John Travolta Says He'll Airlift Scientologist "Volunteer Ministers" to Help Earthquake Victims in Haiti

Posted by Byard Duncan, AlterNet at 5:50 PM on January 18, 2010.

Too bad they don't know what the hell they're doing.

John Travolta has announced that he will fly "volunteer
ministers" from the Church of Scientology to Haiti, to help victims of the country’s devastating earthquake. "I hope that inspires others as well," Travolta told WYTV, an Ohio-based ABC affiliate. "It's needed."

Crisis Scientology like what Travolta’s doing is no new phenomenon. In the past, Scientologists have helped set up "detoxification" programs where firefighters work out, rest in saunas and take supplements that supposedly cleanse them of PCBs; And in the wake of 9/11, Scientologists were allowed to stay with workers from the Red Cross long after all other religious groups were told to leave. One former firefighter even told the New York Times, “It’s actually a pretty awesome program.”

Still, just how well these "healing" sessions work (if at all) is extremely unclear -- seemingly a question of "believing" or "not-believing." Witness a 2005 Washington Post story about Randy Meyers, a mechanic from Michigan and member of the Church of Scientology, who flew to India to help tsunami survivors (by touching them with a finger):

Auto mechanic as healer: Meyers does not need your affirmation. The team of 28 volunteer ministers in southern India is a crowded lot of confident self-actualizers. There is Iain Cochran, 31, who normally works as an accountant for a vitamin company in the United Kingdom, overseeing payroll and bill payment, now laboring to "restore communication with an ill or injured area of a being."

Rarely is straight-news copy lacquered in so much bitter sarcasm.

Gawker has the goods on the unorthodox concoction of healing methods utilized by volunteer ministers -- from “Locational Assists” (repeatedly directing someone’s attention at objects like chairs or buildings) to "Nerve Assists" (touching someone on the back to release what’s called a "standing wave" of trauma) to "Touch Assists" like those performed by Randy Meyers and friends in the Post story.

The whole guide for "Assists with Illnesses and Injuries" can be found here. Not included in Gawker’s coverage are other gems like how to make a drunk person sober in “a very few minutes” (here), or how to help an individual heal himself (According to Scientology, “Injury and illness are predisposed (made more likely to occur) by the spiritual state of the person. They are precipitated (brought on) by the being himself as a manifestation of his current spiritual condition. And they are prolonged (extended in time beyond normal limits) by any failure to fully handle the spiritual factors associated with them.”)

Critics would say that such a one-two punch of quack science and contrived, self-righteous piety seems right at home in the canon of Scientology. But try telling that to the true believers, who are likely airborne by now -- on Travolta's dime.