Letters for March 21, 2002

Scientology’s unique
Re “News & Propaganda” [RN&R Letters, March 7]:

In your March 7 issue, you published a letter full of hatred and false information regarding the Church of Scientology. While I normally would just take someone’s opinion in stride, this letter was so full of misinformation I felt obligated to respond. The Church of Scientology firmly believes everyone has a right to his own opinion and holds freedom above all else. However, study the Constitution and you will find freedom of speech does not mean freedom to harm by lies.

Scientology is a religion in the most traditional sense. The church helps man become more aware of God and of his own spiritual nature. Scientology ministers perform religious ceremonies, including marriages and Sunday services, and assist man in overcoming his sufferings. The scriptures of the church are fully codified, broadly published and available to anyone, and our churches are always open to the public.

The Church of Scientology is unique in that it does not require or tell anyone to “believe” anything. Rather, the church believes every individual should think for himself. In fact, L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church, was one of the first to expose psychiatric mind control and brainwashing experimentation conducted by the U.S. military during and after World War II. Not only did he uncover this destructive experimentation, he also discovered the technology that could undo its effects.

The volunteer minister program is a worldwide grassroots movement open to anyone interested in helping others. Something can be done about the sufferings of mankind. The volunteer ministers assist their fellow man to relieve pain, sorrow, confusion and conflict and to overcome failures in life. Hundreds of volunteer ministers were on hand at the World Trade Center and gave valuable assistance to firemen, policemen and others who had to confront the devastation that was 9-11. The people of Reno are not immune to suffering and the volunteer ministers can help.

Only someone who does not want the world to improve would oppose a group who is doing something about the suffering of mankind.

The reader should find out the truth for himself. Many books and courses on the beliefs of the Church of Scientology are available. Find out about the fastest growing religion on the planet by coming down to visit the Church of Scientology Mission of Sierra Nevada. Our number is 322-4141, and we are located at 1539 Vassar St., Suite 201. Anyone can reach out for assistance by contacting a volunteer minister at 1-800-HELP-4-YU.

Denise Vaughn
executive director,

Church of Scientology

Mission of Sierra Nevada

The logic of tolerance
Re “Evolving Beyond Religion” [RN&R Guest Comment, March 14]:

David Payne states that “one can interpret the holy books any way one wants to,” and then goes on to interpret the Bible to indict it for supporting genocide. If Mr. Payne believes that humanity should use reason and logic, he should try it some time. It is truly pitiful for people to use the 9-11 attacks to advance their ideology by attacking other groups, whether they are Muslims, religious people, Capitalists, Democrats, Republicans, lesbians or Middle Easterners. It is like blaming the Holocaust on social Darwinism. How about blaming scientific technology for creating jet fuel and tall buildings?

You cannot boil humanity down to logic and reason. The majority of our human experiences are grounded in irrational values, meanings, biases and feelings. The science of cognitive psychology has already proved just how relative perception is and how our minds distort the world around us to suite our preconceptions. Reality itself is subject more to illusions than the cursory glance of logic and reason. The more scientists uncover the universe, the more uncertain, relative and flexible reality becomes. Humans will never know everything. We will always have our irrational needs and fears. We will always need some type of faith in order to operate this irrational, unpredictable system of nerves as well as in order to live among other similarly wired humans. Many atheists and agnostics have simply turned to psychiatry and pills as their “opiate of the masses.”

What we are evolving beyond is the kind of pious dogma Mr. Payne prescribes for all humanity—in this case, the total abandonment of religion. Atheists and agnostics can be equally zealous, righteous ideologues. They can also be just as vigorous proselytizers. Non-believers can also be tolerant and accepting of other systems of belief, as I am. What humanity is evolving toward is a society that values and accepts one another’s diversity and values.

Ed Park