The Decline and Fall of Scientology? Skeptic Magazine Makes the Case

Categories: Scientology

SkepticMag.jpg
A colleague of mine once explained to me why he keeps away from Scientology stories at his publication (which will remain nameless).

He wasn't concerned about the church's reputation for litigiousness, and he wasn't worried that a story about Scientology's most recent controversies and excesses wouldn't resonate with readers.

No, his reluctance was much more quotidian. "The problem I always have with Scientology stories is the massive backstory, which is an obstacle that fails the cost-benefit test," he told me.

I completely understood where he was coming from. It isn't easy dealing with the steamer trunks of baggage that come with explaining new developments in Scientology. Which is why I'm all the more impressed with the job Jim Lippard pulls off while he deals with all of the complex backstory in an upcoming issue of Skeptic magazine, and which editor Michael Shermer gave me an advance look at.

Keying off the publication of two books about Scientology published last year -- Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology and Hugh Urban's The Church of Scientology -- Lippard puts together a robust yet concise history of the church, and along the way makes the case that L. Ron Hubbard's creation is in serious trouble.

For readers of this blog, especially those who have also read the Reitman and Urban books, Lippard's richly packed look at Scientology's history and controversies will likely be familiar material. But for those who have wanted a compact overview of where Scientology has been and where it is going, this is a handy guide.

As Lippard points out, when you consider how Scientology grew -- largely through its containment of secrets, control of members, and crushing of dissent -- it's not surprising that church leader David Miscavige is today finding that things aren't so easy to keep under wraps:

But now the flow of information has become virtually impossible to control, and as a result, the empire shows signs of crumbling. With the aid of the Internet, those inside and outside the organizations that make up the Church of Scientology can easily find and communicate with each other, and realize that there are others who share their views and concerns. Records of past abuses in the form of documents and personal testimony are but a few short clicks away using a search engine. Virtual communities online have sprung up and flourished, and real-life actions have been recorded and displayed online for all to see, producing new conditions of mutual knowledge about what has been going on in past years, and what's going on now.

And while Lippard gives due praise to Reitman and Urban for their histories, he rightly identifies an area that Reitman largely ignored (Urban less so): Scientology's Waterloo, its battles online. Lippard doesn't have the space in this article to show off his deep knowledge of Scientology's online war -- it's really the material for another book, and Jim might be the one to write it.

One of the best features of this Skeptic piece is the sidebar Lippard breaks out titled "A Few Scientology Policies Associated With Claims of Abuse." It's not long, but Jim has collected key original L. Ron Hubbard policies that still govern the church and produce some of its worst excesses. One of the most telling is Hubbard's classic concept of using the courts as a weapon: "The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway...will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly."

For longtime Scientology watchers, these are familiar words. But it's nice to have so many of them collected in one spot.

The issue also contains an essay by Shermer, in which the editor asks the question, is Scientology a cult?

Veteran readers of this blog may have noticed that I try not to use the "c-word" myself (except when quoting other people). For me, I find it more valuable to spend my time reporting on and holding up to scrutiny Scientology's controversial practices rather than debate such questions as whether it's a church or a cult or something else entirely.

But in his essay, Shermer wrestles with that same question in an intelligent way. I won't spoil the surprise of what conclusion he comes to -- I'll only recommend that you pick up a copy of the magazine, which Shermer tells me will be hitting newsstands in about a week.


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [What is Scientology?] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology]
[Commenters of the Week] | [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park]
[This Week Aboard the Apollo] | [Sunday Funnies]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
[Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach]
[Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]
[Paulette Cooper, Scientology's original and worst nightmare: a Thanksgiving tribute]

THE TOP 25 PEOPLE CRIPPLING SCIENTOLOGY

1. L. Ron Hubbard | 2. David Miscavige | 3. Marty Rathbun | 4. Tom Cruise | 5. Joe Childs and Tom Tobin | 6. Anonymous | 7. Mark Bunker | 8. Mike Rinder | 9. Jason Beghe | 10. Lisa McPherson | 11. Nick Xenophon | 12. Tommy Davis | 13. Janet Reitman | 14. Tory Christman | 15. Andreas Heldal-Lund | 16. Marc and Claire Headley | 17. Jefferson Hawkins | 18. Amy Scobee | 19. The Squirrel Busters | 20. Trey Parker and Matt Stone | 21. Kendrick Moxon | 22. Jamie DeWolf | 23. Ken Dandar | 24. Dave Touretzky | 25. Xenu

