The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comments section of my Q&A shows or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) I know Scientology targets professionals such as chiropractors and veterinarians with their business and admin “tech”. How do these small business people, who are also Scientologists, deal with patients, customers, or even business partners who are reading your blog, watching Leah Remini’s “Aftermath” or who are simply exposed to what is becoming more and more common knowledge about Hubbard’s cult of broken dreams? Surely they can’t disconnect from all of them? What if a business partner or patient is one degree removed from a Facebook friend who is an open critic? What if a customer’s husband watched “Going Clear”? It’s insane to even think it’s possible to exert this level of control. I have to believe if this policy were strictly enforced everyone would be declared.
(2) Is everyone in charge of PR at $cientology, aka the Office of Special Affairs, ignorant of the reverse effect, when they bash former members? To name just a few: Tory “Magoo” Christman, Jason Beghe, and Karen De La Carrier, and the more recent attacks aimed at Mike Rinder, Leah Remini, Ron Miscavige and yourself. You all have an average of 30 years of participation. The “COS” in it’s infinite wisdom has decided to label all you as losers, immoral, selfish, criminal, the “slime of the earth”, and so on, and so on. I extract and interpret from this practice, that 30 years of participation and reaching the highest levels in the various member areas of the organization, along with studying the “scriptures/tech”, has been ineffective, and therefore $cientology simply, does NOT work. It seems like they are testifying, to the failure of their own system and structure. Another foot bullet? Is this their admission or am I getting it wrong? I would love to hear you elaborate on this topic.
(3) I grew up in a somewhat strict religious environment and I’ve been studying cult groups since I lost my faith in my early twenties. I’ve noticed that recently (perhaps in the last few years) that the term “brainwashing” has fallen very much out of favor and has been replaced with “undue influence.” Normally I would roll my eyes at this kind of thing and see it as nothing more than a semantics game, but I actually think it makes sense. “Undue influence” is far more palatable and is easily contemplated, especially when compared to “brainwashing”, which frankly has an air of hypnotic bullshit about it.
Do you think that the word “cult” will ever be replaced in the same way “brainwashing” was? I’m not at all proposing that it should be, but the word itself has an intensely negative connotation and is perceived as being intrinsically combative in nature. The general public only acknowledges a group as a cult when they are as loud and as ugly as the Westboro Baptist church – meanwhile large scale abuses by the Jehovah’s Witness organization and the Mormon church are largely ignored. I can’t help but wonder if these abusive groups would get more media attention if there were a less ham-fisted way to label them. Thanks for all your videos and I’m curious to hear what you think.
(4) Hey Chris! Thanks for answering my question a few weeks back. Got another one for you. I saw Battlefield Earth a few years ago on Netflix and it was so rancid that I had to spread out my viewing in 10-15 minutes increments over a few days. I read a book reviewer around that time who pointed out a plot element in the story that may reflect Hubbard’s view of his followers. The main alien villain, Terl, wants to become rich by mining a gold mine in the Rocky Mountains. I think in the movie it was Fort Knox? Terl recruits the human Jonnie Goodboy Tyler to get the gold for him and uses a learning machine or advanced “tech” to increase Jonnie’s intelligence so Jonnie can be more able to get the gold. I’ve always thought this was Hubbard’s secret message of what he was doing with Scientology and he left it in plain sight. Has anyone else thought of this before or have you realized it yourself? I’m amazed it hasn’t been talked about more even though it was in Scientology’s one major foray into Hollywood with John Travolta in the starring role.
(5) Hi, Chris. I heard you comment that if Scientology were a country it would be exactly like North Korea. I think that comparison is eerily accurate. There are pictures of LRH everywhere in Scientology orgs, just like portraits of the Kim family are plastered around NK. The RPF seems identical to a gulag or labor camp like in NK. Also, Scientology’s use of the Chinese School method comes to mind. It makes one wonder if LRH wasn’t just intimately familiar with Soviet government and copied/pasted it onto his organization. The lack of or discouragement of open internet use in both is another parallel, and many many more I can think of I won’t waste your time with. My question relates to this. I noticed that Ideal Orgs opened up in Japan, Taiwan, and Moscow recently, but not South Korea. Maybe it’s just coincidence, but I was wondering if maybe it never gained a foothold there because the citizens would quickly realize the parallels to NK and it would cause terrible PR for the church. What are your thoughts on this as it relates to South Korea? And your thoughts as to whether or not LRH copied his platform from Communist Authoritarianism as a whole??
(6) From the films, videos and photos I have seen, it appears that the “church” of Scientology is almost exclusively white/caucasian. Is this correct, and, if it is, do you have any idea why?
(7) In “Scientology and the Aftermath” Leah Remini and Mike Rinder refer to Scientology as “the Church” and Scientologists as “parishioners”. Do members of Scientology really believe that they are parishioners in a Church? Do you believe Scientology is a Church? Obviously you can’t speak for Leah or Mike, but do you think that they believe Scientology is a Church? Are Leah and Mike doing this out of habit? I find their use of these terms to be jarring. It seems to me that they have willingly ceded rhetorical high ground to Scientology by referring to it as the Church. Thanks is advance for any thoughts you have on this.
(8) Chris, I was just listening to the year-end Shrine gala that Tony Ortega posted, and Miscavige, throwing out the crazy ‘expansion’ stats, said a new ‘clear’ was made every 90 minutes — that’s 16 per day. Yet in everything I read about the cult I see stuff about ‘clearing the planet’ being such an important goal. So what are members thinking when they hear something like that that indicates, despite all the other ‘expansion’ stats, that they’re falling behind since the planet is growing much faster than they’re clearing it? Is it one of those cognitive dissonance things they simply try not to think about? How do they reconcile it?