Did Scientology Drive Kenneth Wayne Thompson to Commit Bloody Murder? - 2019-02-19
This month, in the opening arguments for a major, lengthy trial which could send Thompson to death row, defense attorneys laid out a daytime-soap subplot of an argument for Thompson's detour: the Church of Scientology. Alongside the legalese of standard court documents, Thompson's defense includes the Scientology "tone scale," a diagram which purports to sketch the full spectrum of human emotion, multiple mentions of the phrase "eternal soul," and the name Tom Cruise.
The lawyers' thesis hinged on the fact that the female victim's son was receiving psychiatric treatment. Scientology, a religion the practice of which involves regular one-on-one meetings with a counselor to talk through emotional and mental problems (a ritual they call "auditing"), has a long, bitter opposition to psychiatry—a church spokesperson told The Daily Beast that the industry is "brutal" and rife with "human rights violations." Thompson's lawyers claim their client is a practicing member of the faith (the church denies any affiliation), whose opposition to mental health treatment led him to intervene on his nephew-in-law's behalf.