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The Day I Changed Scientology Forever

Discussion in 'Stories From Inside Scientology' started by Kha Khan, Sep 18, 2008.

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  1. Kha Khan

    Kha Khan Patron Meritorious

    The time was the mid 1980s. Big Blue complex in Los Angeles. I was not Sea Org. I was not on staff at a Class V Org or Mission. To tell you the truth, I wasn't even a Scientologist. I was a professional contractor to the Church. And a student of Scientology. A very serious student of Scientology -- which may have proved the problem.

    Given my professional relationship with the Church, I pretty much had the run of the place for awhile. Ate in the Sea Org dining room. People mistakenly called me Sir, which I found weird but (and this unfortunately says a lot about me at the time) not displeasing.

    I initially got into Scientology in a way far different from most, only possibly excluding people who enter on the WISE route. My professional responsibilities first required me to master the green on whites, and particularly the management volumes regarding organization and structure. Out of pure interest and curiosity, I then read all of the basic books. I then moved on the to red on whites, the tech vols.

    Scientology was attractive to me in at least four ways. First, I am a student and academic at heart, and I do very well with reading, understanding, distinguishing, applying and extrapolating from text. If Scientology has anything, it is text. Moreover, at least at the basic and lower levels Scientology appears (excluding History of Man) to be rational, logical and deductive.

    Secondly, I was an Idealist who was searching for a purpose larger than myself.

    Thirdly, in my initial introduction to the Church and its members they played the role of the persecuted minority and victims of religious bigotry and discrimination. People who needed "saving" and an religion that needed protection. Perfect.

    Finally, I really liked, and came to care for, many of the people. The vast majority of the people I met initially were nice, caring, well meaning and well intentioned idealists who were serving a purpose larger than themselves -- or could convincingly play the role.

    I came to Scientology with a pretty good undergraduate education in political science and philosophy, a good undergraduate grounding in hard science (for not winding up getting a major in a hard science), and an enthusiastic self-educated amateur's education in religion. This would prove problematic.

    The first issue arose when I read about "the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics." I recognized this was a further development of and elaboration on Utilitarianism, and specifically the formulation of Jeremy Bentham. I thought (and continued to think) that Ron's addition to Utilitarian ethical theory was a real contribution, and indeed brilliant, because it addressed a well known and very serious problem with Utilitarian theory -- i.e., its purely quantitative nature. This problem can perhaps best be demonstrated by seeing that pure, quantitative utilitarianism would justify placing 10% of the population in slavery (or feeding them to the lions, etc.) if it made the remaining 90% of the population sufficiently happy. [Make your Y axis utility, place a number on the X access for each member of the population, and simply calculate the area under the curve.] Ron's elaboration was akin to those made by other, well recognized and well respected academic philosophers who had attempted to combine Utilitarianism with Kant's Categorical Imperative. (In subsequent years I actually toyed with the idea of writing an academic article on Ron's contribution to this area.)

    I was truly excited about these ideas, and particularly the relationship between Ron's work and the prior work of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. As a result, I tried to talk to (my fellow??) Scientologists about these ideas. To discuss, for example, whether the average or total approach was used; did one simply count up dynamics, or use a weighted average or expected value analysis?

    My attempts to discuss these matters were met with incomprehension. Not only incomprehension, but hostility. First, despite the fact that I had made it clear that I thought (and continue to think) that Ron's work in this regard was brilliant, the suggestion that Ron had any intellectual antecedents (e.g., Bentham, Mill) caused great distress, some anger (though not nearly as much as it might because it was clear I was impressed by Ron and not trying to criticize him), and in the end was simply unacceptable. I mean that literally. The (my fellow?) Scientologists I tried to discuss this with, who come to think of it were probably all Sea Org members, were simply incapable of taking into their minds the thought that Ron's "greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics" formulation was not entirely and completely original, no matter how much I emphasized the fact that it was an original, creative and brilliant development of prior ideas.

