Thursday, January 08, 2009

Is Now a Good Time?

Just a few sketchy notes about the death of Jett. The internet is a hive of discussion about it all. This is just my two cents.

1) The press, and critics, claimed that the Church of Scientology is against psychiatry. Scientologists have claimed this is not the case, despite clear evidence to the contrary. Let's look at some of it briefly:

  • CoS-founded and co-ordinated organisation the CCHR have a museum exhibit entitled Psychiatry: An Industry of Death
  • Church leader David Miscavige (remember him?) discusses the "global obliteration" of psychiatry
  • Lisa McPherson, clearly suffering from psychiatric problems, was retrieved from hospital into the care of CoS.
  • The Introspection Release Form, which Scientolgists sign as part of the Introspection Rundown, states the following:
Scientology is unalterably opposed, as a matter of religious belief, to the
practice of psychiatry, and espouses as a religious belief that the study of the
mind and the healing of mentally caused ills should not be alienated from
religion or condoned in nonreligious fields.

Now it could be that this document is a forgery. If this is the case, then declare the opposite! Go one better and state that anyone who has seen and/or signed such a document has been duped and should feel free to disregard it. If CoS wants to claim this is misinformation, then they need to start handling the misinformation properly. I've never seen a court case for defamation. Seen a few for copyright violation, though...

It's been said elsewhere that Scientology is only worried about the abuses that sometimes take place in the psychiatric field. I hope the Church can see why people might assume that their criticism extends to the field as a whole.

2) Is autism, epilepsy, or any seizure-inducing disorder considered a psychiatric disorder? Virtually every bit of PR that CoS has put out over the last few days has focused not on the advice given or the position taken on these conditions. It has been only to state that the church advises its followers to seek medical help for medical problems. This is a grey area, and it needs addressing directly. Tory Christman states that she was advised to stop taking her anti-seizure medicine. Comments have been posted by Scientologists who know other Scientologists (they're from Canada; you don't know them) who take anti-seizure medicine with full approval of the church. This disparity could be because:
  • One or other of the parties is lying,
  • or there is some confusion within the church itself of the position it takes on seizure disorders.
Again, an explicit public statement would clear this up in an instant, so how about it?

And just for clarity, I'm not saying that CoS have to do this, just pointing out that by not doing it, not answering the questions that have been raised when their own set of beliefs are being so publicly scrutinised, they play into the stereotypes they are so often accused of being.

On the flipside:

Neither the Travoltas nor their lawyer have stated, at least in the last few days, that Jett suffered from seizures as a result of Kawasaki Syndrome. Kawasaki Syndrome is a self-limiting condition, so if he was diagnosed it at aged two, it is unlikely that he still had it aged 16.

1 comment:

  1. There is further evidence on Scientology's stance on seizures from this 1972 Hubbard lecture. Note the language Hubbard uses, of auditors "taking" epileptics off of their medication.


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