As someone who deals with mental illness in my home daily, this article infuriated me. According to the story, a Scientologist father convinced his schizophrenic son to stop taking his medications, AND he placed a loaded gun on the teenage boy's nightstand. Not surprisingly, with the sudden withdrawal the anti-depressants, the young man's voices began tormenting him again, and the boy killed himself.
Anyone who lives with a person afflicted with schizophrenia knows what a terrible affliction it is. The victims are often terrorized by voices, running 24/7, that are so realistic, so convincing, that they lose track of reality. They believe these are real people. And these voices are not nice – often they're yelling, saying horrible, insulting, or degrading things to the patient. All day long.
Schizophrenia is not something that these patients make up. They don't just feel a little bit off, or unhappy. They can be completely incapacitated by fear from the unrelenting voices that yell at them, curse them, or just whisper awful things to them, day after day, year after year.
Getting back to Scientology, they are flat out WRONG about the causes of schizophrenia. It is not a matter of poor diet, or "allergies," or of psychiatrists getting patients addicted to drugs they don't need. Schizophrenia is a terrible disease. Nobody knows the cause. Nobody knows the cure.
Scientologists, in my opinion, are acting immorally and irresponsibly when they, with no scientific or medical training, diagnose illnesses, contradict the best scientific and medical advice available, and convince a patient to stop following the doctor's prescribed treatment plan.
Only a religious group could get away with such immoral and outrageous behavior.
Modern medicine doesn't have all the answers, but in this case, I can say from first-hand personal experience, as well as a thirty-year career working with some of the finest medical researchers in the world, that Scientology is wrong. And in the case of this teen who shot himself, they're dead wrong.
As far as I can tell, Scientology has always been, and continues to be, a destructive religion. It was a complete fraud, perpetrated by founder Hubbard, from day one, and it's disgraceful that so many have fallen into its grip. I hope those responsible, directly and indirectly, for this young man's death will be punished. Unfortunately, the reality is that they'll probably get a "Get out of Jail Free" card, because their quackery was done in the name of religion. They can make any wild-ass claims they like, and the government can't stop them. Even if someone dies.
I can understand many things, but Scientology's stance on psychiatry and mental illness is beyond belief, beyond rationality. It's just cruel.