Home Resignations Paul Haggis Resigns from Church of Scientology
Paul Haggis Resigns from Church of Scientology PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 October 2009 22:57
Photo of Paul HaggisPaul Haggis is the Academy award winning filmmaker who, in 2006, became the first screenwriter, since 1950, to write two Best Film Oscar winners back-to-back – “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) directed by Clint Eastwood, and “Crash” (2005) which he himself directed. For “Crash,” he won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. The film also received an additional four nominations including one for Haggis’ direction. “Crash” reaped numerous awards during its year of release from associations such as the IFP Spirit Awards, the Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA.

In 2006, Haggis’ screenplay collaborations included the duo Clint Eastwood productions “Flags of our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” the latter earning him his third screenplay Oscar nomination. He also helped pen “Casino Royale,” which garnered considerable acclaim for reinvigorating the James Bond spy franchise and has written the screenplay for the next Bond production “Quantum of Solace.”

Haggis’ directorial follow-up to “Crash” was “In the Valley of Elah” which he wrote, directed, and produced, for Warner Independent Pictures. The film, which starred Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon, was a suspense drama of a father’s search for his missing son, who is reported AWOL after returning from Iraq. Jones earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.

Most recently, Haggis and his partner Michael Nozik formed Hwy 61 Films, based at United Artists. Their first venture is an adaptation of the celebrated Australian novel “The Ranger’s Apprentice.”

Haggis was born in London, Ontario, Canada and moved to California in his early 20s. For over two decades he has written, directed and produced television shows such as “thirtysomething” and “The Tracey Ullman Show,” and also developed credits as a pup writer on many Norman Lear sitcoms. He created the acclaimed, if short-lived, CBS series “EZ Streets” which the New York Times cited as one of the most influential shows of all time, noting, that without it “there would be no Sopranos.”

Haggis is equally committed to his private and social concerns. He is co-founder of Artists for Peace and Justice, a working board member of EMA (The Environmental Media Association) as well as the advocacy group Office Of The Americas, among others.

He is married, the father of four children, and splits his time between residences in Los Angeles and New York.

-- from IMDb Mini Biography by: zkozlowski
 

Paul Haggis' Letter to Miscavige Mouthpiece, Tommy Davis

Tommy,

As you know, for ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego. Their public sponsorship of Proposition 8, a hate-filled legislation that succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California – rights that were granted them by the Supreme Court of our state – shames us.

I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of the church, to condemn their actions. I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated.

In that first conversation, back at the end of October of last year, you told me you were horrified, that you would get to the bottom of it and “heads would roll.” You promised action. Ten months passed. No action was forthcoming. The best you offered was a weak and carefully worded press release, which praised the church’s human rights record and took no responsibility. Even that, you decided not to publish.

The church’s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly. I can think of no other word.  Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.

I joined the Church of Scientology thirty-five years ago. During my twenties and early thirties I studied and received a great deal of counseling. While I have not been an active member for many years, I found much of what I learned to be very helpful, and I still apply it in my daily life. I have never pretended to be the best Scientologist, but I openly and vigorously defended the church whenever it was criticized, as I railed against the kind of intolerance that I believed was directed against it. I had my disagreements, but I dealt with them internally. I saw the organization – with all its warts, growing pains and problems – as an underdog. And I have always had a thing for underdogs.

But I reached a point several weeks ago where I no longer knew what to think. You had allowed our name to be allied with the worst elements of the Christian Right. In order to contain a potential “PR flap” you allowed our sponsorship of Proposition 8 to stand. Despite all the church’s words about promoting freedom and human rights, its name is now in the public record alongside those who promote bigotry and intolerance, homophobia and fear.

The fact that the Mormon Church drew all the fire, that no one noticed, doesn’t matter. I noticed. And I felt sick. I wondered how the church could, in good conscience, through the action of a few and then the inaction of its leadership, support a bill that strips a group of its civil rights.

This was my state of mind when I was online doing research and chanced upon an interview clip with you on CNN. The interview lasted maybe ten minutes – it was just you and the newscaster. And in it I saw you deny the church’s policy of disconnection. You said straight-out there was no such policy, that it did not exist.

I was shocked. We all know this policy exists. I didn’t have to search for verification – I didn’t have to look any further than my own home.

You might recall that my wife was ordered to disconnect from her parents because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did twenty-five years ago when they resigned from the church. This is a lovely retired couple, never said a negative word about Scientology to me or anyone else I know – hardly raving maniacs or enemies of the church. In fact it was they who introduced my wife to Scientology.

Although it caused her terrible personal pain, my wife broke off all contact with them. I refused to do so. I’ve never been good at following orders, especially when I find them morally reprehensible.

For a year and a half, despite her protestations, my wife did not speak to her parents and they had limited access to their grandchild. It was a terrible time.

That’s not ancient history, Tommy. It was a year ago.

And you could laugh at the question as if it was a joke? You could publicly state that it doesn’t exist?

To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: what else are you lying about?

And that is when I read the recent articles in the St. Petersburg Times.  They left me dumbstruck and horrified.

These were not the claims made by “outsiders” looking to dig up dirt against us. These accusations were made by top international executives who had devoted most of their lives to the church. Say what you will about them now, these were staunch defenders of the church, including Mike Rinder, the church’s official spokesman for 20 years!

Tommy, if only a fraction of these accusations are true, we are talking about serious, indefensible human and civil rights violations. It is still hard for me to believe.  But given how many former top-level executives have said these things are true, it is hard to believe it is all lies.



"...the same face that denied the policy of disconnection"

And when I pictured you assuring me that it is all lies, that this is nothing but an unfounded and vicious attack by a group of disgruntled employees, I am afraid that I saw the same face that looked in the camera and denied the policy of disconnection. I heard the same voice that professed outrage at our support of Proposition 8, who promised to correct it, and did nothing.

I carefully read all of your rebuttals, I watched every video where you presented the church’s position, I listened to all your arguments – ever word. I wish I could tell you that they rang true. But they didn’t.

I was left feeling outraged, and frankly, more than a little stupid.

And though it may seem small by comparison, I was truly disturbed to see you provide private details from confessionals to the press in an attempt to embarrass and discredit the executives who spoke out. A priest would go to jail before revealing secrets from the confessional, no matter what the cost to himself or his church. That’s the kind of integrity I thought we had, but obviously the standard in this church is far lower – the public relations representative can reveal secrets to the press if the management feels justified. You even felt free to publish secrets from the confessional in Freedom Magazine – you just stopped short of labeling them as such, probably because you knew Scientologists would be horrified, knowing you so easily broke a sacred vow of trust with your parishioners.

How dare you use private information in order to label someone an “adulteress?” You took Amy Scobee’s most intimate admissions about her sexual life and passed them onto the press and then smeared them all over the pages your newsletter! I do not know the woman, but no matter what she said or did, this is the woman who joined the Sea Org at 16! She ran the entire celebrity center network, and was a loyal senior executive of the church for what, 20 years? You want to rebut her accusations, do it, and do it in the strongest terms possible – but that kind of character assassination is unconscionable.

So, I am now painfully aware that you might see this an attack and just as easily use things I have confessed over the years to smear my name. Well, luckily I have never held myself up to be anyone’s role model.

