re: Scientology in the Park
Our intrepid news intern, Sarah, reports from inside the tent:
The bright yellow Scientology party tent sprawls across Westlake Center, cheerfully advertising “Stress Test!” I duck inside and begin to read one of the many posters hanging along the side of the tent. It’s about Emotions. “Hi,” a soft voice says behind me, “I’m Jeff. Do you want to take a tour?” Jeff, a middle-aged man with chest hair poking out of his “Volunteer Minister” T-shirt, shows me a poster of L. Ron Hubbard. “Have you ever read Battlefield Earth?” Jeff asks, “That’s an amazing book.” One of the posters shows a child crying because he fell out of a chair. I ask if they have pamphlets about falling out of chairs and Jeff hands me one from the giant stack on a table. “They’re only $5, plus tax,” he says politely. I’ll take a stress test for free, please. Jeff guides me over to a man with bushy eyebrows and American flag suspenders who introduces himself as Phaxon. Phaxon administers stress tests via “E-Machine”: a silver box emblazoned with a dial and L. Ron’s signature. “You need full contact,” Phaxon tells me, placing two metal cylinders in my hands, “Now think about people and events in your life.” I draw a blank. The E-Machine dial doesn’t change. I try to think about something scary. Tyrannosaurs Rex! The dial jumps and Phaxon looks straight into me, “What was that?” After a few more minutes of embarrassingly little dial action, though, it’s obvious I’m failing the Scientology test. No buried childhood scars equates to zero penchant for fighting Thetans.