I’m not going to go over ground already covered in the other visit post, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you might give it a read first.
Scoring this church is difficult, because I haven’t really sat in a “service” or a “sermon” with the Scientology guys. I can’t do anything like that without forking over money. Here’s what I have experienced: An E-Meter demonstration and discussion, a personality test and a discussion about what it means, an in-house movie/lecture on Dianetics, and an actual session on Dianetics, called an “audit,” and finally, a post-audit discussion with the “Secretary of Field Operations.”
In stitching all those things together, I think I have enough information to say a few things, and give a score. Spoiler alert: It’s not going to be very high.
I have one more thing to say before I dive in, and it’s this: The two principal people I dealt with at the church of Scientology were earnest and, I think, mostly sincere. I think Mark might have have fudged things a bit when he told me about the origins of the Oxford Capacity Analysis, but he could have just been misinformed. In any event, everyone there sure seemed to believe what they were saying, and they seemed like nice people to me.
So here we go:
I got there early, as is my habit, and signed in at the front desk. The receptionist called “Kevin” on her cell phone and I poked around while waiting for him. I noticed while I was there that everyone used their cell phones for all calls, rather than office phones. I thought that was a little weird. But I suppose if people are walking around a lot and not in their offices, then that would be a good way to get ahold of them.
While I was waiting, I saw that one of the displays had changed. I can’t remember what was there last week, but today there was a stand of L. Ron Hubbard’s works of science fiction that had previously been printed in pulp magazines in the 1930’s. There was a sign on a desk nearby labeled “Public Books Officer.” There was no officer there, just a kid, I think the receptionist’s son, watching videos on a computer.
Kevin came out to meet me and take me upstairs for the audit. “Do you mind if we take the stairs?” he asked. I said no, and we went up one floor. Kevin bounded up the stairs like a track star, two steps at a time, and I had to trot a little to keep up with him.
The second floor looked like a very well maintained corporate office. It had oak doors, nice artwork, nice carpeting, very plush.
After a brief chat about what I knew about Dianetics (nothing), Kevin led me to a theater room with a large screen for playing DVD’s. The theater looked like it could hold about forty or fifty people in relative comfort. I was the only viewer.
Kevin set up the video, told me he’d be back, dimmed the lights, and left. I had a front row seat and was about to get Scientologized. It was kind of exciting.
What played was not one, but a series of six “chapters” after which Kevin returned and fast forwarded to chapter 12, which was how to conduct an audit. This last chapter was shown so I would know what to expect.
The first six chapters explained the basics of Dianetics. Here’s my synopsis of what I saw:
- You have two minds: An analytical mind, and a reactive mind
- Your analytical mind is perfect and never makes mistakes, but is fed bad data
- Bad data comes from your reactive mind, which is influenced by your past trauma
- Trauma causes bad data. Bad data leads to fear. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to the Dark Side. There is another Skywalker!
- The bad data is in the form of “engrams” which hold negative energy that hold you back
- You relive your past over and over again until you are freed by auditing
- Auditing is the process by which you go over your past memories over and over again to free up the engrams, converting the past trauma into real memories, which can no longer hurt you.
As examples, they showed a woman getting hit by a car. The traumatic experience of getting hit by a car will be with her forever, and will continue to cause her harm until she’s audited and the engrams from that experience are converted into actual memories. Even though things happened to her while she was unconscious.
A second example was of a woman who was beaten up by her husband, who then later takes it out on her son. I felt very uncomfortable watching a guy beat his wife, and then even more uncomfortable watching her slap her kid around.
During the presentation, they did that thing that Scientologists do with words; They repurpose them and make a weird jargon of them. Now, all religions invent words to describe things. The Catholics have “transubstantiation,” for example. Scientologists invent new words too (like the word “Scientology” for example) but are even more fond of taking existing words and using them for purposes Webster never intended.
For example, the word “clear,” which is an adjective, is used as a noun in Scientology. A “clear” is a person who is clear of engrams. A “pre-clear” is what I am. Somebody who is full of engrams. I mean, seriously, I’ve got them out the wazoo. Just look at my Oxford Capacity Analysis. Their use of the word “engram” also doesn’t quite line up with the same word as used by neuropsychologists.
The last thing on the video presentation was a man and a woman going through co-auditing. Co-auditing is a process by which one friend audits another, using a little booklet that tells the auditor how to work with the subject. In the video, the man was the subject, and he was taken through successive steps to remember specific events in his life that caused him trauma. During the audit, he went all the way back to when he was still in his mother’s womb, remembering when she had morning sickness, and said some harsh things about being pregnant. Those harsh words and concepts formed engrams into the unborn baby and are now hurting him.
Because babies can totally understand English, and can totally understand concepts like hating pregnancy and morning sickness, and you can totally remember that as an adult.
