back to article Millionaire-backed science fiction church to launch Scientology TV network

The Church of Scientology, founded by sci-fi author L Ron Hubbard, is set to start broadcasting its own TV programmes tonight. The Scientology Network is due to start broadcasting on Roku, AppleTV, FireTV and the Apple and Android app stores at 8pm Eastern time (or midnight for UK viewers). The network’s website and Twitter …

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  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Sounds familiar

    unscrupulous commercial operation - rumours abound that Hubbard set up Scientology as a religion so it would be tax-free, while members must pay part of their income to the church

    Sounds awfully familiar.

    Also, fuck religion.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Sounds familiar

      Sounds not dissimilar to the likes of other institutes searching to emulate and become Institutions, with two doggedly unpopular recent examples being .... a Tony Blair Institute with Bill and Hillary Clinton Foundations

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Sounds familiar

        Wow you were able to get away with that kind of yap here? I was under the delusion that we werent alowed to speak ill of her majesty Mrs. H.R.C.

    2. Keith Oborn

      Re: Sounds familiar

      Some years ago there was a strong meme in the SF community that the legendary White Hart pub meetings of the late 40s and early 50s had a hand in this: Ken Bulmer and Arthur Clarke, after several pints, decided that the way to make a lot of money was to found a fake religion. Elron was listening, and relatively sober.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Sounds familiar

        Some years ago there was a strong meme in the SF community that the legendary White Hart pub meetings of the late 40s and early 50s had a hand in this:

        The version I've heard blamed a remark from Heinlein during a poker game.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Sounds familiar

          And versions suggesting also that it was a bet between Hubbard and Heinlein. Stranger in a Strange Land, anyone?

          1. WonkoTheSane

            Re: Sounds familiar

            Not Heinlein, Harlan Ellison.

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Sounds familiar

              and yet, it seems that Elron actually BELIEVED his own B.S. - or else he was an excellent actor.

              Also worth pointing out, why do SO many celebs fall for this obvious bullcrap? are they THAT desperate for meaning to their otherwise vacuous lives that they MUST fill it with *THAT* ???

              1. Michael Habel Silver badge

                Re: Sounds familiar

                The meaning of Life... Along with the Universe, and Everything... Is Fourty-Two.... So that's, that solved.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sounds familiar

                Also worth pointing out, why do SO many celebs fall for this obvious bullcrap? are they THAT desperate for meaning to their otherwise vacuous lives that they MUST fill it with *THAT* ???

                I would guess that they usually get introduced to the cult entirely legitimate religion by a friend who is already in the fold. The introduction includes an "auditing" session, wherein they are asked increasingly personal questions. After that, they simply need to be reminded about the recording of embarrassing and/or incriminating things which they've admitted to, whereupon they're "encouraged" to undertake more auditing. Over the years, I imagine the cult entirely legitimate religion are able to gather quite the collection of ruinous confessions from the celeb.

              3. dan1980

                Re: Sounds familiar

                @bombastic bob

                "Also worth pointing out, why do SO many celebs fall for this obvious bullcrap?"

                I think that one factor is that the experience 'celebs' have in Scientology is vastly different to the experience the common folk have.

                At the simplest level, the expenses just isn't ruinous for the high-paid celebs as it can and does become for 'normal' people. Their public lives mean they don't work for the Church the same way some of the more abused members do and they aren't as reliant on the church for their sense of identity or self worth.

                In other words, the power structure is very different.

                In an interview, Leah Remini explained that celebrities in Scientology are lionised (my word, paraphrasing) and have servants drawn from the rank and file. So, while 'ordinary' Scientology members have little to no power over even their own lives, celebrities of sufficient stature are given power over those of others.

                Whatever the specifics, the very existence of a Scientology 'Celebrity Centres' is sufficient indication of the differing experiences that can be had.

              4. Richard Plinston

                Re: Sounds familiar

                > why do SO many celebs fall for this obvious bullcrap?

                Because they are _paid_. It is a sponsorship deal just like dozens of commercial products.

                The primary reason that victims fall for Scientology is that they are failures and this cult shows them that their failure is NOT THEIR FAULT. It is the fault of 'invisible Thetans' and this can be 'cleared' (along with their bank account). 'Sponsoring' successful celebrities and inventing stories that they were failures until they found Scientology is great marketing.

                It is _all_ about the money.

                > it seems that Elron actually BELIEVED his own B.S.

                I don't know why you would think that. If the story that Dianetics was based on a book that he found is true, and it is certainly true that the rest of Scientology is based on his crap SciFi, then what he believed was that lots of money and teenage girls were his reward.

            2. Tim Jenkins

              Re: Sounds familiar

              What kind of sick, twisted individual would be making bets with Harlan Ellison?

