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April 1, 2007

April fools

For some unknown reason, the LRH Foundation waited until March 30th to issue a press release celebrating Ron Hubbard’s March 13th birthday. I’ve already marked the occasion, but April 1st seems like the perfect day to reflect again on “how and why millions celebrate” this particular fraudster’s memory:

The answer is as interesting as the life of the man him-
self, who was born in the wild-west frontier of Amer-
ica and set out at an early age to better understand and help people around him. The celebration is as one would expect as non-
traditional and non-dog-
matic as the trails he traveled to achieve that objective as he traveled around the world, looking into the “nooks and cran-
nies of existence,” studied twenty-one cultures, wrote over 500 books and short stories and gave some 3,000 lectures recording the development.
The watershed moment for Mr. Hubbard on this path of research and discovery came in 1950, when he published the book, Dian-
etics: the Modern Science of Mental Health, the first text ever written on the human mind and life that was at once comprehensive and workable and accessible to anyone. Released on May 9th, 1950, the work immediately topped the New York Times bestseller list, remained there for 26 weeks and gave rise to some 750 Dianetics groups within the first year of its publication. As he commented, from that time forward, “my life was no longer my own.” Within weeks, people lined up on his lawn to find out more and the book has since gone on sell over 21 million copies internationally in over 70 languages.
… Programs using Mr. Hubbard’s discoveries in drug rehabilitation are five times more effective than any other similar program. His breakthroughs in the field of learning and literacy are used in more than 500 centers and have been incorporated into whole educational systems, with dramatic increases in student achievement. His program for criminal reform, which produces a greater than 80 percent reduction in recidivism, is used in more than 2,000 prisons and penal institutions internationally. And the distribution of Mr. Hubbard’s common sense moral code, The Way to Happiness, has statistically reversed declining moral trends across entire communities.

All complete bullshit, of course—especially the last paragraph, which is pure fantasy—but a good excuse to revisit Scientology’s equally absurd belief system. Consider “Natalie,” who was featured in an entertaining profile of Scientology published in Rolling Stone early last year:

Both of Natalie’s parents are Clear, she says. Her grandmother is what’s called an “Operating Thetan,” or “OT.” So is Tom Cruise, who is near the top of Scientology’s Bridge, at a level known as OT VII. OTs are Scientology’s elite – enlightened beings who are said to have total “control” over themselves and their environment. OTs can allegedly move inanimate objects with their minds, leave their bodies at will and telepathically communicate with, and control the behavior of, both animals and human beings. At the highest levels, they are allegedly liberated from the physical universe, to the point where they can psychically control what Scientologists call MEST: Matter, Energy, Space and Time.
The most important, and highly anticipated, of the eight “OT levels” is OT III, also known as the Wall of Fire. It is here that Scientologists are told the secrets of the universe, and, some believe, the creation story behind the entire religion. It is knowledge so dangerous, they are told, any Scientologist learning this material before he is ready could die. […] Scientologists must be “invited” to do OT III. Beforehand, they are put through an intensive auditing process to verify that they are ready. They sign a waiver promising never to reveal the secrets of OT III, nor to hold Scientology responsible for any trauma or damage one might endure at this stage of auditing. Finally, they are given a manila folder, which they must read in a private, locked room.
These materials, which the Church of Scientology has long struggled to keep secret, were published online by a former member in 1995 and have been widely circulated in the mainstream media, ranging from The New York Times to last year’s South Park episode. They assert that 75 million years ago, an evil galactic warlord named Xenu controlled seventy-six planets in this corner of the galaxy, each of which was severely overpopulated. To solve this problem, Xenu rounded up 13.5 trillion beings and then flew them to Earth, where they were dumped into volcanoes around the globe and vaporized with bombs. This scattered their radioactive souls, or thetans, until they were caught in electronic traps set up around the atmosphere and “implanted” with a number of false ideas – including the concepts of God, Christ and organized religion. Scientologists later learn that many of these entities attached themselves to human beings, where they remain to this day, creating not just the root of all of our emotional and physical problems but the root of all problems of the modern world.

I know, I know, we’ve been here before. Often.

But it’s April 1st. So humor me.

Posted by Stephen at 12:02 AM in Religion + cults | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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