Because of various problems with Blogger, I've copied everything as of November 26, 2012 over to WordPress. The new location is Ask the Scientologist. I am not deleting this blog and will still accept comments and answer questions here too, but any new articles will appear at the WordPress location. I apologize if this causes any problems.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where Are All the Scientologists? Part 3

Reports are coming in that the big Scientology New Year's Event was another big window into the rapidly vanishing planet Scientology.

No one was there.

Oh, there were some Scientologists in the audience, although not nearly as many as previous years. The few remaining True Believers, plus the not-yet-announced ex-Scientologists were there, but Church of Scientology upper management totally failed to appear.

David Miscavige, leader of the church and re-inventor of Scientology was missing.

Marc Yager was missing. Mark Rathbun was missing.

[EDIT] This is unconfirmed, but there are reports that Guillaume Lesevre was a speaker. It is important to note that he's no longer part of International Management. He used to be Executive Director of the Church of Scientology but is no longer listed anywhere as such. Reportedly, what he does every day is "conditions", punishment and "deck work" (digging ditches, etc.). Apparently he was pulled off of his punishment to speak at the event.

Heber Jentzsch was also reportedly a speaker, but he is not part of International Management either. He was President of the Church of Scientology, years ago, but no one handles that post any more. According to recent leaks, Heber is also on "conditions", punishment and "deck work" and only gets a reprieve when he speaks at an event.

Neither Guillaume nor Heber are in Scientology International Management positions.

Top management was missing.

Tommy Davis, a second-string PR flack was running the event -- not someone from management, not anyone who actually does anything, just a PR flack.

All the puffy and fluffy stories were there. All the we-have-no-proof-but-look-how-great-we're-doing creations were there, but nobody from top management bothered to show up.

Is there anyone still there in top management, or are they all on "conditions", punishment and "deck work"?

It appears that all the Church of Scientology has left is PR. Everything else, everyone else is gone.

Where are all the Scientologists?
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Scientology Thought Control - Part 1

First, let me clarify what is meant by "Thought Control". Many people believe that thought control means that a person's thoughts are controlled by some external force -- another person or group -- but that isn't the case. Thought control is that a person learns to control their own thoughts based on certain rules. It is self-imposed control over one's own thoughts.

When you start talking about Scientology's "thought control", many Scientologists get upset, "No one is controlling my thoughts, I'm the one in full control," and that is, actually, true. They are in control, but they are not free.

To become a Scientologist, you must learn to control your thoughts, and your actions, to conform to the rules and requirements of Miscavige's Church of Scientology.

Let me give one example of how this works. There are many, many ways this is done, but this example is one of the earliest learned.

"Entheta"

As is standard in Scientology, this is a made-up word by L. Ron Hubbard. The definition of "entheta" is "enturbulated theta". "Theta" is defined as "life force". "Enturbulate" is defined, by Hubbard as "to agitate or disturb; to upset."

So "entheta" is "agitated or disturbed life force". Or, more simply, "entheta" means upsetting news, information, circumstances, etc.

In Scientology, entheta is bad. Scientologists learn that good news (or "theta") is "good" and bad news (or "entheta") is "bad". Entheta must be rejected by all loyal Scientologists -- especially "entheta" about Scientology, Dianetics, Hubbard or Miscavige. Anything upsetting must be rejected as entheta. Entheta will harm you. Entheta will interfere with your "progress up the 'Bridge to Total Freedom'!" Entheta is bad.

But notice something very, very important. The definition of "entheta" has absolutely nothing to do with what is true or what is false!

The automatic response that Scientologists have learned, that they must reject all entheta, is completely outside of truth and lies. Negative and upsetting information about Scientology, Dianetics, Hubbard and Miscavige must be rejected as entheta even if absolutely true.

And the corollary is also learned and practised by all Scientologists: Good news and information about Scientology, Dianetics, Hubbard and Miscavige must be accepted because it's "theta" even if completely false.

Of course, Scientologists are not allowed to think in terms of what might be true in any negative information or what might be lies in any good news. They may only think in terms of "entheta" and "theta".

And so, Scientologists learn to control their thoughts according to what is "entheta" and what is "theta", and not by what is true and what is false.

If a Scientologist reads or hears something about Scientology, Dianetics, Hubbard or Miscavige that upsets them, they automatically and without thought reject it as "entheta". They no longer allow themselves to think about truth and lies. It is self-imposed thought control.

It's easy once you get the basics down.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scientology: Why "Religion"?

Recently, I was asked to look at why Scientology characterizes itself as a religion.

