L Ron Hubbard’s ‘Supporting Evidence’ for Dianetics – Dianetics and Scientology in Astounding Science Fiction (pt 20)

dianetic processing a brief survey coverDianetic Processing: a Brief Survey of Research Projects and Preliminary Results |   Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation | 1951 | Download as .pdf (Click the grey ‘download through your browser’ button in new tab)

After L Ron Hubbard’s first article about dianetics in the May 1950 article of “Astounding Science Fiction” people and organisations started asking for evidence for the claims he had made regarding ‘dianetic therapy’. They included:

One year after the first article about dianetics in “Astounding” (the iconic May1950  issue)  another SF pulp magazine, “Marvel Science Stories”, published an ‘debate’ assessing dianetics. They followed this article up in August 1951  by publishing reader’s letters on the subject.

The letters to “Marvel” included on by Lew Cunningham MD of the Department of Anatomy at Stanford University. He mentions receiving a copy of a pamphlet which sounds very much like this publication. Cunningham speculated that Hubbard wanted to get doctors on board the dianetics bandwagon, and thought this pamphlet would do the trick.

Unfortunately for dianetics, Cunningham judged that neither Hubbard, nor those who wrote for the Dianetic Foundation, know enough about medicine or science to realise how inadequate their submission actually was. In his letter, Cunningham effectively demolishes its credibility.

With a little help from Dr Cunningham’s lettert in”Marvel”, we will now closely examine the pamphlet which Hubbard apparently  published in January1951, and presented  as evidence for his claims regarding dianetics.

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“Blown”: A Novel Set in the World of the Sea Org

BlownBlown| Lauren Halsted Burroughs | 2016 | ISBN 978–0-692-68160-2 | Read Online

There is currently only one other novel (that I know of) set in the closed social world of Scientology, “The Symphony of Lief“, by Paul Y Csige. “Blown” is a welcome addition to this tiny sub-genre.

“Blown” is written by an outsider who is acting as a ghost writer for an ex-Scientologist. The content is based on her principal’s experience as a young, female, second generation Scientologist, who joined the Sea Org at an early age.

The Sea Org presents itself as equivalent to a monastic order, where the most dedicated Scientologists dedicate themselves to the cause. They wear pseudo-naval uniforms because the founder of Scientology, L Ron Hubbard served in the US Navy. Although his career was actually undistinguished, Scientologist are told that he was a war hero.

The reality of Sea Org ‘service’ is equally disappointing. Many members are children of Scientologists who are pressured to join, or recruited straight out of Scientology schools (Download Evening Standard article about the UK’s “Greenfields School”). Having had no meaningful education they are consigned to a life of manual labour, for example restoring buildings bought by the Church of Scientology.

At the same time, they are required to ‘study’ Scientology and are subject to direct control over every aspect of their lives. This occurs both indirectly (through the requirements of Scientology and practice) and directly (though the application of military-style ‘discipline’ that is indistinguishable from abuse).

“Blown” principally follows the lives of two sisters (Amory and Riley) and their friend Daisy through their early careers in the Sea Org, and shows how destructive this kind of total institution is to human relationships and welfare. Continue reading

“It Works” by RHJ – Wishful Thinking in Fringe Ideas and its Influence on Scientology

CoverIt Works | RH Jarret | Download as .pdf (Click on ‘Download in Browser’ button)

In my previous post, I discussed a book by Ron Miscavige, entitled “Ruthless”. Ron, the father of David Miscavige, the present ‘leader’ of Scientology, wrote about his son’s rise to power and his own career in Scientology, which culminated in an escape from a guarded compound.

Despite this experience the text reveals that Ron:

  • Still believes that the practice of Scientology itself has some value.
  • Committed himself and his family to the organisation almost on a whim – his understanding of  his own ‘philosophy’ seems to me to be extremely superficial

Some reviewers have blamed Dan Koon, his ghost writer, for Miscavige Sr’s apparently sympathetic attitude toward the teachings of L Ron Hubbard.  Koon is an ‘Independent Scientologist’, who rejects the ‘official’ Church, but continues to practice his conception of Scientology, so he might have influenced the text.

I think it more likely that Ron is simply the kind of person who accepts such fringe ideas uncritically, especially if they are persuasively presented.

The ‘further reading’ list at the back of Ron’s book provides support for this view. It recommends a pamphlet called “It Works” (which you can download from the link a the top of the page). This text has no connection with Scientology, but shares many of its basic ideas and promotional tricks.

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“Ruthless”, a Book by the Father of Scientology’s Leader and “20/20 -A Father’s Story”

RuthlessUS_UK

US edition (left) & UK edition (right)

Ruthless: My Son David Miscavige and Me (UK Edition) | Ron Miscavige with Dan Koon | Silvertail Books | 2016

This book is based upon the experiences of Ron Miscavige, the father of David who is presently the ‘leader’ of Scientology. In it he discusses how he took his family into Scientology, how his son rose to power, and how he eventually escaped from a guarded Scientology compound.

From an outsider’s point of view this is an essential text for the things which Ron Miscavige reveals but, overall, a frustrating read.

The problem is with Ron himself. He is what people who study literature call an ‘unreliable narrator’ – he’s telling the truth as he sees it. Unfortunately, in his version of reality, Scientology should be taken seriously, and there are valuable insights in its early teachings.

Also, he is still impressed by writers who were big names in the (now largely forgotten) ‘New Thought‘ movement (AVA “Higher Thought). A list of recommended books appears at the end of his volume and recommends early works by Hubbard and some antique fringe writers of the ‘New Thought’ movements.

I happen to have one of the ‘New Thought’ texts he recommends (and will be putting it online in my next post). It’s a crude wish-fulfilment fantasy which depends on magical thinking. It claims that, if you follow the author’s instructions, you will be able to acquire anything you want, as long as you wish for it hard enough.

I’m not being sarcastic here. That’s literally the argument presented. If you are looking for a book with philosophical depth, or for a critical analysis of Scientology itself, you won’t get much out of this one.

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Ruth Minshull Channels L Ron Hubbard’s Child-Rearing Advice – The Church of Scientology Bans Its Own books (Pt 2)

cover selfish destructive child1980 | “How to Cure the Selfish, Destructive Child” | Ruth Minshull Read Online | Download as .pdf  (link will open in a new tab. Select ‘download in browser’).

In the previous post in this series I described how the Church of Scientology (in the name of L Ron Hubbard) banned a number of texts about Scientology in 1983. These were written by Scientologists with official approval and sold in orgs. They included themed ‘easy introductions’ to the longer books of L Ron Hubbard. I suggested that there were two reasons for this:

  1. To prevent  embarrassment when  authors break with the Church of Scientology, leaving their books to serve as a public reminder that Scientologists rarely remain committed to the Church for life (and are sometimes purged)
  2. To prevent any individual Scientologists acquiring prestige among their comrades for their own achievements. In the paranoid world of Scientology’s ‘leadership’ anyone who builds a following represents a potential threat to their absolute power

“How to Cure The Selfish Destructive Child” was one of these banned texts. I will examine this short pamphlet here to demonstrate that there are no other reasons for banning it (and to describe the terrible advice it gives).

Minshull’s text  is based on the writings of L Ron Hubbard and quotes him extensively. It acknowledges his copyrights, which implies that these quotes were used with the blessing of the copyright holder, the Church of Scientology. There is not a single idea in it that is original to the author – it is all taken from Hubbard. In short, it is as orthodox a text as it possible to be. Continue reading

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy – A Book About Anonymous and Scientology

hacker hoaxer whistleblower spy2014 | Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous | Gabriella Coleman

This recent book is written by an anthropologist and examines the strange, virtual, tribe of people who call themselves ‘Anonymous’.

The second chapter, which is entitled “Project Chanology – I came for the lulz, but stayed for the outrage” covers one of the earliest real-world campaigns undertaken by this online collective – its attack upon the Church of Scientology.  It does so in loving, accurate detail, and includes the contribution of ‘Wise Beard Man” (aka Mark Bunker) which helped to make the mass protests so effective.

The involvement of Anonymous has had a profound influence on the culture of those who campaign against the Church of Scientology. It demonstrated how a groups of like-minded individuals, using anonymity and the Internet to work together, are more than equal to a inflexible bureaucracy like Scientology. However, as the book reveals, its involvement in the campaign against Scientology changed Anonymous just as much – from a group of uber-trolls to iconoclastic social campaigners.

This is a fascinating read for both Anons and ‘Old Guard’ critics of Scientology (who must have wondered where these strange, masked people came from, and what they were up to).

Unlike some academics, the author really understands the virtual culture which gave us Anonymous, the culture of Scientology critics and the motives of the people who belong to them both. She also writes in an engaging and accessible style. If you want to understand one of the greatest influences upon the shared culture of those who oppose Scientology, this is the book to read. Continue reading

Suppressed Documentary about Scientology “Going Clear” to be Broadcast in the UK – Please Help me Spot Spoiler Ads

London Thinks – What Has Scientology Got To Hide_ #LondonThinksXenu - YouTube_2015-08-05_16-48-29At a presentation yesterday in the Conway Hall in London, Tony Ortega  dropped the bombshell that Sky Atlantic will broadcast the Alex Gibney documentary film “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” in the UK in September. This has subsequently been confirmed by the BBC.

The broadcast of this  documentary film had previously been postponed, apparently due to doubts about whether Sky would fall foul of the more repressive libel legislation still in force in Northern Ireland, and be sued by the Church of Scientology. It seems that Sky (which cannot exclude Northern Ireland from its coverage) has decided to call Scientology’s bluff.

Ortega (on the left) is an investigative journalist who writes the best blog about Scientology and appears in the film as an expert on Scientology. He knows whereof he speaks. This presentation was fascinating in itself and there is more about it after the break (including the video). However, before we move on, I would like to appeal for information from readers.

Before the UK broadcast of “Going Clear” was postponed, the Church of Scientology launched a Metro sic ad imagemedia blitz. They promoted their front groups in full-page ads in publications such as “The New Statesman” and “Metro”, on social media and electronic billboards.

The advertisement in “The New Statesman” regarding ‘Volunteer Ministers’ was the subject of a complaint to the UK Advertising Standards Association. As a result the Church of Scientology agreed not to present VMs as if they were a relief organisation in future.

The Church of Scientology is unlikely to let the broadcast go without some media response – which may break their promise to the ASA or lay them open to complaints on other grounds. If anyone in the UK sees an advertisement, especially in  a newspaper or print periodical, promoting Scientology front groups please let me know about it in the comments, or via the feedback page.

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