              Oh, right, L. Ron.....

              1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

                Re: Sounds familiar

                But, we had best find a replacement for it.

                Why not scrap it all together?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds familiar

        "was to found a fake religion"

        How would you define 'fake'? Religeons are our fictional inventions.

        1. dan1980

          Re: Sounds familiar

          @AC

          "How would you define 'fake'?"

          For me, I think a key indicator is going from zero foundational material to full-blown, registered and recruiting religion in the space of one person's lifetime.

          The closest 'mainstream' comparison is Mormonism but even that differs sharply because, first, it built upon Christian foundations and, second, it grew far more organically.

          The dicta and dogmata of Scientology were fabricated out of whole cloth largely by one person. They were not the accretion and evolution of tribal wisdoms and beliefs or appropriated religions; they were not the results of gradual morphing via a series of 'Chinese whispers' or local practices and mythologies that took on authoritative tones when collected and codified.

          It has been commented that the only difference between accepted religions and 'cults' is time. While perhaps accurate, it is overly simplistic as the addition of time changes a great deal and a religion that has survived for centuries must undergo stresses and changes that a 'religion' that sprang up last week has not been subjected to. Just as important, those practicing and passing-on the religion now are removed from the source and beginnings and so there is, in a way, less culpability on their part. They may have neglected to fully analyse and dissect the religion with a ruthlessly critical and rational methodology but that is less of a failing than those who jump on board something that only came into existence within living memory.

          The whole 'mad, bad or god' option breakdown is fitting when dealing with someone like L. Ron. He was either genuinely inspired and tapped into something real or he didn't. If he didn't, he was either out of his tree or deliberately scammed people. Of course, it's possible he was both of the latter, at different stages: first cynically scamming and then addled and believing his own stories.

          The point is that the process through the centuries actually changes the thing that makes the trip so, while one might contend (and I, personally, do) that all religions - small and large - have no metaphysical truth behind them, that doesn't make them all 'fake', per se.

    3. TheVogon

      Re: Sounds familiar

      Isnt it these guys that offer free gullibility tests near London railway stations?

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Sounds familiar

      On the whole, and to a point yes.... But, we had best find a replacement for it. before some other "Religion" profound for its "peacfullness" decides to litter another Street Fair with dead corpses again. So on the one hand... Yeah fork religion! On the other is the question of our cultural identity. Not perticually something I wish to see die. 'cause of a few really anoying holly rollers.

    5. TheVogon

      Re: Sounds familiar

      I guess at least what they believe in is no less credible than most other religeons:

      https://youtu.be/Bo97LdIHj74

    6. TheVogon

      Re: Sounds familiar

      "Hubbard set up Scientology as a religion"

      A science fiction author "discovers" a religion that includes aliens and space travel! Who would have thought it...

  2. AndrueC Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The network’s website and Twitter channels both have ominous-looking countdowns to the big launch, which is timed to coincide with the day Hubbard was born, 13 March.

    Well if they timed it to coincide with his death it'd probably cause controversy amongst the faithful :)

    "Scientology leaders announced that his body had become an impediment to his work and that he had decided to "drop his body" to continue his research on another planet,[331] having "learned how to do it without a body""

    Uh huh

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Trollface

      RE: AndrueC

      Fascinating. Did they say how he moves the pen without a body?

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: RE: AndrueC

        Did they say how he moves the pen without a body?

        Sadly the Wikipedia article doesn't elucidate and I'm not interested in following the footnote link on an article about the crackpot leader of a crackpot/evil religious organisation :)

        I'll admit to reading (and enjoying(*)) Battlefield Earth 30 years ago - bought with a £5 gift voucher for good school attendance - but I am not an advocate for Scientology. I wouldn't be an advocate for any religious organisation although if pushed I could be persuaded to retaliate by rejoining Humanists UK aka BHA.

        (*)The first half was good fun. The second half got bogged down in minutiae (how to prevent reverse engineering and how a gold-standard banking system works).

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: RE: AndrueC

          Fair enough. You've probably gotta become a level 100 operating Thetan to do it then.

          Scientology - the religion for RPG gamers. It's pay to win and you can level up and gain special magic powers!

          1. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: RE: AndrueC

            Makes you wonder how many happy souls from EA, and Konami happen to worship there?

  3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Pint

    Z-lister club

    L. Ron Hubbard, infamous for printing his own qualifications and proving vegetables could feel pain. Decades later and his church is still experimenting on vegetables.

    1. Ilsa Loving

      Re: Z-lister club

      What do you mean? Of course vegetables feel pain.

      I've heard the screams of the vegetables,

      Watching their skins being peeled.

