This phrase occurs in an article about the bizarre science-fiction cult that my friend Jamie Kirchick published last month:
The broad contours of Scientology’s inception are well-known: In 1950, the pulp sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard published a self-help book called Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, which humbly claimed itself to be “a milestone for Man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his inventions of the wheel and the arch.” . . .
In 1952, Hubbard decided to merge his bunk scientific claims with his science fiction and market the mixture as a religion. He called it Scientology, or, “the science of knowing how to know answers.” According to Church defectors, and now infamous thanks to South Park, Scientology’s theology is essentially a discarded Hubbard novel. Human beings are the composition of spirits (“thetans”) cast off from the bodies of space aliens detonated 75 million years ago in volcanoes on the planet Teegeeack (also known as Earth) by a galactic warrior named Xenu. Man’s problems today are attributable to “engrams,” or the mental memory of painful experiences caused by the presence of thetans on our humanly bodies, which one can get rid of only through a process of spiritual “auditing,” a sort of counseling session performed on a low-rent lie-detector machine called an “E-Meter.” Those who join Scientology often end up spending vast sums on auditing and other Church gimmicks, leading detractors to characterize Scientology as a pyramid scheme in which members pay ever-vaster sums of money to ascend the Church’s “Operating Thetan levels.” A typical story involves the grief-stricken, 73-year-old widow who took on a $45,000 mortgage to pay for auditing after Scientologists preyed upon her following the death of her husband. . . .
Read the whole thing. It’s hard to believe anyone with an IQ above room temperature could be suckered into believing the nonsense promulgated by Scientology — but then again, is it really more absurd than the beliefs of the Democrat Party?