Have you seen the latest People magazine issue, the one with John Travolta and family on the cover? Did you read the Travolta article? I did (my car was getting its oil changed), and was amazed at how much People allowed the interview – supposedly a one-off on the family’s new, much-welcomed baby boy – to become a promotional piece for Scientology, the cult to which the Travoltas belong.
Yes, cult. What else do you call an organization that routinely deceives its adherents, demands from them outrageous sums for “training”, subjects them to physical abuse, takes their children, and orders them to separate from their families-of-origin and even their spouses?
The New Yorker got into the reveal business this week with a major article on the abuses of the Sci-people, which are finally making it to the light due to the moxie and fame of several former adherents who have – with great difficulty – left the cult. If people such as screenwriters and actors, who have both fame and a public voice, are finally breaking down the walls of silence surrounding the Scientology cult, perhaps there’s a chance for those who are not so well-known and admired.
In times of trouble, silence is an enemy. Silence is an enemy.
There is no greater silence than the truth left unspoken. Even in solitary confinement, even in a deprivation tank, as horrible as that would be, you can still hear your own heartbeat, your own breathing. But where the truth is shunted aside, the remaining silence is deafening . . . and heartbreaking. Because what does silence engender? It gives birth to abuse, to lies, to pain, to years of post-traumatic stress for survivors like the grown men abused decades ago by priests. As boys, they were warned to keep silent. They suffered, the women they married suffered – the latter without ever knowing why, until their husbands broke silence by speaking up.
The Sci-cult is opposed to speaking up. It needs silence to continue its practices, to continue its well-financed abuse. It needs John Travolta – who is perhaps unaware of the abuse that less-famous Sci-believers suffer – and actors like him to continue to promote their version of unsavory practices.
Compare the People puff-piece to the well-researched New Yorker article. Then ask yourself: which one breaks silence?