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Academic Paper on the Freezone

Discussion in 'Freezone, Independents, and Other Flavors of Scien' started by Terril park, Jun 26, 2013.

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  1. Terril park

    Terril park Sponsor

    The first sentence of 'Dwindling Spiral' should read "On the first day of 2012" rather than, "On the first day of 2011."

    [Forthcoming 2013 in Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review 4:2. (Note that there will likely be minor differences between this draft and the final, published version.)]

    The Dwindling Spiral:

    The Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimation Crisis

    James R. Lewis

    In 2012, the Church of Scientology’s Mission in Haifa, Israel, defected from the Church and reestablished itself as the independent Dror Center. The precipitating event was a critical email sent by high-ranking Scientologist Debbie Cook to her contacts throughout the Scientology world. The core of her critique was that the Church was in decline – a decline she attributed to policies that deviated from guidelines set forth by Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The present paper analyzes the current legitimation crisis within the Church of Scientology through the twin lenses of the Cook letter and the Haifa schism.

    Scientology; L. Ron Hubbard; schism; new religious movements; legitimacy; legitimation crisis

    So the ogre which might eat us up is not the government or the High Priests. It’s our possible failure to retain and practice our technology.
    LRH, KSW

    The Dror Schism

    On the first day of 2011, Dani Lemberger, head of the Church of Scientology (CoS) Mission in Haifa, Israel, was given a copy of an email by one of the Mission’s auditors (Scientology’s name for its counselors), Aviv Bershadsky.1 Lemberger was initially taken aback. The message was from Debbie Cook, a prominent Scientologist who had been a longtime member of the Sea Org (a religious order that has been described as Scientology’s Jesuits) and Captain of the Flag Service Organization – one of the top posts in the Church of Scientology.2 Lemberger and his wife Tami knew Debbie from time they had spent at the Flag Land Base, CoS’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida.

    Cook’s email, which had originally been sent out to a wide range of Scientologists on New Year’s Eve, 2011, presented a startling analysis of various ways in which the Church had become dysfunctional and was beginning to decline. Furthermore, each of the problems she identified were described as deviating from the principles and guidelines laid down by CoS’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986); she backed up all of her points with references to policy letters and other sources authored by Hubbard (also referred to as LRH). Cook was not hesitant to assign blame to COB – Scientologese for ‘Chairman of the Board’ – David Miscavige, the Church of Scientology’s current leader. Lemberger, a stubborn non-conformist within an organization that over the years had become increasingly conformist, had voiced a few of the same criticisms himself. Other issues raised by Cook were revelatory. As one might have anticipated, the Church later sued Cook, but then reached a settlement in exchange for her promise to say no more in public. (Ortega 2012b)

    Lemberger’s response to the e-mail was to forward it to Church administrators for comment. Instead of receiving the requested commentary, however, Scientology officials put him ‘in ethics’ – a kind of interrogation program which implicitly questioned his loyalty. They also asked him to read a special issue of the Church’s Freedom magazine which attacked a variety of different former CoS officials who had spoken out against the Church. A sampling of titles from relevant articles that have appeared in Freedom capture the intemperate tone of these attacks:

    The Posse of Lunatics: A Story of Lies, Crimes, Violence, Infidelity and Betrayal
    Jason Beghe: Apostate Poster Boy and Hollywood Psycho
    A Liar is a Coward; A Perjurer is a Criminal

    The charges were so over the top that Lemberger knew most if not all of them had to have been fabricated. However, the magazine also mentioned that Marty Rathbun, a former CoS leader, had a blog. So Lemberger went to the Internet and began exploring not only Rathbun’s blog, but also other critical information available about Scientology on the World Wide Web. It was an eye-opener. He was particularly intrigued by information on the growing independent Scientology movement. The Lembergers then brought together their staff, discussed the Cook email and encouraged staff members to do their own research into the critical material about Scientology that seemed to fill the Internet. Eventually, everyone reached the same conclusion, namely that they should leave the Church.3

    They subsequently composed a letter to Miscavige stating that the Haifa Mission was resigning from its affiliation with the Church of Scientology. The Lembergers also continued to explore the independent movement, sometimes referred to as the Free Zone. For example, Dani Lemberger telephoned Max Hauri, head of Ron’s Org, an independent Scientology organization that had left the official Church back in the 1980s. They had a long conversation; he liked Hauri’s frankness and self-deprecating humor. The Lembergers also flew to the United States and visited Marty Rathbun in south Texas.

    Following their visit with Rathbun, the Lembergers traveled to Florida to visit old friends in the area. However, upon arrival at Tampa airport, a woman approached them at the luggage carousel and gave the Lembergers letters declaring them suppressive persons – Scientology’s equivalent of writs of excommunication. Suppressive persons are subjected to an amplified version of Amish shunning (‘shunning on steroids,’ as someone once put it). So instead of visiting old friends – who, because of the Church’s disconnection policy (Lewis 2012a, 140-141), were now forced to break off all communication with them – the Lembergers spent the rest of their time in Florida vacationing and making new friends with independent Scientologists in the area.

    Returning home to Israel, the Lembergers received a letter from a lawyer in Tel Aviv saying that they were forbidden to use CoS trademarks. As a consequence, they began emphasizing that the Dror (Hebrew for ‘Freedom’) Center was independent, and not a Church Mission.4 They also had a number of business associates break off relations. Some ex-students now crossed to the other side when they walked down the street. Other former close friends neglected to respond to phone calls. Worse than this, however, was the slander to which they were subjected. Applying a Church of Scientology principle called ‘fair game’ (Wallis 1976:144), the Lembergers were accused of being psychotic, of being drug dealers and other standard accusations taken from CoS’s ‘black propaganda’ (Hubbard 1986 [1976]: 47) playbook.

    While about ten people left the Haifa Mission after it broke with the Church of Scientology, approximately forty stayed on. The Dror Center also soon attracted participants who had left the Church years before, disenchanted by some of the changes the Church of Scientology had earlier undergone. Certain changes were made. In particular, Dror Center took steps to acquire the expertise to deliver the upper levels of auditing.

    The core of the spiritual system developed by Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard (LRH), consists of the Bridge to Freedom (or, more simply, ‘the Bridge’), a series of levels through which one passed before achieving a state of total spiritual freedom (roughly, Scientology’s parallel to Enlightenment). The lower levels are Pre-clear (pc) and Clear, while the higher levels consist of eight Operating Thetan (OT) levels. Missions like the Haifa Center could only deliver the lower levels of the Bridge, and then forward individuals to an Advanced Org (a higher-level Church of Scientology organization) for advanced services.

    Prior to the schism, the Haifa Mission was, in terms of auditing and other services, on par with a Class 5 Org, meaning they could deliver up to New Era Dianetics (NED) – in other words, up to the Clear level, though the Church requires that one travel to an Advanced Org to have that status verified. After leaving CoS, the Dror Center went through a process of development until it was able to offer the ‘Full Bridge,’ meaning Clear and the OT Levels. Many different high-level independent Scientologists helped the Dror center with this process, including Claudio Lugli (who visited Dror in September 2012) and Silvia Llorens (visited in March 2013). Dror fees also dropped significantly after leaving CoS – approximately a third of what the Church charged, depending the specific service (Lemberger 2013a).

    The Schism of 1982 and Recent Defections

    The core of Scientology is auditing. Many outside observers, distracted by Church of Scientology (CoS) celebrities, scandals and CoS’s exotic upper level teachings, tend to regard auditing as a sideshow – a quaint pseudo-therapy, distracting attention from the ‘real’ purposes of the sinister Scientology cult. Focusing on the space opera narrative, with its story of the cosmic dictator Xenu massacring millions of aliens whose souls subsequently attached themselves to living human beings, critics often characterize Scientology as an irrational farce (Rothstein 2009). Furthermore, Scientologists, they say, must be crazy, gullible, stupid, brainwashed or some combination of these traits. Particularly for the Internet Trolls who busy themselves spreading negative remarks about Scientology across blogs and chat rooms, this evaluation has become an unquestioned axiom, immune to empirical disconfirmation.

