May 2007

Scientology is in the press again…

Having lived in Clearwater, Florida (the world headquarters of Scientology) for the formative parts of my life I have a thing or two to say about Scientology. Let me start by saying that I am not a Scientologist nor am I interested in ever becoming one. It is as much a cult as Islam, Catholicism, Mormonism, People’s Temple and, if you consider a cult as something where a group of people venerate the same thing, just about any religion. The difference between a cult, as we negatively think about the word, and an accepted religion stems from society’s acceptance of the group’s general practices.

Scientology for all intents and purposes is considered in the US (and other nations but not Great Britain) as equal, in the eyes of the law, to any other tax free religious institution. This status has allowed the Church of Scientology to make large purchases of land and businesses and not have to pay their proper dues to Uncle Sam. I would even go so far as to say that Scientology is one large pyramid scheme with the people at the top having all the desired information to reach enlightenment and instead of openly sharing it, they profit off the people at the bottom who so desperately want to know it. It is a complete and utter power pyramid.

Although other religions have systems of tithing like Catholics who are supposed to pay X% of their salary to the church, Scientology requires complete control of your assets. Managing money is for Operating Thetans I suppose.

I remember going to Albertsons and finding Scientologists on every aisle. They, like nuns, stick out due to their formal outfits and uniforms…especially since the group only seems to shop at 2:00 in the morning. Their outfits are very similar to navy uniforms, which is probably because Mr. L Ron Hubbard was a former naval officer. They are not an openly friendly group of people and rarely returned my smile. They spoke to each other in hushed tones and were usually purchasing food items that seemed to be for a party of some sort or a large group of people.

Notice her uniform in the picture from the Hollywood Celebrity Center.

Scientologists usually stick to the downtown area of Clearwater and are not overly open about their practices. I have walked into one of the downtown stationers before and been given the once over by the owners who went automatically on the defensive when I asked if the establishment was owned by the Church of Scientology. I can’t blame them for being defensive but seriously, if it’s so great, why not hang it on your shoulder…shouldn’t everyone be able to see it is as great as you think and join? I mean, Mother Theresa probably wouldn’t have given me the evil eye if I asked her who owned the convent. Ahhh, but L. Ron thought of this, because to Scientologists we are all outsiders who have not reached enlightenment and are therefore not able to understand its benefits without paying for a cure from our current maladies.

Scientology preys on alcoholics, child abusers, drug addicts and the mentally ill. It’s a great formula for success and monetary gain because many of the above are at the end of their rope and are willing to do anything to see a change in their life. For their life’s fortune, Scientology can cure these individuals of their vices – without medication. Although Scientologists are against psychiatry, their auditing processes seem to be very closely linked to psychological therapy.

Fort Harrison HotelMany of the Scientologists live in compounds across Clearwater surrounded by barbed wire and guarded booths. Others live fairly normal lives in society. I went to high school with Scientologists who were regular teenagers and who never attempted to convert me in any way. That said, there is now a centralized school teaching Scientology. The Clearwater Academy International located in Clearwater and New York will likely now be the schooling center for a majority of those Scientologists in those two cities and who fly in to stay at their multi-million dollar facility.

I would say that you usually do not encounter Scientology in Clearwater unless you are out looking for it. The only exception to this would be downtown Clearwater where Scientology is evident on every street corner. On your way over to the beach on a Friday afternoon, you will likely encounter large groups of Scientologists (20 or more) crossing the streets to their next classes.

Well, those are my connections on this one. Here’s what other people are saying:

Cnn news special. I have heard from people who also claim that they have been asked by the Church to assist in training a militia in the South-Western part of the US. Notice the space station type setting. Scientology is like an overextended sci-fi convention.

Link to article between Penthouse and L. Ron Hubbard Jr. I guess there really is good reading in the articles they print.

Link to article regarding Scientology in the classroom from the St. Petersburg Times.

Clearwater City Meeting – School award debate

A who’s who of Clearwater Scientology. The Scientologist have their fingers in the pot everywhere. From the famous Clearwater Jazz Holiday to the Boys and Girls club, their representatives have their fingers in the pot of many affairs in Clearwater.

Keith Henson in jail for picketing the Church of Scientology in California.

BBC report and reporter losing in on XenuTV and John Travolta lobbying BBC to kill the documentary.

Against the Church of Scientology? Then you should await your fate as being posted on the religious freedom watch page.

Fragmented Self is meant to be a personal experience of the web sphere. It seems that I and many others have so many user names and passwords that we need tools to manage them. We don’t just create a single identity like the one we carry around in our wallets. We create multiple identities because we are told it is more secure and safer.

I am a social subscriber. I will subscribe to pretty much anything that is free and useful. I will also come up with a variety of different user names and passwords. I have some that are iron clad with symbols and numbers and the whole bit. I can easily cycle through 10 different user names depending on the year the account was made. I have an especially hard one for my bank account and a relatively easy one for my junk mail account. At this point, if a site does not provide a “Forgot your password” link, I don’t sign up.

That brings me to the Fragmented Self project I am which I am designing this blog around. I am a member of a variety of communities. Social memberships, reference tools, research, reading, learning…you name it and I probably have a user name.

So with all of these names in space. How can I connect them again? How do I manage my identity and re-centralize my presence. My idea – to blog about the interconnectedness of web tools and services out there. Who connects to who and how can you use it? First stop, Word Press.

I will take no direct side on this. However, knowing that I have a disease where sufferers claim to have benefited from medicinal marijuana, I have an inclination to keep up with one side over the other.

Asylum Street Spankers – Winning the War on Drugs

Bill Hicks

Montel Williams

Having a voice and putting yourself on the line to express it, that’s what fame is for.

Medicinal Marijuana