For those who do not follow Karen's 'Outer Banks FB group:

This is the text of a little presentation I made a few years ago. I cannot stomach toiling through Mark Rathbun's apologetics so will plonk this down here as a counterpoint to the mush he makes available to the ex-cult diaspora.

What I find most stimulating about this kind of gathering is that we have free reign to discus, interact and generally throw the subject matter around in a relaxed and open atmosphere.
It is my aim to shortcut the presentation of my experience and my subsequent assimilation and rationalisation of what happened to me during the years I spent in its thrall and instead to simply present a framework upon which we can form a discussion and around which the audience can pose their own questions to me on aspects that they might find particularly intriguing.

This for me is, at least in part, a reaction against the authoritarian nature of the Scientology didactic method that works intensively to break down the subjects’ natural tendency toward critical participation in the discussion of essential doctrine or dogma.

The Scientology world demands fanatical adherents. It rejects challenge and reflective contributions.

I am addressing two themes this afternoon. The first is that of the didactic method the cult employs and secondly that of the manipulation of memory.

The Scientology didactic method demands that precepts be learned as absolute truths. Many of the concepts must be learned verbatim using a recitation method they call ‘Chinese School’. Staff are gathered around a board where certain precepts have been written up in large letters. A leader with a pointer shouts out a line and, using the pointer to indicate each word, has the group shout out the text in unison for as long as it might take to get it right.
Another method is called ‘The Wall’

The student sits facing a wall with the text on her lap and reads a line and then must shout it out to the wall. She must do this until she can repeat the text perfectly without reference to the text. The emphasis is on exact repetition of the wording of the Hubbard precept. ‘Thinking about’ or challenging of the concepts so learned is an absolute no-no.

Hubbard’s ideas, dictates and commands must be learned and applied exactly as written. The typical Scientologist is thus in this sense utterly passive. An observer might conclude that the Scientology method is intent on creating pre-programmed robots that will react in a predictable or predetermined fashion to instructions and commands.

For the sake of cultural relativists among us, I want to underline here that the Scientology culture is the exact antithesis of the humanistic approach to pedagogy or andragogy that we find at the core of the humanities as practiced in third level education and beyond. This is an exact contradiction to the Hubbard method, I will leave it up to you to reflect on this and to form your own conclusions.

I will now shift the focus onto the second topic; the aspect of the manipulation of the subject’s memory.

Scientology disingenuously conflates empirical science with mysticism. They do this to some effect in the field of memory.

During the course of one of my endless auditing sessions in the cult I had an experience whereby I distinctly ‘recalled’ sitting atop an asteroid somewhere in deep space looking down at the hull of a zeppelin shaped interstellar craft butted up against the lower half of my lonely perch.

As I sat there I knew that all the crew were dead thanks to the efforts of a monstrous alien that had somehow stowed away on the ship. I ‘realised’ that my body was in fact dead and that I was at that point my disembodied self, grieving at the terrible loss of my crew and the mission that we had embarked upon.I dated the incident – as the subject is required to do – to some 45 million earth years prior.

The fact that I had ‘recalled’ this event from an impossibly distant past and that I did so with such astounding clarity and detail, acted to deepen the commitment that I had to Hubbard to the point of fanaticism.

What had occurred in fact was that the thin membrane that demarcates the line between the conceptualisation of what comprises reality and fantasy had been successfully breached by the insidiously constructed insanity machine that best describes the Scientology system.
Any reading of accounts from Scientologists that progressed to and beyond the state of ‘Clear’ will reveal that past life recalls, such as I have recounted here, are not just commonplace but are essential to that level of indoctrination.

The session in question took place in 1987 while I was undergoing an intensive and lengthy Scientology process called ‘The Grades’.

These comprise of one-on-one sessions with an auditor, i.e. a person trained to read the electropsychometer - the machine is a direct derivative of the psycho-galvanometer that Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud employed and subsequently rejected, in the research they were engaged in at the University of Zurich during 1907 [1] ) - to which the subject is hooked and interrogated based on the needle reactions that comprise the ‘readings’.

These sessions are exhaustive. They can go on for as much six hours straight. They put one in a light hypnotic trance and are designed to bring a mix of memories and thoughts about memories to the fore and following a specific series of commands, 'guide' the subject toward a predetermined conclusion about those thoughts and memories.

These 'sessions' are profoundly invasive. No question posed may be avoided and there are no boundaries with regard to what may be interrogated.

When first encountering incidents of the past life variety they often function to cause a meter reaction called a ‘floating TA’. Whenever such a reaction occurs the session must be ended – which is always a relief – and the experience must be verified by a third-party on a separate meter.

The purpose of this is to ‘validate’ the memory. Make it real in other words.

Memory and sense of place in time are unfortunately malleable in the extreme.
Professor of neurology at New York University School of medicine, Oliver Sacks, opens an article on this topic rather poetically.

‘We now know that memories are not fixed or frozen, like Proust’s jars of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled, and recategorized with every act of recollection. [2]’

The creation of false memories, in the context of the Scientology world, are and have always been actively encouraged. This is a fundamental component in the design of the Scientology machine.

Through this mechanism a sense of credibility can be ascribed to the subject. ‘It must be true if I can recall it’. I can argue without equivocation that all of us who formally adhered to the thought system were, if not utterly ignorant, then at least seriously deficient in our comprehension of evidence based research in the field of psychology. We were thus reluctant, to question Hubbard's wisdom and groundbreaking discoveries.

Through this Hubbardian ‘breakthrough’ we could explore the very history of humankind, not as passive students, but as full-blown actors in the great dramas and struggles of our recent and distant past.

Had I been passionate about music back then, I am sure I would have recalled studying under Mozart or Chopin. There are many present and former Scientologists who recall being Alexander the Great, Dido of Carthage or even Jesus of Nazareth. Some have even recounted having been Adolf Hitler.

Upon reflection it now seems very likely that not long before I had recovered that asteroid moment, from the depths of my infinite experience, that I had seen the second installment of the Ridley Scott trilogy ‘Aliens’. The film came out in the UK in August 1986. I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

It is nigh on impossible to ‘disprove’ a memory. Memories are constructed from objective externally derived experience and subjective rationalization of those experiences based on education, environment and whatever emotions might be present at the time.
That Hubbard worked out how to manipulate the credulous in this way cannot be considered revolutionary or even surprising. Religious cults have done this for as long as humans have functioned as symbiotically supportive packs.

The logical shutdown required of a Catholic to believe he is consuming the very flesh and blood of Christ during the sacrament of communion is a salient example of the type. The Hubbard paradigm, using his skills as a Sci Fi writer, simply served to make the ancient mystical concept of reincarnation sexy.

All Scientology inductees experienced, throughout the course of their indoctrination, the implicit emphasis that the doctrine placed on the past life experience is crucial to the resolution of their present time troubles, real or imagined.
Past Life indoctrination was so prevalent, so intrinsic, and so alluring and yet in the early or introductory stages, it was never explicitly stated. Thus it bypassed the inductees critical analysis filters.

The hints that were dropped as to the existence of past lives and the implication that these could, through Scientology be explored De facto, served to pique the credulous neophyte’s curiosity. Thus by the time they were sitting down for their first big sales interview they were well primed to put cash on the table.

It could be argued that the softening up process described above prepares the subject for the fabrication of past life memories. This may well be analogous to the emotional contract described as the ‘suspension of disbelief’ that one enters into when sitting down to watch a movie.

To move from the general to the specific I might mention the very moment that I was given my first tour of the Bookstore in the Scientology Mission of Stuttgart. My eyes lighted upon books such as ‘Have You Lived Before This Life? [3]’ and ‘Mission Into Time’.

In practically every taped lecture I listened to from ‘The Student Hat’ onwards Hubbard never missed an opportunity to delve deeply into his previous incarnations, be it that of a Hessian Mercenary in The American War of Independence or as a Marcabian race car driver [4] in a galactic confederacy that included Earth as a prison planet.

Social pressure played a large role in encouraging, if not demanding, that one ‘remember’ former life times, ideally that would include a earlier stint in the cult during its formative years in the 1950s and early 1960s. Better yet, perhaps in some far distant galaxy fighting alongside an earlier Hubbard incarnation against a plethora of interstellar villains.

To reach the exalted state of Clear one had little option but to remember his prior incarnations. And, more disturbingly, there was emotional pressure put to bare on children as young as eight ‘remembering’ and being encouraged to remember having been at Saint Hill or on the Flagship Apollo long before they were conceived.

I am not at all surprised that I discovered clear memories of walking the Saint Hill grounds in some faded black and white or sepia past within the first few months of my arrival there.
In closing this part of the proceedings I want to offer a concrete example of how this thought framework can impact on how a Scientologist conducts himself in the real world.

The practice of Scientology is not supposed to be merely an esoteric belief, but rather a worldview that pervades every facet of one’s life. I am picking on Tom Cruise here. I have little or no sympathy for the guy. He set himself up as Scientology’s front man.

He went out and evangelised for the cult at every opportunity. What did he expect? That the world would roll over like a puppy for its belly to be tickled? Surprise surprise. He hit a wall of criticism and derision from which he will never recover.

The real world does not like Scientology. People in the real world tend to think about and critically evaluate information. That came as a shock to him.

The now famous Tom Cruise meltdown describes the stop-frame train wreck of what had been an enviable, if not unassailable, celebrity public profile. Who can forget his insistence that Brooke Shields should not be taking antidepressants [5] as there was no chemical basis for such things as postpartum depression?

Or what of his aggressive assertion to Matt Lauer that ‘I know the history psychiatry and you don’t [6]’ . That he knew better as to what was ‘good’ for Brooke Shields than either she or her doctor could possibly know is, if I may say so, an astoundingly arrogant claim.
Then there was the couch jumping incident on the Oprah Winfrey show.

It could be argued that it was his inflated ego. Living as it does in that rarefied and cosseted celebrity world that has been created around him that was, is and will continue to be his stumbling block.

That swollen balloon has been so seductively stroked and so carefully manipulated by his masters in the weird and distorted Scientology Land that he felt that he could dump the woman who made him. Not Paula Wagner, but his former, unassailable publicity agent, Pat Kingsley.

In 2003 Cruise fired Kingsley and appointed in her place his utterly unqualified nobody of a sister [7]. As they say in chantology land: WTF?
Behind this moment of professional insanity was the fact that Cruise wanted to be free to promote his one real passion, Scientology.

Kingsley would not let him. So he dumped her and persuaded his sister to ‘recall’ all of her past lives as a publicist and agent and then he put her on post.

Cruise’s Scientology belief tells him that we have lived for millions of lifetimes. That each of us have in past incarnations, presided over planetary systems, flown spaceships and even managed the careers of movie stars.

This is a fundamental precept within Hubbard’s system of staff appointments and training [8]. You will find it in the most basic of the Scientology onto post training check sheets. That worked out rather well, did it not?

In closing I wish to offer the floor to L. Ron Hubbard, the great instigator of the foregoing. The following are some quotes from a core piece of Scientology indoctrination material.
This piece is so central to the method that it is mandatorily studied as the first step in any Scientology courses beyond those that fall under the category of introductory.

These quotes are from the very same policy letter that Tom Cruise referenced in his now infamous viral ‘black turtle-neck’ You Tube video [9]. It is called ‘Keeping Scientology Working’ though better known as KSW [10].

I will read them out and leave you to dwell upon the implications.

(Imagine here if you will Hubbard’s sleazy sonorous voice assaulting your ears through the medium of an old reel to reel tape deck)

“We will not speculate here on why this was so or how I came to rise above the bank. We are dealing only in facts and the above is a fact — the group left to its own devices would not have evolved Scientology but with wild dramatization of the bank called “new ideas” would have wiped it out. Supporting this is the fact that Man has never before evolved workable mental technology and emphasizing it is the vicious technology he did evolve — psychiatry, psychology, surgery, shock treatment, whips, duress, punishment, etc, ad infinitum.
‘When somebody enrolls, consider he or she has joined up for the duration of the universe — never permit an “open- minded” approach. If they’re going to quit let them quit fast. If they enrolled, they’re aboard, and if they’re aboard, they’re here on the same terms as the rest of us — win or die in the attempt. Never let them be half-minded about being Scientologists.
‘The finest organizations in history have been tough, dedicated organizations. Not one namby-pamby bunch of panty-waist dilettantes have ever made anything. It’s a tough universe. The social veneer makes it seem mild. But only the tigers survive — and even they have a hard time. We’ll survive because we are tough and are dedicated. When we do instruct somebody properly he becomes more and more tiger. When we instruct half-mindedly and are afraid to offend, scared to enforce, we don’t make students into good Scientologists and that lets everybody down.

When Mrs. Pattycake comes to us to be taught, turn that wandering doubt in her eye into a fixed, dedicated glare and she’ll win and we’ll all win. Humor her and we all die a little. The proper instruction attitude is, “You’re here so you’re a Scientologist. Now we’re going to make you into an expert auditor no matter what happens. We’d rather have you dead than incapable.

‘We’re not playing some minor game in Scientology. It isn’t cute or something to do for lack of something better. The whole agonized future of this planet, every Man, Woman and Child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology.
‘This is a deadly serious activity. And if we miss getting out of the trap now, we may never again have another chance.

‘Remember, this is our first chance to do so in all the endless trillions of years of the past. Don’t muff it now because it seems unpleasant or unsocial to do Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten. Do them and we’ll win.”

L. RON HUBBARD Founder. February 1965.

I have inserted here a somewhat tongue in cheek addendum that I wrote some time ago, in response to a defender of the method, regarding Hubbard's claims as to the central importance of his breakthroughs in Study Technology.

'I think it is a testament to the toughness of the human thetan that before Hubbard came up with the educational revolution of study technology, that people like Thomas Jefferson could pen the wording and the context for The Declaration of Independence, that Hobbs could write ‘The Leviathan’, or that T.S. Eliot could author ‘The Wasteland’.

Leaping forward, I find it astonishing that Noam Chomsky can write with such perspicuity and elegance about human rights. That Hitchens could debate with the breath-taking fluency of a latter day Oscar Wilde. That Edward Said, a foreigner no less, could script ‘Orientalism’, now a staple in the canon of the humanities. And all of this without access to Hubbard's life-saving Study Tek!

We are truly indebted to L. Ron Hubbard for study technology.

Source references and appendix:


© 2013 John Anthony Duignan. Statement of intellectual rights: The author maintains the right of sole authorship of this article. It may not be transferred, reprinted or quoted without reference to the author as sole owner and creator of the text. The Hubbard text is quoted under the rights of fair use under US legislation – Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107. And under European legislation as quoted text for the purpose of illustration. The text in question is attributed to the deceased L. Ron Hubbard and used under the auspices of The Berne Convention articles 1, 2 and 3