Scientology… again

September 20, 2008

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?”

“No.”

“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.


Scientology Protest 2: Operation Party Hard

March 18, 2008

As this Saturday was L Ron Hubbard’s birthday, Anonymous decided to celebrate it in style with a full blown protest party near the Church of Scientology in Hunter Square. Admittedly I forgot about it completely, but luckily I happened to be crossing the road at the exact same second that Stuart was driving past (he didn’t run me over), and I was duly reminded. The protest itself was pretty much the same as last time. Plenty of signs, about the same amount of people but we were a bit more spread out in the square so it didn’t look as many, but I thought it was much better organised. People had learned their lessons from the last one and brought extra cardboard for signs, as well as tape, and we had balloons, party bags and stickers rather than just flyers. I’ll spare you the details.

In any case from the last protest there’s been a few issues brought up. The student media saw it as pointless, or even discriminatory, and various comments were made such as “what are they trying to do?” and “what will an attack on the people they claim to be victims of the organisation actually achieve?”

It’s a fair question, but it’s totally missed the point of the protest. This isn’t an attack on the ‘church’ members, the protest isn’t about them at all! The whole point of protesting is to raise awareness to the general public that the building we were outside is a church of Scientology (misleadingly called “The Hubbard Academy for Personal Independence”) and that the ‘free personality tests’ and ‘free stress tests’ that they’re offering are actually ways of getting you into their cult and robbing you of their money. It is a public awareness campaign.

Before I wasn’t so sure it was necessary, but since the protests I’ve spoken to several people who have briefly fallen victim to it, or who have taken a test and not gone any further, and it’s entirely necessary and appropriate to make people aware of what they’re getting themselves into. They take advantage of people who are vulnerable or gullible and take their money away and it’s not remotely fair. That’s why Anonymous is protesting.
Captain Shamrock

Quality sign

Protestors

Our Sign


Scientology Protest

February 10, 2008

Well, I was there, were you?

It was actually a really good turnout, we had about 150 people which was about as many as we could fit along the side of the road without blocking the pavement. The police were there to keep order and in case we decided to do anything stupid, but to be honest I don’t think anyone had any intentions of doing anything like that. One ironic thing was that one of my friends who turned up to protest has told me in the past that she’s a creationist Christian. She claims to hate scientology because it’s obviously a load of rubbish and it takes advantage of depressed people… bit strange really.

We noticed about 5 or 6 different people inside the building. They were photographing and videoing us, so we’ll see what becomes of that. All it’ll show is a big group of people standing there, singing and cheering when cars beep support. Nothing illegal there.

Although I don’t think it’s the most important or controversial topic at the moment, it was good to get noticed and have more people on board with the issue. Scientology is a cult, there’s no doubt about it. It takes people into it, separates them from their friends and family, takes their money away from them and resists letting them leave. It’s extremely secretive and exclusive, and they’re very hostile to people who oppose it.

Anyway I’m going to see if I can figure out how to upload the pictures. There are some great ones.

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Knowledge is Free

Lolcats


War on Scientology

February 6, 2008

It’s been called a ‘cult’ by a judge in the US Supreme Court and the Germans won’t have anything to do with it. The more I hear about it, the more I’m starting to realise just how messed up Scientology is. As if the Tom Cruise video wasn’t enough to get me going (“When you’re a Scientologist, and you drive by an accident, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you’re the only one who can really help…”), the fact that the “Church” managed to get it taken off YouTube really peeved me off.

Why people believe in this bollocks is beyond me. It was written by a SCIENCE FICTION WRITER! It’s obviously a cartload of rotten tripe! I don’t understand why someone would believe in this rubbish when they know it was just written by some guy.

Further to this are the allegations that Scientologists were responsible for the death of Lisa McPherson. After she had a car crash and a mental breakdown, they took her out of psychiatric care to look after her themselves, which led to her death, basically through neglect. They have untrained people practicing medicine without licenses, which is downright dangerous.

Anywho I heard today that all this controversy has led to the birth of an internet group known as Anonymous, which has declared war on Scientology. So far this has been by hacking their website and shutting it down, sending them pizzas, and (my personal favourite) sending them black faxes to waste the ink in their fax machines, but this Sunday it will go one step further with a global peaceful protest outside the many Churches of Scientology.

One of these is in Edinburgh, near the Tron in Hunter Square at 11am (and there was me thinking computer geeks slept all through the day). I’ll be there, and I’ll be sure to take some pictures and try and get them up here. I urge anyone else who wants a giggle to come along too. Apparently there are Facebook groups and events but I’ve yet to find one for the Edinburgh Protest.

Listening to: Pink Floyd – Astronomy Domine