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Jon Atack: Are cult members — like those in Scientology — unduly influenced?

Jon_AtackJon 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 for more than a year on Saturdays he helped 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. He was kind enough to send us a new post.

We really have a treat for our readers today. It’s a major new piece by Jon Atack that discusses undue influence in Scientology, a controversial topic in social science that, as Jon says, some scholars resist. With extremism on the rise around the planet, we think it’s time for this idea to get more currency. And we’re thrilled that Jon chose the Underground Bunker to reveal his hard work in this new article. Take it away, Jon…

 
Those of us who have counseled former cult members find it hard to understand the reluctance of some social scientists to accept the reality of exploitative persuasion. The point is regularly made that members join of their own free will and that nothing compels them to remain within the confines of the cult. But the point is made as if such a belief is factual and natural and beyond any slightest shadow of doubt.

In truth, exploitative persuasion was recognised in law centuries before the term “social science” was first heard. In 1617, a woman who rejoiced in the name of Mrs Death made something of a media splash, when her case was tried, by the eminent jurist and all round genius, Lord Francis Bacon. Some insist that we pronounce her name “De-Ath,” but I’m sticking with “Death.” Let Lord Bacon take up the story of her victim, poor Mr Lydiatt:

An old man about the age of eighty years and being weak of body and understanding and having a great estate of goods and lands … was drawn by the practices and indirect means … to give his house here in London and to come to sojourn with her at her house in the country … [along with her existing husband, Mr. Death], and that she having him there did so work upon his simplicity and weakness and by her dalliance and pretence of love unto him and of intention after the death of her then husband to marry him, and by sundry adulterous courses with him and by sorcery and by drawing of his affections from … his kindred, telling him sometimes that they would poison him and sometimes that they would rob him.

A later commentator takes up the tale:

After she had obtained control of his estate and property, Mrs. Death neglected such attendance of him as she had used before and used him in a most cruel manner reviling him and causing him to be whipped and suffered him to lie loathsomely and uncleanly in bed until three o’clock in the afternoon without anybody to help him so as all the skin of his loins went off, he being not able to help himself by reason he was troubled with a dead palsy and other diseases, and when at any time she did come to help him up she would pinch him and revile him and by such cruel and terrible courses kept him so in awe as that he durst not revoke what before he had done, neither would she suffer his nieces to come unto him lest he should make his moan unto them, for she said if they came there she would scald them out of her house. (Cited by Abraham Nieven, PhD, JD, in his excellent article, Undue Influence in Contract and Probate Law. First passage from Francis Bacon, second from Dawson, John P, Economic Duress — An Essay in Perspective, Michigan Law Review 253.)

Lord Bacon determined that Mrs Death had no right to the property of poor Mr Lydiatt. Since then, hundreds of cases of undue influence have been heard all over the world, yet some social scientists believe that undue influence is a new and unwelcome concept that can be dismissed with a shrug. They are wrong.

It has been accepted for centuries that anyone in authority has a special position. There is a presumption of undue influence. So, if you give a car, a house, or even a box of chocolates to your lawyer, to your priest or to your counsellor, you can claim it back. You don’t have to prove anything, and this law puts aside any need for guilt to be demonstrated. If you gave it away, you can claim it back, because of presumed undue influence. This would surely be true of “donations” to religious organizations, such as the self-styled Church of Scientology.

In Mrs Death’s case, the influence went beyond presumption. She was charged with “express” undue influence, for her use of the lock and the rod, and for the dismal conditions that Mr Lydiatt had suffered at her hands. She did not inherit.
In his excellent article on undue influence, Abraham Nieven, PhD, cites the California Civil Code Section 1575:

1. In the use, by one in whom a confidence is reposed by another, or who holds a real or apparent authority over him, of such confidence or authority for the purpose of obtaining an unfair advantage over him;
2. In taking an unfair advantage of another’s weakness of mind; or In taking a grossly oppressive and unfair advantage of another’s necessities or distress. (Also from Nievod.)

Former Scientologists speak of a ninety-hour week for only a few dollars pay. I have interviewed literally hundreds who at one time or another were reduced to a diet of rice and beans, often for months at a time, while their boss chowed down on pâté de fois gras and quenched his thirst with blue mountain coffee made with purified water. Sea Organization members may only see their children for an hour a day, and that only if they are lucky. Jenna Miscavige Hill was all but abandoned at the age of seven, and sometimes had to wait for months to see either of her parents. She was assigned manual labour for the cult at the tender age of seven, too.

Former members have accused Scientology of human trafficking, but the court has been reluctant to uphold this charge, perhaps because of a confusion over undue influence. So, at least one court believes that Scientologists sign a billion year contract with their free will intact. But they were sold on the notion of perfect health, genius IQ and superhuman powers, not an exhausting and ceaseless round of servitude and hardship.

Scientologists are all trained and practised in the Emotional Tone Scale. Hubbard posited the notion that emotion moves along a linear scale, which in the usual range goes from apathy, through grief and fear to resentment and thence, by subtle gradations, to boredom, interest and the cherished state of “enthusiasm.” (Hubbard extended the Tone Scale below death, asserting that all pre-Scientologists are actually dead. From “enthusiasm” he extended it upwards to “serenity of beingness.” This need not concern us, here, however.) Believers are taught to adopt a “tone” either above or below that of a sales prospect, so as to manipulate their emotions.

Scientologists first find the “reality” of the prospect, which is to say, they are agreeable with whatever the prospect holds true, to gain trust. There is no restriction to prevent the recruiter from dissembling. Indeed, some members are trained to lie convincingly with a drill called “training routine lying.” (TR-L, in the Guardian’s Office Branch One Hat Pack.)

In the dissemination drill, members learn how to persuade a complete stranger to reveal their darkest fear. This is termed the “ruin,” and the recruiter is systematically trained to increase the prospect’s “fear of worsening,” so that Scientology can be sold as a relief for the dreaded condition.

In England, we have a legal “cooling off” period of seven days after signing a contract. It has long been recognised that selling techniques can break down resistance, and that even rational, intelligent people can succumb to the hard sell. It is no coincidence that Scientology employs a hard sell manual, called Big League Sales Closing Techniques. Sales staff are trained in “removing the brick overcoat,” which is to say dissolving any resistance. Without the knowledge or consent of members, sales staff have long bugged sales rooms, so that a “tag team” member can listen in and interrupt at the appropriate moment, or so that the interview can be played back for future reference. Members are generally ignorant of the folder that contains notes from their earlier interviews, which is very useful in manipulating the desires and fears of the prospect.

Scientology sales interviews are notorious. I have recounted elsewhere a thirteen hour interview, attended by not only a registrar but a loan shark, who had a £7000 cheque already signed. I declined the 30 percent interest loan — which under English law happened to be illegal, as the loan shark was not registered — but many did not. Even after leaving, members can face years of continuing influence, afraid to make any repayment claim against the cult. Spokesman Graeme Wilson has said that the cost of the Scientology Bridge — the whole path from groundling to superhuman –is about that of an automobile. In fact, you could buy several Ferraris rather than achieve the dubious position of “Operating Thetan Level VIII.” The wife of an internationally famous publisher told me that she had “donated” over a million pounds to the cult. She had always wondered why every “process” that was charged at an hourly rate seemed to take her far longer than anyone else. I’ve met many people who spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on Scientology. I’ve met many others who gave decades of their lives, only to be expelled for questioning some new diktat.

The social scientist who rejects the idea of influence is the newcomer in this time-honoured field. Most of us recognise that we have at times been gulled into buying some useless artefact, because of a sales pitch. The ego is unwilling to accept this, because the illusion of free will is all.

When I first spoke out about the cult’s methods and meanings back in the far off days of 1983, academia frowned upon hypnosis. Few universities even included it in the syllabus. Since that time, it has come to be understood that the mind can indeed be influenced without conscious recognition. The first experimental proof of an “unconscious mind” came relatively late (in 1977, if memory serves), but once it became clear that some part of cogitation takes place beneath consciousness, it was also clear that influence can occur. The reluctance to accept this comes from the desire to protect our liberty, which is a noble desire. It is more comfortable to believe that we are invulnerable, impervious and completely self-determined (as the Scientologists say), but the evidence is powerfully otherwise.

Anyone who doubts the existence of influence is advised to watch a few Derren Brown videos. For the sake of entertainment and illumination, Mr Brown has cast his net wide in search of scams both old and new. He has revisited the tricks of the nineteenth century spiritualist, and shown how innocents can be persuaded to turn tables, make bells ring and write on “sealed” tablets. Brown is an accomplished hypnotist, and in a matter of moments can install a false memory in what appears to be an innocent conversation. In one show, a fifteen-minute conversation was all it took to convince a lifelong atheist of the presence of God — without any theological discussion. In another, four business executives each individually held up a security van at gunpoint before being brought out of trance. Brown also took on the famed objective of the US intelligence agencies, the Manchurian Candidate, a programmable assassin. The CIA had pronounced it impossible, but Brown’s subject fired a gun at actor Stephen Fry, without knowing that it contained blanks.

Galileo had trouble with the astronomers who refused to look through his telescope before he had proved that the Medici stars, the moons orbiting Jupiter, could exist, given the acknowledged presence of the crystal spheres, on which the sun and planets revolve around the earth. (At least in Brecht’s version, Leben des Galilei.) This same perplexity faces the counselor who helps former members gather their wits after departing the cult, when faced with sociologists who believe that cult membership is perfectly normal and healthy.

The no-influence model also stretches the boundaries of credibility when we look at the great mysteries of human behaviour. How could Stalin, Hitler and Mao run concentration camps where so many millions died? After I finally won the legal battle and was able to publish Let’s sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky, back in 1990, I turned my attention to the question of exploitative persuasion. I was fascinated by the work of psychiatrist, William Sargant, who had been declared Scientology’s number one enemy in Britain. (William Sargant, Battle for the Mind. Unfortunately, Sargant’s two later books about exploitative persuasion are long out of print. The Mind Manipulators is well worth finding.) I had the good fortune to make friends with Steven Hassan, Margaret Singer, and Jolly West and to hear about manipulation from pioneers in the field.

In exploitative persuasion, all roads lead to the seminal work of Robert Jay Lifton, who long ago approved the use of his eight criteria of thought reform by the counter-cult world. While these do not provide an immutable scientific law, they do shine light on the practices used by extreme groups to change beliefs, attitudes and behaviour.

Immersed in this new science, it soon became clear to me that the dynamics of exploitative persuasion exist in every human society and, indeed, in every human being. We are all subject to groupthink, to following the herd, to grabbing ideas without proper consideration, because we all too easily accept the authority of those who spout those ideas. As L. Ron Hubbard said, all authority relationships are hypnotic. (Hubbard, Research and Discovery, volume 4, p.324; see also Research and Discovery, volume 3, pp. 246 & 248. In both cases, these are the first editions, quickly withdrawn and replaced with censored versions.) Even when it is Hubbard who is granted that authority. As he put it…

In altitude teaching, somebody is a “great authority.” He is probably teaching some subject that is far more complex than it should be. He has become defensive down through the years, and this is a sort of protective coating that he puts up, along with the idea that the subject will always be a little better known by him than by anybody else and that there are things to know in this subject which he really wouldn’t let anybody else in on. This is altitude instruction.

It is also a description of Scientology, which allows only the thoughts of Hubbard, others being incapable of discovering spiritual “technology,” no matter their “altitude.” Hubbard insisted that he alone had made any contribution to the fields of mind and spirit, in 50,000 years. Further…

Any time anybody gets enough altitude he can be called a hypnotic operator, and what he says will act as hypnotic suggestion. Hypnotism is a difference in levels of altitude. There are ways to create and lower the altitude of the subject, but if the operator can heighten his own altitude with regard to the subject the same way, he doesn’t have to put the subject to sleep. What he says will still react as hypnotic suggestion.

Oscar Wilde expressed the problem differently, when he said that “disobedience is Man’s original virtue.” Our ability to question even the toughest groupthink is vital.

After studying a dozen cults in some detail, and taking a long look at the history of religion, from the Mystes of Classical Greece up to the present day, I turned my attention to political and social movements, such as the Nazis and the Bolsheviks.

My own departure from Scientology was spurred by historian Norman Cohn’s fine Pursuit of the Millennium, which I read a couple of years before I resigned. It planted the seeds of doubt, because I was witnessing irrational behaviour in my fellow Scientologists which was frighteningly similar to that described by Cohn in the fanatics who destroyed all around them through their conviction that the end of the world was very nigh indeed. I went on to his Europe’s Inner Demons, about the murderous witch craze, and found it no more reassuring.

Sixteen years after I left Scientology, with the new millennium just around the corner, I was fascinated by an interview with Cohn, who, aged over ninety, had returned to the public view to warn of incipient millennarianism. He proved to be right, but thankfully not on the feared scale. In the interview, Cohn explained that, at the end of World War Two, he had worked in the denazification unit, alongside Russian officers. He said that it was apparent to him that the Bolsheviks suffered from the same irrational and driven fanaticism as the Nazis. He readily described them as “cult members.”

I moved on to read about terrorists and gang members, recognising the dynamics of fanaticism wherever I trod. I vainly tried to influence policy regarding militant Islam, but cult experts were not considered relevant by the powers that be (Steve Hassan has thankfully made some inroads, but I continue to be ignored). I was surprised that learned authorities scorned what they called “brainwashing,” even castigating my expert friends by name. They offered up “radicalization” instead, but without giving any explanation of this process, beyond such ideas as the “bunch of guys” hypothesis, which suggests that Muslim lads get together to play football for a lark and the next thing you know, after a quick pizza, they are strapping on suicide belts. Who knew that football and pizza could be so dangerous?

While the work of Mayer, Post, and Atran is full of fascinating information, it stops short of any explanation. For all the light they shine on radicalization, they might just as well have stuck with the tabloid term “brainwashing.” Could it be that the behaviour recorded by Lifton in interviews with survivors of the Chinese thought-reform camps not only applied to cults, but also to terrorist cells? Were these universal human weaknesses that might be exploited by the vicious and the manipulative?

A few years ago, I was bolstered in my thought by Professor Khapta Akhmedova. I contacted her to find out more about her remarkable work with mass sociogenic illness, and was gladdened and surprised to find that she had read my Piece of Blue Sky. It was very reassuring to hear that my book had been appreciated, even in the far reaches of Chechnya. I shared a few chapters of my work in progress — Waking Reason — and was gratified by her response. She was also kind enough to offer a review when the unexpurgated version of Let’s sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky was published, in 2013. What she had to say came as a surprise, and I’ll let her speak for herself. By the way, Professor Akhmedova studied suicide bombers in Chechnya and, more recently, spent four years talking to detainees in Iraq. She said…

Throughout my professional life, I have seen so many victims of poi­sonous ideologies from communism and Scientology to Saddam Hus­sein’s “return to faith” and Al Qaeda’s “martyrdom.” In my attempts to help those sufferers, I applied a lesson learned from Jon Atack’s writings that freedom cannot be delivered, granted, or enforced. The true and complete freedom comes only with the freedom of mind and Jon Atack’s book is the best guide for all who want to achieve that freedom.

It’s good to have friends like that, though perhaps the underlying message is that Blue Sky shows how an apparently intelligent person can be ensnared, by a totalist group. But the essential understanding is that the dynamics of human behaviour are always and everywhere broadly the same. Confirmation bias operates in all cultures. We pay more attention to evidence that supports our prejudices than we do to anything disconfirming and therefore discomfiting. This is the nature of the cognitive dissonance that any disagreement with our values entails. The Scientologist unwilling to even consider evidence that Hubbard was a trickster, despite the massive contradictions in his own work, is in no way different to the fervent Maoist or the convinced drug warrior, because their fervour is an aspect of the human condition. But it is an aspect we could well do without.

There is a significant literature of influence, largely because the US military poured funding into research after World War Two. One expert has determined that over ninety per cent of psychological research in the US in the two decades after the war was sponsored by the military: “Military, intelligence, and propaganda agencies such as the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency helped to bankroll substantially all of the post-World War II generation’s research into techniques of persuasion, opinion measurement, interrogation, political and military mobilization, propagation of ideology, and related questions. The persuasion studies, in particular, provided much of the scientific underpinning for modern advertising and motivational techniques. This government-financed communication research went well beyond what would have been possible with private sector money alone and often exploited military recruits, who comprised a unique pool of test subjects.” (Professor Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion, Communication Research & Psychological Warfare 1945-1960, 1994, OUP, NY: pp.3-4.)

Alongside the secret and life-destroying MK Ultra, MK Naomi and Operation Blue Bird programmes, we owe Milgram’s and Zimbardo’s excellent work to this funding. Perhaps if they hadn’t employed such stalwart liberals, their desire to enslave would have borne fruit.

One of the most researched and most significant explorations was Leon Festinger’s work on cognitive dissonance. It is sixty years since Festinger first proposed the notion that disconfirming evidence usually hardens belief, contrary to common sense. He infiltrated graduate students into a Scientology-related flying saucer cult, accurately predicting that those members who traveled to the pick-up point would leave with a firmer faith when the mothership failed to show. This proved to be the case. (Festinger, Riecken, Schacter, When Prophecy Fails, 1956, University of Minnesota Press.) We face the same difficulty in persuading entrenched social scientists of the abundant evidence that influence does take place, and that exploitative persuasion is a reality. And beyond the social scientists come the politicians. Those generally unscientifically-minded people into whose hands we place the fate of the world.

In a culture that is all spin and superficiality, there is great reluctance to accept straightforward truth. Our political culture is at just as much a risk as the cult groups, should the facts about exploitative persuasion become commonly known. We have become cynical, well knowing that those in power always keep an eye on their popularity, quite willing to pounce on irrelevant but emotionally upsetting issues. With massive unemployment, there will always be a loud focus on scroungers, who have precisely no effect on the common weal, but can be used as a target for ire, to unite the public behind a raging politico. Both Hubbard and Hitler spoke about the need for an enemy to bring about unity among the following. Politicians rarely demur from exploiting this vulnerability, to their own ends.

The great problem with undue influence is that it has a before and an after, but no during. While an individual is under the influence, they will swear blind that they are acting out of their own free will. They choose to be overworked, undernourished, and frantic, to accept the domineering alpha behaviour of their overlords (or, perhaps, overladies). The moment the veil lifts — which can take decades — they are usually without the strength to do anything but crawl away and weep, covered in wounds which need a great deal of licking. The vision of the embittered “apostate” curried by Scientology mouthpieces is a falsehood, because fully 99 percent of departees are not able to make any protest, because they are terrified of being subjected to the “fair game law,” where they can be sued, harassed, tricked, lied to, and, as Hubbard openly said “destroyed” or “ruined utterly” without their persecutor being restrained by the cult. They are not embittered so much as terrified.

Given the liability formula, which all Scientologists will apply at some point, and some many times over, it is surprising that anyone has ever protested Scientology. To complete this “ethics formula,” the Scientologist must “Deliver an effective blow to the enemies of the group … despite personal danger.” Once you leave, you are a target, because you are automatically a Suppressive Person, and you can become the “enemy” casually targeted in a liability formula. I can offer tens of personal examples of vindictive attacks by Scientologists, most of whom have never read a single page of my work. A defecting Scientology intelligence agent told me that several of the spies planted on me had refused to continue their espionage, because I was too nice to be a Suppressive Person. Heartening though this is, it did not stop the cult from bulldozing me into bankruptcy, in 1995. My downfall was met with glee by members of the cult all around the world, reveling in the schadenfreude.

Many leave with a terror of “losing their immortality” — the belief that they will fall into the abyss and be lost forever. With this phobia, the member’s fate is sealed. I once counseled a man who had spent twenty years housebound, because Scientology had convinced him that he was a danger to society. It took only an afternoon to help him back to life, but would that someone had helped him twenty years earlier. To suggest that he “chose” to exclude himself from life is an insult to him and to human nature in general. He was a very pleasant man who would not have harmed a fly, so Scientology’s persuasion was entirely misplaced. But then, it often is.

Attempts to force intervention on cult members through the law have too often run aground. There is a danger and a difficulty in presuming the individual incapable of decision, especially when we are speaking of influence, rather than insanity. The US courts convicted Charles Manson of multiple murders, although he was not present at any of them. He was held to have manipulated his followers into committing these horrific crimes, but they too were sentenced, as if his influence was not the reason for their terrible behaviour. This shows our unwillingness to accept a totality of influence, and, in this circumstance, it was probably the best position to take. Manson’s direction mitigated the murderous behaviour he seems to have induced, but it does not forgive it.

But while we should all be held accountable for our behaviour, no matter how drunk, drugged or deluded, those who deliberately manipulate others should also be held to account. If this means that certain practices have to be suspended in the training of monastic novices or rookie marines, then so be it, but the most important aspect of undue influence is probably its esoteric nature. And we can do something about that.

While social scientists disagree with the traditional perspective of undue influence, no progress can be made in teaching schoolchildren how to recognise and overcome such influence. How sensible it would be to teach all children the pitfalls of cognitive dissonance, our susceptibility to Stockholm syndrome and learned helplessness. But the political will is lacking, because politicians are all too often vote-collecting hucksters, ignorant of science and unwilling to tackle popular taboos, lest they lose their authority and their power. While one camp of social scientists decry undue influence in the universities, another camp take their pay from the politicians, to use those same techniques as salaried spin doctors.

In summation, the essential aspect of reform is educational. If you want to reduce the number of terrorists, you must not only seek fairness for the populations they represent, but also provide a general education in the techniques common to advertising, marketing, sales and recruitment. Only if people are aware of these techniques will they lose their potency. And we have the task of spreading that awareness in a world long governed by spin.

— Jon Atack

 
——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on November 1, 2014 at 07:00

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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
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  • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

    Very profound argument.

    I urge Jon to submit this article to an English law journal and have their readers have at the argument.

    Then, if the argument survives, then hopefully some English people take up the argument, since Lord Bacon’s reasoning is very much their heritage, and likely this should bring some good result against Scientology’s undue influence on Scientologists. And someday it becomes common at least in England I’d hope that ex Scientologists would get money they donated to Scientology back when Scientology proved convincingly to be a fraudulent mistake on their part and they wish their money back from fraudulent Scientology.

    Hubbard’s limited refund/repayment rules even boldly challenge his own organizations to return people’s donations, so Hubbard agrees to the give back policy at least.

  • Jimmy3

    In fact, you could buy several Ferraris rather than achieve the dubious position of “Operating Thetan Level VIII.”

    Yeah, but good luck finding a parking spot for them.

    • 1subgenius

      Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on the weekend.

      • Jimmy3

        Try a bar.

        • 1subgenius

          I did, but I didn’t find God.

          • Jimmy3

            Maybe God doesn’t go to bars.

            • 1subgenius

              I’ll keep trying.

          • Adam Warlock

            There are plenty of spirits though.

      • Eivol Ekdal

        I do all my own plumbing.

        • 1subgenius

          How hard could that be if you have the skill, tools, and parts?

          • HillieOnTheBeach

            Problems arise when the amateur plumber thinks he has the skill; it usually doesn’t end well.

            Don’t ask how I know this.

            • Elar Aitch

              I know a bit about female plumbing – but that’s about it

            • Jon Atack

              Maybe you should share.

            • 1subgenius

              Ah, yes. As Hawking said:
              “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

            • Jon Atack

              He also called Scientology a ‘major religion’. I don’t think that an abstraction can be an enemy, can it? Or is it a meme?

            • 1subgenius
            • Luckily, these days there are large numbers of video walk-throughs on how to cut pipe, install compression fittings, hoses and a new laundry tub faucet. Cameras that can fit into tiny spaces to see what’s going on are pretty cool too.

            • Jon Atack

              Now, we’re really getting into the nuts and bolts of undue influence!

            • It was the floor-to-sink pipe and solder of undue influence that was the problem!

            • Jon Atack

              Ah, but you just have to assume the beingness of a great philosopher to become a great philosopher. It’s in the Date Series (perhaps the greatest work ever written about plumbing). Who needs tools?

          • Eivol Ekdal

            My Dad was a clever dude but he had arthritis in his later years. I was his ‘hands’ for all the DIY projects around the house. I usually had a list of ‘chores’ to do on a Saturday before I was free.

            • 1subgenius

              Nice memories.

              There ain’t half been some clever bastards.

              Noel Coward was a charmer
              As a writer he was Brahma
              Velvet, jackets and pajamas
              Gay divorce and other dramas

              There ain’t half been some clever bastards
              (Lucky bleeders, lucky bleeders)
              There ain’t half been some clever bas-tards

              Van Gogh did some eyeball pleasers
              He must have been a pencil squeezer
              He didn’t do the Mona Lisa
              That was an Italian geezer

              There ain’t half been some clever bastards
              (Lucky bleeders, lucky bleeders)
              There ain’t half been some clever bas-tards

              Einstein can’t be classed as witless
              He claimed atoms were the littlest
              When you did a bit of splitting-em-ness
              Frighten everybody shitless

              There ain’t half been some clever bastards
              Probably got help from their mum
              (Who had help from her mum)

              There ain’t half been some clever bastards
              Now that we’ve had some
              Let’s hope that there’s lots more to come

              Ian Dury & The Blockheads

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPvRsLWlDXw

            • Baby

              OMG ..haha I love it Sub..

          • Jon Atack

            A SO member can do anything, hatted or unhatted. I offer them a piece of damp string and say, ‘Build a nuclear power plant.’ No one has managed, so far.

        • Jon Atack

          You can do mine, if you like, too.

      • veryunclear .

        What makes you say there’s no God? Have you read: God’s War on Terror?

      • Jon Atack

        so profound. I’m sure that the real test of departure from a cult group is humour. Not the snide sort, but something about plumbers.

    • Sid

      Plenty of parking at the Org, as someone mentioned recently.

      • smew

        You know, the Exchange Street parking garage in St. Paul directs you to an exit that sends you up the stairs and out a door that directly faces the front door of the St. Paul Ideal Org. And damn if that parking garage door doesn’t lock behind you every time.

        • Sid

          Just like being at a fundraising event. Lock the doors until you pay.

      • Jon Atack

        sorry, didn’t notice this. But I’d still like a yellow one, please.

        • Sid

          Jon, you can buy TWO!