    I found this confusing and, to tell you the truth, rather sad. Even Newton recognized that he had stood on the shoulder of giants.

    Secondly, I only later understood that I was engaging in "verbal tech." One simply couldn't discuss the tech. Period. But how do you apply the tech where Ron has not explicitly answered a specific question or issue? Don't you have to think about it? And isn't your thinking enhanced by rationally discussing the issue with other students (and perhaps more learned students) of the tech? By sharing ideas? As I later discovered, all the (my fellow?) Scientologists could do was point me to the correct reference, if any, that answered the question. But, again, what if there was no specific reference that answered a specific question?

    [I later discovered on my own that the "average vs. total" calculation issue was resolved by the Scientology datum that "if you cut out half of one dynamic, you have cut out half of the rest of the dynamics." Interestingly, none of the Scientologists, again probably all Sea Org members, could point me to this datum; I had to find it on my own. More importantly, the simple truth remained that Ron did not, and simply could not, explicitly answer all possible questions. Application and, yes, interpretation were required and are always required.]

    I also found this difficult because I came from an undergraduate background where giving proper credit was an ethical requirement, tracing the development of intellectual ideas through history was routine, and people freely talked about and discussed ideas.

    But that, alas, was not how I changed Scientology forever. That was just the warm up.

    The next problem arose when I read the 1982 edition of Understanding the E-Meter. At page 50 Ron explained:

    "In Scientology it has been discovered that mental energy is simply a finer, higher level of physical energy. The test of this is conclusive in that a thetan "mocking up" (creating) mental image pictures and thrusting them into the body can increase the body mass and by casting them away again can decrease the body mass. This test has actually been made and an increase of as much as thirty pounds, actually measured on scales, has been added to, and subtracted from, a body by creating "mental energy." Energy is energy. Matter is condensed energy." ​

    -- Understanding the E-Meter (1982 ed.), at page 50.

    The text was accompanied by three pictures. The first showed a man standing calmly on a scale, which reflected a weight of "150." The next showed the man on the same scale, bent over, holding his head under the burden of (illustrated) "Mental Image Pictures," and the scale indicated a weight of "180." The last picture showed the man standing upright on the scale, again unburdened by "Mental Image Pictures," his arms widespread, with a smile on his face, and the scale again indicated a weight of "150."

    Unfortunately, nowhere in Understanding the E-Meter did Ron reference any controlled experiments that had "actually been made" which confirmed that the weight of a person who had created "mental image pictures" increased by "as much as thirty pounds."

    When I read this I was flabbergasted. I honestly didn't know what to do. I mean, what could one possibly say?

    Did I go to the media? No. Did I talk with anybody outside the Church? No? Did I criticize Ron, the Church or anyone inside the Church? No? Did I drop down the tone scale or natter? No and no.

    What I did was calmly, rationally, gently, kindly, with great "ARC," and with impeccable intent approach my "senior" and explain the following. That not only had Ron proposed a falsifiable hypothesis or experiment, but a falsifiable hypothesis or experiment that as a practical matter was rather easily falsified. That the book invited critics of the Church to ask the Church to repeatedly conduct the experiment and demonstrate the accumulation of 30 pounds of "mental mass," or any "mental mass" at all. And to repeatedly fail.

    That unless the subject's skull contained a fusion reactor capable of converting energy into mass, the experiment was very unlikely to succeed.

    That in the modern world religions survive, thrive and grow -- or at least are taken seriously by intelligent, well-educated people -- only to the extent that they deal with non-falsifiable hypothesis (questions of faith) and/or perhaps the "ought" half of the is-ought problem.

    What I already knew (and always remembered in the future) was not to say or imply that anything Ron had said or written was wrong or incorrect. I knew that message could not be received. No, I explained (and in the future would always explain) that the data was "out pr" and/or "out gradient."

