Building The Bridge (norske artikler om Scientologi)

English: The Norwegian students I did a two hour lecture on Scientology for has compiled their studies into a series of blog posts. The blog is publicly available (in Norwegian).

Norsk: Den 16. mars hold jeg et to timers foredrag om Scientologi ved Menighetsfakultetet, Universitetet i Oslo. Studentene har nå samlet informasjon fra et bredt spekter av kilder og skrevet en rekke bloggposter om ulike aspekter ved Scientologi. Resultatet kan du se her: http://buildingthebridge.blogg.no/

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Hva er Scientologi?

Også i år holdt jeg en forelesning ved Menighetsfakultetet ved UiO. En gruppe studenter skulle skrive artikler om Scientologi, og jeg ble invitert som en kilde for deres arbeide. Studentene hadde allerede besøkt Scientologikirken i Oslo. De stilte med åpent sinn og flere gode spørsmål. Det ble en to timers forelesning som dekket alle nivåene i Scientologi med detaljer fra hele “Broen til Total Frihet” – fra Diantetikk og engrammer til Purification Rundown, Clear, OT-nivåene, Xenu, eksorsisme og OT 8. De fikk høre min historie, om hvordan jeg kom inn i Scientologi og hvorfor jeg gikk ut. Flere andre viktige elementer ble dekket i løpet av de to timene. Du kan se hele forelesningen her:

You are turning away from The Truth! Are you crazy?

As a Scientologist starts to wake up to the reality that the Church of Scientology is a real world Truman Show, other Scientologists will warn him that he will be doomed as he turns his back to the One True Path.

As an independent Scientologist starts to wake up to the reality that Scientology cannot deliver on its promises, other independents will tell him how dark his future will be as he turns away from The Truth.

I have heard warnings like “you will get cancer and die”, “your eternity will be lost” and “you will die alone in the dark”. And all because Scientology is the only salvation for Mankind, the only real hope in the whole wide universe since the dawn of time. And this is precisely why you will become lost and depressed and have your life wrecked.

And for some, this prophecy will come true. Many Scientologists do experience their world falling apart when they leave their church. Many independent Scientologists do feel depressed as they start to doubt their beliefs in Scientology. Lives do get wrecked. But is it because they turn away from the truth?

No.

And here is why: Scientologists experience the same withdrawal symptoms as people departing from other cults. Be it the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Moonies (Unification Church), Mormonism, Nation of Islam, KKK, Raëlians or any other strong belief system. Similar warnings are issued and similar experiences are recounted. Each one could conclude that the reason a former member is having a hard time after leaving their faith is because they have deviated from the Only True Path – or gone “off-purpose” as Scientologists would say.

apostasy

So if it isn’t the turning away from truth that does the damage, what is it? It’s the loss of hope, of purpose. Even if the hope was false and the purpose was fake, unfulfilled or plain crazy.

Something to keep in mind if you harbour a doubt.

How does a Scientologist dodge a bullet?

A Scientologist, a true believer, lives in continual cognitive dissonance. When faced with a dangerous question challenging their beliefs, they resort to all kinds of mental and debate tricks to avoid having their belief bubble bursted.

neo

Our resident Ninja, Katageek summed it all up in a nice algorithm:

  1. Change the subject, write a bunch and pretend you answered the question and IGNORE THE DANGEROUS QUESTION.
  2. If that doesn’t work, blame the fault on the questioner in a loving attitude and help him/her find the mistake they have made that doesn’t let them see “the truth” AND IGNORE THE DANGEROUS QUESTION.
  3. If that doesn’t work, blame the questioner in a HARSH condescending attitude for moral or logical flaws and IGNORE THE DANGEROUS QUESTION.
  4. If that doesn’t work, re-define the terms so that the question no longer has any bite AND USE THAT REFRAMING TO IGNORE THE DANGEROUS QUESTION.
  5. If that doesn’t work, FACE THE DANGEROUS QUESTION but minimize it as unimportant in the big picture (EXAMPLE: “LRH wasn’t perfect but his tech is workable”).
  6. If that doesn’t work, keep bouncing between these options and never acknowledge the question or its actual ramifications.
  7. When the period is over, go warm up to a source that confirms the core beliefs and let the damage bar on your brain’s screen recharge, and then return to the conversation and START ALL OVER.
  8. If EVER you have to face a dangerous question AND what it actually means regarding a sacred belief, always return to your “wins” about how it worked for you. Nobody can touch that.
  9. Be unconscious that your belief stays the same and that you shift criteria based on what group or person is saying that either supports or detracts from the core belief. EXAMPLE: When talking with hard core believers, you believe some facts as literal, but when talking with critics or liberal believers ONE CHANGES BELIEFS TEMPORARILY TO PROTECT THE CORE BELIEFS AND NOT REMEMBER THAT YOU FLIP-FLOPPED.

