Friday, December 16, 2011

The "Church" of Scientology

Doyle Mills, a Scientologist Auditor met Blessed John Paul II.
I must inform Mr. Mills that the Pope is weilding a much more
powerful "e meter" than you've ever been hooked up to!
Have you ever taken one of those Cosmo quizzes to find out which personality type you are?  Have you ever read your horoscope and believed it?  Do you believe that these diversions are just insightful entertainment?  You may have primed yourself to take a "stress test" or "personality test" by a practitioner of Dianetics (Scientology).

Many years back, I had a friend who was an ex-Scientologist.  Her family had paid big bucks to get her out of the cult and deprogrammed.  A bunch of us in a dorm sat down and heard her explain Scientology for a few hours.  It blew our minds!  I'll give you a thumbnail sketch of what I learned.

How to become a Scientologist

  1. Take a personality test
    1. Like many cons, this test makes everyone a "winner".  Since people like to be part of the "in crowd," they are pleased to "pass" the Oxford Capacity Analysis test (OCAT), the main recruiting device of Scientology.  
    2. If you don't "pass" the test you an an "S.P."  My friend (we'll call her Heidi) said that if you are approached by a Scientologist, just tell  them you're an s.p. and walk away.  
  2. Get Audited
  3. This woman is attached to an e meter.  The Scientologist
    Auditor would be with her.  This is a kind of cross between
    psychotherapy and lie detection.  The irony of this being the
    cornerstone of Scientology is not lost on me.  Scientology
    is adamant that modern Psychiatry is a lie.  
    1. This is the most ironic part of Scientology!  After you pass the OCAT, you pay for auditing sessions.  In these sessions an e reader machine measures your electrical output and various waves of energy while you talk about your history and your problems with a Scientology Auditor.  The concept is a mix of psychotherapy and lie detection.  
    2. Every bad thing that has ever happened to you or you in a past life is stored on you in the form of an "engram" on your mind.  In order to be happy and live up to your potential, you must rid your mind of engrams.  Auditing is how this is done.
    3. As a bad experience is discussed, the auditor reads the e meter.  Through this kind of talk therapy, the cult member gradually eliminates the engram through self-empowerment, a bit like ironing wrinkles from a shirt with multiple strokes of the iron.  
    4. Evidently, confession to the engram of homosexual attraction is a standard part of all members' auditing experience.  Auditors lead subjects into their present and past lives to find engrams and discuss the experiences in detail.  
    5. Did I mention that auditing sessions are recorded?  If you try to leave the group, they use confessions to keep you in.  
    6. Once all engrams have been eliminated from your mind, you are "clear."  This might be likened to a state of Nirvana among the Buddhists, but instead of becoming jolly and serene like Buddah, you turn into Tom Cruise!
  4. Learn more
    1. Once clear, the new Scientologist begins to learn more about the story of Xenu (their god who is L. Ron Hubbard in another form) and other elements of the story of Dianetics.  
  5. Recruit
    1. This goes without saying.
I believe that the practice of Scientology is antithetical to the practice of Catholicism.  You cannot be a Catholic Scientologist!  While the Vatican has yet to make a pronouncement about Scientology, many Catholics, both clergy and laity have stood up to Scientology.  The Sisters of Saint Paul have courageously published a book that exposes abuses within the cult.  Cardinal Marc Oulette has been strong in his stance against the dangerous cult.

Scientology has stuck by its policy of offensiveness.  It is suing constantly.  Scientology is currently suing an Orthodox Church in Russia because the church had criticised Scientology and warned members about their tactics and stress tests.    They are also seeking a civil judgement against Paul Haggis, a former leader of the "church."  Oh, did I mention that they are suing the Sisters of Saint Paul?

I think it's time for the USCCB and The Vatican to make an official statement.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Frosty The Snowman

The story of Frosty the Snowman is a kind of miniature of the Gospel.  Not the story of Jesus, but His promise to us of the resurrection.  Frosty prances about with the children, having fun and singing.  When he begins to melt away, he promises a return.  One imagines a glorified Frosty who is even stronger, happier, and even more of an adventure.

The song was recorded in 1950 by Gene Autry.  Autry had struck gold with his hit Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer in 1949.  This was indeed the hayday of classic Christmas music. Silver Bells, All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, Jingle Bell Rock, Santa Baby, Nuttin' for Christmas, and Let it Snow all had their first hit recordings in the 10 years following the war.

A variety of artists have recorded Frosty the Snowman. The Beach Boys, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, The Jackson 5, and even Burt Reynolds have recorded Frosty's song.  Second Degree, Bing Crosby recorded a version of the song too.

Now, we've already done the post on Bing Crosby (click above link), but I wanted to share some unsettling things I discovered while reading Bing's obituary on the Holy Cross Cemetery website.  I had heard that he was a stern father who had disowned his gay son and was harsh with his other children as well.  In his final requests he writes
"Except as otherwise provided in this will and the trust, I have intentionally and with full knowledge omitted to provide for my heirs, and I have specifically failed to provide for any child of mine whether mentioned in this will or in said trust or otherwise."
Okay, so he probably continued the disavowing of his son through the trust.  Perhaps he excluded the others as well, but trust records are not public, so he may have left his straight children or grandchildren something.  You have to admit that the wording is harsh, distant, cold, and final.  He goes on
"my funeral services be conducted in a Catholic church; that they be completely private with attendance limited to my wife and the above-mentioned children; that a low Mass be said and that no memorial service of any kind be held. I further direct that, insofar as possible, services be held without any publicity, other than that which my family permits after my burial, which shall be in a Catholic cemetery."
The obituary continues
 After his death, several of his sons painted a picture of Crosby as a cold and distant father, who severely punished his children. Son Gary Crosby wrote a controversial tell-all biography titled, "Going My Own Way" in 1983. Two other sons, Lindsay and Dennis, committed suicide.
Here he is singing with his wife and three of the seven he would eventually have.  Notice the extreme awkwardness of the family dynamic.  Did one of these boys end up taking his own life?

Does anyone else see a disconnect between the insistence on a Catholic burial and the hateful will?  What about the two suicides and (we read in the article) two marriages.  Do you think Bing is currently being praised for his Catholic faithfulness or suffering purification for the abandonment of souls he was blessed to have as children and charged to raise?  Can a Catholic parent disown a child because they struggle with or are plagued with a sin?   Perhaps Bing should have taken his character from White Christmas' advice and counted his blessings.