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Friday, April 30, 2010

A Scientology Field Trip

As a pastor for a smallish congregation in a small town I get rather excited when a visitor comes into our building to see who and what we are.  I am eager to answer their questions, to show them around, and to introduce them to others in our group.  I also try to find out who they are, and why they've come to us. I hope to get to know them, and though I will probably forget their name (because I'm forgetful like that) I ask.

I want to try to make a connection to whoever comes in through our doors.  I expected something similar when I visited a Scientology center this afternoon, but it didn't happen.

I had to do some travelling today - a trip that would take me through Minneapolis.  And since I have been reading about and digging into Scientology and Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard, I thought should get out of the library, out of the books and actually visit one of their churches to meet some of their members.  So I left a couple hours earlier than I originally planned so that I could swing by the Scientology center in downtown Minneapolis.

When I walked through the doors, I was -slowly- greeted by a young man at the front desk. He said hello and asked my name.  I told him and stuck out my hand to shake, out of habit. And for a moment he just looked at me and then at my hand and then back at me.  Then he stood and wiped his hand on his trousers and shook my hand. 

I explained (after he asked) that I had read Dianetics at my local public library and had become interested in the science and tenants of Scientology, and that I was dropping by to find out more.  He then lead me to a table piled with books and DVDs and launched into a sales routine for Dianetics and a companion DVD set.

This, I expected.  Sorta'.

I've read enough now to realize that much of the "Church" of Scientology's work is in marketing, but -based on my church experiences - I didn't think that a sales pitch would be the first thing offered to someone who's come in from the street. 

I explained that I wouldn't be buying anything (economics being what they are these days, I don't have a huge surplus of funds) but that I still wanted to know more about the organization and their teachings.  But getting my host to tell me more was like pulling teeth.  I had to ask and push and prod.  I had to lead the conversation.

I asked about the "free stress test" as advertised in the window and on their web site.  My host grimaced and looked around for another staff member.  He called out to another gentlemen in the back, but he was busy.  Reluctantly he led me over to the E-meter that was sitting on display and began my free stress test.

It didn't take me long to realize that I could goof the E-meter's readings. I could cause the needle to swing to the right (indicating stress) or I could make it hover in the center (indicating no stress).  Though I think that my host caught me towards the end. "Are you squeezing the cans?" he asked.  So much for this "religious artifact." 

After that he really seemed like he wanted to get me out the door, but since I would be paying for parking in the city parking garage, I wanted to get a little more for my time.  I decided to push my luck a little bit.

I asked - in all sincerity and without malice or mockery  - about the jabs and jokes made by people about Scientology.  I asked specifically about the South Park episode that makes fun of Scientology.  "What is it that they're making fun of?  Are they just making stuff up?" I asked. 

My host looked confused. "You can ask me about the things that they've said." 

"Well," I continued, "what about space aliens throwing people into volcanoes millions of years ago?  Are they making that up?"  I asked.
"There's nothing about aliens or throwing people into volcanoes" he answered.  "I've been a member my whole life and I've never heard anything about this."  he said.  "There's a volcano on the cover of Dianetics but that's it.  It's just the cover.  It's just a symbol."

I let it go at that.  Maybe he was telling the truth.  Maybe he hasn't reached those upper levels where one is initiated into the secrets of Xenu.  But it's common knowledge (or at least it's getting to be) that there is this kind of 'science fiction' material at the core of Scientology.  To deny it seems disingenuous at the least.

I moved the conversation away from the sensitive Xenu issue and asked about his own experience.  He said he'd been a member his whole life, raised by parents who are also Scientologists.  "When," I asked, "did you realize for yourself, choose for yourself that you wanted to be a Scientologist?"

He told me about his college experience, and an unsatisfactory internship - and then pointed me toward another book, The Way to Happiness.  He then, rather awkwardly, transitioned the conversation to accounts of how this book has been the direct cause of decreasing crime rates in the country of Columbia and in Los Angeles.  "All the police have read it and the crime rates have gone through the basement," he said.

Moving on he told me about Scientology's NARCONON program and gave me a handful of pamphlets about it, all the while moving me towards the door.  I tried to stall by asking about the services held on Sundays, (what church WAITS for visitors to ask about Sunday services?)

Realizing that I was about done, I thanked him for his time, for taking a few moments to talk to me and to tell me about his life.  And again, I stuck out my hand to shake.  I wanted to be personable.  I wanted to connect with him, even if I wouldn't be buying any of his material or taking his auditing sessions.  And again, he seemed reluctant to shake my hand.

