I’ve been fascinated by the influence of the Church of Scientology for a while. The have a “Celebrity Centre” for Christ’s sake…oh wait, not Christ, I think it’s Xenu, right? I’ve seen the scary Tom Cruise videos that were leaked, if you want to see Tom Cruise in his scariest role ever, take a look.
This article by Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times is excellent and sheds some new light on the inner workings of that strange religion that to me seems like a cult. When there are punishments for leaving the church, contracts, giving up life savings, and all the other odd ways they keep their flock together it makes me think cult. Here is a snippet from the article.
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Raised as Scientologists, Christie King Collbran and her husband, Chris, were recruited as teenagers to work for the elite corps of staff members who keep the Church of Scientology running, known as the Sea Organization, or Sea Org.
They signed a contract for a billion years — in keeping with the church’s belief that Scientologists are immortal. They worked seven days a week, often on little sleep, for sporadic paychecks of $50 a week, at most.
But after 13 years and growing disillusionment, the Collbrans decided to leave the Sea Org, setting off on a Kafkaesque journey that they said required them to sign false confessions about their personal lives and their work, pay the church thousands of dollars it said they owed for courses and counseling, and accept the consequences as their parents, siblings and friends who are church members cut off all communication with them.
Now that’s an enlightened thing to do, isn’t it?