Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He now has a new edition of the book out, and on Saturdays he’s helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
We’re taking a slight departure from our usual Saturday conversation with Jon. He’s headed for Denmark this week for a meeting of FECRIS, the Fédération Européenne des Centres de Recherche et d‘Information sur le Sectarisme, which in English becomes the European Federation of Centers of Research and Information on Sectarianism.
For the convention, Jon has written a brief overview of Scientology that we found powerful. If you’ve been keeping up with our Saturday conversations, you’ve seen us dive into quite a few different subjects in church history. But in this piece, Jon does his best to distill into one relatively short document what sets Scientology apart.
We’ve asked Jon for permission to excerpt a few portions of the paper he’s delivering in Copenhagen, and he generously agreed. We hope you find the latest Atack offering a good summation of what fascinates us about this organization…
I am entirely in agreement with Professor Stephen Kent’s assessment of the religious character of Scientology. Hard evidence shows that it is not a legitimate religion, simply an anti-social organization with a religious façade. But, to avoid argument and out of respect for the IRS, let us pretend that Scientology is a religion. It becomes clear that a positive social agenda is not necessary for religious status in the United States. In 1993, Scientology became a so called ‘non-profit.’ In the UK, this would be called a ‘charity.’
I am a tad old-fashioned: I think that a charity should be charitable. And charity is at the heart of all mainstream religions. St Paul assures us that we are nothing, if we ‘have not charity.’ To the Buddhist, the Christian caritas — caring for another without want of reward — is an essential teaching. Muslims believe that the giver should be grateful to the beggar, not the other way round. Jews, Jains, Zoroastrians and Hindus all teach charity as a principle virtue. Only Satanism and Scientology do not…
In L. Ron Hubbard’s teaching, there is no other source of spiritual understanding than himself. He pays occasional lip-service to the mainstream religions, but none any longer has value, now he has revealed his thoughts to the world, because, ‘Scientology is the only workable system Man has’ and ‘In fifty thousand years of history on this planet alone, Man never evolved a workable system.’ Indeed, although claiming to be completely non-denominational — eclectic, even — on the secret upper levels, believers are told that Jesus is a fabrication, implanted into us all some 75 million years ago by the evil Prince Xenu. As Hubbard put it, ‘God is just the trick of this universe.’ All other beliefs have failed and actually lead their followers in the wrong direction. Only Scientology is true, even when in complete contradiction to itself. The tolerance towards other faiths that has been creeping into the mainstream religions these last few decades is entirely absent from Scientology.
Those of us who have tasted, tried and spat out Scientology are even more harshly regarded than ordinary ‘wogs’ — non-Scientologists. We are, quite simply, ‘Suppressive People’ or ‘Anti-Social Personalities.’ In conventional terms, we are entirely destructive, according to the scripture of Scientology. There is a glut of Hubbard teachings about those who criticise his opinions. Hubbard ordered harassment for anyone who commits such a ‘suppressive act.’
Also among the sacred scriptures of Scientology are the directives given to the infamous Guardian’s Office, which transformed into the Office of Special Affairs after the third Mrs Hubbard and ten of her deputies were sent to prison. Curiously, members of the Guardian’s Office’s Branch One ‘covert intelligence’ department moved quietly over into the new Office of Special Affairs. Hubbard’s Guardian’s Office scripture, as it relates to the harassment of opponents, has never been cancelled and remains in force. It is concealed from the broad membership, issued on a ‘need to know’ basis to those who will perform the dirty tricks…
Leader David Miscavige, who defeated the Goliath IRS almost single-handedly, paid over $10 million to have his rival for the leadership, Pat Broeker watched around the clock by two private investigators for 24 years. Twenty-four years. This money was tax exempt, because it was used for ‘religious purposes.’ Then, given its own history, perhaps it isn’t so very strange that the IRS would regard harassment as a religious duty.
In 1966, Hubbard created the Guardian’s Office to protect himself. Branch One, which was the department of harassment, thrived for 16 years, under Hubbard’s direction. The 800-page training manual — the ‘B-1 Hat’ — is a scandalous compilation of harassment techniques, many derived from the confessions of former military intelligence agents and constructed around Hubbard’s interpretation of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Staff were taught how to lie and how to break and enter, among other scriptural requirements. This material was kept strictly sequestered from rank and file members, like myself, who saw only the positive pronouncements of the Great O.T.
Hubbard believed firmly in statistical management, and every week, Branch One reported ten statistics, which included, ‘An enemy or potential enemy removed from the position of power from which he is attacking or could attack.’ This garnered 250 points per enemy (note well, ‘potential enemy’ — B-1 decided who might become dangerous and would then destroy their livelihood, just in case). Further, ‘Documented criminal or scandalous (discreditable) [sic] data about an enemy, publically available, turned over to the proper terminals [people] in a useable form.’…
Hubbard was named as an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ for his part in infiltrating government agencies, for false imprisonment and for theft of tens of thousands of documents. Federal agents were unable to penetrate the security surrounding Hubbard, who remained in hiding for the last decade of his life. The sentences for the eleven Scientologists who were sent to prison should be a warning to those who want to grant Scientology the privileges which should be reserved for groups that benefit society. The judge, sentencing two of Hubbard’s deputies, said, ‘The crimes committed by these defendants is of a breadth and scope previously unheard … No building, office, desk or file was safe from their despicable scheming and warped minds. The tools of the trade were miniature transmitters, lock picks and secret codes, forged credentials, and any other devices they found necessary to carry out their heinous schemes.’ No single scriptural policy regarding harassment of perceived enemies has been changed, to this very day.
In summation, wherever authorities recognise the religious nature of Scientology, they also accept that a religion can be essentially anti-social. If that is so, then we can expect to see more socially destructive systems emerging, and claiming tax exemption, to the further detriment of society. My own stand against Scientology shows that I support freedom of belief, but when an organization which is clearly anti-social is given support by incompetent or corrupt authorities, it is time to call a halt. If we are to have charities, then they must support the social good. If Scientology is a church, then it is a church of fear and hatred, and its policies should be decried.
Carol Nyburg Interviewed by Karen de la Carriere
We’ve written about Carol Nyburg’s recent defection from the Church of Scientology, and now she’s made a series of video interviews with Karen de la Carriere. Here’s the first one…
Posted by Tony Ortega on May 25, 2013 at 07:00
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