Friday, February 6, 2009

Scientology: The Forgotten Danger?

This is a translation of the article Scientology: Die vergessene Gefahr? of July 29, 2008 in merkur online. A pdf version may be found here. Praetorius Anon of Anonymous Germany has provided the translation.

The words of Regional Presiding Lutheran Bishop of Bavaria Johannes Friedrich are to be particularly noted. Young people are at risk from Scientology and quickly lose control over their own will once they get trapped in Scientology.

Anonymous Germany has now translated and sub-titled the entire Cleared Planet documentary mentioned in the article. It can be seen below the article.

Scientology: The Forgotten Danger?

Munich – The public debate over the Scientology sect has all but fallen on deaf ears. One school in Munich is breaking the silence.

"It feels like I've been locked up inside a jail cell for the past 28 years–now the world is open to me." Willfried Handl stands before the Friedrich Oberlin Technical School in Pasing (a suburb of Munich) surrounded by students that are bombarding him with questions. He holds a cigarette in his hand, but he is so busy giving answers that he doesn't get around to lighting it. Handl was the director of Scientology Austria. After 28 years in the clutches of the sect he no longer wanted to "stalk through life like a machine." In early 2002 he left. Since then he has been fighting to educate others about the group.

The Friedrich Oberlin Schule had invited the former cult member, regional bishop Johannes Friedrich, as well as journalist Rainer Fromm to a discussion as part of the school's class on religion. Before that, the students in Class 11a were shown a new documentary film "The Cleared Planet– a journey inside Scientology," a 25-minute instruction film on the cult's activities which Fromm had produced.

The few teaching materials on the subject are hopelessly outdated. Fromm's film was designed to close existing gaps and to make Scientology an issue in schools once again. "10 years ago, awareness was much greater," he said angrily. "There is an enormous deficit. The cult's propaganda is much more advanced in this area."

The film was created to expose this propaganda. The cult camouflages itself all too often behind harmless activist groups who are campaigning against drugs or human rights. The reality is very different: cold, calculating and dangerous.

The former cult member Handl made his own appearance in the film: "There is no heart, no compassion," he warned. Other former cult members have reported brainwashing and violence, as well as suicide and murder. Scientology follows an elite ideology and seeks to forge Übermenschen. For cult founder L. Ron Hubbard, sick or handicapped people were unworthy of life. According to one of his books, the mentally ill should be "disposed of quietly without shedding a tear." Only enlightened Scientologists were entitled to civil rights.

The DVD showed itself to be effective. It reminded Student Marion of the ideology of The Third Reich. Her friend Nicole found the contempt for the handicapped particularly horrifying. How does Scientology conduct brainwashing? Handl characterized the techniques of the cult as "psychological magic tricks." Step by step, one is pulled in deeper. Within a very short time, one breaks contact with all non-Scientologists. In the end, it becomes ever more surreal. "Anyone who believes in UFOs is considered a serious individual by Scientology."

Regional bishop Friedrich believes that renewed awareness efforts are urgent. Scientology is very dangerous, particularly for youth. "Once they fall into the cult's claws, it's over with their own will." There is no relationship to Christianity. That the cult characterizes itself as a church is "one big pack of lies." (Emphasis added)

The Cleared Planet - A journey into Scientology - German Documentary from caekisalie on Vimeo.

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