Is Scientology a cult?

A young demonstrant got arrested in the UK this week. What did he do? He had a banner that said that "Scientology is no religion, it is a dangerous cult". Well, whats wrong with that? It is the truth.

Oh god, now i said it. Now they'll come for me. 

Seriously, if any of you guys who know me can't get a hold of me in the next weeks, please call the cops and let them know I've been kidnapped. Or murdered. Or brainwashed.

Now, you might ask why Scientology is a dangerous cult, and you should - question everything is my motto. So let me tell you a little story about them:

When I studied religion in high school there was an assignment that meant we had to visit a church or other religious place and make an interveiw with a preist or other leader of that religion. Me and a friend choose, for reasons I can't remember, Scientology.

The Scientology church in Hässleholm, where I went to school, was an appartement right next to the cinema. So we went there and this guy in his 30s met us. He was very friendly, showed us in and we started asking questions. Now we were good students, we had tried to do our research and read up on scientology, but we'd found nothing, except that my mother at one point or another (she did some soul searching in her early 50s) bought one of their books. (I won't name it, then you'd just go out and buy the crap:). But that book was so confusing that we couldn't make much sence of it.

The guy told us the general stuff - some celebrities was in with them (he even had a silly board in the hallway with famous scientologists), the general goal of the members was to "rise" in "spiritual awareness" and very vague stuff like that. He told us about the different steps, but when we asked him about the specifics he wouldn't tell us because "one have to learn this in the correct order, or it would sound incomprehesible or even silly". 

Then he wanted us to try one of their instruments that they use in their courses to achive greater minds. The thing is a regular current meter and the subject hold the two ends. The leader then asks questions and tries to interpet the readings on the meter. The guy said that he could tell if we lied with this thing, so we gave it a shot. Of course I always thought the opposite from the truth when he asked us to think of something - and I lied to him about wether or not his predictions were true or not. He didn't get anything right, of course.

Now, all well and done. We also learned that the courses that you have to take are very expensive and that there are very many of them. We did our report and all was well. The class, as I recall, had fun with our lying and tricking of the guy.

One thing struck me as odd, the guy told me that the founder was one Ron L Hubbard, and I thought that I had heard that name before. Of course, it turns out I had, I had read one of his earlier works, a low budget pulp sf book whos name I forget. Let me tell you, it is no good. (On a side note, he has written Battlefield Earth, filmed later with fellow scientologist John Travolta, that too was no good.)

Skip ahead a few years, a person who had gotten out of scientology sued the cult for money and thus all their materials became available as public material in court here in Sweden. Some students managed to read the material before scientologist litteraly occupied the building and took turns in checking out the material and read is, thus blocking all other intresents.

Those students published the material on the newly discovered internet, and I managed to download it, read it, and was completeley baffled. I mean it is just so stupid! But then again, I guess I didn't read it in the intended order...

Well, from what I remember, you can pretty much get the details from reading Hubbards sf works - there is a galactic empire, it has dumped it's criminals under the earth, then evolution happened and man came into the world. But the criminals, or their spirits, are escpaing and possesses us and makes us do bad things. When we do scientology courses we cleanse ourselves from them and thus become better people. When enough of us are clean enough we will become a part of the galactic empire and live happily ever after. It's really not that different from other belif systems if you ask me.

The problem, and what makes scientology a cult, is it's secrecy, it's overall goal of making money, it's hierarchical system and the methods they use to make people stay in line.

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