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Tom Cruise Needs A Vacation
January 15, 2008 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Nutjobfilter. Tom Cruise on Scientology. It's one link to a video, but it's one link to a video that you really should watch.
posted by Optamystic (311 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Time to drag out:

The Comment

You know the one.
posted by chillmost at 11:46 AM on January 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


"When you're a Scientologist, and you drive by an accident, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you're the only one who can really help... We are the way to happiness. We can bring peace and unite cultures."

1) Yes, nutjobby.
2) Christians say the exact same thing.
3) conclusion omitted for student edification
posted by DU at 11:50 AM on January 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


I find that firemen are superior to Scientologists when it comes to helping accident victims.
posted by aerotive at 11:51 AM on January 15, 2008 [53 favorites]


Imagine how grand it would be to be assisted by a fireman who was also a Scientologist.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:52 AM on January 15, 2008 [11 favorites]


I find that bovines are superior to Scientologists when it comes to quality bullshit.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 11:52 AM on January 15, 2008 [13 favorites]


mr_crash_davis typed "Imagine how grand it would be to be assisted by a fireman who was also a Scientologist."

With weird teeth!
posted by roll truck roll at 11:52 AM on January 15, 2008


That's it. I'm joining.
posted by sveskemus at 11:54 AM on January 15, 2008


You know the one.

LOLCRUISE?
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:54 AM on January 15, 2008


2) Christians say the exact same thing.

Whoa, hey, we dial 9-1-1 too!
posted by katillathehun at 11:55 AM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Crazy eyes! CRAZY EYES!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:58 AM on January 15, 2008


I'm guessing this is a promotional video for young tologists? He says the same thing over and over, let's get it done, let's do it, let's do this, going to do this, I've got to do this, doing this, it's going to be done by us, and I wish I could take a vacation, but I've got to do this.
posted by cavalier at 11:58 AM on January 15, 2008


lolwut.
posted by ninjew at 12:00 PM on January 15, 2008


Woah, didn't get to the end yet, so he won a tologist award at a tologist award show? Neat. I'm hoping his produciton company kept the rights to the M:I theme they kept humming...
posted by cavalier at 12:01 PM on January 15, 2008


That's it. I'm joining.

The Scientologists or the firemen?
posted by MtDewd at 12:02 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ L Ron Hubbard, what an asshole.
posted by grubi at 12:02 PM on January 15, 2008 [12 favorites]


This is great! Scientology is going to be destroyed by this guy, single handed.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 12:02 PM on January 15, 2008


Scientologists are the only ones who can help at an accident scene? So I can just sail on past with impunity, because those suckers have to wait for a Scientologist? Wow, I didn't know that - why did nobody ever tell me before? Now I no longer need to waste my time helping those in need, because I know Tom Cruise and his Merry Robots will do it. Thanks, Tom Cruise!
posted by andraste at 12:02 PM on January 15, 2008


He just doesn't know when to clam up.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:05 PM on January 15, 2008 [18 favorites]


Poor Cruise, not able to take a vacation - wait a fucking second - he wouldn't lie to us, would he?
posted by item at 12:05 PM on January 15, 2008


The 4-second looping Mission Impossible theme is driving ME nuts.
posted by itchylick at 12:06 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Amazing: he's actually less coherent than Hasselhoff in the cheeseburger video.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:06 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just saw this posted on "The Onion AV Club"...

Quick question: why are AV Club comments so retarded, given the general intelligence of the AV Club? Like, what's with the entire "First comment l00z0rs!" bullshit?

Interesting link, by the way.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:08 PM on January 15, 2008


Wow. He sure uses lots of words to say absolutely nothing.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:08 PM on January 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


It was sooooo (yawn....) boring!
posted by WaterSprite at 12:08 PM on January 15, 2008


I think this is why the WGA gave United Artists a waiver: by giving Tom Cruise writers, we are saved from watching him extemporize, thus saving our brains from exploding.
posted by RakDaddy at 12:08 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Now is the time. Don't pretend you know it. Know it. [maniacal laugh] They won't come up to me. They won't do it. Not to my face. There's that moment, you know? And I don't care. I'm carrying my load. You're either in or you're out. [maniacal laugh] Do it. Do it and do it right. It's rough and tumble. I do what I can and I do it all the way. There's nothing part of the way. [maniacal laugh]
posted by hojoki at 12:10 PM on January 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


Respect the cock! And tame the cunt! Tame it! Take it on headfirst with the skills that I will teach you at work and say no! You will not control me! No! You will not take my soul! No! You will not win this game! Because it's a game, guys. You want to think it's not, huh? You want to think it's not? Go back to the schoolyard and you have that crush on big-titted Mary Jane. Respect the cock. You are embedding this thought. I am the one who's in charge. I am the one who says yes! No! Now! Here! Because it's universal, man. It is evolutional. It is anthropological. It is biological. It is animal. We... are... men!
posted by item at 12:14 PM on January 15, 2008 [16 favorites]


Meh. Nick Denton's breathless YOU MUST WATCH THIS pageviews plz above-the-fold exhortion was more lulzy than the Cruise schlepping for Scientology.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 12:14 PM on January 15, 2008


Holy crap, ignoring the kind of crazy aspect of it...the level of clarity and confusion that seems to be evident in most of this so far reeeeaaaaally reminds of of some GWB speeches.

Not ignoring the crazy, HOLYSHIT.
posted by Stunt at 12:15 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've cancelled this in my area.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:16 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


He keeps going on about KSW and SP - read the links for details.
posted by lowlife at 12:18 PM on January 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


The 4-second looping Mission Impossible theme is driving ME nuts.

itchylick, I think that's part of their cult techniques to break the viewer's will. A few more hours of that and we'd all be card carrying members.
posted by Hugonaut at 12:18 PM on January 15, 2008


Scientology will never call itself what it actually is, an bastard child of the self-actualization approach to psychology, just one of the stranger forms of the Human Potential Movement mixed with a dash of sci-fi futurism and a pyramid scheme to boot. It's EST or the Forum with aliens. But it's not a fucking religion, and it shouldn't be tax exempt.
posted by tula at 12:20 PM on January 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


For what it's worth, I happened to mention Cruise one day to my kid that works in Hollywood, and the kid says, "he's an interesting guy".

Evidently my son, while doing some business in Hollywood, had the opportunity to do a private screening of a movie with Tom Cruise. Just my kid, his business partner, Cruise, and his wife, sitting in a theater on a movie lot watching and discussing the 2 hour movie.

My first question was, "Is he as crazy as he appears to be?", my kid's response was "He may be one of the smartest people that I've met in the movie business . He's the only person I've ever encountered who, when you walk into a room he's in, has a palpable energy."

This was from someone who isn't all that impressed with the star quality, he deals with that on a regular basis. So, I don't know how to put that impression alongside the somewhat odd stuff that we see and hear, but I know I trust my son's opinions about people...

It will be interesting to see what the future holds as regards this individual.
posted by HuronBob at 12:20 PM on January 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


na na na na na na na na BAT-MAN, I mean LEA-DER
posted by DU at 12:21 PM on January 15, 2008 [17 favorites]


Related in a recent New Yorker.

Crazy as shithouse rats.
posted by everichon at 12:23 PM on January 15, 2008


I think if a Scientologist stops to help out an accident victim, they're really just trying to scoop up the body thetans.
posted by ninjew at 12:23 PM on January 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm just glad he reminded me of how much I like to romp and play when I'm on vacation.

Seriously, who talks like that except for an OT?
posted by tittergrrl at 12:25 PM on January 15, 2008


I think he means well...
posted by zeoslap at 12:25 PM on January 15, 2008


In other LOLSPACENUTS news I heard Will Smith, fresh off of an awful adaption of "I Am Legend" which completely missed the point, has just turned scientologist...
posted by Artw at 12:27 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know who else had palpable energy?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:31 PM on January 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


A: "Did you hear about that series of illogical comments that occurred involving a Scientology? They turned out to be congruent in some unexpected way!"

B: "Har har! Please excuse me while I breathe spasmodically and become moist!"
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:33 PM on January 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


In other LOLSPACENUTS news I heard Will Smith, fresh off of an awful adaption of "I Am Legend" which completely missed the point, has just turned scientologist...
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on January 15


His career must be in trouble. I guess that means we can look forward to Bagger Vance 2: The Vancening.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:34 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's right! Hu... man. I am dangerous.
posted by studentbaker at 12:35 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


The 4-second looping Mission Impossible theme is driving ME nuts.

Who thought that was a good idea?

LOLCRUISE, where is the real Cruise... that is a crazy I can enjoy.
posted by Duncan at 12:36 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know who else had palpable energy?

Energy beings from Planet 14?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:37 PM on January 15, 2008


I wish there was a more generally recognized standard of coherence. All those batman sound-effects didn't really persuade me.
posted by OmieWise at 12:38 PM on January 15, 2008


We're from the government Galactic Confederacy and we're here to help!
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:39 PM on January 15, 2008


Just to clarify, that's not the Mission Impossible theme, written by my distant cousin, Lalo Schifrin. That's the "We didn't want to pay for the Mission Impossible Theme, and therefore are going to play an identical piece of music that changes a few notes to avoid copyright infringement" theme.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:41 PM on January 15, 2008 [10 favorites]


He's about as inarticulate as I imagined he was.
posted by The Straightener at 12:44 PM on January 15, 2008


The most interesting part to me is when he's talking about people asking him if he's ever "seen an SP". For those who don't waste their time reading the (probably fake) OT Auditing procedure manuals, an SP is a "suppressive personality." Most anyone who goes against the church is labeled an "SP". I highly doubt that anyone in the church has not been exposed to someone opposed to church and thus marked SP. So what does that question mean? Well, my understanding is they reveal at higher levels that the person recognized as an SP is not really a person, but more of a projection of some other consciousness, and that a high level OT can actually "see" this in some way. That fact makes the question make a little more sense. But then Tom is like, "duh, yeah!" Maybe because Tom's been OT VIII-XV so long he's forgotten that everyone else can't see the SP.

Or maybe I'm trying to get too much consistency out of a SciFi cult.
posted by betaray at 12:45 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


He reminds me of those Kanamit creatures in the old "Twilight Zone" episode "To Serve Man."

"Mr. Chambers! Mr. Chambers, the first page is just a collection of English words with their own translation. But the rest of the book ... the rest of the book -- it's a cookbook!"
posted by blucevalo at 12:46 PM on January 15, 2008


I wonder how old this clip is... and the bit about "eventually there might not be any SPs" was the most disturbing part.
posted by mrbill at 12:46 PM on January 15, 2008


HuronBob lots of crazy narcissistic people have intense charisma. It's often part of the package. Very handy if you want to be a movie star, too.
posted by tkchrist at 12:48 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I love Gawker comments, particularly "I just thetaned in my pants a little."
posted by spec80 at 12:50 PM on January 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


You know who else had palpable energy?

Energy beings from Planet 14?


You're thinking of the Orgonians again.

Palpable energies, not energy palps!
posted by bonehead at 12:50 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you make it to the end, it closes with what appears to be an outtake from Idiocracy in which we learn that Tom Cruise is "IAS Freedom Medal of Valor Winner." That'll look real smart in the foyer hanging next to his Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.

You know what I don't get about stuff like this? How is it that the indoctrinated don't snap out of it on the strength of the awful production values alone? I mean, if Scientology contains the answers to all of society's ills, how come its holy writ looks like an excercise-equipment infomercial?
posted by gompa at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


With weird teeth!

What is the deal with that, exactly? He was born with just one front tooth, and the one next to it was capped, and it ended up looking like they were all shifted over one?
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:53 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I kind of miss the days when I could explain who Xenu is to new people. Are Scientologists the new Pirates?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:53 PM on January 15, 2008


mr_roboto: "Wow. He sure uses lots of words to say absolutely nothing."

This is part of what I find so fascinating about Scientology and L Ron Hubbard in particular. When you read transcripts of him talking, it's almost impossible to extract any coherent meaning from his sentences or paragraphs. They're just a flurry of dangerously bent semantics jarring you out of reasonable thought through this really earnest, faux-learned string of non-sequiturs which your brain follows because it always seems like it should or at least might make some kind of sense. It's like it has negative semantic value.

And over the course of the minutes and hours and weeks that you spend listening to him drone on, your attitudes and assumptions are broken up into a cluttered mess of pieces, that are slowly shaped towards a a lifestyle that suits the Church - and you're glad because they're "fixing" you.
posted by Drexen at 12:55 PM on January 15, 2008 [19 favorites]


Dear Richard Linklater,

A satire of Scientology directed by you and starring a manic Ethan Hawke would be hilarious. Please consider.

yours,
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:57 PM on January 15, 2008 [11 favorites]


The reason they will defeat us is that they are too boring for us to really care about until it's too late.
posted by hermitosis at 12:58 PM on January 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: just a flurry of dangerously bent semantics jarring you out of reasonable thought through this really earnest, faux-learned string of non-sequiturs which your brain follows because it always seems like it should or at least might make some kind of sense.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:58 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Translation:

KSW = "keeping scientology working"

out-ethics = not following the rules

put in ethics = enforce discipline on another or on self

PTS/SP = Potential Trouble Source and Suppressive Person (a PTS is "handled", an SP is "disconnected." A "PTS" person is connected to an SP.)
posted by monospace at 12:59 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sticky, you need to find The Comment. Sorry I can't help.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:59 PM on January 15, 2008


Will Smith,...has just turned scientologist...

Wow, I guess I missed that. (Obviously celeb gossip is not my thing.)

What's the current theory on the blackmail? The story I've always heard with Cruise is of course that he's gay and either in the closet or just in denial about it, and that's how they got their hooks in him originally; is the assumption that Will Smith is getting the same deal? Or is there something more sinister out there?

Part of me hopes that there are bigger skeletons in the closet besides homosexuality, since it's depressing that being outed would be seen as worse than shacking up with the Scientologists.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:00 PM on January 15, 2008


my kid's response was "He may be one of the smartest people that I've met in the movie business .

Don't you have to be some kind of intellectual to go truly bonkers over an ideology? I mean we dont ever hear from high school drop-out objectivists or working class guys walking into the library and askign for Philosophische Untersuchungen. Hell, its an accepted fault that smart people have a high chance of being obsessed with something, thus all the LOTR battle receations done strictly in candy and the Star Trek fanfic that will entually fill up all the internet.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:01 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


That video is a target rich environment.
posted by studentbaker at 1:01 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also its worth mentioning that "the smartest guy in the movie business" could be like saying "Whoa, that's a tall midget."
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:02 PM on January 15, 2008 [12 favorites]


Regarding the "helping at a car accident" line, my friend had this to say:

"Apparently he's talking about 'touch assists' which are what scientologists do when there's an accident or traumatic event. They even flocked to the scene of the London bombings. They point at or touch the victim with a finger to separate the energy waves or something, and then they hand out pamphlets on healing and scientology. Can you imagine if you got in an accident and Tom Cruise pulled over to perform a 'touch assist'? What in the hell?"
posted by emptybowl at 1:02 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Or maybe I'm trying to get too much consistency out of a SciFi cult.

You may be trying to get too much consistency out of a SciFi cult...

Either that, or we're ALL SPs.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:04 PM on January 15, 2008


Can you imagine if you got in an accident and Tom Cruise pulled over to perform a 'touch assist'?

Flagged.
posted by oh pollo! at 1:07 PM on January 15, 2008


It's a relief that I don't have to worry about Tom Cruise putting his ethics into me.
posted by padraigin at 1:08 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Did he say enturbulate? I really want him to say enturbulate...
He might of said it actually but I kept phasing at points. The last time, when I came round I seemed to have bought the Mission Impossible box set. Praise Ron!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:09 PM on January 15, 2008


touch the victim with a finger to separate the energy waves or something

Looking for Henry Scudder too?
posted by davebush at 1:09 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


From "A Fish Called Selma"
Selma: Are you gay?

Troy: Gay? I wish! If I were gay they'd be no problem! No, what I have is a romantic abnormality, one so unbelievable that it must be hidden from the public at all cost. You see...

Selma: Stop!
posted by ColdChef at 1:09 PM on January 15, 2008


I might or might not know where The Comment can be found. If, hypothetically speaking, it existed at all. I also might or might not have a gmail address in my profile.
posted by Skorgu at 1:18 PM on January 15, 2008


HuronBob writes "My first question was, 'Is he as crazy as he appears to be?', my kid's response was 'He may be one of the smartest people that I've met in the movie business . He's the only person I've ever encountered who, when you walk into a room he's in, has a palpable energy.'"

Smart and high energy doesn't necessarily translate to not crazy.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:19 PM on January 15, 2008


ColdChef, I am curious about the import of your skit and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by everichon at 1:21 PM on January 15, 2008


Once you strip out the scientology jargon, this really doesn't seem all that different from any other celebrity interview in terms of the levels of vapidity and narcissistic craziness. Like I can imagine that a televised conversation with some reality TV winner about Christianity might sound pretty similar, if they let it drag on for 10 minutes.
posted by whir at 1:22 PM on January 15, 2008


His career must be in trouble. I guess that means we can look forward to Bagger Vance 2: The Vancening.

Uh? Will Smith is probably the single most bankable star in hollywood right now. The guy is a license to print money.
posted by Justinian at 1:26 PM on January 15, 2008


Cruise in the news
court case filing (pdf), pdf2


posted by acro at 1:26 PM on January 15, 2008


Once you know these tools and you know that they work it's--it's not good enough that uh, I'm just around, ok?

OK.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:30 PM on January 15, 2008


Y’know, I used to think, when reading H.P Lovecraft, that it was entirely implausible that someone would worship Cthulu or any of the Great Old Ones.
Now, not so much.

The most merciful thing in the world may be the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.
Tragic when observed from the outside though.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:35 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Uh? Will Smith is probably the single most bankable star in hollywood right now.

Ssshhh. Some people are very comfortable in the cocoon of unreality they've constructed for themselves.
posted by yerfatma at 1:36 PM on January 15, 2008


This is not very interesting. If I wanted to hear someone wax poetic about their faith this opening answers that don't give me much of an idea about what their beliefs really are, I would just go listen to Believer's Voice of Victory. flagged.
posted by parmanparman at 1:37 PM on January 15, 2008


Dear Richard Linklater,

A satire of Scientology directed by you and starring a manic Ethan Hawke would be hilarious. Please consider.

I'll one up you- David Cronenberg and J.G. Ballard should collaborate on a sequel to Crash, all about an epidemic among young girls that causes them to uncontrollably seek out Tom Cruise and cause nearby car accidents in the hope that they'll get a "touch assist". It will become a watershed role for Ben Stiller.
posted by mkultra at 1:37 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


THE COMMENT
posted by __ at 1:43 PM on January 15, 2008 [36 favorites]


I think that he could be a very interesting subject on what a cult or a religion could possibily do to a person ; let's exploit his celebrity to warn people of the
dangers of paying attention to rambling nonsense and believe blindly any shit that is being said, expecially if it is arcane and misterious and nonsensical.

(Ok ok I know, religions don't have secrete levels and secret mumbo jumbo, it's all over the place and churches don't necessarily charge upfront. But you haven't experienced how twisted some self proclaimed catholics are)
posted by elpapacito at 1:44 PM on January 15, 2008


Goose is rolling in his grave right now.
posted by aftermarketradio at 1:45 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


As of yesterday, I Am Legend had made $240,869,820. It's been in release for one month. I have a feeling The Vancening is a ways off yet...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:48 PM on January 15, 2008


if Scientology contains the answers to all of society's ills, how come its holy writ looks like an exercise-equipment infomercial?

Completely agree.

Christianity: The Messiah, Pilgrim's Progress, B Minor Mass, Verdi's Requiem, Paradise Lost

Scientology: Battlefield Earth and this video.

(And what have the Pastafarians done recently, eh?)
posted by athenian at 1:48 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know who else had palpable energy?

Energy beings from Planet 14?


My first guess was Adolf Hitler.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:52 PM on January 15, 2008


It's sad when this post about a ranting, weird little man gets almost one hundred posts while the one two posts down about blogging Iraqis in Iraq think has absolutely NO comments.
posted by ZaneJ. at 1:55 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Scientology: Battlefield Earth and this video.

(And what have the Pastafarians done recently, eh?)


Battlefield Earth is one of my guilty, guilty pleasures. I've read the book like six times. And I'm having pasta for dinner. Besides embarrassed and full, what does that make me?
posted by OmieWise at 1:55 PM on January 15, 2008


Scientology is the George Foreman grill of the Western Mystery Tradition.
posted by bunnytricks at 2:07 PM on January 15, 2008 [13 favorites]


It's sad when this post about a ranting, weird little man gets almost one hundred posts while the one two posts down about blogging Iraqis in Iraq think has absolutely NO comments.

To be fair, we talked about that exact blog last year. The new one is essentially a self-acknowledged double post, except a NYRB blurb for the blog is added. There's not much really new to say.
posted by languagehat at 2:08 PM on January 15, 2008


Wow. He talks about looking forward to 'reading about SPs in the history books'. Pretty disturbing, right there.
posted by delmoi at 2:08 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Still not as out-there as the Mormon temple workers known as "The Handlers" and "The Fondlers".
posted by Brocktoon at 2:09 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Battlefield Earth is one of my guilty, guilty pleasures. I've read the book like six times. And I'm having pasta for dinner. Besides embarrassed and full, what does that make me?

Mitt Romney?
posted by delmoi at 2:09 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Y’know, I used to think, when reading H.P Lovecraft, that it was entirely implausible that someone would worship Cthulu or any of the Great Old Ones.
Now, not so much.


Neil Gaiman likes to tell the story of being on a panel about Lovecraft and having an old man stand up and proclaim his theory that the Elder Gods used Lovecraft as a vessel to communicate the truth of their existence to the world.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:10 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Neil Gaiman is no stranger to Scientology.
posted by oh pollo! at 2:14 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wanted to be a Scientologist, but my credit rating wasn't high enough.
posted by absalom at 2:14 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Scientology is the George Foreman grill of the Western Mystery Tradition.

That's a terrible thing to say about poor George Foreman. All the man ever wanted to do was help people make a tasty meal quicker and easier. And he delivered on that promise.

Nah, Scientology's one of those weird Thighmaster gadgets that claims to be enhancing your abs when in the end all you really get is chronic back pain and then your class-action suit gets summarily dismissed before trial because the judge was bought off, and then you go back home and try to throw the goddamn thing out and trip over it and break your wrist, and then when you finally get the piece of shit to the curb you get fined for littering, and then you're laid up broke and jobless and your TV goes on the fritz and the only channel it gets shows Cocktail twice every night, so on top of everything else you're stuck with Coughlin's Assinine Laws clanging in your ears, though at least you get to see Elisabeth Shue in a bathing suit for a second or two. That's Scientology.
posted by gompa at 2:20 PM on January 15, 2008 [33 favorites]


Tom Cruise poking me after I faceplant the dashboard would be about as entertaining as the Christian Science Paramedics who arrive in their Mary Baker Eddy powered ambulance to do absolutely nothing.
posted by moonbird at 2:22 PM on January 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


Katie! Snap out of it!

Man, what a weird life she must have now.

What is the deal with that, exactly? He was born with just one front tooth, and the one next to it was capped, and it ended up looking like they were all shifted over one?

I would tell you, but Tom Cruse actually threatened to sue Metafilter when one of the posters here hypothesized about it.
posted by delmoi at 2:22 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think he makes some really good points and that everyone here should put aside their often ill informed preconceptions about Scientology and hahahahhahahahhahahahhahaha.
posted by rhymer at 2:23 PM on January 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


if tom cruise sired a cyclops baby, it would appear indistinguishable from cthulhu. it would also be stylin' in cutting edge sunglasses (sunglass?) just like its dad.
posted by bruce at 2:23 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


if tom cruise sired a cyclops baby, it would appear indistinguishable from cthulhu. it would also be stylin' in cutting edge sunglasses (sunglass?) just like its dad.

OPTIC BLAST!
posted by aftermarketradio at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Best thing to do with Scis? Let them give you their pitch and then ask innocently "So it's a little like psychoanalysis then?"
posted by A189Nut at 2:28 PM on January 15, 2008 [20 favorites]


What is the deal with that, exactly? He was born with just one front tooth, and the one next to it was capped, and it ended up looking like they were all shifted over one?

I think this is a verboten topic. All the fires of hell and Xenu were almost rained down upon Metafilter, annhilating all of us in a furious inferno.
posted by Justinian at 2:28 PM on January 15, 2008


Actually (to nitpick), the most bankable star in Hollywood these days is Matt Damon, not Will Smith.

But Tom Cruise? Yeah, he's nuts.
posted by misha at 2:33 PM on January 15, 2008


Hey, did somebody mention bovines?
posted by Bovine Love at 2:35 PM on January 15, 2008


A satire of Scientology directed by you and starring a manic Ethan Hawke would be hilarious. Please consider.

I'm so glad I wasn't the only one who got that vibe from the video. I kept getting distracted by how much he resembled a slightly chubby, coked-up Ethan Hawke.
posted by LeeJay at 2:43 PM on January 15, 2008


I've liked a lot of his movies. He plays characters in those movies, not himself. His personal wackiness has little or nothing to do with those characters.

The Ross Jeffries parody in "Magnolia" that item refers to above, is one of Cruise's best ever parts, IMO, second only to the assassin in Collateral. Cruise plays a great villain, maybe because he looks so .. un-villainous. (Not that the character in Magnolia's a villain as such, he's very dislikable, but a 'flawed person' rather than a villain.)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:52 PM on January 15, 2008


Actually (to nitpick), the most bankable star in Hollywood these days is Matt Damon, not Will Smith.

Actually (to nitpick your nitpick), Matt Damon movies gross the most as a multiplier of his salary. But that doesn't mean they gross the most in absolute terms.

Looks at it this way; If you pay Matt Damon $4million and his movie grosses $100million, that's $25 per $1 of salary. If you pay Will Smith $20million and his movie grosses $200million, that's $10 per $1 of salary. But you've still made more money on the Will Smith movie. (Obviously you really need to know the total budgets to calculate this, but let's keep it simple).
posted by Justinian at 2:52 PM on January 15, 2008


DU: ""When you're a Scientologist, and you drive by an accident, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you're the only one who can really help... We are the way to happiness. We can bring peace and unite cultures."

1) Yes, nutjobby.
2) Christians say the exact same thing.
3) conclusion omitted for student edification
"

-----------
Actually, Tom, Steven Fishman (google video of his deposition: fascinating stuff!) is the way to unite half the planet, he being Jesus' true father (the masturbating pervert). I guess Tom Cruise and the other celebs get the other half.
posted by symbioid at 2:53 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I soooo want to be an SP. Or a PTS; I really like the ring of that. Is there somewhere I can sign up
posted by Bovine Love at 2:55 PM on January 15, 2008


Energy beings from Planet 14?

My first guess was Adolf Hitler.


Oh, one of those ignorant fuckfaces who think there's a difference. Off to the thetan-scrubbers with you, Xenu-lover.

