Revealed: Scientology’s “Stress Test” Scam

Everyone has seen them at subway stations, street festivals, shopping malls, and even ordinary city sidewalks: a few friendly-looking people sitting at small, folding tables, with colorful electronic contraptions prominently upon them, and lots of hardbound copies of L. Ron Hubbard books. A sign screams out, “FREE STRESS TEST.” Naturally, everyone feels a little stressed out in our modern day, so with a chuckle and a smile, the ordinary citizens passing by may sit down “just to see how this thing works.” It is fun to try out this kind of carnival game. Maybe this gizmo will say something amazingly accurate. Also, it’s free. What could go wrong?

Well, a lot could go wrong, and often does. The people with the gizmos are Scientology cult recruiters; the machines themselves are Scientology “E-Meters,” a primitive sort of lie-detector machine; and the Hubbard books are part of a sales strategy that is elaborately plotted out to the point of being bizarre, especially for an organization that claims to be a religion. No matter who you are, how you feel, or what kind of jiggles and squiggles the E-Meter apparatus makes in response to you, the Scientologists will tell you that your life is in a rather precarious situation, and that the best thing would be for you to come down to the “church” for further interpretation and advice. Let’s make an appointment for you now. What is your name, address, home phone number, work phone number, cell phone number, e-mail address? You need to buy one of these books, too.

What is this “Stress Test” nonsense?