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 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, one of the anonymous

Other documents regarding these activities can be found at:

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

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,