October 22, 2001 3:52 AM   Subscribe

Xenu was a space alien, 75 million years ago. He was a galactic ruler in fact. There was an overpopulation problem, so Xenu piled a few trillion beings in DC8 space planes, took them to earth an blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Then the souls were tricked to think they were all the same person by means of 3D movies - that way, when they reincarnated (as they do), they grouped up with a few thousand others and took a single body. Neat story eh? It's by a sci-fi writer called L. Ron Hubbard and forms the base of the Church of Scientology, although you don't really get to know that story until you reach OT3

There's been a 'What is Scientology' expo near me recently, but thanks to the folks at Xenu.net I feel fairly well informed without the need for a personality test.
posted by sycophant (42 comments total)
good post
posted by BlitzK at 4:14 AM on October 22, 2001

my body thetan dosen't remeber seeing that film....
So, what if an atheist wants to join??

Quality post. Always wonderd what the Church of Scientology was after i heard someone mention Mel Gibson was part of it, and a whole host of Holywood celebs are.... is that true?
posted by monkeyJuice at 4:24 AM on October 22, 2001

its an evil brainwashing scam, thats what is is

anyway, go enjoy some of their fantastic tunes
posted by sawks at 5:01 AM on October 22, 2001

I was most alarmed by the scientologists when I saw them giving this personality test at a rave in Northern California. This test was given to unsuspecting teenagers who were seriously impaired and over-sensitized due to drug use, not to mention the fact that most teenagers who can attend an all-night rave are usually lacking in parental guidance. This use of a drug-filled setting to influence misguided youths seemed to me to validate all the bad things I had ever heard about the church. And they are responsible for the debacle that was Battlefield Earth.
posted by wsfinkel at 5:28 AM on October 22, 2001

Clambake is a good anti-Scientology resource, but I wish it were a little less vehement -- it would help assuage my fears that it's just rhetoric. (Anyone can make any religion look bad if they try hard enough -- rhetoric is one of the symptoms of this.)
posted by tweebiscuit at 5:32 AM on October 22, 2001

favorite line from the movie Repo Man:

Diuretics: The science of matter over mind.
posted by bragadocchio at 5:35 AM on October 22, 2001

No, Mel Gibson is not a member of the cult. (look about 2/3 of the way down for the bit on Mel Gibson mocking Tom Cruise)
posted by NortonDC at 5:47 AM on October 22, 2001

I like taking the test where you hold on to the bell things and it measures skin resistance for anxiety as they ask questions. They always to it so you can see the needle on the machine, so if you're good at biofeedback, you can keep it dead center the whole time. They get all flustered when you're "perfect."
posted by Nothing at 5:48 AM on October 22, 2001

Of all of the good Sci-Fi that L. Ron Hubbard wrote, why did he have to compose such a crappy mythology for this "religion"?

Really, Scientology is the result of a drinking bet that L. Ron had with a buddy. "I bet we can get people to believe anything, if the incentives are right and we control access to knowledge."

Scientology - multi-level marketing with no product
posted by yesster at 6:04 AM on October 22, 2001

75 million years ago? I though it was 75 *BILLION* years ago. Definitely in the billions, anyway.

Any >= OT3's able to back me up on this? ;-)
posted by chrimble at 6:07 AM on October 22, 2001

thanks NortanDC.
posted by monkeyJuice at 6:09 AM on October 22, 2001

sorry, NortonDC
posted by monkeyJuice at 6:12 AM on October 22, 2001

OTVIII w000p
posted by BlitzK at 6:28 AM on October 22, 2001

Of all of the good Sci-Fi that L. Ron Hubbard wrote

I've never read his stuff, but I'd heard it was all awful. What do you recommend?
posted by straight at 6:30 AM on October 22, 2001

Not a damn thing. Read the Foundation trilogy.
posted by legibility at 6:45 AM on October 22, 2001

Does their cosmology make a difference? Its fashionable to bash Scientologists, but they're entitled to their beliefs regardless if they are space alien based or not. Of course I take issue of 'pushing beliefs' and taking advantage of people but mainstream religion and scientific cosmologists do the same thing everyday. If you really want to criticize them do so by cricitizing their actions, not their beliefs. Are your beliefs/assumptions above criticism?

You're going down the low road of making fun of aliens instead of the high road of explaining their for-profit and litigious nature. Or their dim views on the fields of psychology and psychiatry.

I believe Scientology is the only thing not allowed to be made fun of on the Daily Show due to fear of lawsuits. At least according to the Diary of a Daily Show writer from slate not so long ago.

