Anonymous, regarding parishioner's tithing, my problem with Scientology is that it is not accountable to any independent agency for the manner in which it spends its donated income. It is my understanding that religious organizations are granted tax exemption because they provide a public service.
Scientology spends excessive amounts of money on lawyers, private investigators, dead agent packs, and other questionable activities. Many Scientologists are unaware of how their donations are being misused.
In forwarding Hubbard's policy of "utterly destroying" Scientology critics, Scientology lawyers typically spend 3 times the amount they recover (if any) in "going after" their critics.
This is an abuse of donations. Wouldn't you think that a responsible religion would use wisdom in its use of donations and achieve something socially beneficial rather than using church donations to destroy a person's life?
That's what bona fide religions do with money, they use it to cover their operating expenses and help the many, not destroy the few.
Responding to your comment "how can this be true for a fairly random cross section of Scientologists if indeed the church and its methods are as heinous and dehumanising as you insist?" Personally, I don't think your acquaintances are a fairly random cross section.
Scientology seems to suit some people. There are a number of people who love the tech but hate the org and operate in the "Freezone" (which CoS calls squirrels and therefore are enemies). And there is a growing number of people who feel they were abused and defrauded by Scientology.
I fall in the third class. You can read my story on-line. I was a Scientologist for 13 years. I believe it destroyed my marriage and Dianetics was the influence that led to my first child being brain damaged at birth (as mentioned in a post above). My story is at www.xenu.net
. Scroll down to the Personal Accounts section and click on "The Story of Cheryl S."
I don't know the folks you speak of, but it sounds like they are intelligent enough to take the good and avoid the bad, maybe able to hold a position and not allow the abuse. I don't know. I think it takes a strong person to be able to hold a position, and a lot of people aren't strong enough and they end up being abused.
However, I don't find fault with the people that are abused because Scientology does use hard sell, heavy ethics, coercion and undue influence. There are just too many stories singing the same song that have come out to believe otherwise.
I agree though, staff have it much, much harder than public. And it can be a very damaging influence in some people's lives. Others seem to thrive on it. Overall, I think the thrivers are in the minority.
I recently wrote an essay examining Scientology's goal of "a world without war, crime and insanity." You can read it on-line at the same page. Scroll down to the Tech section and click on "A World Without." This paper brings together lots of information about the Scientology into one place. I personally believe that the management is running Scientology into the ground with its many questionable activities.
I do not hold any Scientologist any ill will. I think most Scientologists are bright, idealistic people.
However, I cannot condone an organization that walks all over other people's human rights. I am talking about how critics are sued, harassed, followed by private investigators, frivolous criminal charges are filed against them, businesses are ruined, employers are harassed so they cannot remain employed, etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
Scientology's rights are not senior to anyone else's rights. You need to educate yourself about Scientology's forced labor organization called the RPF (Rehabilitation Project Force), a website that does not have any indication that it is maintained by Scientology, yet has nothing but Scientology's critics displayed in an unfavorable light with inflammatory narrative at www.parishioners.org
I have recently learned of a secret RPF on the Freewinds (the ship on which OT8 is delivered) wherein the most dangerous defectors are imprisoned and stay in international waters where no one can touch them (read about it at www.lermanet.com--Ashcroft
testimony about the Freewinds). This in addition to people whose passports are held hostage until large sums of money are extracted in exchange for their passports and other unconscionable acts, the RPF at Golden Era Studios in Hemet, CA, and the local RPF's at ASHO's and AO's and other upper orgs.
I suspect your friend probably doesn't know about the real activities of OSA and Scientology management. If he did, he would be very concerned. If he cares about Scientology continuing, he should study the issues and seek reform.
You can always write me at email@example.com