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Jon Atack Answers The Question: How Do Smart People Fall for Scientology?

BBTheoryJon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, 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.

This week, Jon answers a question we get maybe more than any other. Scientology has so many outlandish concepts and makes so many unfulfillable promises, how is it that smart people get involved in it and then spend years chasing its impossible goals? Jon sent us this response, and we think it’s the best one we’ve seen yet on the subject.

JON: Russell Miller was perhaps the highest paid journalist in the UK, when he worked on the Sunday Times pieces that led to his still unrivalled biography of Ronald Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah. I put him in touch with a score of former members. When he came back from his first trip to the US, he was evidently baffled that every one of those he had interviewed was both intelligent and articulate. How could it be that such seemingly rational people could have been gulled by such a gauche conman?

Lawrence Wright, in the best book about the cult and Hollywood, wonders why RPFers failed to escape when the FBI took down the LA Org. Only a couple of weeks ago, a guy said to me that ex-members must feel pretty stupid when they realize just how gullible they’ve been. So, how could we have been so stupid?

A Baptist minister once asked me how anyone could possibly believe that 75 million years ago, Prince Xenu had rounded up the populations of the planets orbiting 76 stars and exploded them in volcanoes. Using hydrogen bombs. Like Russell, he’d forgotten that I had myself been that gullible. I suggested to him that there are people who believe that a man could not only walk on water, but also turn it into wine. I was mortified by the crimson blush that suffused his face. It was rude of me, but how else to make the point?

When some smart aleck tells me that the universe began with the Big Bang, as if that explained anything, I generally ask them how they know. So far, the answers to this question — and I’ve asked it many times — have always boiled down to: because the physicists say so, and you can trust them. Which is little better than: because the Bible says so, or the Vedas or Ronald Hubbard. I tend to believe in the Big Bang — but then, so have the Popes, for over fifty years now. But as much as I can spin a tale about the expanding universe and negative entropy, about quarks, Higgs’ boson and dark matter, I have no idea what or who had that Big Bang, and, apart from sticking the universe in an infinite and ever expanding series of parallels, or positing a Steady State universe, in which Big Bangs are infinitely regular (now called “cyclical universe theory,” by the way), there is little sensible to add to the picture. To paraphrase the Tao Te Ching, “I don’t know where the universe came from, but it must have come from somewhere, so I’ll call that tao.” Or “dark matter” or perhaps “phlogiston.”

We don’t know where it all came from. We don’t know if it means anything. And we certainly don’t know where it is going. Science helps considerably with “how,” but “why” will always be the province of belief. And all belief is fodder for the gullible, whether it happens to be true or not.

Even more so, however, there is a basic human mechanism, a set of reactions that are predictable, at least in terms of probability. In the beginning of almost all cult involvement is dislocation. The individual is dislodged from some old pattern: from an environment or a relationship. A job lost, a new town, a divorce, a different college, a death, a loss, a tragedy. Any significant change to the habitual, and not necessarily a bad change, opens us up to a new set of habits. It is how we are made.

For me, it was a lost girlfriend. For others it was a change at work, the loss of a spouse, or simply someone new in the environment who shook up old patterns of thinking. Vulnerability — dislocation — is deliberately created by Scientology from the first. The new victim is directed to the “ruin” — whatever they believe is ruining their life — so that they will become open to Scientology’s super-expensive snake oil. It is easy enough, just ask anyone to think about old age, disease, or death and he or she will most likely become glum. And it is easy to shove someone into his or her worst fear or greatest loss. It amazed me, as a baby Scientologist, sent out on the street with a clipboard, just how ready people were to share their most distressing problem with a stranger who had asked them some ridiculous questions (“what would you most like to be/do/have?”). The survey itself is bogus, too — just the first in a long series of deceptions on the “road to truth.” But then, as Hubbard said, “Honesty is sanity,” so Scientology is insane from the first.

Dislocation puts old patterns on hold. It censors typical behaviours, so that the newbie fits in to the newfound pack. Add to that a lot of deliberate encouragement — the old love-bombing trick of all salespeople — and you have a receptive person. Next up, give them a personality test, and always, always, always mark them down. The manual orders it, because, of course, no one is actually “up tone” who hasn’t paid substantial amounts to the cult. I’ve read a suicide note by a girl who gave up, after hearing such an “evaluation” (Ray Kemp, by the way threw the “Oxford Capacity Analysis” together, his qualification being a “doctorate” in Scientology, and time in the merchant marine. The questions are reworded from an earlier legitimate test, but marking down was no part of the original. And Kemp wasn’t even in Oxford at the time, nor had he spent a single day at any of its universities — ever more deception and pretence).

The “need of change” now firmly fixed, no matter what the problem is, it can be readily mended by some cheap course or other. In the day, that was always the Communication Course — training routines 0-4. Steven Hassan, perhaps the most eminent figure in the counter cult world, and also a leading expert on hypnosis, when he first saw these drills demonstrated, said that they were the “most overt form of hypnosis” that he had seen in any cult.

Inertia is a distressing aspect of the human condition. We do indeed throw good money after bad. Once committed to any idea, we tend to milk it, until we have run out of strength and inclination, and, with Scientology, that can take a lifetime. Though it is the cult that does the milking. The author of the seminal and essential Influence, Professor Robert Cialdini, calls this the “consistency principle.” Once you’ve sent the first ten dollars to the Nigerian scam artist, it becomes easier to write out a check for two hundred. Once you’ve bought a ten dollar Communication Course, it becomes easier to splash out a thousand on an “intensive” of “processing.” If the “body router” who lured you in had offered you an “intensive of processing,” you would have smiled and run a mile, but after committing a little, as all salespeople know, it is so much easier to commit the lot. Despite the promises, the Comm Course will not actually have solved your communication problems, but that is how the consistency principle works. By the time you get to the perfect and post-perfect states of Clear and Operating Thetan the goal posts have moved so far away that you can’t even see them, even though any objective test of the promises of these states finds them ludicrously lacking (compare Hubbard’s claims for Clear in his first book to his later dismissal of those claims. How readily his “scientific research” proved to be hollow, by his own admission, but only when he had something new to sell, which would surely do the trick for a not so modest fee — sorry, “fixed donation”).

Experts tell us that cult members tend to have an average of two years in college. Most are middle class and from loving families. It is not stupidity that led us in, but desperation. Cialdini tells the tale of an evening spent with a professor of logic watching a Transcendental Meditation lecture. At the end, the logician stood up and stumped the presenters with a series of questions that clearly exposed the irrationality of their claims. The presenters fell silent, dumbfounded and ashamed, yet many of the audience still signed up. When asked why, they told Cialdini that they had urgent problems, so would grab at any chance, and if they’d waited until tomorrow and thought about the irrationalities, they would have lost the chance to follow the proposed course. Even when it was against reason or good sense.

That desperation can be either to escape upset or, in some cases, to find a way to effectively help others, in a society beset with bogus “therapies” and magical beliefs. At the 1982 Clearwater Hearings, in Florida, OT V auditor Lori Taverna said that many people had told her that they’d joined Scientology, because they wanted to be like her. She had to explain that she was a cheerful and energetic person by nature. Scientology had neither created nor enhanced her condition.

When I finished my secret interview with a former Watchdog Committee member — who had been one of the 14 who ran the cult under Hubbard’s direction — he boasted that at least we would never again be taken in. I told him that the only and somewhat slim protection that I had was the knowledge that, like every other living soul, I am gullible. So, the question isn’t “How could you be so stupid?” but “How can we help people to recognise exploitative persuasion?”

 
——————–

A New Interview of Jamie DeWolf

It’s always interesting to hear from L. Ron Hubbard’s great-grandson…

 

 
——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on November 2, 2013 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.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.

 

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  • tetloj

    Yep – it could easily have been me. An educated some time depressive seeker. Committed to ideals. I could’ve been sucked right in.

  • DodoTheLaser

    Great analysis, Jon. Thank you!

    Scientology – preying on vulnerable and gullible, the Gypsy of religion and spiritualism.

    • Missionary Kid

      “Scientology – preying on vulnerable, the Gypsy of religion and spiritualism.” Very well put, Dodo. I’ve included it in my collection of THINGS SAID ABOUT SCIENTOLOGY To see all of them, go to
      http://tonyortega.org/2013/10/12/tomkat-project-in-los-angeles-heres-your-chance-to-help-the-show-get-to-tinseltown/ Make sure that Disqus is set to “Newest.”

      The collected list of DM NICKNAMES is also there, and that numbers over 360.

      Thanks to all of you Bunkarooos, who, in your creativity, have used all of the terms.

      • Slartibartfatsdomino

        I would like to lobby against including that on the list. Anti-Roma racism is on the rise across Europe. It’s hardly becoming for a group of people opposed to the human rights abuses of the Cult of Scientology to be supportive, however unwittingly, of the abuses that the Roma are dealing with right now. Thanx.

        • Missionary Kid

          Good point. I’ll try to come up with an alternative.

        • DodoTheLaser

          While you apparently gained the knowledge from reading the news,
          I dealt with Roma in real life. For many years.

          And no, it’s not about their ethnicity, it’s about their culture and their actions.

          I don’t want innocent Roma being abused and wish them well.

          I also believe that every individual, regardless of their race, holds the key to how they will be treated by others. Golden Rule comes to mind.

          Peace.

          • Kim O’Brien

            wait ..i did not mean to up vote you on that one .. “dealing with Roma in real life ” just does not sound good . I got ripped off in Spain once ..not all spics rip people off ( see how that sounds kinda , well ..not so good ? )

            • DodoTheLaser

              Yeah, I see.

          • Slartibartfatsdomino

            It’s not about my knowledge, it’s about the simple human understanding that an entire group of peoples, and a marginalized and impoverished group of peoples at that, should not be stereotyped according to the perceptions of actions of individuals.

            And how many times have I heard anti-black people racism couched in these exact terms (” it’s not about their ethnicity, it’s about their culture and their actions.”)? The answer is a lot.

            • DodoTheLaser

              I really hate this subject, but not people of ANY race.
              I will try take your advise and stay away from going there from now on.

            • Slartibartfatsdomino

              Thanks.

              Also, I’ve been a Bunkerite for a few weeks now. I don’t comment profusely, but I’ve been here.

            • DodoTheLaser

              Cool 🙂

          • ThetaBara

            It’s not all of them (which it is why it is racist to speak as though it is). And, it’s complicated. They are born into disadvantage.

            • DodoTheLaser

              Yes, I was wrong. My sincere apologies to all.

    • Slartibartfatsdomino

      Um, could we not support anti-Roma racism please? They are already having a hard enough time of it at present.

      • DodoTheLaser

        Racism was not on my mind at all, but I get your point.

        • ThetaBara

          You can call it cold reading.

  • John P.

    Yes, this is an important article. I suspect everyone who has joined Scientology or any other coercive group after a friend has said “I hear that’s a cult” has thought “It can’t happen to me; I’m too smart for that.”

    I think that Atack’s point about how Scientology ropes people in by “finding their ruin” is critical, and it is here that I think Scientology is much more efficient and ruthless than any other coercive cult around: it starts the moment you look to take the stress test, which is how many people got roped in.

    Today, of course, the Scientology test seems almost bizarre, since a question like “Do you browse through railway timetables, directories or dictionaries just for pleasure” may soon require explaining to younger generations who never experienced adult life without their all-knowing smart phone (powered by the hearsay of Google) by their side. Most Americans have never ridden a train much less had a train timetable in their briefcase or purse. The world is fortunate indeed that the test is “scripture” and can’t be changed, so it will only get more anachronistic and serve as a wake-up call for those who might have been easy marks in the old days.

    Jon brings up another great point: that what economists and capitalists like me call “sunk cost bias” is very important in keeping people in the cult. People tend stick with the current solution even when it is no longer working because of the perceived switching cost to pursue a new solution. Scott Adams, the cartoonist who draws Dilbert, has a great example: “We’ve spent millions developing a water-powered pogo stick. We can’t stop investing now or it will all be wasted.”

    Until you get into the higher levels of Scientology, the “switching cost” to change to a new approach is pretty low, since you’ve done a bunch of cheap courses and you aren’t really subject to disconnection (which is the major “switching cost” that keeps people in the cult). But it’s funny how people would rather stay in one cult and suffer abuses than perhaps switch to Cult B in search for answers when Cult A no longer provided them.

    Scientology seems to be unique among self-help groups and cults in that most adherents seem to have had zero experience with either cults or legitimate self-help groups before they got involved in Scientology. As I have said before, I took a number of EST courses for a year or two in the late 1970s. A huge number of people who were involved in EST were what I might characterize as “professional seekers,” people for whom EST was the next stop on the journey after having tried any number of self-help disciplines, and it thus would not be the last stop on their journey either. But I don’t think you get “professional seekers” in Scientology. The only people who are likely to join are those who have never done anything like that before.

    I think Atack’s conclusion is brilliant:

    I told him that the only and somewhat slim protection that I had was the knowledge that, like every other living soul, I am gullible.

    One of the things that one must do to succeed in life at Global Capitalism HQ is to know your own mind, particularly your own biases. There are certain types of stories from companies that want me to buy their stock that I’m likely to believe. It’s too much to expect that I will be able to eliminate my biases, so the best I can do is to be aware of them as I’m listening to the CEO pitch his company’s “story.” Everyone who has tried to make a living picking stocks in Global Capitalism HQ have made bad decisions based on our own unique biases that ultimately stem from that inherent gullibility Atack refers to. Those who have survived have managed to learn enough about their biases to let such disasters happen far less often over time. Ultimately, the key to succeeding in capitalism is much like the key to staying out of the clutches of an organization like Scientology: keep asking “Why” much like a four year old does. Keep watching the answers get filtered through your cognitive biases and limitations, and keep being aware that you are imperfect and limited. Humility is strength.

    One footnote: regarding how some people must take on faith that the universe started with the “Big Bang,” I think that this is much less an issue than in the past. A number of science popularizers with great academic credibility have been able to write about these things so they’re much less mystical. Steven Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is one such, and another one that is much less known but which really does a great job of answering the “why” is Just Six Number by Martin Rees. You’ll feel a lot less like you’re taking matters of astrophysics on faith after reading that one.

    • Missionary Kid

      Indeed, “Humility is strength.”

    • Miss Tia

      I think subconsciously most of us are ‘seekers’. Excellent analysis here, as always John P.!

      • Madora Pennington

        I always enjoy reading Atack. His comment about “wanting to be like Lorna” is true. The interesting people there were a big draw for many – but now it’s just big empty buildings with multiple flat screens!

    • villagedianne

      Gteat post John P. I like the part about being aware of one’s own biases. Sometimes we just want so much to believe certain things.
      My guess about “professional seekers” and Scientology is that the “professional seekers” might dabble in Scientology, particularly in the pre-internet days. But then they would move on to the next flavor in the spiritual marketplace. That is my guess.
      Maybe the ones who are not aware of other traditions offering some of the same ideas, are the ones who stay.

      • Jon Hendry

        I think the professional seekers might not be very amenable to authoritarian groups. They’re probably more interested in the buffet approach, sampling things and taking what they like, but remaining in control.

        This is probably a lot easier now, than it was in the 50s, 60s, or 70s, since there is so much information available – and without making any commitment to a given group or practice. Heck most non-Asian Americans who consider themselves Buddhists (or Buddhism-inclined) probably aren’t members of any formal practice group, subsisting on reading books, magazines, websites, and listening to podcasts by Buddhist teachers.

    • Once_Born

      Regarding taking science ‘on faith’

      1) The life blood of working scientists is publication. Theorists and experimentalists freely publish their work.
      2) Publications invite peer review. Other scientists will repeat your experiment, and closely examine the reasoning of your theory. God help you if you blunder – your peers wont.
      3) Science produces explanations, many of which you can check out for yourself without years of specialised education, for example:. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Rainbow
      4) Science enables us to produce technology. The computer and network that I am using to post are not magic. They exist because humans learned to understand basic physical principles, and then made useful tools our of them.
      5) Today’s science is not the final word – and scientists know it. Today’s theories are incomplete because there is always more to learn. A kind of humility is built in.
      6) Science does not contradict itself.

      This is the very antithesis of Scientology… examine Hubbard’s writings and ask if they satisfy any of these criteria. It might also be the basis for ‘fringe group check-list’.

      Unfortunately, Jon Atack is dead right – people are drawn in to groups like Scientology because of emotional needs. Their critical intelligence is not engaged. Fortunately, John P is also right – “Know thyself” is the best protection.

      • Eclipse-girl

        Science is also self correcting. If new evidence is found that contradicts a hypothesis or theory, the scientists know the hypothesis or theory is not accurate as it stands and needs to be changed.

        • Once_Born

          Any this is not a dry intellectual process. If an anomaly becomes apparent, working scientists are delighted. It points them to an area where (they hope) new knowledge is to be had, and careers can be made.

          Such a process works with human nature, unlike Scientology which demands you totally suppress the questioning and curiosity that is part of us all, and believe what you are told.

          • Eclipse-girl

            Correct, discovering the anomalies, the pieces that don’t quite fit, is a reason why they became scientists in the first place.

        • mirele

          Right, there are anomalies that astronomers and physicists are still trying to explain about the Big Bang, which will either lead us to a better Big Bang theory (not the TV show) or to a different theory. But the thing to keep in mind is that this is an ongoing process, which is quite Hubbard’s carved in stone (or titanium plates) bullshit that can’t be changed.

          • DamOTclese2

            At The Skeptic Tank I get emails from people almost once a week demanding to know “what happened before the Big Bang?!” with the supposition that not giving them a satisfactory answer means their Christanic/Islamic gods some how exist.

            There is this false dichotomy that believers employ, unless their every question is answered and unless they accept every answer given, they default to thinking their gods exist. 🙂 It’s a fascinating phenomena, a grand look in to the abject lunacy of the human reptile brain.

            • Eclipse-girl

              Scientists are OK with “we don’t know”
              Some religious people are not.
              Hence, the god of gaps. There are many wise theologians who advice against the reliance of “the god of gaps” because they are aware that the gaps in our knowledge will hopefully be forever decreasing.

              I have heard some people argue that there was no “before the big bang” since time started when the singularity of energy started to expand rapidly.

        • Jon Hendry

          And if you’re trying to do new work based on someone else’s published results, it’s going to be pretty obvious if you can’t reproduce their work on the way to doing your new thing. First step would be to communicate with the original author and try to figure out where you messed up. But if you can never get it working, or if the original author is not forthcoming, or gives weaselly answers, you’re going to figure out the problem is the original published work.

          If you wasted time and money (possibly significant $) because of someone else’s bogus paper, you probably won’t be in a mood to let it slide.

          • Eclipse-girl

            People forget that scientists are human, and have egos. There are always people examining your work. Hoaxes happen, but they are usually dealt with pretty quickly these days.

        • aegerprimo

          YES!

      • John P.

        The comment about taking science on faith is not about being willing to ignore the scientific method in some cases. It’s certainly not endorsing Hubbard’s solipsistic “what’s true is what’s true for you” departure point for craziness.

        It is just that some science is sufficiently difficult to understand that the average person who’s not a subject matter expert will have to take it on faith that the experts are right that all the experimental data are correct and that the scientific method has been followed appropriately in obtaining the result. That’s particularly true in cosmology and quantum physics, which takes years to understand. It’s just really, really hard stuff. I can’t replicate the results from the ATLAS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider on my kitchen table using a Bill Nye the Science Guy video and some stuff scrounged from my garage. I have to take all of that on faith because I don’t have $20 billion worth of hardware.

        It’s also true in math, which doesn’t require a lot of expensive hardware. I have always been recreationally interested in math, and I devour all those little books like Mario Livio’s “The Golden Ratio.” So when Andrew Wiles solved Fermat’s Last Theorem, I read Amir Aczel’s book for armchair mathematicians about the process. I understood a little about the task from that book. And when I was fortunate enough, years later, to attend a dinner party and be seated across from Andrew Wiles, I did my best to listen to his explanations of how he did the proof, and I came away no more illuminated than before. So I have to take on faith that he did the proof correctly and that it really is true. I just don’t have 30 years to devote to understanding the math to be able to grok it for myself.

        • Robert Eckert

          This book on the four-color-map theorem was a fun, illuminating read:

          http://www.amazon.com/Four-Colors-Suffice-Problem-Solved/dp/0691120234

        • subsilentio

          We may have to take certain aspects of science “on faith” solely because there are very few people capable of understanding them, but we don’t have to take results on faith. Use science, and a rocket gets to the Moon. Smallpox gets eradicated. The Internet exists and works.

          Religion simply doesn’t have results like this that it can point to proving that it’s right about anything at all.

          Where’s the faith-based smallpox vaccine, Internet, etc.? Either it has solely psychological benefits, or it’s pure bullshit.

        • DamOTclese2

          We also have scientists like Frank Jennings Tipler and his Omega Point lunacy which he apparently still believes.

          I attended a James Randi dinner with the Skeptics Society where Tipler was the guest speaker, and he covered his amusingly bizarre beliefs while claiming the math and the physics supported his lunacy. 🙂 He sat at the dinner table where myself and my brother were sitting and I specifically avoided talking with the guy since I thought he was violently nuts. 🙂 Well, maybe not violently but the guy was undeniably nuts.

          And yet he was at one time a regarded scientists working sanely in his field. Something happened to his brain, he suffered some problem and BAM! he started believing abject stupidity.

          • Robert Eckert

            I had not heard of this guy. From the Wiki: “Tipler defined the “final anthropic principle” (FAP)”

            I would make a joke, but it just seems too easy.

            • Michael Leonard Tilse

              What you gave up the chance to make a Final Anthropic Revised Theory joke?

            • DamOTclese2

              He made a fairly big splash in skeptics circles because he was a scientist basically spewing author Stephen Baxter’s book, “Transcendent” written in 2005. Tipler wrote his bizarre notions in 2000 but spoke about them long before then, so it’s likely that Baxter’s fiction fantasy novel “Transcendent” got some notions from Tipler’s work.

        • aegerprimo

          In science there is a difference between a theory and a fact.

      • Anonymous

        Once_Born,

        Science, which is not exactly a unified, calm body of certain knowledge (global warming anyone?), has indeed provided the basis for a great deal of the the advancement of civilization in the past several hundred years.

        Which is why conman Hubbard lied to others in the first couple of decades of Scientology’s existence about being a PhD and a nuclear physicist (before he was exposed as a college dropout.)

        • Robert Eckert

          Science is unified and calm on the subject of global warming. It is politicians who are divisive and panicky.

          • Anonymous

            Categorically untrue.

            But let’s not get religious about it.

            • Missionary Kid

              Sorry, but climatologists, meteorologists, people involved with remote earth sensing overwhelmingly agree.

              You’ll notice that the scientists who disagree don’t have experience in the earth sciences.

            • Anonymous

              Missionary Kid and Robert Eckert,

              I’ll make one last comment on this topic, then will stop as I do not want to derail the conversation from it’s opening post, which is Jon Atack’s excellent analysis of why smart folks get suckered into cons like Scientology.

              If even ONE scientist disagrees with the concept that global warming is caused by man’s activities, then it is NOT a unified viewpoint among “scientists.” The beauty of the sciences is that they are multi-disciplined investigations into the nature and causes of various phenomenon. If enough accurate observations and test are made, one can advance ahead with a theory and place that theory into action until more observations are made that allow the theory to be improved or discarded in favor of something better. (e.g. the original Neils Bohr model of the atom.)

              “Climatologists, meteorologists, people involved with remote earth sensing overwhelmingly agree” is probably an overly strong position. Certainly many do. But absolutely not all. And rightly so. Because the potential fanatical “solutions” that might otherwise be implemented by politicians could be equally frightening.

              Getting “religious” about “science” and flinging “proof” based on a currently available evidence, while discounting contrary evidence or attempting to shout down those who may have a different “scientific” viewpoint, can make discussions about important scientific matters just as crazy as comparable discussions about religious viewpoints.

              While I prefer science over religion, neither are calm and orderly, excepts when blinders are installed and fanatics start insisting on their own viewpoint. That is when things get scary and ends begin justifying means.

            • Jon Hendry

              “”Climatologists, meteorologists, people involved with remote earth sensing overwhelmingly agree” is probably an overly strong position. Certainly many do. But absolutely not all. ”

              Overwhelming is not the same as unanimous. Words have meanings, you know.

              Support for anthropomorphic climate change *is* overwhelming among scientists in the field, 90% or more.

            • Anonymous

              I do not want to derail the conversation from it’s opening post.

            • DamOTclese2

              In fact 97% of the world’s climatologists note that the planet is warming.

            • Anonymous

              DamOTclese2,

              Sounds like you are here to “get ethics in on the planet” (warming.)

            • DamOTclese2

              Possibly because you’re a dimwitted Republican who has a corporate programming that forces you and your fellow dimwitted Republican dipshits to deny observed phenomena and to pretend that 97% of the world’s scientists “are wrong.”

              Are you a fucking Republican dipshit, by any chance, retard?

            • Anonymous

            • Robert Eckert

              I see I have to retract my previous statement to Anonymous that nobody had gotten vitriolic or profane with him. Really, Dam, that is not helpful.

            • Exterrier

              Calm down, Dam. This sort of thing degrades the quality of the blog. Have a sip of nice wine, take a breath, and relax. I am certain that Anonymous is not driving a Humvee and running down orphans and tossing non biodegradable trash out of his speeding vehicle. And then I will remove my down vote. I feel bad giving you one, as I know how very painful those can be. Those little arrows are so sharp.

            • Exterrier

              This is amusing. I got caught up in one of these things on a facebook blog, simply for mentioning that I had enjoyed a book and video by Rupert Sheldrake. An assistant chemistry professor friend got pretty nasty with me. One of Sheldrake’s points was that even science takes on the same sort of human loyalties that religion does, and those must be challenged as well. Man, did I get slammed …. and I mentioned something about funding, Monsanto, corporate science, etc, and all hell broke loose.
              Anyhow, I thought Jon Atack’s essay above was absolutely brilliant, and useful to the topic.
              People seem to be missing the point, out of their emotionality or frustration with certain people like creationists, and getting caught up in defending their version of global warming, rather than understanding the point you tried to make. I don’t think you even took a position on it. geesh.

            • Anonymous

              It can get pretty crazy.

            • Robert Eckert

              You can find a similar number of people with scientific training who claim that Einstein was all wrong about relativity, or don’t think the Big Bang happened at all, or whatnot. Only with respect to this one issue do we find people seriously trying to maintain that the existence of a handful of fringe dissenters means that there are two viewpoints with equally scientific basis.

            • DamOTclese2

              Any scientist working within the arena of physics which suggests that General or Special Relativity does not happen exactly as Einstein noted are going to be doing so for financial or other non-science-based reasons.

            • Robert Eckert

              Exactly.

            • Missionary Kid

              The question is, how accurate are the models for prediction, and if they aren’t accurate, why aren’t they? One thing that has been discovered is that the rate of global warming has been slowed by the air pollution that has provided the particles that have provided the seed for cloud formation, hence more solar energy is reflected into space.

              Your argument about “even one” scientist disagrees should render the whole of evolution untenable. I said “great majority” for a good reason.

              It’s not for naught that the Koch brothers are solidly behind financing the opposition. They’re coal producers.

            • Anonymous

              Missionary Kid,

              I do not want to derail the conversation from it’s opening post by diving into politics.

              Reading your other comments on this board about Scientology, you and I are in agreement on most relevant topics.

              Also:

              Please see Poe’s Law:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

            • Robert Eckert

              It is not really a derail. How people get talked into climate denial is a similar process to how people get talked into creationism or Holocaust revisionism or Scientology.

            • Anonymous

              Robert Eckert,

              Wow!

              Just a very, very few posts and counter-posts and already Godwin has come into play!

