Saturday, February 25, 2006

Are You Crazy Enough for this Church?

I received a scientology personality test in the mail the other day. It takes the form of a 200-question quiz that you answer, send in, and apparently receive 'in person an in-depth, accurate analysis of the results of your test form an evaluator, obligation free.' (their emphasis).

Now, the test is made up mostly of the usual wishy washy personality questions. Do your past failures still worry you? Do you make efforts to get others to laugh and smile? Can you "start the ball rolling" at a social gathering?Are you logical and scientific in your thinking?

Seems like a genuine personality test, right? Except the Oxford Capacity Analysis™, as it is called, has been dismissed by psychologists as having no worth. It also has nothing to do with Oxford university, regardless of what the salespeople will try and make you believe. A study in 1971 found the following:

Taking the procedure as a whole, one is forced to the conclusion that the Oxford Capacity Analysis is not a genuine personality test; certainly the results as presented bear no relation to any known methods of assessing personality or of scaling test scores. The booklet itself might produce genuine scores but these are not the scores presented on the profile. The legend 'produced and edited by the Staff of the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International' which appears on the cover is totally inappropriate to a personality measure - such an instrument is not 'edited', it is developed through painstaking research. The validity of the OCA booklet itself is therefore in doubt.
{Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology Report, Sir John Foster, 1971}

Author Chris Owen has delved into the test in plenty of detail here.

The general consensus seems to be that it is just a recruiting tool designed by Hubbard himself, offering a means by which to introduce Scientology to a society that places a lot of value on personality quizzes, a la Cosmopolitan. It's designed to make you feel bad about yourself, and to want improvement. The job of the evaluator is then to offer you scientology courses as that improvement. Remember, they earn commission on each sell they make.

But reading through the questions makes me wonder if there isn't something more sinister at hand. Hidden amongst innocent questions that seem oh so familiar to anyone who has read a woman's magazine, there are a few that are just plain disturbing:

6. Do you get occasional twitches of your muscles, when there is no logical reason for it?
18. Does an unexpected action cause your muscles to twitch?
72. Do you ever get a single thought which hangs around for days?
130. Are you aware of any habitual physical mannerisms such as pulling your hair, nose, ears, or such like?
142. Do you get very ill at ease in disordered surroundings?
146. Do you have a tendency to tidy up a disorder of somebody else's household?

37. Do you consider there are other people who are definitely unfriendly toward you and work against you?
45. Do you often feel that people are looking at you or talking about you behind your back?
55. When hearing a lecturer, do you sometimes experience the idea that the speaker is referring entirely to you?
194. If you lose an article, do you get the idea that "someone must have stolen or mislaid it"?

61. Do you ever get a "dreamlike" feeling toward life when it all seems unreal?
71. Do you often "sit and think" about death, sickness, pain and sorrow?
106. Do you sometimes wonder if anyone really cares about you?
113. Would it take a definite effort on your part to consider the subject of suicide?
148. Do you often feel depressed?
191. Does life seem rather vague and unreal to you?
197. Do you have spells of being sad and depressed for no apparent reason?

14. Would the idea of inflicting pain on game, small animals or fish prevent you from hunting or fishing?
98. Would you use corporal punishment on a child aged ten if it refused to obey you?
136. Do children irritate you?
149. Are you ever ill at ease in the company of children?
163. Would you take the necessary actions to kill an animal in order to put it out of pain?

Is it just me, or does it look like they're really trying to single out the obsessive compulsives, paranoids, suicidals and potential serial killers? I think certain answers to any of the above questions will point you out to the evaluator as a definite candidate for scientology. After all, you have to be a complete nutjob to believe it.

Oxford Capacity Analysis, copyright 1997 Church of Scientology Intl. (CSI). Dianetics, Scientology and OCA are trademarks and service marks owned by the Religious Technology Center


Blogger totalwaste said...

i get the feeling you were referring to me specifically in your post.

i am NOT a nutjob.

do you really think scientology is the right thing for me?

February 26, 2006 7:05 PM  

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