    It does not, however, take much reflection to see that this portrayal is, at best, a caricature. As anyone familiar with the movement at a ground level will attest, a wide variety of different people become involved in Scientology, including more than a few sane, smart individuals. Rather than being impressed with the ‘space opera’ story (Hubbard 1978, 398), new recruits are impressed with how auditing ‘works’ – or at least seems to work. Though I have myself never been audited (except by the IRS cult), I have seen numerous e-meter demonstrations. Using the same basic technology as a lie detector, in the hands of a trained auditor an e-meter can appear to almost read one’s mind, quickly zeroing in on unresolved issues from the past. I have also seen people being audited who ‘run’ an incident from the past, and have witnessed the relief that followed the session. In order to understand the appeal of Scientology, one must understand the impressive power of this seemingly simple process.

    The importance of auditing, and certain other practical teachings that address issues in one’s everyday life, explain why many of the people who leave the Church of Scientology continue to believe in the Scientology system (Rubin 2011). In contemporary sociological terminology, we would say that that while defectors have disaffiliated (left the organization), most have not become apostates (rejected the belief system5). This stands in marked contrast to people who leave conservative Christian sects, the majority of whom become apostates. Unless one understands the attractiveness of core Scientology practices, one cannot truly understand why ex-members of CoS would continue to identify as Scientologists.

    There were two time periods during which large numbers of people left the Church of Scientology. The first was the Schism of 1982 (or, perhaps more accurately, the Schisms of 1982/3). The second was a much more dispersed series of defections that took place across the course of the first decade of the 21st Century and that, to a certain extent, continues into the present. The first period of mass exits is easier to explain than the second, though one first has to understand CoS’s Mission Franchise system.

    Hubbard experimented with various forms of a Scientology franchise system throughout his career, but the basic idea is simple: Like a commercial franchise, individuals pay an upfront fee, pay for Scientology materials and pay a percentage of franchise income to the Church. As explained earlier, franchise centers like the original Haifa Mission eventually referred their clients to Church Orgs for advanced processing (and receive a commission for doing so).

    By the latter 1970s and into the first years of the 1980s, Scientology was enjoying tremendous growth. Most of this growth was coming from the franchises, and a number of franchise owners were becoming wealthy. Though this point might have been debatable at the time, it is clear in retrospect that someone in the administration of the Church decided that CoS should enjoy a larger part of this wealth. This led to the infamous Mission Holders Conference in San Francisco on 17 October 1982. David Miscavige, current leader of CoS, was master of ceremonies at the event (Appendix to Latey Judgment 1984). Much of the independence of the Missions was taken away, and owners were forced to sign new agreements that put their franchises more directly under the control of the Church (Atack 1990, Chapter 3). Subsequently, the booming growth the movement had been enjoying up to that point began falling off, and “[v]irtually every major productive mission holder left the church over the next year or two” (Rathbun 2013, 195). At around the same time, there was a purge of CoS leadership that served to push numerous highly-trained Scientologists outside of the Church.

    During this period, Hubbard was in hiding to avoid being served legal notices (Rathbun 2013, 145). He separated himself from the day-to-day running of his organization and retreated into the background, surrounding himself with a small number of loyalists – one of whom was David Miscavige – through whom he communicated with the rest of the Church. He also stopped attending public events. Toward the end of his life, only a handful of Scientologists even knew where Hubbard was physically located (Gang of Five 2009). The secretiveness of this situation provided fertile ground for later conspiracy theories about the usurpation of power that allegedly took place in the years leading up to his death.

    In the aftermath of the purge and of the Mission Holder’s Conference, the first significant independent Scientology movement emerged. Particularly in Europe, the independents described themselves as participants in the Free Zone, a term originally coined by Bill Robertson (affectionately known as ‘Captain Bill’). LRH’s absence enabled the independents to conclude that Hubbard had been tricked and kept in the dark during the 1980s until his death in 1986. In other words, the people who disaffiliated later claimed that the objectionable policies which drove them out of CoS were either issued by others in the name of the founder, or else that Hubbard had been systematically misinformed and misled about what was actually happening in the Church during the period when he issued disastrous policy statements (Rathbun 2013, 199). This conspiracy theory (an expression I am here using descriptively, not disparagingly) allowed defectors to reject the emergent policies put forward by CoS in the eighties, while claiming fidelity to Hubbard’s teachings.6

    Of the independent Scientology organizations established in the wake of the Schism of 1982, the most significant groups were David Mayo’s Advanced Abilities Center in the Santa Barbara, California, area and Captain Bill’s group, Ron’s Org, originally established in Germany. Mayo’s as well as other, smaller independent centers were soon sued out of existence by CoS. But Ron’s Org exists to this day as a growing confederation of centers in Germany, Switzerland and the CIS countries (especially Russia). In all cases, once free of the Church, the independents fell back on the core of Scientology – namely auditing and the training of auditors. In point of fact, Ron’s Org currently produces significantly more auditors per year than CoS. (Park 2013)

    The more recent rash of defections dates from the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century, when David Miscavige, CoS’s formal leader after Hubbard’s passing, stepped forward to take a more active role in the day-to-day running of the Church of Scientology. Because the Free Zone account of the flawed managerial decisions made in the eighties had attributed these to Hubbard’s successor, the Mission Holders’ Conference conspiracy theory has thus been able to come full circle to posit Miscavige as the source of both cycles of mismanagement and mass defections.

    After the purges, schisms and defections of the eighties, the Church of Scientology seemed to bounce back and, certainly at the outer level, it recovered much lost ground. At the ‘inner’ levels, however, the story was different. Part of what happened during the events of the eighties was that the movement lost many of its top level practitioners, administrators and numerous class VIII, IX and XII auditors, the highest classes of spiritual therapists. Statistically, CoS never recovered. Furthermore, the rate at which even lower-level auditors were being produced went into a decline after Hubbard’s passing. The further loss of upper level talent was also a feature of the defections that have taken place over the past decade or so. For people who understand the emphasis Hubbard placed on this rather elaborate auditing system as well as his administrative system, the current Church of Scientology appears to be a shell of its former self.

    When Miscavige began to assert more direct control over the day-to-day running of the organization in the first decade of the current century, he closed down certain offices in the Church, and sent some high-ranking officials (the ones who had not left outright) to CoS’s re-education camp at Gilman Hot Springs in California. Later narratives accusing him of the physical abuse of CoS staff emerged as part of the defection stories of numerous, formerly high-ranking Church officials. These in turn led to a prominent series of exposé articles in the St. Petersburg Times that began in 2009, which then led to further negative media coverage by other news outlets and, eventually, a spate of new books in the exposé genre (e.g., Sweeney 2013; Wright 2013).

    The second wave of high-level defections does not thus far seem to have generated new religious organizations, in part, it appears, out of fear of being destroyed by CoS litigation. The single exception is the Haifa Mission/Dror Center, discussed earlier. There are, however, informal associations of independent Scientologists that in the past five years have grown up around various website and blogs, such the blogging activities of Marty Rathbun.7 These associations vary. Beyond mutual support and providing information about the Church (particularly, but not exclusively, on the Internet), the focus of at least some of the associations appears to be to initiate a reformation of CoS from the outside (Rathbun 2012). Many critics of the Church of Scientology envision that the current leakage of members will eventually grow into a flood that will finally burst the seams of the organization. Some version of this scenario – rather than any naïve expectation that the top management of CoS will change its present policies – appears to be the goal.

