Most UFO cults don’t stay around for very long; they either self destruct, like Heaven’s Gate or fade away, like the Aetherius Society. Even the Raelians have slowly faded into obscurity.
Scientology though refuses to die. Despite being declared a criminal organisation in Canada and other countries. Despite the huge amount of negative press they’ve had on the internet and elsewhere. Despite horrific stories like Lisa McPherson. Despite the now common knowledge that Scientologists believe in a galactic empire commanded by Xenu. Despite all these things, Scientology hangs in there on the edge of obscurity. And I think I know why.
L Ron Hubbard was a cheap hack and a fraud, but he wasn’t stupid. He and his followers set up programs that have an air of legitimacy. Underneath the thin veneer of respectability they are all bullshit, but that little bit of polish makes them appeal to the weak, down-trodden and credulous; the people they are aimed at. Let’s take a look at some of those programs:
This is the “get ’em while they’re young” approach; a learning methodology developed by Hubbard to teach kids basic literacy. It sounds great; teaching kids to read is a noble endeavour, so there you have that air of legitimacy. But this program was developed by a guy who could barely write himself (have you tried reading Battlefield Earth?); a guy who had no background or experience in teaching young kids. And when you strip away all the polish it’s just another way to get people into the “church”.
There is also nothing particularly new or special about Hubbard’s “study tech”. The prime concept of Applied Scholastics is: if you don’t understand a word, look it up in a dictionary. Secondary to that, kids should not tackle complex subjects until they’ve finished the simple ones. That’s it, there’s not much else to it. This is hailed as revolutionary by Scientologists but it really isn’t.
OK so if the “get ’em while they’re young” approach fails, how about “get ’em while they’re weak”? Targetting the weak and downtrodden is how Scientology gets most of their recruits. Narconon is a perfect example. Narconon targets drug addicts, people who have hit rock bottom and have nowhere else to go. Drug rehabilitation is another noble cause, something that can be offered for the good of society; but once again it’s just a front, a veneer of respectability to draw people in.
Once again we’re talking about a system developed by a man with no background or experience in the field. Hubbard wasn’t a doctor and had no medical training, he just made this stuff up, and it shows. Narconon involves pumping addicts with huge amounts of vitamin and mineral supplements and then putting them in a sauna to “detox” their bodies. After that they have to perform “TRs” (training routines), a standard Scientology technique involving things like yelling at ashtrays (yes, really). For this, patients pay up to $30,000 and risk getting brainwashed into the “church” or worse.
Continuing with the targetting of the weak and downtrodden, Criminon is another Scientology front. This time aimed at another weak segment of our population, prisoners, Criminon is a “rehabilitation program” for criminals. Again it sounds noble and philanthropic, but it’s just another front, just another way to get recruits.
Criminon isn’t very much different from Narconon, it includes the “purification” methods of vitamins, minerals and saunas, as well as written tests and the mandatory reading of Hubbard’s “A Way To Happiness” wherein he sets out his commandments. Criminon, like Narconon, has no scientific basis and no scientific evidence to support its efficacy. It’s the ramblings of a madman and yet too many people take it at face value.
Citizens Commission on Human Rights
Ooh, that sounds important and special doesn’t it? Human Rights, causes don’t come much nobler. But what is the Citizens Commission on Human Rights really? Yes, it’s another Scientology front group. CCHR is basically an anti-psychiatry organisation. Hubbard hated psychiatrists, claiming that every one could be accused of murder and mayhem. The stated goal of CCHR is to fight against the supposed “human rights crimes” committed by mental health professionals. What they’re really doing is pushing Scientology.
I could go into detail about all the other Scientology front groups, but I think you get the idea. Scientology creates organisations that sound respectable, that sound like worthy causes, but in reality they’re just pushing a UFO cult. Some other examples of Scientology fronts are:
- Americans Preserving Religious Liberty (previously Alliance for the preservation of religious liberty)
- The Cult Awareness Network (previously legitimate until it was sued into bankruptcy by Scientology)
- The Way To Happiness Foundation
- Concerned Businessman’s Association of America
- HealthMed Clinic
- World Literacy Crusade
- Downtown Medical
- ABLE (Association for Better Living and Education)
- Better Family Relations Association
- Foundation for Religious Tolerance
- East Hollywood People Against Crime
- Environmental Task Force
- Foundation for the Advancement in Science and Education (!)
- International Academy of Detoxification Specialists (targetting firefighters after 9/11)
- Library Donation Service (to get Hubbard’s crappy books into libraries)
- Second Chance (AKA Narconon AKA Scientology)
Don’t they all sound wholesome and lovely? Sadly they’re not. They’re the tendrils of a “church” desperately trying to stay alive and rake in as much money as possible.
The many arms of Xenu if you will.