Friday, February 11, 2011


On the off chance that people haven't checked it out yet, here's that "New Yorker" profile of Paul Haggis that's ultimately the biggest-yet expose on the Church of Scientology. It's LONG, but seriously worth reading through even if you do it in pieces - just fascinating, chilling, damning stuff.

What really makes it worthwhile is that it's not at all just another "ha ha alien ghosts!" dressing-down, by now we all know about Xenu and Thetans and all the nutty business of the actual dogma - this is the REAL down n' dirty stuff: Serial abuse, slave-labor, people vanishing, brainwashing, etc; and Haggis specifically comes off as a genuinely tragic figure in it.

Give it a read.


Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Say what you will about us Christians, but at least we know how to shrug off criticism. There's something to turning the other cheek. Not to mention, joining a Christian church is pretty much free, whereas joining Scientology requires you to go into serious debt. Christopher Reeves went off on how Scientology snookered him not long before he died on 20/20 or Dateline (I forget which one and I can't find the clip)

Scientology's greatest problem, in my eyes, has always been it's absolute lack of humility. Haggis leaves, writes a critical letter to the heads and the response he gets from his fellow Scientology peers isn't concern for him, but a fit of rage in what his criticism will do to the Church's image.

This has been documented by numerous former members, that they are discouraged, if not outright threatened about saying things about the Church. Not surprising from a religion started by one of the world's worst sci-fi writers who used to believe at times that he was being hunted by a roving pack of Psychiatrist gestapo stormtroopers, I shit you not.

Haggis is right when he says that he expects dirt to be dug up on him in the coming months. This is one of their oldest tricks. Make their detractors look bad in counter to criticism. It's like these folks have no idea that they are their own worst enemy when it comes to how the public perceives them. South Park episodes notwithstanding

tyra menendez said...

It's called the Roman Catholic church, give a look into its background as recently as a couple years ago, when they played hide the pedophiles, by moving them from church to church. This is the problem with ALL religions, and sanctimonious criticisms of anything that's not them and refusing to turn that critical eye on themselves, doesn't help.
Faith is a deeply personal and private matter, religion is a polished turd.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

I ain't Roman Catholic, so don't be lumping me in with me. And my point still stands: Christians, for the most part, turn the other cheek to criticism; Scientology pitches a hissy fit and goes to your closet to dig up all the skeletons.

bee.z.ness said...

To be fair, I wouldn't say ALL religions have this problem, more like all religions have the POTENTIAL for this problem. (Though I will admit Scientology was pretty much made for it from the get-go). Understandable, really. After all, if you believe some all powerful all knowing super being loves you and doesn't love someone else, there's gonna be some sense of superiority/arrogance there.

Ezenwa said...

It all comes down to the individuals within said religion that make it problematic. For every catholic that a person can't stand, there's a few that are very tolerable and open to others. I'm a catholic, proud of it, and no I don't approve of certain practices. Heck, while some "hide the pedophiles", others use the "pedophile" card within the religion on others they don't like to get rid of them, due to vendettas.

Trust me, that happens.

That said, I know a good portion of people (priests or not) that are very decent, real, down-to-earth people that won't judge and are easy to get along with.

And, Catholic Christians do know how to turn their cheeks to criticism.

I used to be a judgmental person who'd condemn, condemn, condemn. But, I learned to look past it all.

Now, as for scientology, well, perhaps its biggest problem is the fact that there may be a lack of humility, but, I'm no scientologist, nor am I in any place to judge. So, it is what it is.

ryanhawkes40 said...

After reading the article, I think the biggest problem with scientology is the borderline child slavery. Fuck humility.

untra said...

Me at page 1: Church of Scientology, huh? They seem pretty fucked up. I never really looked into them though. I wonder what the big fuss is about...

Me at page 9: (part of thetans, volcanoes, H-bombs) alright, thats just silly. It really is spectacularly silly. But people can't believe that? Can they..?

Me at page 16: (musical chairs in the trailer) Oh god... That is sadistic... Who would- Oh fuck that is messed up...

Me at page 18: (child labor) WHAT THE FUCK ARE THESE PEOPLE DOING?

Me at page 19: (rehabilitation camps) (headdesked, and ashamed to be in the same species as these sick motherfuckers) What the fuck is wrong with us?

I can't read any further. I might kill myself if I do.

Daniel said...

I'm with Ezenwa, I'm a Catholic and I'm also pro-choice and pro gay marriage.

Crazy idiots are everywhere, all creeds, races and religions.

The very concept of despising someone based on their religion or lack thereof always baffled me. Why not take time to get to know them better as a person;
Then you can find a plethora of real reasons to hate them. ^__^

Pronoun said...

Well, the New Yorker's site has crashed. Might be paranoid to assume DDOS but I wouldn't put it past them.

Now I really want to read the article even though I am a long time fan of the Clambake.

tyra menendez said...

Catholics are Christians, it was the first Christian church. We weren't talking about the individuals inside of a religious institution, but the organization and institution, itself.
The church has a long, long, sordid history and has behaved in much the same manner as CoS does now.
Religion is an institution and breeds fundamentalism. If you don't understand what happens with fundamentalism, you've not been paying attention. And yes, even Buddhists will beat the hell out of each other over religious matters, there's video around here, somewhere.

tyra menendez said...

I finally finished reading the whole 26 pages, after some distractions (like watching An Idiot Abroad), for those that didn't make it all the way through, lots of accusations of physical abuse from Miscivge or whatever (I started calling him Miscarriage), everything is denied by CoS, an attempt to discredit a defector was video of said defector claiming to know how to forge documents, because he did it for a living (in CoS), and Hubbard military records as presented by CoS, called forgeries by an archivist. Also the defectors have created a sort of support system, for other defectors; this one boy was signed up at 5 and then went into the Sea Org service at 11. He's now, like 17 and has never even seen a TV. So, kind of sad at the ending.

Ezenwa said...

To be clear, I don't support Pro-Choice, or Gay Marriage. But, I'm not going to be a religious zealot about it. If my friends do, I won't judge them. I'll suggest, but that's all I can do. They have to find their way if they choose, and if not, it's on them. I can only pray. That said, that is a sad ending, Tyra.

Popcorn Dave said...

Sigh.... Scientology would be funny if it weren't so damn scary. "Religious cult" is putting it kindly, they're a straight-up criminal gang as far as I can see, and it's shameful that they were able to get tax-exempt status in any country (well done Germany for standing your ground).

Thanks for the article, it took me a while to read but I'm glad I did. It's just insane the sorts of things that are allowed to go on in this world. The bits about disconnection was the saddest part to read, because that's far from unique to Scientology, and there's really no way for the law to stop it (except with issues of child custody, I guess). People get cut off from their families due to religion every single day, and it's potentially one of the cruelest and most psychologically damaging things you can do to someone. That section about the CoS forcing that woman to denounce her parents in order to stay in the gang was just plain depressing. I really hope no-one I know never gets caught up in anything like that.

Paul said...

A "religion" based on ethics that would use extreme pressure and coercion to force individuals to cut family members out of their lives is massively hypocritical right from the start.
Other religions are money making schemes in disguise, but this is the first that actually charges you to achieve your various levels of faith while simultaneously only paying slave labour levels of cash to those trying to move up the ranks. $50 a week?? How is that legal?
Tolerance and forgiveness are founding principles of many religions, here we have a religion that is massively insular and forgiveness can apparently only ever be bought, and anyone seen to disagree with their principles is immediately placed on a sliding scale starting with "doubt", moving through "enemy" and finally to "treason".
It is all founded on lies and personal grudges of the founder. Psychiatry is dismissed as evil because it's a threat to their ability to syphon money off of effectively captive people desperate for help...and their use of celebrity is far more insidious than that of any advertising company in history. A disgusting organisation that should not be allowed to hide behind it's "religious beliefs" to justify slavery, abuse, intimidation and the destruction of family.

tyra menendez said...

I'm pretty sure Hubbard was bipolar. I also remember reading something about how, distraught with not selling any of his (crap) stories, he proclaimed that the real money was in starting a religion. Hell, half the reason he started it as a religion was being charged for practicing medicine without a license, using his goofy E-meter thing.
I mean, at least ancient religions have the excuse that the claims were just harder to disprove, but you make claims that really are just so easy call bullshit... But, all "good" cults have one thing in common: being very good at finding people at a low and boosting them up, just enough to feel better about themselves. After a while, it becomes a bit like a battered spouse.

Dave said...

@ Reverend

Are you kidding me? Remember that business where art was removed from the smithsonian because christians disliked it?

Or what about Uganda, where american evangelicals like rick warren campaigned to have homosexuality ruled as a capital offence. A prominent american christian literally promoted the murder of an entire demographic and has not been charged.

I won't even get into the offences of the catholic church in any given month.

bigjkt said...

The Anatomy of a cult.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

@ Dave

Art created to stir controversy isn't art, it's the cry of the wild Attention Whore, who clamors and bellows with mighty vigor, for his natural abilities aren't up to the task to attracting attention.

All you saw was a violation of human rights, that someone has the right to display whatever they want regardless of content, intent, or actual subject. When I think Smithsonian, I think of of a lot of things, but I don't particularly think that a place that's heralded as the home for some of the world's greatest works of art and invention is a place where I should be finding something that's intended to create controversy. For the record, if I want to see ANYONE bloody and covered in ants, I'm sure there's horror movies or websites that can accommodate me. It doesn't even matter to me that it was the picture of Christ covered in ants. FYI, I did see it and the only thing I can think of is how shitty a piece of art it was. I've seen Deviantart artists with more talent.

But no, when people think Christians, all they think is we're a pack of finger pointers who say 'NO, You can't do that." The irony is that more often than not, for the sake of political correctness and whining, crybaby atheists, we're told we can't do anything at all. Can't pray in school, can't show our faith if we're state workers, Not allowed in many places to say "Under God" during the Pledge of Allegance, discouraged yearly that we shouldn't say "Merry Christmas" because somehow the most wonderful time of the year that's celebrated by an overwehlming amount of American somehow isn't inclusive in the same way that driving a car isn't inclusive to people who hate driving.

As for you really think I believe that you're losing sleep over the fate of what happens in Uganda? Really?

Willingdruid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Willingdruid said...


Your posts keep on making me want to brand an inverted crucifix to my forehead.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

@ Willingdruid

Do Ophelia's sign from Brutal Legend. An upside down raven with an Anhk in the middle. That'd be metal.

Willingdruid said...


I don't know how easy that would be to brand onto my forehead.
The inverted crucifix is much more practical.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

But done to death. If you're gonna do a crucifix, why not also get a tribal design wrapped around your bicep or some japanese letters or one of those oh-so-original SKULLS.

Willingdruid said...


Branding =/= tattoo
The only person I've seen with an inverted crucifix branded to his forehead is Glen Benton.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Branding or tattooing, either do something original or go home, I say.
I personally don't have either because in the event of me being an escaped convict, I need to remain as inconspicuous as possible