    Down Stat

    Though the Church of Scientology continues to claim that it is experiencing unprecedented growth, the actual situation is that its statistics have been steadily declining for many years. This decline is reflected in CoS’s own statistics – as collected by Kristi Wachter on her “The Truth About Scientology” website ( – and by national census and survey data.

    Thus, for example, Australia holds national censuses every five years. Over the past four censuses, people self-identifying as members of the Church of Scientology gradually rose across three censuses and then dropped off significantly during the most recent:

    Australian Census figures for the Church of Scientology
    Census Year: 1996 2001 2006 2011
    Scientologists: 1,488 2,032 2,507 2,162

    I should, however, quickly point out that not all census data is negative. In the United Kingdom there have been only two national censuses in which religious affiliation has been reported. In 2001, 1781 people self-identified as Scientologists in England and Wales, whereas in 2011, 2418 respondents reported being Scientologists. Critics, however, note that whereas the Australian census specified Church of Scientology, figures for the British census resulted from respondents writing ‘Scientology’ into an ‘Other’ box provided on the UK Census form. Thus at least some of the growth might be accounted for by an increase in numbers of independent Scientologists.

    It has also been pointed out to this writer that, if one had only the 2001 and the 2011 figures from the Australian census, the data would appear to indicate growth (from 2032 members to 2162 members) rather than a decline. The implication of this observation is that had the UK held a census in 2006, perhaps one would find a comparable decrease in numbers of Scientologists in England and Wales between 2006 and 2011.

    The U.S. census does not measure religious affiliation. However, in 1990, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York conducted a National Survey of Religious Identification (NSRI) via randomly dialed phone numbers (113,723 people were surveyed). Eleven years later, in 2001, the same center carried out the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) in the same manner. There was subsequently another ARIS survey in 2008. Categories were developed post facto. The contrast between the 1990 data, the 2001 data and the 2008 data allows one to make judgments about the growth or decline of select religious bodies in a manner comparable to census data.

    NSRI and ARIS data for Scientology (Adults - 18+)
    Surbey Year: 1990 2001 2008
    Scientologists: 45,000 55,000 25,000

    The drop in the total number of Scientologists between 2001 and 2008 was likely much less dramatic than these figures indicate due to sampling issues involved with measuring a small religion like Scientology ( I nevertheless have the impression that these figures are indicative of a real decline in the number of Scientologists in the United States.

    It should finally be mentioned that researchers at the University of Copenhagen have been collecting quantitative data on Scientologists for the past several decades. This data is significant for the study of Scientology in Europe in part because the Copenhagen Org was the first major Scientology center to be established on the continent proper (Saint Hill in England had been established earlier), and served as a dissemination point to the rest of Europe. In connection with a different project (Lewis 2013), researchers at the University of Copenhagen generously supplied the present writer with data that had been collected on new members of the Church of Scientology in Denmark up until 1998. Andreas Baumann, a graduate student at the Department for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen, calculated the relevant figures:

    New Members of the Church of Scientology Copenhagen

    5-y period Mean Age N

    1996-1998 30.68 22
    1991-1995 25.70 63
    1986-1990 29.58 183
    1981-1985 26.02 273
    1976-1980 23.48 232
    1971-1975 23.25 177
    1966-1970 24.13 90
    1961-1965 25.00 22

    An analysis of the decline of Scientology in Denmark is provided in an important piece by Peter B. Andersen and Rie Wellendorf (2009). In addition to conflict between CoS’s American ethos and the ethos of Danish society, one of the reasons for the Church’s decline is that it has become a closed community (Andersen and Wellendorf 2009, 160-161) – a situation of social encapsulation that extracts members from the social networks through which new members are typically made (as discussed in Dawson 2006). Generalized beyond the specifics of Danish society, I would hypothesize that this basic analysis could be cautiously extrapolated to the Church of Scientology’s situation in most of the rest of Western Europe.

    From an external point of view, this decline is not extraordinary. Many other religious denominations are experiencing a similar decline. However, from an internal point of view, these figures could be interpreted as calling into question the legitimacy of the current management of the Church of Scientology. As anyone familiar with CoS knows, L. Ron Hubbard was obsessed with growth, and devised a reporting system that enabled him to keep track of his movement’s expansion. During his tenure as organizational head, Hubbard established the tradition of each branch of the Church sending in reports on Thursdays. He then spent Fridays reading them. This is the origin of the ‘Thursday Report’ that figures so importantly in the lives of staff members. The ideal Thursday Report embodies a measurable increase over the preceding week’s report, which is referred to as being ‘Up Stat.’ A decrease is referred to as ‘Down Stat.’ (Lewis 2012a) Furthermore, individuals whose statistics are increasing are rewarded, while anyone with decreasing statistics – particularly stats that declined several weeks in a row – have certain privileges taken away or are punished in some manner in Scientology orgs.

    The Church of Scientology experienced what has been called a ‘statistics crash’ in 1990, and subsequently never recovered its momentum. Information on the ‘crash’ can be found on any number of websites (e.g., Years in the making, CoS’s dwindling spiral was ultimately set in motion by the organizational absorption of the franchises following the Mission Holders Conference and the accompanying purge of upper-level management within the Church proper.

    Because individuals are legitimated within CoS by their statistics, the administration of the Church cannot acknowledge these declining statistics, much less present them to other Scientologists. Instead, in annual reports on the Church’s progress (a longstanding tradition within CoS), it is alleged that the administration cherry picks statistics from areas where Scientology is growing. It is only by this kind of selective reporting that CoS’s Freedom magazine is able to carry headlines like:

    The Fastest-Growing Religion in the 21st Century
    The True Face of Scientology: Unparalleled Growth Since 2004
    David Miscavige: At the Helm of Scientology’s Explosive Growth

    The Debbie Cook Email

    The Cook email (Cook 2011) did not explicitly address the issue of falling statistics. Rather, it questioned the legitimacy of a range of administrative actions, both in terms of their effectiveness and their deviations from the administrative principles laid down by LRH. However, the sense that CoS had taken a wrong turn and become entangled in the underbrush is implicit in a number of her observations. Thus, for example, in a muted call for action, her email reads: “…you should be able to see that over regging and frequent tech changes are not OK and you have a responsibility to do something to Keep Scientology Working.”

    “Regging,” derived from ‘registering,’ refers to bringing in money. “Tech changes” refers to changes in Scientology auditing and other processes. “Keep Scientology Working” (KSW) is the title of a prominent policy letter that Hubbard issued on 7 February 1965 which insists, among other things, that his directives regarding how things are done – both in terms of administrative policy and in the technical area of auditing – should be strictly adhered to and not changed. Her statement embodies concerns Cook had expressed in the beginning of her email about the overemphasis on fundraising and unjustified tech changes. The reference to KSW is mentioned to remind her audience of how strongly LRH emphasized that Scientologists should not innovate, as well as to imply that CoS was in danger of declining. More explicitly, her email’s penultimate statement – “If we took all that energy and directed it into auditing, training and raw public dissemination, we would be winning” – clearly indicates that the Church of Scientology is currently not winning, but is, rather, declining.

    Cook begins her letter by first complaining, in some detail, about the “new age of continuous fundraising” the Church is experiencing, and then goes on to make complaints again the current administration of the Church of Scientology under four headings:

    The IAS (International Association of Scientologists)
    New Org Buildings (the so-called Ideal Org program)
    Out Tech (changes in the way the Bridge is being delivered)
    LRH Command Structure (the elimination of certain upper level administrative posts)

    The IAS, Cook notes, was the creation of David Miscavige and Marc Yager, not L. Ron Hubbard. Furthermore, these “membership monies are held as Int [referring to CoS’s international HQ] reserves and have grown to well in excess of a billion dollars. Only a tiny fraction has ever been spent,” which is in violation of LRH policy. She then goes on to lament that none of these funds have been spent on promoting Scientology.

