, felix, Miscavige really falls apart in the last one. What a mess. No wonder he prefers to hide.
posted by redteam at 10:40 PM on November 18, 2006


I just watched the whole thing too: I now realize that I would have understood Miscavige much better had I first modeled him in clay....
posted by forallmankind at 10:48 PM on November 18, 2006


You, sir, are suppressive and glib.
posted by toma at 11:51 PM on November 18, 2006


I love how Koppel keeps correcting him when he calls his critics "girls."

"That's a full-grown woman you're talking about, isn't it? Not a girl?"
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:56 PM on November 18, 2006


I think I hate Ted Koppel!

No, wait, I find him witty and informative.
posted by sour cream at 12:37 AM on November 19, 2006 [2 favorites]


Really strange.
posted by kjh at 12:56 AM on November 19, 2006


I can only read so much about Scientology before I get so frustrated I have to stop.
posted by Burns Ave. at 1:26 AM on November 19, 2006


This seems relevant:

I have been a working journalist/writer/what-have-you for ten years. I have only once in that time received threatening correspondence from a lawyer, in the form of a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer representing the Church of Scientology. I'd written a sort of review of Scientology's online community. For a magazine. A Canadian web-only magazine. In 1998.

How's that line go again? "A good man, and thorough"? They're like that. Only not at all good.
posted by gompa at 1:31 AM on November 19, 2006


If you bounce Tom Cruise off Miscarriage's coif, you get to go on Oprah to proclaim your love.
posted by pracowity at 2:51 AM on November 19, 2006


When I found out how sacred his war stories were to Scientologists, I spent a couple of hours reading about L. Ron's service records. I figured that that was a good way to get a handle on the guy since the armed forces love files and facts and stuff. Salud.
posted by toma at 3:08 AM on November 19, 2006


You know, underneath the ridiculous raving and the total inability to speak in measured sentences and the handwaving, some of the ideas seem fine. I suppose that is why there are however many hundreds of thousands of people giving them money.

It is sad how twisted it all gets. I suppose that is how it works with any religion, but since this is the 21st century and basically everything is public these days, we get to see it from all sides at once.

I should start a religion.
posted by blacklite at 3:55 AM on November 19, 2006


some of the ideas seem fine

blacklite: Don't deceive yourself. Scientology is pernicious mind-control wrapped around a core ideology of radical and limitless self-aggrandizement. They make the Objectivists look like a social club. Just because they claim to help people and to relieve human suffering does not mean they should be taken at their word. Dig around a bit and you'll find many many stories of people describing their experiences of turning to Scientology in a moment of need and receiving ruthless exploitation in return.

In this interview, Koppel is very canny. He can't push Miscavige too hard or he'll slip into full on defensive mode. He keeps trying to cut through the obfuscation and noise (Scientology techniques, btw) to get some positive demonstration of their methods. When, at last, he asks Miscavige to "audit" him on the air, Miscavige declines, claiming that the environment is not right.

Tellingly, Miscavige says something like "we're on your show...". Why is that? What is it about it being Koppel's show that makes it unsuitable for an auditing? It's the power dynamic, obviously. The auditing situation is, as has been noted upthread, a sick parody of Roman Catholic confession. It constructs an unequal power dynamic in which the auditor asks questions, the auditee provides responses and their is a seemingly "objective" tool, the E-Meter, which is used to evaluate responses. The auditee only registers "clear" when the auditor senses her compliance with the exercise. As long as she remains resistant, i.e., refuses to accept the authority of the auditor in relation to her insecurity, she is not declared "clear."

From this basic act of interpersonal domination are built all of the other elements of Scientology practice. It's true, of course, that if the man on the street were told the narrative of Xenu and the volcano and the hydrogen bombs and the Thetans and all that, he would reject it as a patent absurdity. But once these "doctrines" are revealed, the Scientological subject has so sacrificed his rational faculty that he no longer retains a space from which to judge the bullshit he's being fed as such.

