scientology.FAQ v3.0 -- a sceptics view
[26 Sep 1997]

by Jim Bianchi

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Subject: scientology.FAQ v3.0 -- a sceptics view
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SCIENTOLOGY.FAQ -- A skeptics view, v3.0 (August, 15 1997)

This FAQ is a brief introduction to Dianetics and Scientology, the
organisation (the "Church" of Scientology) founded by L. Ron Hubbard to
administer the policies thereof, and some of the beliefs and techniques
for administering those beliefs. All are encouraged to consult some of the
many fine Web sites in existance for more information regarding this cult. A
partial list of these is given near the end of this FAQ. The abbreviation
`scn' is used in this file to indicate either the organisation itself or the
collective policies of the group, depending on context. A.r.s is an abbrev-
iation for alt.religion.scientology, the popular Usenet newsgroup that feat-
ures discussions of the beliefs and actions of this cult. Though it is not
specifically mentioned, the IRC channel #scientology is a real-time counter-
part to a.r.s -- though it is basically a skeptical channel, anyone at all
is more than welcome to participate at any time.

Prefatory comment: Many of the beliefs and policies of scn mentioned
in this FAQ will be met with astonished disbelief by the average on-the-
street scientologist. For instance, the OT3 Wall of Fire is not revealed
until a person has already gone through a LOT of prior training (and expend-
ed a not inconsiderable sum of money). To most scientologists, the facts
about such as Operation Snow White and Operation Freakout are simply unbeli-
evable (scientologyspeak: `out reality'). Indeed this is one of the major
complaints of many skeptics: the person who might want to join is not told
of these bizarre beliefs and actions up front. Further, policy actively
prohibits anyone from questioning anything taught, or from seeking out or
taking advantage of alternative thoughts or opinions. (This FAQ for

I'm advised to warn active scientologists that this FAQ may contain
material that may be considered `out tech' or harmful to your `case' if you
read it. (Not that _I_ care, but You Have Been Warned.) Moo.

[Search on the number of the question -- n):]
(An * indiates a newly added question or new material added to an old one.)

1): What is Dianetics?
* 1a): What is Scientology?
2): What is an engram?
3): What is a thetan?
4): What is a Body Thetan (BT)?
5): What is auditing? What is an auditor?
6): Didn't Freud have a similar approach?
7): What is the purpose of being audited?
8): What is an E-meter? How is it used?
9): What is a clear?
10): What is an OT?
11): Scientology claims to be a `church' and compatible with all existing
religions. Is this true?
12): I've heard something about a policy of enforced disconnection.
13): You've mentioned `past lives' several times..
14): What are the traps?
15): I've heard scientology has been involved in suing and harrassing those
critical of it. Is this true?
16): Do scientologists sign a contract? I've heard something about a
billion-year contract.
17): I've heard of some bizarre beliefs..
18): What is the purpose of all this rigamarole?
19): So what? Mankind seems to want to b'lieve in something, no matter how
20): Does auditing work as many scientologists claim?
21): Are these gains objective and permanent?
22): Does 'scientology work?'
23): Why is it so popular then?
24): Web sites (pro and con):

o o o

"Any group arrogant enough to believe it has the exclusive ability to
`Save The Planet' will inevitably conclude that any crimes are justified in
pursuit of its `higher purpose.'" -Ed Wolfe

o o o

1): What is Dianetics?
1a): What is Scientology?

Most scientologists will tell you it's the greatest thing since
clumping cat litter, while an equal number of critics call it an evil cult
and a money grubbing scam. Mr. Justice Latey (an English judge), described
scn in these words in a famous 1984 court case:

"In my judgement it [Scientology] is corrupt, sinister, and
dangerous. It is corrupt because it is based on lies and deceit, and has as
its real objective money and power for Mr. Hubbard, his wife, and those close
to him at the top. It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices
both to its adherents who do not toe the line unquestioningly and to those
outside who criticise or oppose it. It is dangerous because it is out to
capture people, especially children and impressionable young people, and
indoctrinate and brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning
captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living,
and relationships with others."

Scientology is derived from _Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental
Health_, first published in 1950 by the American science-fiction writer
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911 -- 1986), as a supposedly scientifically
validated self-help technology that eliminates the need for expensive
psychotherapy. Dianetics depends for its (claimed 100%) effectiveness
on his theory of the engram.

Whoa! Self-help technology? But what if I don't NEED any help? The
concept of the person who needs no help is utterly alien to scientology.
Everyone needs help. Everyone has body thetans. Everyone needs auditing.
This is one of the `traps:' after all, who *wouldn't* be all for improving
everyone's abilities? Who *wouldn't* be in favor of making everyone sane?
Who *wouldn't* be interested in freeing the world of criminality and war?

The main recruiting method seems to be to ..ah, inflict, on an
otherwise unwary person a free `personality test,' the results of which are
almost invariably indicative of some facet of the life or personality of the
person taking it that requires immediate attention (scientologyspeak: his
`ruin'). If you don't have any immediately obvious ruin, one will conveni-
ently be found for you.

DMSMH (as it is called) might make sense to the casual reader who is
not overly knowledgable about such things. The whole thing *sounds* as if it
might be plausible. All the proper buzz words are present (many of them
being obscure nelogisms and bizarre redefinitions created by Hubbard him-
self). Basically it says the mind has two major parts, the analytical and
the reactive. The *analytical mind* is like a perfect computer which always
does *exactly* as instructed. The *reactive mind* contains a perfect record
of every incident (engram) involving pain and unconciousness that has
All abberant behavior, psychosomatic illness and dimunition of a persons'
abilities are said to be the result of the reactive mind being restimulated,
or `taking charge,' at inopportune times.

