(To Main Page)

 

trip around the sun

 

 

(53) of 52 – Additional visit to Church of Scientology

 

Several people have asked if I had visited the Church of Scientology. I had not – so I’ve decided to make an extra visit – (53 of 52?)

 

During the week:

 

An atheist writes about her daughter in school (West Virginia)

They are on “The Crucible.”  The teacher now asked how many kids
believe in the devil.  All of the people in my area
are shouting Baptists. All the kids raised their
hands.  My daughter raised hers out of shear fear.
She knows how the teacher got mad when she thought
that someone was calling her a pagan. My daughter didn’t want the

teacher to think she was a pagan, so she raised her hand. “Don’t worry,

Mom,” she told me after, “I don’t believe in any devil.”

 

Another sends:

Matthew 6:5-6: And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites
are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of
the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have
their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when
thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy
Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 

Not only are Christians going against their own teachings with the
National Day of Prayer, but endorsement of the event by elected officials
amounts to excessive entanglement between state and church.

 

 

A friend writes concerning women in Iraq:

Yep. That's exactly what I meant. And you know it's real bad when the women
have to walk around like ninjas with only eye peepholes.
 
Another friend responds:

Quite. But it's funny how the Western governments only manage to give the
tiniest bit of a damn about the enslavement and torture of women when they
want to get their hands on some oil or land or political power. The rest of the time
bride-burnings, female genital mutilation, stoning to death of 'immoral'
females, etc, is called "cultural differences that have to be respected.”

 

Someone sent:

"I believe that he [Jesus] is Lord of the government, and the church,
and business and education, and, hopefully, one day, Lord of the press. I see him involved in everything. And that´s why I don´t want to stay just in the church, as such. I want the church to move into the world." [Pat Robertson] (I hope he runs – like Nader did.)



Someone sent:

Just blow the damn city up....

This is funny as hell: "Residents told reporters they were troubled by
soldiers who gaze on Fallujah women, and some believed the Americans'
goggles or binoculars could "see" through curtains or clothing. " These
people are retarded.


Response:
Ha - If you had been in infrared physics as I was for many years - you might know that these night vision devices (the ones which are infrared) appear to do just that. They look at a temperature profile - the clothing is cooler than the body parts, so you see the body parts. I knew quite a few who enjoyed looking with these at people. They appear a bit like a negative of a nude.

I know the military - we even send them nude or almost nude photos to "support" their egos and as “rewards.” Remember the “pinups” in past wars? We send scantily clad women to entertain them. Believe me – it is highly likely that some of them look with these infrared devices. More than 60 years ago, when my Dad was released from a ship for shore time, condoms were passed out as part of the kit.
San Diego had quite a reputation in those days. (Not good for President Clinton, of course – but for the military, it is much supported.)

Now - that said – this may all seem trivial to us - but we are over there - and some manners are probably much to our advantage – and in order besides.

Regarding the IQ's of Iraqis, (calling them retarded) - my guess is that the bell curve in similar to our own. They most probably have some retarded citizens - but most are not.

Those who are retarded, as my little niece in our own country, should still be respected.

 

Besides, retarded evil people are generally much less evil than smart evil people.

 

In our own country, adultery and fornication and blasphemy are legal in all fifty states. In their countries, all of these can be punishable by up to a death penalty. For them, murder is a lesser sin than these three. (Culturally – but not as individuals – they are at least socially retarded.) When they “catch up,” all three of these will be entirely legal.

 

 

Someone said:

 

Show Me the Body   (Regarding "Big Foot.")

Response:

 

No - don't show me. If you actually find one of these, I'll read about it in every newspaper - see it on every television station - read it in scientific journals, etc.

In the mean time - don't waste my time. Even if you call me on the phone and tell me you have one in your living room - I won't take the time to come over.


From an atheist friend:

Chuck: I noted in yesterday's LA Times that the Mormons are the most philanthropic
of all religions.  Do you suppose that is because of the mandates of the
church to help other Mormons in a time of need?  Is it because Mormon's
might have a lot more money than some of the other religions?  I have read
that the Catholic church is the wealthiest of all religions but they seem
to hang on to their do-re-me.  Trivia.....thought you might have some insight.


