for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a
million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." - L.
"Have Increased Confidence In Yourself!" Call the Dianetics Hotline,
1-800-FOR TRUTH (1-800-367-8788)
This advertisement, or something a lot like it, can be found in the
Personals in some local newspapers. Several television networks carry
advertisements for two books called "Dianetics" and "Self-Analysis."
Both are written by a man named L. Ron Hubbard. Both promise better
mental health. If you walk down the city streets, you might be accosted
by men and women in businesslike attire who offer to give you free
"personality analysis" tests. Though they might not say it, all of them
are promoting the same thing - a vast, wealthy, and dangerous
underground empire called the Church of Scientology.
. Lafeyette Ronald Hubbard, founder of Dianetics and later the Church of
Scientology, was born in Tilden, Nebraska, in 1911. During World War II,
he served as a naval officer in the Pacific and was even involved with
naval intelligence for a short time. He achieved moderate success as a
science fiction writer; a trip to the local bookstore will probably
reveal some of his books on the shelf. His last work, "Mission Earth,"
is a huge, 10-volume epic about aliens trying to take over the world.
Hubbard, at times, has claimed exaggerated accomplishments, such as a
Ph.D. from a renowned quack diploma mill and expertise in nuclear
engineering. In reality, however, he never even obtained a bachelor's
degree in physics.
. Scientology's origins can be traced back to Dianetics, but its early
history is largely unknown. Hubbard apparently was somewhat familiar
with Freudian psychoanalytic ideas, such as the concept of the influence
of the subconscious on adult behavior and the effects of repressing
traumatic events. What is known is that in the late 1940s he befriended
John Campbell, another writer and editor of the popular ASTOUNDING
SCIENCE FICTION magazine. Campbell, interested in Hubbard's ideas,
studied them and eventually claimed to have had his sinusitis "cured" by
it - at least for a while. Campbell immediately started promoting
Dianetics in the May 1950 ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION issue, and demand
for more information mushroomed so much that Hubbard soon published "Dianetics:
The Modern Science of Mental Heath" that same year. It became a
best-seller, and Hubbard even founded the Hubbard Dianetic Research
Foundation in late 1950 as well and became a popular lecturer. The
movement spread quickly, but Hubbard had little control over it, as many
followers of Dianetics organized into local groups rather than linking
with him, resulting in variations and twists in Dianetics all over the
nation. Also, popular interest in Dianetics began to wane, and in 1951,
the Foundation suffered a financial crisis. Many members of the Board of
Directors resigned, including Hubbard himself, who went to Cuba and
returned to the United States in 1952.
Hubbard then dealt with these trends in two ways. First, through a
prolonged struggle that involved much correspondence and eventually
bitter feelings, he purged the movement of "amateurs," "heretics," and
"revisionists," consolidating control over the "licensing" of persons
who could formally claim expertise in Dianetics. Hubbard could now
control who taught Dianetics and how it was taught. Second, a lot of
disciples had already reached the stage of "clear" (see "Beliefs" for
details"), which was the highest stage in Dianetics. Hubbard then
established the Hubbard Association of Scientology in Phoenix, Arizona,
where his parents lived. Notions of reincarnation, extraterrestrial
life, and more complex levels of emotional and spiritual health were
incorporated into Hubbard's belief system, serving as expansions to the
more purely psychological Dianetics.
In 1953, the Church of Scientology was incorporated. In 1954, Hubbard
officially opened the first church in Washington, D.C. The organization
then applied for and received tax-exempt status as the Founding Church
of Scientology in 1955. In 1959, church headquarters were moved to the
57-acre Saint Hill Manor estate in East Grimstead, Sussex, England. Its
former owner was the Maharajah of Jaipur. Today it still retains its
tax-exempt status, although it has been challenged in several states.
. After the mid-60's, L. Ron Hubbard's leadership role in Scientology
declined in prominence, although he was still firmly in control of
Scientology. On the other hand, his third wife, Mary Sue, played an
increasingly more important role in the movement, as did Hubbard's
daughter, Diana, and his son, Quentin, both from his third marriage.
. In 1980, the membership of Scientology was said to be 3,000,000 in
America and 236,000 in England.