Dianetics is said to be concerned with the body, Scientology with
the spirit. Both speak of producing vastly improved abilities. However,
the practices have merged until today the primary focus is decidedly on
the `benefits' available through scientological processing (auditing).

Hubbard lost control of Dianetics shortly after it was initially
officially organised. Much like hula-hoops and slot cars, people are
attracted to the novel and the faddish and reportedly `Dianetics clubs'
and `auditing groups' briefly sprang up all over the country.

The first "Church of Scientology" was founded in New Jersey at the
end of 1953 as a reaction to Hubbard's loss of control of Dianetics due
partly to financial mismanagement. Shortly thereafter, he regained control
of the trademarks and rights to the Dianetics organisation. Scientology
expands on the teachings of Dianetics, adding the ..ah, doctrine, of the
thetan and the Body Thetan. Scientology also adds the concept of the "whole
track" (the collective experiences of a thetan), and our past lives going
back at least 47 trillion, trillion, trillion years.

"Founded by L. Ron Hubbard, the Scientology religion attempts
to explain the origin of negative spiritual forces in the world,
and advances techniques for improving one's own spiritual well-being.
Scientologists believe that most human problems can be traced to
lingering spirits of an extraterrestrial people massacred by their
ruler, Xenu, over 75 million years ago. These spirits attach themselves
by "clusters" to individuals in the contemporary world, causing spiritual
harm and negatively influencing the lives of their hosts."
- Judge Leonie Brinkema; US DISTRICT COURT,
Civil Action No 95-1107-A

2): What is an engram?

According to Hubbard, an engram is a record (in perfect video,
color, sound, taste, feel, etc) of every moment of pain and unconciousness
ever experienced by a person (including those occurring in a past life).
These records are held in the `reactive mind' and are, by their ability to
be restimulated, the cause of all abberant behavior, psychosomatic illness,
and general dimunition of ability. Basically, the mechanism of restimulation
is: a person blunders into a wall, falls, strikes their head and is moment-
arily rendered unconcious. While they are unconcious, the reactive mind is
still busily recording all that is happening -- a blue car goes by, a dog
barks, the wind gusts, someone shouts, "Geez, you must be blind!" At some
future time, if a dog barks, the wind blows, and a blue car goes by, the
person may go blind (or temporarily `grey out'). When the analytical mind
received the impressions of the dog, wind, car, etc, the reactive mind took
over (in the manner of a "fight or flight" reflex) and the analytical mind
shut down the optic nerves because the phrase "Geez, you must be blind"
contained in the reactive mind was interpreted literally as a command.

Not only has the theory of Hubbards' engram been discredited by
competant medical research (see engram.FAQ), but his other ideas of the
structure of the mind, especially considering his total lack of any
scientific, psychological or medical education or background and since they
depend to a large degree upon the engram for their existance, are ..well,
rather bizarre.

3): What is a thetan?

A thetan can be thought of as the soul (the "I") of a person. In a
rather silly experiment that `proves' the existance of the thetan, one is
asked to mentally picture a cat. That which is looking at the cat is the
thetan. Having neatly disposed of several millenia of metaphysical and
philosophic speculation and writing, Hubbard eventually gets around to the
kicker -- a person must have his engrams and `body thetans' ..ah, exorcised
is the only word that fits, via a complicated and expensive pseudotechnology
known as auditing. What's more, the average person has some (unknown but
large) number of Body Thetans that have clustered on his body. BUT WAIT..
THERE'S MORE: The story of exactly what BTs are and how they came to cluster
reads like one of Darth Vader's wet dreams!

4): What is a Body Thetan (BT)?

According to Hubbard, 75,000,000 years ago [give or take a week or
five], a galactic confederation comprising some 76 stars was faced with a
massive overpopulation problem [+250 billion per planet; 178 billion on
average] that was solved by the Evil Galactic Emperor Xenu through the
simple expedient of killing off billions and billions and billions of excess
citizens, freezing their thetans in a compound of alcohol and glycol and
shipping them in to Teegeack [as the Earth was called then] in spacecraft
that exactly resembled DC-8 airliners. Once there, he chained these thetans
to active volcanos [naturally, no evidence exists to show the presence of
active volcanos at those spots in that time period], and detonated H-Bombs
on them. As if this wasn't enough, he then recaptured them using electronic
beams, shipped them to Las Palmas (in the Azores) and to Hawaii, where they
were exposed to 36 days of what amounts to bad movies which implanted them
[a la "A Clockwork Orange"] with commands to `..go and do Bad Things.' These
bill-yuns and bill-yuns of thetans then apparantly attached themselves to
the local life forms. Since these local life forms each also had (or were)
thetans, perforce the `new' ones had to cluster on their bodies. Et voila..
clusters of Body Thetans! Got an arthritic elbow? Betcha bottom dollar
(assuming you still have it after you find out why) it's caused by a cluster
of Body Thetans. Sinusitis? Yup. You got it. Body Thetans again. Nearsight-
ed? Have AIDS? Cancer? Overweight? Can't get no satisfaction? Scientology
can handle those! You bet. Sign here. Take a number. Oh, yes, we accept Visa
and Master Card.

