Letters from Scientology

September 25, 2011 | By | 6 Replies More

Back when I was 16 (this was in 1972), I was playing in a band that had just hooked up with a new lead singer. During one band practice, he asked me whether I had ever heard of “Scientology.” I said that I hadn’t. He asked whether he could arrange to send me some literature on the organization and I said “sure.” A few weeks later I received a brochure from Scientology. It claimed that the organization was scientific. I remember the literature containing photos of people being tested or trained using electronic meters with electrodes that were attached to their skin. I didn’t know what to think of all of this at the time, but I didn’t respond to the brochure’s invitation to call a phone number to learn more.

A week later, I received another piece of literature, and then another and another. Sometimes these were postcards, sometimes booklets. Sometimes they described various aspects of the organization. Sometimes they invited me to lectures, open houses and other events. I began to think of Scientologists as being a bit over the top; somehow, they reminded me of UFO believers (I don’t actually like that term; I’m referring to the people who believe that sentient beings from other planets have visited Earth).

The Scientology literature kept streaming in, week after week. Sometimes I received 4 or 5 pieces of mail in a week. I almost always received at least 3 mailings every week. I was living at my parents’ house in Overland Missouri at that time, and I would glance at this stuff and throw it away. But it kept coming, month after month and then year after year. I never responded to any of this literature. I never made a phone call to anyone at Scientology and no one from Scientology ever called me. I did go to one open house at the St. Louis Scientology center, but I merely looked around for less than an hour, then left. I never signed anything or asked to stay on the mailing list.

I moved away from home in 1978 to go to law school. The mailings continued to come, though, at least two per week. Even after I graduated from law school (three years later) the literature was still coming, at least one per week. To the best of my recollection, an occasional piece of Scientology literature was still being sent to my former house in Overland, even as I approached 30 years of age.

This will be a wild guess, but I would bet that I received an average of 2 pieces of mail per week from Scientology from 1972 until 1985. that would mean that I received well over 1,000 pieces of mail from Scientology, even though I never responded.

When I visited home and saw the piles of stuff waiting for me on the mail table, I felt sorry for the members of Scientology who were paying to send me all of that mail. I assumed (based on stories I read) that many young adults were handing over almost all of the disposable income to Scientology so that the organization could send me mail that I would throw away.

Like many things I’ve experienced, there is no lesson I can draw from this experience, merely this anecdote regarding the endless mailings I received from Scientology.

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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (6)

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  1. Michael says:

    Feel good, not bad: you were just doing one tiny little thing to fight the cult by wasting their money.

  2. An acquaintance of mine (professional writer) won their contest one year, the Writer’s Of The Future. Immediately she was asked to join. She declined. They sent her copies of L. Rob Hubbard’s new novels (he had decided in the 80s that he would return to his original oeuvre, science fiction, and after the humongous and dreadful “Battlefield Earth” proceed to churn out a dekalogy, each volume something of a doorstop). She initially recycled them to libraries and used bookstores, but they kept sending them. She started to return them, refusing delivery. She moved, leaving behind no forwarding address, and they began sending them to her there. She moved again, this time taking up residence with a friend and using a P.O. Box for her own mail, but after a short delay the books started arriving at her friend’s address.

    This went on for a number of years. She allowed how it really began to creep her out. She intentionally moved one more time with a view toward obscuring her trail, but they found her, and deliveries resumed.

    This stopped some time after Hubbard’s death and the contest had taken on a life of its own and sought to distance itself (somewhat) from the main body of Scientology, but it is disturbing. The establishment of Scientology being contemporary and documented (Hubbard bragging to fellow SF writers that he intended to start a religion, since that’s where the real money lay) and therefore makes a great case study of such things. Followers refuse to acknowledge the story of Scientology’s founding, avow that Hubbard was actually onto something real, etc etc etc. Even after his own son changed his name, sued the organization, and published damning reports and a not especially nice biography of his dad, acolytes will not be budged. This alone says to me that religion is largely snake-oil and a trap for the gullible and needy and it is not wrong to oppose it, as ultimately impossible such opposition may prove to be.

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    I have gone through their initial recruitment course, and got out. I stopped counting the mailings from them that I recycle. I asked them to remove me from their list.

    Their response was that they would do it, as a local office. But each office maintains its own list. And each office regularly shares lists. So the only way to truly get off their mailing list is to systematically write to every office simultaneously. But every removal request would have to be honored in a manner so timely that no office pre-removal shares with another post-removal.

    Ain’t gonna happen. Tis a pity that I don’t burn junk mail for heat.

  4. Eric Elder says:

    I worked in a Scientology company for a couple of months and they really work over their employees. The phone system had no way that you could go on break and the minute you completed one call, another one came in. It was a brutal work environment and there was a revolving door with new hires and old fires or quits.

    We were providing technical support to the entire world on complex IT software with 8 people, a task Hercules could not succeed at.

    The religion has evil spirits that were created 11 million years ago when Xenu threw some misbehaving aliens into volcanoes on the earth. The Scientologists use e-meters to clear away the evil spirits.

    My biggest concern about Scientology is the military style uniforms they wear. Such militancy is an indication of fascism.

  5. Notfar FromtheScinoStronghold says:

    Why not name the fool singer that brought this on you? Cult members need to see outing consequences whether scinos or baptists.

    I came from near a strong hold.what is really frightening is the filter tests scinos employers in their stolen from previous scino sucker buildings to see if “new employees” might be possible recruits are now being used by employment testing firms like Hogan and others. Try looking up the connection between the two, its been SEO replaced by scino leaked loopiness other Hogans. There should be a set of site exposing Scientology or LRH management businesses so decent people dont fuel them with money.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      I don’t remember the guy’s name. I was 17 at the time and only played music with the guy a few times. I don’t really understand the remainder of your comment.

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