That's a terrible thing to say about poor George Foreman. All the man ever wanted to do was help people make a tasty meal quicker and easier.

He didn't actually want to knock out the fat?

I am crushed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:55 PM on January 15, 2008


He didn't actually want to knock out the fat?

You don't get to hear about the fat until level XXII of Leanmeanfatreducinggrillingmachineology.


If you would care to send $30,000.00 then that should get you started.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 3:01 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lord John Whorfin: Where are we going?
The Red Lectroids: Planet Ten!
Lord John Whorfin: When?
The Red Lectroids: Real soon!

posted by willmize at 3:03 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


... and the Star Trek fanfic that will entually fill up all the internet.

How do you know about this? You weren't supposed to know about this!

Dammit ... my plans ...
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:09 PM on January 15, 2008


What is the deal with that, exactly? He was born with just one front tooth, and the one next to it was capped, and it ended up looking like they were all shifted over one?

Quiet! You'll summon Him-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!
posted by Krrrlson at 3:13 PM on January 15, 2008


I noticed that Bill O'Reilly has also been going on lately about "SP's." Maybe Mr. Cruise has finally gotten to the big Bill-O?
posted by washburn at 3:31 PM on January 15, 2008


Whoa was there really the threat of litigation over talking about Cruise's teeth?
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:35 PM on January 15, 2008


What's this Tom Cruise got against the SP's? He must be a poor sport!
posted by maryh at 3:38 PM on January 15, 2008


Just for info: I was the one who started the MeTa thread, mentioned in one of the links above, asking where the infamous post had gone. I asked out of innocent curiosity, not a desire to start a shitstorm. Fairly soon afterwards, the poster of the original comment emailed me and politely asked that I get that thread killed. I agreed, I emailed Matt & Jess, & my MeTa post was pulled. For my part, there was no great conspiracy involved.
posted by Pinback at 3:38 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Me, I'm waiting for the Michael Cera parody video.
posted by maggiemaggie at 3:39 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow. I missed all the 'THE COMMENT' stuff. Cheers for the catch up.
posted by Frasermoo at 3:40 PM on January 15, 2008


Pinback: It's okay, we understand. I'd to the same if the squicky tentacles of Xenu were threatening to choke the life out of me, my sweaty hands dancing above the keyboard in SHEER TERROR!
posted by moonbird at 3:41 PM on January 15, 2008


Still not as out-there as the Mormon temple workers known as "The Handlers" and "The Fondlers".

Citation or links? My family is/was Mormon and I've never heard of this - and I'm pretty familiar with it.
posted by loquacious at 3:51 PM on January 15, 2008


Nah. Neither Xenu nor Tom Cruise frighten me. On the other hand, ...

Shit. D'y'know how hard it is to find a celebrity who both a) icks me out, and b) isn't touched by the taint of 'tology?

I know that last post came across as a bit robotic & PR-speak but, as I swear upon my holy model of a wingless DC-9, there's nothing more dramatic to that part of it. Would it convince you if I started a-hootin' and a-hollerin' and a-jumpin' over chairs and such? ;-)
posted by Pinback at 4:00 PM on January 15, 2008


You bunch of wogs
posted by nola at 4:13 PM on January 15, 2008


This is probably a pretty obvious opinion of the video, but:

I'm moderately familiar with FACS, with basic-to-intermediate psychology, with acting methods and techniques - and I have damn fine intuition.

The hair on my neck is literally standing - bristling. It's rather obvious that he's lying - there's a number of clues, the sideways glances, the faked "recall glance" and faked earnestess above and beyond the applied acting - but there's something more there. It's almost like he's under duress, that he's being coerced or something.

My analysis is that he doesn't actually want to be there, making that video. It's fairly well suppressed, but it feels to me like there's an anger seething just below the surface. There's barbs of it directed directly at the camera a few times - I can see it in his eyes.

Freaky science fiction shit, man. The future isn't what it used to be.

Am I the only one outraged by all this talk about "suppressive persons" from some org that's best known for going around with an army of lawyers and, er, suppressing the shit out of people? No?

Hey, Mr. Cruise? No one out here cares if you're gay or not, really. They'll only care if you do.

posted by loquacious at 4:31 PM on January 15, 2008 [19 favorites]


His sincerity was rather compelling.
Aww hell, lets all go batshitinsane!
posted by Iron Rat at 4:33 PM on January 15, 2008


doesn't really sound all that different from a christian or a mormon talking about his beliefs.
posted by Espoo2 at 4:42 PM on January 15, 2008


Cocaine is a terrible drug.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:46 PM on January 15, 2008


*puts on Seger, dances in underwear*
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on January 15, 2008


wow, i didn't know about the comment, how very interesting.
posted by sleep_walker at 5:06 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know it's unfashionable here, but Scientology, insane-sounding as it is, doesn't make less sense than Mormonism (the Garden of Eden in Missouri?), Hinduism (the elephant god?), or, you know, Christianity (dead men who come back to life after three days and fly up to outer space like Superman?). it really doesn't.

and frankly, lame as he is, Tom Cruise is not more annoying than the Pope (they do display the same contempt for science, this I concede). and he's not more intolerant than your average, pissed-off Saudi mullah.
posted by matteo at 5:10 PM on January 15, 2008




Scientology and Me, a BBC show on Scientology via Google video
posted by nola at 5:12 PM on January 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


(the Garden of Eden in Missouri?),

coe-ed strip clup with a good salad bar, right?
posted by jonmc at 5:29 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's all an act.
posted by AppleSeed at 5:36 PM on January 15, 2008


He just doesn't know when to clam up.

Those of us, like me, who live under rocks often misunderstand exotic but heavily favorited Metafilter comments. After reading about Nicole Kidman's failed pregnancies in THE COMMENT, I believe I understand the "clam up" allusion.

But at first I thought it referred to Operation Clambake.
posted by Tube at 5:52 PM on January 15, 2008


and frankly, lame as he is, Tom Cruise is not more annoying than the Pope

I'm totally for the evil rat faced pope doing the hysterical couch dance on Oprah. I wonder if Tom has his own special scientology pope hat too?
posted by cytherea at 6:16 PM on January 15, 2008


matteo writes "I know it's unfashionable here, but Scientology, insane-sounding as it is, doesn't make less sense than Mormonism (the Garden of Eden in Missouri?), Hinduism (the elephant god?), or, you know, Christianity (dead men who come back to life after three days and fly up to outer space like Superman?). it really doesn't."

The difference is that there is a strong spiritual component to the religions you mention, and there is a clearly defined spiritual path. None of them require your money as a condition of practicing the religion. None of them are pop psychology masquerading as a church, either. BTW, reducing Hinduism to "elephant god" is pretty sad.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:24 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, symbioid, I never knew Buster Bluth was a Scientologist.
posted by stammer at 6:31 PM on January 15, 2008


Astro Zombie notes it's not really the Mission Impossible theme; I'll note that it's heretically shoehorned from 5/4 into 4/4 time using almost exactly the same modifications as the version by the rhythm section of U2 from the remake. It's so close that I don't think they're so safe from copyright issues.

Me and my friend are thinking of doing an instrumental dis track to the U2 version--in 3/4 time.
posted by abcde at 6:35 PM on January 15, 2008


The difference is that Mormons and Hindus aren't trying to Take Over The World.

Scientology is. They have infiltrated governments to do so.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:43 PM on January 15, 2008


As of yesterday, I Am Legend had made $240,869,820.

But as of today, the film still stank.
posted by humannaire at 6:49 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wait ...what?
posted by deborah at 6:54 PM on January 15, 2008



My analysis is that he doesn't actually want to be there, making that video. It's fairly well suppressed, but it feels to me like there's an anger seething just below the surface. There's barbs of it directed directly at the camera a few times - I can see it in his eyes.

If this is the case, I wonder what he did between -7:44 and -7:11 that had to be blacked out!
posted by anazgnos at 6:55 PM on January 15, 2008


"Is he as crazy as he appears to be?", my kid's response was "He may be one of the smartest people that I've met in the movie business . He's the only person I've ever encountered who, when you walk into a room he's in, has a palpable energy."

This was from someone who isn't all that impressed with the star quality, he deals with that on a regular basis. So, I don't know how to put that impression alongside the somewhat odd stuff that we see and hear, but I know I trust my son's opinions about people... "

Your son would be correct. He is a nice guy.

The "odd stuff" you see and hear are insecure, miserable people who will jump at any opportunity to make themselves feel superior to a rich, famous, good-looking individual.

It is this insecurity, jealousy and anger which drives the very lucrative tabloid celebrity news industry.
posted by wfc123 at 6:56 PM on January 15, 2008


It's fairly well suppressed, but it feels to me like there's an anger seething just below the surface.

Well, living under, and especially committing to and thriving under, something that amounts to hypnosis levels of denial of rationality and social mores does make one a bit glitchy.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:09 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


wfc123 Needs A Vacation | Metafilter - Mozilla Firefox
posted by micayetoca at 7:09 PM on January 15, 2008


Your son would be correct. He is a nice guy.

The "odd stuff" you see and hear are insecure, miserable people who will jump at any opportunity to make themselves feel superior to a rich, famous, good-looking individual.

It is this insecurity, jealousy and anger which drives the very lucrative tabloid celebrity news industry.


Tom, please let Katie go free from your mind control rays!
posted by cytherea at 7:17 PM on January 15, 2008


Do not touch and then give the command; that would be backwards.

Touch with only one finger. If you used two fingers the person could be confused about which he was supposed to feel.

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:17 PM on January 15, 2008


Slate reads the new Tom Cruise bio so you don't have to.

Quick question: why are AV Club comments so retarded, given the general intelligence of the AV Club?

God, thank you. I thought I was the only one who'd noticed. And it's nice to see Nick Denton take a bit of a stand on keeping the video up at his site.
posted by mediareport at 7:23 PM on January 15, 2008


krinklyfig write: The difference is that there is a strong spiritual component to the religions you mention, and there is a clearly defined spiritual path. None of them require your money as a condition of practicing the religion.

Well, try getting an invite into the Mormon temple without paying a tithe (which literally means 10%). Not to mention your level of heaven is directly tied to this. So maybe you can practice for free, but I wouldn't agree that your standing in the religious community (and afterlife) is completely irrelevant to monetary concerns.
posted by Crash at 7:28 PM on January 15, 2008


I'M IN UR THETANS AUDITING UR ENGRAMS
posted by crowman at 7:28 PM on January 15, 2008


Crash writes "Well, try getting an invite into the Mormon temple without paying a tithe (which literally means 10%). Not to mention your level of heaven is directly tied to this. So maybe you can practice for free, but I wouldn't agree that your standing in the religious community (and afterlife) is completely irrelevant to monetary concerns."

Most of the people that the Church of Scientology recruits are people who cannot afford their expensive services, with the exception of their celebrity cadre. This is not a 10% tithe. This is going deep into debt with the Church, then signing a contract with them to pay it off - that usually doesn't happen, so a person will remain in indentured servitude to the church, sometimes running businesses that the church helps set up. For instance, a friend of mine ended up owing them tens of thousands of dollars within the first six months, and was running a BluBlocker stand on the beach to pay it off. She never will, because she will continue to need "auditing," costing thousands of dollars using a bogus sort of lie detector, pretty much until the day she dies. Unless she decides to leave, and then they will pursue the contract's terms in court and attempt to make it very difficult for her to live independently of them. There is no revelation. The spiritual ideal that Hubbard invented is a lie. Nobody is "clear." All it is is an elaborate scheme to take your money.

Mormonism is creepy to me, but it has to do with their own sort of secrecy. It is not the same thing as Scientology. It's a pretty strange modern sect of Christianity, but it's not the pseudo-scientific concoction of a charismatic sci-fi writer on a lark.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:39 PM on January 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


The "odd stuff" you see and hear are insecure, miserable people who will jump at any opportunity to make themselves feel superior to a rich, famous, good-looking individual.

Um. Did you actually look at the link we're discussing? Can you actually watch that video and not think that Tom Cruise is exceedingly odd?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:52 PM on January 15, 2008


loquacious, the Apostles have a China/Google like grip on details this sacred. Did you also know that if you touch "the package" on the Brigham Young statue in Temple Square, you're immediately tackled by Tongan security guards and sent to the LDS version of Gitmo (at or near Magna, UT)? I've revealed too much already, but know this: the LDS make great romantic comedies (now playing at a single's ward near you).
posted by Brocktoon at 7:54 PM on January 15, 2008


I wonder what he did between -7:44 and -7:11 that had to be blacked out!

He... fed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:17 PM on January 15, 2008 [17 favorites]


I shudder to think what will happen when the Scientologists mine the pure gold that is SEO...

and come here to make an FPP about it.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:19 PM on January 15, 2008


Unicorn, Scientology's been gaming search engines for a long, long time:

In the early days of the World Wide Web, Scientology attempted a similar strategy to make finding websites critical of the organization more difficult. Scientology employed Web designers to write thousands of Web pages for their site, thus flooding early search engines.[15] This problem was solved by the innovation of clustering responses from the same Web server, showing no more than the top two results from any one site (e.g. Google)...

On the other side of the battle, many Web-page developers...linked the words "Dianetics" and "Scientology" to Operation Clambake. This resulted in the anti-Scientology site having the highest Google index on the term for a while, which in turn resulted in Scientology persuading Google to remove links to the site until international outcry led to the links being restored. This might be considered an early example of a Google bomb, and certainly has led to interesting questions about the power and obligations of Internet search providers.

posted by mediareport at 9:44 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


damn.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:46 PM on January 15, 2008


"Your son would be correct. He is a nice guy." - posted by wfc123

Makes it all the worse then, dunnit?