The great majority of Scientologists I know are good people who are genuinely interested in improving conditions on this planet and helping others. I have to believe that if they knew what I now know, they too would be horrified. But I know how easy it was for me to defend our organization and dismiss our critics, without ever truly looking at what was being said; I did it for thirty-five years. And so, after writing this letter, I am fully aware that some of my friends may choose to no longer associate with me, or in some cases work with me. I will always take their calls, as I always took yours. However, I have finally come to the conclusion that I can no longer be a part of this group. Frankly, I had to look no further than your refusal to denounce the church’s anti-gay stance, and the indefensible actions, and inactions, of those who condone this behavior within the organization. I am only ashamed that I waited this many months to act. I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.

Sincerely,

Paul Haggis

Ps. I’ve attached our email correspondence.  At some point it became evident that you did not value my concerns about the church’s tacit support of an amendment that violated the civil rights of so many of our citizens. Perhaps if you had done a little more research on me, the church’s senior management wouldn’t have dismissed those concerns quite so cavalierly. While I am no great believer in resumes and awards, this is what you would have discovered:

* Founder, Artists For Peace and Justice,
- sponsoring schools, an orphanage and a children’s hospital in the slums of Haiti
* Co-Founder, BrandAid Foundation and BrandAid Project
- marketing the work of artisans from the poorest countries in the world,
* Board Member, Office of The Americas
- supporting peace and justice initiatives around the world
* Board Member, Center For The Advancement of Non-Violence
* Member and active supporter, Amnesty International
* Member, President’s Council, Defenders of Wildlife
* Member and fundraiser, Environment California and CalPirg
* Member and Award Recipient, American Civil Liberties Union
* Member and supporter, Death Penalty Focus
* Member and supporter, Equality For All
* Fundraiser, NPH (Our Little Brothers) – for the children of the slums of Haiti
* Member, Citizens Commission on Human Rights
* Patron with Honors, IAS
And formerly:
* Trustee, Religious Freedom Trust
* Board Member and fundraiser, Hollywood Education and Literacy Project
* Board Member and fundraiser, For The Arts, For Every Child
– supporting art and music in public schools
* Board Member and fundraiser, The Christic Institute
- supporting Human Rights in Central America
* Founding Board Member, Earth Communication Office
* Working Board Member, Environmental Media Association
* Fundraiser, El Rescate – Human Rights for El Salvador
* Fundraiser, PAVA – Aid and Human Rights in Guatemala

Awards for outspoken support of Civil and Human Rights:

* Valentine Davies Award – Writers Guild of America
“for bringing honor and dignity to writers everywhere”
*Bill of Rights Award – American Civil Liberties Union
*Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award – Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
*Peace & Justice Award – Office of the Americas, presented by Daniel Ellsberg
*Signis Award, Venezia, World Catholic Association
*ALMA Award – National Council of Latino Civil Rights
*Ethel Levitt Award for Humanitarian Service – Levitt & Quinn
*Prism Award – Entertainment Industries Council
*Humanitas Prize (2) – Humanitas
*Legacy Award, for Artistic and Humanitarian Achievement
*Environmental Media Award – EMA
*EMA Green Seal Award – EMA
*Image Award – NAACP
*Creative Integrity Award – Multicultural Motion Picture Association
*EDGE Awards (2) – Entertainment Industries Council
*Artistic Freedom Award – City of West Hollywood
*Catholics in Media Award – Catholics in Media Associates

And many dozens of fundraisers and salons at our home on behalf of Human and Civil Rights, the Environment, the Peace Movement, Education, Justice and Equality.

 

This letter was published online by Marty Rathbun on his blog after he received a copy from a third party recipient of the letter. After verifying it's authenticity with his source, Marty decided to publish it so that the import of the issues it covers are fully aired and considered by readers. Marty hopes that the author of the letter will understand that by publishing the letter we mean no disrespect. Quite the contrary, it is our level of respect for the author’s life work and integrity that makes us confident many people will benefit from the author’s example, others will feel vindicated, and great strides will be made in ending the abuses the letter details. -- Thoughtful
Click here to follow Marty's daily updates and what his readers have to say.

 

 

Comments   

 
+53 # Martin 2009-10-24 14:59
The contrast between the dignified and eloquent Mr Haggis and the screeching hysterical lying of Tommy could not be more pronounced. I just hope that some of Mr Haggis' integrity rubs off on some of his fellow celebrities. Tom Cruise could learn a lot from this gentleman...
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+5 # Eldon Braun 2009-10-25 01:48
On Friday night, Tommy huffed out of the ABC Nightline interview in front of four million viewers. Mike Rinder could certainly spin a lot more convincingly. Maybe DM should send Heber next time.
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+1 # Octavia N 2010-10-04 12:35
I do hope Tommy Davis sorts himself out. From what I've heard, he's actually a very kind and intelligent man who could do a lot of good in the world if he didn't have his hands tied by the 'powers that be' in the 'church' of Scientology. I feel very sorry for him, especially with such an unsupportive mother.
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+6 # ExVet 2009-10-25 01:48
Scientology is now in a state of Civil War. And for our side at least, "Civil" is used in the most eloquent, non-violent sense of the word.
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+9 # G. Schutte 2009-10-25 07:37
OSA liars, the integrity is gone. Anyone who was around knows that the beatings occurred. The sleep deprivation and other abuses. Do we all have to risk getting kicked out to get ethics in on DM and others who are enforcing his tyranny?
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-1 # Ira Askarada 2009-11-20 08:36
Hello,
Would it be possible to send some clarification in regards to sleep deprivation, and other abuses? With regards
Vera
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+3 # Thoughtful 2009-11-20 15:39
Vera, Just use the search function on the home page. Search for "sleep deprivation" and you'll see numerous articles on the subject.
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+13 # Darrell 2009-10-26 02:20
After 35 years in Scientology, after seeing the terrible damage caused to his family by disconnects", after the "morally reprehensible" orders, after lie after lie after lie, he finally had enough of them when he didn't like their stance on...gay marriage?
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+17 # chucky 2009-10-26 03:09
It is a "religion" that considers all who don't agree with their belief SYSTEM or even their point of view on any topic to be enemies. I'm glad Paul finally broke through his personal haze to see the light!!!!!!!!!
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+4 # Pedro 2010-03-08 16:01
"IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE AS WE DO, YOU ARE ENEMIES!"

Sounds a lot like the Extremist Muslims and Christians to me.
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-38 # Dennis igou 2009-10-26 04:34
Auditing should be confidential, we know the xtians (Christians) use confessionals to extort money. Same thing in Scientology. To win at any cost, costs a lot. I have always considered the current operation a mind control program, with militaristic overtones. Look at the whacknut uniforms the elite Scientologists are forced to wear. When compassion is your only passion, only then are you free. Shine forth brave souls. Dennis
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+5 # Ella 2010-03-08 09:55
Christians don't have confessionals, as they don't believe you need to confess to anyone other than God himself.

And why write xtians and then (christians) when you could have saved yourself the trouble and wrote it right the first time?
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+1 # not a scientologist 2010-03-08 05:15
Ella -

Christians do have confessionals. Not sure if you've heard of something called "Catholicism", their headquarters is in the Vatican. The big shot there is called "The Pope."

