Scientologist Kirstie Alley Says Depression Is Not Mental Illness — Could It Be Possession By Alien Parasites?

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Kirstie Alley on the runway and Scientology building

Kirstie Alley went on Tucker Carlson Today to talk about being conservative in Hollywood, supporting Trump, drug use and her belief in alien parasites that inhabit the bodies of all living humans.

This last item is due to her status as a member of Scientology, which doesn’t accept or believe the modern field of mental health is valid.

During the interview, Alley acknowledged that while depression and anxiety are real, but told Carlson, "I don't think you're mentally ill if you're depressed" — to which he enthusiastically agreed, because “Life is sad!”

Obvious enough to anyone living in the 21st century, there’s a vast difference between the emotion of sadness and clinical depression — and depression, a mental health disorder, is not, as Alley suggests, the same thing as the grief she says she felt after her grandfather died when she was young.

Why don’t scientologists believe in psychiatry and psychiatric medications?

The long and short of it is that Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, decided that they shouldn’t.

Instead, he wrote his own manual of the mind based on his own theories of cognitive psychology, which he then instructed his adherents to believe.

These are made up of his personal beliefs about the mind, along with claims of limited exposure as a child to popular psychologists from the early 20th century.

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The work of many of these early theorists, like Sigmund Freud, has been superseded by current research that’s light-years ahead of them.

These days, we have greater access to the mind and its processes than ever before due to advances in technology, but Hubbard’s approach forever limits Scientology to a mixed bag of preliminary guesses and his own personal ideas — one of which was, reportedly, “If it’s not true for you, it’s not true.”

The treatment of mental health disorders with medication suffers particularly harsh criticism in Scientologist doctrine.

This is why Alley told Carlson that “the reason I don't go to a psychiatrist is because in their bag are the drugs, that's the main way they treat people.”

In an FAQ page on the organization’s website titled "Why is Scientology opposed to psychiatric abuses?" psychiatric care, including the prescription of medications such as antidepressants, is equated with torture.

“Moreover,” it reads, “there is categorically no evidence that diseases such drugs claim to treat even exist — which is to say, it’s all an elaborate and deadly hoax.”

Of course, modern science holds that is all completely untrue.

But this is a belief system that relies on one man’s ideas of the mind loosely based on psychological theories from the 1930s and ignores all major developments in modern medical progress since then, so it certainly makes sense that adherents go along with this school of thought.

Dianetics could be the reason that Scientologists can’t treat mental illnesses.

Hubbard stopped his pursuit of psychology for a reason, though. Early on in his life, he was obsessed with learning about the mind and cognitive behavior. So what changed?

The science fiction writer decided to try his own hand at the field, and they sent him packing.

In 1949, he attempted to generate hype for a thesis all his own, but none of the major associations of the time wanted anything to do with it.

Eventually he managed to publish “Dianetics,” which is the manual for the mind that’s used by scientologists everywhere. It was based on material from early psychoanalysts like Freud, who Hubbard would continue to obsess over for decades after.

The book was overwhelmingly panned. The American Psychological Association unanimously told its members that “Dianetics” was not to be used in clinical practice. Hubbard decided to take his ball and go home.

Unfortunately, he also opened his own gym when he got there.

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There is some speculation that L. Ron Hubbard may have been a paranoid schizophrenic.

In the late 1930s, Hubbard underwent a tooth extraction and received nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to dull the pain.

There’s a possibility that this experience, which he often wrote about later, was a kind of turning point in his own mental health journey, as he began to hear voices shortly after.

Then, as a lieutenant in the Navy, he once claimed to have heard strange clues through a gun ship’s sonar system that led him to release 37 depth charges over the course of three days. While no single Navy official agrees with his claim, Hubbard says that what he heard through the sonar told him that he’d sunk an enemy submarine.

There’s a picture of Hubbard becoming more delusional over time, until ultimately his second wife Sara was encouraged to commit him to an institution in 1951. Enraged, Hubbard kidnapped her and his daughter Alexis.

His paranoia would only worsen. Later in the battle between the religion many view as a cult and psychiatry, Hubbard would claim that a global cabal was out to get him and suppress his ideas.

He used the language of the Cold War and anti-communist rhetoric, suggesting that elite members of government and banking institutions were involved.

“Dianetics” would go on to become the manual for Scientology, and there it would find the foothold that the mental health field refused to provide.

Unfortunately for Hubbard, attempting to form his own pseudo-scientific manual for the human mind, and leaning more and more into the realm of spirituality and religion, wouldn’t offer any relief from his critics.

What do Scientologists believe — and is it all just science fiction?

L. Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer. It’s been pointed out that many of his ideas for Scientology come straight from his stories and novels.

When someone become a member, they’re expected to pay exorbitant amounts of money for advancement through a series of levels through a process known as clearing.

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With each level comes an “audit,” where they go “clear” by revealing troubling secrets to their auditor — a practice which many on the outside equate to the organization collecting blackmail to forcefully retain its members.

When enough money is spent and enough secrets are divulged, members who reach the level of OT3 are told the story of Xenu and the thetans.

Xenu was an alien overlord who banished many members of his galactic civilization to Earth, where he proceeded to tie them to volcanoes and destroy them with nuclear bombs.

He then brainwashed their spirits, or thetans, with images of memories of real life Earth history, which Hubbard claims to be all untrue. These brainwashed thetans began possessing human beings as they evolved and came on the scene.

Known as “body thetans,” these alien ghost parasites are what Scientologists believe to be the root of all human problems.

Kirstie Alley is only parroting that belief while protecting the strange story of Xenu, itself a science fiction classic from Hubbard.

The organization has spent a lot of money on keeping this story under wraps, but it’s been previously confirmed through leaks and Hubbard’s own notes.

The Xenu story is also a novel that Hubbard wrote in 1977 called “Revolt in the Stars.”

The belief in body thetans and Xenu keep Scientologists away from modern mental health care.

It’s not just Kirstie Alley who’s spoken out about Scientology’s crusade against mental health care.

Tom Cruise famously argued with Matt Laeur during the interview where he criticized modern medicine and mental health treatment.

John Travolta long refused to recognize the fact that his son may have had autism.

Some of these actions have tragic consequences, especially in the lives of lesser-known scientologists, because not every one of them is a movie star.

There are regular people, too — regular people who are forced to go without proper medical care because of the whims of a man who liked Freud and was laughed at for writing about his own bizarre theory of the mind.

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Kevin Lankes, MFA, is an editor and author. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Here Comes Everyone, Pigeon Pages, Owl Hollow Press, The Huffington Post, The Riverdale Press, and more.