When basic science goes topsy-turvy

I have nothing against homeopath. I haven’t researched it enough to form an opinion on the subject. So that is not why I am pulling up this video.

It is because it is an excellent example of basic science, basic arithmetic and basic logic failing on so many levels. Yet the message is presented in a way that it actually convinces people. It resembles many presentations I have attended in Scientology where concepts are convincingly presented to people that are already indoctrinated to swallow the bait – hook, line and sinker.

It’s called confirmation bias, “the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.

When you are sold on one almost true concept, the next slightly less true concept becomes easier to swallow. And down a slippery slope one goes until one are ready to accept that 1=0 like in this video:

Just for fun, how many errors can you find in this video?

Scientology: The Borg of ideologies

Here are some quotes from L. Ron Hubbard about Scientology:

When somebody enrolls, consider he or she has joined up for the duration of the universe — never permit an “open-minded” approach… If they enrolled, they’re aboard, and if they’re aboard they’re here on the same terms as the rest of us — win or die in the attempt. Never let them be half minded about being Scientologists.

We’re not playing some minor game in Scientology. It isn’t cute or something to do for lack of something better. The whole agonized future of this planet, every Man, Woman and Child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology.

Scientology is the only workable system man has. It has already taken people toward higher IQ, better lives and all that. No other system has. So realize that it has no competitor.

We’re playing for blood, the stake is EARTH.

In all the broad Universe there is no other hope for Man than ourselves.

If attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace.

There is no more ethical group on this planet than ourselves.

Scientology insists on being the Only True Way. Scientologists buy into this and are convinced that Scientology is Right and that other paths are Wrong. Scientologists becomes adamant on defending Scientology regardless of opposing facts. It is the opposite of Science. When a Scientologist starts admitting Scientology is wrong in some area, he has started to move away from being a Scientologist.

Scientology is a self-perpetuating ideology insisting it is right. It is The Borg of ideologies.

The Borg

The Borg

You are an imperfect being, created by an imperfect being.

We only wish to raise quality of life for all species.

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

A rather odd exchange with a scientologist

Most exchanges I have with current scientologists follow a predictable pattern. A scientologist needs to stay out of trouble – by any means. One should not look at any critical information, not surf around on the Internet where critical information could pop up, not engage in conversations with people who could be critical of Scientology and certainly not talk to anyone shunned by their church. When a Scientologist contacts me, the exchange usually dies out after a couple of messages.

Not this one. This is an odd one out, and I would appreciate your help in understanding what is going on in this e-mail exchange.

It started out with a question from “E”:

How is your FSMing going?

An FSM cycle I initiated:
After hearing of his breakup from his then wife Jodhi Meares, I wrote a letter to James Packer (a multi-billionaire Australian businessman) about Scientology (included in the letter was material about services available at the Flag Land Base and an FSM selection slip for services at Flag). I sent a copy of the selection slip to Flag via AOSH ANZO. The next I heard was that James was receiving Scientology services in Sydney and later he stated that the services he’d received had been “helpful.”

Best wishes for 2016

From the question “How is your FSMing going?”, we get this conversation:

G: Not too well :-/

E: What barrier have you hit?

G: My own interest in FSM’ing 🙂 Two weeks after I attested OT 8 in 2006, I met with David Miscavige. That meeting helped me resolve many questions I had during my 25 years as a Scientologist. I then left the church. I found out that there are more Class XII auditors outside the church than inside – as most of the Class XIIs trained directly by LRH was expelled by the current management. Having discovered this, I was able to do my L11 and to fantastic wins.