    Most of the fundraising Cook complains about is being used to build large, expensive new buildings for Scientology Orgs. These ‘Ideal Orgs’ directly contravene Hubbard’s directives against excessive investment in real estate, as pointed out on many critical websites (e.g., In a lecture given on 31 December 1960 LRH during the Anatomy of the Human Mind Congress, Hubbard even famously directed Scientologists to blow up central headquarters if buildings ever became important to the Church of Scientology.8

    The email’s third complaint is that COB had been tampering with the Bridge by, in part, requiring people to redo certain levels and by mixing together certain processes that should remain separate. The goal of these changes, Cook makes clear, is transparently to collect more fees.

    Finally, the email complains, large components of the Church’s upper-level management structure – a structure developed by Hubbard himself – had either been eliminated or de-staffed. Cook notes that she went and visited key staff members who had been removed from their posts, and found that the entire International Management team “were all off post and doing very long and harsh ethics programs.” Her implication was that COB had to remove these managers in order to run the Church the way he wanted, with no system of checks and balances.

    On 4 July 2012, a bit more than six months after the Cook letter, Dani Lemberger issued his own letter, in which he and seven other members of the Dror staff assigned the Treason condition (‘condition’ has a specific meaning within the Scientology system; refer to Hubbard 1978, 86-87) to David Miscavige (Lemberger 2012). More extensive than the Cook letter, the Lemberger letter repeated a few of her points and added a number of new points. But the basic issue was the same: Contrary to the express wishes of the founder, changes had been introduced into a number of different aspects of the Church of Scientology that was leading to its decline.

    Discussion and Conclusion

    Despite claims to the contrary, CoS is, in fact, currently in what Scientologists refer to as a dwindling spiral (Hubbard 1978, 127). Though criticisms by ex-members and other outside critics might have left their mark, it appears that management decisions – assuming that Debbie Cook’s and Dani Lemberger’s evaluations are even partially correct – are causing the worst damage. Of the various problems outlined by Cook and Lemberger, the one most obvious to outsiders is the Ideal Org program.

    This program began in 2002-2003 when the Org in Buffalo, New York, was evicted under eminent domain and when the Org in Tampa, Florida, was evicted as a result of failing to pay rent. The Church of Scientology filed a lawsuit in Buffalo that netted enough funds to permit Scientologists there to purchase a new building. In Florida, COB was able to persuade some Scientologists in the area to push the Flag public (non-staff Scientologists associated with Flag HQ in Clearwater) to be responsible for ‘their org’ in Tampa. Something similar happened in Johannesburg (the third center to become an Ideal Org) where the Org had been in a very violent location in downtown Johannesburg and was forced to move. (

    Miscavige then turned this into ‘the thing to do.’ … t is the only thing he can use to show that he is doing an effective job of clearing the planet.9 Scientologists would not support him if they thought he was not accomplishing that goal. (Rinder 2013)

    The first few Ideal Org projects were quite successful. Buffalo had money from its lawsuit to acquire nice property, and Tampa was able to draw resources from the large Scientology community that had formed in central, West Coast Florida where CoS’s ‘mecca’ (the Flag Land Base) was located. These were, however, unique situations. The subsequent decision to extend this facilities expansion program – initiating ambitious building programs simultaneously across the entire Scientology world – was ill-considered. Most Orgs were simply not in the same fortuitous situation as Buffalo or Tampa. As a consequence, the Church of Scientology had to embark on an expansive fundraising push that continues up to the present. In the meanwhile, members have been leaving and potential new members have backed away – turned off by the high-pressure overemphasis on donations. Furthermore, funds that might otherwise have been used to further individuals’ progress up the Bridge have been diverted to donations.

    However, the most important issue for many insiders is that the emphasis on fundraising contradicts Hubbard policy, as quoted in the Cook letter:

    If the org slumps… don’t engage in ‘fund-raising’ or ‘selling postcards’ or borrowing money. Just make more income with Scientology. It’s a sign of very poor management to seek extraordinary solutions for finance outside Scientology. It has always failed. For orgs as for pcs, ‘Solve It With Scientology.’ Every time I myself have sought to solve financial or personnel in other ways than Scientology I have lost out. So I can tell you from experience that org solvency lies in more Scientology, not patented combs or fund-raising barbeques. – LRH HCO PL 24 February 1964, Issue II, Org Programming, (OEC Vol. 7, p. 930)

    In the face of these developments, it is easy to understand how members might be tempted to leave the Church and start an independent organization. However, the policy of the Church of Scientology that makes this difficult is that Church lawyers will file lawsuits against the group, even if the lawsuits have no chance of success.10 This important consideration aside, there are a number of different other aspects of Scientology that make it easy for people to leave, individually or as a group.

    As discussed in Chapter Ten of Roy Wallis’s Salvation and Protest, a religion can assert authority on the basis of several different types of claims. Though Hubbard considered the idea of presenting himself to the world as a messiah (Urban 2011, 138-139), he ultimately decided simply to claim that Scientology was the end result of his scientific researches rather than a revelation. What this means is that Scientology was and is, in Wallis’s terms, pluralistically legitimate. Thus, and despite Hubbard’s other assertions about the Church of Scientology being the sole source of hope for the planet, anyone should be able to follow Hubbard’s teachings without becoming a CoS member. In fact, in terms of legitimacy, one could theoretically start one’s own Scientology-based group in the same way one might start a new scientific research group. Had Hubbard claimed to be a messiah or some other divine figure and then passed the mantle of prophethood on to a designated successor, the situation would be different. But he did not.

    Whenever a non-CoS Scientology organization forms, one of the first accusations leveled against the group by the Church is that it is a squirrel (Hubbard 1978, 399). In the technical vocabulary of Scientology, a squirrel is someone who deviates from ‘standard tech’; in other words, they modify the auditing procedures taught in the Church of Scientology, thus psychologically and/or spiritually damaging the individuals being audited. This accusation is made regardless of whether the non-CoS practitioner actually modifies auditing or not, in part because there are usually no other substantive criticisms the Church can offer.

    Minus threats of litigation, ad hominem attacks and the discourse about squirrels, the conflict between CoS and non-CoS Scientologists boils down to competing assertions about legitimacy. The Church of Scientology’s claim to authority is obvious: The Church is the institutional embodiment of Hubbard’s legacy and, despite the cloud of secrecy that surrounded LRH in his final years, Miscavige’s claim to have inherited his leadership position from the founder seems reasonable enough (though many critics will dispute this).

    Non-CoS Scientologists, on the other hand, level their criticisms against COB, and base most of their criticisms on a close reading of Hubbard’s writings. This line of attack is almost inevitable, given that all of LRH’s non-fiction writings have been declared scripture (Rothstein 2007). However, even had his writings not been declared scripture, KSW, as indicated earlier, had emphasized that Scientologists should never innovate, but instead adhere to all of Hubbard’s technical and administrative directives without deviating. Thus, in both the Cook Letter and the Lemberger Letter, the authors constantly quote Hubbard, citing the equivalent of chapter and verse from LRH’s extensive policy letters and other sources.11

    Whether or not Cook and Lemberger regard Hubbard’s publications as scripture, these writings are treated as authoritative documents, to the extent that they effectively function as scripture within the larger Scientology subculture. LRH’s work can be quoted to legitimate particular positions as well as to de-legitimate the positions of others. This legitimation strategy seems to derive, in part, from the Judeo-Christian tradition, which locates the source of religious authority in sacred texts. In other words, being raised in religious traditions that emphasizes the authority of scripture creates an attitude that can be unconsciously carried over to other, very different kinds of writings.

