Isaiah 26:3-9      Jesus vs. Scientology

Rev. David Holwick   F                             Jesus and Other Faiths

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

February 7, 2016

                                                 Isaiah 26:3-9, 2 Peter 2:1-3


JESUS vs. SCIENTOLOGY



  I. Be like Tom Cruise!

      A. He is a phenomenally successful movie star.

          1) He is worth $500 million, and has had 20 movies that have

                earned over $100 million each.

          2) Tom Cruise is also the world's most famous Scientologist.

              a) He credits the religion with making him a winner.

              b) Many others feel the same way.

                  1> John Travolta

                  2> Kirstie Alley

                  3> Juliette Lewis

                  4> Priscilla Presley

                  5> Isaac Hayes

                  6> Fox News's Greta Van Susteren

                  7> Will Smith denies being a Scientologist, but he has

                        donated millions of dollars to the group.

                  8> Mass murderer Charles Manson took Scientology

                        classes but he decided the religion was too

                           crazy for him.                             [1]


      B. Why is Scientology so popular with the famous?

          1) Fame can be fleeting and this produces anxiety.

          2) Overcoming anxiety and maximizing your abilities are

                goals that most successful people seek.

              a) Scientology focuses on the inner mind and promises

                     to unlock your full potential.

              b) Isn't this what we all want?

              c) I don't suppose anyone joins a religion to be a loser.

                  1> Which religion makes you a REAL winner?


II. The interesting life of L. Ron Hubbard.

      A. Without a doubt, he has had an impact on American religion.


         In 2014, Hubbard was cited by the Smithsonian magazine as one

            of the 10 most influential religious figures and one of

               the 100 Most Significant Americans of all time.        [2]

         He is also one of the most controversial.


      B. There are multiple versions of his life story.

          1) Scientologist biographies make him into an otherworldly

                saint.

             They describe him as a boy who grew up on a ranch that was

                half the size of Montana, became a globe-trotting prodigy

                   and a decorated war hero with many wounds.

             He claims to have been blinded and made lame.

                Scientologists say he was awarded 29 medals.

          2) Many of the details do not bear up under scrutiny.

                Some are wildly exaggerated, most are outright inventions.


             The reality is that he was born in Nebraska, lived in a

                small apartment in Helena, Montana, and traveled to

                   Asia while his dad was serving in the Navy.

             He stopped in a few ports, that's all.


             He did serve in the Navy in World War II but was removed

                from his ship and declared unfit to be a leader.

             Hubbard received only 4 medals, and they were all generic.

             He was never wounded in combat.

                He did get an ulcer, however.


             More importantly, after the war he applied for mental

                health aid from the Navy.

             He wrote them:


             "My last physician informed me that it might be very

                helpful if I were to be examined and perhaps treated

                   psychiatrically or even by a psychoanalyst.

             Toward the end of my service I avoided out of pride any

                mental examinations, hoping that time would balance

                   a mind which I had every reason to suppose was

                      seriously affected."                            [3]


             One researcher wonders how many lives would have been

                saved from anguish if the Navy had followed up on his

                   request.

          3) This is fascinating because Scientology rejects psychiatry.


             Instead, Hubbard credited his new religion with curing

                all his supposed illnesses and war wounds.


             According to the Church's chief spokesman, if it was true

                that Hubbard had not been injured, "the injuries that

                   he handled by the use of Dianetics procedures were

                      never handled,

              because they were injuries that never existed; therefore,

                 Dianetics is based on a lie; therefore, Scientology is

                    based on a lie."                                  [4]


             I can accept this statement.


      C. There is no dispute Hubbard became a prolific writer.

          1) He wrote more than 1,000 books - a Guinness world record.

              a) Science fiction was his specialty.

              b) Each of the main themes of Scientology - engrams,

                    the concept of clear, thetans - are foreshadowed

                       in his science fiction stories.

          2) His ultimate book was Dianetics.

              a) It was a huge best-seller.

              b) The basic principle of Dianetics was that the brain

                    recorded every experience in a person's life.

                 Bad or painful experiences were stored as what he

                    called "engrams" in a "reactive mind".

                 These could be triggered later in life, causing

                    emotional and physical problems.


                 By using a special E-meter that reads electricity

                    conducted through the person's body, the engrams

                       could be re-experienced and "cleared."

