The shame of Scientology
I just received another email from a ticked-off Scientologist, upset with my “snide” treatment of her belief system. They’ve been a regular occurrence since the publication of my novel, Crisscross. It’s one of my darkest fictions, and required a particularly wacky cult for one of the storylines.
I researched cults and was shocked (truly) by what people are capable of believing. Much of it is obviously wishful thinking, but some is so bizarre that it defies, well, belief. I sat down and created the Dormentalist Church. For some reason Scientologists see themselves there. I can’t imagine why.
Here is my reply to the latest email:
I’m a congenital skeptic, (name), and I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity offender when it comes to wacky belief systems. I’ve put down the big 3: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Mormonism too (there’s a wacky origin). I’ve read DIANETICS and I also read a book by a woman who escaped Scientology. Both were pretty scary.
Scientology earned my ire when it tried to smear Prozac back in the day. Over the years I’ve treated easily 1000 people with SSRIs, not with 100% success, but never with a serious side effect. I’ve seen those meds dissipate stifling depression, panic attacks, crippling social phobias, imprisoning OCD. I recently had a middle-age man, who’s suffered from social phobia since his teens, break down in tears in my office because after being on Paxil for 3 months, he finally got up the courage, for the first time in his life, to ask a woman to have dinner with him. He bemoaned the fact that he hadn’t been started on medication 20 years ago, because his life would have been completely different. “I’m not dumb. I could have gone to college, but the idea of sitting in class and maybe being called on terrified me.”
And you want to suppress these meds. Shame on you.
Yes, that’s an anecdote, and anecdotal evidence is largely useless. But I have a couple of decades experience with these meds, and I’ve seen so many lives transformed for the better that I can’t imagine family medicine without them. (I had one wife actually threaten me: “If you ever take him off that pill I will kill you.” She said it with a smile, but it told me reams about the change in their home life.) (Yeah, I know – another anecdote. I gotta million of ‘em, folks.)
Scientology has to answer for all the people it scared away from psychotropic meds. Why does it fear them? Because people with their neurotransmitters in balance won’t buy into the space opera at the heart of its tenets? L. Ron Hubbard and I share a couple of things. Our names scan the same, and we both wrote science fiction. (I use the past tense because he’s no longer with us and I’ve moved to other genres.) But as a science fiction writer, I know sf when I see it, let me tell you: Only a science fiction writer could have dreamed up Scientology.
Due to the trial, the Travolta child has been in the news lately. Something else Scientology should be ashamed of.