HELD ABOARD THE FREEWINDS: TALES OF THE SEA ORG

[Valeska Paris, held against her will from 1996 to 2007 on Scientology's cruise ship]
[Ramana Dienes-Browning, marriage at 16, sexual interrogation, life in the engine room]
[Melissa Paris, Valeska's sister: forced to marry at 16]

SCIENTOLOGY VS. SOUTH PARK: INVESTIGATION AS RETALIATION

[Scientology targeted South Park's Parker and Stone in an investigation]
[More documents in the South Park probe: instructions to send in a young mole]
[Scientology responds in typical fashion] | [Lloyd Kaufman confirms the probe]
[Mark Ebner also investigated after South Park involvement]
[Mark Chauppetta, private eye, explains what Scientology operatives look for]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
[Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine]
[Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]
[Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

[Hey, Scientology Celebrity, Here's Your Media Training Checksheet!]
[Tom Cruise and X Factor's Stacy Francis singing together on the Freewinds]
[X Factor's Stacy Francis: Her first husband, Michael Sandlofer, answers abuse claims]
[Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay]
["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]
[Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

["The Money Machine": another blockbuster St. Pete Times investigation]
[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology in Israel: Arson, attempted murder, paranoia -- and a visit by the Voice!]
[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]
[Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology chillin' with hip hop!] | [The curious career of Scientology rapper Chill EB]
[Chill EB and me: the Voice interviews Scientology's in-house rapper]
[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]
[Desperate Scientology fundraising caught on video]



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121 comments
archie7699
archie7699

Fascinating, this power of the internet.  The decline of Scientology reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.  "What grows in darkness withers in the bright light of exposure."  A good nickname for a Scientologist is a "mushroom."  Because they're fed s--t and kept in the dark.

Francois Ch
Francois Ch

I've known Shermer for about 15 years and I've been to about 70 of his lectures. Couple of things from Shermer: "The only difference between a cult and a religion is 100 years."About four years ago, at the start of the the Anonymous vs. Scientology movement I offered to bet with him that Scientology would go down by the end of 2009. He offered to bet his house. He was right.As he was writing the article, I said to him, "It's not about space aliens, all religions have space aliens, it's about the human rights abuses."

kullervo
kullervo

Just as the Catholic Church for centuries made it a killing offense to translate the bible into vernacular languages, no faith system wants information spreading, and if it does, they don't want people thinking. Reality and logic are the enemies of faith.

Terril Park
Terril Park

  I agree in most part with Chuck Beatty's comments. I am a Freezone scientologist. I have protested CO$ abuses with Anonymous since their protests started. I happily would call CO$  a cult and often do.

  However The subject of Scientology itself I don't see as a cult.

  I do consider it a religion, but quite a few Scientologists, at least those in the Freezone don't. I'm easy iether way.

   Here I have a different view:-

   "As Lippard points out, when you consider how Scientology grew -- largely through its containment of secrets, control of members, and crushing of dissent -"

   Secrets and control of members may have in the early days helped it grow, but IMOwere not the important reasons for its growth. In fact they may have hindered the growth Scn had. Certainly now the control and crushing of dissent are having enormous negative effects, along with some of the bad policy's that should have been cancelled and weren't.

  Every person who is declared may have hundreds of friends and families adversely effected. Multiply that by all people declared and it amounts to a large number.

   For example if one looks at the staff of St Hill at the date that is used to determine "St Hill" size for an orgt, 97 and a half % of those were declared.

  

Terril Park
Terril Park

  I agree in most part with Chuck Beatty's comments. I am a Freezone scientologist. I have protested CO$ abuses with Anonymous since their protests started. I happily would call CO$  a cult and often do.

  However The subject of Scientology itself I don't see as a cult.

  I do consider it a religion, but quite a few Scientologists, at least those in the Freezone don't. I'm easy iether way.

