I see a lot of comments about Scientology lately. There is a lot of mis-information and a lot of confusion. The primary confusion is the difference between the belief system "Scientology" and the corporation "Church of Scientology".
The second confusion (related to the first) is what kind of a person the average Scientologist is: Evil? Stupid? Gullible? Are they in on the scam? Do they know?
The strange answer to the first confusion is that the church of Scientology does not actually use Scientology. The leaders have cherry-picked a few draconian control-methods out of Hubbard's writings, but have discarded anything else. The leader of the church hasn't received any Scientology training or counseling himself in over 20 years -- obviously doesn't believe in it.
Also note that there are people who believe and practice the belief system "Scientology" outside of the church. They believe in Scientology but hate the "church".
So, what kind of people are the members of the church of Scientology? How come people fall for the church of Scientology recruitment?
Here is how the trap is initially set:
The basic techniques (as presented to new prospects) actually work, at least for a number of people. I'm not going to go into specifics, but this is how they pull people in. They don't talk about "space aliens", they present some very simple, and fairly workable things.
New people try these things and some of them see improvement. This is not surprising, as these techniques and advices are selected for that.
If a person sees that this initial "Scientology tech" helps them, they assume that other Scientology stuff will also help.
They take the bait.
How the hook is set:
Once the new person has bought the idea that "Scientology works", they take more courses to learn more stuff.
But along with learning this stuff, they are also taught Scientology dogma like "Ron is always right", "Scientology is the only road out", and "Evil people are trying to stop us."
If they buy this, they are well on their way to culthood.
The door is shut:
Once they have learned those lessons, they then must shut out the rest of the world and accept only what the church of Scientology says. The rest of the world is infested with evil, horrible people trying to stop the church.
At this point they will give up all their money, all their time and their family to "save" and/or "protect" the church -- the "only road out".
They are closed off from "outside" information sources. They won't hear about church abuses. They won't hear about deaths. They won't even hear about the space aliens.
At this point, these average parishioners of the church are not in on the scam. They think they are helping in this great endeavor to "save the planet".
Understand the average Scientologist:
They may be gullible, but the majority of Scientologists are good people who originally bought the line because they thought they could help others. The majority of Scientologists are not evil and should not be treated badly.
Bottom line: All people should be allowed to believe what they want, as long as they don't harm others.
This should not be construed, in any way, to imply that the church of Scientology is good. It is not! The church of Scientology is evil because it is run by truly evil people. The leaders of the church do not believe, at any time, that they are helping anyone but themselves. They know their technology does not work. They know their church is a sham. They are trying to squeeze the last dime out of the last true believer before the cops show up at the door.
I don't wish that Scientologists cease believing in Scientology. They should be free to believe whatever they want. I just think they should stop believing all the lies the church of Scientology is spinning.