Press View The FBI Raid Download as .pdf (Download link will appear in a new tab) |Church of Scientology | 1977
When they were first presented, L Ron Hubbard quite explicitly asserted, in writing, that both Dianetics and Scientology were scientific enterprises – not religious in any way.
The problem with that approach was that dianetics and Scientology organisations had to pay tax, and Hubbard’s wild claims were subject to objective examination in the courts, where they could easily be refuted by real experts.
His eventual response was to reverse himself and register Scientology as a religion. This made it tax-exempt, and transformed easily falsifiable ‘scientific’ claims into religious doctrines protected by the US first amendment.
However, Hubbard made it clear to Scientologists that status as a ‘Church’ would not, “upset in any way the usual activities of any organization. It is entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors”. In other words, it was a convenient pretence
Scientology’s ‘religious cloaking’ was seriously deployed in the aftermath of an FBI raid on ‘Guardian’ offices in Los Angeles and Washington, and today’s 31-page document shows it in action.
The Guardian’s Office was at that time Scientology’s secret police (subsequently replaced by the Office of Special Affairs or OSA). It had tasked two Scientologists with infiltrating the IRS. When they were apprehended by FBI agents, raids were mounted to seize documentary evidence of suspicions that the Church of Scientology was running a systematic espionage operation. It subsequently emerged that scientologists had been illegally gathering information on an astonishing scale, stealing records from the offices of not only government agencies but also, bizarrely, psychiatrists. The operation was codenamed “Snow White”
Dianetic 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.
Blown| 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 | 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.
1980 | “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:
- 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)
- 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
2014 | 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