   Here I have a different view:-

   "As Lippard points out, when you consider how Scientology grew -- largely through its containment of secrets, control of members, and crushing of dissent -"

   Secrets and control of members may have in the early days helped it grow, but IMOwere not the important reasons for its growth. In fact they may have hindered the growth Scn had. Certainly now the control and crushing of dissent are having enormous negative effects, along with some of the bad policy's that should have been cancelled and weren't.

  Every person who is declared may have hundreds of friends and families adversely effected. Multiply that by all people declared and it amounts to a large number.

   For example if one looks at the staff of St Hill at the date that is used to determine "St Hill" size for an orgt, 97 and a half % of those were declared.

  

Fredric L. Rice
Fredric L. Rice

"The problem I always have with Scientology stories is the massive backstory, which is an obstacle that fails the cost-benefit test..."

The same is true for the Gambino crime family and for the same reasons.

The Scientologist
The Scientologist

The "church/cult" argument is a straw man.

Google brings up the following two definitions for "cult":

A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.

When anyone asks if something is a church, temple, mosque, synagogue, house of worship or meditation, etc. or a "cult", you can reply to them with one easy answer: What the fuck is the difference?

MrEd
MrEd

Given these sorts of articles have been written for decades it amazes me that people still think the "next one" is going to make any difference.... Still it is no surprise that haters need to keep at it, they have nothing else better to do with thier lives...

mike
mike

Scientology is a philosophy that does not concern itself with chaos.  Coping and flourishing is an integral part of its Adminstrative policies.  I have been hearing about the demise of Scientology since 2008 and frankly I do not see it.  Despite Annonymous, Rathbun, Ortega, et al, the Church shows no signs  of diminishing.  Events are still well attended, study rooms are full, the HGCs are as crowded as ever.  Time after time the Church wins when the "issues" are placed out of the internet forums and into the legal arena.  Even apparent victories are weak: Xenophon's efforts are lanquishing in political malaise, the Turin raids produced nothing, the Belgium raids have produced nothing, the German Commissions disbanded, Russina (re: ex-KGB-ers) attempts to ban are consistently overturned by the courts.  OSHA refused to investigate, Amnesty International refused to investigate, and I have been hearing about the FBI investigation for 5 years.  The only people that seem to attend these forums are all "just preaching to the chior".  The EXSK forum is dead, the Topix Forum is dead, the WWP forum is just a bunch of chior-boys rehashing the same old-same old.  To paraphrase and old saying,"The demise of scientology has been greatly exaggerated!"

mjm
mjm

to any Scientology affiliated celebrities posting here under an alias, PLEASE do us a favor and talk to the media....

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

We in RTC just purchased six new Cray supercomputers to handle the flood of hundreds of thousands of new members pouring into our 117,922 Ideal Orgs scattered across the 15,902 countries of the world. Millions of people each month turn to Scientology for the answers to life's most daunting questions.

The fact that some book written by a Scientology hater is out is not important. Janet Reitman sold only 203 copies of her book. Urban's book sold no copies and in fact he had to push copies onto his colleagues in academia which they promptly round filed because Urban is boring. At the same time, there were hundreds of thousands of students from the leading universities practically breaking down the doors of our Ideal Orgs to get Scientology auditing.

We in RTC are fully aware that Skeptic magazine would like to portray Scientology as having entered a nuclear winter. Far from it. We advise VV readers to watch our television commercials where it is proven that the Church of Scientology has expanded 6000x in the last 18 months.

Fact: One in every thirty people in the world is now a Scientologist.

Fact: Future parishioners are now on waiting lists for services as our 34,209,118 Class VIIII staff auditors are solidly booked until December 2012.

Skeptic Magazine is an atheist screed written by old homosexuals like James Randi. This makes we in RTC wonder what Jim Lippard is hiding because all atheists are 1.1's who hate the very idea religious morality because, as 1.1's, they oppose people improving their lives.

We in RTC wish you all a good day and hope that you do not go Type III as Tony Ortega does every 24 hours.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

I wish someday the people who think they understand the subject, would PLEASE include the high volume exorcism "confidential" (no longer) major chunk of the movement's activities.  

