It was a real highlight for us to meet for the first time a frequent contributor to the Underground Bunker, former Sea Org worker Chris Shelton. We asked him to give us a report about his first day speaking at the Toronto conference yesterday. Here’s what he sent us.
Attending the Getting Clear conference here in Toronto has been a bit of a dream come true for me. I’ve finally met some of the real stars in the ex-Scientology community who have been kind of like legends to me for the past two years: Hana Eltringham Whitfield, Paulette Cooper, Nancy Many, Gerry Armstrong, Spanky Taylor, Jesse Prince, Jon Atack and our proprietor.
In the years I was in Scientology, I always made it a point to ask those who had worked with L. Ron Hubbard what he was really like in person. This probably happened with about 15 or so people throughout that time and one-for-one, without fail, I would be regaled with tales of wonder and delight at what presence and intention and charisma LRH exuded. They would describe to me how he was the most powerful being they’d ever met, but at the same time how he always took such pains to “grant beingness” to us lesser mortals and go out of his way to make people he spoke with feel safe and appreciated. It never ceased to amaze me what an impression he made and what an obviously intense and amazing individual he must have been. They never failed to comment on his compassion and how nice he was and how he went so far out of his way to see to the welfare of his staff.
The people in Toronto who knew Hubbard, some of whom had worked with and around the man for years, gave me a very different picture. It wasn’t because these people have grown to hate or revile him, because none of the people I met actually felt that way. Instead, I finally got the story straight, unfiltered by the adulation and hero worship that so saturates every cult member towards their leader. Needless to say, I got a very different picture of what he was like and his God-like status has been correctly brought down to that of a real human being who had petty foibles and problems just like the rest of us.
As to the event itself, the stories and information related by the speakers thus far, after only two days, has been eye-opening and in some cases, down right astonishing. While I certainly knew some of this information, many of the details escaped me in my earlier research, and I also came to find that there were whole years of Scientology history I knew almost nothing about. I’ve had some key details also filled in about David Miscavige’s takeover in the mid-80s and how his coup actually went down.
I’d say this has been the best “Scientology event” I’ve ever been to, mainly of course because I’m finally getting straight shots of unfiltered truth about Scientology versus the bloviated Shermanspeak propaganda that Miscavige spews. And of course, we aren’t standing up every 10 minutes applauding COB’s greatness.
On Tuesday, I gave the first of my three talks, this one about the Truth Rundown. I don’t think from what I’ve seen and heard that very many people in and out of Scietology are even aware that there is a Scientology auditing action called the Truth Rundown, which is where the St Petersburg Times got their headline for their thorough expose in 2009.
While I won’t pretend to give a full briefing on it here, let me tell you a little bit about this action, since I happen to think it is the single most insidious and damaging of all of Scientology’s mind control procedures.
The purpose of the Truth Rundown is to handle “black PR” a person has been spreading about Scientology or its executives or members. For example, if someone were going around saying that staff of Scientology orgs don’t ever get paid, that would obviously create a bad impression of Scientology and people would not so easily be recruited to work there. This would be considered “black PR” even though it does happen to mainly be a true statement. Another example could be spreading that “Miscavige beats his staff.” Anything that basically demeans Scientology or is directly critical of its organizations, leaders, members or the subject itself is basically considered “black PR.”
The Truth Rundown is delivered as a kind of security checking or confessional, meaning that it is a way of getting a person to confess their crimes or sins (overts) to an auditor.
I want to be clear that the Truth Rundown is rarely talked about, mainly because so few people even know about it. Even in the Scientology bubble world, only select Sea Org members receive this action, mostly on the RPF. I only know of one actual instance where a non-staff (public) person received this.
People talk about how auditing can be a form of hypnosis or appeals to false memory by addressing imaginary “whole track” incidents from millions of years ago, but I think the TRD has them all beat. The Truth Rundown is a kind of Maoist reconditioning.
Rather than describe in detail how the TRD is delivered, I’ll instead link to an interview that Bruce Hines gave to Mark Bunker back in 2013 where he laid it out in full.
Because of the way it is run, each wrongful action they take up has to be a “serious” overt and it has to be something the person did which is directly on the subject matter of the black PR he was spreading. In other words, if a person was saying “the staff don’t ever get paid” then he better come up with an overt (confess to a “crime”) along the lines of stealing the org’s payroll or robbing another staff member of his pay. The auditor is directed to not take up any “non-serious” overts or any overts that don’t have anything to do with the black PR.
Its end result is not just a person confessing that they did some things wrong; it’s convincing himself that he didn’t actually see what he saw and that he has been deluding himself all this time, that he’s only been spreading this “black PR” because of his own evil activity and that the black PR never even happened.
So what you have is a methodology that literally re-writes a person’s memories so they feel that horrifying abuses which happened to them in Scientology didn’t actually happen and puts in its place the idea that the person himself did purposefully evil and destructive actions.
If that isn’t the ultimate in mind control, I don’t know what is
— Chris Shelton
We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.
Our upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…
June 28: Clearwater, Florida (with Paulette Cooper) Clearwater Public Library, 2 pm, sponsored by Center for Inquiry-Tampa Bay and the Humanist Society of the Suncoast.
July 12: Washington DC, Center for Inquiry (with Paulette Cooper)
July 14: Hartford, MARK TWAIN HOUSE (with Tom Tomorrow)
July 17: Denver, The Secular Hub, 7 pm (with Chris Shelton)
July 20: Dallas, Times Ten Cellar, 7 pm (with Robert Wilonsky)
July 22: Houston, Fox and Hound, 11470 Westheimer Road, sponsored by Humanists of Houston
July 24: San Antonio
July 25: Austin
July 29: Paris (with Jonny Jacobsen)
August 4: London (with John Sweeney)
August 24: Boston, Boston Skeptics in the Pub, 7 pm
September 16: Arizona State University
Posted by Tony Ortega on June 24, 2015 at 07:00
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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield