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The deal with that Scientology/alien thing

Perhaps most of you are already familiar with the doctrines of Scientology, and why it is popularly dismissed as a sci-fi religion about aliens. I was not familiar with the details, but was happy to accept the jokes and the dismissal. But lately--maybe because Katie Holmes has joined me in the pregnancy club--I got curious as to what exactly the deal was with Scientology and aliens, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. (The Scientology home page, though all kinds of New-Agey, coyly neglects to mention any aliens. Luckily Wikipedia has the story on why.)

In an entry entitled "Xenu," the good Wikifolks report:
In Scientology doctrine, Xenu is a galactic ruler who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of people to Earth, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together and stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to cause people problems today.

Ah. Good. Nothing so far-fetched about that, now, is there? But wait--it gets better!

Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he devised a plot to eliminate the excess population from his dominions. ... with the assistance of psychiatrists, he summoned billions of people to paralyse them with injections of alcohol and glycol, under the pretense that they were being called for "income tax inspections". The kidnapped populace was loaded into space planes for transport to the site of extermination, the planet of Teegeeack (Earth). The space planes were exact copies of Douglas DC-8s.

Well, naturally they were.

It goes on and on. It's all very much like a sci-fi novel, as you would expect. But the funny thing--aside from everything I've already pasted, which you'll agree is fairly hilarious--is that the Church of Scientology reserves this sacred knowledge of Xenu and All His Works for the higher ranks of converts. That's why the story isn't on their homepage. However, this stuff has come out in court, and in investigations, and in tell-all books by those who got close enough and then ran screaming. See, there are several levels of Scientology you can attain, and not until Operating Thetan level III (OT III) do you get to learn the sobering story of Xenu. And oh, just incidentally, in 1997 the cost to attain OT III--yes, they charge you--was $19,500. Just an opinion, but any religion that requires initiation fees is probably a wee bit shady. To say nothing of having to actually believe all that stuff about Xenu.

Makes you wonder what supreme enlightenment costs, since, apparently,
The highest level, OT VIII, is only disclosed at sea, on the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds.

("And only to those who bring $80,000 worth of caviar," presumably.)

It isn't all entirely funny, given the criminal record and controversies surrounding its members in its short but notorious history. Still, I'd go ahead and continue making jokes. Unless you're Miss Holmes, in which case I would run while I still could.

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
partywhipple
Oct. 17th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)
OMFG This line killed me:

Ah. Good. Nothing so far-fetched about that, now, is there?

I can hear you saying that with an english accent and it is making me cry from laughing so hard.
kalquessa
Oct. 17th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
*dies of icon*

Really? Jesus threw up the horns?
partywhipple
Oct. 17th, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC)
Dude, Jesus is Fucking Metal!
mollyringle
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:41 pm (UTC)
Heheh...I hadn't intended an English accent, but I agree, it's much funnier that way. Will think of it as such from now on. Jolly good.
partywhipple
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
I don't know what it is but the English are ****ing fantastically hilarious in so many ways.

Case and point, there is an episode of the Simpson's where they are in England. The scene shifts to Scotland Yard and we see the big brick wall and gate with a sign saying:

Our Motto:
What's all this then?

skia and I flipped out like ninja. We could not stop laughing. God bless the Brits. Please protect them from Xenu.
mollyringle
Oct. 17th, 2005 10:31 pm (UTC)
Ahahah...that's awesome. It's true, some things are funnier when said by the Brits. And I mean that as a compliment to them.
partywhipple
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
OMG!!!!
Hubbard's fellow sci-fi writer, A.E. van Vogt, whose endorsement of the book as a 'masterpiece' appeared prominently on the cover, later confessed that he had been daunted by its size and had not actually bothered to read it.

HAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!!
mollyringle
Oct. 17th, 2005 10:33 pm (UTC)
*snicker*
Gee, this thing just gets more reputable by the minute, doesn't it?
kalquessa
Oct. 17th, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC)
Okay, I knew that they were a smidge...off. Any belief system that fully expects women to give birth without ever making a sound cannot expect to be taken with entire seriousness. However, I did not know that their beliefs were based on a tinfoil-hat story. With a classic '70s galactic villain named something that starts with X. That makes me feel so much better about poking fun at them.
mollyringle
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think "nutjob" is not too strong a word here. Re. childcare, I've also heard they feed babies this barley-water concoction, rather than good ol' breast milk. Lovely.
tdj
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:02 pm (UTC)
Check out a critical Hubbard bio if you can find one (like http://www.clambake.org/archive/books/bfm/bfmconte.htm) - this guy's life could not have been made up.
mollyringle
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC)
Hmm, interesting... I did wonder whether he could really have believed all this, or whether he was consciously scamming everyone. Neither scenario is flattering.
tdj
Oct. 18th, 2005 01:55 am (UTC)
I'd guess it was a combination of the two.
crzydemona
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
You know, there's more than one religion that does that "Level" thing. Where each level is secret and kept from the lower levels until you work hard to be lifted to the next level.

Two that I can think of off the top of my head, Latter Day Saints and the Satanic Church.

