Blog: "You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out." - 2010-01-28
"If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid. But you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice."
Those are the chilling and deadly serious words spoken at the end of the Orientation film, which is shown to brand new people in Churches of Scientology all over the world. Or at least it was, up to last Sunday, January 24th, when the film's star, actor Larry Anderson, very publicly departed from the Church of Scientology.
The Orientation film, and particularly that closing monologue, exemplify for me the solid, deathly seriousness that pervades the current Church of Scientology these days. In earlier times, when someone wanted to find out about Scientology, they usually went to a live lecture – given by someone actually interested and enthusiastic about the subject. There used to be something called "Spirit of Play." These days, new people are ushered in to a dark room where they sit, usually alone (with a staff member to monitor them), and watch a very earnest and didactic film, which ends with a chilling warning which equates turning one's back on Scientology with suicide.