Recently, I've just been watching. Scientology watching has become one of my entertainments. There's David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology, there's all the secrets, lies, crimes, abuses and fraud getting almost daily exposure and then there is the "Independent Scientology movement".
I find the Independent Scientologists to be the most fascinating. Here we have a perfect test of Scientology's workability unfolding right before our eyes. How can Scientology exist outside of the tightly controlled environment of the cult?
Enough time has passed for us to be able to see what Scientology is going to be like in a free and open environment.
Inside the Church of Scientology, the environment is very, very tightly controlled -- exactly as L. Ron Hubbard designed it to be. Anything negative about Hubbard or Scientology is condemned as "entheta" and is off limits. As a "good Scientologist", one cannot and will not talk to people who speak entheta. One cannot read entheta articles or listen to any entheta. That is thought control and is one of the cult's mechanisms for keeping the True Believers from straying from the approved path.
But now we have the Independent Scientology movement. They have much, much less control. If you talk to the "wrong people" according to one Scientology practitioner -- who then refuses to audit you (because you are a "bad person") -- why you can just go elsewhere.
The leaders of the Independent movement do not have enough control to stop a Scientologist from talking to anyone or reading anything.
And now we can see what happens to Scientology when the cultic thought control has been removed and when the standard threats have no weight. Can Scientology survive in a free environment?
Well, what is happening?
If you've perused the various Independent Scientology blogs, you will see Scientologists desperately attempting to enforce the old thought control. Any disagreement or entheta posted on one of their blogs gets shouted down or simply blocked. Many posts and comments on ESMB and Censored by Marty attest to the censoring that goes on at that blog.
The people running the blogs try to keep the movement clean of such entheta but, as I said earlier, they simply don't have the power to enforce it.
Scientologists outside of the church can read and can talk without fear of any meaningful punishment. Any normal person will absolutely hate and rebel against the kind of totalitarian thought-control as practiced by Scientology. You can't stop people from wanting to know more, to know the truth. And so people will look.
The more the leading voices of the Independent Scientology movement try to suppress other voices and dissenting opinions, the more people will resist. And rebel. And look.
That is happening more and more.
What has happened as a result of all this? How is the Independent Scientology movement doing without the ability to control believer's thoughts, communication and actions?
As near as I can tell, back in very early 2010, Marty Rathbun and Steve Hall had this "bright idea". They called it the "Indie 500". The idea was to get 500 Independent Scientologists to "come out" and declare their independence from the Church of Scientology. The website's definition of exactly who was an "Independent Scientologist" was extremely broad: "Anyone who uses any part of Scientology Tech, even if other parts are not true for you."
Now, over two years later, the list stands at a little over 300. It is obvious to me that someone created the original few hundred entries without getting approval from the people they were listing: In reading through the list, I see a number who do not now consider themselves "Scientologists" in any way. In addition, I know of more who's names appeared on the list and asked them to be removed.
After two years, even with those false entries, the Independent Scientology movement can't find 500 people who use "any part of Scientology Tech" who want to be associated with the movement. Why? Certainly many, many more than 500 people have left the Church of Scientology.
The reason that Scientology outside of the totalitarian control of the Church of Scientology cannot and will never thrive is because Scientology cannot coexist with open communication. Scientology cannot coexist with full access to all the information. Scientology cannot exist without its cultic thought-control.
My only question is: Can any part of Scientology exist in an open and free environment? I certainly don't know, only time will tell.
What do you think? If you are out of the church, what is your experience with the Independent Movement?