They, in fact, go to confession.
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+3 # PeteinFairfax 2010-03-13 23:56
Correct, however, protestants do not have confessionals. They too are Christians.

There was something called the reformation. Sounds like Scientology is going through a reformation of sorts now.
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+31 # Zorba 2009-10-26 09:23
You got to commend Paul for having the guts to stand up and finally say "enough!" for whatever the reason. The point is this is a huge blow to David Miscavige, at least he's still got Tom Cruise fooled. Good on you Paul Haggis!
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+23 # Guest 2009-10-26 12:45
Confessionals are not used to extort money idiot
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+15 # Trisha 2009-10-26 12:55
To Dennis Igou- you "know" nothing of the sort. Spreading lies about other religions isn't helping the image of Scientology. Lies are lies- and unless you have first-hand knowledge of such extortion- I'd zip it, if I were you.
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-6 # Jack Russell 2009-10-26 23:01
Dennis igou says >>>we know the xtians (Christians) use confessionals to extort money
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-5 # Laura 2009-10-27 07:22
It's the whole bad apple in the bunch theory - not all priests or churches "extort" via confessional, but some do. I attended 2 years of Catholic High School and wrote a paper for religion class about "buying forgiveness" and the dangers it presents - and got kicked out of school for my troubles. Sure it starts off with a simple, "I hit my little sister" and the penance is to bake her some cookies and say you are sorry. But what happens when you are an adult - and someone of power like a city council member, senator or other influential entity? Then maybe it's "make sure the zoning law gets passed so the church can continue its work" or "donate $$$ or host a fund raiser so the church can do ____". It isn't a far stretch of the imagination that something like this can balloon, especially when Catholics are programmed from birth to do what the priest says for forgiveness without question. I can see this in any religion, especially when the followers are so devout and the religion itself is shrouded in such secrecy as Scientology, Church of Mormon, etc. SCARY - very scary!
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0 # Noah Smart 2009-10-27 07:27
Prob with religion are the people, to much power given to few of them. Power corrupts, even in a kindergarten class room (ever talk to a preschool teacher?) All roads to the same place, some are rocky, some are straight and flat. NOT ALL ARE MEANT FOR ALL PEOPLE. Some are to just whip through earth time and get to the end. Some stop by and smell the roses. Some walk, some fly. WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE ANYONE? Some people like pickles, some like cucumbers. You're all lemmings.
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+31 # Medford Oregon 2009-10-27 07:31
In the late '70s, Scientology's Portland office chose to exploit a classmate of mine from Lincoln High. They had him on the corner of Salmon and Broadway all day, every day, in all kinds of weather like a robot for Scientology. This was the only way an unemployed high school grad like himself could pay for the multi-thousand dollar "auditing courses," which they convinced him would make everything clear. Very quickly, this gentle trusting young man's whole demeanor took a turn for the worse. He became hostile, suspicious, depressed. After two years of this rank exploitation, he jumped off the Steel Bridge and drowned in the Willamette. When asked what went wrong with Glenn Gallagher, Portland's Church of Scientology representatives said, "Glenn who? We don't know anybody by that name." Every time a fresh scandal breaks out about this secretive and exploitative organization, I am reminded of Glenn. It's the same sad stories all over again. Families parted. Lives damaged. An elite coterie obscenely enriched by the efforts of others.

The cynical manipulation of celebrities was afoot then too. A professor of mine at that time told me how her son, a highly gifted graphic artist, had been recruited for Scientology's upper echelon: "He told them that he didn't believe a word of it, but the money was good. They told him that for artists at his level–belief wasn't required–so long as he didn't discuss it. So he joined Scientology."

Later, I learned through other sources that these "courses" that Scientology convinces people they need start out at hundreds of dollars and increase rapidly into the thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars. Naturally, if you take their "free personality test," you will ALWAYS need the courses. There's no percentage for them in telling you that you're OK!

Now, pause to consider, if you held the secrets to a wonderful utopian existence for everyone, why wouldn't you give them away? Why is only the test "free"?
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+13 # J Lee 2009-10-27 07:32
Excuse me? Never, in its long history, has the Catholic Church extorted money in the Confessional. Priests have gone to prison to defend the secrecy of the Confessional. No one's sins are ever 'outed' to the world.
Sir, you are terribly misinformed.
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+1 # Dave W 2009-10-28 10:56
Really..no extortion 'Never'

Have you not heard of 'indulgences' where the wealthy pay to have their sins after confessing them. I believe St Pauls Basillica was built on this extortion.

Its one of the main reasons Martin Luther left the RC's.
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0 # Hamster 2009-11-21 16:22
Dave, back up what you say with facts. Check out the website included. These are two of many websites that give facts, not colour them.

Primer on Indulgences
http://www.catholic.com/library/Primer_on_Indulgences.asp

Catholic Encyclopedea: Indulgences
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07783a.htm
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+1 # dayton lutheran 2010-03-08 03:54
We Catholics and non-Catholics have grown up with programming of our own. The Catholic church has undergone quite a bit of internal reform since the time of Luther, although Sunday school teachers wouldn't want to teach it. The current Pope has written many positive things about Luther (you can google it) and one NEW Lutheran synod loosely associated with my church, call the ALCC, is promoting reunification as a "Lutheran Branch" within the Catholic Church. Both sides would be agog, so who knows if it will happen, but such dynamics are seldom as simple as some of these posts. Historical facts are still facts, change - sometimes to the better - is also a fact of human civilization. I look forward to a break-away group and reform from and within Scientology. As a former zombie, I would welcome that.
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0 # Octavia N 2010-10-04 12:30
...Sorry Dave, but you need to do some research on that one. That's the trouble with sending lay people around to collect money for the Church - they totally misrepresented the building of St Peter's by adding their own 'Donate to the fund and get to Heaven'; that was not sanctioned by the Church. Also, indulgences are a grey area and very, very often misinterpreted. Most Catholics (even very wealthy ones) don't use them.
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-3 # only what you know... 2010-03-09 13:38
And theyve never molested children either I suppose; tithing used to be more than just a suggestion...
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+1 # Harkus 2009-10-27 07:33
"...(Christians) use confessionals to extort money." How are things in the rubber room? Better type something else nasty before they come and put you back in the straight jacket. Seriously, this doesn't help your credibility when you try to smear with lies that are easily disproved.
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+2 # Jose Perez 2009-10-28 10:36
A group of decent people mislead, betrayed and controlled by their management. Not that different from any other religion.

The scary thing is that Scientology management is very effective at taking ownership of what happens when good willing people get together and preys on them because of their inability to recognize that good things are happening because they are together. . .
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-3 # annonymous 2009-10-28 10:48
Where in the world do you get that confessionals are used to extort money???!! I find that scientologists are VERY ignorant about other religions and condemn other religions without knowing any facts. The fact that most scientologists working in the org are recruited right out of high school is the problem. People are kept ignorant to education, other cultures and religions and are not taught to respect people's beliefs. All religions lead to spiritual enlightenment. You should not assume your own religion is the ONLY and BEST one in the world that leads to spiritual growth. This is really very arrogant of scientologists to think this way.

I took a few beginning courses at the CC in LA and liked the courses but did not like the overzealous salesy staff that was hovering over every move and always looking for something wrong for me to say or do to sell me another book or course. I even had a freaky stalker that kept following me around and checking me out in my bathing suit at the purification center. This is where I drew the line. Talked to the manager of the purif center and other higher ups, who could care less about the issue, they were focused on recruiting me to join the Sea Org! As if I were to fall for THAT crap!

I wish the overzealous staff and used-car-saleaman attitude did not exist in scientology. The actual courses that I took were very helpful, just like anything handled by man gets out of hand and corrupted in some way.

Oh, by the way, the Church does NOT support nor believe in GAYS! They do not think this is possible by nature, so gays are currently not admitted in the organization.
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+9 # M Russell 2009-10-28 10:48
Thank you Paul for standing up for what you believe in. You inspire me, and I support you 100 percent.
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0 # 1of 13 Million Mormons 2009-10-28 10:54
“Cult” is defined as a group or religion that worships and or follows what a self-appointed leader tells them. Our core beliefs are family and love for others even those who disagree. Please don't make blanket statements about groups you don't know and good luck in your journey through life. :-)
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+16 # Bea 2009-10-28 14:21
I am proud of Mr. Haggis, I do wonder why it took so long for him to "see the light."

I tend to agree with France, that Scientology does not qualify as an organized religion because it is a for-profit business.

Why won't they talk about WHAT they believe in? Other religions openly worship the center of their beliefs. Theirs is a big secret. I don't understand that. Also, what other religion charges for the study of its tenets? Sure lots of money goes to churches, but it is still free if you choose not to contribute.

They seem to be a strange triad of (1) a scientific look at life that seems to be beneficial to some people - this info is never shared because it is purchased, (2) a belief in extraterrestrials, the central leader being such, and (3) an extremely aggressive, predatory sales business.

If this is not factual, it is because this is the best I can glean from what they say and what I can read. They seem to be so secretive & untruthful, it's hard to believe what their representatives say.
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+8 # Gary Pariani 2009-11-03 14:37
A lot of us Mission Owners are looking for a way to be 100% independent of the Int Base, and corporate scientology. We realize that the PR coming out of DM's office is terrible, and Scientology will be splitting into two sects soon. Every mission owner needs to email me to discuss the oncoming separation of missions from Corporate Scientology. If you are tired of DM running the show and letting his out ethics destroy us, call or email me today.
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-1 # Paula 2009-11-08 10:56
Obviously, Harkus was raised Catholic just like I was. All those years of indoctrination by the priest and nuns in Catholic school took their toll on me. I recall being sent to the priest every time I expressed an independent thought. I'm not surprised that Harkus would automatically defend the Church. The nuns distorted Church history and never taught the Church's abuses. As a former Catholic, I can tell you, Harkus, that once your mind is freed, you can see that the Church had a corrupt history.

It's okay to admit the truth instead of blindly defending the Church. You didn't commit the abuses. But to defend the Church's past makes you seem...well, duped.
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+2 # Gone Down 2009-11-15 14:10
Mr. Haggis:

It looks like you are one of the rare breed that hasn't lost their self respect, hats off to you! Here is an LRH quote that might help you.

“Don’t you dare lose your nerve.

“’Don’t you dare lose your nerve’ isn’t given you so much because the rest of us would be terribly disappointed in you, or because you’d probably be receiving summonses from all various parts of the country about this horrible thing which you have done to this preclear – it’s your self-respect. It doesn’t matter how many planets you blow up, or how many galaxies you collapse. It doesn’t matter a damn! Just don’t lose your self-respect.

“Before you take one inch backwards on the question of your self-respect, go through anything. Go through anything. Permit yourself to be killed, permit yourself to be dragged in the streets with wild horses, permit yourself to be put on a rack, burned alive, anything. There is nothing more painful than losing your self-respect.

“Funny. And that’s what you’re playing with when you say, ‘I haven’t got enough nerve.’ The only really vital possession which you have is your self-respect.” L. Ron Hubbard, Lecture ILLUSION PROCESSING given on November 1952
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+13 # MJ2009 2009-11-15 14:11
I'm a Scientology kid also ex SOM, my mom was in the S.O. and my dad in the GO, they are divorced now and have been on services for more than 30 years. I got out form the S.O. a few years ago, briefly after my family found out I was gay, my dad, twin brother, 2 sisters, uncle and aunt all in SCN totally disconnected from me, my mom after that started questioning SCN and decided to keep in touch with me. So I'm the result of both hate crimes against gay people and disconnection policy. Thank you Paul for standing up for people like me...
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+12 # Robin 2009-12-02 15:32
I am still a church member because I am afraid to leave because of the disconnect policy and my family members who are active in the church. I am quietly just not doing anything anymore and trying to avoid communication from orgs. I would dearly love to be honest with everyone concerned, but I can't. The problem for me extends back to an interpretation of one of the Ethics codes: "Such Suppressive Acts include... Public disavowal of Scientology or Scientologists in good standing with Scientology organizations." (Introduction to Scientology Ethics;Ch 12 The Scientology Justice Codes and Their Application)

OK, Paul Haggis's letter is pretty "public", no doubt, and contains what I see to be a "disavowal". But what about just a regular public person, who decides for personal reasons to not be a church member anymore? Perhaps it's a change of spiritual leaning, nothing more vicious than wanting to move on. In most other religions you are free to do that without significant repercussions from said religion. You don't even have to make a statement, you can just disappear and after awhile folks will quit expecting to see you. The problem is with Scn, you can't do that. You HAVE to make a statement or just keep flying under the radar and lying ad infinitum. And if you DO write a polite letter to your appropriate local org terminal stating you no longer wish to be a member of the church, you think it's been great but you've moved on, and thank you for everything - WELL. You will either be subjected to attempted "handlings" and if those don't "work" (or you refuse them)you will ultimately declared SP, per the above Ethics code. Then the disconnect policy comes into force and wreaks it's usual havoc.
I don't know if this interpretation was what LRH had in mind. I really doubt it though. You should be allowed to change your religious beliefs and affiliations - it's a right we have on many levels- without being declared a Suppressive Person. I think that's the root of at least my problem these days...
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-1 # Anonymous 2010-03-07 17:30
Robin, there are many of us who will not "come out" as ex-members of $cn because of our existing ties to family and friends who are still in the church. We care about them and do not wish to be labeled "enemies"--because we aren't. There is more to humanity than "them" and "us." There are a million shades of gray. Many of us just wish to live our lives in peace, not involved with the manic race up the bridge.

On a different but related note, I can't be the only person who thinks that sending millions of tons of junk mail to people who don't want it is an overt against the 5th dynamic.
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0 # another country heard from 2010-03-16 07:12
Yes!!! I agree. I've been "gone" for 13 years and still get, on average, 2 pieces of literature a day. Also still called constantly for "Events".
Disconnect, like breaking up, is hard to do.
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+3 # Anonymous 2010-03-06 17:58
Perhaps Mr. Haggis would do well to remember that those of us on the "Christian right" have been fighting for his and many other $cientologists' rights in outing the cult, and that many of us are proud gay rights supporters.

Don't pardon yourself from a cult, to insult the faith of another.

That having been said, I couldn't be happier that he's free of the $cientology shackles, and I wish him the best of luck.
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+8 # not a Christian radical, I jus 2010-03-06 18:03
What a tragedy to see current and/or former members of CoS wasting decades of their lives (ironic to see how much they detest the LDS church, given they both exist because of the teachings of a modern-day man). To see these great human beings so misguided - especially about other faiths (Christian "Protestant", Catholic, etc) - what they are taught breeds hate, distrust... all the things the CoS supposedly abhors. Doing good works, from a Christian perspective, is to be done anonymously, according to the Bible - with no fan fare, no pats on the back.. nothing. Yet the CoS needs media coverage of their "deeds" - this has always sickened me somewhat. As for the issue of homosexuality - yes, the Bible states that it is forbidden. However - the Bible also states that we are not to judge, that we are to love our neighbor.. and that's how most Christians live their lives. We do not "disconnect" from family or friends who are gay. We love them. Those who do cut off gay family members or friends are detestable, and not doing so because of God. I'm aghast that so many can be lulled into having someone (CoS) tell them how to think, behave, and make decisions with their lives. How gullible can people be? I shudder to think of what 1 CoS person could have done with all that money now being used to create lavish, marble-clad CoS "centers"... I think of all the children they could have fed or clothed - all on their own, in one afternoon. Sad.
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0 # Lioness 2010-03-07 12:37
Oh, c'mon, not a Christian...

"However - the Bible also states that we are not to judge, that we are to love our neighbor.. and that's how most Christians live their lives. We do not "disconnect" from family or friends who are gay. We love them."

No disrespect, but this is bull, for the most part. I was raised Christian, and I can tell you right here, right now, many, MANY Christians- and members of most major religions, for that matter- that I've encountered or read about are quite judgmental, especially of gays. There have been plenty of Christians who have done just that- "disconnect" from their gay relatives or friends, or make them feel like crap for being gay. Christianity is of the biggest reasons gay marriage doesn't exist in this country, and it, along with many other major religions, is also why the country- and the world for that matter- is in such a fractious state. Do not use your compassion for others as a blanket description for all Christians.

"I'm aghast that so many can be lulled into having someone (CoS) tell them how to think, behave, and make decisions with their lives. How gullible can people be?"

Replace "CoS" with say, the Catholic church or a Jewish temple, and then ask the question again. You yourself are Christian, if I read your post correctly- how are YOU lulled into having some people wrote a book a LONG time ago and knew very little about the world, guide you on how to live your life now? It's funny when I hear Christians point the finger- the Christian churches are no better than the Church of Scientology, in my opinion.

The least judgmental people I have known or met are usually ones that question religion the most. God is great- but religions, for the most part, suck. I think they corrupt one's relationship with God and the world. Just my two cents. Kudos to Paul Haggis for standing up for his beliefs.
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+2 # anne56 2010-03-07 03:22
Thank you for your courage despite the personal pain it may cause you. Over time, I think you will find a new sense of strength and solidity for having taken such a strong and public stand on your moral convictions, and for having stayed true to yourself. This is the beginning of real spiritual exploration to my mind. One personal having the courage to do what you did can cause an entire shaky house of cards to change...or fall.
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-2 # Janice 2010-03-07 03:26
How absurd that anyone would even consider the concept of using confessionals to extort money. Really? People are so attached to their money it would have never lasted this long. That's just more BS persecution coming from those who wish to tear down the Catholic church. As we can see, the business of Scientology is now beginning to fail but the GATES OF HELL will NOT prevail against the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, although I admit evil has attempted, it will NEVER overpower the Blood of Christ. Catholicism is an invitation to holiness. The Catholic church is GROWING. Check the stats. P.S. we love the sinner and hate the sin.
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+5 # Phil Hood 2010-03-07 09:37
One night in NY city in the sixties a group of us was approached by a Scientology recruiter. We took the little test they gave (probably still give) and were told we needed auditing. That was my last brush. But a friend from high school, who was with us last night, later moved to San Francisco, where his brother was in Sea Org. John ended up doing a couple of years in Sea Org as well and I didn't see him for about five years. Then one day he showed up in New Jersey and met me at work. He told me he was on the run from the Church and that he was afraid for his life. He said they would catch him and drag him back. His fear was genuine and only confirmed what we were already learning about the church back then.
Regardless of whether its teachings have been helpful to any one person (or celebrity)--this is a mind-control cult. The suppressives are the people in the church who try to limit and control the actions of others. I have little doubt that the church has engaged in abuse and probably kidnapping. That the church lies is self-evident. In fact, if you'd read the church's attacks on other religions and on psychiatry, you'd have to say its personality is psychotic.
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+1 # Sam 2010-03-07 09:37
Funny how every 'disgruntled employee' is saying exactly the same thing, and the whole story checks out. The deception can continue only so long. There will always be divisions over policy, but the human rights violations he mentions are real, and they simply must stop. This requires nothing more than simple honesty, an admission of what happened and a willingness to begin anew with an honest, open culture. Step one, as always, is to throw the bums out and get some honest leadership.
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+2 # Guest 2010-03-07 09:39
Accusing the Roman Catholic Church to "use confessionals to extort money" is crazy.

Paula claims to have made this experience. But if she isn't a billionaire and a politician, too, it can only be second-hand-experience by hear-say - and you know what outrageous stories people tell to make themselves an "interesting person".

Anyway, this can be only human flaws and singular cases. I have never experienced anything like it, and I do not know anybody who experienced it, nor have heard anything about someone claiming such things happened.

And Roman Catholics are no "oppressed" "silenced-by-fear" sheep, but they are outspoken in every way the church or the pope deserves - or seems to deserve - criticizing.

Hamster's "argument":

"Its one of the main reasons Martin Luther left the RC's."

makes me laugh: Do you know when this happened? This is a story which is much older than the United States itself.


But back to Scientology "Church":

Congratulations, Paul Haggis!

(I love your film "Crash", by the way. It is a great film about serious and sad topics, but after having watched it, you aren't depressed. On the contrary, you feel that there is hope, if each of us chooses to do the right thing whenever it comes to decision-making. - Seems you are living up to the values your film challenges us.)

Chapeau!
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+4 # ResponsibleCitizen 2010-03-07 10:55
Jim Jones ran the People's Temple in San Francisco in the 1970s, got Mayor George Moscone elected, served as head of the SF Housing Authority, then took his PT followers to Guayana and killed 900 of them with cyanide. I knew Jim Jones, and he also practiced disconnection, confessions, sleep dep, and physical abuse to defend his liturgy. He also had a raft of celebs ready to give him credibility. Is this Jonestown 2 in the making? Are we going to see bloodshed before this is all over? Maybe someone should start writing the screenplay now...
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0 # John 2010-03-07 12:36
I find it funny how if you say anything negative about CoS that you are an SP when in reality the true SP's are the brain-washed drones who will try to harm you in any way possible if you publicly say anything negative about CoS. Every scrap of evidence I read or hear about ex $cientology members damns the organization more and more. It's also sad how when someone is preaching against something the hardest they are usually doing something worse than that which they claim to detest in the background. The Church of $cientology continually shows us through the writings and testimony of ex-members that at it's heart and core of leadership it cares nothing for the eternity of the human spirit or freeing humanity it's all about control, programming, and destroying those who would dare question it.
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+1 # Loren 2010-03-07 12:39
While I admire Mr. Haggis' stance against hypocrisy in the Scientology Church, I must "out" some blatant hypocrisy of his own. His assertion that Christians are bigoted, hateful homophobes, is well BIGOTED. I would respect his stance more if he were consistent. As a Catholic, I, like all Catholics living the Word, have a love for all people regardless of sexual orientation. Our Catechism based belief in the sanctity of marriage between one man and woman, has nothing to do with homophobia; it instead elevates the preservation of the foundation of society-- the nuclear family.

