The day the church started thinking about “image” is the day we started going downhill.
This was well before Mr. David Miscavige. I am sure that the thinking behind it was all for the best, but it backfired badly.
For me, the creation of the Scientology Cross and the invention of Scientology ministers with “Sunday Service” was a mistake. A big mistake. Scientology is what it is, and it is much, much closer to Buddhism and Hinduism than any other religion, so why emulate Catholicism?
I did the minister’s course in 1976. It was an interesting course, but it was NOT a key course in Scientology, nor was it ever a required course to become a staff member, auditor, or anything else in the church, except an ordained Scientology minister. Corporate Scientology bypassed even the minister’s course by inventing “Volunteer Ministers” which are basically people who profess to be Scientologists but who have zero required training.
The whole “minister” thing, the cross thing, the whole facade of Christian-like religiosity is a sham. It is for show only.
To me, the image of a REAL Scientologist is someone carrying a set of PC folders in one hand and an e-meter case in the other, going to the auditing room, and getting ready to help people. There is no collar. There is no bible or bible-like book. This is a very positive image to me.
Another positive image of Scientology is students in course, studying. With demo kits, disctionaries on the table, books open. Eagerness. Laughter. In the practical room, people doing drills – doll drills so as not to accidentally run their coach on these processes out of session. TRs. Meter drills. Laughter. People learning and having fun.
Another image is the glow of the PC on the way to the examiner after session. The person is happy. The person found something that mattered. His or her life changed for the better in the short span of an hour or two in session.
These three images are what should be the true image of Scientology in my opinion. At the end of the day, all Scientology should be is people learning how to help people, and people helping people, and people getting helped. All with the goal of getting on better in life.
Getting to these images is actually pretty cussing simple: You just do it. Learn the tech. Help people with it.
But, the image of a minister standing in front of his flock on a Sunday morning, giving a sermon on body, mind, and spirit is NOT really Scientology, is it? Having a “chapel” is not really Scientology. Even the post of “Chaplain” makes no sense to me – especially as emasculated as the post has become under DM’s watch.
The “minister” image is really a PR ploy to help promote the idea that Scientology is a religion. But the image is a lie. Scientology IS a religion, but religions should stand on their own, in their own form, and NOT ape the forms of OTHER religions. Scientology is what it is. It is people helping people, usually one-on-one. It is NOT evangelism, with its missions to Africa and third-world countries. It is NOT Catholicism with its priests and choir-boys and censers.
On top of this fake image is the effort to protect the fake image. The insistence of the minister and collar. Calling people who leave Scientology “apostates.” Calling the writings of Ron “scriptures.” Calling sec-checks “confessionals.” Labeling PC folders and ethics folders “Priest/parishioner confidential.” This is an obvious scam since the church regularly violates this “sanctity” when members publish parts of it in ethics orders and “Freedom” magazines. Calling Scientologists “parishioners.” This is crazy fake-religiosity that fools no one, and yet is there to prove something that DOES NOT NEED TO BE PROVED: That Scientology IS religious in nature.
This LIE has spawned other lies, and has led to the creation of a house of cards, which leads AWAY from what the true images of Scientology are: Auditors auditing, people getting trained to audit, people being helped by auditing.
The good news is that the Independent Movement has stripped away all this fakeness – the ministers, the SO, etc. – and has gone back to the basics. That is really, really good news. And therefore, the Independents ARE the true image of Scientology. It is okay to join this group. In fact, if you really do the doubt condition on this, I think you will find that it is the obvious choice once bias and rumor are cast aside. Why not use LRH to solve the current problem that the Church of Scientology has become?