Response:

The Mormons are very well off per capita. The Catholics have about 100 members for every one Mormon, but are poor per capita by comparison. The total money among Catholics is of course much more than the total among Mormons. To have left-over money is a per-capita issue.

The past decade or so - the Mormons have sent some of their money to the Catholic Church for distribution in different parts of the world - for three reasons. The Catholics have the best distribution system - are trustworthy – and use the least portion of the funds to get the job done. It is my own perception that the Catholics have always cared greatly for the poor of the world.

That co-operation thing feels very good for me - because not too long ago, Mormons would never have done such a work alongside another religion.

The Mormons have for a long time had a very effective welfare system to take care of their own members - when out of a job - injured, etc. It's not nearly big enough for national welfare or international welfare - but works well inside the Church. Many Mormons believe their way would be the best for larger programs also.

The “Bishop’s Storehouse” is always filled with food - and exists in hundreds of places. People in need either go there and shop like in a regular grocery store - or someone else shops for them and takes the food to their houses.

The Church owns its own orange groves - farms of all kinds - canneries for everything - including tuna for years in our own
San Diego area. People go to these places to work voluntarily - to keep costs down and participation up. They pick oranges - can tuna - etc., all their lives from when they’re kids to seniors.

When someone moves - a dozen vans, cars with trailers, and pickup trucks will show up to help.

I knew a family whose roof was leaking - one Saturday a dozen men showed up - with one who knew what he was doing - and completely roofed that house in one day.

These are part of the reasons that, though not convinced on all the beliefs, I value what a good church does in the lives of people. No question - they have what might be called superstitions - but they are people who care - and maybe more important - they care for your whole life for 50 years or more without ceasing.


The Visit: Church of Scientology1330 Fourth AvenueSan Diego

 

There was vacillation regarding whether to make this visit this week or wait ‘til later. It was Stake Conference day. I found out that Leona was going to go to conference (we have visitors from Utah) just 15 minutes before it was to start – and I had some keys to deliver. I delivered the keys – and then realized I would be going right past the Stake Center on the way to San Diego, so I decided to go in and join Leona. When I got to the parking lot – it was double-parked throughout – not room enough for a moped. I drove through the entire lot – and decided it would be good to go and visit the Scientologists after all.

 

I headed for San Diego and fourth street. I entered fourth at the North end – about University. (Wrong end.) It was actually downtown. By the time I got there, parked, and entered the building, I was about 15 minutes late. 10:45 for a 10:30 meeting.

 

There was a receptionist – alone in a waiting room – with an elevator that would lead to the Scientologists. She called up and asked if someone could come down to take me to the meeting, but she had advised me that I may be too late – as there is a certain point in the meeting when interruptions are no longer allowed. She was right; no one came to get me.

 

I waited about 25 minutes more – there was some reading material in the waiting room, which I perused.

 

Then the receptionist called up there again. This time, almost immediately, someone came. In fact, I heard the elevator operating about two seconds after the call was made. I thought that perhaps the first call had been forgotten.

 

A woman appeared. Her name was Kelly, and she would be my guide through the facility. She was confident – and interested in being helpful. As it turns out, Kelly had been in charge of the 10:30 meeting, which had just adjourned. It must last less than an hour.

 

Kelly took me upstairs and showed me the facility – the part on the third floor. There are many rooms for study and exercises that have been developed by the church. The chapel itself was very small – probably the smallest of all on the Trip Around the Sun. It was nice – simple. There was a cross on the wall behind a small lectern – more like a small table, which held a book that looked like a large Bible.

 

The cross was ornate in shape – but not decorated otherwise.

 

I asked, “Since there is a cross, I assume this is Christian?” She said, “Oh, no. It’s not Christian.” Later she pointed out that the cross was a religious symbol long before Christianity began.

 

(I didn’t talk with her about our view of Christianity – wherein it has always been – and I assume they have it as starting with Jesus about 2000 years ago.)

 

She told me that their cross has eight points rather than the four that are in the Christian cross.

 

(Now – I’m going to go out on the net and get you a picture of this cross. Only this time I’m going to save what I’ve written so I don’t have to write it a third time. Ha.)

