Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions sent to Operation Clambake. You can also read some of the e-mail exchanges I have had with Scientologists.
"Where can I find a neutral opinion?"
The free encyclopedia Wikipedia offers
a neutral point of view:
The free encyclopedia Wikipedia offers a neutral point of view:
"Why do you hate Scientology?"
When I got involved in 1996 there was a lot of information already on the Internet, but it was scattered all over the place. Additionally, the Church of Scientology managed to close down several of these information sites. They were about to win their battle against free speech. Getting reliable information about Scientology took a lot of searching to piece together the information desired. My goal was to make an ultimate index to the most important information about the Church of Scientology and do everything possible to ensure that they did not manage to take it down.
"I have read enough of your vendetta web site to know there is more than just an objective view point going on, it's personal with you."
First of all we need to agree on the terms used. Scientology is the belief or the doctrine of the Scientology "technology" or "religion", while Church of Scientology is the organisation.
People should be free to believe whatever they want, including Scientology. What I have against the Church of Scientology (CoS) is its deceitfulness, its lack of compassion for its members (especially the hard-working staff), its aggressive hard sell, its arrogance, its attack on free speech, its litigiousness, its harassment of its critics, its lack of concern for families, its gross neglect and abuse of children, etc.
Hate is a destructive emotion, I strive to be constructive. My opposition to CoS is based on rational investigation of available information, not emotions. Trying to challenge people's minds by using free speech and respecting them as fellow humans is what I believe brings peace in the long run. It does not start anywhere else but with myself. But respecting or tolerating the opinions of others does not mean one either has to agree or suppress one's disagreement. The freedom to stand up and express critical opinions and views is what makes human thought evolve and is the core of what I consider my moral and ethical guidelines: The Human Rights as defined by the United Nations.
Read the documentation I have made available on Operation Clambake and decide for yourself whether my concerns about CoS are justified or not.
"This site exaggerates and distorts the truth about Scientology."
You have grossly misunderstood me and the purpose of Operation Clambake.
I do not state anywhere that I am objective. On the contrary, I am a thinking human and I have my personal opinions. I set out to do an independent investigation into Scientology, Dianetics, CoS and Hubbard, and came back with some opinions. I made a web site to inform others about my concerns. It is not unbiased or objective, and it never claimed it was. Why should it be? In the eyes of the Scientologists "unbiased", "true" and "objective" only means repeating exactly what they say on their official CoS sites. Why should I use my time and effort to duplicate things I do not agree with? Being of a different opinion than you, does not mean I did a less honest search for the truth. It does not even have to mean I know less than you.
I spell it out pretty clearly; these are my opinions and here is the documentation which I base them on. Welcome visitor, you read it and make up your own mind! And I go even further; I urge visitors to my site to also visit sites of people and organizations that represent views and opinions opposite to mine. I link to official CoS sites, the Freezoners (people who still believe in some of the ideas of Scientology, but who have left CoS in a type of Scientology reformation) and for example Scientology Parishioners Committee and their Dead Agent page on critics. Scientologists are even encouraged to contribute their comments and documentation on Operation Clambake and I offer to host it so that visitors have even easier access to both sides. I tell visitors not to take my word for anything, but to also check out the claims from Scientologists who say I am a religious bigot, a fool, mad and a criminal.
I trust my fellow man, I do not want to trick anybody into agreeing with me by limiting their right to investigate only my version. I do not want others to base their opinions on censored or biased propaganda. This is how cults operate and it contradicts everything I stand for. I am neither afraid of lies nor of the truth. CoS might come after me and spread lies to try to discredit me, I have a lot of proof they do so, but I trust that the truth about me will win. I can only live my life as best I can, I have no chance against the black PR machinery of CoS, their millions of dollars, their horde of highly paid lawyers or their unethical methods. I believe enough honest and unafraid critics will finally bring any monster to its knees. My "weapon" is free speech.
Their biggest liability is people. Eventually people talk.
"Do you have statistics available for your site?"
Many Scientologists write to me claiming this, and each of them are challenged to specify and argue their claim. Most of them never reply. Those who do usually only repeat their accusations. If I ever get a proper reply with references to where the "exaggerations" and "distortions" are, I promise to host it on my page if the author allows me.
"Why are some pages on xenu.net not indexed on Google?"
Here is a public graph comparing this site to the Cult main site:
Graph shown above comes from Alexa and is not an accurate tool as it only counts Alexa users, but the trend it shows is reasonably accurate.
"Who pays you to do this?"
This is being explained on a separate page.
"I've read some nasty stuff about you, is it true?"
I receive no money from anybody. I personally cover all the costs to keep Operation Clambake on the Internet.
"Are you a former Scientologist?"
