Scientology, Anonymous

February 2008

Imagine reading the following press release:

Hello, Jews. We are anonymous. Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye… Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind — for the laughs — we shall expel you … and systematically dismantle Judaism in its present form…

The rantings of crazed neo-Nazis, right? No. Substitute “Jews” and “Judaism” with “Scientologists” and “Church of Scientology” and you are reading from a statement issued by a group of anti-Scientologists calling themselves “Anonymous.” This statement was released Jan. 21 (read in a YouTube video by a Stephen Hawking-like computerized voice). It was followed by another on Sunday Feb. 10 that coincided with demonstrations at Scientology centers around the world at which protesters donned masks (the Guy Fawkes variety from the movie “V for Vendetta”) and waved posters that read, among other things, “Honk if you hate Scientology.”

Again, imagine if that sign read “Honk if you hate Jews.” How innocuous would such a protest be in that case?

And yet this latest turn against the organization founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard has an air of farcical comedy to it. Why? Why aren’t civil-rights organizations and antihate-speech activists pouncing on these protesters? The reason, I suspect, is that most of us do not consider Scientology a religion, at least not a religion that resembles in the slightest the world’s major faiths.

One clue to this interpretation can be seen in other protesters’ signs: “Religion is Free, Scientology is Not” and “Trade Secrets are for Business, Not Religion.” I’m a scientist who studies belief systems for a living, so take it from me: Scientology is unlike any other religion in history. Although the Church of Scientology is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt religion (despite years of litigation by the IRS to collect taxes on its income), no other religion I know of considers theological doctrines and core religious tenets to be intellectual property accessible only for a fee.

Envision converting to Judaism but having to pay to learn the story of Abraham and Isaac, Noah and the flood, or Moses and the Ten Commandments. Or imagine joining the Catholic Church but not being told about the crucifixion and the resurrection until you have reached Operating Theological Level III, which takes many years and many tens of thousands of dollars.

That is, in essence, how the Church of Scientology dispenses its theology, leading ex-members, critics and journalists to divulge Scientology’s sacred myth all over the internet, and in such national publications as the New York Times and Rolling Stone magazine, and even on the animated TV series “South Park.” The story centers on Xenu the galactic warlord, who 75 million years ago was in charge of 76 overpopulated planets. Xenu brought trillions of these alien beings to Earth (called Teegeeack) on spaceships that resembled DC-9 planes, and placed them in select volcanoes. He then vaporized them with hydrogen bombs, scattering to the winds their souls, called thetans, which were then rounded up in electronic traps and implanted with false ideas. These corrupted thetans attach themselves to people today, leading to drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, depression and other psychological and social ailments that only Scientology classes and “auditing” employing “e-meters” can cure. Paying customers, by the way, do not get to hear this story until they reach Operating Thetan Level III.

This peculiar story helps explain, in part, the often inexplicable Tom Cruise, whom we’ve all seen renouncing the evils of psychiatry and the drug industry on the Today show and more recently in a viral YouTube video. There’s nothing wrong with being skeptical of psychiatry — I publish Skeptic magazine, which recently included an article by a psychiatrist who took his colleagues to task for overmedication and for overlabeling as diseases what may just be unusual behavior. As well, self-help gurus such as Anthony Robbins have developed techniques that may very well surpass psychiatry in helping people. But psychiatrists, drug companies and motivational speakers pay taxes on their products and services; they do not masquerade as religious leaders. This is yet another aspect of Scientology that provokes the type of animosity we are seeing in these recent attacks.

Humans are by nature tribal and xenophobic. We evolved a natural tendency to look askance at those who are different from us, and especially to be suspicious of activities beyond our purview. Transparency and fairness are the key to trust, and trust is the social glue that binds a diverse society such as ours. This is why we insist on so many checks and balances in government, so many rules and regulations in markets, and equal treatment under the law.

The reason people are suspicious of Scientology is because of its cult-like secrecy, its overly aggressive response to and legal attacks against critics, and especially the hypocrisy of comporting itself as a faux religion in a society willing to reward corporate success but not religious greed.

This article was originally published in the Los Angeles Times.

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121 Comments to “Scientology, Anonymous”

  1. Mr.XXX Says:

    HYPO 2: Imagine reading the following press release (circa 1935).

    Hello, Nazis. We are anonymous. Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye… Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind — for the laughs — we shall expel you … and systematically dismantle Nazism in its present form…

    It is a moral imperative that the parasitical operational structure of Scientology is exposed insofar as its hosts may be set freed.

