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How Scientology ‘ethics’ creates your very own Truman Show

TrumanShowJefferson Hawkins was once the top marketing executive for the Church of Scientology and helped it reach its greatest extent with the famous “volcano” TV ads in the 1980s. He’s told his tale of getting into and out of the church with his excellent books Counterfeit Dreams and Leaving Scientology, and he’s helping us understand the upside-down world of Scientology “ethics.”

Where are you taking us this week, Jeff?

JEFFERSON: This week we’ll be looking at Chapter 8 of Introduction to Scientology Ethics, which is called “Ethics in Scientology Organizations,” and contains a somewhat random collection of L. Ron Hubbard’s “Policy Letters” on the theme of the role of Ethics, and the Ethics Officer, in a Scientology Org.

It’s fascinating for me to review these Policy Letters newly, after nearly nine years out of Scientology. When I was at the Int Base, I was made to read and re-read the Ethics book, cover to cover, maybe 20 or 25 times, to make sure I “got it.” I could practically recite it. And yet, looking it over newly, I can see a lot of things I missed or chose not to think about at the time.

THE BUNKER: For example?

Jefferson_Hawkins_ObeyJEFFERSON: Well, Hubbard begins this section with an essay called “Scientology Makes a Safe Environment” — which sounds great when you are a Scientologist. Who wouldn’t want an environment where you would feel safe from danger, injustice, violence, “sudden dismissals” and so on. But when I think about it, I rarely felt safe as a staff member in a Scientology Org, and particularly at the Int Base, which was the most unsafe place I’ve ever known. Staff there lived under constant threat of injustice, violence, and abuse. It occurred to me in restudying this section that Hubbard may have had a different idea about what constitutes a “safe environment,” and the role of Scientology Ethics in achieving that.


It becomes obvious in going through this chapter that by “safe,” Hubbard means free from SPs, PTSes, “enturbulation” and “entheta.”

THE BUNKER: Let’s define some of those terms for our new readers.

JEFFERSON: A Suppressive Person, or SP, as we talked about several weeks ago, is an evil being who rages against any sort of human betterment and wants to keep people down. A Potential Trouble Source is anyone connected to an SP.

Enturbulation, according to the glossary at the back of the book, means “agitation or disturbance; commotion and upset.”

Entheta means “enturbulated theta.” Theta is life force, so entheta is anything that agitates, disturbs or upsets the life force. The glossary adds, “especially referring to communications which, based on lies and confusions, are slanderous, choppy, or destructive in an attempt to overwhelm or suppress a person or group.”

In practice, entheta means any statement against Scientology, Hubbard or Miscavige. They say “lies,” but in practice truth and lies have nothing to do with it. If it’s anti-Scientology, it’s entheta, even if it’s true. If I say, for instance, “David Miscavige beat his staff,” or “Hubbard lied about his accomplishments,” that’s entheta, regardless of the fact that both of these statements have been well-documented as true. But they “agitate, disturb, or upset” Scientologists so they are entheta.

THE BUNKER: So Scientology Organizations are “safe” in the sense that they are not exposed to these things.

JEFFERSON: Exactly. It’s a created bubble where no negative information is allowed. I’ll give you a prime example. In one of the essays, called “Why Ethics?” Hubbard makes the sweeping claim that


He then states that therefore if a person does not get gains from auditing, they should be routed to Ethics as PTS or SP. Anyone not getting gains from Scientology is likely an SP or PTS.

Staff auditors, finding a pc savage or unchanging, must rend to Review which probably sends to Ethics. Staff auditors, finding a case failing, must send to Review, which again may send to Ethics.

Well of course, that’s a very efficient way to make technology “work on every case” — take every case that it doesn’t work on and send them to Ethics. So that’s one way that Ethics creates a “safe environment” — anyone who claims that the tech didn’t work is quickly moved off the lines, and declared PTS or SP. So you then have a “safe” environment where everyone agrees that the tech works every time. It’s the “Emperor’s New Clothes” maneuver: “Scientology works on every case except SPs or PTSes. Oh, it didn’t work for you? Please go see the Ethics Officer.”

It’s all about attitude readjustment — he also says, for instance:

A Supervisor to whom a student is impolite must send the student to Ethics.

So if the Supervisor doesn’t like your attitude, it’s off to Ethics.

THE BUNKER: We’ve heard about these visits to the Ethics Officer. So what happens once they get there.

JEFFERSON: One of the sections is entitled “Ethics Officer Hat.” A “hat,” in Scientologese, is a writeup of one’s post duties, so this lays out what the Ethics Officer is supposed to do. Hubbard says,

The purpose of the Ethics Officer is “To help Ron clear organizations and the public if need be of entheta and enturbulation so that Scientology can be done.”

Basically, he tells the Ethics Officer to investigate any entheta by asking “who told you that?” then finding out who told that person and eventually tracking it back to the PTS or SP who started it all. Then you handle the PTS or SP and all is calm again. This was the basis, by the way, of something called Rollback Tech which was frequently used at the Int Base to track back any entheta. And believe me, you didn’t want to be the last guy on the chain!

