an article from the Interview column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Number 5, 1994.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
CRI president Hank Hanegraaff recently interviewed Keith and Shawn Scott on "The Bible Answer Man," CRI's live call-in radio talk show. Keith and Shawn, former members of the Church of Scientology, are already known to many CRI supporters. Their testimony, entitled "Escape from Scientology," was published in a 1988 issue of the Christian Research Newsletter.
Scientology, the Scotts tell us, teaches that every human being is a thetan or god who has forgotten his or her godlike state. Man's mind is said to be implanted with engrams -- negative thoughts from his life or past lives that cause irrational or compulsive behavior. Scientology, it is claimed, can clear these engrams, enabling adherents to become operating thetans -- earthly gods free of neuroses and diseases, in total control of their physical universe.
In the following interview, the Scotts give us an "insider's" view of what it's like to be in the cult of Scientology.
Hank: When I opened a recent issue of the Los Angeles Times, out slipped a glossy, professionally produced piece of propaganda. In bold letters, it asked the question, "Is There An Answer To The Decay Of Society," and then rhetorically answered, "Yes, Scientology is the solution."
This brochure said that man has never before had a proven path that can lead him out of the miseries of life. Scientology, it was claimed, can attain the long-sought religious goal of enabling one to attain to his or her full potential.
Many millions of dollars are spent by this religious cult, now flaunted by its leadership as one of the fastest growing religions in the world. With literally millions of members on six continents, Scientology sets out to solve societal problems ranging from drugs and divorce to disease and despair. Marque names -- such as John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, -- have testified to the peace, joy, and success that come as a result of Scientology.
Keith and Shawn, I'm delighted to have you in "The Bible Answer Man" studio today.
Keith and Shawn: We're glad to be back.
Hank: I have been warned not to do this show on Scientology. I've been told that if I do, I will be putting myself in a very dangerous position.
Keith: Well, anyone who's willing to step out and speak against Scientology may end up in the position of being battled against. I remember we had been out of Scientology for about ten years and were on "The Bible Answer Man" with Walter Martin. That night there was a knock on the door at ten o'clock, and two Scientology staff members harassed us, questioning us about what we were doing on the radio.
Hank: Well, I'm glad there are people like you who know the inside story, and who are willing to proclaim it from the housetops, regardless of the cost.
Tell us about some of the major tenets of Scientology.
Shawn: Well, to draw a contrast between Scientology and Christianity, Scientology teaches that man is basically good. The Bible that human beings are depraved and wicked -- in need of salvation.
Scientology also espouses a belief in past lives.
Hank: Are you talking about reincarnation?
Shawn: Yes, reincarnation. Scientologists don't like to use that word; they call it "past lives." But it's the same thing.
Hank: In fact, can't you sign an agreement with Scientology for a few billion years?
Shawn: If you want to be one of the elite staff members, you sign for the next billion years. As Christians, we believe it is appointed for man to die but once, and then to face his Maker.
Scientologists also believe that human beings create their own universe. They believe we are responsible for all our own conditions, and if something bad happens to us, it's because we've done something bad -- it's a kind of a belief in karma.
By contrast, Christians believe salvation is a free gift from God. It's a gift of grace.
And here's the most important point I want to make: Scientologists acknowledge that there was a Jesus Christ, but they deny He was the Savior or the Christ. As Christians, we believe that Christ the Savior is the whole crux of the Christian faith.
Hank: I know there are people listening who are probably thinking, "Shawn, lighten up. Isn't it conceivable that a person could be a Christian and a Scientologist at the same time?"
Keith: I don't see how someone who loves the Lord Jesus, and who is a born-again Christian, can embrace Scientology's teachings -- for example, that there is no Christ. Scientology says this part of the Bible is a lie. They don't believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God as we do.
Hank: So we are talking about two belief systems that are mutually exclusive?
Shawn: The sad thing about this is that when a person enters through the doors of the Scientology organization for the first time, they are told that they can be a Christian, a Buddhist, or whatever -- and that these religions are compatible with Scientology.
In the beginning, it seems that there is a compatibility. It isn't until one has really gotten involved in Scientology that one realizes the incompatibility. And by the time you realize that, it doesn't matter anymore -- you've been hooked.
Hank: I've been told by reliable sources that Scientology does a tremendous amount of good for mankind -- they're involved in human rights, fighting drugs in our society, restoring broken families, helping children, and all kinds of social action. And here you are railing against this "wonderful" movement that's helping all the ills of society.
Shawn: We know there's benefit to be had by some of their teaching, but one must ask the question: Is there a hidden agenda? Unfortunately, there is a hidden agenda.