I don't think that I smelled bad. Maybe I did.  Maybe he just has a thing about touching people. I don't know.  But, I thanked him again, and walked out the door, down the street to the parking garage and continued on my way. 


- I also want to thank all those Anonymous visitors who've stopped by my little blog here in the past couple of days.  Your visits are appreciated.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Few "Classic" Dianetics Adverts and LRH Gets Religion

Here are a few "classic" Dianetics / Scientology adverts that now cruising through space at the speed of light.

What will space aliens think of us when they see them?

This first might seem like an over-the-top parody but it's not.  This really is what LRH (L. Ron Hubbard) and his Scientologist followers think about psychs - (their term for psychologists, psychiatrists, and all professionally trained mental health professionals).  LRH convinced them that all - ALL - psychologists are mad scientists.



I remember seeing this one (or one very like it).  I sorta' like the electro music.



Here is a more recent one:



The selling point in these - and most of Scientology's - advertisements is self-confidence.  Scientologists claim that they're interested in making the able more able.  Seems more like a self-help, motivational speaker kind of thing than a 'religion.' In fact, LRH said that it wasn't a religion:

"Theta clearing is about as practical and simple as repairing a shoe lace. It is nothing to do with hypnotism, voodooism, charalatanism, monkeyism or theosophy. Done, the thetan can do anything a stage magician can do in the way of moving objects around. But this isn't attained by holding one's breath or thinking right thoughts or voting Republican or any other superstitious or mystic practice. So for the reason I brought up, rule out, auditor, any mumbo jumbo or mysticism, spiritualism, or religion." - LRH  A History of Man 1952

"Scientology has opened the gates to a better World. It is not a psycho-therapy nor a religion. It is a body of knowledge which, when properly used, gives freedom and truth to the individual." - LRH  The Creation of Human Ability 1953


But then LRH got the idea that maybe 'religion' wasn't a bad angle (that's his word, by the way). 

DEAR HELEN                                                   APRIL 10


                  RE CLINIC, HAS [Hubbard Association of Scientologists]




The arrangements that have been made seem a good temporary
measure. On a longer look, however, something more equitable will have
to be organized. I am not quite sure what we would call the place -
probably not a clinic - but I am sure that it ought to be a company,
independent of the HAS but fed by the HAS.


We don't want a clinic. We want one in operation but not in name.


Perhaps we could call it a Spiritual Guidance Center. Think up its
name, will you. And we could put in nice desks and our boys in neat
blue with diplomas on the walls and 1. knock psychotherapy into history
and 2. make enough money to shine up my operating scope and 3. keep
the HAS solvent. It is a problem of practical business.


I await your reaction on the religion angle. In my opinion, we


couldn't get worse public opinion than we have had or have less
customers with what we've got to sell. A religious charter would be
necessary in Pennsylvania or NJ to make it stick. But I sure could make
it stick. We're treating the present time beingness, psychotherapy
treats the past and the brain. And brother, that's religion, not mental
science.




Best Regards,
Ron

Notice LRH's goals for his 'religious' clinic?  1-to destroy psychotherapy, and 2 to make money.
It's an angle - a pose - a trick to lure in more customers.  It's not a religion.  It's a business model.
 

"Scientology 1970 is being planned on a religious organization basis throughout the world. This will not upset in any way the usual activities of any organization. It is entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors."  - Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter (HCOPL) 29 Oct. 1962, "Religion" (emphasis added)

Becoming a religion granted them a tax-exempt status, afforded them a veneer of credibility and protection under the law.  But it's not about faith.  It's about your money.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Navel Gazing with Paul Klee: A Meditation

 “To be empty of things is to be full of God.” - Meister Eckhart
“Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” - Paul Klee

Breathe in
Breathe out
Breathe in
Breathe out

Paul Klee (1897 – 1940) said in 1924 “It is the artist’s mission to penetrate as far as may be toward that secret place where primeval power nurtures all evolution…In the womb of nature in the primal ground of creation where the secret key to all things lies hidden.”

Breathe in
Breathe out
Find the center























Klee’s painting – Omphalo-Centric Lecture (1939) – is a visual description of this quest – looking inward, looking deeper, looking into the mystery at the center of the universe, what lies before and what lies beyond. It is, quite literally, navel-gazing. 1

The mysterious figure in Klee’s painting stares out at us, as if inviting us to join the artist in this quest to find the center of things. She (?) cups in her hand a glowing navel, radiating with a sort of divine light – a light from which all knowledge spreads.

