I have always been a firm believer that to criticize and abhor someone or something, you must first have good reason based on knowledge and experience. For example, I dislike Green Bay Packers fans because they let Brett Favre control their lives.
So when I found myself consistently voicing my distaste for Scientology, I decided to overcome my hypocrisy and do a little research on the controversial religion.
My first call was to Milwaukee’s Church of Scientology and Dianetics Center. I called on a weekday around 1:40 p.m. to find the church is only open from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, as well as for services on Sundays.
A little weird, but I let it slide. I got in touch with a representative from a Scientology church in Chicago who directed me to their main Web site.
In a nutshell I learned this: Scientology was founded by science fiction novelist L. Ron Hubbard. Central to Scientology is the Creed of Scientology. The main idea is that all men, no matter what race, color or creed were created equal and that all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices.
In order to fully comprehend the religion, Scientologists must go through a series of levels and cash payments until they reach the highest “Operating Thetans.” It is here I learned that human beings are actually trapped on earth in a physical body and that we are in fact immortal alien spiritual beings, or thetans (This was supposed to be kept from the public — until it was leaked a few years ago).
While I was reading and listening, a quote from Billy Madison came to mind.
“Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
But before making a final judgment, I surfed the net for any recent news about the religion that might give me a little perspective.
The first four headlines I saw were: “Church of Scientology chased down and brought back members who tried to leave,” “ ‘Crash’ director Paul Haggis renounces Scientology over gay rights,” “French branch of Scientology convicted of fraud” and “Kirstie Alley to stay in reality series.” No Joke.
So recap on what I learned: All heterosexual men have equal rights. We are aliens. The French have added Scientologists to the list of people they don’t like. Scientologists are really hands-on in retaining members.
But I vowed to be an objective journalist so I kept digging to make sure I was getting both sides of the story. After further research I stumbled upon a promising list of influential members.
Right off the bat I saw Tom Cruise, Isaac Hayes and Brandy. Ten years ago this would have been a big endorsement but in this time frame, Tom Cruise has gone completely insane, Brandy killed someone and Isaac Hayes left the best show on television, “South Park.”
Kirstie Alley was on there as well and she has a new reality TV show, so score one for the Scientologists.
Finally, I made one last attempt and went to the source, the man that created the religion. I thought of all the inspirational quotes that Jesus had like, “An eye for an eye.”
Perhaps I could find one that may even things out for me, a quote that makes me realize that I am simply not meant to understand Scientology, that it is simply not my destiny.
Very quickly I found this quote from L. Ron Hubbard himself.
“If you want to make a little money, write a book. If you want to make a lot of money, create a religion.” No Joke.