Thursday, August 29, 2013
Lately it seems the Church of Scientology can't catch a break from bad publicity.
The publication of the book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, by Lawrence Wright dealt with key issues about the controversial church founded by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. The church strongly contested parts of the book.
Then actress Leah Remini left the church, saying she was being harassed for asking about the whereabouts of Shelly Miscavige, the wife of Scientology's present leader, David Miscavige. She filed a missing person report with the LAPD and even though the police said they had interviewed Mrs. Miscavige and she was OK, more troubling headlines with this story didn't help the church.
And now there's the news report of the arrest of a PR Director for the church's Celebrity Centre in Las Vegas, Devon Campbell Newman, a 67 year old grandmother. Law enforcement officials say that she and a male accomplice are members of a right-wing group called Sovereign Citizen that believes citizens do not have to obey the law. Allegedly Newman and her partner were going to kidnap a police officer, take him to a vacant house they had bought, and then conduct a trial of the captive who they would kill if he resisted.
Incidents like these have put Scientology on the defensive, adding to the growing perception the church is a dangerous cult. Criticism and complaints have been directed at David Miscavige from alleged corruption to stories of physical and mental abuse of members.
So what would L. Ron Hubbard do?
The scientology founder died in 1986, at least in physical form according to Scientology officials. Church leaders believe LHR discovered how to exist without a material form and so "dropped his body" to continue his research offworld.
According to Lawrence Wright in Going Clear Scientologists believe that LRH will return one day. At certain locations rooms have been prepared for him to show up and settle back into his earthly routine, including sandals waiting for him at the shower door and cigarettes on his desk. The as yet empty beds are changed each day so that when he does return to bodily form fresh sheets are ready.
If the latest events mean a make-or-break crisis for Scientology then it might be time for L. Ron to return like Jesus did with the apostles after his own physical death. Time to re-inspire the followers.
One can only wonder what would happen if LRH did return.
Maybe he would warn us that the evil galactic overlord Xenu had escaped and was returning to our planet with more H-bombs in spaceships shaped like DC-8 airplanes.