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The clambake is over
May 29, 2009 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Wikipedia will now no longer accept any changes originating from Scientology owned or controlled address space.

The French seem to be a bit upset as well.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist (122 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Those guys are sneaky, they might get AOL addresses.
posted by Mister_A at 11:43 AM on May 29, 2009


I think the Scientologists should get an exemption to edit the Battlefield Earth article. I would really appreciate their expertise in this area.
posted by mullingitover at 11:44 AM on May 29, 2009 [22 favorites]


MWUHAHAHAHAHAHA

Nice. FOX News next, please?
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:45 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by 256 at 11:48 AM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, now they'll have more time to play Sonic the Hedgehog.
posted by billysumday at 11:49 AM on May 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


The U.S. State Department has criticized Belgium, Germany and other European countries for labeling Scientology a cult or sect and enacting laws to restrict its operations.

what
posted by Sys Rq at 11:54 AM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ooh, billysumday, very clever. I was just going to write something along the lines of "Holla, pros in Sicily."
posted by infinitewindow at 11:56 AM on May 29, 2009


And, yeah, if anything, this is a win for the Co$, since it means their propaganda will now come exclusively from obscure IPs and therefore can't be undone as easily.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:01 PM on May 29, 2009


That's it. "Wikifiddlers" and "wikisins", regardless of irony or lack thereof, are added to The List.
posted by Spatch at 12:02 PM on May 29, 2009 [9 favorites]


In a move most experts called 'foolish', they also tried to block cabal-controlled IPs, but it was an epic fail.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:03 PM on May 29, 2009


The U.S. State Department has criticized Belgium, Germany and other European countries for labeling Scientology a cult or sect and enacting laws to restrict its operations.

Well- far's I'm concerned, a bunch more things fall into the same category.... christianity, islam, hinduism, buddhism, sikhism, judaism, bahaism, horses-a$$ism.....

I don't necessarily include secularism. Maybe, though....
posted by drhydro at 12:04 PM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seriously though, it's a shame that the Scientologists get such unfair criticism. Aside from that one time when they perpetrated the single largest infiltration of the US government in history, what harm have they really done?
posted by mullingitover at 12:05 PM on May 29, 2009 [20 favorites]


What Sys Rq said. Instead all of the edits originating from these IPs should have just been tagged with an image or something.
posted by odinsdream at 12:06 PM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


...will no no longer accept any changes originating from Scientology owned or controlled address space.

I would be interested in knowing the parameters of this address space. Also the overlap with Hollywood address space.
posted by DU at 12:09 PM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Billy, there's a man in a strange outfit here who wants to say something to you.

*bzzzt*

I am Litigious of SeaOrg. Subtle references are futile. Your potentially libelous snark as as it has been is over. From this time forward, you will service a legally-decided debt in the fullest amount of, but in full accordance with, the law. Lower your firewalls and surrender your server logs. Your members will be assimilated. Your forum's biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own.

*tweetout*
posted by adipocere at 12:09 PM on May 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


oh SNAP no you DI'NT
posted by the painkiller at 12:15 PM on May 29, 2009


"the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" (depending on your definition of anyone)
posted by sageleaf at 12:15 PM on May 29, 2009


It looks like the Marcab Confederacy is stepping up its operations.
posted by ryoshu at 12:17 PM on May 29, 2009


Poor Little clams!

Snap! Snap! Snap!
posted by paisley henosis at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


It would be awesome, though, if they updated their tagline to:

"the free encyclopedia that anyone but scientologists can edit"
posted by odinsdream at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2009 [27 favorites]


*openy-closey finger clam motion*
posted by paisley henosis at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also the overlap with Hollywood address space.

Too late to prevent the Taking of Pelham One Two Three remake, alas.
posted by total warfare frown at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2009


Patrick Maisonneuve, lawyer for the Church of Scientology in France, dismissed any organized fraud, although he acknowledged there could have been individual abuses. "The discovery of a pedophile priest does not allow us to question the entire Catholic Church."

Public Relations for Dummies, Guideline #325: If members of your organization are caught engaging in misconduct, avoid publicly comparing them to pedophiles.
posted by brain_drain at 12:23 PM on May 29, 2009 [24 favorites]


The Scientology Wikipedia entry has already been updated, that was quick.

Wikipedia ban of Church of Scientology IP addresses

The Arbitration Committee of the Wikipedia internet encyclopedia decided in May 2009 to restrict access to its site from Church of Scientology IP addresses, to prevent self-serving edits by Scientologists.[265][266] A "host of anti-Scientologist editors" were topic-banned as well.[265][266] The committee concluded that both sides had "gamed policy" and resorted to "battlefield tactics", with articles on living persons being the "worst casualties".[265]

posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 12:31 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tangentially, Gawker reports that depreciating FOX News asset and Scientologist Greta van Susteren has a sister who is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University.

Given that the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of Greta's church has mounted a "campaign for the global obliteration of psychiatry" - which it terms a "plague" and "lethal assault" - this might make for awkward moments at family get-togethers.

posted by Joe Beese at 12:37 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"The discovery of a pedophile priest does not allow us to question the entire Catholic Church."

sez you.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:40 PM on May 29, 2009 [11 favorites]


Some days the sun shines just a little bit brighter.
posted by scalefree at 12:41 PM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


and resorted to "battlefield tactics"

And where was this battlefield, pray tell?
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:41 PM on May 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


Earth!
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:46 PM on May 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


And where was this battlefield, pray tell?

very thin ice, very thin ice, very thin ice, very thin ice...
posted by ShawnStruck at 12:50 PM on May 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


What was the Scientologist term for "heathen" again? "Repressive Person" or "Suppressive Person" or something?
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:54 PM on May 29, 2009


Ghostbusters 2!
posted by ND¢ at 12:54 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are we still doing that?
posted by ND¢ at 12:54 PM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


*giggles in glee*
posted by kldickson at 12:55 PM on May 29, 2009


Such IP-range blocks are not unheard of, and given how Scientologists are about trying to control the flow of information about themselves it's not entirely surprising that they'd earn one. If anything it's surprising it's taken so long - I suspect a very long rope was given to them.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Given that the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of Greta's church has mounted a "campaign for the global obliteration of psychiatry" - which it terms a "plague" and "lethal assault" - this might make for awkward moments at family get-togethers.

