Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Creepy Side Of Scientology

I went to see the ‘purification rooms’ – which were nothing more than a small gym and sauna.

I retraced my steps to find my relative waiting, about to be subjected to a two-hour DVD celebrating L. Ron Hubbard’s life.

‘I understand you’re new,’ a Scientologist said to me. ‘I’ll take you to be tested and assessed.’

The testing centre was a short walk away and I was placed in the care of a young woman around my own age.

At the centre, after a short DVD introduction to Scientology, I was hooked up to the infamous ‘e-meter’, an electronic device used during ‘auditing’. The e-meter is supposed to indicate whether a person has been cleared of the spiritual impediment of past experiences.

To illustrate how I was holding on to bad experiences, I was pinched and told to recall the pinch over  and over again. Instead, to see what would happen, I silently recalled scenes from The Sound Of Music. Unsurprisingly, the e-meter did what was expected and I was told I was carrying painful memories that were holding me back in life.

What did she recommend? ‘A  personality test. You must answer a series of questions before I can assess what steps you need to take.’

I spent the next hour under observation by Sea Org members – elite Scientologists – while I answered hundreds of questions such as ‘Do you smile much?’ and ‘Does life seem vague and unreal to you?’

The test results were analysed by computer – yet more data to be stored away, no doubt – and I was told that I’d tested as extremely nervous and irresponsible. ‘Are you nervous?’ the woman asked. ‘Do you take too much on in life and feel as though you can’t cope?’

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