Scientology And Me

November 26, 2009

Scientology Today: Interview with Top Volunteer Minister

Scientology Volunteer Ministers India Goodwill Tour Leader, Marion Whitta, a native of Australia, has become something of an institution in India.  For the past four years she has been traveling throughout the country bringing help to cities, villages and townships, and training tens of thousands in spiritual technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard.

Whitta shares her thoughts about India and the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program.

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers India Goodwill Tour Leader, Ms. Marion Whitta, originally from Australia, is interviewed on what the Tour has accomplished over the past four years and their plans for the future.


Scientology Newsroom:
How did you get the assignment to lead the Scientology Volunteer Ministers India Goodwill Tour?

M.W.: I had always wanted to go to India.  I was drawn by the spiritual heritage of the country, which is the oldest religious tradition on Earth. I was also inspired by Mahatma Gandhi—the man himself, his courage and his commitment to human rights and freedom.

So in 2005 when I was given the opportunity to go to India, I was thrilled  with the opportunity to reach out to people who were already aware of their spiritual nature and bring Mr. Hubbard’s spiritual technology to more than a billion people.   And I had the perfect means to do so—the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program and its purpose to bring help everywhere and anywhere.

Scientology Newsroom: Tell us about the Goodwill Tour?

M.W.: Since arriving in September 2005 we have visited Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Mysore, Ooty, Pondicherry and Ahmedabad.  We’ve also visited many villages and townships, and we even spent a few weeks in neighboring Nepal.

In each city we visit, we contact government, religious and community leaders and find out what they see as the most pressing needs that we can assist with. We then tailor our work to fit the needs of the people in each region.

In every area we visit, we train as many people as possible to administer Scientology Volunteer Ministers techniques.  We deliver these courses in our big yellow tent and seminars and workshops in universities, schools, government offices, police departments, military camps, even in apartment complexes—wherever people want to learn how to help, and wherever help is needed.

Once people learn this technology virtually  everyone wants to be a Scientology Volunteer and we help them set up their own groups.  These groups in turn reach out to those in need.  For example, our Kolkata group mobilized a team of volunteers last year to assist survivors of the floods in Bihar. After the Mumbai terror attacks, Scientology Volunteers from throughout India poured in to help in our disaster response activities.

Scientology Newsroom: What is the Scientology Volunteer Ministers movement?

M.W.: I think Mr. Hubbard described it perfectly when he wrote, “…if one is going to find fault with something, it implies that he wishes to do something about it and would if he could. If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a Volunteer Minister and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”

November 22, 2009

Scientology Churches Celebrate Children’s Rights on 20th Anniversary of International Children’s Day

Scientologists work to guarantee human rights for all children

Scientology Churches and their members, from Australia to Zimbabwe and Canada to the Ukraine  celebrate the rights of children by demanding action by private citizens and governments on International Children’s Day. Twenty years ago the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, yet millions of children still die each year from preventable causes.

Scientologists ask:

·    If the Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees freedom from want, why do almost 16,000 children die of malnutrition—one child every five seconds?

·    If children have the right to life, why did nearly 10 million children die in 2006 before they reached their fifth birthday?

·    Why did an estimated 2 million children lose at least one parent to AIDS in southern Africa in 2003, a number expected to rise to 18 million in the year 2010?

·    Why have an estimated 20 million children been forced to flee their homes because of conflict and human rights violations?

·    How could 10,000 children be killed or maimed last year by landmines? Why have more than 2 million children died and 6 million been permanently disabled or seriously injured through armed conflicts?

·    How come 300,000 boys and girls under the age of 18 have been pressed into service as child soldiers?

·    And why do one million children suffer from sexual exploitation every year?

Churches of Scientology believe the answer lies with each of us, that only when people know their rights and freedoms will they insist on their enforcement, not only for themselves but for others.

That is why Scientology Churches partner with Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) and United for Human Rights (UHR) in distributing the documentary The Story of Human Rights.

Released in June 2009 The Story of Human Rights is an educational tour de force, making the subject of human rights, its history and ramifications understandable to a very broad audience, used to getting their information as entertainment in this multimedia age.  The film lays the responsibility for implementing human rights where it belongs—with each one of us, to fight for our own rights and the rights of others.

The Story of Human Rights
explains that although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, “…it did not have the force of law.  It was optional. And despite many more documents, conventions, treaties and laws, it is still little more than words on a page.”

The film ends with a hard-hitting appeal to the individual:  “Those who fight today against torture, poverty and discrimination are not giants or superheroes.  They are people—kids, mothers, fathers, teachers—free-thinking individuals who refuse to be silent, who realize that human rights are not a history lesson, they’re not words on a page, they’re not speeches or commercials or PR campaigns.  They are the choices we make every day as human beings.  They are the responsibility we all share, to respect each other, to help each other and to protect those in need.”

Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard once wrote, “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream.”  Understanding human rights is the first step in bringing this about.

To sign a petition to mandate human rights education in schools in your country or to watch The Story of Human Rightsonline, visit www.humanrights.com.   To learn more about the human rights education initiative of the Church of Scientology, visit the Scientology site.

November 20, 2009

The “Swimming” Church of Scientology, M/V Freewinds Featured in Maritime Reporter and Engineering News

A milestone Scientology project is featured in the October 2009 edition of Maritime Reporter and Engineering News—the complete refit and restoration of the Scientology Motor Vessel Freewinds.  In writing the feature story, editor Gregory Trauthwein found the project so significant he dedicated his editorial to the ship as well, describing the passion surrounding this project and ship as “immeasurable.” “There literally was not a single detail spared in the complete rejuvenation of M/V Freewinds,” he wrote.

The  Freewinds is home of the Church of Scientology Flag Ship Service Organization (FSSO), a religious retreat that delivers the most advanced level of spiritual counseling in the Scientology religion.

In addition to the impact of these renovations on the thousands of Scientologists who visit the ship each year, the sheer scope and attention to detail has set an entirely new standard for the cruise ship industry.

“The level of quality is incredible,” said Jon Rusten, COO and VP Development, Ocean Development Group, which oversaw the project. “Nobody can afford this level of quality anymore.”

Describing the project as “A magnificent ship renovation via elbow grease, heart and soul,” Mr. Trauthwein begins his article by stating:  “In today’s ‘I need it yesterday’ world, emphasis on quantity often overpowers quality, while the quick fix can supersede the correct one.  Step back, take a deep breath and enjoy the fruits of a tremendous labor, a labor of love.”

For the past 20 years the Freewinds has provided a distraction-free environment for ministration of the highest levels of Scientology religious counseling, far from the crossroads of the workaday world.  The completion of these historic renovations extends its continued service in this capacity far into the future.

November 18, 2009

Scientology Volunteers Attack Drug Abuse in Sydney

Scientology youth attack drug abuse at 26th annual Glebe Street Fair.

Members of the Church of Scientology of Sydney, Australia, who belong to the Drug-Free Ambassadors were out in force Sunday, November 15, distributing thousands of fliers at the 26th annual Glebe Street Fair. Their purpose: to inform kids about drug abuse and the truth about drugs so they make informed decisions to stay drug free.

Concerned about a new drug called Mephedrone, or “MM-Cat,” that Sydney students and club goers buy over the Internet, the Drug-Free Ambassadors spent the day talking to kids and teens, swearing them in as Drug-Free Ambassadors. New Drug-Free Ambassadors take a pledge to be drug free and to help their family and friends do the same.

“The drug-free message is really important to get out in times like these,” said Drug-Free Ambassadors spokesperson Cyrus Brooks.  “People are bombarded with bad news in the media and they look for escape, especially young people. Unfortunately there is a lot of false propaganda around that drugs and alcohol provide that escape. We need to attack these lies as it’s just not true.”

Brooks and his Drug-Free Ambassador team inform youth of the short-term effects of drugs such as Mephedrone and Ecstasy, which include paranoia and depression, and that users risk even more serious long-term effects such as kidney failure and cardiovascular collapse.

Cocaine, another popular “party drug,” has similar effects but can also cause tactile hallucination, with some kids talking about having the sensation of bugs burrowing into their skin.  This drug can also cause reproductive damage and infertility. “Drugs like these ruin lives,” says Brooks. “The best solution is to not get caught in the drug trap in the first place.”

At the Glebe Street Fair the Drug-Free Ambassadors distributed a brochure explaining what drugs are, how they destroy creativity and why drugs don’t actually bring happiness, but quite the opposite. Dixon Restaurant in Chinatown and the Church of Scientology of Australia funded the printing of the brochure, which is being translated into Chinese and Korean to get the word out to Sydney’s Asian population too.

Drug-Free Ambassadors, founded by the Church of Scientology in 1993, helps communities all over Australia fight the scourge of drugs.  For more information on the Drug-Free Ambassadors of Sydney visit their web site at www.drugfreeambassadors.com.au.

Scientology Australia Against Human Trafficking—Demanding Education to Protect Exploited Children and Women

Scientology Volunteers in Sydney circulated a petition at Sydney Town Hall November 16, calling for mandatory human rights education in Australia to eliminate human rights abuses.  One of the worst abuses is the criminal practice of human trafficking in the country. As many as 27 million are enslaved in the world today according to the United Nations, earning perpetrators upwards of $34 billion Australian annually. Some estimate half of those trafficked come from Asia-Pacific and that at least half of all victims are children.