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

              Inserting the term “climate denial” into this thread is a form of Affirming the Consequent and is an invalid argument technique. And for the record, I never asserted a viewpoint on the correctness or incorrectness of Climate Warming as a theory. I deliberately inserted as an example into a comment about being cautions of assuming one set of blinders (e.g.science) for a discarded set of blinders (e.g. religion.)

              However in manner that could not possibly have made the point better, the conversation immediately diverted into several folks very strong opinions about climate warming, complete with ad hominen, dis-accreditation, and mal absurdum. Even Godwin!

              Robert – you and I agree on almost all matters related to Scientology, which is the subject matter of the Opening Post on this board.

              I’m focused on examining and sharing thoughts about how folks get suckered into nefarious organizations via the coercive and manipulative efforts of others with hidden agendas. I’m trying to provide resources and information that might help people escape if already trapped, or in the case of folks considering a joining a cult, avoiding the trap altogether.

              I’m now going to exit this part of the discussion thread, as climate change is not a topic I want to discuss here, except as an example of the very point I was trying to make earlier on the subject of Hubbard using “science” to sell religion.

            • DamOTclese2

              You’re engaged in climate change denial, yeah. Scientists get to describe reality, Fox “News” traitors with Christanic or Republican corporate ideologies don’t get to decide.

            • Robert Eckert

              It’s not a matter of “strong opinions”. The question is whether you accept what scientists working in the field tell you, or whether you prefer a purely ideological objection and pretend that it is equally “scientific”.

              “climate change is not a topic I want to discuss here” Obviously it is.

              “except as an example of the very point I was trying to make earlier on the subject of not getting religious about science” It is an excellent example. Denial of science to suit your ideology is very much the same phenomenon this thread is all about: “how folks get suckered into nefarious organizations via the coercive and manipulative efforts of others with hidden agendas” as you put it.

            • Exterrier

              Anonymous,
              I just love your posts, and understand completely your point agreeing with Jon Atack about how mostly we operate on faith more than certainty, from childhood on. We are simply not able to admit it. In any field, including science. Michael Creighton’s writings and lectures towards the end of his life would probably delight you.
              I don’t want to get caught up into anyone’s highly excitable positions on global warming, etc, either, as it was simply an example used….. I think your point was well made by the response you got.
              Everyone on this blog is quite brilliant, by the way, and means to be correct….But as far as I can tell, everyone here is also quite human, and their IQ’s and educations don’t really change that, so they are susceptible to the very forces that John describes as entrapping intelligent people.
              You see a certain polarization occurring all the time over certain hot issues, and ones that should not be so hot, but contain lots of agendas, funding, conditioning, assumptions, etc. Fluoridation, GMO’s, fracking, conventional vs. alternative medicine, ADD, psychopharmaceuticals, the Kennedy Assassination, 911, Homeland Security, climate change, athiesm vs religion, Mysticism vs Scientism, and all kinds of politics….. People get terribly mad and ad hominem if you sound like you might disagree with whatever it is that they assume is self evident and settled about them. Somebody is operating on faith or bad information, or emotion or cultural bias, or else we would all be agreeing all the time.
              I might be attacked by some well meaning person simply for saying that there might be two sides or more information to inspect on any of those topics….and I have not even stated a postion on them. Faith… Faith people.

              You keep right on, Anonymous. I will read your book when you write it. Look up Creighton, too.

            • Anonymous

              Exterrier.

              Thanks for your thoughts with which I largely agree. There are many ways to make a point. You probably did a better job than I, because you spelled out the nuances up front, rather than assuming others would infer them, or be bothered to examine the offered links which made the point more clearly.

              Michael Leonard Tilsen also added the term “sausage making” to the thread, which was a great short cut to getting the same idea across.

              I’ve seen some of Dr.Crichton’s writings. Many people do not know that he was also an MD. And of course his novel “State of Fear” is part of the lore of the global warming debate among the general public and media. And he was roundly pilloried by climatologists for his lack of appropriate credentials. He is one of the devils in several factions in the “scientific community.”

              The verbal jihad that occurred here several days ago at the mere mention of global warming (without even taking a position on the multifaceted controversy) is a perfect example of folks getting religious about science.

              Some were not even able to get past the given example without descending into frightful attempts to shout down what they saw as an “opposing” position. Some were extremely vigilant about defeating a straw man argument that existed only in their heads. None saw parallels in the controversy that played out over 3 decades in the scientific community, media and general public over the discovery and search for solutions to AIDS. One person resorted to profane name calling, personal insults and extremely polarized political taunts, all apparently, in the name of the consensus of “scientists.” It was quite something to behold.

              What is next? Exploding dynamite vests in the name of “defending the honor of science?”

              Precedent for this kind of extremism in the name of science has been seen several times in the past several hundred years. And as I mentioned earlier, the intersection of science and politics is frequently where the extremism turns ugly.

              The “science wars” at the end of the last century are another good example of science being a messy process: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_wars. There is nothing
              calm and orderly about scientific progress, a fact of life which sometimes delays the alleviation of human suffering.

              In another thread on a related but different topic, I mentioned a statement attributed to several folks, but it was Henry Kissinger I personally heard say ” The reason the fights between academics are so vicious is because…the stakes are so low.”

              If the stakes are actually high, things can really go berserk.

            • Exterrier

              Anon, yes, it is tough medicine to agree with Kissinger on anything at all. The sausage analogy by MLT was dead on, I agree. Just because they put a lot of starch in those lab coats does not make science any neater than any other subject…..and those are not priest frocks, either, although I sure know those who think they are. It all boils down to the fact that science is a process, and gets mistaken for a belief system, because humans so badly crave the stability of beliefs, from childhood on.
              And yes, I forgot, luckily, to mention AIDs science and all the heat around that one.

              I think, per Kissingers remark, which he probably read somewhere, that the stakes are low because what seems like an absolute certainty in one century, is overturned and forgotten in the next. This does not mean that it is invalid: it is all we have, and it produces amazing results. It just means we have to keep using it, and part of that is to never get to smug about “knowing” anything. And that all reflects back on Jon Atack’s point, ahem, that we tend to operate so much on faith and belief in the first place, that we can always be vulnerable to scamsters like Ron. I thought it was a terrific point.

            • Anonymous

              Exterrier,

              In the context in which Kissinger made the remark he was also discussing the difference between brilliant academic work and translating that work into actionable policies that have any chance of implementation in the larger world. (Before entering politics, he taught at Harvard.)

              To your earlier point, stakeholders of all stripes in the larger world, regardless of the rightness / wrongness of their views, have immense influence in the acceptance and success or failure of actionable policies. Getting brilliant academic work implemented is a process of persuasion, which is usually slowed if the “persuasion” devolves into shouting.

            • monkeyknickers

              Why would someone downvote you? (?)
              Am I not understanding something?
              Also – why oh why is my house filled with fucking fruit flies when I have to fruit?

            • Michael Leonard Tilse

              Well, as I read it, and I might be wrong, Anon was making a distinction between the concepts “all” and “many”. And asserting that science, as in religion and politics and sausage makings are neither calm nor orderly.

              I think that the example of “global warming” science being used as an example, triggered some perception that Anon was a climate denier, when he actually never said that, as far as I can tell.

              It is true that if one in a field of scientists does not agree with a theory in that field, then it is not unanimous among those scientists. The lone scientist could be right with his alternate theory and data and experiment could prove it eventually. But the likelihood of that being the case is small.

              More importantly he was discussing how in a field of science where not all scientists agree on the correct theory or data, there can be factions who support one side or another and the arguments can seem like religious fervor.

              And of course, without careful reading that kind of thing exploded in this thread.

              Poe’s Law, which Anon referenced is interesting. Basically as I read it: An inspired satire of a fervent extremist argument is indistinguishable from an actual fervent extremist argument and this can fool onlookers into ascribe the satire as being a real fervent argument. Further, the two arguments can only be understood as satire or not by a clear statement of the authors.

              (Which in a recursive satire, could themselves be satire.)

            • monkeyknickers

              AHHHHHHH. You’re smart.

              Also – I love sausage.

              And yeah . . . . please think of a way to get rid of these damn fucking asshole fruit flies. OKTHX.:)

            • Michael Leonard Tilse
            • Robert Eckert

              There are fewer climatologists who belong to the denier camp than biologists who believe in creationism, or physicists who think Einstein was all wrong. He is trying to make some false equivalency between the two sides and pretend that there is a scientific controversy when there really isn’t.

            • Michael Leonard Tilse

              I’m sorry Robert. No disrespect, but I personally read don’t read it that way.

              What I understand from his several posts is that there are two sides. That they disagree. That the interface between them is sometimes not calm and orderly, but strewn with firmly held and loudly voiced opinions and theories and doubts.

              I don’t see where Anon sided with one or the other. And I see that public controversy about some scientific issue can occupy scientists, religionists, congress, business and media in a not calm and very inorderly counter-productive chaos where social groupings try to seize, defend or establish turf.

              But that does not mean the scientific research and it’s data are scientifically much in doubt. It’s still a controversy to the stakeholders and the wider world.

            • Robert Eckert

              “What I understand from his several posts is that there are two sides.” He is claiming that there are two sides among the scientists. That is not true. There are of course discussions among climatologists about the pace of change and the kinds and degree of the effects we should expect to see– just as among biologists there are arguments about whether the first birds arose within the dromaeosaurs or as a sister group to them, but people who claim that there is a serious controversy among biologists about whether evolution is true, and that it is treating Darwinism “like a religion” to call creationism unscientific, are just being dishonest about what the scientific consensus is.

            • Anonymous

              Michael Leonard Tilse,

              Thank you for understanding.

              You were able to infer the exact points I was trying to make, but apparently did not do in a clear fashion. But the points were made better than I could have ever done myself by the wild and sometimes profane responses from others.

              I’ve spent quite a bit of time directly confronting known OSA agents on this board and others about Scientology and not once have I ever witnessed a more vitriolic, personal and objectively wrong reaction / response.

              And yet the vitriolic, personal and objectively wrong reaction / response to my comment was from folks who apparently either consider themselves “scientists” or to hold scientifically valid viewpoints.

              Me thinks that should this sort of scientific “thinking” ever be linked with any political power, it might be at least as dangerous as some of the nastiest things previously done in the name of religion.

            • Robert Eckert

              Nobody here has been “vitriolic” or “personal” or “profane”. You are objectively wrong about the status of the science.

            • Anonymous

              Robert Eckert,

              Some of the vitriolic, personal and objectively wrong reaction(s) / response(s) so far:

              From DamOTclese2

              “You’re engaged in climate change denial, yeah. Scientists get to describe reality, Fox “News” traitors with Christanic or Republican corporate ideologies don’t get to decide.”

              also from DamOTclese2:

              “Possibly because you’re a dimwitted Republican who has a corporate programming that forces you andyour fellow dimwitted Republican dipshits to deny observed phenomena and to pretend that 97% of the world’s scientists “are wrong”

              “Are you a fucking Republican dipshit, by any chance, retard?”

              also from DamOTclese2 :

              “Aw, what’s the matter, rightard? (sic) Science and reality not to your liking?”

              There are more examples, but I think the above will do for now.

            • Kim O’Brien

              if you are NOT a “fucking republican dip shit retard.”.then it’s NOT personal …just sayin

            • DeElizabethan

              Just popped on to this. Very personal attacks on a fellow Bunker which is completely uncalled for.

            • Robert Eckert

              Yes, a little downthread I saw Dam going off at you and so I have to retract that.

            • Exterrier

              So rational and helpful, MLT. I learn lots from this blog.

              I loved Jon Atack’s point about how we accept so much on faith, but don’t necessarily think of it as such. Hence scoundrels like LRH can slip in there neatly. Certainly a less emotional example than global warming, would be to reference all the things most of us were taught in history, about our own country. So much has had to be revised and turned on its head. Look at the fate of Columbus day.
              And as we grow up we simply accept our parents’ religion, social customs, prejudices and beliefs and rules on faith….we have to. And we learn mostly by mirroring things. The NLP experts know this….. persuasion is rarely rational. There is simply not time for that, especially when growing up. Or when attending school.

              Faith and cultural acceptance and assumptions on the part of an individual is probably built in as a social cohesion mechanism for the tribeand family. Of course it will get into ideologies, loyalties, education, and even partisan disputes in various fields. LRound simply took a free ride on that sort of trust, by lying about his credentials, and puffing his chest with great authority. That is, I believe, Anon’s point.
              And we who were tricked by Scientology are not immune to having it happen again, but have been given the lesson, if we want it, that we can be tricked by false appearances, wishful thinking, and attachments. The only thing that maybe we can take from it is to always remember to ask ourselves, “what if this is wrong?”
              And also to try to remember that there is never an “Us and Them”, (only in college football). There is only a big Us, and we must be patient and understanding.

            • Anonymous

              monkeyknickers,

              You wrote:

              “Why would someone downvote you? (?) Am I not understanding something?”

              The simplest answer I can give is , I do not know. Maybe too much coffee?

              Is there a koan involved regarding your fruit fly question?

              I’m intrigued.

            • monkeyknickers

              Well, Michael spelled it out for me. 🙂

              I don’t know what a koan is, luv. But Imunna google right now.

              And fuck them, those fucking fruit flies. 🙂

            • ThetaBara

              Put out a shot glass with vinegar and a little dish soap in it. Wine or tequila works pretty well too. 😉

            • Robert Eckert

              Categorically true. It is not getting “religious” to listen to the people who actually do the work in the field. That is precisely what Jon Atack was talking about.

            • Anonymous

              Robert Eckert,

              Please see Poe’s Law:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

            • DamOTclese2

              🙂 To support the Fox “News” belief that global warming is not universally accepted by climate scientists the guy quoted a random Wikipedia page. 🙂 Loved it! 🙂

            • DamOTclese2

              You’re wrong, and failing to quote actual science to support your position means that you know you are wrong.

        • DamOTclese2

          Nearly all scientists working within the field accept that global warming is happening, there is something over 97% of all climate scientists that accept the obvious fact. Only religious nuts and Republican dingbats don’t accept directly-observed phenomena as a matter of religious or ideological purity.

          • Anonymous

            Sigh…

            • DamOTclese2

              Aw, what’s the matter, rightard? Science and reality not to your liking?

            • Anonymous

              DamOTclese2,,

              Please re-read the whole thread, starting with my original comment about Hubbard using a phoney science background to sell religion. At no time, ever, did I advocate FOR or AGAINST global warming. I referenced it simply to indicate one topic where there is a great deal of controversy among scientists and others.

              I also made a satirical comment about not getting “religious” about “science.” To make
              it clear it was a joke, I later notated it with a reference to Poe’s Law.

              The gist of what I was trying to say was:

              “Getting “religious” about “science” and flinging “proof” based on a currently available / popularly acceptable evidence, while discounting contrary evidence or attempting to shout down those who may have a different “scientific” viewpoint, can make discussions about important scientific matters just as crazy as comparable discussions about religious viewpoints.”

              The ensuing responses have included profane name calling, extreme polarized political insults, something about FOX News (which I do not watch,) some sort of unclear insult about “Christanic or Republican corporate ideologies” (sic,) and a reference to “holocaust deniers” by the same person who actually said I was a “climate denier.”

              For the record, I do not deny there is a climate. 😉

              DamOTclese2, I suggest you calm down. I do not have a strong opinion about global
              warming, climate change or related topics. But apparently you do. And I respect your opinions.

              However, your name calling and other insults I do not respect. Nor did anything I say warrant those and other insults. And I suspect you would not hurl those insults if we were talking in-person.

              And I can assure you that you would most definitely not be happy with the response if you did.

            • Robert Eckert

              ” I referenced it simply to indicate one topic where there is a great deal of controversy among scientists and others.” This is what is simply false, and that is what we keep trying to tell you, and it is exasperating that you cannot grasp the point. There are “others” who deny the science, but among scientists the controversy is over. Your continued insistence that this is a scientific controversy, and that it is somehow “religious” to believe what the scientists who work in the field have to say, makes it sound as if you must be from the political/religious faction which denies the science.

            • Anonymous

              Robert Eckert,

              You wrote:

              “This is what is simply false, and that is what we keep trying to tell you, and it is exasperating that you cannot grasp the point. There are “others” who deny the science, but among scientists the controversy is over.”

              Actually, I do “grasp” your point.

              And my point all along is that I do not have a strong opinion on global warming or its causes. I also know that many do (including many “scientists.”)

              But I see parallels in the adamant positions taken on the many sides of the global warming controversy that can also be seen in other fields of “scientific” study and how those controversies interplay with politics.

              That is why I earlier included a link to a pretty well researched Wikipedia article about AIDS, the scientists involved in it’s discovery, the influence of the media while the scientific controversies roiled onward and the nightmares caused by politics as the puzzle was being played out over the course of more than 3 decades.

              The bitter, personal disputes between “scientists” (including Robert Gallo) regarding the discovery, causes and potential cures for AIDS are pretty well documented. Here’s a different another link to more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Gallo.

              For the sake of clarity, my caution is against getting “religious” about “science” as doing so gets in the way of solving problems faster and reducing human suffering.

            • Robert Eckert

              “And my point all along is that I do not have a strong opinion on global warming or its causes. I also know that many do (including many “scientists.”)” Scientists have studied the phenomenon and reached firm conclusions. When a scientific question is well settled, of course scientists get annoyed when people who know nothing about the field insist that they are all wrong. I don’t think it right to equate this with being opinionated, or religious. Astronomers have “strong opinions” against geocentrism. Biologists have “strong opinions” about evolution.

            • tetloj

              upvote for not denying there is a climate 😉

            • Kim O’Brien

              LOL !!!!!

          • Kim O’Brien

            i think i love you

    • The hard sell (looking for teh victims ruin) was one of the components which got the criminal organisation known as the “church” of $cientology convicted of organised criminal fraud in France.

      • DamOTclese2

        There the law enforcement agencies had telephone conversations recorded where the Scientology criminals were collaborating among themselves on how to steal money from the marks, they had recorded evidence that showed the Scientology crooks were committing deliberate fraud — beyond the obvious frauds that victims were reporting virtually daily.

    • Jon Hendry

      An exception-that-proves-the-rule about seekers and Scientology is Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown. As Atack notes, her seeking began with a crisis: her husband informed her that he was having an affair. At one point, she mentions, she did some Scientology:

      http://www.pbs.org/moyers/faithandreason/print/faithandreason107_print.html

      PEMA CHÖDRÖN: The first thing that happened, I had sort of an epiphany. Or I say in the book, I think, like a genuine spiritual experience which happens to people at a time of shock. Like car accidents and things. Which was time stood still. There was a completely timeless moment where all I saw was a light and heard the sounds. And it was like an eternal moment, you know? And then the mind came back. And I picked up a stone and threw it at him. You know? The mind came back and started, you know, this is what I’d say about fanning the whole thing, you know? But in any case, it took me a good year not to be over it. I wasn’t over, I’d say, for about five years. But a good year for the pieces to sort of start coming back together. And in that time, I looked everywhere. Different therapies. All the different spiritual disciplines. I lived in an ashram. I did, you know weekend intensives in scientology which I didn’t last very long in that. And–

      BILL MOYERS: You went down the cafeteria of opportunity.

      PEMA CHÖDRÖN: Yeah, well, I was suffering.

      • mirele

        I think there was a period in the 1960s and 1970s where seekers went through a buffet line of alternative spirituality. Somewhere there’s a list of people who went through Scientology before becoming founders of their own belief systems. I know Werner Erhard’s supposed to have done Scientology and also the guy born Franklin Jones, who went through a zillion name changes, finally ending up as Adi Da. There are others, I’m sure people can name them.

        But in more recent years, it appears that Scientology just isn’t that appetizing for the spiritual seeker. Maybe it’s all the Xenu jokes or the very real stories of what’s happened to people in the cult.

        • Jon Hendry

          Bubba Free John! Lol. Friends of mine in Chicago used to live right near one of his locations. Never saw anything going on there.

    • Racnad

      Maybe the reason I never became hard core was that I never had a “ruin.” My parents became Scientologists when I was very young, and so it was just introduced to me as I was growing up. When I was in my late teens and not having the interest I was supposed to have in spending lots of time “on course” my mother decided I didn’t have a ruin. We talked about my life and determined that that problem that gave me most concern at the time was that girls were not interested in me in a “boyfriend” sort of way. To that end I was directed to look at TRs, ARC, and a compilation of LRH writing called “The Second Dynamic.” None of these were useful for my specific issue. I was also interested in the OT abilities of telekinesis, out-of-body travel, etc. but I was gradually growing doubtful not seeing any actual demonstration of these. I know some people raised as Scientologists stay in much of their lives, but I’d be interested in what the stats actually are of people introduced to Scientology before age 10 still being Scientologist at age 40.

      • Missionary Kid

        I believe you’re lucky you didn’t have Derek’s parents. Your mother doesn’t sound very hard core, thank goodness.

    • Anonymous

      John,

      All very true.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that looking at the situation from today’s perspective of relative press willingness to take on Scientology, hundreds of former members speaking out freely about their terrible experiences, several significant lost court cases exposing the actions of the church under oath, dozens of books describing the con, etc., it is easy to say ” how could anyone be that foolish to join the cult?)

      But those things / circumstances did not exist 20, 30, 40 years ago when most of the people who are now OT’s joined.

      In fact, I occasionally overhear conversation from others about Scientology where the ex-Scientologist is being excoriated by a friend for not knowing about some terrible tragedy before joining the cult – except…that tragedy had not even happened yet when he person did join.

      So dancing a jig of delight at the foolishness of others for being so gullible, while seductive, is not a particularly useful exercise.

      20/20 hindsight vision is NOT an OT power, in Scientology, or in the real world.

      The existence of the Internet, as a single factor, has probably done more to staunch the flow of newbies into the church than any other single cause. It is also a very significant factor leading to the exit of many long term committed members who for the first time are able to compare their own negative experiences with others and see that the horrors have not been “happening just to them.”

      For some powerful insight into why people joined Scientology or why they stayed once they become involved, the following link provide hundreds of first-person, online interviews on that very topic:

      http://alley.ethercat.com/door/

      • Michael Leonard Tilse

        Absent the Internet, early school instruction into the mechanics of confidence games and the earmarks of faulty logic would have helped many. Me specifically.

        I would encourage it to be included in grade school along with how to recognize pedophiles, be cautious about strangers with candy and the dangers of unprotected sex.

        It’s basic life knowledge that if you have it, can prevent some of the more disastrous excursions into pain, loss and regret.

    • mirele

      It was hard for me to take seriously what Atack was saying after he put the Big Bang in the realm of belief. Hello, there’s evidence for the Big Bang (e.g. 3 cm cosmic background radiation) AND there are scientists out there who are putting forth other theories to be tested. (I was trying to find the one I read about a month or two ago that involved this Universe being an offshoot of another Universe.) Maybe in Britain this isn’t so much of a problem, but here in the USA we have a big problem with a lot of people thinking that scientific hypotheses and equations are the equivalent of unprovable creationism, so I get a bit annoyed about people tossing hard science into the “belief” pile.

      • DamOTclese2

        Yeah, that put me off also however Atack might not be keeping up with cosmology science of the past 20 years or so. The Higgs Boson just won Higgs a Nobel Peace Prize. 🙂 Unless one keeps up on the popularized cosmology sciences one can be forgiven for not knowing that the Big Bang is a directly-observed phenomena not subject to belief or disbelief any more than the evolution of species is.

        • Michael Leonard Tilse

          joke: They make those Nobel Peace Prize medals that small? /joke

        • Missionary Kid

          Read my reply to mirele. Atack is not saying that the Big Bang theory is a matter of belief, but that he believes the people who have found proof of its existence and who have done research that seems to validate it.

      • Missionary Kid

        Read what he wrote carefully. He doesn’t put the Big Bang theory as belief, he’s just saying that he doesn’t understand it, but the believes the people who do, and who have performed experiments to prove it. He is not saying that the Big Bang theory is simply a matter of belief.

    • subsilentio

      “I’m too smart for that” is actually a perfect example of one of the most pernicious human fallacies, called the fundamental attribution error. At its simplest, this is just the belief that when bad things happen to other people, it is because of something wrong with them, whereas when something bad happens to you, you always have an excuse for it.

    • DamOTclese2

      John, the belief “It can’t happen to me, I could never fall for such obvious frauds and lies” are the people who fall for obvious nonsense the most. People who know they are gullible and able to fall for obvious nonsense are those who have their alarms set, they’re watching for being swindled, they know they can be.

      Also honest people fall for frauds more than dishonest people. You always hear “You can’t cheat an honest man” however that is not true, honest people think that people will treat them honestly, ergo they fall for frauds like Scientology more than dishonest people do; dishonest people know they’re dishonest, they know the tricks of fraud and lies, they’re better able to spot frauds and lies and thus fall for things less frequently than honest people.

    • DamOTclese2

      “Steven Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.”

      Plus Stephen Hawking’s description of the first 3 seconds of the expansion phase of the quantum fluctuation which became the observable Universe. The physics — the testable physics of the Big Bang are not subject to belief. 🙂

    • Michael Leonard Tilse

      Having been in some other cult or self help group is quite common in scientology. One of my best friends had been in TM for a long time, had been signed up for the second group to learn ‘levitation’, and left when it got canceled before they could do it.

      Sometimes they have been in “squirrel” groups and then gravitate to the sun-source of the lunacy. (points points will be for that obscure reference)

      One of the women I had dated had been in the group started by Jack Horner, before moving onto scientology.

      A few sea org members I knew had been involved with ‘lifespring’ which I think itself was an offshoot of scientology. They were suspected of being moles.

      scientology does try to get people who have not been in other groups. If they have been, or had any psychiatric or psychological treatment, then there is an ongoing higher barrier they have to jump at every step of the ‘bridge’. The requirements for the sea org and specifically international management levels prohibit any of these people. In fact, just the process of living beyond your 25th birthday will pile up enough negatives to prevent you from getting into ‘Int’. You won’t have the ‘quals’.

      That is why the extreme emphasis on recruiting teenage children of scientologist parents. Preferably who have never had any sexual experiences other than being born. They want the tabula rasa. That pesky thing of people knowing something that conflicts with hubbard’s spew is just…troublesome.

      My friend at EarthLink, Alexi T. was one of those people with a ‘past’. Last I heard he had spent $250,000 to the IAS and done a bunch of hurdles, just to be allowed on basic auditing in a {church}. But they did let him, because he could scrounge or borrow enough money to buy the indulgence.

  • Yeppir

    “It’s not the how, but the why.” Indeed. I daresay the bigger question is, does either really matter?

    • EnthralledObserver

      My answer to that – and yes, it’s just my personal belief, because I am comfortable with it – is NO, it does not matter. Whenever someone is seeking an answer, I suggest that there is always someone there willing to spoon feed one to them… the entire and untainted truth of this GREAT question is unattainable, so how can it possibly matter. Just live to be happy.
      Thanks for the platform… 🙂

  • Miss Tia

    Morning y’all!!! That was a really good answer!!! I’l watch the video after I let the doggies out and feed the kitties! 🙂

    Did some tweeting this morning (and London Scientology is STILL following me as of now….and I will add this, usually I get a notification that I have a new follower, I didn’t get one for them, NOR does it show up in my ‘interactions’ where other new followers do, so how stealth was that??)

    We turn our clocks back in the US tonight, but in @scientology the clocks are ALWAYS back to the time of misogyny and racism!

