From the various websites I have on the subject of Scientology, I end up getting a lot of questions from college students doing research projects on religion. One I got last week, which I answered here, asked about how my family history affected my own quest for knowledge, thus leading me to my religious pursuits.
I answered this student's question quite thoroughly, but it left me with my own question. How did my mom come upon Scientology?What was in it for her? I asked her if she might write a sentence or two describing such for me. What I got instead was the following, an account that totally made my own religious path make sense.
I was a teenager during the druggie-hippie days of the late 1960s. Many young people were involved in psychedelic music, free love, and back-to-nature communes plus anti-Vietnam War activities, anti-establishment (anti-Middle Class) and anti-lots of other things. We were pretty dissatisfied with our parents' lifestyles and very willing to be vocal (noisy and protesty) about it. Add into this an evolving drug culture and you have a tumultuous time to be a teenager.
My parents already had a very confused religious atmosphere going on around my house, as my mother was a staunch New England Congregationalist and my father was a recent French immigrant Roman Catholic.
Then my uncle mentioned to me that he was learning some answers to life and how to live it by reading a book called Dianetics. It was a new religious philosophy, very "out there," but full of immediately applicable, very doable techniques for self-improvement and ways to improve the society and the environment. This hit a chord with me. I had had friends killed in Vietnam as teenagers and I had friends of friends OD on drugs. I was starved for answers to life.
I read the book. Wow.
It explained some very simple principles to me. It said you are a soul, you don't have a soul. You have a body and the body dies but you don't. Wow. That was never explained to me in my confirmation classes. I was always arguing with our minister about the Holy Trinity. I wanted a scientific explanation for it. I wanted to know what happens to people that makes them do bad things. Why do bad things happen to good people? What can I do about all these horrible traits in myself that I hate but seem impossible for me to change? I found that L. Ron Hubbard explains those things in Dianetics in a way that I could understand. And the answers satisfied me.