" 'What is the deal with that, exactly? He was born with just one front tooth, and the one next to it was capped, and it ended up looking like they were all shifted over one?'
'Quiet! You'll summon Him-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!'"

Bevets is a scientologist!?

You know, I might go through a lot of crap to see Elisabeth Shue in a bathing suit, but this suing over the teeth thing - "Tom Cruse actually threatened to sue Metafilter when one of the posters here hypothesized about it" - I'm with loquacious, that really pisses me off. Even if that, specifically, isn't true, plenty of evidence they do lawyer up and suppress folks, damned irritating whether they're a real religion or not.

...why would religious folks have a problem if someone had/has a birth defect? Hell, look at Moses.
If anything, having a problem and overcoming it and having the success he's had would make me respect him more. That and the having kids thing - oh, no, he had to adopt because he's infertile, BFD. Adoption is a great way to have kids. (Oh, might be a bit of a problem if it's a serial thing or to advance a career or something, but done in earnest it's quite laudable.)

Buddy of mine in the service was a mormon. All he mentioned about it was that he didn't like talking about religion. And he was a pretty nice guy. He'd have me over for dinner, watch t.v., play ball with his kids and stuff, (gets pretty crummy for single military dudes sometimes).
Pretty much all fanatics = all fanatics.
Too much thinking about and trying to force life into how it should be, not enough facing it as it is.

I pity the guy. He's got more money, fame, etc., but we aren't covered by the same sky nor do we walk the same Earth.
Meh. Not much I can do about it. He's way waaaay too insulated.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:00 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm only half way through. But if he says "OK?" one more time...

My thetans will explodezorz...
posted by Windopaene at 10:24 PM on January 15, 2008


Aaaaack he said it again!!!!

OK?
posted by Windopaene at 10:26 PM on January 15, 2008


Unicorn on the cob writes "I shudder to think what will happen when the Scientologists mine the pure gold that is SEO..."

They did that in the '90s, getting a leg up on almost everyone else. They created a large network of websites that represented the different branches of their operations, like Narconon, their version of drug rehab. Then they created a separate page for each church member, with links to many of the church sites. This created a glut of links to Scientology sites when doing searches on the engines that spidered, to an almost ridiculous degree. Their goal was to shut out sites that might be critical by spamming the spiders. They were pretty web savvy back then. But their hyper-sensitivity to criticism and overzealous pursuit of their detractors lead to a life on the Internet that has not always been rosy.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:42 PM on January 15, 2008


Ah, mediareport beat me to it.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:43 PM on January 15, 2008


Eugene Kittridge: I understand you're very enturbulated.
Ethan Hunt: Kittridge, you've never seen me very enturbulated.
posted by Tacodog at 11:15 PM on January 15, 2008



If this is the case, I wonder what he did between -7:44 and -7:11 that had to be blacked out!


Went back in time?
posted by Tuatara at 12:53 AM on January 16, 2008


Went back in time?

Congratulations! You're not a nerd!

reverse mm:ss timecode notation counts down to end of track. -2:00 is one minute before -1:00 , chronologically.
posted by loquacious at 2:21 AM on January 16, 2008


But that still doesn't mean he didn't go back in time to, er, feed.
posted by loquacious at 2:22 AM on January 16, 2008


The "odd stuff" you see and hear are insecure, miserable people

SP's, every single one of us. You should probably disconnect, wfc123. In case you become enturbulated too.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:32 AM on January 16, 2008


None of them require your money as a condition of practicing the religion.

Krinkly, you're overstating the case. Not only do pretty much all of the established religions require money from their followers, their tax exemptions mean that the rest of us (in the U.S., at least) subsidize them, too. So yes, they do require my money as a condition of their practicing their religion.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:46 AM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just don't get the hatin', I really don't. Of all the evils Scientology is supposed to have committed, they don't touch ANY of those committed by ANY of the other organized religions.

Next, of all the nuttiness that Scientology is supposed to believe, once again this nuttiness doesn't touch ANY of the nuttiness from the other organized regions. Seriously. WTF?

Lastly, Scientology's willingness to take on organized medicine is an UNEQUIVOCAL social good. Did you read the post on the lobotomy? Do you think they've totally changed their ways? Scratch that. I'm putting worship of the AMA on the list with all the other crazy worship. Scientology has clearly done less harm than the AMA has. READ THE LOBOTOMY LINK AGAIN and realize that THERE ARE NO ISOLATE INCIDENTS in social institutions.

Frick. I'm pretty confident that most of the posters are pots calling kettles black and they aren't even serious about helping other people. I don't know. You are all so disappointing. If there was a sheep contest, you would all come in second.

I'm going to Metatalk. You've pushed me that far. Ridiculous.
posted by ewkpates at 4:55 AM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


After watching the video, I realize that I really WANT TO HELP. Where do I sign up?
posted by leftcoastbob at 5:08 AM on January 16, 2008


Of all the evils Scientology is supposed to have committed, they don't touch ANY of those committed by ANY of the other organized religions.

Horseshit. This is the 21st century. Any religion that goes naming people as "Suppressive Persons" who have no rights and "may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." is one FUCKLOAD (hey, I can yell too) of an evil religion.

I don't know what point you think you're making here about other religions, but it's wrong. Scientology in the modern world is nakedly evil in ways other religions are not.
posted by mediareport at 5:24 AM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


HuronBob: ... my kid's response was "He may be one of the smartest people that I've met in the movie business . He's the only person I've ever encountered who, when you walk into a room he's in, has a palpable energy."

This is typical of people with clinical mania and certain forms of schizophrenia.
posted by lodurr at 5:59 AM on January 16, 2008


smedleyman: Buddy of mine in the service was a mormon. All he mentioned about it was that he didn't like talking about religion.

Mormonism may be prima facie whacky, but I've never had anything but good dealings with mormons. They seem to actually give a crap at a cultural level about ethics. Even their door to door missionaries are unfailingly courteous.
posted by lodurr at 6:21 AM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


ewkpates, what I hear you saying is "other orgs have done bad stuff so Scientology doesn't deserved to be called out for its bad stuff."

Which would be, from an ethical standpoint, indefensible.
posted by lodurr at 6:30 AM on January 16, 2008


OK I've finally watched the video & I want to add some context. This was shot for the IAS (International Association of Scientologists) New Year Event, which is somewhere between the Academy Awards & the Soviet Union's May Day celebration except for Scientologists. It's beamed via satellite to every Org & Mission that has a dish & shipped out on DVD to any that don't (attendance is effectively mandatory, both staff & publics (clients)), so it's the one event almost every Scientologist worldwide is guaranteed to see.

Since Scientology is simultaneously almost as paranoid & secretive as Dick Cheney & more obsessed with proving how successful they are through meaningless statistics than No Child Left Behind, the Event is an invaluable window into what's changed inside the cult since last year's Event. Who got promoted or demoted, who's been turned into an UnPerson, any successes they want to crow about or failures they've figured out a spin for, whether they've figured out a new metric that shows how the cult is growing when they're really shrinking (like the year they switched from "number of members" to "number of groups", that was brilliant - how many people in a group?), that sort of thing.

This specific video looks like Tom was given some sort of award for wonderfulness in furthering the cause of the cult, which was presented at the event kind of like a Lifetime Achievement award at the Oscars. Presumably the other videos pulled from Google were other excerpts from the Event.
posted by scalefree at 6:37 AM on January 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


I guess we were wrong about there being no scientologists here eh?
posted by puke & cry at 6:58 AM on January 16, 2008


The main reason Scientology hasn't done much bad stuff is that it's new and small. We have to give them time to grow into their evil. After all, Christianity started with the apostles, not the crusades.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:14 AM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


My favorite IAS Event stunt was the infamous "headless man caper". The Event is held every year on New Year's Eve at the Shrine Auditorium in LA. One year they released some PR pictures of the crowd that one observer noted looked somewhat odd. Due to declining numbers there were some gaps in the crowd, which some embarrassed & enterprising staffer attempted to cover over. With Photoshop. Badly. Hilarity ensued.
posted by scalefree at 7:14 AM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Kirth Gerson writes "Krinkly, you're overstating the case. Not only do pretty much all of the established religions require money from their followers, their tax exemptions mean that the rest of us (in the U.S., at least) subsidize them, too. So yes, they do require my money as a condition of their practicing their religion."

Do they put you into debt and have you sign a contract to pay it off, which ends up being revolving debt for a lifetime? If so, do you think that's OK?
posted by krinklyfig at 7:17 AM on January 16, 2008


...revolving debt for a lifetime?

Don't you mean "6 billion years" or something?
posted by lodurr at 7:25 AM on January 16, 2008


Lastly, Scientology's willingness to take on organized medicine is an UNEQUIVOCAL social good. Did you read the post on the lobotomy? Do you think they've totally changed their ways? Scratch that. I'm putting worship of the AMA on the list with all the other crazy worship. Scientology has clearly done less harm than the AMA has. READ THE LOBOTOMY LINK AGAIN and realize that THERE ARE NO ISOLATE INCIDENTS in social institutions.

There's nothing wrong with being a bottom, Tom. Just try to relax.
posted by cytherea at 7:29 AM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Kirth Gerson writes "Krinkly, you're overstating the case. Not only do pretty much all of the established religions require money from their followers"

You know, I went to Presbyterian church and a couple different Catholic churches when i was a kid. We gave when the plate was passed around, but there was no requirement to do so in any real sense. If you were broke and didn't have anything to put in, it's OK. That's not true of the CoS. Their services have fixed prices and are required to join and continue in the religion, on a very regular basis. I don't know of any other church which is so blatantly a business with a financing plan and contract.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:39 AM on January 16, 2008


As I said, you're overstating the case. That they don't have me sign a contract & blah & blah does not mean they don't "require your money as a condition of practicing the religion."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:40 AM on January 16, 2008


Kirth, they just plain don't require the money, unless you have a very strange definition of "require." You are overstating your case at least as much as you're accusing krinklyfig of doing.

There are always quid pro quos in any group to which you have membership. If it's not money, it's some other form of "payment." Most religious require some kind of sacrifice. In most modern religions, the required sacrifice is explicitly limited to devotion, with money and effort optional.

There's also a matter of degree involved. My eldest brother is a Wesleyan Methodist. He tithes 10%. He doesn't do it because the bible says so, he does it because he thinks it's right, and what's more he doesn't think it's right to criticize people who don't.
posted by lodurr at 7:50 AM on January 16, 2008


Kirth Gerson writes " As I said, you're overstating the case. That they don't have me sign a contract & blah & blah does not mean they don't 'require your money as a condition of practicing the religion.'"

The CoS has you sign a contract. If you don't pay them the considerable sums of money they charge all their members, they will sue you.

Granted, back when the Catholic Church was dominant, they were pretty bad about running their congregation's lives much of the time. That's really not true anymore. Hell, if your poor, you can go get food and shelter from many Christian churches, and they don't consider it a debt to them. You can attend for years and never put money in the plate, and nobody will stop you or even pay any attention in most churches, unless you bring attention to yourself. Your are also not expected to pay in excess of your income or available money, or go into debt. Tithing is 10%, and it's not considered a requirement. But the MO of Scientology is to provide paid services under the guise of religion and science, with debt, a contract and financing.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:17 AM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


krinklyfig writes "if your poor"

You're ...
posted by krinklyfig at 8:17 AM on January 16, 2008


The CoS has you sign a contract.

Yes. I read that the first time. That does not mean that other religions don't require money from their followers.

Kirth, they just plain don't require the money, unless you have a very strange definition of "require."

I understand that my objection to subsidizing religions I do not believe in is probably unusual, if not 'strange,' but I think the objection is reasonable.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:32 AM on January 16, 2008


I know it's unfashionable here, but Scientology, insane-sounding as it is, doesn't make less sense than Mormonism (the Garden of Eden in Missouri?), Hinduism (the elephant god?), or, you know, Christianity (dead men who come back to life after three days and fly up to outer space like Superman?). it really doesn't.
1) It's more insane sounding because
a) It trades in well-known sci-fi tropes which have always been associated with fiction, and created by a sci-fi author
b) does not trade in well known religious tropes which have always been associated with religion
c) has a weird hatred of psychology, where psychology is what we use to determine sanity
2) it's more frightening because the way it behaves, very secretive, very vindictive, etc. Much more so then even the mormons.
Compare them to the Raliens, who no one is really afraid of because while they have wacky beliefs, they preach openness, tolerance, they're not secretive, etc.
posted by delmoi at 9:45 AM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


The thing that frightens me about Scientology is that over the years, every time a crack opens up and I get to see past the exterior a little way inside, as here, it's glowing hotter than it was the last time. I'd put this glimpse at a good cherry red with excursions into orange.

Will it settle down and become one of the wilder mainstream religions, or will it get hotter and hotter until it blows?-- into a Jonestown, a Branch Davidians, or a Heavens Gate; maybe a Ghost Dance or possibly a Christian Identity movement with a bunch of Tim Mcveighs and Oklahoma City on a grander scale.

I wonder what kind of inroads they've been able to make into the military, if any.
posted by jamjam at 9:49 AM on January 16, 2008


Regarding the "pay to play" argument, some Christian denominations do still charge a mandatory church tax in some countries, as I found out when the Evangelical Lutheran church here in Austria sent me a bill for 5 years of "back taxes". I had to call up and explain that I was not a Lutheran, and they dropped their demand for payment.

Had I been a Lutheran, my only options would have been to pay the tax, dispute it on grounds of hardship, or leave the church. The Catholic Church in Austria charges its members a church tax, as well.

