October 17th, 2005

Dirk - wrath

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.