By: Sam van Royen
SCIENTOLOGY CHURCH – 10:30 AM – AMSTERDAM
‘Hi, I’m here to meet Robert Kruijt.’
The lady at the reception looked up from her paper and looked at me curiously.
‘Does he know you’re coming?’
‘Okay, I’ll give him a call. Please write your details here.’
I filled in the logbook and saw two other names – it wasn’t very busy. Maybe it was the fickle winter weather. Robert came down a few minutes after and gave me a tour. The group recently bought the new church, located in eastern Amsterdam. Inside this spacious, lavish facility, we began our conversation about their stances on the ideal world and continuation of the church.
Future of the World
Sam: Let’s start off with a broad question: what is the ideal future vision?
Robert: Of me or Scientology?
Scientology, we’ll get to you personally later.
Sure. Scientology believes in a world without war, without poverty and where humans can roam free. They shouldn’t be stopped by people with bad intentions.
Do you want a worldwide ‘going clear’?
(grins) We wouldn’t put it that way.
So what do you want then? Is a world in which everyone is Scientologist a good thing?It’s a tough question. According to me, yes. There are plenty of Christians who see us as a natural follow-up of their beliefs, but there are others who disagree.
How would our world improve?
When people start applying our basic principles, the ARC-triangle for example – affinity, communication & understanding – when they disagree with someone, then you can find out what both parties want and what’s realistic to solve the issue.
Is it fair to say that your stances are passive?
What do you mean?
In the sense that you try to stop conflicts without violence or chaos.
There have been a lot of visions from religion about the fate of our planet, what’s the Scientology viewpoint?The future is completely in our own hands. We are not expecting a doomsday.
There are a few trends in our society that don’t necessarily have a positive impact. Use of drugs, immorality for example. It has happened that we as a society sink to a low level. That it’s no longer nice to live. The Second World War for example.
There are so many countries where there has been suppression, where ethnic groups have been wiped out. I think you’d agree with me that if we don’t do the right thing it may just happen again.
So when I say the future is in our hands, it can be applied at a global level. This is not a Scientology thing per se, it’s also a personal viewpoint.
You mentioned immorality earlier on, could you name some examples?
Pornography for example is something that is leaving a huge mark on society. It’s not something we support. There are also tv-programmes that explicitly show the use of drugs.
Spuiten & Slikken for example?
Are these the types of shows that shouldn’t be on television?
I think so, yes.
Is that not a form of censorship? When you prohibit these types of shows for a major audience?
I don’t know if you want to call it that. 50 years ago it didn’t air on television and we as society didn’t see it as censorship. We could be showing explicit clips of killing on television but we don’t because it hasn’t been accepted yet. I don’t see how it can be negative, it will only have positive effects.
So the average television viewer would be better off not having to see these shows. Is it because they are easily influenced? What’s the exact problem?
Dutch youth in the south of the country are using a lot drugs. It has to have come from somewhere. We have come to a point where it’s accepted, that happened through different channels, television is one of them.
I don’t automatically dislike people who use drugs, however I don’t support it.
Are there no drugs-users within Scientology then?
(grins) I’m not sure, but it’s definitely a low percentage.
Future of Scientology
Now; the future of Scientology itself. The numbers of churches are increasing worldwide; will it only get bigger?
My gut says yes, but I can’t predict it. If you would have asked me 15 years ago if we’d be opening churches in Venezuela and Colombia I would’ve said no, but here we are today with the churches in those places.
I don’t know how or when it’s going to happen, but A) it’s happening and B) we’re well organised. There’s probably going to be a Scientology television channel in America before the end of this year.
I read in an article from Trouw that Scientology in Holland has 100-200 members. If that number is correct, is that enough to keep everything running smoothly from a financial standpoint?
We have about 450 people doing a congregational service per year. Then again – if someone reads a book and believes in our principles – I’d consider him one of us. The lines are blurred. 100-200 is not true however.
Are you dependent on the money that members provide?
We’ll always need to receive money in order to exist, to pay rent. But it has never been a problem.
But there were many stories going around that the church was often unable to pay rent at the previous location…
Yes, that’s true. But we’re still here.
So there were financial issues?
Yes, but the issues were never severe enough to stop us.
Future of Robert
You’re 33 years old, how long have you been in Scientology?
Well it started quite late. My parents were both Scientologists, but I only started indulging myself at the age of 20. I began reading, understanding and agreeing with Hubbard’s literature.
That’s when you saw the light?
It’s a full-time job, what type of money do you earn, if you don’t mind me asking?
Well it’s more now, seeing as we have more income. I used to have a small job on the side, well I still do, but I don’t really need it anymore.
But it’s enough to pay the bills?
Sure. There is no minimum wage with churches, I don’t even know how much other churches are paying, whether they’re even paying. Nonetheless, I didn’t get into Scientology for the money.
50 years from now, you’ll be 80 years old. Will Scientology still exist?