There you have it, folks. According to Hubbard, we are all spirits
of space aliens murdered and brought here 75,000,000 years ago and our Body
Thetans are the result of the excess! Of course, there is a lot more fool-
ishness to scientology than this (which, by the way, is more-or-less as
described in the OT 3 `Wall of Fire,' and would have cost you in excess of
$200,000 to learn about -- aren't you glad you read this FAQ first?); such
as Gorilla Goals, the Hoi-Polloi, radiation is water soluable, Piltdown man,
Clams, weepers and Boo-Hoo's (read about them in clam.FAQ), the R6 implant,
the Obscene Dog, the 5th Invader Force, sloths, Incident I, Heaven (he's
been there twice), zap guns, Marcabians (they look like smurfs), MEST,
implant stations in the Pyrenees and on Mars, ethics tech, operation Snow
White, Operation FreakOut, the Mother Ship, christianity is an implant, and
much much more. Hubbard seemed (he died [scientologyspeak: `dropped his
body'] in 1986 while hiding from the law -- reputedly screaming about how
his body was infested with BTs) to have this ability, amounting to genius,
of taking the absolute wackyest proposition possible and running with it
until the stories of Lewis Carroll sound lucid by comparison!

5): What is auditing? What is an auditor?

In auditing, moments of pain and unconciousness (engrams) are sought
out and re-experienced by posing lists of questions designed to cause the
subject to recall them; in this way, their `charge,' or ability to cause
abberant behavior, psychosomatic illness, etc, is dissipated.

An auditor is defined as one who listens. ONLY. Through a series of
drills (TRs -- Training Routines) a person is trained to be able to confront
(face) a subject and not react in any way (by facial expression, body langu-
age or vocally) to what is said to, or done in front of, him. An Ideal Aud-
itor would thus be one who acts like a human ELIZA program with a tape rec-
order attached and an *extremely* limited set of responses.

As can well be imagined, the questions asked and the answers given
are intensely personal, dealing with details of the subject's (referred to
as a Pre-Clear or PC) sex life, his finances, relationships with a spouse, a
girlfriend/boyfriend (or both), siblings, parents and friends, jobs, hob-
bies, and conduct *in both present and past lives.* It has been charged that
these written records -- which are never destroyed -- can be culled at some
later date for potentially damaging details with which to blackmail or
covertly (or overtly) threaten blackmail should a subject attempt to leave
the cult or take some other action the cult doesn't particularly care for.
The highly critical Anderson Report, which completely banned the practice
of scientology in parts of Australia for many years, found that the mere
fact these records *might* be revealed quite often had a chilling effect on
scientologists (and ex-scientologists) who might've otherwise been moved to
question or speak out against some of the policies of, or leave
[scientologyspeak: `blow'], the cult entirely.

6): Didn't Freud develop a similar approach?

Yes, it was called abreactive therapy and was abandoned when it was
found to produce no permanent results.

7): What is the purpose of being audited?

Originally, in Dianetics, it was to produce a person entirely free
from the influnce of his reactive mind (or `clear'), and who thereby had all
his abilities restored. In Scientology, it is intended to exorcise one's
Body Thetans, thereby producing a being who has had all his abilities rest-
ored (an `Operating Thetan').

The *real* purpose of this foolishness becomes abundantly clear once
it is realised the ONLY way to rid oneself of Body Thetans (or deal with any
engrams present) is by auditing (or scientological processing), which,
coincidentally, costs many tens of thousands of dollars. Indeed, to get up
to OT 8 (at the present time, the highest released level) can cost in the
very close area of (US)$350,000! The concept of the presence of clusters of
body thetans (each of which must be audited away or exorcised) dating from
(at least) 75,000,000 years ago means this expensive auditing can be cont-
inued virtually endlessly (or until the money runs out, whichever occurs

8): What is an E-meter?

The E-meter, or eletro-psychometer, is based on a Wheatstone bridge
circuit, and measures differences in the subjects skin resistance in a
crude fashion reminiscent of a lie detector. Circuit details and method of
operation are posted regularly to a.r.s. and can be found on some of the
critical Web pages. Physically, it is very 1950s art deco in appearance,
with a large analog meter as the prominent feature. Several knobs give the
operator control over the sensitivity and range. The subject (or Pre-Clear)
grasps two empty common soup cans (one in each hand) which are used as
terminals. (Footplates were tried but were rejected as unsuitable.) Thus,
being "..on the cans" is slang for being audited.

According to Hubbard, any positive change in skin resistance noted
by the E-meter is the result of the presence of the `mental mass' of an
engram. Thus, engrams can be detected. Likewise, a gross absence of resist-
ance is taken as meaning an engram (or its charge) has been dissipated (or
`flattened'). The reactions of the subject to the questions asked (actually
as well as in terms of any E-meter activity) and the answers themselves are
recorded by the auditor. During the session, the subject sees neither the
E-meter nor the comments recorded by the auditor, and is normally never
allowed to see them. It (the E-meter) is used purely as a lie detector in
`security checking' and `ethics cycles.'

It has been estimated by several outside observers of the scene that
a functioning E-meter could be very easily built by anyone capable of using
a soldering iron for approximately $100 (or less), minus, of course, the
swoopy case. In spite of this, a new approved E-meter retails for upwards
of (US)$3500 and it is recommended each auditor have TWO (in case one fails
in session). I don't know about YOU, but if _I_ had a failure (in session or
not) of a device I'd paid upwards of $3500 for, I'd prob have some really
pithy things to say, and likely wouldn't be buying another!

9): What is a clear?

According to DMSMH, a clear is one who has had his reactive mind (or
`bank') totally erased of engrams. Initially some rather incredible claims
were made for the state of clear -- a clear, it was said, would be entirely
free of any psychomatic illnesses, have a vastly increabsed intelligence, a
near perfect memory, have complete control over his bodily functions (the
autonomous nervous system, in other words), perfect eyesight, and would never
catch a cold or become ill in any way.

In spite of this, in a rather famous lecture given in Los Angeles in
('prox) 1951, Hubbard introduced the worlds first clear (of which there have
been at least three -- none of which were him in spite of his `pioneering'
work). This person, a young woman, reportedly exhibited none of the super-
human poise and presence of mind one would expect from a being with such
greatly enhanced powers; indeed, when called upon to demonstrate her nearly
perfect memory, the young lady not only had trouble recalling a common
chemical formula, she could not recall the color of Hubbard's tie! (At this
point, most of the audience left.)

There are many many auditing procedures to go through before one is
said to be a clear. Each procedure must be done properly (or according to
`standard tech'), else the subject or the auditor (or both) must go back and
re-do all the sessions found to be in error, in addition to error correcting
sessions. (Guess who pays for these repeats and error correcting sessions?)
Each auditing procedure is said to have an `end point' beyond which any
further processing is forbidden. That the end point has been reached is
determined by a specific E-meter action (FN -- or Floating Needle) and by
the PC having a `cognition' or realisation. The cognition for the ultimate
clearing course is apparantly (in scientologyspeak): "I mock up my reactive
mind." This translates to "I create my own reactive mind."

Huh? Wasn't one of the `scientifically validated' concepts of DMSMH
that one part of the mind was the reactive mind? Now I realise, after I've
spent uncounted hours and many thousands of dollars for processing, this is
a fiction that _I_ create? Welcome to the roller-coaster, bub. Hang on, it
gets worse.

A recently acquired report has it that as the number of supposedly
clear people mounted and the claims for this state appeared harder and
harder to substantiate, the emphasis was slowly shifted so as to make the
state of clear merely a social distinction internal to scn, as opposed to
a measurable, objective, attainable state; with the emphasis now being on
attaining the status of OT (or Operating Thetan) ..after, of course, paying
more money. Many of the same claims once made for a clear are now made for
the higher levels of OT.

10): What is an OT?

An OT (Operating Thetan) is apparantly like a clear, only more so.
An OT is said to be `at cause' over Matter, Energy, Space, and Time (MEST).
Which means they cannot be affected by anything in the material world which
they do not consiously desire to be. This in addition to the claims of
having a perfect memory, superior intelligence, etc, as made for the state
of clear.

11): Scientology claims to be a `church' and compatible with all existing
religions. Is this true?

Hubbard himself claims Scientology is not a religion: "Society,
thirsting for more control of more people substitutes religion for the
spirit, the body for the soul, an identity for the individual and science
and data for truth. In this direction lies insanity, increasing slavery,
less knowingness, greater scarcity and less society. Scientology has opened
the gates to a better World. IT IS NOT A PSYCHO-THERAPY NOR A RELIGION.
[emphasis added] It is a body of knowledge which, when properly used, gives
freedom and truth to the individual."
-The Creation of Human Ability, June 1953. Editions as late as 1971 contain
this passage as well.

Scientology likes to tell people that it is compatible with other
religions, and that you don't have to leave your current religion to join

In 1993, however, they told the IRS something different.

The following is from "The Church of Spiritual Technology's
Explanation to the IRS As To Why It Qualifies As a "Church" Described in
Section 170(b)(1)(A)(i)." It was reprinted in the December 1993 (Vol. 8, No.
6) issue of The Exempt Organization Tax Review, a publication of Tax
Analysts, Inc.

The magazine gives as its source "Response to Final Series of IRS
Questions Prior to Recognition of Exemption of CST Under Section 501(c)(3)
As a Church on October 1, 1993. "

--- begin quote ---

Footnote 6: Although there is no policy or Scriptural mandate expressly
requiring Scientologists to renounce other religious beliefs or membership
in other churches, as a practical matter Scientologists are expected to and
do become fully devoted to Scientology to the exclusion of other faiths. As
Scientologists, they are required to look only to Scientology Scriptures for
the answers to the fundamental questions of their existence and to seek
enlightenment only from Scientology. Thus, a Scientologist who grew up in
the Jewish faith who continues formal membership in his synagogue and
attends services with his family violates no Scientology policy or tenet. On
the other hand, such a person is not permitted to mix the practice of his
former faith into his practice and understanding of Scientology so as to
alter orthodox Scientology in any way.

--- end quote ---

"Somebody somewhere on this planet, back about 600 BC found some
pieces of R6, and I don't know how they found it, either by watching
[a] madman or something. But since that time they have used it and it
became what is known as Christianity. The man on the cross ... there
was no Christ. But the man on the cross is shown as Everyman."
-[LRH, tape recorded at the first Class VIII course on the ship Apollo,
October 3, 1968]

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all hold that there is but one god.
Scientology teaches that *each person* is a god who can recover his powers
*only* via scientological processing; to those faiths, this is the rankest

12): I've heard something about a policy of enforced disconnection.

