Blog: Deconstructing Scientology: Chapter 16 - 2016-12-29
We're back for our next round with Scientology apologetics, taking apart this book "Scientology" edited by James R. Lewis and featuring essays from various religious scholars, sociologists, psychologists and the like.
This week, we have chapter 16 by Bernadette Rigal-Cellard and titled "Scientology Missions International (SMI): An Immutable Model of Technological Missionary Activity." She is the Director of the Center for Canadian Inter-University Studies in Bordeaux, France and a specialist in North American religions. Unlike some other authors in this book, Bernadette manages to not gush over with enthusiasm while explaining how wonderful Scientology's missionary activities are, but I will say from the start that I found the quality of her research to be lacking. As with almost all these authors, she fails to critically examine the information she is presenting and so skews or distorts the reality of Scientology's popularity and growth in the real world. Now this week's topic is pretty interesting stuff, so let's dive right in and I'll just fact check and offer commentary along the way. She starts with this:
"The following study looks at the way religions undergo transformations when they migrate from the country in which they were born to other cultures. With all the problems it has engendered in Europe in particular, where it is mostly held as the Trojan horse of American imperialism, the Church of Scientology offers a perfect case study. How do its missionaries, called mission holders, react to their new environment: Do they try to adapt to it, or, on the contrary, do they seek to adapt it to their own vision of the world? I will present here only the foundation of SMI, its European missions, its franchise system, and the duty of the mission holders." (p. 325)