The Cult Experience


Although I am glad that I went out of Scientology, I don't regret my time in the group. Here is why.


From: Bernie@bernie.cncfamily.com (Bernie)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: The Cult Experience [was Re: I'm still chasing that $2787 per week job]
Date: Thu, 04 Jun 1998 16:12:04 GMT
Message-ID: <3576c742.99910@enews.newsguy.com>

I for one never cared in the least for money, not even when I had to blow matches to spare them, and not anymore now that I am much better off. Of course it's also a field where I always was prettylucky, although I believe that this is linked somehow with my insouciance about it. I can say that I find great satisfaction in my current job. Not only because the pay is good, but also because I actually do enjoy what I am doing, and, as Barbara says, this certainly is an aspect that is at least as important.

However, I wouldn't have liked to start with such a job right away after my studies. As enjoyable as it is, it is nevertheless in a rather conventional framework of metro-boulot-dodo. I for one am very glad that, before getting "trapped" in such a routine, I was involved in 4 to 5 years of a pretty hectic live in Scientology. Of course it wasn't always easy, and although I *am* glad I went out from it and I denounce the whole thing as an illusion, mostly good aspects remain in my memory, and I bear no ill-will or resentment whatsoever. It's an experience quite unlike any others, because you are part of an international group, with a very special mission on earth, and are trading together the vast and unknown universe of spiritual development as well. All in all, it *does* produce quite an energy, a spirit of adventure and sharing that one would be unlikely to experience in a "normal" context. If this was all there was to it, and if people could experience it *without* getting stuck into it, there would be nothing wrong with it.

I think that the parallel with drugs is quite apt. The main problem with it (apart from the fact that it is being alleged that it can produce undesirable changes in one's brain, which is something I don't know), is mostly the *dependence* one feels towards the substance. With time, the pleasurable experiences lessen in number and intensity, and the negative aspects increase to a worrying proportion. It is of course at this point that one has to "move on", but it is easier said than done.

There is a fair amount of people who move from drugs to sects, and not for no reason. The idea is that through this new mean, one would experience the bliss without the drawback. We now know that this isn't the case, but it does point out to the possible cause of joining, which is, among other, an inadequacy on the part of society to provide an inspirational goal and meaning to one's life. It may not be, in fact, the role of society in the first place, it's role being probably to limit itself at providing the framework wherein everyone would be free and find the opportunity to explore whatever avenues he wishes, but there is nevertheless a lack of "something" that everyone, in its own way, is seeking to fulfil, and cults *do* provide an answer to this need, even if an inadequate one.

While the dependence of cultism is more subtle and insidious, the cult experience (or the religious one, for that matter), also provides, IMO, for a greater and more lasting bliss than drugs. In some respect, it is a "step further", but maybe both a step further upwards and a step further downwards. The more one climbs, the greater one can fall, and don't we all know that with every Superman always appears a Supervilain as well? It might be that it really is impossible to dissociate the risk one takes with the rewards he *may* get from it.

IMHO, the challenge of cults is double: how do we go about moving out of the mechanical and materialistic mud we are sitting into, without indulging in the excesses and dangers of cultism, whether it happens within a group commonly referred to as "cult" or within a group that isn't so labeled, but is cultic nevertheless? And how de we move on if our own experience happened to involve belonging and allegiance to an high intensity group such as Scientology or any other like-minded movements? How do we, in this later case, heal the scars and turn the whole experience in an ultimately positive one, in which we would actually have *learned* something, *both* from our involvement *and* dis-involvement? A fine balance between a strong enough incentive and clear and realist thinking has to be found, and this is where the whole issue can teach us something.

My own passage through the cult experience helped me to deepen *both* my understanding of the spiritual realm and the potential traps on the way. All in all, I can say that it has been a positive experience as a *whole*, meaning that *both* my involvement *and* disengagement have been highly instructive, and I can now sit in a more traditional framework with the feeling that, for a period in my life, I did go through something out of this world and endowed with a special group energy, and because I feel that the experience did highten my awareness *and* sharpen my perception and critical skill, I view it as just an episode of a continuing story of unfoldment.

