“Is there Anything You Don’t Understand?” A Sceptical Article About Scientology From 1969

Cover of April 1969 Issue of "Eye" magazineEye Magazine | April 1969 | George Malko | Is There Anything You Don’t Understand? | Download as .pdf File

in 1970, George Malko published a book entitled, “Scientology: The Now Religion” (full text here). The article that is the subject of today’s post – “Is There Anything You Don’t Understand?”  – had been published in “Eye” magazine about a year before. However, it does not mention an upcoming book. It’s likely, therefore, that the book was a work in progress.

“Eye” was an obscure but literate publication, devoted to youth culture. It was mostly concerned with popular musicians, fashion and make-up. The Cover story was “Boys and the Pill”.  Scientology seems to have appealed to young people with a counter-culture style in this period, so its inclusion of malko’s article isn’t as odd as it might seem.

The “Eye” article took a very sceptical view of Scientology, but emerged unscathed. In contrast, when Malko’s book “Scientology: The Now Religion” appeared, the Church of Scientology sued its publisher.

After the book had appeared in Hardback and Paperbook editions the publisher paid a settlement to Scientology and did not release it in a printed format again.

It was a common tactic of Scientology at this time to force publishers into protracted litigation without having an arguable case. The book went out of print simply because Delacorte Press could not afford to continue to uphold their freedom to publish.  Scientology successfully suppressed critical texts for years in this way.  It was a matter of policy, laid down by the founder.

The text of the article from “Eye” (which is transcribed in full below) is a short-form survey of Scientology back in 1969. It begins with an account of Malko’s visits to a Scientology org in New York, where he was ‘assessed’ by a young woman, and includes telling interviews and real insight into its belief and the mindset of Scientologists back in 1970.

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“Creative Learning” Scientology Style – AKA “Death Lessons” for Kids (the Church of Scientology Bans its Own Books Pt 5)

Creative Learning: A Scientological Experiment in Schools | V Solcox and LJ Maynard | 1955
Download the complete book as a .pdf file here


In 1961 there was a scandal in the sleepy UK town of  East Grinstead. This is the Scientology book that contained the ‘process’ which led to genuine and justified outrage when it was practiced upon young children at school without consent.

L Ron Hubbard had recently bought Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, and taken up residence there. It became an international centre for Scientology and is still its UK headquarters.

The scandal concerned ‘lessons’, taken from a Scientology text. which were given at  Aston House, a preparatory school for girls. Its pupils were aged between 3 1/2 and 11 years.

It emerged (when a frightened child told her doctor, who passed it on to her parents) that they had been recieving ‘lessons’ during which they were required to imagine dying as a result of failing all of their exams, and to imagine that their bodies subsequently turned to dust.

In case you don’t believe a teacher would do something so stupid, the passage is reproduced below (it appears on page 215, Section 7). The plain text is addressed  to the children and the italic “Acknowlege” indicates where the teacher should say something to show that the kids has completed their stange ‘task’.

After the break,  I will describe the scandal in East Grinstead, L Ron Hubbard’s agressive reaction to it, and look at some of the other ‘lessons’ in the book, which would be laughable if they hadn’t actually been applied in schools.  Continue reading

“Confidential” Magazine Warns Readers to “Beware of Scientology” in 1970

“Confidential” Magazine | October 1970 | Volume 18 No 10 | “Scientology Can Drive You Out Of Your Mind” | Jane Nellis   Download as pdf (NB – this document was made from a high-resolution scan – please be patient while it downloads/opens)

“Confidential” magazine was published continuously from December 1952 until 1978. It specialised in serious exposés and show-biz gossip (originally about cinema, latterly TV).

In this edition there were articles about Jane, Henry and Peter Fonda, Jackie Kennedy, a long article about the contraceptive pill and another about fashionable and flattering swimsuits (“Are You a Bathing Suit Patsy?”). It seems to have been aimed at a young female audience, and was presenting an edgy but  commercialised version of then fashionable counterculture themes.

The article about Scientology is the nearest this issue comes to real exposé journalism. The cover reads “Beware of Scientology” and the contents page, “Scientology can drive you out of your mind”. It’s not a puff piece.

If you can get past the hip style of the writing, it is an interesting take on the culture of Scientology ‘missions’ during this period (with a few good black-and-white photos). It also shows how the basic operation has hardly changed at all Continue reading

Eight Recent Copies of Scientology’s “Affinity” Magazine Which Were Given to the Public – Why?

UK Affinity Magazine issues: 18 (2016) | 25 (2017) | 28 (2018) | 29 (1018) | 30 (2018) | 31 (2019) | 32 (2019) | US Affinity IAS Introductory Membership Edition | Download here

“Affinity” is billed as “The Magazine of the Church of Scientology of [insert location]” Almost the exact same magazine is sold to all UK Scientology orgs. The only difference is that the local orgs name is  at the top, and their contact details are in the text.