For Klee, who suffered from scleroderma (an autoimmune tissue disorder that causes a thickening and hardening of the skin and of blood vessels and internal organs) the Omphalo was a symbol of life and death. He dealt continually with images of death in the last full year of his life. But Klee did not consider death to be the end. The epithat on his tombstone (which he composed) reads:

I cannot be grasped in the here and now
For I live just as well with the dead
as with the unborn
Somewhat closer to the heart of creation than usual
But far from close enough

The 1932 painting “The Fruit is another example of this quest for the mystic center. A spiraling cord – an umbilical cord – leads us forward and backward through space and time to the intense white light at the center – the seed, the embryo from which all will grow.

In 1936 he painted “Southern Gardens.” He painted few works that year because of his illness. Yet despite his illness this work is filled with joyous light and warmth. It depicts a Mediterranean landscape – a garden. And in the center of this garden is the Omphalo. It becomes then, not just any garden, but the mythic and mystic Garden of Eden where men and women walked with God in the cool of the day.

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel described Jerusalem as “the Navel of the World.” 2 Later rabbis would expand upon this to declare that the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies sat squarely upon the center of the earth, the axis mundi, the place where earth meets sky and man meets God. It is Jacob’s ladder, leading us upward and inward into the presence of God. There we find the Cross of Calvary and the Tree of Life.

Breathe in
Breathe out
Breathe in
Breathe out
Find the center

1 “Omphalos” is the Greek word for navel.
2 Ezekiel 38:12 – see also Judges 9:37

Mission Earth: Voyage of Vengeance - LRH's Real Life

Book 7 of LRH's (L. Ron Hubbard's) 10 volume Mission Earth series, Voyage of Vengeance,  confirms my suspicion that Hubbard was thinking about himself as he wrote.

The book follows the series' villain, Soltan Gris, as he zig-zags across the Mediterranean Sea on a luxury yacht.  This parallels LRH's own life during the years 1967 - 1975 when Hubbard and his own private navy called the "Sea Org" criss-crossed the Mediterranean offending local governments at their ports of call and searching for the treasures LRH had buried in underwater temples during his previous lives.

In Voyage of Vengeance Soltan Gris is sailing aboard a first class luxury cruise liner with a professional crew, gorgeous cabins, and gourmet meals. In LRH's real life the cruise ship was a hastily converted cattle ferry, formerly known as the Royal Scotsman and later re-named the Apollo.  It was crewed by LRH's dedicated followers, members of the Sea Org, most of whom had no experience at sea.  And the accommodations and meals - for everyone except LRH and his family - were spartan and foul.

One curious incident from LRH's real life is recreated in the book.  In 1974 LRH and his Sea Org sailed to the Portuguese island of Madeira.  He expected to be greeted as a king, as royalty, as a hero, as a savior. Instead, the port authorities were suspicious because of the rumors and reports of bizarre activities at their stops. 

Sea Org members were instructed never to mention Scientology when they went ashore. Instead they were to tell people that they were part of a highly successful business consultancy firm - but the people could see with their own eyes that the Apollo was an old rust-streaked ship, crewed by ill-dressed and secretive strangers.

When the Apollo moored in her berth on Oct. 7 and Sea Org members went ashore to advertise a free rock concert (by LRH's band, the Apollo Stars) the people of the city responded by rioting - throwing rocks and bottles at the ship. They believed that the Apollo and her crew were there as part of a CIA spy operation.   LRH and his followers fled.

In Voyage of Vengeance, Soltan Gris also prompts a harbor riot (this time in Greece).  "Black PR [public relations] ... Somebody has uncorked the bottle.... Who would ever have thought I would be at the receiving end of a black PR campaign." (page 245)

Voyage of Vengeance is filled with the same undisguised hatred for psychiatrists, psychologists, homosexuals, women, journalists and etc... as the previous books.  There's little concern for story telling.  LRH just wanted and excuse to fling his bile out upon his enemies.



Monday, April 26, 2010

Mission Earth: Death Quest - Death to Mental Health

It's no secret that L. Ron Hubbard (LRH) disliked psychiatrists and psychologists.  He loathed, abhorred, despised, and hated them. And even that might be understatement.

