Ever since I first learned about Scientology 15 years ago I have just been utterly fascinated by its very rotten existence. Through contact high alone, their heinous venom has left me fighting the symptoms of withdrawal. Indeed, for better or worse, I am infected with “America’s fastest growing religion.”
Yet still, after all these years, I’m not sure I can adequately describe what Scientology even is, let alone why I have a slight obsession with it. Ultimately, your perspective depends on how deep you’re willing to go down the rabbit hole. On the surface, Scientology is alt-therapy laced with all-american new age philosophy — at its best, teaching wayward souls and poor bastards how to take a moment out of their lives to reflect on the stupidity of their own thought process; to gain a better grasp of themselves through flamboyant tin-can-holding introspection. At worst, 1950’s western esotericism with a hefty price tag anchored to every pseudoscience self-help book they push on you. Mandatory study material for the poor bastards, who otherwise are deemed helpless in the eyes of the group.
However, as these poor bastards continue deeper into the human hive, they learn that their position in Scientology is a rather strange one. Depending on their socioeconomic status, they will either be pressured to join the Sea Org and sentenced to a lifetime of labor for the church (through the infamously known billion-year contract), or they’ll be given the special celebrity treatment, aka the Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Beck, Joy Villa, and Aaron Kyro treatment. The degree of this ‘special’ treatment depends on their relevancy and which social circles they run in. In other words, the higher-ups at Scientology are extremely skilled weeding out wannabe actors from the ones who have that ‘it‘ factor. Talent scouts on steroids with a cruel agenda. The poor bastard wannabes will have the carrot of their dreams dangled in front of them until it’s yanked away and they’re told to give up on their career goals for their true calling as a worker bee for the church. The one’s who are actually making progress in their acting/music/art/business careers will be buttered up and shown the other side of Scientology — the side that maintains its rose tinted ‘becoming a perfect being’ pitch it sells people on during initiation. After all, talented and successful people by their nature attract other talented and successful people. The plan is genius and based entirely on the halo effect. All the average folk trying to make it in this cruel and pitiful world will be spiritually persuaded to do lowly shit work for the church until they die, while the successful people will become megaphones; walking advertisements for the church, selling the poor bastards on how wonderful it is, and how it can help you be like them — the happy people who have been blessed with Scientology to unlock the hidden talent within.
Sadly, we have still only scratched the surface when it comes to the twisted sophistry of Scientology. To put it in my best game lingo: Scientology is an ARG that is P2W. I’m afraid I just made that sound more appealing than I had intended, so let me rephrase it to better suit my thoughts on the church: Scientology is a global scam started by a science fiction writer. It is a group with a recorded history of seeking out mentally unstable people, instructing them not to seek psychiatric help, but instead give them money for their therapy sessions. Eventually, they tell these poor, mentally unstable bastards that their bodies are infected with alien souls called thetans, and of course, they have to pay more to learn how to get these alien souls out of their body. We still haven’t even put a dent in this can of worms.
There is so much more to the story of Scientology that it will make your fucking head spin, and that’s why I keep watching. It’s like a train wreck so monstrous that I cannot look away. Only imagine this, the train is still functional. It has plowed through various cars, killed a few pedestrians, it’s got a few dents, it’s absolutely lost most of its carriages, and yet the engine refuses to die. Just the right amount of people are still shoveling in coal to keep it moving at full blast. Thankfully, in this very beautiful analogy, I’m painting, we can see that it doesn’t matter that much anyway because the tracks just happen to lead to the edge of a cliff. Scientology is getting close to their final destination, and that is why I’m not going to look away. When it finally goes over the edge, it will be spectacular.
