Claire, you’ve taken us on a great journey of adventure up Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom.” We’ve gone Clear, and we did our Preps before we start the Operating Thetan levels. But you tell us there’s even more we have to do before we can do those levels. We need to do some training as auditors — and learn to audit ourselves in Solo Auditing?
CLAIRE: We have to do this first because OT 1, 2, and 3 are all solo audited levels. So that means you will be delivering those levels to yourself. For which you must be trained as a solo auditor.
THE BUNKER: We’ve looked through the materials for Solo Auditing, and once it again it looks like a huge amount of repetition, with pages and pages of stuff we’ve already seen before.
CLAIRE: Yes, it is a lot of repetition of what we have already covered. As I remember, one of the first major steps on this course is what is referred to by Scientologists as the “wall of books.” Meaning you do a full study of all of the basic books, even if you’ve already studied them before.
Then you do another round on the e-meter drills, and then you do a whole new set of drills called the solo e-meter drills. In general auditing the rule is “auditor plus PC is greater than PC’s bank.” And in solo auditing this is transposed to “solo auditor (you) plus PC (you) is greater than PC’s bank.”
THE BUNKER: Let us see if we understand this: As a solo auditor, you will be able to outsmart or outmaneuver your reactive mind? Something like that?
CLAIRE: Yes, that’s right. At least that’s the theory. So let’s describe how a session goes. You will be in an auditing room with an e-meter in front of you, and you will be connected to the e-meter with solo cans, basically two cans joined together so they can be held in one hand. And with the other hand you will be writing down all questions asked, any needle reactions and the answers given in response to the questions.
Solo auditing is non-verbal. So you will ask yourself the questions as a non-verbalized conceptual thought, and you will then look for any reaction of the needle. If you get an instant reaction of the needle, you will then take that question and “run” it until you have a floating needle.
Considering that most of the OT Levels are done solo, this is the importance of your training as a solo auditor.
THE BUNKER: We know there’s more nuttiness to come, but to us, this may be the biggest howler in Scientology, and we wonder about the people who go through this and think that they aren’t being played for a gigantic practical joke, Claire.
Think about it. You are sitting there, holding the cans of the e-meter in one hand, asking yourself questions in your mind, and writing down what the e-meter’s needle does — a machine that is reading tiny fluctuations in the galvanism of your skin, which is affected by sweat, grip, and salt. (We know Scientologists don’t understand this or choose to ignore it, and are convinced that the machine is reading the “mass” of their thoughts.) And while you’re sitting there, asking yourself questions and writing down the results, you are ringing up a bill of hundreds of dollars an hour.
There’s not even another person there to convince you that this process is actually adding up to something.
You convince yourself that you are actually discovering something, with a device that took maybe $40 in parts to make, and you are ringing up debt of thousands of dollars.
Even the most generous conception of L. Ron Hubbard has to recognize that this may be the greatest con ever practiced on humankind.
Or are we missing something, Claire?
CLAIRE: No, you are not missing anything.
At the time, I was struck by the fact that this was the ultimate in contradictions on so many levels. After all, until this point, the efficacy of auditing was premised on the fact of Hubbard’s purported discoveries about two-way communication. And yet now, the OT levels, the highest levels in the church, don’t make use of it. I mean as much as we could expound on the greatness of “Solo auditor plus PC is greater than PC’s bank” we’ve just gone off the deep end here.
At this point you have a true testament to the levels someone will go in “believing” in something. Unfortunately, I think it’s part of human nature to want to trust and believe in something so much, even when, from an outside perspective, it simply defies all logic. It shows a true dedication of wanting it to be true, and needing Scientology to be the answer to all life troubles.
In the declaration that Fresno State emeritus professor Robert Levine did in our lawsuits, he likened the mindset of a Scientologist to the psychological phenomena described as “sunk cost trap,” usually descriptive of stock market woes, wherein someone has sunk so much money and investment into something, that they then continue to pour money in as the only envisioned means of getting “out” of the trap in which they find themselves so deeply committed.