Scn holds there are two ways to address any given problem: one can
`handle' it or one can `disconnect' from it. The former implies one deals
with the problem and changes whatever needs changing in order to resolve
it. The latter implies one totally ignores the problem -- walks away from it
and refuses to even consider it. Hmmm, nothing very radical so far. The real
trouble starts when enforced application of this rule is applied to people
(and families).

If, for instance, a person is committed to scn, and his spouse
objects to it, that spouse is seen as being `PTS' [scientologyspeak for a
Potential Trouble Source] to the former. (In actuality, the spouse is able
to see through and refute the scam and thus may potentially affect the
member's belief in it.) If the person wishes to remain a scientologist in
good standing, he *must* (is REQUIRED to) either handle this problem or
disconnect from it. Of course, handling the problem implies somehow
converting the errant spouse to scn -- something fairly unlikely to occur.
Which, therefore, leaves the scientologist with the only remaining option:
disconnection. In the case of married people, this means divorce (and all
the problems THAT non-solution entails). In the case of parents or siblings
or even just friends, this means simply moving (or being moved) far enough
away that any physical contact or communication is unlikely or impossible.

This policy and its consequences -- the deliberate sundering of
familial bonds -- is a very strong argument against the proposition that scn
has any val- idity as a belief system worthy of study and emulation.

13): You've mentioned `past lives' several times..

Indeed I have. Reincarnation of an indestructable thetan is central
to the scientology belief system. Again, this speaks rather strongly to the
point raised above ("Is scn compatible with all other religions?") According
to Hubbard, it is entirely possible to regress a person to the point of
reexperiencing the moment of his conception, his time as a foetus in the
womb and his birth; and bizarre as it seems, also beyond the moment of
conception to the being that `was' the thetan before, and so on and so on.
One prominent a.r.s. poster claims to've been both Mozart and Jeane d'Arc in
his past lives. Hubbard himself claimed to have been Cecil Rhodes (the man
responsible for the Rhodes Scholarship fund and who founded the nation of
Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe)). That Hubbard had, on several occasions,
expressed an absolute contempt for homosexuals, and that Cecil Rhodes was
apparantly one is taken by skeptics as evidence of the existance of an
overriding `cosmic justice.'

Scientologists believe the 'thetan' is immortal and indestructable,
and that the bodies we now inhabit are of only transitory importance. IT IS
Present Time body, after all."

14): What are the traps?

Scientology is boobytrapped in that ANY attempt to question, alter,
or explain any belief or policy propounded by Hubbard, no matter how benign
or innocent the attempt may be, is seen as a crime and is taken as evidence
the questioner is himself a criminal at best, and possessed of some ulterior

"Since Hubbard's science is a matter of knowledge and certainty,
certainty is sanity, and reality is agreement [according to Hubbard's
theories], it would seem to follow that those who decline to agree with
Hubbard's conception of what constitutes knowledge are out of touch with
reality; and that those who reserve their judgement, or who retain some
uncertainty as to the truth of his claims, are insane."
[Wallis, The Road to Total Freedom, p. 110]

A further boobytrap is the belief in the omnipotence of `the tech.'
This belief is fostered by two mechanisms: informally, the average scientol-
ogist, mostly due to social pressures and scientological training, is more
than willing to accept anything -- no matter how ridiculous -- providing
Hubbard said it; and formally, wherein policy states that any failure is not
due to `the tech,' it is indicative of a failure in the person applying it
or the person to whom it is being applied. `The tech' (policy) is *never*
wrong. G'teed. Sez so, right here in this policy manual, which, of course,
is never worng..

A (perhaps unintended) boobytrap is that any attempt to inform
others of the beliefs of scn -- or of the dangers they represent -- is bound
to be met with considerable skepticism, at least. I mean, c'mon ..Xenu? Body
Thetans? Spaceships constructed exactly like DC-8 airliners? Bomb threats?
Gang-bang security checks? Overboarding? Burglarising of gov't offices? One
coorespondent reported to me the general reaction to her reports of harras-
sment by scn was that they were (putting it politely) the product of a sl-
ightly disordered mind ..until the (in)famous Jonestown massacre and until
the files proving the cults complicity in her harrassment were uncovered as
a sidelight of an FBI raid of the cults Washington, D.C., headquarters.

15): I've heard scientology has been involved in suing and harrassing those
critical of it. Is this true?

Yes. To date, every critical book (eg, Coopers' Scandal of Scientol-
ogy, Atacks' Piece of Blue Sky, Millers' Bare Faced Messiah, Vosper's Mind
Benders), article in a major magazine (eg, Time, Readers Digest) or official
report (eg, Anderson, Foster) has resulted in a lawsuit filed by Scientology
and/or the authors being subjected sometimes to years of harrassment (cf
Paulette Cooper, Cyril Vosper). Interestingly enough, in some of the later
suits, the scientologists often stipulate to everything in those books or
reports being true, instead basing their suits on one paragraph or photo-
graph (cf Miller) that is claimed to be copyrighted.

From the Foster report on scientology:
49. Although the Anderson Report was wholly unfavourable to Scientology,
many of its findings have not been specifically challenged in any of the
abundant Scientology literature which seeks to attack Mr. Anderson and his
conclusions. No-one could reasonably expect a line-by-line denial, in every
particular, of a Report of that length, but there are a number of findings
in it which one would certainly expect to see denied if they were not

Scientology has also raided the homes of critics and seized (under
color of law) manuscripts, whole computers, boxes of floppy discs, financ-
ial records, books, papers, basically everything they could lay their hands
on. They have done this many times in the recent past. For the most part,
upon appeal, the orders authorising these searches and seizures have been
recanted -- of course, by then it's too late to do the person any good --
and the scientology officials responsible have been ordered to return all
the things seized -- which they have not done.

Scientology has also been involved with illegal (forged) attempts to
RMGROUP the popular alt.religion.scientology usenet newsgroup (effectively
removing it from literally hundreds of thousands of computer systems all
over the world) and illegal cancels of critical messages on that newsgroup
based solely on content (which content is distinctly unfavorable to the
cult). It has also apparantly engaged in a massive vertical spam campaign in
which, by flooding a.r.s. with tens of thousands of propaganda messages, it
hopes to stifle any criticism.

More recently, scn seems to've more or less settled on a policy of
suing for copyright and trade secret violation. What's that? A *religion*
with *trade secrets?* Questions of form "is scn a religion" aside, it seems
to many skeptics that the concepts of a `trade secret' and of a `religion'
are mutually exclusive. The questions of copyright violations seem to devolve
to "exactly what is `fair use?'" "does the concept of `the public welfare'
outweigh that of copyright?" and "is quoting material reported in a court
document `copyright terrorism?'"

16): Do scientologists sign a contract? I've heard something about a
billion-year contract.

While a contract is not necessary, some scientologists join what is
called the Sea Org (Sea Organisation). This is a para-military group of
elite who sign a billion year contract. They take for granted the fact of
reincarnation and this `billion year contract' is a measure of the feeling
they have for this drek. There are more normal 2 1/2 and 5 year contracts
available to those who wish to be part of the staff, but who have other
plans for their next few hundred thousand lifetimes..

17): I've heard of some bizarre beliefs..

To start with, acceptance of scn as having any validity at all means
one must believe the entirety of Hubbard's theory of the engram, the react-
ive mind, past lives (which implies reincarnation and inter-life memory),
and eventually, the thetan and the Body Thetan (BT) and the effects these
have on human physiology. The `Wall of Fire' story (see above -- Xenu, etc)
is only revealed on the higher Operating Thetan (OT) levels, specifically
OT3. Relatively few scientologists know of these simply because they have
not progressed to a high enough level (as noted, to get to the point where
OT3 is taught costs 'prox US$200,000). A persistant rumor has it the
`cognition' (realisation) said to be the end product of the OT 8 levels is
`Source is the 8th dynamic.' Given that Source (with a capital `S') is a
common nickname for Hubbard since he is the ..ah, font of all wisdom, and
since the 8th dynamic deals with the infinite (it's often referred to as
`the god dynamic') this can only be taken as implying `Hubbard is god.'

According to what has been presented as part of the OT 7 levels,
committed scientologists are exhorted to go to a zoo or other place where
there are many animals and communicate with them until sure the communicat-
ion has been received and returned. [nope, nothing bizarre there -- my cat
communicates with me all the time!] After that (undoubtedly invigorating)
experience, they are instructed to do the same with plants and trees. [BTW,
these instructions, known as OT VII-48, are the (in)famous `six lines' for
which many critics on a.r.s were threatened with a lawsuit for posting]

On the OT3 levels, or what is known as the `Wall of Fire,' there is
an internal caveat that reading and attempting to understand this material
will lead to the unauthorised person becoming ill and dying of pneumonia.
One recent poster to ars, who is a devoted scientolodroid, advanced the arg
that posting these `sekrit skripturz' (as they are coloquially known) would
be irresponsible as this would unleash a plague of illness among the unwary
who read them. [a plague of laughter, perhaps..]

Then there are clams ..ooooh, CLAMS! <snap><snap><snap> Bwahahaha!
[see clam.FAQ for more on this fascinating subject]

18): What is the purpose of all this rigamarole?

Scientology has, as its stated goal, "..creating a world in which
there is no crime, no insanity, or war." It expects to do this by "clearing
the planet" (this is the reason for the Sea Org's existance and, presumably,
the reason for the billion year contract). Clearing the planet means making
everyone a scientologist (shades of the crusades!). And what about those who
don't want to BE scientologists? Good question. I'm glad you raised it. Can
you say `final solution?' I knew you could. I kid you not, folks. Based on
its past history and documented policies, scientology is a dangerous cult.

19): So what? Mankind seems to want to b'lieve in something, no matter how

Scientology is billed variously as an applied religious philosophy,
an (infallible) science of the mind, a system of ethics, a study technique,
a (foolproof) administrative method -- a complete cradle-to-grave-to-cradle
(reincarnation, remember?) codex of living. The objections of critics and
skeptics are not with the beliefs of scientologists, per se. Rather, they
are with the fraudulent elements on which the whole scam is based and the
inevitable results of following them.

According to Hubbard, scientology is scientifically valid and thus
can be tested and in every such test will give the same result: basically,
vastly expanded individual abilities, which, in turn, will lead to spirit-
ual freedom. Spiritual freedom, of course, is a matter of faith and not of
science and thus cannot be objectively tested. However, the claims of exp-
anded ability -- since Hubbard explicitly stated they are NOT obtained via
the mechanism of faith -- are very much subjects for scientific inquiry and
validation. To date, the cult has absolutely refused to even discuss any
testing of its claims -- either to bring to light some of the `scientific
validation' that Hubbard claimed existed with respect to his `discoveries,'
or to submit to independant researchers a suitably trained subject(s).