Now, let’s back up a second, I am in no way a religious bigot, nor do I consider Scientology to be a religion. It is a cult. An ingenious cult at that; you actually pay to be brainwashed. However, I will say this, I fucking hate what Scientology has done to people. I hate their fucking smug attitudes, their ‘we can do no wrong’ airs, and I really hate that they can organize illegal operations, yet through sheer legal brute force, come out with a clean slate. Make no mistake about it, Scientology is an evil group of people out to destroy anyone who stands in their path. Sadly, only a few in Scientology ever make it far enough to witness the evil, so to most of its wealthier members, its sunshine, and daisies. Little do they know they are directly funding the pain and mental anguish for others.
Ahh, but I don’t have the time to give you the complete story of Scientology. Instead, I offer you the same rabbit hole I traveled. I highly recommend you give these a watch/read if you want to gain a better insight to batshit insanity that is Scientology:
Trapped in the Closet
South Park, always known for its unapologetic approach to social commentary, tackled the subject of Scientology in their 2005 ‘Trapped in the Closet’ episode. If you want a 22 minute entertaining as hell crash course on what Scientology is, this is it. You should watch it right now, in fact.
Let me first give a bit of context to this episode and the resulting fallout. Around 2002-2005, Scientology was in full force. Tom Cruise won the Freedom Medal of Valor and was literally losing his fucking mind. After a series of bad press appearances, Matt Stone and Trey Parker couldn’t ignore the potential of tying it all together in a Scientology themed episode.
In the episode, you will learn the bare bone basics of what Scientologists actually believe: that a galactic warlord named Xenu dropped a bunch of frozen aliens in a volcano and consequently the alien souls have possessed mankind. It is the very true and extremely secret batshit insane belief behind Scientology. The only problem is that members don’t actually find this stuff out until they’ve been in the church for years. Otherwise, if you told a real fledgling Scientologist about any of the Xenu stuff, they’ll either 1. Have no idea what you’re talking about and think you’re a dipshit for mocking Scientology with talk of aliens, or 2. They know about it, but having been brainwashed for many years will refuse to listen to an outsider’s perspective on Lord Xenu. After all, to them you’re just a skeptic who got access to some late stage leaked information. You don’t know the full story, you don’t know the context. You haven’t sunken years and $50,000+ into studying what Xenu is really all about. Thus, they will ignore whatever you say on the subject and the church will make note to have you ostracized. If you ever walk into a Scientology church and make one mention of Xenu, that’s it. You know too much and will be asked to leave.
Despite what Scientology says, the South Park episode is very accurate and based on L. Ron Hubbard’s own audio lectures. You want an introduction to Scientology? This is it.
The intriguing fallout of this episode is that Scientology pressured Isaac Hayes, voice of the character Chef and long time Scientologist, to quit the show. Later confirmed by the son of Hayes, he never intended to quit; the decision was made for him. Viacom was also pressured into not rebroadcasting the episode, and Scientology officials hired private detectives to follow Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Given Scientology’s long history of harassing and suing anyone critical of the church, you’ll notice that the entire episode is credited to John and Jane Smith.
The Un-Funny Truth About Scientology
Apologies in advance for the thumbnail of the video below, but yes, now shit is getting real. Before there was YouTube, there was YTMND. A quirky meme site from the bygone internet era. In 2006, The Un-Funny Truth About Scientology took YTMND by storm and quickly became one of the greatest pages in the history of the site for its creative use of the YTMND format to make a mini-PSA slideshow/documentary about the dangers of Scientology. Click here to watch the original, or watch the YouTube version by clicking on the image below.
This began the start of the internet revolution against Scientology. Two years later, 4chan decided to get in on the action and then all hell broke loose with Project Chanology. Wew, what a surreal trip that was. I mean, it’s one thing to have Anonymous after you, it’s another to have them stage a mass protest against you. Those shitty plastic Guy Fawkes masks, overweight neckbeards blasting the Fresh Prince of Belair theme song, 2006 era ‘pools closed’ meme circlejerks in front of every church street corner. It was a strange and beautiful time.