Call me a hypocrite, but the mention of H-Bombs on spaceships brings a smile to my face, is like watching the mothership land to see that all the aliens are wearing wind-up watches and colt revolvers.
posted by skallas at 6:54 AM on October 22, 2001

A Piece of Blue Sky

^ A very good book on l. ron's life and the history of scientology... available to read online. it's very interesting, but quite long.
posted by iamjacksamnesia at 7:02 AM on October 22, 2001

good compared to the Xenu crap, that is

seriously, though, I haven't read any of his stuff for years

the Foundation works (recommended by legibility) are OK
posted by yesster at 7:05 AM on October 22, 2001

iamjacksamnesia-- A Piece of Blue Sky is revealing and a very worthwile read, but to everyone else, Part II is where the lion's share of value will be drawn from the work. Part I, the author's experiences, is of significantly poorer quality.

skallas--Their cosmology and their actions have both earned skepticism of the highest order.
posted by NortonDC at 7:14 AM on October 22, 2001

NortonDC: Aren't people skeptical of anything they don't believe? I mean thats what belief is about. You're not a Scientologist so its all fun and games. To me god, allah, original sin is silly, but its the actions of people who use these beliefs that really matters because at that point it leaves headspace and enters meatspace. What you believe is your business, whether it has validity is practically irrelevant. Scientology is no weirder than most belief systems. Heck, you could argue that its sci-fi roots is easier to swallow than the ancient systems of spiritualism. UFOs are popular for a reason.

Their cosmology and their actions have both earned skepticism of the highest order.

Skeptical of their actions? You mean skeptical of their intent right? because their actions are pretty well documented. I still don't see how you can shoehord cosmology into action. Even if official Scientological dogma is about taking advantage of others and being litigious it still has little to do with aliens, bombs, and such.
posted by skallas at 7:29 AM on October 22, 2001

skallas, I read what you wrote, but I'm not at all sure I followed it.

"its the actions of people who use these beliefs that really matters." I'll go for that, though. Now, go read iamjacksamnesia's link (skipping Part I would be no big loss) and let us know what you think of their actions themselves, intent be damned.
posted by NortonDC at 7:36 AM on October 22, 2001

I heard stories from some friends that they went into a Scientology building just to see if all the rumors about them being pushy were true. Basically, after taking a joke personality test the test giver or whatever you'd like to call him wouldn't let them leave unless they paid him $250 for some seminar and further testing. Everything they've done up until now had been free so they weren't in debt in case you're wondering.

To make a long story short, after telling him that they didn't have the money, the guy basically hinted at taking it from relatives/friends anyone that you could steal it from. Even when they said they'd go get the money and be right back (just an excuse to leave) he demanded to go with him. I think they dumped him off at some gas station... but the point is this is a very scary cult that preys on vulnerable people (I can't imagine someone not having the will power of my friends be subjected to their brainwashing).
posted by geoff. at 7:44 AM on October 22, 2001

NortonDC: What I was pointing out was that you wrote "and their actions have both earned skepticism" which doesn't make sense. Their actions are well known and documented for those who care to look them up. By actions I mean the lawsuits, the harrassment, the taking advantage of, etc. Are you skeptical of these claims?
posted by skallas at 7:47 AM on October 22, 2001

No, I was pushing the extreme limits of charity in my characterization of their actions, not in my judgement of others' reports of their actions.
posted by NortonDC at 7:50 AM on October 22, 2001

Anyone can make any religion look bad if they try hard enough

Perhaps this indicates that every religion *is* bad if you look hard enough.

posted by Mars Saxman at 8:07 AM on October 22, 2001

NortonDC's right. Gibson's a very traditional Catholic.
posted by darren at 8:38 AM on October 22, 2001

The thing everyone seems to be missing is that Scientology isn't a religion, it just calls itself one for tax purposes. Religions usually have something to do with one or more gods... Jedis at least have "The Force," but Scientologists have volcanos and clams and aren't even told that story until they've spent a few grand.
posted by Foosnark at 8:41 AM on October 22, 2001

The premise of scientology is silly, but basically harmless. My biggest problem with the Co$ is their attempts to impinge on free speech.
posted by xyzzy at 8:50 AM on October 22, 2001

basically harmless? tell that to lisa mcpherson.
posted by deepdisco at 9:14 AM on October 22, 2001

So, skallas, is nothing of which any group is convinced to be mocked? They're "entitled to their beliefs", but we're entitled to judge them by their beliefs, which are really, really silly.

Those who believe in something arguable but wrong (communism, deism, Bush was elected) are misinformed but I'll respect their opinions; those who believe in something really silly (astrology, homeopathy, creationism, Scientology) are silly people and I'm going to tease them and I don't care if they cry.
posted by nicwolff at 9:25 AM on October 22, 2001

Those silly Scientologists! Too bad they're all going to hell because they don't believe in a 2000 year old jewish guy who rose from the dead, floated into the sky, and watches us constantly.
posted by Doug at 9:26 AM on October 22, 2001

So, skallas, is nothing of which any group is convinced to be mocked?

