What is a cult?
The dictionary definition of the word cult depends on the source but they are largely in agreement with one another. The Penguin English Dictionary defines it in the following way;
- a system of religious beliefs and ritual, or its adherents,
- a religion regarded as unorthodox and spurious, or its adherents, (this is entirely a matter for outside perspective)
- great devotion among a group to a particular, person, idea, or object.
Wikipedia uses the following definition for the word cult; “In traditional usage, the cult of a religion, quite apart from its sacred writings (“scriptures”), its theology or myths, or the personal faith of its believers, is the totality of external religious practice and observance, the neglect of which is the definition of impiety. ...”
- followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices
- fad: an interest followed with exaggerated zeal; “he always follows the latest fads”; “it was all the rage that season”
- followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader
- a religion or sect that is generally considered to be unorthodox, extremist, or false; “it was a satanic cult“
The Oxford English Dictionary is as follows;
- a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object: the cult of St Olaf
- a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members:a network of Satan-worshipping cults.
- a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular thing:the cult of the pursuit of money as an end in itself
- a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society:the series has become a bit of a cult in the UK
In summary a cult is a dangerous mix of exclusivity and extreme or false religious devotees, who view those within as property to be controlled, and those –inside or out– who either question or challenge their practices as subversive individuals to be persecuted if they see fit. They neither value the individual or their families as a collective unit and think nothing of splitting up families if they have to by expelling individuals in order to prevent that dissension from spreading. (Sounds like pretty much every religion going which is probably why they have been allowed to get away with so much for so long.) Using a mixture of fear and misinformation they befuddle their followers into believing falsehoods both about themselves and about reality. The same could also apply to the Jehovah’s Witnesses as there are reports of the same tactics and cruel behaviour from former adherents. L.Ron Hubbard was not the first to try this and it looks like he will not be the last, what with Rick Warren (a Calavanist and 6 day young earth creationist) and his Purpose Driven Life.
Fancy A Demonstration?
The ‘church’ will relentlessly harangue and harass former members. They deliberately tear families apart and were it not for the success of Hubbard’s ‘self-help’ book Diamantics it would probably not have taken hold. Hubbard’s own words described the ‘Fair Game’ policy to be applied to dissenters and those who speak against them. This involves digging into the past of those individuals and trying to destroy them financially by suing and by damaging the reputation and the credibility of the person they investigating.
The BBC crew were followed due to their challenge of the so-called Church of Scientology. After failing to reach an agreement with the church leaders over what could and could not be reported and the terminology that was not to be used, Mr Sweeny began his own investigation of them by speaking with former cult members. If they felt the need to prohibit the word cult tells us all we need to know about their paranoia. The failure was obviously aimed at halting the production of the project as they continued to monitor them and sent their top-spokesman to every venue the crew was filming at and he even went so far as to visit their accommodation when they had not told him where they were staying. So add stalking and harassment to the vast charges against Tommy Davis, Director of Public Affairs.
The BBC investigation was hampered by senior members of the cult who attempted to disrupt it at every turn. This is not the behaviour of an organisation with nothing to hide as Mr Davis so aggressively stated. The core beliefs of Scientology are only available to those at the highest levels. The fact that the BBC crew were even forced into a bathroom to achieve some form of editorial conversation was worrying enough, but the fact Mr Davis also saw to it that even this was interrupted, speaks volumes about their obvious tactics. The crew was also filmed at the instruction of Mr Davis who was as continuously rude (speaking about people in the third person front of them to other peoplee), sly, condescending and aggressive (but not all that clever) in his treatment of the BBC as he has shown himself to be in other interviews and the more people who see him for the liar he is, the better.
Throughout the program they are seen using the same ‘psychiatry‘ that they claim to hate and fear so much in order to deliberately provoke an emotional response from, John Sweeney. His response was understandable after the continuous barrage of lies, misinformation and being cut off mid-sentence. After seeing what drove him to that point and how long it took, I am certain that no rational person would hold it against him. I am only relieved that he wasn’t in there on his own. My personal view is that the reason for their campaign against the study of psychiatry is so that their deluded followers do not go out to services outside their controlled environment and undermine and undo all that careful grooming and brainwashing; it is Stockholm syndrome on a massive scale.
The attitude of the cult coordinators and Mr Davis’ own behaviour had been evident throughout the project and has been substantiated by many of the ‘rumours’ employed against the cult by former scientologists. Their tactics were glaringly obvious and when confronted Tommy Davis, resorted to direct insults (“bigot“, “close-minded” and “biased“ were words repeatedly used in Mr Davis’ continued provocation of John Sweeny.), interrupted him at every opportunity, and refused to allow him to speak. After they had been refused access to interviewees loyal to the vicious and duplicitous cult, he turned up uninvited to interviews and disrupted them by publicly attempting to discredit both of them by reading aloud information from the interviewees’ ‘past’. I am very glad that Mr Sweeny did show the measures that this crazed and paranoid bully of an institution has gone to.
Scientology is NOT a religion, it is a dangerous and manipulative cult which should be shut down as soon as may be before any more lives are destroyed by it’s lies. The below link leads to a Panorama follow-up of the above videos. (Unfortunately the bbc iplayer video is not available to some countries for copyright reasons.) Mike Rinder has since left the cult and met up with Mr Sweeny to reveal that the truth of what went on during that investigation really was what we witnessed in the 2007 documentary. Mr Rinder was one of Sweeny’s handlers along with Mr Davis and once the public face of Scientology and having the same tactics used against him that once he employed against others. His family is still in the church and he is now subject to a so-called “Disconnect”; another policy the church claims to have discarded.
There is also a fair amount of on-line information about Mr Davis’ shockingly poor interview conduct including walkouts (in part 2 ) during interviews, outright lies, and other tantrums. He is a liar and I think he enjoys the power he wields over even those who have broken free of the cult. Aside from my personal dislike of him and desire to see him rot in a prison cell, the man makes my skin crawl. It SHOULD NOT be registered as a religion anywhere. It should be shut down and the leaders be arrested and charged for harassment, blackmail, torture, physical abuse, and the list goes on.