Friday, September 30, 2005

Scientologist teams assist in storm relief

The Baton Rouge Advocate published this piece yesterday.

Many of my friends are in Louisiana or have been there are are there now, helping as Scientology Volunteer Ministers

LAKE CHARLES -- Mixed in with the Red Crosses and various military units giving help in coastal Louisiana now, one might also see the bright yellow shirts of the Church of Scientology.

On Wednesday, a crew of four Scientologists was doing its bit in Lake Charles, offering direct hands-on help to local officials by helping clear and organize government buildings in the city still recovering from the onslaught of Hurricane Rita last week.

T.J. Hensley was supervising the crew, which he said was part of an overall count of about 300 Scientologist volunteer ministers pitching in across the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Another volunteer minister, Chris Parodi, said the four-person team had come over from helping the Katrina cleanup about two days ago, offering their services wherever and however needed.

Hensley said the contingent of Scientologists who have come down to the area are also offering aid specialized to their discipline to help people deal with the trauma of what they've experienced in the wake of the devastating storms.

That's taking the form of what the Church of Scientology refers to as "assists," which look to people not familiar with the process like a light massage.

Hensley said the ministers are using the assists to help hurricane victims and emergency workers recover from the mental and spiritual strain they are dealing with.

The "assists" are meant to help cleanse some of the pain and stress from the people they are provided to, Hensley said.

The ministers have also recruited volunteers to help out with the "assists," for which the Scientologists have detailed, step-specific procedures, he said.

Parodi said that at least half the team working with the ministers is made up of volunteers from outside the Church of Scientology.

Before volunteers can perform such "assists," they are drilled on the proper way to carry them out, Hensley said.

He pointed out that the ministers are not trying to convert others to Scientology, but simply trying to help get people through trying times.

Hensley said a basic tenet of Scientology is that people are free to choose their faith, and that applies to this situation, as well.

He said some people have drawn back from aid offered by Scientologists, but that's not a problem.

"We always have an open door," Hensley said.

I also found an interesting posting on
that tells of the experiences of one Volunteer Ministers who went to Baton Rouge right after Katrina.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Scientology Counseling Group: Counseling that Works

People looking for a Scientology auditor (the term used for Scientology spiritual counselor) in Montrose California are in luck. There is an auditor. They specialize in personal and marriage counseling, and in helping people solve their problems.

Scientology counseling is quite a wonderful experience. What is most amazing, to my way of thinking, is that things which have bothered you, or areas where you really knew you needed more ability but seemed to be blocked in acheiving it, suddenly resolve or improve.

And what is incredible is that really anyone can train at a Scientology church to become an auditor.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Some Interesting Blogs

Some blog reviews:

Sci Fi Reviews and More - This looked like it was going to take off and the review he posted about Conquerers' Trilogy was pretty interesting, but not much more action in the past year.

Issues and Ideas Tends to concentrate on Scientology issues like the Scientology Volunteer Ministers and descriptions of some of the Scientology beliefs.

Check out this cool photo of Michael Phelps on this blog.

Big Happy Family Blog Happily raising and homeschooling 6 kids? She MUST have something going for her!

My Garden Home All about England and Scientology in England. I've been to St. Hill in England -- what an absolutely beautiful place! Magical!

On Art and Living I enjoy reading her posts. Wish she would do so more often.

Alpen Fun Interesting bi-lingual blog (English/German)

No Drugs This looks Swedish to me. Maybe it's Norwegian. I have trouble telling the difference. I do like the message, though. I feel very strongly about drugs. I had a drug problem and I think kids and youth should be told the facts about drugs and how they will affect them later on. If I'd had any idea what drugs would have done to me I'd never have taken them.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Tom Cruise and Scientology in the News Again

I don't agree completely with what By Ruben Navarrette Jr. says in his article in the Sant Diego Union-Tribune but I respect him for his integrity in writing it.

Here's what he says (with some comments from me)

Tom Cruise has right to his opinion on important subject

SAN DIEGO -- I can't believe I'm defending Tom Cruise.

(I don't know why- maybe you've bought a bit too much of the media slant on him)

But someone has to do it. Cruise has been criticized and ridiculed after a heated exchange with "Today' show co- host Matt Lauer the other day over a rather important topic: the possible overuse of prescription drugs that supposedly treat depression or other forms of mental illness.

It all started when Lauer came to the rescue of Brooke Shields, who while promoting a book disclosed that she had therapy and took antidepressant drugs to combat postpartum depression.

Cruise doesn't believe in psychiatry ("a pseudo science') or antidepressants ("mind-altering, antipsychotic drugs'), and he said as much after Shields made her remarks.

Lauer thought that Cruise was being judgmental, and that he should keep his opinions to himself. He also thought Cruise should stipulate that while the actor didn't approve of taking antidepressants those for whom the drugs had worked should be free to take them.

Why should Cruise keep his opinions to himself? Shields didn't keep her bout with mental illness to herself. She advertised it to sell books. Cruise is entitled to his opinion, just like anyone else.

The problem isn't that celebrities have opinions. It's that the rest of society is quick to treat them as experts. They're not experts. They're movie stars with opinions. And they should be free to express their opinions, and the rest of us should be free to discount them if they don't hold up.

But Lauer seemed to be saying that Cruise didn't have a right to his opinion because many people like the millions of Americans who use prescription drugs might find it offensive.