    Child labor, child abuse, assaulting employees, hey @scientology & COB think it’s 100 years ago! #TimeWarp MOVE FORWARD, FREE THE SLAVES! #Freedom

    Private prisons, forced abortions & divorces, no medical care, it’s like COB @scientology is an evil overlord ruling a fiefdom! GO FORWARD

    Where’s Heber Jentzsch President of @scientology International? He’s around 80 yrs old & not seen in 9+
    years. @FBILosAngeles #FINDHIM

    Considering Mr Jentzsch’s age I think @scientology is probably committing ELDER ABUSE, false
    imprisonment & human trafficking @FBILosAngeles

    Hey @BarbaraJWalters how would U like 2B Heber Jentzsch the President of @scientology, almost 80 & not seen in 9 yrs? #ElderAbuse That OK?

    Get UR nose out of @scientology’s butt @BarbaraJWalters & ask where Mr. Jentzsch, Shelly Miscavige & Diana Hubbard are! ASK TO SEE THEM!

    What kind of ‘church’ @BarbaraJWalters keeps kids away from their mother as @scientology does to @lori_hodgson ? ASK UR $cieno buddies!

    The CO$ denied @KarendlaCariere the rite 2 C her son after his passing & attend his funeral, imagine THAT as a mother @BarbaraJWalters.

    Only a SOULLESS entity would do 2 mothers what @scientology has done 2 @KarendlaCariere & @lori_hodgson. Stop defending it @BarbaraJWalters

    Why doesn’t COB do ‘the tech’ @scientology? No auditing, no sec checks, no courses, nada. It’d be like the pope not praying. #Hypocrite

    I haven’t forgotten about U @SheriffLeeBaca w/ UR tarnished badge & a disgrace 2 law enforcement being buds w/ the crime org @scientology

    R U really OK w/ human trafficking going on in UR community @cityofhemet? Massive human rights abuse in UR backyard? #SHAME #DoSomething

    Why does @scientology’s ‘gold base’ outside @cityofhemet have weapons & is armed like a fortress? People are held CAPTIVE! HELP THEM!!!

    The @cityofhemet might end up like Waco someday if/when the @ATFHQ @FBILosAngeles shows up to take down @scientology Do you condone the CO$?

    Can the @IRSnews audit @TomCruise to see if included as income his ‘gifts’ from @scientology? Then audit the CO$ re: the inurement? #PLEASE

    Hiring actors to play parishioners in videos? You mean you don’t have enough members?! GASP! HA HA @scientology

    PLEASE @selenagomez research @scientology and stay far far away from them!! They’ll take your money, career, family and soul! #SaveYourself

    • Donut

      Keep these excellent tweets going, they will provoke curiosity and bring some fresh eyes to the bunker
      xx

      • Miss Tia

        Thank you!! I hope they do provoke curiosity or plant a seed of doubt!

    • L. C. Spencer

      Hey, if they’re following you, make the most of it! I understand you are in possession of an Advanced Entheta Dispenser. Mark X, now with extra shiny!

      • Miss Tia

        I just checked, they’re STILL following me!!

        • L. C. Spencer

          Time for a Xenu avatar, methinks! Preferably an animated one with a cartoon bubble that flashes “I mocked up my own bank and you can too!”

  • Collin

    About 8 years ago when i found out my wife was cheating on me with my best friend , well i was devestated, my boss at the time was a morman, she had 3 beautiful red headed daughters(my weakness), she invited me over for dinner, and offered me a place to live and suggested i date one of her daughters, i was in such a low place at the time Im actually supurised it didnt happen, god her daughters were hot!! I suppose that everyone goes through these things and can easily fall prey….

    • Eclipse-girl

      Everyone is vulnerable at a point in time. Everyone can become prey to this insidious criminal organization that poses as a religion

    • monkeyknickers

      Gingers will always getcha. And wow with the cheating/best friend scenario. Aside from being lame, it’s inexcusably predictable. She coulda used a little more imagination.

      Anyway. Good riddance to bad rubbish or whatever they say in the Europe-y english speaking area.

      And congrats on the JOB!

    • ze moo

      There is a ‘letter to Penthouse’ somewhere in that story.

    • Missionary Kid

      Snickersnort. I would have spent my time trying to get one of the gingers away from their belief, if I was that interested, but when one has drunk the Kool Aid from birth, that can be a very difficult task.

  • Richard Grant

    I wonder from time to time why I was NOT sucked in. My ex-girlfriend certainly gave it her best shot, and I walked into the Org willingly enough, sat through the personality test and subsequent interview, smiled and nodded my way through a couple of soft-sell conversations with staff. I even dipped into the Dianetics book.

    I’ve always put it down to Hubbard’s prose. I couldn’t believe that anyone who wrote like that could possibly be very smart, much less an enlightened genius. But now, reading Jon’s essay, I think there were probably other factors at work. Luckily for me, I just was not at a point of particular vulnerability that time. A few years earlier or later, it might have been otherwise.

    • Drat

      Richard, have you written books?

      • Richard Grant

        Thanks, Drat! I think my name links to my Disqus profile with a bit of info.

        • Drat

          Duh! Thanks 🙂

    • villagedianne

      Yes, i found Dianetics to offensive in tone, particularly towards women.

      • ThetaBara

        That was what initially soured me on Christianity. If we’re all equal and deserve love, why do women consistently get a raw deal? And Dianteics is SO much worse about it.

    • You are not alone. In fact, probably some 90 percent of people who come into contact with Scientology are not suckered in. With the Xenu story now common knowledge amongst most youth, that supposed 90 percent figure can only increase. However, like all scams, Scientology only requires a few people to be suckered and most of the suckering that Scientology does get away with, as Jon states, has to do with timing. Getting at a person at the right moment is key to leveraging vulnerability: just when a person leaves home to go to college, or loses a loved on, or suffers an emotional/physical trauma; anything, really, which jumbles their view of the world or otherwise impacts on the normal functioning of their usual cognitive and emotional defence systems. Then, once person is in such a state, the very early indoctrination processes especially TRs and concomitant love-bombing and so on, all aimed at highlighting and working on keeping the “ruin” front-and-centre, come into play. Scientology has had 60 years to perfect the runway to Xenu and for someone hurting or feeling a sense of “out-of-place”, that runway is as smooth as glass.

    • whenpigsswim

      You echoed it for me – a few years earlier or later, it might have been otherwise. I’ve always felt that the timing is so critical ….

  • koki

    for anyone who missed it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciupsqkLLkQ
    and a big hello from LRHs Bulgravia.

  • BosonStark

    Most people use the God Gap — fill in the unknown and unexplainable with God. Clams develop the Ron Gap, on a gradient. Oh yes, and they believed chain smoking would prevent cancer, if Ron says so. It is what they would like to believe, so it becomes true for them. Anything is possible with “the tech.”

  • 0tessa

    Thank you for this important article.
    Since the age of fifteen, I have been a ‘professional seeker’. It started the moment I lost my faith in Christianity, where I was brought up in. After that I travelled around: soft drugs, LSD, Transcendental Meditation. New Age, Eastern Philosophy, Buddhism, and then Scientology, which in my part of the world was presented with having many links with Buddhism. I made it to Clear, but don’t ask me how, because I always kept a distance. I hated the Sea Org people coming over and scrutinizing everybody and everything. The ‘friends’ I made there were academics of all sorts, most of them exact sciences. Even some psychologists and medics.
    Not really stupid people, but all were seekers, like myself. Our ‘dislocation’ could have well been our disappointment in still not having found real answers to our philosophical questions and to really help others.
    When I came to Saint Hill and underwent some of the treatments there, I became ill and so stressed out, that I decided at that point it was a dangerous place to be. That was the end of Scientology for me.
    If I have learned one thing from Scientology it is not ‘how to think’, but ‘what not to think’. I don’t regret having done some Scientology, It learned me a lot of things, but not that what it wanted me to learn!

  • Patty Moher

    Thank you for this very interesting article with John Atack. It brought back some memories of my training on how to recruit others into Scientology. One tool of the cult, is the Awareness Chart, which is the exact steps the recruiter uses to indoctrinate the easy mark into the cult and with the full “cog” that LRH is The Source of all the is good and right with the world.

    The chart can be found here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.religion.scientology/W_vWkU9jgdA

    It has an error in it with both # 6 and 7 being Enlightenment but I could find a correct sample on the web.

    This particular section applies to recruitment.

    6 ENLIGHTENMENT
    5 UNDERSTANDING
    4 ORIENTATION
    3 PERCEPTION
    2 COMMUNICATION
    1 RECOGNITION

    -1 HELP
    -2 HOPE
    -3 DEMAND FOR IMPROVEMENT
    -4 NEED OF CHANGE
    -5 FEAR OF WORSENING
    -6 EFFECT
    -7 RUIN

    Recruiters are trained and drilled and drilled and drilled until they have this down cold. There is no set “patter”, it to be done like it’s a simple conversation, and the mark has no idea that you are running this on him.

    To keep it simple.

    -7 The recruiter finds the persons Ruin. What is ruining their life.

    -6 The recruiter gets the person to agree that they are the effect of this ruin.

    -5 The recruiter gets the person to agree that it can get worse and that’s worrisome.

    -4 The recruiter gets the person to agree that they need to change this situation.

    -3 The recruiter gets the person to demand improvement of this situation.

    -2 The recruiter gets the person to agree that there is hope in solving the situation (the ruin)

    -1 The recruiter gets the person to agree that he/she needs and should get help.

    1 Recognition– The recruiter introduces a self help course that will solve the persons ruin.

    and so on.

    Hubbard lays it all out how to “bring the person up the awareness scale” but it’s really a con/swindle/mind game
    to reel in the trusting soul.

    • Missionary Kid

      It’s a hustle, pure and simple.

      • Eclipse-girl

        Patty’s comment has been flagged. I did not find it offensive. Is it because it describes the way the scam lures you in and baits you?

        • Patty Moher

          I think it was flagged as I edited it a number of times for errors.

          • Eclipse-girl

            OK. The post is a good one. Koki reprinted it. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t some secret person targeting you or posts like these.

          • villagedianne

            It’s a great post Patty!

          • DeElizabethan

            That could be, but it is key info for people to know and thus quite important. I wouldn’t doubt other reasons.

        • Missionary Kid

          When I first saw it, I just took it to be an illustration of the way that Co$ operates. I’d never flag it.

          • Eclipse-girl

            No one who is regular at the bunker would flag it.

        • grundoon

          It seems if you edit your comment immediately after posting, and especially if it contains a link, Disqus damns it to eternal “moderation” limbo. Seems to be a bug, or some kind of anti-spam defense gone amok. After posting, let your comment settle for a minute or two before editing.

          • ThetaBara

            Hasn’t done that to me. I often see small copyedits and I’ve never had one get lost in moderation. I think it was flagged. I guess flagging is the new downvoting, because this has 32 upvotes and NO downvotes…

  • Jeb Burton

    Im “that” guy who always wonder how smart people could fall this nonesense. This explains a few things.Everything in your life is tied into Scientology. They have all the answers for your deepest thoughts. You can see it in Martys blog. Every time he reads a book he seems to see an aspect of scientology in it. Im glad I was skeptic at an early age, and in vulnerable times in my life I never fell for something like this. I did fall for that virginal preachers daughter one time, and lets just say it was not as advertised.

    • Missionary Kid

      My inoculation against $cientology was my upbringing in a fundamentalist sect. Once I looked over the wall of ideas, no one could rein me in. I have changed. There are parts of that upbringing that I still value, but most of it, I do not. I don’t bother to disabuse people of their beliefs unless they try to foist them on me.

    • ThetaBara

      I’m glad to hear you say this, Jeb. 🙂 I know we’ve gone around on this and I think Jon explains it a lot better than I could.

  • sugarplumfairy

    It’s been almost 15 years but I still wonder why bf got sucked in and I didn’t.. We were both exposed to the initial hard sell.. And he was smarter than me.. And sweeter.. I think Jon nailed it.. but then, he usually does.. bf was facing med school and I guess he was worried and insecure about it.. I’m remembering how we both reacted differently to the co$ salesperson we first met outside the org.. Our very first interaction with scientology love-bombing.. bf was impressed.. “A really nice guy.. A really smart guy..” I was not impressed.. “A really pushy guy.. Why’s he being so nice? He’s selling something, that’s why..” And I remember thinking “I don’t need to worry.. He’s smart.. He’ll figure it out pretty quick..”

    And I was pretty obnoxious, pointing out all the discrepancies that I saw in the little bit of his growing pile of co$ literature that I actually perused.. For a long time, at least until I spoke to the wonderful people at CAN ( before co$ took it over) I felt very guilty.. I thought that it was my insults and derision that had pushed him further into the cult..

    Oh well.. I hope, if he’s still in, that he makes it out soon..

    • Missionary Kid

      I join you in that hope.

  • BosonStark

    How do clams get from “simple tools” to “all the answers” and “clearing the planet” and having “super powerz”? In the late 60s, I saw Dianetics in a store and read from its sacred text while standing there, thinking the general idea, at least, was to free a person from all their baggage, and unleash unlimited potential. Great!

    Really enticing, until I read some of it. My thought process was, this stuff was written in 1950 and here it was 1968, and yet no one talked about it on TV or in school, discussing these groundbreaking ideas. These ideas were of no interest to the world’s most intelligent 10,000 people or so.

    Most of Freud’s books are very readable. Even Einstein’s idea of relativity, while very difficult to understand, the popular press sought to explain it in some way people could understand it. Scientology has made no attempt to do this with the engram, body thetan, or Xenu. Their whole thing is, pay up and get processing — spend, spend, spend. It is crass!

    • Observer

      Gauche is the perfect adjective for Ron.

    • Once_Born

      ” How do clams get from “simple tools” to “all the answers” and “clearing the planet” and having “super powerz”? ”

      By a series of very small steps.
      http://www.alternet.org/story/126492/questioning_authority%3A_a_rethinking_of_the_infamous_milgram_experiments?page=0%2C0
      (Relevant passage on page 3)

      Once you have accepted the claims regarding simple tools, you are introduced to claims of more advanced tools…. and so on. At each stage, you become more committed, and it becomes harder and harder to admit to yourself that you have been taken in, and cut your losses.

      Remember, you are now in an isolated social group where everyone around is suppressing their own doubts, and telling you how wonderful everything is, and you don’t have time to think because there is auditing and make-work to do, and meetings to attend, and your are always so tired

      • ze moo

        The frog in the pot of heating water.

    • DamOTclese2

      If Scientology’s frauds worked, they would be used all around the world, billions of people would be using it. Obviously the fact that only some 40,000 remaining customers world wide still cling to the hope that it works is another factor to consider.

      If even 1% of what Hubbard wrote actually worked, that 1% would be being used.

  • villagedianne

    We are all bamboozled all of the time not just by religion, but education and politics. Just as the song says, “Everybody plays the fool,some time or other. No exceptions to the rule.” I know I’m no exception.
    (Not that I consider religion to be necessarily bad, just the control aspects. I belong to a new-age religion, but I don’t believe everything I hear.)
    It bugs me when people who unquestioningly believe “official xources” in the newspaper, get all smug and superior about cult membewrs believing a science fiction writer.
    I’m still waiting for those weapons of mass destrucion to turn up in Iraq. A lot of wars are started on a lie, and cause even more destruction than any cult.
    We all have to take back our own miinds, myself included. You don’t have to be a cult member to be bamboozled.

    • Sidney18511

      And that is why the huffington post ran an article comparing the republican party to Scientology, due to its cult-like beliefs.

      • villagedianne

        The Republicans might be worse, but I think it happens on both sides of the political spectrum.

        • Missionary Kid

          It does. We tend to accept information that supports our beliefs. Co$ modifies one’s belief so that the victim’s come into line with theirs.

    • Once_Born

      “It bugs me when people who unquestioningly believe “official xources” in
      the newspaper, get all smug and superior about cult membewrs believing a
      science fiction writer”

      I agree. – but the operative word here is, “unquestioningly”.

      More people who heard those news reports asked questions, like “whose interests does this serve?”, “why was this information released just now?”, “what are your sources, and where can I look them up?”

      Once you become aware of the ‘techniques of mind control’ that Hubbard used, you the same tricks being used all around you in everyday life. Persuasion and manipulation is part of human nature.

  • EnthralledObserver

    This Jamie DeWolf video made a lot of references to Tony at the Villiage Voice… is it perhaps an older video, but maybe new to youtube? Oh, and Leah’s pic amongst the other celebclams is another clue. I haven’t seen it before, so that’s how I came to this conclusion. It was a good show though… I thought Jamie got to explain a lot from his pov.

    • Eclipse-girl

      Tory Magoo has a link to his approx 15 min show on Scientology. Give it a look.

    • D.Y.G.

      I think it’s a new video. The headlines running across the bottom of the screen are of current events.

  • Sunny Sands

    Could some people join scientology because they believe it will help them economically? There is the WISE group of scientology businesses, operating similar to a local merchants’ group, where each business patronizes others in the group. There are the sci businesses, which employ sea org when they leave to become publics, and the publics themselves. I think many sci families think of sea org as boot camp, where their young adult children are fed and clothed and (they think) learn a skill for not much salary. Personally, I don’t think these things work because scientologists are not trustworthy business partners (lies are not OK).

    • Fer sure. Endless promises of enhanced economic well being is one of the lures. Also, while most of those who are lured in with L Ron Hubbard’s lies are good, honest people. There are, however, lots around the fringes who see Scientology for what it is – a scam which provides a ready-made market full of bewildered punters ripe for the pickings. As well as the many fortunes made by the commission system, just as many other fortunes have been made by fleecing Scientologists . . .

      • Sunny Sands

        The infamous Debbie Cook reg of Maria Pia Gardini comes to mind. Debbie bought a $40,000 sports car with part of her commission.

      • sugarplumfairy

        Jeeeez.. What a creep.. (Cardone, not Vistarill.. I adorrrre Vistaril..)

      • monkeyknickers

        MY ARCH NEMISIS GRANT CARDONE.

        And the reason I am banned from editing on Wiki (because I said neutral things! I did not flame, flame I did not). God what a douche. And my current “go fuck yourself asshole” obsession.

        Which is weird, I get it.

        .

        It was just that damn Eminem vid thing. Which Bury tells me is gone forever.

        I think I might have a problem.
        But oooo look! Tortilla chips for breakfast! YAY.

        🙂

        • koki

          here it is:

          http://rutube.ru/video/9bbe1b24257b656b5ef135610ea69fd1/
          just close commercials…
          and a big hellofrom LRHs Bulgravia.

          • monkeyknickers

            I love you more than I can say. God I could watch that a million times. What complete idiots.

            Thank you koki. I have floating hearts for you.

            • koki

              i love to help people,from LRHs Bulgravia,from where I send you a big hello…
              it is not always a point to attack people,like some people do here…point is to just prove ,that you are right…
              like for example that LRHs song I put up there…point is to show how stupid it/he
              is…

            • monkeyknickers

              Put up where?! I NEED TO KNOW.

              Wow are you awesome.

            • koki

              go to newest….you will see it…it is a hymn here in LRHs Bulgravia…

          • Interested

            Wow his wife is seriously Stepford. She kept on checking to see what her alpha male was doing, then followed blindly. Stupid cow!

          • ze moo

            Many ‘Grant Rants’ on rutube. Laughing in Grants face I am.

            • monkeyknickers

              BECUZ HE’S A DOUCHE.

              🙂

            • Missionary Kid

              You’re too kind.

            • koki

              example of OTVIII….
              lots of them here in LRHs Bulgravia,and a big hello .
              (i was near clear)

      • ze moo

        ‘Prosperity’ preachers of all stripes play that game. Joel Osteen and his comrades really piss me off.

    • villagedianne

      The military is deceptive in iit’s recruiting practices as well. But not nearly as deceptive as Scientology.

    • chukicita

      Perhaps a lot of people don’t have economic issues until they join Scientology. Then suddenly they do. How convenient that Hubbard had a tek for that.

    • Missionary Kid

      The economic advantage bragged about by Co$ is simply bait to get people in the door.

  • Richard Lloyd-Roberts

    For me it was those initial “wins” or Cognitions. When you have one and are woken up its hard to deny they happened if not impossible. A cognition of ones past that one had forgotten and enlightenment is my own reality and thats hard to change. Auditing does produce those results and no matter what anyone says to me you cannot take that away. Heres the problem. The church management knows this and thats the control mechanism. The threats of taking that away is powerful. As you are reading the ethics book I am sure you will cover this. He stated that even the threat of loss of Scientology is enough to get someone to toe the line so use ethics lightly. With ethics officers on power trips and a corrupt management the rot set in and we have our current state of affairs. I have had other forms of therapy since leaving the church and its like an addiction trying to find something that will give you that enlightenment. As time goes on and you see the bullshit in the church and as those wins become nullified due to over regging etc, Scientology loses its grip and its initial rush is replaced with a additions like search. there are some good basic truths there surrounded by a whole lot of fluff.

    • Nah – Auditing doesn’t produce “wins” of any significant merit or of long-lasting benefit. The use of the nebulous term “wins” is part of the problem, too. As a far wiser man than I once wrote about “wins” . . .

      . . . Any relatively curious or upbeat person can have “wins” on virtually anything.

      Getting “wins” is an intrinsic thread that runs through all of life. I can have “wins” on a vast number of projects, ventures and adventures and even on extraordinarily simple & fleeting moments. None of those involve “tech” or “Scientology”.

      I’ve had innumerable “wins” on posting dreadful things about Scientology here on ESMB how the tech doesn’t do what it warrants and guarantees. What does any of this have to do with Scientology? So in other words, people can apparently have “wins” on the opposite of Scientology. LOL. But it’s true.

      A person is programmed to have “wins” in their life and they spend virtually [B]every waking moment[/B] attempting to get “wins” in one manner or another. So when a person spends years doing anything, they are bound to get wins if they are half-way competent at living.

      Scientology puts a color transparency over a person’s life and labels every win a technical victory. If the tech actually produced predictable and produceable “wins” people would stay in Scientology. They don’t usually. That can only mean that they are getting more losses than wins. Right?

      I don’t contend that people don’t get wins while they are in Scientology. Why shouldn’t they? They are alive and they are trying to accomplish thousands of things in their lives and some of them succeed, so they are SUPPOSED to be having wins.

      Look, if the WINS:LOSS ratio in anyone’s life inverts, they commit suicide. Very few people, by percentage, kill themselves, so we can conclude that almost everyone on the Earth is having “wins” that outweigh the losses.

      There is no “tech” involved with the 7 billion people living their lives around the world. Scientology is simply taking credit for the wins a person produces as part of the job of being alive.

      I don’t have any hard statistics on how many people continue Scientology after they begin it, but I did have decades of just about any kind of Scientology activity you can imagine, so I’ll make an educated guess. Maybe 1-2 percent of people who reach for Scientology (book, course, auditing…) walk away from it later. What does that say about the “tech” that produces “wins”?

      The re-sign success rates are probably substantially higher for people who join a local bowling league than Scientology with all its advanced OT technology. Maybe people would be having far MORE wins had they not joined.

      If someone wants to call the “wins” they have in the course of living “Tech Wins” they can do that. But then they are only talking about “feel good” moments not measurable events or improved abilities.

      There is an awful confusion and the blurriest line imaginable when it comes to people shuffling the rhetorical deck and confusing the ideas of “WINS” with “GRADE CHART ABILITIES ATTAINED.

      So, if someone says they have wins, so what? Let ’em!

      I am talking about whether the tech actually works, that is to say DOES WHAT IS SAYS IT DOES.

      No argument there.

      If people get wins from being on an e-meter and talking to someone else, good for them. That doesn’t happen to be what Scientology says it is.

      I joined Scientology to get certain results that were promised.

      I discovered later that it was a fraud. A hoax.

      I get far more wins being away from it and, from all appearances, so do you. Otherwise you’d be continuing your “Bridge”.

      I had recent meeting with some corporate big shots who wanted to hand out in their exclusive cigar club. They have “wins” from smoking cigars. There was no tech anywhere. They just enjoyed it.

      I took someone out for dinner tonight and they had “wins” on the great food and Italian restaurant. No tech. Just normal life going on . . .

      • EnthralledObserver

        ‘Wins’, are simply the positive result of ‘thinking’… and LRonny, despite wishing he could, can stake NO CLAIM on that human ability.

      • ze moo

        ‘Wins’ are the fix that overcome your ‘ruins’. Clamatology is at its core, a sales exchange of the intangible for the imaginary.

    • Once_Born

      The ‘enlightenment’ you get from a few hours of auditing is only a short-term psychological effect. You may remember it with affection, but is it surely lacking in content. What knowledge of the world did your early wins give you? What abilities?

      I think that looking for ‘enlightenment’ is a mistake. It is not something that you can find, all by itself. If you search for a shortcut you are not only wasting time, but asking to be served up with an expensive phoney.

      Perhaps enlightenment emerges from education, experience, a wide range of human relationships and time. Perhaps it comes to you when you are not looking for it, and only after you put a lot a work into living well.

      Also, “the good basic truths” you saw in Scientology cannot be separated from the fluff. If I tell you the sky is blue, that’s true. If I tell you the sky is blue because the great god Burt Tuttle paints it every morning, my words are worthless. The sky does happen to be blue… but that something you could have found out just by looking for myself.

  • Eivol Ekdal

    When I was 14 or 15 I was in a cult for about 6 months!!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BuvnsmFi98
    Back then they were known as Chung Moo Quan, they still survive as Oom Young Doe today…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oom_Yung_Doe
    Compared to these guys Scientiologists are Creampuffs!
    Luckily, I was able to recognise the signs of a Cult early.
    Isolation – encouraging students to live together to save money
    Special Powers – breathing exercises for smokers to negate bad effects
    Strict hierarchy of leaders and discipline regime.
    “Special Olympic Courses” for those who could afford it, basically involving exercises like walking in a crouched circle for hours with legs burning in pain in the dark (sound familiar?)
    I escaped but it seems many from the black concert t-shirt and black suede Hush Puppy crowd preferred to stay in. Most of the instructors drove ‘Beaters’ because you were to live a frugal life and save your money for courses and gifts to Grandmaster “Iron” Kim!

    The martial arts are no joke and they produced some tough people but i suspect that over time some of the training would result in serious joint problems. In the end what did it for me was the grading and progress. Only the the head instructor would decide when you were ready for your next belt upgrade. Asking when your test would be was frowned on, so you just had to follow along like a good student and wait for the magic tap on the shoulder. I just stopped going. Leaving is not as easy though for the students living with each other and for the fathers and sons in classes together.

  • Noni Mause

    Just watched the Jamie de Wolf vid — his comment about a former insider telling him that murder has been considered for some of its critics was absolutely chilling.

  • monkeyknickers

    I love John Atack.

    And this post is essentially my favorite subject outside of bugs and rocks, so I’ll try to keep it short soas I won’t send anyone into a coma labeled, “Why Doesn’t She Stop Talking Ever.”

    Obviously – surprise surprise – I think that the myth of a god or gods and what magic stuff they can do is incredibly harmful to humanity and distracts us mightily from the “I shall not be a dick to other people” precept that will ultimately save civilization.

    But I disagree with him that the big bang theory is in the same faith-based category as religious credulity.

    Here’s the thing. At its best, science is predicated on the, “fuck, I don’t know. Do you? Let look. But even if we see something cool and repeatable under lab conditions we could totally be wrong.” principle. I -me MonkeyUnderpants – cannot say that there isn’t a Xenu, that there isn’t some feathery guy flying too close to the sun, or that there isn’t a giant Viking with power tools roaming the night sky. No matter what my GUT says, I can’t discount that very long-shot-ish possibility.

    And that’s the difference between science and religion. Science says – here’s our best guess with the evidence we have at the time with the understanding that we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing and 100 years ago there were barely cars and technology and junk so who knows. Religion says – you better fucking believe what I just wrote down on this piece of paper or I’ll maim/kill/ostracize/really pinch you super super hard.

