This was the second talk I've given to Vancouver area high school students, and the first for Caroline. The class was quite prepared for us, a number of students having already searched our names on the Internet, and done some reading about Scientology as a result, and there were a lot of quick minds in the room, so we ended up having a very lively discussion.
I had planned to tell my basic short story, which takes, in an audience setting of this composition, maybe 20 minutes, and then Caroline would tell her story, which she really had never done publicly to an audience before. But these students very boldly started asking questions after a very few words from me, and then the hour, and a few minutes more as it turned out, took on its own form, and Caroline and I answered questions, and added in our experiences as appropriate to support or flesh out our answers.
I tried, and I know Caroline tried too, to answer everyone's questions, and answer directly to the person asking the question, but sometimes because of the way the discussion seemed to go, and because of what appeared to be a discussion convention that permitted liberal sub-questioning, and even interjecting, certain students, I felt, got fewer of their questions answered, or perhaps none at all. So I apologize if anyone felt overlooked or less appreciated, because we appreciated every one of these young people, and appreciated they way they welcomed and responded to us.
I have postulated for some time that it is altogether possible that Scientology will only survive this generation because the next generation's children are being raised on the Internet, and the denial of knowledge and reason, which is Scientology's big "technical" "advantage," will become to this generation anathema. I do recognize that there could be another outcome, but I've put some thought and faith into this one. The next generation, I observe, continues to validate my hope that knowledge and reason will prevail. No one has convinced me, although we see great or even greater stupidity, that we are not entering the Age of Wisdom.
I was truly touched by both the active interest in the subject reflected by their terrific attentiveness and the students' intelligence reflected by their questions. They really grasped, for example, the insanity-making decree by Scientology that people who criticize its fair game doctrine are "religious bigots." That always is hilarious when people get this concept for the first time. Another thing that's always funny, when I'm the guy saying it, is Scientology's promise that auditing raises IQ a point per hour. There I am with a ton over a thousand hours, standing there unable to tell the color of my own tie.
But it isn't all hilarity, because these young adults also get that there really is this group of people who really do call themselves a church and really do embrace a philosophy, policy and practice called fair game, which really does call for good, peace-loving people to be lied to, cheated, stolen from, sued and destroyed, plus assaulted, framed, and black PRed into utter ruin. These students showed that they grasped and considered the conundrum of how an entity with a basic philosophy, policy and practice of fair game can be considered a "religion" and expect the same treatment as non-fair game religions, and be granted it, including tax exemption, by the US government which knows it's a criminal enterprise.
Some students grasped the intelligence (the espionage kind) core and activities of the Scientology organization, and asked insightful questions on the subject. Some students expressed a passion about a group of people calling themselves a church, and classifying themselves as "compatible with Christianity," but which not only is not compatible but teaches anti-Christianity, and with its fair game doctrine black PRs Christianity just by its compatibility claim. Nobody, I think, wants to be a Christian if being one is compatible with Scientology.
I observed a number of students ask a logical question or series of questions which led to what appeared to be an immunization level realization. Those moments are always fun, and other people present, it seems to me, get it, and get immunized at the same time, and share in the fun. Getting Scientology's number is a very joyful event, and a continuing process since it is possible to have Scientology's number over and over and all one's life.
Some of the students asked questions about Scientology's "spirituality" that showed they were themselves already knowingly on a spiritual path. Some were able to grasp that when Scientology says it's changing the spirit, the being, or as they call it, the "thetan," the cult is really addressing and "changing" the ego, Scientologists' illusions of themselves. The students confronted and dealt with a number of concepts which initially boggled them, such as the fact that Scientology would think of prayer as "another practice," and, far worse than that silliness, consider prayer unallowable, even punishable.
Our talk was a hit and an unquestionable success, and the students were an unquestionable hit with Caroline and me. We are looking forward to more talks to students and any groups or audiences who have an interest in this fascinating and menacing subject.
I've posted three images from our talk to alt.binaries.scientology.
© Gerry Armstrong