A discussion about Scientology and its opponents was held in the President’s Dining Room on Wednesday.
The talk titled “Anonymous: The Anti-Scientology Movement,” hosted by The Most Greatest Club Ever, looked into the reasons behind the formation of the group Anonymous.
Dusty Witt, a senior religion and philosophy major and Club president, said that this event was different from others the club has hosted as it was his choice rather than the whole club.
“This event was all me. I had a personal interest in the subject and thought it would be fun,” Witt said.
Due to his interest in the subject, Witt said that most of the work towards the presentation was organizing what he already knew.
“I was really surprised that there were so many people in the same mindset as me. I expected a lot more diversity in opinion,” Witt said.
The lecture began with Witt asking those attending how they viewed Scientology. The majority of the room viewed it negatively as they thought it was a cult.
He gave a brief explanation of the history of Scientology, which was founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 as an extension of “Dianetics,” a set of ideas that binds together the spirit, the body and the mind.
It was also pointed out that Scientology is popular among celebrities such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta as they have the wealth, power and status needed to promote the religion.
Anonymous has only been in existence since the start of 2008 as a reaction to the Church of Scientology censoring certain videos and information from the Internet.
They have since launched campaigns against the Church of Scientology which involve YouTube videos, peaceful protests and hacking into web sites, which had certain media outlets calling them terrorist super hackers.
They also launched a leaflet campaign with messages such as “Google: Lisa McPherson” in an attempt to make the public look into Scientology themselves.
Jesur Habek, a junior in business public administration, said that he found the discussion interesting and liked learning about Anonymous.
“People out there are not ignorant, but they are angry,” Habek said.
Since Anonymous formed, there has been a decline in the church ‘s membership due to its negative view across America and the world.
Germany, for example, refuses to classify Scientology as a religion on par with other well established religions.
However the question was posed that if Anonymous were to ever launch a similar campaign against Christianity, would the world view them the same way?
It was generally agreed that people would not.
The main reason people support Anonymous over the Church of Scientology is due to the censorship of the church.
Ben Vankleeck, a freshman in international business, said he learned a lot about Scientology and Anonymous.
“I had never heard of Anonymous before but I like how they fight for free knowledge and basic human rights.”
Diane Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.