. The basic tenets of Scientology are rather simple: Each human has a
soul, referred to in Scientology circles as a "thetan." Eons ago, the
individual thetan was a godlike being, but gradually fell from his
divine status through experimenting with corporeal human form (for the
purpose of pure diversion) and forgetting his higher origins, being
trapped on earth in his own delusions of mortality. Scientology tries to
remove the illusion of mortality from the thetan and teach him of his
. Hubbard made a distinction between the "analytic mind" (the human
consciousness) and the "reactive mind" (the subconscious). Under severe
stress, according to Dianetics, the analytic mind, which regulates the
person's everyday actions, breaks down or malfunctions temporarily, thus
allowing the reactive mind to record details of the traumatic experience
such as sounds, sights, sensations of touch, etc. These
emotionally charged experiences are known as "engrams," and everyone has
them. In fact, the individual person (known at this point as a
"pre-clear") even has engrams from past lives that remain in the thetan
as he passes from one body to another, and those engrams can prevent
people from remembering their past lives and reaching full potential in
life. Engrams can also be picked up in the womb; for example, if the
mother were to be hurt in a car wreck, an engram would be implanted in
the embryo's mind. To start working back towards godhood, the pre-clear
must remove all engrams from his mind by means of the exercises created
by Dianetics, which include "auditing sessions" and "power processing"
courses that claim to raise a person's IQ. Both are very expensive (an
auditing session costs around $150 for one hour), but both are
considered necessary to remove all flaws from the human mind.
. In an auditing session, the subject must "relive" the engrams that are
in his mind by going through a sort of past-life regression. As
the auditor speaks with the pre-clear in hopes of triggering the engrams,
the subject might stumble across one of them and expound on it, usually
saying what has been picked up by the reactive mind during the trauma.
When the engram is fully relived, it ceases to have power and is erased.
. Once all engrams are erased, the
thetan is now considered "clear," a term named after the button on the
calculator that erases all previous calculations. His slate has been
wiped clean, and he is now free to start working towards immortality
again by practicing higher disciplines that will re-educate him about
his archaic origins in space. As he learns more and more about his past,
he will become an "Operating Thetan," or OT. There are six levels
ranging from OT-1 to OT-6, the highest of Scientology disciplines.
Hubbard, however, was said to be working on OT-7 or OT-8 a few years
before his disappearance.
. Scientology has invented its own complex language full of terms
unfamiliar to outsiders. In addition to engrams, thetans, power
processing, analytic minds, reactive minds, and clears, there are also
"boo-hoos," "overts," going "squirrel," and even Orgs (short for
organizations). The Sea Org, a fleet of naval vessels, is the most
prominent of all, composed of the elite of Scientology. Sea Org members
command widespread respect throughout the movement.
EFFECT ON MEMBERS
. Scientologists object to their movement being called a cult, but
critics who say it is point first of all to the extremely high fees for
auditing and other Scientology courses. Mrs. Mary Weeks, a Scientology
critic in Portland, Oregon, reports that the Portland chapter charges
$150 an hour for auditing. Some claim that the average amount spent to
try to become "clear" is $2,500; Mrs. Weeks places the figure at $5,000.
Several have spent $10,000 to $15,000. One ex-Scientologist said
he spent $23,000 in nine months and had not even completed the second
course. A few have spent over $100,000 on Scientology. The cult is
almost exclusively run on the fees, and 10% of all church income goes to
the headquarters in England.
. Ex-members claim it is very hard to get refunds if one is not
satisfied with the results. Some contend that when they attempted to
stop their auditing they were strongly discouraged. They were told that
they were unhappy with the results because they hadn't taken enough
sessions, and they were pressured into signing up for more. In any case,
it is necessary to go through eleven or twelve church officials to get
. As the costs for sessions are
prohibitively high, some pledge to work for the church in return for
continual training. Many members work very long hours for little or no
payment. One ex-Scientologist said he worked a 100-hour week for only
$10 a week. Another former Scientologist, Julie Titchbourne, who joined
the cult when she was 17, worked sixteen hours a day for $4 per week.
When she left the cult, she then filed a huge lawsuit against it. This
will be dealt with in the "History" section.
. Auditing sessions also make use of a curious device called the
electronometer, or E-Meter for short. The device is a crude form of lie
detector, composed of two electrodes connected to a box with a needle on
it. The subject holds the electrodes while the auditor puts him through
various tests, sometimes lasting several hours. Some say that prolonged
auditing can cause subjects to experience hallucinations that grow more
realistic over time until they can no longer tell what they imagine
apart from what they experience.
. Many also claim that they were alienated from family and friends as
they got more and more heavily into Scientology. Many were convinced
that they were responsible for the "engrams" in their minds.
. Critics also charge that some ex-Scientologists have gone insane from
auditing and some have even committed suicide because of it. Dr.
