On Feb. 19, Hollywood’s favorite religion will celebrate its 59th Anniversary. To help with the celebration, Life’d now takes a look at 9 Facts about Scientology to Make You Think Twice about Joining. Dianetics fans, you may want to look the other way. Now, let’s get down to business.
Multiple sources who knew L. Ron Hubbard in life, including firsthand accounts from people who witnessed the sci-fi author speak, reported comments to the effect that “the easiest way to make money would be to start a religion” (Reporter Neison Himmel, quoted in the book Bare Faced Messiah). Of all the facts about Scientology, this one is the most telling and could lead one to interpret that the founder of the religion believed what he was espousing about as much as you probably do if you clicked on this story.
The villainous alien Xenu enslaved memory implants, or Thetans (Fay-tans), to planet Earth in or around volcanos. After the eruptions, these Thetans were trapped here and decided to latch on to humanity. They are, today, the source of our confusion. Jesus was a pretty high level Thetan, according to Hubbard, and didn’t exist. These same facts about Scientology also call into question other events and people throughout world history, but Jesus is probably the most high profile.
Followers dispute much of the religion’s bad press, but one of the facts about Scientology that is difficult to argue against is Operation Snowwhite. In an effort to protect its tax interests and remove unfavorable government files regarding the religion, more than 5,000 Scientology agents infiltrated the IRS and other government agencies as workers. The effort eventually led to FBI interest and several indictments, save for Hubbard. However, his wife Mary was not so lucky. She was sentenced to five years imprisonment, though that was eventually reduced to one for medical reasons.
Hubbard took to the high seas aboard his Royal Scotsman – a 3,000+ ton vessel. His life was a very cushy one unlike most of his crew. His attendants were teenage girls, whose uniforms consisted of white hot pants. It was their job to lay out his clothes for the day, dress him, light cigarettes and clean up his ashes, according to Tonja Burden, one of the lucky gals. If you did something Hubbard didn’t like, it wasn’t uncommon to be locked up in tiny holding cells and given the most menial of jobs. (Think sewer-related.)
Referring back to No. 1 and the probability that Hubbard didn’t believe a word of his religion, one’s successes in advancing through Scientology hierarchy are directly contingent on the amount of money paid in. Scientologists must pay for their course-work, counseling and other tasks as they move from one level to the next. While exact estimates depend on one’s “needs,” the highest level, OT VIII, runs around $300,000.
Scientology members must sign one-billion-year contracts. Good luck getting out of that!
Of the facts about Scientology that are the most agreeable, this is probably the one. Followers of the religion are forbidden from complaining, which on the surface sounds like a great idea. After all, who needs the negativity? However, the Church itself doesn’t do the best job in practicing this as they’ve issued a number of complaints and threats of lawsuits over the years to publications or programs that portray it in a negative light.
The FBI is currently investigating Scientology for human trafficking allegations. The case remains open, and alleges that the Church of Scientology engaged in the practice “using free labor,” according to The New Yorker, in the service of celebrity figurehead Tom Cruise.
Going back to the Tonja Burden case, the girl was 13 when her parents joined the Church of Scientology, but they eventually left the religion and were separated from their daughter, who was still traveling aboard Hubbard’s ship. According to Burden, she was kept away from her parents until 1977 – a period of around four years. She eventually accepted a settlement from the church to drop her suit of kidnapping. She dropped the allegations in 1986. Members of the faith are expected to follow the church’s bidding, which means that if families are to be “stationed” in different locations and split apart, they must do so no questions asked. (Refer back to facts about Scientology No. 7.)
Those are our facts about Scientology. Which ones did we leave off the list? Share your comments below!