Jon Atack: The question Scientologists aren't allowed to ask each other - 2014-10-18
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.
Jon, thanks for another new post. Tell us about the question Scientologists can't ask each other!
JON: My late friend, Professor Johannes Aagaard, would become agitated at conferences when listening to some sociologist pussyfoot around the activities of a cult group. Like me, he objected to the term "new religious movement" when it was applied to groups that had no religious pretensions, such as the Landmark Education, Amway, or the Larouchies. Like me, he objected to the refusal to discuss the biography of a cult leader, because such "hagiographies" must never be questioned (and, yes, sociologists use this term, which means "the biography of a saint." So, Hubbard's invented exploits are "hagiographies"). If you had video of Jesus changing water into wine at the Wedding at Cana, there was no way that these sociologists would let you watch it. You must simply accept the elaborate deceptions of the likes of Ron Hubbard. On such occasions, the good Professor Aagaard would take a sharp intake of breath and say, "Why don't they ask the truth question?" Why should we not question the usefulness of the doctrine itself?