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Scientology's Oxford Capacity Analysis

Decent Essays
“Free Personality Testing – Come this way!” said the sign I passed entering Scientology’s Castlereagh Street headquarters.

The interior feels like the what you’d get if you blended a holistic healing centre with Starship Enterprise. Erupting volcanoes, light pierced landscapes, and the Egyptian-looking Scientology symbols, provide the imagery for the science meets self-help vibe.

Zipping towards me, a uniformed female attendant.

“The personality test? This way!”

Now, I’m looking down at Scientology’s Oxford Capacity Analysis personality test: a battery of 200 questions asking how I “feel RIGHT NOW” about a range of issues.

"Do you get occasional twitches of your muscles when there is no logical reason for it?"

"Are you rarely happy,
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Pondering whether I “enjoy telling people the latest scandal about my associates” (I do!), I notice the roped off office of church founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Presumably, the great man beams in from out-of-galaxy from time to time.

After finishing my test, I’m whizzed over to a star trek like video pod. I thought we might be taking off, but instead, I was shown a short film outlining the dangers of the "Reactive Mind". Apparently, we’re plagued by subliminal and harmful thoughts, which we can eliminate using Scientology.
"Hi. I'm Scott*”, says a friendly young man dressed with a crisp white shirt and thin black tie. “Come this way and we’ll check out your results".

“This graph indicates what you have told us about yourself. These results are not my opinion, but a factual, scientific analysis of your answers”.

The graph shows ratings on a scale from -100 to +100 for 11 attributes such as Stable/Unstable, Happy/Depressed, and Composed/Nervous. For each category there’s a "normal" range, a “Desirable State” and an “Unacceptable State”.

My result was distressing, to say the
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Scientology teaches that psychiatry is "evil", and spurns the use of drugs to treat mental illness. Tossing modern medicine aside, serious psychiatric disorders are treated using vitamin supplements.

As I left the Sydney building I noticed several teenagers in the lobby. I doubt I would’ve laughed off such a damning character assessment at such an impressionable age. I wondered. which of these fresh faces would be told they had no real reason to live? That their opinions are of little value. That they are undependable, completely irresponsible, malicious and mean.

A few hours after taking the test in 2008, Norwegian student Kaja Bordevich Ballo, jumped from her 4th story dorm room window, leaving a note saying sorry to her family for not “being good at anything”. With a previous history of mental illness, Kaja found the test results “devastating”. Following a Norwegian parliamentarian saying that “everything points to the scientology cult having played a direct role” in her suicide, a police investigation failed to confirm a causative link to Scientology.

Looking at these smiling young faces, I wanted to yell, “Go! Run!” Get out of the Starship, RIGHT
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