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Sunday, July 26, 2009

News of the Weird

LEAD STORY: Scientology trains its leaders a good deal more aggressively than other religions do, judging by the revelations by four former church officials to the St. Petersburg Times in June. In an exercise concocted by founder L. Ron Hubbard, leaders who screw up are taken out to sea and forced off a gangplank with the admonition, "We commit your sins and errors to the deep and trust you will rise a better Thetan [immortal spiritual being]." The rituals can also take place in a cold swimming pool, with the transgressors in business suits. Also, to test leaders' commitment, the head Scientologist, with a boombox, conducts games of musical chairs to reward the last man sitting (using the music of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody": "Is this the real life? / Is this just fantasy? / Caught in a landslide / No escape from reality").

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