    • Exterrier

      But the OT’s can have get parking spots, but are took broke for the Ferraris. Tough spot.

      • Jon Atack

        It’s a vicious cycle of action. But the after the next level, you’ll be able to postulate (‘wish’) a hundred Ferraris.

    • Missionary Kid

      Snickersnort. Zing. I love it.

    • Observer

      And no doubt you’d hit every red light on every road you ever drove.

    • L. Wrong Hubturd

      Yeah, but I hear the repair charges are as bad as auditing/sec check rates.

      • Jimmy3

        You don’t repair Ferraris. You (or your life insurance/will beneficiary) buy a new one after crashing into something.

    • Jon Atack

      I think the parking lots of many orgs have plenty of space, these days. I’d like a yellow one, please.

  • 1subgenius

    “Undue influence”, “exploitative persuasion”, “coercive persuasion”, and the like, are useful terms because they don’t have the baggage that “brainwashing” and “hypnotism” do.
    And they make it easier to apply a legal standard than trying to get inside a victims brain.

    • And they are based on theoretical ideas that have built upon, improved and replaced ideas based upon ‘brainwashing’ and ‘hypnotism’.

      You need a big bag of tools to build a house. You need a big bag of intellectual tools to understand how the CofS manipulates people.

      • daytoncapri

        Once proven efficacious, those same tools can then be used on the world outside Scientology. That would be a good thing. False paradigms are everywhere, we just don’t know it.

        We don’t know how to know it Jon is on to something.

    • The apologetic academics will simply drag the discussion back to brainwashing and claim that it was discredited.

      These days, I imagine that they’re sitting worried behind their Maginot Line of defenses. Sooner or later, discussion of radicalized Westerners is going to come back around to discussion of brainwashing, conditioning, undue influence, or whatever this thing is that we can all point to, but can’t properly define or name it. If they’re not careful, they’ll be swept away as irrelevant anachronisms.

      • In truth, ‘brainwashing’ is discredited – hopelessly tainted by a 1950s ideological conflict.

        The good news is that the concepts that have replaced it acknowledge that people can be socially and psychologically manipulated and controlled. They provide better explanations for the phenomenon and better tactics for reaching and releasing victims from that control.

        When anti-cult groups emerged in the 1950s they adopted ‘brainwashing’ as an explanation for the strange behaviour that they observed in converts because it was the best idea around at the time. Unfortunately, it led (logically) to unethical practices like ‘deprogramming’. If your child has been ‘brainwashed’, you are surely entitled to reverse this process.

        This was a Very Bad Thing. ‘Deprogrammers’ damaged the reputation of critics and the practice was unethical, dangerous, caused more trauma and did not work.

        Its now nearly 2015. After 65 years here are better ways of explaining the undoubted coercive power of organisations like the CofS and more of them. What’s more, they work better.

        Using dated terms like ‘brainwashing’ actually gives opponents (including ‘apologist academics’) an excuse to ignore you. Discussion of radicalised Westerners will never return to ‘brainwashing’, but to more recent, better ideas (many of which are still emerging from research).

        • I think you just validated my point.

          • Peter

            “The good news is that the concepts that have replaced it acknowledge that people can be socially and psychologically manipulated and controlled.” Isn’t that precisely what politics everywhere is about? ALL sides use it, as best they can.

            • Perhaps I should have added, ‘and if you use this new knowledge to understand the techniques being used against you, you stand a better chance of recognising and resisting them’.

          • If I understand you correctly, you are dismissing what I say out of hand because I think that ‘brainwashing’ is an obsolete concept.

            The problems seems to be is that you are using ‘brainwashing’ to mean ‘all undue influence’ and I am using it to describe a particular theory about how undue influence takes place.

            Better theories than ‘brainwashing’ have emerged since the 1950s (it would be surprising if they hadn’t). For example, I recommend the book “Bounded Choice” by Janja Lalich. Lalich was a member of what she now recognises to have been a political cult group. As a social scientist (with a doctorate in sociology) she developed a better theory to explain her own direct experience.

            Lalich is very far from being an apologist academic. She rejects brainwashing because she has a better idea. There are a lot of better ideas around now after 65 years of psychological research.

            To make it perfectly clear

            1) Powerful undue social and psychological influence exists (surely I should not have to say this? I am well known to have argued for this idea here, on many occasions)

            2) ‘Brainwashing’ is a theory about how undue influence takes place, which is now largely discredited

            3) After 65 years of research, there are better theories, developed by academics who study undue social and psychological influence.

            Conclusions
            Stating that ‘brainwashing’ is an obselete concept does not make you an apologist.
            Doing so makes critics look ill-informed and silly.

            • My point was that any discussion of undue influence or thought reform or all the other terms reflecting new ideas, will somehow turn into a long pointless discussion on brainwashing, with all that baggage, and an attempt to reposition advocates of undue influence as defenders of deprogrammers.

              I don’t see anyone here advocating the classic and endlessly discredited model of brainwashing. So who are you arguing with, that puzzles me?

            • I’m probably getting carried away with personal frustration about Jon’s apparent tendency to present all sociologists as ‘cult apologists’. In my previous comment, I was probably arguing with myself, after having misread you.

              Sorry.

            • Here, there’s still snow on the ground from last night. *grumble*

              Jon did refer to “some social scientists”, specifically those denying that any kind of undue influence exists. Naturally there’s a selection bias towards sociologists who have written on or near Scientology. That narrows it down quite a lot from all sociologists.

              Hopefully the wider field, with new ideas and viewpoints, will write on or near Scientology in the future.

      • Peter

        And look what happened to the “invincible” Maginot Line. The Germans simply went around them.

      • 1subgenius

        I used to say that we won’t get rid of these things until there’s a test for brainwashing, that is to say when someone is or isn’t truly exercising free will (it still might happen), but focusing on the objective behavior of the perpetrator will do in the meantime.

      • HartleyPatterson

        The apologists are already ignored by the media, only academic tenure keeps them in their posts. They sold out decades ago, adopting a false model of cults to avoid being harassed and claiming that maintaining a dialogue with them was more important than good scholarship.

  • DodoTheLaser

    “Any time anybody gets enough altitude he can be called a hypnotic
    operator, and what he says will act as hypnotic suggestion. Hypnotism is
    a difference in levels of altitude. There are ways to create and lower
    the altitude of the subject, but if the operator can heighten his own
    altitude with regard to the subject the same way, he doesn’t have to put
    the subject to sleep. What he says will still react as hypnotic
    suggestion.”

    And here’s the missing piece.

  • Stacy

    I just can’t fathom why some social scientists refuse to believe in undue influence. We all learn through socialization and it’s been known for decades that certain methods of socialization (such as occurs in total institutions or under totalitarian regimes) produce different results. How then, is it such a big stretch to accepting the concept of undue influence?

    • Bad enough that they don’t accept that some forms of undue influence exist, but when some start skulking around in hidden cabals to put the fix in against any consideration of it in academic or legal circles, then it’s way over into creepy WTF territory.

      Memorandum to Social scientists concerned about forensic and related issues dealing with New Religious Movements Hadden, Barker and Bromley, 1989-12-20, with help from Scientology lawyer Eric Lieberman.

      It’s a shame that it took nine years for someone to leak that document.

      • That is creepy, unethical, fraudulent, contemptible… and so on and so forth….
        However, the overwhelming the majority of academics would also feel that way.

        Not all social scientists are deluded or corrupt, any more than ‘psychs’ are!

        • While the great majority of social scientists would think that, there is a tight circle who support that view (and methods), as well as each other and in the tiny pond of New Religious Movement studies, they can be the big fish and claim that they have the consensus view and opposing views are the fringe of academia.

          • Some, who cause a lot of trouble, (e.g. the dreaded J Gordon Melton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Gordon_Melton) are actually ‘religious scholars’ with qualifications in theology – not social scientists at all.

            There are schools of thought in the study of NRMs, and it is a (relatively) small field. There again, there are not that many social scientists about, either. Besides, it does not matter what they claim. Any argument should be judged according to the reasoning it presents. If you do this, you will find that Stephen Kent (representing sociology) vs J Gordon Melton (representing theology) is a knock-out in first round.

            There is also a disturbing tendency to condemn people who have done remarkable work because, in the course of this, they do not roundly condemn the groups they work with.

            Eileen Barker’s “The Making of a Moonie” is a classic example. You might not agree with her argument (that there was a substantial element of free choice in recruitment to the Unification Church) but this not justify characterising her as ‘an apologist’ and ignoring everything she has to say.

            Listening only to those who completely agree with you, and condemning those who do not without listening to them, is the speciality of the CofS. Critics should not fall into the same trap.

            We need to judge the work of academics on its own merits – not of the basis of the ‘gang’ they are assumed to belong to.

            • Missionary Kid

              Well put.

            • I don’t think of Eileen Barker as an apologist for her academic papers, but for her actions like getting involved in that creepy cabal. (She did try to distance herself from it after it was leaked.) I’ll certainly weigh what she says, but balance that with a consideration of intellectual dishonesty.

              Melton is the big obvious target, but there are others such as Anson Shupe, who are social scientists.

            • In short – social scientists are not perfect (although Melton isn’t one in the first place – his qualifications are in theology).

              There is good work being done in the field which all critics should be aware of – e.g. Stephen Kent, Hugh Urban and many others (there is a selection here http://scicrit.wordpress.com/other-media/academic-papers/ ).

              Kent, for example, diagnoses both Hubbard and his organisation with “Malignant Narcissim” http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/malignant-narcissim-l-ron-hubbard-and-scientologys-policies-of-narcisstic-rage/ He is not an ‘apologist’ academic’.

              I am concerned that a vendetta against the likes of Melton (who can be effortlessly refuted) overshadows this, and may lead people to discount all academic work, including that which is of value to them.

            • I do try to keep track, and as always, I’ve got a little list.

              I doubt anyone is worked up enough over Melton to have a vendetta. He’s irrelevant, the guy they drag in for “fair and balanced” coverage. He certainly has nothing relevant (or not complete bollocks) to say about Scientology.

            • Nice list. I’ve got the full-text academic papers 🙂 However, these are almost all from the other side of the debate – the social scientists who condemn the CofS for human rights abuses and rigorously dismember its medical, psychological and scientific claims. http://scicrit.wordpress.com/other-media/academic-papers/

              If you come across anything I can add to that in your endeavours, I would be grateful for a link.

            • I’m mainly concerned with academics when they fly into my cave of Scientology, sometimes trailing bad papers and laughable books.

            • Then you might enjoy this history of the “laughable” book edited by James R Lewis “Scientology”, which was a compilation of academic papers about the CofS

              It was not only taken knocked down by leading academics but also jumped up and down upon by the popular UK satirical magazine “Private Eye” afterwards http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/bad-social-science-james-r-lewis-vs-private-eye/

              Lewis back-pedalled hard afterwards, in an open letter, but I doubt he managed recover one shred of his academic reputation.

              It’s interesting that this book consists of a lot of unusually short articles. Consequently, if you enter “Scientology” into Google Scholar you get a lot of hits for the shoddy and apologist work that it published.

            • Oh yes, that one! As I recall, Melton’s contribution to it was an uncredited, almost word-for-word, plagiarism of Scientology’s Hubbard creation myth.

              Predictably, critics trashed the book as a public relations exercise, “obviously” paid for by the Church of Scientology. However – as any
              informed observer could easily have anticipated – CoS hated the
              collection, particularly the Xenu chapter, which one of my former
              contacts in the Church characterized as “blasphemy.”

              An Open Letter to: Scientologists, Ex-Scientologists, and Critics of the Church of Scientology January 18, 2011, James R. Lewis, Leaving Scientology

              (Psst: If everyone hates your book, it’s not always a virtue.)

            • When the CofS hates your book, that’s par for the course.
              When academics hate your book, that’s not so bad.
              When a popular satirical magazine hate it – and says so in a rigorous and scholarly review, that makes you look stupid.

              When all of these things happen at once – it’s probably time for a career change.

            • Stacy

              Amen.

      • Stacy

        This is why partisanship sucks. Research should not be political.

    • There are, undoubtedly, a lot of social scientists who are just plain wrong – butI’m not sure that the examples Jon demonstrate this.

      For example, while I agree that, ‘Muslim lads playing football and eating pizza together’ is not, in itself, going to turn them into gun-toting fanatics I wonder if this this was being suggested. Signing up for a ‘basic course’ in Scientology and doing TRs is not going to immediately turn people into fanatics who scream abuse in airports – but it is the first, small step along a road which may lead to that destination.

      Since social scientists would be ill-advised to try to study a terrorist training camp, perhaps investigating the early stages is (a) the best that they can do (b) potentially life saving.

      In the same way, anonymous can’t stroll into Sea Org premises and chat to the occupants – so they protest outside.

      • Stacy

        There are vast bodies of literature on social learning theory (both of them), on group think, total institutions, and anything else that might be helpful in understanding undue influence. Police use undue influence in their interrogation techniques. It would just be a matter of applying those theories and knowledge to radicalization or cult indoctrination. But like you said, studying actual terrorist recruitment tactics is a bit dangerous. Not there aren’t sociologists and criminologists who wouldn’t do it, but they also have to get access. Can you see ISIS giving an American researcher permission to study them? Or CoS, for that matter? It makes it difficult, because you then have theories and hypotheses, but the best way of getting data to prove or disprove those theories is inaccessible.

        • HappypantsDance

          The safest way is what’s already been done and is being done: to speak to as many as possible former members of cults and other radical groups to get a sense of the steps of manipulation, indoctrination, coercion, etc. It’s not as if we don’t know how this stuff works. The problem is how many people are unwilling to recognize this stuff happens to all of us in some way or other. To believe it doesn’t is dangerous, and I’d argue it’s unprofessional on the part of the social scientists who deny it. (Makes me wonder what they fear is at stake for them if they acknowledge the existence of undue influence.)

          Related to this and the social scientists who reject the idea of “undue influence: I can’t remember where I read this, so I have no dox, but apparently a few studies have been done on the effects of advertising, specifically on the people who claim advertising has no effect on them whatsoever; unsurprisingly, they are oftentimes more influenced by it than anyone else.

          • This discussion has, so far, been a short on naming those social scientists who reject the idea of undue influence, and providing references to the texts where they do so. The truth is, they are in a tiny minority.

            I hate to say this, but criticising obsolete 1950’s ideas like ‘brainwashing’ does not necessarily mean that you are denying the fact that people are socially and psychologically manipulated in powerful ways in cults.

            Sometimes, it means that you have developed new ideas that offer a better understanding of what is going on . An excellent example is Janja Lalich. She was a member of what she now recognises to be a political cult. She also holds a Doctors degree in sociology, and has developed a theory of ‘bounded choice’ http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/bounded-choice/ which has much more explanatory power than ‘brainwashing’ ever did.

            She rejects brainwashing because she came up with something better. This does not make her an apologist.

            • HappypantsDance

              Thanks for that! I had wondered whether the issue boiled down to a quibbling over semantics as academics are wont to do. I understand the need for precision, of course, and the term ‘brainwashing’ desperately needs replacing. “Bounded choice” is an interesting and useful term.

            • Many times other terms have been used, such as thought reform. The discussion always slides back (shoved really) into brainwashing and a strawman attack on deprogrammers.

            • HappypantsDance

              Oh my yes, and that’s why every time I see or hear someone using the term “brainwashing,” I cringe. It’s an instant credibility remover. (I know I’ve used the term myself but am trying to purge it from my vocabulary. Old habits die hard!)

            • It must be said that ‘deprogrammers’ were following the logic of a particular theory about psychological control called brainwashing. This led them to believe kidnapping was morally justifiable. It wasn’t – and, tragically, ‘deprogramming’ was not effective either.

              One of the problems with ‘brainwashing’ is that it was an idea developed to explain the behaviour of prisoners of war who were under the total control of their captors from day one – they could be beaten, tortured and killed with impunity.

              While it provided valuable insights into the experience of members of cult groups, after 65 years of psychological research, those insights have been incorporated into a variety of better theories for the coercive manipulation that they have suffered – theories which include Lalich’s “Bounded Choice”.

              You need a variety of tools to build something as complicated as a house, and they need to be up-to-date. You also need a variety of intellectual tools to understand something as complicated as the power that cults like Scientology exert over people. It is even more important that they be up-to-date.

            • I think some deprogrammers were opportunistic schmucks who would shield their criminal actions for a pay with a convenient theory.

              e.g. Blueblood War April 1, 1993, Maureen Orth, Vanity Fair

            • Dead right – especially those who did it for pay, and made it up as they went along.

              However, there are more surprising ‘deprogammers’ – for example Cyril Vosper, who wrote the first insider accounts of Scientology, “The Mindbenders” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_Vosper

              Also, Stephen Hassan, who admits ‘assisting’ in a number of involuntary deprogramming before (to his great credit) turning his back on the practice in 1980 to develop his own system of ‘exit counselling’. This is gentler and likely more effective http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Hassan

              I imply no criticism of Hassan here – but the thrust of the brainwashing hypothesis (that anyone’s mind can be changed against their will) made it seem morally justifiable to use coercive techniques to ‘change it back’.

              It is, in fact, to his great credit that he came to see that the situation was more complex and nuanced than this, and spent his life developing better theories and practical techniques.

            • Justifying trying to change someone’s thinking with force for their future good, what were they thinking? (On the other hand, I’ve had their bad examples to learn from, so I can’t claim any moral high ground.)

            • Even if you think that, in this case, two wrongs can make a right another problem was that ‘deprogramming’ didn’t work, and was often counter-productive.

              A lot of the people who were ‘deprogrammed’ returned to the cult having had it amply demonstrated to them that the world outside would do anything to bring down the ‘true faith’ including kidnapping and assault. Their experience actually made matters worse.

              If you are prepared to risk your liberty by defying the law in good cause, you should choose that actually work – not make matters worse.

            • And worse can sometimes be much worse. Cyril Vosper tried to deprogram Barbara Schwarz, and look how that turned out.

              Scientology has always had a high (but unquantified) percentage of mental breakdowns. I wouldn’t be surprised if deprogramming had like percentages for similar reasons.

            • Stacy

              I’ve just started delving into bounded choice theory over the summer. Her work is good.

          • Stacy

            There’s a large body of work being built right now, based on the effects of advertising and its adverse effects on gender image, especially for girls. Bulimia, anorexia, the hyper-sexualization and sexual objectification of women; the effects of advertising in these contexts is big right now.

            While conducting studies utilizing ex CoS members is beneficial, as it gives a researcher knowledge and hopefully some confirmation that he’s on the right track with his theories. The problem is generalization. Until you can study those who are still in, the researcher doesn’t know (and can’t prove) if there’s some fundamental difference between the exes and those still in, the fundamental difference having led to the exes leaving and the others staying in. But even this is good information to have and helps to start that body of knowledge on any given topic.

            • HappypantsDance

              Oh I get what you’re saying, definitely, that to truly understand how an adherent remains one is to talk to one who’s still adhering. Tricky in scientology since they’re only allowed to speak in vagueries — i.e., the verboten “verbal tech.” I guess tricky with any of them since radicalization of many stripes tends to come with sides of paranoia and suspicion. Hence the danger for researchers going undercover.

            • Stacy

              Undercover is very tricky for researchers. We have get our research past IRB, Internal Review Boards. They make sure that universities aren’t taking advantage of any population through our research, and make sure the university isn’t going to be liable for a big lawsuit (the bigger issue, surely). Most research of the questionable ethics kind- like Milgram or Zimbardo- would NEVER get past IRB these days. An IRB is liable to view going into a religious group undercover as unethical and unjustified.

              Journalists have a lot more leeway with that kind of thing. I could see the govt sponsoring such research though.

          • daytoncapri

            Marshall McLuhan had plenty to say. Caveat emptor: this site does not cite sources. 🙁 http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/marshall_mcluhan.html

    • Peter

      I’m wondering just what the definition of “undue” is in this area. A parent on drugs and/or alcohol, could easily fit such a definition. So would most politicians and political movements. For instance, neither Demopubs nor Republicrats seem to offer me anything, yet millions of people “believe” in them, despite being constantly disappointed.

  • 1subgenius

    “It is sixty years since Festinger first proposed the notion that disconfirming evidence usually hardens belief, contrary to common sense.”

    Mark Twain:
    “It is easier to fool someone than it is to convince them that they have been fooled.”

  • DodoTheLaser

    This essay/major piece should be a small book. Reading and re-reading.
    So much to process.

    • Mark Foster

      Agree, Dodo. It should be read, especially, by those who cavalierly mock members or ex-members of cults and insist that they are ¨above¨being influenced.

      • daytoncapri

        Yep.

    • Missionary Kid

      I had to take several breaks, and I still haven’t finished it. It’s that powerful. Jon’s insights are great, and he puts them into a historical, as well as academic context in a manner that supports his writing.

  • Sid

    If this essay were a painting I’d hang it in the Louvre for all to see. Such a masterpiece.

    • Mark Foster

      That´s usually how I feel after I read anything Jon Atack writes, Sid. This is one is a masterpiece.

      • Stacy

        I feel the same way Mark. Though this time I have to disagree with his last statement. I watch people who are well-informed on group think succumb to this phenomenon. Education alone won’t fix it.

        • Mark Foster

          He said, ¨In summation, the essential aspect of reform is educational.¨ I didn´t get that he was suggesting education alone would fix it…

          • Stacy

            Good point. I rushed through reading that last bit. Busy morning.

            • Mark Foster

              Go get it 🙂 Have a good day.

          • Jon Atack

            Me neither and I said it.

        • Jon Atack

          It depends what we mean by education. If we rerigged our approach to education – rather than simply sticking rhetoric back on the curriculum – it could change the world. If kids were encouraged to think critically – following Matthew Lipman and others’ ideas – by compassionate teachers (who were properly paid and highly regarded) in a creative environment, I think we could significantly reduce the impact of fanatical groups in a decade. And look at the pig flying over the horizon!

          • Stacy

            I’ve made a number of similar comments about the need for critical thinking in the curriculum for primary schools. But even with critical thinking education, I think people will still be susceptible to undue influence, especially in the US. Our culture emphasizes individuality and individual responsibility at ridiculous levels. Americans are taught that individuals are responsible for their behaviors at all times. This means there is a lack of understanding about mental illness, undue influence and various types of coercive tactics, even among people who have been educated in critical thought. The outcome of this overemphasis on individual responsibility is the belief that individuals have the strength of will to resist all forms of mental abnormalities or psychological attacks from others. So, education has to tackle this element of American culture as well. And probably first. And these ideas of the individual are part of the core american beliefs. I think there will be a LOT of resistance to such education.

      • Jon Atack

        You are too kind. My head is already far too big.

        • Mark Foster

          I meant it! Your book CHANGED MY LIFE-in a good way. Mind the neck muscles, buddy 🙂

          • Jon Atack

            Thanks! All encouragement gratefully received. I will take up neck yoga. My last blast – Scientology: the Cult of Greed (title courtesy of Rich Behar) should be out soon on kindle. An introduction for those fortunate enough never to have been involved. FACTNet should have a page with all of my papers, blogs and articles soon, and we hope to have a routemap. Have you read Never Believe a Hypnotist. Not the best written piece, but still my favourite for content. I wrote it ten years after leaving, and it finally proved to me that Hub knew exactly what he was doing. And he meant no good. I challenge anyone who still believes to read it and weep.

            • Mark Foster

              I have read and re-read NEVER BELIEVE A HYPNOTIST. Another pivotal read for me. I´ll be looking for the new book and am glad to here about the FACTnet page, as I will happily send people to it. Thanks for the update!

    • joan nieman

      Beautiful read . Thank you Jon. I am bereft of the right words right now. You certainly have a way with writing that is both unique and captivating. Thank you again.

      • Jon Atack

        Thanks. I do my level best.

    • Jon Atack

      Wow. Thanks.

  • Panopea Abrupta

    Red-X Red-X Red-X

    The Craigslist detritus inveitably expands around Thursday.
    Have at ’em:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-Kvg78kCcvo5gL7UfPcmhmbsagTNtdj0y2LAiHVFrCU/pubhtml

    The best is to flag every day the Last 4 Days (break it in smaller portion if it is too big to swallow in one go) then check the Daily Wip every 2 to 3 hours in the afternoon and evening.

    TICK TOCK, Cap’n Footbullet.

    • DodoTheLaser

      Thanks, PA.

    • Graham

      I like the new format for the google docs list. Easy to see what you are flagging. Should help one not to accidentally flag something wrongly caught in the net, and if I want to do a second selective flag later I can easily choose my particular betes noir to flag.

  • Three women, once members of a fringe political cult, were recently found to have been held in servitude in an anonymous house in a densely-populated city for 30 years. Their oppressors (once a leaders of a political cult of which they had been members) have been arrested. http://world.time.com/2013/12/05/how-three-women-in-london-succumbed-to-slavery/

    The victims were released after one of them secretly called a charity, who alerted police. The police consulted clinical psychologists and (yes) social scientists who undertook incredibly delicate and sensitive negotiations. Eventually the victims were persuaded to meet with police and were taken to ‘a place of safety’.

    Legally, the beliefs of the victims are not at issue. The fact that they their freedom to act was taken from them most definitely is. Since this was not achieved only by physical restraint, but psychological manipulation the court case will likely hinge on the testimony of clinical psychologists and social scientists.

    The negotiations which persuaded these people to leave, and trust the police after 30 years of servitude required profound insights into the state of mind of the victim. This achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact that those psychologists had no experience whatsoever of the conditions that the women they were trying to help were made to suffer.

    This is only one of a number of similar cases. Another, involving a
    single individual, the victims passport was taken from them (where have I
    heard that before) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12687088 In this case, alerted by a suspicious doctor, the offender was arrested and victim was taken to ‘a place of safety. significantly, here passport had been taken from her (where have I heard that before)

    The state of the art, in both psychology and social science, has advanced from 1950s ideas of ‘brainwashing’ which were tainted by the political and ideological forces at war at the time. As Jon states, Milgram and Zimbardo developed new intellectual tools that have been build on by subsequent generations of researchers. People are undoubtedly held in servitude by social and psychological means, but the understanding of these things is now much deeper and more nuanced.

    I would suggest that a close study of this kind of court case would reveal a lot about the current social and psychological understanding of this kind of oppression. These situations represent the conditions inside CofS compounds in microcosm.

