The most famous Scientologist to leave Scientology and speak out against it, sits down for an exclusive television interview with Harry Smith. Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning writer and director of “Crash” opens up about what attracted him to Scientology and why he ultimately walked away from it after 34 years. Plus, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright who wrote the new book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and The Prison of Belief, and former members of the Church of Scientology who say they were pressured to abort their child and were punished when they chose not to. The church denies the allegations.
The Sea Organization, or Sea Org, is a unit of the Church of Scientology, comprising the church’s most dedicated members. The church refers to it as a religious order. As of 2009 it had around 6,000 members. The Sea Org was established on 12 August 1967 by L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer and church’s founder, initially on board three ships, theDiana, the Athena, and the Apollo. In 1971 it assumed responsibility for the ecclesiastical development of the church, and in particular for the upper levels of its training, known asOperating Thetan or OT levels.
It moved to land bases in 1975, though maritime customs persist, with members wearing naval-style uniforms and addressing each other, women included, as “sir.” In 1988 the church purchased a 440-foot ship, the “Freewinds,” which docks in Curacao in the southern Caribbean and is used as a religious retreat and training centre, staffed entirely by Sea Org members.Sea Org members sign one-billion-year contracts with the church, in exchange for which they are given free room and board, and a small weekly allowance. They are allowed to marry, but must relinquish their membership if they have or want to raise children.
The Billion-year contract
According to Hubbard, the Sea Org’s mission is “an exploration into both time and space.” Sea Org members act as goodwill representatives and administrators of Scientology; all policy and administrative posts in the church’s key organizations are held by Sea Org members. Most members are given room, board and a small weekly allowance of about $24 per week, though some sources list $50.
In accordance with Scientology beliefs, members are expected to return to the Sea Org when they are reborn; the Sea Org’s motto is “We Come Back.” Members must therefore sign a symbolic billion-year “religious commitment,” pledging to “get ethics in on this planet and the universe.” The church contends that the contract is merely symbolic of the dedication members are expected to give to the organization, and that they are free to leave if they wish. After signing, members report to the Estates Project Force, the Sea Org’s induction programme; Melton writes that members may take several years between signing the commitment and attending the induction. Once induction is completed, the final decision to join is made.
Members who leave the Sea Org are issued a “freeloader’s bill,” retroactively billing them for any auditing or training they have received. Although the bill is not legally enforceable, these Scientologists may not receive services at any Scientology organization until they pay the bill and perform an ethics course.
About Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief:
A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—both famous and less well known—and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.
At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige—tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard.
We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract.
In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.
About Lawrence Wright: Lawrence Wright is a graduate of Tulane University and the American University in Cairo, where he spent two years teaching. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker, and the author of one novel, God’s Favorite, and six previous books of nonfiction, including In the New World; Saints and Sinners; Remembering Satan; and The Looming Tower, which was the recipient of many honors–among them, The Pulitzer Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. He is also a screenwriter and a playwright. He and his wife are longtime residents of Austin, Texas. Lawrence Wright official website: http://www.lawrencewright.com/
Sources: NBC, Amazon.com, Wikipedia
Editor’s Note: We have attended to The Church of Scientology Celebrity Center in Hollywood for many community events and we can tell you that we do not see anything of what is been reported or written on the book about how they treat brainwashed people. The only thing that we can say is that is up to you, if you let somebody take advantage or brainwash you about religions.