E: Was there a time prior to your losing interest, where you were winning as an FSM?
What was discussed at the meeting (questions that were asked, replies that were given, etc)?

G: I used to be the top FSM in Norway, but after meeting David Miscavige in person, I decided that I would not again FSM for the church. Basically he violated a dozen or so LRH policies right in front of me. He tried to recruit me as the ED of Oslo Org right there on the spot and at the same time sacking the current ED which he admitted that he didn’t know. The way that conversation went was just about the weirdest I have experienced. I realized the church was indeed run by a dictator. If you want more details, I can give you more,

E: SPECIFIC MEETING INFO SOUGHT:

  1. When exactly it occurred (date).
  2. Where it took place (location).
  3. What time of the day or night it was held at.
  4. What day of the week it occurred on.
  5. If it took place inside a building (which one).
  6. If it took place inside an office (describe the interior).
  7. Whether you were given any refreshments (coffee).
  8. Whether anyone else was present.
  9. Whether the door was shut.
  10. Whether you were summoned to the meeting.
  11. The amount of time (notice) you were given to show up.
  12. Whether you were escorted to the meeting.
  13. The duration of the meeting.
  14. Whether anyone was outside the door when you left.
  15. Any other details that come to mind.

G: Wow – that was an interesting list 🙂
You are thorough. It would be interesting to see the same thoroughness applied to a look into the church statistics. Like the number of Scientologists in the world.
Let me give you the story of my meeting with David Miscavige: https://elysianchakorta.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/when-i-met-david-miscavige/
(I also attached my “doubt write-up“)

E: Re the recruitment method which David Miscavige (unsuccessfully) attempted on you: He no doubt would have found this particular approach successful at various times in the past, thus he adopted it as his SOP (standard operating procedure).

G: No doubt.
What do you think of his approach?
And what do you think about the content of my Doubt write-up?

E: I prefer to look at the incident from the viewpoint of observing the technique you use to personally handle certain types of people. Let’s say I’m your boxing coach and I want you to be able to handle every type of opponent you meet in the ring with style, effectiveness and finesse and not let any of them land a punch on you. What I do after the match, is I ask you how you felt you went. You are really the final arbiter of how you performed. You determine whether you performed at 100 percent, 75 percent, 50 percent or 25 percent. Then — if you believe you fared below 100 percent — we look at what you could have done to fare better.

G: In the real world outside of Scientology – you are absolutely right. And this is exactly how I view that it should be done. See the attached article, it thoroughly validates your viewpoint. But in the world of Scientology, one is supposed to follow LRH’s word to the letter – especially the management of the church. And here is where the glaring outpoint with that meeting really shines.

Then out of the blue, he sent me this:

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G: Before you send this anywhere, you should read the attached.

Then I sent him both Six months in the open and From Independent Scientologist to just me. He then read “all of Six months” and “most of Just me”, and sent me this:

Prerequisites to study
The most important prerequisite as far as I’m concerned is a Non-Oppressive Environment in which to study. As far as I’m concerned they can stick their f***ing academies up their asses. I FUCKEN HATE studying in Scn academies. Let me repeat that in case someone never heard what I said: I FUCKING HATE STUDYING IN SCIENTOLOGY ACADEMIES. I like to study WHERE I want and WHEN I want, without some fuckwit pissing me off with their bullshit. My favourite place to study is lying down in the park under a shady tree. Then i might walk off and go and buy an icecream. Then, there is a possibility that I will go back to study half-an-hour later — WHEN I FRIGGEN WELL FEEL LIKE IT. And if I don’t feel like it, I won’t. I hate being bugged by idiots around me, pestering and annoying me when I’m studying. It sends me wild. I am usually a fairly calm and easygoing person, but if there is one thing that brings out a FULLBLOWN RAGE in me it’s anything to do with being pestered while I’m studying. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

And then he actually sent his CSW to “David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board” via info@scientology.org – asking him to take me on as his personal recruitment consultant.

G: Please help me understand; What is your ambition in doing this? What were your thoughts after reading the two books I sent you?

He then sent me this link and this link, before I reiterated what he thought about my two books, whereupon he answered:

E: You are not OT VIII — you’re a False Declare.