    Also, I have to take issue with the passage that, “As L. Ron Hubbard said, all authority relationships are hypnotic”.
    The best tutor and lecturer I have learned from (a sociologist) was a man who encouraged alternative points of view. When my essays argued strongly against ideas which he admired, I was not marked down for this. All that mattered to him was that I presented a good argument and supported it with evidence.

    • Peter

      This brought back to me the Patty Hearst kidnapping and her subsequent trial for being a “willing” participant in a bank robbery.

      • Missionary Kid

        Excellent observation to connect that incident.

        • Peter

          If my recall on it is anywhere close, her defense had to do with what Jon is talking about, undue influence. She was kept for quite awhile in a lightless closet and no one spoke to her. And that was just the beginning.

          • Missionary Kid

            Almost like being in the Hole.

            • Peter

              But totally alone.

      • Stacy
  • Truthiwant

    I have found that, regarding Scientology, to simply say that it is a cult (or setta in Italian, sect) is often enough for people to understand what it really is, and paradoxically, without these people even knowing a thing about it. People are, in fact, afraid of words like “cult”.

    Popular language, to most people, has an immediate effect on them, and describing Scientology with words such as “Cult” and “Brain washing” can be very powerful, particularly when you need to summarize it all in a few seconds.

    Interestingly, just as John Atack has described, using these same words to a Scientologist, have the complete opposite effect on them.

    • daytoncapri

      Last sentence is a very important observation: Invalidation does not work on the true believers, it has the opposite effect,

      So, what are we hoping to achieve with our language to those “still-in and wavering” or “out, but nostalgic”

      1) Invalidation?
      OR
      2) winning then over?

      If they are mutually exclusive, then how about door #2?

  • Peter

    One of the most potent articles I’ve ever read. Much to contemplate. Thanks, Jon.

  • Exterrier

    Great stuff, Jon Atack. Yes, if only.

  • Mark Foster

    Thanks to Jon and Tony for this amazing article. I have new books to read and much to learn. It´s inspiring to know that I can use my cult experience as a reference point to dive into a deeper study of undue influence. Thanks to everyone for their comments, shoops, humorous comments, stories, and links to a variety of information sources. As Tory has said, (I´m paraphrasing)you never know when you might positively influence another person…

    • daytoncapri

      Jon’s observations . . . wow. Maybe the great irony is that Scientology really will in the end benefit all of humankind (stay with me) because the Exes have such a good grasp on how bad it can get.

  • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

    John, thanks for the essay. I loved it. I usually clip a few sentences from your essays and put them in a file I have on my desktop. This time I bookmarked it. There is a lot to go back to, a lot more research for me to do now.

    I have literally read the books, seen the movies and own the T-shirt. I also took the courses, sat through the auditing, left and then watched my friends leave, one by one, usually into the wonderful world of reality but once or twice into the free zone. And I have reflected. That being the case, there is often not much new information a person can tell me except that Scientology has once again hit a new low.

    Your words have great insight. There are a few things I would like to comment on. First, I have also noticed that the “bitter apostates,” for the most part stay away. Many live in fear. Some of those who wasted years and tens of thousands of dollars want to live what ever is left of their lives in peace. I don’t know if this is fear or a rational ability to put things behind them. The biggest anti-Scientology rally in Toronto had about 400 people. If all the people who got ripped off and later woke up to it were there it might have hit 5000. I spoke to two of the ones who stayed away. One said that it was a long time ago and that she was now in another “headspace”. The other told me much the same but used the words “another lifetime”. I didn’t take their words to have a mystical meaning. They both might have just said that they have other fish to fry. And that is fair enough. Work, health, education, hobbies, family and other day-to-day concerns are plenty for most people without putting protesting Scientology into the mix. I have come to accept that.

    I avoid using the term “brainwashing” except to recognize it, when I talk to people about Scientology or any of the other coercive movements. I will use the phrase “emotional coercion” and explain that it is the same as brainwashing but brainwashing has other connotations so for greater understanding I call the phenomenon emotional coercion.

    Young people do need to be educated about such things. The problem with introducing anything new into a school curriculum is that something else has to go. And with all the important things being taught, there is a great deal of competition for what should be taught next. There is a back door though. I began writing an article for a teacher’s magazine, about six years ago, on cult education. I gave it up because I kept getting back to Scientology and I knew no article would be accepted that was that specific. But I listened to Steve Hassan a short while ago talk about the current rash of extremist Muslims in terms of emotional coercion. An article might do well along those lines. It might take a better essayist than I to produce it though.

    And like sex education, undue influence is difficult to teach at home. My parents had no understanding of what was going on with me in Scientology. They knew nothing of brainwashing. Dad got angry, Mom thought everything would turn out all right, Elder Brother accepted it understanding that I needed something new at that point in my life, Younger Brother made fun of me, and Sister, who was learning the newspeak said, “Great!”. Not one of them had a word to say about emotional coercion.

    It could be that we have a near perfect tool for educating people about Scientology (and all the rest of the coercive groups) and that this is it. We don’t have to deal with the politics of schools or the ignorance of families. We are accessible. We have a plethora of knowledge. We are way the hell more interesting than my grade eleven gym teacher ever was. I am proud to be part of that mix and consider myself lucky that you are part of it too.

    • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

      I always took “brainwashing” and the word “cult” to be the popular definitions that people who aren’t Sophist/lawyer/academics can’t live with.

      There is the popular meaning, and it’s lived, and people who lived brainwashing and cult life know what the heck those popular words mean! Ex-Cult members know what brainwashing means to mean!

      I say give the sophist-lawyers-academics some 10-20 years of cult life brainwashing and then let them give their reports! (Not really, that’s the problem, to really make those that should study something they wish to prevaricate professionally against, would be torture to enforce the in depth living experience in that subject that we in society let our “experts” authoritative opine on—exceptions are who Jon Atack highlights in the above excellent article for this thread Robert Jay Lifton above all.)

      • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

        I couldn’t stop laughing when I got to the part about the sophist-lawyers-academics being subjected to the going over that life in a cult provides. I would love to see that.

        • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

          Jon’s discussion of cognitive dissonance on the part of the “professionals” who claim the non cult members can walk any time they want, yea, let the “experts” go walk the cult life a couple of decades and then re-read Blownforgood by Marc Headley!

        • Jon Atack

          Let’s get Obama to send them to Guantanamo Bay

          • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

            One other reason the Hubbard topic suited me as a Sea Org member was Hubbard’s using Sea Org member’s basic altruism.

            I’ve favored nuns, monks, academics and government workers in general, for what I thought was their more higher principled service-minded contentment with less pay and less material goods in their lives. I favor service workers.

            Scientology’s just so ludicrously false and unworthy of the misplaced good intentions that people give it.

      • Do you know the secret,repetition and focus of attention make excellent pathways in the mind that will make instant automatic desired reactions possible in any person.

        • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

          Yea, makes sense.

          Hubbard repeats over and over those things that are Scientology beliefs and he reptitively chides the outside world’s contrasting and conflicting views.

          Result, a group of Scientologists thinking their special thoughts about themselves and the world only they see.

          • Jon Atack

            We’d rather have you dead than open-minded or reasonable…

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              Times over equals idiocy..

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              ….also, makes me think that giving Scientologists lots of MUs will help them blow faster!

        • Jon Atack

          It’s true – repetition, fixation and mimicry. Throw a little confusion into the mix and you have all the basics of hypnosis.

      • TheQueenofBulgravia

        “I always took “brainwashing” and the word “cult” to be the popular definitions that people who aren’t Sophist/lawyer/academics can’t live with.”

        Did you mean to say, average people CAN live with (understand) the concepts that come to mind when they hear the words “brainwashing” and “cult”?

        Not that We are average, having been born with a genuine silver plastic tiara firmly in place (not a silent birth!) and the proud possessor of a genuine paper High School diploma….even We have a mental check-list of attributes of those words, gained from +70 years at the University of LIFE. A rose by any other name? (sort of average person’s shorthand) <–Lol….who knows what "Pittman's Shorthand" is? Anyway, the new words are excellent….but for average folks we are immediately on the same page when the old words are shared.

        "brainwashing.. Indoctrination that forces people to abandon their beliefs in favor of another set of beliefs."

        "cult..a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader."
        Dictionary.com

        • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

          Yes, I think average people can and intuitively do understand the two words cults and brainwashing.

          I think the media can be faulted if they misuse the words or provide inadequate information as examples when they use the words..

          I don’t know why entirely these words haven’t solidified and won a place in sociology, that’s a more educated argument I’ve not become informed enough about.

          The defs you quoted are very watered down, and those defs omit the popular intuitive emotional attachment that people do have with those words normally, that those words mean very negative groups or methods.

          Watered down definitions, inadequate definitions of bad dictionaries, or dictionaries that don’t include the popular negative emotional rejection connotation associated with brainwashing and cults means the dictionaries are at fault for failing to print the additional emotional negative popular connotation that people have in their minds, but which just isn’t in those inadequate dictionaries! In otherwords dictionaries are not automatically right if their definitions don’t have the meanings people mean when people say those words. It’s not always the people’s fault if the dictionaries are inadequate!

      • Jon Atack

        There are shades of meaning. Brainwashing defines the Chinese Communist method, which includes physical abuse (though the SO often uses sleep deprivation and DM seems to have a penchant for violence). I prefer Singer’s exploitative persuasion, which is purely psychological. Undue influence is the traditional term. Sociologists will admit to ‘social dynamics’ but become rather vague when questioned. Cialdini’s Influence remains an excellent text on the simple everyday use of persuasion. I’ve spent the last 23 years accumulating material and drafting a text that differentiates between ethical and exploitative persuasion. I may even finish it one day. Then I can take my place in the pantheon of experts, mentioned by the splendid Chuck Beatty…

    • In the UK, you leave school with General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualifications at Ordinary (O) of Advanced (A) levels. University entrance requires around 5 appropriate ‘A Levels’.

      There are O and A level courses in ‘Critical Thinking’ – and here’s a link to a revision guide that gives you a flavour of what it taught. http://revisesmart.co.uk/revision/a-level/critical-thinking-revision-flaws-as-level-revision-notes-1227.html

      The course aims to teach you how to evaluate arguments and evidence – which is good. Unfortunately, as you point out, this is only half of the problem. Social pressure and psychological manipulation can override rational thought – we have all had the experience of knowing that something was a very bad idea, and doing to anyway.

      Teaching people about this kind of manipulation would be dogged by the problem by the problem that those same techniques could persuade them ignore their lessons. You cannot teach people who are vulnerable to emotional manipulation through rational means.

      Two educators famously tackled this problem head on. In 1968, a teacher called Jane Elliott was struggling to explain the effects of racism to her all-white classroom – so she divided the kids into blue and brown eyed groups and, over a period ‘explained’ to them that blue eyed were naturally superior, segregated the class and favoured the blue-eyed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeK759FF84s

      After a while, she stopped this practice and explained what had been going on.The kids on both sides who experienced this practical demonstration report that it has profound effects on them on in later life, and were less likely to exhibit racist attitudes.

      Also, a teacher called Ron Jones was asked by his class how the German people fell for Nazism. His solution was to gradually promote a ‘club’ called ‘Third Wave’, modelled on the ‘Hitler Youth’. The Third Wave offered its voluntary members strict discipline and a special salute… and caught on so quickly that Jones was forced to end his demonstrate after only the forth day.

      At this point Jones could say to his students “that’s how it happened”, and they would understand.
      http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/understanding-the-scientology-mindset-pt-10-the-third-wave/

      Of course, repeating these experiments would be ethically and legally questionable at best. However, they demonstrate that formal lessons are probably not the best approach.

      It would be interesting to (ethically) repeat this experiment, with older kids and adults to try to draw then into a ‘artificial cult’…

      • FollowTheMoney

        You always make some great points, OB. The Elliot and Jones experiments were amazing. Social psychology is an incredible field of knowledge. I would add Robert Milgram and Phillip Zimbardo to your list, although they were proper academics. I’ve actually attended one of Zimbardos lectures on the social influences underpinning the Abu ghraib atrocities and it was amazing. One small correction for this post… I think in Elliot’s experiment the brown eyed children were treated as superior. This ensured that the mostly blue eyed Caucasian children experienced racism firsthand.

        • Oops – you are quite right about about my blue/brown mistake.

          I envy you for getting to see Zimbado – from what I have seen of his lectures and presentations he is a riveting and entertaining speaker.

          Also, Milgram and Zimbado are most definitely on my list, at http://scicrit.wordpress.com/understanding-the-scientology-mindset-series/ and their excellent books are elsewhere on the site.

          The experiments of Milgram and Zimbado completely changed our understanding of how people behave ‘under orders’ and in institutional situations.They taught us how unexpectedly powerful these influences are – so powerful, in fact, that their experiments cannot be repeated for ethical reasons. The same goes for Elliot and Jones.

          Modern researchers have to approach these situations much more indirectly.

      • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

        The stories of the experiment and the educational environment are fascinating. I would love to know if any educators have done similar experiments here. Judging by international tests Ontario has a good educational system. Judging by employment after graduation there are many Western countries that do much better.

        I could imagine “cult education” being taught in a sociology class but more likely in a physical health education environment. I imagine it being seen as part of mental health and a cousin of drug education which they do spend a lot of time on. We will see what the future brings.

        • The ‘The Third Wave’ demonstration was brought to a close early, because it was getting out of hand, and Zimbado famously ended his ‘prison’ experiment early for the same reason – and also because someone pointed out to him that he was slipping into his role as ‘prison governor’.

          One of the things that we learned from these experiments is that the forces they play with are more powerful than anyone suspected, and it is probably unethical to repeat them.

          I suspect that the relatively low chance of harm through cult recruitment (compared to illicit drugs) means that ‘cult education’ is probably a non-starter. However, a large part of drug education must concern resisting social pressure from peers and dealers and other influences.

          These ideas could be incorporated into a sort of ‘think for yourself 101’ which could accompany critical thinking and be taught separately.

    • Lady Squash

      Scientology as an organization exerts undue influence. The other layer is auditing, which I believe is addictive in a similar way that heroine is. Auditing, when done properly,
      causes a sense of euphoria.
      When the feeling wears off, longing for the euphoric state returns and the
      client buys more auditing. The addictive nature of auditing is rarely addressed. But I believe it is real and that it was intended to be addictive. Does anyone else out there feel that way?

      • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

        I have an opinion but it is not a strong one. Someone with more knowledge could change it in a minute.

        I was once in the hospital and things looked bad. I was quite upset. The head of the department said that they dealt with the “whole person” and asked if I would accept the treatment of a psychiatrist.

        The treatment lasted about ten minutes. The psychiatrist felt that I was dealing with an extraordinary problem very well and let me be, leaving the door open for future visits if I wished. But here is what happened.

        He asked me about my past. He directed me to my childhood, and the difficult parts of it. I talked about the problems I had had for a little while and I cried. We continued to talk until I began to laugh. The parallels to auditing were unmistakable.

        We weren’t wiping away the problems of my youth. I had already come to terms with the uncontrollable issues of thirty to forty years before. They no longer existed for me except as life lessons. But what if I thought that the laughter at the end was proof that that problem and all my other problems were going to be handled and that after 200 hours of it I would become a clear and have perfect memory, no colds, IQ raised by one point per hour of therapy, optimum vision, etc.? I am sure that I would want to have gotten back to it pretty quickly. I think that is the attraction of auditing.

        If a person knew that all he was getting was a journey into his real or imagined past and left laughing he would listen to old Bill Cosby routines instead.

        And, by the way, that was 16 years ago. Medical science treated my problem. Today I am well.

        • Lady Squash

          Yes, that is the power of suggestion with auditing. That is the selling a Piece of Blue Sky that Jon Atack talks about. That’s it exactly. What Scientology does is a clever use of undue influence. Very well said.

      • daytoncapri

        Have you been audited? Just curious.

        • Lady Squash

          Brilliant. And so true.

          • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

            I, too, am glad you made it out.

        • Lady Squash

          Yes, daytoncapri, I have been audited. My subjective experience of it was that it was euphoric and I became addicted to it. I desperately wanted my next fix, only I didn’t think about it that way. I thought I was on a path to Total Spiritual Freedom.
          For 30 years I chased after the Utopia that was just a sales gimmick. What can I say? I had it bad. I was in pretty deep. It took a traumatic event to wake me up.

          • daytoncapri

            I am glad you made it out.

      • Jon Atack

        Exactly. Dopamine production through hypnotic euphoria. I patented the term ‘auditing junkies’ almost 30 years ago. Now when do I get my next level?

        • Lady Squash

          Ya know Jon, I have heard the term “auditing junkies” before. I just didn’t quite get it. I didn’t really connect the dots. I thought it was a joke, an exaggeration. But it’s neither. It is an addiction. People talk about the abuses but the dopamine addiction is not mentioned very often. And I believe it is why people put up with the abuses, why they don’t see the abuses. They want their fix.

    • Jon Atack

      Thanks! I reckon that about three million people have received what Captain Bill once called ‘frauditing’. As with other forms of hypnosis, most will probably have shrugged off any effect, long ago. But Scientology, unlike ‘brainwashing’ is self-reinforcing (TR-0 is a serious culprit, but there is so much else). Many former members have not realized that their ‘chronic tone’ is fear. When I left, I was surprised that no one was willing to put a name out there (I was the first in the UK). It was evident that the GO had terrified the membership, which was very much Hubbard’s intention (people are confused about the distinction between ‘Tech’ and ‘Ethics’. Tech is to make money, boxcar loads of it, Ethics is to deal with anyone who finds out about this, or me – to misquote the insightful and hilarious Story of a Squirrel Part Two – if anyone out there has a copy, I’d be obliged. Mine went missing years ago). Denial is always the first stage, and it can last for years. My dear friend, the late Sheona Fox-Ness, told me that she never really believed. So I reminded her that she sold her business, gave all the money to the cult, moved 5000 miles to work a 90-hour week for a few dollars, and put her adored daughter in the hands of untrained adults. It is hard to accept that we were taken in, but harder to face up to the residual effects of our folly.

      I continue to recommend Ronnie Janoff-Bulman’s Shattered Assumptions to all and sundry. Whether you have PTSD or not, it details normal recovery.

      I turned my attention to fanaticism in general over twenty years ago, and was at a conference with Steve Hassan in London in August, where we spoke about ISIS. It is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtkHwfSnQ7o&feature=youtu.be

      The dynamics of fanaticism are the same, no matter which group you look at. All use hypnosis, one way or another, to create euphoria and compliance.

      I don’t think we should protest Scientology, so much as try to reach inside and help those who are trapped. All too often, unhealed people take out their anger on the current victims, which is so wrong, and so unhelpful. I have suggested that protests be made at the businesses of Patrons, however, so that their clients are made aware that they are funding Scientology. This is akin to the civil rights protests of the 50s and 60s. There is no enemy.

      I agree that we have the privilege that we can help the afflicted and proof others against following a fanatical path. To do that, however, we need to understand what happened to us. We also need to encourage critical thinking, rather than resorting to more guru slavery (though I’m not averse to beautiful maidens rubbing yogurt on my ankles, every now and then). There are so many important books and films. I hope to provide something from my own list, soon.

      The main thing is to keep talking, keep asking questions and keep dissecting Hubbard’s nonsensical ideas, so that we can free ourselves and others from his narcissistic and vampiric philosophy.

      • “I have suggested that protests be made at the businesses of Patrons,
        however, so that their clients are made aware that they are funding
        Scientology.”

        This has been discussed several times on WWP. But the roadblock is we need someone to leak a recent copy of the WISE membership list from the secure website that accurately reflects which business owners are still left after the past few years of mass exodus.

      • mockingbird

        I concur with your ideas on hypnosis and undue influence.

        I have the firm belief that ALL totalistic groups and abusive domineering relationships seek to attain and maintain undue influence based on the same factors in human thought and relationships without exception.

        Whether it is a totalitarian government or a gang or a cult or an abusive parent or partner; the formula is the same.

        Through lessening the critical factor to gain total blind obedience a power holder demands dominance over a victim – the power holder wants blind unthinking loyalty and can use many methods from fear to drugging to beatings to the covert cognitive restructuring done in a forced hypnotic manner that routinely occurs in Scientology auditing and indoctrination It also occurs in the cult environment through social pressure and other added methods.

        The undue influence is established and then becomes a slave master relationship – in fact.

        The goal then becomes slave retention which is the goal Hub worked at for many , many years.

        He had to misdirect attention – hypnotically – to keep the critical factor shut down for life.

        He used thousands of embedded commands and immense loaded language to not just stop thought BUT to REDIRECT thought into trances he could implant -by the THOUSANDS with the embedded commands and language acting as triggers for post hypnotic commands – to maintain the dominance over his victims.

        He used many logical fallacies as the new way to think in his victims – to keep them victims.

        AND to make them attack viciously any critical info or even thoughts !

        He laid in these also with – in my opinion – the intent of breaking you thoroughly IF you EVER tried to reassert control , critical thinking and independent thought !

        He wanted the undue influence( and cult identity) to so completely be self protecting that ANY who dared break out and realize they were in fact conned would be utterly BROKEN mentally – and with denial , shame and confusion deeply implanted ( and in my opinion often dissociation ) they would skulk away and be quiet .

        Thus further protecting him as the abuser. He had as his first rule the rule of many abusers – never get caught .

        Undue influence needs to be addressed by many Scientologists for recovery to occur .

        It also needs to be addressed by society for many injustices to be seen and hopefully even prevented.

  • Panopea Abrupta

    Lowell George and Little Feat had a song called
    “A Apolitical Blues” on their 2nd album, Sailin’ Shoes.

    It was in part an inspiration for this:

    Them Postulation Blues

    There’s trouble brewin’ down in Texas.
    He wants to run in his brand new Lexus.
    Judge said “We’re gettin’ to the nexus”,
    Punched DM in his solar plexus,
    Damn near made him lose his breakfast.

    He tried to slither out in Austin.
    Lawyers said it’s gonna cost him.
    Appeals Court, they said they’d frost him.
    On his head, they put a bounty
    In a place called Comal County.

    Now, he’s worried about jail.
    Since he’d skip, they won’t give him bail.
    Lock him up, judge, without fail.
    Ain’t no way his ship will sail.
    He’s one crook ya gotta jail.

    The little creep tried to pass the buck.
    Said every $cilon loved to suck
    While he just didn’t give a f*&k
    Now he’s quaking in his Lobbs.
    Can you hear asthmatic sobs?

  • chukicita

    Thank you, Jon – and Tony – for this incredibly thought-provoking piece.
    I have often thought that Scientology does not allow for an informed decision in its participation and intentionally keeps important information from its adherents. To me this is part of undue influence. I share the concerns of Mr. Atack that our political culture is at risk to this behavior.

    • HillieOnTheBeach

      I was thinking along the same lines. But I think there’s another component that can’t be explained by the absence of informed consent and/or confirmation bias. It seems to me there’s another psychological trigger that makes the difference between a staunch adherent and a fanatic.

      Exhibit A: William Dembski, high profile intelligent design proponent. Impressive academic credentials, his critics never dispute his intelligence. But he has an almost debilitating character flaw: he refuses and dismisses all criticism even when obvious and undeniable mistakes are brought to his attention. Making matters worse is that his academic credibilty has suffered from it; he doesn’t blame his unjustifyable stubborness, of course he blames that on personal persecution.

      So obviously it’s not an issue of informed consent, he’s academically qualified to reconsider his theories. And it’s more than confirmation bias when admitting even the slightest mistake is personally and emotionally inconceivable.

      • Robert Eckert

        Dembski is a great example. Noam Chomsky is an even more extreme case.

      • chukicita

        Fortunately, Dembski isn’t trying to enslave humankind or promote a bait-and-switch scheme; the only thing at stake here is his academic reputation, and evidently he is comfortable with trashing it all by himself. I don’t see a relationship between his acting like a toddler and the inherent inability, built into Scientology, to make an informed decision about it without repercussion.

        • HillieOnTheBeach

          “Fortunately, Dembski isn’t trying to enslave humankind or promote a bait-and-switch scheme”

          Actually, he and his ilk at the Discovery Institute are working very, very hard to impose creationism in the science class.

  • I hate changing the clocks (forwards, back, just hate it) cuz it takes me a couple weeks to adapt—i dunno why, but it does…..but it got me thinkering about scis and time and then—haiku!

    Do Scis ack ‘fall back’?
    If L Ron never wrote ’bout
    it, does it exist?
    #scientology #fallback #haiku

    One hour fall back,
    for us, but Scis are stuck on
    thirty year fall back.
    #scientology #fallback #haiku #NeverForward #PermanentlyStuck

    We will spring forward
    Scis never have, nor will they,
    Unless they escape
    #scientology #fallback #haiku #PLEASEEscape

    Why no Scieno time?
    niblet could find a ‘lost’ text
    by L Ron forit.
    #scientology #time #haiku

    All hours would be
    Donate O’Clock no matter
    the ‘real’ time. DONATE!
    #scientology #time #haiku #donate

    Minutes would be
    known as ‘thousands’ and
    seconds as ‘hundreds’.
    #scientology #time #haiku #money

    Donations relate
    to worth in church and your time
    allowed to be there
    #scientology #haiku #WaitThisAlreadyHappens

    Less time spent in ‘church’
    Puts your eternity at
    risk! Donate more NOW!
    #scientology #haiku #UhYeahTheyAlreadyDoThis

    Church would be ‘metered’
    You want hours on your clock
    Sell a kidney now!
    #scientology #haiku #TheyNeedToComeOutAndAdmitTheyDoThisAlready

    • Mark Foster

      DONATE O´CLOCK! Oh yeah…Giggling:)

      • it’s ALWAYS donate o’clock at Co$! 🙂

  • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

    “Confirmation bias operates in all cultures. We pay more attention to evidence that supports our prejudices than we do to anything disconfirming and therefore discomfiting.”

    This is the heart of the problem.

    The world believes in the soul, yet the soul is not scientifically provable, only rhetorically provable.

    Scientology can get away with their soul improvement sales job based on this religion loophole allowed sales pitch other religions have been doing all up to Scientology’s/Hubbard’s hitching of their wagon to the world’s already soul confirmation bias.

