Church of Scientology: Committee or Cult?
Recently in the media, Americans have been questioning the legitimacy of certain news reports. However, there’s one place this spring where every ridiculous thing you hear will be true: the Church of Scientology committee at LAMUN.
After watching a striking documentary about the Church on HBO, crisis director Kali Croke was inspired to team up with Alex Guziak and form the committee. “The Church is always something that I feel like intrigues everyone, especially when you’re around LA,” she explains.
Specifically, Croke wishes to simulate the unbelievable facets of this organization for delegates. “A lot of crisis tends to be very historical and war-based, or econ, or political, but this is something that’s never been done,” says Croke.
It’s these muddy details that make the Church of Scientology committee arguably the most interesting at LAMUN. There is little known about the group, even today, despite the fact that they have been operating for more than 50 years.
The committee focuses on a specific operation carried out by Scientologists in 1973. “The people who were responsible for it were tried and all that, but even now the extent of the way the Church operated and its organization isn’t really known,” notes Guziak. “We get to fill those details in ourselves and take it in whatever way the delegates want.”
Despite the outlandish details of this historical committee, more parallels can be made to modern day than one might think. “The first connection I draw is to our domestic political situation, where people are very quick to believe something they have little proof for,” Croke asserts. “Similar principles apply when you’re talking about a cult.” The crisis chairs will be incorporating elements of the Church’s history into the simulation, anticipating how delegates will choose to respond to decisions.
That being said, the chairs are especially looking forward to the creative interpretation of delegates in shaping their story. “Feel free to be creative - we go from Los Angeles to Morocco,” encourages Guziak. “This is not just an American thing, this is an international thing. Think globally.”
“People pay thousands of dollars to find out about some alien God, and you’re like, ‘alright, this is made up.’ It’s not. It’s a real thing,” adds Croke. “I think just simulating that and knowing that it’s real and knowing that what these delegates may come up with is totally plausible, is one of the coolest things.”
To prepare for this exciting committee, the staff has one major recommendation - come well-prepared. Croke explains that the Church is “this whole political, financial, legal body. It’s run like a government. People are quick to assume that it’s like the Illuminati or something that defies logic - but it really is run like a tight ship.” She encourages delegates to find out what makes Scientology more than just a “wacky” religion before attending committee.
Above anything, this committee will allow delegates to be innovative when handling a wide variety of crises. “There is a set history about what happened, but it’s not a very well-developed history. It’s still very shady, so it’s going to be mostly up to them,” says Guziak. “We’ve been preparing for all kinds of contingencies to make sure we can handle whatever they throw at us.”
“At the end of the day, we’re simulating a cult,” Croke concludes. And it’s true - after what’s sure to be an unforgettable committee, you may never want to leave LAMUN.