Of course, the final function of this power inequality is to facilitate the extortion of money from church members. But it seems as if these people truly do revel in their ability to dominate one another. To advance in the organization, one is obliged to show a necessary ideological compliance as well as a willingness to assert power over those beneath them. Elements of this creep out from time to time in the Koppel interview, especially when Koppel, cannily, presents himself as the ideal, non-neurotic sort who would turn to Scientology. Miscavige can't say much to him because he can't, on-air, tell him that Scientology will provide him with tools to dominate others. That's why he keeps lapsing back, lamely, into their "communication techniques." It's a Scientology code for manipulating interpersonal interactions to increase personal power.

I guess what I'm saying is that one ought not be deceived by the claims of Scientologists to help people. It's crucially important to listen to what they are saying and not what you think they're saying. When we hear them describe their techiques, we assume a mental health paradigm in which it seems as if this is just another sort of therapeutic system. Scientologists are obliged to describe mental health professionals as ruthless exploiters because they are seeking to distract from the ruthless exploitation at the core of their own "therapy." They try to smear shit on the entire profession to draw attention away from their own filthy methods. They take liberties with their church members that no therapist would ever take with a client. All their railing against Alaskan gulags and Prozac are meant to draw attention away from the simple, demonstrable fact that Scientology is, at its core, a group of people who exploit the weak and credulous.
posted by felix betachat at 5:02 AM on November 19, 2006 [20 favorites]


They make the Objectivists look like a social club.

i thought the objectivists were a social club ...
posted by pyramid termite at 5:45 AM on November 19, 2006


Scientology is pernicious mind-control wrapped around a core ideology of radical and limitless self-aggrandizement.

as opposed to, one assumes, the peaceful ideology of savage misoginy, relentless antisemitism, appalling anti-Arab prejudice, and suicidal jihad so popular among YHWH/Jesus/Allah's followers, one assumes

crap all you want on Hubbard's unfortunate followers but, sadly, if one is to analyze rationally the cockfight between primitive Middle Eastern nomadic sheep herder mythology and Hubbard's crass Gnostic/American SF pulp mythology, well, one is of course free to dislike Hubbard's naked vulgarity more. but on the other hand it's quite clear that the merrily "nukular" end of world is way more likely to come from YHWH/Jesus/Allah 'sultraviolent land than from sunny L. Ron Hubbard Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027

so, Scientologists may want to take your money and have you watch Battlefield Earth several times. but it's highly unlikely they'll incinerate your ass in the name of, who else, that jealous, unreasonable, bloodthirsty, unfathomably still-so-popular deity
posted by matteo at 6:59 AM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's crucially important to listen to what they are saying and not what you think they're saying.

it is -- and I am, for once, unsarcastic -- great advice, even when "they" are rabbis, priests, pastors, mullahs, and so forth. if the issue is simply money I can introduce you to several families whose (sometimes meager) fortunes have been incorporated by the nowadays followers of El, Baal, Anat and Asherah. in the name, of course, of a supernatural being.
posted by matteo at 7:02 AM on November 19, 2006


I loved Koppel's very fair, reasonable attempts to get Miscavige to explain the ridiculous doctrines and claims of Scientology. Concerning the video clip of L. Ron Hubbard claiming he had traveled to Venus to achieve enlightenment, Koppel said the following --- and Miscavige accused Koppel of "mocking" Scientology.

Koppel: You know that there are going to be a lot of folks out there -- and I'm sure there are a lot of Scientologists, and I don't want to offend anyone who truly believes this -- but there are a lot of people out there who will look at that. You say it was taken out of context. Take a minute, if you would, and see if you can put it into context for us so that it does not sound ridiculous. Because, quite frankly, the way it sounded there, it sounded ridiculous.