    The limitation on time to sue after coming to one’s senses ought to be lengthened to the same period as Hubbard said, “It takes as long as it takes!”

    It’d be nice to lengthen that time to request and win one’s refund, when it comes to groups with reputations as being mentally coercive.

    • Anonymous

      The beauty of racketeering statutes as they exist in the US, is that the longer the fraud had been occurring, the more prosecutable it become. So, while some individual illegal actions directed or undertaken by Scientology leadership are now outside of the term normally applied to certain legal remedies, the broader scam and ALL of the illegal actions directed or undertaken by Scientology leadership are prosecutable as:

      “A pattern of illegal activity carried out as part of an enterprise that is owned or controlled by those who are engaged in the illegal activity.”

      Using the RICO statutes to remedy the abuses of an (apparently) religious organization is extremely controversial and the politcal environment has to be right for such to occur. But the operations of Scientology, when looked at as a whole and with guidance from former insiders who understand the labyrinth of deception employed by church leadership to avoid responsibility for their illegal actions…it is hard to imagine a more perfect set of conditions and evidence for which to apply the RICO statutes.

      Scientology is a RICO magnet…it is only a matter of time before the lever is pulled and a round up of the relevant individuals occurs. It’s going to be a hoot.

      • Stacy

        I pray we’re approaching a time when the political environment is right for using RICO to end CoS abuses.

      • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

        When a religion gets away with not delivering what it promises (soul astronaut flying free of the body abilities in Scientology’s case) then I think a Scientologist who paid a half a million bucks ought get the whole amount back.

        The end of Scientology’s Bridge, is Operating Thetan.

        If no Operating Thetans exist, per definitions 1 and 3 in the Scientology red hardback dictionary, then that’s spiritual fraud.

        No OTs means full refurnd, especially when there are NO OTs to even give evidence of real OT out of the body abilities at will as is directly implied is the case of an Operating Thetan who gets totally OT.

        yes, it’s total spiritual fraud, and there are no OTs.

        • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

          Definition 3 of “Operating Thetan” in the red hardback dictionary of Scientology is excerpted from a 9 Sept 1965 filmed lecture of Hubbard, so it is evidence, video evidence of Hubbard stating this bold fraudulent claim.

          That snippet of Definition 3 of Operating Thetan ought be put on YouTube as evidence of this fraud coming straight out of historical L. Ron Hubbard’s mouth!

          • Techie

            Not to mention “We define an SO member the same way we do an OT- at cause over life, matter, energy space and time”. What does it say about me that I can quote that from memory after 10 years out? They only wish they were cause over roulette wheels…

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              LRH stuck the Sea Org members with forwarding his fantasy OT exorcism delivery churches which the non-OT case Sea Org members don’t even know what they are supporting and defending.

              The majority of Scientologists don’t even know Xenu caused the 4th Dynamic Engram and that engram caused the body thetans surplus souls that get exorcised on OT levels 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 which the Sea Org churches deliver!

              It’s a massive overlapping secrecy operation that the members don’t even understand, they have Hubbard rules crippling even simple definition of what they do!

              The staff hierarchies are ignorant of what they do, and they don’t produce soul astronauts as promised by LRH, but he keeps them from understanding this.

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTBGAYaTnBI

              27:45 is the actual Hubbard fraudulent highest claim, he says: “…Now Clear is followed by the state of Operating Thetan. In other words an individual can operate totally independently of his body whether he had one or didn’t have one….”

              Great historical video of Hubbard making the Operating Thetan claim. No soul astronauts have ever been made by Scientology.

        • Anonymous

          It’s fraud, but not just “spiritual” fraud.

          To remedy the abuses of Scientology (in the US) will most likely require framing complaints using the concepts of Promissory Estoppel and Detrimental Reliance.

          Those two terms (and several related terms) cover a wide range of actionable activities involving spoken promises and written contracts where at least one party is fraudulently induced to do something (like perform labor or “donate” money) under promises from another. If the promises from the inducing party are not kept, the fraudulently induced / harmed party can then seek remedy.

          Staying away from the religious cloaking that Scientology is hiding behind in court is the key to getting legal remedies applied and halting the continuance of the fraudulent inducements that precede the great harm that the church does to it’s victims.

          • And political will.

            The CofS is a social parasite that is exquisitely adapted to US culture, and exploits the constitutional prohibition on laws controlling “an establishment of religion.”

            They are not the only organisation that does this, and I suspect that any less-than-watertight legal move that could lead to the end of the CofS would result in a mismatched coalition of legitimate and abusive ‘churches’ stirring up an (appropriately) almighty political storm.

            I think the authorities know this, and understand that the organisation is declining rapidly without their help. Like vultures, they are watching closely, but are not going to take action until the beast is safely dead. With luck, they they will then trace and redistribute the remaining money.

          • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

            Plain fraud too! Etu plain fraud!

            And other religions etu too!

            Scientology’s just easier safer since it’s the newbie spiritual fraud on the block.

            • Anonymous

              Perhaps so.

              To end the abuses, one has to see those abuses as they actual are…ABUSES…which can exist and occur independent of ANY scriptural justification or explanation, regardless of the source.

              Framing the abuses in the language of civil or criminal law…so they are adjudicated according to those laws…is probably the shortest path to ending those same abuses.

              As for the “religion angle”…it is probably best left entirely separate and within the individual decision of those who choose to pursue such endeavors.

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              Nice. Nice to see this someday become Scientology’s end.

  • Kim O’Brien

    every single one of the jihadists on 9/11 was college educated and most had PhD’s.

    Scientology is a cult …not a political movement with religious undertones . OR a religious movement with political undertones. I really think those that were in scientology for a looong time …are still kind of stuck in trying so hard to understand why …there MUST be a reason …a BIGGER reason , why they joined . With the exception of the children …every single one , made a CHOICE. At first , the choice seemed like the right one , turned out not to be. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar …i think scientology makes ppl take themselves so seriously , that it can be lost in the realm of common sense . It also goes after ppl who are not mentally stable . If a man will not go out of his home for 20 years because someone told him he was a danger to the world …how self absorbed it that ? How mental is that ? How ” scientology” is that ? The US government has nothing to do with it . The only ppl to blame for scientology …are scientologists . It’s just a weirdo cult and it is shrinking every day …it’s main man is Tom freaking Cruise . C’mon ppl …..

    • Jimmy3

      We’ve all made poor decisions. Why is the 9/11 lead-in appropriate?

      • Kim O’Brien

        Cuz of the last bit Jon wrote

        “If you want to reduce the number of terrorists, you must not only seek fairness for the populations they represent, but also provide a general education in the techniques common to advertising, marketing, sales and recruitment. Only if people are aware of these techniques will they lose their potency.”

        • Robert Eckert

          He is calling for specific education about the dangers of falling for recruitment techniques. You were talking about college educations in general, as if they included anything remotely relevant to what Atack was talking about.

          • Kim O’Brien

            silly me ..when i think of a mass re-education about a threat ..i think ..school . How else do you do it ? Flyers ?

            • Robert Eckert

              But your statement about the 9/11 hijackers, if it had any relevance at all (like other readers, I was puzzled what you were even trying to say), was a claim that they had specifically received education about the topic of recruitment techniques, which of course they hadn’t.

            • Kim O’Brien

              how do you know ?

            • Robert Eckert

              ??? What college is it that you believe teaches such things??? I don’t even understand what it is that you are trying to claim.

            • pronoia

              More to the point — it is a topic which should probably be taught and discussed — in high school — before one goes to college.

              And not everyone goes to college.

            • pronoia

              Books, film, lectures, news, conversation. And of course blogs.

      • Elar Aitch

        We’ve all made poor decisions that seemed like really good decisions at the time we made them (or every time we made them for a long time)

      • Kim O’Brien

        and yes ..we have ALL made poor decisions …but not all of us bring up the US Gov’t when trying to not make the same mistake again . Or brain washing , or undue influence , or marketing , or gang members , or Charles Manson ( eek )

        • Jimmy3

          I see what you’re saying. It’s on my screen. I think ‘undue influence’ is more of a legal term, and I didn’t really get why Jon brought up social scientists denying ‘undue influence.’ Anyone truly studying social behavior could not ignore societal and personal influences on behavior. I’m not really sure how that directly relates to hypnotism or cults, as it is such a general, broad factor in human behavior. But I agree with him as he was stating it in legal term as it relates to contracts.

          • Robert Eckert

            The French criminal law has a lovely word for this particular kind of defrauding: escroquerie. It was used in the Scientology trials that Jonny Jacobsen covered for us.

            • beauty for ashes

              sounds delicious!

            • sookiesookie

              I immediately thought, “fried snails!” and my mouth watered, because everything in French sounds delicious to me.

        • George Layton

          I thought the article was about undue influence, not only in regard to scientology but a world wide issue that needs brought to light.

          • Jimmy3

            I forgot to include and later edited in the word ‘negative’ to my last post. I’m not a critic of Jon Atack’s work, but I disagree that ‘undue influence’ is something that needs to be brought to light. Because it is something everyone is already aware of.

          • Kim O’Brien

            i just do not conflate a space cult with larger world issues . It is not a blip on my issue screen . NO one is joining scientology . It poses zero threat . We joke about it here …we make fun of the typos on the flyers …it is not a force to be reckoned with . Whatever recruiting tools other organizations use ..they are doing a better job than scientology .

            • Robert Eckert

              It’s a quantitative, not qualitative difference. With a little more luck, Scientology might have reached the self-sustaining size of Mormonism, or the world-threatening size of Islam.

            • Kim O’Brien

              i do not buy that for one second.

            • Robert Eckert

              Do you have any reasons? Or are you just being contrary today?

            • Jimmy3

              I’m with you on the self-sustaining size bit, but reaching the size of Islam? They would need a lot more luck.

            • Robert Eckert

              No, only enough luck to get to the size where they had a substantial armed force, and they would need to take on a society which was in trouble.

            • Jimmy3

              Well, now you’re talking about something else entirely. Despite all its faults, and with all its bullshit, Scientology has never been a militant movement.

            • Robert Eckert

              What??? Hubbard may have failed to attract enough people willing to commit violence, but it was not for lack of trying.

            • Jimmy3

              So that’s a hypothetical scenario? Obviously there are Scientologists proven to be violent people. But I’ve seen no evidence of the organization ever being militant or it being steered in that direction. So what you have is an assumption that if Hubbard had enough people, he would do so and so…

            • Techie

              You’ve never seen the gun locker for the Security Guards at the Int base. But it is true, for the most part there is no true militarism despite the uniforms and marching drills.

            • Stacy

              I really don’t like hearing that CoS keeps gun lockers for their security guards. CoS can make people mentally unstable, and in my world view, guns and mentally unstable people don’t mix well at all.

            • Techie

              Stacy, hope you don’t ever meet up with Danny Dunagin then. “Mentally unstable” does not begin to describe him. He has enough firepower to take down a small town stashed not far from his little guard station. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR7iaOyz3MY

            • Stacy

              Yeah, that doesn’t make me happy at all. Since when can security guards make arrests? Danny is just a bit too gung-ho.

            • Robert Eckert

              He was quite explicit about his desires to take over countries by force if he could get enough power to do so. I didn’t think there would be anybody on the Bunker who would be unaware of that, especially not someone who’s been here as long as you have.
              Now, what it would actually have taken for him to have some chance would be some scenario like the Cuban Missile Crisis escalating to a nuclear exchange, leaving a society in psychological as well as economic turmoil so that crazy cults can gain traction: the Weimar environment in which Hitler’s cult succeeded, or the distress after the Persian/Byzantine mutual-assured-destruction in which Muhammad’s cult exploded. It was Hubbard’s bad luck not to get such an extreme crisis to exploit.

            • Jimmy3

              I’ve always respected your opinions, and they’re usually sound. This included. But you’re still talking about Hubbard’s desires, and hypothetical events, and what would have been if they could have done this or that after some event that did not happen.

              I’m talking about what they’ve actually done, and what they actually are today, and I don’t believe it fits the description of a militant organization.

            • Robert Eckert

              And what Kim was claiming was that there was some unbridgeable gulf between what Hubbard was doing and what someone like Smith or Muhammad was doing. I am pointing out that the only real difference is that Hubbard didn’t get the right circumstances presented to him. If he had, he certainly intended to gain lots of followers and motivate them to attack enemies.

            • ze moo

              DM has to keep the lunatic fringe of the clampire under wraps. If that fringe exists, they can’t be trusted to do anything because they will likely be caught. Davy can’t afford the pr explosion that a high profile crime would cause. He hires outside ‘contractors’ to do such dirty work.

              Notice that Rathbun, Rinder, Atack, and all of the other exs and journalists are still alive and kicking. The fear of discovery {and jail} is what keeps ‘official’ CO$ from a killing spree. The clams are cowards who hide behind the mask of a bully.

              Except for the really psycho ones, but they just get in your face with words like ‘squirrel’ and ‘you’re so ineffective’. The LAX airport confront squad had squat in their arsenal. They appear to be the best the clampire has these days.

              Not that earlier exs and journalists didn’t have trouble, Jon Atack and many others paid dearly, what was done to Paulette Cooper was a crime.

            • There’s Marty Rathbun’s less than conclusive denial that Scientology does any kind of black ops dirty tricks these days. (As opposed to their normal dirty tricks.)

              With Miscavige’s rants about “Will no one rid me of this enturbulent priest?” “Fucking weasel Sappell. Fat fuck Welkos. Crush them.”, how far would a fanatic of Scientology’s fringe take that as license? (Especially with Hubbard’s essay about disposing of bodies and not bothering the boss about trivial stuff.)

              Joel Sappell Finds Former Scientology Enforcer Marty Rathbun To Be a Reluctant Whistleblower December 18, 2012, Tony Ortega, Underground Bunker

            • Todd Tomorrow

              He found kids easier to violate with violence. Oh and the adults who he tossed off the ship who couldn’t swim. And then the women he forced to have abortions(wait,that was lil dick). Oh and the, Sea argers who died mysterious deaths..He found plenty of people to do his dirty acts of violence against others. Read the things he did to the people on his ships. And all that remains law today. Despite them, “recording everything”,when you ask people who were with him from the onset, they all wonder about people who simply disappeared.

            • Baby

              Jimmy.. Come ON.. Big FLUNK

              ” Scientology has never been a militant movement.” Are you HIGH?

            • Jimmy3

              I’m usually buzzed, occasionally high. I haven’t been uppercase HIGH in a while now.
              Show me proof Scientology was ever a militant organization.

            • There are claims that there was a manned sniper post near Miscavige’s
              residence, to ‘protect’ him (seems to me that he was more likely to have been taken
              out by a disaffected victim – but still).

              Those with a better memory than I can point you to the “Surviving Scientology” video which appeared here, some time ago, and reveals this was just as shambolic as any other Scientology enterprise. .

              As far as I know, though, Scientology Orgs do not have armouries, not is there any serious suggestion that it is a militant organisation in that sense.

            • Jimmy3

              I think the episode you’re referring to was with Marc Headley, and that particular topic came up shortly after Tony posted photos of Miscavige’s office and personal balcony. I could be wrong.

            • Mark Foster

              J3, Google ¨minutemen¨ in relation to scientology. Review what the G.O. was up to in the 70´s. Paulette Cooper? Fake Navy was a whack crew and were all about whuppin´ass and b& e, among other things…and operated with a mandate to, literally, take over the world. Greece? South Africa? Hubbard visited those places with his ¨Sea Organization¨, looking for a government to ¨safe-point¨in the 60´s…Robert makes a compelling point, I think….

            • pronoia

              And what about the prison camp that is the Gold Base in Hemet California?

            • Jimmy3

              I believe grundoon’s explanation of Bulgravia. It was a typo. He was speaking of Belgravia in London.

              What we may have here is an issue of semantics. I think of a militant group as being armed, ready for battle, itching for violent conflict. Has Scientology as a whole ever been that?

            • Jimmy3

              Attempting to influence politics in a region is not necessarily a sign of militant behavior.

            • pronoia

              But I would argue that being willing to engage in illegal subversive acts against the government is a significant step in that direction.

            • Jimmy3

              Of a subversive group, yes. Were they militant? No. How long did the stand-off last before they were taken into custody?

            • Jimmy3

              Sorry, that was a silly question. There was no stand-off, because as radical as they are, they weren’t armed and ready to rebel against the powers that be, real or imagined. Because they’re not a militant organization.

            • Mark Foster

              There is a definite history of militant behavior. I get your point that it´s not an armed group with a huge cache of weapons itching for an actual battle over territory.

            • Jimmy3

              Biggie had a certain lyric that applies here. But it’s not suitable for posting on a family-friendly, PG blog.

            • Kim O’Brien

              well …a bit on the PMS side but Islam is a religion thousands of years old …Mormonism pimped off of Christianity ( also thousands of years old ) scientology is as old as my grammas house and started in LA

            • Robert Eckert

              And when Joseph Smith started, it was brand new, and it started in the boondocks of upstate New York. And when Muhammad started, it was brand new, and started in the Arabian desert. What is your point?

            • Kim O’Brien

              they are still here and scientology is not ?

            • Robert Eckert

              But when they started they were equally weird and small. The difference is that Mormonism had a sparsely inhabited territory they were able to take over, and Islam started at a time when the neighboring empires had trashed each other’s military capacities and credibility with their populaces.

            • Joseph Smith also handed Mormonism over a capable organiser who had a competent bureaucracy behind him. That kind transtion is crucial to the survival of a new religious movement.

              To my mind the problem for Scientology is that they are unwilling and unable to adapt to new circumstances. They are unwilling because the word of ‘source’ is supposed to be infallible, and unable because.of they tried, they couldn’t get away with it, now that the Internet is here.

            • Robert Eckert

              Actually, Smith designated Sidney Rigdon as his successor. Brigham Young got to the top through a spiritual knife fight not terribly unlike Miscavige’s take-over, but once in charge Brigham proved much more competent than Davey has been.

            • Baby

              Operative words that Robert stated Kim was.. ” Might have reached. ”

              I absolutely agree with him.

            • pronoia

              If you converted mentions of the word “we” in your statement to the word “I” it would be more accurate.

              Your summation of scientology seems to be that it is only something that affects weak-minded people, and for that reason, those caught up I’m it deserve to be abused and laughed at.

              Boring. And self-absorbed.

            • Kim O’Brien

              I did not say it is ONLY for weak minded ppl and i never said anyone deserved to be abused . Your little spin on it means that your scientology is showing .

            • pronoia

              Nice try. I have never had any scientology.

              I think that you have said in many ways that those who fall prey to the scientology con are somehow deserving of the suffering and loss they suffer because they are mentally lazy or weak or whatever. I don’t have the time or inclination to go back and quote them — but there are lots of them and your statements this morning seem to be once again supporting this view.

              It is a viewpoint which is not either funny or interesting,

            • Kim O’Brien

              oh for crying out loud .

            • George Layton

              For some poor souls it is their whole world and keeps them from anything else in the world. That seems like a valid reason to be reckoning with it. Another part of the whole that the act of undue influence can be validated to those social scientists that Jon is referring to in his article.

    • pronoia

      So are you saying that everyone who struggles with mental illness is self-absorbed?

      Wow.

      • Kim O’Brien

        no ..of course not . Scientology makes a person self absorbed…and maybe even mentally ill . Combine the 2 and you get ppl who think that they have evil super powers and can’t leave the house . Or ..make them think that they are a Homo Novis

    • Truthiwant

      “I really think those that were in scientology for a looong time …are still kind of stuck in trying so hard to understand why …there MUST be a reason …a BIGGER reason , why they joined .”

      You want to have a laugh, Kim, and know why I stayed in for so long?

      Twenty nine years ago, I hooked up with a woman who was a Scientologist. I didn’t like Scientology, but I went along with it. I got married to this woman, and quite soon afterwards the marriage was on the rocks. By then, I thought that Scientology could actually help the marriage, and to cut a long story short, I spent the next twenty three years or so trying to make that happen. It sounds like a joke, I know, but Scientology was the last thing that was ever going to help the marriage.

      However, I believed, during this time, that it was the answer to all these marriage problems, but unknown to me, in reality, it was mostly the source of the problems. Now that says a lot for Hubbard’s 2nd dynamic tech!

      It took me time to understand this (about 25 years in all, but hey, who’s counting my grey hairs?) and to answer your question about what you call “The Bigger reason”, I would call that bigger reason ‘brainwashing’. Yes, I had no real idea what i was doing, but I went along with it all the same!

      It’s funny and it’s sad at the same time.

      • Kim O’Brien

        Sounds to me like you were a good man trying to keep a marriage together and did everything you could . I was willing to see a priest to keep my marriage together . Mine just did not last as long

        • Truthiwant

          I wish I had seen a priest. He probably would have told me to move to Australia or New Zealand or even further, if that’s possible.

          Scientology have a different method. They prey on marriages going wrong, and take all your money away from you with the false promises that going up the Bridge will resolve all your problems.

      • Baby

        The last thing your comment is Truth is a joke. xo baby

        • Anonymous

          Great post and story.

          Scientology is a lot like the old joke:

          Person: “What time is it?”

          Salesman: “What time do you want it to be?”

          Convincing someone that Scientology “has the answer” to whatever a person is focused on at a particular time (such as their ruin) is of course a well know technique.

          If that gets “handled” eventually the person begins to “focus” on new issues they never even thought about before…like getting rid of “engrams”…and then…”body thetans.”

          The hoax can go on for a LONG time.

          Which begs the question again…

          “What time do you want it to be?”

    • Baby

      ” It also goes after ppl who are not mentally stable . If a man will not
      go out of his home for 20 years because someone told him he was a danger
      to the world”

      Kim..I absolutely disagree with you. Scn. is a slowly indoctrinated set of hypnotic drills. It is like walking into a fog and not realizing it until you are half way through.

      Today with the internet people are not joining, but back in the day with civil discourse people were seeking a better life. You are being extremely judgmental.

      • Kim O’Brien

        OK ..good point . I can be judgmental but did you have free will and choice or not ?( really trying to understand ) If the answer is no ..then maybe that is why scientology cannot grow because a person needs to make a choice to convert to a religion . Millions join Islam / Christianity ..they study , convert , make a choice . Maybe the reason why scientology will never grow is because it preys on ppl to NOT make a choice ? ( did that make sense ? )

        • pronoia

          Perhaps if you can think of free will being more of a verb than a noun, you might understand a bit better. We all have the capacity to learn to exercise free will. It can also be (literally) beaten out of us. It is not a “thing” — it is a continuum. Our ability to recognize it and use it is based upon a complicated mixture of accident of birth (Saudi Arabia vs Sweden), genetics, childhood experience, education and accident of history. Just to name a few that come to mind just now.

          • Kim O’Brien

            ” of course we have free will ..we have no choice ” – Hitchens

            • pronoia

              A very Catholic point of view, by the way. I wonder if Hitchens was ever able to acknowledge that.

            • Kim O’Brien

              he laughed about it and called it irony

        • Sid

          I don’t think it’s so much of a ‘choice to convert to a religion’ as seeing something desirable being offered and going after it. Something like better memory or health, or whatever. By the time they might have found out it was a lie many have already been seduced by the indoctrination.

        • Baby

          Oh Kim.. I was being judgmental myself.

          Free Choice in the beginning of the Mind Fuck..called Scientology. ( Except for those of the 2nd generation )

    • Cosmo Pidgeon

      Whether you consider me a fool or not is irrelevant. The problem remains that when the fool {me} has realized he has been fooled and realized he made a bad “choice”. One can not simply leave. There are lots of people in the cult that have nothing better to do than to go after people who criticize them. Follow them, plant stories with employers and friends, go through trash looking for something anything to use. Sometimes going as far as trying to arrange car accidents etc.
      On the other hand the people carrying out these missions were at one time usually very bright and caring people who have been manipulated into believing and doing things quite out of character.They can be redeemed except for the few who are inherently criminal and would be engaging in such activity anyway. They are a small minority but seem to rise to the top.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent post Jon, thanks for your hard work and insights.

    Many people are probably familiar with the Rand Corporation. Rand describe themselves this way:

    “The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. RAND is
    nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest.”

    Rand has issued a study on the recruitment techniques and practices used by extremist groups to lure others into their fold and to then perform acts that otherwise would never have occurred to those so lured. Below is a slightly edited (by me) excerpt. The edits are indicated by curly brackets {***].

    Excerpt below from Rand report

    “It has long been known that effective recruitment ‘‘pitches’’ are tailored to the audience and its cultural, social, and historical context. For example, encouraging a youth to leave home and {join a religious} organization can be:

    (1) couched in {religious} terms if the youth’s family is a member of a privileged class, or (2) framed as a step in social advancement if the family is immigrant and struggling, or (3) characterized as a revolutionary act of self-discovery if the family is disapproving and must be circumvented.

    These are simple generic examples of ‘‘tuning’’ the pitch to the psychographic and demographic particulars of the audience and its environment. This tuning is especially necessary for marginal or illicit groups, whose recruiting is often undertaken in the teeth of governmental or other opposition. There is little room for error, and the consequences of failure can be severe.

    Less well appreciated than tuning is how these groups alter or adapt their own shape and patterns of activity to facilitate recruitment. For instance, when religious {or other} groups are banned from evangelizing on school campuses, they may disguise their activities by changing their names, dress, meeting places, use of language, types of activities, and timetable to avoid interference from authorities and yet maintain access to the target population. This organizational adaptation occurs across both regions and nodes e.g., prisons, schools, {etc.} ”

    Does the above sound familiar and similar to what Jon describes above? Maybe a bit like some of the techniques used by Scientology to recruit folks into the Sea Org?

    Interestingly, the Rand excerpt above comes is from chapter 5 in a longer report, but the relevant chapter is tilted “Al-Qaida: Terrorist Selection and Recruitment.” The entire chapter is at this link for those that have interest: http://www.rand.org/pubs/reprints/RP1214.html.

    The more one looks to the broader intellectual context into which Scientology falls, the smaller and more trifling the entire organization looks. If there is anything remarkable about what Hubbard put together, it is the sheer scale of the duplicity he employed while assembling both ancient and modern techniques of coercion and manipulation, then packaging up the whole thing, then disguising it as a religion so that he could personally benefit at great cost to others, with minimal interference from outside authorities.

