This includes a section on the Scientology-Narconon Purification Program. It also includes a section on how cults used to object to being called "youth religions" in Germany. Today, cults are no longer called "youth religions" there.
Doctrines of salvation fly a perfidious flag
Occultism and the "Psychology of Lunacy"
Issue 7 / 1980
Special edition of "Die Berliner Aerztekammer"
by Thomas Gandow
If people at first thought they were looking at another youthful fad like the waves of Rock'n Rollers, idle wanderers, hippies or commune dwellers, then today, more than ten years after the appearance of the first Krishna monk in Berlin, it is obvious that the groups dubbed "youth religions" are more than a passing fancy. Certainly there is no doubt that the problem is no longer one solely of youth. Since their arrival, "youth religions" have caught on with and influenced about 10,000 young people in Berlin, doctors, lawyers and teachers among them.
Forms of escapism
Certainly the differences must be noted among heralds of foreign religions which, in the era of the supersonic jet, have made the entire world into a mission area, and heralds of various movements such as: a proselytizing Hinduism (such as the Krishna movement); a wandering syncretism (such as the Divine Light Mission of the now 22-year-old guru Maharaj Ji) on the one hand; and meditation and therapy corporations that operate more openly as businesses, such as science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard's "Scientology Church" and the "Transcendental Meditation" movement of the prudently not so transcendentally meditating Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
No matter how necessary and justified the efforts to differentiate among these movements, however, the fact that all these groups deal in a concentrated form of escapism should not be overlooked. Deplored by political youth organizations throughout the country, "anti-institutionalism," political resignation, apathetic refusal to work, drug consumption, disco fever and alternative life forms are all forms of escapism, some of these have even already been recognized and integrated into social areas (fashion, music, distribution of alternative literature, etc.).
"Youth religions," however, appear to be characteristic of the current escapism in a special way. They have the capability of combining a number of motives for the general tendency to escape, of relating them to each other and of linking them together into an extensive, total worldview.
Their concepts of salvation, included in the all-encompassing and all-enlightening knowledge of the group, basically embodies all occult practices and concepts. So it is not surprising that the fundamentals of the Rajneesh Meditation Centers and their spiritual background include not only dance and light rooms, light organs and Hi-Fi equipment, but also pendula, pyramid magic, astrology and ecstasy. These "therapy centers" are described by several observers as extremely prosperous "syntheses of western humanitarian psychology with eastern mysticism." Rajneesh himself has described his system as "psychology of lunacy." This label is not difficult to accept. A considerable share of his Outdrops Ashram in Poona, India is staffed from the psychiatric wards of the major Indian city.
New Target Group: Seniors
While the Rajneesh movement appears to have a magnetic effect upon professions in the academic sociological professions, the Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation has come up with the "Association of German Doctors for Improvement of Health through Transcendental Meditation." The TM movement makes attractive advance promises of decreases in medical costs through TM and recommends TM programs in connection with accident, sickness and life insurance. Courses that teach the ability to fly and how to make oneself invisible and travel through walls are given, and the intention is for these to be taught in schools and in connection with state defense and fulfillment of prison sentences.
It has been estimated that from 3,000 to 5,000 people have graduated these courses in Berlin. About 250 of those have paid from 5,000 to 10,000 marks for the so-called "flying course." That the effects of the TM ideology are especially dangerous for children and young adults has been stressed by the recently deceased director of the psychiatric university clinic in Mainz, Prof. Dr. Langen, based on repeated clinical experiences. Lately the group has been appearing in seniors homes and telling management that with the TM program the aging process can be halted and turned around.
The controversial Scientology Church's drug withdrawal program, as it is called by Narconon, the association that promotes it, has already appeared at many levels in Berlin. By exploiting the needs of drug addicts and the desperation of their relatives, Narconon has obtained large sums of public money for a "drug withdrawal program" in which clients learn how to have their "souls leave their bodies." At the higher grades, the promises include having missing teeth or body parts re-grow themselves. The Scientologists waste much energy in their reactions to criticism and in their fight against psychiatry, who the Scientologists say have allied themselves with other dark forces of the world to form a conspiracy against them. To all appearances the founder has had repeated contact to this effect.
The latest operation the Scientologist have set up is the "Purification Program." In the text, "Purification Rundown and Atomic War," it is asserted that this course, which consists of a combination of verbal therapy, sweat sessions and the consumption of Niacin, can remove drugs and toxic substances such as radiation from the body, and can even "decrease the adverse consequences of future exposure to future radiation. That brings us to the interesting aspect, that probably those people that finish one complete and competently conducted purification rundown will survive -- in contrast to others who are not so lucky," the text reads under the title "I want Scientologists to survive the third World War."
