Thursday Thoughts–That Scientology Symbol

Scientology_Cross_LogoI’m not going to write much today because I’m not feeling very well. But I want to put up this symbol and point out something–it looks like a cross. In fact, it’s a cross with rays sticking out of it.

Now Scientology has the right to any symbol it wants. Legally. So there’s no argument there. The thing is, from what I know about Scientology there’s no good reason for a cross. Christians have the cross as a symbol because Jesus Christ was crucified. Crucification is a horrific way to die, and the fact that the son of God would go through that to save mankind is deeply moving to Christians. You don’t have to be a Christian to understand that. And while there’s something kind of disturbing about using the method of horrible death as a symbol of a religion, it’s not without rationale.

Why does Scientology use it, though? Hubbard was not crucified. There’s no link between Scientology and Christianity. Scientology says you can continue to practice your religion when you join the Scientology “religion” (which is not really true in reality). But if Scientology is about people from all religions joining them, shouldn’t the symbol be a mixture of the Star of David and the Star and Crescent of Islam and a few others?

Here’s why–Scientology uses it–to attract Christians. Preferably wealthy Christians. Not strongly faithful–that wouldn’t work– but lapsing Christians in search of some spiritual need that their religion does not address. This cross with the rays is a way to make them feel welcome and comfortable and for the “church” to feel familiar and suitably religious.  It’s just another manipulation, which is pretty much what the entire organization is. Otherwise the Scientology symbol which is on “Big Blue” would look more like this:.


I wanted to talk more about the manipulation and the difference between established religions and a cult that pretends it’s a religion, but as I said, I’m not feeling well. Maybe next time. Feel free to add what you think the differences are, though

Add on: So when I wrote this, I was feeling sick but had Stuff To Say,  so I just hit publish. But it occurred to me this morning that I don’t talk a lot about my books and here’s a perfect place. Because, like L. Ron Hubbard, I have created a religion (I know, that’s sacrilege to say that to Scientologists, but they aren’t reading this because they aren’t allowed to read anything criticizing their church). I also created a symbol. A new one. I didn’t just drag old religious symbols in to make people feel more comfortable.

So bear with me here. The PostPlague Trilogy takes place 274 years after plagues kill the world. One of the reasons the few survivors believe the apocalypse happened is the government lacked morality. The new government, they decided, would be based upon Reyism, the religion that sprouted up around Braedon Rey, the man who prophesized the end. This religion/government called the various governing departments sects. They created 10 (over time. These things don’t all happen at once). There are nine departments and the High Council, which is the ultimate governing body consisting of the High Priest or Priestess of every sect and the Prophet, the supreme leader of the country.

Each sect identifies itself with a color. These colors are worn by the Priests and Priestesses of the sect. Ceremonial robes are just the sect colors, and uniforms for the Enforcers and Guard have a standard mixing of sect color and white or gold (the latter being the color of the Prophet and his family.) Priests and Priestesses mix colors on their clothing, but the predominant color is that sect’s color. For example a 2nd sect Priestess (arts and education) might wear a pink gown with blue flowers. As long as the flowers are small and sparsely distributed, that would work. She could wear a white gown with pink flowers, as long as the flowers are the predominant color and the white is really “background.”

The symbol, then, should have all the color, to represent each sect. In fact it’s a pie, with pieces for each sect delineated. Because the Plague Wars were actually wars, there’s a peace symbol in the middle. imageedit_3_8622046295

It was circled in gold because it’s the Prophet’s color. Each sect member has the symbol tattoed on his/her arm, only with the pie piece of his/her sect. The Prophet’s spouse and the Apprentice (next in line for governening, usually a son or daughter, but not always) has this exact symbol tattooed, because they serve all the sects.

The final addition to the symbol are the rays, to symbolize the sun–a new start–Rey (ray) and the ten parishes–states, districts, areas of the country–and the governing city Temple City. At least, that was the original intent, but over time it was decided that those rays didn’t look right, so more were added. They are still representative though. This is the national/religious symbol of Reyism. It’s in stained glass in temples, it’s on flags and buildings. It’s tattooed on the Prophet’s arm. He or she is the only person in the nation who has that tattoo.

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So there ya go. Now I know Scientology uses other symbols, but that’s not what you see on the top of Big Blue, which is one of the iconic Scientology buildings. That’s because they aren’t a separate religion with their own religious doctrine. They’re an organization masking as a religion selling warped psychology (I mean, really, that’s what auditing sessions are in the beginning) philosophy and self-help, and some weird-ass stuff about Zenu. Reyism isn’t a real religion either. I made it up. But at least it’s not poaching symbols.