The exorcism levels of Scientology are OT levels 3, 4, 5 6, and 7.

One has to study and understand the levels of the "Bridge to Total Freedom" red chart.

That red chart IS Scientology!   That's what Hubbard considered his serious life's work!

I wish people would get what is on that chart, and be able to explain.

That's how I grade anyone's grip on the "tech" of Scientology.

You spend the weeks studying what those crappy steps on that chart mean.

THAT tells you what the damn subject is.

Hubbard's adminsitrative policies are what cause so much of the controversies, but the admin scriptures just make the whole subject draconian.

To simplify Scientology, an "expert" has to know the red chart, and know the various chunks of the Hubbard cannon.

And unfortunately not a single writer in these first 60 years has laid out the subject by it's chunks.

Hugh's book is a start.

I have thought of writing what I think would be a square zero book, which just clumps the Hubbard cannon into it's groups.

But the practice that is the core part that people DO, is the red chart.

And that chart can be simply divided up, if you know the parts of it well enough.

It's talk therapy at that lower levels.

It's a hell of a lot of exorcism, at the upper levels.

The key word I've seen shied away from, is the "exorcism" word.    Hubbard doesn't use it to self describe OT levels 3, 4, 5,6 and 7, but those levels are exorcism, of the dead space alien souls, a hell of a lot of exorcism, that usually takes years to complete.

sketto
sketto

A good point in this article - about whether it even matters if it's a cult or a religion. Because ultimately, it only matters whether or not the abuses continue. Splinter groups of Indies may try to point at Miscavige as the bad guy, but their movement will only be free from equal scrutiny and criticism if it can ensure that it is free from the damage that so many former Scientologists have testified to.

Like the Catholic Church, Scientology will be de-fanged. And then they can go back to believing whatever stupid LRH drivel they want and quoting their favorite LRH lines. They just can't force Hubbard's awful policies on anyone anymore. We know too much about him.

sketto
sketto

A good point in this article - about whether it even matters if it's a cult or a religion. Because ultimately, it only matters whether or not the abuses continue. Splinter groups of Indies may try to point at Miscavige as the bad guy, but their movement will only be free from equal scrutiny and criticism if it can ensure that it is free from the damage that so many former Scientologists have testified to.

Like the Catholic Church, Scientology will be de-fanged. And then they can go back to believing whatever stupid LRH drivel they want and quoting their favorite LRH lines. They just can't force Hubbard's awful policies on anyone anymore. We know too much about him.

Ivy Mapother
Ivy Mapother

 

In the media today, the term cult is only used after the fact: People's Temple, Branch Dravidians, Heaven's Gate, Aum Shinrikyo/Aleph, the Manson Family and so on. Until the Hubbardites, factory or free range, kill a bunch of people or themselves, the media won't refer to them as a cult. A Lisa McPherson here or a Stacy Moxon there just doesn't cut it. Go big or go home. Scientology's stock and trade is ruining people's families and finances under the guise of spiritual enlightenment. As long as they only exploit their dwindling numbers, the general public won't hear them referred to as a cult. Scientology is in adecline and fall. PT Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute." In the information age it's more like one every day.

Xenu
Xenu

The "c word" can get messy, it's politically charged on a number of levels, and hard to define.  But I'll pose a very simple definition:

You might be in a cult, IF the mere distribution of accurate information about its beliefs and practices threatens to permanently destroy the group.

Journalists and authors need not label groups, they can just point out what they say and do.  History can do the sorting out after that.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

Scientology is two things: a system for providing services and products to its members while providing the top person a huge income. A private investigation-countersurveillance-subversion organization working outside the confines of the law.

Scientology is not the only group with this sort of dual character (Lyndon La Rouche's organization is similar, but more limited due to its tiny size), but it has to be the most successful because it survived stealing information from the federal government. However a group like Scientology has to come to a decision sometime: go totally into spying, or stay a "religion" - that decision was made in the early 1980s, and the "church" now only truly spies on its members, and relies on its lawyers to stay away from the law. This is why when Anonymous emerged, they couldn't hobble the group quickly (that and Anonymous is a zillion headed hydra.)

mad_world
mad_world

I disagree with you. It's not a straw man argument. A straw man argument is a weak argument that can be used to discredit ones opponent. That Scientology is a cult, is not one of them.

