The Church of Scientology uses mental manipulation, and their statements are very good examples of exactly what they do -- or try to do. Time after time, I notice that reporters accept, or at least not challenge, premises from the Church of Scientology spokesman that are simply not true -- because they are quite subtly done.
Lets take the first example, from Tommy Davis' statements as quoted in the New York Times:
As for the defectors, Mr. Davis called them “apostates” and said that contrary to their claims of having left the church in protest, they were expelled.Note the use of pejorative terms: "defectors" and "apostates". This is quite deliberate. This is "standard tech" in Scientology, attempting to alter the perception of Scientology and Scientology's enemies by subtle mental manipulation.
a·pos·tate [noun] a person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.Now get this, as part of this word's description:
Related words: deserter, ratter, recreant, renegade, turncoatThis is the label that the church wants everyone to associate with those who have left and who are critical of the church. It was very deliberately chosen for its negative meaning and association.
Of course, the term "apostate" is quite incorrect. Many of those who have left the church still consider themselves true Scientologists, and they still practice Scientology. By definition, they are not and never have been "apostates".
Naturally, the church disagrees:
Mr. Davis said there is no such thing: “One can’t be a Scientologist and not be part of the church.”But, of course, he doesn't get to define who is and who is not a Scientologist. Only the people themselves can make that determination. Obviously, if they still believe in and practice Scientology, they are not apostates.
So what term should be used?
There are several terms that more accurately describe those who have left. Some good ones are detractors, escapees, reformists, protesters or possibly rebels.
But these are Scientologists who saw abuse, crimes and fraud at the highest levels of the church, and saw that the church cannot and will not correct itself. The correct term for such people is whistle-blowers.
whis·tle-blow·er [noun] a person who informs on another or makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing.The Church of Scientology will fight very hard to keep reporters from using this term, because whistle-blower has very positive connotations. The fact that "apostate" is quite inaccurate, and "whistle-blower" is quite accurate is immaterial. When you wish to manipulate people, you don't care too much about accuracy.
Another phrase the Church of Scientology has been throwing around a lot recently has to do with "ex-spouses". For example, again from the New York Times:
Joanie Sigal is a 36-year parishioner in Clearwater who promotes the church’s antidrug campaign to local officials. She said the defectors’ stories were like what you would hear “if I asked your ex-husband what he thought of you.”Note, again, the attempt to manipulate public opinion by using negative images and terms.
(Now, personally, I think asking an ex-spouse about a person is a very good idea. There are many people who got into a bad relationship who wished that they had asked an ex-spouse, ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend about their prospective partner.)
But, of course, that's intentional misdirection by the church. This statement by the church is completely lacking in logic. This is nothing like marriage and divorce -- unless someone can have tens of thousands of ex-spouses!
What the church is fighting is thousands of ex-churchies who are all telling the same stories about the greedy demand for money, money, money coupled with pervasive lies and a consistent failure to deliver anything that the church has promised. More importantly, the church is fighting hundreds of Scientologists who worked at the highest levels of the church who are all telling the same stories about crimes, physical and mental abuse, human rights violations, lies and fraud by the Church of Scientology -- even by David Miscavige personally.
This is absolutely nothing like a disgruntled ex-spouse. Come on, nobody should be falling for that analogy!
The Church of Scientology desperately wants reporters to equate these incredibly serious charges with a private marital spat.
A few reporters fall for it. But not many, and fewer every day.
The charges levelled by these Scientology whistle-blowers are very, very serious. And it should be noted by everyone that the Church of Scientology has presented nothing except tricks to answer these accusations. They use loaded language, vague, unsubstantiated slander and misdirection instead of actually confronting and addressing the whistle-blowers' accusations. This is quite significant.
They will not answer these serious charges. They will not open up their compounds and their "RPF" prison camps for inspection. They will not permit any of their Scientology staff or public to talk to the press or to anyone about these things. They will not be open and honest about their organization, their hierarchy, their policies, their punishments, or anything, really, at all. All they have is tricks to manipulate people's opinions. Tricks.
Pay attention to these tricks, or you may find yourself unknowingly manipulated by the Church of Scientology. It's what they do.