Scientology and Falun Gong

19 May

The cover of Time Mag’s Special Report on Scientology, 1999-05-06.

When I was 22, around 1990, I was ensnared into scientology and “worked” for them 40 hours a week for about 3 weeks, at their San Jose, CA, USA campus. It started with their free personality test. And, I had to sign a paper which I didn’t understand. It turns out, that the paper I signed was something about all my work being voluntary contribution to the “Church”. I stuffed envelopes for them for their mass mailing while I was there. At the time I know nothing about scientology and don’t know much of anything else then.
My knowledge of the world was roughly equivalent to a average highschooler at the time. Although at the time i’m rather totally ignorant, but I was not dumb, and was very keen whenever money is involved. I was semi-curious and needed a job. Basically, after I did the free personality test, and in a few days I ended up going to their center. The first thing they do is to take you into a nicely decorated room with big screen TV and comfortable sofas, where they play a certain “educational style” video tape that talks about the greatness of dianetics or scientology, and how it can help you personally. Then, a “counsel” talks to you and basically getting very personal and get you to talk about yourself. I had problem with my abusive mom, and this relationship is what they really wanted to to know, as a way to help me. Soon I signed a paper and I got to work for them. I thought the paper-signing is typical for employment. Inside scientology, I get to see these very scary group-think and practices. While I was stuffing envelopes for them, I was eager to get paid. (i was not told how much per hour I get). I asked about my paycheck a couple of times and got non-clear answers, until after about 3 weeks when I finally got my check, it turns out to be so meager, which is the decisive factor that I “quit” and got out. If I remember correctly, the pay may be half of the minimal wage. (i think around 1990 in CA the minimum wage was $6 and I got anywhere from $2.5/h or $4/h.) And it is this that got me out of it. The day I told them i’m quitting, they had this counselor who talked to me for like a hour or two. (my friend is waiting for me in his car outside the building, during a night around 8 pm) It is at this time, I was told by the counsel (as some sort of legal showoff I think) , that the paper I signed was some type of agreement that i’m volunteering free work for the organization.
I remember, the way the paycheck is delivered is actually quite something. Before Scientology, I had 2 years of experience working for bagel shops in Montreal, Canada. So, i’m at least familiar with how paychecks are given out. Basically, usually every two weeks, your boss or supervisor just hands you the check in a envelope. However, at Scientology, the people there actually makes a line to a window, as if you were going to buy a ticket. I’m not sure they always do this since I only got paid once there. This is a very weird experience. (i don’t have any details how they made this so, but this waiting-in-line to get paycheck is a basic brain-washing technique, similar to prayer-before-meal. Note, they don’t actually use terms like pay-check or pay-day. They have their own vocabulary and literally have their very own dictionary. (if I recall correctly, they have English dictionary and Encyclopedia written and published by the organization itself.)
I’ve always been interested in psychology, brainwashing, and occultism. This Scientology insider experience actually opened my eyes, and grew my budding interest in cults and their practices.
 

Scientology’s psychometric machine the E-meter. It sells for $3000 in early 1990, but probably can be do-it-yourself constructed under $50 from RadioShack.)
While there, I eye-witnessed morning rituals, sauna punishment, isolation techniques (they have their own terminologies, dictionary, and encyclopedia), their quasi-psychiatric counseling, bogus psychometric machines, “dianetics”.
In the morning, scientologists gather together forming a circle with hands holding hands, and chant together certain phrases or slogans. Their building has sauna built-in. The sauna is for people to clean their body of undesirable things (the likes of negative-thoughts). Even kids (maybe aged 10) take the sauna as part of the program. They have this counseling program, which goes higher and higher up into several levels. The counseling is part of their courses, and you have to pay. In counseling, they have this machine, which is a elementary device of the same principle as that of lie-detector device. (it measures body’s changes to electric resistance). This device has two metal cylinders you hold in each hand, and the cylinders are connected by electrical wires to the machine. Then, the counselor pinches you, and you can see the meter going up. When they did this to me, I was bewildered and amazed, not knowing any science about skin’s resistance to electricity. The impression was that their psychological counseling is working its magic. (counseling is called called “auditing” by them)
Since this incidence of “working” for Scientology, I have read quite a lot about scientology, as well as other cults, occults, and or social psychology, brain-washing techniques, and in general the science of propaganda. (such as marketing)
The first article I read about Scientology is a Special Report by Time Magazine (1991-05-06), by Richard Behar. This is about few months or a year after I worked for them. (The article is online at: http://www.xenu.net/archive/media/time910605.html)
Also, at that period I was reading Martin Gardner, who wrote a lot about pseudo-sciences. (see Wikipedia: Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science)
While at The Church of Scientology, I remember asking one of the guy there something to the effect of: “if Scientology is so grand, is it taught to all the major universities?” That was my innocent question and I asked it in earnest. (i think the guy I asked this to is Mike, who is a young blond if I recall correctly) Mike’s answer (if I recall correctly) was that yes it is beginning to be taught in universities. Another question I remember having asked was “what does ‘scientology’ mean”. I don’t remember how they answered that. I was just innocently inquisitive. I was aware, at the time, that “-ology” suffix means the study of something, so that scientology appears to sound like the study of science itself.
One thing very interesting about these organized cults is how do they organize their powers within their own people. I mean, if a group of rogues is going to deceive other people, the group within themselves is gonna have some agreeable way to distribute their gain. This has always been a critically important question for me, as we get to see how a org actually deals with food among themselves. The general question is, how do gangsgers, cults, or otherwise organized rogues share the power or goods they ripped? Throughout the years of my readings of sociology, I think the fundamental answer to this question is: power struggle. (that is, it is not much different from politics in nations, governments, or any big organization or human group) As to the Church of Scientology, I think one actually have to somewhat climb the power ladder almost from the bottom. And, top executive constantly have to fight for power among themselves. This is actually not unlike any large corporations or political groups.
Falun-Gong (法轮功)

Also of interest is Falun-Gong (法轮功). It teaches people to fly and nearing doomsday etc. Falun-gong is now also a multi-national octopus. It has its own publishing houses now, with over 10 languages, distributed free. And, as well as several websites with different domain names in over 10 languages. Usually with themes like Human-Rights or Justice and Torture. A interesting twist with falun-gong is that the USA politicians uses it to do power struggle with China.
The Wikipedia’s falun-gong page is constantly in flux, I suspect many falun-gongist actively edit Wikipedia, where, almost every paragraph contains a “citation/reference” linked to a article by one of falun-gong associated publisher.
See also: James Randi Educational Foundation, on falun-gong: Source. Quote:
Li started out by changing his own birthdate to something more suitable for a deity. July 7th, 1952, was not an auspicious date, so he maneuvered local officials into giving him an I.D. card that says May 13th, 1951. Since Chinese tradition has the birthday of Buddha as the eighth day of the fourth lunar month, which is May 13th, this provided Li with a basis for divinity. His preposterous comic-book claims range from bringing all his disciples to fly in the sky, to the fact that all things are composed of water. He commands his followers to denounce all science, and to ignore doctors and medicine of all kinds. He says that he himself made his own grandparents. It goes on and on.
Li, now living comfortably in New York, supported by the wealth he has sucked from his disciples, is another nobody who seized an opportunity to become powerful and rich on the naivety of a populace. I differ with the government of China on political matters, but not on this humanitarian catastrophe.

Li Youlin, a farmer from Chengren Village, Anshu Town, Dongliao County, .Jilin Province, was infatuated with “Falun Gong.” On May 21, 1999, he said to his wife: “Tomorrow is my master’s birthday. I’ll go and burn joss sticks for him.” On May 23, he was found to have committed suicide by hanging himself.

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