Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When a critic isn't a critic at all

     Many people have the capability for seeing that something is not right.  There is no shortage of critics.  However, it is rare to find someone who sees that something is wrong and then volunteers to fix it.

     I remember my first visit with Mike about making a donation to the church.  It was one of my first efforts at fundraising.  We were sitting in an office and discussing the International Association of Scientologists event that we had watched earlier that evening, and Mike was considering a donation that would increase his status.  It would be the largest single donation to the IAS that our own local group had ever produced.

     We talked about many things that night.  One of the things that he mentioned was that he did not like the fact that the carpet in the church was getting old.  This was valid - we had been in the building for 10 years, and what with the heavy traffic, the carpet had seen better days.  I had no rebuttal for this - it was a fact, and fundraising isn't a matter of snappy comebacks and wrangling objections.

     As we continued talking, Mike recounted the story of why he was an ardent supporter of Scientology and the IAS -

     Mike had been a soldier in the Vietnam war and came home feeling depressed.  As a result, he became a psychiatric patient.  Rather than cure his depression, the shock treatments he received simply erased his memory.  He was hobbled to the degree that he lost his job, and after his last round of "treatments," he couldn't remember the name of the girlfriend that came to retrieve him from the hospital.

     After several months of clouded memory and eclipsed ability, after losing both his girlfriend and his job, he lay awake in his bed with tears in his eyes.  He could see no route to follow other than that of suicide.  Before drifting off to sleep, he said a prayer. "God, if you show me a way out of this, I will dedicate my life to helping others out as well."

     That morning, he awoke to a Scientology radio hour on KSHE.  After listening to the program and walking into the church, he knew that this was the way out that he sought, and so has dedicated his life to helping others with Scientology.

     Many have told stories about how Scientology saved or changed their lives for the better, but none so dramatic.

     Mike paused for a long while after this and said, with tears in his eyes, "I'll make this donation on one condition."

     "I want you to let me buy new carpet for the church as well."

     Happy birthday, Mike.  You continue to be an inspiration to all of us.  May this be the year when your greatest dreams are realized.

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