Well, that's my last comment on this thread. I'm off for a week-long vacation in the Van Allen Belt.
posted by jayder at 7:03 AM on November 19, 2006


Wow, matteo. So, because there are fewer Scientologists and they don't have the bomb, we should just turn a blind eye to the suffering they cause? You're on shaky ground here, pal. Did you really watch the Miscavige interview and think to yourself: "Well, at least they're not as bad as the monotheists"?

Look, I think that Scientology is a perfect test case for a discussion of the limits of religious tolerance in a liberal society. Their track record of exploitation and abuse is fairly well established and, unlike the traditional "big three" religions, there's little else going on there besides mischief.

I think the persistence and growth of Scientology presents any member of a civil society with a clear mandate to speak out against them, to document their abuses and to advocate for the imposition of oversight on their functions. By the same token, instances of (to pick a few examples) Orthodox Jewish oppression of gays and lesbians, conservative Muslim abuse of women, Roman Catholic exploitation of children, Evangelical Christian militant triumphalism all should be documented and critiqued with the same vigor.

It's not an either/or proposition, matteo. The state has an obligation to delimit a space within which religious institutions may operate freely. But citizens have a reciprocal obligation to check these same institutions when they exceed their rights and begin exploiting people. Otherwise religious tolerance becomes nothing more than a fig leaf for monsters.

I have personal experience of the suffering that Scientology and its congeners can cause. Such experience gives me a clear responsibility to speak out against it, when I'm able. And I fail to see how your broad-brush litany of the offenses of Judaism, Christianity and Islam ought to deter me from that obligation.
posted by felix betachat at 7:19 AM on November 19, 2006 [3 favorites]


Their track record of exploitation and abuse is fairly well established

there are like, 100 Jews in the Fortune 400, did you know that? it doesn't particularly validate Mel Gibson's theories, I'm sure we all agree on that.

I have personal experience of the suffering that Scientology and its congeners can cause.

I'm sure many people know somebody who, tragically, has been molested as a child by a priest. it isn't enough to outlaw the Catholic Church (and frankly, I'd rather be robbed than fucked in the ass, but maybe it's just me)
posted by matteo at 8:02 AM on November 19, 2006


So, because there are fewer Scientologists and they don't have the bomb, we should just turn a blind eye to the suffering they cause?

theft (well, when it's not Pentagon related) is illegal in the US, and in most of the industrialised world -- you don't need any special anti-Scientology laws. to persecute a group because they preach a particular brand of supernatural fiction is, to a secular observer, appalling

(the fact that the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and the Upanishad have clearly an incredible literary and historical and philosophical value while Hubbard's pulp SF doesn't is beside the point. unless we want to discriminate against religion whose holy texts have little literary value. in that case, off with the Mormons heads, too, I am afraid to point out)
posted by matteo at 8:08 AM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


and by the way, let's talk about people with weird beliefs persecuted as thugs and charlatans, shall we:
... fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called [edit] by the populace.

[edit], from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty... and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in [edit], the first source of the evil, but even in [edit], where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.

Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.
this is, of course, Tacitus on the evil Christians, who believed corpses came back from life, talked to their buddies, ate some broiled fish, then flew up to heaven, never to be seen again. old skool SF, if you ask me.
posted by matteo at 8:16 AM on November 19, 2006


they don't have the bomb

They don't need the bomb. They've got:
a) access to (part of) DARPANET's legacy, which can be as devestating as a nuke
b) Neopets
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:17 AM on November 19, 2006


There's so many bizarro things that L. Ron Hubbard Jr. interview I don't know what to think. But he's spot-on about the poisonous ethos of self-worship which he calls "Satanism." He's also spot-on about the "soul-cracking" power of mind-control. The evidence that Scientology exercises just that power and infects people with just that ethos is manifest enough by now (I don't know how it was back when that interview was given) that it's origin in a drug addled psychopath seems ... not surprising at all really.

