Scientology has claimed to be many things. It’s claimed to be a business in Germany, a religion in America and a philosophy when it doesn’t have other grounds to stand on. Scientology claims to be be a “philosophy (that) provides many answers to questions about life and death,” and which is, “able to remove barriers and unwanted conditions” that followers may face according to the FAQ page at scientology.org. On the surface this sounds like a harmless movement that’s aimed at helping people understand a new perspective… however scientologists won’t talk about how the organization which many people refer to as a pyramid scheme, or worse, actually works.
Scientology was originally penned by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, which isn’t a good sign for many people because, frankly, who would have taken the Bible seriously if it was written by Stephen King? However, literary comparisons aside, scientology claims to be a secret philosophy and technology that members can learn by stepping up onto different rungs and crossing bridges to get there. There’s also vague mentions of devices, alien creatures and technology unique to the faithful, but there’s nothing specific unless you’re a higher up initiate. If that is all the information you know about scientology, it doesn’t appear to be any different than any other new age movement. Until you start pulling back the curtains and shooing away the smoke.
Religions throughout time have promised that, through help provided by a patron deity or philosophy, followers may overcome obstacles and become better people. While some ask you to contribute to help the organization, scientology requires you to purchase the “bridges” that will allow you to reach the next step of the ladder. This isn’t like buying a bible so that you can study the word either… the cheapest of these bridges can be several hundred dollars, with many of the higher ones reaching into tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars just for the “secret” to advance. Some estimates claim that in order to learn all there is to being a scientologist one would have to shell out $360,000 or more!
That’s the tip of the iceberg, too. Victims of scientology claim that they have to think and act the same way that their leaders do, according to cosvm.org’s entry “Lies Debunked: How Does Scientology Work?” These victims claim that disobeying the rules leads to harsh punishments and loss of stature within the church, and that the other members will be very unkind in their remonstrations, to put it kindly. The group think that scientology creates can actually get dangerous. Media figures have been threatened by scientologists, and former members have been threatened as well should they discuss what they saw inside the organization. Lawsuits have been filed in droves against various scientology organizations, which is when the group starts claiming it’s a religion, and thus should be exempt from said suits.
In a stunning example of the organized crime-esque way that scientology can act, German film makers who are documenting the life of a former member have been filming their project entirely in secret. Heiner von Ronn, according to rickross.com, lost his life, his family and all of his finances to scientology, and now he and the film crew that are making a piece based on his life have been filming under fake titles and without giving any details for fear of threats and reprisals from various scientology organizations.
So, in a nutshell, scientology seems to be nothing more than a pyramid scheme that’s crossed with a cult mentality, all of it painted over in the white wash of new age religion. While it might be harmless in the best possible light, the charges that scientology is a criminal scam that’s responsible for ruining the lives of members, destroying families and threatening both legal and less than legal action are very compelling especially given how specifics are never addressed as to how the church works, and whether or not those specifics are in fact criminal in nature.
The above information is drawn from Scientology.org, Scientology-Lies.com, Cosvm.org, Religious Freedom in Germany