I have just spent the last two hours on Netflix, watching an extraordinary documentary (same title as this post) made in 2015, exposing the fraud, the crimes, the brainwashing and the absurdity of Scientology. I have decided not to attempt to analyze or even summarize it here. You MUST see it for yourself. I want to offer just one, very personal, reaction to this filmed exposé of one of the greatest religious frauds of all time – and this in spite of the hype of its stars, Tom Cruise and John Travolta, both generously featured in the film.
It has to do with the testimonies of people who had spent up to thirty years in the organization, and who – at great personal cost – found the courage to renounce and to expose this fake “religion” (declared as such only to avoid taxation). Their stories are a frightening, grotesque version of my own itinerary “From Illusions to Illumination” (the title of my book, of which this Blog is the continuation).
You will be surprised to read me saying here that the Catholic Church which I not only abandoned as a priest and as a believer, but which I use this Blog to denigrate and ridicule, deserves my sincere recognition and gratitude for the exemplary way its leaders and members have reacted to my apostasy. I have never had to suffer the unimaginably cruel vengeance meted out to the brave men and women who abandoned and now attack the sect of Scientology. You will realize when you view the film why that last sentence is an understatement. My “Superiors” in the Franciscan Order, the Church hierarchy, some members of my own family and numerous practising Catholic friends attempted at first to dissuade me. All but two persons, both former schoolmates at Marist Brothers Kogarah, have since come to tolerate if not accept my decision (though many are, naturally, less tolerant of this Blog). But contrasted with the viciousness of Scientology’s vengeance, I can only describe the Catholic reaction as . . . Christian. Even my two self-declared archenemies have never done anything to harm me.
I will continue to disappoint and no doubt disgust devout Catholics by the posts in this Blog. But I want them as well as my readers to appreciate the difference between Scientology and Catholicism. Both are absurd, groundless belief-systems, but only one of them respects the human rights and dignity of its apostates.