Cruise held his ground. He didn't just give in to Lauer's brand of "I'm OK, you're OK' psychobabble. When asked if it was OK if drugs worked for Shields, Cruise said, no, it wasn't.

"I disagree with it,' he told Lauer.

Cruise suggested vitamins and exercise as a viable alternative and said drugs only "mask the problem.'

I enjoy a good fight. How many other celebrities in the same situation would have caved in and said whatever they thought the interviewer wanted to hear?

Instead, Cruise kicked off a debate over a subject that a lot of people don't feel comfortable discussing: whether Americans are too quick to turn to prescription drugs and whether their doctors are too quick to prescribe them. Cruise zeroed in on "drugging children' with Ritalin, which is supposed to treat hyperactivity or attention- deficit disorder.

That's a hugely important discussion and it shouldn't matter who gets the ball rolling. Even if the push comes from a gasp celebrity, and one who has links to gasp Scientology.

So far the public isn't buying it. According to an online poll by MSNBC, 69 percent of viewers said Cruise was "just plain wrong' on the role of doctors and the use of drugs to alleviate mental distress.

Those people are naive. My friends who are doctors tell me that they are constantly being lobbied by drug companies, trying to convince them to prescribe some of this and more of that.

Could this have anything to do with the economic incentives and perks that drug companies offer doctors and hospitals? What do you think?

That's the discussion we need to be having. And if it's finally under way, it is no thanks to the scores of newspaper reporters and radio talk show hosts who piled on Tom Cruise. After watching the interview and the reaction, I felt embarrassed not for Cruise, but for many of my colleagues in the media.

All of a sudden, the issue went from being about drugs to being about celebrity and Scientology. Talk-show hosts in Southern California ribbed "Dr. Cruise' for thinking that he knows anything about psychiatry. A writer for The Washington Post joined in, asking: "Should we address him as Dr. Tom Cruise from now on? Or will the Rev. Dr. Cruise suffice?' And how's this for a headline from one online newspaper: "Tom Cruise 'Today Show' Scientology Rant Hurts Image.'

What Scientology rant? The guy was talking about or rather trying to talk about our society's increasing dependence on mind-altering and mood-altering drugs. And at no point in the interview did he even attribute those views to his religion.

Do you suppose it's possible for an entire profession in this case, the news media to suffer from attention-deficit disorder? The problem is that Tom Cruise raised a serious issue, one that deserves serious attention.

E-mail Sant Diego Union-Tribune columnist Ruben Navarrette's at

Monday, April 25, 2005

Scientology Tom Cruise Media

The media does go on and on. Sometimes they get it right, but usually they are just looking for a story.

This one isn't too bad and at least seems somewhat factual. But don't you get sick of the media looking for something to gripe about, looking for an angle, just because its a celebrity?

I do, so I have made comments.

"Doing business with Tom Cruise is turning out to be a religious activity for film executives in Hollywood as the actor is using his star power for promoting his religion - Scientology. "

That's right - isn't that great.

"Actors use their power in Hollywood to various ends. Some demand money. Some want to name a director or reject a co-star. Lately, doing business with Tom Cruise, one of Hollywood’s leading actors, means a bow in the direction of his religion, the Church of Scientology. Increasingly public about his long association with Scientology, Cruise recently invited film executives involved in distributing his summer movie, The War of the Worlds, on a four-hour tour of three different Scientology facilities in Los Angeles. About 20 managers from United International Pictures, which is distributing the Steven Spielberg-directed film abroad for Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks SKG, took him up on the offer in late January. "

Don't you use your contacts to promote what you believe in?

Andrew Cripps, president of United International Pictures, said the tour was useful because the news media often asks about Cruise’s religious beliefs. Cripps said no one was forced to attend, though at least one executive who took the tour said the visit was regarded by some as an unwelcome business obligation. Scientology tent The encounter came after Cruise had sponsored a ‘Scientology tent,’ offering what his spokeswoman, Lee Anne De Vette, called “assists” - a kind of massage administered by volunteer ministers - along with religious literature, on the War of the Worlds set. Also, the star had recently sent out a holiday greeting that included Scientological precepts on a plastic plaque. Notwithstanding Mel Gibson’s very public declaration of faith with his Passion of the Christ, Hollywood insiders typically avoid open discussion of their religious beliefs. But De Vette, who is Cruise’s sister, said he had been inviting colleagues to learn more about his religion in order to combat what he viewed as prejudice against a group that some critics have described as an exploitative cult. Adherents say Scientology is a method of counselling and courses that helps individuals break free from negative emotions and lead more rewarding lives. A celebrity religion? Founded in 1954 by the science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, Scientology has long had a close connection with celebrity. Contending that artists “are a cut above man” - according to a church Web site, Celebrity Centre Hubbard said, 'He who can truly communicate to others is a higher being who builds new worlds.' The church has celebrity centres in several cities where actors and other famous figures come to study and meet. (John Travolta and Kirstie Alley are among the best-known Hollywood adherents.) At the centres, according to the Web site, they are promised 'the best in service and care, for those are the people who are sculpting the present into the future.' In the last several years, Cruise has spoken more freely about Scientology in his many interviews promoting various films. And, increasingly, executives who do business with him have found themselves spending time at church facilities.

Yes, better that they check it out themselves. Rumors and the media manage to taint a number of well-intentioned individuals and groups.