    Religion has no HUMILITY. It is crazy arrogant to think – and I’m borrowing an argument made by Sam Harris – “wow thank you lord for curing my mother’s eczema whilst you concurrently allowed children to be raped by people apparently devoted to you continuing god success. Good call, god. Flaky skin is a BITCH.”

    While science says . . . . “huh. That’s weird. Quick somebody, hand me a protractor and an astrolabe and a number two pencil! GAME ON.”

    Religion – all of which are “cults” by definition: led by charismatic leaders exercising an inordinate amount of daily control over its members – says “Eyes to the front people – STAT – before we crusade your asses. Don’t ask any goddamn questions” And science – at its best – says: “Christ we have no fucking idea, but here’s the best possible explanation we can come up with given the best possible evidence at hand. Please try to poke many holes in this argument.”

    ANYWAY THE POINT IS:

    I would never put the big bang in the same category as yet another faith based claim. Anyone who cares to can follow the steps that got us to this temporary conclusion. Religion asks us to absolutely abandon critical thinking in any capacity.

    So . . . . yeah.

    .

    Um.
    All done. Sorry about that. It’s six in the morning and I’m wonky and have a serious headache and indigestion. FOR A CHANGE. :))

    • Sunny Sands

      I was also confused by the reference to the big bang theory as faith-based. It’s been awhile, but I was taught the big bang theory as one of several scientific theories in earth science class in college.

      • monkeyknickers

        Yep.

        AND SO IT WAS WRITTEN IN PENCIL. 🙂

        🙂

      • Missionary Kid

        No. You read that wrong. What he was saying is that he, personally doesn’t understand the mechanism, but he takes it on faith that it is an accurate depiction. Read what John P. wrote.

    • Yep, and another problem for people who say “its just as crazy as the big bang” is what they omit to mention, or perhaps even realise, is that the big bang is just a theory. No scientist will tell you that it is an absolute fact, only that the facts which are available can be explained – if – there was a big bang. Scientologists, on the other hand, are required to believe every exact detail of the Xenu story because if it is not “the truth” then the “charge” which is holding their “body thetans” in place cannot be “duplicated” and so “freed”. Such nonsense is written into the very Axioms of the subject . . . which is delightful because it proves the entire subject is predicated upon nonsense.

      • monkeyknickers

        Yeah what you said way better and more succinctly than I did. Good on you, brother. (sister?) :))

      • DamOTclese2

        🙂 On the FidoNet HolySmoke echo we had this come up:

        God is cool! – Thomas Baird
        Yep. Three degrees Kelvin. – Tetzel

        Only the educated among us understood what the reference was. 🙂

        • monkeyknickers

          OH FOR TO LAUGH WITH VIGOR, ME. :)))

    • aboutandout

      Thank you so much for calling a spade a shovel. RIGHT ON!!!

    • ze moo

      Some people need religion to be the basis for their definition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Some cannot have a personal philosophy with out such guidance. Humanists get much of their multi-hued philosophy from main stream religions. Most organized (and unorganized) religions go back to Sumeria and perhaps 5 or 6 thousand BC. No one knew about the big bang, or a heliocentric solar systems or DNA. If your personal philosophy depends on any element of science, you will be revising it from time to time.

      Hell Lroon believed the PIltdown Man was real and never had the balls to say “ok, you got me good joke”. It isn’t easy being ‘source’. Especially if you have to take up the cloak of infallibility and you are underneath it all, a nasty prick.

      I still think the best philosophy is the kidergarten rules. Play nice, clean up your messes and share the toys. And don’t be an lron……

      • monkeyknickers

        Truenuff. That’s the beauty of science. It has the ability to improve itself. Religion claims straight outta the gate unimpeachable certainty.

        But I genuinely think that we come pre-programmed with effective social behavior. And every time I debate a christian and they say – if you took away the ten commandments, everyone would be stealing and murdering and screwing! – I want to say: Good god I hope you don’t live in my neighborhood. Time to hid my children in the cellar until you move out. 🙂

        • Kim O’Brien

          Dear god ..i miss Hitchens 😉

          • monkeyknickers

            Me too, Kimmy. He could be boorish and frequently wrong, but lord did he have a point of view and the balls to put it out there.

            He’s the first person-I-don’t-actually-know for whom I got teary eyed at his death.

            And in the same vein, I am really afraid to think of what I’m gonna do when David Attenborough dies. I can barely even type that. Jesus.

          • Missionary Kid

            Snickersnort.

          • Andrew Underhill

            What God wants God gets – God save us all

            Roger Waters

        • ze moo

          You don’t want to be stuck in an elevator for a long time with someone like that. If they get hungry, they might eat you. Or the power goes out in your neighborhood for a week or two.

          Lroon tried to sell the ‘racial memory’ theory of brain stuff as ‘engrams’. Some things are hard wired into our brains. Hard wiring is not ‘racial memory’ and certainly not engrams. We like to think we are the ultimate product of evolution, but we are just a work in progress and the final verdict will never be in.

          Primates hard wired to recognize snakes.

          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028162928.htm

        • Once_Born

          We come pre-programmed with the capacity for effective social behaviour.

          That potential can be perverted by an upbringing in a ideology that goes against human nature – and I think that authoritarian fundamentalism qualifies as one such.

          It’s a tribute to our programming that so many people brought up in this way walk away from their ‘religion’ and behave decently despite their upbringing.

          • monkeyknickers

            That’s a good point.

          • Robert Eckert

            Obviously those ideologies are not really “against human nature” since they arise among humans over and over again. I don’t really understand it myself, but the phenomenon is definitely very real.

            • monkeyknickers

              I was kinda having the same thought and there’s something in my brain percolating, but I have to have a big think on it. It could take years. And loads of booze and caffeine.

        • Missionary Kid

          My answer to them is to say that the first 5 or six are to obey god. There are similar ideas in other societies that predate the Ten Commandments. Ethical societies exist without Christianity.

          • monkeyknickers

            Exactly!

            Like: Oh hi I am your all powerful god person! and . . . . um . . . . don’t, like, say my name in vain or whatever. Because it will totally hurt my feelings even tho I created the world in . . . . uh . . . .SEVEN DAYS I’M NOT SHITTING YOU. So if you call me something mean, I will smite you super hard. Also you’re not allowed to like any other god person better than me ever. I have self esteem issues.

            .

            It just boggles my mind.

            • Missionary Kid

              🙂

            • Robert Eckert

              The Ghetto version of the Ten Commandments:

              1. I be Jah. Don’t dis me.
              2. Don’t be making no hood ornament outta nothin in my crib.
              3. Don’t be calling on me less’n you means it, cause homey don’t play that shit.
              4. Sundays, you do church.
              5. Gives yo momma her propers, and if’n you know who your daddy is, him too.
              6. Don’t be icing no bros.
              7. Don’t be lifting no goods.
              8. Stick it to your own woman.
              9. Don’t be shining on like you all that, snitching on your homeys.
              10. Don’t be eyeing your bro’s crib, or his ride, or his ho, or his nothin.

            • Kim O’Brien

              …dude …just fyi ..sounding a little racist ….just a heads up

            • Karen715

              Say what? On one hand, I see the humor. On the other hand, I agree with Kim below.

            • Robert Eckert

              Took it out.

        • ThetaBara

          96% of us are pre-programmed that way. The other 4% are sociopaths. Unfortunately. But 96% is pretty good odds.

          • monkeyknickers

            But that 4% really fuck it up, don’t they? 🙂 To wit: Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, David Miscavige.

            🙂

    • monkeyknickers

      Also: here is what might happen to you should you choose to eat religious stuff. 🙂

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ0iVf4MRn8

    • Kim O’Brien

      love that post sista

      • monkeyknickers

        NOT AS MUCH AS I LOVE YOU. :)))

        Are you okay? I think on you going thru this hard time. 🙁

        • Kim O’Brien

          I am doing well 😉 Work is keeping me busy , money is tight , kid is a pre teen and wants to know what a blow job is , i gotta rake the leaves in the yard and clean out the gutters …just everyday life . Feels pretty good actually LOL . How are the oven and the buns ?

          • monkeyknickers

            Oven’s doing okay. Buns seem normal. I’m grounded in OR for a few months while giving birth and all that nonsense.

            Know what? I hate money. IT’S JUST STUPID.

            Also – blow job? seriously? This is what I have to look forward to? Jesus christ. I can handle sex ed, but I don’t want to get specific. Sheesh.

            • Kim O’Brien

              yeah . when i told her ..she was all like ” oh GROSS ..i am NEVER doing that ” …and i was all like ..good ..cause every time you do ..a kittens head will explode 😉

            • joan nieman

              Lol!

            • monkeyknickers

              HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA.

              Ha
              ha. ha.

              heh.

            • monkeyknickers

              Can we somehow exchange real email addresses, Kimmy? Michael and Kitz have mine.

            • Kim O’Brien

              sure …how do we do this ..in code or something ? screw it ..kimob2@comcast.net

    • Missionary Kid

      Read closely what Jon said about the big bang. He was not putting it in the same category as religion. He was saying that he wasn’t capable of understanding it, but he had faith in the people who were describing it. That is the faith he was talking about, not the blind adherence out of faith.

      • monkeyknickers

        I understand, I’m just saying that one has a direct line of evidence that can be followed and the other does not, and that we are conditioned by religion to accept things blindly, including technology. But should we so choose as indviduals, one can be parsed out with logic and the other can’t.

        Also I’m terrible at explaining shit. 🙂

        • Missionary Kid

          That’s what they would say, too., I believe.

          • monkeyknickers

            religious people, you mean?

            • Missionary Kid

              Yeah, religious can’t be parsed out with general logic. They, of course, have their own logic.

            • monkeyknickers

              Circular logic to be sure. “This old books says it’s so and that’s precisely the proof I am offering that it IS indeed so, the book knows everything.”

              🙂

            • Missionary Kid

              I {love} it when people say that the bible is the word of god. Their proof? The bible says so.

            • monkeyknickers

              Word, brother. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      monkeyknickers,

      Good stuff. Thanks.

      I’d like to add another point (which is NOT an exact counterpoint to yours above) to clarify a common misconception that is frequently made about Scientology.

      Again, only as a point of clarity, the XENU story is NOT Scientology’s creation myth. It is NOT comparable to the Big Bang theory or to Genesis in the Bible. The XENU story (which most Scientologist’s do not even know about as it is confidential until OTIII) is just a huge past-life engram that has to be audited out of oneself and all of one’s BT’s.) I know, I know, it’s crazy.

      But to be factual, XENU is NOT comparable to the Big Bang theory.

      The comparable Scientology idea to Big Bang (or the Bible’s Genesis story) are Hubbards “The Factors.”

      Not that it matters much.

      Also, most people do NOT join Scientology to find an alternative to the Big Bang theory or to argue against the Genesis story. Most people (certainly not all) were looking for something to help them with a more immediate issue in their life at the time they encountered Scientology.

      And they may have even received something they felt helped them, which as Jon says above, made them susceptible to a larger involvement, which becomes the lifetime scam aspect of Scientology.

      Traps like Scientology work best when sprinkled with appropriate bait.

      • monkeyknickers

        Hm. You have made me thoughtful, Anon. Where would I find these “The Factors”?

        • Anonymous

          monkeyknickers,

          Just to be clear, I am not advocating Hubbard’s “The Factors” but simply pointed them out so that others who have interest can see what is there. These are the foundational writings for much of what flows later in Scientology. They are the closest thing there is to a “creation myth” in Scientology (those are my words and I’m pretty sure they have never been used by Hubbard or the church.) But The Factors are the comparable idea to Christianity’s Genesis story and the Big Bang theory.

          I’m trusting that folks won’t try to suck me into defending or explaining these, as again, I am not advocating for them. I will not defend or explain them…because…well…just read them. The “why” will become pretty self evident.

          I provide a link because you asked:

          http://www.faithology.com/beliefs/the-factors-of-scientology

      • monkeyknickers

        I’m sincerely curious and want to know.

    • Davka

      So I think faith is a complicated question. And so is religion. And especially when you combine the two. I think the question for me is whether, if one has faith, and invests that faith in a particular religious worldview, does it prevent you from questioning or require you to believe in absolutes with no deviation?

      I cannot speak for anyone but myself. My own tradition has its hard liners, its absolutists, its fanatics – this I acknowledge. But it also encourages questions and examination – how does this story, from a gajillion years ago – apply to me? What lessons can I draw? How do I put it into my modern context? I know that may not be how anyone else sees it, but it works for me.

      A story my father used to tell me – a little boy comes home from yeshiva (orthodox religious school), and tells his mother about his day – and his mother says, “ah, but did you ask a question today?”

      I think it’s the ability to ask the question and be willing to push for an answer that’s important – those critical thinking skills are key.

      Just my two cents.

      • monkeyknickers

        I completely agree, honey. Critical thinking is the key. And I actually love reading early and modern deist critics because, for me, it’s a really interesting reflection of how people, especially Jews and indians I have to say, pass on cultural love and lessons. But I also enjoy reading critical material because I feel the authors are close to reasoning themselves out of indoctrination. That process is amazing to me.

        Which isn’t to say, again, my opinion is the right one. But I feel most religious apologists stop just short of that point where many of us would sa – oh my god I think this is total bullshit.

        That being said.

        There are SO SO many things in this world that defy explanation to me, and fill me with awe and wonderment. Like – how the hell do ants know what to do the minute they’re born? What the fuck, that’s insane crazy.

        Et cetera.

        None of us knows. But egyptian gods were worshiped for many many years longer than even Jewish gods, and nobody draws “wisdom” or studies the teachings of Osiris anymore.

        If there’s one thing that history tells us it’s that every god has an expiration date.

        BTW I love your grandmother. :)))

        • Kitz

          Not to split hairs my dear, but there is actually a fairly strong Egyptian Reconstructionist movement. The Monster is very much a student. 🙂

          • monkeyknickers

            No shit!??? That’s wicked! ! Yet another reason her monsterness is dear to me.

            I actually printed out hieroglyphs so I could learn to write ’em a few months ago. 🙂

            • Kitz

              🙂 Now you understand her tats, lol. The Book of the Dead gets quoted by her a lot, especially lately :-(, and is going to figure prominently in her back piece.

            • monkeyknickers

              Ha! I got some temporary tattoo paper so I could test run something for above the Raven. (after I give birth obviously)

              PS I called you. 🙂

            • Kitz

              🙂

              I haven’t seen my phone for two days, and I haven’t had the energy or give a fuck to look for it either. It’s in the house somewhere I think, but then I haven’t gotten out of bed in two days either. 🙂

            • monkeyknickers

              Emailing.

            • Kitz

              Got it. Muah!

        • Davka

          Monkey, thanks – that was a lovely response 🙂

          • monkeyknickers

            well you are a lovely person, luv. :)) I really enjoy your posts. 🙂

    • DamOTclese2

      Amen to all of that. 🙂

  • L. C. Spencer

    *standing ovation*

    Yes, yes, YES, Jon. Brilliant analysis as always. I’m bookmarking this and from now on when I get that “stupid people” comment, I’m just going to send the perpetrator this link.

    “That could never happen to me” are some of the world’s greatest Famous Last Words.

    • Once_Born

      This reminds me of the unfortunate General Nelson, who attempted to rally Confederate troops by riding along their lines exclaiming, “”Boys, if they can’t hit me, they can’t hit a barn door!”

      He was repeatedly shot by Union troops.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_in_the_American_Civil_War#Battle_of_Richmond

      • Robert Eckert

        On the Union side there was General Sedgwick, whose last words were “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist–“

  • Ignorance and vulnerability. It used to be the case that people did not know about the criminal organisation known as the “church” of $cientology. Anyone who bothers to go on the Internet, these days, only has themselves to blame if the stay ignorant. This is undoubtedly why the Co$ went after the ‘net in a big way.

    Civil society recognises vulnerability and suggestibility in paying customers, if those customers are buying cigarettes or time share housing or financial products. The Co$ flourishes only because some countries cannot distinguish between those organisations which are trying to be helpful when people are vulnerable (1) and those organisations which are designed to be predators.

    Vance Woodward’s book was very good on this topic, pointing out similarities between staying a member of the Co$ and being a drug addict.

    tl;dr: The Internet: The warning label on the pack of habit forming drugs that is the criminal organisation known as the “church ” of $cientology.

    (1) this would include organisations which, IMHO, deserve to be called religions

  • Donut

    “Clearing the Planet” has always seemed a tad ambitious, in these days of falling membership and flaying leadership it must be a real test of faith. Once the mystery is gone, what’s left to attract the intellectually curious and the spiritual seeker to a movement which is becoming universally known for it’s cruelty, deception and greed? Finding and exposing the many ruins of scientology is the vaccine that will isolate this toxic cult. Thanks to the tireless efforts of ex members like John Atack and journalists like Tony, Scientology is becoming weaker and less relevant by the day. Thinking skeptically about manipulative cults is the most protective quality there is in avoiding the trap. Articles like the one above convince me that intelligence alone is barely a factor and may even aid recruitment in the absence of critical thinking.

  • villagedianne

    Off topic but not really. The former personal assistant to Amma, the Hugging Saint, has written a book about her 20+ years in the ashram. Gail “Gayatri” Tredwell was with Amma from the very early days, The book is called “Holy Hell, a Memior of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness”.

    Tredwell was physically abused by the Guru on numerous occasions. Amma’s family of poor fishermen is now very rich, and Tredwell discusses this also. This book blows the lid off Amma, and the Amma-bots are attacking it already.

    Here is link to Gail Tredwell’s site:

    http://gailtredwell.com/

    For more info about Tredwell,here is a link to a controversial Rolling Stone article about Amma:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-hugging-saint-20120816

  • Davescomm

    The phenomenon that still puzzles me is that some people will attempt to destroy anything they conceive they can never have for themselves. Maybe it is a cousin to jealousy and sloth. I reluctantly left the Co$ behind, but I continue to study Scientology, I continue to gain understandings, and I continue to work to mold myself into a better person: listening attentively to others, watching their reactions, seeing if I have somehow benefitted someone in some way. To me, that is what Scientology is about.

    • Missionary Kid

      IMO, you’re not reading close enough, nor are you looking at the rest of the world’s knowledge. LRH was a con-man from the get go. I have it second hand from a witness (he saw LRH in Phoenix) who said that LRH was the epitome of evil.

      Maybe you’re trying to salvage the ruin of your life. Good luck.

      • Davescomm

        Anything I say will get mocked.
        E.g. “I like Scientology.”
        Reply: “Idiot.”
        E.g. “I consider myself well-educated.”
        Reply: “Sure, sure … halfway through kindergarten?”
        E.g. “I benefitted from Scientology and I hate to see the subject confused with the Co$.”
        Reply: “I suggest you read the latest book about brainwashing.”
        E.g. “What ‘ruin of my life’ am I trying to salvage?”
        Reply: “You mean you don’t know? LOL!!”
        Hate to generalize “you guys here” but it’s not a really good idea to automatically trash someone for a perception that they belong to some particular class of people.

        • Once_Born

          I won’t mock.

          However (as I have said above) if you want to be taken seriously, you should tell us exactly you have achieved through independent practice of Scientology that you could not have achieved any other way – and provide some evidence for those claims.

          • Davescomm

            Once_Born – Please see my reply to you above – probably cross-post. You are right that setting a good example is the best evidence. Something someone can see. The problem has been just that, in the history of religion and philosophy. How does one demonstrate a thought or subjective experience. I’ve heard Ingo Swann bent spoons, and didn’t believe it until some guy who was there told me about it. The “pinch test” in Scn was supposed to demonstrate charge to an individual, but some few people have found ways to ridicule it, and Vistaril just posted above that charge does not exist, and neither do engrams. I started this by saying I like Scn consider it invaluable, and benefit from it. Wrong place to say that. One thing I haven’t quite learned yet is how to allow another person to have their point of view even if I know it’s wrong. I know how, I just don’t see how to believe that’s the way to go. What’s your opinion on that? I’d be interested.

            • Robert Eckert

              Spoon-bending is a well-known fraud. Hubbard’s concepts of “charge” and “engrams” are just his attempts to use words he find scientists using, without any understanding of what they were talking about. Yes we know that you consider yourself to have “benefitted” from Scientology, but you do not show any such benefit. Yes your point of view, and so do we. If you post your viewpoint here, you will hear the viewpoints of others, which is bound to be that you are praising fraud, and that what you think has been good for you has actually been very bad for you: you have been induced to make up past-life memories and believe that the stories are true, for example, which we find sad.

            • gobsmackedby Scieno

              I am a never-in. You have come to the right place. I am happy for you. There is point of view and there is fact. Your cult is fact-deprived. It is how they entrap you. Thinking that you have the right or power to ‘allow’ another pov is the problem and not the solution.There is so much to know, different perspectives get us there faster. Keep reading people here who have been on your path and are much further along. They are mostly kind! Sharpen your wits though. You will need them. And remember every time a Sciento.. opens their mind and is freed, an angel gets her wings.:)

            • Once_Born

              First, may I say I admire anyone who posts on a forum like this to say that they think there is some value in Scientology. I sometimes wish that such people had a more sympathetic reception here.

              You wonder, ” how to allow another person to have their point of view even if I know it’s wrong”.

              For what it’s worth, I think that, If you approach any discussion ‘knowing’ that you are right, you won’t get anything out if it. You have to come to a discussion with the knowlege that you could be wrong. The best discussions are between people who walk away having changed each other’s minds.

              Also, I have to ask, how do you know you are right? The extraordinary claims made by Scientology require extraordinary evidence, and you will not convince anyone of your case without presenting reliable evidence.

              If someone who is trying to sell you a car claims that it is nearly new, take it for a test drive, kick the tires, look at the oil, inspect the documents. You adopt the motto of the Royal Society (the oldest scientific institution on earth) Nullius in Verba (take no ones word for it). We do that here, to far more important claims.

              Of course, you tell me that you feel better after auditing, I can’t argue with that. However, I can question whether it was the auditing that did it, or something else.

              Perhaps we won’t change each other minds at all – but at the very least, we will better understand our own beliefs for having had to try to put them over to someone else. That’s enough for me. That, and the fact that we are here in the same cause.

            • Davescomm

              Above, I apologized for misinterpreting Kim’s first comment. And as you indicate, “got something out of” my exchange with Kim. I’m not trying to sell anyone a car. But I would like it if people would stop blowing them 100 feet into the air with verbal C4 every time they see one. I do not want to change someone’s mind and “get them into” Scn. If something I say clarifies, then fine. I’m not up to the level of precision of some bloggers, so maybe my attitude and text comes across as sloppy or even uncaring and unappreciative. I’m sorry if it does. There are a lot of falsehoods circulated about Scn itself, and I don’t see how those help. The understanding of the Co$ here is much more precise and to the point than the (mis)understandings about Scn itself.

            • Robert Eckert

              “I’m not trying to sell anyone a car.” That was a metaphor, for the process you would need to go through to convince anyone that you have a point of view worth exploring or listening to. If you are not willing to do anything to make your viewpoint worth anything, then why are you here?

            • Kim O’Brien

              someone clue me in here ..in english ..what the fuck is a verbal C4 ?? If there is a verbal C4 …is there a non verbal C4 ? Like a mime or something ? Or maybe an ” interpretive dance” C4??… Never mind ..it’s probably just an “allegory”. I have never heard of someone blowing a car …i have heard of some people being able to suck the chrome off a pipe but i think that is about something else ….

        • Missionary Kid

          So, did I say those things?

        • Robert Eckert

          “Hate to generalize”? It does not appear so. In fact you are going a little beyond generalizing. If one or two people had said the things you say we all “automatically” say, that would be generalizing; but when nobody, in fact, has said those things, then it appears that you are arguing with imaginary people in your head.

        • Kim O’Brien

          who said that ?

        • sugarplumfairy

          Are you solo auditing right now?

          Sorry.. I’m incapable of not mocking…

    • Kim O’Brien

      get over yourself

      • Davescomm

        Anything positive really gets you huh? How would you say it, then? I’m a shit-bag who strives to bum money in parks?

        • Once_Born

          This kind of argument is called a ‘false dichotomy’.

          Kim seems to be suggesting that your post makes you appear self absorbed (which is fair comment when you say you listen to people to make yourself a better person, not to help them).

          He did not say that are “a shit-bag who strives to bum money in parks?”. Saying so (yourself) is a classic Scientology technique to distract attention from an issue you do not want to address.

          If you want to be taken seriously, you should tell us exactly you have achieved through independent practice of Scientology that you could not have achieved any other way.

          • Davescomm

            Once_Born
            What I’ve achieved? Well, I’m learning how to get flamed on blogs! I didn’t say I [try to] listen attentively to improve myself. I don’t have anything against the people that post here. I like the wit, and the purpose of bringing the rampant abuses of the Co$ to a complete stop is a cause I fully support. I just hate to see people trash “the subject” entirely, because for me, from my viewpoint, I think it has great value and potential benefit. I mean, I don’t see any ill-will in your reply, and I thank you for it, but if I say I have whole-track recall as a result of Scn, you (or anyone) can laugh at that and say, “Prove it!” If I say I’ve resolved many seemingly small issues in my life through auditing, which when added up amount to significant changes in interrelated areas, anyone can say, “Well, don’t we all?” Probably the best thing I can say is that in auditing sessions, I have “blown charge” and laughed, and fine, good, OK, thank you, but the major changes in thought or realizations (for me) have come after auditing. This is a very fundamental point many seem to not mention. The “hype” is all for the “in-session cognitions”, and not for subsequent thought. A lot of people I know would say that just posting on a blog indicates I lack gainful use of my time on Earth, but this one has a purpose, and I guess I just made the mistake of saying something good about Scientology the data and practice in the wrong forum. It’s hard for me to hear people say they HATE economics, or that “the rich pay no taxes”, or “all journalists are merchants of chaos”, and similar erroneous statements.

            • Robert Eckert

              “for me, from my viewpoint, I think it has great value and potential benefit” But what you aren’t doing is demonstrating what any of that value or benefit is. You come out with excuses for why you don’t, but this just serves to underline the point are the more strongly.

            • . . . because for me, from my viewpoint, I think it [Scientology] has great value and potential benefit . . .

              I don’t get this. How can untrained, unlicensed, and unaccountable amateur hypnotists messing with people’s minds in order to lead them towards being able to duplicate Xenu be of “great value and potential benefit” ? It strikes me as being the opposite. There is, for example, no such thing as Engrams, as defined by L Ron Hubbard, and there is no such thing as “charge”. Implanting such fictitious concepts into the minds of others is not helping them in anyway whatsoever. Neither is promoting such activity.

            • Once_Born

              If you claim to have whole-track recall as a result of Scientology I will not laugh. I will, however want to know how to test this extraordinary claim (after all, you would want to test-drive a used car, and that is a far less important matter).

              I don’t doubt that you feel subjective benefits from what you do. I can’t comment on that – I can’t get inside your head. I do doubt the claim to ‘whole track’ access (nothing personal) until I see some evidence.

              Evidence should be easy to provide. Memories from past lives should provide information about historical puzzles which can be verified today. For example – people commonly hide and bury valuables in time of war, hoping to return to them later. Scientologists with access to the ‘whole tract should know where at least some of these are…

              You are posting in the right forum. If you can back up such a claim with evidence, even the cynics here would have to accept it.

              BTW, we are all posting all on a blog, thinking that this is a gainful use of our time, so nobody can attack you for that.

