The 'Church' of Scientology
The creation of pulp science fiction writer L.Ron Hubbard, who produced "Dianetics - The Modern Science of Mental Health" in 1950. Dianetics was a therapy based on the idea that traumatic events from the past, especially those experienced while unconscious were the cause of all problems. These were known as "engrams" and could have their harmful potential removed by re-living them while hooked up to a primitive lie-detector called an E-meter. Once all these had been removed, a person would have achieved the state of "Clear" and would have perfect memory. The first "Clear" Sonya Bianca was presented to the world at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles in August 1950. It was a fiasco, reaching a climax when she could not even remember the colour of Hubbard's tie when he had his back to her. Hubbard excused this by claiming that when he had asked her to "come out now", this command had frozen her in "present time". Subsequently there were other "first Clears", but eventually "Clear" became merely a stepping stone on the 'Bridge to Total Freedom' and the OT (Operating Thetan) levels became the heart of the cult.
The change from Dianetics to Scientology came when Hubbard temporarily lost control of the trademark and started selling the same stuff under a different name. Then he started searching for traumas in past lives. In 1967, he moved his headquarters to a ship called the 'Royal Scotman' (sic) and founded the "Sea Org", whose members still form the core of Scientology, even if they never go near the water. Dressed in quasi-naval uniforms, they have signed billion-year contracts. Many are recruits who cannot afford the vast cost of the Scientology courses, and so sign up for very low wages and "free" courses. Should they later think of leaving, they are threatened with having to pay back the "free-loader debt" they have incurred for these courses, though this has never been legally enforceable. If they upset their superiors they can be sent to the RPF "Rehabilitation Project Force" until they beg for forgiveness
And if anything goes wrong, it is always somebody else's fault:
"HUBBARD COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex
HCO POLICY LETTER OF 29TH JUNE 1971
Limited issue DGs AGs GO CONFIDENTIAL Bureau IV PRO Legal PRO Hat
Policy is that we assign any case or upset in Scientology to past damage and interference with the person by medicine or psychiatry. They were sent to us after medicine or psychiatry had already destroyed them. We cannot be blamed for psychiatric or medical failures."
Scientology describes itself as a Church mainly because of the advantages such as tax-exemption that religious status gives it in some countries such as the U.S. At one stage 'ministers' did dress up with dog-collars and hold 'services', but nowadays the only activity is selling courses to the 'raw meat' and pressurising existing members into giving ever-bigger donations. So we have a "religion" where the only sacrament is passing round the collection plate. "Anti-drug" campaigns and similar are organised purely for PR purposes. "Scientology is being planned on a religious organization basis throughout the world. This will not upset in any way the usual activities of any organization. It is entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors." L. Ron Hubbard, HCOPL 29 October 1962. There is a franchise system in which scientologists can set up their own 'missions', separate from the Scientology 'orgs' and collect a percentage of the fees, but this causes internal tensions with the centre always suspicious of the franchisees and trying to extract even more money from them, for example by sending 'verification missions' to them,and charging thousands of dollars a day for the privilege.
The "Church"' is divided into a set of interlocking corporations to make it difficult to trace the money, but it is ultimately under the control of David Miscavige, who took over when Hubbard was hiding from the authorities in the California desert. Hubbard communicated with his followers through the CMO "Commodore's Messengers Organisation". Miscavige realised that Scientologists would obey any order apparently coming from Hubbard, and so was able to seize power, pushing aside Hubbard's family, and Hubbard's appointed successors Pat and Annie Broeker the "Loyal Officers".
Since Hubbard's death, Miscavige has concentrated all power in his own hands, incarcerating "International Management" in Scientology's "Gold Base" in Hemet, California, where he lives in luxury, with all his minions waiting upon him, with copper rods sunk into the earth so he can "discharge energy", with spiked fences (with the spikes pointing inwards) to keep the victims in. When he decided to cull senior managenent he literally had them playing "musical chairs" to decide who could stay. Now he has decided that the future of Scientology is "Ideal Orgs" expensive buildings (paid for by members, but whose ownership is transferred to Miscavige) with plenty of big video screens (because Miscavige can't trust the staff to project "Standard Scientology " and prefers to use expensive video presentations). Indeed Miscavige spends most of his time working on bizarre presentations for Scientology's regular celebrations where he appears on stage in front of a cowed crowd (and nowadays the crowd is often packed out by hired extras - and numbers are further exaggerated in publicity photographs by Photoshopping) where he boasts of Scientology expansion with meaningless figures (number of dust particles removed from L. Ron Hubbard films, population of cities where there are Scientology groups) to claim expansion "straight up and vertical " whereas in reality as seen in census figures, attendance at Scientology "orgs " the figures are crashing.
One of Scientology's strongest weapons used to be "disconnection " whereby anyone leaving Scientology was cut off from all family, friends, employment inside Scientology. (Scientology has tried to claim that disconnection has been cancelled, but this is refuted by the messages sent ordering Scientologists to remove "enemies " from Facebook etc.) Once upon a time this would have been effective, but with Scientology numbers crashing, Scientologists thinking of leaving, realise they will lose contact with more people by staying in than by walking out.
The latest scam is called "The Golden Age of Tech II" which (again) promises to fix all the problems with Scientology, and of course involves victims paying to do the courses all over again.
"Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious. Mr Kennedy did not exaggerate when he termed it "pernicious". In my judgement it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt because it is based on lies and deceit and has as its real objective money and power for Mr Hubbard his wife and those close to him at the top. It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line unquestioningly and to those outside who criticise or oppose it. It is dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially children and impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living and relationships with others." - Justice LateyMiscavige's Medals
For more information try the following links:
Andreas Heldal-Lund's comprehensive survey of Scientology, including extensive documentation
Chris Owen's collection of really hard-to-find documents
OTVIIIisgrrr8.com Satirical view of Miscavige announcements
Scientology's own version
Mike Rinder's blog (former Scientology spokesperson)
Counterfeit Dreams. Jeff Hawkins story of a lifetime in the cult
Roger Gonnet's Secticide page (French)
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