In one sense felix betachat's advice, "It's crucially important to listen to what they are saying and not what you think they're saying" is wrong. The babble (whether mystical or sci-fi) is just babble, but the "magic" of corrupting and controlling you is real.
posted by wobh at 8:56 AM on November 19, 2006


Interesting must-read links on Hubbard/Scientology and Aleister Crowley, trying to summon the Whore of Babylon, etc.

L Ron Hubbard and Aleister Crowley

Jon Atack's book, A Piece of Blue Sky

and other stuff.
posted by dontrockwobble at 9:00 AM on November 19, 2006


If you leave on a sea Cruise, you should know who the Captain is (David Miscavige at the podium, 1987.)
[VIA]
posted by cenoxo at 9:23 AM on November 19, 2006


Interesting that Miscavige leads with an attack on the Cult Awareness Network, a group which has since been taken over by the church.

(though in fairness "deprogrammers" are often as scary as Scientologists so I'm not grieving too hard.)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:46 AM on November 19, 2006


Matteo -

I understand your apprehension and desire to drag all organized religion into this discussion, but I'd like to point out that this is an unfair generalization.

If you attended my church, you would discover that we do not take up an offering or expect financial tithing from our members - except through their time, volunteering at our many needed charity affiliates and food programs.
We do not push religion on anyone who attends any of our events, and our ideas are put forward without any threat of divine reprobation.
Our financial support comes from those few members who, completely on their own, decide to set aside funding for the programs.
Financial support for our food ministry comes in the form of grant money.

There are plenty of religious groups out their who aren't after your money (though they may be after your time in one form or another.)

Money is profane and pollutes the church.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:19 AM on November 19, 2006


People persecute/laugh at/disagree with us, so we must be right.

Hey, don't knock it. Christianity has been coasting along for about 2,000 years by playing the victim card.
posted by wfrgms at 10:35 AM on November 19, 2006


Money is profane and pollutes the church.

Money's an aspect of commerce. As with barter or other negotiative processes, it can represent our lives and actions within the world. By that nature, it can certainly be a corruptable agent, as persuasion or reprimand would be as well. Beacuse money's more immediately tangible (we can see and hold it), it can be used to sway others into a position of compromise.

But then again, so can a written document, such as a letter, an invoice, or as Scientologists know well enough, a legal summons. How individuals use such tools in faith or other facets of life - as much as one wields a knife, an axe, a whip or a shovel - reveal more than our intentions often imply.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:41 AM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


some of the ideas seem fine

In a way, that is what is so insidious about the Scientologists. I work on disability rights, and particularly in the area of psychiatric disabilities. So in my world it is interesting and important to look at the history and the present of unnecessary institutionalization, involuntary mental health treatment, etc. I was interested to read about the Alaskan Mental Health bill, which I don't doubt was designed in part to ship "the insane" to Alaska and throw away the keys.

But the Scientologists are so tainted and self-serving. They are not at all interested in empowering individuals to make their own choices regarding mental health and recovery. They want the opposite -- total allegiance to their institution.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:42 AM on November 19, 2006


It's quite striking how a man who claims to have studied and mastered a broad range of communications skills through the course of his "religion" is completely incapable of actually communicating facts and insights regarding his religion.

Miscaviage can't talk his way out of a wet paper bag. That interview was a horrible mess of delusional fantasy, lack of focus, and hopeless windmilling.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:39 AM on November 19, 2006


I was a reader of alt.scientology during its 1988ish-1994ish heydays as, at first, a support network for Scientology escapees; then a media for exposing the organization's sinister aspirations of government control and horrifying human rights offenses; and then finally as a battleground as the organization became aware of the newsgroup and started tracking down and harming the escapees in real life.

I think Scientology has been widely exposed for what it is, now, and no longer poses as significant a threat as it once did. There was a time they penetrated the IRS in an attempt to destroy an investigation in to their finances; and then they were reduced to drowning a judge's dog in a sad attempt to sway a trial outcome; and then they were reduced to trying to shut down an animal shelter run by an escapee. It's been a two-decade slide into irrelevancy.