                 He called this process "auditing", and it is similar

                    to a lie detector exam.


                 People in a state of "Clear" have a perfectly

                    functioning mind with an improved IQ and memory.

                 People at the highest levels of Scientology supposedly

                    can read minds and move objects with their thoughts.

          3) Critics were not kind to his book.


             Scientific American said that it contained "more promises

                and less evidence per page than any publication since

                   the invention of printing."

             The sales eventually fell off so he came up with a new idea.


III. Birth of Scientology.

      A. In 1954 Hubbard formed a religion from the ideas in his book.

          1) A big motivation for him was money.

              a) He said, "You don't get rich writing science fiction.

                    If you want to get rich, you start a religion."   [5]

              b) Hubbard made tons of money by charging for auditing

                    sessions.

              c) He added a series of levels you could attain to,

                    each more expensive than the others.

          2) It is a rich person's religion.

              a) One woman remarked that it was the only church she has

                    seen with a cash register in the sanctuary.

              b) Reportedly Tom Cruise has paid over $500,000 for his

                    E-meter audits.

              c) You can also get all the auditing for free - by joining

                    Sea Org.

                  1> They sign a billion-year contract (with a "b").

                  2> They work 16 hours a day, and earn 40 cents an hour.

                  3> There have been many reports of physical and mental

                        abuse of the workers.  But their audits are free.


      B. Scientology has a very dark side.

          1) Not only charges of abuse, but harassment of those who

                try to leave.

              a) They specialize in lawsuits against their enemies.

              b) A big enemy has been the IRS, which finally caved in

                    and classified Scientology as a tax-exempt religion.

          2) Ex-members say it is run like a concentration camp.

              a) The mind-control is very heavy.


IV. How Scientology compares with Christianity.

      A. Both believe in a Supreme Being.

          1) Scientology doesn't give him much attention - the real

                focus is on YOU.

          2) It is a very self-centered faith.


      B. Both believe people are spiritual beings.

          1) Christians believe we are each created specially by God.

          2) Scientologists believe we are spirits called "thetans"

                who are the remnants of a galactic battle.


             75 million years ago, the dictator Xenu brought billions

                of people to Earth in spaceships that looked like DC-8s,

                   which dumped them around volcanoes and then dropped

                      hydrogen bombs on them.

             The spirits of those dead people are called body thetans and

                they adhere to humans like you, causing spiritual harm.


             I am giving you the super-advanced teachings of Scientology.

                L. Ron Hubbard says I will now die of pneumonia....


      C. Both teach the need for salvation.

          1) Scientologists get saved through a weird form of expensive

                Freudian-style therapy.

          2) Christians believe we can only be saved by God, through

                the death of his Son, Jesus.

              a) Hubbard said there was no Christ on the cross.

                  1> Instead, Xenu forced all the thetans to watch a

                        3-D movie that implanted negative images on

                           their minds.

                  2> One of those images was the cross.

              b) Scientologists say their faith is compatible with

                    Christianity, but I cannot see how.

                  1> In one of his lectures, Hubbard actually said he

                        would return as the Antichrist.

                                                                   #65069

                  2> He followed explicit Satanic rituals and used

                        drugs to expand his mind.


  V. Do we share Scientology's dark side?

      A. This series examines other faiths, but also our own.

          1) I want Christianity to look better than them.

          2) But I can admit that sometimes we make the same mistakes.


      B. Some issues where Christians need to be aware.

          1) Controlling leadership.  Preachers can be tyrants, too.

          2) Group pressure to believe and conform.

              a) A woman this week told me she grew up Baptist, moved

                    to the South, and felt like the churches were cults.

                  1> She became a Catholic instead.

              b) True Baptist tradition believes in "soul freedom" - you

                    can have your own thoughts about God, as he directs.

          3) Promising more than we can deliver.

              a) Jesus can solve any problem, but he won't necessarily

                    solve all of yours.

              b) Born-again Christians can be a mess.

                  1> Sometimes it is from deliberate sin.

                  2> At other times it can be from living in a broken

                        world, and no fault of our own.

                  3> In either case, it is very hard for us to admit it.

                        It is easier to paste on a fake smile.  Don't!

              c) Bad experiences have a real impact on us.

                  1> However, they don't have to defeat us.

                  2> The early Christians were rejected and beaten but

                        still found joy and strength in God.

                  3> There is a peace and steadiness from faith.

          4) Beliefs that challenge non-believers.

              a) It is easy to mock Scientologists for their science

                    fiction fantasies.

              b) However, outsiders probably view Christian beliefs the

                    same way.

                  1> We believe in a man who walked on water, multiplied

                        loaves of bread, and was raised from the dead.

                  2> When I was an atheist investigating Christianity,

                        I struggled with these.

                  3> Be aware that people you meet may have the same

                        reaction.


VI. Selfishness is not the answer.

      A. The way to mental wholeness and health is through others.

          1) Through a loving relationship with other people.


             During the bombing of London, it was found that people

                suffering from nervous disorders found unexpected health

                   by forgetting their own troubles and ministering to

                      the terrible needs of victims of the air raids.

             The reason many of us have no energy, no vitality, no joy,

                is that we are living only for ourselves.

                                                                    #3003

             Christianity stresses that love for others is a prime way

                we express our faith.

             It is not "all about you."

          2) Through a loving relationship with God.

              a) God's love for us is at the heart of the Bible.

              b) He wants us to have peace in our hearts.


      B. The experience of an escapee.


         Karen Pressley spent half her life - 17 years - in Scientology.

            She had a strong desire to know God.

            She did not know any Christians who had a vibrant faith.

         Karen married a musician and they moved to Los Angeles where

            they wrote the mega-hit "On the Wings of Love."

         The pressure of success was intense.


         Karen sought relief through Scientology.

         She liked how it helped her control her world to get what she

            wanted.

         She says it was an "all about me" kind of faith.


         They believed it so much they quit their lucrative lifestyle

            and joined the international headquarters.

         The workload was unbearable.  There was no privacy.

            They were forbidden to have children, who are distractions.


         She wanted out, but they were going to charge her $225,000

            to reimburse Scientology for all her free auditing sessions.

         When you left the compound, a security team followed you.


         In July 1998 she came to a place of complete brokenness.

         She knew she had to leave Scientology, even if it meant losing

            her husband.

         Karen says she felt totally overcome with a sense of peace

            from God, even though she did not know who He was.


         She was one of the few allowed to have a car, and as she

            followed the worker bus on an assignment, she slipped away.

         Scientology can trace all the reservations out of Los Angeles

            airport, so she booked a flight out of Las Vegas.


         She headed for her 73-year-old mother in Georgia.

         Karen was not aware her mother had joined a Baptist church

            and was praying for her daughter to leave Scientology.

         For six months, Karen didn't want anything to do with

            Christianity.

         She was too exhausted.


         But she finally agreed to go to a Christmas program where she

            heard the choir sing about God's love, forgiveness and

               acceptance.

         A few months later, she accepted Christ as her savior.


         She divorced her husband through the mail, because Scientology

            will not let defectors communicate with members, even if

               they have been a spouse for 21 years.

         She has remarried and started a ministry to help others

            escape from Scientology.

         She says, "The best thing is that I am not searching anymore.

            Today I know the source of all knowledge is Jesus Christ."

                                                                   #29853



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SOURCES FOR ILLUSTRATIONS USED IN THIS SERMON:


1. 60 Famous People You Didnt Know WereScientologists, Nico Lang,

      July 10, 2012; <link>


2. Wikipedia.org, L. Ron Hubbard, <link>.


3. Wikipedia.org, L. Ron Hubbard, <link>.


4. Wikipedia.org, Military career of L. Ron Hubbard, <link>.


5. Wikiquote.org, L. Ron Hubbard, <link>.


6. Wikipedia.org, Xenu, <link>.


# 3003  Who Will Wipe Away Their Tears? Rev. King Duncan, Dynamic

           Preaching, Spring 1992.


#29853  After 17 Years In Scientology, She Found Truth In Jesus Christ,

           staff writers, August 16, 2005, Baptist Press, <link>.


#65069  What Christians Need To Know About Scientology, Margery Wakefield,

           1991; <link>.


The video "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" was helpful

for understanding Scientology and has many interviews with defectors.


These and 35,000 others are part of the Kerux database that can be

downloaded, absolutely free, at http://www.holwick.com/database.html

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Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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