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Free Personality Test!

That’s what the Church of Scientology used to promise, as they button-holed you on sidewalks or advertised on billboards: “Free Personality Test!” or “Discover Your Reactive Mind!” or things like that.

Without going into the oddities or (alleged) improprieties of Tom Cruise’s favorite religion, I’ll just say that I was never tempted to join. Or even to discover my reactive mind. All of the intensity and eye-contact and barely concealed aggression I’ve seen from Scientology’s acolytes just doesn’t seem very attractive to me. I like my religions lower-key.

Yesterday, though, Scientology scored a minor coup. The church purchased an “advertorial” on the Atlantic.com. And boy, did it look a lot more “vertorial” than “ad.” You can find the whole thing here, cached, but you’ve got to hand it to the graphics team of Scientology & The Atlantic:  this certainly  looks like a page from Atlantic.com:

It says “Sponsored Content” up there in yellow, but I’m not sure “sponsored content” is all that descriptive. I mean, all content is sponsored. By someone. (Usually Audible.com, but you know what I  mean….)

There was a Twitter uproar, of course — people who read Atlantic.com don’t like to think of themselves as the kind of people the Church of Scientology should be going after. People who read Atlantic.com are smart, see? Under no circumstances should they be direct-market targets of wacky cults and creepy religions. So they pushed back. And Atlantic.com caved, in a memo today:

We screwed up. It shouldn’t have taken a wave of constructive criticism — but it has — to alert us that we’ve made a mistake, possibly several mistakes. We now realize that as we explored new forms of digital advertising, we failed to update the policies that must govern the decisions we make along the way. It’s safe to say that we are thinking a lot more about these policies after running this ad than we did beforehand. In the meantime, we have decided to withdraw the ad until we figure all of this out. We remain committed to and enthusiastic about innovation in digital advertising, but acknowledge — sheepishly — that we got ahead of ourselves. We are sorry, and we’re working very hard to put things right.

How, exactly, did they “screw up,” unless it’s really just a euphemism for, “We let our readers know that they’re a perfect fit for the Church of Scientology?”

After all of this, one thing is clear: the editors and publishers (and readers) of Atlantic.com did, ultimately, submit to a personality test. The results weren’t great. Maybe they need to work on their “reactive mind.” I know a place where they can do that.

  1. DocJay
    South Park Proved Right About Scientology XENU Story

    It gets better than personality issues.  It ends with aliens, always with the aliens.

  2. Group Captain Mandrake
    DocJay

    South Park Proved Right About Scientology XENU Story

    It gets better than personality issues.  It ends with aliens, always with the aliens. · 2 minutes ago

    Great video, but they edited out the part where L. Ron Hubbard says, “Of course, this is all total bollocks.”

    Why does he say “rulah” and “pictyah” for “ruler” and “picture”?

  3. EJHill

    Radioactive.jpgPersonality Test!

    Never been accused of having one of those.

    Discover Your Reactive Mind!

    More like radioactive.

    Now who’s first to get the snake in the mailbox?

  4. Misthiocracy

    So, Atlantic readers don’t mind “advertorials” in general, but instead only object when it’s a service/product they don’t like?

  5. DocJay

    Group Captain Mandrake,  I knew a man who was OT3.  This amazing feat he accomplished by being bilked out of $250,000 over time.  He confirmed to me that the alien garbage you see above is the special secret they let you in on for your big payments.     He was fairly disillusioned when he realized it was all a giant money con.  But as the evil lord Xenu says,  ha ha ha!

  6. Group Captain Mandrake
    DocJay: Group Captain Mandrake,  I knew a man who was OT3.  This amazing feat he accomplished by being bilked out of $250,000 over time.  He confirmed to me that the alien garbage you see above is the special secret they let you in on for your big payments.     He was fairly disillusioned when he realized it was all a giant money con.  But as the evil lord Xenu says,  ha ha ha! · 0 minutes ago

    Poor sod.  He should have watched this.

  7. Olive

    @ Rob: “I’ll just say that I was never tempted to join. Or even to discover my reactive mind.”

     LOL. 

  8. Yeah...ok.

    Did Robert A. Heinlein create the religion of climate change?

    Why not add 100 virgins to the OT3? It seems to work in other faiths.

    Any U.S. Army generals calling to urge you to avoid offending Scientologists, otherwise they may be forced to riot?

  9. DocJay
    Yeah…ok.: Did Robert A. Heinlein create the religion of climate change?

    Why not add 100 virgins to the OT3? It seems to work in other faiths.

    Any U.S. Army generals calling to urge you to avoid offending Scientologists, otherwise they may be forced to riot? · 3 minutes ago

    You just can’t get enough virgins in the afterlife.  

  10. Scott R
    DocJay

    South Park Proved Right About Scientology XENU Story

    It gets better than personality issues.  It ends with aliens, always with the aliens. · 5 hours ago

    Informative. Informative and plausible. Explains why it always feels so good when my wife scratches my back. It’s the aliens. Very, very small aliens. On my back. Hiding back there. Tormenting me.

    Gotta admit, the guy’s making some sense.

  11. Frederick Key

    Well, they revived Travolta’s career, so I guess they can raise the dead.

  12. N.M. Wiedemer
    EThompson

    DocJay: Group Captain Mandrake,  I knew a man who was OT3.  

    Actually Doc, I knew a woman who was married to an OT3 and you are correct that there is no such thing as a poor Scientologist. · 11 hours ago

    UT, What ugly rumors! Rest assured, Scientology is more egalitarian than that. You generally just don’t meet the poor Scientologists because their busy sweating out their million year contracts in the work camps.

  13. EThompson
    DocJay: Group Captain Mandrake,  I knew a man who was OT3.  

    Actually Doc, I knew a woman who was married to an OT3 and you are correct that there is no such thing as a poor Scientologist.

  14. Roberto
    Rob Long:  Without going into the oddities or (alleged) improprieties of Tom Cruise’s favorite religion, I’ll just say that I was never tempted to join. ago

    It never quite inspired me to faith either. I must say however that the continual rumors of “the bet” always made me curious about  Scientology, or at least how it began:

    It is widely believed that L. Ron Hubbard and Robert A. Heinlein made a bet in a bar one night either than L. Ron could not create a religion, or to see who could create a religion first…

    Ignoring calling any religion’s validity into question; is there any evidence for or against this bet actually happening?

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