Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Slick New Ads - Same Old Loons

Just last week, I noticed that the "Church" of Scientology has new television adds. These adds are professionally produced, well written, and beautifully shot. The new adds are definitely a huge step up from the cartoon volcano I remember from the Dianetics (I'm pleased to see that "Dianetics" is not included in my spell-check dictionary) adds of the 80's.



I'm not going to embed the adds. If you haven't seen them, they can be found here.

Scientology was started back in the 1950's by hack science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. In my opinion, Hubbard never could write his way out of a wet paper bag. I read Battlefield Earth when I was in high school, and I'd love to have those hours back. It was painful. And the doctrines and beliefs of Scientology also read like painfully bad science fiction.

For instance, Earth, which is actually the planet Teegeeack, was set up some 75 million years ago as an interstellar prison by Xenu, the Evil Galactic Overlord (not to be confused with Xena, Warrior Princess.) (Want to do something fun? Google "evil galactic overlord" and count how many hits are related to Scientology!) According to Scientology, we are all still prisoners of Xenu, doomed to endless reincarnation, until we realize that we are really god-like galactic beings, called "Thetans." Sad that people buy into this stuff.

It is well known that Scientology deliberately targets prominent people, such as actors like John Travolta and Tom Cruise. Founder Hubbard desired to use such "Opinion Leaders" as "Social Proof" for Scientology. (Read an ex-Scientologist's description of the recruitment process here.) These prominent people become the celebrity spokesmen of the cult.

Scientology is also very harsh against critics. In 1994, The Washington Post published this article, detailing many of Scientology's tactics for silencing opposition. This is a long expose, but well worth the reading.

This is a scary group, secretive and with their own quasi-military arm, the Sea Organization. Scientology has been repeatedly exposed as an abusive, manipulative group. Their website (follow link at your own risk) claims that they are undergoing huge growth, but their innate secrecy makes that hard to confirm.

In addition to their new ad campaign, Scientology has been very much in the news lately, with an expose series in the St. Petersburg Times, and fraud charges against the "church" in France. There have long been efforts to ban Scientology in Germany, where it is not recognized as a religion, but as a "commercial entity."

Scientology is just more evidence that, once someone rejects the truth of God and the Bible (see Romans 1:28), the only question left is, "Which lie will they believe?"

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4 comments:

Fred Butler said...

My first "evangelism" encounter in LA back in 92 was with a scientologist. A friend of mine and myself were in Hollywood doing a street witnessing assignment for a seminary class. We just so happened to be in front of the huge hospital-turned-dormitory for scientologists. The bolder sized bust of L. Ron Hubbard in the front lawn gave it away. Being curious southern boys, we walked into the lobby bookstore. I was shocked that there were no books under 50 bucks - and I am talking even coloring books.

So as we "browsed," a fellow in a Star Trek looking outfit (I kid you not) comes strolling up to us and begins chatting us up about who were are and if were are interested in Scientology. We of course began asking him all sorts of questions about his beliefs and if Christianity was compatible with Scientology. He of course said "Yes!" Sure it is.

We maybe talked with the guy for 10 minutes. During which, a group of his friends, who were also wearing Star Trek looking uniforms, were also in the lobby and would call for him to come over to them. He kept telling them "just a second." After about the 4th time, all three of these guys came and forcibly took the guy away from us. It was bizarre. That was enough to spook my friend and me so we beat a hasty retreat.

I'll have to write this story up into a blog post. It's one of the more memorable moments of living in LA.

The Squirrel said...

Fred,

Great story! I don't know that I've ever met a Scientologist, there aren't many of them in the mountains of Montana, I guess, but I've known my share of tin-foil-hat-wearing, the-government-is-hiding-UFO's-and-aliens types. I've got to say, from what I've read, the UFO guys make more sense...

Scary, that...

~Squirrel

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Yikes, Squirrel.

I meant to leave you a comment yesterday, but I got side-tracked in a web of links.

I had no idea their beliefs were so downright BIZARRE.

Of course, I'm not much of a science-fiction buff, but it took me a minute or two to realize you were stating their actual beliefs and not a B-grade sci-fi movie plot.

The Squirrel said...

Julie-

Their beliefs really are bizarre, are they not?

It has long been reported that L. Ron Hubbard expressed interest in starting a religion as a way of making money. I guess this is the best a B-grade sci-fi hack writer could come up with.

You know, the next time I watch a Tom Cruise movie, I'll tape a note to the bottom of the screen that says, "Thinks he is a prisoner of Xenu" just to put it all in perspective...

~Squirrel