"Scientology" as practiced within the Church of Scientology is 100% pure cult-control. This "church" is a greedy, dishonest, fraudulent and criminal organization. However, it is no longer dangerous in a broad sense because it is extremely small and currently in the last throes of collapsing. It has no future and its danger is primarily to those still trapped inside the cult.
But what about Scientology outside of and disassociated from the Church of Scientology?
Anyone who has read this blog knows I am not an apologist for Scientology and its cultish thought-control, but I do contend that it isn't, and will never again be, as dangerous as some people seem to think it is or could be.
Now, it is true that L. Ron Hubbard created and institutionalized the abuses of the Church of Scientology -- things like the RPF, disconnection, fair game, "enemy" lists and declares and all such abuses. These abuses are built into the core of Scientology. Couldn't that happen again?
Certainly, but I believe that any attempt to implement such abuses outside of the church would result in the automatic destruction of any group that attempted it.
You see, the huge difference between Scientology within the Church of Scientology, and Scientology outside of the church is summed up in one word, "monopoly". The Church of Scientology contends that it and it alone is the proper and only purveyor of "Standard Scientology". According to the church, there is no "real Scientology" available outside of the church. If you are expelled from the church, you are doomed -- any "Scientology" you might get outside of the church is so terribly flawed that it would destroy you.
And so, according to the church, you must remain in the church and you must toe the line and you must do everything they tell you to do or you will be condemned to destruction forever.
And this dogma keeps the True Believers trapped inside the church's draconian control. Or, at least, it used to.
But now, more and more Scientologists are leaving the Church of Scientology and, if they still believe, they are finding Scientology practitioners outside who also claim to deliver "Standard Scientology". Suddenly, Scientology is available from hundreds (maybe even thousands) of groups and individuals. Once someone has left the church, they understand that there is no such monopoly.
And this is why outside Scientology cannot institute the exact same abuses as the church.
Imagine some True Believer, part of some independent Scientology Group A, runs afoul with Group A's leader and "gets declared". Well, so what? He or she just goes somewhere else. If Scientology Group A becomes known for their abuse, they will cease to exist. If Scientology Group A becomes greedy, they won't get any business.
You will, inevitably, see the following comedy played out in the independent Scientology field: "You're a suppressive! You're declared!", "No, you're the suppressive, you're declared!", "No, you are!", "No, you are!". Any attempts by one group to implement the abusive parts of Scientology will just become comedy.
In addition, without the million-dollar lawyers of the church, any Scientology group will be held responsible for any and all abuse, fraud and criminal behavior. These parts of Hubbard's technology cannot be implemented if the group wants to survive. Any attempt to implement Hubbard's more abusive practices will only lose them customers and, possibly, get them into legal trouble.
One of the most powerful tools against Scientology's abuses is all of you on the Internet. With all of Scientology's "secrets" and all of Scientology's abuses and failures exposed for all to see, any Scientology group is going to be hard-pressed to sell its "solutions" and its "miraculous results". The watchful eye of the Internet is not going to go away.
But there's even more. Outside Scientology is not just in competition with other Scientology practitioners -- it is in competition with every other self-help group, every other philosophy, every motivational speaker, every religion -- in short, they are in competition with every other person and group that claims to make you feel better and improve your life.
And, unlike Scientology, some of those other improvement techniques can actually prove their claims. This is a completely different world from Scientology's "monopoly" of the past.
I'm not saying those practicing Scientology understand this, I don't think they do. From what I see, they are still attempting to impose the same cult-thought-control on their membership. While they don't have the power to impose disconnection, they are still designating a lot of people and many websites as "unacceptable to associate with". They show signs of withdrawing into private, carefully censored, forums where any dissent is quickly shouted down and quashed.
But, without the monopoly, this kind of cult behavior will only repel potential new members and eventually disgust any intelligent, current members. Scientologists escaping from the Church of Scientology, and seeing just more of the same abuse and attempted thought control occurring in the "Independent" movement will, for the most part, stay far, far away.
No, any group "promising" Scientology's false claims and exhibiting cult behavior simply cannot expand. If they are any danger at all, it will only be to their small (and inevitably shrinking) group of "faithful followers".
Scientology's fangs have been drawn. If it wants to continue at all, it will have to become open and honest.