Anyone who pays any attention to the various controversies surrounding David Miscavige's Church of Scientology knows that there is a lot of information available about this "religion" angle. It is obvious that the Church of Scientology was set up and is run like a business, and that the whole "religion" thing was tacked on as an afterthought, so the question is, "Why?"

Why does Scientology call itself a religion? And why is it important?

We'll look at "why" in a bit. First, let's look at who says it is a religion. The answer may surprise you.

Did Hubbard call Scientology a religion? Well... no. And yes. Originally, Hubbard was quite emphatic -- Scientology is not a religion:
Scientology has opened the gates to a better world. It is not a psycho-therapy nor a religion.
L. Ron Hubbard
Page 251, Creation of Human Ability 1954

(Statement removed from later editions, for obvious reasons)
Later, Hubbard changed his mind and declared that Scientology actually was a religion. Hubbard's decision to start claiming Scientology as a religion was highly unpopular with many Dianeticists and Scientologists at that time and many did, in fact, leave because of it.

OK, who else says Scientology is a religion?

Does the Church of Scientology itself call Scientology a religion? Well... yes -- and very emphatically, NO!

Surprised? It's very, very true.

The Church of Scientology is "recognized as a religion" in only a small handful of countries. It is difficult to get an exact count, but it appears to be officially recognized in only eight or nine countries. Period. In case you were wondering, there are almost 200 countries in the world.

Now, you would think that the Church of Scientology would be fighting for religious recognition in all the rest of the countries, but, in most places in the world, Scientology itself insists that it is not a religion!

Check out Scientology's official presentation of itself in Israel. Check out Scientology's official presentation of itself in any predominantly Catholic country (like Mexico or even Spain where "church" and "religion" are in English only). Check out Scientology's official presentation of itself in any predominantly Muslim country. Check it out. See what Scientology says about whether it is a religion or not. The Church of Scientology says it is not a religion in most countries. In most areas of the world, Scientology's organizations are called "centers" or "associations" or something, but the words "religion" and "church" are not included.

Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi in the Marburg Journal of Religion: Volume 8, No. 1 (September 2003) writes about Scientology:
6. Self-Presentation as a Secular Movement.
Some Scientology representatives state that the so-called church is not a religion. When a Scientology branch opened in Japan in 1985, it was careful to present itself as a 'philosophy' and not a religion (Kent, 1999). In the United States, an article in a Maine newspaper that solicited thoughts about the "new millennium" from local church leaders reports that "Barbara Fisco, mission holder of the Church of Scientology in Brunswick, said that Scientology is not a religion and therefore not subject to the religious implications of the Year 2000" (Smith, 1999\www.timesrecord.com/main/79c6.html_).

The case of Scientology in Israel is quite instructive. In various organizational forms, Scientology has been active among Israelis for more than thirty years, but those in charge not only never claimed the religion label, but resisted any such suggestion or implication. It has always presented itself as a secular, self-improvement, tax-paying business. Otherwise, they offered the familiar products and deceptions, from the Oxford Capacity Analysis to Dianetics and Purification. The current Israeli franchise holder told me rather proudly that he pays all required taxes. In its history as a commercial venture, the organization still got into legal trouble, and was charged with tax evasion at least once.
Now isn't that so odd? A "religion" that, well, if that interferes with the business operation, just casually drops the whole "church" fa├žade in an instant. When it interferes with business, it turns out the "religion angle" isn't important at all.

It could be argued that the organization that is most vocal and most insistent, around the world, that Scientology is "not a religion" is ... the Church of Scientology.

So, finally and inevitably we come to the question, "Why?" Why does Scientology characterize itself as "a religion"?

Well, we have to reword the question now, don't we? In context of the above, it no longer is a correct question. In most of the world Scientology vehemently insists that it is not a religion. So the question is incorrect. The accurate question is:
Why does Scientology only call itself "a religion" in a few, selected countries, but insists on calling itself a "self-improvement business", a "philosophy", a "community group" or something else equally non-religious, in the rest of the world?
Worded correctly, the answer now becomes much more obvious.

Pay close attention here. This is key. The factor that determines whether Scientology claims to be a religion is not what Scientologists believe. This doesn't change from country to country. The factor that determines this is not what Scientologists do. This also doesn't change. The deciding factor that determines whether Scientology claims to be a religion or not is the balance between the benefits and liabilities of doing so. That's a business consideration.

