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L. Ron Elementary--a Parody With a Point

The following parody, based on news accounts of semi-secret Scientology teachings, is offered as a cautionary tale as the LAUSD board ponders a proposal to create a 100-student charter school with instruction based on L. Ron Hubbard’s teaching methods in the Sunland-Tujunga area:

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“Good morning, class!”

“GOOD MORNING, MISS DIANETIC! WE’RE ALL IN OUR PLACES WITH BRIGHT SHINY FACES!”

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“You certainly are! Why, I don’t even need Mr. E-Meter’s help to measure your galvanic skin response! And you should be excited, because today you’re going to learn a very important lesson--the lesson of how the universe began. Now, does anybody know the true story of creation?’

“I KNOW, I KNOW! PICK ME, PICK MEEEEE!!!’

“My goodness, we are eager today. Nicole, why don’t you tell us.”

“In the beginning, there was L. Ron Hubbard.”

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“Oh, good try, Nicole! Ron was a great man, a great prophet and teacher. He figured out how the universe began, but he didn’t create it himself.”

“Did God create the universe, Miss Dianetic?”

“No, there is no God, Tommy, at least not in the conventional Judeo-Christian sense.”

“What about Darwin, Miss Dianetic? Did we all come from monkeys?”

“Well, yes and no, Johnny. You see, we all came from thetans. You, me, Ron and the monkeys--we’re all thetans, remember? Or you might say that we’re sort of like thetan pods, because the thetan is an immortal soul that goes from one body to the next through endless reincarnations over trillions of years.

“Children, it’s these thetans that created the universe--all the stars and planets, every plant and animal. Thetans built bodies for themselves. Some look like you and me, some don’t. And you know what happens to a thetan when somebody dies?”

“Miss Dianetic, my mommy says if I’m good and say my prayers my spirit will go to heaven. Do thetans go to heaven?”

“Oh, Tommy, it sounds like you’ve been implanted with an engram by a bad thetan. As Ron once said, heaven is ‘a false dream’ and ‘a very painful lie.’

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“No, what will probably happen when you die is this: Your thetan will go to a landing station on Venus where it will be programmed with lies about its past life and its next life. One of the lies is that the thetan will then be lovingly placed inside a newborn baby for its return to Earth. But that just isn’t true at all. Here’s something Ron once said:

‘What actually happens to you, you’re simply capsuled and dumped in the gulf of lower California. Splash. The hell with ya. And you’re on your own, man. If you can get out of that, and through that, and wander around through the cities and find some girl who looks like she is going to get married or have a baby or something like that, you’re all set. And if you can find the maternity ward to a hospital or something, you’re OK. And you just eventually just pick up a baby.’

“That’s a direct quote. But Ron showed us that, through Scientology, we can purge all of our engrams--both those that happened by accident during ancient planetary wars and those implanted by evil, power-hungry thetans. Does anybody remember what engrams, or ‘implants’ do? Yes, Nicole.”

“Miss Dianetic, Ron said that implants cause all kinds of illness, apathy, degradation, neurosis and insanity.”

“Very good! And through Scientology, you can purge the implants. So instead of going to Venus when you die, Scientologists can simply select another location when they, as Ron poetically put it, ‘kick the bucket.’ Isn’t that wonderful?”

“Miss Dianetic, will you tell us about Xena?”

“Um, you mean Xenu, Johnny. I’m not sure you’re ready.”

“PLEASE, MISS DIANETIC! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!”

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“Oh, I guess a little can’t hurt. Now, I haven’t graduated to the Truth Revealed course yet. It’s kind of expensive. But I can tell you what I’ve heard about Xenu. It’s a long story, so pay attention.

“Once upon a time, about 75 million years ago, a tyrant named Xenu ruled the Galactic Confederation. That was an alliance of 76 planets, including Earth, which was then called Teegeeack.

“To control overpopulation and solidify his power, Xenu ordered his loyal officers to capture beings of all shapes and sizes from the various planets, freeze them in a mix of alcohol and glycol and transport them by the billions to Teegeeack in spaceships resembling DC-8s.

“Xenu was as evil and clever as the IRS. Some of the beings were captured after they were duped into showing up for a phony tax investigation.

“Then they were all chained near 10 volcanoes scattered around the planet. After hydrogen bombs were dropped on them, their thetans were captured by Xenu’s forces and implanted with sexual perversion, religion and other notions to obscure their memory of what Xenu had done.

“Soon after, a revolt ignited. Xenu was imprisoned in a wire cage within a mountain, where he remains today. But the damage was done.”

“Can we go on a field trip to see him, Miss Dianetic?”

“Well, perhaps if you sell enough chocolate bars, we could go there instead of the Celebrity Center.”

“Miss Dianetic, Ron was the bestest science fiction writer who ever lived, wasn’t he?”

“Yes he was, Tommy. And of course he didn’t just write fiction. He revealed the truth.

“You know, children, it’s a sad thing, but a lot of people are afraid of the truth, and so a lot of people are afraid of Ron. They think he was some kind of wacko, some kind of charlatan.

“He was a great man. Yet for some reason school board members get worried when a practicing Scientologist proposes the creation of a little itty-bitty charter school that would use Ron’s teaching systems.

“They ask lawyers about the separation of state and church. They try to find some way to keep Ron’s wisdom out of the classroom, even though some of the teachers have been using his methods for years. The way they pick on Scientologists, they remind me of Xenu himself. “Oh, I’m sorry, Nicole. I got carried away and didn’t see your hand. You have a question?”

“Miss Dianetic, what’s a charlatan?”

*

OK, parody is supposed to be mildly amusing. But consider this: Let’s suppose that it’s possible to create an L. Ronics charter school that indeed steered clear of Scientology the Religion. Hey, whatever works. But suppose we take another step in school reform. Now let’s suppose we face another ballot measure on school vouchers--as someday surely we will. Would you want your taxes spent at Scientology High?

Scott Harris’ column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Readers may write to Harris at the Times Valley Edition, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311, or via e-mail at scott.harris@latimes.com Please include a phone number.


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