30 New Things: Go To a Scientology ‘Church’

scientology church st paul

A girl has pretty high expectations when she works up the nerve to enter a church of Scientology. Anything that makes Tom Cruise jump on couches must be pretty intriguing, right? When my friend Emily and I braved the doors of Minneapolis’s very own Scientology church, this is what we knew about Hollywood’s favorite religion:

  1. It was created by a 1950s Sci-Fi author who wrote short stories with titles like “The Automagic Horse.”
  2. It somehow involves an alien ruler named Xenu
  3. We have it to blame for the horror that was Battlefield Earth

Both Emily and I were genuinely nervous and spent a good deal of time discussing exactly how much we were going to lie to these people, how much time we’d be willing to devote to this attempted brainwashing and how neither of us were allowed to spend any money on oversized books featuring bearded wizards on the cover.

So we were oddly disappointed to walk into the Scientology center and found it well-lit, tastefully decorated and staffed with seemingly normal people. Apparently we thought it was going to be filled with people wearing body suits and attempting to levitate. I mumbled to the very nice man staffing the front desk that we were interested in taking the personality test and we were handed a long pink survey sheet and ushered to a quiet corner.All was progressing fairly normally until I encountered the question “Do you ever get a ‘dreamlike’ feeling toward life when it all seems unreal?” And then “Are you a slow eater?” followed by “Do you ever get disturbed by the noise of the wind?” and “Do you suspect that you are actually a reincarnated Egyptian queen?”

Okay. Not that last one. But the other ones!

Another perfectly nice and seemingly normal woman took our surveys and converted them into graphs which she used to illustrate our mental states. According to our graph interpreter, both Emily and I were crap at making friends, emotionally withholding and damn near unpleasant. In addition to this, apparently I had trouble accomplishing things in my life or taking action.

Friends. There is many a thing about me that is less than stellar. Anal retentive? Yes. Occasionally driven to the point of obsession? Check. Delusional about my dancing ability? Present and accounted for. However! I could make friends with a throw pillow. And accomplishing things? That’s what I dooooo.

And my friend Emily? The girl has, like, 3,000 Facebook friends. Friend-making is not her shortcoming, either.

So we developed a theory. These graphs must be skewed in an effort to give people a complex, thus making them easier prey for Scientology tactics. “Maybe you’re right! Maybe I am an emotionally vacant ice queen! Point me in the direction of your over priced wizard books!”

Sadly for them, Emily and I are both a bit too confident in our friend-making skills to fall for that tomfoolery. So we skipped happily out of the church, relieving them of two fat booklets which we then giggled over while drinking a bottle of wine. Awesome.

Final analysis: ridiculous and recommended. It’s kind of like a palm reading. Except free. And maybe less valid.

Have you ever taken any of the Scientology tests? Would you?

photo via scientologynew.org 

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  1. Kitty

    That's awesome. I totally want to o this! This goes right up next to setting a lobster free.

    Also, I have given you an award, which you may or may not already have, but I am hoping you will play along anyway.

  2. Fae

    "So we developed a theory. These graphs must be skewed in an effort to give people a complex, thus making them easier prey for Scientology tactics. "

    Uh… duh. 😀

  3. Fay

    The tests actually ARE meant to make you feel that way!

  4. Sarah Von Bargen

    Kitty – thanks so much! I'm so flattered!

    I was pretty impressed with myself that wasn't swayed by the test's "findings" … but who knows if I would have held up as well if they would have told me that I thrifted too much and had an unhealthy obsession with cheese 😀

  5. Sal

    I would've been the same way heading in. No, worse. And I would've chickened out.

    Good thing you know yourself so well and can discount the crazy graph findings. If the tests are meant to give people inferiority complexes, that really says something about how damaging celebrity can be to the human psyche. Cruise might've had concerns over not making enough friends? Eesh.

  6. Nikki


    It just really does suck that some people do fall for their crap. Gah!

  7. Young Werther

    Must be a mid life crisis… Scientology, Harry Potter and faux-bacon?


  8. Kendra W.

    Hahaha this is hilarious! You are brave.

  9. MrsFreethinker

    it was FREE? wait a minute…i thought getting monies was like, the WHOLE point of Scientology. South Park was wrong i guess

  10. Vanessa

    What bizarre questions (not that I'm really surprised at that)! I'm glad you weren't convinced that you're a terrible person by their graphs. It's all a ploy to get money and followers.

  11. Eyeliah SS

    Girls yo are so brave!! I would be scared they would follow me home! lol so rediculous that you are bad at making friends.

  12. Eralda LT

    Hahaha…this is soooo funny! I can't believe those questions and the results. So ridiculous! Thanks for sharing – this is one of those brighten-my-day stories.

  13. poppygallico

    My boyfriend was new to a city and was walking along a street when he was accosted by Scientoligists. Being the try anything person he is, he ended up being trapped in a room for four hours answering those surveys, and then the tried to get him to sign a document saying he would join the church (and also sign away all his wordly goods.)

    I think they can smell people who are displaced and are desperate for companionship (therefore more willing to join somewhere offering social interaction). The bells probably went off when you voluntarily stepped through their doors!

  14. Leonie Etheridge

    'Tom'foolery. Hahaha

  15. Liz

    Though it sounds fun, I think people should be careful taking these tests, as not everyone has the confidence or mental strength to hear the results of them (having sometimes to tragic consequences).

  16. SuZi

    I only just found this via your "in 2009 I have" list and it made me giggle.

    I was stopped recently by a guy in Berlin asking me to take a "stress test". Nothing fishy so far. Except when I saw books by Ron L Hubbard (or whatever that guys name is) and when he gave me two metal cylinders to hold, wired to a electric scale thingy. Then he asked me questions and I had to think of the answers.
    I had to think about my family. My boyfriend – at this point the needle on the scale shot right to the left and he went "Wow! Do you have any bad feelings about your boyfriend? Is there somthing wrong between you two?"
    I bit my lip really hard tying not to laugh. Do I have to mention that I didn't have a bf at this time? Same with the other questions. I made the answers up in my head and apparently I am STILL really really stressed.
    In the end, when he wanted to sell me a DVD on that stress relieving method, I only told him that I know how this machine works, and that it had nothing to do with thoughts or stress or whatever.

    And I went my way giggling over the fact that I encountered a real living Scientology person.

  17. Laurie Van Den Beldt

    Love what Leah Remini is doing with her show on A&E and exposing this “church” for the cult and financial scam it is.

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