Shade of the Week: The "Church" Of Scientology
The “church” of Scientology has been recognised as a religion in the US since 1993. That may sound harmless and redundant, however, being considered a religious organisation in several countries allows them to be tax exempt and keep all their profit which enables a corrupt establishment like Scientology to accumulate billions of dollars from their vulnerable parishioners who are effectively slaves to the organisation under the false belief they will receive spiritual enlightenment.
Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard, who was originally a science fiction writer, published his self-help book Dianetics in 1950 which basically became the bible of Scientology, after he famously stated: “if you want to get rich, start a religion.” And he’s right. The one way to legally evade tax is to become a religion under the law, however, none of this would be bad if Scientology was actually a religion.
It’s hard to define what a religion is but Christians, Muslims and Jews can briefly describe to you what the main beliefs of their religions are in a minute or two but a Scientologist couldn’t. You would have to be in Scientology for years and spend upwards of $100,000 to even have a brief idea of what their core beliefs are. The practices of Scientology are more self-help and philosophy based which may help some people, however, religions by definition are a particular system of faith and worship and that just isn’t Scientology.
The one figure of worship they do have is the creation story of Xenu, who they believed was the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" who 75 million years ago bought billions of his people to Earth in spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs whose souls are trapped inside us and are the cause of everyone’s problems. What the actual fuck? Was LRH on crack when he came up with this fucked up story? Scientologists only find out about this when they reach a certain level called OT 3 which takes years of study and hundreds of thousands of dollars to finally obtain. Why aren’t people told this weird story when they first join? It’s because no one would be apart of religion that believed in something so fucked up.
The “church” knows this so they initiate their members through vague explanations of their purpose and promise to help their lives by giving them “auditing” which is almost like a type of therapy forcing them to re-experience past pain to free themselves from their limitations. That's the formal way of saying: filling them with shit and manipulating them to come back and spend more money. They make them believe all the good in their lives is because of Scientology and all the bad is from themselves. By creating this reliance it sucks people in to complete more classes and auditing, costing thousands of dollars which goes directly to the church tax-free.
Everything the “church” does is a ploy for money in the belief that Scientology will not only help them but save the planet. In reality, this means ordinary Scientologists give essentially all their income to this organisation and dedicate their lives to fund their religion. By the “church” receiving huge amounts of money from their members and evading taxes it allows them to expand their empire all over the world with a cheap cost. The reason for religions to be tax exempt is because they are supposed to provide a good for the community, but how is draining people’s bank accounts doing them any good? Especially when they’re getting virtually nothing in return. They may as well be a gambler or Tori Spelling because they’re losing, not gaining!
By Scientology being recognised as a religion they can hide behind the first amendment in America, which protects all religions from laws being made against them and allows Scientology to continue without any checks or balances in place. If their exemption status was removed in America and many other countries, they would owe billions in taxes due on their properties and assets around the world which would bankrupt the organisation and make it impossible for them to continue scamming and brainwashing thousands of innocent people.
The most important reason why Scientology should not be recognised as a religion is because of the thousands of stories of abuse that have emerged from the church in recent years. Ex-members have accused them of sexual abuse, coerced abortions, stalking, being made to live in disgusting conditions, forcing members to disconnect with family who speak negatively about the “church” and even being physically abused by the leader David Miscavige. This is just a MINOR list of the fuckery Scientology has made their members endure and you only need to watch one episode of Leah Remini's show to understand how deranged and evil this "church" really is.
On top of this long list of abuses, the “church” attacks these victims as liars in the media and has set up thousands of websites with the sole purpose to defame their characters. They have entire departments to go after anyone who speaks out about them and even have their own policy called “Fair Game” which explicitly states the methods of attack they must use when going after a “Suppressive Person” as they call them. What type of religion would not only condone but have policies set up to defend this behaviour?
Scientology distracts from these horrible crimes with their celebrity members such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Elisabeth Moss to gain fame and good PR for the “church,” however, this has also been a consequence when ex-celebrity Scientologists use their platform to shun the organisation rather than praise it. Actress Leah Remini is an ex-Scientologist who has actively spoken out against their disgusting and abusive practices by publishing a book and creating her own show documenting the stories of victims to bring awareness to how the church has destroyed thousands of people’s lives.
In November 2017, an article on the Huffington Post emerged which showed messages between Leah Remini and Trump’s aid Lynne Patton who expressed her concern for the issue after watching the show and said removing Scientology’s tax exemption status is a goal of the administrations. It's been almost a year and jack shit has been done, but at least it's somewhat of a start and the momentum behind the show keeps on growing.
Hopefully, the US government can be successful in removing Scientology’s tax exemption which will not only set an example across the world but cause them to pay billions in taxes, effectively disabling them from continuing their abusive ways and using their billions of tax-free revenue to hurt the people who are brave enough to speak out. If this happens Scientology will stop being recognised as a religion and as the corrupt cult that it is.