I saw a cool program on the Church of Scientology a few days ago, and I meant to post this review here but forgot until just now when a Google Ad unit linking to their site appeared on the sidebar.
This isn't a review of the show, it's a review of the Church and a little experience I had with it around three years ago.  The next words you read will be mine, written...holy crap, three years ago to the day, how about that!

My review of the Church of Scientology

I was walking down Tottenham Court Road today, unsuccessfully attempting to get a job, when I walked past none other than the Church of Scientology. A sign outside said "Free Stress Test". Out of curiosity, and for shits and giggles, I decide to take the test.

I'd heard a little about Scientology, though not much, and most of it referring to aliens, souls and Tom Cruise. I am aware that Scientologists are pissed at how they are portrayed in the media. I have heard some bad things, but I am genuinely curious as to what this is all about, so I decide to be objective. I also feign complete ignorance of Scientology, in order that I do not receive prejudice from the staff who might label me heretic and throw me into a pit of fire or something. Well not really, but they might treat me differently if they thought I was a disbeliever, and this way we are all on even terms.

I go in and ask for the stress test. Everyone is polite and about as uncultish as possible. I am lead to some seats. The stress test is a bio-feedback device of some kind, I am instructed to hold a metal cylinder in each hand. Both are connected to a machine which gives a reading on a dial. I am asked to think of various things in my life, to see which of them elicit a stress response. I cycle through various things in my life, and it takes a while before I get a stress reading. I guess I'm pretty stress free.

Eventually the dial flies up when I think of a pub I occasionally visit. I am told that this is because I consume alcohol there. I am then asked to think of some stressful experiences. I do so, and sure enough the dial flies up when I think of them. So the stress machine seems to work as intended.

I am then taken to discuss Dianetics a little. Dianetics is the "science" behind the philosophy of scientology. I am told that it explains the mind completely, and makes psychiatry and psychology obsolete. I'm a psychology student, so I might have a few things to say about that.

I then enjoyed a 10 minute or so debate on the tenets of Dianetics. I was surprised how open the advisor was to discussing the ideas. Perhaps predictably, I had major problems with the premises behind it. Some of the claims made betrayed a lack of research, such as claiming there is no scientific basis that the mind is a physical organ (there is loads, I had an exam on exactly that last year).

Most of my major queries went unanswered, or I was told to read the book and I would understand. At £18 I cannot afford the book, though I sort of want to read it just so I can argue against it. At the end of the talk, I was told to read the book if I want and just to make up my own mind. I was quite impressed by the way nothing was pushed upon me.

Based on this experience, my opinion is that Scientology is repackaged and remarketed self-help, but on a bigger and more dangerous scale, considering that it protests for an end to treatments that currently help people. Even though the staff were as friendly and open to discussion as could be, and the stress test appeared to work, I can only give Scientology one circle. I don't agree with what they said at all.

The above was my scientific, objective review of the Church of Scientology. The below is my personal opinion:

It's bollocks.

********Back to the present me.  I did notice one thing about the stress test when I watched the program...the auditor's hand is always on the machine, holding it from the side so the fingers are round the back.  Could be nothing, but just sayin'...