When Hubbard implemented this "religion" angle he wrote:
Scientology 1970 is being planned on a religious organization basis throughout the world. This will not upset in any way the usual activities of any organization. It is entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors.
L. Ron Hubbard
Policy Letter 29 Oct. 1962, "Religion"
Get it? "Accountants and solicitors". It was then, and is today, solely a business matter. What are the benefits? What are the liabilities? In the United States, there is considerable legal protection and there are vast tax benefits for being a religion. The liabilities are relatively small. Sure, that "religion angle" has caused problems, like Albuquerque where Scientology wanted to move into a business location which was deemed "inappropriate for a church". Oh, Scientology sure wanted a variance then. They wanted to be treated like a business.

Their front groups are the Church of Scientology's attempt to have their cake and eat it too. The front groups are supposed to allow the church into areas barred from churches -- like attempts to get Scientology's children recruitment group, the Drug Free Marshals, into New Mexico schools. Unfortunately for Scientology, the group was linked back to the church, and then appropriately barred from the schools.

But all in all, the benefits in the U.S. outweigh the liabilities, so "it's a religion!"

In other countries, the balance is different. And, as is often the case, when the liabilities of calling itself a religion are too great, "it's a business!"

And that's the answer to "Why 'Religion'?" It's just a "good business decision". As some of the less ethical business executives might say, "If you can get away with it, why not?"

How pragmatic! How practical!

How hypocritical!
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Scientology: Why Doesn't It Work?

Now, before all you Scientologists get your knickers in a twist, I'm not talking about personal, subjective experiences. These kinds of things happen to almost everyone for any number of reasons and can't be proven or disproven. That's not what this article is about.

I'm talking about all the stuff that the Scientology technology is very explicitly supposed to accomplish in the world. Why doesn't that work?

For example: All Scientologists are required to do the "PTS/SP Course". The full, actual name of the course is the "How to Confront and Shatter Suppression - PTS/SP Course". Most Scientologists today have actually done this course.
PTS="Potential Trouble Source", someone connected to an SP.
SP="Suppressive Person", someone who, for instance, attacks Miscavige's Church of Scientology.
So, do any Scientologists actually confront anything that might upset them? Do any Scientologists look at and confront any opposition to Miscavige's church? Scientologists don't look at any media that might mention negative things about Scientology. Scientologists carefully avoid most of the Internet. When the Anonymous protests take place near any Church of Scientology, Scientologists run and hide. Scientologists cover the windows and hunker down, waiting for the protesters to go away. Where is the confront?

And don't even mention "shatter". If graduates of the PTS/SP Course could "shatter suppression", there wouldn't be any protests, would there? All the negative information about Miscavige and his church would simply go away. But that hasn't worked either, has it?

No confront. No "shattering." Virtually all Scientologists have "learned" this technology but the promised results just aren't happening.

Why doesn't Scientology work?

Contrary to what one might expect, Scientologists really do know there are problems in the Church of Scientology. They even talk about it with each other. While they don't see the big picture, they see the local manifestations.

They see the local problems, but they believe that things are better elsewhere; things are better for other Scientologists.

And they expect that, sooner or later, someone will notice that things are going bad for this Scientologist, or things aren't going well with this local church -- and someone will come and fix it.

And these loyal Scientologists carefully write up reports, sometimes to "RTC", sometimes to David Miscavige, sometimes to someone else who is "in charge". They carefully look up the policies, they carefully document all their problems, they carefully present their information, they carefully suggest what should be done -- then they wait.

And they wait.

And the problems persist and get worse.

So they carefully write it all up again. And they carefully send it "up lines" again.

Surely this time, someone will read their report, see the horrible misapplication of Hubbard's policies or technology, and they will fix it. It's obvious what is wrong. It's obvious what should be done. All it takes is that one person in authority reads their careful report and sends the proper orders.

But it doesn't happen. Scientologists all over the world are having serious problems, they are carefully writing up their reports and sending them "up lines" to RTC or Miscavige or someone in authority -- and nothing is getting corrected. Why?

Why doesn't Scientology work?

Quite a few years ago, OT VIII was released. It was heralded as the "first true OT level". While David Miscavige, himself, has been unable to attain this level, many other Scientologists have. Some of them are still in Scientology and are still working to support Scientology.

But where are the results of these "true OTs" who are supporting Scientology? These OTs are supposed to be far beyond anything that has ever existed on this planet. These OTs are supposed to be incredibly effective. Around such OTs, things "just go right". Yes?

No.

But why? Why is so much going so wrong for the Church of Scientology? Why is it such a struggle for Miscavige and his church? Why have so many OT VIIIs dropped out of sight, left the church, moved away?

Why doesn't Scientology work?

