Students: Questions remain after Scientology talk

By Wesley Yonts

Despite the hype surrounding last night’s lecture on Scientology, many students who attended said they walked away feeling like their questions remained unanswered.

“I feel a lot of it was propaganda — it made you kind of feel stupid,” said Nick Pulliam, a communications junior from Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

“To me, most of it seemed like a (communication) class or a psychology class,” said Austin Gorman, an advertising sophomore, “and I didn’t really see much religion into it until the very end, when people started to ask some of the hard questions about what the roots of Scientology are.”

Chad Reese, a philosophy junior, said he did not expect the Scientologists to discuss their belief system in depth.

“It didn’t really surprise me,” Reese said. “It wouldn’t have done them a lot of good to bring up the dogmatic, or the theological, if I can use that term loosely, arguments of the religion. I kind of expected it as a loose breakdown, using generic non-controversial topics, like communication and things like that.”

Thalia Ghiglia, a director of public affairs and community activities for the Church of Scientology, said this approach was deliberate. The lecture was sponsored by Student Activities Board and was the second installment of the Faithbusters lecture series.

“It’s easy to find out what Scientology is about — it’s on the Web site, you can look that up,” Ghiglia said. “So we wanted to do a more experiential workshop because the heart of Scientology is help and communication.”

Despite the initially tepid reaction, many students hung around after the event ended and debated with the Scientologists.

Mark Greco, a marketing senior, said he agreed with Scientologists on many of the issues, like the things they said on communication and finding common ground.

“On the other hand, I disagree with what they agree on about some fields of mental health,” Greco said. “I believe that serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia and severe depression can be treated by medicine.”

But the topic of Scientology still remains very contentious in the eyes of many people.

“I feel that Scientology is a dangerous organization,” said Jared Ryker, a computer science junior. “…The fact that they view psychology and psychiatry as evil…”

“I don’t view them as a church,” he said. “I view them as a business.”

However, in the end, some people walked away having learned a great deal.

“I agree with the Scientologists, probably on a lot of stuff,” said Michael Statham, a psychology junior, on what Scientologists said about help, communication and control.

“There’s more to Scientology then just Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes,” he said.