The SkepDoc: Scientology's War on Medicine
Hall, Harriet, Skeptic (Altadena, CA)
SCIENTOLOGY HAS OPENLY DECLARED WAR on psychiatry and is ambivalent if not openly hostile towards the rest of medicine. Its "mind over matter" philosophy promises that attaining the "Clear" state will eliminate illness.
Recently there has been a spate of exposes of Scientology, ably reviewed by Jim Lippard in the last issue of SKEPTIC magazine (Vol. 18, No. 2), and online at http://www.skeptic.conl/eskeptic/13-04-10/#. They offer some shocking revelations. Defectors from Scientology have described kidnappings, deliberate lying, unnecessary deaths, human trafficking, thought control ("brainwashing"), coercion, violations of labor standards, violations of human and civil rights, and other crimes. Scientology has been protected from prosecution by its designation as a religion and its vast wealth and influence; but if even a fraction of these accusations are true, Scientology has much to answer for.
Initially people are attracted to Scientology because it provides answers. Your problems are due to past experiences holding you back. Scientology can help you deal with those problems and the upper levels will reveal the secret of life itself.
Members are audited with an E-Meter (similar to a lie detector) and one-on-one interaction with an "auditor". The auditing process is similar to psychotherapy in that it encourages people to think about their problems and work to overcome them. In Scientology, ideas are not immaterial: they have weight and solidity. The E-Meter locates and discharges mental masses that are blocking the free flow of energy. Memories are blamed and traced back in time even into past lives. Patients keep repeating the details of the experience until they are drained of any emotional charge. Once the painful experiences and associations are drained off, there are astonishing results: asthma, headaches, arthritis, menstrual cramps, astigmatism, and ulcers simply disappear. The reactive mind is replaced by the rational mind. In one case a boy's IQ supposedly rose from 83 to 212.
Scientology believes no memory is ever erased: every sound and smell can be completely recaptured. Even prenatal memories and past life memories remain. The fetus remembers if the mother attempted to abort it and develops psychological problems because it knows it is living with murderers. Cells are sentient and remember painful emotions. "Engrams" become a physical part of cellular structure, controlling behavior like a post-hypnotic suggestion. To put it bluntly, Scientology's understanding of memory is incompatible with current scientific knowledge.
Then there is a second stage of Scientology where people pay for ever more expensive classes, are indoctrinated into the mythology; progress up the church's ladder of OT (Operating Thetan) levels, and may even join the elite Sea Org, signing a billion year contract.
The Scientology myth was originally a secret revealed only to those who reached the OT III level, but it is now public knowledge. The universe began 4 quadrillion years ago. Evil lord Xenu and his psychiatrist co-conspirators froze individuals (thetans), sent them to the planet Earth, dropped them into volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Freed from their bodies, the thetans were trapped in an electronic ribbon and subjected to brainwashing with a colossal motion picture device which implanted them with all the world religions. Free-floating thetans attach themselves to living people, as many as millions of them in a single body. These "body thetans" have to be eliminated to achieve spiritual progress. If not cleared by Scientology, these thetans will blow themselves up and destroy civilization as they have done many times before. Only Scientology can save humanity from the cycle of self-destruction.
We are all thetans (Scientology's term for the soul), immortal spiritual beings that are incarnated in innumerable lifetimes. Auditing is not just to resolve psychological problems but to "recall to the thetan his immortality and help him relinquish his self-imposed limitations"--to emancipate a person from the laws of matter, energy, space and time (MEST). …