May Xenu help them all. O.O

Jen
mollyringle
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
Well, yes, "mystery religions" aren't uncommon; and for that matter, organizations like frats and sororities have levels of secrecy as well. So far, though, I haven't heard of any others with divine secrets that include the phrase "The space planes were exact copies of Douglas DC-8s." :D
crzydemona
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:52 pm (UTC)
I wonder what happens when they get on board "Freewinds" and once you get a glimpse of that top level... and you REJECT IT... Do they toss your ass off the boat??

"I take it back! I believe in Xenuuuuuuuuuuu! *SPLASH!*"

This is, of course, AFTER you write that check out to them.

Jen
mollyringle
Oct. 17th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
Hahah...I don't know; but that's an amusing mental image.

I know *I* would be pretty ticked if I plunked down 20 grand only to hear the story of Xenu in return. There better be some good time-share properties attached to membership in this club, man. (And there probably are...)
sopdetly
Oct. 17th, 2005 09:53 pm (UTC)
And then people tease Star Wars fans for claiming "Jedi" as their religion.

One of my fun, "let's mess with the Christian's heads!" things to do is put forth the idea that, back in the day, the Bible was just a fun bedtime story, much like, say, Lord of the Rings. But tack on thousands of years of retelling and hyperbole and warping, and you've got a religion. Who's to say in another 2000 years, people won't worship Gandalf the Great as a Holy Father of Hobbits? And Frodo being the Savior of all?

Sounds like Scientologists are WAY ahead of their time! ;)
mollyringle
Oct. 17th, 2005 10:37 pm (UTC)
True, even the lamest of the Star Wars plots aren't as dumb as this Xenu story. :D

And I guess it's never too late to invent a new creation myth...but this one could probably stand going through some mistranslation and time-distance. That might improve it. Hee. (Plus they should drop the 20-grand membership fee if they want street cred...)
kirstenfleur
Oct. 18th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
Actually, I rather like the idea of Gandalf the Great, Holy Father of Hobbits. It would explain a lot about the hobbits if Gandalf had fathered them all.
Oh dear, that's an icky thought I didn't need!
I also like the idea of a religion that paralyses you with injections of alcohol. I wonder if you're allowed to reenact that bit, with vodka shots maybe.
bluesound
Oct. 17th, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC)
A few little known things....

1. Katie Homles is being paid to be with Cruise (there was an ad circulating about looking for a lady to pretend to be with some bloke, oddly it seemed oddly like a description of Tom Cruise, 3 months later... Katie Holmes arrives)
2. Cruise is Gay.
3. The baby doesn't belong to Cruise it's someone else... I'll dig out the info and email it later.
mollyringle
Oct. 17th, 2005 10:38 pm (UTC)
Eheheh. You know, I'd say it sounded doubtful; but compared to the galactic-evil-overlord thing, it doesn't really...
bluesound
Oct. 18th, 2005 07:47 am (UTC)
I'll look out the "beard" ad, I'm not sure where it is...

It's difficult to work out what the hell is going on in the world of poof-or-not sometimes, but the latest to hit HMHQ asks which not-gay actor and his not-a-beard fiancé may not have told the complete story about a recent pregnancy announcement?

The not-a-beard actress supposedly got knocked up by someone she met in the UK doing promo not long after meeting her not-gay husband-to-be.
elfinity
Oct. 18th, 2005 01:32 pm (UTC)
wow. I was too lazy to check all that out myself, so thank you!
One of my co-workers is a Scientologist, formerly Buddhist. When I found out she used to be a buddhist, I was like, why would you EVER switch to Scientology? So she gave me this spiel about how in Scientology God is considered ALL THINGS GOOD. So, all the bad things, like desease and bad luck are all in your head. If you can believe that God only gives you -holy sound- Good Things -/holy sound- then you will be impervious to all deseases etc. Which I can get behind to a certain degree, because I do believe that a lot of stuff people bring upon themselves, but, I don't know, when it translates into Cruise saying that all medicine is unnecessary... gee, I don't know.

I guess my co-worker is too poor to know about the Xenu dude, though.
mollyringle
Oct. 19th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the odd thing was that I sort of agree with some of the stuff the Scientology page was spouting - for instance, they claim to be very opposed to psychiatry, as it only prolongs people's issues. I'm generally of that opinion, at least as psychiatry applies to myself. But then they have this doctrine of assigning a listener ("auditor") to each new Scientologist, and having the person talk and talk and talk about all the problems and feelings in their life. What does that sound like, if not psychiatry?

Also, while psych meds are kinda scary when prescribed carelessly the way they often are, I would never go claiming that all of them - or all medicines, period - are a bad idea.

And yes - why switch from Buddhism to that?? At least people won't snicker into their sleeves (or not as often) when you say you're Buddhist. Odd.
elfinity
Oct. 19th, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
I think that is the point - if they sounded completely retarded and outlandish, no one would join the cul.. Church of Scientology.

As far as psychiatric help - I think it does help, but you have to find the right therapist, and that takes time and money, so it may not be an option for many. In my case, if my husband didn't find the right psychologist to help him deal with his childhood traumas, he would not my husband right now, and possibly wouldn't be at all.
However, I do think that Scientologists don't like psychiatrists because they don't like competition from the bad ones ^_^

And actually, Buddhism makes a lot more sense than some other religions I've studied. Unless you go all Krishna and start sweeping bugs from your path so as not to hurt them ^_^
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )