Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Atack: Scientology advocates serenity, so why are so many Scientologists angry jerks?

Jon_Atack3Jon 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 three years he’s been helping 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.

Whenever I’m on the receiving end of a scream-fest by an entrenched Scientologist, I reflect on the Hubbard Chart of Human Evaluation and the Emotional Tone Scale.

[One of the bedrock concepts of Scientology is that its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, discovered how to chart human emotion on what he called a “Tone Scale.” Scientologists believe they can affect another person’s mood by identifying where they are on that scale, and then communicating with them in a certain way to move them up the scale to more pleasing states — Ed.]

So is the Scientologist trying to bring me “up tone” by hurling abuse at me? Any critic must be “covertly hostile” (1.1), so the right tone to adopt is anger (1.5). Or are they reaching down into the “chronic tone,” presuming that critics are at “shame” (-0.2) so will come up to “blame” (-1.0) given enough invective? I don’t think so.

When I first saw Midshipman David Miscavige’s scowling face, it seemed to me that he was definitely in Blame; this seems to have become the preferred tone of many of his followers.

How sad when we compare this to the initial wonderful aims of Dianetics. I still have the copy of Science of Survival presented to me by the then Executive Director, the marvelous Gill Pesich, as the top “field staff member” of the Birmingham Scientology Franchise. Along with this came the aforementioned Hubbard Chart, which tells us what to expect of Clears and natural Tone 4s.


We are first informed that the “Tone 4” has 100 units of “free theta” – while bored people have only 32. Sadly, we do not learn how to measure “free theta” at home, and Hubbard didn’t get around to explaining how he measured it.


I strongly suspect that this is what the estimable Dr Ben Goldacre, in his Bad Science, dubs “sciencey,” but then one of the original meanings of Scientology, decades before Hubbard adopted the term, was “pseudo-science” (“There is science and there is scientology” as Alan Upward put it in 1907).

The Tone 4 – and all Clears are Tone 4 – is “Near accident-proof” and their affinity level is “love.” They also have “full recall” and no “somatics.” Under “straight memory,” we are told that the Tone 4 “Can recall or remember at will anything that has been perceived.”

The Tone 4 is also “fully analytical,” while the lower tones have exactly the same percentage of analytical power as their “free theta” (so only 32 percent for those suffering from ennui). Once again, there is no explanation of these pretend scientific measures.

As to their communicative abilities, Tone 4s have a “strong, able, swift and full exchange of ideas” while at “Overt Hostility,” we find a person “talks in threats, invalidates other people.” Does this sound familiar?

Under “reality,” the Tone 4 will “Search for different viewpoints in order to broaden own reality.” At 1.5 (with a mere 15 free units of theta and thusly 15 percent analytical ability) we find my Scientologist detractors: “Destruction of opposing reality.” For some people, the battering ram is the preferred means of social intercourse.

The “method used by subject to handle others” of the perfected human is “Gains support by creative enthusiasm and vitality backed by reason.” But the Antagonistic 2.0 “Nags and bluntly criticizes to demand compliance with wishes,” and the Angry 1.5 “Uses threats, punishment, and alarming lies to dominate others.”

Every now and then, I suggest that Scientologists should take a few minutes to consider how much they have improved as a consequence of their involvement. This doesn’t mean stating their position on the Bridge, but assessing their own and their fellows’ behavior according to the Hubbard Chart of Human Evaluation. I am sorry to say that every Clear I’ve met fails to live up to Hubbard’s predictions. But then again, neither did Ron.

— Jon Atack


Bonus items from our tipsters

Our thanks to a couple of tipsters who noticed that with medical marijuana on the ballot in Florida and appearing to have strong support, Scientologist Pat Clouden is doing what he can to demonize weed with his outfit, Concerned Businessmen’s Association of Tampa Bay. This week, he managed to attract Florida statehouse representative Kathleen Peters and Lt. John Connor of the Clearwater Police Department to kick off a new initiative to spread panic about marijuana with the use of Scientology-printed materials from the Foundation for a Drug-Free World.


Earlier this year, Clouden’s CBA organized an essay-writing contest on the dangers of THC in Tampa schools, which featured Clearwater Police chief Dan Slaughter as a judge. Clever!

In July, Chief Slaughter gave Clouden and his company, Consumer Energy Solutions, certificates at the Fort Harrison Hotel for flooding the town with copies of L. Ron Hubbard’s The Way to Happiness.



Doing the radio thing in LA

Another fun visit with John Phillips and Jillian Barberie of KABC 790 afternoon radio yesterday. We come in at about 20:40 into this…



Paulette_Cooper‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ audiobook now on sale has released the audiobook version of The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper and you can get the book for free if you’re signing up at Audible for the first time!

Read by the author (that’s us), the book tells the incredible tale of a journalist who was among the first to expose Scientology’s controversies, and nearly paid for it with her life. Go to Audible’s website for more details — [US version] [UK version]

To support the Audible launch, Paulette Cooper joined us for an “Ask Me Anything” session at Reddit on September 29, which covered a lot of topics about the book and about this website.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 1, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail 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. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated 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 L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email