            • Davescomm

              Once_Born — Wish I knew how to use hypertext markup to italicize, bold, and underline. In my experience, at this point in time, for me, past-life recall is not as precise as present life recollections, so recalling where something is stored, or where I used to live, would be an exercise for me. I can get some pictures or images, but not a map of the city. Part of the whole thing is a matter of relevance or interest. I’ll try for one tangible benefit I personally have recently been looking at that ties in with what you said about blogging here, and that is the differentiation between “agreement” and “personal conclusion” or “independent thought.” I like to think I can reason things out for myself, but when one gets deep, it’s not actually so easy – most of what I “independently think” is governed by what I have been told or taught, or by what most people agree on. Within ourselves, we’re actually pretty fragile, I think. You made the same or similar point about old religions and new religions. What we are taught or are familiar with carries a lot of weight. Hubbard talks a lot about agreements in groups. So how deep does one have to go, to find true independent thought? Is it necessary to do a PhD, and will even that accomplish the goal? My recent train of thought is surprisingly simple, that truly independent thought has its origins in, and is “more at”: notions, concepts, and practicalities of a string of nouns such as love, compassion, consideration, understanding, goodwill, beneficence, etc.. But translating that theory into practice is sometimes like going from an architect’s drawings to pouring concrete on the 40th floor.

            • Robert Eckert

              Use and without spaces to italicize and substitute b, u, or s to create boldface, underline, or strikethrough

            • Once_Born

              Philosophers have argued about such things before you and I were born. Perhaps in order to put your own thoughts in order, you need to consider what they had to say, and gain a larger perspective.

              To exercise Independent thought you need a wide, deep, foundation to build it on. You can’t just ‘think independently’ in a vacuum. My experience is that taking a formal course, fro, a respectable institution helps keep you on track – you can’t fool yourself if someone who knows more about the subject is marking your paper.

              In any case, if you want to understand Scientology better, it may be time to more of the world of knowledge outside of Scientology.

              PS: Robert describe common HTML tags in a post close by

            • villagedianne

              That’s pretty much how I feel. Cults take a good thing and put a cage of control around it.

        • Kim O’Brien

          if you think scientology is positive ..that is a reflection on you …not me . I think my daughter,my family,my friends , my love of the leaves in my front yard and the beautiful crisp day here i Colorado …are positives. All scientology does is focus on the self ..it is always, all the time, all about you . Your failures, your wins, your ruin , your climb up the bridge, your engrams , your issues ..all you you you . And the underlying message is always that you are just not quite good enough and need to “be a better you ” because apparently the way you are ..who you love, what you feel ..is just something that needs to be corrected . I have too much respect for you as a human being , to allow you to run around thinking that the universe is all about you . It’s not . Be happy ..have joy ..tell jokes ..make mistakes ..learn from them ..stop taking the spoon fed bullshit that everything will be perfect if only you can fix yourself . it is a trap Davescomm …go out and do something for someone else that does not give you points . Life is really amazing ..and not all of it is good. Just get over yourself and you will fell much better . You are already amazing ..why isn’t that good enough ?

          • Davescomm

            Sorry if I misunderstood your reply as a barb. Your reply is the most logical argument I’ve heard about distancing oneself from Scn, but in my understanding of Scn, is what Scn recommends. The thing seems to be that what are called “the great lessons” of love and respect for oneself, for others, and for all of life, no matter how many times they are repeated and explained and demonstrated, do not get learned. I’m going on a stretch here because I am not familiar with Islam, but the few Middle Eastern Muslims I’ve met are very compassionate and tolerant people – in person, one-on-one. Yet the Middle East seems to treat war as if it were a football game. The hatreds and other “minus emotions” named in Scn – hostility, pain, anger, fear, terror, grief, apathy, and body death (for example), seem to come to the surface, unwanted. Psychotherapy or Transactional Analysis or Gestalt or behavioral psychology or sociology or psychiatry don’t seem to provide enough solution. Some adhere to Buddhism, some Transcendental Meditation, or other great religions, to bring the “great lessons” into reality for themselves, and there is no doubt that many have made substantial progress. Scn talks about eight Dynamics, not just “self”, and the auditing to relieve minus emotions is done on four flows, looking at others, not just oneself. The “self” aspect of Scn is why most show interest, but an auditor is trained to validate another, and as one – if one – progresses ‘up the Bridge’, one’s understanding of others increases. Where that just became just so much verbiage is a question many would like answered, myself included. It is a high-pressure environment, and that’s one of the things that developed later on, and has become what some call criminal. Reading what you wrote reminded me of some things I had forgotten. Hubbard did say that love is perhaps the greatest secret of all, but he lived in high-pressure, I think. Your writing brings some color back into the picture. I thought I had said something similar somewhere below, regarding independent thought, If only more people saw things your way. Do I sound brainwashed, or would it be closer to heart-washed? I wish you continuing love. (Btw, just for data – I am not affiliated with the Co$.)

            • Sputnik

              Where’s “LOVE” on the tone scale?

            • Davescomm

              It comes in somewhere above “HATE” on the tone scale.

            • ThetaBara

              No, it doesn’t. Love does not exist on the tone scale, at all. Which is really telling. “Cheerfulness” is about the best thing they’ve got going. Don’t come here and make shit up. We will dox your ass.

              Here’s Hate and everything above it:
              40.0Serenity of beingness
              30.0Postulates
              22.0Games
              20.0Action
              8.0Exhilaration
              6.0Aesthetic
              4.0Enthusiasm
              3.5Cheerfulness
              3.3Strong interest
              3.0Conservatism
              2.9Mild interest
              2.8Contented
              2.6Disinterested
              2.5Boredom
              2.4Monotony
              2.0Antagonism
              1.9Hostility
              1.8Pain
              1.5Anger
              1.4Hate
              etc. It’s all bullshit anyway. Sorry, but it is.

            • Kim O’Brien

              face palm

            • Davescomm

              That means I got suckered, or it means I insulted you, or what?

            • Kim O’Brien

              no ..you did not get suckered ..at least not by me. Do you realize that you just totally negated yourself in your last post ? You do not need scientology to be a good person …just be a good person . I never see anything compassionate in scientology ..i never hear a word about compassion, or love , or sympathy . All those things are very low on the “tone scale” . If you get cancer ..it’s your fault cause you “pulled it in ” ..if a child is molested by their step parent ..they have a bad engram about sex or whatever . Do you have children ? Do you write poetry ? Do you paint ? Do you have anything ..even in your own head ..that is NOT about or have something to do with scientology ? If you do ..if you have something in your life that is totally just separate , had nothing to do with an imaginary bridge ..or abilities attained by yelling at an ashtray ..if you have anything in your life that just makes you feel good about yourself the way you are , without having to attribute it to anyone or anything else….my response would be ..do MORE of THAT

            • joan nieman

              I love what you wrote Kim!

            • Robert Eckert

              “Love” is not ANYWHERE on the tone scale. Hubbard forgot about it.

              “Where that just became just so much verbiage is a question many would like answered, myself included.” The answer is something you don’t much want to hear, but here it is: it was all just so much verbiage from the very beginning.

    • Once_Born

      “some people will attempt to destroy anything they conceive they can never have for themselves”

      Others will try to show you something better than continuing self-deception.

      Listening attentively and watching others is hardly esoteric “tech”. We have all been doing this since we were born, without any help from Scientology – in fact it is built in to humans (experimental test: make faces at a baby).

      ‘Cherry picking’ Scientology is a dead end because, when you are done, only the blatantly obvious is left.

    • Donut

      Davescomm, stay positive and keep reading beyond LRH, accept for now that he “squirrelled” his tech from all over. The bunker is a place you will generally find welcoming and accepting. Most here have less of a beef with Scientology beliefs than with the abuses and controls. The journey out is a tough one and I have enormous respect for you for taking these first steps. Give it time and absorb the information and opinions you find here. It will be fascinating to see how your own opinions modify and change, and they will. I grew from being a hostile protester to having empathy with org staff and lay members due to being exposed to a range of opinion and information at xenu.net, wwp and the other sites. The bunker is the best place I know of for up to date reports and some first class joking and degrading but it’s nothing personal, not unless your name is Miscavaige (it’s not, is it Dave?)
      LRH was a controlling bastard and more, but when the time is right you can research it for yourself, until then you can consider that just an opinion. Welcome, stick around and enjoy yourself.

  • chukicita

    “So, the question isn’t “How could you be so stupid?” but “How can we help people to recognise exploitative persuasion?”” BINGO! Jon Atack wins the internets.

  • I thought I was cult proof. They offered me solutions to my worries: my mum’s illness and my brother’s addiction, and both were “cured” with Scientology. Then I was sold. Scientology’s insidious hard-sell techniques are hard to resist once you are pot-committed within their manipulative net. It was such a shame to wake up to this shit and leave for good. Scientology is offering a solution to ANY problem or worry and who hasn’t got at least one?

  • Observer

    The minute any of us start thinking we’re too smart to be suckered we become vulnerable to just that. We’re all fallible human beings, and while we might spot Ron’s chicanery a mile off, there are other things that can slip in under the radar if we get complacent.

    I honestly don’t understand how, with all the damning information about LRH being so easily accessible these days, people still revere him. But I don’t have to understand it; it’s true regardless. I feel my moral obligation is to be compassionate toward those who are trapped and to disseminate (ha!) the truth. I admit I have a harder time with the hardcore apologists than the rank and file, but I have to remember that I don’t know what’s going on in their heads. Tory is a perfect reminder of what compassion can do for even the most committed.

    “I told him that the only and somewhat slim protection that I had was the knowledge that, like every other living soul, I am gullible.” Words to live by. Thank you, Jon.

    • Donut

      Totally agree, they are getting enough bullying and insults from inside, we want to restore self esteem not abuse it.

  • koki

    because Patty Moher is flagged :

    Thank you for this very interesting article with John Atack. It
    brought back some memories of my training on how to recruit others into
    Scientology. One tool of the cult is the Awareness Chart, which is the
    exact steps the recruiter uses to indoctrinate the easy mark into the
    cult and with the full “cog” that LRH is The Source of all that is good
    and right with the world.

    The chart can be found here: https://groups.google.com/foru

    It has an error in it with both # 6 and 7 being Enlightenment but I could not find a correct sample on the web.

    This particular section applies to recruitment.

    6 ENLIGHTENMENT
    5 UNDERSTANDING
    4 ORIENTATION
    3 PERCEPTION
    2 COMMUNICATION
    1 RECOGNITION

    -1 HELP
    -2 HOPE
    -3 DEMAND FOR IMPROVEMENT
    -4 NEED OF CHANGE
    -5 FEAR OF WORSENING
    -6 EFFECT
    -7 RUIN

    Recruiters are trained and drilled and drilled and drilled until they
    have this down cold. There is no set “patter”, it’s to be done like
    it’s a simple conversation, and the mark has no idea that you are
    running this on him.

    To keep it simple.

    -7 The recruiter finds the persons Ruin. What is ruining their life.

    -6 The recruiter gets the person to agree that they are the effect of this ruin.

    -5 The recruiter gets the person to agree that it can get worse and that’s worrisome.

    -4 The recruiter gets the person to agree that they need to change this situation.

    -3 The recruiter gets the person to demand improvement of this situation.

    -2 The recruiter gets the person to agree that there is hope in solving the situation (the ruin)

    -1 The recruiter gets the person to agree that he/she needs and should get help.

    1 Recognition– The recruiter introduces a self help course that will solve the persons ruin.

    and so on.

    Hubbard lays it all out how to “bring the person up the awareness scale” but it’s really a con/swindle/mind game
    to reel in the trusting soul

    big hellofrom LRHs Bulgravia.

    • notclear

      A funny thing about that scale is that, as it appears on the “bridge to total freedom” chart, the last entry is -34 unexistence, and the second to last is -33 disconnection.

      Another funny thing is that -26 Glee is way down there too, below -23 Sadism.

      If anybody has an explanation of those lower levels, I’d love to hear it.

      • koki

        I am afraid ,that you will have to send me a check,and rent a apartment in my house,here in LRHs Bulgravia ,from where I send you a big hello….
        then I will sell you a course….if you still have some MU,we will find another course to sell you…

    • DeElizabethan

      Thank you Patty this is excellent and they get your stuck attention on your ruin,
      that’s all one thinks about and the relief promised. Then you get stuck.

    • Narapoid

      I wish I read this before is posted down thread from this. This is where the rubber hits the road doesn’t it? This is how you handle fresh meat.

      The same layout will work later. The new member is balking at the regging: Who is the SP? What are your overts? Is there a misunderstood word?

      It would be handy to have a laminated sheet that would have situations and responses in a “logic” chart.

  • Richard Grant

    Breaking news, maybe — The big Flag event is set to begin November 15, according to a thread posted at ESMB. It will include Super Power release, GAT II, and opening the new Flag building.

    The poster included the text of an email from (I think) the Flag events coordinator telling attendees to arrive no later than 13-14 Nov. to “route in.”

    No dates are given for the individual events, nor is an overall time frame (eg. one week) suggested. Still, addressees are instructed to RSVP by return mail.

  • NOLAGirl

    New Post Up folks!! Dates for Stupor Powaz announced.

  • N. Graham

    I think that Jamie says some thoughts I would have when I would when I would infrequently pick up some Scientology literature-it seemed like Elron was always trying to “fix” what wasn’t working. I was always thinking the Scientologists who went all the way up to clear must have complained that they didn’t have perfect memory or any other clear powers so Elron was always trying to justify this (“you did it wrong”) and fix it. I didn’t realize he was just setting the goal farther out of sight. Well explained Jamie! For someone never in the cult, he has learned their ways well.

  • chukicita

    After several decades of Scientology-watching, I still get a ‘there but for the grace of somebody go I’ feeling about it. My mother gave me Dianetics when I was 15 or 16, and a top-ranked high school debate geek. She didn’t say anything about it, just asked me to read it and tell her what I thought.

    There were so many ways to tear it apart. Some that I recall include the complete lack of peer review, the creepy perspective Hubbard had on women (and I kept thinking he was writing that way on purpose, to make people introvert themselves), and so much of the writing was culturally alien to me as I wasn’t a white man from the 50s (why does the black panther not have the right to live also? why does it have to be me or him?), I forced myself to finish the book and told my mother this guy’s nuts. Much to her relief.

    I was lucky – there were times a few years later when I would have been excellent raw meat.

  • Interested

    Hello everyone. I am home in one piece. So far all is CLEAR hurray! Can I take up a little space to thank all of you who wrote wishing me well. My heart goes out to you all. As i said my 100 backwards I thought of your kindness. I am not writing to each of you individually because that will take up too much of Tony’s space as sooo many sent me their thoughts.
    Tony, we need each other, not only because of scientology, and bringing the cult down, but because the people on this blog REAlLY CARE! So please keep this blog alive and kicking.

    • Sherbet

      Good news? Wonderful!

    • Eclipse-girl

      I am glad you are home in one piece. When do you find out the results?

      (((HUGS)))

    • koki

      this is Tonys blog….and he did write 100x times ,that it is stupid/wrong to write “cult”…..
      it is still a “church”, no meter what we think ….

      and a big hello from LRHs Bulgravia.

      • Missionary Kid

        Co$ calls itself a {church}, but it doesn’t act like one. The only reason it adopted the religious facade was for tax advantages and the protection afforded religions.

        All you have to do is read the history of $cientology and LRH’s written works.

        You can call it anything you like, but I’ll still call it a fucking cult.

      • Robert Eckert

        He has never written so much as once that it is either stupid or wrong to write “cult”. He has simply adopted the practice of calling people what they call themselves for his own journalistic reasons, without passing any judgment on how non-journalist posters choose to speak.

        • AsthmaticDwarf

          Zackly, RE. It is Tony O’s choice, as a professional journalist, to call Scientology Inc. as he wishes to.

          To koki: For the rest of your fellow Bunkerados (Bunkeroos, Bunkerites), it is A FREAKING CULT! (excuse me for shouting, y’all)

          • joan nieman

            I’ll say it too. Cult, cult, cult, cult, cult!

      • AsthmaticDwarf

        It is *not* a church. It is a *cherch.*

        LRH started a *business.* That is fact. The *only* reason Hubbturd devised a way to get the business recognized as “a religion” was to *avoid taxes.*

        So, that is why, here on the Bunker, *no one* believes The Cult of Scientology is a church.

    • Missionary Kid

      I’m happy for you. May every future test be as clear.

      • Interested

        Thanks tons MK

  • Captain Howdy

    Per usual do the reverse Ron starting at the beginning and maybe you’ll get a dose of common sense.

    People are NOT basically good — doesn’t mean that they are basically bad either — good and bad are human abstractions that mean nothing in the natural world.

    and of course we are ANIMALS..nothing more and very destructive ones at that.

    Believe otherwise and you’re the perfect mark for the malarkey.

    • Missionary Kid

      There’s a whole branch of thought that posits that ethical actions (not the Co$ kind) are based on biology – for instance the perpetration of a species.

    • sugarplumfairy

      I’m of the opinion there are 3 kinds of people: people who almost always do the right thing, even when nobody is watching; people who almost always do the selfish thing, especially when nobody is watching; and the vast majority in between those two extremes. And what they do depends on who they’re with and who is watching.. The trick is figuring out which category they fall into..

  • Interested

    Just a thought, in the 70’s I did transcendental meditation. I never felt it was a cult thing. It was just a bunch of us sitting around relaxing saying over and over again a mantra to ourselves. In fact when I am really really stressed I find it still helps me to relax completely. Sure there was a kind of altar thingy to begin with, but I took no notice of it,

  • koki

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZd7MzF1RlA
    best song ever,and a big hello from LRHs Bulgravia.

    • AsthmaticDwarf

      Is that Lafayette Ronald H on LEAD VOCALS ?!? — does anybody know, to confirm? Wow- you *have to* listen to this for a minute or so!!! If it is Hubbturd singing it, that would be great info. to know ! (for me)

      The Road to Freedom is a 1986 record album by L. Ron Hubbard & Friends. Artists that worked on the album include John Travolta, Chick Corea, Leif Garrett, Frank Stallone, and Karen Black.[1]

      The advertising calls this album “the perfect dissemination tool”.[5]
      This album was published by Revenimus Music Publishing, the music
      publishing division of the Church of Scientology, which also published
      the album Mission Earth, which was also written by L. Ron Hubbard and produced, arranged, and performed by Edgar Winter.

      • Robert Eckert

        Oh yes, that is LRH singing– and thinking that he sounds good, more the pity.

        • AsthmaticDwarf

          O M G !!!
          That is the worst lead vocal in the history of recorded music !!!

    • Narapoid

      Thanks Koki! i haven’t heard that in decades, and it is as bad as I remember.

      Invisioned hell: Stuck in traffic in an overheating beater car and that song is stuck in the CD player that has no off switch or volume control.

    • Ian

      I liked it.

      Erm, wait, it was intended seriously? Not a self-parody?

      Oh dear.

  • Ian

    The “How could they have been so gullible?” line is the equivalent of asking a rape victim “how could you have been so stupid?” There’s no evidence that people who fall for cons are less intelligent than others, in fact there is some evidence to the contrary. Victim blaming, even hypothetically, is unhelpful. Plenty of people suffer for a long time thinking “how could I have been so stupid?” because that is the line consistently fed them by society and the media. in the same way many rape victims suffer for a long time thinking it was somehow their fault. Both types of victim blaming needs to stop.

    • Robert Eckert

      In the case of Scientology what many are asking is not so much “How could you fall for a con?” but “How could you fall for THIS con?” It seems so over-the-top unbelievable.

      • Ian

        All cons engender the same reaction, if you’re on the outside. As Jon says above, Christianity is just as over-the-top unbelievable, as are any number of things that actually work.

        • Robert Eckert

          No, I don’t actually find Christianity to be anywhere near the level of unbelievability as Scientology. I’m not tempted to it myself, but the sheer fact of having a tradition stretching back thousands of years that has included many thoughtful people lends it a plausibility that an upstart guru has a serious uphill battle to match. And Hubbard comes across as so thoroughly unwise in everything that he is saying.

          • Once_Born

            I came to the conclusion, years ago, that Christianity (and other established religions) have an advantage over new religious movements like Scientology because their ideas are so familiar that we do not think to examine them closely (as we do with a novel religion).

            One of the reasons that Christian observance has crashed here in the UK is that the majority young people are no longer brought up to be aware of the basic Christian teachings. Consequently, when they encounter Christianity, it appear to them to be just as strange as Scientology (but less relevant).

            In other words, the difference between a fringe religious group and a respected world religion is a few hundred years of survival (during which time some of the doctrinal ‘rough edges’ and obvious inconsistencies can be quietly modified).

            If you think Christianity is inherently more credible than Scientology, find a few theology texts, and try to get your head around the doctrine of the trinity (which was a political compromise invented to settle a series of pointless arguments among members of the early church).

            • Robert Eckert

              No, I don’t find Christianity “inherently” more credible, if you mean in terms of its claims. What I mean is, that it is easier to understand people trusting that there is something to it, even if they don’t “get it” themselves, given that they have doubtless met many people who swear by Christianity, and know that there is a long history of people valuing Christianity. For a brand-new movement, its claims have to stand on their own two feet.

            • Missionary Kid

              I’m no longer a Christian, but that’s a personal decision. In spite of the cultural imperialism that I was raised with, there was no effort to physically enslave anyone, or to punish those who didn’t believe for not believing, or to make them pay for their knowledge or to hide any of the doctrine. There was truly an effort to make people’s lives better, both individually and as a society. That I can respect.

              Yes, there are abuses in Christianity, and if one particular sect or Christianity in general becomes dominant, there is an effort to control the society around it. There is also an attempt to control an individual’s actions. I felt the brunt of that attempt to control, but there was no effort to physically restrain me or to fair game me in any way for not believing any more.

              I personally find any suggestion of rewards in an afterlife or future life after one’s death to be the ultimate con game, because no one has come back to report on the “other side” in any but anecdotal evidence, but what one wants to believe is up to them.

              My point is that, in spite of magical beliefs, at least most of Christianity tries to function in a somewhat beneficial manner, both to its adherents as well as to the rest of society. $cientology does not.

      • Once_Born

        Because you are not shown the whole thing when you join (in fact, most of Scientology is kept strictly secret, and members are expected to protect/censor themselves regarding information they are not ready for.

        You are introduced to relatively small claims. You reach the “over-the-top-unbelievable” by a long series of very small steps.

        This is why the publication of the higher levels (for example, the account of OTIII on “South Park”) does the CofS so much damage.

    • Seannie5

      “”How could they have been so gullible?” line is the equivalent of asking a rape victim “how could you have been so stupid?”
      Hardly. I don’t think it’s unusual to wonder why people seem to completely change their life, give up their job, withdraw from their family and give all their money away to a religion, all in the matter of weeks in some cases. To say it is the same as blaming a girl for being raped is ridiculous, it really is. They are not responsible for the rapists actions. You and I, as adults, are responsible for who we give our money to and how we choose to live our lives. That’s not to say that I think anyone who falls for the cult is stupid, I certainly don’t, and I especially don’t considering that I know a lot more about it now. Sometimes people fall for a con and are gullible. Everybody falls for BS at some point in their life.

      • Ian

        The normal rape narrative goes: the woman (not girl, incidentally), was responsible for what she was wearing, who she was with, where she was hanging out, what flirting she was doing, etc. I suspect you haven’t spent much time with victims scarred by such cultural presuppositions.

        • Seannie5

          I know all about rape blame, and you shouldn’t assume anything.
          Girls are also raped, if you want to be pedantic about the word I use to refer to the female gender.

          Thinking somebody is gullible/wondering why you would fall for the scientology con is not the same as people blaming a girl for being raped because of her clothes etc. The latter is FAR worse. I just don’t think they should be compared.

          • Ian

            Wow, we’re all bringing in the downvotes on this thread! 🙂

            I don’t think ‘worst’ is helpful, really. I know, for example, of people who’ve killed themselves after leaving a cult (not Sci), due to the guilt. So it isn’t quite as simple as saying what is worse.

            My comment about ‘a girl’ was simply that the infantalization of the female gender is also a culturally harmful trait. But I’m in danger of being a tone troll, and getting well off my point, so I think that’s far enough there.

            • Seannie5

              My intention was not to infantalize.
              Agree to disagree 🙂

            • Ian

              I removed that part of my comment as unhelpful, sorry for derailing.

        • Kim O’Brien

          shut the fuck up about rape dude. Shut. the. fuck. up

        • Robert Eckert

          Instead of thinking of the typical rape case, suppose the victim accepted a ride from a guy dressed only in a raincoat, who told her she’d have to ride in the trunk.

          • Ian

            But I think that level of condemnation of people on this thread just isn’t warranted. There are plenty of people here who joined Scientology for noble, actualising, and optimistic reasons. I simply don’t think it is fair, or even rational, to suggest they were all clueless morons.

            The story that this is so obviously rubbish that any sane person can see through it, is very nice for those of us who were never-in to tell ourselves. To pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves how smart we are. But I read the Headley’s, or Jon Attack, and I just don’t buy it, sorry.

            • Robert Eckert

              I do see and intellectually understand that intelligent people have failed to immediately perceive it as rubbish. I just don’t understand it in my gut. For obvious reasons I have been particularly interested in this little cult:

              http://www.eckankar.org/Masters/Fubbi/

              Would this seem even remotely plausible to you? It has attracted a much smaller number of followers than Hubbard ever did, despite the fact that Hubbard appears so much more repulsive.

            • Ian

              I couldn’t see the ‘obvious’ reason you have been interested in this. But I’d love to know, if you’re willing to share (I realise, we’re in danger of derailing in a different direction, but still).

              It doesn’t seem plausible to me, no. But I can see how it can be attractive.

              You may have *far* more knowledge of Eckankar than I, but I have come across it before. I think there’s a basic set of beliefs about humanity and the cosmos that, if you held them, would make Eckankar, and numerous other NRMs quite plausible. At least the face that is shown to prospective adherents initially.

              If you think about Scientology, for example. Sure the OTIII stuff is implausible, and the historic definition of Clear is unobtainable. But that isn’t what gets presented to people when they start. It is about realisation, improving communication, finding purpose, removing the reactive mind (which is nonsense, but corresponds to actual sets of experiences I have, when I do something I don’t want to before I have chance to stop myself, say). The ‘tech’ is therefore plausible, with a relatively small set of starting assumptions.

              Similarly with Eckankar, I don’t know if you graduate to ‘weirder’ teachings, but the surface teachings, I can see are plausible with a small set of starting assumptions about God, the corruption of traditional religions, the ways in which spiritual experiences are engendered. And so on.

              As for why LRH was more successful in building a large, rich organisation than Twitchell, I think that is not to do with the teachings, but the business model and the systems he put in place. Like a good snake oil salesman, I think LRH instinctively understood the sales process, and how to abuse people. So it is not surprising his movement was larger. I think the speed or size of a NRM’s growth is not just a function of how good their teaching is. I think the organisational structure and the way it moves recruits through is more important.

            • Robert Eckert

              I guess that’s the question I am groping toward: what is the starting point that makes the initial promises of Scientology seem plausible? I read Dianetics: the sunk-cost fallacy was enough to get me to finish the book once I had wasted a little time on it, but nothing about it made me think that these people had any answers, or that if I was in turmoil, this was the kind of thing I would pursue to resolve it. Maybe in 1950 it seemed, not just reasonable but cutting-edge? Yet somehow there were people in the 60’s and 70’s who were still attracted, around the same time that I was repulsed.

            • ThetaBara

              Were you a teenager? Seems to me that many are recruited in their teens.

            • Robert Eckert

              Yeah, first year of college I think. I also was handed a personality test on campus while going to class, told them I would bring it back later but it was too long and intrusive. Early 70’s were a heyday for cults (I was at U-Michigan and Ann Arbor was a fairly crazy place those days) and I am sure that with a little more “ruin” I could have been sucked into one of them– just not that one, I’ve never quite understood the appeal.

          • ThetaBara

            Don’t be ridiculous. The rape analogy is probably unhelpful but come ON. No one does that, and they don’t tell the “fresh meat” (ugh) coming in what to expect either.