Cult psychology is a specialist field, but among those specialists there is consensus; Scientology is a cult.

Of course a cult member would never acknowledge they're in a cult, so it's pointless to have the debate with a cult member.

Xenu
Xenu

All those years of being told that "this new level is going to totally crack your case" probably got us kind of conditioned. 

wheresshelley?
wheresshelley?

Xenu is secret, of course, of courseand nobody should know about Xenu,of course, and that includes you so don't read this, Mr EDDDDDD!

That song is going to be stuck in my head for a week now. Damn you, Scientology!

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

Well we certainly have better things to do besides holding metal cans on a cheesy fake-lie-detector machine to exorcise all the body thetans clinging to us after Xenu blew everybody up 75 million years ago!  But if that's how you enjoy spending YOUR time, have at it. ;-)

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

Have you listened to LRH tell how Xenu caused the Wall of Fire.   It's on YouTube, the part from the Class 8 lecture where LRH tells the Xenu story.   That's something new in the last couple years!   We didn't have the confidential Class 8 lectures on the internet, and now they're out there to listen to, so everyone can hear Ron talk about "body thetans" and "Xenu."   If you don't plan on getting up to Class 8, you'll never hear those lectures.  But now, with the internet, you can listen to LRH explain the Wall of Fire in detail, and Xenu's role in all the 36 and 1/2 days of mental implanting that all the "body thetans" suffered.

wheresshelley?
wheresshelley?

A course is a course,of course, of course, and no one can audit a course, of course, until you cut a big check to the sock puppet MrEEEEED!

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

Scientology in San Diego is DEAD; nothing is left but the downtown church.

This is the same area that had at least three or four missions, a Delphi School, and an Org not but ten years ago. In fact, Scientology in SD was always a sort of musical chairs; every five or ten years a mission opened or closed. it was unstable, but the publics were being served. Not anymore.

Probably somebody will try to run another Applied Scholastics school, but otherwise Scientology is baked, done, finito. San Diego and the cities of the county are tapped out, because the Co$ is a rich man's game

Rumpelstiltskin
Rumpelstiltskin

" Xenophon's efforts are lanquishing in political malaise" BWAHAHAHAHHAHAAAAYou have no idea what is happening in AU. Not only because you are not here, but because you are just parroting without 'knowing'.LRH called it "to not-know"You do NOT-KNOW

Lliira
Lliira

It amuses me how one of Scientology's basic tenets is that chaos is always bad. It makes it sound like it's based on 1st edition D&D.

Order isn't always good, Mike. Sometimes it's downright evil. 

candace6
candace6

Your orgs are empty.  Mention Scientology to the average person off the street and they'll either laugh or cringe.  Your crime syndicate has been a "Teflon cult" for a lot of years, but ask John Gotti if that lasts forever.

Ivy Mapother
Ivy Mapother

Dave, it's good to see you follow the Voice. How's Shelly doing? Tell that knucklehead Tommy hey from Ivan. Quit being such a stranger. Get out there and do some live interviews. A whole generation has grown up without seeing you on TV. You're becoming an urban legend.

anon anon song
anon anon song

-choir- Once is a typo, twice is a cut and paste or lord knows what proofread oversight.

"Events are still well attended, study rooms are full, the HGCs are as crowded as ever."

Answer: Bussing and regging.

And as much you may flail your defensive arms everso, people simply aren't going through your org doors anymore.

Anon A
Anon A

"Events are still well attended, study rooms are full, the HGCs are as crowded as ever."

Nice false reality you're attempting to mock up there.  You can repeat the party line of Scientology's supposed "exponential growth" until you're blue in the face, but it doesn't change the actual reality.  The "church" still has plenty of money, but the manpower is dwindling drastically, along with whatever tiny bit of credibility Scientology had in the eyes of the public.

guest
guest

What a load of twoddle.  Ive never heard such rubbish.  As ive said in my previous post DM and TC will never reach clear, the reason being they ll never get rid of pride in their lives.  I wish you all the best in your controlled life and enviroment, and only hope that one day soon you will come to your senses and realise  that your living the life of a science fiction book character.  The only monster, is the  monster LRH created , Scientology, he probably thought hed call it sciencefictioners originally, but realised it wouldnt sell 

Choc. Vel.
Choc. Vel.