According to the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report for 2009, despite major strides by law enforcement, Australia is the destination country for many of the victims trafficked from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe, particularly the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand.

Members of the Church of Scientology of Sydney held Monday’s petition signing because they believe Australians would never stand for human trafficking and other human rights abuses in their country if they knew of it.

Scientology Churches around the world sponsor the largest non-governmental information campaign the world over, which has made the Universal Declaration of Human Rights known to more than 900,000 people through public service announcements, booklets and petition drives.

For more information about the Church of Scientology human rights initiative visit the Scientology web site at www.scientology.org.

November 14, 2009

Youth Leader Invites Scientology Volunteer Ministers to Train Kenya Scouts

Elly Rajab Omondi, 22, of Nairobi, Kenya, founder and director of Baden Powell Peer Educators, forged a partnership between the Scouts of Kenya and the Scientology Volunteer Ministers this fall.  Omondi’s group, composed of Scout leaders and other young people, grapple with the most critical issues facing his country and Africa as a whole:  how to combat drug abuse and HIV/AIDS and how to resolve conflicts before they escalate into insurgency and war.

Earlier this year, Omondi found the Scientology Volunteer Ministers web site and the online courses offered there.  The skills he gained convinced him that the Scouts needed these same skills to help them accomplish their purpose and make a real difference in their country.

Omondi described the three online courses he took—”Answers to Drugs,” “Communication” and “How to Resolve Conflicts”—as “greatly beneficial,” saying, “My life has changed.”  Omandi formed a group and has trained the members on the three courses.  “We were in the darkness and now we know the light in problems such as communication, answers to drugs and conflict resolution.”

When he found out that an experienced Scientology Volunteer Minister was flying to Kenya to provide seminars, he arranged to have several training sessions for a group of Scouts and these were all held in September 2009. The Scouts’ seminars covered technology developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard on Communication, the Basics of Organization and Scientology Assists—spiritual first aid that helps the individual improve communication with his or her own environment, thus helping overcome trauma and stress and speed recovery from illnesses and injuries.

Elly has invited the Scientology Volunteer Ministers back to Kenya to hold a second round of seminars before the end of the year.  He is also establishing a Scientology Volunteer Ministers resource center for which he needs a few dozen computers.  At this center young men and women from the slums of Kibera in Nairobi, and Scouts who come to the city from around the country to attend National Scouts Camp, will be able to log onto the Internet and take online Volunteer Ministers training.

“Scouts and the Volunteer Ministers share a lot in common,” said Omandi. “We are assisting youth to be more able and creating sanity in this generation.  Most people have lost hope. But we believe something can be done about it!”

For information on how to donate old computers or laptops to Omondi’s Volunteer Ministers resource center or to arrange seminars for your group or organization, contact the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Coordinator at vm@volunteerministers.org or visit the web site at www.volunteerministers.org.

November 12, 2009

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Help Philippines Recover from Crushing Typhoon Season

Scientology Volunteer Ministers bring spiritual first-aid to Filipinos devastated by this year’s typhoons that left tens of thousands homeless.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers from the Church of Scientology Mission of Manila responded with help throughout this year’s devastating typhoon season.  Four deadly typhoons in a two-month period, the last hitting only last week, have caused damage to the sum of nearly 40 billion Philippine pesos (almost $900 million U.S. dollars), killed 961 and left tens of thousands stranded or living in shelters.

As soon as the first typhoon hit in late September, the staff and parishioners of the Mission of Manila donned their yellow shirts and moved out into the streets and shelters to bring spiritual first-aid in the form of Scientology Assists to those in need.  Scientology Assists are techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that address the emotional and spiritual factors in stress, trauma, illness and injury.

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo declared a “state of calamity.”  The need for effective, fast disaster relief was immediate and immense.  To answer these needs the Scientology Volunteer Ministers not only helped on a one-on-one basis, they also trained other volunteers and those stranded in shelters in simple techniques covered in the Scientology Handbook that enable people to overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers and get on with their lives.

“Scientology Assists are very easy to learn,” said Ms. Maria Rehyer, Scientology Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Director.  “In half an hour a person can learn enough to help family and friends recover from trauma, shock or injury.” Ms. Rehyer encourages anyone wishing to join the ranks of the 203,000 Scientology Volunteer Ministers to visit http://www.volunteerministers.org/#/courses, where they can enroll on free online courses to learn these techniques.

For more information e-mail the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Director at  vm@volunteerministers.org or visit the Scientology Volunteer Ministers web site at www.volunteerministers.org.

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