"Girl, I didn't know they had blacks in Scientology. Come here and talk to me." That's just one of the responses 63-year-old Patricia Gore says her out-of-the-mainstream (especially for African Americans) beliefs have inspired.
As part of The Root DC's "The Other Believers" series, Erin Williams spoke to Gore, director of community relations for the Washington Church of Scientology, about how she discovered — and why she embraces — what she says is simply an "applied religious philosophy" that is not at all at odds with her Christianity.
Why has she continued to embrace Scientology since she was introduced to it during a tough time nearly 30 years ago? Her reasoning should resonate with members of faith traditions of all kinds: "I believe that truth exists where it does," she told Williams. "You get it where you want it and where it works best for you." Read an excerpt here:
"I guess I consider myself a Christian Scientologist. A friend of mine introduced me to Scientology. I had been looking for answers that could help me in a more practical way. When he told me about Scientology, I thought, "Hmm." I remember him telling me that the word [Scientology] meant "knowing how to know." And I thought, 'If you know how to know, instead of guessing at how to know, instead of thinking you might know and not know, but you know how to know, that could be pretty amazing." I actually picked up the phone and called and said, "Where are you located? Could I come in and see what you guys do?" And they said, "Sure, come on in," and I did.
I think, initially, just the reception was pretty nice, and I appreciated that the people were warm and they were friendly. I had been growing up in a Christian background, and I told them that, and I never heard them say anything negative about that or try to tell me I should be something else, which made me sort of put down some of my walls …
Scientology is an applied religious philosophy, so it's 'How do you use this in your daily life?' It's not a belief system. There were things I could do, and after I started doing it, I could see the results. I think I was a little bit taken aback by the fact that there were so many white people, and so few black people, as I saw it. I still had my antennas up just to see how this could relate to me. I kept looking for [racism], and I kept expecting it … but I didn't [experience it], and that was kind of weird 'cause I grew up with it, and here were these happy people that were treating me very, very nicely, and I was like ‘Okay, what do they want? They're still being nice to me … ' So it was pretty cool …