"...Skeptic magazine would like to portray Scientology as having entered a nuclear winter."

Nice. Subtle satire at its finest. Two birds with one stone, and all that. :)

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

I have to agree with you on one thing.

Hubbard DID say that everyone is a Scientologist, they just don't know it yet!  

Power to Source!

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

We in RTC wish that bitter apostate Chuck Beatty had studied the red chart -- or any Scientology at all.

For Chuck to say that Scientology is talk therapy and high volume exorcism proves that he went past several thousand words he did not understand.

The reason that the terms "talk therapy" and "high volume exorcism" are never used in the Church of Scientology is because we do not offer either service. We it RTC think that Chuck must need exorcism because he babbles on about it so much. We hope he finds an exorcist and gets it handled because he damn sure will never get any auditing from the Church for the rest of eternity.

Chuck's attempt to paint Scientology has a mixture of Psychiatry and Catholic exorcism is evidence that never understood Scientology. But then none of the handful of bitter apostates who attack Scientology ever understood the subject either.

The topic of Scientology is thoroughly covered in the, uh.., the, ahh, the, you know. Those red books they keep in Orgs.

Whatever.

Anyway, those red books have too many words in them and so COB will be reissuing a one page red book that says: "Forward Command Intention."

All of that other KSW blah blah blah doesn’t really help COB and in fact it gets in his way.

We in RTC are also truly not interested in a bunch of KR’s from nattering Scientologists about how IAS is out ethics. This does not forward Command Intention. What forwards Command Intention is increasing one’s IAS Patron Status.

When you die the only thing that will allow you to avoid the blackness for eternity is high IAS Patron Status. If you donate at least one million dollars to IAS in this life, you will instantly be reborn into a life of privilege in one of the millions of wealthy Scientology families around the world.

We urge you to increase your IAS Patron Status today and also to stop reading this blog and all other forms of entheta. You are only as safe as you listen to COB’s speeches and memorize them.

Carry on.

Chocolate Velvet
Chocolate Velvet

I wholeheartedly second this.

Aum/Aleph and Scientology have so many similarities. But Sci is not a "doomsday" cult, and hasn't committed mass murder.

Thank goodness. Yikes.

It only took a dozen or so in that cult (Aum), a cadre of the elite who were infected with their leader's growing insanity. The rank and file mostly didn't know what was going on. Some refused to believe, until the perpetrators confessed.

Haruki Murakami's book, Underground, is an excellent glimpse into the mindset of people who join such groups, and some who stay even after horrible things happen. The second half of the book is a series of interviews with a variety of former and remaining members of that cult, in the years just after the Sarin attacks. These people make it clear, you cannot generalize about what sort of person "falls for" a cult. It also includes an essay with interesting ideas about why society tends to collectively ignore or explain away such groups until they explode.Highly recommended to those who are interested in this subject.

Chocolate Velvet
Chocolate Velvet

I wholeheartedly second this.

Aum/Aleph and Scientology have so many similarities. But Sci is not a "doomsday" cult, and hasn't committed mass murder.

Thank goodness. Yikes.

It only took a dozen or so in that cult (Aum), a cadre of the elite who were infected with their leader's growing insanity. The rank and file mostly didn't know what was going on. Some refused to believe, until the perpetrators confessed.

Haruki Murakami's book, Underground, is an excellent glimpse into the mindset of people who join such groups, and some who stay even after horrible things happen. The second half of the book is a series of interviews with a variety of former and remaining members of that cult, in the years just after the Sarin attacks. These people make it clear, you cannot generalize about what sort of person "falls for" a cult. It also includes an essay with interesting ideas about why society tends to collectively ignore or explain away such groups until they explode.Highly recommended to those who are interested in this subject.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

This was resolved in my mind years ago, when an ex Sea Org member told me to read Lorne Dawson's book.

