Religious Visit

Mike Dougherty Religion Dr. Hinton April 10, 2008 Science Show Before going to the Church of Scientology I did the mandatory reading about it because I really didn’t know what to expect. From what I’ve heard about them, it does sound more like a cult then a religion but that is just what I’ve heard. Starting with a google search to even find a Scientology church, I found one in New York City. When I kept reading through Scientology home pages and books I found some interesting facts about the church. Scientology combines the Latin word scientia, which means knowledge, and the Latin word logos, which stands for reason or logic.

Combining these two words the founder or creator of scientology, an American fiction author, Ron Hubbard was trying to grasp a religious truth about life and god from a logical or more scientific method. In finding this religious truth you will be closer to god. The Church of Scientology is not like the Catholics or Jews due to the fact that Scientology has 18 basic books and 3,000 lectures (audio and written). When you are apart of this church you are expected to read and lesson to the books and lectures because in the church services you may be asked a question about the readings.

Much like the religion itself, Scientology varies from other religions because the services are not like the regular church service. They are a lot shorter and do not require the pastor/father to do anything but read from one of there secrete books. Some of the more personal things that the church does is marriage, death, baptism, or child birth. This leads me to the last interesting topic that I will talk about, the Church of Scientology believes in silent child birth. Yes, silent child birth. When giving birth people in the room, including the mother, tries to say as quite as possible.

I had no idea what to expect from the Church of Scientology. From the readings that I did I thought that I may be going to something like one of my intro to philosophy classes, or they could try to prove to me that god was truly real. Or if it would be like what I had heard it was where I’d go in and be converted to some cult that believes we were put here by aliens and are all doomed. My visit was interesting to say the least. I scheduled an appointment to see the Church of Scientology in Philadelphia. It was located about 20 blocks from Drexel or Temple, I forget which on.

It had a very nice view that over looked the river. Upon rival I went to see that the place was closed. There was a note on the inside of the door that said, “Closed for Renovation. ” After being very angry, I called number that I had for the church and there was no answer. I tried calling back during the week and there was still no answer. Giving up I found a place in New York that was located on W 48th street and called there. I spoke to what I believe to be the secretary, and then to pastor John Mellinreugh.

I scheduled a visit with him for last Sunday, April 6th. He seemed more then friendly enough so this made me feel better about visiting the church. When getting to the church it was part of a four story complex. The bottom was made up of white stone that formed three arches. Two of them were for windows that stretched to the ground and the one was for the door. Pushing the door open I was hit with a big wave of incense. It smelt good but was completely unexpected. There were offices to my left and a reception type desk right ahead of me.

I went to talk to the receptionist and he rung the pastor to let him know I was there. After about five minets the receptionist told me to go up the stairs and down the hall. The stairs were a very nice marble looking stone that when from wall to wall with carpet going down the center. The walls of the place looked like that conference room on the second floor of Mercy and the smell of incense wasn’t as strong up on the second floor. I opened the door that said Pastor John Mellinreugh and introduced myself. He was white and very plump, and he was also a shorter man that was about 5’7”.

With his brown hair and brown eyes he looked like a typical plump white male. The first topic of conversation was about why I choose to do scientology. I told him more about my research paper that I have to do and he was very excited that I even new what Scientology was and pick it. I made it to the church around 10 and was too late for the morning service. This did surprise me because in my readings it told me that the church service of the Scientologist were one on one and they didn’t have a bigger service.

I was happy because if the services were one on one I wouldn’t have been able talk much because I know nothing about the books they read. The service was on the 3rd floor of the building and looked a lot like regular church, only it was little smaller and there was nothing on the walls but white paint. The service started with a story from there 4th book of worship and was read for about 20 minutes. The last half hour was readings from some of the 3,000 lectures that were written. They do not have numbers but he read one called “Creation”, “Our Place”, and one called “The Mist. The “Creation” deals with our sprits and how our sprits never die, “Our Place” deals with strength in ones heart and the faith needed to find a logical end. The last reading was “The Mist”, “The Mist” told the story of how it is easy for the non-logical to be lead in wrong directions that will lead to ignorance and oblivion. Unlike other churches there was no singing at all, and no hims. The services were strictly a reading from there holy books and were not altered. I later asked the pastor about why he just read from the books and there was no singing.

He said that your to use logic to find the true faith. Singing and using hims takes away from focus and could lead you from the goal of true faith. I did not expect the service to be so short, but after the service the pastor is to meet with every one and talk about to days lecture. The one on one meeting are not that long because they have scheduled meetings during the week where the pastor and the person will have a long talk about that reading. When he was done he invited me back in to talk about the religion (this is how I knew what the readings were about, other wise I would have been lost).

I had a list of questions that I had to ask him about because I was confused about why people get the wrong idea about Scientology. I started off by asking him about, why do people say Scientologist believe that we were put on earth by aliens. He smiled and shook his head a little. He began by saying that every single soul/sprit can never die. This was simple to understand. Next he said that our souls have been around for over trillions, yes trillions, of year. And because the earth is not trillions of years old people must have come from another planet.

This is what people get confused about when they say that Scientology believes that we are aliens. The next question was based off of people calling Scientology a cult. I asked him why people would want to call your religion a cult. He responded with that Scientology doesn’t like to use blind faith. It was based off of logic and reason so people just don’t under stand the religion. He also added that Scientologist are very strict on who they let in and how you act while in public and other places.

When I went to visit the church I didn’t really know what to think about Scientology, or what the church services that were strictly reading for better logic and understanding of a true faith. My expectations of the Church of Scientology were met because frankly I didn’t know what to expect. From all the nasty rumors that I’ve herd about them I thought we may have killed a cow or something. So when I saw him read from a book instead I was quite pleased. What I didn’t expect was the lack of stories in the Scientology church.

I feel that most all other churches have a big story book to read from while Scientology are more focused with reasoning and logic, that the blind faith of some other religions. The one expiation of the church that wasn’t met was the exclusive part of the church. I know Pastor John said that it was hard to become a member but I found on a website that I could join a church in the Midwest for only ten dollars a month. I was a little disappointed to the fact that this religion was broken by ten dollars a month instead of believing.

This whole trip was actually very fun because I would have never done this on my own time, or at least for the right reasons. I was very surprised on how elegant the place was. I would have thought that it would have be a hole in the wall in some ghetto but this place was very nice with the white outside and the marble steps on the inside. It looked more like something I’d see at Harvard Law School not at a Scientology church. And even though the service was a little of a bore because it was me just being read to I like the length of the service and it made me feel good because I like to learn about these type of things.

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