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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Do As I Say Not As I Do...

I have been in the last two months, as you might have been able to deduce from my numerous blog posts, curious about L. Ron Hubbard and his Church of Scientology. I followed the white rabbit and now, like Alice and Neo, I’m wondering how deep the rabbit hole really is.

I’ve begun reading LRH’s 1951 book, The Science of Survival, though the particular edition I am reading is from 2007 – after the repairs and corrections made by the Church of Scientology to restore LRH’s writings to their purest form.  I’m only 100 or so pages in so far, but a couple of quotes have really caught my eye, enough to write a little bit about them and to connect them to real life happenings.

The first is a little bit lengthy, and for that I do apologize. Please bear with me.

Handle the psychotic gently. Respect his rights to a whole brain and a future. Do not consider that he is your toy or your experimental animal for vivisection or strange sadistic “treatment.” Above all, when you are auditing, be a civilized human being. Don’t try to punish your patient because he “refuses to get well.” His engrams and general turbulence make your preclear very hard to reach. His basic personality is in there trying to help you. Smooth out entheta and make theta out of it and do so as gently as you can. Don’t loose your temper or resort to dramatic methods. Be civilized. Man can only be handled with reason, no by Hitlerianistic [sic] force. You can’t beat a man into sanity. If you feel so exasperated by a preclear that you would like to scold him or hit him, stop the session and go cool down. Don’t fill him full of sedatives or put him in restraints. By being as gracious and serene as you possibly can be, you will greatly increase your success in treating your fellow man. And you have to be first cousin to a saint to get the best results with a psychotic.

Any effort made to hammer a patient or scold a patient into sanity will meet with failure. … Don’t be convinced that you have rights of ownership or life-and-death powers over your fellow man. Leave that to the accomplished authoritarians, of whom we have unfortunately so many.” (Science of Survival page 35)
Here LRH is giving instructions to his followers about how they should use the Dianetic process to help clear people of their engrams (painful memories that affect the body and mind). His advice to them is really pretty good advice for counselors: Be civilized. Don’t hit. Don’t yell.


By 1951 – the time of this book’s original publishing – LRH had already been accused by his two wives (not quite successive wives, by the way) of abuse – both physical and verbal. LRH told his second wife (Sarah Northrup) that he no longer wanted to be married to her but that a divorce would ruin his reputation, so she should kill herself if she really loved him. (Bare Faced Messiah – Miller, page 184)

These accusations from friends, family, employees and followers continued through the rest of LRH’s life. During his years at sea aboard the Apollo, he threw frequent tantrums, screaming at anyone and everyone. LRH aslo instituted harsh punishments for those who failed to please him, punishments like being confined to the ship's dirty chain-locker for days or weeks at a time and given only meagre meals, or being bound, blindfolded, and thrown overboard. Some of these punishments were even applied to children.

This is not being “civilized.” This is not the way to make the world sane. And it wasn’t just LRH. This kind of abuse continued in the Church of Scientology even after LRH’s death. There has been much in the news recently about the allegations of beatings and screaming fits and verbal abuse coming from the church’s leadership.

The second quote that has really caught my eye is shorter.

Around 1.1 [of the Tone Scale / Column G “Affinity”] we reach the level of covert hostility. Here the hatred of the individual has been so socially and individually censured to a point where it has been suppressed and the individual no longer dares demonstrate hate as such. He yet possesses sufficient energy to express some feelings on the mater and so what hatred he feels comes forth covertly. All manner of subterfuge may be resorted to. The person may claim to love others and to have the good of others as his formost intrest. Yet at the same moment, he works (consiously or otherwise) to injure or destroy lives and reputations of people and also to destroy property. (Science of Survival page 64)

LRH’s Tone Scale is a characterization of human behavior based on the obseravation that some people appear livelier than others. 0.0 is “Body Death” and 4.0 is “Enthusiasm.” LRH claimed that people around 1.1 on his Tone Scale were psychotic and covertly hostile. But, this strikes me as a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

Scientologists have a policy called “fair game,” established by LRH in 1967. It states that SPs (Supressive Persons, or enemies of Scientology) “may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.” (HCO Policy Letter of 18 October 1967)

The Fair Game policy was offically rescinded in 1968, but (and there’s always a but, right?) in practice it still continues. Critics of Scientology are harassed, sued, stalked, sued, followed, sued, slandered, sued, and falsely accused of crimes. And sued.

Paulette Cooper – author of the book The Scandal of Scientology – was subjected to the Church of Scientology’s “Operation Freakout”  attempting to frame her for bomb threats against the Church of Scientology and the Arab consulate. The operation was discovered by F.B.I agents and brought to a halt.

See Scans of Church of Scientology Documents concerning Operation Freak Out
This kind of criminal and abusive behavior is not a one-off exeception to the general practice of Scientology. This is the general practice of Scientology.  Look at the history of the Church of Scientology and you’ll find ruined lives, and smeared reputations, lawsuites crafted to destroy and allegation after allegation of abuse and “Fair Game.”

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