Scientology: Religious Tyranny
This article introduces a series exposing one of the most controversial and notorious cults in modern times - the Church of Scientology.
Many people have seen Scientology's book, Dianetics, on bookshelves or have seen the infommercials on television. Celebrities such as John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Tom Cruise have helped popularize and glamorize this cult. The "Scientology Wars" on the internet have become widely known. However, even with many news stories detailing the abuses of power and criminal activities of this cult, too many people are not aware of its truly sinister nature.
This is partly due to the highly aggressive efforts of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs, formerly "The Guardian's Office," to squelch and intimidate anyone who dares to criticize its beliefs and practices. This includes spending $20 million annually in lawsuits, both in defense (because of the many people who claim to have been abused by Scientology) and because of Scientology's own misuse of the courts to harass and crush any opposition.
Two men who experienced the wrath of Scientology reprisals concisely summed up the issues surrounding the cult. Eugene Methvin, former senior editor of Reader's Digest, wrote two very critical articles on Scientology. He says, "Scientology is far more than a religion. An analysis of sworn testimony and the findings of official tribunals in 12 nations, plus independent investigation, reveals it to be a multi-national racket masquerading as a religion" (Santa Rosa News Herald, 22 June 1982, p. 1).
Attorney Michael Flynn and six other attorneys reported, "There is substantial, perhaps overwhelming evidence to support the conclusion that, despite Scientology's attempted religious front, it is in reality a criminal, fraud-ridden, commercial, profit-motivated enterprise engaged in the practice of psychotherapy with a military structure and operational methods designed to accumulate money, information, and power"(Ibid.).
L. Ron Hubbard once wrote, "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion" (Reader's Digest reprint, May 1980, p.1). This proved to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. In 1953 Hubbard incorporated the "church" of Scientology. Not only did he make millions from it before his death in 1986, its empire now claims to have over 200 "missions" worldwide with "reserves of a thousand million dollars" (Jon Atack, A Piece of Blue Sky, p. 1).
But in the wake of Scientology's growth is a large trail of financial, psychological, and spiritual casualties, criminal convictions, and notoriety.
Was L. Ron Hubbard the new Messiah as Scientologists believe, or was he a madman? Is Scientology a religion, or a religious front for business, or is it both? If a religion, is it worthwhile, or has it proven to be a totalistic, terrorist organization?
Our world is a marketplace of ideas. Among those ideas are many contrary religious philosophies competing for the minds and souls of people. In the United States of America freedom of thought and freedom of religion are guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. People have the right in these things even to be wrong. Similarly guaranteed freedoms of speech and the press also protect the right to disseminate even false religion. However, with that broad freedom, abuse and error can and does occur.
Fortunately all these freedoms not only allow, they ensure the debate of religious philosophies necessary to expose corruption, lies, fraud, and exploitation - things that are against the law. They protect one's right to make fully informed religious choices freely, without coercion, manipulation and deception.
A quote attributed to Edmund Burke is, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
The Apostle Paul wrote, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.... For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers...whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake" (Ephesians 5:11, Titus 1:10-11).
Thus Watchman Fellowship holds that exposing the false doctrines, deceit and criminal activities of an organization such as Scientology, is not only a right guaranteed under freedom of religion and the press, it is a sacred responsibility to which we are committed.