You kidding? Greta would probably be sent through all sorts of Rundowns and labeled a Potential Trouble Source if she even talked to her sister. Psychiatrists are the canonical Suppressive Persons and only very highly placed Scientologists can even interact with an SP without being declared Out-Ethic.
posted by chimaera at 1:00 PM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


In other news: John Travolta and Tom Cruise spotted in public library computer centers, typing furiously.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:01 PM on May 29, 2009 [11 favorites]


Another dodgy organization that had it's IP blocked.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on May 29, 2009


Okay, can someone explain to the, uh, dumb guy here in my office what the Sonic the Hedgehog thing is referencing?

I'd tell him, but I'm currently mute.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:07 PM on May 29, 2009


Senator Cranston was instrumental in passing the Interstate Transportion act    and has a winning smile that many people consider among the sexiest in the world .
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:09 PM on May 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


I wonder how closer we are to a big lawsuit being filed, resulting in a settlement that hands Wikipedia ownership over to the scientologists. Scientology is well-placed with money and influence, and Wikipedia not so much. You know what that means in the US legal system.
posted by crapmatic at 1:13 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


So if there is a suit, and Wikipedia wins, do they get SP8?
posted by lysdexic at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2009


I think they win one of those spikey evil spaceships, like from Star Trek.
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on May 29, 2009


Senator Lamont Cranston -- clouding men's minds again, that rascal.

And women's.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:38 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I just hope this doesn't turn out like the Cult Awareness Network.
posted by box at 1:39 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


And where was this battlefield, pray tell?

In the land of Love.
posted by inigo2 at 1:49 PM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


The U.S. State Department has criticized Belgium, Germany and other European countries for labeling Scientology a cult or sect and enacting laws to restrict its operations.

I actually agree with this. I have no great love for Scientology, but -- as drhydro observed -- calling them a "cult" means you have to say the same of other religions. If you don't call christianity a cult, you shouldn't call Scientology a cult. QED.

However, I also agree with Wikipedia. Wikipedia is technically a private association, and it can set up whatever the hell rules it wants in terms of who gets to edit its info. If the Scientologists don't like it, they are perfectly within their rights to start their own wiki, like the Conservapedia folks did. And we'll just see who the public trusts more.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:54 PM on May 29, 2009


"Being a Scientologist, when you surf past a Wiki, it's not like anyone else, it's, you read the page, you know you have to do something about it. You know you are the only one who can really help. That's what drives me."
posted by benzenedream at 1:57 PM on May 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


The Wikipedia ruling proceedings are interesting reading.

I saw this on Hacker News earlier, though it seems to have fallen off the front page there.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:02 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


So if there is a suit, and Wikipedia wins, do they get SP8?

there's no cause of action. Wikipedia is a private foundation. They can do as they like.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:03 PM on May 29, 2009


I wonder how closer we are to a big lawsuit being filed, resulting in a settlement that hands Wikipedia ownership over to the scientologists. Scientology is well-placed with money and influence, and Wikipedia not so much. You know what that means in the US legal system.

What kind of damages can the CoS claim? They're a church, not a business.... right?
posted by meowzilla at 2:06 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I actually agree with this. I have no great love for Scientology, but -- as drhydro observed -- calling them a "cult" means you have to say the same of other religions. If you don't call christianity a cult, you shouldn't call Scientology a cult. QED.

The problem with this logic is that there are many Christian churches, and there's a tradition of Christian theology and thought that stands apart from any individual organization. With Scientology there is no such separation; there is simply The Church of Scientology, which is just a mafia that calls itself a church. Scientology has no independent existence, and cannot be fairly compared to, say, Christianity.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:11 PM on May 29, 2009 [17 favorites]


I have no great love for Scientology, but -- as drhydro observed -- calling them a "cult" means you have to say the same of other religions. If you don't call christianity a cult, you shouldn't call Scientology a cult. QED.

Really? If we call, say, Heaven's Gate a cult, does that mean we have to call Seventh Day Adventist's a cult?

Everyone draws the line somewhere, and some of us draw it at the point when "religions" start encouraging their members to cut off all contact with friends and family members who may question the group.
posted by muddgirl at 2:16 PM on May 29, 2009 [12 favorites]


If you don't call christianity a cult, you shouldn't call Scientology a cult.

Most Christian denominations don't engage in cult-like behavior, though. When I joined the Episcopal church, all I had to do was show up on a Sunday. The tenets of the church are freely available to everyone, there is no "secret knowledge" to be obtained via expensive courses, there are no levels and no one evaluating my progress. We have elected leaders at the parish, diocesan and national level and church policy is ratified by convention. We don't make members shun their families and we engage in ecumenical dialog. I don't see any similarities to Scientology at all.

On preview, what they said ^
posted by Biblio at 2:19 PM on May 29, 2009 [21 favorites]


I actually agree with this. I have no great love for Scientology, but -- as drhydro observed -- calling them a "cult" means you have to say the same of other religions. If you don't call christianity a cult, you shouldn't call Scientology a cult. QED.

There are actually a set of sociological guidelines that separate a "religion" from a "cult." One of the most important is transparency. I can approach a Catholic priest/Methodist minister/Muslim imam and say "what do I need to know and believe to become a member of your religion?" Then he will tell me.

And then I can ask him "Can I attend your services? Does it cost me anything?" And he'll say that it's free and I should visit during services.

Try that with a Scientologist. Or a Mormon.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:20 PM on May 29, 2009 [26 favorites]


I actually agree with this. I have no great love for Scientology, but -- as drhydro observed -- calling them a "cult" means you have to say the same of other religions. If you don't call christianity a cult, you shouldn't call Scientology a cult. QED.

