Has anyone taken Scientology courses?

Scientology in Berlin : The slip of luck

"So, let's go!" Says Lisa and bends over the evaluation sheet. A curve is depicted on the sheet of paper, two high points, two low points. Lisa puts her right index finger on the first low point. She opens her eyes, the look heavy with meaning. Then she says slowly: “You are not happy.” I tilt my head and look at her questioningly. “But you know what?” Lisa continues, increasing the pace of her speech: “Scientology can help you to be happy. Do you have plans for tonight? ”I look at the paper on the desk in front of me. In category B, which shows the happiness value, I get a value of -50 on a scale from -100 ("depressed") to +100 ("happy"). My personal happiness is therefore in an "unacceptable state". "What can you do there?" I ask. “I recommend the Dianetics course,” says Lisa, pulling the book “Dianetics” by Scientology founder Lafayette Ronald Hubbard from a shelf and placing it on the table. A lava-spewing volcano adorns the cover. “The course costs 53 euros and starts at seven,” she says. On the digital clock that Lisa placed next to me during the personality test, it is 5 p.m. and 58 minutes.

Protection of the Constitution: Scientology has a totalitarian character

Scientology has been claiming to be a religion for 60 years. For Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, the origin of the movement lies in Buddhism. In 1970 Scientology opened the first branch in Germany. In 2007, the group finally inaugurated the Berlin branch on Otto-Suhr-Allee in Charlottenburg. According to an internal Scientology report from 2006, the six-story representative building made of glass and steel is intended to "reach the highest levels of the German government in Berlin". Because of its image of man and the ideology established by Hubbard, the association has a strong reputation in Germany. Scientology has been under observation by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution since 1997. The current report for the protection of the constitution attests Scientology a "totalitarian character" and sees the goal of the association in the "abolition of principles of the free democratic basic order". The Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution is also observing Scientology. In the current report it can be read that people who come into contact with Scientology run the risk of “changing their personality considerably, isolating themselves socially and, last but not least, ruining them financially”.

friend or foe

Question 1: Do you make thoughtless remarks or accusations that you later feel sorry for?

Lisa wears a black pant suit. She has tied her black hair in a ponytail. “We're about the same age. Is it okay if we talk to each other? ”Lisa asked when she was greeted. The Scientologist who does the Scientology personality test for me at the Berlin representative office doesn't know how old I really am. Nor does she know that I am a journalist. For Scientology, I'm the 26-year-old English studies student Matthias. Anonymous advised me to serve up a bogus identity for the association. The Internet collective declared war on Scientology in a video message in 2008. To this day, Anonymous demonstrates in front of the Berlin representative office once a month. Scientology grips the world according to a black and white scheme, Anonymous told me. Journalists are enemies of the organization.

Question 3: Do you just leaf through train timetables, telephone books or dictionaries for fun?

On the way from the foyer to the test room, Lisa started poking holes in me. How I would have found out about Scientology and why would I come right now? Then she handed me two stacks of paper. The first batch consists of the questionnaires. The answers come on separate sheets. A small room with books by Lafayette Ronald Hubbard on the shelves. A pencil, an eraser, a cup of coffee. Behind the glass panes, Berlin sinks into darkness. Escorted by a police patrol, a column of limousines with tinted windows rushes past. “That's the government,” says Lisa.

Question 88: If we were to invade another country, would you have any compassion for the conscientious objectors in that country?

Fraudulent labeling

Scientology's personality test is called “Oxford Capacity Analysis”. In fact, it has nothing to do with the British university town. The name Oxford is not protected. With the reputation of the university, Scientology wants to give the test a scientific coating, says Stefan Barthel from the control center for sectarian issues of the Berlin Senate. The test does not meet scientific standards. The 200 questions can be answered with “yes”, “no” or “don't know”. The result of the test provides Scientology with the basis for recommending personality and communication courses. “The Scientological interpretation is always fixed beforehand”, explains Stefan Barthel: “Numerous deficits prevent a successful and fulfilling life. The solution is called Scientology. " In addition, the association lures interested parties with inexpensive courses. The prices rose gradually and eventually drove the members into financial ruin.

Question 194: When you lose an item, does it occur to you that someone must have stolen or misplaced it?

“Do you also want to take the intelligence test?” Lisa asks when I fill her in and give her the personality test. "While I'm here," I reply, and two more stacks of paper are placed on the table. I have 30 minutes to answer the 80 questions. The IQ test is structured according to the multiple choice procedure. There are four to five suggested solutions for each question. In the wrinkled questionnaires there are pencil notes from previous test participants.

Question 1: If 2 scoops of ice cream cost 8 cents, how many scoops of ice cream could you buy for 80 cents?

Lisa drills until she finds something

You might think that tests are followed by an evaluation. In Scientology, the tests are followed by: waiting. Lisa walks out of the room with the piles of paper and runs a promotional video for the Scientology program Criminon. Bald, muscled prison inmates in orange clothing discover their good side thanks to Criminon. It is late afternoon; I hear the foyer filling up with people. Then Lisa sits in front of me again. She doesn't seem like someone who has both feet on the ground. Not only does the English studies subject I have given me say nothing to her. Mannheim, the city I claim to come from, is also unknown to the Austrian: “Is that near Berlin?” She asks. But Lisa still doesn't think about telling me the results of the tests. Instead, she holes me again: “Have you ever had the feeling that you can help someone, but you don't want to? Has anyone ever checked you badly? Why are you so rarely the cause? ”Many of the questions are vague and incomprehensible. I'm starting to feel like I'm in an interrogation. Lisa drills until she finds something that pleases her. Your eyes won't let go of mine.

The protection of the constitution wants to stop surveillance

The Berlin representative office must “build the necessary access roads into the German parliament so that our solutions can actually be incorporated into German society as a whole”. This is what it says in the internal Scientology report from 2006. In its current report, the Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution sums up that hardly anything was left of the lofty Scientology plans. Scientology officially speaks of 600 members. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, however, assumes 130 members. Scientology is in a "deep crisis", can be read in the constitution protection report. But: "This unsuccessfulness must not hide the continuing danger posed by Scientology."
Michael Utsch from the Evangelical Central Office for Weltanschauung questions joins this position. The Evangelical Church in Germany does not see Scientology as a religious community. The association is a commercial enterprise, explains Michael Utsch. He therefore vigorously opposes the latest plans of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution to stop the surveillance of Scientology: “Scientology clearly has anti-constitutional efforts. That is why we advocate that the surveillance continues. "

Courses in Dianetics and Personal Efficiency

In addition to the Dianetics course, which should make me happy, Lisa finally recommends an efficiency course for 45 euros. My personal efficiency is pretty ruined. I pretend to hesitate and then force my way through to a "I have to sleep on it again". But Lisa doesn't give up yet. On the way to the exit, she smuggles me into a small cinema and shows me another commercial that explains the structure of Scientology with painstaking accuracy. People in cleanly ironed shirts are beaming and shaking hands incessantly. When I'm finally back at the door, I'm pretty happy.

This article was created in collaboration with the Evangelical School of Journalism in Berlin. You can find more articles on the subject of "This is how Berlin believes" at soglaubtberlin.de.

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