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Scientology outside the official church: ‘I’m quite happy with the world the way it is’

Rey_RoblesMark Bunker has sent us another interesting clip from the many interviews he’s conducted for his upcoming documentary, “Knowledge Report.”

One of the things Bunker is documenting is the exodus of people who have left the Church of Scientology in recent years, many of whom grew disillusioned with church leader David Miscavige, but not with the ideas of Scientology itself and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

Rey Robles puts on a “Free Zone” convention every year in Las Vegas, where people who have left the church — but haven’t left Scientology — gather to talk about their “wins” and help each other continue to audit and do courses. Here’s a short excerpt that Mark sent over…

 

Knowledge Report: Rey Robles on the Freezone from Mark Bunker on Vimeo.

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And here’s what Mark told us about the clip:

In part of the film, I head to Vegas to a Freezone Convention to meet with people who still believe in Hubbard and the tech. No one in Scientology will talk with me but here I am welcomed with no restriction on what can be talked about. Rey Robles gave me an auditing session to give a taste of what the auditing experience is like. During the two day convention, the lecture I was most excited about was going to explain how you can speak to an alien on another planet. Unfortunately for me, it turns out you just imagine an alien on another planet and then imagine a conversation with it. If you can mock it up in your mind, you have succeeded. A startling number of attendees spoke with an alien that day.

Thanks, Mark, for giving us that glimpse of your project.

We have spilled a lot of ink writing about “independent Scientologists” over the years, and we have said numerous times that we have a lot of respect for people who leave an organization that has proved to be so vindictive toward its former members, and then continue to engage in practices they still believe in.

At the same time, we have a couple of observations to make about independent Scientology that do not take away from that respect. First, we’ll point out that L. Ron Hubbard had an intense negative reaction to people who broke away from his organization and practiced Scientology on their own. “Squirrels” he named them, and to this day there’s nothing worse you can call a Scientologist. Much of what Hubbard created in Scientology were methods of control (with the Orwellian name of “ethics”) that had nothing to with “wins” or “gains” but were about indoctrination and subjugation.

We can only wonder what Hubbard would make of the various indie movements that operate today in his name, in defiance of the Scientology “ethics” apparatus that he invented.

Secondly, while we acknowledge the large number of indies or Free-Zoners who continue to practice Scientology long after they’ve left the organization (many of whom revile this website and say so, often), many more people we’ve observed move away from the Hubbard “technology” after they move away from the church itself — even if they had initially come out of the church saying that they only wanted to practice Scientology with more “freedom.”

Actual freedom is a heady drug. And once a Scientologist gets away from church ethics and no one is pounding on the door asking for donations, they may find that interest in auditing and Hubbard also tends to wane once a former church member realizes how many other ways of life there are out here in the wide world.

That’s our observation, anyway, that independent Scientology tends to be a temporary stop — and a very valuable one — as people move out of the smothering life inside the church and gradually adapt to the outside world. We can think of a couple of high-profile examples, former top officials who initially were such zealous adherents of the “indie” idea, many wondered if they weren’t trying to start a rival church. Today, a few years later? They are singing an entirely different tune.

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.

 
UPDATE: We’re always thrilled when Jefferson Hawkins shows up to impart some of his wisdom to the discussion. And just to make sure and preserve what he said, we’re going to post his comment here…

The basic problem with so-called “Independent Scientology” (a term I consider somewhat oxymoronic) is “where do you draw the line.” The minute you’ve stepped outside Scientology’s corporate structure, you’re already an “SP” according to Hubbard. You’ve already started questioning and thinking. It usually starts with something like “I agree with Ron on everything except the Sea Org – he never should have started the Sea Org.” Or “I agree with everything except the Ethics Tech.” You hear statements like “I agree with all of the Red-on-White (technical bulletins) but I don’t agree with the Green-on-White (administrative policy letters)” And so on – they start picking and choosing. And the minute you start to pick and choose what you are going to apply and what you are not, the whole thing starts to unravel, because the glue that holds it all together is Hubbard’s supposed infallibility. The minute you start to question that infallibility, it opens up a Pandora’s box of questions and doubts.

It’s always interesting to see an “Independent Scientologist” try to deal with the facts of Hubbard’s life. They get into this strange mindset of “Well, Hubbard wasn’t perfect, he was just a fallible human being, but his technology is perfect so it doesn’t matter.” You can practically see their brain twisting into a pretzel shape to make it all make sense.

To maintain the status of Independent Scientologist requires the creation of a controlled bubble similar to the official Church, where no critical or negative information is allowed and where there is no open discussion. You will never find open forums on Indie websites or blogs. You will find no open discussion. It is all carefully controlled so only positive information about Hubbard and “the tech” is allowed and published and looked at. And yes, they do condemn and ostracize anyone who questions or challenges Hubbard or his tech. They can’t use the term SP (as they themselves are, technically, SPs) so they use other terms: “haters,” “LRH-haters” and so on. But it is exactly the same mechanism. And really, what’s “independent” about that?

I think the Indie movement will always be subject to internal schisms and rancor, all centering around the point I first mentioned. “where do you draw the line.” The tech martinets will accept no lines – everything Hubbard wrote is true and perfect, and they will condemn anyone that steps off that line. But people inevitably DO step off that line, and once it starts to unravel, it’s an unstoppable process.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on October 30, 2014 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

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
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

 

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