Looking back at my two years of research into the current scene of Scientology (2007-2009), I’d like to summarize what was useful and what wasn’t. Everything is clearer in hindsight 🙂
Firstly, there are two scenes – the internal scene, the daily situation of the scientologists in the church – and the external scene, the public view of Scientology.
The life of a dedicated scientologist is well documented around the net. It summarizes to increasing pressure as one goes up the Bridge (spiritual levels in Scientology) – pressure to donate ever more time and money. Non-compliance is met with various forms of sanctions and punishments, with the ultimate threat for disobedience being declared a suppressive person. Scientologists learn to adopt a certain attitude of dedication.
The PR machinery of the church is massaging it’s parishioners, rolling out the spectacular international events 6 times per year. Mesmerizing, if long drawn, speeches by the Pope of Scientology, David Miscavige flanked by state-of-the art 3D animations summarizing the latest in real estate acquisitions. Steadily increasing statistics are shown signaling an unprecedented growth of the religion, all while the factual scene shows signs of deflation.
Many scientologists know something is wrong. They suspect or know the statistics are fake. They silently object to the sometimes insane pressure. They pity the slave labor staff and they realize that the goal of a salvaged planet is not within reach for at least another millennium. But they hang in there. Mostly because they don’t want to jeopardize their own spiritual progress. Others because they push on in a very honest effort to help their fellow man despite being bullied by misguided staff wanting to squeeze even more hours and dollars out of their most dedicated.
Dedicated scientologist don’t see much of the external scene. They are trained to not look at any opposing or critical views. They bluntly dismiss such as “entheta” (opposite of good).
The external scene is run by the media. The reason is not that the media is inherently evil like many scientologists are trained to believe. It is because the media is populated with pumped-up, frantic truth seekers looking to push another sensational story out before a deadline. It’s business and an the Church of Scientology is skillfully paining a bullseye on it’s chest. Church spokesman Tommy Davis is lying with just enough straight face to fool the cool-aid drinking scientologists. But not the rest of the world.
The public at large despises Scientology. And the current church management has done much to achieve that. Because the Church tries it’s best to equate Scientology with the Church of Scientology, the public image of Scientology as a subject is at par with the dreadful image of the church. Lack of differentiation means very few will ever get to experience the very helpful parts of the Scientology philosophy.
Despite the church touting it’s contributions to society through it’s PR-powered social betterment programs, it’s influence is negligible. Scientology is a fringe subject.
People’s attitude toward Scientology ranges from the die-hard fanatic scientologists to the seemingly dedicated staff to struggling Scientology public to the indifferent general public (by far the largest group), those with a vague negative impression, the critics, Anonymous and the fanatical critics.
Most, except for the fanatical scientologists, would agree that any and all abuses should be stopped – such as forced disconnection breaking up families, coerced abortions, extortion and slave labor. Some wants the demise of Scientology all together. A few wants to act as thought police, to burn the books and outlaw it’s practice. As insane as the latter sounds, they do in fact exist. And some want to practice Scientology in peace outside the iron grip of the church – these are known as FreeZoners or Independents.
Most would agree that free speech is important and welcome an open debate on Scientology, and that transparency is valuable. Discussions abound on how to wake up the kool-aid drinkers inside the church in order to stop the human rights abuses.
Having been a dedicated church scientologist (albeit somewhat of a rebel), I can at least offer a view on what worked in making me finally walk out the door. It could serve as an indication of what works in helping scientologists on the inside see the actual scene.
In this motley landscape, I will rate the efficiency of several elements that helped me (or not) make my decision – on a scale from -5 to +5. A score of -5 indicates it was contra-productive to my decision. A score of zero means it didn’t have any effect, while a +5 indicate it was very helpful. Here goes:
+6 Meeting David Miscavige
+5 Realizing that the ant hill innovation model should encompass Scientology
+5 Reading friendsoflrh.org
+5 St. Petersburg Times’ “Truth Rundown”
+4 Increasing pressure in the CoS to “toe the party line”
+4 Terril Park’s postings; “Wins from Scientology outside CoS”
+4 Getting to know about alternatives in the FreeZone
+4 Jeff Hawkin’s story
+4 Seeing fewer executives at international events
+4 Seeing that the statistics presented in the CoS is a lie
+4 Seeing forced disconnections in the CoS
+4 Reading about David Miscavige beating his staff
+4 Postings by Marc Headley (BFG)
+3 Seeing Tommy Davis refute forced disconnection
+3 Marty Rathbun’s blog
+3 Declarations of independence on the net
+3 Hearing about coerced abortions in the CoS
+3 The increased pressure for more time in the CoS
+3 The increased pressure for more money in the CoS
+3 Postings by ex-scientologists offering real information about the old days
+2 Reading that Dan Koon was out
+2 Reading that Marty Rathbun was out
+2 Reading that Mike Rinder was out
+2 Ex-Scientologist Message Board (ESMB)
+1 The original Anonymous announcement
+1 The first three Anonymous world-wide protests /Feb-April 2008)
0 The Golden Age of Tech (new releases in the practice of Scientology)
0 The Golden Age of Knowledge (new releases of Scientology material)
0 Anonymous after April 2008
0 Operation Clambake
-2 Operation Clambake Message Board (OCMB)
-3 WWP – the Anonymous forum
-4 Postings by die-hard critics like Zinjifar and Alanzo
-5 Uncertainty about doing Scientology outside of the church
-5 Wondering if the abuses can be handled most effectively from the inside
-5 Seeing that I help people with my seminars and personal coaching and wondering if I could do the same outside the church
One of many conclusions can be drawn; To make a scientologist in the CoS see the factual scene, one has to reach their reality level. Critics and Anonymous are seriously misguided in this area. They often make more damage than good with their cultish black-and-white judgmental attitude.
Please ask any questions about this by adding comments to this blog post. I have certainly forgotten important and less important elements, and I may extend the list as I get reminded of them.