Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Regressive Utopians" - The Other Church Which is in Hollywood

And because it's Halloween, I thought it would be appropriate to do a piece on the real servants of darkness that lurk on every corner of Hollywood Blvd. in front of lovely restored buildings and huge complexes. Scientology, the omnibus cult that, in the Church's pastoral absence, has filled the spiritual void in so many creative people here, has made Hollywood its Vatican. One estimate I read says Scientology owns 60% of the land in Hollywood, including this place, right down the street from me...



I see the kids crossing the street every day from their cheap apartment building to the glamorous Celebrity Center. You know them because they wear a weird uniform of navy blue chinos and white shirts, and they always have a grimly focused demeanor, as though they need to be particularly intent, on crossing the street and mixing with non-Church members, not to be distracted off the elitist dogma that has them living the separatist lives of slaves.

So, in honor of this day dedicated to creepy ghoulishness, here is an excellently written and researched piece from a few years ago that appeared in Rolling Stone about Scientology. Definitely worth a read. Here are a few snips...

Unique among religious faiths, Scientology charges for virtually all of its religious services. Auditing is purchased in 12.5-hour blocks, known as "intensives." Each intensive can cost anywhere from $750 for introductory sessions to between $8,000 and $9,000 for advanced sessions. When asked about money, church officials can become defensive. "Do you want to know the real answer? If we could offer everything for free, we would do it," says Rinder. Another official offers, "We don't have 2,000 years of acquired wealth to fall back on." But Scientology isn't alone, church leaders insist. Mormons, for example, expect members to tithe a tenth of their earnings.

Still, religious scholars note that this is an untraditional approach. "Among the things that have made this movement so controversial," says S. Scott Bartchy, director of the Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA, "are its claims that its forms of therapy are 'scientific' and that the 'truth' will only be revealed to those who have the money to purchase advancement to the various levels leading to 'being clear.' It is this unvarnished demand for money that has led many observers to opinethat the entire operation looks more like a business than a religion." Clearing the stages along the Bridge to Total Freedom is a process that can take years and cost tens and often hundreds of thousands of dollars -- one veteran Scientologist told me she "donated" $250,000 in a twenty-year period. Other Scientologists can wind up spending family inheritances and mortgaging homes to pay the fees. Many, like Natalie's parents, work for their local church so they can receive auditing and courses for free.

Both of Natalie's parents are Clear, she says. Her grandmother is what's called an "Operating Thetan," or "OT." So is Tom Cruise, who is near the top of Scientology's Bridge, at a level known as OT VII. OTs are Scientology's elite -- enlightened beings who are said to have total "control" over themselves and their environment. OTs can allegedly move inanimate objects with their minds, leave their bodies at will and telepathically communicate with, and control the behavior of, both animals and human beings. At the highest levels, they are allegedly liberated from the physical universe, to the point where they can psychically control what Scientologists call MEST: Matter, Energy, Space and Time....

..."L. Ron Hubbard says, 'What is true for you is what you observe to be true.' So I'm not here to tell you that Scientology is the way, or that these are the answers. You decide what is true."...

....In one of the stranger chapters in Hubbard's life, recorded in detail by several biographers, the soon-to-be founder of Dianetics became Parsons' assistant -- helping him with a variety of black-magic and sex rituals, including one in which Parsons attempted to conjure a literal "whore of Babalon [sic]," with Hubbard serving as apprentice.

Charming and charismatic, Hubbard succeeded in wooing away Parsons' mistress, Sara Northrup, whom he would later marry. Soon afterward, he fell out with Parsons over a business venture. But having absorbed lessons learned at Parsons' "lodge," Hubbard set out to figure his next step. In his 1983 autobiography, Over My Shoulder: Reflections on a Science Fiction Era, the sci-fi writer Lloyd Eshbach describes meeting Hubbard in the late 1940s. "I'd like to start a religion," Eshbach recalls Hubbard saying. "That's where the money is."....


There is lots more mind-blowing stuff in the article. You have to read it if you want a real sense of the spiritual warfare going on for the soul of the 'City of the Angels.'

Please pray for the real Church to wake up, and see this place as a missionfield.

P.S. I guess this makes it officially "Barb Takes on the Cults Week." You either know what I mean, or not....

1 comment:

Wally said...

Over here in Ireland we have not yet had the amount of "gnostic" material you seem to have in the States. There is a tendency to go for Celtic Twilight zone stuff that pretends to be very full of special knowledge. We have less people trying to exploit religion for money. What is truly problematic about all this is that there is a delusion of truthfulness. It is like that crowd that kept St. Augustine from reaching the complete truth for years. These were Manicheans, and they were the Gnostic types: they thought they knew it all. The spoke of levels of knowledge, of access to the higher insights, of really "knowing!" And yet their sources, when you read them, are extremely superficial. I had to read a Gnostic gospel from the 2nd century called "The Gospel of St. Thomas", and I almost fell asleep. There has always been a tendency to exploit religion, making it sound as if the founder know much more than Christ did. And that is the final delusion. Fr. Walter Macken, Galway, Ireland.