Scientology is supposed to be fun. Scientology is supposed to increase communication, increase ARC, increase a person's ability to face difficulties. Scientologists are supposed to end up flourishing and prospering. Scientologists are supposed to be happy. Scientologists are supposed to be more connected with people.
ARC: Scientology acronym for Affinity, Reality, Communication, which equals Understanding.
I'm sure there are brief moments of happiness for many Scientologists, but, in general, none of this is happening. There is very little fun, very little happiness, not much flourishing or prospering. As a rule, Scientologists withdraw from friends, family, and society. Being involved in Scientology is not supposed to make one's life more of a struggle, but this is exactly what happens. Life, for Scientologists, just becomes harder, grimmer and more guilt-laden.

The difference between what is promised by Miscavige's Church of Scientology and what actually happens is stark. Why?

Why doesn't Scientology work?

And don't look at the colossal failure of Miscavige to get all churches to the "size of old Saint Hill". Don't look at Miscavige's failure to complete his "SuperPower building" in Clearwater. Don't look at the failure of the "Ideal Org" campaign which has caused untold problems for the local churches.

It doesn't take any effort at all to see that Scientology is not working. Things are not going well at all. It is obvious.

It takes a tremendous amount of effort, continuous effort, to keep not seeing this -- to make excuses, to hide from the facts, to grit your teeth and see the illusion and not the reality. Being a Scientologist today is a lot of work -- and none of it is fun.

And the bottom-line question that Scientologists must not ask is:
Why doesn't Scientology work?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scientology Trolls Again

I wrote about the rather annoying and self-embarrassing Scientology Trolls before, but there is something else I've noticed that I don't think has been discussed much.

I think that many posters don't understand what is going on when Scientology trolls appear in a discussion. They think that we're all discussing Scientology; we're debating Scientology; we're going back and forth about Miscavige's Church of Scientology's lies, crimes, abuses and fraud. Critics of Scientology are working to expose and document these things and the Scientology trolls (they think) are defending, explaining and arguing about that.

Nope. Couldn't be further from the truth.

Oh, yes, the critics certainly are working to expose and document the Church of Scientology's lies, crimes, abuses and fraud, but the Scientology trolls are not arguing about that. Take a look. The Scientology troll's posts ignore and avoid those subjects.

The Scientology troll's only job is to distract, derail, "enturbulate" and bury any thread that mentions anything negative about Scientology. That is all.

And they do exactly that.

Time and again I've seen a thread about one or more of David Miscavige's lies, crimes, abuses and fraud get sidetracked by a Scientology troll. When that happens, the troll has succeeded in their job.

You might think that the troll would be concerned that they inevitably give Scientology and all Scientologists a bad image by their insults, crazy statements, false accusations and general stupidity, but (this is important) they don't care!

You see, their job, which they get "stat" points for, is to distract, derail, "enturbulate" and bury threads about Scientology's lies, crimes abuses and fraud. If they look like complete idiots, but accomplish that goal, they "win". Their "stats are up!"

They are playing a different game. They are not arguing about Scientology. They will never argue about Scientology. They won't justify their statements. They won't explain or defend Scientology's actions. They never will answer questions about Scientology.

Their false accusations are ironic. It is ironic because Hubbard said that criminals will accuse others of doing what the criminal is, in fact, doing. The Scientology trolls will inevitably accuse everyone of what Scientology is guilty of: Bigotry, intolerance, lying, making up stuff, hate speech, hate crimes and running intelligence operations against their enemies. Ron said they'd do it and the criminal Church of Scientology does it.

If posters react to the troll's false accusations, the troll "wins". If posters react to the troll's insults, the troll "wins". If posters argue about wild statements the troll made, the troll "wins". When posters go away from the subject of Miscavige's and his church's lies, crimes, abuses and fraud -- they are then wrangling about subjects of the troll's choosing, and the troll "wins".

The troll does not care one bit that he makes Scientologists look stupid, paranoid, crazy, brainwashed, etc. There are no "negative points" for such things. If the thread veers off from the lies, crimes, abuses and fraud of Miscavige and his church, he "wins", he gets his little points.

Understand the real game going on. Critics of Scientology are working to expose and document these lies, crimes, abuses and fraud and Miscavige's Church of Scientology, through its trolls, is working to hide them.

They know they cannot disprove the facts. They know they have absolutely no proof of their claims. These church operatives know they have no defense against the truth. The only thing they can do is desperately try to hide their lies, crimes, abuses and fraud.

So the absolutely worst thing you can do to a Church of Scientology troll is -- ignore those attempts , ignore those insults, ignore those false accusations and go back to the subject that the troll is attempting to stop. If Miscavige and his little troll-people hate it, then it must be good, keep on it.
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