These are my answers to the questions posed by the Dutch university study group which others on this site also answered. Please do comment below if you have any other questions about how I feel Scientology has influence decisions I’ve made with my life.
1. Can you explain both how and why you became involved with The Church of Scientology?
I was introduced to Scientology through my aunt when I moved to Los Angeles from Kingston, Jamaica. At that time, I had just completed high school and had no plans for college or my future. She signed me up at a community college and also for two Scientology courses called the Key to Life and Life Orientation courses which are designed to help you get the basics to be successful in life. These courses were life-changing and brought me to whole new levels of personal achievement.
2. Can you give a personal summary of what the Church of Scientology is about, and why you find it to be favourable?
For me Scientology has been a journey of personal enlightenment. Finding out more about myself and unlocking potentials I never knew possible. For example, before doing courses in Scientology, I was shy, withdrawn and wanted to pursue a career that limited contact with people, I never thought it possible that I would ever have a career sales and marketing – much less be successful in it.
1. Does Scientology impact any decisions you make in terms of education?
No. Scientology is a religious philosophy. My decisions on education is primarily driven by curricula, school environment and student success rates.
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?
Absolutely, children should be educated in basics and fundamentals to become successful productive members of society. This covers the full range from early learning, primary and secondary education and tertiary education if desired.
3. What is different or the same about the education of Scientologist youths?
The education of Scientologist youth from a curricula standpoint is no different than other children. The difference that may be observed is the depth of understanding children obtain from their education. Scientologist children are encouraged to think freely, critically and apply their knowledge in everyday situations rather than focus of memorization of facts and figures.
4. What are the reasons behind this?
The reason for this is because the Scientology religious philosophy has a basic tenet that learning and knowledge should be acquired through personal observation, application and interaction rather than through only the reading books or authority. By personal application and interaction within a field of knowledge, a person gains experience that will fundamentally shape his/her understanding of a particular datum or premise.
1. What hobbies/interests are common to people who follow Scientology? Is there anything specific which most people partake in?
I don’t know that there is any one hobby/interest that is specific to Scientologists as a group. The interests and hobbies of Scientologists are as diverse as there are people on Earth.
2. Do your Scientology beliefs impact the medical choices you make in your life?
Not really. My choices are based on personal research and understanding of a particular ailment or situation. The only extent Scientology influences my decisions is that I decline medical practices which endanger the clarity of the mind. So drugs which are intended as amnesia drugs are avoided. I’m also raised as a Western Chinese so I take advantage of both Eastern and Western medical practices which is due to my upbringing not my religion.
3. Do you have children?
3a) 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.
Nah. Scientology is not something you force children into as a practice. We as parents encourage the application of Scientology principles to enhance their growth but we don’t force it. At least, I don’t and I don’t see anywhere in our texts that says we should.
Eventually Scientology will be their choice whether or not they want to further partake in the religion.
As for marriage, that is also their choice. Members of the Scientology religion are tolerant of other beliefs and practices. Scientologists are free to marry the person of their choice. If that were not the case my husband and I would not be married. He was born into a Scientology family. I was not.
4. Do your beliefs impact who you form social relationships with?
Not at all. I interact with tons of people across many sectors in my travels and form strong relations with people I meet. Scientology actually helped me interact with a broader range of people, which makes life fun and interesting when you meet new people and form new bonds.
1. Do harsh comments/perceptions about the Scientology religion affect you and your everyday life? How?
They used to make me upset but not anymore. When I first got into Scientology, it was new and exciting and I couldn’t understand why anyone would attack a good cause so I always felt the urge to attack back. But now that I’ve been a Scientologist for 19 years, I’ve come to realize the attacks are simply sensationalism and don’t even bother to give it my attention. If I get comments from strangers I just shrug it off and give a few points of clarification. They are almost alway mis-informed or don’t care for the truth anyway.
2. Do you ever feel that you should hide your religion because of it?
3. 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?
Scientology is a recognized religion in the United States. There is definitely a Scientology movement in the works because more and more people are finding out about it and they are spreading the word. It’s really fun to hear about the lives touched by Scientology and hear how it improved their lives.
4. Scientology is legally viewed as a commercial enterprise in Switzerland. Do you think this is rational, plausible and fair? Why/why not?
I don’t know the legal framework in Switzerland but fundamentally it’s inaccurate to consider Scientology a commercial enterprise considering it deals wholly with matters of spirituality. That would be the equivalent of Monastaries and Catholic Churches being viewed as commercial enterprises because they collect fees for their services or for support of their churches.
5. 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?
Depends in how they leave. If they leave due to their own unethical conduct then they are treated with appropriate justice actions. There’s no physical harm or dramatic hoopla about it. If there is hoopla is because the unethical person wants to make a hoopla. If they leave by following the procedures and obtain their refunds, then it is viewed as their choice, and we respect their decision.
6. Scientology is often viewed as demonstrating a cult-like culture. Why do you think this is so?
Because the media likes to propagate this false idea. The inference of the word “cult” is that the organization is “secretive”. If you’ve seen all the videos, public outreach activities, informational materials and how outspoken Scientologists are, then “cult” would be the last word you’d use to describe Scientology.
7. Something about celebrities and their endorsement of Scientology. Do members of the Church agree or disagree with this? Why or why not?
As a marketing professional, I would say endorsement isn’t the right word. Celebrities aren’t paid to publicly support Scientology like you see companies pay someone to represent a product. If a celebrity loves it enough to publicly support it, then I think it’s fabulous, but that doesn’t mean we always agree with everything they do or say.