For a religion that is supposed to incorporate science, Scientology is very slow to adopt new technology.
However, now and again, a group of Scientologists see the possibilities, and attempt to exploits them.
I recently came across an application for Android smartphones. It has apparently been made (or commissioned) by Scientologists, and it is available as a free downloads from the online retailer Amazon, on both the UK and US sites.
“Scientology Parent” promises to, “Connect you to the Scientology Community” where you can, “Get tips for raising kids using Scientology”.
This application requires access to both your fine and course locations, so you can potentially be tracked via your own GPS.
I have provided links to the product pages, and also converted them to .pdf files (in case the product is removed).
On Amazon, “Scientology Parent” has received a number of scathing one-star reviews (the lowest score possible).
Even Scientologists have not bothered to defend it (on Amazon, they usually give a 5* review which begins with the words “I’m not a Scientologist but…”).
The application integrates with the Scientology Parent website, which is astonishingly similar in design to that used by the Church of Scientology..
The site is designed to present the appearance of a lively and concerned community. However, it has very few contributing members and, after reading it, I suspect that most articles are written by a very few people, who publish them under a variety of pseudonyms.
It’s real purpose is to persuade the visitor to register for various free online courses. These are nothing more than direct links to material on the “Scientology Volunteer Ministers” website – for example, a video entitled “Assists for Illnesses and Injuries”, which describes Scientology’s version of ‘healing hands’.
All of these videos are relatively uncontroversial. For example, the ‘touch assist’ presentation does not, describe the notorious,
“[…] ‘Bring Back to Life Assist’ which has been successfully used to revive a person who has literally left his body for dead”.
If you take any of these ‘courses’ you will, of course be added to Scientology’s database and become a target for its marketing division.
Being a Parent is Like Maintaining Computer Networks – Says the Author of “Scientology Parent”
The site author has posted a number of videos to YouTube. The first seems to argue that Scientology is the appropriate technology to use to bring up children. I say seems, because it isn’t very coherent. He does, however emphasise how many contact forms the website has, and urge you to use them – which brings us back to Scientology’s Marketing division. Watch Online | Download as .mp4
Other (Scary) Implications
This application would be quite a slick marketing tool if Scientology did not have such a bad general reputation (attracting such terrible reviews on Amazon).
A lot of time and effort has been put into it, and it much more literate and persuasive than the Scientology promotional material we are used to.
Scientology has always been technologically backward in its operations. This sort of development is unsettling, because it shows that it could be possible for them to stage something of a revival if they exploited new technology as competently as this, on a larger scale.
Even at this stage, there are many opportunities for abuse. I don’t know that much about Android applications. However, I know enough to realise that the this application controls a number of sensitive functions, and could provide the Church of Scientology with access to personal information ( contact lists, for example).
A close watch should be kept for such developments.