Further, certainly enough people have been trained to a high enough
level by now (especially if cult claims for membership are to be believed)
to expect they would make their influence known throughout the world. One of
the technologies advertised by Hubbard is the communications tech, which is
s'posed to give one command of the tools necessary for perfect communication
with anyone. This, in concert with the phenomenal increase in intelligence
also claimed for processing, would seem to make for, at the very least,
Pulitzer prize level communiques, articles and letters from scientologists.
Almost without exception, every communication -- written or oral -- I've
seen or heard from a scientologist has been turgid, boringly repetitous,
ill-couched, full of obscure nelogisms and acronyms (which the reader is
presumed to know), and with many mistakes in spelling, grammar, and usage --
or all of the above. In itself, of course, this is not exactly a capital
crime -- one could say the same about any of the reams of pronounciamento's
emanating from the Pentagon. However, its other faults notwithstanding, the
U.S. Defense community does not claim to offer the benefits of an infallible
communication technology, nor does it claim to be able to raise the intel-
ligence of its members, or to be able to cure virtually all physical illnes-
ses. Hubbard's organisation DOES.

Hubbard's personal record also certainly wants some consideration
when assessing the amount of credence to lend to his various theories. As it
turns out, very little of his history as popularised by the cult he founded
has any basis in fact. The man was a writer of science fiction and adventure
stories and while it is certainly understandable for such a person to ..ah,
creatively enhance the truth for purposes of book jacket publicity, say
(thus an enlistment in the infantry might become a "period of government
service"), Hubbard has gone far beyond this, both in terms of book jacket
publicity and outright claims to be things he patently was not. Not only was
this policy condoned at the time by the cult, these deliberate misstatements
(read: outright lies) are still held out by it as the Real Truth, the
official version of history.

Hubbard WAS NOT a war hero. Hubbard WAS NOT the first American
wounded in WW II. Hubbard DID NOT command a squadron of corvettes in the
Atlantic during WW II. Hubbard WAS NOT responsible for the sinking of two
Japanese submarines in the Pacific during WW II. Hubbard WAS NOT awarded 26
medals by the U.S. Navy during WW II. Hubbard WAS NOT blinded and crippled
at the end of WW II. Hubbard WAS NOT one of the first nuclear physicists in
the country. Hubbard DID NOT travel extensively throughout China and Asia as
a teenager. Hubbard WAS NOT a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.), nor was he a
batchelor of science (B.S.), nor was he a civil engineer (C.E.). Except for
a degree gained from a diploma mill in Los Angeles, Hubbard DID NOT receive
any college degrees at all. Hubbard WAS NOT raised on a farm encompassing
1/4 the acreage of Montana. There is no evidence the Blackfoot Indian tribe
engaged in the 'blood brother' ritual at all, let alone with a six-year old
white child.

The cult of scientology would have you believe the opposite of each
of the above statements -- and more -- about Hubbard. For example, the movie
"Mr. Roberts" is said to be a thinly disgused depiction of his naval service
-- with Henry Fonda playing the character supposedly Hubbard. Moo.

It is said the most effective way of leading is by example. The
history of scn/dn is (negative) proof of this: Who do scientologists have
to emulate? A man who consistantly and deliberately lied about every facet
of his personal history and the significance of the discoveries he claimed
to originate. Ask yourself:

What is the worth of a service provided by a group whose founder
felt it necessary to deliberately and continuously lie about his own past
achievements, educational attainments, medical and military history as well
as the benefits to be gained by partaking of that service, in order to
attract people to it?

People generally emphasize those aspects of a leader's life which
are in harmony with their own aspirations. But what if those aspects are
obviously fraudulent and what if people still believe in him? What does
that say about *their* character?

20): Does auditing work as many scientologists claim?

Up to a point, yes, it can. The basic concept is that a person
talks to someone about himself and his problems. The Roman Catholic church
uses much the same concept in its Confessional (indeed, scientological aud-
iting can be thought of as basically a `directed confessional' -- and the
group makes much of this similarity in its propaganda). Of course a person
may experience some gains and obtain some insights -- both of themselves and
the rest of the world -- regardless of their age or whether or not they are
in the midst of some emotional crisis (as so many seem to be), espescially
given the `hothouse' atmosphere of a scientologist study group, where one is
*expected* to show some gain. For many, this is the very first time in their
lives they've ever had to grapple with the basic questions of existance. It
would be Really Strange if, in this sense, auditing didn't work. Or if the
Confessional didn't work. Or if just talking to someone about things didn't

21) Are these gains objective and permanent?

Hmm? Oh, sorry. I was woolgathering. Guess the gains I made weren't
permanent. <grin> Seriously, WHAT GAINS? Aside from entirely subjective and
essentially meaningless observations such as "I feel at cause over MEST" and
"My certainty has been increased" [scientologyspeak: Big Wins], scientol-
ogists don't really say much at all. I submit that, even if "being at cause
over MEST" and "increasing one's certainty" weren't total bafflegab, they
are still *subjective* reactions and scn specifically claims its successes
are objectively verifiable. In short, any `gains' obtained through auditing
are, by definition, subjective and thus can be anything the person may take
it into his head to claim they are and not be required to submit to any form
of objective test. In the sense of "can a gain obtained by going to Confes-
sion or talking to someone about oneself or one's problems be permanent" the
answer is probably a very guarded `yes.'

The above is one reason for my skepticism. Hubbard claimed scient-
ific (objective) validation for all of his discoveries and breakthroughs. He
stated that scn does not depend on faith for any efficacy. Yet, the claims
of the cult are most definitely ..entirely subjective (when they aren't so
much technobabble).

