Sunday, July 06, 2014

"Beyond Belief" by Jenna Miscavige Hill

Just finished reading Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill.

I have already read other anti-Scientology books, like A Piece of Blue Sky by Atack and Bare-Faced Messiah by Miller. Hill's book is quite different: it offers a very intimate and personal account of what it was like to work, essentially as slave labor, in a large number of Scientology's different organizations starting from age 6. Hill recounts the abuses of the religion while recalling the details of being a young girl, growing up, and discovering love. Being David Miscavige's niece, she had access to the highest levels of the group.

Reading it brought home how similar Scientology is to other totalitarian belief systems, like the Communism of the Soviet bloc, and (to a lesser extent) Christian Science, Mormonism, and many forms of Christianity. Scientology uses all the classic mind control techniques, including indoctrination at an early age, a pervasive organization of spies and reporting, verbal and physical abuse, and so forth. It is very, very dangerous.

I also find it fascinating how Scientologists can rise to prominence in their organization without ever hearing the details of Scientology's completely insane theology. Of course, Christianity's theology is unbelievable, too, but there are different degrees of insanity. To use a mathematical analogy, Scientology is uncountably insane, while Christianity is only countably so.

I definitely recommend it for anyone interested in cults in general and Scientology in particular.

1 comment:

Diogenes said...

No, Scientology could conceivably be correct because it is not self-contradictory. Christianity is self-contradictory and thus cannot be true in any conceivable universe.

Leaving aside the problems of a benevolent and omnipotent deity (refuted by observation of effected harm to innocents), Christianity has a deity(ies) who forbid(s) polytheism, but there are three of them; an immaterial omniscient deity who forbids idolatry, but then incarnates as a human who demands we worship him and asks dumb questions and thinks the mustard is the smallest of all seeds and that fig trees ought to bear fruit out of season; who knows nothing of germ theory or penicillin, and tells his followers not to wash their hands even though they're fishermen who've been cleaning fish guts all day, and they all live in a pastoral environment where animal poop is everywhere and collected to be used as cooking fuel.

Plus, he's the Creator who invented the rules of Penal Substitutionary Atonement, so he constructed a big machine to kill himself on the cross as a sacrifice of himself to himself as the only way (under the rules he created) to assuage his own raging desire to set us all on fire. But, we're told, his death on the cross was a sacrifice and morally admirable and we owe him gratitude for creating the rules requiring himself to give himself a body and murder it as a sacrifice to himself.