Scientology has become a bit of a punching bag over the last decade, thanks largely to lampooners like the South Park guys and numerous damning accounts of defectors from the church, including Academy Award-winning writer-director Paul Haggis. It has become one of those eccentric communities people assume Hollywood is full of, with some high-profile celebrity involvement and the assumption that most movie stars have at least dabbled in the self-help religion Scientology promotes itself as. It’s understandable that in a world plagued by epistemic closure like Hollywood is, it’s as if there’s a bubble around Los Angeles that surprisingly few celebrities venture outside of, something that seems bizarre to the rest of us would seem normal and enticing. Even hearing stars in interviews talk about Scientology, a sizeable number will treat it as if it was something they considered but ultimately had no use for, rather than speaking of it as a harmful cult.
That’s not to say that either of those two positions is conclusively correct. One of the most famous features of Scientology is how secretive its church organization tries to keep its inner workings. Then again, we live in an age where information is more difficult to keep under wraps than ever before, and so far more gets leaked about the Church of Scientology than its administrators would like to have widely known. It’s hard to know what to believe, but the volume and consistency of certain charges against the organization are becoming more and more difficult to simply dismiss. I’m sure it has plenty of great things going for it and really positive outcomes for many of its adherents, but there are some things about Scientology that have risen to the surface that seem creepy at best and deeply troubling at worst.
Here are 5 things you may not have previously known about how the Church of Scientology allegedly operates.
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