  2. sam Says:

    I think scientology has lot of good in it. I just think it is too advanced for our times. Aliens probably practise scientology as every day habit for self healing but we humans are too dumb to understand it. But what bothers me is if it is so good why not do it for free or a very reduced costs. I think because nobody knows how it really works(full potential), therefore corruption is starting to give it a bad name. The Spirit can only know GOD when the spirit does not want to play a game/or is serious. Scientology is the doorway to realise the self. But scientology is not all answers.

    But nobody can see their self at will. Why?
    Because we have to break all habits, seeing, doing, analysis. and thinking.
    One day I asked myself how would I feel if I died and had no thought(after meditating for teenty years some days as intense as 4-8 hrs per day). I had no thought for 4-6 seconds. The spirit was seen as a bright light so was GOD communicating. GOD is very rich. One who gives and becomes richer. This is why you all feel good if you give. The world is programmed. Thoughts are travelling faster than light. We must know GOD to end this suffering. That is why I meditated for twenty years. I Have enough data points from GOD to say he exists. Remember the child in OH GOD movie. How come the skeptics never saw GOD. They had turned
    their switches/montors off and did not even knowledge of it. Scientology may help turn this switch on.

  3. Margo Says:

    The difference between Scientology and Judaism, or any other major religion you care to name, is a) they have a much better story, and b) they don’t charge converts for every step along the belief path.

  4. Tom Says:

    How many of the 104 respondents here have read 1 book on either Dianetics or Scientology in its entirety with the intention of reading it in an unbiased manner? Probably none as most of the comments had a bias to them from word one. That is a good way to learn something if you think you know all which is exactly what most of the respondents sound like. People who know all. What a shame. Did you know that Scientologists were on scene at the horrible tsunami in Indonesia 4 years ago and hundreds came from all over the region to help those who lost everything in the Tsunami. Do you know how many Scientologists were at Ground Zero to help the rescue workers with stress reducing assists so they could do their jobs more effectively? There were over a 1000 who came from all over the US and the world to offer themselves in service to those in need. How many Scientlogists were in New Orleans helping the victims of Katrina and Rita later in the year. I was there along with more than 500 others from my church who came from all over the US. There were also 1000’s of other volunteers of every faith at all these disasters helping there fellow man in his time of need. Were any of you there helping or did you send money or clothes to help. If you were, wonderful, if you weren’t well okay. I am not here to condemn you because you didn’t help, or couldn’t help or had to work and couldn’t go to help. But before you start condemning people because they have a label on them like a jew, or a mormon, or a jehovah’s witness, stop to think about where you are and what America stands for. That was the point the author was making in the beginning. He also has other fish to fry with Scientology. That can be remedied with a willingness to read a book like “A New Slant on Life” or Problems of Work”. Scientology helps one to see life more analytically to make better choices to improve conditions. It helps one win at the game of life. One can learn to give and receive the auditing in a much cheaper way than doing it with a professional auditor. If one has big problems in ones life, Scientology and Dianetic auditing can help rid oneself of debilitating disabilities that can feel like ones life is doomed. Many people have such disabilities. Many hide from them as putting them on the shelf is the only way to cope with them. Some use antidepressants to hide from them and make the pain go away. Most people on this planet have something in their life they would love to get rid of that they feel it is ruining their life. Some never marry because they are extremely shy. They make excuses they cant meet the right guy or girl. Some people feel like they have to be the class clown to feel alive. But they know it makes them look like a fool. Other’s fear confrontation with people or with red haired women or bald guys with mustaches.
    All people have something going on in their lives they can not explain or fix. They feel it is ruining their life. They want to fix it but do not know how. So they turn to drugs or alcohol for a quick forget it fix but the “pain” of the ruin so to speak comes back the next morning.
    That’s where Dianetics and Scientology come in. It helps you to fix you. It helps you to start living the life you want to live but feel you can not. And, yes it costs money. Those big churches the Baptists have were not free. Many gave thousands in tithes for their church. So do Scientologists. Their religion helps them in every aspect of their loves, both spiritually and materially. Many succeed in business because they have a solid foundation of confidence and self determinism to operate with. Many have said Scientology is actually free from the amount of financial success they attained after experiencing the wonders of auditing and courses of training in the spiritual technology of Dianetics and Scientology. There are millions more like me out there. They just choose not to participate in these hate filled forums. Scientology is helping people in every aspect of life from drug abuse to criminality to human rights to education, to instilling morals and values back into society and many more projects.
    I hope this sheds some light on what Scientology is. I am not naive by any means. I am sure there are those who will say I am brainwashed or an idiot but then again, I am participating in a hate forum, what else should I expect right? If this gets through to one person and he she reads a book and realizes there is some truth to this thread, well hell, I did a good job. If you are a hater of things you don’t understand, knock it off and learn something you don’t know.

