The Calming Influence
As the protests swirled in the wake of the death of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson in early August, Reverend Barry Coziahr of the Church of Scientology knew what to do. He called a friend and asked him to publish a special edition of The Way to Happiness, a book that provides a common-sense moral code designed to bring peace and calm and to help reverse negative trends in society.
“We passed out about 20,000 of them since the unrest began,” said Coziahr, who collaborates with a number of local churches, each of which distributes its own special edition of the book.
The Way to Happiness, written by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard and first published in 1981, holds the record as the single most-translated nonreligious volume in the world. It supplies 21 precepts on which nearly everyone can agree, such as “Love and Help Children,” “Set a Good Example,” “Do Not Harm a Person of Good Will” and “Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others.”
The message is simple but profound. It has proven effective in helping to restore human decency and honor in many areas—particularly during times of strife and challenge such as the aftermath of the Ferguson turmoil.
“It’s all about helping to bring peace amid a very tough situation,” Coziahr noted. “What we’re hoping to convey is that people of all faiths can come together to reduce crime and save lives. If even one life is saved because of this book, it’s worth it.”
Once they read the book, Coziahr finds, most people are taken by its timeless and enlightening principles, and give copies to their friends and family.
But how can a life be saved by a book?
“I’ll tell you how,” he replies. “I ran into a mother on the street who told me she teaches her children the precepts every day. What impact might that have on those kids, and might that save a life later on?”