Author Topic: Thinking like an Evangelist  (Read 3252 times)

Offline RedShieldwolf

  • Joker and Degrader
  • Posts: 129
  • For me, it really is KCW (Keep Chanology Working)
Thinking like an Evangelist
« on: June 29, 2010, 18:06 »
I hesitated when starting this thread because of its religious nature. But I think it is an important issue to discuss, so we'll see where this thread goes.


I don't really consider myself to be an evangelist (although I've considered taking that path). But I'm starting to see similarities between my activism and evangelism. I attempt to inform, educate, and sometimes recruit people. I use every resource I can to spread the message. And I have a driving passion for what I do.

Big deal, right? After all, these sound like tips for any activist. Evangelism is just activism for God.

Well....I came across this:

http://www.4truth.net/site/c.hiKXLbPNLrF/b.2950199/k.7B00/Scientology_Overview.htm

Quote
Witnessing to Scientologists

1. Have a clear understanding of your faith and the Bible.
2. Ask appropriate questions to determine the person's level of involvement in Scientology and/or Dianetics. Many people involved do not understand its philosophical, spiritual, and scientific problems, nor its incompatibility with historic Christianity. In some cases, you may need to provide documentation to show the Scientologist that L. Ron Hubbard was not what Scientologists believe him to be and expose the controversial history of the Scientology movement. (See Brent Corydon, L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman [Barracade Books, 1994] and Russell Miller, Bare-Faced Messiah: A Biography of L. Ron Hubbard [H. Holt & Co., 1988].)
3. Seek to establish a personal, friendly relationship with the Scientologist.

4. Establish the sole authority of the Bible. You may need to give the Scientologist a marked Bible to highlight basic Christian doctrines.
5. Clearly define all terms of Scientology and historic Christianity.
6. Show the Scientologist how Christian doctrines are incompatible with Scientology. Focus especially on contrasting ideas about God, sin, salvation, and life after death.
7. Share your personal testimony of faith in Jesus Christ and the benefits you derive from knowing Him as Savior and Lord.
8. Share the plan of salvation and sensitively seek to lead the person to faith in Jesus.

The bolded parts are relevant to the discussion.

From what I've seen, ex-Scientologists (depending on who they are and their state of mind) are the best candidates for what I'll call "de-converters". They have a good working knowledge of the tech. They know the Scientologists personally, thus knowing their names and where they are on the bridge. They were probably friends (or family) with many of them before blowing. Many of them show their face, as the cult probably already knows who they are. If anyone is able to cause doubt, it's probably these people.

Since one of the goals of Anon is to get people out of the cult, are we comparable to Evangelists? And has there been any record of an Evangelists successful witnessing to a Scientologist?

Offline Sarcasm Pirate

  • Merchant of Chaos
  • Posts: 174
Re: Thinking like an Evangelist
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2010, 18:44 »
This is something I have pondered a few times myself.  :)  What separates protesting and educating from evangelistic endeavor for me is that my activism does not hinge on offering up another religion for those in the cult to leave for.  I would never, ever attempt to sell religion to someone else because to me it is such a highly personal decision that attempting to push it upon someone is stepping over a boundary. (Again, only my own personal opinion on the subject.)

We are not out there to try and convert scientologists from one 'religion' to another... At least I am not.  Many of the people I have been confronted by while protesting immediately want to bring my religious views into the argument and get greatly frustrated when I refuse to discuss it with them on the basis that my personal beliefs are unimportant to my activism. I am not out there because I do not wish to support a 'godless' cult.  Scientology hurts people. It kills people.  These are things that any human who cares about their fellow man can agree upon as troubling.  Despite however 'silly' I may find aspects of the mythos in scientology and how much I will always dislike and distrust anything written, spoken or produced by L. Ron Hubbard I also keep in mind that it is not my place to stop someone from following whatever the hell they want. 

This is what separates my own personal take on activism from what you present as evangelism.  Evangelism seeks to provide an alternative to what a person currently practices and I have absolutely no interest in trying to direct a scientologist to the 'correct path'.  Of course another activist may feel differently but that is simply my own take from the point of view of my own religious stand point.  :)
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 19:06 by Sarcasm Pirate »

Offline mefree

  • High Value Target
  • Posts: 4,368
Re: Thinking like an Evangelist
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2010, 19:32 »
Thanks for the topic, RSW.