    In other words, I couldn't say something was moronically stupid. Only that it could or might be perceived (mis-perceived????? lol) as moronically stupid.

    The message, though well intentioned, given with great ARC, and kept entirely in-house and private, was not well received. The bottom line was that I had stated, or at least implied, that something Ron had written was not correct. In the end, the only stable datum for a Scientologist is "Ron." And you all know what happens when you disturb someone's stable datum.

    I could no longer eat in the Sea Org dining room. Access was restricted. People became less friendly. And less friendly. And disconnected. You know the drill. People who supposedly liked and cared about me, who were supposedly my friends, wouldn't talk to me.

    The Church and I parted ways.

    For a time.


    Later, in the days before Google Groups, somebody who then went under the nom de Usenet of "Elvis Cole" happened to post precisely the above data regarding the book Understanding the E-Meter to the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology (sometimes referred to as "ARS"). Indeed, "Evlis Cole" was the first person to so so. (You can still find the reference in Martin Hunt's old A.R.S. FAQ, credited to the mysterious "Elvis Cole.")


    Still later, I read a subsequent edition of Understanding the E-Meter. The text quoted above had been deleted. All of the pictures had been deleted. Any mention of the experiment had been deleted. Any mention of weight (as opposed to mass), or the gain or loss of weight, had been deleted. While there were still of course references to "mental mass," it was no longer a "mass" one could weigh. It was no longer a "mass" one could possibly measure. Except, of course, by an e-meter where "mental mass" was now the non-verifiable, non-falsifiable, completely tautological explanation for meter reads.


    Had I changed the Church of Scientology forever?

    Had "Elvis Cole?"

    You decide.

    As Kurt Vonnegut might have said -- So it goes.
  2. Mark A. Baker

    Mark A. Baker Sponsor

    More likely the ones sufficiently intelligent as to understand your points:

    A. aren't very numerous to begin with

    B. tend to be too smart to join the SO

    C. blow off such statements by LRH as hyperbolic exaggerations.

    Which leaves:

    A. the dumb

    B. the ignorant

    C. the gullible

    AKA, those who are looking for a "Great Leader" to serve as a personal savior.

    Mark A. Baker
  3. Div6

    Div6 Crusader

    The whole "mocking up mass" thing was originally in Chapter 7 of Fundamentals of Thought. My pre-gat edition says this:

    "Whether the facsimile in the mind is received while the thetan is awake or unconscious, the resulting mass of the energy picture is energy just as you see energy in an electric light bulb or from the flames of a fire. At one time it was considered that mental energy was different from physical energy. In Scientology it has been discovered that mental energy is simply a
    finer, higher level physical energy. The test of this is conclusive in that a thetan “mocking up” (creating) mental image pictures and thrusting them into the body can increase the body mass and, by casting them away again, can decrease the body mass. This test has actually been made
    and an increase of as much as 30 pounds, actually measured on scales, has been added to, and subtracted from, a body by creating “mental energy”. Energy is energy. It has different wave-lengths and different characteristics. The mental image pictures are capable of reacting upon the physical environment, and the physical environment is capable of reacting on mental
    image pictures. Thus the mind actually consists of spaces, energies and masses of the same order as the physical universe, if lighter and different in size and wave-length. For a much more comprehensive picture of the mind one should read Dianetics: The Original Thesis and Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. These were written before the discoveries of
    the upper levels of beingness were made and are a very complete picture of the mind itself, its structure and what can be done to it and with it."

    Let me check my new Basics version here...lessee, ...yes, that statement is still there.
  4. degraded being

    degraded being Sponsor

    Interesting; and continues a theme running through many threads.

    Something about - How I was mindfkd and how I failed to stop it earlier than I did.