Keith: That's right. They always put a spin on their programs. Narconon is one of their big programs that helps people get off of drugs. Now, we know that drugs are a terrible problem in the United States. But in part of Narconon's treatment, they spin you into Scientology's emphasis on past lives -- reincarnation, and promote the idea that the Bible really isn't credible, and they teach you that you're your own god, in effect.
Hank: As I look at the two of you, you're obviously articulate and have all kinds of social skills. How do people like you get involved in such a desperate lie as Scientology?
Shawn: Everyone has some area of what you might call unwholeness, or something that troubles them about themselves. Groups like Scientology say, "You have a problem with depression? We can handle that." Many of the kids we saw getting into Scientology when we were in had come from traumatized situations -- such as, their parents were divorcing, or they had some really horrendous kind of situation that made them feel vulnerable. And when you're vulnerable like that, you just want someone to hand you an easy answer.
Keith: And they tell you: "Whatever your problem is, Scientology can handle it."
Hank: One of the goals of Scientology is to achieve the state of "clear" -- that is, a state of being free of "engrams." At one time, that was the apex of Scientology, but they've built some other levels, haven't they?
Keith: Becoming "clear" was the goal at one time, but as more and more people reached that state, they needed something else to sell. So now, I understand they have in excess of sixteen levels above "clear."
Hank: I know our listeners would like to ask you some questions. Let's go to the phone lines.
Call-in Question (Robert): No one's really going to get caught up in this business unless they have a lot of money, right?Shawn: Well, there's two ways to go about it. If you have a lot of money, the Scientology staff tries to sell you everything. But if you want to be involved in Scientology and you don't have much money, they sign you to serve as a Scientology staff member for a certain number of years.
Keith: For the average person like you or I, you'd have to join the staff and work there to pay for your courses. If you work there, the courses are free.
But what happened to me when I worked there and signed a long contract was that they all of a sudden said: "Hey, your work isn't what we think it should be." So they sent me to a slave labor camp for two years where I couldn't see my wife, couldn't read the newspaper, and couldn't listen to the radio.
Hank: You've got to be kidding! You're not talking about actually going to a slave labor camp in the United States of America as a result of Scientology, are you?
Keith: It was slave labor, and we wore blue boiler suits. Everyone wore the same thing. And this is still happening -- right now, in Los Angeles, at the headquarters of Scientology. There are people in what they call the "Rehabilitation Project Force," and it's slave labor.
Call-in Question (Robert): It seems like here in Seattle, Scientology's popularity has crested because they moved from the large offices they had a number of years ago to really cheap offices. Is their popularity waning?
Shawn: Well, an interesting item about this is that we're seeing all these really slick promotional pieces on billboards and signs on buses. But we know, having been in it, that one of the things Scientology staff members do when they consider the organization to be in an emergency condition is to "promote, promote, promote" -- and that's a quote from one of their policy letters. So, when you see slick, glossy promoting, I suspect there is a "down condition" happening within the organization.
Call-in Question (Sharon): I would like to thank you, Shawn and Keith, because the last time you were on "The Bible Answer Man," my husband -- who was a Scientologist -- spoke to you, and since that night he has accepted the Lord.
Keith and Shawn: Praise God!
Call-in Question (Sharon): I have to say that, if we were not a strong family, Scientology would have split us up -- because if one member is not in Scientology, they try to say this person is bad.
Shawn: Yes, sadly, that is a policy. You can be married, and as long as you keep quiet about your opposition, you usually don't run into much trouble. But as soon as you start to speak of your feelings that Scientology is harming your relationship, the Scientologist is advised to "disconnect" from that family member who is "suppressing" them. And "disconnection" would obviously mean divorce. It's tragic to see how many broken relationships have occurred due to this policy.
Hank: Our time is about up, but before we close, tell us about your ministry.
Keith: Our ministry -- Cult Awareness Ministries -- reaches out to families of people who have gotten into Scientology. When we got out of Scientology, we prayed that if God could use our experience to help even just one person in this cult, we would count our time worthwhile. So far, we've had many calls and letters, and have had many opportunities to witness to new converts to Scientology. Some have even come to the Lord.
Hank: How can people get in touch with you?
Keith: They can write us at Cult Awareness Ministries, P.O. Box 1671, Monrovia, CA 91016.
End of document, CRN0027A.TXT (original CRI file name), "An 'Insider's' View of Scientology: Keith and Shawn Scott Interviewed by CRI President Hank Hanegraaff" release A, June 30, 1994 R. Poll, CRI
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