Scientologist Vincent Grieg writes about bigoted individuals trying to put the “cult” label on his religion. Republished courtesy of the STAND (Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination) website
I know a lot of other Scientologists and, while I can’t speak for all of them, I think plenty of us want to know why we’re mislabeled a “cult” by some. Like, for real? A cult?
WHAT IS A CULT?
For me, the word “cult” evokes images of hooded figures in dark rooms with candlelit ceremonies, animal sacrifices or satanic rituals. And if that’s your thing, you do your thing (though I hope you’re not killing animals) but it’s definitely, definitely not our thing.
I go to church and read books about the mind and the spirit and why people act the way they do, all while sitting in a well-lit room. Or I listen to lectures about how to study so I can actually understand, apply and be successful with the subjects I learn. Or I find out how to communicate better by studying the anatomy of communication itself. You know—real dark cult stuff here, man!
It’s not that I’m offended by people calling my religion a cult because it’s obvious they don’t know what they’re talking about.
MY PERSPECTIVE ON BIGOTRYThe thing that baffles me is why the false label is still being used in today’s climate where religious bigotry toward—and slander of—minorities is not only frowned upon but utterly condemned. Sure, Scientology isn’t as old or as prevalent as Christianity or Islam. And yes, we are a minority religion. But we’re the minority religion that is proving its spiritual workability as one of the world’s fastest-growing religions, with our members in the millions. We are the minority religion that has beautiful churches in major cities around the world. We are the minority religion that wants religious freedom for all and respects the religious beliefs of everyone.
Do the bigots who call Scientology a cult know that the reason why so many Scientologists are so damn passionate about it is because, plainly, it truly helps?
Scientology helps thousands of people off drugs with its drug education programs. Are we weird for that? Scientology helps inner city kids become literate with its education programs. Is that the “cult” you’re talking about? Scientology is there at virtually every natural disaster—9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Japanese Tsunami, and on and on—bringing relief. You really want to call us out on that?
If after all that—and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg—you’re going to slander Scientology, I’ll stick with my religion no matter what you call it and you can stick with being a bigot.
We’ll see who’s happier.