Sometimes, individual orgs get some locally relevant text invisibly inserted.  Issue 31 (published mid 2019) for example, gave interesting information about Plymouth Ideal Org, which I have examined in detail in an earlier post.  Issue 31 is included here in its entirety.

These were given away to the general public with the words “Please Take One”. They immediately struck me as an odd choice or promotional material. They are not aimed at the general public – the UK editions are written to encourage Scientologists to take further ‘courses’, and don’t mean very much at all to outsiders. The content of the US magazine is about events in the US and is given to committed Scientologists who have given money to become members of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS).

A likely reason for this is that head office sells literature to local orgs. This is printed at their own printing plant on the continent and economies of scale mean that they cost very little to produce. However, the orgs are required to buy them at near retail prices. This costs them a lot of money.

Plymouth Org recently  took delivery of a lot of expensive promotional material, including a sandwich board with interchangable inserts. This is used to  promote Scientology’s YouTube Channel. They are required to ‘disseminate’ but they can’t because the last time they tried, they were sanctioned by the local Council for selling copies of “Self Analysis” without a street trader’s licence and the Advertising Standards Authority for the unsupportable claims they made for that book.

The basket outside the org was their way of assuring head office that they were spreading the word. They likely didn’t mention the fact that they were doing so by giving away old magazines of no relevance to the general public, and hoarding the new stuff. They also offended against their own doctrine of “fair exchance”. This states that nothing should be given away, because this degrades both donor and recipient. Scientologists should only exchange goods and services of equal value.

More about the Plymouth Ideal Org building soon.

 

L Ron Hubbard, the Real Inventer of ‘Study Tech’ and the Tibetan Book of the Dead – The Church of Scientology Bans Its Own Books (Pt4)

A Guide Through the After Death Experience | H Charles Berner | Download Here

This is a very short publication (only 22 pages). However, what it lacks in length is makes up for in its bizarre nature. The author attempts to interpret the Bardo Thodol – the Tibetan Book of the Dead – in Scientology terms.

Berner’s text is not dated, but it probably originated during the early years of Scientology when ordinary Scientologists were still encouraged to contribute (although the copyright always belonged to the Church of Scienotolgy. They wrote books which were sold at Scientology orgs alongside Hubbard’s works.

However In 1983, all such publications were banned and suppressed This included Berner’s odd text After Scientology had been transformed into a ‘religon’ (in order to avoid US tax) Hubbard declared himself to be “Source”. Ron was now the one and only valid source of ‘religious’ revelation.

Today, linking Scientology to Tibetan Buddhism is one of those ‘mixed practices’ which Scientology forbids. However , Hubbard  recommended the book on in the full-page forward (you can read this after the break).

Hubbard’s comments are general – so general you doubt he even bothered to read the thing – but he recommended it nonethless. Continue reading

A Scientology Publication Reveals that Plymouth is Next in the Ideal Org Queue – Or Does it?

After the break, there is a short extract taken from Issue 31 of Scientology’s “Affinity” magazine ( published mid 2019).  This page-and-a-half extract represents itself as “The Magazine Of The Church of Scientology of Plymouth” – it’s a magazine within a magazine.

I think this is disingenuous. I think that “Affinity”comes in many custom versions, each personalised with a the identity of a different org.

I posses a number of other issues which include Plymouth Orgs contact details and present as the magazine of Plymouth Org. However, none of the others have any news specifically concerning the Church of Scientology of Plymouth, so the  claim that this is their periodical is simply false.

However, the extract below does concern  Plymouth, and discussed the priority given to the renovation of Plymouth Ideal Org.

If you have been following this blog recently, you will know that the substantial hotel which Scientologists in Plymouth bought back in 2010 to become their Ideal Org has finally had some renovation done.

Work has commenced on the removal of Abestos-containing building materials. This must be completed before any other building work takes place for obvious safety reasons. It’s been undertaken by a reputable specialised company and may already be complete –  so what happens next?

The extract after the break might give a clue – or be deliberately misleading. Both possibilities – and the reasons for the confusion – are intersting Continue reading

Scientology and the Third Law of PR (Push BS and the press will push back)

Recently, there has been a lot of press coverage in UK newspapers surrounding Tom Cruise, using his celebrity to subtly promote Scientology. This is the result of a quite deliberate policy of the Church of Scientology to recruit celebrities and use them to create a positive public image.

For example, there have been stories about his daughter, who lives in London. She has been given a ‘qualification’ in ‘auditing’. This is Scientology’s core practice which involves using the e-meter to track down incidents in the believer’s past which are affecting their minds to this day. These included ‘past lives’ as Roman soldiers, spaceship pilots and other incarnations.

