On the surface, you can’t get much different than Scientology and Apple. One is a publicly reviled cult while the other has droves of fans lining up to purchase every new product release.
Dig a little deeper and these organizations seem a lot more similar.
Here are four ways Scientology and Apple are practically indistinguishable.
1. Founded by charismatic leaders who have seen their public images take a hit following their death.
L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology in the 1950s after a successful career as a science fiction author. He is revered within the Scientology community, seen as a nearly god-like figure. However, reports from outside sources portray a much different character, more of a charlatan and troubled man, and that is informing many views for those not inside the organization’s circle of influence, who still defend him vigorously.
Steve Jobs helped co-found Apple in the 1970s and eventually took over leadership. He is revered within the Apple organization and among its many fans, seen as a nearly god-like figure. However, recent portrayals of him in popular media reveal a much different character, more of an asshole and troubled man, and that is informing many views for those not inside the organization’s circle of influence, who still defend him vigorously.
2. Realize the power of celebrity promotion.
Scientology makes no secrets that it tries its best to recruit A-list celebrities. Tom Cruise and John Travolta, both brought on board at the height of their popularity, have long been the gold standard for Scientology. The church uses its influence to affect productions to try to lure more members, and Cruise and Travolta benefit greatly from Scientology’s reach.
Apple is one of the most prominent brands in movies and TV shows. Their products show up anywhere computing is being done, with big stars naturally at the heart of those scenes.
3. Designed to systematically take more and more money the deeper in you get.
Scientology has many levels an adherent strives to achieve before they can be declared “Clear”–the highest attainable level for a human being. They have exercises and procedures designed to help people climb these levels. Each one costs money. As people get deeper into the program, more money is required, and people naturally want to feel results so everything they’ve done to that point was not a waste. You can quickly get sucked in and spend a fortune.
Apple comes out with new products at an alarming rate. Each product is designed with its own hardware so, for instance, an iPhone needs its own proprietary charger and can’t use the same type of charger used for so many other electronic devices. Products are also frequently designed to work in sync with one another, so once you start buying Apple products, by design you have to keep shoveling more money to them to get the most out of them. Then, of course, updated products are introduced, usually with just minor new features or improvements, but those are hailed as the latest and greatest and are pushed on their consumer base. You can quickly get sucked in and spend a fortune.
4. Commit deplorable acts to maintain status.
Scientology has a long history of going to great lengths to silence critics. It launched what it termed “Operation Snow White” in the 1970s, which at the time was the largest case of domestic espionage in the United States. It placed covert agents into government agencies, perpetrated wire taps, and stole documents from federal offices, all to hide activities of its members. It has engaged in attacks on individuals who were critical of the church or made it look bad in any way. These efforts continue to this day.
Earlier this century, it came to light that Apple no longer produced any of their products in the United States, with a report in the New York Times stating executives “believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.” While this is an acceptable business practice on the surface, it has opened Apple up to despicable labor practices, with child labor, sweatshop factory conditions, and worker suicides normal for those companies contracted to make their products. A neurotoxin is used as an industrial solvent because it is cheaper. Despite repeated claims that they are working to improve conditions, even they admit child labor is getting worse in their factories. All of these deplorable working conditions continue to this day.
How deep do the ties go? With these two organizations involved, it may be impossible to tell for sure. But if this site suddenly disappears, you’ll know why.