From a mailing list (and deliberately anonymized): -------------------------------------------------- Anybody know anything about Scientology? More specifically, the errors in their beliefs and / or how to witness to one who believes in it? According to an article in Science Digest, Scientology is the toughest cult to recover from. (Sorry I don't remember the exact date, but the article was sometime in the early 80's as I recall.) Try http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/home.html for more information on what they believe and their current activities on the Internet than you'll want to have. For those who might not be aware, there's something approaching a state of war existing between the Internet and the Church of Scientology. It started back when they embarked upon a pattern of harassment of posters on USENET who posted excerpts of church doctrine. They went so far as to involve Interpol in breaking the anonymity of anon.petet.fi, one of the anonymous servers. Other documents regarding these activities can be found at: http://www.eff.org/pub/Censorship/CoS_v_the_Net Among other things, they've gone to court to get the entire newsgroup alt.religion.scientology removed from the net, claiming the very use of the name constitutes trademark infringement. An extension of this doctrine is that no one can mention the name of the Church except in a context of which they approve. (This attempt failed. So, they fell back to their second line of defense, and spammed the newsgroup heavily and hard, making it dificult to talk above the noise.) They've shown a consistent pattern of ruthlessly attacking everyone who publicly opposes them, and a complete disregard for free expression in any form. (I continually stand amazed at those who think the CDA consituted a heinous attempt to silence Free Speech, but don't speak out against the CoS's massive campaign to prevent free discussion of their belief system. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a fan of the CDA myself; but anything it wanted to do pales in comparison to what the CoS does.) The tale that gets spun from the above URL is chilling. As far as I can determine, one of the basic tenets of the church is that they are involved in a battle to free their people (thetans) from bondage to these physical forms which have imprisoned them since millions (or was it thousands?) of years ago. This necessarily involves reincarnation as one of their staples. It traces back to science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Coincidentally enough, it dates back to shortly after he observed to long-time friend and editor, John W Campbell, that the way to *really* influence people is to create a religion. I owned a copy of the first book Hubbard wrote about Scientology, in which he repeatedly states that it is *not* a religion, and is *not* a church. Curiously, those passages no longer exist in current copies. The process of "clearing" they use involves an "E-Meter" (roughly kin to a lie detector, it seems) to go over your life to find and "clear" the things inhibiting you from realizing your full potential. To an unscientologic eye, these clearing sessions resemble very closely a brainwashing session, where you constantly go over traumatic events in your life until you no longer register any effects from thinking about them. Sort of inures you to stimulus from past experience. Be careful. This group doesn't just defend itself. It attacks. And it has sharp teeth. (This summarizes material reachable through the first-named URL, and doesn't even scratch the surface. Go read some of it.) Have fun, A.