  • Shannon#1

    Fantastic article. Jon, a magnificent tour de force.

  • With extremism on the rise around the planet…

    Christanic Republicanism in the United States is the worse it has ever been, with theocratic fascists wanting to control literally every single woman’s reproductive organs, among other things.

    Talk about undue influence, Christian terrorism in the United States harbors far greater threats to American rights, freedoms, and liberties than Islamic or Israeli terrorism, far greater threats to world safety than any threat other than bacterial or viral, second only to the consequences of a climate steadily rising 3C degrees above historic average, and rising faster than any other previously-recorded inter-glacial period.

    I mention this because Scientology is a minute problem in the world which disappears in to insignificance compared to the deadly and death-centric ideologies of actual religions. Scientology is basically Amway, Shacklee Products, the Shamwow of corporate criminal entities which exist entirely to lift money from the rubes, marks, and suckers under the guise of selling them worthless crap.

    The brainwashing, thought-stopping, primate behavior-altering, human rights abuses which Scientology commits against its customers is economic based crimes, and all such criminal enterprises — from the Italian Mafia to Mexican drug cartels — pale in to insignificance against the abject evil of real religions.

    Those of us who have counseled former cult members find it hard to understand the reluctance of some social scientists to accept the reality of exploitative persuasion.

    And when we read something like this, the answer of why they are reluctant to recognize or understand how people’s beliefs and behaviors are manipulated for the financial gains and power gains of criminals, it is because the vast majority of people working in the field are themselves adherents of a cult.

    Most therapists, counselors, psychiatrists et al. harbor occult deity delusions, and when they encounter victims of Scientology or other dangerous cults, they approach the problem with the baggage of their own unreal and irrational ideologies. In this country they’re mostly Christanic and believe that their “Satan” god or other Christian gods are responsible for evil men working for said malicious deity constructs, “leading the sheep astray” and that only Christianity can salvage said victims of Satan.

    Believing the lunacy of Scientology easily counts as a form of mental illness, for some victims it is a mild one, for others it is a profound one. Scientology disturbs the human psyche as a deliberate assault on people’s ability to reason with the consequences that victims hand over their money and their souls.

    In Middle Eastern countries and a great many African countries, such mental difficulties are often determined to be the consequences of the gods, goddesses, demigods, ghosts, demons, witches, spirits, and all the other insane shit that lurk in the dysfunctional brains of the therapists, counselors, psychiatrists et al. making the diagnosis.

    That is why so many people refuse to recognize or accept how or why Scientology can do what it does, they labor under their own deity delusions.

    • ze moo

      I agree that ‘deity delusions’ play a part in how everyone views the world. But much more of the problem is no one wants to admit that they can be swayed or manipulated.

  • Sergeant Pepper

    I have nothing to add which hasn’t already been said except tour de force! Thank you Jon Atack.

  • Baby

    ” But they were sold on the notion of perfect health, genius IQ and
    superhuman powers, not an exhausting and ceaseless round of servitude
    and hardship.”

    Absolutely this. Thank you for all your contributions Jon. This is really good!

  • flyonthewall

    I think this animation short perfectly illustrates Jon’s point, enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W-VGUOiVDc

    • Baby

      Yep.. This is great Fly..

      • flyonthewall

        HIGH FIVE!

        • Baby

          High Five staying alive..

          Give me 10 back again..

    • sookiesookie

      Stick-figure surrealist animated horror genre! Who knew?

  • Techie

    Festinger’s “When Prophecy Fails” is also a good on-the-ground reference on magical false knowledge. There is a chapter where he personally pretends to join the group, and is asked to contribute to the “mythos” himself, as a new inspired “witness”. The investigator is asked to join the investigated. These authoritative groups always seem to also use pretended knowledge, I guess it is to silence the natural skepticism that would otherwise be hard to overcome. What they offer is a simple answer to a complex question, like “the Jews/Communists/Capitaiists/Atheists/Religionists/NameYourPoison/ReactiveMind are responsible for all the ills of the world and we have the universal cure!” Once you swallow that pill it is a short route to authoritative restriction of access to alternative information. Then you are doomed. The defining characteristic of an authority is that he has all the answers, all those who doubt him are wrong, lost, cursed to the endless dark, alone. The truth is, there are a lot of complex questions in the world. Why did I survive when all my friends were lost? Why is my mother ill and likely to die? What did she do wrong to deserve that? How does so much evil succeed so well when the good fails so often? WTF? The problem with these questions is that they are often based on a false premise, such as “everything revolves around me and nothing happens to me without some cosmic eternal reason”. But they are vitally important questions to the questioner, and it will not be taken well if you simply point out that they are dumb questions in the first place. No, when the questioner on his quest for simple answers fails to find them in the University, on the lips of his friends and family or in the New York Times he will turn to those who declare authoritatively, with passion straining their voices, that they have all the answers. T’was ever thus. Whether this pretended knowledge comes from e-meter scouting of false memories, or from goofy long-disproved economical theories, from automatic writing like the saucer people in the cult Festinger investigated, or from channeling the dead, the important part is that it a. has some excuse for being true other than real scientific investigation b. answers the questions in a compelling way c. is offered with sincere passion by someone pretending authority. Relatively few of the readers of this blog have actually worked in the Sea Org, and even fewer at the Int base, so some reading this probably do not know how far authoritarian influence can go in the extremes. If you walked onto the Int base when I was there, 10 years ago, you would not find one person who would just leave with you to get free. Not even me, or Marc, though under a special combination of circumstances we did eventually break free. The authoritarian personal influence of Hubbard himself was gone for some 20 years at that time. The tin martinet Dave M holds authority with an iron fist when he can, but he is not personally always there. The chain of tears was set in place by Hubbard decades before, and works like this: a Flag Order says that Messengers are to be treated with respect. It was originally written when Middle School aged female Messengers would run around on the Apollo delivering orders direct from Ron. Unfortunately what it literally says is that when you are talking to a Messenger you are to act just as you would when you talk to Ron. Generations of pretend Messengers, some of whom actually did “work with Ron” others who are just appointed to that status or fought their way up the ranks are in that position. Quite a few of these are still at the Int Base, though they defer utterly to Dave M and would never try anything that he would not approve. If such an exalted being gives an order like “everybody in this room is staying up until this project is done” those in the room do not say “we would endanger our health to do that” or “I think it would be more effective to do the work in shifts so the workers are fresh” or any such CICS garbage. All you are allowed to say is “Yes Sir!” and if you do not say it fast enough or enthusiastically enough you get the serious stink eye and maybe even a “Severe Reality Adjustment”. That is the level of authoritarian influence that exists at the top level of Scientology. At a whim, and at any time, anyone in authority can legally take away your right to free time (not that there is any such in practice), bonuses (rare and intermittent in any case), pay ($46 a week at best, often $0 for months), remotely edible food, and a place to sleep that actually involves a mattress. If you persist in any slightest deviation from the authoritarian diktat of any of the tin pot dictators you can be sent to hours of writing up your crimes, or special demeaning projects, or be sent to work in PAC on furniture for the iRottenDeal Orgs. A few were sent to the so-called Suppressive Person Hole where the conditions were even worse. Under such conditions you are either a dedicated, sincere believing crushed slave or a dedicated sincere psychotic master. There is no room for anything in between. Neither type is going to just walk out unless they somehow briefly become convinced there is truly no hope of achieving their goals. What goals? The crushed slaves hope for less cruel masters and the psychotic masters are as happy as pigs in shit as long as they can duck the subpoenas. Does that sound like undue influence, oh sociologists on your ivory pedestals? Oh G-Men of the FBI?

    • pluvo

      I like to add this Orwellian masterpiece created by Hubbard:

      “Scientology’s Truth Rundown”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fjbt9gVFIX8

      • Techie

        True words from someone who has been through it. The only way out of these “Truth Rundown” or “False Data Stripping” indoctrination exercises is to realize you were wrong and Ron was right! And smile for the camera!

        • pluvo

          I was lucky, that I didn’t go through that (also I got ‘invited’ to do it during my ‘routing out time ‘- not a joke and a story for another time). I think I would have cracked. How can you get through that without getting mentally broken?
          I guess if you refused it,you were held till you gave in. Were there people who refused it on the RPF and got out?

          • Techie

            If you refuse anything on the RPF its RPF’s RPF where you just do disgusting hard labor in some awful place until you recant. Like the boiler room, or the bilges. But most of the time you just do the action and accept that you were wrong, and actually feel good about “getting your head straight” by installing another layer of cognitive dissonance avoidance. It gets weird when you have whackos like Dave M who will order “False Data Stripping” on something Hubbard never really wrote about. How do you get the “true data”? Who says it is true? What? To get out of that you just make up a line of bullsh** and confess to having wrongly believed it. Like so much in Scientology you just fake it ’til you make it.

      • FollowTheMoney

        Whatever happened to whats true for you is true?

        • pluvo

          Yep. Many contradictions to spin. I believe these contradictions in Scn lead to a mental blockage. I came recently to the conclusion that the “what is true for you, bla bla” was just one of the platitudes to lull you in. In actual fact it was more like “what is true for Hubbard, is true for you” – or you can go!

    • “Does that sound like undue influence, oh sociologists on your ivory pedestals?”

      One sociologist (the Canadian Stephen Kent)

      > Condemns the RPF for human rights abuses
      > Analyses it’s fraudulent adoption of religious cloaking
      > Analyses and condemns the way in which Scientology exploited celebrity members to try and influence German social policy
      > Analyses and condemns the treatment of children in the Sea Org
      > Diagnoses L Ron Hubbard (and his organisation) with “Malignant Narcissim”

      And much, much more. http://scicrit.wordpress.com/other-media/academic-papers/ And he is not alone.

      Other sociologists (like me) agree with him. Please, stop beating up on us 🙂

      • Techie

        I don’t mean to beat anyone up about it, I just get frustrated that it doesn’t seem to be taken seriously sometimes. Guess you had to be there. Thanks for your work and the excellent references you have gathered on your site. I look forward to your comments.

        • I know you didn’t (hence the :-). Just kidding.

          Besides, the biggest academic offender is one J Gordon Melton whose degree is in theology not social science at all.

          You are definitely taken seriously here – even the never-ins, like me, can imagine what your experience must have been like and condemn the CofS for inflicting it upon you. Admittedly, this is not the same as being there… but nothing could be. And we understand your frustration.

          Speaking out about, as you do, is bringing the day when it all ends closer. It is worthwhile.

          Festinger’s work is brilliant, and the concept of cognitive dissonance has been developed into a key tool of social psychology – one of many that may help you unravel your experience.

          • SP Wannabe

            “Speaking out about [CoS], as you do, is bringing the day when it all ends closer. It is worthwhile.” Yes yes yes, exactly. I’m another never-in, and I *couldn’t* have understood *any* of it if it weren’t for those who speak. All I really knew was Scn=Creepy until I took my first stumble down the rabbit hole with Tobin & Childs, courtesy of Rinder, Rathbun, Scobee et al. That led to Headley, Hawkins, Many, Atack, Miller, Urban, Reitman, Sweeney, Wright, etc. Those led to Ortega, de la Carriere, Augustine, Christman, and so on, which led to commenters by the hundreds. Now another dozen never-ins read as intensely as I do just from listening to me, and they in turn get others interested.

            Loose lips are sinking Hubbard’s ships. Keep talking!

            (Jon, this has to be one of your very best pieces. Thank you, and thanks to Tony for publishing it!)

      • romanesco

        I particularly like the part about malignant narcissism. As I see it, this is a set of behaviors and a way of thinking that can be learned. Ever since I’ve looked into Scientology, it’s often struck me as an institutionalized form of that disorder.

        • It is Kent’s argument (and my belief too) that Hubbard’s personality disorder was incorporated into the organisational structure of Scientology – he created a bureaucracy which treats people in the same way as he would have done.

          I’m unsure that a serious personality disorder can be ‘taught’ or induced into another person – in fact, I think that one of the reasons that such a high proportion of Scientologists leave is that they that a mentally healthy people who cannot live under those conditions.

          Of course this means that, over time, the organisation also recruits and accumulates people who find that this malign atmosphere suits them – and they rise to positions of power. If you create a narcissist organisation it will attract narcissists.

          This could explain why some Sea org ‘Officers’ seem to take advantage, and enjoy, their ‘duty’ to abuse people.

          • romanesco

            Yes, it’s certainly debatable whether one can learn to permanently abandon one’s empathy for others–a defining hallmark of NPD–but from personal experience, I’d say it’s definitely possible to pick up certain characteristics of the disorder. Maybe it’s a little fluffy of me to use a fictional example, but Lord of the Flies comes to mind.

            • Maybe that was about social collapse revealing the darkness that had been there all along, in some people. The hero’s of that book were the kids who held onto their civilised scruples despite everyting, and looked after each other.

              (BTW, if you like William Golding, and haven’t read his novel, “The Ends of the Earth” stop what you’re doing and get a copy right away).

    • Anonymous

      “…iRottenDeal Orgs…”

      Heh!

    • sookiesookie

      Techie, you’re an exceptional writer. I get a great deal out of your posts.

  • i-Betty

    We’re so lucky that Jon shares his work with Tony.

    The Mind Manipulators by William Sargant is available on Amazon US for around $55 – http://www.amazon.com/The-Mind-Manipulators-Non-fiction-Account/dp/0448229773

    There are several interesting PDFs about coercive persuasion available online.

  • Jon, that was just bloody brilliant!

    • Sid

      In my head I can actually hear an English accent in that statement.

  • Ardent

    Some days the Bunker just blows me away, and this is one of them. Thanks to Tony for giving us the opportunity to read Jon’s extraordinary and compelling essay. Absolutely brilliant, Jon!

  • Mooser

    “It has been accepted for centuries that anyone in authority has a
    special position. There is a presumption of undue influence. So, if you
    give a car, a house, or even a box of chocolates to your lawyer, to your
    priest or to your counsellor, you can claim it back. You don’t have to
    prove anything, and this law puts aside any need for guilt to be
    demonstrated. If you gave it away, you can claim it back, because of
    presumed undue influence.”

    That’s why there is so much uneaten chocolate at Father Brown’s house!

  • Gabbyone

    This was a GREAT post. Universities have become big business so I don’t believe that they are going to be interested in revealing the dark side of undue influence. I am encouraged by people who brilliantly incorporate entertainment with the message in such endeavors as the recently released “Searching for Katie”. It was so well done–Kudos to everyone involved in the making of it. I just hope that many young people will find it on Vimeo because it could save them from making a terrible mistake.

  • ze moo

    Well said Jon. “the essential aspect of reform is educational” love that line. The Bard himself would salute you.

  • ze moo

    The Tampa Bay Times has a nice editorial on the $cienos and the Aquarium project. Some great comments.

    http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-church-of-scientology-cannot-veto-clearwater-aquarium-project/2204606

    • chukicita

      Yes – especially the MARK BUNKER FOR MAYOR one!

  • Anonymous

    For the benefit of under-the radar Scientologist lurkers…Jon Atack made an excellent observation above:

    “Many leave [Scientology] with a terror of “losing their immortality” — the belief that they will fall into the abyss and be lost forever. With this phobia, the member’s fate is sealed.”

    This video below has been posted many times before, but as a reminder…these three people in this clip are among the most senior management in all of global Scientology. These three people and a tiny cabal of others, pretend that they have your “eternity” in their hands because they control delivery of the “OT levels.”

    Well…these three are living examples of what happens when you do the OT levels and dedicate your “eternity” to Scientology. It is not a particularly uplifting outcome…is it?

    Scientology has NOTHING to do with your eternity, or that of anyone else…that whole idea is simply a hoax…and a very expensive hoax at that.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG70fhg0wL4

    • Mark Foster

      BAM! Thanks for making that point, Anon. And utr´s/lurkers, dig the rough-and-tumble exchange of ideas, jokes, sources of information, opinions, and stories here! Soak it up, dare to doubt and ask questions, entertain some mysteries and hypotheses…*And may you never be the same!* Heh

    • ze moo

      As a never in I can’t understand why anyone would be afraid of losing ‘their eternity’. If you have reached OT 8, what does a cancelled certificate mean? If you acquired the knowledge, does it magically disappear just because DM shakes his finger at you? Ok, you lose the comradeship of other clams, but beyond that what happens if you have no other family in or don’t run a business with other clams?

      • Techie

        The Bridge is incomplete, OT VIII is not the top and does not guarantee eternal life with full recall from life to life. For a while Dave was promising OT IX and X but as near as I can tell that is an empty promise. The level of “Don’t care if I die ’cause I got it and even the implant stations on Mars can’t take it from me” does not exist. So by the cold logic of their own religion, all Scientologists have “lost their eternity” and nobody is going to get there unless Ron comes back from Target Two to make it all right again. But Scientologists don’t see it that way, they still cling to some hoped-for future tech breakthrough that will give them their “eternity” as long as they stick with it and toe the line. When they tell a wavering fellow Scientologist that they could “lose their eternity” they mean that the poor soul will not be around for that revelatory glorious epiphany, the “second coming of Ron”. Most Scientologists have never done the upper OT levels so don’t really know what all that means anyway, they’ve just heard the phrase and think it sounds right. Another lie within a lie to justify a lie from the lying liars that lie.

        • Anonymous

          Agree with all of the above.

          The other thing that is difficult to fathom (and to “unknow”) is that the people on this board who have spent a great deal of time studying the publicly available information about Scientology and it’s true history, know a great deal more about that true history than do all but a very tiny few inside the church.

          A public church member that knew what we / you know, would not last in the church because, (1) the spell would be broken and they would split or, (2) they would be ferreted out via the meter (or else-wise) and expelled.

          The very tiny few still inside the church that DO know the truth / history, are the operators of the scam.

          Those “operators” will be leaving either in handcuffs or at night, in the dark, via a fast jet, with several suitcases of cash that was not included in that which has already been wired offshore.

          • J. Swift

            Who are the operators of the scam?

            I have long called them The Shadowmen.

            Except for David Miscavige and a handful people inside of OSA Legal, the operators of the scam are, and always have been, non-Scientology attorneys in the employ of the Church. These non-Scientology Shadowmen serve at the will and pleasure of their intellectual inferior and moral equal David Miscavige.

            These non-Scientology scam operators write the contracts that allow the Cult to get away with murder. These scam-operating lawyers hire the PI firms who buy the phone records and other data that allow Church agents to Fair Game people.

            The entire premise of the scam is based upon having obtained, and hanging onto, religious tax exemption. Respectfully, arguing against “undue influence” in America does nothing to stop or impede the Scientology crime syndicate. The argument may work elsewhere but it will not work here.

            The entire scam collapses if the scam’s religious tax exemption is revoked. That is the goal. Until the goal is accomplished, the Cult must be taken to task for its human rights abuses and greed and its constant pattern of lying and fraud.

            While tax exemption is the Cult’s greatest defense, it has many weaknesses that can be exploited to its disadvantage. The Cult’s greatest weakness is its leader.

            • Anonymous

              Removing the tax exemption would certainly impede the flow of money, but as you have pointed out in the past (and I agree) the tax exemption is not the same thing as bona fide status as a religion. That bona fide status needs to go also.

              Either way, it may prove out that the shortest route to ending the abuses in the church is properly framed litigation, as hinted at in these two earlier posts:

              http://tonyortega.org/2014/11/01/john-atack-are-cult-members-like-those-in-scientology-unduly-influenced/#comment-1664804450

              http://tonyortega.org/2014/11/01/john-atack-are-cult-members-like-those-in-scientology-unduly-influenced/#comment-1664750629

              EDIT to add: What you are describing above with the Shadowmen is almost the EXACT legal definition of Racketeering and when the RICO statutes are finally applied, all those folks are likely to be rounded up at the same time. One or more of them might like to avoid the worst of the inevitable calamity by coming forward now with the appropriate information / documentation.

            • J. Swift

              Anonymous, the ideal scene is both RICO and Revocation, or the R2 Strategy.

              Here at R2 KARMA, research has been proceeding to develop a series of actions that establishes new standards for legal strategy, methodological leadership, and ontological excellence. With legal success as our primary focus, work has been proceeding on the finely conceived idea of an approach that would not only provide inverse ecclesiastical negation for use in civil and criminal actions, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing all litigation. Such an instrumentality comprised of lawsuits and grand juries is the ultimate R2 action.

              Now, basically the only new principle involved is that instead of litigation and indictments being generated by the relative motion of random lawsuits and informal investigations, it is produced by the modal interaction of governmental investigations and interstate and transnational lawsuits.

              The original premise had a base design of preconfigured go/no-go logics surmounted by a maximal logarithmic litigation strategy arranged in such a way that the two central actions were in direct line with the applicable civil and criminal codes.

              The new lineup consists simply of six causes of actions so fitted to the pseudo-ecclesiastical central shaft of the opponent that motions or objections are effectively defeated. The main argument is of the unexpected (code-named “lotus”) 0-Delta type placed in parallel action states being connected by a non-reversible funding pipeline to the differing facilities on the ‘up’ end of the exchanges.

              Moreover, whenever a forensic “score motion” is required, it may also be employed in conjunction with a given agency reciprocation to reduce oppositional resistance.

              The R2 KARMA has now reached a high level of development and it will be successfully used in the operation of Karmic operations.

            • Anonymous

              I hear a song coming on..

              I’m Waiting for the RICO Revocation…whoa..whoa..yeah…yeah

              Just waitin’, and countin’ on that Revocation…gonna come some day…

              I forget the rest of the words…but they will probably come back eventually…

            • Jon Atack

              I was bankrupted by legal costs, without ever getting anything to trial (though I helped win about 150 cases for other people), so I agree with Raymond Chandler, who had this to say about lawyers (in The Long Goodbye). The last sentence is particularly pertinent: Let the lawyers work it out. They write the law for other lawyers to dissect in front of other lawyers called judges so that other judges can say the first judges were wrong and the Supreme Court can say the second lot were wrong. Sure there’s such a thing as law. We’re up to our necks in it. About all it does is
              make business for lawyers. How long do you think the big-shot mobsters would last if the lawyers didn’t show them how to operate?

            • Anonymous

              BTW, a good place to decipher who the “Shadowmen” are, is this site from Gerry Armstrong and Caroline Letkeman: http://armstrong-op.gerryarmstrong.ca/.

              Some of the folks highlighted on the site have “switched sides” and some are no longer involved with Scientology, but the connections between the folks shown here (and a few not mentioned on the site) most likely illustrate a large portion of the spider web of internal scam operators, and their external professional (paid) enablers.

        • “The Bridge is incomplete,OT VIII is not the top and does not guarantee eternal life with full recall from life to life”.

          I have wondered about this – why do believers do not notice that young people are not turning up at Orgs either claiming to have been advanced Scientologists, or showing a knowledge that can only have been acquired through previous training.

          It’s a poor sort of immortality that leaves you with no memory of your present life – after all, we are the sum of our memories so, if we lose them all we are dead, for all practical purposes.

          This raises the question, ‘if you can’t carry your training over into the next life, why bother?’

          • Techie

            There used to be people claiming to have gone Clear in the last life. We heard about these once in a while. Sometimes someone would claim to be have been audited on Dianetics by Ron in the 40s or 50s. But the word is now that Dave M has cancelled these “past life clears”. I have met some that tearfully make that claim, but never any kind of objective proof. When you die, they seal up your folders in the hope that you will return and continue your journey up the Bridge. It is too bad these records are all “confidential” as if you could ever test such a person’s recall against the details recorded in the folders of the person they claimed to be in a prior life, you would have pretty good objective proof of the claims of “past lives”. The only “proof” Hubbard offered for past lives was the ridiculous “Mission Into Time” which is now expunged from the Scientology canon.Sadly the only time they release information from your folders is when they want to destroy your reputation.

            • “Past life clears”. That is amazing.

              You would think that this would potentially be a useful recruiting tool for people who the CofS really wanted to join… but, of course, with Miscavige cash trump absolutely everything.

              Also – “expunged from the canon”?! – I know that modern edition of Hubbards works are editied to remove the most outrageous examples of racism, misogyny and homophobia, but was not aware that a whole book had been consigned to the ‘memory hole’.

            • Techie

              I found “Mission Into Time” as one of the chapter titles in “L Ron Hubbard:Adventurer/Explorer”, part of the Ron series serialized biography (because nobody could put it together as a connected story without noticing the flaws like Russell Miller does). Don’t know if this is the full text of the book with the original pictures or just part of the text. Anyone looking into this will find the wild contradictions and implausibility of the claims just as Lawrence Wright did in his recent book. “Have you Lived Before this Life” is still available from Bridge Publications with its many implausible claims, but this book was not actually written by Ron and contains “Case Histories” without details. It is pretty useless as evidence because there is nothing remotely verifiable. In the earlier Scientology library there were several books not written directly by Ron but considered reference materials, including the Book Introducing the E-Meter, E-Meter Essentials, (both I believe to be mostly the work of Mary Sue Hubbard) and Understanding the E-Meter, compiled by Norman Starkey with my help on technical details. All gone now.

            • It is amazing how, even in the age of the Internet when scanned copies of first editions are freely available, how much of Hubbard’s work had been suppressed and how much has been altered.

              It is often said here, that the words of ‘source’ cannot be changed, Scientology ‘s inflexibility is its worst enemy. I have argued this myself. However, someone recently posted a link to this site http://www.truelrh.com/5005_DMSMH/alter_DMSMH.html which details all of the changes made in new editions, which not only remove his racism, homophobia and misogyny but also reverse the sense of many passages, to support the actions of the new management.

              It now seems to me that Hubbards work is being changed every day, to suit the present leadership. The problem for the CofS is that they are not imaginative or radical enough to do this properly, and survive.

              If Hubbard has been replaced by a good administrator with imagination and a steady nerve Scientology could have transformed itself and be much more powerful now. It is just as well that the organisation got what it deserved – David Miscavige – who is running it into the ground..

              BTW, Last time I looked, “Understanding the e-meter” was available from a site maintained by a defiant independent Scientologist http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/a-downloadable-scientology-publications-archive-2/ It is in the form of a HTML document which you can open, and page through, in your web browser.

              There is also a whole folder there devoted to ‘official’ books about Scientology written by people other than Hubbard, – books which were later purged from the canon.