And I really think there is truth in that, or at least it’s a very good analogy in my opinion and experience. By that point, I was personally of the view that I just had to barrel through and be done with it.
THE BUNKER: Thank you, Claire. We found on a 2001 price list that the Solo Auditor course, part one, runs $5,778.
COST THIS WEEK: $5,778
COST SO FAR: $248,975
Tampa Bay Times reporter Charlie Frago had a fun piece last night about Scientology leader David Miscavige’s latest middle finger to the town of Clearwater, Florida.
Our readers know that Scientology is getting ready for a series of big celebrations in Clearwater and has erected a giant tent to house them. In order to make way for the tent, the church cut down a couple of healthy live oak trees without a city permit and after the fact paid a $2,000 fine. The church has also asked for no city permits for its parties, choosing instead to keep their dates private. And now, also without any advance word to the city, Miscavige has draped a huge “KSW” mural on top of the big tent, apparently in defiance of city signage laws.
KSW, of course, stands for “Keep Scientology Working,” and Claire Headley has explained to us how important that credo is in the church. KSW lies at the heart of Scientology’s indoctrination — it boils down to a loyalty oath, a promise that church members will adhere strictly to the policies of founder L. Ron Hubbard and root out any evidence of heresy.
The church told the city that the mural is actually a religious symbol, rather than just signage.
Frago writes, “If city officials determine that the Scientology mural violates city code and the church refuses to take it down, the city could withhold a certificate of occupancy for the tent, said city spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.”
In 2009, Clearwater filed a federal lawsuit against a bait shop that painted a wall with decorative fish in violation of its signage law.
But given Clearwater’s recent impersonation of a doormat when it comes to Scientology, we’d be surprised if it actually stood up to Miscavige at this point.
The Economist Gets It Wrong
We took some pains recently to point out that it would be a mistake to treat two European judicial findings regarding Scientology on equal footing. On October 16, France’s highest court upheld a fraud conviction of major importance — one more conviction, said a member of France’s parliament, and Scientology risks being dissolved throughout that country. The next day, October 17, the Netherlands granted tax-exempt status to Scientology’s facility in Amsterdam, which is the church’s only outpost in that country. As a result, the Amsterdam org was awarded some back taxes.
Now, the Economist has done just what we warned against, and has attempted to draw a grand conclusion from these two unrelated events. And boy, did the magazine get things wrong. Here’s the final paragraph of the brief piece…
There’s an irony here, one which crops up again and again when discussing religious freedom. The French state, like the American one and perhaps a bit more fiercely, aspires to be religion-neutral. It refuses to affirm or deny the truth-claims of any religion. Yet in order to police such a regime, judges and sometimes bureaucrats have to make assessments—about the difference between a religion and a cult, for example—which require them to delve deep inside the cognitive and psychological world of a faith and its adherents. Even for a secular state, enforcing liberty of conscience can be a “religious” question.
That’s about as wrong as one could get regarding what’s actually been happening to Scientology around the world in the last five years. In fact, Scientology is facing the greatest crisis of its 60-year history precisely because judges and litigants and governments have stopped getting tangled in useless arguments about whether Scientology is a “religion” or a “cult” — a futile exercise in semantics. Instead, Scientology is increasingly in trouble because prosecutors in Belgium, for example, are taking pains to say that the church’s behavior, not its beliefs, are reprehensible. And lawyers like Ray Jeffrey and plaintiffs like Laura DeCrescenzo refuse to get entangled in arguments about what Scientology claims about the human soul and are instead suing over what it does to human beings themselves.
This has been the guiding principle for our reporting for several years — that it’s Scientology’s actions, not its beliefs, that matter — and we only hope publications like the Economist would pay greater attention.
Posted by Tony Ortega on October 29, 2013 at 07:00
E-mail your tips and story ideas to email@example.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.