      • Eclipse-girl

        I think victims do question “why did this happen to me?” “Is there anything I could have done to prevent this?”

        We do have evidence in both Steubenville and now ?maryland that communities would rather blame the vicitm(s) than the popular football team members.

        • Seannie5

          Of course, I think it’s part of the healing process to question how you got to a bad place in your life.
          Blaming people for being raped is the most disgusting thing. Ugh, makes me angry.
          im not downvoting you by the way!

          • Eclipse-girl

            I didn’t think you were. Just angry at the aforementioned communities.

        • D.Y.G.

          Ouch. Ok, I”m going to jump in here. It makes me hurt to see people blame the entire community of Steubenville. There was a very vocal minority group of assholes who blamed the victim and an even smaller group of authority figures who tried really hard to minimize the offenses. The majority of Steubenville and surrounding areas are not populated by activists, and they were quietly waiting for the outcome. That young lady had a hell of a lot of local support, enough that she still attends the same school and her family is still living in the same city. She was just “Jane Doe” in the national press, but she’s a Valley girl and she’s one of ours.

          • Eclipse-girl

            I am sorry to have insulted or hurt you. You are correct. Many of the citizens did not support the football players.

            The support that a few gave those footballers hurt your community. Its hard to rebuild and heal. I wish you luck.

            That may also be true for the Maryland case. However the family had to leave town because the mom lost her job. It is rumored that her employer faced pressure from the political family that one of the two footballers belong to.

    • Once_Born

      And the popularity of some simplistic ideas of ‘Mind Control Cults’ is partly due to that fact that it provides victims (and their loved ones) with a ready-made and accessible explanation for the question ‘how could I have been taken in’ .

      This answer is that Ron was (despite all appearances to the contrary) a very clever individual and master of ‘mind control’.

      The truth is far more complex and nuanced.

      • Ian

        I think so. And I think you’re right that the focus should be on the perpetrator. So rather than say “how could you be so gullible” we look more closely at how successful con artists practice their art. And then, we get the world out on what to look for.

        I suspect most of us on this board would be difficult to recruit for a cult. Because we spend time looking at them, so can recognise. As always, knowledge is power.

      • AsthmaticDwarf

        See Robert Vaughn Young, on Battered person Syndrome.

      • ThetaBara

        Very well said. I find it frustrating and I feel bad for the exes whenever it comes back around. It is not their fault. Stay on target.

      • unclesamonmars

        He was good at what he was good at and he was good at being a con man. Plus he was a sociopath.

  • Kim O’Brien

    This is touchy ..and there are people far smarter than me who can articulate a response . Sam Harris gives a great series on the science of religion. Larry Krause can actually explain the big bang and the fact that the universe is expanding faster than we thought and we do know where it’s going …because we can see it . Yes , when a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to see it ..it still makes a sound . There is a great panel debate from a couple of years ago on night line with Sam Harris , Mike Shermer , Deepak Chopra ( and some other lady who’s name i can’t remember ) There are questions that are never going to be answered ….i think that makes certain people very,very uncomfortable . So much so ..they start to seek out for someone else to answer those questions ..and if you seek ..you will find. You will find LRH…you will find Warren Jeffs …you will find Charles Manson …you will find Jerry Falwell …you will find Jim Jones…and in the end you will be broken . If breaking up with a spouse gets you to these people ..and that is ALL it took ..then there were some huge underline issues in the first place .

    Shit is random ..and that can really freak people out . Look at how much order these people need . They need someone to tell them how to live…who to talk to …who NOT to talk to ..where to live, where to work . For gods sake , they leave their own children and families. They have abdicated their entire lives to a person who does not know any more than you do about the answers they seek.

    Some ..will even continue to search . I have seen here , people say ..well first i hung out with the moonies, then it was scientology , then is was buddhism , then it was something else . People who claim to be “Seekers ” just confuse me really . They end up right back where they started only they are creepy ..they have a glazed look in their eyes ..they sound strange , they talk in woo woo …and some other dude who broke up with his girlfriend will think that he has the answers and it all starts again .

    Thinking for yourself can be difficult for some people . Not thinking for yourself is way , way worse. Just accept that there are questions that are never going to be answered and live your life . It does not surprise me that most people who get into a cult are middle class..educated people. How many poor people ..people who have really , really suffered …are in cults ? I dunno , less is my guess. Reason behind it might be that they are just stronger and more resilient …they know life life is hard and to enjoy it when it’s not because it’s going to get hard again. The can’t afford the luxury of “super powers” so they just get on with it .

    Cults will always be around , religions will always be around . Those things are all based on fear and trying to make the fear go away. Fear of death , fear of life , fear of loss . Some people will just always be afraid no matter what and “seeking” is some sort of coping mechanism . It’s just sad

    • koki

      bravo,Kim
      and a big hello from LRHs Bulgravia.

      • mightandglory

        I’ve been here for a while and am now comfortable enough to ask for an explanation about “LRHs Bulgravia”…..? I also have a kicking whiskey hangover so please use small words lol

        • AsthmaticDwarf

          I believe it is a reference made by an Underground Bunkeroo in eastern E.U.
          The ‘Bulgravia’ is a snark on LRH mis-stating the name of a place, in one of his statements. Was it Belgrave? Not Bulgaria, I don’t think. Anyway, Eller H called it What koki said.

          • Robert Eckert

            LRH believed that he could fuse Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia into a country that Scientologists would rule. “Bulgravia” is not snark at all: he was actually deluded enough to think he could create such a country.

            • ze moo

              He also thought he could run South Africa. After being there a while he called the African population ‘untrainable’ and ran away. Hubris and reality don’t often mix well.

            • AsthmaticDwarf

              And didn’t he think he was Cecil Rhodes back in his ‘whole track’? And he thought he would be able to take over the country and rule it as a Hubbard-country. Fucking fucktard Hubburd.

            • AsthmaticDwarf

              Really?!? That’s great! I never came across that. Thank you!!!
              When you think you can tell just what a gargantuan putz-head Lafayette Eller H was, you get fooled again. 🙂

            • grundoon

              Don’t accept it as true just because some guy said it on the Internet.

            • AsthmaticDwarf

              I always thought – and do recall seeing it a few times – that the reference was LRH talking about either Belgrave or Bulgaria, something like that, and he fucked up the name of the place he was trying to say. You recall, gDoon?

            • grundoon

              L. Ron Hubbard once owned a mansion in Belgravia.

              From 1950, the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation of California occupied 2600 South Hoover St. in Los Angeles. Barbara “Kaye” Klowden Snader, LRH’s first PPRO, described it as “the big old governor’s mansion at Adams and Hoover – it used to be the governor of California’s mansion.” The neighborhood was once home to the rich and powerful: the West Adams Heritage Association says, “A century ago, Adams Boulevard was Los
              Angeles’ Street of Dreams – the main artery of a ‘Bon Ton District’ that
              included Chester Place, St. James Park and the Belgravia Tract, home to
              some of the City’s finest residences.” This photo of another elegant mansion on the same block will give an idea of the neighborhood.

              Hubbard apparently lost this mansion in the 1951 divorce from Sara. Her complaint asks the court to appoint a receiver to “take over, operate, and sell the defendant Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation of California, Inc., property at 2300[sic] South Hoover Street, Los Angeles, California, and more particularly described as; Lot 6 of Belgravia Tract, in the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, State of California, 8S per map in Book 23, Page 54 of Miscellaneous Records of said County, and a portion of Lot 3, Block 22, of Hancock’s Survey in said City and County of Los Angeles, as per map recorded in Book 2, page 108 of Miscellaneous Records of said county.” Hubbard certainly read and fumed over every word of Sara’s complaint.

              The Belgravia development in South Los Angeles was surely named after London’s famous Belgravia district, still one of the wealthiest in the world, built up in the 19th century by the Duke of Westminster and named after one of his subsidiary titles: Viscount Belgrave. Hubbard likely visited the Belgravia district on his trips to London in 1952, 1955, and particularly 1958-59 when he went shopping for a new headquarters (he bought Saint Hill in 1959). Any Londoner would know Belgravia’s reputation as a fashionable address for the wealthy and well-connected.

              But wait! it’s spelled Bulgravia, not Belgravia, in Hubbard’s opus HCO PL 12 Feb 67 THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF LEADERS. How can this be explained? A one-letter difference could easily be a typographical error. Hubbard usually dictated, rather than doing his own typing; and on the Apollo the dictation would have been transcribed phonetically by an uneducated teenage Messenger who wouldn’t know that Belgravia is a real place in London where some unscrupulous tycoons probably really do settle down to enjoy a quiet retirement.

              The Simon Bolivar memo is addressed to “Org Exec Course.” The OEC is a comprehensive indoctrination into Hubbard’s Admin Tech for high-level Scientology executives: finance, regging, personnel, etc. Many of the students were Worldwide Headquarters staff at Saint Hill, were English, and would know the name Belgravia. Hubbard relied on these people to keep the cash and suckers flowing while he romped around the Mediterranean. Most weren’t in the Sea Org and weren’t privy to his plans to establish a country ruled by Scientology.

              Finally, the context: Hubbard says “Bulgravia” is a place to go in retirement after relinquishing command. Never is it mentioned as a place to be taken over.

            • AsthmaticDwarf

              Good show, gRundoon ~ I knew it wasn’t that consortium of countries thing. It was Hubbturd mentioning it ! And I think it surely is spot-on, the idea that his teen transcribers just couldn’t “hear” the “e” rather than a “u” for Belgravia.

              Wiki: Belgravia is a district of west London in the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Noted for its immensely expensive residential properties, it is one of the wealthiest districts in the world

            • grundoon

              Thanks, AD!

            • AsthmaticDwarf

              I really appreciate your posts, gRundoon! Tru dat !

            • Robert Eckert

              LRH said it in one of the Orders of the Day.

            • grundoon

              The Internet folklore that “Bulgravia” has something to do with “Bulgaria” comes from the same kind of faulty logic that concludes Scientology is Satanism because thetan rhymes with Satan.

            • John P.

              Actually, it does. Research the project; it was an attempt to create the first Scientology-controlled country by rolling up BULgaria, GReece, Albania and yugoslaVIA into one country. As if four countries, each with multiple ethnic subgroups with centuries-long histories of internecine fighting ranging from goat rustling to organized genocide, wasn’t enough of a powder keg, why not roll them up into one big country with even less in common and have even more fun! Some of the source documents that have been published about this are utterly bizarre.

            • John P.

              And by “an attempt,” I mean a puerile adolescent fantasy about how easy it would be to come in and get all “Tone 40” and expect nasty, corrupt murderous dictators to admit they’re in the presence of someone way smarter, which would instantly drive those same dictators to give up without a fight.

              They didn’t fall for it in Rhodesia. They didn’t fall for it in Greece. They didn’t fall for it in Morocco. Why would they fall for it in those four countries?

            • grundoon

              Where is the evidence that Hubbard ever gave a moment’s thought to worming his way in to Bulgaria, Albania, or Yugoslavia? He knew very well that if he set foot in those countries he would be arrested at once and probably never be seen again.

            • Robert Eckert

              He blathered a lot about it during the Apollo days. Were you here back when Tony reprinted the Orders of the Day as a regular weekly feature?

            • grundoon

              Yes I was. He targeted Greece and kept his distance from Albania. I don’t recall any mention of Bulgaria or Yugoslavia.

            • grundoon

              Where is a “source document” referring to BULgaria, GReece, Albania and yugoslaVIA? As far as I know, Hubbard’s sole reference to “Bulgravia” is in HCO PL 12 Feb 67 THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF LEADERS:

              When you move off a point of power, pay all your obligations on the nail, empower all your friends completely and move off with your pockets full of artillery, potential blackmail on every erstwhile rival, unlimited funds in your private account and the addresses of experienced assassins and go live in Bulgravia and bribe the police. And even then you may not live long if you have retained one scrap of domination in any camp you do not now control or if you even say, “I favour Politician Jiggs.” Abandoning power utterly is dangerous indeed.

              If you’ve got evidence to back up this wacky acronym idea, let’s see it. It is implausible on its face because three of the four were Communist bloc countries, while Hubbard always portrayed himself as anti-Communist and positioned himself to align with right-wing factions in his attempts to weasel his way into positions of influence in rightist – never leftist – governments.

            • Robert Eckert

              “It is implausible on its face because three of the four were Communist bloc countries, while Hubbard always portrayed himself as anti-Communist” who was powerful enough to overthrown the Communist regimes in those countries and take them over. That was what he was angling for (or pretending to be angling for) while the Apollo was hanging out at Corfu buying the loyalties of the Greek junta (or thinking that they were doing so, only to be rudely surprised when the authorities kicked them out).

            • grundoon

              Hubbard went to Corfu to try to make himself indispensable to the Greek authorities. The proximity to Albania worried him; he ordered the crew to beware of the Albanian navy and watch out for Albanian agents and infiltrators. He valued his own skin too much to fuck around with the Hoxha regime.Or do you have credible evidence to the contrary?

            • Robert Eckert

              He was babbling about how he was going to smash SMERSH and take over the whole region. It was in that context that the name “Bulgravia” entered his concocted language.

            • grundoon

              The name “Bulgravia” entered his concocted language only once, as a throwaway remark in one policy letter (HCO PL 12 Feb 67 THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF LEADERS), and never reappeared. It was over a year later that Hubbard made his play for Morocco, had to flee, and only then decided to target Greece for his next attempt. All his attempts were on single countries with right-wing governments. The notion that Bulgravia is a portmanteau of Bulgaria plus some other countries was simply made up by some anonymous commenter here, as far as I know, and the idea was taken up and repeated by others who should know better. Again, where is there any evidence that Hubbard had designs upon Bulgaria, Albania, or Yugoslavia, much less the ridiculous notion of unifying them and calling it Bulgravia? Dox or GTFO!

            • John P.

              The Hoxha regime was not all that powerful in international affairs; they were the European equivalent of North Korea in their level of xenophobia. I don’t think they had too many “agents and infiltrators” skulking around various ports in the Mediterranean, even in Corfu. So the chance that an Albanian “infiltrator” would have had much interest in Hubbard’s Damnation Navy would seem to be relatively slight.

              I would suspect that Hubbard got his naive crew all riled up about the possibility of getting shot up by an Albanian patrol boat as part of his usual Indiana Jones-style fantasies of derring-do. If the Albanians actually had agents in Corfu, they would surely have known that three ships full of American kids wearing fake navy uniforms would be a fairly undesirable target to shoot up because it might bring the full might of the US military down on the country.

              I recall the departure from Corfu in the Orders of the Day that Tony published at the Village Voice. It’s entirely possible that the crew caught sight of a distant patrol boat in the binoculars, but by the time Hubbard finished re-imagining the incident, the crew was zigzagging crazily at full steam to avoid the rain of 16″ shells coming from the sixteen Albanian battleships (backed up with all eight Albanian aircraft carriers) giving chase.

              So my take on that incident is that any confrontation with the Albanians were most likely imaginary, if not in absolute fact, then certainly in degree. I don’t have documents to prove it, but I think it reasonable given Hubbard’s fantasy life at that time that he was exaggerating something about that time significantly.

              And remember that the Bulgravia strategy was much later than the time on the Turd Armada, when Albania was starting to open to the West a bit as their patron Warsaw Pact states were imploding and not sending the big welfare checks every month.

            • grundoon

              Yes, the warning about Albanian infiltrators reflects Hubbard’s paranoia and megalomania… and weighs against the bizarre suggestion that Hubbard ever contemplated approaching the Hoxha regime to sell Scientology there. One of the Apollo crew commented here (iirc) that from the Apollo’s berth in Corfu they could see Albanian naval vessels in port; so an encounter with Albanian patrol boats could have been a real concern if the Apollo had strayed too close.

              The “Bulgravia strategy” was much, much later. Six years after Hubbard went to feed the fish. It seems to have been the stat chasing strategy of some bookstore officer or dissemination i/c – not dead Hubbard.

            • John P.

              In the future, you might save yourself some embarrassment by spending 30 seconds using Teh Google yourself before asking me to “dox or STFU.” Google is remarkably user-friendly, particularly for one-word searches of fairly uncommonly used search terms.
              The first result for the single word search on “Bulgravia” is this: http://unchain.gr/BULGRAVIA.html. There are images of a number of source documents linked from that page. The first couple of pages of the search result have numerous other source documents.

              While it is true that Hubbard was anti-communist, he was also into laziness. Albania was at the time the poorest country in Europe, with only a couple dozen miles of paved roads in the entire country. It was run by a guy who, even by the standard of crazy Communist dictators, was a couple of tacos shy of a combination plate. So obviously, Hubbard used his amazing political acumen to imagine them as an easy takeover target. And hey, if he was able to take over Albania, he could claim a ringing blow for Truth, Justice and the American Way by causing them to abandon their Marxist ways without firing a shot. And with one former Communist country under his belt, I am sure he would, in his usual humble and unassuming manner, believe he was placed on this earth to save the world from the Red Menace, just as he was placed on this earth to be the reincarnation of the Buddha.

            • grundoon

              John, in the future, you might save yourself some embarrassment by spending 30 seconds looking at the date on your awesome research results. “Project Bulgravia” started in 1992, when the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania was dissolved and replaced by a parliamentary democracy. Hubbard died in 1986; he had nothing to do with this “Project Bulgravia” which was evidently conceived as a way to sell books behind this newly opened frontier, 25 years after the Simon Bolivar memo. The word “Bulgravia” had nothing to do with Albania – or Bulgaria or the others – until some clever minion attached it to this 1992 project. If you think otherwise, let’s see some evidence, preferably dated within Hubbard’s lifetime.

            • John P.

              I was already aware that the documents I referenced were from after Hubbard’s lifetime. If you read carefully what I wrote at the beginning of this thread, I did not claim that Bulgravia was a project by Hubbard. I carefully made sure to say it was a Scientology project and not a Hubbard project, because I knew that this effort to actually get in there and try to gain influence postdated Hubbard. The distinction was intentional and my statement was factually correct.

              It seems reasonable to guess that someone inside the cult saw the one official Hubbard reference to “Bulgravia” and ran with it as a way to get money out of the cult to do something and claim it was “on source.” And when the various Soviet satellites started to implode, the timing was right to try to move in and claim that they were spending all this money on consultants (who I am sure were hardly arms’ length from the management sponsors for this effort) to take over the various countries when they were the most vulnerable. In other words, someone was trying to scam the scammers.

              It is not necessary that Hubbard initiated every piece of stupid that the cult does for it to be worth a laugh. Miscavige’s Idle Morgue strategy is another example of a post-Hubbard project that has gone nowhere in a fairly expensive way.

            • grundoon

              We’re in agreement then.

              If you read what I wrote at the beginning of the thread, I was disputing Robert’s suggestion about the origin of “Bulgravia” being something Hubbard thought up in connection with a plan to “fuse Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia into a country that Scientologists would rule.” I confess my comment was ambiguous; I should have said I was talking about what Hubbard meant by the word. And I mistakenly assumed you, too, were talking about the word’s origin. Sorry for the disconnect.

            • Kim O’Brien

              dude ..throw in the towel ..he is smarter than you . Just pick up your marbles. He does not throw a noodle on a wall just to see if it will stick .You will lose this argument and end up looking like a dick . Or look like someone trying to defend Hubbard ..( same thing really )

            • grundoon

              Um, where did I try to defend Hubbard?

          • mightandglory

            Thank you kindly.

            • AsthmaticDwarf

              Feel comfortable about asking Bunkerados (Bunkeroos, Bunkerites) any explanation you want. Usually, you’lll either get a comment or link.

            • mightandglory

              Now that I am comfortable participating I sure will 🙂

        • koki

          Blubard have the idea of making a new $cio state….
          with Bulgaria,Greece,Albania,Yugoslavia….
          we are lucky it was just a plan…

          big hello from there.

          • mightandglory

            Big hello from New England USA and a thank you for the explanation 🙂

      • Kim O’Brien

        always wanted to see Bulgravia ..i hear it is either tropical or has great snow ..and i can eat whatever i want ..and my hair will always look fantastic. Can i come over and play scrabble ?

        • Missionary Kid

          That’s what the internet is for. We can all be young, beautiful, lively, and intelligent. It is the ultimate elixir of youth. I just went to a high school sports hall of fame induction (no, I was never that good – it was for others). I last competed there 52 years ago. I told people that the older I get, the faster I was.

          At the keyboard, I’m younger, slimmer, and a bundle of fun. I’m sexy, I’m rich, I’m immortal. The internet can be an addiction. Of course, there’s real life. 😉

    • Missionary Kid

      Some people keep seeking within one particular religion or cult. My oldest sister is one of those. She’s moved from one nutty fundamentalist Christian group to another. She spent at least a couple of hours a day reading her bible and praying. As a consequence, she is short on common sense. Her mission is to save the world by helping those around her.

      I’m 7 years younger, but I’ve taken on the role of “big brother” because of that lack of common sense.

      I worked with a fundamentalist Christian who thought it was easy for me because I didn’t follow a certain creed. It isn’t, because I try to look at what the ethics are. I told him that he had things easy because he’s got someone or something written who tells him what to do. It was particularly a rigid form of fundamentalism that he followed, and he was judgemental as hell. I’m exaggerating, but that’s the essence of the conversation.

      People believe in whatever fills their needs. Cults manipulate people and convince them that their needs are the cults.

      • Once_Born

        I once spoke with a Monk. He was a good man, who had taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Later, someone pointed out how serene he seemed to be.

        I thought about this, and decided that, if you took away all your worries about money, sex and the exercise of free will, you might be serene too – or you might be very unhappy with the limitations placed upon you.

        I suspect it boils down to how well an individual can cope with free will and uncertainty. If you do not cope well you are vulnerable to any creed that provides certainty via easy simple answers to hard complicated questions.

        Fringe religion, extreme politics, conspiracy theories… they all exploit this weakness.

        • Missionary Kid

          Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose – Kris Kristofferson. The monk had nothing to lose.

    • AsthmaticDwarf

      Very interesting post, Kim- very.

      The bottom line is: the Fear. Whatever anyone finds, which alleviates their Fear, is where they will place all their allegiance, all their money, all their devotion.

    • Narapoid

      Your first broken heart is terrible while you are in it. Can’t eat, Can’t Sleep, hard to breathe. Haunting your thoughts without mercy. Only time and a new distraction eases that. Scientology wants to be that distraction.

      **click, beep—New meat, stress test indicated out 2d–routing in now—beep, click**

      • Narapoid

        **ALARM, ALARM! NEW MEAT ACTIONS AND STATEMENTS INDICATE ENCOUNTER WITH ENTHETA AT SP WEBSITE**

    • unclesamonmars

      Seeking is OK as long as you understand nothing is what you will find.

  • Depo from wog world

    Hi everyone, I accidently found this site back when I used Google to find out why Leah Remini left that weird “church” that I thought was just for celebrities to throw their money away and look more important. I have been lurking every day since, waiting and wondering what this “cult” is going to do next. I don’t know one single person who has been involved with “Scarytology”. I am very thankful that my husband back in the 70’s wasn’t exposed to this b/c he would have been very interested at that time and I would have followed him.

    • Robert Eckert

      Welcome!

  • notclear

    Speaking of being smart, I read the introduction to Battlefield Earth last nite, in which Hubbard claims to be a rocket scientist:

    “I had myself, somewhat of a science background, had done some pioneer work in rockets and liquid gases…”

    This is funny because the only “pioneer work in rockets” was done by one guy — Robert Goddard, who had very few employees and they didn’t include Hubbard.

    Hubbard apparently awarded himself the title of rocket pioneer as a result of hanging out with Jack Parsons. But Parsons himself wasn’t a liquid fuel pioneer. Goddard had been publishing for a decade before the Parsons group got started.

    I almost feel sorry for Hubbard. These kind of fabrications are so pathetic.

    • ze moo

      Lron wrote Battlefield Earth in the early, mid 1980’s. His resume was very well known by then and only a narcissist idiot would think of trying to get away with statements like that.

    • AsthmaticDwarf

      At the same time, notclear, the fabcations are part of his inventing a business that, in 30 years, left him with a $650 million estate to donate to corporate scientology. They were, indeed, and are pathetic assertions. But, I betcha *everyone* who becomes a member of the Cult of Scientology *believes* the assertions.

    • 3feetback-of-COS

      {yes, but he was a friend of Jack Parsons, and he studied civil engineering for a year before flunking out. Doesn’t that make him a rocket scientist?}

    • unclesamonmars

      I’m not defending LRH but Goddard was hardly the only rocket pioneer. You could look it up.

  • Racnad

    Just because people are smart and articulate does not being they are versed in the “Scientific Method,” which is how scientists test theories and determine the difference between what is true and what they’d like to be true. Much of Scientology (which has a name partly derived from “science”) is written in a pseudo-scientific language which falsely implies that a scientific approach was taken in it’s creation. Many times I have asked Scientologists if Scientology has yet been validated through scientific studies tests applying the Scientific method. It is quickly apparent they don’t know what that is, and what you might call the “KSM Implant” prevents them from understanding it even of you show them the definition.

    • 3feetback-of-COS

      As a story teller and con man, Hubbard had a great knack for pulling some statement out of his ass, and then firmly and authoritatively stating it as a hard, evident FACT. A lot of other authors especially of ‘spiritual” subjects use this same technique. I flag it as TSF, theory stated as a fact.

      • Missionary Kid

        The hubster would add just a smidgen of truth so that the faithful would buy into whatever he was peddling. He really knew the big lie technique, and how to use it.

        • AsthmaticDwarf

          I’m hoping that we can agree to *never* use “hubster”, mKid. I noted this to media_lush the other day. The reason being, the “ster” makes it sound as a *term of endearment.*

          Let us resolve to make it hubbturd, or hubblard, or hubb-Anything, but Please, I beg you, *not* “hubster.” (thank you, Kid.)

          • Funnybroad

            That’s hilarious!

          • Missionary Kid

            I disagree. If you remember the SNL skits with Jon Lovitz, the suffix was used as an annoying and mocking term. It may mean something endearing to you, but to most of the rest of us, it is all a matter of context.. That’s why ML used it.

            The Urban dictionary lists it as used to make something cool, but since there’s nothing cool about LRH, it means exactly the opposite.

            It’s all in the context. My context towards LRH is never affectionate or positive.

            OTHER BUNKEROOS, PLEASE COMMENT

            • AsthmaticDwarf

              Oh. Okay. Then, as Rosanne-Roseannah-danah used to say, Nevermind. !

              At the same time, I’m commenting about the reader, not your intent. No one (mostly) will discern your intent. In general, is all I wuz sayin’, it is seen as a term of endearment. But-

              Never mind ~

              I’ll just ignore it when I see it. 🙂

            • Missionary Kid

              I understand. Thanks for your understanding. “Nevermind.”

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilda%27s_Club

            • AsthmaticDwarf

              Oh, dear Gilda Radner. She is *still* missed.

            • Missionary Kid

              Amen.

            • Robert Eckert

              Technically, that was Emily Litella, a different Gilda character:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3FnpaWQJO0

            • AsthmaticDwarf

              Ah! Thank you RE. ‘Twas so many moons ago. Yes- dear Emily. Wish Gilda hadn’t passed so young – talent so huge.

        • unclesamonmars

          Faithful= gullible idiots.

  • Funnybroad

    Given that it’s obvious that Scientology from the first takes advantage of human vulnerability, and uses dislocation to convince people to “mend” themselves with courses that, according to experts, are the most overt forms of hypnosis, I still don’t understand how people like Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder can still believe in LRH’s doctrines. How can Marty Rathbun still believe that a religion that is a con game at its very core and is “insane from the very first” be reformed?

    • Missionary Kid

      The reason is both in the text above and John P’s term, “sunk cost bias.” You don’t want to give up something that you’ve put so much effort into.