            • Jon Atack

              The Tech volumes of the 70s had already begun this process, by editing out certain PABs. It was wise to stop numbering issues, as their disappearance becomes evident. But the earliest piece of editing I know of was in the 50s, when Hubbard’s lecture statement that ‘God just happens to be the trick of this universe’ disappeared. The book was called Notes on the Lectures (not the later book of the same title), and later became The Phoenix Lectures.

            • Jon Atack

              After DMSMH, Hubbard did not finish another book – even Mission Earth was finished by Vaughn Young. SOS was Richard de Mille (and How to Live Though an Executive), Alphia Hart compiled 8.80, poor John Sanborn was responsible for most of the rest (including changing ‘I am Maiteya’ to ‘Am I Maiteya’). Hubbard could not finish a cycle of action, which could be why the Bridge leads nowhere.

            • Jon Atack

              I went Clear in my next life.

          • romanesco

            Exactly. And why the billion-year contract? Why hasn’t anybody come back and claimed they already signed it, requesting credit for a few decades already served?

            • I think that would be a claim that the courts could legitimately stay out of – ‘I want the money I gave to you on account in a previous life back – plus 50 years compound interest’.

            • romanesco

              Looked at that way, yes. Just saying, it would surprise me if that question never crossed the mind of anyone signing the contract. Also, I believe Jason Beghe in one of his interviews with John Sweeney said he was told he was a “pre-clear”, meaning he was “cleared” in his past life.

            • I always thought ‘pre-clear’ was a designation for a beginner Scientologist (like ‘undergraduate’ refers to people who are studying for a degree, but have not passed yet) and people who had supposedly been cleared in a past life were called “Natural Clears”.

              It makes sense that Jason Beghe should be told this, in order to flatter him, and draw him in. This is probably reserved for celebrities whom they really want as members.

            • romanesco

              Sorry, I guess I got the terminology wrong. Maybe it was “past life clear. At any rate, the gist of it was that he was supposed to have been “cleared” in a previous life.

            • No – you’re probably right with “Past life clear”. “Natural clear” is someone who supposedly possesses that state without needing training. Which is to say that I’m not sure either…

            • Peter

              A “natural clear” was one who had gone clear without doing the Clearing Course. They may have had the cognition while doing some other auditing action.

            • daytoncapri

              TC’s father-in-law #1 explains how Clearing can be achieved free of charge.

              BTW-you strike me as a very helpful guy.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBojmmeepa4

            • sookiesookie

              Totally aside from the nonsense he’s spouting, I would think that the gross and constant lip/gum-smacking mouth noises would be an impediment to his ability to communicate with anyone on any topic at any time. I know I had to stop at 3 minutes in, just to avoid vomiting. Then again, I’m easily queased.

            • daytoncapri

              No snort tech though. (Inside joke.)

            • Thank you – so there never has been a case of someone walking into an Org and being declared to be already ‘clear’ – you always have to do some auditing to be declared a ‘natural clear’?

            • Peter

              Well, of course, OB! You don’t think they’d let the money opportunity go by, do you? LOL You would still have to do the Clearing Course. Of course, now that His Royal Heinie has declared all such certs null and void, one would have to do it all over again.

            • I think I’m clear… or at least people say that they can see right through me…

            • Peter

              ROFL! Funny line. I’d guess you’re much closer to clear than 99% of those currently in the chult…and that includes all the blinded parishioners currently dumping huge amounts of money in order to get their massive egos stroked with a worthless few words on a very cheap “certificate.”

            • Peter

              OB, your “pre-clear” designation is correct with a good simile to boot.

            • I have always thought that this what Hubbard had in mind when he coined the term – and his intention was to associate auditing with higher education in the hope that a little prestige would rub off.

            • Techie

              Well, the only credit you get for time served is a series of stars on your longevity campaign bar and a ring for 25 years in. The retirement plan is “work ’til you drop, a short leave to pick up a new body, rinse and repeat”.

        • L. Wrong Hubturd

          I always read about “most scientologists” not doing upper levels. Do you have any guess as to the overall percentage of upper level completions -vs- long-time members who have not?

          • Techie

            I don’t have any access to demographic info but I do know that out of about 54 staff at Gold when I got there in ’86 there were perhaps 3 on OT levels that I know of. When I left in 2004 I think there were maybe some 220 staff, and around 10 OTs. More OT levels in the higher orgs above Gold, but I don’t know how many. In my entire 30 year involvement I never got above the Scientology Drug Rundown, which is not even up to the Grades. As a public there is more motion on the Bridge but I was mostly on staff.

      • Cosmo Pidgeon

        Funny you say that because in my own case as an ex it finally dawned on me that no one owns my eternity, no one can sell me my eternity. It is mine to waste, squander, enjoy, observe be useful to my fellow man or whatever. No one owns me or holds the key. That was the most liberating realization of all . I don’t think there is any way of verifying the 99% figure that Mr Atack uses for ex’s remaining under the radar but I bet he is close. Most of us don’t want to deal with being followed, having our trash gone through etc. I is a very real fear. So I keep low, have no agenda of retribution or any plans of war with Scientology. For me it would be foolish. But fortunately for me as well I am well versed and familiar with the playbook having been on the other side . I would say in my case it is advisable to not poke the bear as I am retired and have the time to be a royal pain in the ass if need be. I consider that my protection.

        • Peter

          Nice cog, Cosmo. You are absolutely correct. I also objected to the idea or thought that anyone could possibly take away my “eternity”. I get it whether or not I do scio or not, as does everyone who walks by an org or mission without even looking in.

    • CobGatYour$$

      AMEN, ANONYMOUS!!!

    • Lady Squash

      So that’s what Total Spiritual Freedom looks like. Wow. I want some of that! Those people look happy, enlightened, calm and at peace. I’m feeling the love, how about you?

    • Jon Atack

      Well, as the Great OT said: all logic is based upon the somewhat idiotic circumstance
      that a being that is immortal is trying to survive – Scientology 8-8008.

      Or as another Great Something or Other said: Show me the money!

  • BosonStark

    On the aspect of Hubbard being an “authority” on the mind, or the man with all the answers, that’s a basic thing I questioned about Scientology and Hubbard, ever since I browsed through a copy of Dianutty, around the mid-’60s in the book section of a department store. I thought if this were true, that Hubbard’s ideas were of revolutionary importance, there would be all kinds of biographies on Hubbard, and much academic discussion of his ideas, as there was with Freud.

    Our first authority figures are our parents and questioning their authority comes on pretty early. An understanding of the times and circumstances in which they grew up came to me by adolescence, but for famous people, I relied on biographies, so I was very suspicious that there weren’t biographies of Hubbard. What were they hiding — a lot, it turns out.

    • Missionary Kid

      That’s a brilliant way to look at people. It can be wrong, because someone’s ideas are too revolutionary, but even then, there are usually biographies to read. Now, of course, they would be online, which has its own dangers.

      • BosonStark

        It wasn’t until around 1980 when Scientology hired non-Scientologist, Omar Garrison, to work on Hubbard’s biography, with the assistance of Sea Ogre, Gerry Armstrong doing research and collecting/archiving materials. What happened to all the “comm”?

        I guess what they realized is that the materials they gathered couldn’t be assembled into anything that would attract people to Scientology, and there would be too much conflict with documented facts, and what they said in their bloated PR about Ron already. There were also the myths and secrets surrounding Ron, which drew many in.

        So, bizarrely, when they finally did come out with something, it’s a 16-volume set, the Nutterpedia, which in spite of the library campaign is obviously designed for the hardcore cult members only, and published while the cult is in its death throes, mostly to get more money out of them. No one in their right mind is going to be fooled by Ron’s enormous impact in horticultural (tomato) research. What a joke!

        • Missionary Kid

          By making it a 16 volume set, it’s sure not to get wide dissemination, hence no real normal criticism of it, because it wouldn’t be popular outside of the cult, and no librarian in their right mind would put it on the shelf. Anyone looking for a biography of LRH would only find a listing for it online.

  • 1subgenius
    • “David Miscavige, the chairman of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS)”.

      Does the IAS even have a board for him to be chairman of, or where they just conflating COB RTC with his iron control of the IAS?

      • Mark Foster

        RM, did you see the bit about 7500 people attending the IAS event where he announced the plans for this new place?

        • Yes. I think I pointed out that AOSH Canada was bought over five years, with no signs of it opening. (7500 people in a 3000 tent, heh!) AOSH ANZO might make more business sense in that they won’t simply be subtracting from Flag and AOLA income, and who knows what’s happening in Taiwan these days.

      • chukicita

        I know they used to – but aren’t they all blown or in the Hole?

        I visited the IAS site to see if they publish a list of board members. No. But there’s this:

        MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS

        Churches of Scientology offer Members of the Association a discount of 10% on Scientology
        materials. They also offer members reduced donation rates for training and auditing services.

        As a further benefit, only members of the IAS are eligible for a sliding scale of donations
        on auditing, Training Scholarships and Professional Rates offered by Churches of Scientology.

        The IAS membership card which identifies and distinguishes you as a Lifetime Member
        of the IAS, eligible for membership benefits and privileges…Only valid members of the IAS may receive and maintain Scientology certificates per HCO PL 30 July 1962 “Certification and Validation requirements” [what?]

        Members of the Association have preferred admission to and seating at IAS-sponsored events.

        Only members of the IAS are eligible to become IAS Field Disseminators and therefore
        can participate in the Field Disseminator program.”

        So in order to become a Scn salesperson, you HAVE to belong to the IAS. In order to be certified in Scientology, you must be a card-carrying IAS member.

        Importantly, in order to qualify for “sliding scale of donations” on services (what the hell?), you have to cough up to IAS.

        Sounds more like a business/monopoly rather than a religion.

    • Graham

      “Chatswood West Progress Association member Ian Tanner, 71, who has lived in Millwood Ave for 36 years, said the development was better than new houses being built. “But they’re going to have 460 to 500 people on the site seven days a week so it’s going to be a busy little place.” ”

      500 people, seven days a week. Hmmm… ya think so?

      • 1subgenius

        Ummm, no, no I don’t
        And I always wondered about that new org (Atlanta area, maybe?) that a few years ago faced stiff local opposition because of, among other things, feared traffic congestion.
        I said, and thought, at the time, “I don’t think that’s gonna be a problem.”
        I wonder how it turned out. Probably never even raised the funds to complete it.
        But I always wondered about that one.

        • “They’re going to encourage people to use public transport.”

          A typical half-truth. Sea Org “pay” encourages staff to not be able to afford a car.

        • Robert Eckert

          They’re still raising funds for it, with what Tony calls the “greatest Scientology video ever”:

          http://tonyortega.org/2014/08/28/ladies-and-gentlemen-the-greatest-scientology-video-in-the-history-of-scientology-videos/

          We bilked this city! We bilked this city with rock’n’roll! Bilked this city…

          • 1subgenius

            I almost wanted to contact the locals to re-assure them that their fears about traffic were unfounded, but that was a two-edged sword.
            Multi-edged actually.
            I’m glad that the traffic woes there and in Australia won’t materialize, but I wish all those folks didn’t have to worry about it.

  • What’s wrong with a bit of Influence ?

    -Ron

    • 1subgenius

      “What’s wrong with a bit of flatulence ?”

      FIFY

    • Sid

      “It has been accepted for centuries that anyone in authority has a special position. There is a presumption of undue influence.” (refresh)

      • Sid

        I don’t know why both of these pictures showed up. Technical fail on my part.

        • Observer

          Wow, he really looks his age in that pic.

          • Michael Leonard Tilse

            Once his hair goes white he’ll look like Richard Gere.

            • you’re right! he is starting to look richard gere-ish! richard gere looks good for his age!

            • Captain Howdy

              He’s starting to look kinda Dustin Hoffman-ish to me.

            • i can see that too!! perhaps a gere-hoffman hybrid? though without the humor or charm!

      • Deeana

        Looks like his next surgery needs to be the neck surgery. I see the beginning of a turkey waddle.

        • Sid

          Auditing can fix that. He has BTs hanging from his chin.

        • Todd Tomorrow

          I know I’m one of those crazy conspiracy theorists but isn’t it strange that both him and his, BFF have both been going downhill quickly lately. Could it be they are breaking up or fighting and this has caused undue stress, which is showing in their faces. Or do you think that somebody sprayed the lube they share with the Ebola virus?

          • sookiesookie

            It could be that they are both traveling forward through time at the same rate. Just a theory. 🙂

      • Eivol Ekdal

        Has he been bobbing for medals in the oiliness table?

        • Sid

          Just naturally oily I think.

  • scnethics

    What a fantastic article! I agree that the key is education. In a population where the limitations of free will are well known, a cult stands little chance.

  • Observer

    I can offer tens of personal examples of vindictive attacks by
    Scientologists, most of whom have never read a single page of my work

    In b4troll!

    I learned the hard way that we are all capable of anything, even things we find morally reprehensible, under the right combination of circumstances and/or influence. Anyone who thinks they’re too smart or otherwise immune to being scammed is especially vulnerable.

    • Jimmy3

      I think this comment is a scam. I’m smart enough to upvote without reading.

      • ze moo

        You and Obs must join me in the George Orwell NotReading Room.

        • Jimmy3

          What is that? Sounds like a scam.

          • ze moo

            There is an extra cover charge for those move their lips while reading.

  • Panopea Abrupta

    Red-X Red-X Red-X

    Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, both the book and the documentary, are apposite, given Jon’s excellent essay. Aware, awake, critical and not cynical – it’s a difficult balance.
    Meanwhile, Craigslist needs a little sweep, after Hallowe’en:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-Kvg78kCcvo5gL7UfPcmhmbsagTNtdj0y2LAiHVFrCU/pubhtml#

    TICK TOCK, LilFiveOne
    This is for you:

  • Ellen Fürst

    If you try to argue like that, don`t you say: hey, we are no adults who make decisions on their own but children who didn`t know what we did? sorry but this is the conclusion. And how Long will it thake the cult to argue that leaving the cult was just because of undue influence by SP`s or Wogs or whatever and that this undue influence by These justifies e.g. disconnection? Don`you think you make yourself smaller than you are when you try to argue like this? Could cult members k n o w they are joining a cult? Not if it wasn`t mentioned that it is Scientology. Usually the cult is not known for “hey, we are Scientology, we like to put children in labour camps and are condemned due to fraud in France like our founder Hubbard. Would you like to join us?” Actually they are known for hiding Scientology with Narconon or “Jugend für Menschenrechte” or “Sag nein zu Drogen”. This is cheating -ok, that`s just my opinion-and somebody joining e.g. Narconon or “Sag nein zu Drogen” couldn`t know it is Scientology. What happended to Woodward was no undue influence this was coercion-that`s my opinion. Putting him in a room wih two Scientologists and at the end he was rid of his Money, his 411k is coercion I think and no “undue influence”. In this context “undue influence” sounds anyhow “innocent”. And what about the cult members harrassing e.g. the Rathburns? Is it just “undue influence”? Sounds a Little bit innocent in this context, too. Or is it just about harrassment, simply crime committed to protect e.g. RTC or financial interests? Perhaps it would work to make a difference between “simple cult members” , cult members like the ones who have the luxuary coffee and the spring water and undue influence and crime and harrassment. This was done after Second Wold War too. Well, I`m not about this. There shouldn`t have made a difference so far as Nazis are concerned but it was made. The so called “Mitläufer”. But and you forgot this aspect: what about Bonhoefer, Die Weisse Rose and all the ones who resisted the Nazis? They didn`t use “undue influence” or “hey, we didn`t know” If you try to have a look at stuff like this you can`t exclude this. And hey remember, you are adults. Maybe adults who were or are victims of a e.g. fraud b u t you are adults. And I know, all are pi** of now here.

    • Eileen

      No one is pi** off, you underestimate us.

    • i-Betty

      Aha, I recognise that typing – the unique spacing between letters instead of italics to add emphasis, the walls of rambling text 🙂 You’re the woman who tried to argue on Facebook that Sam (Domingo) Freeman was worthless for succumbing to the cult’s coerced abortion policy.

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151827216558275&set=gm.458501237551579&type=1

      • Ellen Fürst

        No, I didn`t. I just mentioned that if you don`t know nothing about the cult this Picture makes her look a Little bit….well, it`s not an advantageous Picture and maybe cult could use it against her…are you Mary Abadi? thanks for the “fu*** you*** you sent me on Facebook in 2013. And this time I just mentioned that this posting about “influence” is probably making the Job for an 10000 Dollar a day cults attourney. This is public and cult members are able to read just as cult attourneys and everybody else. I just imagined the possibilities like: “hey, my Client is innocent. He was influenced by the ghost of a dead cult Guru. He is not responsible for his Actions because it was influence.” Really, I doubt it was good idea to publish this here on Underground Bunker. If the “influence” idea should be discussed, do it on a Meeting. And I in fact doubt the “influence” and “innocent” and “not responsible” idea so far as it is not about “simple cult members” but about the ones who ordered e.g. the Rathburn harrassment, the ones who made Woodward loose his Money and the ones who watched Lisa McPherson die.

        • NOLAGirl

          Today’s post helps people affected by Scientology. No lawyer on either side is going to attempt the “influenced by a dead guru” defense in any court. I wouldn’t worry about it.

          • It’s all undue insouciance.

          • could you make heads or tails of what they wrote? my brain hurts now!! it really does!

        • Todd Tomorrow

          “do it on a meeting”..

        • i read both your posts and my brain hurts now…..have a l*vely weekend! t h e wea ther HERE is rather lemonish today, on the moors the wolves are howling and last year someone unknown messaged me “hi how *** you?” and i had to wrap the house in tin foil….i added magnets after that FoR added protection but then that wrecked havoc with my bank cards and computer…squeezing tomato juice onto leaking batteries makes a fizzy effect…my brain still hurts….i’m going to go try to treat it with a grilled cheese and some spicy black bean soup i found on clearance….

      • Ellen Fürst

        Okay, I`m out of this.

        I know nobody asked me for discussing on the Undergroundbunker and it was my decision to do so.

        So no “influence”…;-).

        And it`s my decision not to do this in the future anymore.

        Sorry but I`m fed up. Some of the ex-members -just some of them and I refuse to say ex-culties because I think ex-cultie is anyhow condescending- are like the cult.

        They got the ony truth. They got the only answers. They got the only truth about ex-members and leaving cults.

        And there is no other aspect or idea don`t you ask.

        Persons who ask don`t think they got the only truth. They try to learn, they have a different Point of view and why is this bad? Why is it bad to think hey, maybe talking to state atourney and Police first and write a book then could be better for lawsuits and lawsuits against the cult in General.

        Watched a Video with Karen and Mike yesterday. And I thought: hey, such a nice old man and he made me think of Santa. Guess it was because of the beard or because he`s not so thin…;-).

        It didn`t came to my mind that this nice old man making me think of Santa destroyed possible evidence related to Lisa McPhersons death.

        If this works, a former cult member, somebody destroying evidence in Lisa McPhersons case and now critic of the cult just noticed as nice old man, maybe this could work in General so far as the ex-member, never-in, critics stuff is concerned.

        So far as David Edgar Love and the Leahys are concerned: will always remember the “savin on the Budget” photo…;-)

        Really hope that Laura DeCreszenzo, Garcias, Woodward, Rathburns will win their lawsuits and get the justice they deserve.

        Nolagirl, one day we should think about pralines and Ghumbo and Alligator in Exchange for Apfelstrudel and Maroni…;-). Read your posting that you send the “Soul Food” to somebody…

        and Mary and the other ones having the only truth, actually even the right to be pretty aggressive, there`s a sentence used in Germany:

        Wir wünschen Ihnen für Ihren weiteren Lebensweg alles Gute.

        • Todd Tomorrow
        • Robert Eckert

          “and Mary and the other ones having the only truth”??? Nobody named Mary, and nobody claiming to have the only truth, has been on the Bunker today.

          “there`s a sentence used in Germany:
          Wir wünschen Ihnen für Ihren weiteren Lebensweg alles Gute”

          In the US South they just say “Bless your heart”

          • sookiesookie

            Okay, are you guys keeping this to yourselves on some sort of meeting? If Mary has the only truth, I need to meet her. Hook a sister up.

            • Robert Eckert

              I have no idea who this person thinks “Mary” is, or why this person thinks Mary has the only truth. If there’s a secret meeting, nobody sent me the memo, which is the story of my life (sob!)

        • i-Betty

          Watched a Video with Karen and Mike yesterday. And I thought: hey, such a nice old man and he made me think of Santa. Guess it was because of the beard or because he`s not so thin…;-).

          Yup, right there. The insult disguised as a compliment designed to degrade a human being. You’re rather good at those.

        • daytoncapri

          I like German things.

          If you had used paragraphs in your first post, it would have been much easier to follow.

          Please consider: One thought at a time per post helps to bring focus.

          Who is Mary?

          I stop here.

        • i-Betty

          Ich kenne euer Spiel und ich werde euch im Auge behalten.

  • ScooterLibbby

    If I came upon a $cilon recruiting table, & was asked my greatest fear, that’s an easy answer: It would be that I would agree to join $cientology!

  • Bob

    Jon, absolutely brilliant. Thanks for shedding more light on my journey to rid myself of the insidious cult programming. Your articles are like a cool breeze of rationality in the clam filled desert of Scultotology.

  • i-Betty

    If you want a bloody good laugh, and were wondering where the remainder of Xenu’s haemorrhoids from the IAS weekend went, then this is for you.

    I am crying with laughter at the intermittent popping sounds! Ah, Dublin protesters, you rock.

    http://youtu.be/a-oriJ1qUBI

    • Jimmy3

      Xenu balloons make me want Xenu grapes. Or Xenu Jell-O shots. Can we haz them?

    • DeElizabethan

      Fabulous day! What fun! A few of them smiled too.

      • i-Betty

        Dee, it’s the most normal and human I’ve ever seen them look. Isn’t life grand? 🙂

    • Deeana

      Ya gotta just love the creativity and sense of humor of the Irish “SPs”! This is hilarious!

    • Baby

      Betty Boop.. I followed you honey on your adventures..hahaa you looked so beautiful. I couldn’t comment that much because I was surrounded by my other LIFE.. ha

      but I was so envious. I would have loved to have been there. You are beautiful .. xo me

      • Baby

        My God I sound like a loon.. Could I say Hahha anymore than I did.. ugh

      • i-Betty

        Baby, you HAVE no life away from us! What is this ‘other life’ of which you speak? It’s an urban myth, let me tell you; a story made up to frighten children 😛

        Thank you for your lovely words, but I promise you I didn’t feel the slightest bit beautiful after 3 hours sleep, no hairbrush or make-up, a borrowed hat and trainers, and a trek through knee-high mud, but I didn’t care one bit because it was literally the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done. The people I did it with were very special and made it the unforgettable experience it was, but I was thinking about all my Bunker friends the whole weekend and wishing they could have been there, too. You would have been right in there being lovely to the Scis, I know 🙂

        x

        • Baby

          I would have loved to have been there.. I read every word..

          PS.. Beauty is in the eye of the SP..ha Blondie..

          PPS.. Dublin folks are CRAY cray huh? Our kind of people.. ha I just love them..

    • Sejanus

      There is no such thing as a real happy $cientologist is there.

  • DeElizabethan

    Thank you Jon Atack. You thoroughly got me on your explanation and helping me to understand my own plight. Even tho I was a public person, not staff, the same procedures apply. How one is deceived and you help in understanding how that happens. I also found your information about altitude to be new and exceptionally good.

  • NOLAGirl

    The link for this website has probably already been posted, but I’m reposting it because the Anna Paddock Halloween picture posted today is awesomeness. I’ll be giggling at the look on the little kids face all day. 🙂
    Sorry for the O/T. http://seccheck.wordpress.com/

    • i-Betty

      Beyond brilliant!

    • Cosmo Pidgeon

      I remember that woman…”Where are you from?”…”From around here..”

      • i-Betty

        She was the woman who accosted Mosey on her doorstep when she knew Marty was out of town, wasn’t she? And didn’t Mosey handle her with grace? 🙂

        • Todd Tomorrow

          yes she did.

        • beauty for ashes

          mosey seems to have a rare quality of moxie and grace! she should teach a class, “how to argue with crazy and stay sane!”

      • Robert Eckert

        She was so concerrrrrrned that Marty didn’t have the proper credentials.

        • Todd Tomorrow

          She was just being a snotty bitch, trying to impress, god knows who, with her indie squirel busting. Thought she could be the welcome wagon until she opened her trap!

    • Jimmy3

      Made my day. This needs to be in the Funnies.

      • NOLAGirl

        I want to put a little bubble over his head that says “What is this crap? I just wanted some Skittles!”

        • Jimmy3

          I think it calls for a caption contest.

          • Robert Eckert

            Shouldn’t have come for Skittles wearing a hoody.

          • NOLAGirl
            • Todd Tomorrow

              where Nola to #thestafflife? Lulz

          • i-Betty

            Pinching that…

          • HillieOnTheBeach

            “I think it calls for a caption contest.”

            This seemingly nice lady wouldn’t have preconceived, racist notions of my future, would she?

            • Juicer77

              She’s already picturing her clean floors. Yep, I said it.

    • i-Betty

      A great couple of comments from SPs 🙂

      Refresh:

      • Phil McKraken

        She’s the best. One of my favorite Scilons ever. An amazingly lifelike robot.

    • This site has not been around for long, and looks like it is well worth keeping an eye on.

      • NOLAGirl

        Agreed. They just put up a Halloween pic of Travolta. Looks like he got to break out his eyeliner last night. 🙂

      • Frodis73

        Also, there is a great video by Ted the atheist talking with two sci’s who did not know he was filming. It’s really good, esp his commentary to the camera at the end. 😀
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26t4P8ySnFM#t=1009

        • Baby

          OH good one doggie.. Thanks sweetie.. Here is a nice treat!

        • Todd Tomorrow

          Great interview! Sadly, he doesn’t realize these are slaves who trade their lives to learn this bullshit!

    • damn, that narCONon one! those tombstones could have been ‘real’ for all those who died there! and the cardones! Dafuq?! may they get an ancient egyptian curse!!

      scrolling down further….the Tatiana Zhelay–OT Freedom Fighter Forever poster, you see it has a HBO logo on the bottom? (posted 10/26), ah i see your comment saying they probably shooped her head onto a SJP poster…..

      • Todd Tomorrow

        Loved the, Halifax Mission Event (actual photo)

        • if only they could all be that way!

    • Juicer77

      Being a East Coast gal, I checked out the page for Baltimore Life Improvement Center. Facebook page content nearly zero. Lots of stolen photos from other sources, offers of courses but only one person posting 1 or 2 comments – obviously the page creator. No phone or email to contact them. Link to main Co$ page at top. There is no such physical facility on any search I conducted. Must have been a StatsThursday project.

  • Michael Leonard Tilse

    Thank you Jon. Wonderful enlightening piece that really points the way to understanding just how Scientology can cause the damage it does.

    One thing that occurs to me is that not only are the followers and staff in Scientology subject to undue influence, but police, judges and anyone who objects to it’s agenda are even more targeted, to influence them that there is no such thing as undue influence.

    Around and around the merry-go-round spins.

  • Gerard Plourde

    As Jon points out the concept of undue influence is well established in the law. The issue is one that often occurs in probate, which is my area of practice. While it might be slightly hyperbolic to raise a cause of action to reclaim the box of chocolates you gave to your clergyman, courts become very concerned when large gifts are made to people who occupy a position of trust or authority to the detriment of closer, more natural heirs (like immediate family members). I find it incomprehensible, but certainly credible, that some social scientists would ignore hard data that clearly supports the existence of the phenomenon, especially if it conflicts with their assumptions and conclusions.

  • Robert Eckert

    OT, just putting it out there:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjST_I5ZnvU

    • i-Betty

      I laughed a lot 😀

    • Missionary Kid

      Some of the other videos are pretty clever, too, like “How to write a Taylor Swift song.” I got a chuckle out of that one, too.

  • Mark

    (Refresh):

    • Baby

      Mark.. OH MY GOB .. Where the hell did you get his hair? I am saving this as my new screen saver . Do you mind? hahahah

      • Mark

        Don’t mind at all. It’s his own hairdo cut-out, mesh-warped and pasted back:

        • Baby

          MARKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK QUIT IT.. RUNNING TO BATHROOM..

        • D.Y.G.

          He’s starting to look a little like Liberace.

    • ze moo

      Great hair.

    • J. Swift

      I’d call the hair on Dave updoo influence.

  • Captain Howdy

    Jon covers a a lot of subjects in his essay. I found it kind of unwieldy, but that’s just me.

    I still keep coming back to the fact that the mind control/brainwashing/undue influence only worked on a very small percentage of those exposed to it.

    I think that the focus should be on what the 5% (or thereabouts) of the exposed population who joined groups like CofS, NSDAP or the Khmer Rouge have in common.

    • My intuition is that there are likely to be very few differences between those who joined the CofS and the general population. ‘Joiners’ might be marginally more idealistic, or liable to conform to social pressure – but I doubt even that.

      It seems more likely that they were just caught at a point in their life when they were looking for a meaningful occupation, disillusioned with everyday life, lonely &/or vulnerable (amplifying the effect of the ‘personality test’ finds their ‘ruin’).

      In other words, recruitment could happen to large numbers of people if they were in a vulnerable state – but only a tiny minority are in a vulnerable state when they are approached.

      • Captain Howdy

        The vast majority of people who tried scientology, the “spell’ didn’t work on them. Why?

        • Because they were not, at that time, in a state of mind that made them vulnerable to it.
          At least, according to my totally unsupported theory.

          The problem is that you can’t investigate this question until you can talk freely to committed Scientologists, ask them why it appealed to them, and get an honest answer.

          I’m not holding my breath for that.

        • Todd Tomorrow

          I’ve been trying to figure out why it sticks on smart people. It would be hard to figure out how many people get conned since they use so many different front groups. WISE, for instance uses a very different approach than the bloke who,”fails” their personality test. Then you have the conned actors who confessed too much about where they put their penis and are black mailed into staying in…

          • Smart people are better at coming up with convincing reasons, justifications and excuses for being trapped in cult addiction.

          • Captain Howdy

            I’ve known and observed more than a few Ivy League grads who ended up not being “smart” enough to avoid getting strung out on dope. Some of these folks didn’t have the common sense of a snail.

        • daytoncapri

          We learned some things, had some real or imagined wins, and so it looked
          good until the cognition that “I do not accept this.”

          Each person is unique and thus, each story is different.

          Those answers should not be hard to get.

          Pitfall: Have you made other posts that might make such people not want to communicate with you?

          • sookiesookie

            DC, your point here seems to be that we should be framing our comments in a way that neither offends or frightens people who are still inside Scientology, so that they’ll feel safe to read this website. I understand that approach if your goal is to reach as many Scientologists as possible and convince them to question — that’s noble.

            But 1) telling the truth and 2) asking honest questions, are things that can’t be improved upon (in my view). We may not all have the same agenda.

            • daytoncapri

              As for my approach as “noble”, thanks for the compliment 🙂

              We may not all have the same agenda. I n this thread, it started with the question of “why?” As I see it, a gentle touch very helpful towards getting an answer to “why.”

              is that noble? I dunno, but I think practical.

              As for agendas, I like TO’s statement of a couple days ago; Sookie, you are an active reader and already saw it, but I will this post as a convenience.

              I am impressed especially at the last sentence, but maybe that’s just me.

              “We find all of these stages of interest in Hubbard a fascinating
              continuum — from the curious dabbler just taking a first course, to the
              most hardcore Sea Org member cut off from friends and family, to the
              recent defector determined to return Scientology to its former glory, to
              the completely disaffected ex-member who now sees Hubbard as a
              charlatan. And we think every one of them ought to be heard from and
              understood, and on their terms.”

              http://tonyortega.org/2014/10/30/scientology-outside-the-official-church-im-quite-happy-with-the-world-the-way-it-is/

            • sookiesookie

              You’re right, I did see that, and I very much appreciate the way that Tony’s comment section is open to the testimonies of anyone.

              I might have misunderstood your comment to Captain Howdy; asking if he’d made other comments that might make people less-inclined to communicate with him sounded to me like you were suggesting he not express himself honestly, in order to create a comfortable format for UTR people to read/learn.

            • daytoncapri

              Fair enough. The question applies to anyone, no one individual. Sorry for my wording.

          • Captain Howdy

            Pardon me for not sticking to the script.

            • daytoncapri

              My apologies to you CH. I made an inappropriate post. Follow your own script.

        • J. Swift

          They had spellchecker.

    • Truthiwant

      I don’t agree with you that the mind control/brainwashing/undue influence only worked on a very small percentage of those exposed to Scientology.

      I was never a complete believer, but for sure, the organization had a control over me. It was almost hypnotic, even if I knew they were bullshitting a lot of the time.

      You have to distinguish between what an Org member or Sea Org member says to you and what you are indocrinated to believe as “Source”. For a long, long time I knew that what Org people said could be listened to or thrown away, BUT, the real structure of Scientology, that is, LRH’s writings, were indocrinated in to everybody’s mind to be factual and hence must be regarded as truth. This is what happened, and I openly admit to being indocrinated, however embarrassing it is to admit to. And I am not talking just for myself, but for many other people.

      Hence, I believe that the mindcontrol/brainwashing/undue influence was much greater than a small percentage as you say.

      I do agree, however, that Jon Atack’s essay touches too many different subjects, for what is in fact quite a brief essay and wanders a bit, with a conclusion that is far from satisfactory.

      • Captain Howdy

        The available stats say that 90+ % of those who tried scientology were gone within a year, if not much sooner.

        • Truthiwant

          Well heck, even I was gone within 25 years!

          But seriously, Captain, It’s not so much about percentages, as about what Scientology actually does to the mind of those people that do bite the bait.

          I think that who continues with Scientology comes down to them simply finding that you have a ruin. And they know that.

          Maybe 90% don’t have a ruin in the end and hence they are out.

          I had one, which I posted earlier, and it was a 2D problem. That was enough to keep me in for a quarter of a century!

          • Todd Tomorrow

            So glad that you can teach people how to not fall for their bullshit, moreover, I’m so glad you’re out and not rotting away in the RPF somewhere. You have a second chance at life and that is a luxury that some never figure out.

            • Truthiwant

              I wasn’t Sea Org, hence I couldn’t have rotted away in the RPF.

              I could have, however, rotted away in the course room or the auditing room and the truth is, there is no real difference between the RPF or normal Scientology . It’s all complete shit.

      • ze moo

        I thought Jon brought home the Bacon very nicely.

    • Michael Leonard Tilse

      Just a thought: Obviously people vary in their susceptibility. But I realize that Scientology is a patchwork of techniques of suggestion and influence that the members are trained to use on each other WITHOUT KNOWING THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE DOING. This fact alone might account for the seeming low level of conversion / control.

      While Hubbard certainly knew he was using carefully crafted hypnotic techniques to work his undue influence, he had to disguise them in his transmission of those techniques to his followers.

      Hubbard’s personal success in coercing his close contacts was, by all reports, very good. He had a very good idea of exactly what techniques to use and why. Many of those who worked closely with him are still in thrall to him and his memory decades later.

      The Derren Brown videos that Jon references in his piece are highly instructive. It shows an amazing amount of effectiveness. The is no reference as to how many he tested or attempted his techniques on that failed in relation to how many he succeeded with so a percentage of his “workability” is missing.

      But it is clear that it can be effective. It can work. Someone who really knows what they are doing can have profound effectiveness and can even get a person to believe criminal acts are within their moral code to do. Just as with some Scientologists who commit criminal acts believing that they are “for the greatest good for the greatest number.”

      Most despots and cult leaders have learned by accident the techniques they use to wield their undue influence. Even so, they can have a good level of skill, if not a scientific level understanding of what they do. So that might be a reason for a seeming low percentage of success.

      Hubbard even tried to communicate how to best exploit undue influence via his “survey tech.” Those questions are asked to discover the emotional connections of people or groups so they can be anchored to the message of Scientology. It is disguised as PR or advertising. But it is the same kind of seeking out of triggers and unconscious associations that Derren Brown demonstrates with his experiments.

      The ultimate of undue influence is to influence the target that everything he is doing at the behest of the operator/con man/preacher/hypnotist is completely his own independent idea.

    • Baby

      Howdy.. I remember you saying this before. It isn’t as cut and dry as this. MLT response is great.

  • J. Swift

    Another interesting essay by Jon Atack and I await his next book.

    In American law, undue influence and abuse deriving therefrom is recognized when it comes to fiduciary duty, the elderly, commercial purchase contracts that allow a revocation period, and many other areas where transactions occur. CPA’s, caregivers, automobile dealerships, and many other classes of people are subject to civil and/or criminal penalties for using undue influence, self-dealing, breach of fiduciary duty. etc. to exploit others for personal advantage.

    America. however, is a nation where the words “Freedom” and “Undue Influence” are too often conflated so as to become synonymous — and nowhere is this more true than in the constitutionally-protected bastion of religion.In other words, religions in America enjoy the freedom of seemingly unrestrained undue influence. For example, it is not against the law in America to give away all your money to a religious group. Happens all the time and nowhere is this more true than in the Church of Scientology.

    On the other hand, America is litigious and has very aggressive law enforcement. Religions can be sued for commercial fraud. Religious leaders can be arrested for sex abuse, rape, embezzlement, etc. Example: About eight years ago when “Google Alerts” were created, I created a daily alert using the search terms “pastor arrested.” I did this to research the frequency of pastors who were arrested. I also wanted to ascertain the crimes for which these religious leaders were arrested. To my initial surprise, I received daily alerts showing Christian pastors arrested all over America for three classes of crimes:

    1. Sexual abuse of young people in heir congregations. The foremost type of arrest is that of an older male pastor being arrested for sexually assaulting a minor female, i,e. statutory felony rape, sexual assault, etc.

    1A. The second leading type of arrest is a that of an older male pastor being arrested for sexually abusing a minor male, i,e. sexually assaulting a minor female, i,e. statutory felony rape, sexual assault, etc.

    1C. Caught in a prostitution sting. Apparently, some pastors are not studying the Bible in their free time.

    2. Embezzlement of church funds.

    2A. Theft of church property.

    2C. Swindling elderly church parishioners.

    2D. Swindling parishioners to invest in bogus financial schemes. Ponzi schemes, etc.

    3. Buying street drugs.

    4. Driving under the influence.

    Unsurprisingly, and to Atack’s point about disconfirmation bias, many congregations initially stand behind their pastors when these men are arrested. Some congregants then become disillusioned when prosecutors present damning evidence. Many churches break up and dissolve while others are taken over by a new leader.

    • Sid

      I’m setting my Google Alerts to “cult leader arrested”.

      • ze moo

        I am setting it to ‘Tom Cruise’s best friend arrested’.

    • Can you imagine anyone asking for their money back, within the seven day “cooling off” period, from Scientology? Me neither.

    • Jgg2012

      ” Religions can be sued for commercial fraud. Religious leaders can be arrested for sex abuse, rape, embezzlement, etc.” Right, it would violate the Constitution NOT to arrest them, i.e. to selectively permit them to do acts that others outside their religion cannot do. The Constitution does require that they not be arrested solely because of their beliefs. In other words, you can’t favor or discriminate against a pastor because of his religion. What you list there, of course, are laws of general applicability that everyone (even the President) would be subject to.

      • J. Swift

        I argue yes and no jgg2012 — and I realize you have greater knowledge than me in legal matters.

        Miscavige consigliere Yingling told CNN that the Church chose to handle felony assaults internally. Thus, because the victims were not allowed to press charges, because the Church engaged in obstruction of justice and called it “ecclesiastical” it did get away with violating laws of general applicability.

        The Church uses its “kidnap contract” to hold people against
        their will. The Sea Org imprisons people against their will by use of contracts. The “Gates of Hell” in the Church of Scientology are formed by contracts.

        The general intent of the Church of Scientology is, and has always been, to violate public policy when needed to achieve its own ends. The Church has clearly committed crimes for which anybody else would be arrested.

        Te general intenet of the Church is to conceal its crimes, circumvent the law, or otherwise use political influence, lawsuits, or PI’s, and whatever other forms of Fair Game are needed to impose its will upon others.

        • Gerard Plourde

          “Miscavige consigliere Yingling told CNN that the Church chose to handle felony assaults internally. Thus, because the victims were not allowed to press charges, because the Church engaged in obstruction of justice and called it “ecclesiastical” it did get away with violating laws of general applicability.”

          The hands of the authorities are tied because the victim won’t make a complaint or testify in court. You could say that religious belief is involved because the victim’s allegiance to the cult (either voluntary or more likely induced by the undue influence that Jon refers to) gets in the way.

        • Jgg2012

          Generally true. If you consent (contractually or otherwise) to something, it is not criminal. That’s why consensual sex is generally not rape a sexual assault, and yes, Scientology has lots of contracts. There are exceptions, however: a minor cannot consent to violations of labor law, consent induced by fraud is invalid (“you will get super powers”) and some things violate public policy. One judge said that the 80-hour work weeks fit into a ministerial exception. Well, divinity students DO work for free: they are adults (graduate students, usually) and they work up to 40 hours a week as part of their education, and have low tuition as a result. Big difference.

    • Anonymous

      “Therefore, I hope one day to receive the ultimate Google alert: David Miscavige arrested. ”

      Accompanied with a picture like this?

      • J. Swift

        Definitely a photo like that one. Miscavige doing the perp walk would make every Bunkerite an automatic OT VIII.

  • Pierrot

    *** RED X +–+ Reminder ***
    All ads collected in the Daily Wip are NEW or Freshly
    updated/refreshed/upgraded and are checked for Ids duplication.

    Slow Saturday in flagistan, 9 ads have been posted so far today.
    The West Coast could still surprise us, come back again at the
    Daily Wip every 2 to 3 hours.
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-Kvg78kCcvo5gL7UfPcmhmbsagTNtdj0y2LAiHVFrCU/pubhtml

    Ty AP: https://www.flickr.com/photos/120371503@N05/13156275813/in/set-72157642802079293

  • beauty for ashes

    enjoyed this fascinating conversation with old friends jon atack and steve hassan at freedom of mind site;
    its long (55 min.) great bunker reading day! some very salient points all around! made me wish i had more brain cells today! anyway here’s my contribution. have a lovely safe weekend everybody!

    http://vimeo.com/57494206

    • this is what it is (pic)

    • Baby

      Beauty this is a must see for all of us.. Seriously..

      Jon … and Steve together.. Wow. Fabulous combination . Great Questions ..great answers!

      • beauty for ashes

        yeah! the one thing i forgot to post about, was if we support jon atack, we might wish to buy his new edition, which i believe he will actually recieve royalties on.

    • DodoTheLaser

      This is great! Thanks, BFA!

      • beauty for ashes

        glad you like it dodo! 🙂

    • daytoncapri

      You have a knack for good posts.

      • beauty for ashes

        thank you! i do try to contribute for the greatest good of the bunker on all dimensions!

        • daytoncapri

          ha ha!

  • PP

    I would be very wary of using Derren Brown’s TV programmes, compelling though they may be , as any demonstration of hypnosis, Misdirection is not just slight of hand , but also in the explanations, eg look up “dual reality” if you want a hint of what his TV work may involve. As his sometimes hint of using NLP , things are not what they seem. His books eg Trick of the Mind has a bit more insight into his views on hypnosis.

  • Observer

    This is 100% OT, but I’m posting it anyway.

    Read the product description and then the reviews. I am crying.

    http://www.amazon.com/BIC-Cristal-1-0mm-Black-MSLP16-Blk/dp/B004F9QBE6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414772148&sr=8-1&keywords=bic+for+her#customerReviews

    • NOLAGirl

      I used one of these pens post-hysterectomy, and my uterus grew back. Thanks a lot, Bic. Thanks a whole hell of a lot.

      I am crying laughing over here! 🙂

    • Frodis73

      What a great find. Omg, lmao! Thanks so much for posting.

    • Anonymous

      Funny stuff.

      A bit of additional / related info (spoiler alert) :

      http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/may/05/amazon-spoof-reviews-satire

    • i-Betty

      Warning: These pens do NOT protect against bear-attacks due to their instinctive nature to attack women at that “time.” My family learned this the hard way during a tragic camping trip. To give my wife a break from all the cooking that occupies her mind, we took to the mountains, and because I’m generous I furnished her a Bic Cristal—both for writing me a thank you note and for bear protection. Then the bears came…at first I told the children not to worry and that Mommy’s Bic Cristal was all the help she needed. But the next morning she wasn’t there to make my breakfast, and all that was left was a badly chewed (but still working!) Bic Cristal.

      In the end I owe Bic my gratitude because I used the Cristal to write my (presumably dead) wife’s sister a note, and long story short—we’re about to celebrate our one-year anniversary! The kids and I are going to surprise new-Aunt/Mommy with a special trip to the Great Barrier Reef, so she can finally fulfill her dream of swimming with a great white shark. No cage, of course, just a Bic Crystal. (Hope it writes underwater!?)
      Rusty S

      I can’t find a switch to turn it on, and it didn’t come with batteries. This is not the “for her” product I was expecting. At all.

      M. Ashley

      Thanks Obs, I’ve not laughed so much since reading the Veet for Men reviews on Amazon!

    • Jo

      Obs, stumbled across this on FB, some strange pic’s and book covers. Thought they maybe good for shoops? Anyway, hope I’m not in trouble for posting a Ron link https://www.facebook.com/GalaxyPress/timeline

      • Observer

        Thanks, Jo, I’ll take a look!

  • Sejanus

    Jon as always you once again deliver with eloquence and thoughtfulness.
    Insight I gain from your writing is critical for a never in.

  • Anonymous

    Off-topic, but worth the 1 minute diversion it will take to read.

    The link below goes to a classic post by HelluvaHoax! over at ESMB. The post is among the funniest ever, from a very, very funny Scientology critic. The context for the gag is Hubbard’s untterly false assertion where he declared that “…the fees you pay for service do not go to me…” in the completely absurdly HCOB titled“What Your Fees Buy.”

    Check it out here:

    http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?37455-What-your-fees-buy&p=977581#post977581

    • Chee Chalker

      Lots of chatting on mike’s blog today about whether or not Hubs lied about taking $$……Mike pointed out that Hubs lived somewhat frugally (as compared to Dear Leader). I believe that Hubs stashed away millions in ill gotten gains, but did not necessarily live like a king. He lived more like Howard Hughes in his last days, with his long fingernails, surrounded by boxes of cash

      • Eileen

        I agree. Frugal is different than hoarding.

      • Anonymous

        It is probably a fair comparison to say that Hubbard lived “frugally” if one is using the current lifestyle of Miscavige as the yardstick. But Hubbard’s lifestyle compared to those in the Sea Org during his reign was equally asymmetrical. Why he was stashing away so much cash is a mystery…but what is clear is there was virtually nothing he could not buy if he felt like he needed to have it…and there are examples of excess that Mike carefully chooses not to mention.

        The conditions for the majority Sea Org members have not improved much…possibly a tiny bit…from Hubbard’s day if one is looking at the berthing and food. But the level of paranoia and physical abuse, which used to be primarily confined the the immediate vicinity of Hubbard, has both intensified greatly and been exported globally.

        If Scientology were being run by honest leadership, the living conditions, food, family and medical care provided for Sea Org staff would have been brought up above poverty levels a very long time before Miscavige ever built his $70 million Taj Mahal (and large empty) management office out at the INT Base. The Ideal Org real estate empire is similarly the plan of a megalomaniac, not a spiritual leader concerned with the welfare of others.

  • Sydjazz
    • BosonStark

      $37M for land in Australia! I remember when you could practically buy Australia for that.

      • Sydjazz

        Yep land prices are getting insane.

    • Captain Howdy

      Maybe the Demon Midget is moving to Oz.

      • Sydjazz

        Nooo we don’t want him. Guess it is easier to hide from the feds here

      • Baby

        Yep… Not followed by flying monkeys.. but by Flying Squirrels Howdy

    • Jimmy3

      Sounds like a great opportunity to hold a fundraiser or two.

    • Sydjazz
  • Johnny Tank (Forever Autumn)

    Alexa update for November 1: *refresh for images*

    Tony: US rank #30,178 – up 443 from yesterday. (Average rank last 3 months: 20,427)
    scientology: US rank #51,640 – up 1,979 from yesterday. (Average rank last 3 months: 61,611)

    Difference: 21,462 – 1,536 less than yesterday. (Average difference last 3 months: 41,183)

    Clicks from India – 7,2% today.

  • aegerprimo
    • i-Betty

      I love these round-ups you do 🙂

      • aegerprimo

        Thank you i-Betty!

    • NOLAGirl

      It’s a one stop shop for anyone just getting out who has been shielded from all those stories. Thanks for putting all that together AP.

      • aegerprimo

        That was my thought when I decided to do this thread beginning of the year! Thanx for noticing.

  • Axton

    “In altitude teaching, somebody is a ‘great authority.’ He is probably teaching some subject that is far more complex than it should be….

    … if the operator can heighten his own altitude with regard to the subject the same way, he doesn’t have to put
    the subject to sleep. What he says will still react as hypnotic suggestion.”

    I’ve always thought this particular quote is very important. Hubbard knew what he was doing when he was spouting nonsense…. he was hypnotizing the audience.

  • edge

    Excellent post today. The only thing worse than Hubbard’s nonsense about Xenu and space aliens was the nonsense that he should never be questioned or called out on it. He worked hard to make himself appear infallible by presenting himself as Master of an arcane, esoteric ‘Science’ that only he knew about.

    • Missionary Kid

      Of course, the “‘science’ that only he knew about” was no science at all, but total BS, If you make things up, you can make yourself infallible because only you know the answers to your own fake questions.

  • coco ebert

    Hello everyone. I’ve read the blog from time to time but never posted. I was just wondering if someone could clarify for me how to figure out if a company is Scientology owned or affiliated. I did some googling to no avail but thought some folks here could be of more help. Thanks!

    • I know there’s a WISE business directory, but there’s probably other ways to search/find…..does anyone know where the WISE directory is and/or how to search for people in the WISE organization?

      i sent coco over here, cuz i know y’all could probably help her out! 🙂

      • Vaquera

        Google scientology wise directory. The links pop right up.

    • i-Betty

      Hello, Coco. It’s lovely to meet you 🙂

      • coco ebert

        Hi, i-Betty! 🙂

    • Jimmy3

      Not all fronts will be listed on WISE the directory.

      You can look up their domain(s) name(s) registration info: http://www.whois.com/whois/

      Cross check names/address/phone number with Google and run names through http://www.truthaboutscientology.com

      Check any publicly available social media for potential connections.

      Seduce them with increasingly passionate email exchanges. Begin a long-term relationship with them. Ask if they’re a Scientologist running a Scientology front over coffee on a morning when they would least expect it. Gauge their reaction/body language for possible signs of lying. (hint: check for moving lips)

      But don’t go so far as to be a creepy stalker type.

      • coco ebert

        Thank you, Jimmy3!

        • Jimmy3

          Sure. And do it right. Grind your own fair trade beans and use a French press. None of that grocery store brand drip pot coffee BS.

    • Captain Howdy

      Go to Reaching for the Tipping Point. They specialize in narconon, but cover other stuff also.

      http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php?PHPSESSID=c56cdeeaea7ad30f55420eedaacc8095&amp;

    • Baby

      Welcome Coco.. We are crazy and love to help.. glad you joined.. Howdy has a good answer.

      • coco ebert

        Thank ya, Baby. 🙂

    • NOLAGirl

      Not sure if there will be any helpful info here but I searched the forums on ESMB for WISE and here are the results. Hope you find something there to assist you. http://www.forum.exscn.net/search.php?searchid=4941534&pp=

      • coco ebert

        Thanks NOLAGirl!

    • aegerprimo

      Hello and welcome Coco!

      The Ex-Scientologist Message Board (ESMB) has a whole section of threads dedicated to discussing all Co$ front groups.
      http://www.forum.exscn.net/forumdisplay.php?44-Scientology-front-groups

      • coco ebert

        Thank you, aegerprimo!

    • Robert Eckert

      Welcome!

      • coco ebert

        Thank you!

    • Douglas D. Douglas

      Great to have you here. Hope we see more of you.

      • coco ebert

        Thanks!