Margaret Singer, testifying at the Julie Titchbourne trial (see below),
said that Julie suffered from "a stress response syndrome that has
impaired her recall, use of language, and concentration."
. The status of a Scientologist is closely monitored by an Ethics
Officer, who watches the progress of the individual and adjusts his
"Ethics Condition" according to his progress. These conditions are, from
lowest to highest: Confusion, Treason, Enemy, Doubt, Liability,
Nonexistence, Danger, Emergency, Normal, Affluence, and Power. A person
who has been demoted by an Ethics Officer may reinstate himself by doing
various "amends projects" such as writing 100 times that you were wrong,
scrubbing floors, composing papers about your shortcomings, or
collecting signatures from fellow members.
. Scientology has always had a rather stormy history, having to deal
with critics, ex-members turned enemies, deprogrammers, and the United
. The cult's troubles really got started around 1963, when the Food and
Drug Administration made a raid on Scientology headquarters,
confiscating three tons of literature and E-Meters. They then tried to
declare E-Meters ineffective.
. In that same year, a British Scientologist named Robert Moore and his
wife, Mary Ann, broke off from the cult along with several others.
The Moores then adopted the last name of DeGrimston and founded the
infamous Process Church of the Final Judgment, a cult that worships
three gods: Jehovah, Lucifer, and Satan. In recent years, this cult has
been accused of playing a major part in the infamous "Son of Sam"
killings; and the murderer, David Berkowitz, is a member of the cult.
. The Process, as they are often called, was also in contact with
ex-Scientologist Charles Manson for a while. They set up their
California headquarters in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco
on Cole Avenue, and at one time, Manson and his followers lived no more
than two blocks away from the Process. There is some evidence to support
the belief that the Process may have either directly or indirectly
influenced the Manson cult to commit the bloody Tate/LaBianca slayings
. As for Charles Manson, he joined Scientology in the early 60's,
eventually claiming to reach the stage of "clear" while in prison for
earlier crimes. After that, he felt that Scientology had nothing more to
offer him, so he left the cult. His last contact with Scientology was in
1968, when he asked a church receptionist in Los Angeles what one did
after becoming clear. When she was unable to tell him anything new, he
left. Vincent Bugliosi, Manson's prosecutor in the slayings, said in his
book "Helter Skelter," "What effect, if any, Scientology had on Manson's
mental state cannot be measured. Undoubtedly he picked up from his
'auditing' sessions in prison some knowledge of mind control, as well as
some techniques which he later put to use in programming his followers."
. Scientology then assumed a policy of
threatening and attacking those who fought against the cult. Julie
Titchbourne, a former Scientologist from Seattle, sued the cult in the
late 70's, and one of the prosecutors affirmed that the cult had
arranged to set her up on a fake kidnaping charge. In fact, one of the
alternate jurors for the Titchbourne case, Marie Killman, told the judge
that she was telephoned by a man who told her, "If your findings are
against the Scientology Church you will be killed." Later, he phoned her
again with the message "I will get you, I will get you." Killman was
removed from the trial.
. One of Scientology's chief bugbears is a free-lance journalist named
Paulette Cooper. In 1971, she wrote a scathing expose of the cult called
"The Scandal Of Scientology," in which she referred to their methods as
"resembling a combination of psychotherapy and the Catholic confession."
The cult filed 18 libel suits against her, each one coming from a
different branch of the cult. Cooper was able to make a settlement with
Scientology by pledging not to republish the book and by releasing a
statement that said fifty-two passages in the book were "erroneous or at
. Shortly afterwards, an Arabian consulate in New York City received
bomb threats over the phone from someone who sounded like Paulette
Cooper. Then, more bomb threats were sent to several people; all threats
written on Ms. Cooper's stationery. Her fingerprints were even found on
the bomb threats. Cooper's neighbors received letters threatening her
friends and stating that she had venereal disease. Finally, in
May, 1973, Cooper was indicted by a Federal grand jury in connection
with the bomb threats, and may very well have been convicted of them had
she not taken voluntary sodium pentathol tests in 1975 to prove her
. In 1976, two people obtained jobs in the Internal Revenue Service and
the Justice Department. Both were Scientologists who used falsified
credentials to secure the jobs. They then proceeded to steal 15,000
documents from the organizations related to tax-exemption inquiries
concerning Scientology. In that same year, Scientology purchased the
Fort Harrison Hotel in Florida and converted it into a training center
for high-level Scientologists called Flag Headquarters. Five other
buildings in Clearwater were also purchased. In 1977, Scientology
also bought six buildings in Los Angeles, including the Cedars of
Lebanon Hospital complex, which sold for$5,500,000 and was converted
into seminar headquarters.
. Then it happened. On July 8, 1977, the Federal Bureau of Investigation
launched a massive raid on the Church of Scientology headquarters at
Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. The raid took over 20 hours and
involved 165 FBI agents. A total of 100,000 pages were seized, turning
up the most damaging testimony against the cult to date. Among the
documents were files dedicated to critics and opponents of Scientology
kept by the Guardian's Office, a special branch of the cult trained to
deal with Scientology's critics. One of them, found at both locations,
was a huge file dedicated to Paulette Cooper called "Operation P.C.
Freak-Out." The purpose of this campaign was to "get P.C. [Paulette
Cooper] incarcerated in a mental institution or jail or at least hit her
so hard that she drops her attacks."
. Also unearthed by the raid were papers implicating the church in a
fake hit-and-run auto accident involving Gariel Cezares, then mayor of
Clearwater, Florida, after objecting to the cult's extensive purchases
in the city, burglary of a law firm representing the ST. PETERSBURG
TIMES, attempts to discredit the editor of ST. PETERSBURG TIMES,
infiltration of the CLEARWATER SUN office to report on the paper's daily
activities, and infiltration of the WASHINGTON POST newspaper office,
among other crimes. The seized documents outlined plans to infiltrate
more than 130 Federal agencies, private organizations, and businesses.
. In response, the Church of Scientology launched a $7,500,000 lawsuit
against the FBI and two United States attorneys implicated in the raids.
The D.C. raid was declared illegal, and the Federal judge ordered all
papers taken from the D.C. headquarters to be given back. This still
left them with a ten-inch stack of 48,000 documents to be used against
the cult, as the Los Angeles raid was declared legal in September, 1979.
. In August, 1978, 11 high-ranking Scientology officials, including
Cindy Raymond, Gerald Bennett Wolfe, and Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of L.
Ron Hubbard and "Worldwide Guardian" of the Church, were indicted on 28
counts by the United States Government, including conspiracy. .
1979 proved to be a most disastrous year for Scientology. In June, the
Church was accused of obtaining fraudulent loans from California banks
as high as $10,000, then sticking the funds in the cult's treasury. 100
people in the Church have been questioned about the loans, and two have
already admitted to obtaining them. In August, an Oregon jury awarded
Julie Titchbourne $2,067,000 on the grounds of "outrageous conduct" and
"common law fraud" by the Church of Scientology. And on October 26,
1979, eight Scientology officials were convicted of conspiracy. Mary Sue
Hubbard, Cindy Raymond, and Gerald Bennett Wolfe were each sentenced to
five years in jail and a $10,000 fine, with the others receiving lesser
sentences. The ten inch stack of Scientology documents was also made
available to the general public. In January, 1980, the Scientology
officials were released on bail pending an appeal.
. As for L. Ron Hubbard himself, no one
has admitted to seeing him after 1978. He lived in isolation either in
an elegant penthouse at the top of the Clearwater headquarters or, as
many believe, on his 300-foot yacht, the APOLLO. He was said to be
deathly afraid of germs; a reclusive hypochondriac, taking drugs for all
sorts of illnesses both real and imagined. Finally, L. Ron Hubbard died
in 1986. His "Self-Analysis" book and "Mission Earth" series were
. If any Christian considers getting into Dianetics, he should also
consider the amount of money he will have to spend in auditing sessions
and other exercises. He should also look at its beliefs in reincarnation
and the notion that humans were once godlike beings from the stars.
Although the movement claims to be compatible with all other religions,
it makes no claim to help you understand God; it only offers to help you
understand yourself. In fact, to the Scientologist, whether or not there
even is a God is irrelevant, since he will someday be like God. The
Christian must also consider the cult's policies of dealing with
ex-members and enemies.
. Scientology, which has been referred
to by critics as "the science fiction religion," has been surrounded
with controversy for years. It claims to be enhancing mental health, but
Dr. John G. Clark testified at the Titchbourne trial that Scientology is
a dangerous cult that is "designed to tear apart the fabric of the
mind." Its exercises are "utterly mutilating to the mind. Taken to its
extreme, you can teach someone to kill."
. In closing, these are the words of a
young writer for TIME magazine describing his experience with the cult
in 1969: "Scientology is scary - because of its size and growth, and
because of the potentially disastrous techniques it so casually makes
use of...I have Hubbard to thank for a true-life nightmare that gnawed
at my family relationships and saddled me with a burden of guilt I've
not yet been able to shed."
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