    As I have discussed elsewhere (e.g. Lewis 2002; Lewis 2003; Lewis 2012b), the classic discussion of the issue of legitimacy is Max Weber’s threefold schema of traditional, rational-legal, and charismatic legitimations of authority (Weber 1962; Weber 1968). Weber’s work on the legitimation of authority provides a useful starting point for understanding the legitimation strategies deployed by contemporary new religions, but it is necessary to first modify his framework. Thus, for example, in contrast to what one might anticipate from his discussion of charismatic leaders – whose legitimacy, in Weber’s view, springs entirely from her or his personal charisma – one often finds leaders of new religions appealing to tradition. Furthermore, the explicit nature of such appeals means that they constitute a variation from what Weber had in mind by the traditional legitimation of authority.12 Also, when nascent movements attempt to justify a new idea, practice or social arrangement by attributing it to the authority of tradition, it is usually only through a reinterpretation of the past that they are able to portray themselves as the true embodiment of tradition.

    Charisma might thus be the keystone in a new movement’s initial attractiveness, but charismatic leaders typically appeal to a variety of other sources of legitimacy. For instance, many modern movements – including Scientology – appeal to the authority of rationality as embodied in natural science.13 This is because the general populace of industrialized countries accord science and science’s child, technology, a level of respect and prestige enjoyed by few other social institutions – to the extent that, as a number of observers have pointed out, science has come to be viewed quasi-religiously. Thus any religion which claims its approach is in some way scientific draws on the prestige and perceived legitimacy of natural science. Hubbard claimed just that, meaning his explicit appeal for the legitimacy of Scientology was, in terms of Weber’s tripartite schema, a rational appeal.

    While Hubbard was a charismatic individual, and while his personal charisma was undoubtedly crucial for the successful birth of his movement, in the present discussion I am less interested in analyzing the initial emergence of Scientology than in the transformations that have taken place in the post-charismatic phase of the movement. Weber was also interested in this kind of transition, which he discussed in terms of the routinization of charisma. By this Weber meant that, because personal charisma tends to be unstable (Weber 1968, 22), charismatic authority must eventually move toward dissolution, legal-rational authority or traditional authority. In the case of Scientology, LRH and his writings on Scientology became the functional equivalent of traditional authority.14 Furthermore, as discussed in detail by Dorthe Refslund Christensen, the Church of Scientology is thoroughly committed to presenting Hubbard as the “only ultimate source and legitimizing resource of the religious and therapeutic claims of the Church.” (Christensen 2005, 227)

    In earlier stages of its development Scientology was, at least in theory, empirical and open to new discoveries (part of Hubbard’s appeal to rational legitimacy). After the death of the charismatic founder, however, CoS quickly solidified into a rigid organization focused – at least ideally – on maintaining and continuing the legacy of Hubbard as its primary source of legitimacy. The Church has thus stressed its role as LRH’s organizational successor. In terms of Weber’s analysis, one would say that the Church of Scientology’s legitimation strategy has narrowed to focus almost exclusively on its claim to what has become – both in form and in effect – traditional authority.

    The problem with this focus, however, is that it entails strict adherence to Hubbard’s policy directives, from which – if Cook and Lemberger are even partially correct – the Church has deviated. The dwindling spiral of internal statistics also threatens the legitimacy of the current CoS administration from an empirical angle: If the shrinkage of the Church becomes undeniable and members begin to seek explanations for the decline, the numerous changes that have been introduced since Hubbard’s passing will likely not escape scrutiny. Additionally, like Dani Lemberger, members might also be prompted to consult the Internet for alternate sources of information.15

    Prediction is always a problematic enterprise. In the present case, the Church of Scientology is in a dynamic state of flux with many factors impinging on the situation, making a number of different future scenarios possible. Thus, for example, the Ideal Org program might unexpectedly become an engine for growth and attract many new people to become involved in Scientology, reversing what currently appears to be an irreversible pattern of decline in Church membership. Alternately, perhaps the current membership has reached a ‘steady state’ in the sense that – while it will continue to slowly leak defectors – the overall number of members will remain relatively constant for many more years. Based on current trends, however, the overall picture is that CoS’s decline will continue – whether quickly or gradually – while independent Scientology will grow. The Free Zone in Northern and Eastern Europe already produces many more auditors per annum than the Church, while growing primarily by recruiting new members from the general population rather than from among disenchanted ex-CoS members. And while Dror Center has thus far been the only Mission to declare independence during the present cycle of defections, the incidence of such schisms might multiply as the current crisis continues to weaken member perception of the legitimacy of Church leadership.


    In addition to the researchers to whom I refer in the body of this article, a special word of thanks to academic colleagues who took the time to comment upon earlier drafts, particularly Sean Currie and Kjersti Hellesøy. Also, a number of different former CoS members generously supplied information for this paper. Chief among these is Chuck Beatty, who seems to have a handle on Hubbard’s entire corpus of writings. I have had a number of email conversations with Terril Park and Lena Venkova who have helped me to understand Ron’s Org. Geir Isene has always been ready to provide insightful commentary on CoS since the time I moved to Norway. Dani Lemberger supplied me with basic information about the Dror Center and graciously read several drafts of this paper. Finally, thanks to Mike Rinder for information on the Ideal Org program. Because critics might object to my dependence on former members and independent Scientologists as biasing my analysis, it should be emphasized that the kind of information requested from these informants was technical and ‘historical.’ I am entirely responsible for the interpretive parts of this paper. Furthermore, anyone familiar with my writings on legitimation strategies will find that the analysis in the final section of the present article flows directly out of my prior work on the construction of authority within emergent religious movements (e.g., Lewis 2008).


    James R. Lewis is currently Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø (Norway) and an extensively-published scholar in the field of New Religious Movements. His titles have won four book awards. Lewis currently co-edits three book series and edits two journals. Recent publications include (co-authored with Nicolas Levine) The Children of Jesus and Mary (Oxford University Press 2010), Violence and New Religious Movements. (Oxford University Press 2011), (co-edited with Olav Hammer) Religion and the Authority of Science (Brill 2011), and Cults: A Reference and Guide (Equinox 2012).


    Andersen, Peter B., and Rie Wellendorf, 2009. Community in Scientology and among Scientologists. In James R. Lewis (ed.), Scientology, New York: Oxford University Press, 143-163.

    Appendix to the Latey Judgment. 1984. The 1982 US Mission Holders’ Conference, San Francisco. Accessed 17 June 2013

    Atack, Jon. 1990. A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed. Lyle Stuart Books.

    Beatty, Chuck. 2013. Communications with author, June 2013.

    Bromley, David G. 1998. “The Social Construction of Contested Exit Roles: Defectors, Whistleblowers, and Apostates.” Pp. 19-48 in The Politics of Religious Apostasy: The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movements. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing.

    Christensen, Dorthe Refslund. 2005. Inventing L. Ron Hubbard: On the construction and maintenance of the hagiographic mythology of Scientology’s founder. In James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen, eds. Controversial New Religions. New York: Oxford University Press, 227-258.

    Cook, Debbie. 2011. New Year’s Email from Debbie Cook. December 31, 2011. Accessed 16 June 2013.

    Dawson, Lorne. 2006. Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements. Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press. 2nd Edition.

    Engler, Steven & Gregory P. Grieve (eds). 2005. Historicizing ‘Tradition’ in the Study of Religion. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    Gang of Five. 2009. The Secret History of David Miscavige. Accessed 17 June 2013

    Harman, Danna. 2012. Breaking out of Scientology’s iron grip. Haaretz 30 September 2012. Accessed 16 June 2013.