22): Does `scientology work?'

Depends on what you mean by `work.' It certainly results in a lot of
money being poured into the coffers of a very few. Otherwise? If scn is as
efficacious as it claims to be as regards improving the abilities of its
adherents ("making the able more able"), it has been around for quite long
enough to enable its devotees to make more than just a few major discoveries
in the sciences or medicine, or publish some elegant philosophical insights,
or to make important contributions to literature or the arts. Ask yourself
how many Nobel prizewinners are scientologists. When was the last time you
saw a major work of art produced by a scientologist? (Travolta and Cruise
don't count.) Or when was the last significant medical breakthrough by a

23): Why is it so popular then?

I think it started as a monstrous put-on, a stunt. Hubbard had been
quoted as saying words to the effect of, "...the best way to make a million
[dollars] is to start your own religion." I can accept from what I've read
about his personality that he would attempt to do just that -- if only to
see if it could be done. Once done, and once it became obvious the thing
could be profitably sustained, well ..when you have a tiger by the tail,
it's best to not let go. After a while, _he_ became the tiger and others
(eg, David Miscavige) held onto _his_ tail. (The `tiger' being monetary
rewards, and the power it brings, at the expense of the gullible.) One
expects a red-headed dude to pop out of a closet and go, "Gotcha!"

The very terms used: "..the Bridge (to total freedom)," the self-
bestowed titles of rank: "Commodore" of the "Sea Org," "Doctor [of Scient-
ology]," the OT 8 cognition, the reliance on cryptic nelogisms and bizarre
redefinitions, the (somewhat) fantastic "Darth Vader meets Tom Swift" cosm-
ology, and so much more, all lend credence to this point of view.

Comstantly expanding? In actuality, while Scientology claims to be
"the worlds fastest growing religion," claiming 8,000,000 members world
wide, this figure, taken from _Freedom_, the official scn organ, has been
claimed for every year since 1991. A critic once calculated that, given the
membership numbers and the numbers of scientology centers [scientologyspeak:
Orgs] in the world (276), 'prox 28,980 scientologists must be active at each
org (or center).

At what point did it become 'real' for Hubbard? At what point did
the con-man start believing his own con? Or did he ever really? While there
are some who say it occurred in the late-70s, or when the Sea Org was found-
ed, and there is evidence to support these theories, I personally feel this
is a somewhat minor detail, suitable for speculation over a brewski after
the topics of red headed women and politics have been disposed of.

o o o

There is so much more than can be put into a document such as this,
but to even start would make it even more unreadable. Things like the det-
ails of the harrassment of Paulette Cooper (operation FreakOut); or oper-
ation Snow White, in which Hubbards' wife and more than a few leaders of the
movement were convicted and sentenced for burglary and theft of U.S. Gov't
files -- and that sentence upheld by the USSCt; the stipulations made by the
scientologists in that case; the RPF (Rehabilitation Project Force -- an
internal gulag); the story of Judge Swearingers' dog (drowned in a swimming
pool); the plan to totally eliminate the practice of psychology and
psychiatry by the year 2000; how `the tech' would cause illness and death if
read by the uninitiated; how Hubbard's words are being copied onto gold
plated CD ROM discs and buried in nuclear blast proof excavations after
being placed into titanium cannisters; the story of Commander Bill and his
`sky watch' on the roofs of cult bldgs in Los Angeles (they were watching
for invading spacecraft -- so that Ron could be warned in time); the
barratrous use of the legal system to tie up critics and eventually ruin
them via bankruptcy; scn vs the AMA; scn vs the APA; scn vs Eli Lilly; scn
vs the FDA; scn vs the IRS; scn vs Time magazine; scn vs Larry Wollerschiem;
scn vs Dennis Erlich; scn vs Grady Ward; scn vs H. Keith Henson; scn vs
David & Julie Mayo; scn vs Arnie Lerma; scn vs Stephen Fishman and Ewe
Geertz; the Guardians' Office; Susan Meiser; Pat Broeker; Quentin Hubbard;
auditing tomatos; clay table demos; D/A packs; gang-bang sec[urity] checks;
TR-L; Heber Jentszch and the `body raisins;' Lisa McPherson; the '82 Mission
Holders conference; David Miscavige; ack! ze task, she ees eempossible!

24): Web sites (pro and con):

The interested observer may want to investigate further. To this
end, I give here some of the critical WWW sites. There are links from these
to most other critical sites, as well as to scientologist WWW sites. (The
reverse is most definitely not true, however.)

Ron Newman:
[inarguably one of the finest of critical web pages]

Marina Chong:
[lots of critical works (including this FAQ) and other stuff]

[probably one of the best sites for the uninitiated]

Dave Touretsky:
[details of the E-meter, construction and use are found here, along
with excerpts of the so-called higher level teachings]

Karin Spaink:
[Karin is a Dutch journalist sued by the cult -- read about it here]

Anderson, Foster & Lee reports, Latey judgement:
[the Latey judgement -- part of which was quoted above -- makes for
extremely interesting reading -- the conclusions Mr. Latey reached were based
entirely upon the published and publically available documents of scientology]

Scientology Web sites:

o o o

The whole story of scientology may never be completely told, indeed
it is going on even as this is being written. I'm not sure but that the real
lesson of scientology is that there exist more than just a few individuals on
this planet who are willing to deceive others for the sake of several hundred
million dollars.

Heckfire, I knew THAT!

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