The following question was posed by a college student doing a research paper on Scientology:
With all the accusations against the religion did that make you and your family second-guess Scientology at all?
As well as providing my own thoughts, I put this question to a number of Scientologist friends, and got the following answers:
Tad, daddy of 3: The purpose of “the news” or “the media” is for someone to gain information about something they can’t directly observe. I.e. I don’t live in Afghanistan. So, to find out what’s happening there, I’d have to read the news. I would not read the news about what’s happening in my house, because I live there, and reporters don’t. So, along that line, I really don’t care what news media says about my church, because they’re not there, and it’s something that I DO OBSERVE DIRECTLY.
Scientology is a really personal thing. One studies it and decides what makes sense, decides what works for you, and what you can use. If I do something in Scientology that makes me genuinely happier, makes me a more honest person, improves my relationship with my family, and brings my extended family closer together, there is no TV show that can suddenly change that and make me realize, “oh, perhaps I’m not so happy after all.”
I’ve been involved in Scientology most of my life. I have worked as church staff, and have been around countless members of church management. I’ve personally studied the entirety of the 18 books and 200+ recorded lectures that comprise the entire foundation of the Scientology religion. I’ve got a few family members and quite a few close friends that are presently staff at local, regional and international managment levels in the church. There’s honestly no “accusation” that someone can make that I can’t turn around and see the actual state of affairs firsthand. Scientologists, specifically the staff, are the most wonderful, caring, good-intentioned and big-hearted people I know. Anyone who’d think otherwise from media they’ve seen or read should just go and spend some time in a Church talking to people, and then make up their own mind.
Cristal, businesswoman & nonprofit director: No. I guess it’s a matter of true belief and dedication to our faith. 2000 years ago Christians were being crucified for their religious beliefs, no doubt many people back then were too scared of repercussions and did not practice Christianity even though they wished to. Today, crucifixion is outlawed, but under the guise of “freedom of the press” scientology is being presented in a negative light. Coming out as a Scientologist can often be uncomfortable when someone is bigoted, but to someone who’s benefitted from Scientology firsthand their bigotry is only a minor inconvenience, not a deterrent.
Natalie, mother & artist: After a lifetime as a Scientologist, I can’t imagine hearing anything that would make me second guess my religion. I haven’t seen Scientology do anything but help people. I’ve personally met hundreds, if not thousands, of Scientologists, I’ve worked at the church in the past, I’ve actually studied the Scientology texts. So my ability to observe comes in far above reading something second hand from the media. I’ve also seen way too many bold outright lies in the media to even give anything a second thought. One time I was volunteering at the church working on an anniversary gala that was set up in the outdoor parking lot, and there was a big unmissable sign at the street saying that the construction was for this gala. The next week I saw a picture in a magazine of the party saying “Tom Cruise’s secret wedding!” I mean, there was nothing hidden about it and this kind of thing just removed all doubt for me that the media is just out for a story often without any regard for facts.
Craig, music instructor: There has been media coverage of Scientology of every sort since the very beginning. When I first got into Scientology, years ago, I was indeed skeptical. However, as I found that in my early years as a Scientologist that applying the basic principles and receiving some auditing (Scientology spiritual counseling) I was able to turn my life around. My parents at that time were skeptical as well, but they could see that it was doing me some good, so they ended up being totally fine with it. It was never an issue in my relationship with them or other members of my immediate family.
Shaina, Scientology auditor: For me, I’ve never really had to second-guess Scientology. I’ve definitely observed some pretty hateful things being said about it, but it’s obvious immediately upon going into a Scientology church that they aren’t true, so it’s pretty easy to brush off what people say. People say some pretty convincing things, but I haven’t seen any of these things actually exist, and I’ve been around Scientology for quite a while. Pretty much the only way to believe that stuff is if you’ve never actually met a real, practicing Scientologist.
Fio, college student: Never. I’m in college, and – well – my religion does gets bashed a lot, unfortunately. What I learned though is that the people making critical remarks generally know very little to nothing about it. I happened to stumble upon an Uber driver recently, and they said something untoward about Scientology, and I bluntly said: “Hey – I am a Scientologist.” Not only did the man feel terrible, but he admitted he didn’t know much about the church and actually had many questions himself. I answered all his questions, and he apologized again. There’s a lot of incorrect information about my church, but it’s up to each of us to observe for ourselves and make our own decisions – which is, honestly, what being a Scientologist is all about.
Kate, church staff: Nope. One of the basic principles of Scientology is that you have to have personal integrity when it comes to your practice of the religion (and anything else for that matter).
This means being able to believe in what you know, what you know is what can observe to be true. Additionally, many of the accusations I have heard are so far from my own experience in the church.
Rosalyn, Scientology parent & grandparent: No. I trust my own experience with Scientology, which has been entirely positive.
Rebecca, Alaska mother of 4: Not even once. I know the truth about Scientology.
Most of the accusations against my religion are either from people that know nothing about it or think they do.
Dan, martial arts instructor: No. I base every relationship on MY experience with them. Someone/anyone can have disagreements with something/anything. My favorite phrase concerning other people’s opinions on anything is “How do I know the coffee is good unless I have tasted it for myself?” Every personal relationship is based on this question. My relationship with Scientology is based on MY OWN personal experiences with it. My ongoing (35 years) relationship with Scientology has been nothing but good.
Michelle, educator: No. I have been around Scientology long enough, and I know what I know. I have seen so many people whose lives have been saved or changed for the better. I have never seen anyone hurt by the religion or anyone in the religion. Some of the things I have heard are such blatant lies, it’s laughable. For just one example, Leah Remini was trying to say the church was forcing people to have abortions. If you read what Mr. Hubbard says, he talks about how harmful it can be on many levels. I have heard the most stupid rumors, such as we worship rocks or eat babies. My thought is that if someone is stupid enough to believe that kind of dribble, then they kind of get what they deserve. If people have questions, they should try to find out the truth for themselves. Ask a Scientologist, grab a book and read what Mr. Hubbard actually says, go to scientology.org. Go in to a church and take a look around for yourself.