Newsgroup: alt.religion.scientology
From: Alvin Brattli <>
Subject: Scientology and mousepads
Date: 20 Aug 1996 20:53:18 +0200

Did you all know that the COS is handing out L. Ron Hubbard
mousepads for free?  Neither did I, until they gave one to me.
    It all happened to me a few days ago, being on vacation in
Chicago.  My friends in Chicago took me out sightseeing, and
asked me whether there were any particular places I wanted to
visit.  An idea popped into my mind, and I decided that I wanted
to visit the local org to ask them if they knew this Xenu guy,
just for the hell of it.  Being very helpful, my friends drove
me to the org (which is located on 3009 N. Lincoln, btw.) and
parked nearby.  I then strolled over to the org and stopped,
looking innocently at their window display.  Then this friendly
woman started talking to me, asking me if I knew anything about
Scientology, if I knew anything about L. Ron Hubbard or not, and
so on.  After a couple of minutes, she invited me inside, and
gave me some information about Scientology.  Of course, she
also wanted me to see their Scientology information video, but
I said no thanks, looking worriedly at my watch and mumbling
something about it getting dark soon.  So it ended up with me
leaving, and the scientologists practically insisting on me
coming back later to watch a video and to take their free
personality test.  The real reason I left was that my friends
were out in the car waiting for me, and I didn't want to take
up too much of their time.
    On browsing through the folders they gave me, I found their
personality test.  Two hundred questions, of which some are very
context-dependent, some have double or triple meanings, and many
of them are in a very awkward language.  Reading the questions
loud for my friends provided good entertainment, and I decided
very quickly that I just *had* to go back and take the test!
    I went back a couple of days later, and I started out using
the same tactics as before: strolling innocently over to the org,
looking in the windows.  But what a disappointment!  There were
noone there to greet me!  So I went away, returning later, in case
they were out for lunch, auditing ashtrays, or something.  On my
way back I went into this shop, next doors to the org.  And guess
who I met there?  My "friend" from the other day!  And being a
clear (which I diagnosed from her bracelet), she had a perfect
memory, remembering me from my last visit.  She had to ask for my
name again, but I guess that must just have been to check whether
I really gave them the same name as before or not.  I mean, clears
cannot possibly forget a name, can they?
    Well inside the org, I was greeted effusively (which, interestingly
enough, wouldn't have been part of my vocabulary if it hadn't been
for the COS personality test), constantly being referred to as
"Alvin, my friend from Norway" whenever I was introduced to new
people.  Telling them that I am a physicist really thrilled them,
and the greetings became even more effusive.  They seated me in a
comfortable sofa, and showed me an incredibly boring video about
Dianetics.  I am not going into any deep analysis of the video here,
but I will say this: the actors were bad, the plot was very thin
(there was a red line, but it was faded), and it was constantly
interrupted by instructions on how to buy a Dianetics introduction
package.  I really had to concentrate to look interested.  After
the video, I took the personality test.  When I had finished the
test, I took the opportunity to visit the restroom and think about
my further strategy while they analyzed the test and made my graph.
    The graph was explained to me in one of the auditing rooms
downstairs.  I scored quite high on some things, but low on others.
My lowest score was on my relationship to my friends and other people.
Being very helpful, my "friend" explained to me that Scientology
could help me with my shyness and whatnot.  During this session
I saw an e-meter for the first time in my life. I commented on it,
and the conversation went something like this:
    Me [pointing at the e-meter and the wires]:  Hmmm...this thing
        looks like some kind of device for measuring resistance.
    Her: Correct, but it does a lot more than that.
    Me: Like what?
    Her: It is used for measuring thoughts.
    Me: Oh, so it is some sort of lie detector then?
    Her: Almost, but not quite.  It is a *truth* detector.
Here I had to concetrate on not starting to ramble about basic
logic, the physics behind the e-meter, etc. etc.
    After this session we went upstairs again, and I was told that
there were a number of books I needed to buy to improve myself,
and that I needed auditing.  On pointing out the fact that I was
only there on vacation, they started finding out which org is
closest to me.  Fortunately, I live a long way from "my" org, and
the only practical way of getting there is by plane.  This made her
change the tactics, and she asked if I had access to the Internet.
I answered "yes", and then she started running around the whole org,
looking for one of their mousepads (with their URLs printed on them).
On seeing the mousepad, I get these strange associations with North
Korean propaganda.  More than half of the area of the mouse pad is
dedicated to L. Ron Hubbard, and the rest is divided evenly between
the Scientology and Dianetics logos.  Also, the three URLs,, and are printed in their respective part of
the pad.  The pictures on the mousepad are identical to the ones