Mock all you want, it isn't convincing or proof of anything but of your ability to mock. Its one thing to have an opinion on CoS cosmology and another to go out of your way to "to tease them and I don't care if they cry."

If you believe the criticisms of scientology, the immature mocking is only hurting those on the low rung of the thetan ladder and is ignored by the profiteers. If you truly think of The CoS as victimizing then you'll have to contend with the fact that its full of victims and actively mocking them only disenfranchises them more and creates an Us vs. Them mentality. I hate to break this to you but not all Scientologistis are millionaires, its something like a pyramid scheme with the most at the bottom.

I guess it depends on how serious you are about your opinions. If hackneyed jokes about aliens and 'Tom Cruise Missile' quips are your cup of tea then that's really your problem.

I think Doug sums it up pretty well, everyone has some view and the one that isn't yours is so much silliness. Which shouldn't be the case, the right to believe in whatever you please without prosecution is protected. Harassment, physical attacks, psychological torment, etc are not protected.

Some, but not all Scientologists act like the recruiter geoff mentioned. Some, but not all Scientologists are people who should be under psychological care. Some, but not all Scientologists are in it just for the money and connections. All Scientologists have the right to believe as they please.
posted by skallas at 9:52 AM on October 22, 2001

Hear hear, Doug!
posted by aacheson at 9:53 AM on October 22, 2001

If you believe the criticisms of scientology, the immature mocking is only hurting those on the low rung of the thetan ladder and is ignored by the profiteers.

Right on! We demand more mature mocking.
posted by walrus at 10:08 AM on October 22, 2001

deepdisco: Perhaps you were confused by the word "premise."

premise: A proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn.

In the context of my post, the word "premise" referred to the alien from 75 [b|m]illion years ago that swept down and seeded Earth with humans. This tripe in and of itself is harmless, just as most religious stories are harmless. It's what people do with it that is harmful.

I am well aware of Lisa's story as well as the Co$'s free speech crusade, just as I am aware of Islamic jihads, the Crusades, violence between Catholics and Protestants, and the Holocaust. Countless deaths can be attributed to religious beliefs.
posted by xyzzy at 10:12 AM on October 22, 2001

skalla--Holding everything about the Scientologists up to public ridicule has the potential to deny their enterprise the fuel it needs to continue, namely a continuous supply of fresh dupes. Educating the public about Scientology through every available means, specifically including public ridicule, is a public service.
posted by NortonDC at 10:19 AM on October 22, 2001

I don't think that people would ridicule the Scientologists so much if they didn't have a history of doing shady, unpleasant, and downright immoral things. If they just went around talking about Xenu, everyone would ignore them. The constant mocking probably is a result of the hostility towards their actions, and indicates the lack of respect people have towards them.
posted by Charmian at 10:42 AM on October 22, 2001

Actually, I have more respect for shady, unpleasant, and immoral people than I do for idiots. I'd still mock Scientologists even if they weren't criminal scum, because it's a religion based on a ridiculous story made up by a hack science-fiction writer.

Of course no-one believes that story; they don't tell it to the neophytes and the "Operating Thetans" who run the "Church" know it's a scam. I'm not mocking the profiteers, who are just clever con men; I'm mocking the fools who fall for the "personality test" and the "free sample auditing session".
posted by nicwolff at 12:05 PM on October 22, 2001

I don't know about having my body thetans cleansed or whatever, but Xenu did provide us with a nice web link checker.
posted by Tubes at 12:09 PM on October 22, 2001

In other wacky, albiet more Christian, spiritual news how about Sweatin' With Christ?
posted by arielmeadow at 1:15 PM on October 22, 2001

All Scientologists have the right to believe as they please.

There is an offshoot group called Free Zone that, while they adhere to the "technology" of Scientology, generally abhors the direction that Co$ has gone in in the past 15-20 years. Co$ has a very bad attitude on this - in the past they have used their usual strong-armed tactics to try and destroy this offshoot. Sorta like the whole thing with Martin Luther's theses and the Reformation.

And no, I'm not a member, just an observer of the shenanigans.
posted by PeteyStock at 1:37 PM on October 22, 2001

There was a lawyer from South Carolina who had an insurance policy that would pay him $5000 a month if he went insane. This lawyer lived in Memphis and became Prince Mongo from Planet Zambodia, ran for mayor every four years, wore grass skirts and gold body paint, and threw dollar bills from hot air balloons. Occasionally, he'd go back to South Carolina and have a good laugh at the gullible Memphians.

Memphis=The World.
South Carolina=the afterlife.
posted by basilwhite at 9:56 AM on October 25, 2001

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