G: That is a one way to deal with the cognitive dissonance. So, you think the tech in the church is faulty, since it would allow a person to go through all the Bridge with thousands upon thousands of hours of auditing and sec checks and courses and let through a false OT VIII declare?
Also, what would be your idea of a “correct” OT VIII?

E: It’s a matter of mathematics. Absolutes are unobtainable. There is always a blacker black or a whiter shade of white. The delivery lines have been under continual improvement from the day LRH gave his first session. There are so many variables involved, so many areas where breakdowns can occur. It’s not a matter of the tech being faulty; the delivery of it can always be more polished. Training has been under continual improvement. The ability of those working on the lines can always be lifted up a further notch. If you wish to disagree with the TRUTH I have revealed to you, fine.

G: What is the “TRUTH” you have presented to me?

And that is my answer to “E” just this morning.

What is your take on this exchange?

Update 2016-01-18:

The exchange continued…

E: I stated that: You are not OT VIII — you’re a False Declare. I also stated: If you wish to disagree with the TRUTH I have revealed to you,
fine. In other words, if it is your TRUTH that you ARE an OT VIII completion, well that is your truth.
You are free to keep on believing your own bullshit till the end of time if you so wish.

G: Really E, I don’t care if I am an OT 8 or not. I am who I am and I am jolly happy to be just that, me 🙂
You seem aggravated by this conversation. Why? Is it because I do not conform to your expectation of an OT 8? Is it because you sent that CSW
even after having read all that I sent you? Is it that you admitted to hating to study in a Scientology Academy? Or is it something else? Please
enlighten me. Or better, gather the courage to speak your mind in the open by commenting on my blog or on that Facebook discussion.
I still find this exchange of ours interesting. You may want to follow (and comment) on this: https://isene.me/2016/01/17/odd-exchange/. In addition to my blog, you may want to check out my Facebook page where another set of comments regarding our exchange is unfolding.

This has been an interesting exchange. But I am struggling to understand your motivations. And since you didn’t seem willing to share your reasons for our exchange, or at least didn’t answer my questions about it, I thought I would get help from others. If you have balls, you can speak your mind on my blog or on that facebook discussion.

E: “I don’t care if I am an OT 8 or not”… No OT VIII completion would ever say such a thing. You are swimming in so much unhandled stuff that it’s not funny. Please send me the name of the person who signed off on your “OT VIII” cycle — so I can add them to the report I’m writing up.

G: You don’t know much about the upper bridge. There are literally dozens of people involved in verifying a person through OT VII and VIII. I spent 2,5 years auditing on OT VII with 4-6 sessions every day. And then there was the 6-month refreshers at Flag with verifications through auditing and sec checks and the course room. There were my supervisors, the Cramming Officer, the Qual Consultant, The Qual Sec, The D of P, The auditors, the FES-ers, Ethics Officer, Lead Ethics Officer and even the RTC was involved.

The OT VII End Phenomena Check is the most thorough action on the bridge with lots of people involved in seeing it through with all sessions video taped and checked by RTC. In itself it contains a huge Sec Check. Then there was the Sec Check for leaving Flag and then there was the Mother Of All Sec Checks… the OT VIII Sec Check aboard the Freewinds. Then there was the OT VIII cycle verified by the most highly trained and then there was another Sec Check. So, aboard the Freewinds for OT VIII, you have another set of MAA, Supervisor, D of T, D of P, auditors, Qual… you name it. You may start counting names 🙂
You see, I discovered that the whole concept of the OT III case with Body Thetans and Clusters and the story about the Galactic Overlord Xenu is wrong. It is fiction. What we audited on these upper levels are not BTs – it is our own case. It is not separate identities that is beyond our creation, it is case purely of our own making. Now That is taking real responsibility for one’s own stuff. LRH tried to blame other beings. That may be one reason why he died as a mentally crippled man full of neurosis and using a psych drug before he died.
It seems you are having a rough time with our exchange. You don’t answer my questions. I answer your questions. Why this one-sided conversation?

Update 2016-01-19:

E: Then send me the names of ALL OF THEM — so I can add the lot of them to the report I’m writing up about your botched up cycle, in order to get them handled. No OT VIII “completion” should hereafter be allowed off the ship, to turn out like the piece of shit that you ended up as.