Also, they had this to say: If you’re auditing a friend, and the friend says he wants to stop, you should not stop. On the video example of this, they showed a guy squirming in his chair, eyes closed, pleading with the auditor to stop because he was uncomfortable with whatever it was he was remembering. But instead of stopping, she was firm and told him to go over it again.
The video narrator explained that what we heard wasn’t the subject talking. It was the engrams. The engrams will fight to stay put rather than be kicked out by auditing. From my previous conversation with Mark about spirituality, I knew that the engrams are not just memories but also spiritual beings or essences with a spiritual mass, which can be measured by the E-Meter.
So, I’m not an expert in therapy. In fact, I’m so far away from being an expert in therapy that you should never listen to any advice I give you. But fortunately, I know someone who is. A family member, who is a practicing social worker and has an advanced degree and has had a successful practice for many years. I called her, and relayed some of my experience to her, and it’s her professional opinion that you should stop any therapy session if the subject becomes uncomfortable unless the subject is suicidal. But this is only for professionally trained therapists. Friends really shouldn’t give therapy to friends. You might make things worse. If you think someone is suicidal, you should call emergency services.
And that reminds me about something that was in the video: It specifically stated that you should be wary of “well meaning people with degrees” who didn’t know Dianetics and would therefore not be very good at curing what ails you. It also mentioned several times about taking drugs and alcohol, and how that interferes with the process of getting rid of engrams. Part of this message about drugs came during the talk about “well meaning people with degrees.” In other words, prescription drugs can be bad for the auditing process so you shouldn’t take them. It specifically stated that you shouldn’t take any kind of prescription or over the counter drugs three weeks before the auditing process. It also said you should get audited ideally every 2-3 days, so I guess you should never take any kind of drug for any reason if you’re a pre-clear.
This makes me angry. I could rant for a while, but I won’t. I’ll just say that telling someone with clinical depression or bi-polar disorder to stop taking medication in order to have his or her engrams dealt with is a really bad thing, and leave it at that.
After the video, it was time for my auditing session. Kevin led me into a session room, which was nice and clean and comfortable, and even had a sort of bed in it. The bed was tempting, but I sat in a chair.
He went through the process, and I recounted an experience early in my life when I was across the street playing at the hippy family’s house with their daughter Munday. And when I say hippy, I mean real, actual, bona fide hippies. (This was in the early 70’s before being a hippy was a fashion statement, and was more of an odorous nuisance.) I had fallen down and got a hair line fracture on my wrist… a nicely traumatic experience.
Kevin had me go over and over the event, recounting new details each time, telling me to “connect with the data,” which is Scientology-speak for “tell me more.” When I had done this sufficiently, Kevin told me to “come back to the present,” and after I assured him I was, he said the word, “cancel.” Saying “cancel” at the right time is how the auditor makes sure that nothing he has said or done will impact the subject negatively. After all, we don’t want to attract more engrams. And then we were done.
He didn’t tell me how it went, or what any of it meant, or anything. They’re not allowed. I don’t even know how many engrams were exorcised, or whether I was strong with The Force.
I will say this, I am surprised at what level of detail I can remember an event that happened over 35 years ago when I put my mind to it, and I’m told to recount it over and over again. At least, I think I was remembering things. I suppose this could be one of those false memory things that people who use hypnotism to regress folks with sometimes get. You know, the ones where people come away thinking that they had witnessed a Satanic sacrifice of babies or some such. My memories weren’t nearly as colorful as that.
I did get to talk with Mark about the experience afterwards, however. And during our talk, he referenced the OCA (that’s jargon for “Oxford Capacity Analysis … the personality test) and asked me if I was interested in fixing any of the problems it identified.
I said “I’m always ready to fix personal problems,” and asked him what the next step would be. He told me to come in for a class and to buy the book. Total cost: only $70.
That’s not bad, last week I thought getting Scientologized would cost me $150. The price has come down a bit. Maybe if I hold out I can get it to drop even further. But unless it comes down to “free” I’m not going to take him up on it.
So, now to scoring. I had a hard time finding anything good, or correct, or valuable in their message. I freely admit that I’m still no expert in Scientology, and I’m not likely to become one, because I’m not going to any of their numerous seminars. I’m not going to read the book either. I’ve heard enough. Scientology is essentially bad psychology, faith healing, and exorcism wrapped up in a blanket of pseudo-scientific blither blather. And it’s expensive.
But their facility is nice.
Being good to your fellow human: -1 (potentially harmful co-auditing)
Help your community: 0 (no mention)
Be good to yourself: -1 (potentially harmful auditing)
Good and timely advice: -1 (useless personality test)
The only reason it’s not lower is they didn’t get around to talking about community.