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Jon Atack: The mystery of mysteries that all Scientologists chase — and can never find

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.

Jon, we’re really happy to learn that we’re still going to get an occasional piece from you. Even though the Toronto conference was supposed to be your swan song, you only seem re-energized. And what a treat for us to meet you, finally, at that conference, and then just a few weeks later in London! And still, after all that, you still want to help us out here at the Bunker. Well, maestro, take it away…

JON: I had been a Scientologist for two years when I read the transcript of a Hubbard lecture in Advance! magazine, issue 44, in 1977. I wondered if Hubbard was trying to tell me something about Scientology. Here is an extract, in Hubbard’s own words:

Lord Dunsany tells one of the most wonderful stories about a monastery which was scheduled to fall one day. This monastery was up on a high hill. A rumor and a legend had gone forward for many centuries that on a certain day the monastery would fall. Finally, the day came and one of the peasants in the valley walked up to the monastery and walked in the front gate.

He was quite astonished to find no guards on duty because the guards were back in a courtyard weeping because that day the monastery was scheduled to fall … And he walked on into an inner sanctum sanctorum, sanctorum plus and finally came down unguarded corridors to the largest central room of the entire place, where the mystery of all mysteries of all mysteries was kept.

And there at the far side of the room it was obvious that the mystery was behind these huge black curtains. He walked over and he looked at the curtains and thought, “Well, it’s a very adventurous thing to do,” but the monastery was scheduled to fall that day, so he ventured to do it. He reached up and pulled the curtains down, and there was nothing there. And the monastery fell that day.


For Scientologists, the great mystery behind the curtains is “full operating thetan.” At this stage, which Hubbard first promised in 1952 before he had even come up with the expression “Operating Thetan,” the individual will be able to “exteriorize” from the human body and travel around the universe, at will, performing supernatural acts along the way to the amazement of all concerned.

That state was codified under the title “Operating Thetan Section VIII.” In the 1970 printing of the book Scientology 0-8, OT VIII is defined as “ABILITY TO BE AT CAUSE KNOWINGLY AND AT WILL OVER THOUGHT, LIFE, FORM, MATTER, ENERGY, SPACE AND TIME, SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE.” Superpowers, indeed! If a planet annoys you, just blow it up. Heck, if a galaxy annoys you, just blow it up!

The trial run for OT VIII failed. The first OT VIII, Otto Roos – who was also one of only five Class XII auditors trained personally by Hubbard – was ejected from Scientology in the early 70s for finding hundreds of discreditable “rock slams” – indicating “evil purposes” – in Hubbard’s auditing folders. I have been on good terms with Otto for several decades, but, much as I like him, I have yet to see anything supernatural in his behavior.

David Miscavige was aware of the difficulty, when he took over Scientology from Hubbard’s appointed heir, Pat Broeker. His first action was to remove all of Broeker’s filing cabinets. As the redoubtable proprietor of the Bunker found, Miscavige even hired PIs to watch Broeker for 24 years (and, no, I didn’t say “hours,” I said “years”) at a tax-deductible cost of over $10 million.

Miscavige likely knew well enough that the OT VIII he was offering would not achieve anything beyond the usual hypnotic euphoria. He certainly didn’t waste any of his own time auditing the level.

Miscavige also knew that when the “List” or “L” processes were released, in the early 70s, Hubbard had claimed they were extracted from OT XXIII (that’s “23” to thee and me). So, there were at least 15 levels above OT VIII. Miscavige spent over ten million dollars of parishioners’ money pursuing Broeker for the missing levels, because without them, Scientology is nothing but an empty room.

Jesse Prince confirmed this hypothesis at our Toronto seminar. He was privy to the release of OT VIII, and the catastrophe occasioned by the notorious introductory bulletin. Ray Mithoff patched together various Hubbard ‘advices’ to reveal the great secret: that Hubbard considered himself the Antichrist and Lucifer, and accused the founder of the Christian religion of being nothing more than a ‘lover of young boys and men’ (so much for Scientology’s compatibility with other religions). Jesse explained at Toronto that on OT VIII you have to ‘run out’ all of your earlier auditing. Sadly, you do not receive a refund, or compensation for the wasted time and broken promises.

OT VIII languished for almost twenty years. Most significantly, it waited until after Hubbard was dead and gone and beyond the reproaches of the thousands who had believed that behind the OT VIII curtain was the greatest mystery of life itself.

In fact, behind the curtain was a small man, standing on a stool with a megaphone through which he bellowed at Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, the Lion and the Scarecrow. It is awfully hard to admit that you have spent years chasing an illusion. But the cupboard is actually bare.


TMZ and the Miscavige “death threats”

Scientology leader David Miscavige is doing an amazing job dismantling the Church of Scientology. So only an idiot, or a lunatic, would call up the church and threaten to remove the man who is gradually ridding the world of such a menace.

But TMZ, which has a history of carrying water for the church, is reporting this morning that someone called Scientology to threaten Miscavige, and one of those calls lasted so long — nearly three hours — that it provided enough information for the Los Angeles Police Department to serve a subpoena on a “Jewish businessman.”

Is any of this noteworthy? Or even true? It’s hard to tell. After years of running interference for Miscavige and Scientology, TMZ did a bang-up job when news of the Wisconsin private eyes was dropped in their lap earlier this year. So who knows which way the wind is blowing over at Harvey’s shop these days.


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Scientology peddling at DragonCon in Atlanta…


Hey, it looks like the new Bogotá Ideal Org just produced its first staff Clear. But, um, what’s with the dollar signs?


Just getting to our tipster photos from today’s dual “Ideal Narconon” openings. Here is the scene in Denmark…


…and in the UK, which now has a Narconon again for the first time in several years. Yay?




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.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

Sept 15: Phoenix, Barrett the Honors College, Arizona State University, ASU in Downtown Phoenix campus, Walter Cronkite Theater, 5:30 pm

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis, Grumpy’s Bar & Grill, 2801 Snelling Ave, Roseville, 7 pm, sponsored by Minnesota Atheists

Sept 27: Portland, Friendly House, 1737 NW 26th Ave, 12:45 pm, sponsored by Humanists of Portland

Sept 28: Seattle, Razzi’s Pizzeria, 7 pm, with Seattle Skeptics and Seattle Atheists

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm

Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 25: Melbourne, venue secured (announcement coming later)

Oct 28: Adelaide (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 30: Perth

Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24)


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 5, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT 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 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


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