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Whoa…it’s like I’m looking at a mirror

October 27, 2009

I got a couple of hits from Mark Rathbun’s blog the other day, and I thought I’d click into it. Here was one article that somehow has been getting me traffic (I don’t know how…I don’t see a link to or a trackback…although I suppose once I link it here, I’ll get one).

Read it, please. Since I’m not going to write a whole lot.

Mark Rathbun, you see, is actually influential in the scientologist community…but as a result of one thing or another (I obviously haven’t heard much of him, since I don’t research scientology), he has left the church.

Does this mean he has nothing to do with scientology, dianetics, auditing, and other scientological concepts? No. Rather, he forges a tenuous path independently of the Church of Scientology with these things…the tools of his heritage. His article does highlight some of the several challenges…he faces direct opposition from people within the church (and as I’ve written before, the CoS kinda scares me too, and I’m not a member). But he also faces challenge with ex-scientologists…he writes:

…some portion of that public are ill physically and spiritually because they have dwindled down to apathy and below and found refuge with the only ex-Church member forums that have existed – ones that make anonymity and hiding a virtue, and make criticism an end, rather than a means to achieve any improved state of affairs.

So, if I had to compare and contrast with my situation with the LDS church, I’d have to say that Rathbun doesn’t seem like the average ex-Mormon kind of ex-Scientologist. Rather, he seems to represent a New Order or Middle Way or something like that. He reminds me of a person in particular from the bloggernacle, but I won’t name names.

The one thing I see in common between these kinds of people is a deep trust and confidence that the teachings have something to them that justify their adoption even outside of the formal organizations. So even if one leaves the organization (or dramatically redefines their membership within the organization), the ideas is that one continues to advance and personally develop using the tools of his heritage and culture.

…The thing that gets me is, of course, how different the two cultures are. I mean, I blog from a Mormon perspective. Seeing New Order Mormon, liberal Mormon, Middle Way, and like perspectives don’t exactly hit me.

But seeing the same thing for a different faith community — even though it shouldn’t surprise me — does. And seeing such comparable sentiments — even though the particulars vary (because the “vocabulary” of Mormonism is simply different than that of Scientology…) — is even stranger. It seems as if utility isn’t objective, but is cultivated based on upbringing (so differing upbringings can lead to differing toolsets) …but the generics of utility remain regardless of culture or heritage…I don’t know how to explain…

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3 Comments
  1. Interesting post – I’m always interested in the process of things like this, and the comparison may highlight that…

  2. Yeah, Adam, this has actually made me think about a few other things.

    But I don’t really know how to put them in a post.

    Namely, the comparison of processes does yield similarities (at least for me). How is that when the traditions are so different? I mean, how is it that many of the same statements made about Scientology are some statements that certain members (and ex-members) make about Mormonism?

    I was thinking…what if the various philosophies and faith traditions are truly trying to hit at the same thing, but they simply use different idiosyncratic “models” to address that thing or highlight and emphasize different aspects? In that case, couldn’t it be the case that we’re all being bamboozled by looking at the particulars (e.g., the BoM story vs. the Dianetics story…the Mormon mythos vs. the Scientological mythos…the salt and pepper, flavorful history of Joseph Smith and other LDS prophets vs. the similarly flavorful histories and backgrounds of Scientological figures like LRH)…instead of looking at the commonality of the experience? I’m sure this is an idea that has been fleshed out ad infinitum by plenty of other thinkers but it just really struck me here.

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