Gena Discovers her Mother's L. Ron Hubbard Connection... By Gena Oppenheim (Writer)
In the midst of the recent TomKat craziness, my mom, whose pop culture analysis is usually along the lines of “Seinfeld must have originally been called Steinfeld, because Seinfeld doesn’t seem like a real last name,” shocked me when she shared her first hand experience with Scientology.
The summer after college while traveling in Europe, my mom decided to visit a friend who was staying at a "residential college" outside of London. Upon arriving at this “college” she was immediately struck by the odd nature of the student's conversations. Phrases such as “My cancer disappeared last week” and “I can walk now” were thrown in the air. When she casually asked what people were studying her friend replied:“Self-Actualization.” It was the 60’s, so this kind of phraseology was the norm. It wasn’t until she was in a "meeting circle" that things started to get truly trippy.
She continued that her father (L. Ron Hubbard) had “disseminated into the universe” earlier that year and how, even on his deathbed, he knew everything about everyone in the world. Mom quickly raised her hand and asked, “Even every peasant in China?” Without skipping a beat Ms. Hubbard stared her down and said: “Yes, every single one.”
After more such revelations perspective members were told that to join all they had to do was give $10,000 and agree to be hooked up to a "clearing machine." Needless to say later, while everyone headed to dinner, Mom ran back to London.
So now, when people ask me in the subway if I’m interested in learning more about Dianetics, I can say, “No thanks...I already know everything about everyone in the world."
A "clearing" machine
GENA OPPENHEIM Gena is a fourth generation New Yorker who teaches second-grade. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received her MFA from NYU Tisch's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. http://twitter.com/#!/genabeans