Part of being an opinion writer on the Internet in 2015 is hearing regularly from folks who think your opinions are garbage. It's no one's idea of fun, but it's part of the job you take on when you put your opinions in writing for everyone to see. It's fine. But after Monday's post about the documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, the responses were deeply affecting. I've heard from almost a dozen former members of Scientology whose lives were turned upside-down when they left the church, and many more who were shocked to hear about the lengths Scientologists will go to in order to punish those who question its tenets from within.
As I wrote in the piece on Monday, one of the central characteristics of a cult is its unwillingness to ask critical questions of itself. And if it won't ask those questions from within, it's not likely to take kindly to people asking those questions from the outside. It wasn't long before I got an email from a Scientologist named Dave Evans with the subject line "Remarkable." That's sarcasm, in case you're wondering. So here, in three easy steps, is how to get threatened by a Scientologist. (Click on photo to enlarge.)
1. See a documentary about Scientology with your husband on a Friday night. Write about the documentary on your wildly popular blog about faith and entertainment on Monday.
2. Respond to the email by telling your new friend that his overzealous defense of Scientology does more to prove that they are a cult than anything I could ever do. Get called a 10th-grader.
2a. A 10th-grader? Really? There are so many better insults than this!
3. Wait another 90 minutes for the final email telling you that "we" are going to look into you and all the places you write for. Who are "we?" What are they looking for? Where is Shelly Miscavige? Nobody knows anything. Except that threatening a low-level journalist who wrote about a documentary is only going to make you look foolish.