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This is a part of my 31 posts of creepy. To me, anything cult or cult-like is very creepy. Scientology has been around for years, but has gained popularity and press with all the famous people who are involved with it, or have left the "church." I didn't find any mention of God until I watched a couple of videos on their website. In their mention of God, it was less about the worship of God and more of just an acknowledgement that He exists and created the universe. They really don't force or require anyone to believe in anything.
Scientology was founded in 1954 by American science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. So, this guy who mainly wrote fiction just started his own religion, without any known experience as a preacher or a philosopher. He created this church to help humanity and help people discover themselves. He also created Dianetics and spiritual/mental auditing. With Dianetics and auditing, they are trying to help people get over painful things in their past. They don't really believe in psychology or the medicine that goes along with it, so the Dianetics is their way of dealing with mental health.
So, when you visit their website everything is honkey dory and amazing, but then you remember that everything has a dark side. First off, they try a little harder than your typical church to market themselves with all the informational videos. Secondly, this guy who started the church really isn't a preacher, missionary, philosopher, or a church planter, so for him to just start a church is weird. Third, people are putting in serious time and money to be in this church—like thousands or millions of dollars. Normal churches you give what you can.
In digging, I also found out that this church has wiretapped people. That is insane, but I guess they will do anything to keep people quiet. Also, when you leave, if you have any friends or family in the church you can't speak to them and they can't speak to you. You turn into a dangerous person in their eyes and they are afraid that anyone who leaves will turn people against them. Some people have done interviews about their experience in the church, but before the interview is aired, someone from the church will go to the TV station and hand them a note to try to stop the interview from being aired.
I looked up escape stories to see what they survived. Leah Remini said that the wife of one of the higher ups in the church was nowhere to be found for a bit. The higher up, David Miscavige, told Leah that she didn't have enough rank to ask about his wife. Then there was Katie Holms who was married to Tom Cruise. After their divorce, Katie was afraid that her daughter would be kidnapped because the divorce was due to pressure to make the kids get an education through the church.
A less famous person by the name of Amy Scobee was sexually assaulted and the church told her not to report it. It is wrong to encourage someone not to report sexual misconduct including assault. She was a part of the sea org program which is a "fraternal religious order, comprising the church's most dedicated members." She said that someone in the program assaulted her when she was 16.
There are so many books written about the escape from the church. There's Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill, Perfectly Clear by Michelle LeClair, Escaping Scientology By Karen Schless Pressley, and Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini.
If you are interested in more information or stories about escaping scientology, do your research and support those who escaped by reading their books. I will also do more posts about cults at a later date.