Though as amazing as those protests were, they really didn’t do much. Yes, the people like me who hate Scientology got a real kick out of how lulzy of a spectacle internet irl was, but behind the scenes in the church, they used the Guy Fawkes freaks as poster children for how America was doomed, and they needed more money to survive this treacherous battle. They completely played the victim, and of course, the church members felt a huge obligation to donate money to the church. Unfortunately, this most likely hurt current members more than it helped them.
Though I won’t discredit Project Chanology completely. Bringing out the internet irl was absolutely a good thing since Scientologists are known to have special web plugins that automatically censor all mentions of Xenu anyway. I’m absolutely sure it helped sway some poor souls away from the clutches of the church. After all, in the years following Chanology, many breaking developments would occur to pile on the growing global hate for the wicked Scientology. Continued to this day is WhyWeProtest, a Project Chanology protest planning site.
Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief
Based on Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, this documentary adaptation is the best overview you’re going to get. This is where you really learn about Scientology. It’s history, it’s founder, its methods, its meaning, and the stories of those involved.
You also learn about David Miscavige, the current showrunner of the church. This man is a complete sociopath, though unfortunately the film only touches on him and the infamous hole. His ruthless, tyrannical behaviour has been his trademark for years — it’s how he came into power, after all. Hell, you could write an entire book about the crazy, violent nature of Miscavige alone. In fact, someone actually did… his father… and niece. Fun fact: no one has seen his wife since 2007.
Well anyway, Scientology is fucking pissed off at everyone involved in this film. So much so that they have created websites for everyone who took part in this documentary. The abhorrent propaganda is some of the most stomach wrenching shit I’ve seen from the cult. Unsightly photoshops of the film’s participants are displayed on every site as they’re being vilified by their friends and families, the poor bastards who are still in the cult. As I gaze deep in their lobotomy eyes, I can’t help but wonder if they truly believe they’re making the world a better place. As soon as you get through with the film, head on over to Scientology’s response for more horrors.
Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion
This is it. The best book on Scientology there is. Going Clear gives a nice, thorough look at the church, but Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman is my personal favorite for all the great stories involved. Included is a chilling retelling of the Lisa McPherson case, the details of Operation Freakout, and how David Miscavige weaseled his way to power. Once you’ve read this, you’ll know the whole story.
Something important I want to make note is that this book was released 2 years before Lawrence Wright’s more mainstream ‘Going Clear’ book. Though I think both books are great, it’s unfortunate that this one got overshadowed by the other. Consequently, (and something amusing to note,) Scientology is claiming that all the current false, slanderous information about the church is completely coming from Going Clear. Well, Scientology, what about this one? If Lawrence Wright is making things up like you say he is, why is it that Janet Reitman’s independant and thoroughly sourced research corroborates all that is said in Going Clear? Hell, if you can, read both books, but if you’re just going to read one, make sure it’s Inside Scientology so you can have the privilege of reading something that Scientology can’t call the ‘anti-scientology cult bible.’
So, here you are. You’ve been infected with the abominable charm that emits from L. Ron Hubbard’s fat fucking lips. Don’t worry, I’ve got more for you to check out. All the material below is still A+++ rad as shit, but just not something I’d recommend for noobies — most of it is just to fill in the gaps and confirm all the shit you’ve watched above. Further down the list is where the current happenings are, so to wrap up our guide to the future, it’s best to leave off from there.
Inside the Scientology Celebrity Centre: An Ex-Parishoner Reveals All – The Celebrity Centre is a mansion-like edifice nestled between a row of palm trees on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, California. According to Scientology, its purpose is to help the artists, politicians, leaders of industry, sports figures and anyone with the power and vision to create a better world. More or less it’s their way of attracting fame seekers. Remember when I mentioned the poor bastard wannabes who are promised a shot at stardom through the Scientology method? This is a great 2 and a half hour retelling from the perspective of one of them.
