Flint, Michigan: City Council to look over the Church of Scientology’s “The Way to Happiness” as a proposed morality guide to lower crime rates.
Faced with high crime rates, economic decline, rampant violence, and social decay, the City Council of Flint, Michigan has turned to the writings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. An enigmatic author and founder of the religion, Hubbard was a prolific writer of science fiction as well as works related to Scientology and his theory of Dianetics. His teachings focus on using the connection of one’s mind and body to overcome trauma and promote health.
Some of Hubbard’s most important writings relating to spiritual health have been condensed into a 73-page book titled “The Way to Happiness.” Scientologist Monika Biddle offered the book to members of Flint’s City Council during a committee meeting, suggesting that perhaps Hubbard’s teachings could help reverse the city’s decay. Although many are unaware of Scientology’s religious teachings, Scientologists assert that Hubbard’s teachings comprise a “nonreligious moral code.”
Biddle has met with Flint Mayor Danye Walling, the city’s emergency manager Darnell Early, and Police Chief James Tolbert to discuss the program. Pleased with what he saw, Tolbert stated, “I think it’s a good deal, yes. From the information I’ve seen, apparently it works. I’m for anything that works.” Many of the precepts in “The Way to Happiness” do seem non-religious, with commandments such as, “Take Care of Yourself,” “Honor and Help Your Parents,” and “Be Temperate.”
Teachings from the program will be adapted into public service messages, encouraging people to obey the law, avoid violence, and respect one another. The Way to Happiness Foundation which distributes the text claims they wish to heal the country and address the moral decay present in modern society. So far, the foundation has distributed over 100 million copies of “The Way to Happiness” in over 170 countries. The organization also recommends the program for rehabilitating criminal offenders.
Monika Biddle has further suggested that the text be distributed in crime-ridden and decaying parts of the country such as Los Angeles, California and St. Louis, Missouri. The Way to Happiness Foundation currently urges for Hubbard’s teachings to be implemented by police forces, neighborhood watch groups, youth groups, schools, and other programs for young and at-risk individuals.
Many of the precepts found within “The Way to Happiness” are good sense, and City Council leaders feel there is little harm in reminding people to act morally. The City Council will decide whether or not to implement the program this year.