  5. Mike Says:

    Tom, must we know the details of your religion to ‘know’ it is false? Most religions do some good. This is the base of religion in general. Would people not do good deeds without religion? I am certain they would. The main problem I see in any myth is the possibility of doing harm even as one thinks he is doing good. This can happen to Atheists as well,but history shows that gods command war and suppression of rights and this is to be perpetuated for all time.When a deity makes a rule and the followers think the deity is all knowing, critical thinking stops.
    I also think all religious organizations should be taxed. They are all effectively income generating,for profit businesses.There contributions to disaster relief could be a deduction.
    I do think though, that religion should have freedom to organize and practice,as long as no one is really being harmed.Speaking out on religion is not the same as not allowing religion.Citizens need freedom of our speech protected to warn others of possible dangers of religions.This does not mean they hate but are simply concerned.

  6. Jason G Says:

    D. Perse Says:
    — Just imagine the suicide rate if everyone followed the cold and clinical religion of science.

    In Christianity and Islam, this life serves no purpose. The entire purpose is to worship the God in order to receive a ticket to heaven in the afterlife. That is why we have suicide bombers. Imagine the suicide rate if people really believed in heaven and thought they were going there. Humanism gives meaning and importance to our actual lives here on Earth.

  7. Bob Says:

    That line of argument is silly.

    Imagine that Michael Shermer eats babies. Horrific right? Well He actually eats hamburgers. Now transfer that feeling of horror from what I posited to what he does.

    Is there any valid reason to listen to that?

  8. kelly Says:

    Wow, at 108, I’m thinking that quite a few commenters didn’t read very much of this.

    I think scientology definetly qualifies as a religion. Really, I don’t want to leave anyone out, because there are none of these that don’t have some pretty heinous stuff in thier past. The term fag, originally refered to the stick that you light a pyre with. The refrence to gays comes from how many were burned at the stake, right here in america. Islam, yeah bad stuff commited in the name of allah too. The cast system of tibet. The spanish inquisition. Ect.

    Hate and violence is simply a bad way to respond to anything. Intolerence is not hate, and doesn’t require violence or coersion. It does require that you see an injustice and speak up.

    I do not need any form of religion to feel just fine about my day, but I can’t say that for anyone else.

    I do think that any church that engages in politics should be taxed immediately for violating the seperation of church and state.

    I do not think that churches should be outlawed. that is a bad policy, and really is a form of censorship. I want to speak freely, and so I must tolerate the right of others to do the same. Some of those posting here are offensive to my way of thought, free speech is going to have that drawback. The free exchange of ideas and rational thinking will prevail in good time. And if you’re looking to add a mandatory class, my pick would be critical thinking. There is a ready supply of ideas, but not so many ways to analize them.

    Does this discussion really need all the references to nazis? Many groups face opposition, some of it pretty hateful, but the nazis were the nazis, unless any of these groups are willingly wearing swasticas, just drop it.
    If you disagree with something, speak up, but don’t deface property, blow stuff up, throw paint on people, or any other damaging or hateful act.

  9. jaxton Says:

    Time is a great story teller and you mr writer are complete fail in regards. !000’s of ex members are saying abuse has been carried out and your an apologist just because your mind can’t grab the concept that “religion” is just a sound-byte when it comes to this cult. Look at it from a different perspective. We are standing up to the nazis and you are protecting the world from seeing the crimes against the jews. Did you ever consider that scenario? Well lurk moar.

  10. Hubbardianen Says:

    I’m a Swedish Scientologist. First and foremost, I would like you to differentiate between the Church of Scientology (CoS) and the philosophy of Scientology, two different things as of today. The CoS doesn’t function well today mainly because of a dictatorial leader called David Miscavige.

