I have been reading about engrams. They are, according to L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, impressions in our brains caused by painful and traumatic past experiences. Anyone, believed L Ron, who heard their mother cry out in pain while giving birth, for instance, will have engrams. Which puts the blame, if not entirely fairly, then certainly squarely at the feet of the woman who fails to remain absolutely silent while suffering the indescribable agony of labour.
Of course, children born to a mother who is given pain relief won’t hear any engram-forming screams and will be engram-free until the first loud, traumatic and painful cry of the over-excited father as he stubs his toe on the edge of the birthing pool.
Scientologist women, however, do not use pain-killers during childbirth; L Ron didn’t approve of pharmaceutical drugs. And Scientologist fathers don’t shout, even when they stub their toes; they too must be quiet little mice throughout the birthing process. We know this from the 6ft-high posters delivered to the home of Tom Cruise and the pregnant Katie Holmes last week, one of which read, “Be silent and make all physical movements slow and understandable”.
Is it possible to control the speed at which one doubles oneself up in agony, I wonder, or the volume? Or is it conceivable that the body language of the expectant mother in this situation could be misconstrued? “Oh sorry,” says the Holmes-Cruise midwife, “I thought you were doing your Pilates calf stretches when in fact your contractions started 24 hours ago and you are in tremendous pain. I’ll fetch the hot water and towels.” Despite my research, I have been unable to find out quite what harm engrams do to a person, but clearly they are not desirable.
Scientologists fear them so greatly that they have them rubbed out by a process known as auditing, which involves the use of an e-meter. This machine, which L Ron claims to have invented, is in fact, appropriately enough, a lie detector, measuring vital signs such as heart rate and skin sweatiness, as indicators of mental anguish.
A person who is being audited is known as a Pre-Clear, while the person doing the auditing is known as an Auditor, someone who can tell from the movement of the needle exactly where the problem is in the Pre-Clear’s body and soul. Once fully audited, the Pre-Clear will become a Clear and could one day even become an Auditor themselves. So, as they as say in America, “Go Katie!”
John Travolta, another Scientologist, describes the e-meter as a “religious device”. He says: “I enjoy it. I’m always totally refreshed by it.” He says he uses it every day, “at home or in the celebrity centre in Hollywood”. He doesn’t explain quite what the celebrity centre is or whether it is for the exclusive use of celebrity Scientologists and if so what precisely are the criteria for admission. Can you, for instance, get in after just the one appearance on Jerry Springer or do you have to have been in several episodes of Dawson’s Creek?
– Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, quoted atWhat judges have to say about Scientology
Either way, this building, which I imagine has a swimming pool and someone handing out white towelling dressing gowns, must be fertile ground for Scientologist celebrities looking for new Scientologist celebrity mates. When Penelope Cruz left Tom Cruise because, allegedly, she couldn’t cope with the Scientology, (and possibly because she had heard about the silence and slow motion during childbirth rule) he could well have come here to find his next recruit.
So there you are, lying by the pool on the third floor of the celebrity centre (the third floor being for those who appeared in Dawson’s Creek and then went on to make some well received, if not exactly blockbuster, films), when along comes Tom Cruise, very rich, famous and handsome – unfortunately a Scientologist, but, as they say in America, what the hey, the wealth, fame and looks will just about compensate.
But then, after speedily yet silently (prospective fathers are not supposed to “use language” while copulating) conceiving a child, some 6ft-high posters arrive at your Hollywood residence, which interfere acutely with the pre-baby interior redesign. Not only that, but the instructions on the poster are beyond worrying, and in carrying them out you inflict upon your cerebellum some major indentations – or engrams.
The result is that the celebrity Scientologist’s baby emerges with a clean, smooth surface to its brain but the mother, during her next scheduled session with the e-meter, sends the needle either off the scale or into an irregular, jerky motion known as rock slam.
When this happens, so it has been written, the indication is that the Pre-Clear, or in this case the new mother suffering from severe post-natal depression through not being allowed to scream or physically harm her birth partner during labour, has an “Evil Purpose”. To be perfectly honest, by now I’d be very surprised if she didn’t.