Well, NY Times reporter Ariel Kaminer was encouraged to join until someone at the Church of Scientology Googled her name and realized that she was a reporter for the NY Times. But she still got enough material for a piece titled, "In Scientology’s Door, but Not Much Farther." Kaminer went to the group's Times Square building and took the "personality test with 200 sometimes puzzling questions":

Many addressed my interactions with others. Some asked about depression and suicide. A few were out of the blue: “Do you consider the modern ‘prisons without bars’ system to be doomed to failure?”

I tried to answer honestly: Yes, past failures sometimes trouble me. Though even as I filled in the oval, I thought: Tom Cruise would never admit such weakness.

The results were plotted along 10 axes, like stable/unstable, happy/nervous. I scored in the top 25 percent for most categories, and I saw a few eyebrows rise approvingly. But the test said I had only average communication skills and was overly critical: Interesting, given my job.

When I returned the next morning, everyone seemed very happy to see me. A platinum-haired woman sat me down and asked a big question: What had I heard about Scientology?


Kaminer was later encouraged to sign up for an $84 Scientology intro course—since members said it "could help an 'upstat' — high scoring — person like me achieve my long-term goals." Some other things: Could she join the church for 6 months and would she sign a waiver to "recognize, acknowledge and agree" that Scientology is a religion "intended for the betterment and well-being of mankind" and that L. Ron Hubbard's writing were intended to do various things.

Though she refused, Kaminer was allowed to take a correspondence course in the library—after giving her real last name (she initially just gave her husband's)—but her deep dive into Scientology ended when a man in a tan suit—the head of the church's NY chapter—approached her, "Apparently while I had been studying, someone had been Googling. He complimented me on my articles in The New York Times... He was very polite, even inviting me back for a tour. But after a few minutes, he escorted me out."