It doesn't mean that at all. There are metrics that have been developed by cult researchers that allow you to measure how many of the attributes that make a group cultlike a specific group has. One is Robert J Lifton's Eight Points of Mind Control & another is the Bonewits ABCDEF Scale. Using either one it should be obvious to (almost) anyone that Scientology is much more cultlike than mainstream Christianity.

This has been discussed in some of the previous Scientology threads, you should probably read them before launching into an argument about this, just to familiarize yourself with how the discussion is likely to go.
posted by scalefree at 2:22 PM on May 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Scientology is well-placed with money and influence, and Wikipedia not so much. You know what that means in the US legal system.

There is no shortage of lawyers -- including big, bad law firms -- willing to oppose the CoS on a pro bono basis. I expect that Wikipedia would have little difficulty finding free and effective counsel.
posted by brain_drain at 2:23 PM on May 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


The U.S. State Department has criticized Belgium, Germany and other European countries for labeling Scientology a cult or sect and enacting laws to restrict its operations.

That's fucking scary. Scientology isn't a religion. It's a mafia posing as a religion for the tax benefits. But, in this country, money talks, and they're obviously getting their tendrils into the corridors of power.

They're probably the single most evil real organization I know, even worse than Monsanto.
posted by Malor at 2:23 PM on May 29, 2009 [9 favorites]


Not to mention the fact that should you elect to leave a Christian church, your clergyman will probably just sigh, shake your hand and say, "Well, sorry you feel that way. You're welcome back any time." Chances are you won't be locked in the "re-education" room for intense psychological torture, or get high-beamed off the road into a telephone pole. As far as I know, anyway. Who knows what those Seventh-Day Adventists get up to.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:24 PM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, and, as a wise friend of mine, a former Moonie, once observed:

The actual difference between a religion and a cult is political power.
posted by Malor at 2:25 PM on May 29, 2009


If you don't call christianity a cult, you shouldn't call Scientology a cult. QED.

Much like Scientology, Christianity meets many of the characteristics that define the cult: by how its sects idolize their leaders, how it maintains a theology known to be derived from fiction, how its sects generally deal with "outsiders" and views maintained by those outside their organizations, how some of its sects dissuade followers from interaction with the world outside the organization (including those in other Christian sects), how it promotes end-justifying-the-means violence against GLBT people, women, and majorities of non-followers (atheists and Muslims, particularly), how some of its sects establish gradients or "membership levels" that members can attain within the organization — and, accordingly, how its sects generate income — and how its organizations handle internal dissent, among numerous other criteria.

In some ways, Scientologists are more obnoxious and crazy than Christians. In other ways, Christians are more obnoxious and crazy than Scientologists. They are both, certainly, part of religious organizations that are cult-like, and they both are part of organizations that hurt good people and good works in the name of accumulating money and power over others.

Rather than getting hung up "QED-style" on the terminology, it might be more productive for us to focus on the genuine harm that these religions do to an open, democratic society, and the hindrance and hurt they cause the non-superstitious.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:26 PM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think that really depends on what denomination you're talking about there. Granted, there are some compound-and-watchtower snakehandler churches that are very culty. There are also plenty of churches where the pastor is respected but not "idolized" by any means, where you're not forbidden to interact with non-Christians (where you are, in fact, encouraged to do so), where you're encouraged to engage with the world around you, where violence towards any end is forbidden, where there's essentially no hierarchy to "pay" through, and where differences of opinion are handled fairly even-handedly.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:31 PM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think that really depends on what denomination you're talking about there.

Let's assume that we are talking about the larger denominations, then, that make up Christianity around the world.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 PM on May 29, 2009


Let's assume that we are talking about the larger denominations, then, that make up Christianity around the world.

OK, you mean like Catholicism or Orthodoxy? Let's.

The Catholic Church believes the Pope is infallible. In theory. Anyone spending more than 5 minutes talking to a Catholic sees they certainly have differences of opinions with past or present popes, and don't fear expressing those opinions. The Orthodox Church has no pope, nor any centralized hierarchy. The Patriarch is supposed to be a living example of how a Christian is supposed to live, but is by no means idolized.

Neither the Catholic nor Orthodox church forbid talking to non-Christians or interacting with the outside world, whether family members, friends or colleagues.

On the point of violence, there's no doubt the Catholics and Orthodox have committed violent acts in the past. It is not, however, a part of modern Christian doctrine to commit acts of violence against other human beings. The Catholic and Orthodox church's opposition to murder, the death penalty, and to the Iraqi War underscore that. That they have been involved in violent acts is without question, though.

You do not pay your way up the ladder in either the Catholic church or the Orthodox one. There might be a degree of politicking and palace intrigue crap, but you do not pay cash money to learn the teachings or attend services.

You are welcome to leave at any time, and while a priest may try and dissuade you, you won't get disappeared for leaving either church. Now, the Catholics may excommunicate you, but if you're leaving anyway, it's hard to see how you'd take it seriously.

I don't deny both churches have done terrible things, and have policies I strongly disagree with, but "cult" is not what either of them are.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:50 PM on May 29, 2009 [18 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos : If the Scientologists don't like it, they are perfectly within their rights to start their own wiki,

I would love that.

Xenu

Search results
No article title matches

You need to spend more money getting clear.

You can search again, but don't bother. We don't talk about thetans either.

posted by quin at 2:53 PM on May 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


The problem with this logic is that there are many Christian churches, and there's a tradition of Christian theology and thought that stands apart from any individual organization. With Scientology there is no such separation; there is simply The Church of Scientology, which is just a mafia that calls itself a church. Scientology has no independent existence, and cannot be fairly compared to, say, Christianity.

I think this is a poor distinction, but it's also factually incorrect -- there are non-affiliated "Free Zone" Scientologists. The relationship between CoS Scientologists and Free Zoners actually seems a little like that between more and less dominant strains of early Christianity.
posted by grobstein at 2:58 PM on May 29, 2009


I think this is a poor distinction, but it's also factually incorrect -- there are non-affiliated "Free Zone" Scientologists.

Who are an extremely tiny group of people that look larger than they are because they tend to be very, very vocal about themselves.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:27 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


How mind control cults work.

Malor They're probably the single most evil real organization I know, even worse than Monsanto.
Oh, for Pete's sake ... Scientology is evil, it is a mind control cult, it does prey upon the stupid, the insecure, the financially incompetent and the gullible, but "most evil" is one hell of an exaggerated call. Do you realize what Monsanto do?

EXTANT ORGANIZATIONS CONSIDERABLY MORE EVIL THAN SCIENTOLOGY
(Random list off the top of my head)
- Blackwater (Xe)
- Halliburton
- Fox News Corporation
- The Republican Party
- Wal-Mart
- De Beers
- Monsanto, as discussed
- US Chocolate Manufacturers Association
- the numerous fellow-travellers of the above
- the RIAA and MPAA
- National Forces of Liberation
- Wahhabiyya

Scientology is a dumb scam made up by a cynical asshole with the express purpose of separating fools from their money, and the fools have queued up in droves ever since. They are relentless, litigious, and vengeful; their activities have probably killed a few dozen people and driven a few hundred to significantly harmful acts including suicide. Sure, that is evil, but it's a hell of a lot lower on the scale of evil than any of the above.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:38 PM on May 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Silly Scientologists. Trying to fight the Internets.
posted by gottabefunky at 3:41 PM on May 29, 2009


grobstein: "non-affiliated "Free Zone" Scientologists"

First Church of Scientology, Reformed, Conovocation of 2010?
posted by boo_radley at 4:01 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


To quote The News Quiz tonight:
There were two Operating Level 3 Thetans in a bath. One said: "Where's the soap?" The other replied: "Give me £2000 and I'll tell you."
posted by Electric Dragon at 4:03 PM on May 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Won't this just make the pages more misleading? "Why, this article on Scientology sure is positively framed even after banning all those IPs; what remains consistently on the page must be clean of all pro-Scientology anti-Reality bias."

It may have been better just to put up a warning on the page that states it is consistently modified by Scientologists. It isn't like they are going to stop, and now it'll mislead even more.
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:19 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Catholic Church believes the Pope is infallible. In theory. Anyone spending more than 5 minutes talking to a Catholic sees they certainly have differences of opinions with past or present popes, and don't fear expressing those opinions.

Until you're threatened with excommunication.

Neither the Catholic nor Orthodox church forbid talking to non-Christians or interacting with the outside world, whether family members, friends or colleagues.

Marriage with outsiders is discouraged. Some sects discourage social activities with those not affiliated with the faith.

It is not, however, a part of modern Christian doctrine to commit acts of violence against other human beings.

I would consider Soldiers for Christ or Force Ministries symptoms of something quite opposite and quite disturbing in Christian doctrine.

There might be a degree of politicking and palace intrigue crap, but you do not pay cash money to learn the teachings or attend services.

I believe that Mormons tithe one-tenth of their income to the Church. Catholics may not make it strictly mandatory, but it's certainly an encouraged part of the ritual to give up to a tenth of one's income, if not more. Then we look at the Mega-Churches, 700 Clubs and evangelical outlets that pull in dollars left and right, in exchange for religious favor. While in some cases there may not be a quid pro quo in the sense that Scientologists demonstrate it, money and time certainly exchange hands.

Anyway, this is sort of missing the point by, again, focusing on the word "cult" to the exclusion of any rational consideration of the societal consequences for allowing religions to operate without scrutiny. Modern religions really do have cult-like aspects, albeit each to different degrees. I would personally consider Scientology to be much more of an insidious cult than major sects within Christianity, but I would never deny that most of Christianity has incorporated and ritualized rather unsavory cult-like practices and features. It's worth it to be aware of those aspects and not allow oneself to be pushed into silence on the larger subject.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:33 PM on May 29, 2009


No fair, are the Catholics are still allowed to update their entries? Oh, that's right, the Catholics don't go in for updating.
posted by mattoxic at 4:43 PM on May 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


And then I can ask him "Can I attend your services? Does it cost me anything?" And he'll say that it's free and I should visit during services.

Try that with a Scientologist. Or a Mormon.


It doesn't cost anything to attend LDS services. They'll even baptize you and make you a member for free, along with a free Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine & Covenants. They only start harassing you to pay your tithe when you want to go in a temple. And god doesn't give any callings to folks who don't pay their 10%.
posted by effwerd at 4:48 PM on May 29, 2009


It doesn't cost anything to attend LDS services. They'll even baptize you and make you a member for free

I prefer to wait till after I'm dead, thanks.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:51 PM on May 29, 2009 [12 favorites]


Scientology has more in common with Masons and the secret societies of the 19th century than it does with religions. That's not because it doesn't have a theology, or because it has gnostic texts, or because you have to have money to join, or because it is expansionist or sometimes violent. Theology was such a novel concept when it first came about in the strange brew of late antiquity Constantinople and Greek philosophers, that scholars visiting the city noted how strange it was that everyone from bakers to politicians would ask you whether you thought the trinity was equal, if Jesus was fully man or fully God. This was new stuff, as was the fact it appealed to the poor.

Scientology is huge in LA, and really, only LA. Sure they're other places but they don't have a presence quite like they do in LA (okay and Clearwater, FL). This is because, like Masonry, Scientology is appealing to people of a specific vocation, acting, and does so quite effectively. Scientology is great at networking young actors with more established actors which is really, really seductive. I have friends who act (in Hollywood!) who admit that the appeal is there, and how they could see less intelligent kids working as a waiter and not getting anywhere can really be lured by the excellent marketing campaign they put out. Everything they do to new actors says success, this is success, look at all the famous people, look how nice our Celebrity Center is, and hey today you're going to meet some b-list actors, this is what Scientology can do to you. To those people they're not peddling personality tests as much as a society that you can join and can do wonders for your career.
posted by geoff. at 4:56 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I finally went & read the arbitration results page & it looks like only half the story is being told. Scientology's IPs and known accounts are banned but so are those of many of its critics. What Wikipedia is actually saying here is "a pox on both your houses". They're just trying to make the whole thing go away.
posted by scalefree at 5:02 PM on May 29, 2009


Sys Rq: "And, yeah, if anything, this is a win for the Co$, since it means their propaganda will now come exclusively from obscure IPs and therefore can't be undone as easily."