Thursday Thoughts–10 Random Scientology Stuff Thoughts

I got my rights back on two of my historical romances, so I’ve been woa4efe8999dee86d016d09be396046a71rking on getting those ready to re-pub myself. It’s a helluva lot of work because I’ve learned quite a bit about writing in the last 10 years. I can’t put them up without extensive editing, and editing is one of the most time consuming and least fun things about writing.

Also, Hurricane Harvey. No words.

I’ve watched a lot of Scientology stuff because 1) I’m fascinated by religious cults. 2)It takes me entirely out of the news which is a relief. I’ve watched youtube videos, movies like Going Clear and  Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. I read a book too, and I’d read more but there’s no time. The videos I can have in the background while I work. I pause them until I need a break, press play, play a round of computer spider solitaire, then pause again to do some more work.

Naturally, I have Thoughts.

1) Marty Rathbun is working for Scientology again. Lots of people talking about that. If you don’t know, he was the highest up person to leave. He did a series of videos in 2009 in The Truth Rundown. Although I watched them twice (fascinated=obsesssed), I did find a certain arrogance in him. Of all the Scientologists I’ve followed, he’s the one with the least amount of family ties in the cult. He also joined in his 20’s, as opposed to many of the people we hear from who were brought into the cult as children. In my head, that gives him more responsibility for what went on in the organization. I’m not sure if he ever apologized and tried to make amends (I have only so much time to research these things, no matter how obsessed I am). He is now making youtube videos denouncing all the things he denounced previously.

2) I watched youtube video interviews of Aaron Saxton, an Austrailian who was in Sea Org, the administrative arm of scientology. He was brutally honest. Kudos to him for being that way. I did note, however, that in the comment section of the first series of videos he asked the owner of the channel to take it down. That was a month ago. I can understand that, considering how much of himself he put on the line. I still admire him, though.

Aaron slammed both Rathbun and Mike Rinder. He talked about the perks of being one of the higher ups in the organization. They had special apartments in Florida. They had drivers if they wanted to get around. They were given special diets, including fine coffees from France. At least 3 times a year when they were brought to Florida. While Aaron’s slamming them for leading the poisonous culture of Scientology,  he seems to not understand the difference of indoctrination that comes with 20+ years in the cult,  and his 6 years.

3) I’m back and forth on Mike Rinder. I believe he was definitely part of the problem as Aaron says. I expect he did some pretty shitty things. On the other hand he really does seem to be actively working against the cult in an effort to take it down. I believe he issued apologies, sincerely. Apologies do not make up for awful things, but they aren’t entirely useless. They validate a person’s suffering and in a cult, which has a whole lot of gaslighting, that validation is useful.

Also, Rinder was brought into scientology when he was a child and joined Sea Org around 17 or 18. His whole family was in it, so leaving was daunting. He lost his mother, his wife, brothers, sister, children. He was thrown into the hole and beaten up regularly by Miscaviage. I think leaving was much harder for him than Rathbun by far and he seems pretty wrecked by the stories he’s hearing in Scientology and the Aftermath. Maybe he’s just a great actor but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.

4) Being a child in Sea Org is means being an adult. They drag you in with lies, promise they’ll educate you, but don’t, and then teach you how to lie. Astra Woodcraft discusses this extensively, as does her sister. It is criminal, and there should be criminal investigations into the abuse of children in this organization.

5) Miscavige is a grade A narcissist, and possibly a psychopath. The entire organization works for him, both to keep him in the high life and as a reflection–the narcissism part–of who he is. That is scientology’s only purpose right now.

6) Many of the people who stay in the organization do so out of a strong, but misguided, belief that they are helping the world. I sincerely believe this. But there is a little narcissism in this as well. Or at least an appeal to ego. Scientologists are told they are better than anybody else. This is typical cult behavior and has to be considered when we think of why people get into and stay in scientology.

7) There seem to be some good aspects of Scientology. In the beginning it has you work through some of the tougher stuff from your past and learn to let it go. It’s actually therapeutic although scientologists would hate that. Maybe people who do one or two beginning courses and then run, will have positive experiences. But it’s a cult, and cults don’t like to let your run.

8) I like Tom Devocht the most. He seems to be the most down to earth.

9) I’m kind of fascinated by how often people talking about Scientology uses the phrase “know what I mean?” I don’t know why they do this, or if I’m the only one who’s noticed it. But it does seem to be used excessively.

10) Blown For Good by Mark Headly was interesting, especially the part about how he and his wife left the cult and the hoops they had to jump through.

All right, I have to get back to work now.