In Belgium we used to have a mandatory military draft for a period of one to three years, which draft would take place between the moment one had completed his curriculum, and the moment he would endorse his adult responsibilities. Now that such a mandatory draft has disappeared in most country, maybe we should have some form of spiritual draft to replace it? ;-) It would definitely fulfill a gap that is at present filled up mostly by cults, and may go a long way towards forging our spiritual character and maturity.

Bernie


Positive comments from beladonna and further questions


From: beladonna99@my-dejanews.com
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: The Cult Experience [was Re: I'm still chasing that $2787 per week job]
Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 05:51:22 GMT
Message-ID: <6lalcq$7le$1@nnrp1.dejanews.com>

In article <3576c742.99910@enews.newsguy.com>

Bernie

thanks for the informative article. I've been trolling this newsgroup for a while, reading alot of posts by people who were hurt deeply by this cult and the rabid and irrational responses of the faithful to all the criticism. In the midst of all the insults, I've been trying to find hints of what drew all these folks into this quagmire in the first place. It's not addressed very
often, and it's something I'd like to know more about.    What was (or is) the attraction of Co$ in the very beginning? What compels folks to sit through exercises reminiscent of high school drama class (except it was over in 50 minutes) and memorize a brutalizing litany of a psuedo-scientific catechism with no application outside the "church?" There must have been something in it that soothed or helped or relieved or gave hope which is what your article stated. Fortunately, you left in time to be able to look back with some fairness, and without incurring any of the harrasment I've read about here.

thanks again blue


My answer, including the only two case of "harassment" from the CoS I was victim of, which I can't even call harassment, the reason why a confrontational and insulting approach to members are counter-productive, and some mention of freezoners.


From: Bernie@bernie.cncfamily.com (Bernie)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: The Cult Experience [was Re: I'm still chasing that $2787 per week job]
Date: Sun, 07 Jun 1998 22:54:51 GMT
Message-ID: <358a198a.119862687@news.ping.be>

beladona:
>thanks for the informative article.

You are most welcome.

>I've been trolling this newsgroup for a while,

You mean lurking, I suppose.

>reading alot of posts by people who were hurt deeply by this cult and the rabid and irrational responses of the faithful to all the criticism. In the midst of all the insults, I've been trying to find hints of what drew all these folks into this quagmire in the first place. It's not addressed very often,

Indeed, apart from a negative angle, which I think is wrong.

>and it's something I'd like to know more about.     What was (or is) the attraction of Co$ in the very beginning?

You will find that, in part, in the story I made at the beginning of my sojourn in this newsgroup, two years ago. It's on my web page. It would need to be re-written with my improved English, but nevertheless. There is another, more concise but more complete post I made for the Krishnamurti mailing list and that I posted here too. It's archived at Introduction of myself to the Krishnamurti mailing list - Part 1. You'll have to discard the Krishnamurti specifics from it, though. If you still have questions after reading that, feel free to ask them.

>What compels folks to sit through exercises reminiscent of high school drama class (except it was over in 50 minutes) and memorize a brutalizing litany of a psuedo-scientific catechism with no application outside the "church?" There must have been something in >it that soothed or helped or relieved or gave hope which is what your article stated.

It's near to impossible for an outsider to understand it, especially not through the negative presentation that is being made by critics of the movement. To start with, a rather ludicrous presentation is being made, then they attempt to "explain" the reason why people believe in this "crap". I think the basic assumptions and presentation is twisted to start with, and therefore it's the explanation that is crap.

It has to be said that I am not even a freezoner, and that I not only renounced the CoS, but the Scn tech altogether. This doesn't prevent me from *trying* to keep a balanced and unbiased view on it all, and try to address both the positive and negative aspects.