 

 

The Scientology cross represents the eight dynamics of life:

1.     Self

2.     Family

3.     Groups

4.     Mankind

5.     All things living

6.     All things material

7.     All things Spiritual

8.     The Supreme Being.

 

This is what the cross looked like – appearing to be made of walnut – not as a single piece – but all the separate pieces you see in the diagram. About two feet tall.

 

I got this list of the eight dynamics from the web. Kelly also listed them, but I’m not sure if it was exactly the same. Particularly the last one – The Supreme Being.  It appears there is no belief in a being – a creator – but rather a belief that we are all eternal beings – not one who made the rest.

 

Oh – I remember specifically that the second one was different. Kelly listed the second one as a relationship between two people. I remember this because my thought was “Oh – an interpersonal relationship,” – of which there are 21 in a family of seven.

 

Dad has a relationship with Mom and with each of five children (6)

Then Mom has additional relationships with each of the five children (5)

Then the first child has four additional relationships with the other children (4)

The second child another three (3)

Plus two more for the third child (2)

Plus one more for the fourth child (1)

(The fifth child is already represented in each of the above six lists.)

Each person in the family participates in six interpersonal relationships.

 

Total of 21 interpersonal relationships – and every single one needs to be healthy for a fine-tuned family dynamic.

 

During home teaching, I used to take pictures of each of these relationships – 21 pictures with two people in each picture - for this particular family size.

 

In a case wherein a divorce was proceeding, we used these pictures to point out that among 21 relationships – only one was being dissolved – and that all the rest should continue to be nourished..

 

Kelly took me around to see several rooms that were set up for certain learning exercises. There were lots of books for study also.

 

The whole facility was impressive – not much like any other church – more education and less worship oriented. It was like our own church if there were no chapel and no recreation room and stage. It was all class and study rooms, but for the very small chapel.

 

Later, I saw some other parts of the facility – which I will describe later.

 

She asked if I would like to see a short film that was designed for initial orientation.

 

There was a nice little theatre room – perhaps 25 seats. I sat in the front row – the lights were turned off – very dark – hard to take notes – and I watched the movie.

 

It was a full report of all the functions of the church – with impressive facilities around the world. It showed the globe – and lights to show where the religion was active. It looked much as our missionary maps look – all over the globe. The religion started in England.

 

There is no question this was a sales pitch – very well done – with many testimonials at the end.

 

If I can read what I printed in the dark – here are a few of the testimonials. There were probably more than 50 altogether.

 

“Once I found Scientology, I quit struggling with life, and I started playing with it.”

 

“Before, I was always considered serious; now I have fun.”

 

“Scientology makes work fun.”

 

“I now have control of my life.”

 

“There’s no part of my life that Scientology hasn’t helped.” – John Travolta

 

“Every hundred years or so, a genius comes along and changes the way we do something important – but this change – this Scientology – has happened only once.”

 

“Some genius rises – and life is changed.”

 

“It is not our mission to save the planet – but to free you.”

 

“You are eternal – you are on the threshold of the next trillion years.”

 

“What is true is what is true for you.”

 

“It is up to you – it is you that counts.”

 

“You can ignore all of this. Of course you can – and you can also choose to jump off a bridge, but it would be very stupid to do either one. Do not miss this opportunity!”

 

(It appeared contradictory to me – the urgency – along with the teaching that we are eternal beings about to embark on “The next trillion years.”)

 

(The principle of eternal progression along with urgency has always affected me the same way – as a contradiction. In my own way of handling the metaphors of our religion, I have it that no one can fail forever. It makes more sense to me – people suffering in any way forever – is not sensible to me. Suffering can be useful – but only if it has an end as changes are effected.)

 

This all brought to mind a couple questions I wanted to be sure to ask before my visit was over.

 

Kelly retrieved me from the theatre – and took me down to the second floor to show me the rest of the facility.

 

There was a nice table of food set up there in a nicely appointed visiting area. Here, all that had attended the Sunday meeting had just eaten – and there was plenty left. I was invited to partake – which I gladly did. There was a large platter of watermelon chunks – one of my addictions.

 

(I’m a little confused on the orders of things – this may have happened before the theatre – and not sure what was on what floor. I get saturated in thought during these visits – trying to soak it all in.)

