What’s This Religion Business? (Excerpt from One of the Few)
An excerpt from One of the Few. Pre-order today, buy a book for the troops, and help me reach my funding goal by March 22nd!
(Update: our pre-order funding goal was met! Stay tuned for the official launch in November!)
During a trip to Florida, I took a detour through the town of Clearwater, the Mecca of Scientology. After walking one lap around the deserted streets surrounding the Super Power Building, I had a clear case of the heeby-jeebies. Author Janet Reitman spent five years compiling information to write the most extensive, objective modern history of Scientology to date. She described L. Ron Hubbard, founder of one of the most litigious religious organization in the world, as “the Madame Blavatsky of 1950.”
Scientology is a religion whose Messiah offered not only healing, but mental and spiritual upgrades as well. Like a fantasy role playing game, you trade your currency for tools and experience in order to level-up. Science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard understood the power of manipulation and the profit in gullibility. The keepers of Scientology reportedly only share their secret theology with the elite (though it is readily available on the Internet), and most services come with a fee.
Later that year, I had the opportunity to speak with a Scientologist manning a small booth outside the local WalMart, sporting the trademark E-meter and stack of books. This individual, whom I’ll call Rod, became a Scientologist in the 1970s.
I spoke with him for about thirty minutes, asking honest questions, and divulging my Christian faith in the process. Rod was very proud of their state-of-the-art facilities. He bragged how people plan on coming in for ten minutes and stay there for five hours—even “forgetting to pick up little Suzie from school!” When I asked him what you had to believe to be a Scientologist and how it works, he replied, “It works because it works! It has nothing to do with belief. Scientology is beyond belief.”
I couldn’t argue with his last point.
He continued, “Anything negative you’ve heard about Scientology—just throw it out the window. The founder hasn’t made a dime off these books. Scientology is pan-denominational; you can choose whatever religion you want. Even if you have to set aside some of your religious convictions, it’s worth it because it works! It’s not a scam. It’s completely above the board. You can increase your IQ; and it can cure headaches, asthma, arthritis—pretty much anything ending in ‘-itis.”
I recalled Reitman’s expose on the organization’s complicated system of manufacturing, services, and licensing. It brought in loads of cash, and Hubbard bragged of his millions stashed in a Swiss bank account. Fortunately, you no longer have to take out a second mortgage to be let in on Scientology’s big secret. All you need is an internet connection or a book from one of the organization’s disgruntled former members.
It will come as no surprise that the religion founded by a science fiction writer contains a creation story via handwritten space opera on a single page. If you’re into aliens and spacecraft and volcanoes, you will find the story entertaining. I will spare the details and simply say that Scientology posits the existence of spiritual parasites attached to our bodies, and the goal of Scientology is to clear the body of those parasites. This should enable you to now do all the great things promised by the nice guy in the booth, or the cute girl in the bookstore.
When an evangelist explains Scientology as non-religious or pan-denominational, you should take it with a grain of salt. No, a whole pillar.
*UPDATE: My initial pre-order campaign was a success with over 400 copies ordered! Thanks to everyone who helped support the campaign. Don’t worry, you’ll have another chance to order One of the Few as the publication date gets closer, currently set for November 2015.
About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.