Wrote his account of his twenty years ‘in the Scientology fold’ published in 2008. Earned a BA at UCC in 2012. He is now a full time writer.
I am aware that English to Irish translation gigs can be hard to come by. It is tough enough getting steady work in modern European languages, so the prospect of paid employment in your chosen field will be enticing to say the least. But be well warned; working in any capacity for Scientology under even its most innocuous sounding front groups, is a minefield from which few come out unscathed. ‘That way lies madness’ as the saying goes.
Because what I write below may seem a little bit harsh, I had better prefix the article with a statement of my credentials. I was recruited into Scientology in 1986 and rapidly moved into its inner and most militant core, The Sea Organisation—a quasi-military, fanatical brotherhood that owns and jealously protects all properties, both intellectual and substantial, that fall under the International Scientology Corporate remit.
I escaped—in the literal sense—in 2006. It was a twenty-year-long nightmare, and to this day I still suffer nightmares and wake up in a cold sweat, having dreamt that I was once more trapped within that hellish regime.
While working in many executive and administrative roles within the organisation, I became involved in various projects to oversee and manage translation work including an English to Hindi project and an English to Hungarian project. Thus, to misquote Gandalf; I know whereof I speak.’
You see it on the likes of Twitter and Facebook all the time, emotional appeals to one’s better nature. A click of the mouse to indicate support of an ostensibly decent cause and then the horror of realizing that you have ‘liked’ a pro-NAZI hate group, or lent your support to some unhinged anti-science cult.
The Scientology Irish Translation Project is simply a more sophisticated version of the above. It is a net thrown out broadly to catch unsuspecting lovers of Irish language and culture. A fishing lure cast into humanity’s stream to bag a prize specimen. Those that speak, write and translate Irish are a rare species. They are a cut above, by virtue of the necessary brainpower and linguistic dexterity required to translate, not merely words, but history, values and culture, from one set to another.
Scientology has achieved a singularity in Western culture, becoming a byword for all that is crazy, all that is despicable in our modern world. Thanks, in particular to the likes of the ‘Google Search engine and internet troublemakers like Anonymous, it has thus done its best to disguise its recruitment efforts. Luring the unsuspecting with innocuous ‘entry level’ courses and front groups such as NARCANON, WISE, The Way To Happiness Foundation and indeed, YHRI or Youth for Human Rights International. But once you have become enmeshed you will find that you are involved in a cult that has Science Fiction as its core theology and practices that are rooted in the methods of the occultist, Alex Crowley. You will find an anti-intellectual, white supremacist, homophobic scripture that makes Ayn Rand’s writings look like a children’s ‘Lady Bird’ picture book. And if you dare become an apostate it will use its vast wealth and its paid-for politicians and police officers to crush you.
Opposition is met with endless litigation that leaves the unsuspecting bankrupt, exhausted and broken. While high profile Scientology evangelists such as Tom Cruise, dazzle us at movie premiers and lend their glitz to unsuspecting politicians desperate for media attention, behind the scenes well intentioned, garden variety folks are being bled dry. Children are being denied their rights of freedom of body, thought and expression, elderly are being abused in unconscionable ways.
Of course, you could not possibly know what really goes on unless you have either lived deep within the bowels of this organisation or challenged them in court. The fanatics that operate its public relations and it external security arms do everything in their power to project an acceptable image. Judging by the ‘South Park’ Trapped in The Closet’ episode and the ensuing hilarity it garnered across the ethersphere, they really need to rethink their approach.
Just imagine the shocked silence at the gathering of friends and family, you, a thoughtful, hardworking translator, with years of sweating through your BA, MA and PHD degrees, stumbling through an explanation as to who you are working for these days. “I um, am translating for Scientology, yes, that’s right, the Tom Cruise cult, the one featured on South Park... “ Ouch.
Now to the nitty gritty. Supposing you do take up the offer and embark on a project to translate the quirky language of a not altogether sane and balanced narcissistic megalomaniac who was more often than not out of his head on a smorgasbord of illicit drugs when lecturing to his worshipful devotees back in the 1950s and 1960s. Let me first put you in the mindset of the founder of Scientology, Hubbard, the Guru, the All Knowing Leader.
In 1958 he opened the first Irish Scientology center on 69 Merrion Square, calling it ‘The Atomic Energy Healing Division Emergency Station’. That went down well. It was closed within twenty-four months.
He was convinced that humans are infested with alien beings and that a Scientologist must be cleansed of this infestation through an endless process of guided introspective audits that one can expect to be engaged in for at least four hours every day for a minimum of twenty years.
The above process will cost a minimum of twelve hundred Euros for each twelve-hour block. You will have spent in excess of five hundred thousand by the time you reach the end of this process.
Scientology runs a standard ‘past life security check’ that is regularly carried out on children as young as ten years old as well as adults. It contains such questions as: ‘Have you ever had anything to do with a brothel?’ Have you ever slept with a member of a race of another colour? Have you ever raped anybody? Have you ever had anything to do with communism or are you a communist? And this little zinger ‘Have you ever had anything to do with a baby farm?
Try to translate that into Irish.
Translating Scientology materials will be a very different process to say, translating PD James or even Jack kerouac. You will need to learn a bewildering array of acronyms, for example BTs—that is Body Thetans—as well as a swath of terms Hubbard invented for his esoteric ‘philosophical system’. These include: Isness, havingness, Hubbard’s very own definition of Affinity, Thetan. And you will have to become intimate with at least twenty charts including ‘The Hubbard Chart of Human Evaluation’, from an alien perspective—joke—The Hubbard Gradation Chart of Awareness, The 0 to Havingness Scale. I could go on.
In order to fully comprehend these and the many other facets of Scientology you will be required to take Scientology courses and indeed engage in Scientology audits. You will be pushed to sign up for paid courses and believe me, any hard won financial gain you hoped to achieve through your efforts will be swallowed up, or better yet, dissipate, just as the mirage-like Turloughs of the Burren district in County Clare do.
Scientology runs a uniquely frustrating financial and administrative system. The international corporate organisation is worth somewhere in the multi-billion mark, but that treasure is stored in offshore accounts, the Netherland Antilles being a prime location for its banking needs. But you will not be working for the international operation. You will be working for either its European book publish arm, New Era Publications, its US subsidiary, Bridge Publications or its audio visual branch, Golden Era Productions. These work a Thursday to Thursday financial and administrative week. All books must be closed out by Thursday at 2 pm. All the weekly income is then calculated and a mandatory 70% of that is filtered off through a bewildering system bank accounts, dummy corporations and tax feints to the Caribbean banks.
Any and all of the Scientology companies you work for have to fund their entire operations from the remaining 30% of that weekly income. The income is made from persuading people to buy Scientology courses and procedures, it is not exactly Starbucks, so you can be fairly certain that the weekly operating capital will be very tight indeed. New Era Publications operates a large printing administrative and distribution center in the city of Copenhagen, that is an expensive place to do business. After vital costs such as utilities, rates, essential services and administration has been allocated, little old you, the busy translator, will be sitting down at the lower end of a list of necessities and creditors. In short, you can expect to have to fight for your pay.
I cannot tell you how many unwitting contractors and creditors I have seen walk away in tears of frustration after months of trying to get payment from Scientology organisations.
So be warned, humble translator, stay away from Scientology. As I said earlier, That way lies madness.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2017 john duignan
Kailemro on November 07, 2017:
No one should do business with Scientology or "WISE" organizations. They don't know the meaning of the word. All they understand is donations.
John McGhee on April 21, 2017:
Excellent piece, John