My friend's boyfriend is a Scientologist - some advice, please

I am not sure if this is the right forum for this question, but I suppose the mods move the thread if needed.

A few days ago, I learned through my best friend that one of our common, close long term friend’s boyfriend is a scientologist. The background is this:

The woman in question has been living with this man for 9 years, and they have a 2 year old child. I have met the boyfriend at several occations, and I absolutely can’t stand him. Not only is he arrogant and rude towards my friend (his girlfriend), he is also a very narrow-minded besserwisser who believes he has all the anwers and knows everything in the world better than everybody else. He has always been disdainful towards our other common friends who are professionals in various areas such as medicine, computers or architecture. He always knows better than the experts in their own areas of expertise. He is a lawyer by education, but for many years he has been working with “personality testing”. Now, I happen to have a double clinical psychologist/neuroscience education, and one of my lines of research is the neurophysiological basis of personality traits. To me is it obvious that this guy doesn’t even know the basics about personality theory or even standard test procedures, instead he is working with some seemingly home-made concepts and unfunded assumptions. This, I mentioned to my best friend the other day - that’s when she told me the guy is a scientologist, as an explanation for my critisism of him. Our common friend does not wish to discuss this with other people since she feels “people react negatively” towards it, and she herself knows nothing about scientology. He has shown her some books about child raising and personality development, which she thought sounded interesting. I should also mention that the scientologists is not a popular or common cult where I live, and most people have no idea what their agenda is, they are just viewed as “odd” here (here being Scandinavia).

Does anyone have similar experiences? What did you do? What do you recommend me to do? I would like my friend to realise what the scientology church stands for and what their values and ideas are, without scaring her away in isolation and risking that she too will become involved.

Since you’re looking for advice, I’ll move this thread to IMHO.

That should be a good place to start at least.

The obligatory link to Cecil’s column on Scientology. Print it out and give it to your friend.

Probably the best online source for information about Scientology (besides the ones maintained by the Scientologists themselves) is Operation Clambake. It’s a fairly thorough site; it will take some time to go through all of it, and some of the material there is pretty disturbing. I’ll leave it to your judgment as to whether or not you want to send your friend the URL to this website…after all, you know her better than I do.

Since I’ve never dealt with Scientologists before (at least, not about their membership in that organization), I’m at a loss to advise you on handling this person. My advice is to not confront him directly…he is not harming you, after all. Let him believe what he chooses to believe. If you want to give your friend the straight dope on the mainstream theories of personality, then go for it, since you certainly seem to be in a position to know about them. Just point out that from what I gather, the Scientological perspective of personality seems more like science fiction…at least to me it does.

Thanks @Sterra & Atreyu, I should perhaps clarify what I am looking for here. I am well familiar with where and how to find information about the Scientogists, my problem is rather how to deal with presenting the grisly facts to my friend who has been together with this guy for 9 years and probably is more inclined to believe him than any other person. I am not going to confront her boyfriend at all, not regarding scientology anyway.

@bibliophage and all: I do not at all mind you moving the thread, but I must admit I don’t fully understand the criteria for how threads are sorted. For instance, how is discussions about who is going to win the American Football league and the question whether people have eaten pet food “lthe great questions of our time”? Is there a more detailed description of the forums available?

Unless your friend has come to you specifically asking for help in dealing with her boyfriend, then you are being a gossipy butt-in-sky. I advise that you mind your own business.

So if you think the best way to deal with people recruited to the Scientologists are to “mind one’s own busienss”, how come you are on this board that has the motto “Fighting ignorance”? You do know that the church of scientology is classified as a destructive cult, using mind control techniques and threatning members who wish to leave?

If my friends boyfried were on heroine and my friend did not believe this was dangerous to health, would you advice me to “mind my own business” then too?

Wrong. Scientology is a murderous cult that will ruin the life of anyone involved in it unless the person gets out. Like many cults, few people can leave without help: In Scientology, people are convinced that they are in grave need of pseudo-psychological treatments called ‘audits.’ Further, they are convinced that to be ‘ethical’ (another word the Hubbardistas redefine to meet their ends), they must give up their lives (and a goodly amount of money) to the Cult. All of this takes place in a psychologically draining environment specifically tailored to lower one’s defenses and to make one need the kind of support mechanism Scientology provides. So outside help is essential.

Wiwaxia: You are in a bad position, made worse by your psychological training. Scientologists are taught that people in the psychological field, or ‘psychs,’ are all evil and out to keep people from ever being ‘clear.’ You may soon need to enlist some friends as go-betweens if the poor sod’s brainwashing goes that far.