G: I cannot possibly remember the more than 50 names involved – many of the names I never even got (they were post names behind the scenes. And why
should I even try to remember? The church is disintegrating as we speak. There are less than 40 000 scientologists world wide and it is shrinking.
People are leaving the SO like never before. There isn’t much left to be corrected in the way it needs correcting. What needs correcting is David
Miscavige and his few minions. Remember, he was the one that wanted to put me on post as the ED of Oslo Org only two weeks after that “botched up
cycle” – so make sure to include him in that report. Also include yourself.

E: Would it be correct to say that you felt okay about OT VIII, right up until you returned for the OT Ambassadors photo shoot where the incident with Miscavige took place and something keyed-in?

G: No. Nothing keyed in. I’m jolly happy about all my services. But the fact of the matter is that the church is run by a dictator who physically abuses his juniors. And, as I told you, LRH got much of the upper bridge wrong. It works quite well, but not for the reasons you are told.

E: When exactly did you come to this conclusion?

G: After about 1000 hours of research – including interviewing people who had been physically abused by Miscavige and people who saw others get beaten.

In this last round of exchange, E also tells me something personal, upon which I answer:

G: As you know, I successfully coach people in all walks of life. I would love to help if I could. Let me know.

What I want, I don’t have. What I have, I don’t want.

I suspect the reason people are longing for calmness, mindfulness, Nirvana, Paradise or inner peace is that they don’t have just that. I know I wanted this. And I know that as I got more and more inner peace and harmony, I started to wish for more adventure.

inner-peace

Like the athlete who works so hard to win a race. Sweat pouring, muscles aching. She so want to get to the finish line, and most of all get that gold medal and reap the award for those thousands of hours of training. And then she does. Excitement and glory and that total satisfaction turns into a harmony and bliss that is hard to fathom. But not for long. Staying in the bliss gets boring. Working toward it is the real deal. That is the drive, the purpose.

There is no day without the night, no pleasure without pain and no high without the low. A valley is marked by surrounding mountains. And winning is appreciated when it occurs occasionally.

I strongly suspect L. Ron Hubbard was right when he said that the optimum situation and emotional level is at games.

night-day

Self correction

Self correction is perhaps the greatest of all abilities. The ability to correct one’s own thinking, emotions and actions, to correct one’s own path or one’s own goals to whatever one wishes. This ability relies on not having to defend oneself or any methodology.

To the degree one is defending self, one is glued to one’s own past and self correction suffers. To the degree one is defending a methodology, one is less able to self correct in that area.

An example pops to mind; the Scientology upper levels (the OT levels). As a person progresses up the “Bridge to Total Freedom”, he may get gains. These gains may lead him to defend Scientology. And to that exact degree he will shut himself off from self correction. He may feel “on top of the world”, making him ignore signs of own inabilities, failures, even depression. He feels that “nothing can hurt him”, making him cover up his emotions where he is in fact hurt by another. He may feel obliged to be rational, leading to blind spots of own irrationality.

But Scientology is just a one of a million examples. Every religion and every methodology injects this liability in its adherents. We see this in science where scientists cling to a theory. Energy, effort and IQ is spent defending that theory rather than seeking refinements or even better theories. We see this in marriages where a man is eager to defend his ways rather than improve them. Politicians are perhaps the worst of breed.

Defense weakens the ability to self correct. Loosing one’s need to defend can open up new areas to self correction.

Play

Had a meeting today with an interesting person. We talked business, life and philosophy. He presented an angle to “Fuck it” that changed my view on letting go – a view that is more direct, active and productive. Play is more positive. While “Fuck it” has great merit, Play is easier to adopt.

You can tell a person to “let go” of the negative emotions he creates. He can perhaps do that. Or perhaps he will struggle to figure out how. You can guide him, coach him, train him to just “give a fuck” and “chillax”. But it may take a while with some serious guidance.

Telling him to play more in life is easier to grasp, easier to do. Play is doing fun stuff that is unserious and not demand results or consequences. Ask the person what “play” is to him. Then encourage him to do more of that in his life. Voilá.

soccer