    Hellesøy, Kjersti. Forthcoming 2014. In James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen, eds., Controversial New Religions. New York: Oxford University Press, 2nd edition.

    Hubbard, L. Ron. 2007. Introduction to Scientology Ethics. Commerce City, California: Bridge Publications. 2nd Edition. Originally Published 1968.

    -----------------. 1986. Modern Management Technology Defined: Hubbard Dictionary of Administration and Management. Los Angeles: Bridge Publications. Originally Published 1976.

    -----------------. 1978. Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary. Los Angeles: Church of Scientology of California Publications Organization.

    -----------------. 1955. The Scientologist: A Manual on Dissemination of Material. Ability, the Magazine of Dianetics and Scientology. (Major Issue 1).

    Lemberger, Dani. 2013a. Communications with author, June 2013.

    --------------------. 2013b. Ron’s Single Biggest Mistake. Accessed 20 June 2013.

    --------------------. 2012. An Open Letter to All Scientologists: Assignment of Treason Condition – David Miscavige. 11 July 2012. Accessed 16 June 2013.

    Lewis, James R. 2013. The Youth Crisis Model of Conversion: An Idea Whose Time Has Passed? Numen: International Review for the History of Religions 50.

    -------------------. 2012a. Scientology: Up Stat Down Stat. In Mikael Rothstein and Olav Hammer, eds. The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 133-149.

    -------------------. 2012b. Excavating Tradition: Alternative Archaeologies as Legitimation Strategies. Numen: International Review for the History of Religions 59, 202–221.

    -------------------. 2010. The Science Canopy: Religion, Legitimacy and the Charisma of Science. Temenos 46:1, 7-29.

    ------------------. 2009a. The Growth of Scientology and the Stark Model of Religious “Success.” In Scientology, ed. James R. Lewis. New York: Oxford University Press, 117-140.

    ------------------. 2009b. Introduction. Scientology, ed. James R. Lewis. New York: Oxford University Press, 117-140.

    ------------------. 2008. Infernal Legitimacy. In Jesper Aagard Petersen, ed. Contemporary Religious Satanism. Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 41-58.

    ------------------. 2003. Legitimating New Religions. Piscataway, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

    ------------------. 2002. Diabolical Authority: Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible and the Satanist Tradition. Marburg Journal of Religious Studies 7:1.

    ------------------. 1997. Clearing the Planet: Utopian Idealism and the Church of Scientology. Syzygy: Journal of Alternative Religion and Culture 6.

    Lewis, James R., and Sarah M. Lewis, eds. 2009. Sacred Schisms: How Religions Divide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Momen, Moojan. 2007. Marginality and Apostasy in the Baha’i Community. Religion 17, 187-209.

    Ortega, Tony. 2012a. Scientology Crumbling. The Village Voice. 6 July 2012.
    Accessed 16 June 2013.

    ---------------. 2012b. Scientology Settles with Debbie Cook. The Village Voice. 24 April 2012.
    Accessed 21 June 2013.

    Park, Terril. 2013. Communication with author, 19 June 2013.

    Rathbun, Mark. 2013. Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior. Amazon Books.

    ------------------. 2012. The Scientology Reformation. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

    Rinder, Michael. 2013. Communication with author, 30 May 2013.

    Rothstein, Mikael. 2009. ‘His name was Xenu, He used renegades’: Aspects of Scientology’s Founding Myth. In Scientology, ed. James R. Lewis. New York: Oxford University Press, 365-387.

    ------------------. 2007. Scientology, scripture, and sacred tradition. In James R. Lewis and Olav Hammer, eds. The Invention of Sacred Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Rubin, Elisabeth Tuxen. 2011. Disaffiliation Among Scientologists: A Sociological Study of Post-Apostasy Behaviour and Attitudes. International Journal for the Study of New Religions 2:2, 201–224

    Sweeney, John. 2013. The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology. London: Silvertail Books.

    Urban, Hugh B. 2011. The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Wallis, Roy. 1976. The Road to Total Freedom: A Sociological Analysis of Scientology. New York: Columbia University Press.

    --------------------. 1979. Salvation and Protest: Studies of Social and Religious Movements. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

    Weber, Max. 1962. Basic Concepts in Sociology. H. P. Secher (trans). New York: Philosophical Library.

    --------------------. 1968. Weber, Max. Economy and Society. New York: Bedminster Press.

    Wright, Lawrence. 2013. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

  2. Lermanet_com

    Lermanet_com Gold Meritorious Patron

  3. AnonLover

    AnonLover Patron Meritorious

    Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review - Edited by James R. Lewis.

    So he is still publishing in his own online publication venues and NOT in a well established academic journal with proper peer review. How cute.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  4. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    The core of the doctrine of Scientology in not auditing.

    In fact, in accordance with the deceptive nature of Scientology doctrine, not even all of auditing - using the definition shown to prospects, a.k.a. "raw meat" - is auditing.

    However, I can see why the Scientology Zoners would be delighted with someone who forwards the lie that "the core of Scientology is auditing."


  5. RogerB

    RogerB Crusader

    Hmmm, 25,000 members in the cult in the USA . . . . so much for its claims of "millions of members world wide" :no: :no:

    They lie as usual . . .

    Also nice to be seeing the numbers universally dropping line a bomb!

    Way to go, cult . . . into oblivion! :hysterical:

  6. thanks terril

    too long for me to read it all just now but scanning it looks very good


    i should say current stats call the legitimacy of upper management into question
  7. CommunicatorIC

    CommunicatorIC @IndieScieNews on Twitter

  8. degraded being

    degraded being Sponsor

    Academic Cloaking:

    Lewis's argument against the term 'cult' as the correct category for Scientology is pathetic. (see below). People who write 'serious' articles about scientology have the problem that they might look stupid themselves, by writing seriously about such a pack of swindling nutcases. Janet Reitman had that nervousness. So in order to maintain their own PR image of themselves as a serious intelligent investigator they prop up the cult religious cloaking scam by treating the cult as a "religion" and make it a little more attractive by calling it a "new religion" or "one of the new religions". So, the author has now created a 'serious' framework in which they can legitimately display their intellectual prowess without being howled down by the masses for wasting time writing about swindling nutcases. It helps a bit with keeping lawyers off their backs too, I assume.
    Even Lawrence Wright played that game, however when Wright was pressed on the point in interviews, it was a case of reading between the lines. My impression from the interviews was always that he only paid lip-service to the 'religion' category and didn't think for one minute that it was religious at all.

    The Professors who treat it as a religion have even more at stake. I haven't read Kent's book, but the impression I have is that he hasn't tried to maintain his professional reputation by propping up scientology's religious cloaking, by adding academic cloaking to it, unlike Lewis.

    I think there is a kind of intellectual coercion (bait and switch) that goes along with academic cloaking. The serious academic article/book is presented by the hardworking serious academic who expects to be taken seriously and who expects some level of respect for their position. People probably think they should at least read right through the TL DR stuff in order to have an informed opinion. Academics are a bit like all the very very wealthy people, the successful people, the intelligent people, the famous people, who fell for scientology. Sometimes they do stupid things. Falling for scientology's religious cloaking is a stupid thing for an academic or a serious writer to do. Propping it up with academic cloaking is worse.

    "....The core of Scientology is auditing. Many outside observers, distracted by Church of Scientology (CoS) celebrities, scandals and CoS’s exotic upper level teachings, tend to regard auditing as a sideshow – a quaint pseudo-therapy, distracting attention from the ‘real’ purposes of the sinister Scientology cult.
    Focusing on the space opera narrative, with its story of the cosmic dictator Xenu massacring millions of aliens whose souls subsequently attached themselves to living human beings, critics often characterize Scientology as an irrational farce (Rothstein 2009). Furthermore, Scientologists, they say, must be crazy, gullible, stupid, brainwashed or some combination of these traits. Particularly for the Internet Trolls who busy themselves spreading negative remarks about Scientology across blogs and chat rooms, this evaluation has become an unquestioned axiom, immune to empirical disconfirmation.

