Just a funny story. Scientology: fear and loathing in North Carolina.

Get Thee Behind Me, Thetan!!!

by  Jason Torchinsky  http://www.matadorrecords.com/escandalo/4/scientology.html

If you were in a coma and had a tape recorder next to you playing all of the past year’s media stories about the Internet, chances are very good that when you’d wake up you’d have a terrific headache and the first two words to pop in  your head would likely be “sex” and “Scientology.”

I’m sure you’d remember what sex was, but Scientology? Scientologists are  members of this “religion” who have been causing much activity on the internet,  some from themselves, but mostly from their legal attempts to censor their  detractors. Spy and Details, among other magazines, have recently done  major investigative pieces on Scientology centers… so I’ve been scooped. But  there is a…. uh…. significant difference here: My encounter was with the  fringes of Scientology, one of their colonies out in the backwaters of  North Carolina. Surprisingly, simply finding Scientologists in North Carolina is  something of a chore. This bothered me at first, making me wonder if they think  we’re not good enough for them or what, but I soon overcame my pettiness, and  the following is the result:

DAY 1: Well, actually, there is only one day. It started with a call to the  Scientology office in Washington, DC. A tired telephone drone told me the only  Scientology center in North Carolina was in Charleston. I reminded him that  there is no Charleston in North Carolina, and asked if he perhaps meant  Charlotte. He put me on hold and, when he got back on the line, told me that it  was in fact in Charlotte.

After searching around Charlotte for several hours I can only assume that our  man in Washington spent the time while I was on hold emptying his bladder,  because there was no Scientology center in Charlotte to be found.

My friend and I were very disappointed. We had spent the three-hour drive to   Charlotte reading up on Scientologists, learning about what a con it all seemed  to be and just how insane their teachings were, and now it seemed as though they  won. It was getting late, and we were stuck.

Lesser people than us would have just given up, although better people  probably wouldn’t have bothered in the first place. We headed for the public  library. After a bit of browsing on the now-famous World Wide Web and with the  help of a plucky research desk worker who just so happened to be a former Scientologist himself, we found a Scientology center just outside of  Winston-Salem, NC.

We called and were greeted by an answering machine message that offered us no  information; worse, it wasn’t funny, either. We decided to find the place anyway  in the hopes that even if we got there so late it wasn’t open, perhaps it would  have some dumpster we could sift through.

We reached Winston-Salem at about 8:30. Our directions took us well outside  the city limits, and into a very dark, empty, rural area. We found the street: a  pitch-black yawning abyss, few houses on either side of the road, no  streetlights, and the only other traffic was a GTO and a Camaro racing loudly  through the night. Then, in the glow of the headlights, we saw it: A huge wooden  sign reading “DIANETICS AND SCIENTOLOGY CENTER.”

After parking the car, stashing our wallets in the glove box, and reviewing  our aliases yet again (I was Jason Strawberry, my friend was Chris Rigsbee) we  walked towards the sign. Oddly, this imposing sign stood in front of a quite  ordinary brick suburban home. There was a BMW in the driveway and some lights  on, but it was hard to tell if anyone was actually there. We approached the  house, then promptly got really spooked and bolted back to the sign where we  cowered for a few minutes before going back. The second time we went to the back  door, which was open. I looked inside and saw an interior decorated in every  shade of dingy orange and brown that the 1970s had to offer. The only thing  indicating that this array of paneling and naugahyde furniture was not some  church social hall lobby, circa 1978, was the array of L. Ron Hubbard photos,  inspirational posters, calendars, and shelves and shelves of Scientology books.  I knocked.

The first Scientologist I ever actually met appeared then, and her brown turtleneck, tweed blazer and dark slacks fit her home as well as any of the avocado-colored ottomans that littered the floor. We told her our assumed names and some bullshit story about how we were college students and had this friend, see, who was a real ne’er-do-well until she found Scientology so we were just curious about it, and blah, blah, blah. Shockingly, she bought it, and invited us in. She said she was in the middle of auditing somebody but she had a half-hour interview with L.Ron Hubbard she thought we should watch.

Signs in the room proclaimed our host to be an “Operational Thetan” who was instrumental in helping with the ominous-sounding “Deadline Earth,” whatever that may be. Another was a very complicated chart delineating all the stages of “Clear” and “Operational Thetan” and all of the requisite “technologies” those required. Plus, there were the innumerable photos of Ron in all manner of ascots and ridiculous poses.

The interview was made in 1966 and did more to make me think that L.Ron Hubbard is a malevolent lunatic than almost anything else. It drove this point home very effectively, as I realized it without paying attention to the screen for the first half hour or so.

During the part of the video interview where Ron explains the concept of ‘thetan’ using only a desk toy of a bent-wire guy with a sombrero, our host went behind us and called for some other people to come over.

“Oh shit,” I thought “here come the goons.”

As it turned out, the people that arrived were just as oddly mundane as our host; they just came by, mentioned something about a ‘reg’ and an ‘org’, took some papers, and left. It was now about an hour after she put in the tape for us, and the ‘half-hour’ interview was finally ending. She stopped the tape and asked us what we thought…

“It was a bit… dense…” I said, referring to the amount of information on the tape.

“Dense? As in stupid?” she shrilled, mistaking my poorly chosen word for one I really thought. As she said this, her eyes opened wide and I was afraid she was about to leap at my throat.

I quickly covered up my mistake, explaining that I just meant that there was a lot of information presented and she calmed down. I decided to see if I could get her riled up again, so on a hunch I asked her if the Scientologists were affiliated with the Christian Scientists. She told me certainly not, in the same tone of voice a Rabbi might answer you if you asked him if God was related to Chuck-E-Cheese.

