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Scientology’s Orwellian methods of control explained in a new book by Jefferson Hawkins

Closing-Minds-CoverJefferson Hawkins has put out another book about Scientology — and this one is based on the work he did here at the Underground Bunker in his series about Scientology’s bizarre system of ‘ethics.’

He’s updated and added to the series and collected it all in an ebook which is available on Amazon. He also sent us the book’s preface, and we’re going to reproduce it here.

Jeff is one of the wisest people we’ve met from the world of Scientology, and we’re fortunate to have his help here at the Bunker. We hope you take the time to consider downloading his book


By Jefferson Hawkins



HOW DOES SCIENTOLOGY control its members? How does it convince them to avoid any negative information about Scientology? How does it persuade them not to look at critical information on the Internet, on TV, or in the press? How does it convince them to avoid or entirely disconnect from people who are critical of Scientology – even their close friends, their family members, or their own parents or children? All while loftily talking about “improving communication” and “searching for truth”?

How can they compel otherwise intelligent people to live in an information bubble where they will only believe what Scientology tells them and refuse to look at any critical information?

How do they convince ordinary people to donate huge amounts of money to the Church, far more than they can afford? How do they induce staff to work long and hard hours, endure deprivation and abuse, for little or no pay?

While this book is primarily written for Scientologists, former Scientologists, and their families, it may be of interest to anyone curious about the subject.

It is an exploration into a body of information that Scientology calls “ethics technology.” However, it has little to do with the subject of ethics as most people understand it. Instead, it forms a very sophisticated system of mental control.

This book is my effort to deconstruct that system.

I was a Scientologist for more than 35 years. During that time, I joined Scientology’s dedicated inner core group, the paramilitary Sea Organization, worked my way up through the ranks, and spent my final fifteen years as a Scientologist at the Church’s international headquarters in San Jacinto, California.

I was a believer. I believed what the Church told me. I went along with the Church’s lies and fabrications about its own size and influence, for the “greater good.” I followed orders. I kept my doubts and disagreements to myself, telling no one, not even my wife. I endured years of hardship, physical and mental abuse at the International Base, all because I believed I was contributing to a “higher purpose.”

I had been indoctrinated to believe that by doing what I was told, following orders, refusing to listen to criticism of Scientology, and suppressing my own doubts, I was being “ethical.”

Ultimately, when the cognitive dissonance became too much to bear, I grew disillusioned with Scientology and finally left in 2005. In 2010, I published a memoir of my time in Scientology, Counterfeit Dreams, exposing the abuse, lies, and fraud that I had witnessed.

My recovery from Scientology was a long process. Some have compared it to peeling an onion. Once you have peeled off a layer of indoctrination, you find more layers underneath. I chronicled the process in an online blog called Leaving Scientology.

Yet even after all of that, there was still one layer remaining, one unanswered question. How, despite Scientology’s failures, despite its abusive treatment of members, despite its continuous lies, did they manage to maintain the allegiance of otherwise intelligent people. True, many are leaving or have left, but they still somehow maintain the loyalty of thousands.

By 2010, most of my Scientology books had been dumped, unceremoniously, into the recycling bin. However, I had kept one for further analysis: Introduction to Scientology Ethics.

I had felt for some time that this book formed the core of Scientology’s mental manipulation techniques. In the Sea Org, anyone who steps out of line is forced to restudy this book over and over again, until they practically know it by heart. It is the go-to book used by the organization when any member begins to doubt or question Scientology. And anyone who steps out of line in any Scientology Organization is sent to the “Ethics Officer,” who uses the principles in this book to pull them back into line. Therefore, I surmised, Introduction to Scientology Ethics must contain the core principles of Scientology’s mental control “technology.”

And so it does.

I first published my analysis of Scientology’s “Ethics Book” as a series of guest articles for Tony Ortega’s blog, The Underground Bunker. I felt that deconstructing, picking apart and analyzing Introduction to Scientology Ethics chapter by chapter might not only be revelatory to Scientologists and ex-Scientologists, but could also demonstrate to non-Scientologists exactly how the trap is sprung.

After the articles were completed, I decided this subject was of sufficient value to publish as a book, expanding on the essays and consolidating my analysis into one location.

I have tried to keep Scientology terminology and jargon to a minimum, and define these terms in context where possible.

I hope this book is useful to ex-Scientologists in peeling back that last “onion layer.” And for those who have never been in Scientology, I hope it provides an informative peek behind the curtain and some understanding of how they command the unquestioning allegiance of their membership.


New York watching party for ‘Going Clear’

So we broke the news yesterday that HBO was moving back its premiere of ‘Going Clear’ from March 16 to March 29 and a coveted spot on Sunday night.

We’re still hunting around for a venue for an Underground Bunker watching party here in New York that night. If you have a good suggestion, please let us know. We’d like to get things set up, and we just can’t fit everyone down here in the Bunker itself with the cats. They wouldn’t put up with it.

We’d love to meet folks and live-blog the show in a fun setting. Let us know if you have a line on a place.


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Actual Facebook caption: “Scientology South Texas — We’re getting people up the Bridge every day. Come to the Mission and let us help you take your next step today!”


TR’s and the comm course in Karachi! Pakistan will be cleared in no time.


Scientology’s drug rehab centers celebrated Narconon’s 49th anniversary this week. Here’s the gang at Narconon Astore, near Perugia, Italy — hey, who has the blunt!


Scientologists are using social media more than ever. Drop us a line if you spot them posting images to Instagram or Facebook!


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 20, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to 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 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 Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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