I can prove that the cult hires private investigators to dig up dirt on me. They call people in my past (personal and professional) claiming they are journalists etc to find out if they reveal anything. They post anonymous accusations and insinuations on the Internet suggesting I am a sexual pervert and a terrorist. They send letters and call managers and directors in the company I work for to try to ruin me professionally. To me all this only confirms every reason why I protest this cult. I was prepared for all this when I became a public critic.The cult has made a page about me filled with lies. Their site about me is made by the Scientologist Joel Phillip. Phillips interviewed me twice on the street when I was in Los Angeles and you can watch it here on XenuTV.
You believe what you want, I can only ask you to check both sides before you decide to believe them or me.
"How can you say it doesn't work if you haven't even tried Scientology?"
"What kind of guy is the author of Operation Clambake?"
I do not have to try street drugs, do crime or drown to have the opinion that street drugs, crime and drowning is bad for you. The same goes for investigating a destructive and lying cult.
And I never claimed Scientologists do not believe that Scientology works for them. I just have alternative explanations for why they believe this and what the true motives are for the creator and current management of CoS.
The fact that I personally have not been a member of any cult does not deprive me of the ability to form, or the right to express, opinions about cults. Neither does it reduce my ability to investigate and recognize pure con-games. I am capable of reading and communicating, and probably most important of all, able to learn from the mistakes of others. I am honest about my background and clearly explain what is the basis of my opinions. It is up to you how credible or trustworthy you find the opinions and claims of others. Usually we base this on the logic of their arguments, the proof they offer, their assumed motives, openness about opposite views and their background. The same applies here.
Scientology is a "technology" trademarked and copyrighted by CoS and its affiliated entities. According to CoS, Scientology can only be practiced properly inside CoS; anything else is false "tech". The only way to test Scientology is to join CoS and spend a fortune on extremely expensive courses that will take many years to finish. If this was a valid argument against the right to form an opinion about something, we would not be able to have many opinions. This argument would of course apply to CoS and all Scientologists too, which it obviously does not since they frequently express their opinion about a lot of issues they have not personally experienced or spent many years testing out (other religions and psychiatry are two good examples).
The core of the criticism collected on Operation Clambake is anyway based on personal experience reported by many former Scientologists, actual CoS documents and the available research of the claims made by Dianetics, Scientology and CoS.
"Can I use material on Operation Clambake for my own projects?"
I have a personal home page where you can find a lot of information about me and my background. Or you can read the neutral point of view on Wikipedia.
"How can I help/join/donate?"
Everything on this site made by me is donated to the public domain and can be freely copied and mirrored. But please use common courtesy and give proper credit where credit is due. Some of the information I offer may have been created by others and special conditions might apply to it. When this is the case, it is often specified on those pages.
"Where do I get the latest news?"
You find a list of suggestions here: How to support the fight against Scientology
"Where can I get a copy of the "Scientology secrets"?"
News related to Operation Clambake is available on the Latest News page, while the best source for general news related to the Scientology controversy is available on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, OCMB or one of the many other web based discussion boards.
"I'm doing a research about Scientology/CoS for school/the press, can you help me?"
Many of the "secrets" are available from the Secret Library at Operation Clambake.
"What is all this talk about clams, and why is the site called Operation Clambake?"
I will do my best to help you find the information you are seeking or help you get in touch with people that might assist you further. But since I get a lot of these requests I must, because of time pressure, urge you to first spend some time reading through Operation Clambake since most of the information you probably seek is already easily available here.
If you can verify that you are a journalist or doing a serious research into CoS I also have access to a lot of information that is not easily available (or have contacts that have them) and might very well be able to help you getting hold of them if you can specify what you are looking for. But first you need to study the information already made available.
"When reading about this cult I see a lot of words and terms I do not understand, is there a dictionary available?"
The short version of this is that the creator of Dianetics and Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, claimed humans evolved from clams in his book "A History of Man". Since the claim itself and the "proof" Hubbard provided is utterly silly, it serves as a good example of the general validity of his teachings. CoS has copy protected the word "Scientologist" and claim that a Scientologist is anybody who (since 1950) ever bought a Scientology book or a course. "Clam" is also slang for money, referencing in this context the high cost for Scientology. "Clam" is therefore used by many critics as an alternative or better term to identify an actual follower of Hubbard and Scientology teachings today.
A clambake is originally an outdoor party; especially a seashore outing where food is usually cooked on heated rocks covered by seaweed. It can also mean a gathering characterized by noisy sociability. "Operation" derives from the many criminal operations run by CoS, like Operation Freak Out, Operation Snow White, etc.
A more thorough explanation of the term clam and why the site is called Operation Clambake is available on the Clam FAQ.
"A friend/family member has joined Scientology, I'm worried and don't know what to do! Please help."
Check out Martin Hunt's Scientology Acronym/Terminology FAQ.
"I want to tell my story from inside the cult, but I am too afraid to post it using my real name. What should I do?"
Look at CIC's page for advise on what you should, and should not, do. I also recommend reading the book "Releasing The Bonds: Empowering People To Think For Themselves" by Steve Hassan. Do this before you do anything!
