The weekly show where I answer question from viewers left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent by email to AskChrisShelton@gmail.com.
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Checklist of Cult Characteristics: http://goo.gl/tS0Jcb
(1) I was wondering if you might be able to compare and contrast destructive cults such as Scientology with groups such as the Marine Corps, fraternities, or the police force. I can see that there are some big differences – for example, there is no enforced disconnection if you choose to leave these groups. However, I think that there are a lot of similarities, too. I’ve been really interested lately in the way that mind control tactics are used to build group loyalty in settings outside of what we might consider “traditional” cults. Would love to hear your insights into this.
(2) I know Scientology has anywhere from 20-50,000 members currently based on what numbers you believe for current membership, but what was Scientology’s absolute peak membership and what year was that? I can’t find that anywhere. I think it’s an important question because it would reveal how much undue influence this cult had at its peak. Thanks for you answer, even if it’s just an educated guess or citing someone else.
(3) Thank you again for all the good work. Have you seen the movie with Harvey Keitel called Holy Smoke? He plays a «cult deprogrammer». What do you make of such practice ethically and morally? Also, are you familliar with the reality tunnel concept and with R. A. Wilson?
(4) I know Scientologists aren’t supposed to discuss their own cases, so what do they talk to one another about? Is it as jargon heavy as I imagine it would be and is there an element of snobbery among public based on their place on the Bridge or IAS status? Are there any policies or guiding principles as to when the “love bombing” stops and the berating of public begins?
(5) Chris, I’d love to hear you talk a little bit about how you dodged the “foul mouth” bullet. Watching Tim DeWall talk in the interview you did with so many expletives and bad attitudes reminds me how that really was the culture and so few people didn’t talk like that. You never seem to talk like that. Did you when you were in? Is it a conscious choice not to, now?
(6) What I would like to know is how do they answer census questions, in particular here in Australia where the last census put their membership at just over 2500 and Jedi at over 65,000? I can’t understand how they can explain this as to me they would want their members to proudly announce they were Scientologists. Seems to me if I were a Scientologist I would be asking how can this be?
(7) When Sea Org members get married (most very young), is it legal, as in do they go and get a marriage license? Do they have ceremonies? And when there is forced disconnection or someone leaves, are there legal divorce processes?
(8) If the goal of Scientology is to “clear the planet” it would seem to me that they would be happy to provide their literature and auditing at no charge. The majority of residents of the planet Earth could never afford their fees, so, by definition, the mission and spiritual goals of Scientology can never be realized.
(9) Who came up with the design aesthetic that seems to be so prevalent in Scientology? Taste is clearly subjective but the pillars, ivy and near ubiquitous gold electroplate are almost baroque in their excess.