    • Jimmy3

      So, did you find anything out?

      • coco ebert

        Kind of. My husband figured out who the main actors in the business are and they are Scientologists and the business is located in Clearwater so… duh on us! 😀

    • Todd Tomorrow

      At, The Bunker we each own a percentage of non-voting, Class SP stock. Assholes even quit paying us dividends.

    • Sid

      Best is to just take the owner’s name and add Scientology into the search;

      Google: “John Doe” Scientology

  • Artoo45

    Splendid, sir. Simply splendid. We are lucky to have minds such as yours in our midst.

  • El_Jeffe

    Wow! Absolutely a cogent and well thought out article on the power and presence of manipulation. Well done, Jon! I could not read this article without thinking of all aspects of my life where “Higher Authority” has dictated to me what to think, what to believe, how to act, etc. From grade school, to the various churches I attended, to college, various jobs I have held, politics….you name it. There always seems to be an authority figure that wants to bend my will to their way of thinking and acting.
    I truly look forward to your new book – it will be ordered as soon as you put it out!

    • daytoncapri

      All of us are bigger fools than we think we are. Jon is on to something.

  • aegerprimo

    Excellent article Jon! Thank you. I look forward to your next book.

    Junk science is part of the (as you say) “spin and superficiality” of our culture as well. I was an engineering student when I read Dianetics and then immersed myself into Scientology. It seemed so scientific and based on research claims (and I assumed scientific method was used). Like you advise in you article, people should (but usually do not) develop critical thinking skills; people should question everything, and do their own research.

  • I’m posting this as I’d never seen pics of Krustie’s adopted kids before…. that is all

    • sookiesookie

      OT: it’s illegal to adorn lemurs in human raiment on Madagascar.

      • dox? lol.

        • sookiesookie

          You got me; acceptable truth in the service of low-level J & D.

    • Jimmy3

      Willie True and Lillie Price. It’s like she named her kids after characters in a failed The Price Is Right game.

      • DodoTheLaser

        Odd choice indeed. I would like to know Kirstie’s thought train at the time. I think.

    • Todd Tomorrow

      I thought she had a handsome son with, Parker? Was Parker a clam?

      • it’s amazing what you find…. googled a bit to put here from a 2001 People article on the Cruise/Kidman divorce and came across something I didn’t know before:

        “Actor Parker Stevenson has acknowledged religion played a part in his 1997 split from Kirstie Alley. (“It doesn’t help. I’m an Episcopalian, she’s a Scientologist. It’s different,” he told PEOPLE in 1999.) Scientology was brought up in the divorce proceedings of church member Lisa Marie Presley and former Jehovah’s Witness Michael Jackson. And in his 1997 divorce actor Tom Berenger claimed his Scientologist wife Lisa’s religious beliefs had been a factor in the breakup of their marriage.”

        ….. the Tom Berenger divorcing his wife because she was a clam is a new one for me…..

        http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20133731,00.html

        • Todd Tomorrow

          found you something below..

        • you gotta love the internet:

          “Nicole Kidman isn’t the only celebrity to call it quits over Scientology. Nope, thetans have broken up a lot of marriages. In 1997 Tom Berenger, famous for his roles in The Big Chill, Major League, and Platoon, divorced Lisa Williams, his wife of 11 years. According to reports, the marriage and his participation in Scientology ended when she started brainwashing their children into the cult. Berenger’s career went downhill following his public criticism of Scientology. In the late 90s, Berenger, then a good buddy of Tom Cruise, was quoted as saying “Once we convert Tom Selleck, the trio of Toms will bring true uplifting to the masses of The States.” Sadly, Selleck and Berenger being mentioned in league with Tom Cruise makes the 80s and 90s seem like ages ago.”

          pic

          “Berenger’s career went downhill following his public criticism of Scientology”
          I wonder if he was fair-gamed?

    • Todd Tomorrow

      Her son is in the, Vid of her opening her diet food store in, LA. Tricked by an Sp, he talks about his mom’s new health, chicken and waffle store. Think someone gets arrested. It’s on youtube. Organic lesions, i think the store WAS called.

    • Baby

      So glad they are adopted! Would hate to pass on her genetics ..

  • DodoTheLaser

    1000% off topic

    • Todd Tomorrow

      ?,D

    • Baby

      Dodo.. I have been reading your past comments honey.. I wasn’t going to comment because I wanted to give you space..

      Thinking of you .. xoxo baby

      PS I know the comment about your beautiful woman Red X picture hurt your feelings. You are so sensitive.. Just wanted you to know that I disagreed. I loved it, but couldn’t comment because I wasn’t signed on at my daughter’s at the time..

      But you are the nicest, sweetest man in the world.

      • DodoTheLaser

        Wow. Thank you, Baby. It’s very kind of you.

        • Baby

          It hurt me when I read it.. It was WAAAAAAAAAAAy over the top.. just wanted you to know how I felt then ( Sick to my stomach)

          and now… smooches… baby

        • Jimmy3

          Wait, people were giving you shit?

          • Jimmy3

            Never mind. I see now. I’m sorry, but that particular person is unhinged.

            • DodoTheLaser

              I don’t know that person personally and wish no harm to him/her regardless.

              Thank you for backing me up, but lets not assassinate characters and focus on their comments.

            • Jimmy3

              Sorry, Dodo, you’re right. But she has a history of bullshit and antagonization, and it needs to be said. To me, she’s no better than a troll. Yet, Espiando is the regular who is banned.

            • DodoTheLaser

              Valid points, Jimmy. We just need to try to be careful and considerate.
              Not that I need to tell you that. Thanks again.

            • Jimmy3

              I understand. I’m just pissed no one has found the waffles yet.

            • DodoTheLaser

              Do you like yours with Bacon?

            • Jimmy3

              Does the Pope shit in the woods?

            • Mark Foster

              J3, is that before or after the wank?

            • Baby

              Vulgar Jimmy.. Tsk tsk..

              Watchin my boyfriend Jason Beghe on Demand.. Chicago PD.. I have 2

              I missed.. YAY

            • Jo

              OT, but I just bought smoked ham philadelphia today, meat and cheese, maybe yum?

            • Baby

              ” Not that I need to tell you that. Thanks again.”

              You’re kidding right?

            • Baby

              I upvoted myself.. It was worth it..

              Jimmy I love picking on you.. cause you pick on me and it is all good.. We are both from Ohio.. and I know how you roll..

            • Jimmy3

              That is okay. Because I know, based on your picture, that you will be the first three year old to be diagnosed with emphysema.

            • Baby

              Hahahaah.. UH Hello I’m like 1 and a 1/2 !

              I hate to rub it in, but I am eating waffles right now..

            • Jimmy3

              Yeah, I didn’t mean your picture is a 3 year old, I meant that’s when it will happen. Also, waffles are for people who cannot pancake.

            • Baby

              Oh.. Then there’s that.. No waffles are for those who can go to the fridge pop them in the toaster and eat them in 5 minutes with butter and syrup.

              Pancakes..? Never been a fan.. I was raised on French Toast.. How cheap could a loaf of bread and eggs be back in the 50’s ?

            • Jimmy3

              I didn’t know there was bread in the 1950s. But I’m too tired to look it up. Gingham

            • Baby

              Hahahha DUH.. yes we rolled out of our caves and hit dough with our clubs silly

            • Baby

              I miss Espi and Cat Daddy.. ; /

            • Me too. The cat is around but I am more fond of his old persona

            • Jimmy3

              Cat Daddy posts here as ‘L. Ron Hubbard’ now. It’s not a secret. As long as he doesn’t wig out, there is no reason to drop the banhammer again.

            • shhhhhhhh

            • Jimmy3

              Is that a depiction of a sexy librarian? That is so inappropriate. I’m… I can’t even

            • Jimmy3

              Oh my god. Why can’t she decide if she wants to wear those glasses or not?

            • Baby

              JIMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMY.. Good God

            • Jimmy3

              I’m not ratting him out, he’s admitted it himself several times. Chill.

            • Baby

              I already took a Chill Pill.. ha.. Hasn’t kicked in yet.

              Damn I wish I had a beer.

            • Well that just shows I keep my head up my arse because I didn’t know that.

            • Jo

              night folks.

            • Todd Tomorrow

              She probably thinks the statue of, David is in bad taste. Probably, needs some loving!

            • Baby

              She was having a bad day.. That was so unlike her.. sigh.. I was absolutely crushed.

              I’m too damn sensitive.. I’m never offended if someone directs something at me. I have a big mouth.. and I can take it.. ( OMG that sounds so dirty..hahahahah)

              but Dodo..? Never deserves it.. Never ever.

        • Todd Tomorrow

          What happened, D? Everything ok?

          • DodoTheLaser

            Everything is fine. Thanks, Todd.

      • Captain Howdy

        I see the syrup…where’s the waffles?

        • Jimmy3

          This is exactly the right question. Where are all the damn waffles?

          • Captain Howdy

            So who went nuts on Dodo? Some PC douche?

            • Jimmy3
            • Todd Tomorrow

              Jesus, that one didn’t think the human body is art.

            • Captain Howdy

              Thanks…”glug, glug”..She’s a Shelia and likes a dust-up.

            • Baby

              OK .. I give.. What’s a Shelia.. I looked into the Urban Dictionary, but couldn’t find it. I could not be more unhip if I tried.

            • A female from Austraila

            • Baby

              How I lived 67 without knowing that I have no idea.. hahah Thanks Nat. Weird…

              I thought I was an expert on everything.. Who Knew?

            • Sydjazz

              Yeah not used much these days though

            • Any female. I use it because I have forgotten, or don’t give a shit enough to look up, someones name.

            • Come over here and say that.

            • Jo

              Had a linky look, not offended, weird.

            • giggler

              hope this doesnt offend anyone!!!!

            • DodoTheLaser

              Thank you. It’s also a good way to derail.

            • Baby

              I replied to her post… sigh.. I was more shocked than anything. I like her..

            • me too…. don’t think she’ll see the funny side of the pic I posted though

          • DodoTheLaser

            Waffles

        • Baby

          Hardy Har Har.. Although I do have waffles in the freezer.. BRB.. yummy

      • Todd Tomorrow

        Hey Baby, you say that to all the fellas.

        • DodoTheLaser

          Don’t be jelly bro, she is just the nicest, sweetest Baby in the world.
          And she has plenty of love for everyone. 🙂

          • Baby

            Awww Dodo.. You are so perceptive.. Ha..

            I do have plenty of love for everyone.. BUT.. they aren’t as sweet as you!

            • DodoTheLaser

              Look at my new toy, Baby! I know you will get it.
              Three days in and two packs of cigs less.

            • DodoTheLaser

              Hopefully not sideways this time..
              Took this photo ~10 minutes ago.

            • Baby

              BEAUTIFUL… absolutely beautiful.. When we went to the SP party in the Limo and went down to the big tent with Tony.. That was a year ago right? .. Woo Hoo..

            • DodoTheLaser

              Yeah! 🙂

            • Baby

              So are you doing OK with your Hookah? Are you feeling satisfied? I am happy for you. I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself.

            • DodoTheLaser

              Yes, it’s working. I am mixing low nicotine with zero nicotine, tobacco flavors.
              Little Java drops on occasion, to make it more interesting.

              I am happy for you too, Baby. Thank you!

            • Baby

              Hey Dodo.. If you are still craving smokes try raising the nicotine number.. JFYI

            • Pierrot

              Hi Dodo,

              I would like to keep this conversation away. About the non co$ ads problem.

              1. I will review the search/queries by keywords but still some will fall through the cracks.
              2. I would like to test a system with you where a team of people can ad links to a spread sheet so that these links would be removed from the various list.

              Here is the spreadsheet as per example col1 = link, col2 = y if the link is a counter ad. these links will be included in my nonco$ sheet and trigger a cleanup script.

              examine the Daily Wip and record the nonco$ links in the spread sheet.
              The other reports/schedules are simply extracts from the Daily Wip
              There are 3x an ad for contraceptive pill study.

              And here is the link to the Quality Control sheet.
              https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JeHAt90vgq-BXK0Pa0Bs_XCc70drm7m3DruKcBG5Yd8/edit#gid=0

            • Thanks, Pierrot.

              I will try to figure it out, it’s a new territory for me (the spreadsheet and the terms above).
              I bookmarked the link and will post any related questions here in future.
              Thank you for upping the quality and all your good work.

            • Pierrot

              For your information, here is the End of Day schedule as it stands (it can always be changed).
              Between 4:15 & 4:30 am last trawling for the previous days postings.
              The Daily Wip should then be examined for nonCo$ and links copied/pasted in the QualControl Sheet.
              Between 4:45 & 5:00am the various End of Day reports are produced & a clean up script activated.
              For safety another clean up script is scheduled for an hour later.

            • Thanks for this info.

            • Pierrot

              Hi Dodo,
              just to say thank you for your Master Pieces and to let you know that I will be on the road again from Monday 7am (est) to Thursday some time.
              I hope the trawling system will not let us down, I will probably be without internet access and be too tired after the long drives.
              Stay well, go well.

            • You are very welcome, Pierrot. Thank you for your kind words and all the stellar work.
              I trust Graham and Robert and I think it’s a good idea. They seem to have an eagle eye.
              Be safe, go well. So long.

            • ESL James dude #7 & 8 is a scilon?
              Either way, I am ify on this one. The service he promotes helps others to learn English.
              In my humble opinion, we should focus on scientology orgs and missions and not on individuals and their personal businesses.

            • Pierrot

              We have known for awhile that James is JJ (same testimonials) and do read some of the testimonials:

              “I worked with James for over a year. He was not only an excellent English teacher but also a life coach who helped me to overcome challenges in my work and in my life. I really appreciate what he taught me over the time we worked together. You will get more than you expect when you learn English with James.
              — Tiffany, Taiwan

              The telephone no. 617-945-5300 has been linked to jj and the Boston Org before.

              Some guy from Boston did comment a few months ago (when we had a special on JJ) to the fact that he met a Asiatic person who was learning english with JJ and was getting involved in scientology though JJ.
              I would agree that these guys have a right to earn an honest living but if they take the opportunity to disseminate scientology?

              The ESLCambridge.com is probably non co$ related, on the other hand both the CL ad & the website are anonymous?

            • Baby

              OH YAY DODO.. Woo Hoo.. I am so proud of you..

              See it’s not about the nicotine.. You can have the patches and gum etc. Smokers miss the ritual..

              Of holding a cigarette and inhaling and exhaling.. I will be vaping for life. I personally have no desire to stop.

              One day my battery died in my ‘ Hookah ” and I grabbed a hit off a cig my friend had.. same kind.. Marlboro lite

              I thought I would die.. It tasted so bad.. OMG BAD.. I couldn’t believe I used to smoke them.. Gross ..

              Also Dodo.. my breath is so much better.. I can vape anywhere.. In others houses.. in restaurants ( I vaped for an hr the other night in a restaurant.. )

              and the manager came up and politely asked me not to. No biggie..I just said, ” Oh I didn’t know..

              The key is JUST DON’T ASK..hahaha Yay I am so proud of you!

              and good God all the money you are saving.. Woo Hoo..

            • DodoTheLaser

              Thank you, sweetie. I need all the experience and advice I can get right now.
              And yours is very helpful!

              Three days ago, I used to smoke almost 2 packs a day (~30+ cigs), for about 25 years.
              Now it’s about half a pack (10 or less) in 24 hours. I am doing pretty good. 🙂

            • Baby

              2 packs.. since the age of 18.. so that’s like what.. 66- 18 = 48 years.

              I went to the Vapor forum to get advice.. Just google and it will come up ( I forget which one)

              I personally went a week with vaping ..no cigs and never looked back.. My hubby started vaping the same day as me.. and every once in awhile I’ll smell cigarettes on his breath..

              I would never criticize him.. I think he does it once in awhile fishing.. but no biggie.. Good Luck.

              I started with 2.4 or as they say ( 24) and I’m good now with 16.. but won’t go lower.

              My hubby and I chose the tobacco flavored most comparable to Marlboro lights.. I’m not into flavors.. Until last week..ha I tried root beer and I like it for a change of pace..

            • Baby

              2 packs in the last 2 years of my smoking.. Didn’t want to exaggerate.. but I do have an addictive personality.. OH Yay..haha

            • stillgrace2

              Dodo, my nickname in high school was Miss Goody Two Shoes yet I was not offended by the image you posted. I wanted to ask the young lady in the illustration where she bought her jacket and gloves. You just keep on rocking the bunker, Mr. Laser!

            • DodoTheLaser

              Thank you so much, Miss Stillgrace! 🙂

            • Baby

              Shit Grace.. I wanted to ask her where she got her Boobs!

            • stillgrace2

              Maybe I should have asked her if she’s wearing a wonder bra?

    • stillgrace2

      I see your 1000% and raise you another 10%. (F5)

      • DodoTheLaser

        Hahaha! Love it!

    • HillieOnTheBeach

      While we wait.

      http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/best-cat-pictures

      I recommend reading the “why it matters” descriptors under each pic. They’re often as funny as the pics themselves.

      • Number 35 is my favourite. Its a win for the kids and the shelter cats.
        32 is the cutest little kitty.

        • HillieOnTheBeach

          58 had me in stitches because I once did the same thing when my cat (subject of my avatar) was in a sorry predicament and I, too, fetched my camera first.

  • Lady Squash

    Wow, Jon. Just wow!!! So glad you raised all these points and stated them so clearly and passionately. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • DodoTheLaser

      It was posted earlier by “beauty for ashes” poster, but worth of a repost:
      “Jon Atack and Steve Hassan discuss his 2013 edition of his book, A Piece of Blue Sky”

      http://vimeo.com/57494206

  • After reading Jon’s post, Sci-Soph Cat has an epiphany (refresh)

    • DodoTheLaser

      Is that Bob Duggan’s cat?

      • YES!

        • DodoTheLaser

          I knew it!

          • If he doesn’t toe the line he may be sent to S. Africa . . .

            • DodoTheLaser

              Good one. Something tells me he will be fine though.

            • He has nine lives and learned by only wasting one on Scientology 🙂

            • DodoTheLaser

              Perfect. 🙂

            • You mean PURR-fect? Lol

  • Baby

    May I just add.. the night shift around this joint is Nuts.. You never know what we will come up with..haha.. I still wish I had a beer.. sigh.. Mich Ultra.. Cold. Iced cold.

    • Baby

      Hi Mark Foster! Always good to see you darlin..

      • Mark Foster

        Howdy 🙂 I was just reading about e-meters…Amazing, the bullshit powers assigned to them…

        • Baby

          Yep.. absolutely amazing.

  • Baby

    For all those waiting.. I love Alanzo.. So enjoy.. Baby

    http://www.alanzosblog.com/

    • Mark Foster

      good stuff, thanks 🙂

      • Baby

        I’ve always liked Alanzo.. He is a breath of fresh air… always..

        You are welcome. I just bookmarked it. Someone very special to me ( Rev. Dee) sent the link to me.

        • Mark Foster

          I am enjoying the site. Dude is articulate and funny. Thanks, Baaaaaaaaaaby!

          • Baby

            He is very funny Mark. Glad you are enjoying him..

    • giggler

      Newish name to me, but very enjoyable, thanks

      • Baby

        You are quite welcome giggler! ( Love your name..) ha..

        • giggler

          Thanks, I like a laugh

          • Baby

            When I was an artist I painted this .. I love word art..So I will give you a giggle today! The one on the easel is painted.. and I added stars to it for my grandkids with photoshop.. ( green frame) (refresh)

            • giggler

              Another thank you, they’re lovely tee hee

            • giggler

              Just what’s needed on a Monday morning

            • Baby

              Oh absolutely.. I am a big giggler..

    • daytoncapri

      Thank you.

      • Baby

        You are welcome dayton.. I am a heavy duty lurker..and love to share with the Bunker..

  • at last…. I have found my Nemesis!

    (pic)

  • Pierrot

    *** RED X +–+ RED X +–+RED X +–+ RED X *** Fun Sunday the 2nd of November

    Good morning and good week end to all the Early Birds and Night Owls,
    We outlanders got a bit confused with the time change!
    Here is the score : 73 for yesterday bringing our Last 4 Days to 397

    RedX spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-Kvg78kCcvo5gL7UfPcmhmbsagTNtdj0y2LAiHVFrCU/pubhtml

    The best is to flag every day the Last 4 Days (break it in smaller portion if it is too big to swallow in one go) then check the Daily Wip every 2 to 3 hours in the afternoon and evening.

    FREELOADER Debt is ILLEGAL and CAN’T BE ENFORCED.
    DON’T route out, BLOW, Get HELP, get OUT. CALL 1-866-XSEAORG

    Hi Dodo https://www.flickr.com/photos/120371503@N05/15575529991/in/set-72157642802079293

  • Baby

    Courtesy of black Rob.. Does this Scn. have a Tin Foil Hat? bawwwwwwhahahaha refresh..

    • DodoTheLaser

      Just wow.

    • Mark Foster

      …this special head apparatus increases the volume, color ,and clarity of the wearer´s theta perceptics, thus putting him in greater KFC with his uncooked meat prospect…and there are reports trickling in that it also increases the heft and girth of the male PHRASE REDACTED

    • MaxSpaceman

      Yo B- can you post a link to a coupla few BlackRob threads? Everytime I go to search for his postings, I can’t find them. I have 0 aptitude at esmb and wwp. Thanx.

      • Baby

        Oh sure Max.. You know I always google.. I have a thetan who does things to my mirror.. and it comes right up.. enjoy..xoxo baby

        ( PS I can never find it either at WWP.. weird, huh.. So bookmark it sweetie.. It’s easier! xo)

        https://whyweprotest.net/threads/i-have-a-thetan-who-does-things-to-my-mirror-and-its-annoying-what-should-i-do.105033/page-111

        • MaxSpaceman

          thanx, I will bkmrk. When I googled him, I didn’t get results I needed. Not enuf coffee yet methinks. (Btw, I quit 2 1/2 packs per day smoking for 30 years. I knew it was killing me as there were so many signs, so rather than let the tobacco companies killl me while I paid them to, I cold-turkeyed. It was hellish for many many months, then it got easier, then even easier.

          • Baby

            Yay.. good for you Max..WOW ..I am so proud of you.. That is a bitch of a cold turkey.. ugh..

          • i-Betty

            Well done! Both Baby and I quit fairly recently 🙂

            • MaxSpaceman

              stay with it ! and don’t go back to it ! toxic stinking Sticks of Death !!
              //end rant//

    • Toronto actually has a Mark 8 EasyBake Ultra?

      • aegerprimo

        The woo is extreme!

  • Baby

    Scientology,
    how about that? You hold on to the tin cans and then this guy asks you a
    bunch of questions, and if you pay enough money you get to join the
    master race. How’s that for a religion?

    — Frank Zappa, to a concert audience at the Rockpile, Toronto, May 1969

    • Mark Foster

      “The device should bear a prominent, clearly visible notice warning that any person using it for auditing or counseling of any kind is forbidden by law to represent that there is any medical or scientific basis for believing or asserting that the device is useful in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of any disease. It should be noted in the warning that the device has been condemned by a United States District court for misrepresentation and misbranding under the Food and Drug laws, that use is permitted only as part of religious activity, and that the E-meter is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily functions of anyone…….each user, purchaser, and distributee of the E-meter shall sign a written statement that he has read such a warning and understands its contents and such statements shall be preserved” (United States of America, Libelant, v. An Article or Device… “Hubbard Electrometer” or “Hubbard E-Meter” etc., Founding Church of Scientology et al., Claimants, No. D.C. 1-63, United States District Court, District of Columbia, July 30, 1971 (333 F. Supp. 357).

      • Baby

        Absolutely Mark.. Amen!

        • Mark Foster

          Baby, do the new e-meters toast waffles???

  • Baby

    While you are waiting.. Steve Hassan and his journey through the Moonie..

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/sep/03/moonie-cult-leader

  • Xique

    Thanks for this piece Jon Atack. You are awfully good at spelling out all of this intriguing information. Some of this brought me back in time to when I was a young disseminator , studying the tone scale , finding peoples ruins , reading from the book Big League Sales, all while my folks were pleading for me to wake up and go back to college or just come home. I was being manipulated and was manipulating others. As far as Serenity of Beingness in Scientology, never in a billion years.
    Love the Oscar Wilde quote “disobedience is Man’s original virtue.” , good one!

  • Mike Leopold

    Freedom of choice implies that some will choose poorly, and an enlightened society practices full disclosure of the adverse effects of those poor choices. Scientology, like other toxic entities, should come with a mandatory WARNING LABEL: SCIENTOLOGY HAS BEEN FOUND TO BREAK-UP AND BANKRUPT FAMILIES, AND ENGAGES IN A FORM OF EXORCISM. SCIENTOLOGY PROMISES OF PSYCHIC OR SUPER-HUMAN ABILITIES HAVE NEVER BEEN SCIENTIFICALLY SHOWN TO EXIST.

  • 0tessa

    It toke me a while to digest the article of Jon Atack. But then I realized how important the subject matter is in our world, governed by spin as we are. The ‘spin’ of the Scientology cult is just one of many examples.
    What I would like to mention specifically is the fact that undue influence or exploitational persuasion diminishes the willpower of the victim. This especially applies to the Sea Org members, the ‘soldiers’ of the Scientology cult. These members are not only victims of mental exploitation but also of torture. It is broadly accepted and proven that sleep deprivation is torture. What it has in common with undue influence and exploitational persuation is that it also undermines the willpower, and even more so. That means that Sea Org members are deprived of their ability to make decisions for themselves to a very high level. To a level that they can be made to do criminal activities. As has been happening in the past and is still happening today. The soldiers of Scientology are a corps dealing in a mental war with the world, you and me.
    The Scientology cult is an army, financially disguised as a New Religion. The IS uses real weapons. Scientology uses mental weapons that are far more insidious and dangerous, because they are invisible.

    • Baby

      Excellent Otessa..

    • giggler

      Spot on

  • Really nice to see the argument going beyond the Scn tempest in a teapot scale. I agree totally that education is the route out. Also MAD magazine that unknowingly helped me from around the age of 8 to distrust all authority.

  • Dorothy Gale

    By far one of the best articles ever!

  • Northwindhermit

    Bravo,
    Jon! Thank you for the research.