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Jenna Miscavage’s Book on Scientology

With all the time on airplanes and in airports over the weekend, I had a chance to get about halfway through Jenna Miscavage Hill’s book Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape. She’s the niece of David Miscavage, who now runs Scientology. This book convinces me all the more that Scientology needs to be shut down.

What the book reveals is that Scientology is little more than a fraudulent business run on slave labor. She describes working 12-15 hour days at 6 or 7 years old, with much of it spent doing hard physical labor. It’s bad enough that when they brought in outside contractors to do work at The Ranch, where she lived as a small child, they kept them from seeing the kids so they wouldn’t turn them in for using child labor.

Beyond that, what she describes is a cult by any definition. They are made to rat on each other, to turn each other in for expressing even the slightest doubt about the program they’re subjected to. They’re made to constantly doubt themselves and their worth. And they’re forced to cut off communication with anyone who is not a part of Scientology, a sure sign of a cult. Here’s the deal: If you belong to any group that tells you that you must eliminate from your life anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe, run like hell away from it.

Comments

  1. greg1466 says

    If you belong to any group that tells you that you must eliminate from your life anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe, run like hell away from it.

    Seems like that describes pretty much every “religion” there is to one degree or another.

  2. says

    Actually, no, there are plenty of religions that don’t fit that description — though there are almost certainly people within every religion (majority or minority) who tend to avoid contact with nonbelievers, with or without being told to do so.

  3. says

    Who cares? If they didn’t have the protection against taxation of religions, they would have folded up long ago. The simple answer is to tax all religions, equally. In fact, I’d argue that by offering tax relief to religion, the government is establishing it – it puts itself in the position of having to decide what is a “real religion” and what is not. If deciding what is/isn’t a real religion isn’t establishing it, I don’t know what is.

    Why pick on $cientology as opposed to catholicism, the moonies, or the mormons? They’re all con games to some degree or another. The taxpayers shouldn’t be underwriting any of them.

  4. matty1 says

    Many branches of Christianity actively encourage members to associate with non-Christians as a form a recruitment. Those Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door are not (unfortunately) avoiding you because you don’t believe what they believe.

    Yes I know evangelising isn’t the same thing as having friends and family outside the group but both are incompatible with strict isolation.

  5. lofgren says

    In fact, I’d argue that by offering tax relief to religion, the government is establishing it – it puts itself in the position of having to decide what is a “real religion” and what is not. If deciding what is/isn’t a real religion isn’t establishing it, I don’t know what is.

    I keep saying this, but even in atheistic spaces the typical response is something like “Yeah, freedom of religion totally means that nobody can have religion [rolls eyes].” Hey, you can have a religion. I just don’t see why being a religion should afford your preferred pyramid scheme some kind of special benefits from the US taxpayer.

  6. cjtotalbro says

    “If you belong to any group that tells you that you must eliminate from your life anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe, run like hell away from it”

    This sounds a bit like the line drawn in the sand by Atheism+, no?

  7. says

    Why pick on $cientology as opposed to catholicism, the moonies, or the mormons?

    What a great excuse for ALL of those groups to avoid criticism! Just point to someone else and say “Why are you picking on us and not them?” That way EVERYONE gets to avoid accountability, and the worst groups get to hide behind the best.

  8. tomh says

    @ #3

    The simple answer is to tax all religions, equally.

    There may have once been a legitimate purpose in not taxing religions, but that day has long passed. In fact, the whole “freedom of religion” concept is outmoded. There is nothing in the concept of freedom of religion that is not covered by freedom of speech, of association, of assembly, or any other right that protects the secular and religious alike. Freedom of religion has become nothing but a ruse to ensure special privileges and legal exemptions from the law for religious organizations.

  9. a miasma of incandescent plasma says

    If you belong to any group that tells you that you must eliminate from your life anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe, run like hell away from it.

    Sounds exactly like a drug rehab cult that a former friend got sent to. Hence my use of former. Frowny face.

  10. JustaTech says

    Miasma @10: I could see the need in something like drug rehab, or post-cult de-programming, to avoid the people/places that encouraged the behavior you are trying to change. But I would hope it would sound like “Avoid the ex-boyfriend you used to do heroin with” not “you can only spend time with our people”.

    What I want to know is what the hell good small children are for hard labor? How does that make you rich? There was a time when you had them pick stones out of fields, or run looms, but all that is mechnaized now because it’s cheaper than children. (And because it is wrong to force children into hard, dangerous labor, obviously.) I guess that’s the point: if they’re exhausted, they’re not complaining, or thinking, and when they inevidibly make mistakes, you get to punish them. Vile.

  11. bornagainatheist says

    @4 Matty, Jehovah’s Witnesses go door-to-door, but they are well prepared with Bible verses to counter what the householder may say. And if the householder should happen to “know their stuff,” and are getting in good points that are hard to counter, then the Witness would probably not go back. They are only looking for people who are “sheeplike” and want to hear their message. They are definately discouraged from associating with non-Witnesses during their recreational time. And they are absolutely prohibited from associating with anyone who has been disfellowshipped on pain of being disfellowshipped themselves. It’s an extremely authoritarian religion.

  12. ambulocetacean says

    I’m looking forward to reading this book once my girlfriend has finished it.

    Marcus #3 “by offering tax relief to religion, the government is establishing it”. Good point.

    Psst… Ed.. It’s Miscavige, not “Miscavage”.

  13. hypatiasdaughter says

    #12 bornagainatheist
    That must be why I haven’t had any JW’s at my door for nearly a year. I told the lady that the Bible doesn’t seem to be very good at describing the God we see acting in the real world, so we cannot really know what God wants of us. She said she had never heard that one before and disappeared.
    On Taxing churches:
    Not all non-profits are charities. Things like hobby clubs, homeowners associations, educational organizations (like The Arthritis Foundation), etc are tax exempt non-profits.
    Taxing churches would be a long fight. And might put other non-profits at risk of losing their tax exempt status. (If an astronomy club can be a non-profit because it enables like minded people to meet, why can’t a church?)
    FIRST GOAL: make churches file with the IRS, and make the filing a public record. Exactly like ALL other non-profits do.
    Currently, the only people who oversee a church’s financial records are the members of the church who are told that questioning their pastor might earn them eternal damnation (’cause ain’t he Gods mouthpiece on Earth?).
    This means that NO ONE knows where the money comes from, where it goes to and if the church is complying with the law. Only a high ranking employee of the IRS can initiate an investigation, not the local IRS auditor who can initiate an investigation against you or your business.
    No wonder there are so many frauds and shysters in religion – what other business can you set up, rake in money, pay no taxes and have no oversight whatsoever over its finances?
    And if the pastor is really smart, the church “owns” his house, his car and his jet, pays his expenses so he can draw a small salary that he pays very little personal tax on.
    (I suspect the big legit churches, like the RCC, the mainstream Protestant, etc, are open with their congregations and the IRS about finances, but no one is watching the non-denominational churches that pop up in every empty building and sometimes grow into cash cow mega-churches.)

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