February 26, 2013
Scientology: A Ticking Time Bomb
In Jones Town over nine hundred people are found dead in a murder/ suicide massacre. Charles Manson’s attempt to start a race war, Sharon Tate dead. It has been a while since headlines like these have been seen in papers or on the news. This does not mean that cults and cult killings are things of the past. The church of scientology will be the next of these violent cults. With celebrities like John Travolta and Tom Cruise playing up the church of scientology, the church is establishing itself as one of the most rich and powerful religions. All of this attention doesn’t come without criticism though. Scientology has had some controversy surrounding it. Some of these critics, including the German government and other prominent individuals, have gone so far as to claim that the Church of scientology is a “destructive cult with values that conflict with modern society.” As much as the church denies all negative statements such as these, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows them to be true.
The word cult can be defined in many different whys depending on who you ask. It can be defined one way by major religious groups and another by sociologists and psychologists. The most accurate way to define cult when it is describing the church of scientology is with the popular definition used by most media and common people: A religious group that is associated with unorthodox and sometimes aggressive and violent behavior. There are a few guidelines that determine whether an organization is a “dangerous cult.” These include a charismatic leader, punishment for criticism, legal accusations, strict control over members, polarized world views, and large required donations (American Journal of Sociology p. 1377). The church of scientology, more often than not, fits that description.
The core of every cult is the leader. For scientology it is the creator of the religion, Ron Hubbard. Similar to most cult leaders, Hubbard abused drugs regularly. Although the church of scientology has a strict no drug policy he hypocritically did drugs his entire life (Corydon, 137). In this way he was similar to Jim Jones. Jones was a famous cult leader who founded The People Temple. This was a cult that is now well known for the events that took place in Guyana. Over nine hundred people died at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, now commonly called "Jonestown" in an organized mass suicide/killing. Jones’s temple “didn’t allow drugs” they even had programs to help people quit using. But Jones, like Hubbard, frequently used drugs and the highest people in his temple did as well. Hubbard was also a liar. He claimed to all of his followers that he was a Nuclear Physicist. He in fact had no degree for a very long time and when he finally got one, much after the creation of scientology, he got it from Sequoia University in Los Angeles. The school was eventually shut down by the Californian state government for being a “degree mill,” (Smith, Graham). He also lied about being a great war hero when the reality was that he was relieved from duty three times within an eighteen month period of time. Like many other cult leaders he did not follow the traditional ways in relationships. He was charged with bigamy for taking on two wives at the same time. The most unsettling aspect thing about him is his criminal record. While the charge was nothing more than fraud, he still spent four years in prison. The only thing that differs from the single charismatic cult leader description is the fact that he is dead. The organization is very large and has many churches all over the world. This allows there to be any number of leaders of each church. Any one of them could turn out to be the next leader of a violent group. The programs made by a lying criminal mind could easily affect the people learning them in a negative way.
Beyond the creator,...