Posts tagged ‘Scientology’
Recently, you may have caught wind that Scientologists in Portland, Oregon held the grand opening of their new Church building. It is a massive new building, gorgeous in every way, and intensely purposeful in design. Definitely check out the photos of the building – it’s impressive.
For me – despite the fact that I live on the opposite side of the country – I feel just as proud as the local Scientologists, and just as hopeful for the future as to what this church will bring.
See, for me, Portland is not just another city, but is where I really came into my own as an individual, as an adult, and as a Scientologist. There are so many ways that the Church of Scientology played an inextricable part of that growth, that I wanted to share at least a bit of that.
How do you quantify personal growth?
Looking back on my history in Portland (where I lived for around 9 years before heading back Eastward), my time in and around the church was punctuated by a number of fairly significant turning points in my life – all of which were helped along by staff and Scientologists around the Portland church.
- Cutting my Teeth as a Community Volunteer: It was fitting, I think, that the Executive Director of the Portland Marathon spoke at the Grand Opening of the Church, as it was at the Portland Marathon that I did my first work as a Scientology Volunteer Minister – helping runners as they came across the finish line.
I’ll never forget my first experience there – watching as a confident runner — thinking he was far and away the victor of the marathon – came running energetically to the finish line. Little did he know, another runner was flying up behind him, and ended up passing him in the final 10 yards of the race. That formerly-confident runner collapsed in a heap in my arms – his sweaty body now ice cold and feeling like a cadaver. Getting him helped into a thermal blanket and brought back up to being functional with fluids and a Locational Assist sticks in my mind as my first real action as a community volunteer where I knew for sure I’d helped someone personally.
It continued with other volunteer work I did with Portland’s Volunteer Ministers, helping sandbag homes and save a local catholic church during the Willamette Valley Flood of 1996.
It really was in Portland that I decided that my life needed to be about helping others, as that’s where the real satisfaction lay.
- The Key to Life Course: For quite some time, on my way through high school and college, I had formed a strange personal conclusion that I was unable to learn anything really technical. I was OK as a designer, I could tinker with computers, but I was stuck making near-minimum wage doing fairly low-end work. Then, one summer, I decided to do the Key to Life Course at the Portland Church. The course picks apart the subject of language and one’s ability to understand things conceptually, and what all that has to do with communication. It is, in a woefully inadequate word, incredible. Within months after this course, I had upgraded jobs twice, putting me on a new career path as a systems engineer – a career I’ve enjoyed to this day.
- The Use of Communication in Life: On another note, related to the above, I took two different communication courses at the Church in Portland. After the more advanced course I had come to what was, for me, a pretty life-changing realization: That any social or life situation could be resolved using communication alone. It seems so basic – and not only that, but obvious. But it was something that I really knew then, for myself — that using communication, one no longer had to “hold grudges” or have to have arguments & fights, or harbor disagreements or any other variation of such.And that, in and of itself, is one of the most cherished points of stability I’ve gained as a Scientologist — that you don’t have to sit around with a problem – it can be handled with communication.
There are so many other angles and facets to why the Portland Church of Scientology is so special to me. Part of it, also, lies in how much this was a whole-community effort spanning so many years, to bring this new building into existence.
As such, I know that there will be so many more stories like mine borne out of this new Church – which has as its mission the empowerment of others and thus the community.
I snapped this pic on my way back to the Metro today. It’s awful nice to see the Fraser Mansion back in action as the new Church of Scientology National Office. I’ve got so many fantastic memories of being on staff there – I know virtually every square inch of that building. Well, at least I used to. The renos in the building for its new purpose as a meeting ground for all of the Church’s social betterment programs has definitely changed a few of the spaces.
And as an FYI, in case you hadn’t heard, the UK’s #1 Swing Band, The Jive Aces have a bunch of their recent tunes out there on Spotify right now.
The Jives are my favorite swing band, and listening to them at work is a constant reminder to me that I need to somehow get back into swinging with my wife.
Church of Scientology of Washington D.C., Academy Signage, originally uploaded by tadnkat.
Probably one of my favorite parts about the Scientology religion is that one of the main practices of the religion itself involves one simply studying the basic texts of the religion, and working out for oneself how it applies to one’s life.
I never know what it is I’m going to get out of it when I sit down and study. Last night, it led me to this article which I posted today. Sometimes it’s something entirely unexpected that I come to have an understanding of that ‘s just been bugging me personally. But it’s always quite personal — just me and a book, or in the case today – me and a lecture by Mr. Hubbard. I’m not being told what to think or how to think, but am able to work out for myself how some very basics concepts of life fit together.
Like I said in a question & answer post I gave to a college student – one of the things I like best about being a Scientologist is that it provides a constant & steady path for enhancement – a way to be able to learn about life and turn around and apply that to the normal problems of living. I’m nowhere near perfect as a husband, a daddy, a sys admin, or as a member of my town, but little by little, I’m trying to fix the imperfections I can see I have – and that’s pretty satisfying.
A college anthropology student sent me a question from my Scientology Parent page, as she’s doing some study for her class on how family history & background can lead people to various religions. As she was studying about Scientology, she was curious how my own family and significant events in my life led me to Scientology. Her questions were thought-provoking on my part (an angle I’d not yet thought about) so I figured I’d post my answers here.
Question: How does your family history relate to your quest for meaning in life? How has the history of your family led you to Scientology?
I touched on this when I was answering a similar question for another student here, but I’ll try to tackle both parts of that question.
My mother and father were both Scientologists at the time I was born, both of them becoming involved with the religion about 4 years prior. Until I was about 9 years old, we lived out on a 10-acre farm in mid-coast Maine, in a town of about 600 people. Our nearest Scientology organization was in Boston, about 4 hours to the south, so I didn’t spend much time in the Church as I was growing up. I knew quite well that my parents were Scientologists, though. My parents quite liberally used Scientology Assists with my sister and I, a practice that instantly made sense to me and which I found helpful. Other various basic tenets of Scientology found their way into conversations & questions that I’d pose, but it wasn’t until I was about 7 that I think I started to choose my own way on Scientology a bit.
See, I did have a number of friends who went to local churches on Sundays. They’d attend their Sunday school as well. I do remember posing questions to my parents and to my friends about why they went to church. The only reason I could seem to get anyone to tell me was because they were meant to go to church, and that they did that because they were christian. The reasoning seemed quite circular to me at the time (go to church because you’re christian because you have to go to church) and I wasn’t really tracking – there didn’t seem to be a purpose, and it seemed to my 9-year-old logic to be a great way to waste a Sunday when you could be out building a fort in the woods.
But I did learn that when my parents went to their Scientology church, they explained to me that it was always for a purpose. They were always there doing a specific course of study or counseling action, one which had real-world benefit and was to help them with something that could be actually articulated (even to a 9-year-old) as a tangible benefit. I naturally asked if I could take a course too, and enrolled onto a course communication course. At the end of that communication course, I honestly felt I had learned something – I had figured out how to communicate better, I figured out that I could get my point across clearly, I understood why people didn’t like being interrupted, and that it was enjoyable for both parties when you’d acknowledge when you understood what they said.
And for me, at that point, it did really set the bar for all religion. For me, my expectation was that, in going to church, one should be going so as to achieve some benefit to one’s life that one actually desires oneself, and not because of some fuzzily-understood moral/social obligation to “go to church”.
The very next course I took in Scientology had to do with L. Ron Hubbard’s study technology. And amongst all things, one thing that I learned is that the first barrier to learning anything is the idea that you already know all about it. And if there’s someone who already “knows it all” it’s a spunky 9-year-old. But that one stable datum has carried me through a lot of study and efforts to really understand life around me.
An interesting illustration of this: I recently re-took that selfsame first course in Scientology – the Success Through Communication Course, just recently – doing the course together with my wife. And the same exact principles that taught a 9 year old the value of actually communicating with parents & friends, was able to re-teach my wife and I how to communicate to each other and to our kids. I wrote my thoughts on that here.
Question: What were some important milestones in your personal history that led to your choice to become a Scientologist?
Well, as I said above, I think that the key milestone for me which led me to being a Scientologist was where I took my first course – one that I completed at a small Portland, Maine outreach office of the Boston Scientology church.
The other reinforcing aspect I had to this was in watching my parents after taking Scientology services. They would sometimes go down to the Scientology religious retreat in Clearwater, Florida for counseling services and to study. Each time, when they came back, there would be this certain, difficult-to-describe, serenity or – really - certainty about their demeanor which indicated to me that they had resolved something personally, or had overcome something personally in their study, something difficult-to-describe which left them better and happier at the end. It was something that I knew I wanted as well – I wanted to know that I had looked into myself, and found in myself what I wanted to change, and had done what I could to make that better.
At the time, as a kid, the one thing that was real to me was that I wanted to be fast as a student, and I wanted to be happy and motivated. So, I approached a lot of my studies in Scientology with this in mind.
But later, the more I studied, the more I could see things in myself that were ripe for improvement. My level of responsibility, my ability to absorb & understand new subjects, my ability to choose my friends and to know when relationships with others were dragging me down – these were all things I learned that I could do something about through Scientology and weren’t just things I needed to “understand I couldn’t change” or “learn to live with”.
But I’d say that by the time I was about 11, I was completely, and by my ownvery conscious decision, a Scientologist.
And, as you can see from my writing, that’s not something I’ve regretted. Hopefully that answers your questions.
Testing out the new quick post function on the WordPress Android app, with a photo of my son playing in the chapel of the DC Church of Scientology.