Quote
This is what separates my own personal take on activism from what you present as evangelism.  Evangelism seeks to provide an alternative to what a person currently practices and I have absolutely no interest in trying to direct a scientologist to the 'correct path'.  Of course another activist may feel differently but that is simply my own take from the point of view of my own religious stand point.  :)

My feelings are similar for various reasons. Most importantly, I think a person needs time away from Scientology to heal or begin thinking about exploring new spiritual paths.

Similar to needing time after a breakup but probably much more difficult.

In the first section of this site (http://www.caic.org.au/zleaving.htm) the pain of leaving a cult is discussed. I couldn't help but think of Jason Beghe in the videos soon after he left. It was pretty obvious to me that he was experiencing a great sense of loss over the years he had spent on Scientology and disconnection from his friends. I don't think I really have a clue what that is like. Waking up to the deceit must be extremely painful and that is just one aspect of it.

That being said, I find nothing wrong with telling the truth about the deception and having a passion for your activism. I think this can be done without being confrontational, JMO. 
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama

Offline Lorelei

  • Hill 10 Situation
  • Posts: 895
  • I can haz ferret.
Re: Thinking like an Evangelist
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 03:26 »
This is something I have pondered a few times myself.  :)  What separates protesting and educating from evangelistic endeavor for me is that my activism does not hinge on offering up another religion for those in the cult to leave for.  I would never, ever attempt to sell religion to someone else because to me it is such a highly personal decision that attempting to push it upon someone is stepping over a boundary.

This sums up my POV nicely. Since we are not protesting beliefs, discussing other beliefs seems to contradict that.

Also, I don't like it when Jehovah's Witnesses assume their beliefs are superior to mine (when they have no idea what I believe). I'm not going to assume anything about Scilon's beliefs. They may be public, meaning they are being told (and likely believe) that Sci and their religion of preference are compatible. They may be more thoroughly indoctrinated into the space alien cult aspects of Sci, and thus know about Xenu and the Body Thetans (and know it isn't a rock'n'roll band). We can only make an educated guess about that, and since it isn't our main focus (speaking only for myself, even though I say "our"), it dilutes the primary message: We object to the human rights abuses.

I let my personal beliefs about religion, spirituality, ethics and morality inspire me to activism, but keep these beliefs mostly private and to myself, letting my behavior speak for itself (and apologizing and making amends if I don't live up to my standards whenever I can).

Mefree also makes a good point: To properly heal after being in a cult, one shouldn't immediately replace one belief system with a new one overnight. It's better to take some time to heal any wounds or trauma or anger (etc.) that one may feel, and figure out what made the cult so appealing in the first place. Why did a "one size fits all answer to the biggest questions in life" promise seem so plausible to the ex? Wishful thinking?

Decompression, a little support when needed and a little solitude and reflection when needed, self-examination / prayer / meditation / whatever and (hopefully) professional therapist / family / an expert on cult survival and exes' needs / etc. support are likely to be more useful than being pressured, even in the kindest and most well-meaning and sincere way, to substitute their current belief system for another one (and the value or lack of value of that alternate belief system is not at all relevant in this scenario, IMVHO).
"Once the foundation of a revolution has been laid down, it is almost always
in the next generation that the revolution is accomplished." -- Jean d'Alembert

The Human Wiki.
"I spend hours surfing the web for information, so you don't have to!"

Offline ethercat

  • Global Moderator
  • High Value Target
  • Posts: 3,770
Re: Thinking like an Evangelist
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2010, 15:46 »
I hesitated when starting this thread because of its religious nature. But I think it is an important issue to discuss, so we'll see where this thread goes.

I'm glad you started it, RedShieldwolf.

Quote
I don't really consider myself to be an evangelist (although I've considered taking that path). But I'm starting to see similarities between my activism and evangelism. I attempt to inform, educate, and sometimes recruit people. I use every resource I can to spread the message. And I have a driving passion for what I do.

Big deal, right? After all, these sound like tips for any activist. Evangelism is just activism for God.

Interesting point of view; I never thought of evangelism that way.  I have heard the term "evangelism" or variations of the term applied in other contexts than religion before - for instance, an ISP I worked for in the early days of the public internet had a rule not to "evangelize the internet," and it has been a running discussion in the Linux community for a while about "evangelizing Linux" although some seem to prefer the term "advocating Linux," which is probably a more correct usage.

Quote
Well....I came across this:

http://www.4truth.net/site/c.hiKXLbPNLrF/b.2950199/k.7B00/Scientology_Overview.htm

Quote
Witnessing to Scientologists

1. Have a clear understanding of your faith and the Bible.
2. Ask appropriate questions to determine the person's level of involvement in Scientology and/or Dianetics. Many people involved do not understand its philosophical, spiritual, and scientific problems, nor its incompatibility with historic Christianity. In some cases, you may need to provide documentation to show the Scientologist that L. Ron Hubbard was not what Scientologists believe him to be and expose the controversial history of the Scientology movement. (See Brent Corydon, L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman [Barracade Books, 1994] and Russell Miller, Bare-Faced Messiah: A Biography of L. Ron Hubbard [H. Holt & Co., 1988].)
3. Seek to establish a personal, friendly relationship with the Scientologist.

4. Establish the sole authority of the Bible. You may need to give the Scientologist a marked Bible to highlight basic Christian doctrines.
5. Clearly define all terms of Scientology and historic Christianity.
6. Show the Scientologist how Christian doctrines are incompatible with Scientology. Focus especially on contrasting ideas about God, sin, salvation, and life after death.
7. Share your personal testimony of faith in Jesus Christ and the benefits you derive from knowing Him as Savior and Lord.
8. Share the plan of salvation and sensitively seek to lead the person to faith in Jesus.

The bolded parts are relevant to the discussion.

From what I've seen, ex-Scientologists (depending on who they are and their state of mind) are the best candidates for what I'll call "de-converters". They have a good working knowledge of the tech. They know the Scientologists personally, thus knowing their names and where they are on the bridge. They were probably friends (or family) with many of them before blowing. Many of them show their face, as the cult probably already knows who they are. If anyone is able to cause doubt, it's probably these people.

I agree that in most cases, ex-scientologists (depending, as you said) or other ex-cult members, are the best de-converters, sometimes referred to as deprogrammers (although that term carries baggage), and more commonly called exit counselors.  It is important, as Free and Lorelei touch on, that they have dealt with and understand what happened to them and how they were affected by their experiences before trying to exit someone else, although sometimes a doubting member can affect another member - that is why scientology requires KRs (knowledge reports) on other members and full confession of one's own doubts (or anyone trying to induce their doubt) in auditing sessions and sec checks (security checks), and why they ostracize disaffected members and ex-members.

After all, ex-members know and have been where the current member is, insofar as their thought processes.

Cult experts say that for anyone leaving any cult, it takes time to return to being him/herself, that is, the person they were before joining the cult.  According to the experts, scientology takes longer than most other cults for this to happen - I have heard an estimate of as long as 12 years, and that means being completely away, not half-in, half-out, as the freezone and independent scientologists are.  Even Tory/Magoo, who has been out for over 10 years now (fully out, she never passed through the freezone as many do), has posted not too long ago that she is still "peeling off layers" as she recognizes them. 

This is why it's important for an ex-member to examine and work through their thought processes before trying too hard to exit other people, lest they still be stuck in a cultic mindset and recruit them into another cultic way of thinking instead.

That said, however, there are many differences in people, and many different variables at work here, and I am happy for anyone to leave Scientology, Inc., however they do it.  There are counseling services and retreats which can assist a person in getting over the cult experience more quickly than they can on their own; one of these which I have heard is very good for ex-scientology members is Wellspring Retreat.  On Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellspring_Retreat_and_Resource_Center

My thoughts on witnessing to scientologists to encourage them to leave scientology are that while it can work on people who have previously had a Christian background and/or held Christian beliefs before getting into scientology, it is not as likely to work on people without that pre-existing background and/or belief system, although I do think it can.  Many people who have gotten into scientology have already been exposed to Christianity at some point in their life and felt it wasn't for them.  This would make for an interesting study of ex-members, though, comparing previously held beliefs or lack of to beliefs once leaving scientology.  (That would have been a good question for the Through the Door site if I had thought of it when I created it.)

It is also, as the article says, sometimes necessary to provide documentation to scientologists, but this only seems to work when someone is already ready to accept it, that is, already has doubts.  If they're not ready to accept it, they will find all kinds of reasons to dismiss it, many of which are implanted at the same time the scientology mindset is.  Nothing is acceptable documentation to a scientologist who does not want to see it.  (I know this from experience.) 

There are none so blind as he who will not see.   _/?%

Quote
Since one of the goals of Anon is to get people out of the cult, are we comparable to Evangelists?

I think "anti-cult advocates" (or anti-scientology advocates, to be more specific, if you prefer) would be a better term than evangelists, since the term "evangelist" implies a connection to religion, and although the methods are similar, the goals are not the same.  You are not (or I would hope not) trying only to recruit them to your way of thinking, but to encourage them to find their own way of thinking.  If your way and their way of thinking coincide, or eventually they find their own way to your way of thinking, that's acceptable (and maybe even good), but I don't think it's a good primary goal.  But...

I think it is also important to distinguish your own personal goals in getting people out, what you personally hope to achieve, and the way you personally work toward your own goals.  There are many methods currently in use that I personally don't consider right for me - that's not to say that they aren't right, or that they won't work, just that they're not methods I am comfortable with using.

Quote
And has there been any record of an Evangelists successful witnessing to a Scientologist?

I don't know about that specifically, but I do know that there are ex-members who have returned to, or adopted, a Christian faith after leaving scientology.  To list a few off the top of my head: Michael Pattinson, Karen Schless Pressley, and Bonnie Woods.  There are others; I just can't think of them at the moment.

You may also find these to be interesting reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-cult_movement
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_countercult_movement

   Narconon Reviews
   Independent Reviews of the Narconon Drug Rehab Programs
   Answers to Frequently Asked But Seldom Answered Questions

Offline ethercat

  • Global Moderator
  • High Value Target
  • Posts: 3,770
Re: Thinking like an Evangelist
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2010, 15:51 »
... Since we are not protesting beliefs, discussing other beliefs seems to contradict that.

... They may be more thoroughly indoctrinated into the space alien cult aspects of Sci, and thus know about Xenu and the Body Thetans (and know it isn't a rock'n'roll band). We can only make an educated guess about that, and since it isn't our main focus (speaking only for myself, even though I say "our") ...

You mean you and your body thetans, right?   ;)   @->-->---
   Narconon Reviews
   Independent Reviews of the Narconon Drug Rehab Programs
   Answers to Frequently Asked But Seldom Answered Questions

Offline Stutroup

  • Supressive Person
  • Posts: 436
Re: Thinking like an Evangelist
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2010, 19:55 »
I honestly do have a big problem with the principle of, regardless of exactly why one protests Scientology, offering a religious alternative.  That's why organizations like the (above linked) "Christian countercult movement" and people who think that way make me a bit nervous. 

The Wikipedia article's author(s) clearly have a hard time defining the movement, whether it is Christians opposing the type of extremism which is cultic in nature, or inter-denominational bickering, or Christians against non-Christian religions.  But every definition leads to basically the same conclusion: Getting people out of one religion (regardless of how cultic) by convincing them that theirs is the better option.

And that is where evangelism comes in, in my own mind.

I find it wonderful that critics of Scientology come from all sorts of backgrounds and faiths.  And I think that should better cement the overall mindset that the best first alternative to Scientology is simply "not Scientology."

I could easily go into reason after reason, from in-fighting among protesters (Why push Presbyterian when Baptist is better?! or whatever religion/denomination) causing hurt feelings and fewer publicly open critics, to the fact that if someone is genuinely convinced their religion is not healthy, the last thing they want to do is join another. But one of the biggest reasons is that offering an alternative religion will be the fodder that Scientology needs to substantiate some of the claims against their critics. Want an example? "Religious bigot."

I will by NO means advocate trying to convert someone to another religion.  Ever. No matter how sure I am that "my" religion is right, the best, whatever.

I do apologize for the hurt feelings I've possibly caused, though I did hold back considerably in my response.  However, I regret none of my sentiment.

I am publicly opposing Scientology as abusive to its members, the legal system, dangerous to the governments of the world, to its members, fraudulent, and everything else evil that it is.

I am not here to try to convince someone that Jesus/Buddha/Mohammed/Krishna has all of life's answers.

Offline RedShieldwolf

  • Joker and Degrader
  • Posts: 129
  • For me, it really is KCW (Keep Chanology Working)
Re: Thinking like an Evangelist
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2010, 22:20 »
Wow, thanks for all the great responses guys.  ;D

Just to clear a few things up: No, Stutroup, my feelings aren't hurt as I agree with what you said and no, ethercat, I'm not trying to recruit people to my way of thinking. I have many friends of many different faiths and ideas about life. Trying to convince them to think as I do would be foolish and a waste of my time.  :P

However, my beliefs are a part of my protesting, if only as far as believing that religion is or should be free and that putting a price tag on salvation is a rather absurd concept. Most people walking or driving around the KC Org seem to think so too (some just think Scientology itself is silly).

I think one situation religion would come in to play is here:

Quote
6. Show the Scientologist how Christian doctrines are incompatible with Scientology. Focus especially on contrasting ideas about God, sin, salvation, and life after death.

Supposedly less than 10% of Scientologists are exposed to OTIII. As a result, many Scientologists still think of Scientology as a Supplemental religion. While this may be true at the beginning, it won't be true further up the bridge. It is imperative to point out to a Christian Scientologist (or any *insert religion here* Scientologist) just how absolute the KSW doctrine really is. You really cannot be a Scientologist only halfway.

Offline ethercat

  • Global Moderator
  • High Value Target
  • Posts: 3,770
Re: Thinking like an Evangelist
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2010, 01:24 »
Wow, thanks for all the great responses guys.  ;D

Thanks for the great topic!

Quote
Just to clear a few things up: No, Stutroup, my feelings aren't hurt as I agree with what you said and no, ethercat, I'm not trying to recruit people to my way of thinking.

I didn't think that's what you meant, just wanted to make my position clear.   :)

Quote
I have many friends of many different faiths and ideas about life. Trying to convince them to think as I do would be foolish and a waste of my time.  :P

I'm glad you recognize that.   ;)

Quote
However, my beliefs are a part of my protesting, if only as far as believing that religion is or should be free and that putting a price tag on salvation is a rather absurd concept. Most people walking or driving around the KC Org seem to think so too (some just think Scientology itself is silly).

Ted Mayett, an ex-member who started protesting in 1995 to get his money back, once he got on the net and found out what his money was being used for, used to say that his most effective sign for getting people out was his "price" sign:

DOES
THE BRIDGE (tm)
REALLY COST
360 THOUSAND
(http://www.solitarytrees.net/pickets/prtmd.htm)

He was in Las Vegas at the time and had made it primarily for current members; I made a similar one but tailored for the South and aimed more at the general public that said "$360,000 for Salvation??!!?!??."

Quote
I think one situation religion would come in to play is here:

Quote
6. Show the Scientologist how Christian doctrines are incompatible with Scientology. Focus especially on contrasting ideas about God, sin, salvation, and life after death.

Supposedly less than 10% of Scientologists are exposed to OTIII.

Yes, only the ones with enough money, or those brave enough to look on the internet, who will have to go through extra "processing" to fix having seen it prior to reaching that level (assuming they stay involved once seeing it on the net).

Quote
As a result, many Scientologists still think of Scientology as a Supplemental religion. While this may be true at the beginning, it won't be true further up the bridge. It is imperative to point out to a Christian Scientologist (or any *insert religion here* Scientologist) just how absolute the KSW doctrine really is. You really cannot be a Scientologist only halfway.

No, you cannot be a scientologist halfway.  They stated this to the IRS when they were going after the 1993 tax exemption:

www.xenufrance.net/cst-to-irs-1023.pdf
Quote
Schedule A, Question 3 - Renunciation of Beliefs of or Membership in Other Churches or Religious Orders

The Church of Scientology has no policy or Scriptural mandate that requires Scientologists to renounce other religious beliefs or membership in other churches or religious orders. As a practical matter Scientologists usually become fully involved with the Scientology religion to the exclusion of any other faith. Scientology Scripturess, auditing and training, provide the answers to the fundamental questions of their existence.

Thus a Scientologist who grew up in the Jewish faith who continues membership with the synagogue he grew up in and occasionally attends synagogue services violates no Scientology policy or tenet. On the other hand, such a person is not permitted to mix the practices of another faith into his practice and understanding of Scientology in such a way as to alter orthodox Scientology in any way.

The above applies to Scientologists generally.
 

Either they lie when they claim scientology is compatible, or they lied to the IRS for their tax exemption.  Mutually exclusive statements cannot both be true.  Either way, they lied.  That doesn't speak well for something that claims to be a church.

There are several sites that evaluate scientology's claim of being compatible with other religions, and prove the falsehood by comparing the other religion's tenets with those of scientology; many of these sites deal with Christianity as compared to scientology, but I have also seen one before that compares scientology and Islam.  I don't have any of these readily at hand, but here is the wikipedia page on this subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology_and_other_religions

Now might be a good time to post a link to this video you probably haven't seen, from March 2008: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqWRPOD-amU


   Narconon Reviews
   Independent Reviews of the Narconon Drug Rehab Programs
   Answers to Frequently Asked But Seldom Answered Questions