Conclusion. On the disgustingly amusing personality test and what you need to know about Scientology.
The Oxford Capacity Analysis, which is almost exclusively used by the Church of Scientology, consists of 200 questions where you can bubble in “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe.” It took me about 15 minutes. But you don’t have to sit in an empty “church” to see what the test is like. The CoS generously has the Oxford Capacity Analysis test online. However, in order to actually see your results, you still have to go to your friendly neighborhood CoS, where they will print it out for you and explain your results to you guilt-free.
Just kidding. They’ll guilt the shit out of you. (If you just want to see the test, put in any name or e-mail. It doesn’t matter. Or else they’ll bug you several times via e-mail to complete the test and see your results at your local CoS.)
Looking through the questions, it becomes clear how out of touch with plain humanity the CoS is. For example, they like using “quotation marks” around “colloquial phrases.”
46.Are you “always getting into trouble”?
71.Do you often “sit and think” about death, sickness, pain and sorrow?
73.Are you always collecting things which “might be useful”?
135. Do the “petty foibles” of others make you impatient?
Do these people not know what scare quotes are used for? Irony, emphasis, implication of hidden meaning – these do not belong in a supposedly “serious test” that supposedly “tells you how you’re fucked up.” And why the hell does “sit and think” need to be emphasized? One of the many facepalm moments you’ll have in going through this test.
Some questions read like a standard personality test like Meyers-Briggs, asking about social preferences, how you interact with your environment, are you a sociopath. The usual.
The printout of the test results will look like this:
The above graph is a little different, in that it shows the results from someone before being saved by the CoS (the dashed line) and from someone well on their way toward unleashing their inner thetan (the full line). Herein lies a major problem. As far as personality tests go, the Oxford Capacity Analysis is more akin to “What Lord of the Rings Character are You?” than Meyers-Briggs or the Big Five Metric. As imperfect as these are, at least they have a fairly firm grounding in legitimate scientific research. The OCA is poppycock, created by someone commissioned by L. Ron Hubbard himself for the purposes of recruiting potential Scientologists and telling people how much they suck in order to sell them their own lives back.
In my own results, which I couldn’t bring home with me because the snazzy high tech CoS was having printer problems, my line dipped most significantly toward depressed, irresponsible, and withdrawn. I can’t remember my exact results. If you think there’s something a tad suspicious about the comparison of results in the above graph, then you’re onto something. As I said before, the test is actually very straightforward. It is stupid straightforward. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to answer the questions to get the “right” results. Scientology does not necessarily teach you how to become a happier, more effective, or more fulfilled human being. They teach you how to beat an idiotic test and, while they’ve got you down on the ground, beat into your head that you are so much better now because of the good ol’ CoS.
In filling out the test, I made an effort to answer as honestly as I could because I wanted to see how accurate the results would be. While it would be a blatant lie to say that I know myself inside and out and have no illusions about certain aspects about myself, I do have a good general feel about my personality. I have a tendency to be introverted, private, passive, go through temporary bouts of depression, among other things. So while the results are accurate, the interpretation and framework is appalling. It’s not hard to see how people get sucked into what the CoS is selling. When you’re told enough times that you’re a broken soul (reincarnated many many times), you almost can’t help but believe it. Looking at my results, CM #1 only focused on what was wrong with me and ignored each point that was actually in the positive section. I scored high on stability, composure, and being appreciative. She was dismissive of these and directed the conversation toward how severely depressed and irresponsible I was. Irresponsible is their term for “passive.” I do prefer following to leading and I do have trouble asserting myself in many situations. However, this does not mean I am a total, mindless lamb. This does not mean I allow everyone to tread on me. This does not mean that I never take the lead. It means “go with the flow” is my motto rather than “carpe diem.”
And according to the CoS, I am a dysfunctional, unfulfilled creature.
Cult Member #1 gave me a glossy, nicely produced book brochure of all the Life Improvement courses offered by the CoS. Some of these include Setting and Achieving Your Goals, Maintaining a Happy Marriage, Successfully Parenting Tweens and Teens, and Knowing Who You Can Trust. These sound innocuous enough, but wait a second – is this a church or live infomercial? They are savvy enough not to list prices in the brochure. CM #1, after a lot of simultaneous greasing and condescension, added that a course on How to Act Self-Confident was $50. I would be allowed to choose among several time slots and spend several hours pretty much teaching myself how to act self-confident based on the provided materials.
CoS is not a fucking religion. Believing in the Flying Spaghetti Monster is less detrimental to your psychological well-being than believing that a cult will turn your life around if you feed it enough money. Bogus personality tests, sci-fi e-meter audits, being told that you’re subpar – what’s not to love? What the CoS does have in common with the major religions is the salvationist aspect. They will save you, but not without cost. Oh, and they won’t actually save you.
In summation, Scientology is a joke gone bad. As much as it’s made fun of, it’s really not all that funny. The CoS is a con. Don’t fall for it. But if you want to check it out for shits and giggles, by all means, go ahead and play the part. And if you do, you should drop me a line and share how it goes. I’d love to hear your stories. The next time I stumble across a CoS and have a few extra minutes on my hands, I’m going to try to mess with them and either answer with the opposite of what I think or try to “beat” the “test.”
Thanks for reading this series. If I find enough things to do in my spare time, there may be more segments like Desperate Boredom. Cheers, fellow super thetans!
(Sorry for having taken so long to post Part 3. I was away on winter vacation and got back into the swing of a new academic term.)