False labeling of methods
Those who are susceptible to these recipes of salvation are not limited only to young people. Even a formerly professional publishing house has begun distributing a large number of an allegedly scientific series of "do-it-yourself prophesy" books with instructions for spells, guru jargon and promises of salvation.
If this sort of thing keeps up, then it might not be long before a Rajneesh disciple appears in a public school as a teacher and gives his students a guru medallion with a picture of the bearded "Bhagwan" Rajneesh to charm away their headaches.
One method used by youth religions, as well as by others in the circle of believers in the occult, is a reinterpretation of things, concepts and words that borders on false labeling. Scientology, for instance, conducts its "therapy" as a type of religious "confession," which is a legally protected practice of religion. Even though "traditional medicine," meaning medicine based on science, is presented in a negative light by a supposedly "holistic" medicine, skepticism is still advised.
In view of widespread chemical pollution, there is a potentially justifiable tendency towards phytotherapy. The demand for this is sometimes used to distribute the healing practices and substances of anthrosophy or homeopathy under the label of "natural" healing as an alternative to "traditional medicine."
The words used by youth religions and other groups to describe themselves can also be misleading in that they use words that are generally perceived to mean something else, such as "religion," "church" and "therapy." While churches may justifiably feel that they are being imposed upon and, as a result, carry out informational work [to counter this practice], this use of the word "therapy" may pose a challenge to the medical department. Sometime doctors feel it is below their dignity to tackle the fields of paramedicine and therapy fraud. When the basic disadvantage of the spreading loss of public confidence in the medical profession is weighed against this inconvenience, however, it cannot be taken seriously enough. Based on the principles of psycho-hygiene, indifference should not be tolerated.
The advertisement for "therapeutic" or paramedical offers of youth religions and other occult groups featuring educators, therapists or doctors would be especially objectionable, or if these people appear to personally endorse a product or method, as has already occurred repeatedly in Berlin. Information and education about personal psychic or phsyical harm is all the more important because of this, and the adverse social impact is also a matter of concern for doctors.
Psycho-technology of youth religions
A special technology of psychic redesign is used by these groups, presumably deliberately and with the intention of obtaining a total conversion. These include:
- separation from partners, friends and relatives
- isolation from one's familiar environment
- greater peer pressure through pre-scheduling of all available time, as well as regulating life down to the most intimate details (which would include selection of a [sexual] partner by the group)
- sleep deprivation
- regulating nutrition through special diets (such as giving up meat, fish and eggs with ISKCON, fasting with the Moon movement, etc.) or supplements (overdoses of vitamin tablets in the Hubbard organizations, etc.)
- coerced obedience
- constant indoctrination and a glut of pseudoinformation
- special abstentions (food, sexuality, giving up of hobbies)
- destruction of personal concepts of the world, which are then replaced with the group's own basic concepts and circles of thought
- doing away with the individual's prior command of the language, which is then replaced by the group's special jargon, from thereon in the sole measure used for evaluation
"Youth religions" or "destructive cults"?
Groups that are called "youth religions" make the following assertions:
- to have a concept of improving the world that works specifically as well as in general
- to be the group that has possession of this concept and the knowledge and technique required to apply it
- to be able to make practical use of this concept through absolute obedience of the devotees up through a hierarchy to a "leader," "master" or some such person.
The phrase "youth religion" is not without controversy. This is primarily because the groups the phrase is applied to feel they are being discriminated against. Would the phrase "destructive cults," as it is used in the USA be more appropriate?
When these groups are spoken of as independent religions, it does not mean they have the rights afforded to recognized religious denominations, only that they are not dependent upon and do not wish to be dependent upon other religious traditions, which is the case with a sect. Most of the groups rely on some new form of revelation; they produce receivers for the revelation and sometimes documents of revelation.
These groups were not called "youth religions" just because the age of the majority of their members, and especially their leading functionaries, ranged from puberty to late adolescence, but also because they present a pubescent concept of changing the world. "We want everything and we want it now." The mood and membership of the group, in addition, is based on the creation of an infantile obedience, which is obtained by regular suppression through use of various psycho-technologies.
The effect is the dream of instantaneous gratification and infantile fantasies of omnipotence. These, in turn, are projected upon the leader and the hierarchy, thereby binding them to the constant fear of falling from grace, fed all the more by the excessive punishments constantly meted out by the leader.