On the one hand, Scientologist Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split up. On the other, Mormon Mitt Romney heads for the Republican nomination for President. Money shows up in both stories (and as it does in all organized religions), but there are vast differences.
The Mormons have taken their beehive symbol to heart, work hard, and have a centralized bureaucratic government. They tax their people 10%. Mr Romney is in the news for hiding a lot of his fortune in tax-avoidance jurisdictions overseas (Bermuda, the Caymans, etc). Hm. I wonder if he pays his religious tax the way his church wants…?
The other ones, the Scientologists, were established by Science Fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard a couple of years after he famously said that there was no money in writing SF – the way to make money was to start your own religion. Scientologists suck their adherents dry of their entire wealth, and do it on the basis of the most preposterous “bad SF” cosmology that you can imagine, involving an evil overlord from the Andromeda Galaxy imprisoning his people in volcanoes on Earth and blowing them up with Hydrogen Bombs.
(Somewhat in connection with this, Microsoft researcher Cormac Herley has just published a paper showing that Nigerian email scammers make deliberately ludicrous propositions to their targets, as a way of quickly identifying the most stupid and gullible people.)
But the real reason that Katie Holmes is leaving Tom Cruise may have less to do with money than with the upbringing of their 6-year-old daughter Suri. Suri is now reaching the age when she starts getting “security-checked” by the Scientologists. This is their method of simultaneous indoctrination of the child and spying on her family. It is so unsavory that even that unscrupulous media mogul Rupert Murdoch is outspoken about it.
You can read some of his tweets here. And not only about Scientology. He was also asked about Mormons, and gave an answer that – from the ones I’ve met – I have to agree with: “Mormonism a mystery to me, but Mormons certainly not evil.”
As for how much sense there is either of these religions compared with longer-established ones… or compared with a modern scientific view of the universe… well, that can be either a very long discussion, or a very short one. But many people find it endlessly fascinating.
Scientologists? They’re about as credible as Nigerian witch doctors.
I wish Katie and her daughter the best of luck. They’re much better off outta there.
Mormons are a mystery, but not evil. Like any large group of people they can be swayed by someone who’s charismatic enough. They don’t tend to be “buyable” which works in their favour – one doesn’t win points with them by spending money on them. This doesn’t mean they can’t be tricked, manipulated or controlled in other ways though. People are people and as a group they do try to be pretty good – however that also means they trust easier.
People who prey on trust on the other hand are terrible and do terrible things, even within cultures of basically good people. However when you put them together and isolate them from good people – you end up with Scientologists.
I would trust a friend’s life’s hands amongst Mormons. They – like many people with strong senses of ethics – tend to be good for it. (although it doesn’t hurt to network some and know the people you’re talking to).
I wouldn’t trust the time of day to a scientologist, and I’d never have my back to them, I’d prefer them to be monitored by an armed guard provided by someone else, just to ensure they don’t hurt or kill anyone arbitrarily just because they feel like it. Mind, a scientologist is more likely to be a liar and a thief before they do anything like murder. (but I don’t put murder past them).
I understand that Katie Holmes’ new attitude is: “I’m free of an abusive cult, based on money & power, that worships a fictional deity & safely back with the Catholic Church.” http://imgur.com/QCWph
LOL. No other comment!