It costs a lot and it’s a questionable achievement of little interest to the general public. However, she is reported to have thanked her father – and that’s the only reason the story made the tabloids.

Also, Tom Cruise’s son, who lives on Church property is getting married to a committed Scientologist.  Almost everyone likes a celebrity wedding, even if the ceremony is distinctly odd. At this point in Scientology’s history, almost any publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right.

However, Scientology came unstuck when the story emerged that Cruise ex-wife Nicole Kidman, is to be excluded from her son’s Scienotlogy wedding.

This is according to fixed Church policy. When Kidman left Tom and Scientology (and took the child they had together with her) she became an apostate. L Ron Hubbard decreed that no Scientologist is allowed to have any contact whatsoever with such people. If they do, they are shunned also. This policy is known as ‘disconnection’, and breaks up families.

It’s probably no coincidence that The Daily Telegraph, a UK broadsheet paper, published a brief, critical piece about Scientology in Today’s Sunday edition. This is a doorstop, which people read with close attention, consisting of a number of ‘supplements’ that cover subjects like travel and sport. Readable images after the break Continue reading

“The Church of Scientology in the United States” – An Army Chaplin Assesses Scientology in 1973

The Church of Scientology in the United States | Albert C Skinner USAR | 1972 | Download as .pdf

This document was made available when the archive of the U.S. Army Chaplain Center & School Library was scanned. Its title page describes it as a term paper written by Albert C Skinner for Chaplin Gremmels.

At the end, Skinner signs himself “Albert C Skinner Chaplin (CPR) USAR”, so his paper was likely part of ongoing training as a Chaplin in the US Army Reserve.

Here we have a evidently intelligent person whose vocation requires him to understand and respect a wide range of faiths and interact with believers, sometimes in extreme circumstances. However, in 1971 information about the Church of Scientology was hard to come by and there was no Internet.

Today, there is controversy about religious scholars who uncritically accept the Church of Scientology’s account of itself as a bona fide world religion and overlooking credible accusations of   bad faith and abusive behaviour

How realistic was Skinner’s assessment of Scientology, given his background and his relatively limited sources of reliable information? Continue reading

Why are there Only 87 Scientologists in Ireland? Because the Irish Push Back

If you followed my marathon post yesterday about the opening of a new Scientology facility at Firhouse, in the republic of Ireland, you will have read some acerbic comments from the local press.

One of things they wondered is why Scientology was spending millions of Euros on a huge building in a country which only has 87 Scientologists (according to the 2016 census).

Part of the reason for these low numbers was the tenacity of one Mary Johnston. She was a Scientologist from for about two years (between 1992 and 1994).  After leaving, disillusioned, she claimed damages in the Irish courts for conspiracy, misrepresentation, breach of constitutional rights and deliberate infliction of  emotional harm.

She won an unspecified (but likely huge)  out-of-court settlement, after presenting her case. Scientology had such little confidence in itself that it abandoned the litigation and offered an substantial sum of money just before they were due to present their evidence in rebuttal.

This victory must have had a chilling effect on Scientology’s activities in Ireland and, unable to be as ruthless in Ireland as they are elsewhere, suppressed their ability to recruit and retain members for years.

Now, they are spending millions in the country with the aim of… who knows what?

After the break there is an episode on Ireland’s “Late late show”, hosted by the legendary Gay Byrne. this was about Scientology, and featured Mary Johnston, the Irish woman who pushed back. Continue reading

Scientology Opens a Mystery Facility in Ireland – Which Turns Its Back on the Irish People

This was  the public’s view of Scientology’s new facility (in the Republic of Ireland at Firhouse, which is just outside Dublin). The picture to the left was taken on the day of its opening – the 15th of October 2017.

The white area all around the perimeter isn’t a wall. It is exterior quality board, painted white and firmly fastened onto the outside of railings. It’s only purpose is to stop local people seeing what is going on inside and must have cost a few thousand Euro in materials alone.

Just in case someone might have brought a stepladder and looked over the wall, the pavement and cycle track  that run around the building were surrounded by crowd-control barriers (incidentally closing the bus stop, too). Private security guards, retained by the Church of Scientology excluded local people from the area for the entire day –  but admitted Scientologists.

The council may have given permission for the closure because they were told it was necessary for building works. They may not have authorised this if they has known that the real purpose was to stop outsiders looking over the wall and seeing the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige, performing the opening ceremony.

Approximately 14 private security guards were retained. Most gathered at the main gate (at the opposite end to the guard in this picture) . However one man always ‘patrolled’ the fenced-off area, admitting Scientologists to the pavement and trying to turn away locals, forcing them to cross a fast road instead of using a public path.

This high-handed attitude has provoked a strong response from the people and the press of Ireland.

Read on for an eye-witness account, with pictures and  video.

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