VICE Meets the Former Senior Executive of the Church of Scientology – Meet Marty Rathbun. You caught a glimpse of him in Going Clear, but this is him in a somewhat off-the-cuff interview. It’s an important watch because as it currently stands, Marty has gone rouge. You’ll uncover more details about that later, but let this be your first formal introduction to the man.
Scientology and Battlefield Earth – Battlefield Earth is said to be Hubbard’s magnum opus. John Travolta tried very hard to make a movie good enough to stand next to the original work, but ultimately he made one of the worst films of all time. This is an insightful story that details what the Church reaction was before and after the critics tore it apart.
Scientology: The Revenge Picket – Mark Bunker is the OG of Scientology video journalism. He’s been fucking with Scientology before it was cool. In this 1999 home video, Mark amusingly films two Scientologists picketing his neighborhood in an attempt to harass him.
Scientology Top Managers In Action – So far you’ve only got a taste of the twisted behavior Scientologists exudes with their bull-baiting tactics. This video is pure, unfiltered Scientology at work. (Note: this video has a high chance of being removed, so if it is, try this video for a similar insight.)
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath – This is an important show. For one thing, Leah Remini coming out against the church despite having a notable celebrity status is a major deal because, remember, celebs in Scientology usually have their nuts sucked dry if they are a potential status symbol for the church. Not only that, it’s actually a really great show AND on a major network. If you’ve seen everything above, don’t expect anything groundbreaking in it…. but the show is actually in the process of becoming groundbreaking! What I mean is that Leah has completely kicked the hornet’s nest of Scientology and they are fucking pissed. I mean pissed. You thought their reaction to Going Clear was pathetic, just wait until you see their reaction to this. Thanks to her show, Scientology is desperately unleashing Scientology 3.0: A complete rebrand of their Stand League. A Scientology TV station. Celebrity Scientologists are actually starting to fight back again… and they are making complete asses out of themselves. The show has been renewed for Season 2, and despite all the other more damning Scientology material I have posted above, this show seems to be the one that has hurt Scientology the most, so give it a watch! Good ratings = more torment for Scientology!
My Scientology Movie by Louis Theroux – You shouldn’t watch this movie without going through the above list. The reason being is that it’s not a very good subject film, but it is a fantastic film about Marty Rathbun and the secretive nature of the church. Currently, the film is extremely relevant because Marty Rathbun, who you should know by now as being one of the top dogs of Scientology who fled the church, is now back in cahoots with Scientology!!! From 2009-2016 he was THE guy who spilled all the deep, dark, insider secrets of the church, and this film shows him have a complete mental breakdown. Shortly after the release of this film he went quiet for a few months. Then, out of nowhere, June of 2017, he finally came out with an epic Scientology produced video series where he picks apart every critic he has ever worked with. He’s completely full of shit, of course, but in order to understand the nuance of how fucking insane Scientology is, just compare his old videos to his new ones, and then compare that to all the Golden Era/Freedom Mag propaganda videos. Regardless, My Scientology Movie is a fantastic case study on the man and will give you startling insight to how much power Scientology can have over people.
The Underground Bunker – Tony Ortega is currently the most active and longest reporting journalist on the subject of Scientology. Want to know what Scientology is currently up to? Visit the bunker. Scientology has recently launched an all out smear campaign against him too, so grab some popcorn and enjoy.
And there you have it. What a crazy ass journey that was, but it isn’t over. This strange cult is becoming self-aware. I mean not self-aware that they’re complete morons who got suckered into a cult, but self-aware that everyone fucking hates their stupid deluded bullshit. Scientology is losing members at a record high, and they’re finding it damn near impossible to market themselves. The brand is tarnished. Normally they could circumvent this by hiding behind a different name such as Narconon, but their notoriety is too strong. That’s why they’re lashing back harder than ever; they’re fighting to stay alive. Not gonna lie, it’s some low-grade entertaining shit. Learn the lore, and you’ll understand. Hope to see you further on up the bridge.