Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 East Coast SP Party (Suppressive Person)

Patty likes to garden, entertain and save people from Scientology – a religion/cult she experienced from the inside out.

This was her perfect weekend.

Friday afternoon barbecue through coffee Sunday morning, her backyard garden was filled with former Scientologists, friends of former Scientologists and young people who protest against Scientology – they’re called Anons for the global leaderless cyberspace community that takes up free speech and civil rights issues.

The ex Scientologists are heroes to these kids, and rightly so.

They were brave enough to leave a life some had known for more than 20 years by breaking with the religion/cult and doubly brave to go online to describe what they saw and say is an organization of dirty tricks, physical abuse and lies, lies and more lies.

The Church of Scientology isn’t too fond of these foes, and the CofS is a tough enemy to have. L Ron Hubbard told his followers that his truth was the only truth and any non believer needed to be defeated.

For a prolific science fiction writer that could create a religion complete with space aliens, LRH apparently couldn’t imagine the World Wide Web. Too bad for his CofS.

The combination of former Scientologists sharing their messages online with the power of young cyber protesters may be the strength of sheer numbers and commitment to start turning war -- Scientology versus everyone else -- into conflict and battles into skirmishes until the wind is taken out of the CofS sails, and the religion/cult fades to black.

Ironically, CofS may be bringing on its own demise.

When the religion/cult hierarchy started coming down hard on these cyber protesters who take their Internet energy to the streets and physically protest at church sites, it just strengthened the protesters’ resolve. When CofS minions took down license plates, filed lawsuits and generally harassed church detractors, they merely fueled the fire.

Left alone, these bloggers/message board readers/Web site creators likely would have found other causes after the protest was organized last year and executed.

Back to Patty’s backyard this past weekend. One of the main guys admitted just that. Had the CofS not dragged him into court, he likely would have moved on. The first global protest last year was meant to be a one-time thing.

But, when you try to suppress free speech, it riles people. Thankfully.

For the fourth year Patty held a weekend party where those fighting against the CofS united to swap stories, seek inspiration from those who broke away and thank those who hit the streets to protest.

Good food and drink, deep conservations, maybe some plotting, and a rather raucous awards ceremony -- just what Patty likes.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Getting some answers

I didn't intend for this blog to be so Scientology oriented, but once I started looking into the religion/cult, it just started taking over. It's so hard to get a real handle on it that it makes it difficult to let go.

I always want to know more. My basic problem is not figuring out why people would be Scientologists in the first place. I can understand a person's quest to improve their life and try on different belief systems. What I can't quite get, is what Scientology offers that keeps people interested and engaged -- two things that seem to mark religion, no matter a person's beliefs.

Still, can thousands of members be wrong? They must be getting something out of it, aren't they? Can that many people be brainwashed, as detractors contend?

My research so far has painted a pretty ugly picture of the Church of Scientology, or at least of its leadership and it's actual organization, as separate from believes.

I hope to get some understanding later this month when I join a group of former Scientologists at an annual weekend gathering I've been fortunate enough to be invited to. As a journalist it's a great chance to talk to a lot of people from different locales in the same setting -- and what a boon to talk to people face to face rather than through e-mail and social media.

I'm guessing some of these people abhor Scientology while others honor all or parts of it. Their stories will be fascinating, and I hope to share a few here. Something made them join, something made them stay and, then, something made them leave.

I hope to be enlightened. I long to know the attraction and substance that keeps people involved in this controversial religion/cult.

Anything that defies logic -- or at least my logic! -- moves me to desire a greater understanding. I want to know why people believe what they believe.

Stay tuned.