To disagree without spewing hatred is called tolerance. And isn't that a virtue that gay rights supporters have been purporting all along? I frankly am sick of this type of hypocrisy.
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0 # Lioness 2010-03-08 00:45
Loren, he didn't assert that ALL Christians are bigoted, hateful homophobes, just the Christian right. And he definitely has a point. Please reread the letter.

"Our Catechism based belief in the sanctity of marriage between one man and woman, has nothing to do with homophobia; it instead elevates the preservation of the foundation of society-- the nuclear family."

I was raised Catholic, and that catechism has a lot more to do with homophobia than you think. Man/woman marriages have been failing to preserve the nuclear family at an increasing rate in the country for years (the divorce rate is close to %50 now), yet no one's calling for a ban of marriage... why would you think man/man or woman/woman marriages would be any worse off? Where's the logic in it?
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0 # Scoochie 2011-11-17 18:38
Hey Lioness! I've read the whole thread up to this point, and just wanna say, I'm a huge fan of you! :-)
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-2 # AJ Barnes 2010-03-08 03:31
There's a huge difference between homo-intolerant and homophobia. Who you get in bed with is STILL a choice, as is all behavior. Mr. Haggis, as all who support this lifestyle, push these labels on everyone to try to shame them, when it is he who should be shamed for supporting this culture of death and immorality.
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+6 # Anon 2010-03-08 13:13
I feel the need to defend Mr. Haggis. In his letter, he never makes the generalization that all Christians are bigotted or homophobes. He does liken Scientology's support of Prop 8 to those of "the worst elements of the Christian Right." I am a christian and consider my self conservative, but even I can't deny the fact that there are some "Christian" sects out there that are bigotted and even VIOLENTLY opposed to homosexuals and other people that don't follow the Word of God. Mr. Haggis does condemn the CoS for casting its lot "alongside those who promote bigotry and intolerance, homophobia and fear," but I do not read anywhere that this includes all of Christianity.
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+3 # Anita 2010-03-07 13:57
Mr. Haggis, Bravo and Kudos on finally terminating your long time association with this dreadful, hateful and misguiding organization. My younger brother got roped into a three year ordeal during a most vunerable time of his life, early 20's, and was forced to disassociate with our loving and very concerned family for ridiculous reasons, all the while spending hours, day and night doing whatever they instructed him to do in their downtown Toronto outfit. It took some serious planning and the help of an long time, high ranking member of Scientology, who made it her mission to "deprogram" everyone she could convinced to leave.My brother was one of the lucky ones, but he still suffers much fallout to this day, over 30 years later, not able to regain his sense of self esteem or balance in his life. I hope your letter of resignation reaches many people and finally gets the message that this so-called Church is full of the worst kind of misguided teachings. Thanks again, love your movies!
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+5 # Hlaktoong 2010-03-07 14:08
Their tax exempt status as a religious org. has to & must be ended as quickly has possible. This totally illogical crazy cult needs to be exposed and let to die a quick and very public death as soon as possible. It is a example of total greed and nuttiness. ...........H
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+2 # Conrad 2010-03-08 03:29
Praise for Paul Haggis. I recommend you write a screenplay and direct it yourself on all these abuses. It can only do good--that is the sort of person you appear to me. Back it up.
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0 # New Non-Theist 2010-03-08 03:30
The root problem is the concept of religion itself. There are no gods. Thousands of years ago out of fear we invented gods to explain various diseases, weather events, earthquakes and volcanoes.

Now that we know all or most about these things and why/how they happen, we no longer need to attribute them to some invisible creature that demands appeasement.

"You better love me, or else I will torture you for billions of years. God"
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+3 # Lori 2010-03-08 03:32
I am amazed that the reason given by Mr. Haggis for leaving Church of Scientology of San Diego ia due to "their public sponsorship of Proposition 8" which advocates that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California". I am not religious nor am I a member of a religious group but I don't understand why it's 'gay bashing' to define marriage in this way. Just because marriage is defined in the way it's been used historically does not mean that gay couples can't live together or be connected in some other fashion like a civil union. If you redefine marriage for gay couples, why not includes polygamists or other variations? Where does the redefining end? I think the other reasons Mr Haggis gives make more sense as to why one would leave any church or organization. I find it amazing how a person will talk about 'tolerance' and then talk down other groups from 'other religions'. I don't have any problems with gay people or their life style. But I don't think that redefining 'marriage' to mean something else is the answer. Be creative, come up with a different type of union that provides the same rights for gay couples. In any case, I applaud Mr. Haggis' decision to leave his church. It sounds like a place that takes advantage of its members and doesn't allow for any disagreement. This is why I'm not affiliated with any religion, which is my personal decision. I'm not condemning those who wish to belong to any specific religion. I just choose to not 'follow the rules' of any religious group. But I am tolerant of those who chose to do so - that's their right.
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-2 # FunnyPPL 2010-03-08 03:35
Why waste time on that, don't you have more important things to do?

And please are you actually saying that it's crazy to accuse the Roman Catholic Church of extortion and that priest abuse the power they have? CLEARLY you can't be serious as this is a known FACT even if what I'm talking about wasn't about money but people and mostly young boys.

So do you still think it's "CRAZY" to say that some priests may have misused their position to gain money or knowledge to gain anything financially or is that to far fetched for you?

I find it hilarious that when there is a homepage or some kind of organisation for ex-mormons, ex-scientologist and other cults.
Very often there is another "real church" responsible for it saying:"come to us, we will show you true faith, true meaning of the bible and the real Christ".

I actually find it immoral as well since most of these people are very fragile and easy to manipulate, why don't you leave them to choose if they need a faith or even want one?

Also since there is some Catholic believers here could anyone of you explain the position of the Church regarding evolution? I thought that everything in the bible was true and should be taught firmly, faithfully, and without error, has this changed and does this mean that all of the 80-90 million Catholics in the United States now believe in evolution?
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+4 # Lavelle Shinatresh 2010-03-08 03:41
I just discovered this website, and frankly, I am astounded it exists. My understanding is that scientology previously sued the cult awareness network (CAN) to not only stifle free speech, but to actually take over CAN. And it did. I remember after the poor sap who was sued (the former CAN owner) had to give up CAN to the scientologist nutbags, CAN then became a new scientology tool. After that, it could levy accusations about just about every other cult, while pretending scientology wasn't like them. It wasn't a cult, said the new CAN website -- a website owned and operated by scientology.

Kim Jong Il couldn't have done it better.

So today, I am thrilled to not only see a new website speaking truth about this cult known as scientology, but to see so many brave people leaving this horrifically dangerous place. I have known a family utterly broken by this cult's pull and control over their son. I have seen him disappear for those same endless hours and meek paychecks. (I recall one time I was told he got a check once for seventy-five cents. Seriously.)

