Founded by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950’s, Scientology considers itself a religion helping people be free of trauma and experience a true reality. Since its founding, it has grown into a multi-million dollar enterprise with many followers, including many actors and celebrities from Hollywood who shell out cash to reach new levels in the organization. While it tries to look harmless on the outside, many former Scientologists like Leah Remini have called it out for harmful, dangerous, and deceptive practices. Turns out, there’s much more to Scientology than meets the eye. Curious to find out more about this controversial group? Here are 25 Shocking Facts About Scientology.
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Scientology has its own rehab program called "Narconon," using saunas, vitamins, minerals, and oils to treat people with serious medical addiction. No one there is a medical professional; they indoctrinate you, and many have not been allowed to leave. Some of these facilities have also been shut down.
The Church of Scientology spied on South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone when they aired the episode Trapped in the Closet, which brutally made fun of the church. They went through public records, investigated their friends, and even went through their trash. They found nothing.
L. Ron Hubbard's son, L. Ron Hubbard Jr., was once a leader in the church before walking away and changing his name to Ronald DeWolf. He left because he didn't have a high view of his father and the last straw was when his father sold secrets to the Russians.
Scientology leader David Miscavige is good friends with Tom Cruise and was his best man at Cruise's wedding to Katie Holmes. Oddly, while Miscavige's wife setup Cruise and Holmes, she hasn't been seen since 2006. Right before her disappearance, she had filled vacant jobs without her husband's permission.
During a Reddit AMA with Leah Remini, she said there is no top level of Scientology; it's never ending. When you reach the top of The Bridge, you'll find out there are even more levels, and you'll have to pay much more money to get there.
Journalist Paulette Cooper tried to expose the Church of Scientology after her friend joined and claimed he was Jesus Christ. In response, they sued her hundreds of times, sent libelous mail to her neighbors, and even tried to frame her for a bomb threat she had nothing to do with.
In a book by Jenna Miscavige Hill, the niece of David Miscavige, she mentioned "The Ranch," a deplorable child labor camp run by Scientology in San Jacinto, California. She said it was like a military boot camp where kids work under the hot sun, rarely see their parents, and are harshly disciplined if they speak out.
Nancy Cartwright, the woman who voices Bart Simpson, gave 10 million dollars, two times her annual salary, to the Church of Scientology. In return, they awarded her with the "Scientology’s Patron Laureate Award."
Scientologists believe that we are all spiritual beings known as "Thetans" and merely inhabit meat bodies. When you die, you forget your prior self and inhabit another body. Those who are high up in Scientology can make choices like choosing their birth parents.
Used as a power grab by David Miscavige, "The Hole" is a building owned by the Church of Scientology where high ranking executives were sent to be interrogated, humiliated, and punished. They forced confessions out of them to see if they had ill intent against Miscavige. Former Scientologists say 100 people swelled the building at one time.
They have a secretive headquarters in the desert called "Gold Base." It's a 700-acre compound with spiked fences, motion sensors, and sniper bunkers. While the facilities look nice on the outside, supposedly treatment for members is cruel with slop for food and required 20-hour work days.
According to Leah Remini, Scientology does everything it can to brainwash you into only listening to Scientologists and not trusting outside sources. If you try to leave the Church, they'll use all the information they know about you to discredit you.
A group called the Cult Awareness Network, which took over 16,000 phone calls a year to help families dealing with cults, labeled Scientology has the #1 most dangerous cult. In response, Scientology forced them into bankruptcy through a costly lawsuit and then bought them out, creating the New Cult Awareness Network.
In 1973, L. Ron Hubbard, his wife, and the Church of Scientology led a massive campaign against the U.S. government called "Operation Snow White." Using 5,000 covert agents, it was one of the largest infiltrations of the government, purging documents the church thought were harmful and false.
Years before starting Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, then science fiction author, said, “Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be to start his own religion.”
They believe that 75,000,000 years ago, a galactic overlord named Xenu dealt with overpopulation by gathering up people, killing them, freezing their souls (Thetans), and sending them to Earth. The Thetan souls exploded next to volcanoes, which created their bodies.
Tom Cruise had the Church of Scientology cast for many of his girlfriends like it was a movie audition. One young Iranian actress they set to groom to be his girlfriend was Nazanin Boniadi. Their courtship was heavily monitored and eventually fell apart. Boniadi was supposedly shipped off to a Scientology center in Florida to atone for her errors.
They have another compound in the forest of Twin Peaks, California called "The Church of Spiritual Technology." It's notably fenced off with spikes going inward, not outward. Former Scientologist Steve Hall said he believes Shelly Miscavige, the missing wife of David Miscavige, could be held there.