Thank goodness. Read A Piece of Blue Sky and be horrified by the story of this nasty little cult. It's quite sickening.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:52 AM on November 19, 2006


YIKES!!! Miscavige does a horrible job in that interview! I am the furthest thing from a Scientology supporter but *I* (and I think the majority of MeFites) could have done a better job of "defending" it. That transcript was painful to read. I almost felt sorry for Miscavige. Almost.
posted by The Deej at 12:45 PM on November 19, 2006


to drag all organized religion

it's not about "dragging", the problem is if you draft special laws to fight a religion, someday somebody else could or will draft a law against your religion. freedom of religion is a necessary component of a democratic state, it's folly to argue that the believers in the aliens should be punished and the believers in back-from-the-dead, flying Jesus shouldn't. obviously, theft and other crimes can punished without drafting special laws. I'm sure the child-rapist priests were jailed (and their dioceses sued) using laws that were already present in the system. a thief is a thief and a rapist a rapist, Scientologist or Catholic or Hindu doesn't -- shouldn't -- matter


except through their time, volunteering

of course, working for free for an untaxed corporation.
;)


Miscavige does a horrible job in that interview!

yes. on the other hand, Koppel mocks him and Hubbard for believeing in the aliens. I'm sure Christians get mocked by prominent TV "journalists" on national Tv for believing that virgins give birth after getting impregnated by ghosts, and for believing that 1 = 3. I'm also sure Jews get mocked for believing in flying Elijah, and get cross-examined about the still historically unproven Exodus, a central event in their mythology. because if they don't get that kind of treatment, then Miscavige got unfairly sandbagged

it's amazing how it always has to be that freedom of religion must be defended by secular people.
posted by matteo at 12:58 PM on November 19, 2006


>someday somebody else could or will draft a law against your religion.

Naww, the big three are safe, thus the amusing hypocrisy of selectively bashing one religion while ignoring the faults (or even being the member of) another. While this doesnt bother me, what bothers me is that the reactionary "its a cult, run" mentality (usually from this crowd) has for some time now been associated with everything from buddhism to political groups.

These incredibly harsh attacks on Scientology seem to stem more from legitimizing and protecting the big three than some kind of selfless soap boxing to protect the ignorant.

I believe somewhere in this mess the concepts of self-responsbility, self-exporation, spirituality, and questioning of authority were thrown out simply for the sake of protection. I'm more concerned about the aftermath of scientology than scientology itself. Burgeoning social and spiritual movements are quickly branded a 'cult' and the big three's faults are ignored. Its a little sad that its probably eaiser to get a group of random people to protest outside a scientology center than a catholic church housing a pedophile or three.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:19 PM on November 19, 2006


Reminds me a lot of the anti-communist rhetoric of the 50s. Sure, the anti-commnists were right (ignoring the HUAC) but the aftermath of this meant pro-military, pro-first strike, socially conservative, and lasseiz faire types dominating US politics since then. All this energy wasted on telling us how communism fails could have been spent on telling us how best to run capitalism.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:23 PM on November 19, 2006


Matteo, have you read A Piece of Blue Sky? Gone through the early archives of alt.scientology?

'cause to me, you sound like a twit. Scientology is not a religion. It is a business with trade-secret documents, and a business culture of greed, harm, and illegal activities. It is, at its worst, a criminal enterprise and, at its best, a cult that brainwashes its subjects.

Let's hear your chops for holding an opinion on Scientology. I've provided an overview of mine. I believe I am far, far better informed than you. Scientology is not a religion.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:53 PM on November 19, 2006


Someone please purchase my excess comma keys. It's embarassing to have such an abundance of them!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:55 PM on November 19, 2006


matteo:
yes. on the other hand, Koppel mocks him and Hubbard for believeing in the aliens. I'm sure Christians get mocked by prominent TV "journalists" on national Tv for believing that virgins give birth after getting impregnated by ghosts, and for believing that 1 = 3.