To have a better idea of the tech and doctrine of Scn, it may be a good idea to check what freezoners have to say about it. Clear Baby (Heidrun Beer) made some good defense of the Scn viewpoint in her time. *Some* of her posts are archived at http://home.icon.fi/~marina/clrbaby/index.htm. I didn't read them there, so I am not sure whether they are representative of the subject at hand or not. The pilot is probably doing a good job too. I got an "URL not found" error trying to log on his page referred to on the ARS summary page of Marina Chong, but found some information on his reform page at http://www.igs.net/~michaelv/scnreform.htm. Here is an excerpt of it:

=======================================================
TO THE NON-SCIENTOLOGISTS

Before I launch into an extensive criticism of the current operating practices of the CofS, let me advise you that there is much that is good in Scientology.

I believe that the auditing (spiritual counseling) technology of Scientology is helpful, valuable, and increases one's ability and awareness.

 Just as you would not judge Christianity exclusively by the behavior of the Spanish Inquisition, please do not judge Scientology exclusively on the abuse and misuse currently practiced by Scientology management.

I really wish that I could tell you to run down to your local Scientology org and take some classes. Unfortunately, I have some ethical reservations about doing that right now. Instead let me suggest that you read some of the basic books such as "Fundamentals of Thought" and wait avidly on the sidelines for sanity to be restored within the organization.

Or study the subject intensively on your own. If you know the subject well enough, you can safely negotiate the traps. The tech is very powerful. If you do not know it, the current organization will use it to manipulate you. But the average staff member only has a very shallow knowledge of the subject (only the auditors actually study it). You can easily surpass them.

I am not going to present a positive case here because that is not my purpose in creating this page. But a positive case does exist. You can find it at www.scientology.org I wish that it contained more meat (real tech) and less PR, but they are afraid of revealing too much of the tech without payment. Perhaps someday things will be
better.

Meanwhile, you can encourage any Scientologists that you know to read this page and to push for ethical reform within the CofS.

You are welcome to read on, but the rest of this webpage is addressed to people who are already involved in Scientology.
=======================================================

I don't know about other sources I can recommend. The other freezoners appearing in this newsgroup are stupid enough to support the German oppression against Scientologists, which automatically marks them off as unable to perceive things in their proper perspective, AFAIAC. They also confirm their silliness to me by making ludicrous accusations that they are unwilling to substantiate or retract afterwards. So I won't recommend them at all.

>Fortunately, you left in time to be able to look back with some fairness, and without incurring any of the harrasment I've read about here.

It's a fact that I didn't incur any harassment, not even when I met my former "inmate" in the street. As a matter of fact, I was able to speak almost all of my friends out off the movement doing so. This also is due to the fact that I maintained a respectful and reasonable approach, all the while disagreeing and pointing out to things that made them think about the limits of Scn. I can't say how idiotic and counter-productive is the approach of some posters in ars who immediately attack Scientologists with things they can't confront. I believe the CoS would be either driven out of existence or reformed by now if it wasn't for such a mistaken attitude, that in reality *maintains* the CoS structure, because it makes Scientologists unwilling to listen to start with.

The only instance of "harassment" I can think of are rather minor. One was when I attended a seminar with Sarge Gerbode (another freezoner who, unfortunately, don't have a web page, AFAIK). Someone irrupted while we were downstairs, having our lunch break. He was wearing a T-shirt saying "standard tech", and walked around pointing to it while saying "standard tech" at the same time. Hardly a case of harassment.

The other instance was when I received a copy of a "knowledge report" from a Scientologist, who mentioned that I most probably knew some freezoners because I kept their dog while they were away. Hardly a case of harassment either, and subsequently this Scientologist also quit the CoS and became a customer of the said freezoners.

Well, that's long enough. HTH.

Bernie


Very judicious remark from Ydrrisil, a reasonable ex-member. Insults achieve nothing but comfort the members in their position. Note: this post is also webbed as part of examples of reasonable ex-members who are also critical of a.r.s.


