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.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Scientology and the Wrong "Why" Part 2

We have a wonderful opportunity to actually test our various hypotheses, which we discussed on Scientology and the Wrong "Why".

[EDIT: I have been corrected.  When I am referring here to "Independent Scientology", I am specifically referring to the group calling itself that, led by Marty Rathbun and associates.  I do not know about the intentions, activities and plans of any other independent Scientology people or groups.]

With the "Independent Scientology" movement getting themselves all organized and sorting out who are real Scientologists and who aren't, we have an actual, real life test bed for "pure" Scientology and dedicated True Believers.

This will answer the question, quite conclusively, "Is it David Miscavige? Was it a one-time fluke?  Or are the problems displayed by the Church of Scientology actually built into Scientology itself?"

Now, most of us figure we already know the answer to those questions, but it is quite fascinating to see this play out in the real world with real True Believers trying to make it all work.

And, yes, they are doing a bang-up job aren't they?

No, they haven't actually made it to full cult status, but they are making progress.

If you check out their various communications, you will see some very strong indicators of where they are heading.   Disagreements are not tolerated.  If you want to be considered a group member in good standing, you cannot criticize L. Ron Hubbard in any way or find any fault with any bit of Scientology.

The word "hater" is now being used to describe anyone who offers an unacceptable opinion.  And people are being banned for such crimes.

The "Independents" are noting their "enemies" -- those who disagree with them.  Good, upstanding members of the "Independents" must not associate with those "enemies".

There are more and more such indications happening, feel free to add your own observations in the comments.

The "Independent" movement is quite small and it will never grow much, so nothing big will ever happen.  However, it is a fascinating look at how True Believers will implement "pure" Scientology -- even though they have such a clear and immediate example of what will happen if they do not recognize, admit and fix the problems of Scientology.

Scientology is, intrinsically, a cult.  It cannot exist in its "pure" form in a free and open society.  Freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and freedom of thought cannot be tolerated.  Disagreement, dissent, creative ideas, investigation, testing, questions, proof, doubts -- none of that can coexist with "pure" Scientology.

And, because of that, the "Independent Scientology" movement must, inevitably, withdraw from free society and protect itself in its little cave-of-enforced-agreement.

And so we get to watch this drama unfold.  Will this descent into cult-hood continue?  Will some of the members of this "Independent" movement see it and try to stop the descent?  If they try, will anything good happen, or will they just be banned for their "suppressive acts"?  How far will this go before it implodes?

Here is a wonderful example of how "pure" Scientology, applied carefully and rigorously by True Believers, affects an organization -- played out in real time in front of us all.

Who's got the popcorn?


  1. Why do I get the impression that you had a big grin on your face while penning that post? You hater! Maybe it's because I couldn't help but smile while reading it. During the last weeks you've been spoiling us with many posts, I hope you can maintain the pace.

    On second thought it's somehow a little depressing to know that a bunch of people is predictable like lab rats that were trained to take one specific route through the maze.

  2. Oh, yes! This will be quite entertaining.

    The Independent Scientology movement has really backed themselves right into a trap. They are on record that everything Hubbard wrote is perfect and wonderful. To them, Scientology is the only way to do things, and all of Scientology must be used, you can't neglect any single part.

    So they have to use everything of Hubbard's, they have to apply it very, very exactly and they have to make it work.

    Now, anyone who has worked in Scientology knows that you cannot do those three things, they are mutually exclusive.

    If you try to apply every bit of Scientology, especially if you try to apply these things very, very exactly, you get horribly stuck -- because various policies contradict other policies, and quite a few simply cannot be applied without considerable fudging (meaning get the job done and ignore what LRH said).

    And that last one, "they have to make it work" is the really fun one. While there is some LRH policy that is OK, quite a bit simply will not work -- and the more exactly one tries to apply it, the more likely it is to fail. For Scientologists, it's a real Catch 22.

    So watching Independent Scientologists try to prove "Scientology works" in front of the world will be quite fun.

  3. I love this! To add to it, the lumping of dissidents on a certain blog into being OSA and OSA operatives is another fail.

    Keep up the good work, Just Bill

  4. @Mary McConnell

    Yes, good point on whistle-blowers "are OSA".

    One of the mainstays of Scientology is "everybody is against us and they are, every one, part of one big, EVIL conspiracy against Good".