    It does not, however, take much reflection to see that this portrayal is, at best, a caricature. As anyone familiar with the movement at a ground level will attest, a wide variety of different people become involved in Scientology, including more than a few sane, smart individuals. Rather than being impressed with the ‘space opera’ story (Hubbard 1978, 398), new recruits are impressed with how auditing ‘works’ – or at least seems to work. Though I have myself never been audited (except by the IRS cult), I have seen numerous e-meter demonstrations. Using the same basic technology as a lie detector, in the hands of a trained auditor an e-meter can appear to almost read one’s mind, quickly zeroing in on unresolved issues from the past. I have also seen people being audited who ‘run’ an incident from the past, and have witnessed the relief that followed the session. In order to understand the appeal of Scientology, one must understand the impressive power of this seemingly simple process......"
  9. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    IMO, Scientology is a secretive and manipulative doctrine with a truth-coating. The truth-coating is displayed while the negatives are often hidden or disguised; or, when they no longer can be denied, are rationalized or "spun."

    The Scientology package, as designed by its founder, and as manifest even outside the CofS, is both positive and negative. Scientology is a carefully crafted mix of positives and negatives.


    Auditing is an English language word.

    Amongst synonyms listed by Merriam-Webster are: "Examination, going-over, review, scan, scrutiny, view."

    The Latin root word means, "a hearing," or "to hear."

    Scientology has adopted the word, "auditing."


    Those introduced to auditing by Scientologists, both inside and outside the CofS, are often told the above definitions are descriptive of Scientology auditing.

    IMO, it's important to discern between the "bait" portion of auditing where one is primarily asked the contents of his mind, and the "switch" portion of "auditing" where one is primarily told the content of his mind.

    "This is a cold blooded and factual account of your last sixty trillion years," from 1952's 'What to Audit' found Hubbard telling others the contents of their minds, but it was premature "mind grope," just as the early 1950s e-meter reactions projected on the wall with shadows, while the audience went "ooh!" and "ahh!", was premature "Your e-meter will tell you"-ism, and the 1951 "no rights of any kind" was premature SP Doctrine, and the 1951 "dispose of quietly and without sorrow" was premature Fair Game Law and premature disconnection - disconnection in its most extreme form.

    It was too early for the implementation of these ideas on the still small, fragile and tentative membership. That would need to wait for a decade, as would Hubbard's implementation of most of the ideas outlined in the "enigmatic" (fraudulent) "Russian Textbook on Psycho-politics."

    Many parts of Hubbard's "Textbook on Psycho-politics" continue to be used, unwittingly, by onside the CofS Scientologists. Indeed, examples of Hubbard's use of some of the ideas, later expressed in the "textbook," can be found as early as 1950.


    In the mean time, Hubbard surrounded himself with those excited about his much advertised vision of a better world, and excited about the full releasing of spiritual ability.

    Hubbard liked to write and he liked to lecture, and he had a knack as a practical psychologist. He drew on the ideas and innovations of the most creative of those around him, and drew on his own knowledge of abreaction (catharsis, "get it [buried thoughts and emotions] off your chest") therapy, Korzybski's General Semantics with its "earlier similars" etc,, and Aleister Crowley's Magic(k). He re-worked the (four 'letters' - ingredients - of the) Kabbalistic 'tetragrammaton', and it became his 'Four Conditions of Existence'. Hubbard rewrote Crowley's 'Naples Arrangement' and it became his 'The Factors'. He borrowed Crowley's idea of a multiplicity of infinite minds and further excited Scientologists with that notion. None of these were original with Crowley, who was as much a relay point as was Hubbard. Yet, unlike Crowley, Hubbard would eventually incorporate the methods of psychological warfare into his system, and use those methods, not only on his perceived enemies, but on his own followers.

    And when he finally - in the 1960s - unleashed, fully, yet covertly, the psychological warfare methods of the "Russian Textbook" on Scientologists, he also returned to fully utilizing those ideas he had briefly tested more than a decade earlier. He gave them a past, he gave them a future, he told them the contents of their own minds, and made it plain that only HE knew and others were going to be told.


    Hubbard had written confidentially of the importance of "using enemy tactics," and would even use those "enemy tactics" on his own loyal followers. He had written of psychiatrists in August 1963:

    "Psychiatry is authoritarian and tells the person what's wrong with him, often introducing a new lie. Scientology finds out what's wrong with the person from the person."

    Soon to follow would be the secret and very serious, and very dangerous, and vital to your survival "Clearing Course," "OT 2" and "OT 3," in which Hubbard would do what he said the psychiatrists did.


    Hubbard had done this in 1952, but now it was formalized and institutionalized, and a senior part of the doctrine of Scientology doctrine.

    From Hubbard, 1966:

    "Many persons experience unreality at the start of[implant] GPM running [told to you by Hubbard through the materials]; this leaves when you see the meter reads."

    L. Ron Hubbard, from 1946, from his (private) ''Affirmations':

    "Your writing has a deep hypnotic effect on people and they are always pleased with what you write.

    "Your psychology is advanced and true and wonderful. It hypnotizes people. It predicts their emotions, for you are their ruler."

    Despite all this, is there some value in the simplest application of the definition of auditing?

    IMO, yes. However, as such, it is no longer Scientology.

    Asking a person, "How ya doing?" and listening attentively, and acknowledging, qualifies as "auditing" by an introductory definition of "auditing," as does asking a person to recall a pleasant experience, listening, and then acknowledging.

    Such introductory actions, presented as "auditing" are often what leads a person into Scientology, and causes the person to pursue the Scientology "bait and switch" Grade Chart.

    Scientology/Scientology Philosophy/Scientology Doctrine, is sneaky. It wraps itself in positives so as to mislead the unsuspecting.

    Not recognizing this mostly benign introductory aspect means not recognizing the "cheese" part of the trap, and means also not recognizing a main part of Scientology's disguise layer.

    Thoroughly describing Scientology is the most dangerous thing that can be done to Scientology.

    Scientology uses good people, and uses - sometimes - good ideas, to mislead, to build confidence, and to trap.

    A description without noting the above is incomplete, IMO.

    The definition of auditing changes as the person descends further into Scientology. At first, auditing is little more than one person talking with another person. At this stage, in and of itself, auditing is, essentially, benign. It may even be beneficial.

    This "sells" the person on the idea of "auditing."

    Then it becomes something else.

    "Auditing" has multiple meanings that, in accordance with Scientology's "gradients of deception" and "bait and switch" pattern, mislead a person onto the Scientology Grade Chart, a Chart that begins with mostly benign actions, and eventually becomes manipulative, "hypnotic," and potentially psychologically damaging.

    That's why issuing forth a Bronx cheer, [​IMG] indiscriminately, on the topic of auditing is helpful to Scientology. Such a Bronx cheer asserts that one of Scientology's - initially benign, and even helpful - enticements, and lead-ins, is entirely without value, which is often simply not so.

    Describing Scientology fully means gritting one's teeth and forcing oneself to recognize that there are some twinkling ornaments of light, and (even) truth, wrapped around the black hole of Scientology doctrine.


    Beware of Scientologists promoting auditing, and describing it as a benign activity. It may be at the beginning, but soon comes the "switch."


    Scientology, since 1952, has been asserting the lie that auditing is the core of Scientology techings, and now that lie is being forwarded by outside the CofS Scientologists.

    What is the core of Scientology?

    All Scientologists know the answer to that question...

