Planet Ivy May the 2nd visited the Idle Org of London:
Published on May 2nd, 2013 | by Tristan James
Planet Ivy visits the London Church of Scientology
In a world of uncertainty, perhaps money is king. And jellyfish are inherently evil.
L. Ron Hubbard, had an extensive life of literally doing everything. He flew planes, sailed boats, grew tomatoes, killed Nazis, helped build the atomic weapon and wrote a lot of shitty science fiction – he was basically Forest Gump, but better. He also happened to create modern history’s most contentious religion, Scientology. Quoted as once saying “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is”, Hubbard’s Scientology has attracted attention all over the world, so I went and asked what’s gwanin.
I was booked in for a personality assessment, tour and hopefully a good old-fashioned brainwash. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the marble floor. Really, marble flooring? Totally cliché. I pointed this out to the Brazilian gentlemen at the front desk, who failed to understand, so I professed to my appointment. “You’ll be with Pedo-hunter,” he said. Having quite a good ear for accent deciphering I presumed he meant Peter Hunter. But my uncertainty was just that. I took a seat, quietly reassuring myself that it at least wasn’t Pedo-lover.
A short time later a Glaswegian appeared, his name was Rudy. Peter was apparently busy. I had only one suspicion. After shaking hands like champs we moved up some more ornate marble in the shape of stairs. The building was deserted despite it’s size. It seemed to be full of closed doors, Indiana Jones tribute symbolism and wooden furnishings. I half expected floor traps and Sean Connery, but there weren’t any women around worth hitting.
We found ourselves in what can only be described as a classroom. I was given a personality test made up of 250 questions. It required my full name, employment details, and address. I filled them out and cracked on. It resonated with the level of cryptic ambiguity of a bipolar schizophrenic on ice cream day. After a strangely introspective 45 minutes I finished the test and waited for Rudy to return. He didn’t. So I went looking for him.
He was reading in a nearby room. He relieved me of my paper, which went into a scanner and within minutes a graph that would spell my fate was born. He mused over it, “You’re quite a conflicted person.” Aren’t we all? “Well, yes,” he explained, pointing out some highs and lows in the graph that were supposedly acute accurate assessments of my personality. He failed to raise anything I wasn’t already aware of, the whole discourse could be summarised as ‘You’re lazy and it’s no wonder all your ex-girlfriends hate you’. Then the e-meter came out.
The e-meter is a device that looks like it should run the N64 version of Mario Kart. When I brought this up, Rudy replied flatly, “It doesn’t.” It’s supposedly capable of gauging emotional scarring and energy blockages. “Close your eyes.” I was hoping this wasn’t the beginning of a ‘guess what’s in your mouth’ game. “Good, now think of something traumatic.” Holding the two metal toilet rolls, I opted for creativity over truth, “Jellyfish.” I paused, understanding that this wasn’t going to suffice, but having failed to think of a story first, I was forced into an awkward and barely congruent lie, “I was stung by a tropical jellyfish. I almost died.”
I stepped out of the room considering the only possible conclusion, jellyfish are responsible for all of my faults.
This went on for about 15 minutes. My story was awful, Rudy, however, was captivated, allowing me to open my eyes at times during the regale to view the pulsing dials. It all seemed impressive and very scientific, until he asked me if I smoked pot. “Drugs in the system can affect the readings.” I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, was I meant to confess? “It’s fine, don’t worry,” he said, “I used to smoke everyday.” This triggered a long conversation about getting high as teenagers. I swore I almost saw the glint of long-lost good times so often seen in the unhappily married when talking of life before misery. It was cut short however, when the first other person I’d seen in an hour came into the room. The conversation was forgotten and the e-meter moved aside. I stepped out of the room considering the only possible conclusion – jellyfish are responsible for all of my faults – and looking forward to using this in my next relationship.
We strolled around the upper floors of the building. A few people were hunched over books in what appeared to be a library. One man was leading another around in circles by the back of his head. Rudy must have noticed my apprehension, “You’ll see a few weird things in here. I won’t bother explaining it,” he laughed. We went past the Purification Rundown room, “This is where we get all the drugs out of someone’s system.” We lingered in silence here, and it became clear what assumptions Rudy had made of me.
We continued on through aisles and aisles of books. Where Genghis Khan spent a lifetime disemboweling and fucking, Hubbard spent twice as much time dribbling shit onto paper. It was here that things began to go where I had inevitably feared. “You should really consider buying some of these,” Rudy said, pointing out one after another, after another. “They could really help you.” Though I couldn’t recall at what point we’d decided I needed help, his lingering eye contact assured me it had definitely been decided.
We went back down stairs. Marble, marble, wood, Raiders of the Lost Ark prop, marble. Finally we were back in the classroom. A look of gravity had developed on Rudy’s previously soft, welcoming little face. “I really think we can help you.” I don’t think I need help, Rudy. “Well why did you come today, why did you find yourself here?” Things were getting heavy. Suddenly courses were offered at £34. A Dianetics DVD was £15. I refused at every corner and every offer. “If you don’t buy this today, you won’t come back, you’ll be missing out.” I promised that I would return, “You won’t Tristan, I’ve seen it a hundred times before, this could change your life.” And they say guilt is a catholic thing.
I did eventually escape. If I wasn’t prepared to spend a tiny bit of money on myself, it was an indication of my problems. With that, Rudy finally loosened his grip on the guilt hammer. His smile returned. My flashbacks to childhood ended. I shook his hand and left the building.
Since writing this article I have been called five times by the church. I have not answered. They know where I live.