Scientology 'free personality test' is newspaper insert
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—The Church of Scientology placed a "free personality test" -- Scientology's "Oxford Capacity Analysis" -- as a paid insert into The Tennessean newspaper Jan. 7 asking in a large typeface, "Are you curious about yourself?"
Though named the "Oxford Capacity Analysis," the 200-question Scientology assessment was not developed by Oxford University nor does it have any tie to the famed university. The Scientology "personality test" is described by various Internet sources as a Scientology recruitment tool used worldwide on Scientology websites, in Scientology churches and in public settings such as fairs and festivals. It also has been criticized by psychologists as not a bonafide personality test.
Scientology is listed among "New Religions and Cults" on the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board's website www.4truth.net.
The Scientology newspaper insert can be mailed postage-paid to the Scientology office in Nashville.
"We will call you as soon as we receive it and set up an appointment for your confidential analysis," the insert states on one of its four pages.
On another page, the insert states, "Find out how your personality determines your ability to handle relationships. Discover the factors about yourself that cause you stress. Just fill out this questionnaire and send it in. You will receive in person an in-depth, accurate analysis of the results of your test from an expert evaluator, obligation-free."
Young people under age 18 are asked to have a parent or guardian sign the questionnaire.
Baptist Press made inquiries into whether the Scientology personality test has been inserted into other newspapers across the country, but BP had not yet received any reports of such instances at the time of posting this article.
Tal Davis, interfaith coordinator for the North American Mission Board's people group/interfaith evangelism team, described to Baptist Press the recruitment strategy for Scientology's Oxford Capacity Analysis: "It is sort of a 'bait and switch' method. They ask people to take the free test, then use it to tell them that Scientology can help them overcome the problems that the test supposedly revealed. It is a tool simply to get people to buy into the strange, unscientific and unChristian system designed by L. Ron Hubbard. I would recommend that Christians stay away from it."
Hubbard incorporated the Church of Scientology International in 1954 after the publication of his initial book in 1950, "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health." Hubbard, who later became a recluse, died in 1986 aboard his yacht.
The North American Mission Board's www.4truth.net website includes an overview of Scientology's beliefs alongside a Christian response, pointers for witnessing to Scientologists, and a brief history of Scientology and a list of the cult-religion's publications and affiliate organizations.
Also at www.4truth.net is an article by a former Scientologist, Karen Pressley, who turned to faith in Christ after 16 years in the cult-religion, including four years as an international headquarters staff member.
In the Scientology overview at www.4truth.net, the section on God states, "The Church of Scientology International has no clear definition of the nature or person of God. References to a Supreme Being are rare in Scientology literature, calling it the 'eight dynamic' or 'infinity.' The Supreme Being is defined in vague, pantheistic terms as embracing the 'allness of all.'"
The section's biblical response states, "God is the eternal, infinite, personal Creator of the universe (Gen. 1; Deut. 6:4). He is Spirit (Num. 23:19; John 4:24) and has existed from all eternity in a triune form: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6)."
Pressley, in her article "Out of Scientology's Labyrinth" at the NAMB website, writes in part, "... the sun never sets on a day that I do not think about the Scientology-driven life I left behind, and give thanks for my new life. Now, instead of despising my moment-to-moment existence ... I live free in Christ with an attitude of gratitude for God's miraculous deliverance from Scientology, and for the new life He has given me."
Pressley now leads Wings of Love Ministries, which she founded "to raise people's awareness about Scientology through publishing and speaking services to churches, academic organizations, conferences, and media," according to her http://karenpressley.com website.
An introduction to faith in Christ can be accessed online from NAMB at http://bit.ly/8u1DlN.
Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press.