A few days ago I posted about the talk I was about to do on Scientology in Trondheim.
The talk was yesterday, and here’s a short summary.
I didn’t know much about the context, and I decided to not prepare my talk other than being generally inspired by the comments to the previous blog post.
I was pleasantly surprised. With the student society, their 100 year old building, the main event hall build like a circus, the atmosphere, the people. They wanted a different take on Scientology – a more open and un-slanted approach than what is usually presented in the media. The girl that first suggested that I should come to the event, Astrid Trondal, is an interesting person -very direct and no fuss. The rest of the directors of the student society – very pleasant, open and focused on creating quality events.
And then I got to meet professor Asbjørn Dyrendal. Asbjørn is very knowledgeable in areas of new religious movements and conspiracy cultures. He gave me interesting relations between Scientology and other movements with various similarities.
As the event was in the main hall of the student’s society building, the formality was strict. Asbjørn started with a 20 minute introduction to Scientology. It was pretty spot-on and laid the foundation for my talk, also 20 minutes. I dispensed with some of the formalities by requesting that instead of talking from behind the formal stand, I could use the floor and wave my hands an walk/jump around as I wish. There was probably more than 150 students attending, and from the response it seems they enjoyed the talk 🙂
I basically told my story into, in and out of Scientology. My main message was that even though I had seen much craziness over the years, my positive gains from Scientology out-weighed it by a large factor… that I had spent lots of money on Scientology, and that I would spend it all again, or even the double amount to get the same gains.
After a cool artist break (improvisation theater), it was time for the audience to ask questions to Asbjørn and myself.
Very intelligent questions, different angles, covering many areas of Scientology – from my shift in viewpoint over the years, what is good and what is bad about Scientology and the Church, Scientology and bloated PR, the apparent expansion but factual contraction, how Scientology is viewed in different countries and the various levels of Scientology. When one of the attendees asked if the South Park episode on Xenu reflected what parishioners get to learn on OT 3, I answered that yes, it’s pretty accurate. I didn’t hold back or soften anything or beat around the bush. It was straight talk on Scientology. I returned their intellectual honesty with the same.
I was asked if people would get the same gains from other practices. I answered that I don’t know as I haven’t done other practices covering the same types of gains. I also made a point that I cannot vouch for any scientific accuracy of Scientology. I can only vouch for what Scientology has done for me. I didn’t defend Scientology, nor did I attack it. But I did tell them that they should avoid the church. If they wanted to look into Scientology themselves, they should look outside the Church of Scientology.
It was fun, good laughs, inspiring. A great audience. We ended the evening off in the nice student bar with interesting discussions about Scientology, new religious movements, copyrights, patents and free information.
Update: Pic from the event: