Stacey Richter, Thetans and Tom Cruise

Because we love our contributors like our very own (imaginary) children, we'd like to take a moment to tell you that Stacey Richter, whose story "Reality x Reality" graced the pages of Barrelhouse #1, has a story that will appear in the fall issue of Willow Springs, a journal that operates out of Eastern Washington University. The story is called "The Land of Pain," and Stacey says it's science fiction. Stacey also co-wrote a really wonderful story with Dan Chaon that is in Issue #2 of Swink. That one came out earlier this year, but should still be available at book outlets nationwide.

Stacey requested that we write more about Scientology on the blog, because Scientology freaks her out. Specifically, Stacey wants to know if Scientologists actually believe in thetans — the little aliens living inside our bodies — or if these are simply a metaphor for something else: psychic pain, perhaps, or indigestion.

Well, Stacey, I'm no Scientology expert, but from what I can tell, they really do believe in the thetans. Hard to comprehend, yes, but remember: there are people who think Jonah literally lived in the belly of a whale, that the earth is only 2,000 years old, and that Elvis is alive and well and shopping at their local 7-11. People, on the whole, are not very smart.

Here's a link to a very thorough web site about Scientology called Operation Clambake. Might I recommend the "Scientology Illustrated" feature for a brief, and funny, tutorial on L. Ron's vision (the pic above is the site's illustration of Xenu, who apparently came to earth years ago and enslaved humans with his psychic powers).

Also, on a somewhat related note, you can check out this site, Tom Cruise is Nuts , which includes a number of Tom's quips about his favorite religion, his favorite girl, and his least favorite pill-prescribing profession. Such as this little beaut:

"Some people, well, if they don't like Scientology, well, then, fuck you. Really. Fuck you. Period."


joe said...

I used to think the idea of thetans was a little, how shall we say, batshit, but is it anymore batshit than believing in an invisible man who lives in the sky watching and judging everything we do? Or that a guy who was wrongfully put to death rose from the grave and in so doing forgave humanity of all its wrong doings? Come on. Even the most ardent Christian has to admit that at base those notions are pretty batshit, too.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not pro-Scientology, but my problem with it isn’t the screwball beliefs, but the massive amount of money the church generates and the way in which it does so. Basically, you have to pay to be a member of the religion and the more you pay the higher you ascend in its hierarchy. The organization rakes in a shitload of cash as a result, millions and millions of dollars a year, but it's still given non-profit status by the U.S. government because it’s an organized religion. That means they are exempt from a variety of taxes, including property tax. Granted, you can say the same is true for certain sects of Christianity, but even then, churchgoers are only urged to give money. They're still considered members of the church if they decide not to, they just won’t be healed of all of their physical ailments for a quick easy payment of $29.99. A fine point, yes, but an important one.

In addition, my day job is in the field of substance abuse and mental health, and I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Tom Cruise’s belief that you can cure schizophrenia or severe depression by working out and eating right is far more batshit than believing thetans live in and pollute your body. Yes, mental illnesses are becoming over-diagnosed at a faster rate, and yes, the pharmaceutical industry is at least partly to blame, but there are hundreds of thousands of people for whom prescription, psychotropic drugs are literally a lifesaver. They allow people who, fifty years ago, would’ve been put away for the majority of their lives in State run mental hospitals to effectively function, on their own, in day to day life. This is simply the truth and anyone who doesn’t like it, well, then, fuck you. Really. Fuck you. Period.

aaron said...

Scientology: literally: "the study of science," or even more literally, "the study of knowledge". I imagine that this is closely related to epistomology, and it's about time someone introduced to this discipline a theory of aliens. Keeps things loose, kind of puts their other crazy theories into perspective, and lets epistomologists and scientologists know that they can let down their hair once in a while and just do some constructive free association, etc.

I've decided to invent a new belief system called "Religiance". It revolves around worshipping an unseen but all seeing potentate who rides around in an invisible spacecraft and often messes with the natural order kind of like a bully messes with a nerd.

I am the high priest of Religiance and will be issuing a few commandments down the road. I've tabled a discussion of Religiance's origins for now because we are just starting out and I want to get people excited about joining, forming a community of like-minded folk, and enjoying each other's company. Then, we can get down to business. So if y'all are interested, let me know and I'll send you an application, which you can mail back to me along with a small fee, $15 bucks will do for now. But it may go up.

So, as one member of Religiance to another (I hope!), I bid you: ah salamen tush.

dave said...

Aaron, I love that idea. It's about time we started a religion. Hey -- we're going to be a nonprofit soon, we might as well start assembling a belief system, and a wacky-ass backstory.

In light of all this, and to get the ball rolling, I'd like to offer the following 3 Commandments.

The Three Commandments of Religiance:

1. Keep it real.

2. Really real.

3. Really, really real.

aaron said...

Dave, you have done Religiance a great service. I annoint you Tier's Placentia, otherwise known as "The Really Real, For Real". The following three commandments build on the original 3.

4. How real can it be?

5. Love it or leave it, shoot it or squeeze it.

6. This side up.

dave said...

And 3 more commandments:

7. Dolphin-safe tuna.

8. Turn signals are for pussies.

9. Play it straight, baby.

aaron said...

And last, but not least:

10. To hell and back

Kistulentz said...

Thou shalt not make fun of mother nature.

I've always wanted to rewrite the commandments.

Mike said...

Aaron, I find myself intrigued and possibly seduced by your new religion. Please forward all palmphlets and tracts post haste.

TMC said...

Aaron, your first order of business should be converting Jack T. Chick to Religiance and putting him in charge of recruitment. You'll have dozens of impressionable morons at your door in no time.