The Scandal of Scientology, by Paulette Cooper | Next | Prev | Cites | Index

Chapter 6

The Org

Step into the Exciting World of the Totally Free.
-- from a Scientology subway ad{1}

Once someone succumbs to any one of these methods, his first formal contact with Scientology is usually at the headquarters, or Org as they call it, for a free lecture and film and a personality test, the first two to see if he wants Scientology; the last perhaps to determine if he needs it.

Each evening in Manhattan, a couple of dozen people arrive for this process at the main Org, which is located in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Martinique at Thirty-second Street and Broadway. In the Scientology section of the hotel, the atmosphere has been described as similar to the Defense Department.{2}

Certain areas are off-limits,{3} no pictures can be taken,{4} and one writer was photographed during his interview from every angle "as if for a Wanted Poster." Another was told that her story had to be "checked for accuracy" before the Scientologists would "permit it to be released." Another writer who brought a tape recorder to an interview was not only not permitted to use it, but -- to add insult to injury -- the Scientologists put on their own tape recorder and recorded him.{5} And finally, no one can enter the Org until he writes down his name and address, in keeping with Hubbard's order to "register everyone -- even the postman."{6}

From the moment he registers he may get as many as seventy pieces of mimeographed mail{7} for as long as four years afterwards.{8} Most of this mail lives up to Hubbard's statement that quantity is more important than quality.{9}

Begging the Scientologists to remove your name from the mailing list often does no good. The Australians reported that if someone wrote to have his name removed, the Scientologists wrote them back suggesting that the meaning of their letter wasn't quite clear to them.{10}

One Manhattan actor who spent a weekend in Scientology -- and was immediately disenchanted because the night before the first course they had called him to take more courses -- tried to make it clear that he did not want to receive the incessant phone calls and letters to which a Scientology friend of his had been subjected. The Scientologists told him to tell this to the "Student Examiner," but when he did, he was hounded to reveal the name of his friend. When he refused, he was "escorted" to the Ethics Officer, who again pressed him for the name of that friend who had complained about the phone calls so that they could "call him and talk with him about it."{11}

After the potential convert -- or to quote Hubbard, the "raw meat"{12} -- registers, he is directed to a converted classroom to hear a Scientology lecture that sounds like a cross between a Jehovah's Witness pep talk about the Day of Doom and the spiel of a used car salesman.

The lecture is apparently no better in England. During one lecture there, the audience cheered every time someone had the courage to yawn or walk out. One man finally got up and said "if Scientology is so good, why are there not better lecturers?" He walked out to the loudest applause of the evening.{13}

After the lecture and sales pitch, potential converts are shown an old film of Hubbard and given the American Personality Test.{14} {15} This test was written by a Scientologist with a B.Scn., D.Scn., and D.D. degrees. While someone looking at this quickly might think she is well qualified to write such a test with a Bachelor of Science, a Doctor of Science degrees, her degrees actually stand for Bachelor of Scientology, Doctor of Scientology, and Doctor of Divinity -- in the Church of Scientology only.{16}

The author also has a B.A., but that does not necessarily have an academic counterpart in Scientology either. One Scientologist admitted that her B.A. stood for "Basic Administrator" and "Book Auditor."{17} To become a "Book Auditor" she only had to buy one of Hubbard's books, apply the principles to someone else, and send in for her certificate.{18}

Sometimes the results of the personality test are presented to a person not so much to enlighten him as to his difficulties and problems as to enlighten him about what Scientology can do for him. While analyzing the test, Hubbard told his followers to make remarks such as "Scientology can influence this"{19} or "auditing can remedy that," etc., and added "We will take full advantage of the superstitions of people at the level of prediction."{20} Hubbard also told them that they should not precede a statement that a score on a particular item was low with something like "Don't worry" because "this cancels impingement."{21}

In addition to "enlightening" people, the test has also been used to intimidate them into joining Scientology. The Australian reported that one boy who took the test claims they told him he had a defective character, was mentally unstable, and would have a mental breakdown unless he joined Scientology.{22} (They also suggested that he had homosexual tendencies.) When he refused to join nonetheless, people at the Org took turns for a year writing him personal letters to remind him of his difficulties as reflected on the test, and his need to join them to remedy it.

After a person takes the test, he does not "sign up" for a course in Scientology -- he "joins," as author William Burroughs put it.{23} Anyone who does decide to join the Church of Scientology that night must then sign a contract, which has his name filled in even before he agrees to look at it. "If a person is on your premises longer than five minutes sign him on a release form," wrote Hubbard. "If he won't sign a release, he is going to give you trouble so get rid of him."{24}

The form consists of a number of questions, and while answering any of them falsely can result in immediate dismissal later from Scientology, answering them truthfully will not necessarily keep a person in.{25} The following is a composite of the contents of a few of these forms over the years:{26}

  1. They ask if the person has ever been institutionalized, had shock treatment, or been under the care of a psychologist or psychiatrist.

  2. They ask if he has "submitted" his body to drug treatment or is addicted to alcohol (Scientologists cannot take marijuana, LSD, etc., nor are they permitted to drink, or even take aspirin, for certain periods of time before auditing).{27}

  3. They ask if the person will take and pay for additional courses or hours if the ethics officer tells him to.

  4. They ask if the person is over twenty-one (otherwise he needs his parents' consent to join Scientology).

  5. They claim that a person can get his money back if he's dissatisfied with a Scientology course, generally within thirty days, although he may not take any more Scientology courses after asking for a refund.

  6. They ask if the person has a criminal record.

  7. If he is currently receiving medical treatment.

  8. If he agrees with the stated aims of Scientology and will not work against it and if he belongs to a group that is against it.

  9. That he agrees to undergo any E-meter test that he is told to take.

  10. That he agrees to "release each and all of the above-named organizations and corporations and any and all employees, staff members, or associates thereof from all liability from any consequences resulting from training, education, or processing practices and methods used by Scientology."

After signing this, and paying for the first course, one becomes a Scientologist. And as Hubbard often says about that state of affairs, "May you never be the same again."{28}

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Citations & Notes

{1} initial quote [285]
{2} Defense Dept. [146]
{3} (4) off limits [178]
{4} (3) can't take pix [146, 178]
{5} writer photographed and tape recorded [283]
{6} register postman [87]
{7} 70 pieces of mail [261]
{8} for 4 years [81]
{9} quantity important [82]
{10} can't beg them to remove name [261]
{11} Manhattan actor [277]
{12} raw meat [98, 103]
{13} English lecture [216]
{14} Oxford Capacity Analysis [112] {The OCA, a personality test, is mentioned nowhere else in the book}
{15} American Personality Test [105]
{16} meaning of degrees [261]
{17} girl with BA [261]
{18} how to be book auditor [10, 23]
{19} telling people what Scientology can do [83]
{20} quote on superstitions [83]
{21} don't say don't worry [83]
{22} boy who took test [261]
{23} "join" Scientology [187]
{24} make them sign release says Hubbard [261]
{25} (26) answering them falsely or truly [254] {ambiguous citation}
{26} (27) release forms [129, 254, 178]
{27} (25) no alcohol or drugs permitted [130a]
{28} "May you never be the same" [6, 111]