Probably not exactly on par with Scientology's contracts, but it is an interesting data point that's relevant to the discussion.

The Lutherans thought I was member of their church because I answered "Evangelisch" (which I thought was synonymous with "Protestant") on one of the many government forms I had to fill out while pursuing a work visa here. I wanted to write down "Agnostisch", but one of my co-workers at the time recommended against it. In the end, I explained to the Lutherans that I had been baptized as a child in a Southern Baptist church - that got me off of the hook immediately.
posted by syzygy at 9:56 AM on January 16, 2008


Scientology's willingness to take on organized medicine is an UNEQUIVOCAL social good.

Hear, hear! The day when I can stroll into the emergency room of my local hospital bleeding profusely and choose from a teeming bazaar of OT VIIIs, faith healers, patent medicine hawkers, and leech-application technicians will be a great day indeed.

Organized "medicine"? Organized LIE$, amirite?

*flushes wife's synthroid*

*tries to rouse wife from semi-catatonic state*

*goes back to rewatching Cocktail*

Frick, that's one fine film!
posted by gompa at 10:00 AM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I understand that my objection to subsidizing religions I do not believe in is probably unusual, if not 'strange,' but I think the objection is reasonable.

This is out of left field.

One minute, you're arguing that other religious make you pay to play. We establish that they don't. (And they don't, Kirth. You can walk in the front door of any Catholic church -- at least here in the US -- and they'll give you communion if you tell them you're Catholic, regardless of whether you pay.) Now suddenly the argument is about -- what, tax exempt status?

It's reasonable to object that all religions want you to make a sacrifice. It's not reasonable to conflate the sacrifice of your entire income (and that's pretty much what it is, you're just meat to the COS after all) with even rigorous 10% tithes or, for that matter, "church taxes".

We do not live in a black and white world, Kirth. There are shades of gray between an offering plate and the expectation that you'll pay the church all the money you can scrounge or be declared SP.
posted by lodurr at 10:03 AM on January 16, 2008


Kirth Gerson writes "I understand that my objection to subsidizing religions I do not believe in is probably unusual, if not 'strange,' but I think the objection is reasonable."

Whether your objection is reasonable or not is not my issue. I don't think there is any real equivalence, and I say this from personal experience. If you have to go broke and in debt to your religion to practice it, then it's something more like a cult than a religion.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:13 AM on January 16, 2008


You're all glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is.
posted by ALongDecember at 10:20 AM on January 16, 2008


One minute, you're arguing that other religious make you pay to play. We establish that they don't.

No, you assert that; you don't establish it.

We do not live in a black and white world, Kirth.

No shit. That's why I object to the assertion that "None of them require your money." Some do, and in the U.S., all the rest of us have to chip in, as well.

I may have overreached by saying pretty much all of them require money from their followers, but it's still true that every one of them is subsidized by people who have no part in their beliefs.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:45 AM on January 16, 2008


I'm confused, we're not supposed to criticize $cientology because they're just as fucked up us lots of other religions?
posted by doctor_negative at 11:03 AM on January 16, 2008


Kirth Gerson writes "I may have overreached by saying pretty much all of them require money from their followers, but it's still true that every one of them is subsidized by people who have no part in their beliefs."

This is getting pretty far afield. Most churches don't require any money. Those that do don't require you to turn the bulk of your income and property to the church, nor will they take you to court for not paying. As far as subsidization, it's neither here nor there.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:10 AM on January 16, 2008


krinklyfig, I don't think anyone is saying it's on par with Scientology, it's just that several people took offense to your blanket statement "None of them require your money as a condition of practicing the religion.".

The argument isn't that they're all as bad as scientology, just that such a blanket statement is wrong. If a religion says your place in heaven is dictated by following celestial law, part of which entails giving 10% of your income to the church, then I don't know how you can say they don't require money as part of practicing religion.
posted by Crash at 11:15 AM on January 16, 2008


Crash writes "The argument isn't that they're all as bad as scientology, just that such a blanket statement is wrong. If a religion says your place in heaven is dictated by following celestial law, part of which entails giving 10% of your income to the church, then I don't know how you can say they don't require money as part of practicing religion."

That depends very much on the interpretation of the sect, however. I guess we could get into semantics, but not many churches will excommunicate you for failing to tithe. I will admit that there are perhaps some churches that require a tithe, but none I've ever been to. I would be hard pressed to find any that required anything like what Scientology does.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:30 AM on January 16, 2008


It doesn't matter if they excommunicate you or not. If they say you can only get to the highest level of heaven by paying us, they require your money as part of practicing the religion. I agree it's not to the same extent as $cientlogy, but if you firmly believe in what they're saying, not getting into the desired level of heaven could be considered worse than a little litigation while you're on earth. Again, I'm by no means implying that people shouldn't criticize Scientology.
posted by Crash at 11:36 AM on January 16, 2008


I guess we were wrong about there being no scientologists here eh?

Err, no. Thanks for playing though, please pick up your lovely parting gift on the way out.
posted by scalefree at 11:39 AM on January 16, 2008


You're all glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is.

Not only do we know what Ritalin is, some of us even know what Niacin is.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:05 PM on January 16, 2008


Comparing Scientology in 2008 with Christianity in 2008 is such an obvious fallacy that I don't understand why people persist in doing it, not to mention the fact that people seem to turn to the more moderate flavors of Christianity when making the comparison. I'm not at all convinced that the two belief systems are different in some fundamental way that puts them in different categories. They're just a product of different times and at different stages in development. It's much harder to start a religion in the post-Enlightenment era. When Christianity was first making claims about the nature of the universe, they couldn't be disproved. Surely if Scientology were to exist for another 2000 years (and were made into the state religion of a very powerful empire), it would have its own influential theologists, its own works of art, its own revisions and reworkings, its own splinterings and sects.

I don't see how one could begin to argue that Scientology, in its short life, has done more damage to humanity than has Christianity. People will criticize Scientology for taking money from its followers, but it doesn't matter that the Roman Catholic Church used to sell indulgences, or perpetrated the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.? Why? Because Christianity has grown past all that? Then why doesn't Scientology get the same allowance?

I certainly don't mean this as a defense of Scientology -- I just think there's a whole lot of sloppy thinking that goes into the attempts to somehow place modern religious cults into separate categories from ancient ones.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:08 PM on January 16, 2008


Update on Gawker.
posted by everichon at 12:20 PM on January 16, 2008


Was on the BBC news tonight..
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:24 PM on January 16, 2008


ludwig_van writes "Comparing Scientology in 2008 with Christianity in 2008 is such an obvious fallacy that I don't understand why people persist in doing it"

How much do you know about the belief system and their dogma? I rarely hear this from people who have a thorough understanding of Scientology.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:29 PM on January 16, 2008


Crash: It doesn't matter if they excommunicate you or not. If they say you can only get to the highest level of heaven by paying us, they require your money as part of practicing the religion.

I'm having a hard time thinking of religions that require you to pay to get to "higher levels" of "heaven." Maybe mormonism does, I don't know. I know for damn sure that Methodism doesn't.
posted by lodurr at 12:37 PM on January 16, 2008


lodurr, you're right, I was referring to mormonism, which was one of the religions listed in the original comment that krinklyfig was referring to. Brigham Young is quoted as saying strict following of celestial law is required to reach the celestial kingdom, and part of celestial law is that followers "shall pay one tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them for ever, for my Holy Priesthood, saith the Lord".
posted by Crash at 12:51 PM on January 16, 2008


How much do you know about the belief system and their dogma? I rarely hear this from people who have a thorough understanding of Scientology.

Well, I rarely hear it too, because the old popular religions are generally afforded a certain level of respect in society that newer religions are not given. That doesn't mean I think it's deserved. What can you tell me about Scientologist beliefs that makes them fundamentally different from the beliefs of the Abrahamic religions?

I'm having a hard time thinking of religions that require you to pay to get to "higher levels" of "heaven." Maybe mormonism does, I don't know. I know for damn sure that Methodism doesn't.

Not anymore they don't. But of course, the major religions used to get rich by conquest. And as I mentioned, the Catholic church used to sell Indulgences -- you would pay to have your sins forgiven. You could also pay to have your soul prayed for, which would reduce the time you spent in purgatory. Wealth has absolutely been tied to being saved in Christianity.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:20 PM on January 16, 2008


I'm not at all convinced that the two belief systems are different in some fundamental way that puts them in different categories.

One is, to all appearances, a sincere religion that is generally honestly believed by both laity and throughout the hierarchies, where they exist. The other is used by people who do not behave in ways consistent with honest belief in their own professed faith to victimize their followers in several ways.

Can you really not distinguish between, from your point of view, honest but mistaken people and liars?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:23 PM on January 16, 2008


I know for damn sure that Methodism doesn't.

Or indeed most other Protestant branches of Christianity; in fact, the selling of indulgences was one of the main things that sparked the Reformation in the first place, and most modern evangelical branches hold that faith in Jesus is the only way to get into Heaven, regardless of your virtues or sins during life.

The updated videos on Gawker that everichon linked are a lot more interesting than the original one. Cruises's original monologue is mostly bland pablum, but the other leaked bits have more of the interesting crazy SoC bits, like a screed against psychiatry.
posted by whir at 1:24 PM on January 16, 2008


Holy twisted plot twist! Where to find evil organizations of necessary power and connections to be plausible threats for future seasons of 24...
posted by Free word order! at 1:28 PM on January 16, 2008


One is, to all appearances, a sincere religion that is generally honestly believed by both laity and throughout the hierarchies, where they exist. The other is used by people who do not behave in ways consistent with honest belief in their own professed faith to victimize their followers in several ways.

Again we're comparing Christianity today to Scientology today rather than looking at both religions at similar points in their life-cycles. I see the distinction in that Scientology can be easily shown to have originated as one man's cynical plan to scam people, whereas Christianity appears to have come about more organically, and rather than being made of deliberate lies, its claims about the universe were invented by people who simply didn't know better. But Christianity has also been used cynically to manipulate and to control and to maintain power and wealth. And of course we just don't know all of the details about the origins of Christianity and its holy texts or the intentions of its authors, so again Christianity gets the benefit of being old. If Scientology were to refine itself and catch on and last for 2000 years and the circumstances of its creation became more shrouded by the progression of time, I think the difference would seem far less pronounced.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:35 PM on January 16, 2008


And who's to say that there won't be a Scientology reformation which does away with some of the things people are objecting to? It just doesn't make sense to say that a young religion is fundamentally different from an old religion because the young religion is still doing things that the old religion stopped doing some time ago.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:37 PM on January 16, 2008


The problem with per capita measures of cultish evil is you're always going to run into edge cases like the Manson family that are just off the scale, but at the same time largely irrelevant these days to anyone isn't actually in jail for being part of the family or related to Sharon Tate.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on January 16, 2008


ROU_Xenophobe, I think you're misinterpreting ludwig's statement. He was saying it's not a fair comparison to look at established religions in 2008 vs Scientology 2008. Established religions have their fair share of stories defying the laws of physics that rival the story of Xenu. Additionally, at least in the earlier stages of their history, even the established religions have had their fair share of benefiting off of their followers beliefs (not to mention the suffering of non-believers). Although they occurred in the past, the damage they did to enrich themselves far exceeds what scientology has done so far.

Put another way, if Scientology reforms itself and changes their funding strategy to a donation based one, would people jump to accept it as a legit religion?
posted by Crash at 1:43 PM on January 16, 2008


It would be cooler if they turned into a freaky acid cult where celebrities killed hippies.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on January 16, 2008


Crash writes "Put another way, if Scientology reforms itself and changes their funding strategy to a donation based one, would people jump to accept it as a legit religion?"

It would be a start. It would go some distance to explaining their claims that they are just trying to help people.

As far as I'm concerned, do what you wanna, do what you will, just don't mess up your neighbor's thrill (to quote Zappa), just don't expect me to buy your line of bullshit, if that's what you believe.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:25 PM on January 16, 2008


ludwig_van writes "And who's to say that there won't be a Scientology reformation which does away with some of the things people are objecting to? It just doesn't make sense to say that a young religion is fundamentally different from an old religion because the young religion is still doing things that the old religion stopped doing some time ago."

They are a young religion in a post-enlightenment, technological era, with pseudo-scientific claims to being enlightened themselves. I'd be more forgiving if they were like this in an earlier time where most people weren't educated.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:38 PM on January 16, 2008


And who's to say that there won't be a Scientology reformation which does away with some of the things people are objecting to? It just doesn't make sense to say that a young religion is fundamentally different from an old religion because the young religion is still doing things that the old religion stopped doing some time ago.

There's always the Freezone.
posted by brain cloud at 3:00 PM on January 16, 2008


knettergek.

so, does Mr.Cruise still have a film career after all this ?
posted by Substrata at 3:03 PM on January 16, 2008


So, krinklyfig, it sounds like we're agreeing then? Scientology doesn't differ from the major religions because of fundamental distinctions as much as because it was founded recently.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:21 PM on January 16, 2008


ludwig_van, you're making a really strange assumption: That we ought to compare the religions at analogous points in their life cycle.

If we were discussing the history of religion, I could understand why we'd want to do that.

But if we're discussing the relative sociopathy of mainstream Christianity and Scientology, that's exactly the wrong way to go at it. The right way -- the way that's relevant to the current world -- is to look at what these religions do now.
posted by lodurr at 4:29 PM on January 16, 2008


I don't think it's a strange assumption. I think you're misconstruing where I'm coming from, which is disputing the idea that one is a "real" religion and the other isn't. People are saying that Scientology isn't a real religion because it does X, Y, and Z, where those are all things that "real" religions have done in the past.

