I was out and about in Edinburgh today and I got a text telling me there was a big Scientology thing going on in the city centre, so I made my way down there and saw a massive yellow tent with, to my surprise, “Scientology Volunteer Ministers” written on a very professional looking sign with the big crucifix-style symbol they use. There were lots of people there in yellow teeshirts who were obviously these volunteer ministers, so I went over, looked interested and asked what it was all about. A girl about my age (I don’t know why these organisations try hooking me in with people my own age. So far it’s been the CU, the Bahais, Destiny Church, the Christadelphians, and the Scientologists. It doesn’t work! Usually) came and said “well we’re the scientology volunteer ministers, and we have this technology to help you improve your life!”
“Wow, that sounds amazing, what kind of technology is this?”
“Technology to help you every day.”
“Ok, are we talking metaphorical technology?”
“Right, so… what does it use, electric shocks or something?”
“Oh, well, no, it’s not like tools or anything like that.”
“Well, technology isn’t really the right word then, is it? Maybe ‘advice’ would be better?”
“It is technology because you apply it to your life.”
“… ok. Why don’t you give me an example?”
“Well what do you want to improve in your life?”
“[struggling to think of something] What if I wanted to improve my grades?”
*vacuous smile, doesn’t reply*
[me] “But scientology’s a cult, isn’t it?”
“What’s a cult?”
“Like a sect that takes over your life and brainwashes you.”
“And how do they brainwash?”
“I don’t know”
“Right well we wash our brains on a Tuesday night. Have a nice day.” – walks away.
It’s so hypocritical that they pretend to want to help when you look like you don’t know who they are, but the second you show any sign of independent thought, they cut off communication. They’re also deliberately preying on traumatised people; their slogan was “no matter how bad it gets, something can be done.” So all they’re doing is targetting non-skeptical, emotionally vulnerable people. Why else would they do that, unless what they’re peddling wouldn’t make sense to an independently thinking person? (We accused the Student Alpha Course of doing the same thing with their slogan “Is This It?”, because that appeals to people who might have a lot of problems in their life and think it’s not that good. Incidentally my response to that question would be to draw attention to all the amazing things in the world like other cultures, all the literature, amazing technology, not to mention the beauties of the natural world, science, human emotion, and that’s only scratching the surface because we don’t even know anything about the majority of things in the universe. Isn’t this enough?). I know to them I look like the closed-minded one, but as with most things, until they can show me a bit of evidence I don’t really have a lot of time. It all looked very professional and expensive though, especially the identical Mercedes Benz minibuses they had across the street. I wanted to ask them where they get their money from but I forgot. Next time I’ll make a point of it.
I was generally quite surprised that they explicitly used the word ‘Scientology’, though. Usually they hide behind a less-well known phrase like ‘Dianetics’ or ‘Personality Test’ or something. Perhaps this reflects a more outgoing trend emerging within Scientology. I hope not.