As a Christian, I do understand how ludicrous it is to try and explain the miraculous in human terms. However, if I were in the "hot seat" I think the best response is to say it's a matter of faith and leave it at that. Koppel even gave Miscaviage that comparison as an out. But instead of just smiling and saying "Yes, we understand that it can be hard for people to comprehend, but that's our belief," he stammered and tripped over himself to try and change the subject or minimize that belief, or just turn it back on Koppel for mocking him.

Maybe I am a bit unique. I call myself a "skeptical Christian." Many in my faith get caught up in arguing every little piece of scripture, and miss the the whole point of Christ's example. This is the equivalent of what Jesus said about the Pharisees: they "strain out the gnat and swallow the camel."

But back to the point: Miscaviage is a poor spokesman for his organization. No wonder he doesn't do it often.
posted by The Deej at 2:25 PM on November 19, 2006


I notice on my recent FPP that there is a tag -- "ushmm" -- which I did not write/include. When I click on the "x" to delete it, it does not get deleted but returns this message: "Looks like you're trying to delete tags fromto the wrong post. Go." [sic]. Bug? Hack?
posted by ericb at 2:59 PM on November 19, 2006


Whoa -- ignore my post above -- it was intended for MetaTalk!
posted by ericb at 3:00 PM on November 19, 2006


The big reason Scientology is different to other religions is that it keeps its central beliefs secret. In fact, it says that if you learn them before you have paid lots of money, you will die. Catholicism does not try to prevent people learning about its central beliefs, in order to brainwash and extract money. That is why Scientology is better classed as a fraudulent business than a religion.
posted by Arcaz Ino at 8:02 PM on November 19, 2006


Scientology is Amway in space. Plus they committed history's largest espionage operation against the United States government.
posted by stammer at 8:32 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


it's amazing how it always has to be that freedom of religion must be defended by secular people.

Well, I'm "secular," and I know the difference between a religion and a cult. It's a critical difference. Scientology is a cult.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:34 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Amway in space! I think I'll steal that before you get wise and copyright it.

And not for nothing, but this Miscavige is capital-C Creepy. Him and that crash helmet masquerading as a hairstyle.
posted by ninjew at 9:36 PM on November 19, 2006


These incredibly harsh attacks on Scientology seem to stem more from legitimizing and protecting the big three than some kind of selfless soap boxing to protect the ignorant.

I am one of the most vehement critics of organized religion you'll ever meet. I'm here to tell you that Scientology is a cult. I've known people in the church personally, and people who've left it. No matter how you slice it, it's a cult. They take all your money and cut you off from loved ones who are critical of the church. They put you in debt for the rest of your life, while claiming their pseudo-scientific gadget works miracles and that real mental health practitioners are all evil. They relentlessly attack their critics in the media with lawsuits and slander, and hound their ex-members who are vocally critical. It's a fucking cult.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:40 PM on November 19, 2006


Scientology is just like any other religion. I think it might be hard to compare one's own religion against Scientology and that's why a lot of people don't want to make comparisons.

Scientology has a fantasty story of it's origins that any analytical mind is going to not believe. DC-8s, hydrongen bombs, Xenu, etc.. But so it is with Christianity with this being that implants a woman with a baby and this baby grows up to perform miracles like curing the blind, turning water to wine, etc.. or about this guy who built a boat, filled it with all the animals of the world, and set out for 40 days and nights.

Scientology is all about money. Well so is Christianity. Yes, you're not "forced" to donate. The hard sell isn't there, right? Especially with flyers they give you at church, or mail you, or bring up during the mass. "Our second collection today is for..." second collection? I just gave my money.

Scientologists brainwash. Well you go to a Baptist congregation, you watch the 6 hour sermon, and you tell me that isn't a form of brainwashing.

Scientologists commit and then conspire to hide crimes. Priest molestation in the Catholic church anyone?

E-meters are a bunch of crap. Yeah, well so is ADD and ADHD. It's more a product of society and how children are raised today than it is a chemical imbalance.

And while I think Tom Cruise is a nut for taking so hard to Scientology, I think doctors that perscribe prozac to kids are just as nuts.

Psychiatry is as much a scam as Scientology. Let the two evils battle it out. It keeps them busy.

Scientology is just as valid a religion as Christianity. And I think both do a lot of harm.

Anyone who takes a critical eye to Scientology would do well to take one to their own religion first.
posted by ruthsarian at 8:45 AM on November 20, 2006


unless we want to discriminate against religion whose holy texts have little literary value. in that case, off with the Mormons heads, too, I am afraid to point out)

Out-moded U.S. law assumes that religious entities are charities and do good and gives them too much leeway in setting up a for profit confidence scheme. The worst abuses came after the Constitutional guarantees were in place, so we can't blame the founders for this abuse. Some would argue that tax law "causes" the existence of these cults. I would argue to disregard their beliefs, because everyone is wrong to some degree. However, we don't need to give tax exemptions to religious corporations based on their beliefs, since by this method they aren't required to open their books and they don't need to prove their social worth to the tax law. We spawn these cults because it protects scam artists as religious founders.
posted by Brian B. at 10:11 AM on November 20, 2006


Scientology is just like any other religion. I think it might be hard to compare one's own religion against Scientology and that's why a lot of people don't want to make comparisons.

I am areligious. I don't believe there is any rhyme or reason to our existence. We simply are, and then are not.

Scientology is distinctly not like "any other religion," and, indeed, the only way you could make that claim is to be wholly ignorant of the history and actions of the cult.

Psychiatry is as much a scam as Scientology.

Oh for fucks' sake. Are you a Scientology mole?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 AM on November 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Here's the fundamental difference between Scientology and the big three (and the minor 8 for that matter), and why Scientology is a cultish business and not a religion:

Though there may be offerings, tithes or dues associated with being involved in a specific local congregation of any particular religion, the bottom line principles are not charged for. In most cases, believers are more than happy to explain (often in more painstaking detail than you'd ever want) those principles to you upon request. In one way or another, you can get a copy of the scriptures or fundamental teachings of the religions for free, (online too, in cases) if you ask a member of the clergy/leadership and have an obvious interest in learning what the scriptures/teachings say, even if it's an intellectual and not spiritual exercise on your part. And taking part in the required sacraments, prayer, confession, communion, is not limited to those who ante up cash first.

Contrast that with Scientology, which sells its sacraments at an ever-increasing price, which does not give foundational documents to someone before they have spent an estimated $3,000 on primary instruction and "auditing" and other programs, which considers all of its documents secret, not to be shared with those outside the organization and not to be publicly quoted and which vigorously makes use of every available law to ensure the shroud of secrecy remain intact.

Oh, and while there is evidence of conspiracy within the Catholic church regarding physical harm done to (young) church members by clergy, Scientology is far from guiltless in that regard and has gone even further, in several cases but most egregiously in the matter of one Lisa McPherson.
posted by Dreama at 5:51 AM on November 21, 2006


Scientology is just as valid a religion as Christianity.

Nonsense.
posted by sour cream at 4:42 PM on November 21, 2006


"Scientology and Dianetics are registered trademarks of the Religious Technology Center Inc, and are used with it's permission".

No one's mentioned the 3 insider books on Scientology, one of which I used to have on paper ("Messiah or Madman") which details the whole "Fair Game" thing.
posted by baylink at 1:10 PM on November 26, 2006


I doubt anyone is still following this link, but here's a video of three Scientologists harassing a guy who came to videotape a street fair in Los Angeles.

It's a considerably more aggressive version of what Miscavige does with Koppel in the Nightline interview when he tries to turn attention away from the abuses of his organization and onto the frailties and fears of his questioner.
posted by felix betachat at 2:32 PM on November 26, 2006


Mest of the web?
posted by owhydididoit at 12:04 AM on December 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


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