And what are we supposed to see if we look at what Scientology is doing now? That it ought to be extinguished or made illegal because of its unethical practices, or what? That we needn't give it or its followers the respect that we presumably owe to other belief systems?

Again, I'm not saying this in order to defend Scientology. I'm just saying people need to stop giving older religions a free pass because of their position in culture. I don't think we owe Scientology any respect -- but I don't think we owe it to the major religions either, which is where I seem to part ways with many people. And that's what doesn't make sense to me. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all just as wrong in their claims about the universe as Scientology is, and are in fact far more dangerous to contemporary society. That's true despite the fact that they encompass some strains which have evolved by necessity into forms that are palatable to mainstream civilization.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:57 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


ludwig_van writes "So, krinklyfig, it sounds like we're agreeing then? Scientology doesn't differ from the major religions because of fundamental distinctions as much as because it was founded recently."

No, I don't think that's true, either. It has the trappings of a cult in modern day society. I don't really feel the need to rehash the reasons why I believe it's different.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:29 PM on January 16, 2008


ludwig_van writes "And what are we supposed to see if we look at what Scientology is doing now? That it ought to be extinguished or made illegal because of its unethical practices, or what? That we needn't give it or its followers the respect that we presumably owe to other belief systems?"

No, let them do what they want to do, as long as they're not breaking any laws. I will still have my opinion about them and will not be afraid to share it. But why should my opinion of them matter?

Although I know a few people who ended up in the Church, I would probably not end up close friends with someone already in the Church, because I'm an SP. They wouldn't even let me near them even if I wanted to shower them with rose petals, because I'm potentially subversive. So, fine with me. I guess my opinion is really that devastating.

"SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." — L. Ron Hubbard, HCOPL of 18 October 1967, "PENALTIES FOR LOWER CONDITIONS"

"Suppressive acts are clearly those covert or overt acts knowingly calculated to reduce or destroy the influence or activities of Scientology or prevent case gains or continued Scientology success and activity on the part of a Scientologist. As persons or groups that would do such a thing act out of self-interest only to the detriment of others, they cannot be granted the rights ordinarily accorded rational beings." — L. Ron Hubbard, HCOPL of 5 April 1965, "HANDLING THE SUPPRESSIVE PERSON"

posted by krinklyfig at 5:35 PM on January 16, 2008


And Christianity started out with the trappings of a cult, too. But you can disagree if you want.

On preview: I know about that stuff. Really, I don't need convincing that Scientology is evil, false, etc. I need convincing that there's more separating it from mainstream religions than time and circumstance.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:40 PM on January 16, 2008


ludwig_van writes "I know about that stuff. Really, I don't need convincing that Scientology is evil, false, etc. I need convincing that there's more separating it from mainstream religions than time and circumstance."

L. Ron Hubbard invented a business plan with religious and cultish trappings. At the end of the day, that's all it is. He even talked about it before it came about, as in, the best way to make a lot of money is to start a cult or religion. Quite a few people who knew him back in the '50s have attested to him saying this. His MO is that of a con man. Granted, the major Abrahamic religions all pretty much started as cults by some definition. This is just one guy's way to put one over on everyone, and in the end, I think even he started to believe his own bullshit. Sure, I've thought about the idea that Scientology could end up as a major religion hundreds of years from now, and even be more mainstream. But I'd be interested in knowing of any major religion that started as the half-baked concoction of a huckster, if you could really pinpoint that happening. I think there is a spiritual component in almost all the major religions that Scientology sorely lacks. It tries to make up for it by this truly bogus sciencey auditing they do, coupled with affirmation therapy and a hell of a lot of jargon, and it's a damn joke.

I can name people I know who have been completely spiritually transformed by Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism and on and on. The only transformation I see that happens with Scientologists is that they shut their minds off, they give all their money away, along with their free will, and they put up a huge defense. They will often abandon their friends and family if they're not completely on board with it. (I had a sister who went through much the same thing in a small reformation Christian church up in the mountains, so cults are not limited to this one group.) The Church of Scientology gets its followers the same way other cults do, and that is among the desperate, but it fails to provide them with a path to the light. That may sound stupid and new-agey, but all major religions with heart all sort of do the same thing for their followers who want the spiritual path, and that is lead them to a higher place, even if it's just psychology. There really is no other way to describe it. Doesn't mean that people haven't been abused by religious institutions, but there is enlightenment to be found for those who seek it out. I have yet to see evidence of that in Scientology. It's badly done therapy with a huge price tag and a lot of manipulation and brainwashing. I think if Hubbard had been born 1000 years ago and done the same thing, it may have survived, but only if it found a way to incorporate a true spiritual path. As it is, businesses come and go.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:05 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


ludwig_van: ... where I'm coming from, which is disputing the idea that one is a "real" religion and the other isn't.

I'll differ with krinklyfig on that one: I think it is a religion. It certainly is to the peons. And I think it is to the OTs, as well -- just not the same one that the peons practice.

krinklyfig has a major point when he points out that LRH created the COS as a business, and ran it that way for years. There was more to it than that, though -- it was an ego-stroke, it was him getting back at Heinlein for making fun of him during the war (though I doubt many here would argue about who really got the last laugh in that one). It was his private little kingdom. His little world of mind-fuckers where he was the big daddy mindfucker. That doesn't mean it wasn't a religion to the people who practiced it.

Mormonism was very similar in its time. Smith, as far as I can tell, was a complete crank. But he lived the message, and I can believe that he came to believe big parts of it after a while. Hubbard -- yeh, I think he talked and drugged himself into believing his own press. Who knows what the hell he really thought that he didn't write down. What he did write down is whacky enough.
posted by lodurr at 6:55 PM on January 16, 2008


But I'd be interested in knowing of any major religion that started as the half-baked concoction of a huckster, if you could really pinpoint that happening.

But we can't pinpoint that one way or the other, because it was so long ago. That's the point. Sometime in the distant future it may no longer seem so clear that Scientology began as a con, just like we don't now know all the details about how the older religions began. And how do we really know if L. Ron Hubbard believed in Scientology or not? What makes one prophet any more believable than another? Is a prophecy more worth listening to if it's the result of a delusion or hallucination rather than an intentional lie?

I can name people I know who have been completely spiritually transformed by Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism and on and on. The only transformation I see that happens with Scientologists is that they shut their minds off, they give all their money away, along with their free will, and they put up a huge defense. They will often abandon their friends and family if they're not completely on board with it.

What does "spiritually transformed" mean? For as many people that you know who have seemingly benefited from religion, there are just as many who have suffered terribly because of their teachings. If you met some people who seemed to have benefited from Scientology, would that change your mind and make it a "real" religion?

As for abandoning friends and family, the practice of shunning non-believers goes way back with the major religions. Even Jesus said: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

And what does it mean to "incorporate a true spiritual path?" In what sense are the teachings of the major religions "true?" You claim that there is enlightenment to be found in major religions, and I think that's demonstrably false. They are decidedly anti-enlightenment. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, in their literal forms, teach obedience and faith and conservatism, not questioning and reason and progress. They are not based on rational inquiry any more than Scientology is.

I'm not sure we're going to get anywhere with this. You keep insisting that other religions have something true about them while Scientology doesn't, and I don't buy that -- speaking about the religious parts, at least. Judaism et al got a few things right, but if you took those things only you wouldn't have a religion anymore. The rest is all just fiction, ancient morality, and devices to ensure the survival of the religion.

I could possibly support the idea that there's a line to be drawn between illegitimate and legitimate religion, but you're not saying anything that demonstrates that it lies between Christianity and Scientology. I think all successful religions play into certain human fears and desires, and Scientology's future will be determined not by how true it is in any sense, but by how effective it is at maintaining and expanding its grip on people's minds, exactly like every other religion.

Again I'm not saying there's anything worthwhile about Scientology. I'm saying that I don't understand why people who are so ready to criticize and ridicule Scientology don't think the same criticisms apply to the major religions, and that they ought even more to be applied because of the power those religions hold in the world today.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:58 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm saying that I don't understand why people who are so ready to criticize and ridicule Scientology don't think the same criticisms apply to the major religions

Hell, just point me in the direction of the major religions that labels a certain class of people as "fair game" to "be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist" and who "may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed" without penalty and I'll be happy to make the same criticisms.

Honest.
posted by mediareport at 7:27 PM on January 16, 2008


ludwig_van writes "What does 'spiritually transformed' mean? For as many people that you know who have seemingly benefited from religion, there are just as many who have suffered terribly because of their teachings. If you met some people who seemed to have benefited from Scientology, would that change your mind and make it a 'real' religion?"

Benefited is not the same. I know people who have benefited from the social nature of religion who have no spiritual awakening. It's possible to benefit from the close-knit structure of Scientology, and it helps some people become functional who were struggling, but only inasmuch as it benefits the church.

You keep bringing up the term "real religion." I don't think that's useful. I think there are aspects of Scientology which separate it from most of the mainstream religions. I did not mean to imply it's somehow a false religion, whatever that means. A religion is whatever the followers want it to be. But this is kind of a flimsy scam. I think Joseph Smith had an epiphany, although it's not entirely clear what he saw. I don't think Hubbard did. I'm not quite sure about the Mormon spiritual path, and it does seem very businesslike. What lodurr said makes sense, in that there does seem to be some similarities between Mormonism and Scientology, more than any other religion. What I meant by true spiritual path is that there is a way to find transcendence in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism - they were founded upon it. It's what they all have in common. Benefiting from religion is not necessarily transcending.

Anyway, we're just going in circles. It doesn't matter what I think of it. The followers will continue to believe what they want.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:37 PM on January 16, 2008


mediareport, Scientology causes harm to the world. So what? Are you forgetting about the religions that lead people to perform suicide bombings, persecute and torture unbelievers, murder doctors, wage holy wars, etc.?

The problem again seems to be what I alluded to before, that people want to compare Scientology to modern, moderate Christianity, when all that currently exists is literalist Scientology -- there is no kinder, gentler, mainstream form. If you want to say that Scientology as a belief system is categorically different from other religions, you have to compare them in their literal forms.

I think there are aspects of Scientology which separate it from most of the mainstream religions.

Of course there are. And I think those aspects are all tied up in the fact that Scientology was recently founded.

I think Joseph Smith had an epiphany, although it's not entirely clear what he saw. I don't think Hubbard did.

So like I said above, it seems that we're distinguishing between being honestly mistaken, being deluded/hallucinating, and deliberately lying. While I see the difference in mechanism, the resulting wrongth is the same in all cases. In the end, how much does it really matter if I truly believe 2+2=5, or if I experience a vision of an angel coming to earth to reveal to me that 2+2=5, or if I'm just trying to trick you into believing that 2+2=5? You shouldn't listen to me in any case.

What I meant by true spiritual path is that there is a way to find transcendence in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism - they were founded upon it.

I'm still not taking away much meaning from this talk of "transcendence." I know the precepts of those religions and I don't see anything transcendent about them. They all seem like flawed human products of the ancient times in which they originated. You're more likely to experience transcendence by taking LSD.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:48 PM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


So ultimately, what's your point there, Ludwig? Boil it down to a single short sentence.

Here's my attempt to summarize your point: "If we pick on Scientology, we should pick on everyone else, too."

Fine. I agree. Have at it.

In the meantime, Scientology is
  • dangerous (go read A Piece of Blue Sky, ferchissakes! cover to cover!)
  • batshitinsane in the zaniest way
  • operates as a business
  • is a cult or is cult-like.
    and, let me emphasize,
  • dangerous.

    This is a modern organization that has actively planned and executed government infiltration with the singular intention of protecting its operations...and succeeded. It has committed crimes against those who leave the organization. It habitually uses law to bankrupt those who investigate their organization and then publishes his findings. It attempts to blackmail or coerce judges.

    Too, it requires its faithful to purchase increasingly-expensive courses to attain higher levels of "knowledge," to the point of literally bankrupting its "faithful" to the point they become beholden to the organization, not only for food and shelter, but for the billion-year (yes, that's right, no quotes) "contract" of basic servitude to the "church."

    Scientology is some of the sickest shit out there. Go read the judges link, above. This is a dead-serious criminal organization.

    Anyhoo... you were going to pick on another religion, if my guess is correct. I suggest you find something about as juicy as this Tom Cruise lunacy, and make a FPP.

    Good luck with that.

    Scientology's Fair Game Policy describes how to deal with "traitors":
    HCO PL 18 Oct 1967, "Penalties for lower conditions"
    "ENEMY SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by
    any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the
    Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed."

  • posted by five fresh fish at 8:03 PM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


    Hell, just point me in the direction of the major religions that labels a certain class of people as "fair game" to "be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist" and who "may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed" without penalty and I'll be happy to make the same criticisms.

    Does the Inquisition count?
    posted by jacquilynne at 8:06 PM on January 16, 2008


    mediareport, Scientology causes harm to the world. So what? Are you forgetting about the religions that lead people to perform suicide bombings, persecute and torture unbelievers, murder doctors, wage holy wars, etc.?

    "So what"?!

    Are you sure you mean that? Because I'm pretty sure that means you're saying "because we dismiss harm from one source, we must disregard harm from all sources!"

    The problem again seems to be ... that people want to compare Scientology to modern, moderate Christianity...

    Whu? They do? Compare how? Like, ritualistic cannabalism is nearly as batshitinsane as thetans? Sure, no doubt. Like, how the Roman Catholic Church will hunt you down and kill you if you reveal the "secret church teachings"? Er, notsomuch.