From: ydrrisil@aol.com (Ydrrisil)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: The Cult Experience [was Re: I'm still chasing that $2787 per week job]
Message-ID: <1998060804205700.AAA01954@ladder01.news.aol.com>
Date: 08 Jun 1998 04:20:57 GMT

Bernie:
>I can't say how idiotic and counter-productive is the approach of some posters in ars who immediately attack Scientologists with things they can't confront. I believe the CoS would be either driven out of existence or reformed by now if it wasn't for such a mistaken attitude, that in reality *maintains* the CoS structure, because it makes Scientologists unwilling to listen to start with

You have hit a very significant nail on the head with this paragraph Bernie - I agree with you that a) there are some good things in and about scientology and b) that just assaulting with gratuitously insulting messages merely reinforces the mindset and siege mentality that already exists within the organization.

I still have friends, people who I admire and like, who are in the Sea Org and much as I may think that there are some very major problems that need to be handled within the scn organizations and some hard confronting as well I harbor no desire to see my friends and their urge to help people just trashed. I think it is important - maybe for critics who have only ever seen the robotic and idiotic postings from the OSA DA spam people and the likes of the CofS attorneys - to bear in mind that a lot of the people who work in scientology are there because they feel that what they are doing is supremely important. In the same way that I do not get offended when a christian tells me that he or she has mentioned me in their prayers I do not take lightly the fact that a lot of people are devoting a large part of their life on my behalf - it so happens that I wish they wouldn't of course and I wish they were doing that dedicated work in an organization that actually contributes to society but that is my end.

Catalogue abuse, document crimes and argue the philosophical basis of scientology but if anyone on the newsgroup seriously feels that ranting on about clams and sniggering about OT3 is going to bring scientologists to a new view then I fear they may be deluded.

I have never seen verbal abuse and mocking do anything other than convince the recipient that the person doing the ranting is nuts.


Just to join a group is not a motivation enough. It also needs to have a spiritual dimension.


From: Bernie@bernie.cncfamily.com (Bernie)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: The Cult Experience [was Re: I'm still chasing that $2787 per week job]
Date: Tue, 09 Jun 1998 01:57:16 GMT
Message-ID: <359b9640.152815551@news.ping.be>

>beladonna99@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>> What was (or is) the attraction of Co$ in the very beginning?

atstrs@swbell.net wrote:
>Perhaps is nothing more than wanting to belong to a group - ANY group even this one. To be accepted and loved (well, acked anyway). Isn't this how all cultic groups reel them in?

No, I wouldn't say so. It needs to have a spiritual dimension.

Bernie


Back to Bernie's Posts

Back to the alt.religion.scientology page


Random Quote :

Disclaimer :

This web site is NOT created by a Scientologist. It is created by a Scientology EX-MEMBER who is critical of Scientology. However, this ex-member is ALSO critical of the anti-Scientology movement. This does not make him a Scientologist, nor a defender of Scientology.

Quick Map :

About Myths Bigotry Anti-Cultism Criticism Third Way Links
Home
Site map
Search
What's New
Contact

Story
Q&A

 

Overview
2Questions
3Types
What

Doctrine
Xenu
Gays

Control
Kills
McPherson
Bashaw
Manson
RPF

Harrassment
Bomb
Sporgeries
Earthlink
Profit
Legal

 

Logic
Cat
Critic

 

Attacks
Clams
Hate
Christmas
Invasion
Trolling
Harassment
Violence
Award
OSA


Dissenters
Attacks
IRC
Plants
ARS

Tenets
Mind-Control
Subliminal
ACM

Discrimination
Jews
Kids
Germany
France
Trafalgar
Deprogramming

Who's Who
Cooper
Minton
Henson
Hartwig
Who

 

Experiences
Pro&Con
Dream

Questions
What Is?
Works?
Scam?

Testimonies
Sasha
Robin
Unindoctrinated

Cultism
Mirrors
Manhatan

The Tech
Key
Medical
Excalibur

Celebrities
Cruise
Celebrities

 

Scholars
Article
FBI
Papers

Moderates

Critics
Rebecca
Diane
Peter
DeadAgent1
Judy
Newbies

Ex-Members
Wolf
Jack
Claire
David
Kymus
Bernie
Interviews 

Scientologists
Enzo
Freddie
RonsAmigo
Wonderflur
Whippersnapper

Scientologists Speak
Freddie
EJ

 

ACM
Personal
Pathless