Scientology Questions & Answers: Diane, Mother & Scientology Parent Counselor
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.
Diane Norgard is a Scientologist and Family Consultant at the Mace-Kingsley Family Center in Clearwater, Florida. Her answers to their questions follow.
1. Can you explain both how and why you became involved with The Church of Scientology?
When I was 20 years old I was in college. Though I went to school with a scholarship in my second year I was failing and had fallen very ill. I am very religious and couldn’t understand what was happening. I had no idea what to do with my life. The day before I was going for surgery I was praying for God to either take me when I was in surgery or to please show me my purpose for being here. At that moment a woman came and showed me the book Dianetics and invited me to a lecture. Not listening or observing well, I had no intentions of attending but my mother was interested and dragged me to this lecture. I found the lecture extremely interesting and felt there was a lot of observable truth there. After I had surgery I read the book Dianetics and wrote the author. He wrote me back thanking me for my kind words about his research but then asked me, “How do you know it works?” He said I shouldn’t just accept things just because someone says so, I should see for myself if they are true. So I tried it and wrote him back that now I had tried it and I still felt it was workable and a good theory. L. Ron Hubbard continued to write me for the next eleven years. He never pushed me to anything and often didn’t mention more that his interests and activities or to ask about my well-being. He became a dear friend and mentored me through anything I personally asked for. He was always very kind and very funny. Years later I realized I did in fact find my purpose that day. I like helping others and I found a way to do that effectively.
2. Can you give a personal summary of what the Church of Scientology is about, and why you find it to be favourable?
The Church of Scientology is the keeper of the research and technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard. He researched everything he did and only kept those things that were 100% workable. He did the work for us. Therefore if used exactly, then you will get that same 100% workability. It is not that he discouraged a person from trying other things, just that if you did not to call it Scientology because Scientology was researched and only what worked was kept. But Ron never, ever wanted anyone to simply “believe” in some nebulous thing called Scientology. He just observed what he observed and discovered what he discovered, refined what was already known and laid it out for you to try to see if it works the same way for you. He found that this affected the spiritual being in a very positive way and helped to create a kinder, more creative, spiritual individual.
Mostly, for me it is a very personal journey. Each individual, even the best of us has their own confusions, demons, worries and losses that they wished were bettered and handled. So each individual’s journey is remarkably different. It is very personal. And each road travelled is personalize to handle those confusions, demons, worries and losses to a state where they are now cleared from the individual’s life leaving an open road for them to now create any life they truly wish.
1. Does Scientology impact any decisions you make in terms of education?
Scientology doesn’t per se, but the technology of study that was researched and developed by L Ron Hubbard for Applied Scholastics is so workable that the Church of Scientology actually adopted it. This technology actually saved my education. Where I could not study and retain what I studied before I have now become super-literate—able to understand anything I wish to take the time to study. This is simply because I now know how to recognize the barriers that stood in my way and how to resolve them. When I study I now establish and know with what purpose I am studying and with the intention to actually use it rather than just memorize it for a test.
2. Are children provided with a mainstream education?
3. 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?
Of course! Yes.
4. What is different or the same about the education of Scientologist youths?
Everyone, Scientologist or not should be encouraged to know with what purpose they are studying a subject and know how they will be using it in life. This increases the student’s interest. They are encouraged to find words they don’t understand (and they are taught how to find what those words are) and to use the dictionary liberally, not to skip steps in gradients of study and to actually go look at the things they are studying about, or at the very least look at a photograph to get a clear idea of what is being studied.
5. What are the reasons behind this?
Complete Understanding. If one doesn’t understand then communication has failed and is never received. This is the thing behind all manner of ills, not just not passing a test but also, the culprit behind arguments, fidgeting in class, disruptions, accidents, daydreaming, mistakes… the list goes on. I am sure if you thought back to any of these things that have happened in your personal life you could find at least one thing you didn’t understand well at the bottom of it.
1. What hobbies/interests are common to people who follow Scientology?
Wow! That is so varied! I know many Scientologists and their hobbies vary so much. That is like asking: what hobbies/interests are common to people of earth?
2. Is there anything specific which most people partake in?
We are encouraged to live life to the fullest and partake in more pro-survival activities rather than activities which deteriorate health and happiness.
3. Do your Scientology beliefs impact the medical choices you make in your life?
L. Ron Hubbard was clear in his writings that there is physical illness and injury that absolutely must be handled medically, even before counselling can be started. For myself personally, I go by the definition that an illness is one that has standardized tests that can show a deficiency or germ/virus that specific medications can and will eradicate. Injury also has standard long standing medical treatments that have proven to heal. I do not agree with giving medical treatment for conditions that cannot be tested for and whose medications by attestation has side effects that actually create or worsen the condition it is “trying” to handle. Such medications might be for depression whose side effects are depression, suicidal/homicidal thoughts, seizures, cotton mouth, insomnia, loss of appetite or weight gain, migraine headaches and sometimes death. Yeah, for me that medication seems contradictive and certainly not helpful nor pro-survival.
4. 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 do have two children. I did raise my children teaching them the tenets of my church much as a Catholic or someone of the Jewish Faith or any religion would. And like those others in other religions once my children became adults it became their choice to choose the faith that is most real and workable to them.
5. Do your beliefs impact who you form social relationships with?
I personally have friends of every faith and every walk of life. I enjoy people tremendously and love to learn about their customs and ideas, beliefs.
1. Do harsh comments/perceptions about the Scientology religion affect you and your everyday life?
Not particularly unless someone is actively trying to stop me from getting a work position or to trouble my children because of it. But truthfully in 39 years I’ve not really had that occur. People can think what they like and say what they like and I will know what is true because I have found out for myself and will say what is true for me. They can accept it or not. It is fine. It is their journey to live their lives and test or not test information as it comes to them.
2. How? 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?
My only answer to this is Scientology truly is a religion and the only way to know that would be to read the material and see for oneself If one does not become more ethical, go into better communication with one’s fellows, if one has greater understanding of the world, if one is more at peace with oneself and with those around him. And if so does this promote the brotherhood of mankind and a greater desire for peace and to help each other.
4. Scientology is legally viewed as a commercial enterprise in Switzerland. Do you think this is rational, plausible and fair? Why/why not?
I really don’t know anything about that.
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?
Anyone has the right to leave when they wish. I don’t personally have a problem with that unless they are bent on harassing me. I’ve never had that happen though. I agree that we should all respect the religious beliefs of others and not badger each other about it. Don’t we have enough to do in the world and to correct? Do we really need to create more hatred or conflict? I don’t agree with anything that promotes that kind of thing.
6. Scientology is often viewed as demonstrating a cult-like culture. Why do you think this is so?
I think that thought is perpetrated by individuals who have vested interests in stopping Scientologists from practicing their religion. A cult would imply that we have secrets we are trying to hide from non-church members. And quite frankly I’ve never known a more open church. All Scientologists are asked to answer all questions honestly and clearly so that the answers are easily understood.
7. Something about celebrities and their endorsement of Scientology. Do members of the Church agree or disagree with this? Why or why not?
Well, that is an interesting question. Honestly the only time I’ve seen or read an article where a Scientologist celebrity talks about Scientology is when they are directly asked about it. Again, like me they are proud of the degree of help the Church of Scientology has afforded people and probably themselves personally. If you found something that helped you deeply and someone asked you about it wouldn’t you tell someone about it? I am guessing you probably would. Why would you keep such a gift a secret?