He's got a great quote, here:

Lorne L. Dawson wrote "Comprehending Cults"  Oxford Univ Press, 1998, p31-32.

"Scientology, Krishna Consciousness, and the Unification Church, for example, are relatively long-lived and relatively large......each of these groups displayed markedly the traits of a cult.  Moreover, they continue to display many cult-like attitudes and practices.....Perhaps, then, yet another category should be added...that of  'established cult'."

Big cult equals "established cult."    That's what Dawson thought of Scientology, Krishna Consciousness and Unification Church (moonies).

Arthur Deikman's excellent book, pretty much gives a neutral definition of "cult" that is definitely suitable to the official Scientology membership tightknit control over its members.  "Them and Us:  Cult Thinking and the Terrorist Threat"  

Margaret Singer's classic ""Cults In Our Midst"

And to me, the bottom line is, we as citizens have a right to use disparaging labels for groups that behave shitty.

Official Scientology behaves shitty.   Indpendent Scientologists even call official Scientology a "cult", and using the word "cult" is a disparaging term.

I think the term "cult" would no longer be correct when official Scientology reforms and behaves minimally as decently as the average independent Scientologists.

Official Scientology deserves the cult label. Cult being our citizens disapproval term for new religions or old religions that act as badly as official Scientology. We have a right as citizens to label official Scientology a cult!

And there are scholars who are NOT apologist scholars, Dawson is one, who says what he says above.

anon anon song
anon anon song

"You might be in a cult, IF the mere distribution of accurate information about its beliefs and practices threatens to permanently destroy the group."

I don't entirely agree with this. Overwhelming scientific evidence shows the universe is +/- 14 billion years old and that homo sapiens evolved from a branch of primates, yet many "religious" people vociferously deny this and argue against it almost as if it were a personal affront to their entire belief system. ie.: as if to admit that the universe is not 6000 years old and that God did not create Adam & Eve would cause a global doctrinal collapse.

But I do agree that other than for an IRS privilege debate, cult v religion is not as important as denouncing the Co$'s decades long abuses. That debate can wait until the post-show analysis.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

If that's true then I am a Jack Mormon.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

The world is actually suffering L. Ron Hubbard's misunderstoods.

It is Hubbard who has the "crashing misunderstood word" on the meaning of "religion."

It is Hubbard, who shoehorned in his science fictionesque pastlives talk therapy into a religious practice, although there are ample other scholars, not even apologist brand, who grant psychological revelations achieved in "therapy" as quasi-religious!  

It's a murky area, psychology/religion.

Which is why, if you want to "get" Scientology, I repeat, thumb through "The Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James, and "Renunciation and Reformulation" skip to chapter 3, and skim Chapter 3 over and over, by Harriet Whitehead.

Scientology's "upper levels" high volume exorcism alone, were Scientology to be allowed to discuss it, would help make their spiritual practice as suitably religious!   Even Whitehead missed the opportunity to take up the OT levels 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 as exorcism, and even MORE proof of Scientology's religiosity. 

It's the church system of staff and parishioner do's and don't's rules, the policy, and some of the way the "tech" is applied, which makes official Scientology a cult in multiple ways and by multiple definitions of "cult."

Hubbard's the guy with the Misunderstoods, is what you come to realize, when you sit back and look at his imaginative creation.  

Mest
Mest

You poor, sad, deluded paranoid nutjob.

Choc. Vel.
Choc. Vel.

Sorry for the double post. What's up with those lately? And the error messages?

Brainslugged
Brainslugged

Thanks for the recommendation. I've just ordered it for my Kindle.

Airquote_Sarctag
Airquote_Sarctag

ISKCON has gotten pretty mainstream lately, especially with the influx of Indian immigrants to the U.S./Canada who tend to me more matter-of-fact about their religion than the white hippie converts of the '70s.  I visit several temples regularly (L.A., Berkeley) and always have a good time and have never felt any pressure to join or anything like that.

Guest
Guest

Naw.  Google 10 signs you're in a cult.  All you need to know

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

Thanks.   That's my impression too.  Plus the way they ISKCON handled their U.S. followers' children abuse scandal was upfront and offered to pay, and very unlike how official Scientology behaves.  

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