Hubbard also tells the Ethics Officer to locate PTSses and SPs by finding people who are “downstat” or who did not comply with executive orders. He gives the Ethics Officer these parting instructions:

And when you feel exasperated and balked and feel like taking it out on somebody, do so by all means. Who ever heard of a tame Ethics Officer?

THE BUNKER: So an Ethics Officer is supposed to be a tough guy.

JEFFERSON: Definitely. And he’s supposed to come down hard on anyone that’s “not with the program.” The next few sections repeat the principles of Hubbard’s brand of utilitarian ethics. He emphasizes that the bottom line in Ethics is a person’s production. As measured by their statistics. This, to Hubbard, is the sole criteria as to whether an individual is “in-ethics” or not. He says:

Therefore, if a staff member is getting production up by having his own statistic excellent, Ethics sure isn’t interested. But if a staff member isn’t producing, shown by his bad statistic for his post, Ethics is fascinated with his smallest misdemeanor.

In short, a staff member can “get away with murder” so long as his statistic is up and can’t “sneeze” without a chop if it’s down.

And he adds:

I am not interested in wog morality. I am only interested in getting the show on the road and keeping it there…

However, if anyone is getting industrious trying to enturbulate or stop Scientology or its activities, I can make Captain Bligh look like a Sunday school teacher. There is probably no limit on what I would do to safeguard man’s only road to freedom…

THE BUNKER: So that’s pretty much it — the Ethics Officer handles entheta, enturbulation, SPs, and PTSes. Does he investigate any other reasons why the production statistics might be down?

JEFFERSON: Hubbard teaches that there are no other reasons. He warns them about being “reasonable,” which, in Scientology, is a bad thing. He says:

The greatest enemy of the E/O is the reasonable person. There are no good reasons for any outness except:
a. Natural catastrophes (such as earthquakes, lightning, etc.)
b. Suppressive persons
c. Persons who are PTS to suppressive persons.

THE BUNKER: I see there’s a section here about “Jokers and Degraders.” What’s that all about?

JEFFERSON: Hubbard had a distrust of people who joked or demonstrated a sense of humor. I know that Miscavige always suspects that people are making jokes about him behind his back, and Hubbard may have feared the same thing. So in this essay he claims that these “jokers and degraders” are all PTS or SP. He says,

In some cultural areas, wit and humor are looked upon as a healthy release. However, in the case of organizations, this was not found to be the case.

THE BUNKER: So a part of this “safe environment” is a lack of humor or jokes.

JEFFERSON: Very much so. I remember the Int Base as a very serious place. It actually took me a while after I left to regain a healthy sense of humor.

The irony is that in practice, Scientology Ethics does not create a “safe environment” in the normal sense of the word “safe” — free from danger, abuse, violence, threats, sudden dismissals, or human rights violations. A Scientology organization is only “safe” in the Scientology sense of being free from entheta, enturbulation, SPs, and PTSes. Or, to put that in non-Scientology terms, free from any anti-Scientology influences, free from anyone criticizing or questioning Scientology, Hubbard, or Miscavige, free from anyone questioning Scientology’s results, and free from any information that might cause one to doubt one’s involvement in Scientology. In other words, a “safe environment” is a Scientology bubble where no negative information or doubts or questions are allowed. Because Scientology only “works” within such an insulated bubble.


EEOC settles its lawsuit with Miami chiropractor

Back in May, we told you about Dennis Nobbe, a wealthy Miami Scientologist who had run afoul of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. His chiropractic business, Dynamic Medical Services, Inc., was being sued by the government on behalf of several employees who complained that they’d been forced to take Scientology courses or risked being fired.

In fact, we talked to former Nobbe employees who said that for many years he had run a Scientology “academy,” and employees were encouraged to take courses there and at the local Scientology “org.”

The EEOC told us it was somewhat unusual for a religious freedom case to get to the lawsuit level. But now, the case has been settled, and on terms that seem fairly modest. Dynamic admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $170,000 to the former employees — working out to payments between $50,000 to some, and as low as $500 to one complainant.

Also, Dynamic agrees to respect employees who don’t want to take Scientology courses. And again, Dynamic does not admit that it ever did anything wrong.

Here’s the settlement document. Give it a read and let us know what you think.


Jason Barclay has a movie teaser

You remember Jason Barclay. He grew up in Scientology and became a member of the Sea Org at only 13. He left the church late last year after spending some time maintaining the Los Angeles “org” at the “Big Blue” complex on Sunset Boulevard. Now, he’s embarked on a film project, changing the name of the church to “Scienfology,” but using many of the facts from his own disillusionment and escape…


Jason tells us he’d like to raise enough money to make a feature film, and he’s going to be raising money soon at a GoFundMe site.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 19, 2013 at 07:00

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