Today, CNN’s Anderson Cooper had a segment on Scientology. He interviewed two former long-term Scientologists, Michael Pattinson and Tory Christman. Christman is a former member of Scientology’s “Sea Org” – the elite top level of the cult.
Pattinson started off the interview by explaining he’d joined Scientology because they’d told him they could “cure” him of being gay. (He didn’t say if they had but it I assume they didn’t.) However the eye-popping part was how much money Scientology had cost these two people. From the transcript:
CHRISTMAN: In Scientology, you have to pay for just about everything. They have a few free things to try to rope people in, but basically you pay for everything. It starts very inexpensive and builds rapidly into thousands, hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.
COOPER: Michael, you say you've spent, what? How much money?
PATTINSON: Approximately half-a-million dollars.
CHRISTMAN: Well, I know -- Yes, I would say $200,000, at least, was our inheritance we spent and more.
As I have explained before, Scientology is a bait and switch cult designed solely to take your money: after each stage you are told that your problems are still not over but that they can be cured with more Scientology. These additional courses cost more and more money. Both these people showed how devastating that can be as they eventually gave their life savings over to the cult.
Interestingly, Cooper had unwittingly picked up a bit of Scientology jargon and used it in one of his questions:
COOPER: As you know, both of you, Scientology says you are disgruntled members, you couldn't live up to the high ethical standards of the organization, and that's why you're speaking out.
In Scientology, the word “ethics” has a specific meaning:
"Ethics" is redefined by Scientology in such a way that to be ethical is to be a better Scientologist and obey the "church". Young people, not yet made cynical through the machinations of life and politics, are very keen to contribute to the world and to be ethical. So the "ethics" trick works easily into persuading them to join the "church".
In a superb piece of circular reasoning (today it would be called “framing”) anyone who disagrees with any of Scientology’s dogma is guilty of an “ethics” offence. I found it interesting that Cooper had inadvertently picked up this piece of Scientology mind-control jargon. Overall, it wasn’t a bad piece though.