    The philosophy however is the most interesting I’ve come across so far and incorporates the basic ideas that man is a spiritual being (thetan) with no location in space or time but with the ability to postulate. We, as spiritual beings, live life after life and live our lives. There’s something called the reactive mind where unconsciousness, disemotions etc are stored and which can be restimulated. Therefore, in auditing these incidents are viewed over and over again until they blow and the energy is released, which can be observed on the E-meter and also be felt very clearly. I’ve done auditing myself.

    Regarding reincarnation, let me present to you three very interesting YouTube videos. Feel free to debunk them.

    Reincarnated WWII pilot:

    Reincarnated painter:

    Reincarnated general:

    Regarding the Xenu story, is it true? Who knows? But some interesting scientific evidence has come forward in the matter. Layers of Iridium and shocked quartz have been found in the K/T-layer (65 million years ago). Iridium of that quantity is only found in asteroids and vulcanos, and shocked quartz is only found at nuclear sites or asteroids.

    Hubbard claims that nuclear bombs was dropped into volcanoes about 75 million years ago which support the Iridium/shocked quartz findings from the K/T-layer 65 million years ago. However, Hubbard did not know about the Iridium in the K/T-layer since it was found in the 80’s, and Hubbard wrote the OT III story in 1967. This is very interesting. Could it be that the 65 million year dinosaur extinction is the same catastrophe Hubbard described at 75 million years ago? I welcome more research in this subject.

    Well, there’s lost more to say about this but I’ve got to tell you, Scientology is the only religion that (basically) doesn’t go against scientific evidence such as many other religions does.

    I like skeptics, it’s just that they sometimes are a little bit closed minded regarding the spiritual world.

  11. Hubbardianen Says:

    There are (more or less wild) speculations that the date of 65 million years regarding the dinosaur extinction is wrong since the (alleged) nuclear bombs added lots of radioactivity.

    When dating the K/T-layer with some kind of radioactive isotop dating method there are more radioactivity than it should be, thus the 65 million-year-date is wrong and should be further back, perhaps more cloer to 75 million years?

    However, I do not know if nuclear radioactivity would affect radioactive dating techniques in that way. Perhaps somebody with more knowledge could confirm/deny this?

  12. S. Adelsburg Says:

    You’re comparing a corporation responsible for the deaths, broken up families and poverty of so many people to Jews? Never knew you to be an anti semite.

  13. ungodly Says:

    in response to Hubbardianen:
    yes very interesting, but its the writings of a science fiction author. its not the answer to the universe. he might be close, or he might be way off, but the truth, can only be known once we are dead.

    regardless of how interesting these superstitions/beliefs/delusions are, to make money off, or to otherwise corrupt people for the benefit of a few at the top, shows that as spiritual beings, we have no limits to our cruelty to our fellow thetans, or souls, or whatever, and there is also no limit to our ability to believe in the most ludicrous of propositions.

    i also believe its immoral to not be anti-semite, to believe that you are chosen by an all powerful zombie, and by default, all others are lesser beings, well thats just plain evil.

  14. R King Says:

    When Stargazer writes ‘listen to your heart and not your head’ on a skeptical site . . . I think that’s pretty funny . . . It’d be like me going on a Christian site and writing ‘try not to be so flipping irrational’!

  15. Kenn Duncan Says:

    Your Wish Is Your Command is a course sold by Kevin Trudeau. No one can say that he is not a compelling salesman and his infomercials hawking various products are legendary. This latest product targets the natural desire for wealth that most people obsess about while also pushing conspiracy theories that blame “secret societies” for keeping the secret of wealth and prosperity from the masses.Your Wish Is Your Command

  16. LOL Says:

    Greg hit the nail on the head. Scientology is a SCAM. It’s a front. They are not a legitimate religion. Also, read Hubbard’s (founder) journals. He was a RACIST. And he says clearly that he created it to make money and have power.

    So your substitution technique does not work here. FAIL.

    I HATE Scientology. HONK HONK HONK!

  17. Konrad Says:

    It is unfortunate that society is not ready to accept things that in SCN are quite normal.

    1) SCNists KNOW that they have had past lives;
    2) SCN auditing can create a stable Out of Body experiences (exteriorization);
    3) SCN can help increase those perceptions that would deemed “psychic or paranormal.”
    4) SCN technology has the ability to actually change events.

    This I have experienced myself all of these things.

    I wish that rational people would actually look at the evidence instead having a preconceived notion that they know people are ONLY one time bodies. THis is simply not true.

    Also most people on the internet are so thoroughly caught up in the disinformation of the religion that they cannot carry on a sane conversation about the subject.

