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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Who Will Lead the "Independents"?

Grown men do not need leaders.
                                                        Edward Abbey
Anyone who has read much in this blog will already know that I'm no longer a True Believer of Scientology.  If they have been paying attention, they would also realize that I am not, in actual fact, anti-Scientology (specifically, the belief system) either.

I think that some of Scientology can provide benefit to some people.  If a person wants to practice Scientology (and if they can avoid the abuses and fraud that Scientology seems to engender), then they should be allowed to do so.

Also, readers of this blog will know that I consider the Church of Scientology, and its leaders, to be criminal and fraudulent.

But now we have the self-named "Independents" who appear to want to reconstitute the Church of Scientology in a "reformed" version.  They want an organization.  They want a leader.

OK, so looking at this from the viewpoint of a Scientologist, how could one go about picking a good leader for Scientology?

Scientologists have a limited but lousy record in their choice of leaders -- specifically David Miscavige.  So far, they've "chosen" their leader by accepting whoever declared themselves leader.  To put it bluntly: They have been sheep.

If we pretend they have a choice and they have the will and power to choose their own leader, what qualifications should they look for in their new leader?

Let's try to be serious here and list what a sane group of Scientologists would see as important qualifications for their leader, shall we?  If I were a True Believer and if I were selecting a leader, I would want:
  1. Someone who was personally trained by L. Ron Hubbard or, if no one was available, then someone who was directly trained by such a person.
  2. Someone who has successfully completed all training and processing with excellent results and who has not been indoctrinated in any of Miscavige's "altered tech".
  3. Someone who has successfully run a mission, an org and a Scientology "Continent" (group of churches/missions in one geographic area).
  4. Someone who has a track record of successfully running a business in the real world.
  5. Someone who has always fought David Miscavige and upheld "Standard Scientology" against Miscavige's rewrites, edits and corruption.
  6. Someone who has never allowed or participated in any of the Church of Scientology's crimes, abuses or corruption.
Even with these qualifications, I see Scientology as doomed unless their new leader also is:
  1. Someone who explicitly repudiates and rejects any and all Scientology policy that promotes the Scientology abuses, crimes, lies and fraud -- including disconnection, "Enemy" lists, "fair game" and all such anti-social policies.
  2. Someone who acknowledges the crimes, abuses, lies and fraud committed previously by Scientology -- even those ordered or condoned by L. Ron Hubbard himself.
Not surprisingly, there do not appear to be any aspirants to leadership in the "Independents" movement who meet the criteria 1-6 and certainly none who meet the last two points.

Of course, these would be my criteria if I were a Scientologist and, before the "Independents" get their knickers in a twist, I would never tell them what to do.  Besides, there is no indication that any of these are actually desirable to the "Independents".

No, this is just an exercise in logical thinking.  I actually expect the "Independents" to use their previous method of choosing their leader: Don't look at a person's track record, don't look at what they've actually done, just accept whoever wants it the most and who says the correct-sounding things.  After all, that worked so well in the past.


  1. Dear Bill:
    As there is no option in the horizon, what do you think if I propose George Walker Bush?
    He has a great track for worsening every thing he has touched, and will be the missing ingredient for a Reformed Church of Scientology to happen, first we have to extinguish the current org and maybe he would accept to take office ASAP

  2. Re: GWB

    Well, that's a great suggestion, but do you really think the "Independents" need that kind of help in failing? Seems they can fail without further help from anyone.

  3. Thanks for another great post. I think the best leader for the Independents should be… nobody. The very idea that they should put themselves under the authority and control of someone else is at the very heart of what is wrong right now. If you look back in 1950 when Dianetics first took off, there was no need to be directed by someone else. They just learned the Technology and applied it on their friends. They worked and enjoyed the benefits they got without an organization defining who and what they should be. Sure it would help to have a loose association to help each other, but that should, be kept to a minimum. The seeking of a leader was the thing that got Germany in trouble and the same is true about Scientology. Just go out and learn what you want, apply it on friends, and get the benefits that you get. That will be the best way in my book.

  4. @lesj39

    You certainly may be right. You can tell how I feel by the way I started the article with that quote from Edward Abbey.

    "But," I hear Scientologists say, "who would enforce Standard Tech?"

    I'd respond, "Has that 'enforcement' accomplished anything in the past?"

  5. I used to ponder such things and wondered, "how do other churches do it?"
    Catholics have the Cardinal College, Episcopals have some way of voting. Oh yeah, that's the word. VOTING!
    What if Mission Holders VOTED and the office was temporary? There's an idea! Nothing complicated there. Perfection isn't required. Maybe just someone who has good common sense, a good heart and isn't a fanatic. That would work for me.
    And what if the Sea Org was just a regular organization? No more billion year contracts, no more slave wages, no more intimidation with Conditions, Declares and Freeloader debts. Ya know just a regular organization, maybe like the military--some regimentation but without the fanaticism.
    Then I woke up.