It'd only be a win for them if they couldn't have done that before.
posted by JHarris at 5:02 PM on May 29, 2009


Technically catholics don't believe the pope is infallible, unless he's in Peter's chair and says "by the power of Grayskull", which popes almost never say. And they're pretty careful about what they say in that state. A pope may speak ex cathedra about something spiritual, like whether or not dogs get into heaven, but they never would render God's word about the mass of the Higgs boson, or the 15th digit of the fine structure constant. Younger religions, like protestant christianity are more apt to contain doctrine about charmingly observable matters, like whether or not the universe is older than Egyptian civilization, while newborn cults prefer to speculate on blatantly obvious facts, such as the relative spaceworthiness of DC-10s. Religions survive a long time, but they have a kind of life cycle still. They are born as cults (even christians refer to the early christian cult), develop into "those crazy nutters that won't shut up about their religion", become respectable recognized religions, fragment into sub-sects, and finally, are devoured by cannibal lizards that our dread master raises up to smite unbelievers.
posted by Humanzee at 5:04 PM on May 29, 2009 [19 favorites]


Neither the Catholic nor Orthodox church forbid talking to non-Christians or interacting with the outside world, whether family members, friends or colleagues.

Marriage with outsiders is discouraged.


Discouraging marriage with outsiders is very different from discouraging talking to outsiders. If you're interested in Christian cults, look at the Church of Christ or crap like that. The Catholic Church has been hurtful to a lot of people in a lot of ways, but there's no way they're a cult.

Some sects

The person you were responding to was talking about Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
posted by Jpfed at 5:06 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the reasons for this is several different users were sharing a small number of IP addresses, which turns out to be a good way to prevent Wikipedia administrators from using their CheckUser program to identify sockpuppets.
posted by msalt at 5:15 PM on May 29, 2009


I hate how they violated the rules of self-editing but I fear this will only be abused further down the line
posted by Catholicgauze at 5:21 PM on May 29, 2009


Here's a peaceful protester who was fired after the "church" found out where he worked, called his boss and said he was a terrorist. These are the sorts of tactics the "church" uses against it's critics. I'm glad they didn't use Rule R2-45, which Hubbard himself called "an enormously effective process for exteriorization, but its use is frowned upon by this society at this time." That's a bullet to the head, y'all. Still think it's all just about mind control via free personality tests?
posted by Catblack at 6:10 PM on May 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


One of the reasons for this is several different users were sharing a small number of IP addresses, which turns out to be a good way to prevent Wikipedia administrators from using their CheckUser program to identify sockpuppets.

Fuck's sake, Wikipedia. I wrote that shit in perl the month I started working here.
posted by cortex at 6:35 PM on May 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


ah, but did you write a sufficiently complex beuracratic process that no one could actually use it?
posted by Artw at 7:12 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Wikipedia ruling proceedings are interesting reading.

Jayen466 topic-banned from Rick Ross articles
21.1) Jayen466 is topic-banned from articles about Rick Ross, broadly defined.
Passed 11 to 0 at 13:31, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Huh?
posted by rigby51 at 8:22 PM on May 29, 2009


I really can't recall where I read it, but I seem to recall that Wikipedia not only carpet-banned IP addresses, but also banned email addresses and such of those who are Scientology kooks as well as those who are anti-Scientology kooks, effectively taking the editing power from those who are liable to be overly zealous in their editing. Somewhat like the Zendik Farm debacle from not too long ago.
posted by CountSpatula at 8:49 PM on May 29, 2009


Jayen466 topic-banned from Rick Ross articles

I'm not sure about the Jayen466 end of it but Rick Ross is a cult exit counselor who has received more than his fair share of harassment from Scientology over the years.
posted by scalefree at 9:21 PM on May 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


To those people they're not peddling personality tests as much as a society that you can join and can do wonders for your career.

Like Guy Woodhouse in Rosmary's Baby
posted by mattoxic at 10:25 PM on May 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


There is no shortage of lawyers -- including big, bad law firms -- willing to oppose the CoS on a pro bono basis. I expect that Wikipedia would have little difficulty finding free and effective counsel.

I am not convinced there are a lot of lawyers who are willing to take on the CoS. It's tedious and costly and frustrating and annoying, plus they'll kill your dog. Scientology has been sure to make it not fun to be involved in ligitation with them.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:26 PM on May 29, 2009


The person you were responding to was talking about Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

That's fine: I was talking about Christianity. Thanks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:39 PM on May 29, 2009


Can we bring the discussion away from cults and back to Wikipedia for a moment? Why are the Wikibrarians trying to moderate this shit at all? Do people really look to Wikipedia for relevant information on Scientology? Do people really trust anything on Wikipedia? I thought the whole idea was to let this shit fly, and see what happens. Did I miss the discussion on the whole overarching theme of public wiki content, a la who moderates the moderators? Has Wikipedia become too useful for it's own good?

I use Wikipedia all the time. To learn about stuff. In a preliminary fashion. Are there people who don't know how this shit works? People who don't realize that anyone can fuck with Wikipedia? And should Wikipedia cater to those people regardless? Do these people even matter? In other words, to be so out of touch with technology as to not understand Wikipedia bias undermines whatever credibility you have personally, and makes whatever cause you take up as insignificant as the page you read it from.

I'd hope that Wikipedia would stay true to their roots and let this shit fly. If I understand the premise correctly, wikipedians could never claim to be more authorative on any given subject, but that's exactliy what they're claiming on these Scientology pages. Sure the Scientologists are over-editing their own pages, but WHO'S TO SAY THEIR STATEMENTS ARE WRONG? Who's fact checking this shit in reverse? How do we know the "corrections" are more true than the edits? I thought the whole point of sussing out the truth was letting a shit ton of people weigh in on the subject? But maybe I misunderstand how Wikipedia works...
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 11:53 PM on May 29, 2009


Did I miss the discussion on the whole overarching theme of public wiki content, a la who moderates the moderators?