    Truth is, no one wants to compare it to other religions, with the possible exception of yourself. What people want is to mock Scientology mercilessly for its batshitinsane science-fiction beliefs, and to state facts about the harm it causes.

    You're more likely to experience transcendence by taking LSD.

    Hey, it worked for Elron.
    posted by five fresh fish at 8:18 PM on January 16, 2008


    So ultimately, what's your point there, Ludwig? Boil it down to a single short sentence.

    I did that above when I said:

    I don't understand why people who are so ready to criticize and ridicule Scientology don't seem to think the same criticisms apply to the major religions, and that they ought even more to be applied because of the power those religions hold in the world today.

    It seems to me that the well-established religions are treated with a kind of unspoken respect that isn't shown to newer religions like Scientology. It would be generally seen as inappropriate to ridicule the beliefs of Islam or Judaism of Christianity in mixed company, but this doesn't apply to Scientology. I see this as purely an artifact of Scientology's recent founding, whereas some people seem to think there is in fact a real difference in the value of one religion or the other. I think they're all of approximately equal value (which is to say, very little) in the modern world.

    And lastly, Scientology is evil and bad and dangerous. None of my comments should be taken as a denial of that. But it simply can't match other religions for either the history or the potential for misery and destruction. There are no bloody wars being waged over Scientology. Scientologists aren't blowing themselves up on buses. Irrational Scientologist precepts aren't being enshrined into law. It's dangerous, but it's not the most dangerous religion today.
    posted by ludwig_van at 8:20 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


    Does the Inquisition count?

    Good one!

    So, let us journey back to Network Communities in the Time of Inquisitions, where word of mouth and quill have informed us that Isabella and Ferdinand are batshitinsane: they've gone and tortured to death several thousand citizens accused of hereticism!

    Do we keep quiet about it? I mean, heck, the Popes did a bit of that a few centuries earlier. And look at what that Mohammed were doing at that time! Well, that's just religion for you!

    Or do we say "Hey, they're a religion" and give them a free pass? I mean, look at that daft Hindu goddess! And that seppuku stuff! Well, that's just religion for you!

    Or do we shine a light on the topic and say, "Hey, that Virgin of Nuremberg shit ain't cool! And that Xenu bullshit is batshitinsane! You people are crazies!"?

    I'm thinking the latter. It's better for everyone.
    posted by five fresh fish at 8:32 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Are you sure you mean that? Because I'm pretty sure that means you're saying "because we dismiss harm from one source, we must disregard harm from all sources!"

    I can't parse your explanation, but no, that's not what I meant. I was saying that Scientology's doctrine hardly seems particularly shocking or outrageous when one considers the tactics that have been used by other religions.

    What people want is to mock Scientology mercilessly for its batshitinsane science-fiction beliefs, and to state facts about the harm it causes.

    Yes, people want to do that, and that's all well and good. But do you think that in current western societies it's equally acceptable to mock and point out the harm of Scientology, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity? Because it doesn't seem that way to me, and that's what I'm responding to.

    Nobody is suggesting that we should ignore all of this bad shit that Scientology does. I'm saying we as a society should be applying the same mockery and derision that Scientology gets to the other (more entrenched and powerful and dangerous) religions.
    posted by ludwig_van at 8:42 PM on January 16, 2008


    ludwig_van: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all just as wrong in their claims about the universe as Scientology is, and are in fact far more dangerous to contemporary society. That's true despite the fact that they encompass some strains which have evolved by necessity into forms that are palatable to mainstream civilization.

    While these statements might be true at a superficial level, you're glossing over a lot of history and cultural development. I don't want to defend any of the religions listed above, but it seems naive to ignore the common history of Europe and Christianity and the development of modern civilization. One of the things that makes Christianity so difficult to comprehend, for example, is that its moral structures and world view are embedded in our culture to such an extent that we hardly see them, whether we believe or not. I'm not suggesting that this is good or bad, just that you can't put them in the same pot with Scientology, which seems more like a multi-level marketing scheme turned evil, and in any case hasn't been around long enough for us to know if it actually has legs.

    Come back when they've run a successful Crusade and killed a few million Xenu haters.
    posted by sneebler at 8:44 PM on January 16, 2008


    It seems to me that the well-established religions are treated with a kind of unspoken respect that isn't shown to newer religions like Scientology.

    I had you down as a noobie, reading that, but when I check your profile it turns out you've been here a while. "Unspoken respect" isn't the phrase that pops into my head when I hear "MeFi and Religion."

    There is a practical side to tolerating the mainstream religions: it's probably better for MeFi. A search will quickly show that our thread comments are allowed to state things that probably make religionists uncomfortable: "Christianity is a cannabalistic death cult" being one of them; but such freedom is discouraged on the front page.

    I, too, find that a little disappointing. There is some Best of the Web religionist lunacy to be found.
    posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 PM on January 16, 2008


    I had you down as a noobie, reading that, but when I check your profile it turns out you've been here a while. "Unspoken respect" isn't the phrase that pops into my head when I hear "MeFi and Religion."

    That's why you're not understanding me, then. I don't know where you got the idea that I was talking about the way those religions are treated on MetaFilter, but I wasn't. I mean the way they're regarded in the real world.
    posted by ludwig_van at 8:47 PM on January 16, 2008


    Whatever. They're a buncha shitheads, but as long as they aren't carrying out auto-da-fé's of "Suppressive Personalities" in town squares, they're pretty low on my radar.
    posted by exlotuseater at 8:53 PM on January 16, 2008


    I'm thinking the latter. It's better for everyone.

    Dude, breathe in, breathe out. It was a joke.
    posted by jacquilynne at 8:53 PM on January 16, 2008


    What can you tell me about Scientologist beliefs that makes them fundamentally different from the beliefs of the Abrahamic religions?

    It's not their beliefs that pose problems, it's their behavior. The Railians believe things that are just as goofy, in terms of what they believe, but no one freaks out about them.

    The metaphysics are entirely beside the point.
    posted by delmoi at 9:37 PM on January 16, 2008


    Dude, breathe in, breathe out. It was a joke.

    I know that. It was an excellent parallel to the situation in this thread, though. Except that I was mistaken; ludwig wasn't bitching us out for picking on Scientology.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:50 PM on January 16, 2008


    Sorry for the misunderstanding, then.
    posted by jacquilynne at 10:29 PM on January 16, 2008


    ludwig_van: I don't understand why people who are so ready to criticize and ridicule Scientology don't seem to think the same criticisms apply to the major religions, and that they ought even more to be applied because of the power those religions hold in the world today.

    Again: You're comparing what was to what is.

    If we're discussing these religions now, then we need to talk about what they're like now.

    The clear, plain fact is that most muslims, jews, christians, sikhs, mormons and hindus are not murderous liars and cheats, and the religions they espouse do not include the right to murder cheat and lie-to in their doctrine. It's the outliers who do these things. There are a lot of people observing these religions; they're going to have a lot of outliers.

    Scientology is different in that, as fff pointed out, lying, cheating and doing injury to non-believers is part of core doctrine, as is taking ruinous advantage of your own believers. Scientology's basic mode of operation for every follower is to functionally separate followers from non-believers. If you don't do that, you're not in the church. Scientology's basic mode of operation is to require ruinous financial commitments. If you don't do that, you're not in the church.

    Yes, there are other religions that do that. Yes, they are bad too.

    Yes, Christianity, Hinduism, Mormonism, Judaism and Islam have, from time to time, been dominated by an ethos of exclusion and exploitation. But unless you're going to argue that they are now, you have no point to make on this tack.

    If that's the point you want to make, then make it clearly and stop citing historical examples. The historical examples are quite irrelevant and serve no point but to muddy the waters on the issue.
    posted by lodurr at 3:49 AM on January 17, 2008


    Everyone, you're wasting your time—ludwig_van has no interest whatever in Scientology (which is supposedly what this thread is about), he's simply one of those boring "all religions suck" people who's using this thread to make his boring point. It's useless to try to discuss it with him, because he's just going to keep repeating that all religions are crazy and evil and damage people so why pick on Scientology? Let it go.
    posted by languagehat at 5:49 AM on January 17, 2008


    Yeah, but all religiouns do suck. It's just that some suck (a lot) less than others. And that matters.
    posted by lodurr at 5:57 AM on January 17, 2008


    It's worth noting that these most pernicious characteristics of the Scientology ethos, at the OT level and above, are shared with Left-Hand Path Satanism. There's probably a reason for that:
    I believed in Satanism. There was no other religion in the house! Scientology and black magic. What a lot of people don't realize is that Scientology is black magic that is just spread out over a long time period. To perform black magic generally takes a few hours or, at most, a few weeks. But in Scientology it's stretched out over a lifetime, and so you don't see it. Black magic is the inner core of Scientology --and it is probably the only part of Scientology that really works. Also, you've got to realize that my father did not worship Satan. He thought he was Satan. He was one with Satan. He had a direct pipeline of communication and power with him. My father wouldn't have worshiped anything. I mean, when you think you're the most powerful being in the universe, you have no respect for anything, let alone worship.
    -- L. Ron Hubbard, Jr.
    OK I'm done now, sorry LH.
    posted by lodurr at 6:04 AM on January 17, 2008


    Oops, Scientology is suing Gawker.

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you. :D

    Well, good. We haven't had a good Scientology vs. THE INTERNET dust up in a while. My dream match-up is Scientology vs. 4chan. Epic lulz. Anon meets the Clams from Beyond the UltraTeegeack. also, cocks
    posted by fleetmouse at 6:39 AM on January 17, 2008


    Again: You're comparing what was to what is.

    No, I'm not. I'm comparing literalist religion to literalist religion, like I've pointed out several times. You're comparing literalist religion to evolved, moderate religion. The nice, gentle, civilized Christians, Muslims, and Jews are that way because they do not actually believe in large swaths of their professed faiths. And as I've said, I don't see how you can argue that Scientology poses more of a danger to the world today than other religions.

    And gee Languagehat, great contribution, thanks for your input.
    posted by ludwig_van at 8:43 AM on January 17, 2008


    I'm comparing literalist religion to literalist religion...

    Good grief, what does that even mean?

    What are you actually comparing? I know you've provided a lot of examples, but as far as I can see you haven't provided one that makes it clear how what you're doing is different from comparing past (and often non-dogma) behavior of "mainstream" religionists with current behavior of modern Scientologists.

    I'd like to think launguagehat is wrong about this one, but you just keep shifting under the pin.
    posted by lodurr at 9:01 AM on January 17, 2008


    How is that unclear? I'm talking about fundamentalism. Taking holy scripture as true and inerrant. Truly believing in all the tenets of a religion and living accordingly. There are Christians, Muslims, and Jews who still do this, although fortunately for the world they are not the majority of believers.

    I'm saying you can't compare fundamentalist, literal Scientologist doctrine with the beliefs of Christians who don't actually believe large parts of their sacred text or take it as allegory. If you can allow for a Christian who doesn't really believe that homosexuals should be executed and so forth, you'd have to allow for the Scientologist who doesn't really believe in the old-fashioned Suppressive Person doctrine or what have you.
    posted by ludwig_van at 9:10 AM on January 17, 2008


    If you can allow for a Christian who doesn't really believe that homosexuals should be executed and so forth, you'd have to allow for the Scientologist who doesn't really believe in the old-fashioned Suppressive Person doctrine or what have you.

    Why?

    You do understand how Scientology works, don't you?

    Or are you unwilling to understand that there's a basic difference between going to church and living Scientology?

    In any case, even if such persons do exist -- and they do -- the Church of Scientology still exercises right control over its followers and their pocketbooks, and works hard to harm anyone or anything that it sees as a threat. That is the COS. It is not so large and diverse that you can say that there will be pockets of liberal-thinkers here and there. When liberal thinkers are found in the COS, they are "handled". Often this means they end up dead, either by accident or design.
    posted by lodurr at 9:21 AM on January 17, 2008


    "exercises right control" => "exercises tight control"
    posted by lodurr at 9:22 AM on January 17, 2008


    That is the COS. It is not so large and diverse that you can say that there will be pockets of liberal-thinkers here and there.

    I agree, but I attribute that to the fact that it's still young. If you give it 2000 years that would probably change.

    Anyway, I think I've made my points here. I know that Scientology is shitty and I wish people wouldn't believe in it. I know that the organization currently does some crazy things that the other major religious organizations don't do. But even so I don't feel as threatened by Scientology today as by other religions, and I don't really find the nasty parts of their doctrines and text much more or less objectionable than those of the older ones.
    posted by ludwig_van at 9:30 AM on January 17, 2008


    And I understand that if someone in 2008 says "I'm a Scientologist" you should rightly be very concerned for their well-being, as opposed to if they said "I'm a Christian/Jew/Muslim." I'm not trying to dispute that.
    posted by ludwig_van at 9:32 AM on January 17, 2008


    If you can allow for a Christian who doesn't really believe that homosexuals should be executed and so forth, you'd have to allow for the Scientologist who doesn't really believe in the old-fashioned Suppressive Person doctrine or what have you.

    Scientology has a word for such people. They're called "squirrels". Rhymes with "heretic". Squirrels are routed to Ethics, where they're assigned an Ethics Condition. You work your way through each step in the Ethics process until you realize where you went wrong & what you need to do to atone for your sin. Think of it as Catholic confession on steroids, with evil priests searching your soul for vulnerabilities to be used against you. If you're on staff it's much worse, you could be assigned to the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) or that figment of Orwell's deepest nightmares, the RPF's RPF.