People, tell the truth about this cult known as the church of scientology. Sadly, like an evolving strain of a virus, it is now with us. It is unlikely to ever go away, because it will quietly and silently take victims most people will never hear about. But this good website is one place where some of those stories will now get told.

Mr. Haggis, your bravery may save lives. The loonies in scientology often think they aren't loony. Mr. Haggis, in years to come you may realize that you were conned, and that because of your sense of faith - like a blind hope that some greater benevolent force would one day manifest itself - you were taken advantage of. But the church is a predator - it takes advantage of the weak. Being weak, though, is human. We are all weak at one point. But truth and websites like this make the weak strong.

May the church of scientology go away forever, as soon as possible. May all its victims see it for what it is.
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0 # none 2010-03-08 03:55
I am/was Catholic and I hate to burst everyone's bubble, but they did extort. Not now. But they would MAKE you pay by saying if you didn't you wouldn't go through the pearly gates. There has been corruption through all religions.
Martin Luther did leave the church because of corruption and began his own religion.
Gay is something a lot of religions do not accept. For some reason they think it is dirty or wrong. Whatever!
You could all join my religion every Sunday. It's the Order of the Holy Mattress. Anyone can join!
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+2 # Loren 2010-03-08 03:56
You are wrong. Haggis asserted that supporters of Prop 8 were bigoted and hateful, and supporters are the MAJORITY of Californians, most of whom do NOT belong to the Christian right. You are also wrong about the Catechism of the Church. Have you read it? The Catholic church is consistent, and failures in society do not change truth.
Yes I do have in fact better things to do. However, I am standing up for those of us who are tired of the name calling. It is wrong all around, no matter what side you take.
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-1 # Lioness 2010-03-08 14:41
Loren, as I said, please re-read the letter. It doesn't suit your argument to twist Haggis' words to fit it.

And I won't argue with you re: Catholicism- I was merely responding directly to a quote you made. I am not trying to change your mind, as I clearly wouldn't succeed anyway. Just know this- I have read the Catechism, and been Confirmed, and was a "proper" Catholic for quite some time before I abandoned it. The Catholic church has been wrong about so many different things- homosexuality and gay marriage included- that it amazes me it still has as many followers as it does. But you, as am I, are free to believe whatever you want. Peace be with you.
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0 # springman 2010-03-08 13:51
Having been exposed to the Christian belief system for many years I came to the realization that all religions are profit and or control motivated. Independence, unfettered knowledge, freedom of thought etc. are all things that scare religious organizations. We, as a planet, would all do better if we eliminated these groups of intolerance and hatred.
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0 # JohnWesleyian 2010-03-09 10:04
I will not argue with the need to eliminate groups that promote intolerance and hatred - whether religious or not. I will argue that there is a distinct difference between "Christian belief system" and "religion".

The Christian belief system is based on the teachings of Jesus who when asked "What is the greatest commandment?", replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength; and Love your neighbor as yourself." In all his teachings he primarily talked about these two things - relationship with God and relationship with each other. If all the world adopted this belief system and treated each other thusly, we would indeed have heaven on earth.

Conversely, religion is a human institution prone to human corruption, especially the pursuit of power and control. You do not need religion or a church to follow the Christian belief system (which by the way is largely in alignment with Moses, Budha, Mohammed, Confuscious and Baha'u'llah).
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+1 # Loren 2010-03-08 14:28
Lioness, I do not have the time or energy to go into detail as to why you are wrong here, however, you address a common, simplistic complaint, so I feel the need to comment however brief. You misunderstand the context of this passage in the Bible. It's about not living in a glass house. Furthermore, making judgments (about actions NOT people-- big difference) is part of natural law, and is a requirement for a stable society--a society free of ANY judgment is a society in a state of anarchy.

I do not wish to debate religion or Christianity for that matter. My comment was about the hypocrisy of the article's author. Nuff said..
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+2 # Zimminger 2010-03-10 06:25
...how did he fall for this b.s. in the first place?

I've heard it claimed that there's no way to tell the difference between a religion and a cult, but then everybody gets tarred with the same brush. A cult is when someone comes up with a totally new scripture or interpretation from out of the blue. These may be small groups springing off Christianity or Judaism and following a charismatic, or a large group such as the Mormons. You can't deny that Joseph Smith came up with a brand new book from out of nowhere. The Koran is another example. So is Dianetics. Shunning, whatever they call it, is another indicator. Insisting that you cut ties to friends and family who don't toe the line is shunning. Amish; Jehovah's Witnesses. A third indicator is that YOU ARE DAMNED IN THE AFTERLIFE IF YOU LEAVE and none of the people in the cult will then have anything to do with you. It all fits neatly together when you consider that the cult becomes your sole human contact and if you step out of line, you're cast out without a support net. It's an effective way to keep people in line. That's why they do it.

Let's get rid of this, "Religion is only for ignorant people who need to explain thunderstorms and volcanoes." A man in hazardous quarantine was dying and there were no clergy who would take the risk to visit him. Anyway, he wasn't one of theirs. So the hospital told a minister that they knew wouldn't refuse. Although he had a family at home to think of, he dressed in protective garb and visited the man until he died. He didn't do it to convert him, but to comfort him. He accepted a duty: "Yes, I have a denomination and a church. But he had a need and that made him one of mine."

If you do away with ALL religion, you do away with concern and charity for those you don't know. You also destroy the most fertile source of ethics. One has to be raised with ethics; with the concern for others. You can't teach it in a college course.
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0 # Oh, really 2010-03-11 15:40
"If you do away with ALL religion, you do away with concern and charity for those you don't know. You also destroy the most fertile source of ethics"

Excuse me.

I was raised without religion, but with ethics *and* morals. I'm kind, generous, and concerned for people I don't even know. And I dare say that doing away with ALL religion may be the kindest thing we can do for humanity. It would allow people to be good for the sake of being good.
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+2 # Dayton Lutheran 2010-03-12 08:04
In response to Oh, really. If your definition of "good for the sake of being good" comes from your own personal definitions, then you have a workable, rock-solid, personal approach to goodness. Must be very satisfying. Congrats. On the other hand, if someone's definition of "goodness" is NOT cast in stone, then the religious sources offer answers that might be useful to a seeker. Alas, with religions out there, those seekers may not easily find the path to your person wisdom. I am intrigued by your suggestion of "doing away with ALL religion" especially from one self-described as "kind, generous, and concerned for people I don't even know". What method would you use to wipe out religious thinking from the mind of humanity? When I read your post, the great social architects of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot come to mind, but I suspect you have something better.
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+3 # Rev. Marcus Capone 2010-03-11 15:33
Shouldn't the test as to whether a spiritual philosophy or religion is beneficial be that it actually progresses one spiritually? Isn't the proof in the pudding? No matter what I say as a spiritual leader, it is always tested against what I actually do or if it truly of benefit. The fact that the "spiritual" leaders lie, abuse, engage in unethical practices, seek to "disconnect" people from the ones they love and that love them -- doesn't that tell you that something in the philosophy or religion doesn't work? Or at least in the application of the religion or philosophy. If they are the "clear" ones -- do you really want to be "clear"?

