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.
Now the neatest part about reading Dianetics and finding out it was closely connected to the Scientology religion, was finding that there are groups of people who thought like me. They were not interested in getting stoned as a “solution” to disenchantment with the way things are. They were not revolutionary and combative with society. They were interested in improving people, improving society, handling crime, illiteracy, drug abuse, and most of all ending war. I wanted in. I signed up and started taking courses in this new philosophy, courses in how to communicate with others better, how to get along with people, how to study new subjects more easily and efficiently, and how to help other people with their personal problems.
Now Scientology does not ask that you give up your personal religion. I remained Christian. I still went to church on Sundays but I now had answers to my own questions about human behavior. For me that is the basic purpose of anyone’s religion. It should help them live a life that is personally very fulfilling, give them hopes for the future, and help them deal with the problems of day to day life. My new Scientology religion did that for me.
My parents used to say that one good thing about Scientology was that it got me off drugs. Well it did do that but not in the way you might think. It completely handled the reason that I was interested in trying drugs in the first place. Why would anyone take drugs it they found each day full of hope and excitement? Why would you drink if you had so many interesting things to do that you wanted to be alert and energetic for? Drugs and alcohol just lost all their appeal.
So that’s my story. I raised my two kids using the tenets of Scientology. They turned out to be very bright and happy people, both happily married. I let them choose what religion they wanted to believe and they have both decided the Church of Scientology made the most sense. I am happy to say that I have fulfilled my lifetime dream of helping others and I have done it working both as a nurse and as a full time Scientology counselor.
That’s the story.