    Go watch the video again. When Tom talks about KSW (Keeping Scientology Working), this is what he means.
    posted by scalefree at 10:23 AM on January 17, 2008


    Thanks __, I'd never heard about THE COMMENT before either. Very interestink!

    Speaking of touch assists... I want to know if there is any way to identify these people at disaster scenes. Do they try to dress like real EMTs or emergency relief people? (I'd heard a rumor that they did this at "ground zero" and pissed some folks off...) Or will they just be the ones pointing and touching everyone? If I ever am in such a situation I absolutely would like to know how to tell who they are so I can prep my BTFUMF defensive stance.
    posted by wowbobwow at 12:15 PM on January 17, 2008


    They'll probably be wearing yellow t-shirts or yellow windbreakers.
    posted by scalefree at 3:05 PM on January 17, 2008


    Tom Cruise on Tom Cruise, Jew This is The Hebew Hammer director Jonathan Kesselman's spoof.
    posted by cmaddie at 10:48 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Have you ever enslaved a population? Have you ever given robots a bad name?
    posted by maryh at 4:44 PM on January 18, 2008


    I hear they just played it on 20/20! American network TV, ABC!
    posted by NortonDC at 7:30 PM on January 18, 2008


    I just saw the 20/20 show. They interspersed segments from the video and an interview with this guy who just wrote an unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise. Interesting, but not really anything new.
    posted by misha at 8:35 PM on January 18, 2008


    I tried to post an fpp about the leak of Hubbard's crazy ass notebook., but it wasn't "interesting" enough according to the mods. Ugh.
    posted by lattiboy at 5:22 PM on January 19, 2008


    I've heard Danny Elfman is suing breach of copyright for the background music. I'm doubtful this is true, but if it is, it's hilarious.
    posted by five fresh fish at 5:47 PM on January 19, 2008


    lattiboy, that link is... wow. That first entry with the list of 'things to observe' reads like an excercise designed to eliminate empathy.
    I'm trying to slog through more of it, but it's beyond Time Cube. At least Time Cube Guy had some fun rants and memorable turns of phrase; L Ron's writing (or are those transcribed interviews?) is numbingly, stupifyingly dull. Is there any background on how this thing got leaked?
    posted by maryh at 5:58 PM on January 19, 2008


    lattiboy, it was just that it kinda lands there thump. You link up a couple of your phrases, maybe draw attention to a couple of interesting passages, you got yourself an FPP. As it stands, when a reader clicks on it, he just gets some gobbldy gook, but nothing about where it came from (in a more serious way), or what makes it interesting. Still, damned interesting link to *me*.
    posted by Bovine Love at 8:59 PM on January 19, 2008


    video glossary
    posted by Meatbomb at 5:40 AM on January 20, 2008


    lattiboy, is that part of the Chanology project?

    This is big news, people. Anon vs. Scientology. How does Scientology deal with thousands of bored basement dwellers doing it for the lulz?
    posted by fleetmouse at 11:28 AM on January 20, 2008


    How does Scientology deal with thousands of bored basement dwellers doing it for the lulz?

    The same way they react to any opposition or dissent. They apply resources simultaneously across technological, legal & extra-legal channels to identify their opponents, limit their capabilities & ultimately enforce their will over them. The only acceptable result is an end to the attacks.

    Scientology is a reflection of the personality of its founder. Hubbard had a natural gift for persuasion & manipulation that made those around him see him as a visionary polymath, fluent & expert in every subject he approached. He lectured on every subject under the sun, from business to history to politics to washing cars. All of it was pure nonsense but such was his ability to persuade & manipulate that his followers still gobble it up with a fervor that's hard for an outsider to accept let alone understand.

    Unfortunately the one area where he truly excelled was in enforcing his will over others. He created an organization devoted to following his every word no matter how ridiculous or contradictory, all wrapped in a protective shell designed to ensure orthodoxy, limit accountability & create a favorable environment surrounding it. He was a paranoid megalomaniac whose ultimate goal was to be remembered for ten thousand years.

    Anonymous may see itself as an immovable object but for all its faults Scientology is at its core pretty close to the perfect unstoppable force. Much like Arnold in the Terminator, it's relentless & remorseless & has no concept of limits in its quest to enforce the will of its creator.
    posted by scalefree at 2:12 PM on January 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


    Well written post, but isn't that the way the US felt going into Vietnam, and the USSR into Afghanistan, and the US again going into Iraq? Monolithic entities fighting wars of attrition against guerrillas haven't fared so well, historically.

    A good indication of how this will play out is how successful the music industry has been in ending piracy and making everyone buy physical CDs in physical stores again.

    The interesting thing is, the more CoS lets Anon bait them, the more they will expose their own batshitinsanity. Which may play well to the rank and file, but will leave the rest of the world facepalming.
    posted by fleetmouse at 2:55 PM on January 20, 2008


    Craig Ferguson's take.
    posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:36 PM on January 20, 2008


    The CoS proved itself remarkably adaptable to the Usenet and the early HTML Web. In the former they successfully destroyed the CoS discussion newsgroup; in the latter, they were among the first to successfully spam the search engines. It's not a good idea to underestimate the CoS's ability to deal with challenges.
    posted by five fresh fish at 5:57 PM on January 20, 2008


    CoS is, in fact, so fearsome and omnipotent that Operation Clambake is the fourth result when you google Scientology, and my mom knows who Xenu is.

    The fun part of this match up is that Anon's only real power is disseminating information, and Scientology's only real weakness is having that information disseminated. I should think this will light a fire under Anon's collective ass more than hassling a few camhores would.

    Hackers on steroids!

    *panel van explodes*
    posted by fleetmouse at 7:15 PM on January 20, 2008


    It became pretty clear Scientology lost its ability to control the media when South Park sent them up the river. This latest media attention is a hoot, proof that it's perfectly safe to mock the Scientologists. Real fun begins when the print media, which has a bone to pick about lawsuits, threats to personal safety, information suppression, and Fair Game guerilla tactics. And after that, maybe a lot of books, tv dramas, and maybe even a television show about the astoundingly looney inside world of early Scientology and the malevolent bent it took.

    In forty years it'll be remembered as a silly late-century fad, kind of like evil version of Dr. Kellogg's wacky house of bran, enemas, and repressed sexual urges.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:16 PM on January 20, 2008


    In forty years it'll be remembered as a silly late-century fad, kind of like evil version of Dr. Kellogg's wacky house of bran, enemas, and repressed sexual urges.

    40 years is a long time. Look, the long term trends are all negative for them but given how paranoid they are about revealing information that could put them in a bad light we have no idea how fast the decline is happening. I'm sure their dirty tricks apparatus is nowhere near what it was in its heyday but even an aging lion will bite if it's provoked. They may have goofy beliefs but they're also smart, dedicated beyond reason, have no concept of fair-play or limits & have resources not available to anybody outside of the largest corporations or governments. Anybody who thinks about going up against them should take that into account.
    posted by scalefree at 11:19 AM on January 21, 2008


    Somehow, Anonymous seems like the perfect nemesis for Scientology. Let's just say that this war is being waged at the appropriate intellectual level.
    posted by mr_roboto at 12:30 PM on January 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


    Jerry O'Connell is funny. Who knew?
    posted by jamaro at 3:19 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Does Cortex have to close ALL scientology stories and send them to this one?
    posted by schwa at 8:40 PM on January 22, 2008


    Oh sure, by now an entire planet of SPs have watched the infamous T.C. rant and "anonymous's" highly entertaining response as well. But before these gems, there's always been crazy aggression. Frightening harassment. Disgraceful police indifference. And just all-around out-of-this-world weirdness. Me thinks the chickens are coming home to roost for the COS. About damned time.
    posted by jmcneilly at 8:55 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Valiant try jmcneilly. I feel it should have been a post in its own right though. This post is a week old and dying, if not dead.
    posted by schwa at 9:22 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


    The Washington Post showcases a collision between the Cruise video and (vice) presidential politics.
    posted by NortonDC at 9:35 PM on January 22, 2008


    On January 15 at 5:09 PM "Brocktoon" posted:

    Still not as out-there as the Mormon temple workers known as "The Handlers" and "The Fondlers".

    I think you may be confusing the Mormons with certain members of the Catholic clergy. Of course, that "hands-on" pastoring cost Rome hundreds of millions of dollars and I suspect is no longer encouraged.

    Just thought we should clear up that theological confusion....
    posted by jmcneilly at 10:56 PM on January 22, 2008


    Scientology — a YouTube video revealing some of the darker things they've done in the past (Fair Gaming, etc).

    Educate yourself.
    posted by five fresh fish at 6:37 PM on January 27, 2008


    Tom and Hillary mashup
    posted by CunningLinguist at 2:04 PM on January 28, 2008


    Newsweek: The Passion of ‘Anonymous’ -- "A shadowy, loose-knit consortium of activists and hackers called 'Anonymous' is just the latest thorn in Scientology's side."
    posted by ericb at 12:39 AM on February 9, 2008


    Wikinews international report: "Anonymous" holds anti-Scientology protests worldwide.
    February 10, 2008

    The Internet group 'Anonymous' held protests outside Scientology centers in cities around the world on Sunday.

    The Internet group Anonymous today held protests critical of the Church of Scientology. The protests marked what would have been the 49th birthday of Lisa McPherson, who is claimed to be a victim of the Church of Scientology's practices. Lisa died in 1995 during a running of what Scientologists refer to as an Introspection Rundown, a procedure intended to help Church members deal with a psychotic or deeply traumatic event.

    Protests are planned throughout the day in 14 countries and over 50 different cities. The current estimation of total protesters world wide for Feb. 10, 2008 is 9,250 people (~6,000 from the United States), this number should go up with when the records of all demonstrations come in.

    There are reports from Raidchan Radio that 3 to 5 scientologists have been arrested in relation to the protests.
    posted by scalefree at 8:22 PM on February 10, 2008


    I'm not a scientologist but... I think I know how to identify one.
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:10 PM on February 10, 2008


    I'm very disappointed over the lack of coverage the Anonymous protests got (or, didn't get) in the mainstream press. Most relegated the event to a newsy nugget in their blogs section -- I'm looking at you, LA Times, Washington Post, St Pete Times, among others. Just as many repeated verbatim, completely uncritically and unchallenged, the PR statements rolled out by Co$, which predictably labeled protesters as criminals and religious bigots.

    Sigh.

    I have big hopes for the Anonymous movement, but it's going to be a footnote of a footnote in the annals of internet history if they can't get their story out big time.
    posted by brain cloud at 7:28 PM on February 11, 2008


    Wow, fff, that was a very telling link. Nice.
    posted by misha at 8:26 AM on February 12, 2008


    I am not a Scientologist but I bet that five fresh fish provided that link just to hide from crimes he committed. What have you done five fresh fish? Tell us, what are you hiding from? What crimes have you committed?
    posted by Meatbomb at 6:37 AM on February 13, 2008


    All of them, Meatbomb, all of them.
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:20 AM on February 13, 2008


    which predictably labeled protesters as criminals and religious bigots.


    Well, arent they? I mean we dont see these huge protests over child molestation in front of every catholic church, but nerds seem to have a pretty big hard-on for CoS. Hell, I'm not defending CoS but if x amount of people call it a religion then I dont see why its not, compared to the things we call religion with no controversy.

    Secondly, what exactly is the big story here? Hackers having a field day with something they dont like? A small goofy protest? This isnt exactly Rosa Parks standing up to the man, its bored script kiddies engaging in 10 minutes of hate.

    Sorry, but history wont remember this because its not worth remembering. People have already exposed the teachings and pyramid scheme-like pricing of CoS long, long ago. Just because the 15 year script kiddies havent been paying attention doesnt mean we suddenly have to.
    posted by damn dirty ape at 8:20 AM on February 13, 2008


    Also, this stuff has hit a new low. The whole "LETS BURN L.RON'S BOOKS" sentiment is particularly concerning. Here is the first comment from a boinboing thread on Scientology:
    There must be something that can be done about the $cientologists penetration of public library systems. Far, far too much of the utter crap "written" by H Ronnie Cupboard under thelableof science fiction is plugging up shelf space. It's clear that insiders are responsible.
    Clearly, its the librarians in league with the martians! Someone get a warrant for our nations librarians under the PATRIOT ACT pronto!

    Oh well, when the anonymous script kiddies get bored with this they'll go back to inject sql into your webpages, running their little bot networks, and spamming for profit. Heroes, all of them!

    Maybe I'm an old naive fool, but CoS to me is like being heavily involved into TM or being a fundamentalist. Its not the fourth Reich. Last I heard Americans still have the right to make shitty decisions for themselves.

    But for all you know i'm an insider putting "Battlefield Earth" into our nations libraries and putting flouride into your drinking water! Muahaha!
    posted by damn dirty ape at 8:29 AM on February 13, 2008


    That's a bit odd. Especially as some of his works (well, "Fear" ) are considered to be proper classics.
    posted by Artw at 8:33 AM on February 13, 2008


    Sheesh, what is with the big hate on script kiddies?
    posted by Bovine Love at 9:13 AM on February 13, 2008


    Check your local library to see if they have a copy of "A Piece of Blue Sky."

    Chances are that if it did have a copy, it has been "stolen" — which is to say a Scientologist has discarded it so that no one can find out the awful truths about what their law-breaking, fair-gaming, child-abusing, mind-fucking cult actually does.

    Honest to god, you people that keep saying "they're no big deal" have no fucking clue. Go get yourself educated before you defend their criminal organization, FFS.
    posted by five fresh fish at 4:37 PM on February 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


    FWIW Seattle has 2 copies - maybe you should request an inter library loan?
    posted by Artw at 7:49 PM on February 13, 2008


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