    I am speaking for myself and anyone who sees him/her self in Kha Khan's post.

    ps. I'm not talking about self blame or blaming others who took the bait.
  5. Leon

    Leon Gold Meritorious Patron

    Good post KK.:thumbsup:
  6. HappyGirl

    HappyGirl Gold Meritorious Patron

    Really fascinating post. I didn't understand half of what you said, but then I didn't understand half of what LRH ever said either. I didn't look up any words, but it was fascinating anyway! I hope you continued your story somewhere.
  7. Kha Khan

    Kha Khan Patron Meritorious

    Interesting. When I first saw this post I was a bit embarrassed. It was like, how could I have missed this in Fundamentals of Thought? :duh: Then I realized that I read Understanding the E-Meter first, had the reaction and experience I described, and parted ways... for a time.

    The other thing I realized is that I read a lot of Scientology (basic books more than once, red vols, green vols) outside the Church. There was information that I thought was interesting and valuable in the text. It was also a lot easier if one didn't have to deal with constant regging, recruiting, Thursday at 2:00 p.m. (is was 2:00 p.m., wasn't it?), etc.
  8. Kha Khan

    Kha Khan Patron Meritorious

    I apologize for replying to my own post, but something just came back to me. (It has been years.) I recall that I was aware of the 30 lbs nonsense in Fundamentals of Thought. I also recall that when I saw that the Church had deleted the 30 lbs nonsense from Understanding the E-Meter I checked Fundamentals of Thought and saw that, yep, it was still there.

    I have to admit that when I was a younger and angrier man I took some pleasure in that. It was like, the only place where the Church deleted the obviously incorrect, and indeed stupid, text was where I had pointed it out to them. I recall that when I saw the "30 lbs" text was still in Fundamentals of Thought, I thought - "It serves them right." [I know, quite petty, huh?] I now recall that I also had the feeling at the time that had they listened and continued to make me feel welcome, instead of freaking, I could have helped them.

    [Like many, I believe, I saw some value in Scientology and held out hope for a long time it could be reformed. I was naive.]

    I also thought, and this is mean, that it was good that the Church left the text in Fundamentals of Thought because it provided an easy way to demonstrate how just how wrong, dumb and stupid the Church could be over something that was easily verifiable or falsifiable.
  9. Kha Khan

    Kha Khan Patron Meritorious

    I apologize for failing to make myself understood. (The sense of duty to do so is actually one good thing that I took away from Scientology. To many, the common sense of writing for one's audience was and is obvious. Unfortunately, it wasn't for me.)

    But I honestly think what you said illustrates one my points, in a way. Not many people are familiar with philosophy or the history of philosophy. Believe me, it is an acquired taste. :happydance: As a result, Ron could often get away with representing that his ideas were entirely and complete original, when they built on a long history and foundation.

    To me the shame is that, as I indicated in my original post, some of Ron's ideas and developments were sufficiently original, interesting and useful that he would have still deserved great credit and praise (and received more respect) had he given credit where credit was due.
  10. SchwimmelPuckel

    SchwimmelPuckel Genuine Meatball

    I understood you just fine KK! :)

    And that was a very good descriotion of, what to call it.. Cultish Peer Pressured Truth Enforcement, with no need for truth at all... The part where you had learned the ropes, and veeery diligently tried to point out the falsified mental mass test.

    If anything, Hubbard was a staunch opponent to scientific method. And so are his proselytes!

    What are your thoughts now on Hubbards philosophy?

    See.. I find it quite curious that you'd think highly about it. Since you seem too intelligent... But then, I too, fell for it.. Only being quite alarmed afterwards that I could lose my good sense to such a degree.

    Needless to say.. I find lots of fault in Hubbards writings. It is obscene to call it philosophy.. Consider the space opera cosmology... I note that 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams, a trilogy in five parts, is more logical, is way funnier, has more satisfying explanations to Life, the Universe and Everything... It is highly improbable in a much more convincing way then anything from Hubbard.

    And I'm only half joking!

  11. Royal Prince Xenu

    Royal Prince Xenu Trust the Psi Corps.

    Is there any tea on this space ship?
  12. Pitbull

    Pitbull Patron with Honors

    Nifty Post:

    You point out one of the seemingly most obvious, but often overlooked problems with Scientology. Ron keeps talking about research, but give no real data. Pretty amazing for something that presents itself as being scientific and rational.

    What was most irksome to me is what you discovered. You try to "communicate" about your concerns and quickly find there is no way to actually speak directly with anyone who really "knows" or has authority.

    And you seemed to have had access to more higher ups and Sea Org folks.

    We are lead to believe that someone knows what is going on. But no one really does and neither Int Managment or "Ron" were available to speak to directly.

    Just a lot of believers and salesmen. Just amazing they are not closed down for fraud.
  13. skydog

    skydog Patron Meritorious

    Very nice post KK. I share a similar background and love of philosophy. When I was active I of course recognized that none of the ideas were "new" but rather a "new slant" or viewpoint on older ideas borrowed from eastern religions and other thinkers. In thinking back, our collective viewpoint seemed to be that because of LRH's unique life experiences he was somehow able to piece all this together.

    One of the most interesting viewpoints he expressed is that in a group dynamic, the only points of agreement arise out of the reactive mind or bank. (I forgot where that priceless gem is located and would appreciate someone providing a citation for that.) I find it interesting because of the reality that the Co$ enforces on its members. While I have a great deal of respect for many of the principles and practices followed by the Co$ and other "squirrel groups", most of the "whole track" theories that members are forced to agree with are simply "Ron's Bank".

    I am convinced that each of us is a very small piece of a very large jigsaw puzzle. It is nice to have sites like this where we all seem to fit.
  14. Div6

    Div6 Crusader

    It's Keeping Scientology Working Issue 1

    "The common denominator of a group is the reactive bank. Thetans without banks have different responses. They only have their banks in common. They agree then only on bank principles. Person to person the bank is identical. So constructive ideas are individual and seldom get broad agreement in a human group. An individual must rise above an avid craving for agreement from a humanoid group to get anything decent done. "
  15. Veda

    Veda Sponsor


    Once others had done the Clearing Course, Hubbard came out with (de facto Clearing Course Part 2) OT 2, and then with OT3. Other levels and Rundowns would follow.

    It was after writing "KSW" that Hubbard, majorly, placed into application (90% of it) - his 'Textbook on Psychopolitics'.

    'KSW' does not extol individuality; rather it asserts the hopeless state of the person as a zombie-like R6 Bank implantee, with Hubbard as the savior.
  16. Rmack

    Rmack Van Allen Belt Sunbather

    That was a first-rate post, KK,

    The thing about your story that frightens me the most is what most of us remember as bright, sober, aware people can be so deceived and controlled as to ignore what they should be able to point out as a huge "out-point", something they are actually taught about.

    Even when I was in (a couple of years in the Sea Org in the early eighties) and I heard about OT three being harmful to you if you heard about it before going up the bridge never impressed me much. I would have eagerly listened to anyone who would have told me. I just didn't believe I could hear anything that would harm me.

    To this day, it astounds me to see people in lots of cults that have been convinced that they must not even listen to opposing viewpoints as it will endanger them in some way.

    You have to resist taking the position that they deserve being enslaved if they're that stupid. However, the shocking thing is they don't seem stupid in a conventional sense, in most cases.
  17. Zinjifar

    Zinjifar Silver Meritorious Sponsor

    They're not.

    Scientology is trepanning per gradient.

    The first step is to remove the bullshit detector. Everything else follows.

  18. Rmack

    Rmack Van Allen Belt Sunbather

    I have an "mu" with "trepanning", but I'm looking it up
  19. Rmack

    Rmack Van Allen Belt Sunbather

    Nice word, Zinj. And a profound statement.
  20. anonmom

    anonmom Patron with Honors

    Love the post Kha Khan.

    ok, I admit I was a "c":duh: