Born in Bogota, Colombia and growing up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, I was taught the Catholic catechism. I volunteered as an altar boy for a few years, assisting our parish priest to apply the tenets of my religion. However, my sense of religion was not broad at the time. I knew about the Bible but did not read or study it. Judaism was altogether different in beliefs and lifestyles, in my mind; after all, I celebrated Christmas, and Jews celebrated Hanukkah on a different date. Eastern religions weren’t yet on my radar. In the world of my (baby boomer) generation, there was little cause for me to rub elbows with people of other beliefs or to realize the similarities and differences of other religions.
One Catholic priest known to me only as Father Donovan, whom my parents had befriended, attended many of our family picnics, religious or secular events, and outings. He was a likable fellow, and he was intelligent and good-looking. I remember being awestruck by his dedication represented by the white collar around his neck, which offset the black garb he wore in any weather or season. Father D was my symbol of religious belief in the best way, and I liked him. So much so that, when I was ready to graduate from high school and wanted to forego college and go into the priesthood, I sought his counsel about my future. To my everlasting surprise, he advised me against it!
Father Donovan’s explanation floored and dismayed me at the time, despite its common sense, to which I eventually agreed: “Go to college, experience living away from home; learn first about your place in the world around you and how you fit in with other people. Then, if you still feel the calling to serve God as a priest, come back to me, and I will help you.” With his few words, he changed not only my outlook on my life but also the course of my journey through it.
Man’s wars, ongoing conflicts, and acts of terrorism result from breakdowns in communication among people.
At college in the ’60s, new opportunities came my way, some good and some bad—which was which I learned through experiment. In a way, the broadening of my interests and sensibilities through interactions with other people of different beliefs played out my Catholic sensitivities and helped me to discover that my core—what centered me—included an urge to marry my sense of personal spirituality with practical, real-world applications. While getting to that point, I had followed a personal philosophy of trying out anything new at least once, but beyond college, I focused on finding what would align and balance both of those notions.
That balance I found through the Scientology religion. Through basic books written by L. Ron Hubbard, I discovered, among other valuable data, one supremely workable datum: communication (thoughts, words, touch, etc.), when agreeable, increases affinity (like, love, tolerance, etc.) and adds up to understanding(s). Applying this to my daily life was easy, and I observed that other people reacted well to it, too. We understood each other better. After that, through communication in the arts of professional modeling, acting, sales, and writing, I found success. In essence, my professional communications became expressions of my newly found spiritual wisdom, which predictably created understandings in my various interactions with other people. Because of these experiences, I believe not only that the Scientology religion aligns well with religions and religious beliefs of all persuasions, but also that communication is the common lifeline on which to advance understanding among all religions and religious beliefs.
In counterpoint, I find that Man’s wars, ongoing conflicts, and acts of terrorism result from breakdowns in communication among people, and that all peaceful accomplishments and advances are evidence of understanding(s) brought about through communication.
Today’s development of strong and fast, wide-open communication lines and internet devices crossing borders and generational divides has the potential to enable the entire world population to contribute to Man’s single most vital and fundamental need: to communicate! We must all communicate, and we must all learn how to communicate well if we would achieve common ground among ourselves, with our diversities. As the sciences prepare and widen pathways to an enlightened future on Earth and beyond, people everywhere are awakening to the part we must each play in our worldwide human race toward peace: we must communicate!
I owe a lot to my gatekeeper, Father Donovan. He enticed me to intermingle, embrace, and communicate with other people—to discover their values and wisdom and to find myself and my personal common core. His advice led me to a religion that welcomes all faiths and all religious understandings and embraces every expression of their beliefs.
The Founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard stated: “Ideas and not battles mark the forward progress of Mankind.”