Is Louis Farrakhan trying to merge Islam and Scientology?
Is the founder of the U.S.-based Nation of Islam planning on uniting his group with the late Ron Hubbard's controversial sect?
BY: Billy Hallowell, Assistant Editor of The Blaze
in Tampa, Florida, an interesting choice considering that Scientology’s home base is in nearby Clearwater.
During the convention, the Times reported that NOI members were invited to attend a “study tech” workshop (student study mechanisms) and they were also encouraged to purchase books from World Literacy Crusade, Johnson‘s program that relies upon Hubbard’s teachings. Farrakhan’s followers were, thus, trained to use Hubbard’s study techniques and drug treatment ideals.
This, of course, is only one example of the connections between the two faith groups. At various times, Farrakhan and his associates have reportedly visited Scientology establishments and the fiery preacher has touted the benefits of Hubbard’s techniques during numerous sermons. The relationship is so tight-knit that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a leftist group that explores the “radical right,” extensively documented it in a blog post back in June 2011.
While it initially seemed as though drug treatment would be the only connective tissue between NOI and Scientology, Farrakhan has spoken openly about the use of “Dianetics.“ This is a pseudoscience that Hubbard described as a ”spiritual-healing technology” that aims to help people overcome their subconscious and, thus, ease personal issues pertaining to physical, mental and moral health.
SPLC writer Leah Nelson explained that Farrakhan’s support for Scientology is rooted in his rhetoric that it will help NOI adherents get closer to perfection in preparation for the end times. Nelson also noted that, in a May 31, 2011 article in The Final Call, NOI’s official newspaper, reported that around 700 of the church’s members had already become Certified Hubbard Dianetics Auditors (other NOI reports claim that 1,000 were trained as of 2011). Auditors, as she explained, are supposedly able to help people achieve higher levels of consciousness.
David Sessions of The Daily Beast explained auditing in an extensive guide to Scientology that the outlet published last week. The practice of delving into one’s consciousness is a central component of Scientology. Auditing, he writes, is a phenomenon “reassembling a blend of confession, psychotherapy, and hypnosis.” Auditors are trained to ask questions that apparently get into the nitty gritty of subjects’ subconscience memories (the so-called root of trauma, addiction and other barriers). He continues:
An auditor asks the person being audited sets of questions directed at uncovering subconscious memories believed to be the root of trauma, addiction, or other obstructions to happy, ethical living. Auditing is an integral part of advancement in the ranks of Scientology. The contents of auditing sessions are said to be confidential, except in cases where the church has reportedly allowed them to be used to blackmail disaffected members (see Fair Game, below). (The church denies virtually all accusations made by ex-members and journalists who have questioned Scientology regarding the incidents the defectors describe.)
In a recent Daily Mail article, writer Kerry Hiatt describes a bizarre experience she had on July 4 while visiting the Clearwater Scientology headquarters with a relative who was once an employee of the church. Hiatt describes a process through which she was “tested and assessed” by a Scientologist. She writes:
At the centre, after a short DVD introduction to Scientology, I was hooked up to the infamous ‘e-meter’, an electronic device used during ‘auditing’. The e-meter is supposed to indicate whether a person has been cleared of the spiritual impediment of past experiences.
To illustrate how I was holding on to bad experiences, I was pinched and told to recall the pinch over and over again. Instead, to see what would happen, I silently recalled scenes from The Sound Of Music. Unsurprisingly, the e-meter did what was expected and I was told I was carrying painful memories that were holding me back in life.
I spent the next hour under observation by Sea Org members – elite Scientologists – while I answered hundreds of questions such as ‘Do you smile much?’ and ‘Does life seem vague and unreal to you?’
The test results were analysed by computer – yet more data to be stored away, no doubt – and I was told that I’d tested as extremely nervous and irresponsible. ‘Are you nervous?’ the woman asked. ‘Do you take too much on in life and feel as though you can’t cope?’
I’m usually a private person but I opened up by talking about my occasional feelings of inadequacy and my need to strive for perfection.
Why was I telling her things, I wondered? I remembered reading that many Sea Org members use hypnosis techniques when communicating. I didn’t believe I’d been hypnotised but I’d certainly said much more than I’d intended.
While at the center, Hiatt was also told that she would need to purify her body by sitting in a sauna for hours each day and by also taking specialized vitamins (the latter fact seems to corroborate the Times’ coverage of how drug treatment plans are implemented). This purification process was said to cost thousands of dollars and the woman who was asking questions of Hiatt told her that it was possible to begin treatments that very day. Hiatt ended up fleeing the facility.
Nelson explains that this is exactly what seems to be happening:
Although both the Nation of Islam and Scientology embrace extraterrestrial theories as well as self-improvement programs aimed at lifting members to higher and higher levels, they nevertheless make for extremely surprising partners. NOI is a racist hate group that holds that white people are intrinsically, biologically evil — “blue-eyed