A university study group in Holland was researching the Scientology religion, and wanted to get some direct answers what Scientologists – particularly Scientologist parents – think about their religion, and how their religion impacts some of their life choices.
Jamie is a mother of two living in the Los Angeles area. She’s a life-long Scientologist, and her answers to the students’ survey questions were as follows.
1. Can you explain both how and why you became involved with The Church of Scientology?
My parents were both Scientologists, so I grew up hearing some of the terms and seeing the technology in use. For example, when injured we used assist technology, an explanation of which can be found here.
When I was seven my family moved from rural New Mexico to Los Angeles, and I had a very hard time adjusting. I would cry for hours non-stop and refused to go to school. My parents took me to a Scientology church for counselling. I remember how amazed I was by the changes in myself. Even at that age it was clear to me that these people actually had a technology to effectively address spiritual and emotional issues.
I did my first course, the Children’s Communication Course, when I was eight. My mother did the course with me. I remember vividly how much I enjoyed the drills and I noticed a huge improvement in my social skills.
2. Can you give a personal summary of what the Church of Scientology is about, and why you find it to be favourable?
As regards the first question, Scientology is an applied religious philosophy. There are courses pertaining to almost any aspect of life, from how to study effectively to the raising of children. All of these contain practical tools. There is also Scientology Auditing, counselling that directly and effectively addresses mental and spiritual issues.
To answer the second question, I find it favourable because it works. I use the tools and knowledge I’ve gained in every part of my life. I have a truly happy and fulfilling marriage. I love my work and my family. I am at heart a very happy person and I honestly enjoy life. I also love that I can use what I know to help other people. There is so much more I could say on this topic, but that covers the basics. Education
1. Does Scientology impact any decisions you make in terms of education?
2. Are children provided with a mainstream education? Does a person’s education consist of infant and primary school, lower and upper high school, followed by the option of attending university or continuing on with tertiary education if desired?
Being a Scientologist does not necessarily effect the schooling path one will chose, or what one choses for their children. I went to public school, from Kindergarten through High School and then to college. My kids are in a private, secular school. My husband graduated from Delphi Los Angeles, which uses the Study Technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard.
3. What is different or the same about the education of Scientologist youths?
Well, this varies from family to family. I’d have to say the only constant is the use of the Study Technology.
4. What are the reasons behind this?
Whether in public or private school, most children raised by Scientologist parents, have taken a course on how to effectively study. For me, this enabled me to be an Honor Roll student throughout my years in public school and college. Honestly, I took it for granted at the time, but in hindsight I had a distinct advantage. I never thought a subject could be too difficult for me to master because I had the tools to overcome any study barrier I faced.
Lifestyle 1. What hobbies/interests are common to people who follow Scientology? Is there anything specific which most people partake in? Within the Scientology community this varies just like it would in society at large. I do think that the Scientologists I know tend to be more likely to volunteer their time in the name of helping others.
2. Do your Scientology beliefs impact the medical choices you make in your life?
Not where the body is concerned. I get regular checkups, as do my children. I had standard Obstetric care when I was pregnant. I did have a silent birth with both of my children. I did an interview with AOL Health about this after the birth of my son. It’s online here.
That said, I would not be inclined to treat a mental or spiritual ill psychiatrically, but that is because I don’t feel that that field has any effective solutions.
3. Do you have children? If yes, do you believe that your children (and the beliefs of their children) should be kept within the Church of Scientology. Inclusive of who they choose to marry.
I have a four-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl.
When I was growing up, my parents encouraged me to look into all religions and to decide on the subject for myself. I think this was a wonderful approach. I had friends growing up who were Agnostic, Atheists, Jews, Protestants, etc. In fact, my best friend from age 7 on was raised strictly Lutheran. I attended church with her family on many occasions and even helped teach Vacation Bible School in the summer. One of my close friends was Jewish and I attended Torah study with her and participated in her Bat Mitzvah. I chose to become a Scientologist when I found that it was true for me. My parents would have been supportive of any decision I may have made in this area, as it is viewed as a very personal thing. My sister considers herself Agnostic and it would not occur to my parents to object to this.
It is a firm tenant of Scientology that something is not true unless it is true for you. I will definitely expose my kids to Scientology, but I would never assume that they will be Scientologists just because I am.
I think that I will encourage my children to choose a partner who holds similar beliefs to their own. I think that parents need to be of one mind on many issues, and sharing religious beliefs is a huge part of that. That would just be my advice to them. I would support any choice they made, even if it went against that advice.
4. Do your beliefs impact who you form social relationships with?
Not really. I have many friends who are Scientologists, but I also have friends who are not.
Reputation 1. Do harsh comments/perceptions about the Scientology religion affect you and your everyday life? How? Do you ever feel that you should hide your religion because of it?
I honestly don’t pay a lot of attention to negative comments or perceptions. When I do encounter them, they don’t bother me particularly because they are often based on a lack of information, or on some made-up bit of sensationalized nonsense that I know firsthand to be false. I definitely don’t feel a need to hide my religion because of it. If anything, it makes me more outspoken. My non-Scientologist friends all know that they can ask me anything about my beliefs and I will answer them honestly.
2. Do you believe Scientology is a culture/sub-culture and how do you think the constructs of a culture potentially affect the Church’s ability to be recognized as a religion?
I would not consider Scientology to be either sub-culture or a culture. That implies that all Scientologists share certain mannerisms, fashions, language, etc, which is not the case. Scientology has been recognized as a religion in most parts of the world.
3. Scientology is legally viewed as a commercial enterprise in Switzerland. Do you think this is rational, plausible and fair? Why/why not?
I read Tad’s answer on this point and agree 100%. I could re-state it, but he covered the point nicely.
4. How are those who chose to leave the Church of Scientology treated upon departure and once they have left? Reasons behind this? Do you agree with it?
As far as my personal experience, as I mentioned earlier my sister is not a Scientologist, though she did some Scientology courses in her youth. This has never been an issue. She treats my views with respect, and I treat her views with respect. I think it would be a different matter if she openly attacked my views, but I cannot even imagine her doing so.
5. Scientology is often viewed as demonstrating a cult-like culture. Why do you think this is so?
Again, I think that Tad covered this one well.
6. Something about celebrities and their endorsement of Scientology. Do members of the Church agree or disagree with this? Why or why not?
I can’t speak to the opinion of other Scientologists, but I can see why they endorse it publicly. I think that when you have something in your own life which has helped you dramatically, you want to share that with other people. Celebrities have a much broader platform from which to do that, so I can imagine that they may even feel remiss if they don’t speak on the subject, especially when asked, which they often are.