Anti-Scientology myths could be divided roughly along three types:
An example in this category would be the attempt to reduce the whole philosophy of Scientology to that of a nut UFO cult by depicting it has hardly more than the Xenu incident - claiming it is the core belief of Scientology when at least 90% of Scientologists don't even know about it.
Another example would be to claim that Scientologists believe they evolved from clams, when it is not part of their belief, nor is it actually part of Scientology's teaching, except as a projection made by critics based on one of the many incidents depicted in the book "History of Man". Andreas Heldal-Lund, in his FAQ on xenu.net, writes that "since the claim itself and the "proof" Hubbard provided is utterly silly, it serves as a good example of the general validity of his teachings". In reality, It serves instead as a good example of the general validity of critics' representation of Scientology beliefs.
Examples of critics' depictions of Scientology beliefs through out of context quotes and totally distorted presentations abound. A classical one is the "what is true for you" quote. In a text about personal integrity, L. Ron Hubbard wrote "what is true for you is what you have observed yourself and when you lose that you have lost everything". This obviously means that one should not accept anything said to him unless he himself observed it to be true. However, critics have turned this into meaning that one should accept things as being true simply because one has decided it was true and not on the basis of reality.
This is your classical horror stories department. Murders, physical restrain, brainwashing, forced abortions, child abuse, censorship, blackmail - everything aimed at depicting Scientology as a ruthless mind-controlling cult that does not hesitate to resort to violence towards its own members.
Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary proof. However, all critics are able to come up with when it comes to "Scientology kills" is a list of people who once were Scientologists and are now dead - which of course doesn't prove anything else than the fact people die. As for Lisa McPherson, critics still have a long way to go before substantiating the countless accusations they have been making around this tragic event. So far, the criminal suit has been dismissed because the prosecutor did not think he had a case after all, and the physical restrain part is so unsubstantial that the judge decided it won't even be presented to the jury during the civil suit. In the meantime, even the civil suit has been settled.
Claims of physical restrain are sometimes made by ex-members, but when you dig a bit further, you will see that it often doesn't qualify as such, or that it simply wasn't true at the outset. Other ex-members, among whom myself, have testified that they neither were a victim of it nor ever saw anything the like, and sociological studies conducted on the RPF have shown that even in these special circumstances, people are indeed free to leave at any time.
As for cult mind-control, this has been a controversy since the beginning of the 70's but has virtually ceased to be one since the end of the 80's. The theory has failed to gain academic endorsement and since then has generally been refused as an argument in courts. Before this, the theory has been used by anticultists to justify their kidnapping and forcible deprogramming, and is still used as a mean to disparage those who believe differently.
The amount of myths spun by Scientology critics about what happens in the movement are many. Getting alternative information is not easy, because third party information and factual sociological studies are hidden under hundreds of anticult web sites repeating the same horror stories.
This does not mean that abuses may not occur, and when they do, they ought to be duly exposed - but they need to be exposed as such, and not as part of an agenda that seek to demonize an entire group of people who, as mistaken they may be, only seek truth and what is best for society and themselves.
In this rubric, one will find the many Scientology policies dealing with critics, the Guardian Office operations, the various harassment endured by critics, etc.
This is certainly one of the weakest point of Scientology, because it does have an aggressive position towards its critics. Opposing the church on this ground is warranted and the critical movement can have a positive role to play at this level. Sadly, the myth-spinning ability of critics does not stop when it comes to harassment, and here too one needs to keep a very skeptical mind.
For example, you may have been told that the Church of Scientology (CoS) forged a bomb threat in the name of a critic, then used this to get him fired from his job. The story was on the top of a well-known harassment page and has been believed as true by Scientology critics for nearly two years. If it wasn't for a courageous person who exposed the fact that it was that critic himself who indeed wrote this post (and even asked money from his fellow critics as a "victim" of the evil church), the story may still be spun at the present time.
Allegations of pet killings or LSD on toothbrushes are just as ridiculous. In my opinion, this is not the kind of harassment Scientology would indulge into - though they make of course perfect horror stories critics would love to propagate - and some do.
Some events may also be represented as harassment when, in reality, they would better qualify as the other way around. Such is the case, for example, with Keith Henson, presented as a "free speech activist" who had to flee the US because of Scientology's harassment. When you did out the facts, however, you may see why the jury who condemned Henson considered his activism as stalking instead.
As for all the claims that "Scientology attacks free speech on the net", the CoS has made very clear that they are only concerned with the copyright aspect, and I have never seen even one instance where it has brought a suit about a single web page for libel - and God knows how gross critical pages can be in this respect. In addition, the courts have massively agreed with the CoS on the copyright issue, something xenu.net won't even mention in its front page legal section, in spite of the fact that this was one of the major theme of critics for years.
For that matter, try to find any mention of the bomb threat revelation above in Rod Keller's "ARS Week in Review", the main, supposedly objective, weekly report of alt.religion.scientology (ARS). You won't. Try to find in it any mention of the Paulette Cooper debate. You won't find anything either in spite of the fact that the whole debate monopolized the newsgroup for several weeks. You won't fail, however, to find reports on CoS harassments against critics, including totally unsubstantiated (and in my opinion false) allegations that CoS agents beat a critic's dog.
These few examples, and the many more you will find throughout this web site, show the need to be very critical towards tales of harassment reported by so-called critics. Some may be true, other may be invented, others reported in such a way as to turn them into something else. As for incidents that badly reflect against critics, they may simply not be reported at all.
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