A cult victim needs to want to come out - and at some point they are likely to do so. When that happens you must make sure there is a network there that he or she is comfortable going to for help. They will not come if they suspect they will be met with judgment or "told you so". Remember that they are victims, so show them your love and make sure you keep the communication and trust alive.
There are also several support groups that might be of help. Let me know where you live and I will try to help you find one close to you. Do not contact the Cult Awareness Network (CAN)! CAN is now operated by CoS.
"The cult got my name and keeps calling me, are they dangerous and how do I make them stop?"
If you send it to me I can post it on the Internet for you. At your request I will keep your name and your e-mail address confidential (I encrypt every e-mail I receive). If the story is very important and brings new valuable information I might also offer to host it on Operation Clambake.
"How can I protect my identity from the cult when using the Internet?"
They will not hurt you. You should however never underestimate their ability to slowly reel you in.
The repeated calls is a known problem. Arguing with them only seem to make them think there is an opening - by appying enough pressure they expect you to give in. My advice would be not to argue with them, refuse whatever attempts they make. And don't ever be angry, showing emotions makes them think they have something going.
The passive method is to just hang up and it is likely they eventually will stop if you refuse to listen and they can't tell if you have any reactions to it. Be aware that they can be very persistent! If you want to be more direct you should ignore totally what they say and - with authority in your voice - tell them with as few words as possible that this is illegal harassment and you will report them to the police. Be prepared by writing a little script of what you plan to say. Then hang up without slamming it in their ear.
You can also go further by (again totally ignoring what they say and use authority in your voice) starting to talk about OT 3 and the galactic overlord Xenu who Hubbard writes about there. The caller is most likely not authorized to listen to it. Tell them that if they don't stop calling you immediately, you are considering printing up leaflets about Xenu and OT 3, and distributing them outside their "church".
But don't threaten with something you don't intend to actually do. And never threaten with anything illegal or violent, they are sure to report you to the police. Be firm in your voice whatever you say, never irritated or angry. Try to understand how the cult present critics out in the real world as crazy people out of control, don't live up to their expectations. Remember that the person calling you is a victim.
"Is CoS a cult or a religion?"
Check out the page How to post and e-mail anonymously.
"May I ask your opinion on Juliet Lewis, Nancy Cartwright, John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Chick Corea all successful Scientologists?"
There are many types of cults. Some are religious cults and others are not; the first term does not rule out the other. I define a cult as any group having all of the following five characteristics:
- It uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members.
- It forms an elitist totalitarian society.
- Its founder/leader is self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and has charisma.
- It believes 'the end justifies the means' in order to solicit funds and recruit people.
- Its wealth does not benefit its members or society.
It is my opinion that CoS fits this definition of a cult. Many critics and former members of CoS also describe CoS as a bait and switch racket or the mafia of religion.
All depends on what you mean by "successful". CoS has always given special attention to celebrities because of their enormous marketing value. For this they have Celebrity Centers where celebrities receive special attention, and where potential rising stars are recruited into the cult. Are these people personally more successful in life than ordinary people? I guess that depends on what you treasure in life and how you measure success.
There is no doubt that Scientology has techniques that attract some people, with their method of psychotherapy and group thinking. Most Scientologists know little about the dark side of CoS. This especially applies to the celebrities who only see the glamorous side. In the case of the names mentioned I will try to avoid speculations about their personal reasons to stay in CoS; one can only assume they believe what they profess. But having talent in an art or being successful in a craft does not imply they have to be smart or are less likely to become victims of fraud. Things like talent, good looks and circumstances play an important role in why some become celebrities, especially in Hollywood. I do not believe Scientology celebrities are happier or personally more successful than most ordinary people, even though they might have achieved some level of public recognition. It seems to me that they struggle with the same problems as everybody else.Celebrities are under a great deal of stress and public pressure, and often have a good deal of money to hand. Scientology may be to them what gangs are to poor inner-city youths: a way to find someone that cares about them. Scientology Celebrity Centers etc. give them a closed world where they can relax and find someone to talk to. The expensive courses don't hurt them much, and Hubbard even said that celebrities should not be charged but only asked to donate what they wanted to donate. They might sample it just for the heck of it, and stay in. After all, they can easily afford to do so. There have also been speculations about tax benefits for celebrities who remain members of CoS, implying the possibility of economic motives.
In addition, the cult has huge files on members with all their most personal confessions from auditing sessions. CoS has a history of using these files against defectors to either force them back or into silence. Many may not be in a situation where they can quit.
I personally do not know any CoS celebrities, but I do know a lot of people whose lives were ruined by CoS. One ruined life is not justified by another saved. Operation Clambake is in honor of these victims and is my attempt to prevent new ones.
Joel Phillip runs the Scientology Black PR site on us critics called "Religious Freedom Watch" and when I visited Los Angeles back in 2006 he came out twice to video interview me. I had a wireless microphone on and Mark Bunker was close with his camera. This is his raw video from the debate we had: