The Spirit of Christmas
A friend made the observation to me today that the Church of Scientology has no heart. This person, a former Scientologist, had just visited another church and had been impressed at the spirit of benevolence, charity, love and compassion that was evidenced by the people there, both the leaders and the members. These are all traits that we normally associate with Christmas, a time when even the hardest hearts feel some charity and goodwill.
I well remember Christmases in the Church of Scientology. It was seen as an annoying distraction. Staff had to be given a half a day to go out and shop for family presents and send them off. Otherwise it would be a “PR flap.” But even this brief nod to Christmas was barely tolerated.
Every year, Management would go into a panic. It was known that the stats would go down over Christmas. Duh. People were doing other things, seeing family and friends, relaxing. The solution? A hastily put together program to “get the public to come into the Org for courses over the Christmas holidays. “Use that time to get up the Bridge!” the promotion screamed. How dare anyone actually just relax and have a good time when staff were working around the clock to “keep the stats from crashing.”
I always thought it rather silly. Christmas is Christmas. Why don’t we all enjoy it, public and staff, and then get back to business afterwards? But oh, no, the micromanaged stats just had to be pushed up!
At the Int Base, the last five years I was there, we always worked through Christmas, getting the New Years Event ready. It was always last minute, always a flap. Christmas Day maybe we’d get an extra half an hour for dinner and they’d throw up a few decorations. “You can take New Year’s Day off,” we were told. Then the event would be such a flap that no one got New Years Day off either. And after 2000, there were no Christmas bonuses either.
And forget about taking a few days to see family. Dilletante! Other fish to fry!
The last five years I was at the Base, I never had Christmas with my wife.
So staff are pressured to keep on working. Public are pressured to come in and spend money. No bonuses are paid. It’s work, work, work.
Sound familiar? Sure, that’s Ebeneezer Scrooge in Dickens’ beloved tale, A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is portrayed as a greedy and stingy businessman who has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity, or benevolence. Well, that’s it. That’s the Church of Scientology.
My advice for Christmas?
Relax. forget about Scientology. Take a break from the blogs and chat boards. Spend some quality time with your family, your kids, your grandkids. Go see some old friends. Travel a bit. Read a good book.
Or, if you’re me, all of the above.
Merry Christmas, everyone.