 

Another nice woman joined in our conversation. She was most enthusiastic, and when she found me to be a Mormon – was excited about that. She told me about a recent co-operative effort between the Scientologists and the Mormons in France – where there was an effort afoot to outlaw proselytizing by either group in their country. (I’m going out on the net to try to find something on this - - - save - )

 

 

There was lots of stuff on France and Scientology.

France has long had a contentious relationship with Scientology, which is fighting to be recognized as a legitimate religion in Europe. France registers the Church of Scientology on a list of 173 groups that should be tracked to prevent cult activities.

Among these 173, are the Mormons. It appears that Scientology was most active in fighting the legislation, which has failed.

There are more than 3,200 Scientology churches, missions and groups in 154 countries.

A maxim in Scientology is that only those things which one finds true for himself are true. In Scientology one learns to think for himself – it is a voyage of self-discovery.

Scientologists do not require or even advise the leaving of one’s church. This woman (Not Kelly – the second one) was very interested in the Mormons – almost looked like a missionary opportunity – she had been so very impressed in Salt Lake City on Temple Square – and noted the immense success in family matters among the Mormons.

 

Along with other things Kelly showed me, she took me back into the chapel to show me a little about what I had missed by not making the Sunday meeting. I still want to go back for that. There was a large Bible on the small table at the front – appeared leather bound. It was not a bible – it was the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

It appeared so much as a book of scripture that I began wondering just what position this man holds in the minds of the followers.

I asked Kelly, “Do the Scientologists tend to be liberal as opposed to conservative?”

Oh, yes.

I told her that most Mormons are Republicans – and that I was sometimes a bit of an irritation to them. She laughed, of course.

But let me write down here – word for word – a paragraph from the Church of Scientology Introduction to Church Services:

“Scientology is unique among the major religions of the world in that all its scripture (my emphasis) is faithful to the original written and spoken words of L. Ron Hubbard. These words have been preserved exactly as authored and said – and always will be – thanks to the technology available in this era, giving Scientologists the assurance that their religion will remain pure (my emphasis) and free of alteration.”

This is a stark conservative statement.

I want to point out some surprises for me here. This religion does appear to be more scientific in nature than most. I expected this of the Christian Scientists, and was surprised there to find the opposite – an almost desecration of the scientific method and no respect for it at all.

Christian “Science” somehow brought the expectation of science for me. “Scientology” somehow brought for me the expectation of something like “metaphysics.” In both cases, I was worng. (Just as I was here in the spelling of “wrong.”)

Here, among Scientologists, I expected that desecration – and found instead a more or less logical approach to religion. But with this one huge exception – the “purity” of what is written.

It would be hard to find a more respectable and ingenious scientist than Sir Isaac Newton. He invented the calculus – made sense of gravity mathematically – gave us the fundamental three laws of motion – wow. But along comes Einstein and cohorts – with new wonderful discoveries and new mathematical models to describe the way the universe evidently works – and away with Newton’s “scripture.”

Why? Because science has no respect for the past in and of itself. New data is given more weight than old data. New principles mean more than old, etc. Science is basically liberal – ever changing. It is always hoped that the changes are for the better – toward increased truth – making the change process a bit like the principle of repentance.

 

What L. Ron Hubbard wrote ought to be thrown out as new data and understanding supplants the principles, and no one should feel badly about it, including Hubbard himself - if he is aware in some other portion of his eternal existence. But this is if and only if these Scientologists are liberal. I think they may be more conservative than they realize.

I would like to know more about how they really function with both feet on the ground.

Kelly showed me more of what she does in the facility. It turns out that the regular operator of the Sunday meeting was out of country at another Scientology facility, and Kelly handled the meeting for her. That’s probably a part of the formula for my inability to attend arriving late. She was already pretty well loaded on the assignment.

I asked her if she was paid for the work here. She said no. So I asked, “Then you have to work another job somewhere for your support? Yes.

So it appears that most of the Scientology work is done by volunteers, as we do.

There are several levels of leadership within the organization – I suspect that at higher levels the work is professional and paid – but I don’t know for sure.

