Thursday, 5 July 2012

"That cult is causing

more misery," the Senior Cat told me some days ago. He was referring to a local group where the leader had managed to take the life savings of a gullible woman with a disability. The court has ordered the return of the money but I rather doubt it will happen. Certainly the cult leader is fighting it.
I wonder how much difficulty Katie Holmes will have getting money out of Tom Cruise too.
Scientology is something my family does know something about. My mother's brother was, briefly, involved. He was a prime candidate for capture by just such a group. He was brought up in another cult. So was my mother. Their parents were "Christian Scientists".
There is nothing "scientific" about Christian Scientists. They are not considered to be Christians by the mainstream religions either. Those who adhere strictly to their beliefs accept no medical treatment at all. Children have died in agony because of the beliefs of their parents. Other children have gone without necessary medical treatment that could have changed their lives.
My mother never quite gave up her own belief in the teachings of the cult. Her brother did give them up but he moved to other things. Scientology was one of them.
I was in my teens at the time. My uncle was reading literature that, to me, made no more sense than the "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" that my mother still treasured. Both lots of writing were nonsense in my view and in the view of my brother.  My brother made an impressive looking "e-meter" with wires and batteries, dials and needles. We thought it was funny.
We thought it was funny until my uncle realised he was being taken for a fool and left the group - or tried to leave the group. When he tried to leave the phone calls started.
My uncle was living with his mother at the time. It was a temporary arrangement because of his work but the Scientologists made the most of it.
They would phone at all hours of the day and night. Changing the phone number did not help. Cars appeared at the front of the house. My grandmother was approached in the street.  On one occasion she was told by phone that he was seriously ill following an accident - only Scientology could save him.
I answered the phone on one occasion and was told the same thing. I responded by telling them I would go to the police if they did not cease making the calls. After that there were several occasions on which I answered the phone and the caller at the other end simply hung up. There were no caller ID facilities available then but I assumed they were from the cult. My brother had the same thing happen to him after he gave them the same message.
The cult members attempting to recruit in the city got short shrift from me and my brother as well. Our loathing of the other cult, Christian Science, was enough to ensure we did not get involved whatever inducements they might seem to offer.
I cannot remember how long all this went on for but it eventually lessened. Over the years there would be the occasional "reminder" but they appeared to give up.
After my uncle died the people who had bought the house he had lived in with my grandmother contacted us. There was a letter there - from the Scientology organisation in America.  It was a reminder that he had once belonged to the cult, an assumption that he still really wanted to be part of the cult. The cult had not bothered to check to see if he was still alive. Their arrogance assumed he would be and that he would still come back to them after forty years away.
Katie Holmes is going to have problems for the rest of her life too.


jeanfromcornwall said...

Never mind the money aspect - I am worrying about whether Katie Holmes will be able to keep her daughter out of the clutches of that evil lot.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

I guess all religions are cults in one way or another - trading on fear. 'You will only get to Heaven/live forever/escape hell and damnation for eternity if you belong to my gang.'

Some cults are so so bad that they become illegal (al-qaeda)
Others are just nuts.
Some seem sensible, and take in sensible people, until they cant see the wood for the trees.
I am very sorry this happened to your family, Cat.

Anonymous said...

This happened to my family too. It was the reason for Dad divorcing Mum. She went through her entire inheritance and then came looking to Dad for more money to keep doing their courses. He said no but we had all the phone calls and the cars driving past and me and my brothers stopped in the street. Dad got custody of us but it was a close thing because it was mostly Mums who got it back then.
They bothered Dad until he died. Mum is still hitched up with them in the US. She wants to see her grandkids but we said no. Sounds tough and it is but we can't take the risk. It just tears families apart.

Don I said...

I read your comments about Christian Science and I am sorry to hear of your view about a religion that has helped many individuals --myself included. But to speak to a couple of statements--Science is used in Christian Science because it is the systematic application of rules based on a fixed principle. It heals through divine laws. We consider it the Science of Christianity that Jesus lived and taught. The proof is in changed and improved lives--morally, spiritually, and physically.

Christian Scientists individually decide upon their own health care system.

I note that you refer to Christian Science as a cult. Normally, a cult worships an individual and Christian Scientists do not worship an individual.

Anonymous said...

I am going to but in here Don and say that Christian Science is classified as a "cult" rather than a "sect" of the Christian faith. Scientists, of whom I know many (I am married to one) do not classify Christian Science as a science. At the request of a friend I attended several meetings of the "church" some years ago. I found the thinking there tragically confused. There was certainly no "systematic application of rules based on a fixed principle" (by which I take it you mean seeing yourself as a "perfect" child of God). Nobody I spoke to there had been healed of anything through an application of those rules either.
I don't know what Cat thinks but I think CS does far more harm than good. Ros

Anonymous said...

Don, you are entitled to your views but I would also firmly class Christian Science as a cult rather than a sect - and rather a dangerous one at that. I have seen both Scientology and Christian Science break up families. I have seen Scientology break up families because of mental illness. I have seen Christian Science break up families because of mental and physical illness. I have watched a colleague's wife die in agony because they refused to accept the need for conventional medicine until it was too late. I have since read widely in the area and I am not convinced that any sort of solely divine intervention works. As for some sort of systematic application of rules based on your principle of being God's perfect image and everything else being "error" I find that illogical and absurd.
Of course you feel differently and, if it helps, fine but please do no insult others by suggesting that it is in anyway "scientific". It is not. Bob C-S

catdownunder said...

Hello Don - do you trawl the internet for mentions of CS? I do wonder how you found me and who exactly you are.
Of course, as other people suggest, you are entitled to a point of view but I would also say that CS is usually classified as a cult and any suggestion that it is in some way "science" and applies "rules" is something I could not bring myself to agree with.
It is good that you feel it has helped you but I note that the number of adherents in recent years has dropped dramatically - even more so than in more traditional religions.
From a personal point of view yes, it did me immeasurable harm - and my experience would, unfortunately, be far from unique.

Danny Haszard said...

The *Cult* word gets overused,but in some cases it is appropriate.
The definition of a destructive religious cult is like alcoholism-if booze controls you instead of the other way around you are an alcoholic.
I was in the Watchtower society Jehovah's Witnesses,they are not benevolent and won't let you leave their organization in peace.The Jehovahs are not without scandals-child abuse, sadistic mind control tactics, sex scandals, money scams, general bad behavior -- you know, religion.
Is it a cult?
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck....

*tell the truth don't be afraid*- Danny Haszard