Then began the full Scientology sell. She started by asking my friend and I if either of us had ever been in therapy. We responded that we had not, to which she replied, “Good. Two clean boys.” She then proceeded to tell us about the evils of  psychotherapy, which she regarded as one of society’s greatest threats.

“Did you know that 8 out of 10 psychiatrists sleep with their patients?” she asked us. I did not know this and told her so. She didn’t really say where she  got this number, but it seems that whoever was doing her research may have confused psychiatry with another famous profession that begins with a ‘p’.

She then went on to say that there wasn’t any need for psychiatry, anyway, as  Scientology can cure pretty much anything. We were skeptical, so as way of proof  she went on to enumerate the various diseases and ailments that Scientology could cure. Everything from allergies to heart disease, which she dismissed with a wave of her hand and an irritating chuckle. She also claimed that if a woman had been raped, she could rid the woman of all ill effects, both physical and emotional, in about 2 hours.

This was a little more than my friend and I were able to even pretend to comprehend, so she began to elaborate on the processes by which Scientology makes this all happen. The key is something called an ‘engram’. She began to explain by asking us what we had for breakfast that morning. Seeing no reason to lie, I told her bagels. What if, she postulated, while we were eating our breakfast bagels, someone came along and hit one of us with a hammer. We all agreed that would indeed ruin the meal, but then she went on to extrapolate that, perhaps, if I were to, say, smell bagels later, would I not then associate  that with being hit with a hammer, and, subsequently, get a really terrific h eadache? I really doubt it, I thought.

She went on to tell us how, as humans, we have 57 separate senses, including such things as mouth salinity and joint position, and any of the various readings one’s mind may get from these 57 senses can become associated with any event that may happen. She cured a man of his allergies to cats, for example, when she discovered that when he was a little boy, he had a tricycle accident.  At the scene of this toddler carnage lurked a cat, which the boy saw as he plowed headlong into some shrubs. Hence, when he saw cats now, his body reacted with pain.

We sat, stunned that this grown woman could possibly believe this simplistic crap. She then went on to tell us how, through a process known as auditing, using an e-meter, (a simple galvanic-skin response meter, much like a primitive lie-detector, only this thing comes in six designer colors and costs upwards of $3 grand) one could search out and destroy all a person’s engrams, transforming them into what Scientologists term a ‘clear’. At that point, she reminded us, you would never get sick, for pretty much all illnesses are psychosomatic. There are no germs, only engrams.

I asked her what else could be found out through auditing, and she began to tell us about thetans. Through auditing, one can learn more about one’s thetan, aliens that live inside everyone, and that behave something like conventional ideas of a ‘soul.’ Sort of. Your thetan may have had many previous host bodies,  she told us. And all this can be found out through auditing.

Really? Yes, she said. I asked if she has found out about other lives her thetan has had. She said, yes, of course, many, going thousands of years back, including–and here she got a look of incredible smugness on her face–other  planets! 

After she revealed that she was aware of previous lives on other planets, she shot my friend and I a “wouldn’t-you-like-to-know-more” look, gave a nasal chuckle, then dropped the subject entirely, as though she knew that such information was only really privy to established Scientologists. It was pretty obvious she was struggling against instructions not to weird-out potential converts.

We were certainly viewed as potential converts. On many separate occasions, she mentioned that one could become a Scientologist and retain identity in other religions, obviously reading my Semitic features as a potential stumbling block.

She returned to the subject of becoming clear and all of the benefits that came with, but this time she mentioned another service, at another cost, of  course, to help become clear in the body as well as the mind. This was L.Ron Hubbard’s sweat technique.

Scientologists view all chemicals that enter your body as detrimental, and they feel that trace amounts linger and cloud your thinking for years after the  fact. To rid oneself of all these toxins, Mr. Hubbard devised a curious-sounding  regimen of intense sweating in a sauna and megadoses of vitamins. Supposedly, with this method your body can become as pure as your engram-free mind. She mentioned how popular this treatment was with some famous Scientologists like Lisa Marie Presley and John Travolta.

Of course, after a little bit of espousing Scientology’s virtues, she came back to her hatred of psychiatrists. This time, however, instead of just giving us merely statistics out of nowhere, she provided an entire conspiracy theory that involved the Rockefellers, the international community of psychiatrists, and forced-labor diamond mines in South Africa. It was terribly involved, and she lost me fairly early on, but recaptured my attention when she leaned forward and asked my friend and I if we didn’t think it odd that “AIDS seems like an engineered disease?”

What the hell did she mean, “engineered disease?” Like a virus? AIDS is pretty scary and insidious, but I don’t think it behaves in anymore of an  engineered manner than any other incurable virus, like, say, the common cold. Not too many conspiracy theories try to pin the common cold on a medical field and a wealthy international-banking family, though. I think that’s what the Rockefellers do, international banking or something. Anyway, you get my point.

At this point, my friend and I were pretty spooked, and since it was well after 11 and we’d been in this woman’s house for over two and a half hours, we decided to get out before her ramblings actually started to make sense.

Before we left, she made a point of getting our names, addresses and phone numbers (all fake, thank God, except for the addresses– some poor bastard’s probably been getting a lot of weird mail) and inviting me to come back to be audited and hooked to an e-meter. At a price, of course, which she was unwilling to tell us that night.

Almost immediately afterwards my friend and I contracted a case of the willies so severe it almost required medical help. We made our way to a nearby Waffle House, and basked in the glory of a room free from the ruddy, rubbery gaze of L. Ron Hubbard.

Here is a video clip that I have been looking for a home.  It shows what a shitty game Scientology is.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://androvillans.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/just-a-funny-story-scientology-fear-and-loathing-in-north-carolina/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: