What is Scientology | The ‘Reverend’ Robert H Thomas | Amazing Science Fiction Stories | March 1971 | Pages 104 – 112 | Download entire issue as .pdf (download link will appear in new tab).
I have posted an issue of “Amazing” here before . That one was from November 1970. It featured a reassessment of ‘Dianetics, more-or-less 20 years after it was introduced to the world in the May 1950 issue of “Amazing’s” rival, “Astounding Science Fiction“.
In it, Barry N Malzberg went along to a Scientology org, took a ‘communications course’ and was generally very unimpressed by the whole proposition. He was scathing about Hubbard and dianetics.
It must be said that this expression of scepticism was good for the magazine. “Amazing” had a little catching up to do in the credibility stakes and knew it. Five years before “Astounding Science Fiction” published the first article about dianetics, they had fallen for a author whose claims were at least as implausible as Hubbard’s. Although they had traded on “The Shaver Mystery” fad that resulted, it ultimately damaged their reputation.
Now they had an opportunity to implicitly criticise the credulity of the editor of the market-leading “Astounding Science Fiction”, John W Campbell, for falling for dianetics to the extent that he heavily promoted it as “a new science of the mind”. They took it.
However, in March 1971 “Amazing” had been struggling with a falling circulation for some time, and was in dire straits. It was vulnerable. At this time, it incomprehensibly published an propaganda piece entitled “What is Scientology” written by the ‘Reverend’ Robert H Thomas – Deputy Guardian for the US Churches of Scientology.
The Guardian’s Office was, of course, Scientology’s secret police and dirty tricks department. I think it’s likely that this uncritical article appeared as a result of improper pressure from the Guardian’s Office – Scientology took the opportunity to kick “Amazing” when it was down and settle a score.
Oz 36 | July 1971 | Oz Magazine Issue 36 | View Online | Download as .pdf
Oz 37 | September 1971 | Oz Magazine Issue 37 | View Online | Download as .pdf
Recently the University of Wollongong in Australia published scans of the complete run of”Oz” magazine for historians and researchers.
“Oz” was a controversial counter-culture publication that appeared in the UK between 1967 and 1973.
Issues 36 and 37 are of interest here because “Oz” not only attracted the attention of the Church of Scientology but also meekly printed a letter from Scientologys’ ‘Guardians Office’ which ‘corrected’ an extract from a book published in a previous issue of the magazine which touched upon the involvement of Charles Manson in Scientology.
The content of “Oz” provoked something of a moral panic at the time, and it was twice taken to court on obscenity charges. In the age of the Internet, however, it seems rather tame. Nevertheless, if you choose to view the complete publications, please bear in mind that the university prefaced them with the following disclaimer:
Please be advised: this collection has been made available due to its research and historical importance. It contains explicit language and images that reflect attitudes of the era in which the material was originally published and that some viewers may find confronting.
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
Most repressive organisations have a list of banned books. Scientology takes this one step further. In 1983, the Church of Scientology banned a number of texts which:
- Were written by Scientologists in good standing
- Promoted a very orthodox interpretation of Scientology
- Were published by the Church of Scientology
- Were sold for some time, with official approval, in Scientology Orgs.
In short, they banned their own books.
This had been had been happening informally for decades, but in 1983 it was formalised in an internal document. A substantial number of books about Scientology by Scientologists were banned, simply because they were not written by L Ron Hubbard
Admittedly many of these texts were pamphlets, and their aim was limited. A typical disclaimer declared that the author’s purpose was, “to demonstrates various ways the author and others have successfully applied a few of the basic principles of Scientology”. Writing them required a minimum of original thought. They were all based on longer works by Hubbard who was given all credit at every opportunity.
After the break, I offer a theory as to why these texts were permitted for so long and why there were finally prohibited. There is also a partial list of banned books. If anyone has copies of any of these texts, I would be extremely grateful if you would contact me through this site’s feedback page.
In future posts in this series, I will closely examine the full text of at least four Scientology books banned by… The Church of Scientology. I hope that there will be more to come. Continue reading
2015 | “The Unbreakable Miss Lovely | Tony Ortega | ISBN 9781511639378
Author’s blog “The Underground Bunker”: tonyortega.org
The Church of Scientology is the subject of many critical histories. The essential texts which cover the period up to the death of the organisation’s founder are, “A Piece of Blue Sky” (first published in 1991, and republished in an expanded form in 2013) and “Bare Faced Messiah“. These books remain definitive, and difficult to surpass
“The Unbreakable Miss Lovely” also deals with this period, but from a new perspective which adds considerable depth and a human dimension to the story.
Its subject is Scientology’s treatment of a journalist (Palette Cooper) who published a book critical of the Church entitled, “The Scandal of Scientology” in 1971.
After her book appeared, the Church of Scientology subjected her to an organised programme of persecution. This included a libellous (but anonymous) smear campaign, endless litigation, the tapping of her telephone, being ‘befriended’ by undercover agents and being framed for sending letters containing bomb threats.
After many years of legal action the Church succeeded in obtaining the copyright of her book and suppressed it. Nevertheless, you can download and read it here.
All of these operations (and more) were undertaken by the Church of Scientology’s ‘intelligence’ branch (which still exists and operates today, under a different name). While it was persecuting Cooper, the “Office of the Guardian”also infiltrated multiple US Government premises, where they copied (and planted) documents which they thought could be used to their advantage. This bizarre espionage story is extensively covered by Ortega, not least because it had unexpected consequences for the subject of his book.
Private Eye | No 1391 | 1 May-14 May 2015 | Pg 13
When the Alex Gibney film “Going Clear: Hollywood and the Prison of Belief” was released in the US, it made a considerable impact. Scientology critics in the UK were eager to see it broadcast here by the satellite broadcaster Sky Atlantic. What effect would it have on the membership of the Church of Scientology here (which, according to the 2011 census, had less than 2,418 members)?
The book on which this film was based (“Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief“by Lawrence Wright) did not find a UK publisher because the UK law regarding defamation (i.e. slander and libel) was a repressive mess. No UK company dared touch the book for fear of being sued for libel by the Church of Scientology. they would have been required to prove every point and, even if they had won, it would have cost them a fortune (which would have broken many companies).
Since then, the new, more liberal Defamation Act 2003 (which took until the first of January 2014 to pass into law) completely removed this obstacle. What could go wrong? A very strange political situation in Northern Ireland and the involvement of David Miscavige, that’s what.
Sky Atlantic,who had bought the rights, initially decided not to broadcast Gibney’s “Going Clear”in the UK. The reason why is explained after the break by “Private Eye”(a satirical magazine which is no stranger to repressive libel actions and has criticised the Church of Scientology before). Continue reading
Yesterday, I discovered that the Church of Scientology had forced Mega (the cloud service which I use to serve some files) to remove 14 files available as downloads from this blog. You can read one of the takedown notices here
These files have now been restored, and are available for download again.
They contained scans of Scientology documents which, since they were written by L Ron Hubbard, are official Scientology doctrine. Why did they do this? It’s rather like Christians trying to suppress the sermon on the mount. You would think that a real religion would want to spread the word, not censor it.
The Church of Scientology acknowledges that these documents are genuine – if they were not, why would they claim to hold the copyright?
Having read these texts, I can only conclude that the Church of Scientology is ashamed of its own doctrines and practices, and want to prevent the public finding out about them.
So, here is a list of the 14 files that Scientology particularly wanted to stop anyone seeing – complete with new download links (clicking on the titles of each section will take you to the original post – the new download links are at the bottom of the page).
If there are any errors, please contact me through the feedback page, or leave a comment.