      • Funnybroad

        Wow, you’re right! I totally get it now. How tragic! And I found this: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-the-sunk-cost-fallacy-makes-you-act-stupid.html

        • Robert Eckert

          “And by reading this article, you’ve already taken that huge first step.” And since I’ve taken the first step, I’ve got to go on… oh… wait…

        • Missionary Kid

          Thanks. I already knew what it was, but now I have something to refer people to.

      • 0tessa

        And don’t forget the cognitive dissonance phenomenon.

        • Missionary Kid

          Yup!

    • Once_Born

      As Missionary Kid says “sunk cost bias”, and (in Rathburn’s case) an income which benefits from providing independent auditing.

    • tetloj

      I think you’ll find Marty has moved on a bit fro this belief.

      • Kim O’Brien

        really ? ( in my seth myers voice from SNL )

  • Truthiwant

    My personal story is complicated and I always had many doubts about Scientology.
    However, the moment I really bought in to Scientology happened the first time I visited Saint Hill. I was in ethics (isn’t it incredible that during my first visit to Saint Hill I already ended up in ethics!) and it was the ethics officer that found out what was a sort of ruin for me. It came from pure love bombing from her part but she realized that she was on to something after asking a few questions and what, then, was important for me. At a certain point she said
    “Richard, when you arrived a few days ago it seemed that you did not realize that you were a spiritual being and now, being here in Saint Hill you have changed so much and know that you are a spirit.”
    Well, I bought that and it took me many years to get out from all the brainwashing.

    • Douglas D. Douglas

      And that, really, says it. They appealed to your “spirit.” This is one aspect of “woo woo” that is irresistible, because (speaking as a person of faith) it is real.

      • 3feetback-of-COS

        It also appeals to one that is unfamiliar with the spiritual, that thinks, ‘hey, maybe there is something there for me to learn about.’

    • DamOTclese2

      She used that same line on hundreds of marks. She found that it worked to swindle money out of the marks. 🙁

  • Okay… so the answer is that people without critical thinking skills, who think science is just another religion, and who think the stupid Xenu story can compare to the stories of world religions, are liable to get sucked into Scientology. I don’t think this says what you think it says.

    • kemist

      But the stories do compare. Religious genesis stories all sound absurd to an outsider. Trying to define scientology as not a religion is a waste of time.

      And to the average layman, science is sort of magical. They have no idea of its core principles, of the tentative nature of scientific knowledge : it’s true until someone proves it wrong. And once they learn this, it is very unsatisfying to most, who value certainty, who can’t accept “well, I don’t know” as an answer, even if it is the only way we can truly explore reality.

      The difference with religion is that anyone, given time and motivation, can understand why the scientist arrives to such and such theory about something. The problem is that science is hard. It demands that you learn and build upon difficult concepts, of an amazing level of abstraction, in order to truly understand the evidence.

      Religion is much easier. Permanent truth is revealed to you. You don’t have to learn to learn that fancy schmancy vector calculus to understand that Jesus will save you or that Xenu committed galactic genocide. Also, it brings the cold, mind bogglingly huge, indifferent universe back to a human perspective, as an answer to human concerns. It makes you special and important. Science exposes our insignificance in the grand scheme of things to show us the nature of the universe. It has no reassuring answer to your fear of mortality.

      • 3feetback-of-COS

        Well said.

        Also, “The problem is that science is hard. It demands that you learn and build
        upon difficult concepts, of an amazing level of abstraction, in order
        to truly understand the evidence. ”

        Notably, Hubbard was never able to do anything that to him was hard and required perseverance. He was poor in math, couldn’t pass the admission exam for Naval Officers school,
        and dropped out of engineering school after one year. These were great opportunities for a young man during the Depression, and yet he blew it.

        He was just another struggling writer until he stumbled onto the dianetics scam.

    • KNMF

      If Xenu is your “truth,” fine.

      Why are you hiding it? That is the difference. It is what separates Scientology from both religion and science.

  • KNMF

    Jon Atack is a gem. What a terrific resource he is. If I knew somebody who had left the cult I would surely get them to this blog and the Atack interviews and essays that have been published here.

  • Jefferson Hawkins

    This was the question I asked myself after I left Scientology. How could I be convinced to believe Scientology. I’ve spent years trying to understand how intelligent people can be convinced to believe the improbable or impossible. I’ve done a lot of study of the subject, simply to try to understand what happened to me.

    I’m reading Cialdini’s book now (Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion). This is a fascinating study of how people are influenced to believe and act. The factors he talks about (reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity) work on everyone. Doesn’t matter how smart you are. We are not as rational as we would like to think we are when it comes to forming our beliefs. Michael Shermer, in his book The Believing Brain, demonstrates how we tend to form beliefs first, then search out the information that confirms those already-formed beliefs. I don’t think anyone is immune to the mind-controlling efforts of religions, politicians, media, salespeople, advertisers, etc. The best we can do is educate ourselves in these methods so we can see them coming.

    To me, the person who insists “I could never be brainwashed” is the most vulnerable. They won’t see it coming.

    • Douglas D. Douglas

      Funny you should mention this. Years ago I was doing a deep, deep study of the Mormon faith for a Bible study I was attending. As I was sharing some of my insights with a friend, he said, “You’re so into this, I predict that within a couple of years you will be a Mormon.” Well, I have kept up on studying Mormonism, and have never been even remotely interested in joining. Even though I am one who does believe in the supernatural, I have my limits. And so i am fairly confident I could never be brainwashed. Maybe misled, but only for a short time. But not, you know, brainwashed.

      • Robert Eckert

        I have been fascinated by Mormonism for longer than I had any interest in Scientology. It had a surface plausibility in the 19th century that I can understand. It really doesn’t seem so plausible anymore and as a result its new converts are almost exclusively poorly educated people in poorer countries, although it manages to retain its young fairly well, even when they get educated and mingle with the wider world. Scientology now has an even worse problem recruiting anyone new, along with difficulties retaining its young. But what I don’t understand about Scientology, although I haven’t been phrasing it very well, is: how is it that it ever had any surface plausibility at all?

      • Miss Tia

        I really enjoy reading about and studying different religions. I think more people should do that and it would increase understand and respect amongst peoples. Also include some readings on atheism, deism, and spiritualism too.

        Some people I know think I speak out against CO$ because they’re a ‘church’ and I’m an atheist but I point out how they’re not really a church and point out how I don’t speak out about 95% of any deity worshiping church (I do take issue with the ‘god wants you to be rich’ churches that prey upon people for their money, they take advantage of people who are only seeking salvation and they’re usually lower income too and it really makes me mad “Send $50 so God can bless you” ! grrrrr…..) We have freedom of religion in this country and it is something we should be proud of; but we should not allow an entity like the CO$ take advantage of that freedom to deny people of their lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness!

    • Anonymous

      Jefferson Hawkins,

      You wrote:

      “To me, the person who insists “I could never be brainwashed” is the most vulnerable. They won’t see it coming.”

      I could not agree with you more. And it was YOUR writing that helped many see the delusion that is at the core of Scientology – so THANK YOU!

      Another book by Michael Shermer is “Why Smart People Believe Weird Things,” an excerpt from which is here: http://www.michaelshermer.com/weird-things/excerpt/.

      • Narapoid

        Thanks for the link.

    • Cialdini’s book is indeed a great reference! I find myself referring back to it with the one I’m currently reading/studying that fits well with his concepts: Propaganda and Persuasion by Jowett and O’Donnell (4th edition). And next up, I have “The Power of Persuasion: How We’re Bought and Sold” by Robert V. Levine who was the expert that submitted affidavits regarding coercion on the LauraD and Headley lawsuits. From just skimming through Levine’s book that also appears to be a good companion reference to Cialdini’s work but it is written in a less formal manner.

  • Douglas D. Douglas

    Haven’t had time to read all the comments here, so this may cover what others have already said.

    Many of you may know that I have already addressed some of these kind of questions on these boards in the past. But I feel like this is an appropriate place to expand on these thoughts.

    First of all, there is a statement in the article I find hard to believe: “I suggested to him [a Baptist minister] that there are people who believe that a man could not only walk on water, but also turn it into wine. I was mortified by the crimson blush that suffused his face.” I find it hard to believe that a Baptist would find that dissonance so mortifying. An Episcopalian, more likely.

    What we are dealing with here is the difference between those who choose to believe in the supernatural, and those who do not. If one chooses to dismiss the supernatural, that is their privilege. As a person of faith, I would prefer it be done so with more tact and respect, but then, I don’t really have any say in the matter. I emphatically disagree that all belief is fodder for the gullible. I certainly know that belief can be.

    When people lump Scientology in with all other religions (ie: people who believe that a man could not only walk on water, but also turn it into wine) they fail to recognize an important distinction. Scientology most emphatically does not believe in the supernatural. They believe in the Tech– which is claimed to be a verifiable, carefully researched body of hard facts. And this is the crux, I believe, of how they rope seemingly intelligent people into Scientology.

    Like it or not, humans have a sense of spirituality. I realize this is exactly one of those vague, “spacey” terms that rationalists despise. I first became aware of this years ago with a good friend who was a most rational atheist. We were in a museum exhibit of Egyptian antiquities. As we entered a recreation of a chapel, with Egyptian fetish objects in place, he suddenly stopped stock still, and slowly looked around. After a moment or two, he shook his head and said something to the effect that the space was having a strong effect on him. He said it was effecting him on a spiritual level. I then recalled he had had a similar reaction a few years earlier when we walked into St. Patricks in New York City.

    You can call this whatever you want– from a deep longing to connect with God to a series of complex chemical reactions deep within our brain. But based on human history and experience, it is real. And at some point in life, every human makes a decision on how to deal with it. For religious people, the answer can be quite complex, or very simple. It is a longing to connect with God. Or it is a call to enter into a system of rules/laws/covenants. Or to connect with the earth. Or to connect with the Infinite. And so on.

    For the rationalist, the solution is a lot more difficult. To be truly rational, one must deny the supernatural– even, sometimes, extending to the very idea of spirituality. And this where Dianetics and Scientology and related movements (for Hubbard’s “gift” was not unique) take the stage. They offer a “rational” solution. The truly “intelligent” seeker can eschew all the superstition and nonsense of the masses and embrace a completely scientific approach to the eternal. That’s the appeal.

    Anyway… my two cents. Hope I haven’t rambled on too long.

    • Eclipse-girl

      D^3,
      It is my opinion, that those who state all religions are cults are attempting to deflect from the criminal actions of the cult of $cientology.

      IMHO, to believe that you can gain super powers by going up the bridge is a belief in the supernatural

      I believe that one can be spiritual without a belief in a god. Some atheists may disagree with me. That is fine

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        As a person of faith, I absolutely agree with you.

      • AsthmaticDwarf

        My favorite spiritual belief system is that of the American Indian. I *love* their “Great Spirit” spirituality. I *love* their belief about our animal companions, here on planet earth. I believe their spirituality is the most fundamental and beautiful. (simply imo.)

        • Eclipse-girl

          They were better custodians of the land. I have also been told that some communities were very accepting of alternative lifestyles.

          • gobsmackedby Scieno

            They still are. All across the continent First Nations people are protesting fracking, oil shipment,toxic plantings. And given the history of attempted genocide against them is that not a miracle of human potential? Lots of social problems, sure. How could they not? But leadership, heart, wisdom, fortitude, activism to an inspiring degree.

    • Once_Born

      “What we are dealing with here is the difference between those who choose to believe in the supernatural, and those who do not. If one chooses to dismiss the supernatural, that is their privilege. As a person of
      faith, I would prefer it be done so with more tact and respect”

      I work closely with a man of faith. My father was also one such. I’m a thorough-going rationalist, and always have been.

      I suppose I have been lucky with both people, in that no religious topic has been out-of-bounds. My questioning of their beliefs is a sign of respect – I am taking them seriously by engaging with them – and they have the confidence to accept that. As a result, I hate with a will people who try to stifle discussion and conceal their actions by shouting “blasphemy” (a tactic that the CoS uses up to the hilt).

      As for tact… well, I never mock people I respect and, having read your thoughtful posts, I place you in that category.

      For myself (and the supernatural) – I have never, ever had a ‘numinous’ experience. There is no ‘God Shaped Hole’ in my consciousness, and I suspect that this is by no means a universal attribute.

      However, I understand that many people do feel the need for faith and, so long as no harm comes from this, it is none of my business. Besides, peaceful diversity makes life much more interesting.

      • kemist

        This.

        One should always respect people, but ideas should be open to discussion and stand on their own merits.

    • 3feetback-of-COS

      I used to believe that maybe there is something to spirituality, something that I ought to find out more about. I don’t believe that any more. I’ve become an atheist and I am also developing my own theory which explains consciousness and other phenomena without the spiritual/God explanation.

      • gobsmackedby Scieno

        Most of us who believe in a Creator or God or Benign Universal Force would say, don’t worry. Your spirit is already part of it all, whether your mind wants it or not.

      • kemist

        I’m in the same club. I am neither religious nor spiritual, nor do I feel any particular need for it. I understand why some, if not most people feel differently, and I do not resent them for it.

        However, I’m often faced with people who do not extend the same courtesy to me. The very act of saying “I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in souls and afterlives, and I’m a happy, fulfilled human being that way” is often interpreted as a threat by the religious. Somehow you must be incomplete and unhappy if you don’t believe.

    • Miss Tia

      I’m an Atheist and I can relate to how your friend felt. I’m also a weird Atheist (well I’m just a weird person) because I do believe in Spiritualism and different planes of existence, I just don’t attribute it to a higher power. I have great respect for religious architecture, old cathedrals can fill any soul with a sense of peace or wonder no matter their personal beliefs.

      • gobsmackedby Scieno

        I was raised in mystical/Celtic/Catholic/Pagan beliefs. Have no dogma but find in life that many brainy friends deny the world of spirit and yet every kind, generous, care-giving, advocating thing that they do speaks loudly to it’s very existence. You are a credit to the concept of Godliness in your behaviour Miss Tia.

        • Miss Tia

          Aw thank you.

    • Missionary Kid

      I’ve known some Baptist ministers, and I find it believable. Some realize that what they teach, about miracles, etc, sound totally nonsensical to non-believers in the context of the discussion.

      I am an atheist. I want to see demonstrable proof of the supernatural. It may exist, but i see no evidence of it. It is not provable or non-provable. It is not necessary for me to say that god or the supernatural do not exist. All I state is that I do not believe in it.

      In essence, many arguments for god are based on the idea that what is the unknown is god. I forget who made the statement that to a person who sees the technology of a sufficiently advanced society, it is magic.

      • kemist

        The problem with the supernatural is that as soon as you have proven it, it becomes, by definition, natural !

        • Douglas D. Douglas

          Hence the concept of “mysteries,” as understood within the context of religious belief.

      • Once_Born

        “I forget who made the statement that to a person who sees the technology of a sufficiently advanced society, it is magic”.

        Science fiction / science writer Arthur C Clarke, who formulated three (tongue-in-cheek) ‘laws’ governing successful prediction:

        1)When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

        2)The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

        3) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

        Law 3 has sometimes made me wonder what a Welsh archer trudging home from Agincourt would have made of a passing attack drone…

        • Missionary Kid

          Thanks, I was lazy and forgot to hearsay it. That marvelous Brit was a man who understood ideas and concepts and humans.

    • kemist

      I don’t agree that scientology does not have supernatural elements.

      The supernatural includes ideas about spirits and souls – those things have nothing to do with the detectable, physical world. Scientologists just rename those “thetans”. The whole process of auditing can be compared to exorcism. It also has the very same potential to be extremely dangerous to one’s mental and physical health. Victims of exorcism sometimes end up dead.

      Some religious denominations do make claims of scientific knowledge. Genesis stories, in those religions, are meant to be believed litterally, and its members are insulted by any attempt at rendering them as allegory.

      Secrecy is also part of religion. It was forbidden, for centuries, to translate the bible in languages other than latin, a language reserved to an elite under the control of the clergy. People have died for attempting this.

      It is a waste of time to try to define scientology as not a religion. You open yourself to accusations of bigotry against anything that is not a major religion that has a structure like yours. It’s as if you refused the name religion to buddhism because it doesn’t have confession like the catholics. Argue that it is a toxic one in its present form, and you’ll find very little people who disagree.

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        You misunderstand what I wrote. I did not say that Scientology is not a religion. I stated that Scientology is different from many regious systems, in that it does not acknowledge the supernatural.

        Whether you and I believe that Thetans, auditing, or space opera is supernatural or not is not the issue. Scientology’s specific claim is that their belief system is based on a scientifically researched and proven “Tech.” They claim that L. Ron Hubbard was not a mystic, but a scientist, whose studies in the human mind are based purely on science.

        Religious secrecy and claims of “scientific knowledge” have no real bearing on this particular discussion. There is not attempt by me to separate Scientology and religion, merely to point out the difference between Scientology, as opposed to religious beliefs that are based on the supernatural.

      • grundoon

        Hubbard cooked up the “spiritual” stuff – thetans and all that – when he decided to make Scientology a “religion” to dodge the laws against medical quackery.

        • kemist

          I’m not so sure about that.

          The guy dabbled in occult practices before he put up dianetics. I find it hard to believe that he did not actually believe in souls and spirits and made that up afterwards.

          And claims of being science are not exceptional in religion. Science is powerful because it’s done actual, real life miracles. It’s not surprising religion wants in. Why do you think there’s such a thing as Christian Science ? Why is no one arguing that Christian Science is not a religion ? They have also made medical claims. Some have even let more than one of their children die of treatable illness in its name. It has even defended, sometimes successfully, this criminal negligence as freedom of religion.

          The thing about religion is that they’re all made up at some point. None have evidence of their claims. It is in their nature. Arguing about what a “real” religion should propose in the way of beliefs or about the sincerity of its founder is pretty much pointless. If sincerity is a factor, then one must dismiss mormonism as a religion on the basis of its founder, like Hubbard, being a proven fraudster. As for beliefs, on what objective criteria must virgin birth considered ok but Xenu be considered crazy ?

          At some point, the real life of the founder of a religion becomes lost in the mysts of time and it does not matter whether or not he believed or not in what he was preaching.

          What scientology does, the way it involves every aspect of the life of its adherents, is too intricate to be a simple alt med scam or a Ponzi scheme. While those indiscutably do damage to people’s lives, it rarely reaches the scale of what scientology has done. For that, it takes something more powerful, like a religion. A toxic one. The same kind that drives people to crash planes into buildings.

          • Robert Eckert

            “If sincerity is a factor, then one must dismiss mormonism as a religion on the basis of its founder, like Hubbard, being a proven fraudster.” I would indeed put Mormonism in a different category from Christianity (or Judaism or Buddhism), the same category I would put Scientology in. Which words to use is a tedious semantic argument, but I do think religions that originate as sincere efforts to figure out this crazy universe are substantially different from con games that ape the forms of religion, and I get annoyed at the line “they’re all the same”.

          • Mooser

            “The same kind that drives people to crash planes into buildings”

            Whereas the idea that there just might be, after so many years of US meddling and support of dictatorships in the Middle East, there would be any number of vengeful men eager to strike a blow against the US is just crazy? Yup, it’s their bad religion, not anything we’ve done, cause we’re, you know, Christians, and good by definition. Any assault on the West is by definition the unprovoked product of religious fanaticism?

            • Robert Eckert

              There were Muslim attacks on US shipping in the Washington Administration, when we had not yet had time to “meddle”. We did not create the culture of political dictatorships or xenophobic violence there.

            • unclesamonmars

              Xenophobic violence? You’re another in need of flushing their head gear. There is no correlation between those Muslims and 21st century Muslims other than they were Muslims. I’m certain that doesn’t make sense but that’s your problem.

            • Robert Eckert

              There is no discernible difference between the 18th century Muslims and the present day extremists, except that the extremists have become the minority opinion while it was the universal opinion among Muslims at the time.

    • Mooser

      I tried being an Atheist but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t answer the question: “If there is no God, why do I feel so goddamed guilty all the time?” and no way I could afford the therapy needed to find out. So belief in God just made both spiritual and economic sense.

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        Guilt can be a good motivator, or so I hear.

      • unclesamonmars

        Believe in science. Science tells you to seek facts. The fact is, no one can prove there is or isn’t a god. Guilt is nothing to base a belief on man.Learn to be satisfied with the fact that all questions can’t be answered. All things happen for a reason. Sometimes, that reason is, they happened.

    • unclesamonmars

      The supernatural is the con for Christianity and the tech for Scientology. And they believe aliens came from other planets, so that is, for all intents and purposes, supernatural.

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        Yes, yes. You believe it is all a con. That was most emphatically NOT the point here, but thanks for playing.

        (Oh. And belief in life on other planets is not, for any intents or purposes, supernatural.)

  • Jgg2012

    I think Scientology’s appeal is not its beliefs, but what it promises (ie raise your IQ / triple your income / break into Hollywood). If it were the beliefs, they would have to make sense (body thetans leaving your body make no sense because they can always re-enter your body). Because of its promises, it appeals to anyone vulnerable at some point (suffering from seizures, addicted to drugs, whatever).

    • 3feetback-of-COS

      They use the promises as the early bait. After enough indoctrination, they can start selling one on the fantastic beliefs.

      • Jgg2012

        Yes. it is a form of bait-and-switch.

    • gobsmackedby Scieno

      Appeals to hubris and ego are age old. The Greeks and Romans and Japanese have worlds of theatre about it. This modern cult is so gobsmacking because now that we know what we know, how is it possible. I study on here for answers, find lots. Still gobsmacking though.

  • DamOTclese2

    One of the things that David Hume-class Skeptics try to do is avoid ridicule, something I abandoned long ago. 🙂 Michael Shermer wrote Why People Believe Weird Things which also addresses the phenomena of people believing — honestly believing — obviously false nonsense even as they know it’s false.

    Academically the phenomena is called Compartmentalization (psychology) yet when it comes to the physiological aspects of the human brain’s capability to believe abject lunacy, Doctor Susan Jane Blackmore and her colleagues cover the physical aspects very well, including why people believe “paranormal” nonsense.

    I look at people who think they’re infested with space aliens, people who believe Fox “News,” people who believe in Chemtrails, and no end of lunacy as pretty much laboring under the same phenomena, but that’s not always true, there are different physiological and social reasons why people believe different — if obviously false — things.

    The human brain is easily programmed during the formative years.

    • Mooser

      “One of the things that David Hume-class Skeptics try to do is avoid ridicule”

      I must be in a lower class of Skeptics. I get ridiculed, a lot!

    • unclesamonmars

      My late wife’s uncle bought me that book. He’s the preacher that married us. He is very different from almost any clergy I have met. if more were as opened minded and thoughtful as Mark, religion would be better for it.

  • DamOTclese2

    A Baptist minister once asked me how anyone could possibly believe that 75 million years ago, Prince Xenu had rounded up the populations of the planets orbiting 76 stars and exploded them in volcanoes. Using hydrogen bombs.

    One could ask the Baptist minister how anyone could believe in talking donkeys, floating axe heads, talking snakes, virgin births, gods, goddesses, devils, angels, the dead rising again and walking among us, and all that other obvious nonsense.

    There is some irony in Christians, Islamics, Jews, in fact every theist asking why Scientology customers fall for obvious lies. 🙂 No offense intended however there is that Compartmentalization phenomena again. “My chosen delusion is real, all them others are obvious nonsense.”

    I suggested to him that there are people who believe that a man could not only walk on water, but also turn it into wine. I was mortified by the crimson blush that suffused his face. It was rude of me, but how else to make the point?

    Which underscores the phenomena, yeah. The human brain is rational, it believes for a reason even if the reason is wrong.

    • shasha40

      Amen !

    • Mooser

      Well, it is possible, and I think desirable and laudable, to believe in the miracles or physical improbabilities of one’s religion, and believe in them quite strongly, but on a different level then one “believes” (accepts as fact) everyday reality. I can believe in them in the context of religion, for the symbolism, and the lessons they may have, or the mysteries they contain.

      • joan nieman

        That was a perfect answer. Mooser. I tend to think as you do in this statement but would not have found the words to describe it as you have.

      • unclesamonmars

        Pfffft! There is no context for the bullshit of religion. It’s a con to control you, plain and simple.

  • DamOTclese2

    “I tend to believe in the Big Bang…”

    Nobody believes in the Big Bang any more than people believe in the evolution of species, any more than people believe in gravitation. The Big Bang is happening just as evolution is, just as gravitation is, it’s not something one believes in, it is something one either accepts as a directly-observed phenomena or denies due to religious or political delusion.

    • Kim O’Brien

      i love that ..perfect.

  • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

    The faith we have in the big bang and the faith we have had in Scientology are very different. I have heard the first described as “trust” seeking a different word for faith. And I can explain it though poorly.

    There was this Dopler effect in the universe, see, and when we brought the Doppler effect back to it’s origin we got a single point, which we call the big bang. Don’t take my word for it, take the word of the old professor who has a real Ph.D. and not from Sequoia University. Also the word of his pals and the word of the established scientific community. They don’t say their answer is true though, they will say it approaches the truth. And after all those same people gave us everything from the electric toothbrush which I can’t explain either, to the Martian Lander which is even harder to explain than the electric toothbrush. Yes, I know Martian Lander may not even exist and may just be a big fraud put on by Obama and the rest of the scum we have running this place, but then again, this could all be a dream or some kind of hallucination but I can’t live my life with no trust at all.

    That’s about it. On the one hand I have the trust of the vast majority of people engaged in this sort of thought. On the other hand I have a single science ficiton writer who lies about his academic credentials. On the one hand I have people who want nothing from me. On the other hand there is a man who wants me to buy his ideas at prices in excess of a thousand dollars an hour. The scientists have given us the very computer I am typing on, satellites and DNA therapy, Hubbard has given us Fear and the Ultimate Adventure.

    People can pick nits, like high priced lawyers defending a killer caught red handed, but that is really it.

    About human gullibility– let me start here. I am one of eighteen cousins who live in the same area. One of our number, a charming and intelligent young man found out about Scientology. This man, born to sell, bought it forth to the cousins, uncles and aunts at a time of family crisis. Many, perhaps most of us went down to the org and went through the motions. I got sucked in but only for two years and primarily as a public member. Why didn’t my sister who was closer in age in the seed cousin? Why didn’t my elder brother or younger brother? Why did my younger brother go down to the org and show exactly the respect to the Scientologists that they deserved? It wasn’t a matter of gullibility. Now, seven of us got sucked in. Some left quicker than others. The seed cousin stayed for 23 years. Why? An uncle called the cops on Scientology which is exactly what they deserved, though the cops did very little.

    Now, Jon, I can’t expect you to write a book when you are writing a short essay but I think the problem is genuinely different than you make it out to be. In Toronto, in the very early 1970’s Scientology set up shop two blocks from Yorkville, out Haight Ashbury. Again, at the risk of overstatement, they sucked in hippies who had used too much acid and had nowhere to go. Scientology made them buy neckties and shirts with buttons. They gave them a perverse direction. Some stayed are a few are there to this day. But I was gone before the end of my second course. My course twin stayed on another six months then he flew. Why? Today the clientele has changed and is much smaller. The tricks that worked in 1970 would be laughed at now.

    Speaking personally, I went in because I was close to my cousins and they were in. It gave me a way to get out of my family situation which, typical of kids in their late teens, seemed suffocating. It also gave me an alternative when my university education seemed pointless. That made me gullible, but not as gullible as some of the others. Why do some people use a lot of drugs but never become addicted while others are in over there heads after a weekend? Why do some people enter into series of destructive love affairs while others marry high school sweethearts for life?

