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mriversong

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December 19th, 2004

08:08 pm: Public Statement Regarding Scientology and Christianity
Recently, my name has come up in some public forums regarding my involvement with Scientology. This public statement is thus necessary to clarify the nature of my experiences and my current commitment.

In 1972, i had my first encounter with Scientologists, as a friend in college joined the organization and benefited greatly from it. Intermittently i investigated it over the next several years. In 1975, i accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, but had a great deal of difficulty trying to live a Christian life. In 1986, i did some business consulting for an inventor who had been in Scientology and who had formed a very unfavorable opinion of it. He encouraged me to get involved with an independent group called Survival Services. I read Dianetics and received some casual auditing from them at times over the next few years. In 1987, due to discouragement with the way things were going in several Denver area churches, i started spending time with unorganized Pagan groups but still considered myself a Christian.

In 1994, after leaving my first wife, i decided to actually visit the Denver Scientology organization. At that time, i figured that however bad Scientology might be, it couldn't possibly be worse than the horrible experiences i was having in my personal life. During my first visit, my improvement was immediate and dramatic. Over the next several months i became able to resolve the situation with that married woman and make significant improvements in my ethics regarding sex and romance.

I compared Scientology with Survival Services, and found the latter organization quite inadequate in many ways. So i gladly disconnected from them and began to take Scientology courses. I was prohibited from receiving Scientology auditing services because of the fact that i had voluntarily committed myself to a mental hospital for three weeks back in 1982. I found that Scientology policy to be difficult but reasonable under the circumstances.

Over the next 5 years, i took courses in Hubbard Dianetics Auditing, Student Hat, PTS/SP (see definition below), and Ethics Technical Specialist. My intention at that time was to learn how to be a Scientology Auditor. I studied at several organizations, as i was traveling extensively during those years. The organizations i studied at included Denver, Kansas City, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Celebrity Center Portland, Celebrity Center Hollywood, Celebrity Center New York, Edmonton, Long Island, Pasadena, and Wichita Mission. On several occasions i performed music at Scientology-related events. Sometimes organizations set up concerts for me. I became a member of an online network of Scientologists during that time, which allowed me to become acquainted with a number of parishioners worldwide. Several became friends and clients.

During the course of my studies, i discovered that i had serious fundamental misunderstandings about material in Christian Scriptures. These misunderstandings were cleared up, and by 1997 i had ceased involvement with Pagan groups and re-committed myself to Christianity. This was considered acceptable within Scientology, and posed no real problems in my studies. I found it interesting that there were in practice very few Scientologists who also proclaimed Christianity as i was doing.

In 1999 i encountered serious financial difficulties and some trouble with scheduling time on course, which from that point on made it impossible for me to continue studies. Since November 1999 i have had no meaningful contact with any Scientology organization. Meanwhile, circumstances did make it possible for me to continue studies of Scripture and pursue deepening involvement with several Christian organizations. I don't know for sure what my status is with Scientology, but i do keep up good relations with a few friends who i got to know during the time of my involvement.

So here are a few observations i made about Scientology based on my own experience. First, the techniques taught to parishioners at the basic levels are extremely useful in many ways. These include some of the best wisdom offered in this world. In particular, i found the Study Technology useful. I have proven that Study Technology can be used in any educational context, including a Christian school and in substitute teaching. In fact, i have found Scriptural parallels for parts of it.

There are Scriptural parallels for some other parts of Scientology. This includes PTS/SP handling. PTS/SP stands for Potential Trouble Source / Suppressive Persons. A "suppressive person" is defined as someone who constantly does things to undermine other people, in ways that are difficult or impossible to fight against. One could regard a Suppressive Person as one's enemy by definition, and a Potential Trouble Source as anyone who is being affected by the actions of a Suppressive Person. In this particular case, the handlings as recommended by the course are similar to how Jesus Christ taught us to handle our enemies. I found the course valuable in that it helped me to better identify who my enemies really are.

In general, i found many policies of Scientology to be reasonable in terms of keeping a worldly organization running. Again, there are some parallels to Scripture, as Christians are also commanded to avoid gossip, complaining, and backbiting. One policy that did not work out well in my experience was the method of computing pay for staffers. In November of 1999 i got caught in a bad situation where i worked long hours for a related organization but received extremely low pay, which forced me to quit that job. I thus developed a great deal of admiration for Scientology staffers who work according to that pay method and somehow manage to survive.

There do seem to be serious conflicts between Christianity and Scientology. These apparently occur more at upper levels of Scientology. Since to the best of my knowledge i have never been certifiably exposed to upper level materials, it is impossible for me to comment on those matters. There seemed to be an attitude among many parishioners that one could know everything there is to know. Only God knows everything. We are created beings, and thus have limits to our knowledge.

I have seen and heard some charges of criminal actions perpetrated by upper level Scientology staffers and officers. Since i am not privy to any legally admissible evidence concerning these charges, and most of them seem not to have been fully handled in courts of law, it is also impossible for me to rationally comment on these. They must for now remain in the category of hearsay.

Some Scientology policies specifically advocate using courts of law to settle problems encountered by organizations and individuals. This is in direct contradiction to certain statements by Jesus, who told us to avoid going to court whenever possible, and resolve things by other means.

One big difference between Scientology and Christianity affects me daily. Scientology "does not invade the 8th Dynamic", which means that it is not directly concerned with one's personal relationship to the totality of the universe and its Creator. This is a characteristic historically shared with several other religions. Christianity provides a direct link to the Creator of all Universes, through the person of Jesus Christ. This is verified to my satisfaction both by the integrity of Scriptures, and by countless miracles which i have personally witnessed. From this, you hopefully will see why i remain committed to Christianity.

All this said, i remain a strong advocate of religious freedom. Thus i do not condone any efforts to shut down Scientology or any other religion, except where criminal acts can be legally proved. I hope this clarifies the situation. I do not have time to engage in endless debates about the relative merits and deficiencies of Scientology or Christianity. I have seen too much material already about problems in Scientology, so please don't send any more. History has shown what can happen when Christianity is not practiced properly, and that material is widely available. My work now involves helping teach people what is within Christianity, so they can make up their own minds. This work is extremely satisfying.

Current Music: KLOVE Christian Radio
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