      Grated and chopped without mercy...

      How do you think that feels?

      Carrot juice constitutes murder.

      Greenhouses prison for slaves!

      It's time to stop all this gardening,

      lets call a spade a spade!

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Z-lister club

        Just ask Barry the sprout. Or his twin brother Larry....

        Mines the one with the book of ultimate truths in the breast pocket.....

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Z-lister club

          When I was 4 years old I distinctly remember having a dream in which my sister and I were eaten by a lion and got turned into poo. Anthromorphic poo. I suppose vegetables feeil pain when we turn THEM into poo. So I should be a 100% carnivore [at least the animals are DEAD].

          So how can I turn _THIS_ into a religion so _I_ can be a gozillionaire with an infinite number of women to have sex with at my command, ordering people around and acting like an evil dictator all the time, muahahahahaha!

          [it'd be a bit like being the 'dear leader' of North Korea]

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Z-lister club

            "[at least the animals are DEAD]."

            That's true. But how do you know when a strawberry is dead?

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Z-lister club

          Must be that wholy remarkable Book to ever come out of the eastern galatic rim.

      2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Z-lister club

        "...shedding the green blood of our silent cousins.."

        G K Chesterton

      3. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Z-lister club

        “Well,” said the animal, “I know many vegetables that are clear on that point. Which is why it was eventually decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly. And here I am.”

        The World would be a much better, and happier place if this were to ever come 'round to passing. But, this is my favorite way to troll those anoying wretched vegetarians.

    2. adnim

      Re: Z-lister club

      "Call any vegetable. And the chances are good. That a vegetable will respond to you."

      I would pray to the spirit of Frank Zappa if I didn't think such action was only slightly less pointless* than praying to one of the gods we have created.

      *Frank actually existed, so I conclude there is more chance of a reply.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: Z-lister club

        2 weeks ago I kept thinking of Frank Zappa. Every time I checked the Met Office app on my phone and saw the message: "Warning Yellow Snow".

        I'm afraid this provided me childish amusement for the whole week. I assume I'll grow up eventually. Not much sign of it yet though...

      2. Jaap Aap

        Re: Z-lister club

        Didn't Frank Zappa start his own church? The Church of American Secular Humanism. CASH for short.

  4. wolfetone

    Will they be showing the Louis Theroux documentary on Scientology?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      24x7 Hypno-Toad

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        The Joy of Sect

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Anyone got a pair of Hoffman glasses? Contact lenses are fine as well...

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Everything you never wanted to know about sect's, and were forced to find out...

      2. TheVogon

        "24x7 Hypno-Toad"

        And BattleStar Gallactica.

        For the Scilons...

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Stop

          Battlestar Galactica (TOS at least) was pretty obviously based on Mormonism (Kobol/Kolob etc.).

        2. Toni the terrible
          Headmaster

          Scilons?

          Surely Cylons?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It certainly won't be showing anything about psychiatry other than it being the work of the devil.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It'll be presented by Maureen Lipman, going "ooh, he's got an Ology"

    3. King Jack
      Angel

      Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

      If you want an insight on the damage a religion can cause watch this show. It focuses on Scientology but I can tell you from first hand experience that Jehovah's Witnesses are nearly as bad. In fact all cults operate this way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

        "Jehovah's Witnesses are nearly as bad. In fact all cults operate this way"

        No. Only Scientology employs a gaggle of lawyers to sue opponents into submission. And Islam is the only sect which encourages followers to behead non-believers ("So, when you clash with the unbelieving Infidels in battle, smite their necks until you overpower them": Koran 47:4).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

          Um...

          Luke 19:27 - -Kill the non believers

          1 Samuel 15:2-3 -- kill the non-believers, their children, and their cows.

          Deuteronomy 17:2-5 -- stone the non believers

          Hosea 13:16 -- rip open pregnant women, nice.

          Exodus 31:15 -- Kill anyone working on Sunday

          Zechariah 13:3 -- Kill false prophets (job to be performed by the prophet's parents)

          2 Kings 2:23-24 -- Don't make fun of bald people, or a bear will kill you and 41 of your friends.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

            Re: Um...

            All but one of those quotes are from the Old Testament, the violence of which was repudiated in the New Testament. The Old Testament is largely the same thing as the Torah and Muslims hold parts of the Old Testament to be sacred. And the first was from a story that Jesus told, so you took it out of context.

            Not to mention that Christians don't go around beheading people or killing former believers. Except for the recent situation in the Balkans, which is complicated by the history of the Ottoman Empire, Christians largely stopped killing others around 1700.

            You won't look at the link because your mind is closed, but the below link contains 109 quotes from the Koran exhorting Muslims to violence.

            https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx

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