Things to Keep In Mind. – Things to remember when dealing with the Cult and its dupes.

Cult Information Centre’s list of things to Do and Not to Do around someone in a cult. – A list of pointers on dealing with someone who is in any kind of a cult, Scientology included.

Do not go to the CAN (Cult Awareness Network). It has been bought by Scientology and is no longer an independent source of information or advice.

Finally, keep hope: People have left Scientology in the past. The Cult recently lost a major legal battle (Larry “86-Million-Dimes” Wollersheim :)), so the courts are not going to look kindly on its barratry or harassment if it does decide to attack you.
Must read. It’s a alphabetized skeptic dictionary. See, scientology.

I’m not sure I fully understand the criteria myself, but it seems that the main criterion for the General Questions forum is that there is, or should be, a factual answer available. This question, asking for advice, seems to naturally fall into the opinion category, hence the IMHO forum.

I also reccomend

Weird stuff. I wonder when the really-low-post-count people will show up to this thread…

And you DO know that getting between a friend and their significant other is almost invariably doomed to failure?

I mean, you can interfere if you want, and there’s good justification for doing so, but just be warned; it’ll be messy and a huge headache and you’ve got a good chance of losing your friend and driving her even closer to the Scientologist.

Make sure your friend is aware that the Church of Scientology set up toll-free numbers right after 9/11, evidently in order to trick people into thinking they’ve called a hotline to help them grieve. I’m sure there’s at least on thread on the subject around here if it wasn’t lost when the board was restored.

Just make sure you don’t appear too confrontational when you talk to your friend. Let her know you have concerns and show her some of the information, but don’t appear hostile toward her SO. Make sure she understands you aren’t trying to come between them and that it’s always a good idea to see what people outside the cult think about it.

Probably a good idea not to use the word cult, at least not right away.

Frankly, I find the whole “Fighting ignorance” thing irritating, when it comes to hunting people down and telling them “You’re wrong about such and such”. The principle works for Cecil because people write him for help, not the other way around. There’s a few things that point to the fact that you should MYOB.

  1. You don’t like the guy. You think that he’s an “arrogant and rude” person who is also “very narrow-minded besserwisser who believes he has all the anwers and knows everything in the world better than everybody else.” Note that these traits are not necessarily tied to his belief in Scientology.

  2. Your friend is in a long term relationship with him. She’s been with the guy for 9 years. She had a child with him after 7 years. She hasn’t been dazzled by his charm and forced into a relationship for the childs sake. She knows this guy. The faults that you perceive are obviously not an issue for her.

  3. She has not approached you for help. In fact, she made the decision not to broach the subject with you because she suspected that you would react negatively. The fact that you only learned this information through gossip from a different friend weighs very heavily against you.

  4. She doesn’t want your input on this matter. See above.

  5. Anything you have to say will accomplish nothing except driving a wedge between you. Criticizing the father of a persons child, with whom she has been involved for, again, 9 years, will get you close to nowhere. Especially considering the above four points. Any perceived criticism of him will force her to get defensive.

If she wanted your help, it would be a different matter. But as it stands, I say “Butt out!”

Is that necessarily true? It’s hard to imagine that every single person involved in Scientology has their life ruined by it. That’s no way to build a moneymaking empire, after all.

Wiwaxia, given that your friend has been with this guy for nine years and knows hardly anything about Scientology, is she in great danger of becoming recruited?

I don’t see any harm in putting some information into her hands, but you must be very careful about it. If she thinks you’re trying to run her life, or if she percieves the information you give her as just anti-Co$ propaganda, she’ll be offended, and she might decide to shut you out.

If her boyfriend were squandering all his money the cult, or she were being pressured to join, or she were applying dangerous or unsound child-rearing techniques, then you’d have an obligation to come to her aid. However, the situation as you describe it is that the boyfriend’s happy, the friend is happy, and the kid’s not in any particular danger.

You might use your expertise to find her a more apporpriate book on child development–she might find that as interesting as the stuff her boyfriend gave her. That might be a nice, non-confrontational way to show her that from a mainstream point of view, Scientology is bunk.

(At least she will be able to attest that she was not battered or raped while the child was in utero, eh? Knock on wood . . . )

It sounds like this fellow’s religion is only one of many things you can’t stand about him.

The real issue is how are you going to deal with your freind? Are you going to tell her the truth about how you feel about her husband? Are you going to keep it to yourself to spare her feelings and just try to endure the guy? Are you going to give up on your friend because you can’t stand her husband?

None of the choices are easy, but there you are.

Good luck

MUrder has been committed. But its not like its in the tenets. Notheless Scientology has blood on its hands, usally through stupid tenets rather than outright homocide.

As was put best by a scientology critic, “Scientology is 99% crime syndicate , 1% artificially flavored religous product. I have no interest in the 1%”

Thanks all for your input.

Obviously it was a mistake of me to bring up the background to why my best friend told me our common friend’s boyfriend is a scientologist, ie that I mentioned I don’t like am why. This is background to how I obtained the information, it has nothing to do with the problem of the scientologists being a destructive cult. I should also mention that in Sweden where I live, the concept “destructive cult” is very well defined and implies that a person has right to public heath care and support if wanting help to leave the destructive cult. It also means that a family can turn to the public health care and ask for help if they have a family member that has been recruited by a destructive cult. Destructive cults are not a common problem here, it is estimated that the scientologists have about 500-1000 active members in Sweden. Other destructive cults operating here have about an equal or slightly larger number. However, despite fairly uncommon, the effects of destructive cults on the individual are viewed as serious, and to me any person who is a member of the scientology church, is similar to a person who are addicted to health disrupting drugs. My personal opinion of whether the person is nice or not is unimportant for the degree of negative impact I think the cult or the drug has on that person.

However, in this situation I act as a private person, which means I do not view my friend’s boyfriend as a patient. As her friend, I aim to get her to understand what the scientology teachings are about, and what methods they use. I also want her to realise the risks involved. If she still wants to stick to this guy, fine - she must make her own choices. But since the scientology church is largely unknown in Sweden, and she unsurprisingly, like most other Swedes, believe they are a just an harmless “new age style” organisation, I wish her to make an informed choice - especially considering they have a little child. What I do not want, is her getting involved in the cult. They did not live together before they got their daugther. I don’t know for how long the boyfriend has been a scientologist, but he has been working with their “personality tests” for at least 5 years. According to my best friend (who is a closer friend of hers than I am) he did not tell her initally that he was a scientologist, but when he did she didn’t know what it was. Obviously, she also does not know why people react negatively towards it, she had mentioned to a few close friends and family, but experienced suspicion, that’s why she stopped telling anyone about it.

Since they got their daughter and moved together, the boyfriend has started to show her books about child raising and development. I do not know if this behaviour has anything to do with him wanting to recruit her too and raising their child according to these principles, or if he simply want her to understand his beliefs better now that they are closer to each other.

I have decided to follow Derleth’s advice to begin with, so I have suggested to my best friend that she’s try to bring the subject up and give some information to our common friend. Obviously, I would like to get anyone out of a destructive cult, but I have to start with her and see how it unfolds.

@The Grim spectre: I understand your point of view, but I don’t agree. I would act the same way if my friend was in an abusive relationship, or a relationship with a person with substance abuse problems.

Poddy: The Cult has killed. Homicide is not explicitly in its tenets, but it isn’t in the Klan’s tenets, either (I think). But that’s not what really matters, is it?

Where the Klan had unofficial lynch mobs, the Cult has ‘Fair Game’: The practice of the Cult ‘washing its hands’ of all responsibility for what its members do to someone. Here is what the Cult itself says:

Plain and simple, the Cult is giving its thugs free range.

Of course, this doesn’t bother them at all: By definition, all critics are criminals, so they deserve it anyway. Convenient circle in the logic, neh? All critics are criminals because only criminals would be critics.

But they will say that they have cancelled Fair Game. Like that really helps their image. (I used to advocate violence! Honest!) Anyway, they’re lying:

My emphasis. Names change, but the game remains the same.

My source.

So, will Scientology ruin your life? Not if your name is Tom Cruise or John Travolta. Not if you can give the Cult good publicity or a ton of money. If your payments lapse? If you decide to say something the Cult does not approve of? If you have the misfortune of being truly ill, mentally or physically? Well, there are nicer positions to be in. Trust me.

Or you don’t have to trust me, you just have to follow the blood trail. Begin with the most famous case, Lisa McPherson:

That’s right: DOA from malnutrition, dehydration, and being a playground for the local roach population. Lisa was 36 years old, and had been a Scientologst since the age of 18. She obviously wasn’t in the best shape to begin with, but she was by no means terminal when she went to Clearwater:

Emphasis mine. Damning emphasis mine. A summary of her life, focusing on her final days. I don’t have the space to do justice to her case here. At least scan through the site.

Scientology-Associated Deaths – Lisa is the tip of the iceburg. For a religion that’s only been around since the middle of the last century, Scientology has amassed a staggering death toll.

I’ll leave you with a final quote from Hubbard himself:

I’m sure the SS could have said the same thing.