Hey Mormon Stories Listeners – I need your help!!!! This Friday (9am mountain time) I will be interviewing Mike Rinder – a former high-level leader of the Church of Scientology. I only have an hour with Mike, so I want to spend at least a few minutes of the hour comparing the Mormon church with the Church of Scientology.
To be clear – I have studied Scientology enough to know that it is deeply problematic….from literally kidnapping/imprisoning members, to having members physically beaten, to militantly suing members, etc. In short, I know that Scientology is a brutal, inhumane, super-harmful cult. Consequently, I am also fully aware that any comparison between the Mormon church and the Church of Scientology is deeply fraught. But hear me out.
I once read in Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel” that sometimes the less immediately lethal viruses are often the most harmful viruses overall, primarily BECAUSE they are less deadly than their counterparts. In other words, if a virus is so deadly that it immediately kills its hosts, it has a tougher time spreading, and ultimately harms fewer organisms. Conversely, if a virus doesn’t kill its host, but makes its hosts sick enough for a long enough time, the virus can spread much more successfully to a much larger population, and do more harm overall to many more people . Get it?
And so this is where I would like your feedback…and it’s only an intellectual exercise. Here is the question:
If the variables we are measuring include:
1) Total human hours extracted from members without fully informed consent (total hours wasted under false pretenses, in a sense),
2) Total abuse/pain/suffering inflicted on humans under false pretenses, and
3) Total $$$ amount fraudulently extracted from its members over the lifetime of the church….again, under false pretenses and without informed consent….
…could an argument be made that the Mormon church, in aggregate, causes more overall harm than the Church of Scientology…in part BECAUSE it is somewhat less severe overall?
Also, what arguments/points am I missing?
Please make your best case below (one way or the other), and I will do my best to incorporate your input into my discussion with Mike Rinder on Friday.
Also, if you have any questions for Mike, please share them below and I will try my best to incorporate them.
THANKS IN ADVANCE!
P.S. Please know that I KNOW that the Mormon Church does a TON of good in the world (particularly for its members). Believe me….I see that, and I believe that. I am talking about the harm that the Mormon Church causes IN SPITE of all the good it does as well.