All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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The Church of Scientology. Founded by former science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard after he "proved conclusively that man is a spiritual being," Scientology is a "non-denominational" religion devoted to increasing the spiritual awareness of its flock. This is done by a process called Auditing, which seems to be a kind of confessional session in which a duly trained minister of Scientology guides a person into confronting emotional and spiritual logjams in his past. The actual techniques the auditor uses to bring this about are vague, if not downright secret: when pressed about them, the man I interviewed grew illusive and beatific. He did tell me that one aspect of this treatment is the use of the Hubbard Electrometer, a machine that reads the movement of your "brain mass" when it is hooked up to two V8 Juice cans which you hold in your hands. This device is said to measure subconscious reactions, though in an experiment it failed to detect my distaste for cauliflower. Scientology is very pushy and very rich. Twelve and a half hours of auditing cost $625. A Basic Communications course is $25. The regional headquarters is in Austin, in a converted sorority house that is now known as a church. The front office, which is densely packed with L. Ron Hubbard's memorabilia, rivals the souvenir stands of Lourdes. A poster quotes Hubbard as saying, "I am here because this planet is important to me." Church of Scientology, 2804 Rio Grande, Austin, Texas 78705.