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  10. Gib

    Gib Crusader

    IMO. This is what is missed by folks big time.

    Even Dianetics tells a person that their parents are bad what with mom trying to abort via knitting needles. All evaluation on what to think while reading that book. I remember when reading dianetics back in 1986, why I had thoughts like "did mom try to abort me", or were my parents having sex and my dad being the asshole he was while growing up, who knows what he was saying to mom while I was an embryo?

    And of course, all the times dad spanked me while I was a youngster, while reading dianetics I'm thinking dad installed engrams in me, so I have to get these handled with dianetics auditing. Dianetics is telling a person the contents of his mind. But yet hubbard does the switch and says the auditor must not evaluate, but hubbard did big time in his books & lectures.
  11. CommunicatorIC

    CommunicatorIC @IndieScieNews on Twitter

    If one can avoid a purely ad hominem or circumstantial ad hominem response to the article, and avoid solely attacking Lewis's motives, there is a ton of interesting information and analysis -- even if one does not agree. For example, I found the following to be interesting:
    If true, that is significant.

    One may disagree with Lewis's assertion that Scientology is a religion, or believe he is engaging in "academic cloaking," but that doesn't mean that one may rationally ignore or disregard each and every fact, assertion, statistic, analysis, or conclusion set forth in the article.

    Then again, YMMV
  12. guanoloco

    guanoloco As-Wased

    I've had a massive wognition of late...really simple and devastatingly eye-opening!

    You know how you post TWTH was a PR cover for the GO fiasco and MSH off to prison? I realized that this wasn't an isolated event and actually was an excellent snapshot of Ron's SOP/modus operandi. This shined a bright light on the mindfuck of Scientology and why it is such a mindfuck.

    Here it is: not only is TWTH a PR cover but also all the "theta" HCOPLs and HCOBs! People read the good, sane, effective policies and bulletins and books of Scientology and then experience the horrible aberration of PRACTICED Scientology - this is the mindfuck. How can something so "theta" be so systemically 180 degrees opposite from what is written?

    That is because what is written is PR - simply that...just like TWTH. In TWTH we see that Hubbard does not do anything he says. This is true within the "Church" as to what is practiced and what one reads should be practiced. The only way a person can "understand" this is to chock it up to a world of broken straws, case on post and MUs...when really the fact is that Ron didn't intend to do anything as he wrote - because what he wrote is PR, plain and simple!

    Ron wrote a bunch of PR hogwash and stupid people, like myself, took what was written at face value, people like Alan Walter, et al., and THEY made something workable of it. These poor naive fools, of which I am one, then went about trying to do the written PR hogwash and for the life of them couldn't understand what madness they were bumping into.

    That was Ron and his actual intent - which is 180 degree vector askew from the PR hogwash - this is affectionately called "Ron's squidink".

    Ron even warns us of this in the ESTO series or whatever lecture it's goes like this:

    "(paraphrased so bear with me) You're trying to get stats up...and...well, they won't go up! Or worse...they go down! You must know at once...not guess or be reasonable about it...but KNOW it...that there's someone else on the other end pushing just as hard or harder to drive stats down! That's your boy!"

    That's the mindfuck of're busy trying to do the written PR hogwash and you're butting up against Ron's real intent!
  13. Gib

    Gib Crusader

    I was in HCO for an org.

    I had to read lots of PL's on the side to get my wits around things, it was enlightening.

    What I realized in reading the PL's for each division of the org board, why Ron wrote in such terms and words (he was a writer of science fiction) that any post member could boom the org from his post. I mean he really Positive Thinked any member to think he /she could boom the org from any position on the org board. Even the Estates guy, clean quarters and all.

    Every post in an org or sea org is this, it's purely positive thinking you as a member can do it.

    Hubbard says you have seen a competent person like a SO member or OT, or something like like that. I'm sure somebody here can find the quote.

    It's just Positive Thinking, or command value by the Commodore.

    That's why no other practices allowed.

    There can be only one.
  14. Boomima

    Boomima Patron with Honors

    I will read through the article. Being an online only journal doesn't mean that it's not academically rigorous or peer reviewed. It can mean that more academics have access to the work as buying access to journals is crazy expensive. (Academic publishing is sort of a scam.)

    That being said, I know some members of their editorial board in "real life" as they say. Many of you would call them apologists for Scientology. Just thought I would mention that.
  15. CommunicatorIC

    CommunicatorIC @IndieScieNews on Twitter

    Too many not only start with that observation, but end with it.
  16. degraded being

    degraded being Sponsor

    Lewis would probably say the sky is blue, when it is, but I don't have to agree or disagree if I am not talking about the weather.:)
  17. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    The Free Zone in northern and eastern Europe would be Ron's Orgs.

    Lewis' conclusion that the FZ in northern and eastern Europe produces more auditors seems to be based on information from Terrril, the FZ PR guy not known known for being a reliable source of information, but accepting it as being accurate, here's some background on Ron's Orgs:

    "The Free Zone Decree was received on Earth on the 10th of November, 1982 at 1030 GMT. It states, 'as relayed from mainship, Sector 9'..."


    Here's another description of the Ron's Org Bridge:

    Message from Ron to the the founder of the Free Zone and Ron's Orgs. From Hubbard dated 11 May 1986:

    "I wish to thank all my friends in the Free-Zone and especially Captain Bill, who carried on in spite of great odds, on my behalf.

    "The tech is all in his hands and is ready for you now. I wish you all success on it.

    "When enough are ready for OT 17 and OT 18, I will return..."

    Some other items from Captain Bill and Ron's Orgs:

    This is the FZ Marching song:

    And here's Xenu's SP Declare:

    And then, Markab, the Final Handling:


    Ron's Orgs is the world's largest outside the CofS Scientology group.
  18. Infinite

    Infinite Troublesome Internet Fringe Dweller


    Looks like [strike] Doctor[/strike] Professor Lewis has changed his mind . . . I wonder what he did with the diaper.
  19. Ogsonofgroo

    Ogsonofgroo Crusader

    The "Penis to Nowhere" came to mind~

    Yeh, I'm up wayyyyy too early :(

  20. Terril park

    Terril park Sponsor

    Its true that most in ROs have never been in CO$, particularly those from
    former Russian states.

    That ROs produce more auditors than CO$ has been true for the last several years
    in that CO$ have been taking everyone of auditing courses and putting them on
    basics courses.

    This from Letter from Garcia on Mike Rinders blog.

    "10. You have re-released the Basics and made everyone re-study them in violation of LRH policy.

    You altered the importance of the Basics by ordering that ALL Scientologists route onto them as soon as they were released. Academies worldwide were converted into courserooms delivering only Basics courses. Everyone training as an auditor or even those who were in the middle of OT VIII, were arbitrarily forced to route onto these courses on an immediate basis. LRH clearly states the difference between training and reading books:

    “You can dawdle around with theory outside an Academy, read books and so on. But in an Academy only can you LEARN certain things, and not all the books in the world will teach them.

    …All training should be of student individuals who will audit people…”

    This is the only auditor completion from LA circa sept 2011

    "Re: Completions: Advance Magazine (Los Angeles)

    Scientology Service Completions - Advance 208 [circa September 2011 ]


    There are other problems in completing courses in CO$. The F/N has been
    re-defined to something that won't be found so often. The pro metering course
    now takes on the order of a year. Pro TRs a similar time. Both done before
    one does an auditing course. Then one has to pass videos of auditing which
    apparently is difficult.

    ROs will be using the same check sheets as developed under LRH. These
    included TRs and metering.

    "It takes me about 3 or 4 weeks to get an auditor through his course and doing a good flubless job.”

    HCOB 16 August 1972
    C/S Series 84, Flubless C/Sing