We’ve all heard about how weird Scientology is. They control Hollywood, audition wives for Tom Cruise, and believe that aliens created the earth or something. So when I heard there’s such a thing as the “Scientology Celebrity Center” I was obviously down to go (and by go I mean I pretended that I wanted them to induct me).
I arrived at the center to find that it is nothing more than a run down Upper East Side townhouse. I stood across the street calling some friends and my mom, trying to work up the courage to go inside. My mother’s only words of caution were “Make sure they don’t roofie you, have fun!” I figured if she doesn’t care neither should I.
So I went in.
My first impression was that it was sort of a shithole. I was expecting something insanely intimidating, along the lines of a Masonic temple. Instead I was sitting on a sofa with a giant hole in it, in what appeared to be a very old ratty living room. The frazzled receptionist said he was new on the job but he was going to call someone from upstairs to take me to watch “a film”. Suddenly from nowhere appeared this guy who said his name was Mike. He vigorously shook my hand, looking down at me with a wolfish grin. Fresh meat.
We got in an old elevator that kept stalling. While I was thinking about how it was sad that I was probably going to plummet to my death in a Scientology center, Mike fired questions at me. I told him that my name is Leo and I study graphic design at Parsons. I said I was looking for a “spiritual anchor” in my life (LOLZ the Oscar goes to me). We got off the elevator and I was quickly escorted to this small screening room where I watched one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever seen.
The movie was basically about how if you don’t follow the nine principles of “TRS” (a.k.a. you don’t know how to be assertive), you will die. It was a series of vignettes done in the corny style of 50’s instructional films. In one scene a woman dies a telenovela-level dramatic death because she didn’t tell her doctor that she already taken her pills that day. At the end of the scene the narrators voice announces that she died because she wasn’t assertive enough. In another scene Scientology reinvents the death of George Washington. He lies in bed dying with doctors at his bedside. They want to bleed the illness out of him and that dumb bitch Martha wasn’t assertive enough to stop them. The narrator tells us “Doctors killed our founding father, and they continue to kill people to this day”. Not listening to Scientology killed George Washington. #ACCURATE!!!!!
At this point my head was spinning. I was in a parallel reality where weird bullshit is accepted truth and I wanted out. But regardless I had to continue my charade. I whisked away to a very messy office whose walls were plastered with 90’s looking posters of skater Scientologists. Mike sat behind a massive oak desk. He asked me what I thought of the film, probably attempting to gauge my sincerity. Yes, I assured him, I found the film very enlightening, I found Scientology very intriguing indeed. Then he said all this stuff that sounded like a weird rip off of Hinduism. Something about how we all have a universal spiritual essence and we’re born more than once. Then it got even creepier; he goes “When I talk to someone I feel them, I feel a connection with their essence. That’s the power of Scientology”. Like, are you seriously trying to hit on me?
All this rambling ended with him asking if I wanted to do a “personality test”. I halfheartedly said yes. I can’t lie- I was losing enthusiasm and getting really hungry. I was sat at amassive table with a display of biographical books heralding the many achievements of the Church’s founder L. Ron Hubbard. I was given this newspaper scantron sheet with 200 questions on it. The one that stuck out to me as the creepiest was “If a 10 year old child was misbehaving would you be opposed to disciplining it with corporal punishment?” As if this couldn’t get any worse, about halfway through the test this scary old man sat down at the table and was served a platter of chips and salsa. All I’m going to say about that is he gummed those chips really loud. I speed through the rest of the test and walked/ran downstairs to hand it back over to Mike who went to “run the results”.
He reappeared with this hella scientific looking graph. In my head I was like “Girl please, you didn’t run that flimsy ass piece of newspaper through a scanner” but outwardly I feigned interest. Truthfully I didn’t listen to what he told me about my results at all, because what he was saying didn’t make any sense. He said that it showed that I tend to blame my misfortunes on others but also that there is a suppressive figure in my life that’s ruining everything. He also made me read the definition of suppressor aloud to him from the scientology dictionary, which was the only part where I was paying attention. Then he said that I’m unstable and a bitch, which meant that I should take this ten-hour scientology course on how to live with discipline. I figured this was the point where this shit was finally wrapping up, so I said I’ll think about it and get back to him. He insisted that I gave him contact info so he could “check in on me”. I gave him a fake email that was something ridiculous like “fashionhorse1492” and hastily left.
It was a pretty weird experience, but not as spectacularly weird as I hoped it would be. I was expecting Tom Cruise to jump on a couch or something. Or maybe like 70’s John Travolta giving me a lapdance. Instead I listened to a lot of boring pontificating, and there weren’t even refreshments.