The difficulty is that we all are humans. We can easily deceive ourselves and subvert even the simplest teachings of love, kindness and respect. Our willingness to trust spiritual leaders and teachers shows our interest in becoming more spiritually aware. But it can also leave us vulnerable to manipulation. So whether it is with religions or relationships, let's step back every now and then and ask ourselves is this really what was promised? Is this practice really taking me where I want to be? Are these the "spiritual" gifts I really want? If not, move on.
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0 # Shelama 2010-03-12 08:36
That people could fanatically embrace the Christian Myth, based on the Jewish life and Roman death of the historical Jesus from Nazareth, makes it not so far-fetched to understand how they could fall for the L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology myths.

It would be interesting and worthwhile to explore what they have in common that, in the lives of some believers, can inarguably produce positive results. Certainly includes community and something larger than self. Both probably biological needs which can be easily exploited and manipulated.

As far as cults, ALL of Christianity (including Catholicism, SDA, JW's, Baptists, Mormonism) is a cult: the cult of the Empty Tomb, the Cult of the Christ Myth.
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0 # dayton lutheran 2010-03-10 21:38
Ah Shelama - Myths are such irresitably fat squishy targets, aren't they? Perhaps 2000 yrs ago, the embracing of the Christ had more to do with his social gospel (love one another, do not judge, golden rule, etc.) and less to do with "Myth of the empty tomb." Hard to really know, but perhaps the Christian social message might have been a appealing alternative to the morals of the day (that's still true for some of us). L-Ron and the COM have had ownership of some "tech" that also look like a good alternative to the thinking of today. I can fully understand why some would want to leave a retrograde Church (and many of its undesirable or ludicrous elements) and still want to Keep the Faith.
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+2 # Sharon 2011-01-06 10:26
I just read that Paul Haggis is writing a book that outs this evil mess - the COS!! Hurray! - Now, if he could write a screenplay for it also, perhaps starring Tom Cruise and John Travolta - that's a movie I would pay big money to see! Those poor, poor people who are still stuck in COS. I surprises me that there isn't some legal recourse one could take when trying to leave that "church". How can they legally split up families - separate parents from children - if one or both parents do not agree to it?? Now if all "religious" people (Christian, Muslim, etc, etc) could just take the leap of knowledge ([b]not blind faith) and see that we have evolved (emotionally and intellectually) past the need for any organized religion in order to be a moral society, the world would be a better place. We could put all of that good that is done in the name of "religion", and do it ten-fold in the name of basic, equal, human rights no matter what gender, age, sexual orientation, or race that you are. You are just a human being, period. No specific gender would have to wear any face cover, no matter what country you live in, no sexual orientation is told they cannot marry, every child has a right to be educated, no woman can be stoned to death, etc, etc. Every man, woman and child is considered equal and subject to the same rights, across the board. Imagine a world like that. Is that really so frigging hard for people to see?? Done my rant. Peace.
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+2 # dan 2011-02-12 11:38
I learned a long time ago that believing in any type of god is very primitive to say the least. What we have learned about our world and the entire universe, and our insignificant place in it, should tell any "thinking" person highly educated or not, that religions as we know them are all a bunch of crap. HERE AND NOW is what we have.....NOTHING else, so make the best of it to everyone's satisfaction. Religions have been used to allow some to control the masses, and for the most part are male dominated. The best thing that the "mens club" known as The United Nations could do would be to outlaw ALL religions and make a brand new start for the world.
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+1 # brian 2011-02-24 08:22
Sadly, for humanity at large to embrace this simple truth would be like expecting intellectual discourse from a field mouse. It would certainly be a good start for the UN to eliminate tax-free status for all religions and ensure the separation of church and state globally.
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0 # Scoochie 2011-11-17 19:49
Hi. I'm a bit of an interloper, since I only happened upon this site accidentally via the "images of Paul Haggis" dealie. But I read the article and most of the comments (my apolgies to the last 1/4 of responders--it just went on for so long, and understandably so!), and wanted to add a few thoughts...
I'm not an Atheist (which I've intentionally capitalized, since it pretty much has become an organized religion, what with the fervor and prostelatizing (sp?)and all...just sayin').
I was raised with no religion whatsoever, and I couldn't be more grateful to my parents. Yes, there was definitely dysfunction with my very mentally ill mother who was raised by nuns in a "Magdelene Sisters" type laundry/convent, the result of which was extreme paranoia and delusions on her part. But I'm so lucky that she decided to eschew religion, and that my scientist dad was right on board.
I don't know whether there is a God/Infinite Intelligence/Synchronicity Facillitator/Whatever or not. I've not been jaded enough to have to decide either way. Anything is possible, after all.
I do think that if there were a God, etc., they wouldn't be huge fans of any organized religion, which were created by humans to control other humans. The whole idea is simply sociopathic. But then again, maybe God, etc. is completely dispassionate, and rather bored, and is enjoying all the emotional turbulence organized religion is bringing to the fore--kinda like reality TV. (I hate reality TV, btw)
I totally understand that what we are exposed to for long periods during childhood will affect us for the rest of our lives. I was exposed to some really bizarre paranoia, and I've had over a decade of therapy to overcome that. A tad unpleasant, but never boring.
I get that people who were raised in any organized religion are going to have that kind of mindset stuck in their brains. Hence all of this argument between people of different religions.
What if you guys were to have something like support groups, as hokey as that sounds? I'd give anything to have a support group for people with mothers who believe their phone is bugged, hidden cameras are all over the house, the newscasters are reporting about them, homosexuals are trying to have sex in the basement (I wish that were a joke!), etc. Those support groups seem to be in short supply--thank God, etc. for my sister. But I'd bet a zillion dollars that there are enough folks who have been damaged by organized religion (CoS, Catholicism, Mormonism, Islam, any other hard-core "This is the only way to see things!" sects, etc.)
I've always found it very interesting that no one ever says, "F*ing Buddhists!"
Maybe they're onto something...and maybe they're not. :-)
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0 # Scoochie 2011-11-17 21:12
Hi again. Sorry, I'm a bit drunk.
I started a convoluted sentence in my last post, and never finished it. My bad.
"But I'd bet a zillion dollars that there are enough folks who have been damaged by organized religion (CoS, Catholicism, Mormonism, Islam, any other hard-core "This is the only way to see things!" sects, etc.)"
Incredibly poor sentence structure!!! I'm, embarassed.
The end of that "sentence", missing though it was, should read:
"..., that they could somehow find each other and tell their stories, and get some helpful support."
I don't want to toss around the term PTSD casually (I've just watched both of Clint Eastwood's films about Iwo Jima, written by Paul Haggis, which is why I'm here), but one doesn't necessarily have to have been involved in extremely violent warfare to have experienced trauma. Those guys had it worse than I could ever imagine, but I think people who have experienced less dramatic forms of trauma might feel sheepish about sharing their stories, thinking, "How ungrateful am I? I've never held my best buddy in my arms while he gasped his last breath".
I've been there (not in the trenches), you betcha'!
Would it hurt anything if you guys were to find a way to tell your religiously harmful stories to each other in some way that wasn't governed by any overseeing force? Not like an organization with the last name "anonymous", which would be a religious organization in and of itself.
Just some kind of free forum--maybe just emailing each other with a group CC thing or whatever else you might think of.
It really does help a lot to be able to converse with others who have been through something even remotely similar.
I hope this helps you guys!!!
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