Dude, respectfully, you missed a hell of a lot. Wikipedia is nothing but policy discussions.

For the most part, Wikipedia strives to be a very good encyclopedia. Fairness, democracy, and participation are sometimes limited in order to create a better encyclopedia. And that seems to be working out pretty ok.
posted by ryanrs at 12:12 AM on May 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's fine: I was talking about Christianity. Thanks.

Specifically, "the larger denominations that make up Christianity around the world". Catholicism and Orthodoxy alone comprise about half of the world's Christians, so I thought they'd fit nicely into that category. Ignoring this, you point what I already said was the case - that there are Christian sects which exhibit cultish qualities. No one's disagreeing with your point that vigilance is needed in society, and that religious groups exhibiting cultish characteristics should be legally targetted.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:59 AM on May 30, 2009


Until you're threatened with excommunication.


Give me a fucking break, BP. I was raised as a constantly lapsing Catholic surrounded by friends and family who were constantly lapsing Catholics in a parish full of constantly lapsing Catholics. A whole lot of pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and anti-papal-infallibility was going on all around me-- and I don't know a single person who was "threatened with excommunication." I don't doubt that it happens sometimes, but don't act like it's a tool the church commonly uses to keep folks in line, because if it were, believe me-- I would know.
posted by dersins at 1:10 AM on May 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


Thumbs up!
posted by LittleMissItneg at 3:41 AM on May 30, 2009


Right.

When it comes to religious issues, I find that the the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance is the fairest and most impartial source of information around. Their page has the best and fairest definition for the term "cult" that I've ever heard: they apply the term only the doomsday groups which have directly caused loss of life to their own members or to others.

On this page they elaborate on the traits of these groups:

* The leader's preaching concentrates heavily on the impending end of the world, often at a great battle (e.g. War of Armageddon). In addition (as in the case of the Solar Temple and Heaven's Gate groups) the leader preaches that through group suicide at a particular instant, they will all be transported to a wonderful place and escape the devastation that is about to come to the earth.
* The group is expected to play a major, elite role at the end time.
* They are led by a single male charismatic leader.
* The leader dominates the membership, closely controlling them physically, sexually and emotionally.
* They are a small religious group, not an established denomination.
* The group (or at least the core members) lives together in an intentional community which is isolated from the rest of society.
* There is often extreme paranoia within the group; they believe that they are in danger and that they are being closely monitored and heavily persecuted by governments or people outside the group. People on "the outside" are demonized.
* Information and contacts from outside the cult are severely curtailed.
* The group leadership assembles an impressive array of guns, rifles, other murder weapons, poison, or weapons of mass destruction. They may prepare defensive structures.
* They follow a form of Christian theology (or a blend of Christianity with another religion), with major and unique deviations from traditional beliefs in the area of end-time prophecy.
* They in extreme spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional manipulation of its members in order to control closely their beliefs, thoughts, emotions and behavior. The critical word here is "extreme".

In this page, they speak of the types of "control" other religious groups have over their members, and explain why it is not entirely accurate to accuse other religious groups as being "cults": quite simply, you may be persuaded or even threatened with religious shunning from leaving, but you are not physically prevented from leaving. They are encouraged to donate money to the group, but they are not required to donate everything they own, and the organization does not take all of their wealth and goods. Even in the case of a monestary, where the member does actually turn everything they own over to a superior, the member is doing so voluntarily, and is able to leave at any time, and will be able to reclaim some of their goods.

Based on these yardsticks, I think that Scientology is not a cult. They're doing unsavory things, but they're not a cult. And -- Christianity is certainly not a cult either.

And using "cult" to describe them is manipulative -- you use it only when you mean to put a group in the same category as, say, Jonestown or the Branch Davidians or the Hale-Bopp folks. And there is a damn huge bit of difference between organized religion and Jonestown.

Right. Now what were we saying about Wikipedia?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:35 AM on May 30, 2009


It's a cult.
posted by Artw at 5:55 AM on May 30, 2009


Soory, EmpressCallipygos. Scientology is a cult.

Read A Piece of Blue Sky. Based on those yardsticks, Scientology is a cult
posted by five fresh fish at 8:48 AM on May 30, 2009


Cult characteristics, by Robert J. Lifton. What is important to consider is that people's minds really are trapped in them, especially children. The techniques of getting people to join a cult depends on weaknesses they find and exploit, beginning with the non-member opening the door and letting canvassers inside (indicating a weakness for the power of suggestion, or some other social desperation). Getting them to stay is the easy part, because once their social life has been altered and established, they can threaten the member with a new social death (and they probably joined because they were lonely to begin with.

The absolutely worst thing one can do to a cult is to speak against a cult. There is no bigger crime. That is the thought reform itself, making recovery very difficult. Other members are conditioned to spot inside criticism and react to it as though it was severe persecution, and they will show up and denounce the crime, using threatening tones and convenient lies to support their paranoid delusion. That's what we're talking about here.
posted by Brian B. at 9:28 AM on May 30, 2009


I think that Scientology is not a cult.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:35 AM on May 30


Yeah, a religion that you are never allowed to leave, that bans psychiatry, and that will harass or even kill you if you malign it, a religion that threatened the owner of this site so severely that we're not even allowed to discuss a certain mythical comment by a former member - is not a cult. I expected better from you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:46 AM on May 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


quite simply, you may be persuaded or even threatened with religious shunning from leaving, but you are not physically prevented from leaving.

Speaking of cults generally, the physical world to them is far more involved than the here and now. The threats are very real to those people, and even more real to the person whose family is tied up with it. Shunning and physical dispossession go hand in hand. The people who do walk away have decided that physical threats and comfort is second best to intellectual freedom.

They are encouraged to donate money to the group, but they are not required to donate everything they own, and the organization does not take all of their wealth and goods.