you will find on those web sites.  That mousepad is now one of my
favourite souvenirs from Chicago.
    Now I just couldn't hold back anymore, so I started asking about
Xenu and the Marcabs.  The conversation went something like this:
    - Tell me, who was this Xenu guy?
    - Who?  Can you spell that?
    - X-E-N-U ...XENU
    - X-E-N-U [counting each letter on her fingers] Hmmm...have no idea!
    - Well, what about the Marcabs, then?  Who are they?
    - [three seconds of silence] The Marcabs...whew!  That's pretty
      advanced stuff!
She did a terrible job in pretending she didn't know about Xenu,
and it was obvious that she didn't want to talk about him under
any circumstance, so I refrained from mentioning him again to her.
At this point, I had to admit that I hadn't been totally honest
to her, and that I really did know a lot more about Scientology
and Dianetics than what I had given the impression of.  To fend off
my questions, she tried to make me see another film which would
"answer all my questions about Scientology", and she told me that
if I had any questions left, I could ask afterwards.  I tried to
ask more questions, but she was so insistent on me seeing the film
that I finally gave in.
    The film lasted for 37 minutes, and it was extremely boring,
despite the scientologists claims that this was the "best film
ever made".  It started out telling the viewers that "Yes, Scientology
*is* a religion!  Really!  It has been proven over and over again
in court!"  Sure.  If some court say so, it *must* be the truth.
I guess they must have low self-esteem since they feel this urge
to state over and over again that Scientology *is* a religion.
Next came psychology and psychiatry bashing, and after that they
told us about how nice a guy Ron was.  There was almost no end
to all the fields Ron excelled in, including but not limited to
the claims that Ron was a master mariner and an engineer.  After
that, lots of well-known public figures (Kirstie Alley, John Travolta,
Chick Corea, among others) told their success stories.  At this
point, I had to concentrate on not groaning loudly.  The film
ended with information about the recommended Dianetics introduction
package, and some guy telling us that at this point we were free
to just walk out of there and never think about Scientology again,
but that we "might as well jump off a bridge" or blow our heads off.
    Once finished, they sent another Scientologist, a male this time,
to handle me.  I asked him about which school Ron got his degrees in
and what grades he got, to which he answered that Ron thought school
was stupid (and therefore he quit), and that grades are a terrible
measure on how good you really do in school.  Next I started
asking about mental mass and how this was compatible with conservation
of energy and matter.  This was more difficult to him, and I could
tell he was really out on deep water without a life saver.  His
ansver was that energy in the form of long-wavelength radiation
very similar to electromagnetic radiation were converted into mass,
*mental* mass.  Ha!  I had him trapped there!  My next question
was "Well, can you describe these waves with a set of equations,
along the lines of Maxwells equations for electromagnetism?"
Here he quite simply answered "I am not a physicist" and changed
the subject.  Not being a Clear, I do not have perfect memory, so
I don't remember all the critical questions I asked him.  But
after a while I became so annoying to him that he suggested we
step outside to continue the conversation.  Of course, the purpose
of this was double: 1) My questions were too dangerous for all
the other scientologists inside, and 2) It was a hint that I was
not welcome anymore.
    Outside, I asked him who the heck this Xenu guy was.  I caught
him totally off guard, and his reaction was priceless.  He froze
for a few seconds, staring intensely at me, stepped back quickly,
and stared at me again.  Then he changed the subject.  To my
question about who the Marcabs are, he quite simply said that
he refused to discuss such high-level stuff.  Now I was geting
warm, so I continued along the same line.  His responses became
increasingly aggressive, and it was obvious that he didn't like
this situation at all.
    As I was already outdoors by now, he really didn't need to
throw me out -- I was already there!  So when he felt that he
had had enough of me, he just stepped inside again, leaving
me on the outside.  His last comment before he disappeared was:
"You're a lost soul!"  Oh well.  I guess Scientology can help
me with that...
    Did I mention that the L. Ron Hubbard mousepad is way cool? :-)

| <>               |
| ----------------------------------------- |
| GOD MY HEAD HURTS. Too much thinking      |
| and not enough brain cells. -- Clint Ruin |

P.S. I didn't mention this when I wrote up the story, but one of the friends I refer to is "Xenu's Sister," fellow Scientology critic and Ectophile. When we arrived at the Chicago Org the first day, we parked right in front of the org, on the other side of the street. She had to hide her face so the scientologists could not recognize her, and thereby give the whole "operation" away. I am still a bit baffled that we managed to pull the whole thing off without the scientologists smelling what was going on...


[The mousepad]

I finally got around to place the mousepad on a scanner. So, here it is, for your viewing pleasure. Click the image above to get a larger jpeg-version of it (approx. 71k).

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