    IF actual OPEN minded Scientists examined the data instead of having an agenda the world would see that the religion could change the world & make it a sane place for everyone, even the skeptics & nay Sayers.

    best wishes

  18. Julian Rodha Says:

    With all due respect, what’s your point? Do you want to denounce the unfairness of anonymous position or the weirdness nature of scientology?

  19. Mystery Voice Says:

    First, many years ago I read “Dianetics” and attended a Scientology “Church Service” (more later).
    What I have to say and the Challenge I now put forth to all agnostics, athiests, evolutionists, etc. is only motivated by love for all of you and not for any other reason.
    I was born and raised as a Jew and had a conservative (vs. reform or orthodox) Jewish education. I was a pre-dental and biology major and took a special class in evolution.
    I put forth 2 challenges to you in the hopes and prayers that at least one person will be touched.
    1. The Old Testament (which others above have said is a manufactured fairy tale would make Nostradamus’ prophecies look like chid’s play in comparison. If the Bible is so contradictory (and there are many apparently contradictions), and mythological, then please explain how hundreds of Biblical prophecies, some written hundreds, even thousands of years earlier, have come to pass. (Also, one of the best proofs for the existence of God is the survival of the Jewish people against all attempts to annihilate them. Jews worldwide represent less than 1% of the world’s population, and yet despite being persecuted, expelled, and murdered in many times and countries, they are still here.)
    Lastly, and this I pray will affect at least one person, is the true (short version) of how I miraculously became a believer in Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach in Hebrew). (Only a small percentage of Jews believe as I do that Jesus is the Jewish (and the Christians Messiah). Many years ago, after my wife left me, and my life was filled with problems, I challenge God from my heart telling Him basically that if I really am His child and if He really did love me, that I had a right to feel His love and presence personally. I also challenged God that if this didn’t happen very soon, I would go my own way. At the end of the prayer, I added a footnote in passing which paraphrased said that I really wanted to know the truth about Jesus: is Jesus a false Messiah (Saviour) as Jews are taught? or is He the Messiah of the Jews and of all humanity? was he really born of a virgin birth or not?
    Now, here is where my challenge to God became even more challenging: I said to God (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Whatever you tell me to believe about Jesus, I will accept and believe, and I don’t want anybody knocking on my door, quoting Bible scriptures to me, or giving me anything to read. You tell me!. Now, I never had any lightning bolts nor did I hear an audible voice, nor did an Angel visit me. Over a period of several weeks, I had a very brief (a minute or less) dream which repeated 3 or 4 times. I saw a person (couldn’t tell the sex, couldn’t see a face, or hands, or feet) in a light colored robe from head to feet (not even clearly or in color). I woke up weeks later one day as a believer in Jesus with no apparent explanation of how that happened, and I was scared to death because I had no proof or evidence, and I was also afraid of the rejection from my family (all Jewish). Within 30 days I then received all of the proof I needed from dozens of Old Testament prophecies relating to Jesus, which were written many hundreds of years before he was even born.
    So, my second and final challenge to anyone reading this is that if you sincerely from your heart want to have God bypass your religious and scientific educations and go staight to your heart (bypass your mind), you can receive this from God also. (When I was in high school, a friend who didn’t believe in God, said if God really exists, He can strike me with a lightning bolt.). God doesn’t generally work that way, but if anyone truly and sincerely wants to know that God is real, and that Jesus is our Saviour, then God will find a way to prove himself to you.
    Lastly, about my brief experience with Scientology. When I went to the “service” mentioned above, it was really dead. (no life at all). I did notice, on a blackboard or wall in a classroom, some writings concerning aliens. At that time I thought it was a bunch of crap, and so I never went back.
    I am still strongly against Scientology, but I now have seen sufficient evidence to prove the existence of UFOs and aliens (even the possibility that aliens are on the Earth currently).

  20. Fragment Says:

    “You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.”

    – L. Ron Hubbard.

    Kind of a difference between this and the Jewish faith. Wouldn’t you say?

  21. ullrich fischer Says:

    Another well thought-out article. Too bad so many posters here only read the first couple of paragraphs.

    IMHO, all religions are cults. It is just a matter of the degree to which they manage to control the lives of their victims. Scientology is one of the worst in this regard. Fundamentalist Islam is even worse, and Fundamentalist Christianity is a close 2nd to Fundamentalist Islam. Scientology, as far as we know, has not murdered anyone, while the other two cults mentioned have.