  6. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the NOI - Louis Farrahan

  7. @ Squash Lady:
    How do OTHER churches do it?
    Most mainline churches have constitutions. Individual congregations are run by elected boards. Bishops ( or their equivalents ) are elected. There are national conventions, or councils, ( they have various names) of bishops and other officials, all of whom can be removed from office. Clergy are hired and can be fired. No one has absolute power or authority.

    The Catholics do it a bit differently, having a top-down hierarchy (which they are now having such trouble with ) but even they have some means of whistle-blowing built in.

    Please, CoS is NOT a CHURCH.


  8. Dear Sheepherder,
    Point taken--COS is not a Church. That said mainline Church organizations could serve as a model because it seems that they mostly work.
    Actually, the COS is run perfectly--just the way one would run a cult.

  9. The question of a Church of Scientology Reformed (CSR) raises legal issues.

    The courts and IRS would probably accept its claim to religious status.

    However, there would seem to be a problem on copyright issues for its "scriptures".

    E-meter use seems particularly problematic. In 1971 Judge Gerhard Gesell restricted e-meter use to bona fide religious counseling. At the time scilons rejoiced because they took the ruling as forbidding its use outside CoS and thus banning its use by squirrel groups.

  10. On the question of church - I want to highly recommend to ATS readers Prof. Hugh Urban's new book, The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion.

    The book focuses on the most crucial aspect of cult history, namely, its tortuous road to defining itself as a religion and gaining governmental and social recognition as such.

    Urban breaks ground because he is the first academic to take seriously the accounts of "apostates" and of Anonymous.

    Most importantly he blows open the question of religion in US society. He thinks "Is it a church?" is the wrong question to ask.

    The more important question is who has the power to decide what a religion is and which of about fifty definitions you are going to use.

  11. Re: Church of Scientology Reformed

    As far as books and tapes are concerned, as long as they buy them from the copyright holder, there is no problem. However, I believe that the copyrights to the original books were all lost due to incompetence -- which is one reason Miscavige is rewriting them all: To get NEW copyrights. As the CSR only wants the original books, everything should work out just fine.

    The emeter is already being used by Free Zone quite freely and, in fact, they claim to have "better versions".

  12. This site need more action Bill.

  13. Re: This site needs more action.

    Don't blame me. Goodness, its the CoS that isn't doing anything. ;P

    Ah well, I'm sure I can find something to write about.

  14. A few points:

    * You act as though the "independents" are a new thing. I have been an independent since 1982, when Miscavaige's coup caused David Mayo and just about every other high level tech terminal to be booted out. For almost 30 years I have been quietly practicing the tech, and conferring with other independents in private discussion groups.

    * What makes you think the independents want a leader? It could be argued that they "need" one; but many of us old-timer independents learned a wariness of "leaders" who told us what was good for us.

    * As in many other political situations, the people most want to be in charge those who probably should not have that role.

    1. Whew, AMEN!!!

    2. I never said or implied that "independents" were new. Dub-in much? Back when this was written, there appeared to be some desire to organize. I don't see this today, and that's a good thing.

      I'm all in favor of people believing what they want and practicing what they believe as long as it doesn't hurt someone else. I only object to the practice of Scientology when it involves fraud and/or abuse -- something endemic to the Church of Scientology and some independents.

  15. @Old-timer
    Re: Independents

    I'm not confused. I know that Scientologists who are independent of the Church of Scientology have been around for many, many years.

    I was talking very specifically of the newly out group that has named themselves "Independent Scientology" (and who sneer at those who came before them as "squirrels"). They want to organize. Heck, I'm pretty sure they want to be a church.

    There is a vast difference between "Independent Scientology" and Scientologists who are independent. Thanks for reminding us of that.

  16. Glad to read some comments here. I think you may have made a mistake. A "True Believer" (coined by Eric Hoffer), is someone who is compliant, conformist, a sheep. I presume you are asking who an intelligent, aware, individual, with discrimination would choose for a leader. My answer aligns with the original idea of Dianetics, as I understand it...much in the way of independence, self-exploration, processing others in small groups (trades, not commerce)....and consistent with an LRH quote: "No one has a monopoly on the Truth."

    This approach is not much impressed with authority figures, nor with much in the way of organization. It IS open to growth and development, of all kinds....and is pragmatic. If it works, dammit, good enough. It has no problem with borrowing “good stuff” from most anywhere…and sharing. It is also opposed to all varieties of control and brain-washing and cult-like behavior (or con-jobs)…of which there is PLENTY in the C of S.

    1. Yes, I meant True Believer only to mean a believer in Scientology who does not question Hubbard. That also means that they accept much that they should question.

      This article was written in 2011. Today, I don't see a big effort or intention in the Freezone/Independent to organize or to choose a leader. No matter how one feels about Scientology, I think this is good. It means more fragmentation, more individualism and less possibility for abuse.


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