    It helps make them feel important, and dangerous -- which is certainly preferable to reality.

  5. Just Bill,

    Your posts are very thought provoking and feel quite healthy to the mind!

    When I first got out of the church and posted my story on Jeff's blog, many people "befriended" me on Facebook. As I began to unravel from the cult and become more and more educated, I began to voice what I was seeing at the moment. This was tolerated for awhile but then certain Independents started dumping me off their "friends" lists.

    I am not particularly offended by this as anyone has the right to choose the "friends" they'd like to have on Facebook or anywhere in life.

    Not all the Independents have done this, some just ignore and never comment on anything I post or add to others' posts. They used to do this but not anymore. It has become obvious that I am a person to be ignored by many "Independents". As I was not ignoring them and as I approached having them as my friends as a means to understand what has happened to all of us and to show everyone love, I was surprised when I started being shunned.

    There are a few who would never shun and a few in particular who have been extraordinarily caring and tolerant.

    I think those people may come out unscathed.

  6. Quote Synthia "There are a few who would never shun and a few in particular who have been extraordinarily caring and tolerant.

    I think those people may come out unscathed. "

    Synthia, I think you have spoken a real truism here. Some people have maintained their personal integrity in Scientology and other tough, compromising situations, and I think they suffer negative effects much less than those who go into agreement with and act on the group think.

  7. Scientology is, intrinsically, a cult. It cannot exist in its "pure" form in a free and open society. Freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and freedom of thought cannot be tolerated. Disagreement, dissent, creative ideas, investigation, testing, questions, proof, doubts -- none of that can coexist with "pure" Scientology.

    Because of this...
    And it reminds me of the playground cliques in fifth grade.

    Excellent post, Just Bill

  8. Good post, Bill! I think you are quite right, scientology will only "work" by social feedback in an isolated environment. Let's hope the indies will see the corner they are painting themselves into.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Imho the independent Scientology movement isn't a real organization yet.One cannot call it a "cult" just on the basis of some comments which were made by some people on the internet.
    People often behave differently on the internet, than they do IRL.

  10. @Isene

    Didn't I mention the "Independent Scientology" movement somewhere?

  11. So, does "they" refer to 100%, 50%, 37% or somewhere in between of the "Independent Scientology" movement?

  12. @Isene

    That's a very good question. The posters and commenters on Marty's blog say these things, but how much support do they have from their followers? I don't see anyone voicing disagreement, but does that mean (as it seems to imply) that everyone agrees? Or does it mean that disagreements have been suppressed?

    All I can go on is what is publicly available. If I don't see discussion or disagreement, I must assume there is none.

  13. That would be only a few of the possible conclusions.

    Others are; Maybe some unknown percentage doesn't care. Maybe some unknown percentage doesn't thing the disagreement is productive. Maybe they are busy delivering? Maybe something else.

    You say "If I don't see discussion or disagreement, I must assume there is none. "

    Why? I see no OSA action these day. I still don't assume there is none. Etc.

  14. @isene

    We can speculate all day long about "reasons". It doesn't actually matter why Independent Scientologists aren't objecting to the direction the "Independent Scientology" movement is moving. It doesn't matter if the "reason" is because they agree, or they don't care or they are "too busy".

    The only thing that matters is what actually comes to pass.

    If the "Independent Scientology" movement adopts all the cult characteristics of the church, if they embrace all the abusive practices, if they don't change something so that they can coexist with a free and open society, then it won't matter why Independent Scientologists didn't speak up, it won't matter at all.

  15. I am simply pointing out that your logic didn't hold. It is indeed not safe to assume that there is no disagreement if you don't see any. You yourself pointed out a possible other reason before your own conclusion (that the disagreements may have been suppressed).

    And speculation as to intent is a slippery slope, which was my point.

    Generalizing an impression from one forum into "they" when referring to people spread across a wide variety of forums, e-mail lists and the non-Internet world is indeed... generalizing.

    Your post carries logical fallacies.

    Maybe you should start by defining what you mean by "Independent Scientology" movement, a term coined many years ago by Fluffy.

    Thing is - I agree with the intent in you post, but the post was ruined by faulty logic.

  16. @isene

    Point taken.

    I have seen what appears to be a coalescence of activity around one group of people and a small number of websites, forums and blogs.

    And I'm referring to that group, which has named itself "Independent Scientology", when I have talked about "Independent Scientology".

    I would love to be educated.

    Are there other people, websites, forums and blogs by different people who are also calling themselves "Independent Scientology"?

    I would love to find out what they are saying, doing and planning.

    Anyone with any such information, please send it to me on this thread, I don't have to publish it if you don't want.

  17. @JB and Isene

    Seems clear to me that JB's article targets ex-Scn people who blame management and can't face the fact that they forfeited years of their lives and squandered untold dollars buying into a scam.

    More specifically the target appears to be Rathbun... who happens to be the 'flavor of the day'. That particular blog trades in shadowy operatives, innuendo, paranoia and suggests that the only way to "save" The Tech is to gather around a true champion. Like, maybe Marty Rathbun?

    There is no organized Independent Scientology movement and there never will be. All the warts and bumps of Scientology and Hubbard are now embedded in our culture and no efforts to organize a following while retaining "Hubbard" or "Scientology" will scrub the sad facts from view.

    Nice blog by the way.


  18. Goodie.

    I have come across many that now refer to themselves as an Independent Scientologist without being in "Marty's camp" if you wish. Many couldn't care less as they are busy delivering Scientology to their friends and very uninterested in what the Church or Miscavige is doing or should be doing.

    Also, the term "Independent Scientologist" is far better than "FreeZoner" IMO, and some old FZ'ers are adopting the former term for this very reason.

  19. @isene

    Well, I obviously need to be much more specific as to which group I'm referring to.

    Maybe I'll refer to Marty's cult as ... "Marty's cult".

    I'm guessing that Scientologists outside of Marty's cult are not too happy that he seems to think he's the spokesman (or maybe even leader) of the "Independent Scientology" movement.

    There is so much more to investigate and learn here.

  20. @isene

    While I can find various uses of "independent Scientologist" on FreeZone sites and even a few times the word independent is used with Scientology as a description of existence outside of the church, I haven't found any group referring to itself as "Independent Scientology". I think Marty's cult-in-embryo is the only group claiming that name.

    Too bad, I think it's a good name for all of independent Scientology activities.

  21. I have to defend Marty a bit here, because there are a few things he said that I would not expect from a "true believer".

    1. There are contradictions in what Hubbard wrote and said:
    2. He permits the naming of Xenu:
    3. He has permitted some criticism, though very sparsely, of LRH in the blog commentaries.
    4. He publicly says he does not wish to be a leader of any kind. Yes, I know, he is de-facto some kind of leader. The question is whether he speaks the truth, or whether he consolidates his power in some way. We don't know yet.

    Just put yourself in his shoes. Just assuming you're a convinced atheist. Now imagine a Jehova's witness knocking on your door trying to talk you into discussing the bible. And the next day, you see on your forum, that is dedicated to atheists, about 50 posts on how you got it all wrong and your poor forum users all need to pray to god and join Jehova's witnesses. And the next weeks you get another 30 threads about that every day. That would get you pretty pissed off, wouldn't it?
    Marty is convinced, no he "knows" ( that Scientology "therapy" always helps, and so do his readers. You and I may think differently than he does, and that LRH's Dianetics was pretty much a scam from the get-go with all his lofty promises about clears. But do you think reminding him and the others a 1000 times that we think differently is going to do any good?

    I do follow your reasoning, and you are right. Marty and his followers are doomed to suffer the same fate the Co$ does today if they become too cultish. You really laid it out quite convincingly, and I believe, correctly in this blog post:
    For me, that one ranks among the best blog posts you have written so far.

  22. @Ackerland

    Thanks for your defense of Marty. It is good to note that he is not as much a fanatic as some True Believers are, and that is a good thing.

    I also want to emphasize that I do not think that Marty and Co. are a cult. Most of my effort in that direction has been to point out where they seem to be moving in that direction and to warn them.

  23. Just Bill,

    "It is good to note that he is not as much a fanatic as some True Believers are ..."

    I acknowledge that this is your site, after all, but I'm a little taken aback by the rudeness of your last post. Marty Rathbun is a real person who, as far as I know, has done nothing to disparage YOUR name or to harm you in any way. Am I missing something here, a reason why you would make this personal? Has Marty posted something about you, perhaps "The guy who calls himself Just Bill is not as much of a douche bag as those other douche bags..."

  24. @Nancy P.

    I am sorry that you took my comment as a nasty insult -- rude and disparaging, as you say. I'm not entirely sure how to respond to that.

    The True Believers of Scientology are, by definition, fanatics. You, and they, may protest that description, but it is accurate.

    fanatic: a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.

    Certainly True Believers are uncritical of Scientology, they never, ever question the correctness of Hubbard or Scientology. And they certainly display a tremendous enthusiasm or zeal for the subject -- especially for proclaiming how always correct it is.

    "Fanatic" is accurate. And to say that Marty is not as much a fanatic as others, is a good thing, neither rude, nor a disparagement.

    I'm sorry you have taken such offence at my words, but they are merely statements, not insults.

  25. You know, I'm sorry to have flown off the handle like that. I genuinely often admire your critical thinking. I have enjoyed many great posts on your site.

    Here's the thing: while I'm no longer a scientologist by any definition, I don't find Marty fanatical. I would describe him as staunch, dedicated,loyal, committed. I admire those qualities. And I find him to be actually much broader in his thinking than the scientologists I knew inside the church. He simply still believes in the value of the tech (much more than I do, but so what).

    You use the term True Believers, which by its capitalization indicates a "special meaning." You can certainly lump together a lot of people thereby in a way that implies disapproval. Since you seem to have created a definition for this capitalized term, a convenient, generalized category into which you can deposit what are actually complex and individual human beings, you can certainly also say whether or not this category fits the definition of a fanatic. But lets fully define our terms. What is a True Believer?

    Is it anyone who believes in something you find worthless or dangerous and is not nearly as critical as you are regarding it? Would they then be a fanatic in your book? Because it seems to me that you have assumed things about the extent of Mr. Rathbun's beliefs that you probably don't really know for a fact. Have you ever spoken to the man? Is it possible that you make these assumptions because they fit your idea about anybody who still defends the tech, that you deduce from that stance that he is a True Believer and must therefore also be a fanatic? Would a muslim, jew, christian or Republican then fall into that category if they displayed what you considered to be too much enthusiasm? And how much enthusiasm would that be? How critical would one have to be to be of one's own belief system, family,country, etc., to NOT be considered a fanatic by you? Is it possible to support anything or anyone in an uncritical way, say your husband, son or mother, without thereby proving yourself to be a fanatic?

    What if you have doubts but out of respect keep them to yourself?

    What if you believe that being critical of your wife, for instance, would exacerbate rather than help a bad situation?

    Could you APPEAR to be a fanatic when you are not? Is it possible to wrongly judge someone when you must rely for your evaluation on incomplete data? Say, what is posted on a blogsite? Or worse, what is said about someone by others?

    Clearly whether one is to be considered "a fanatic" or not is a subjective evaluation. So let's not pronounce it like it's a fact on which all agree, and imply that one has a logical standard by which to determine exact degrees of fanaticism. If it's your opinion that Marty Rathbun is a fanatic but less of a fanatic than other True Believers, let's acknowledge that it's an opinion; a rather critical, perhaps some would say cynical and biased opinion, to which you are entitled.

    Apparently, one man's loyal supporter is another man's fanatic.

  26. @Nancy P

    You have completely misduplicated my opinions. I'm sure, in part, that is my fault.

    In general, I like Scientologists. I have known hundreds and I have found them, for the most part, good people who care about others and wanted to help.

    I also understand strong commitment to a belief, dedication and perseverance. These certainly can be good qualities.

    I have defended Scientologists many times when they have been insulted as a group as "stupid" or worse.

    I think there is good in Scientology. I also know there is bad.

    In your attack on me, you ignore all the times I have spoken of these things and I find that distressing.

    What I object to is extremism and fanaticism. When I speak of some people as True Believers it is because I want to specifically differentiate between Scientologists and fanatic Scientologists.

    When I see the abusive practices of Scientology being embraced by True Believers, I know that is wrong. When I see differing opinions being, not answered or debated but just shouted down, I know something very bad is happening. When I see the same mistakes being made by True Believers that caused such problems in the past, I get very sad.

    Because that is fanaticism.

    I don't condemn Scientologists as a group. I know that there are only a very few who are fanatics. What I hope to do is warn Scientologists from that path that every one of us took not so long ago.

    I am very, very sure that, in private, even those who talk like fanatics would be willing, off the record, to admit the faults of Hubbard and the flaws of Scientology. Why they don't have the honesty to say such things publicly is their problem.

    As for my assuming that those who talk like fanatics are fanatics, isn't that reasonable? Am I supposed to initiate some private chat with every seeming fanatic just to verify what they said is what they really meant? I'm not sure what you expect here.

    Do not put words in my mouth or assume thoughts in my head. When in doubt, see what I have written before.

  27. Just Bill, thanks for your reply. You make some good points, and I appreciate your reasoned viewpoint. Like I said, it is obvious to those of us who read you on a regular basis that you are an above-average critical thinker (in the best possible definition of that term), and I value that.

    Believe it or not, I read several of these blogs and don't usually comment, preferring to remain detached from what is being asserted, debated or argued. I have found, after all these months, some hard-won peace of mind and have put the whole scientology debate into what I consider it's correct perspective: often still interesting, but always a truly small part of life and the world, and therefore usually not worth the aggravation.

    As for your comment to take into consideration your previous posts, I did so, though perhaps not to your satisfaction. My comments and questions are a product of the sum of my observations and conclusions (whether accurate or not) from those posts. I've been reading them for over a year now.

    You've made yourself clear, thanks. I hope I've done the same. I respect a guy who can take more than he dishes out.

  28. As an interested observer, I must say this site ranks up between the Tilling novels and the Wars of the Roses for sheer excitement. It's as addictive as a soap and a lot more erudite. I've been reading every day for weeks, eagerly awaiting the next article!
    Just Bill, you are doing a very good thing here, and I particularly admire the civil courteous tone of this site, as well as the insistence on critical thinking skills; what a treat.
    Blogs from two years ago say the CoS is imploding, but it hasn't happened yet. Anyone got a time scale? Or is the "church" (sorry, I just about choke when I write that) holding steadier than first thought?
    The comments on the psychology of members are the most interesting to me. I think it was Vaughn Roberts who put it best; it's like an abusive marriage. I can totally relate to that. When it's happening to you, you just can't believe it's that bad - you came into this relationship with such love and hope; this is the person you love; you couldn't possibly be a victim.
    My heart goes out to the betrayed. And this site has made me think hard about my own beliefs, and why I hold to them.

  29. Re: Church imploding

    It did. And it continues to do so. The problem is that so much of the church is pure façade, the collapse isn't obviously visible.

    Continuing reports show that the membership numbers continue to crash. However, many of those who have ceased participation are "under the radar" -- again, not visible. The last ARIS survey reported a mere 25,000 Scientologists in the U.S. (give or take). I'm guessing the next one will be quite a bit less than 10,000 with most of those actually being independent.

    Virtually every church is way behind on their utilities, rent, etc. but that isn't reported until the notice of utilities being cut off is posted on their door. Some churches have quietly moved to smaller quarters, and many are "keeping the lights on" but very little else. The "over 6,000 groups and missions" have completely disappeared.

    The fact that the façade is still in place means nothing. The implosion is actually very close to being complete.

    The only "sign of life" seems to be a tiny bit of activity around "Ideal Orgs" scam -- and that activity only serves to accelerate the implosion.

  30. I was watching something that was an official Scio video (maybe around the Ideal Orgs) and it was very upbeat in general, but it did have this one comment about "reversing the spiral we are in" (or words to that effect). Seemed like an oblique acknowledgement of the diminshment of the Church. And in an official and produced video. A tinky crack that they are starting to come to grips with reality?

  31. Re: Reversing the spiral...

    Yes, sort of. The church does acknowledge the "problems", but only as a way to extract more money from Scientologists. They don't admit the church has any problems at all. In fact, they claim all the problems are "evidence we are winning".

    So, actually no. Miscavige is still in full denial that the church has any problems at all.

  32. Re: Reversing the Spiral

    I don't believe that meant the spiral of the church. Though I didn't hear it in context, that phrase gets said a lot and always means the dwindling spiral on the planet and in no way is any admission of any problems from within.

  33. My why?

    Badly constructed statistics, micro-managed on a weekly basis with no reward / recognition /focus on contributions to establishment and overall cumulative statistics.

    Example: qualified staff hired.


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