    I could get into it more but in the same way you wrote a short essay and not a book, I am writing a letter not an essay. My final comment– the “seed” cousin stayed in for twenty three years before leaving. Decades later I have heard him support Kevin Trudeau, a mysterious stem cell cure for MS available in Central America, cancer cure through eating kale and other base foods, and, well, health frauds too numerous to mention. I think there is a good chance that whatever caused him support Scientology is still in effect.

    Surely we are all capable of being victims, but I think, as individuals, we have to take some responsibility for getting sucked in. Most of our friends and families didn’t and never will.

    • 3feetback-of-COS

      I agree that we ought to take some responsibility for getting sucked in. I know that I do. This begs the question, how much blame should one accept for getting sucked in, and how much to blame the scam?

      Perhaps the answer to that is not that important, and it is better to focus on the fact that we are out, and to focus on the present and the future.

      • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

        I blame the scam artist 100% the same way I would blame a rapist or a thief. But I will do my best to shield my children from the con artists, rapists and thieves by making sure they don’t make the same mistakes that other victims have made.

        • Mooser

          The idea (which I think, although I’m not sure I’m right, is called gnosis) that a person could know everything, about anything by thinking in a certain way, or by following a certain method, is one of mankind’s most endemic and enduring fallacies.

          However, I proceed on the assumption that it is possible to know nothing about anything. Anyway, I’m trying.

          • Mooser

            Of course, now that I think about it, most of the stuff in my “spam” in-box is about long-enduring fallacies, or how to get one.

      • AsthmaticDwarf

        What 3FoC said: “it is better to focus on the fact that we are out, and to focus on the present and the future.”

    • unclesamonmars

      Scientology knows how to spot a sucker. You were a sucker. See. I didn’t need to ramble for 500 words.

      • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

        I reread it. I still think it has a lot of charm.

  • Semper Phi

    Why I fell for it. In the 2 years since I left, I have repeatedly asked myself that question as we all do (trying to avoid self-flagellation). Jon’s description* is spot on, but of course all of us as individuals had our own life experiences that made us vulnerable. I have spotted a few things in my life that made me ignore my gut instincts as I kept going farther down the rabbit hole.

    First, I had already had years of ignoring gut instincts and my own personal integrity in a bad marriage with a really great guy. We have many things in common and should have limited our relationship to “good friends,”
    but instead we got married, and I spent many years ignoring the signs that it had been the wrong choice. Even after our break-up I couldn’t admit it, and that was the “ruin” that ended up getting me enmeshed in Scientology. I was a sitting duck for love bombing and “workable solutions,” and perfectly primed to ignore warning signals. Not to mention that my ex was the person who suggested I look into Scientology, since he had been getting a lot out of it himself. Ignoring that little “uh-oh” I felt, I told myself he had my best interest at heart and if he thought it helped him, it must be OK. And besides, all those people at the org seemed so happy and cared so much about me.

    Second, that whole “workable solutions” thing really resonated for me. I had already noticed that the Mainline Protestant religion I had grown up in worked great in good times but offered little help to me when things got tough. I remember loving the fact that Scn offered a sort of road map of practical steps I could take, and that was so much easier to wrap my mind around than the faith-based solutions from my birth religion.

    And finally, what really kept me in were pride and all the sunk costs. When I was desperately bogged in my training at Flag, I kept telling myself and my son, “If I go home now, all this sacrifice will have been for no reason. I have to stay and see it through.” One of the big themes in Scientology is that some next action for the {church}, orgs, and individuals is the one that will make everything all right. If we can just get that action done, the light at the end of the tunnel will appear and dawn will break on a brand new day. It’s built into the culture, and only when you come to realize that the light in the tunnel will always be a train until you are heading for the exit, you stay.

    • Missionary Kid

      The good news is, you’re out. I think it’s probably been hard to reconcile your past, but you’re doing it. It will be hard at times, but Pope Missionary Kid grants you absolution. Go and sin no more.

      You know I can’t do that, but what I’m trying to say is, we all forgive you, and may your self-forgiveness happen quickly, if it hasn’t already.

      Scientology uses the ever-moving finish line. It’s like taking a hike, and finding people along the way and asking how far the destination is, always getting the answer that it’s just a little further on. Ultimately, one discovers that they are being honest in their beliefs, but wrong in the facts.

      • Semper Phi

        Thanks, MK. I have pretty much forgiven myself, and my revelation about how my marriage had been of a piece with my entanglement with the cult was very helpful in reconciling myself to having gotten myself entangled. It didn’t seem so out of character when I took an honest look at the other decisions I’d made in my life. Your final metaphor is very accurate in my experience–thanks for that!

        • Missionary Kid

          I think that you’ll probably have additional insights as time goes on. Eventually, you’ll find yourself saying, “I was married to who? I did what? The reason is that as time goes by, things become less important, and they fade into the past.

      • shasha40

        yes you can MK , it starts with us as individuals , letting those that leave or are on the fence know wogs Are welcoming , understanding and loving out here making a safer environment , free from fear of the wogs and the rest of the world . if you’ve survived Scientology, you can survive Anything .

        • Missionary Kid

          I meant that I couldn’t grant absolution, but I do mean that I can help every one forgive.

        • ThetaBara

          TOTALLY agree. And this informs my strategy with raids. We’re not the assholes they would portray us as. And we need to make sure to show that.

    • ThetaBara

      This is brilliant. Thanks for taking the time to explain it so well.

    • unclesamonmars

      That is how all religions work.

  • ze moo

    While the clams try to cloak their scam as a religion, it really is con game no different than three card monty or the Nigerian Email scam or just modern salesmanship.

    If you ever bought a car, new or used from any type of dealer, you have been manipulated to pay the highest price possible. All that going back and forth to the ‘sales manager’ is just to heighten the drama and put you in a better frame of mind. Better for the dealer.

    $cientology is much like any sales transaction. The buyer wants something, usually a cure for their ‘ruin’. Anyone who doesn’t have a ruin may want to ‘save the planet’ or gain special powers. Those who doesn’t fit such a profile are sent away, you aren’t worth the scammers, I mean salespersons time. By that point in the process, you have been evaluated for ability to suspend disbelief and pay. Yeah, start out on the ‘having good relationships’ course. Then go to the next one and the next one until the frog is boiled. Those small increments can seduce anyone who starts the process. Have you ever been talked into buying a more expensive mattress or washer/dryer? I believe it is the same type of manipulation.

    The mark {excuse me customer} is trying to fix something, maybe a ‘ruin’, maybe they are altruistic and want to save the planet or just be part of ‘something bigger then themselves’. The con artist tailors their pitch for each mark {I mean customer}. Once they bite and take a course, the ‘salesmenship’ continues. Lroon was good in the early days, he fashioned a business that rewarded good sales (auditor, case supervisor, body router) with money, the universal lubricant. Once others have a financial interest in the marks continued attendance, they will use their skills to keep the con going. I think Lroon took a lot of Dale Carnegie sales psychology and made it his own. He didn’t pay royalties of course.

    Huge percentages of people who take the lower level clam courses disappear and never come back. No mind, the ‘marketing’ department will work on them and they may get additional sales, maybe not. If not, the attention will be focused on the next mark. A conveyer belt of new meat is needed to keep $camatology working. The dropout factor in clamdom is immense. The exs all have their reasons why they left, but left they did. Lroon planed for that dropout factor. Getting new marks in is the only thing keeping the cash flow going.

    By now you’re saying, ‘ok schmuck where does the 3 card monty and Nigerian Email scam come in’? Well that is the hook that gets the mark to aspire to becoming an auditor or case supervisor or just someone in the commission line. That part of the scam has been lacking since the mission holders were cut out and Lroon took more of the cash flow for himself. The littlest führer continued that tradition with Golden Shower of Tech 1 and 2. Sell the bridge a 2nd and third time. I suspect the delay in Super Powerz opening is fixing the marketing problem that shoe horning Stupor Powers into the ecclesiasticalness causes. He is changing the writ of Lroon and there is no hiding that. He will try to hid it, but those stuck on ‘source’ are going bolt when they hit that wall. Oiliness and smellingness and the pain wall were not part of Lroons scam. How many will pine for that ‘old time religion’?

    What was considered ‘basic’ training had to be done at select ‘Orgs’ with more of the cash going to central cult revenue. Those who had income producing lower level missions or ‘churches’ were increasingly used to just get the mark in the door. They were cut out of income stream more and more. They have lost any real financial incentive to get those marks in the door. Without them, the scam collapses.

    The lesson should be don’t screw your best and only salespeople. Davey thinks he’ll get $50.00 a week people to do it all, but without incentive, ‘saving the planet’ isn’t enough. When the lower level people have to have a second and even third job, you are not getting the best out of your salesmen. Dave is killing the scam by taking all the money.

    Where that money goes concerns me greatly. DM only [publicly} takes 200K a year. Yeah, he has countless servants but that doesn’t dent the 1-2 billion in cash he is sitting on. The Idle mOrgs may cost a bit, but that money doesn’t come out of central reserves. The locals raise that and then get to rent back the new org. The idle morgs don’t cost central co$ anything. What is the money doing and where is it?

    http://j-walk.com/other/conf/

    • AsthmaticDwarf

      >>>”Oiliness and smellingness and the pain wall were not part of Lroons scam. How many will pine for that ‘old time religion’? Well, you must read this, zm – http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/01/scientologys_su_1.php

      The super power rundown, Tony O said: “But Dan Koon, a former Sea Org member who wrote a history of the Super Power Rundown …” … Tony O linked to this: http://community.freezone-tech.info/dan-koon/2010/05/04/super-power-its-context-and-theory/ — It is a very interesting read.

      You are incorrect about oiliness et al, as when Supah Powah services open, this will be what the buyers get. Devised by Lafayette Ronald H. As reported by Tony O:

      “it was a new counseling process that L. Ron Hubbard came up with in 1978 — the Super Power Rundown — that eventually resulted in current church leader David Miscavige breaking ground in 1998 on the massive new building.”

      • ze moo

        Stupor Powerz was meant for burnt out sea org and staff. It appears to have a place in GAT2 in addition to or in place of some of the Basics.

  • DamOTclese2

    Instead of choosing the Big Bang as a sample of belief (which it is not) a far better phenomena would have been Cold Fusion which two scientists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann unleashed upon the world which resulted in truly smart people falling for it, including the inventors themselves. 🙂 It was obviously not fusion — cold, warm, or hot — since there were no fusion products, it could not have been fusion and yet the desire to believe! just believe! was so great that they dragged in other scientists and ruined for a time another laboratory which claimed to have duplicated “cold fusion,” all of which fell apart and became the death of people’s reputations after about 14 months.

    What happened there was that the Scientific Method eventually got applied, the Method was given time to work, the claims were falsified and everyone learned from the mistake.

    Not so with Scientology, Chemtrails, Roswell aliens and all that utter bullshit. The reasons are plenty. Scientology practices have been soundly falsified which is why the crime syndicate has at most some 40,000 remaining customers world wide. Cold Fusion has been falsified and yet there are still a hand full of scientists still trying to make it work.

    One of the dumbest beliefs is HHO-water-run cars. You can look on YouTube and find idiots handing obvious criminals money on the grandly physics-falsified belief that car engines can produce HHO from water and electricity in quantities that allow the car to run without gasoline or (more frequently) to supplement the gasoline and improve gasoline efficiently by 700% or more.

    It’s all bullshit, all falsified. But point being, such obvious BS beliefs never truly die out. Look at Tarot, I do readings for people for free some times, always without exception I inform them that it’s not supernatural yet almost always people find my readings are “perfect,” exactly correct in every respects. Cold Reading is a phenomena that people do without training or with training and yet it’s powerful enough to trick pretty much anyone.

    • 3feetback-of-COS

      Its well known that a crucial common denominator of every scam, is that the mark *wants to believe it* either to solve a problem or as an explanation of some sort.

      • DamOTclese2

        Get the mark to sell the fraud to himself, that’s always best. 🙂

        • unclesamonmars

          Existentialism’s “bad faith”.

    • Douglas D. Douglas

      Another really fascinating disconnect between scientific method and reality is the tale of Trofim Lysenko. Google his name, or Lysenkoism, to get the story of how the policies of an entire modern nation could lead to ruin, based on wishful thinking, rather than rational science.

      • DamOTclese2

        Yes, we got that in High School history class. It was politically expedient to believe such nonsense, just as it is to believe that climate change is not happening among some corporate and political arenas.

      • unclesamonmars

        If the US ever has a teabagger president, the same thing will happen.

    • ThetaBara

      The thing with tarot is that it should be bullshit, but it works.
      It’s also more an art than a science. But, there are 78 cards! What are the odds that the ones that turn up are relevant?
      Oh, and I don’t do cold readings. Real tarotists know that that is bullshit. Yes, many people do it, and it isn’t hard to do (if you’ve no ethics). But that isn’t the same thing, at all. Just because some people ar scammers doesn’t mean that everyone is.
      Like I said, it should be bullshit. But it works.

      • unclesamonmars

        No. It doesn’t. Science works. Tarot cards are bunk. Some theory in regards to why you don’t see faith healers working in cancer wards.

  • Qconsilience

    We can never test every scientific theory independently, but our trust in the scientific method is well founded. Planes fly, people in the developed world live past 70, and there are multiple vehicles exploring the solar system and beyond. Plus, science, more than history or law enforcement, is *built* on what-if-I’m-wrong? That’s its strength.

    • 3feetback-of-COS

      The development and use of the scientific method is what brought western civilization out of the Dark Ages.

      Part of the $courge of $cientology’s pitch is to emphasize all the bad, wrong, terrible and terrifying things in the world, without mentioning all the good things. Very one-sided.

      Their avoidance of the scientific method could even be looked upon as a throwback to the Dark Ages.

      • Qconsilience

        I’m no LRH scholar, but I’ve been amused and dismayed by how breezily he declared Scientology to be science on steroids. Right. Peering goonily over the shoulders of giants, Ron was.

        • kemist

          Scientology is lobotomized science – an empty shell of inane jargon without the meat of science that is the scientific method.

          • unclesamonmars

            Giving them to much credit are you.

      • shasha40

        Or 1950 …, their advanced ! Their in a time warp that goes backwards . That LRH sure was/is ? a jokster ! bol

      • Mooser

        “The development and use of the scientific method is what brought western civilization out of the Dark Ages.”

        In certain ways. But no matter what the state of technology people are capable of making a dark age for themselves, others or their souls.

        • unclesamonmars

          That’s so right and so scary, it’s downright scary.

    • unclesamonmars

      Word casserole^^^^^^^

  • AsthmaticDwarf

    I came across this post on the Interwebz… and omg, there’s a new recruiting tool for the cult of scientology…

    jgg2012 – 6 Oct 2013 – 10:18pm [ a post of one of the new recruiting measures of Captain Miscavige ]

    Are you interested in Clearing the Planet? Willing to
    work for 50 cents an hour? Call us at 1-800-BRAINWASH and join the Sea Org.

  • aurora50

    As a never-in, my first questions after, What Is It?….were Why Did They Join? and Why Did They Stay?

    we all wonder.

    It is in the stories that exes and their families tell, that I am learning something about the human spirit, its yearnings, its courage and its frailty. And about love.

    This is a very new website, set up in South Africa. These folks are just finding their voices and beginning to tell their stories. I try and ‘witness’ their sincerity and reflect on how it illumines dark corners of my own experience.

    http://backincomm.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/org-staff-crises-management/

  • aegerprimo

    I really love this line.
    “…Science helps considerably with “how,” but “why” will always be the province of belief…”

  • 3feetback-of-COS

    “Scientology Is Trying to Recruit Selena Gomez with Promises of a Movie Career”

    Article is more bad PR for the Scourge.

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Scientology-Is-Trying-to-Recruit-Selena-Gomez-with-Promises-of-a-Movie-Career-396576.shtml

    • Miss Tia

      Visions of Battlefield Earth II crossed my mind!

      • unclesamonmars

        If they make Part II, I’m leaving the solar system.

  • antibity

    The topic, how ‘smart’ people get involved, spending years chasing Scientology’s impossible goals, conjures up for me the Scientology anti-responsibility triad of shame, blame and regret.

    When I joined up at the end of the ’60s, I was much younger than I am today. It was a way of protesting the status quo, a social movement (read From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam Era). The movement carried the sentiment that a dedicated group of individuals could do something to improve the state of society. It was a total immersion teeming with commitment, opportunity and availability of responsibility.

    Clearly, it soon became a case of “Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss”. So why did I get fooled again? What was the education in the second kick of the mule? It was probably stubbornness, by that time I had an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, L-10 style. Plus I had family in, business connections in, and friends in, moreover a false perception of Scientology as religious activity, if not a religion. For another 17 years I wouldn’t know Xenu until Messiah or Madman, and yet another 13 years during which Scientology’s religious bluff was called when tax exemption provided a clean slate and a new lease on life which David Miscavige proceeded to squander.

    Tax exemption is the petard upon which David has hoist himself. I called it quits because it was the responsible thing to do without shame, blame or regret towards myself. I don’t expect anyone to fathom the opportunity I saw in Scientology for some or all of those 30 years. But would I expect myself to join today if I were as young now as I was then? No way, but then again, never say never to the mule’s third kick, maybe the third time is the charm!

  • Dean Fox

    “I suggested to him that there are people who believe that a man could not only walk on water, but also turn it into wine. I was mortified by the crimson blush that suffused his face. It was rude of me, but how else to make the point?”

    Not rude at all, when you consider the things other religions ask you to believe, which many otherwise intelligent people readily do, your point was made exactly as it should have been. You could have also added: talking snakes, talking donkeys; resurrection from the dead; dragons; giants; that a man can live for 3 days in the belly of a giant fish; that 2 of every kind of animal can fit on a boat (dimension in the Bible) and survive for 144 days and that blindness can be cured by spitting in the patient’s eye – that’s just christianity, you can take off the last one for Judaism and Islam but for Islam you can add Mohammed flying to Heaven on a winged horse. Don’t even get me started on the Mormons or the Moonies.

    I’ve always said the esoteric beliefs of Scientology are no different to those of many other religions. People it seems in the right context seem to be prepared to accept all sorts of crazy things on “faith”. I believe it mostly comes down to a suspension of critical thinking when it comes to religion, they certainly are not thinking critically. It’s that they want to believe so they do. The question is why do they want to believe? I’ll keep reading maybe I will get some insight.

    • Jgg2012

      The problem is not esoteric religious beliefs. Religion assumes a creator who can (and, at varying times, does) suspend laws of science to create miracles. The fraud in Scientology is the bogus medical claims (which would be disproven if subjected to clinical trials) as well as the coercion (disconnection, fair game).

      • AsthmaticDwarf

        So right on the mark, Jgg2. Succinct and to the point, it cannot be stated enough:

        “The fraud in Scientology is the bogus medical claims (which would be
        disproven if subjected to clinical trials) as well as the coercion
        (disconnection, fair game)

        • Jgg2012

          The case that discusses this best is a case called Molko v. Holy Spirit Assn. Ironically, it was written by Stanley Mosk–Laura D.’s case is being tried at the Stanley Mosk courthouse in downtown LA.

          • AsthmaticDwarf

            You can’t make that shit up, oh man !!

      • Dean Fox

        Totally correct the problem with religions is not the esoteric religious beliefs. Its how they abuse their followers and to what degree. The church of scientology tops a scale in that respect. As to where other religions lay on that scale I think you have to look at individual churches and make a case by case determination. I’m not a fan of Benny Hinn nor any other christian televangelist for instance, I don’t believe most of them are sincere and they fleece their flocks; not experienced televangelists of any other religion but I doubt I’d be a fan either. Nor am I a fan of extremists or radicalists of any religion because while they may be sincere their tendency to impose is abusive. The moonies (the unification church) are up there with the church of scientology but they seem to fly under the radar these days; they own quite a few businesses including The Washington Times (iirc, could be the Post). Actually I better not start ranting on about other abusive religious organisation.:D

        The only reason I mention the esoteric beliefs is because it really is ironic for a priest to question why someone would believe in space aliens (thetans) when their religion demands so many similar beliefs. Remember that in scientology the creators of the Universe were the thetans and they were no different from god in that they postulated things into existence just as god did according to the bible and in that respect they too could perform miracles and the aim of the church of scientology is to make you an “Operating Thetan” able to control “MEST”, which implies being able to perform miracles. It’s not rude to call someone out on such an irony. 🙂

        • Jgg2012

          Another way to put it is that there are clam shells and corporate shells. LRH’s sci-fi is one thing; his fraudulent corporate existence and tactics are another.

    • Mooser

      I’ve always thought of it as a form of “qualifying”, like a salesman for bigger-ticket items might do. You need to find out if you are dealing with the right kind of person. They need both a high credulity and credit line, and those two things are not always found together.

    • ThetaBara

      Fear of death. Oldest lever there is.

      • unclesamonmars

        Absofuckinglutely. Better Nate than lever.

  • i-Betty

    Jamie Dewolf is a bright, bright spark. What a fascinating and charismatic guy he really is.

  • Mooser

    So, the question isn’t “How could you be so stupid?” but “How can we help people to recognise exploitative persuasion?

    That’s a much more constructive and practical way of dealing with it than the endless “How could you be so….” interrogation. I’m glad I didn’t let this article go by.

  • TXCowgirl

    Golly! I step out for a plate of cheesy enchiladas and a guacamole salad, only to come home and find a whole new topic on the evening’s menu? Well, I’m home now and ready for bunker date night. I’ll scroll from the bottom and work my way up.

  • aquaclara

    Jon, you have a substantive answer to this commonly-asked question. It is so sad, because we see how hard the cult tries to hide who they are, and what they are really about. When one combines the complete lack of transparency with the incessant “don’t question the tech” drills, it becomes a formidable presence. And then the gaping hole in alternatives to the “promise” …Go ahead, save the planet some other way. What? There isn’t another way? Well, that’s because LRH nailed it.

    Sad. But by now, I have to believe that your books have kept a few thousand potential believers from falling for the scam. Thank you. I love your work.

    • ThetaBara

      Well said. I really used to wonder about that as well, and then did a bunch of research and satisfied my questioning. It’s HYPNOTISM, for one thing!

  • splog

    I have a theory about belief. But first a disclaimer, it’s theory as in “bunch of thoughts in my head”, not a theory as science describes it. IOW, it’s not a science theory.

    Critical thinking is not a native skill to a human being. It is something that has to be learned. And belief has immense survival value.

    Our brains are the product of millions of years of evolution and this ability we have to think is something very recent in evolutionary terms. Consider the problem for a minute: to survive in the wild, an organism has to react to danger. For example, a creature is walking in the forest and a nearby tiger considers him to be lunch. The only clue the organism has is maybe a vague smell of wet tiger, a small growl sound and a glimpse of a tiger’s eye. If he stops to think and analyze this critically, he’s dead. His survival depends on reacting to the small clues and getting out of there.

    Humans are tribal animals, and we have leaders; the tribe obeys the leader. The survival value of this is huge – even if the leader decides wrong, just the fact that everyone is moving along with the same plan is often enough to get out of a rough spot. We still use this extensively today – employees follow the CEO’s strategy, and Navy Seals on an Op are thoroughly trained to not stop and think about things (their training and reactions in battle override thinking).

    See what’s happening? A decision gets made of the skimpiest of evidence; and this looks a lot like how people come to believe things: it has tended in the past to promote survival.

    Critical thinking is a luxury humans have only had for about 6000 years or so, and it’s not exactly well-developed yet. So the example of a TM lecture is not surprising – audience members hear the lecture, some connection is made in the brain and millions of years of evolution kicks in to compel them to move in that direction.

    Yes, we can ask “Why didn’t you stop to think and realize it’s all bunkum?”. The real question is more like “Why did you follow one of the most basic impulses you have and not stop to override that impulse with a new Johnny-come-lately skill that takes 20 years to schooling to master?”

    I’ve had those 20 years of schooling myself, I reckon I’m reasonably good at using the skill, but it still takes a conscious decision to use it every time, and the same is true for everyone else I know who has critical thinking skills. I shouldn’t bemoan the fact that Hubbard suckered me in with his crap, instead it’s more a case of there were reasonable odds that he would.

    Furthermore, look over exit stories of once-ins, how many walked away from CoS because they sat down and critically analyzed what was going on? Very few. Most had a wtf moment and woke up, or reached their limit of how much hard sell they would tolerate; critical thinking almost never played much part in that, it always came along later.

  • Hartley Patterson

    Yes, both clever and smart people fall for Scientology. Oh, see what I did there? Clever and smart aren’t the same.

    Wile E Coyote is a genius (his calling card says so), but his persistent trust in the products of the Acme Mail Order Company ain’t smart. Bugs Bunny by contrast has smarts by the carrot load, but he ain’t no Professor. Indeed, he’s somewhat dismissive of education as his catch phrase “What’s up Doc?” indicates.

    This is a truth that demagogues the world over don’t want you to know, that Intelligence and Wisdom are not opposing attributes but separate ones. We all know politicians who tell their followers that ‘common sense’ is better than college education, priests who say Faith beats Reason. Conversely there are greedy businessmen, mad scientists and evil dictators who are so clever they can’t see the revolution coming.

  • Clear#4213

    I want to plug a movie here. It is about an Indian-American man who makes this documentary movie chronicling his experiment to see if people will follow him if he promotes himself as a guru. Because his family is from India, he does the accent perfectly. He dresses in a robe and has his two assistants (who are in on the scam) call yoga studios to promote him.

    The movie is named “Kumare” and it is a fascinating study in middle class people, one is a death row attorney, being pulled into his charade. What I found so compelling is that he never lies to them. He tells them right off that he is a fake, yet they jump right in.

    I loved the film because it teaches a core truth from mystical spirituality. Not gonna tell you. You will just have to see this for yourself. It is on Netflix streaming.

    • unclesamonmars

      I hope you catch athlete’s scrotum.

      • Clear#4213

        Hmmm. I must have hit a nerve you have about this subject. You might want to pursue this as a subject of meditation.
        If I had a scrotum, I’d cut it off and make a purse out of it. I’m an old lady, tootsie. If you want to learn to sling effective insults, I’ll be happy to give you some lessons.

  • Jgg2012

    Yes, there is a difference between being stupid and simply being uninformed. And its amazing how uninformed an other wise intelligent person can be, which brings me to a story:
    When the Soviet Union broke up, there was more mobility between nations. So, the newly created nation of Moldava (formerly Moldavian SSR) and neighboring Romania decided to create a Moldavian-Romanian dictionary to translate between the languages of the 2 states. The program was dropped after a few days–they found out that Moldavian and Romanian are identical.

  • valshifter

    I just had a cognition, you know the saying ”curiosity killed the cat” well this is it, scientology is a perfect example, where LRH uses peoples curiosity and keeps you winded up with it, once you come up to OT3 even if you know how stupid the story is, and how betrayed you feel, you still want to keep the game going, now you shift your mentality from plain “wanting to know” to “wanting to know how stupider ” or “how crazier” the thing can get. see you still have a game going, “a sucker (a thetan) is oriented towards a game”, per his own words.

    • unclesamonmars

      Go and flush your freaking head gear.

      • valshifter

        where you come from? I never saw you posting here before? what lever did you do in scientology?

        • L. C. Spencer

          He appears to have spent the last 20 hours or so trolling all over the Internet at random.

  • valshifter

    “phlogiston”, that’s a new word for me did, I had to cleared it out, did LRH ever used that word? does anybody knows?

  • L Mignacca

    I think LRH understood that a lot of people don’t believe anything unless thy pay for it.

  • ANONYMOUS

    I think Xenu implanted a thetan in my butt. Wait, nope, that’s just gas.

  • dc

    Scientology is the dumbest god damn story I’ve ever heard and you must really hate yourself if you join them
    Come after me too

  • Tom Healey

    the sickness of religion is the worst thing humans ever invented. there was once an excuse – not any more