On many attempts – all the way to the Supreme Court – Scientology has consistently won its position as a church – a religion – and tax exempt non-profit.

In some other countries, this is a tougher call – as evidenced by the fight in France – though they have evidently won that one too. We know something of the attempts to have Mormons classified as non-Christians, which is absurd to us – but not to everyone.

Certainly against the backdrop of attendance at 52 religions this year, this organization does not appear “religious,” in the sense of worship. They do consider we human beings as spiritual in nature – and eternal – and Kelly argues that this is religion. If there is any subject of “worship,” it is L. Ron Hubbard, but I believe they would resent that accusation. He insisted he was only a man. It appears he thought he was an extraordinary one – and he may have been correct. So was Newton – but Newton’s words are not unchangeable. Neither are Einstein’s.

Toward the end of my visit, I told Kelly that her personality was winning and attractive. I wanted to know if this was part and parcel of her own lifelong personality – or a result of Scientology. She thought it was some of both – that the religion has made her good parts better. There was no embarrassment for the compliment, and it seems there is a certain comfortable pride in what Scientology has meant in her life.

She told me that when she first came upon Scientology, she had a young daughter seriously in trouble at school – getting F’s on spelling tests, etc. Just a few weeks later – with Scientology, her daughter’s life and her own were showing real signs of change. Now she has a twenty year old daughter that she is very proud of, and partly, she credits Scientology.

(I’m still getting things our of order – I haven’t even taken the test yet.)

It’s called the “Oxford Capacity Analysis.” It consists of 200 questions – for which there are three possible answers. Mostly true – unknown or neutral – mostly false.

I answered all as honestly as I could – quickly – about twenty minutes.

Then the answers are put into the computer – and a graph is drawn. There are ten categories that are rated –

 1. Stable

 2. Happy

 3. Composed

 4. Certainty

 5. Active

 6. Aggressive

 7. Responsible (Causative)

 8. Correct Estimation

 9. Appreciative

10. Communication Level

 

An upper area of the resulting graph was labeled “Desirable State.”

Then the middle portion was labeled “Normal.”

And the bottom area was labeled, “Unacceptable State.”

Two of my nine came out on the high end of normal – and all the rest in the Desirable State area.

Kelly said this looked very good – and showed me a couple others with no names – wherein there was considerable to work on – that Scientology could help with.

(I thought – I wonder if this has anything to do with Mormonism – I mean my lack of need in some of these areas? I always marvel when the little ones give talks – especially the ones who have used their own words. The considerable substantive participation in the Church has to be one of its best strengths.)

I want to look up “Oxford Capacity Analysis” and see where it comes from. Is it a Scientology thing – or from the psychology department of Oxford.

(I did)

Searching on AltaVista.com thusly:

+title: "Oxford Capacity Analysis" –Scientology

Zero sites.

If I do not allow the inclusion of the word “Scientology,” the test is shown in no sites at all, so it appears to be exclusively a Scientology thing – probably nothing at all to do with Oxford University.

Now when I include the word “Scientology,” there are a dozen sites.

Among the 200 questions – here are six:

Do you browse through railway timetables, directories or dictonaries just for pleasure?
Do you get occasional twitches of your muscles, when there is no logical reason for it?
Do you enjoy telling people latest scandal about your associates?
Do you rarely suspect the actions of others? (On this one – a yes is a no on being suspicious. Perhaps this is one of their IQ questions?)
Do you often make tactless blunders?

All easy to answer –

But another one said, “Are you often careless?”

Does this mean “Not caring?” [That would be NO – I love people]  Or does it mean “Taking chances?” [That would be YES – I love blasting in the hotrod]

So I answered that one in the middle just to get rid of it.

I’ll be thinking about this whole experience for a while – would like to learn a little more – check out the reality of practice, etc.

Some of the internet sites indicated that the whole of this religion is to sell courses and make lots of money, but I was not approached to make any such purchases – I’m told (on those sites) that I can expect large amounts of mail from now ‘til doomsday. Oh well – if that’s the case, it’s nothing new. I’ll just tell Kelly to “Stop it,” and then I will know if members have any power within the system.

(53) of 52 – Additional visit to Church of Scientology

 

(To Main Page)