Taking all of your extra money that you would spend on your own diversions, besides the money to live on, is the same thing. It's cheaper for the cult to do this. The host parasite sucks just enough blood to keep the victim alive on its own, from trial and error of course. Speaking of which, the really unforgivable aspect about 19th century communists is that they witnessed the failure of Mormon communism in their lifetime, yet they chose to ignore it.
posted by Brian B. at 10:49 AM on May 30, 2009


Optimus, check your email.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:50 AM on May 30, 2009


It's a cult.

Everyone I've ever known that has joined it has given money at the minimum in the five figure range and usually is in a great deal of debt, paying it off by working for a business set up by the church. They're cut off from their families who are not in the Church. They have billion-year contracts and a phalanx of shark lawyers who pounce on any critical mention in the media, and an army of followers who try to erase any negative mention in the collective memory as well as make it difficult for anyone to walk away easily.

L Ron Hubbard set up a pseudo-scientific therapy method within a cult hierarchy, and attached an outrageous "galactic" mythology to it as well as a huge price tag. He knew very well what he was doing and said as much.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:41 PM on May 30, 2009


BTW, a friend joined the a Buddhist "church" some years back which was so cult-like in its methods that I ran away quickly and told her I wanted no more part of it. I don't consider Buddhism to be a cult at all, but this particular sect was definitely one. They asked for money up-front and harbored an obsession with materialism, told me if I chanted for it I could get a new car or a better job, or a lot of money, whatever I desired. Sounded exactly the opposite of what it's actually about. My friend worked a minimum wage job but gave them around $10,000 that year, and she tried to sell it to me the way The Forum tries to peddle their bullshit. Yeah, that's a cult.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:49 PM on May 30, 2009


Let's start a rival Scientology faction that teaches everything for free! Then we can see whether or not it is a sinister scam/cult.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:10 PM on May 30, 2009


Their page has the best and fairest definition for the term "cult" that I've ever heard: they apply the term only the doomsday groups which have directly caused loss of life to their own members or to others.

First off, when you say "fairest", you mean "closest to my ideas". Second, while the Church of Scientology is not a doomsday cult, it is responsible for several deaths and numerous criminal activities arranged by the hierarchs of the church themselves.

Second, that list of characteristics basically restricts the definition of "cult" so severely that you basically have to be the Branch Davidians to qualify. This is akin to claiming that something is only a video game if it's 2D, scrolls from left to right, and requires you to jump over Smurfs.

In this page, they speak of the types of "control" other religious groups have over their members, and explain why it is not entirely accurate to accuse other religious groups as being "cults": quite simply, you may be persuaded or even threatened with religious shunning from leaving, but you are not physically prevented from leaving.

Again with the overly severe restrictions. So if you only make someone's life a living hell, you're not a cult, because you have to cross the line into murdering them for leaving? This is absurd and ridiculous.

And -- Christianity is certainly not a cult either.

Goddammit, you're the one who brought Christianity into this. You said that Scientology is only a cult if Christianity is, and Christianity isn't, so Scientology isn't. Much of the rest of the thread has been people demonstrating to you why the premise that Scientology and Christianity are of a kind is wrong, and you keep bringing up Christianity. Nobody here is calling Christianity a cult. That's your own thing, and I believe that it is making it impossible for you to participate fully in this thread, keeping you swinging at phantoms. Drop the Christian persecution complex for fifteen minutes, reread the thread, and understand how absurd you're being.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:43 PM on May 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


it's 2D, scrolls from left to right, and requires you to jump over Smurfs

What is Deuteronomy?

I'll take Popery for $200, Alex.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:56 PM on May 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let's start a rival Scientology faction that teaches everything for free! Then we can see whether or not it is a sinister scam/cult.

So CoS has tried to use copyright law to shut down critics who publish its ridiculous secret doctrine. I think they've had some success, but whether through legal judgments or just intimidation I'm not sure. However, it would be much harder to shut down a rival religion's use of copyrighted texts. I think this may be a novel area of Free Exercise doctrine.
posted by grobstein at 3:43 PM on May 30, 2009


Let's start a rival Scientology faction that teaches everything for free! Then we can see whether or not it is a sinister scam/cult.

That was actually one of the many different "operations" 4chan engaged in with regards to CoS - distributing their sooper seekrit teechuns for free. I think this was probably the best idea out of everything, more than demonstrating in Times Square wearing Guy Fawkes masks anyway. Because it does raise the question in peoples' minds, "If you really are a legitimate religion, and not like Amway with e-meters, why don't you want people to know what you practice or believe?"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:29 PM on May 30, 2009


First off, when you say "fairest", you mean "closest to my ideas".

Just curious, did you read the site?

Second, while the Church of Scientology is not a doomsday cult, it is responsible for several deaths and numerous criminal activities arranged by the hierarchs of the church themselves.

Never said they didn't.

Second, that list of characteristics basically restricts the definition of "cult" so severely that you basically have to be the Branch Davidians to qualify.

Well...yeah. The alternative is ending up where you have mainstream Christians accusing the Mormons of being a cult because of differences of opinion, fundamentalist Christians accusing Catholics of being a cult, Reform Jews accusing Hasidim of being a cult, snarky atheists with chips on their shoulders accusing EVERYTHING of being a cult....which is watering the term down to the point that no one acutally knows anything ABOUT the religion you're accusing of being a cult -- but oooh, it's a cult, so let's hate it!

I don't see why you have to accuse someone of being something their not by way of criticizing them. I never said that Scientology wasn't dangerous. I only said that while they may be dangerous, they're not a cult.

Can't you call them "dangerous and fucked-up as shit" without having to use emotional manipulation as well? Or don't you think the case itself is good? Personally, I think it is. So I don't think you need to use an emotional buzzword to describe them - it just looks weak. Make the case on its own merits, not on playing on people's fear.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:43 PM on May 30, 2009


The alternative is ending up where you have mainstream Christians accusing the Mormons of being a cult because of differences of opinion, fundamentalist Christians accusing Catholics of being a cult, Reform Jews accusing Hasidim of being a cult, snarky atheists with chips on their shoulders accusing EVERYTHING of being a cult....which is watering the term down to the point that no one acutally knows anything ABOUT the religion you're accusing of being a cult -- but oooh, it's a cult, so let's hate it!

No, no it isn't. You're building a false dichotomy between only certain groups that you personally dislike being called cults and everything being called a cult, and that's a ridiculous idea that you should feel intense personal shame about purporting. Checklists like this, for example, reflect a more common understanding of the term among the people who've spent decades studying the phenomenon.

I don't see why you have to accuse someone of being something their not by way of criticizing them. I never said that Scientology wasn't dangerous. I only said that while they may be dangerous, they're not a cult.

The CoS is a cult by any reasonable definition. That you want "cult" to apply only to the most dastardly of NRMs is your own problem, and puts you in the tiniest minority of people who actually discuss, research, and deal with the issue. You're welcome to your views, but they are not useful and not relevant.

Can't you call them "dangerous and fucked-up as shit" without having to use emotional manipulation as well?

Yes, you're right, the word "cult" cannot be used descriptively and can only be an agent of emotional manipulation. That is a totally rational argument, you are a reasonable person, and my cat tells me to burn things.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:17 PM on May 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


What Pope says. You need to go learn some stuff, EC. There are several excellent books about the CoS: A Piece of Blue Sky and Bare Faced Messiah are both well worth the time to read. You clearly have little idea as to what CoS actually is, and you should inform yourself. There is absolutely no doubt that those ensared by the organization are locked in a cult. Any experiences you have had with it are clearly superficial. There is an inner core that is batfucked, part powertrip, part slavery, part crazy people.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:39 PM on May 30, 2009


Look, there's a difference between "I don't think it's accurate to call it a cult" and "I think they're PEACHY KEEN and we should love them."

I think they're shitstains. I think they're dangerous. I think they should be investigated and I think their tax-exempt status should be investigated for legitimacy and withdrawn if it doesn't hold up.

I just ALSO know that calling them "cult" just because I think this way opens the way for other people to call other religions "cults" just because THEY don't like THEM, and I also think doing THAT is a shitty thing to do.

It's like how you protect the First Amendment Rights enjoyed by the New York Times by also protecting the rights of the National Enquirer. I think the National Enquirer sucks, but it is equal before the law with the New York Times. It comes way close to crossing the line into breaking the law, but as long as it doesn't break the law, I cannot let my emotional reaction to it be a cause to take away its rights -- because that is why we have laws, to make us all equal before the law.

The United States, for whatever reason, has determined that Scientology isn't a cult. I personally have accepted this definition of "cult", because I know it protects the First Amendment Rights of the most individuals. It is imperfect, but it is the best of a number of imperfect alternatives. I don't like the fact that Scientology doesn't count as a cult by this definition. I HATE it , in fact. But -- to change the definition in just this one instance is cheating.

Way up topthread, drhydro said something telling:

Well- far's I'm concerned, a bunch more things fall into the same [cult] category.... christianity, islam, hinduism, buddhism, sikhism, judaism, bahaism, horses-a$$ism.....

If you don't see the problem with this, I don't know what to tell you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:56 AM on May 31, 2009


Just curious, did you read the site?

I did. As far as I can tell Scientology matches up quite well with your definition. They have apocalyptic beliefs, a charismatic male leader who controls them physically, sexually & emotionally and social encapsulation (small size, isolated intentional compounds, extreme paranoia, demonized outsiders, extreme control over information from the outside world). Oh & they have a fondness for guns.

Given all that, you'll agree with us that they're a cult, yes?
posted by scalefree at 8:14 AM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I just ALSO know that calling them "cult" just because I think this way opens the way for other people to call other religions "cults" just because THEY don't like THEM, and I also think doing THAT is a shitty thing to do.

I'm with you there, totally. But Scientology isn't a religion.

It's...

Wait for it...

A cult.

It's like how you protect the First Amendment Rights enjoyed by the New York Times by also protecting the rights of the National Enquirer.

Right. And in that instance, they're both newspapers. What we're talking about here is protecting First Amendment rights enjoyed by the NYT by also protecting the rights of a newspaper published by dogs written entirely in feces.

One is a newspaper.

The other is a pile of crap.

Scientology is not a religion. It's just a money-making scheme dressed up in quasi-religious clothing to appeal to the basest human fears about their immortal souls.

Also: Where in the First Amendment is there the "except if you're in a cult" clause? You have the right to say whatever the hell you want, assemble wherever the hell you want, and believe in whatever hooey is acceptable to you, even if you are IN A CULT. The United States government has also accepted waterboarding as an "enhanced interrogation technique." They are not my go-to source for defining much of anything. Hell, the US government cafeteria even defined french fries as "freedom fries" there for a while.

Walks like a duck. Quacks like a duck. It's a duck. Not a "bird with behavioral characteristics similar to those exhibited by a duck."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:29 AM on May 31, 2009


Missed one. Scientology's beliefs are definitely outside the Christian mainstream.
posted by scalefree at 8:32 AM on May 31, 2009


The United States, for whatever reason, has determined that Scientology isn't a cult.

If you would read the books, you'd know how that came to be. Nothing to do with actually running through a checklist of cult versus religion characteristics. Quite a bit to do with espionage, infiltration, and threats of violence.

The core of Scientology is absolutely a cult.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:11 AM on May 31, 2009


It's a cult.

...by which I mean Wikipedia of course. Hail Jimbo!
posted by Artw at 9:29 AM on May 31, 2009


When I joined the Episcopal church, all I had to do was show up on a Sunday. The tenets of the church are freely available to everyone, there is no "secret knowledge" to be obtained via expensive courses, there are no levels and no one evaluating my progress

I'm sure that's what they told you.
posted by flabdablet at 9:53 PM on June 1, 2009


Shhh! The Elders have not authorized him to share in that knowledge.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:54 PM on June 1, 2009


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