His "non-fiction" books (and that term is used reluctantly) is filled with venom for mental health professionals.  And so is his sprawling 10 volume Mission Earth series -"the Biggest Science Fiction Dekalogy Ever Written"

I've challenged myself to read the entire series - as a learning experience.  I think I'm learning as much about LRH in his fiction as I am in his other writings and in biographies. I have just finished reading volume 6, Death Quest and  I am convinced that he was seriously twisted. 

It wouldn't be anything strange to be somewhat hesitant to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist, or a "shrink".  There has been, and to some degree still is, a stigma about seeing a counselor.  But mental health professionals have through the years have helped countless numbers of people.  That stigma is fading as more and more people realize that there's no shame in seeking professional help.  Sometimes a problem is beyond our ability to fix and we need someone who is trained to help us deal with it. Sometimes it's a more serious condition - a very real, and medical condition - that can be accurately diagnosed and treated with proper medication.

There have been, of course, failures and horror stories as well.  There have been abuses and scandals.  There are in every human profession - humans being humans after all.  But LRH saw ONLY the horror stories.

By psychology theory, there was neither limit nor personal penalty to crime unless it happened to oneself...man was just an animal that had no conscience or soul, just a rotten beast, in fact.- page 127

Psychiatry is for the rich to keep the poor in line. - page 139

Psychiatrists and psychologists are professional and they are not bound by any law: they can even murder people and nothing is done about it because they actually work with the government and courts and like them, are above the law.  They can do anything they want to anyone placed in their care.  Even murder them. - page 320
LRH filled the pages of Death Quest with lurid accounts of perverse sexual activities - bestiality, homosexual prison rape, necrophilia, and urolagnia (look it up) - and laid them at the feet of psychologists and psychiatrists.  Mental Health professionals in the book are blamed for encouraging their clients in these grotesque behaviors.  One man is told by his psychiatrist to imagine having sex with his mother.  When that didn't achieve the desired result he was told to imagine having sex with the corpse of his mother.  Another 15 year old girl was forced by her counsellor to have intercourse with the boys of her school.

This isn't just satire (as LRH claimed of the series).  This is what he really and truly believed about mental health professionals.

A psychiatrist today has the power to (1) take a fancy to a woman (2) lead her to take wild treatment as a joke (3) drug and shock her to temporary insanity (4) incarnate [sic] her (5) use her sexually (6) sterilise her to prevent conception (7) kill her by a brain operation to prevent disclosure. And all with no fear of reprisal. Yet it is rape and murder… We want at least one bad mark on every psychiatrist in England, a murder, an assault, or a rape or more than one… This is Project Psychiatry. We will remove them.  -Confidential memo "Project Psychiatry" (22 February 1966)

There's only one remedy for crime -- get rid of the psychs![Psychologists, Psychiatrists, any professionally trained mental health worker] They are causing it! -"The Cause of Crime" (6 May 1982)
And his hatred has continued to infect his church - The Church of Scientology - long after his death.  In the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks Scientologists sent a team of their volunteers to ground zero to disrupt the work of professional mental health workers.

...we are trying to move in and knock the psychs [professional mental health workers]  out of counseling to the grieving families and that could take another 100 plus people right now. Due to some brilliant maneuvering by some simply genius Sea Org [Scientology's private "Navy"] Members we tied up the majority of the psychs who were attempting to get to families yesterday in Q&A, bullbait and wrangling. They have a hard time completing cycles of action and are pretty easy to disperse. But today they are out in full force and circling like vultures over these people and all of our resources are tied up in the support efforts in the disaster zone at present.



There is nowhere on Earth right now that hurts like this place. These are brave people and they are the able and they don't know it but they need the Scientologists with LRH's tech to be here right now. ...
 
The fire-fighter company down the street from the org lost 14 members on Tuesday. No one can do anything for them or the rest but Scientologists. The other religions here with their ministers have shown their true colors and are working hand in hand with the psychs to give these people as much false data and restimulation as they can. They HAVE NO TECH and they're not even trying to hide it anymore. They've crossed over and abandoned anything spiritual and to hell with them. - An intercepted Email from Scientologist "Lt." Simon Hare

And again, after the shootings at Virginia Tech, Scientology volunteers were on the scene, claiming that their assistance had been requested by The Salvation Army and the Red Cross.  This was not true.  Their "help" wasn't requested or wanted.  This kind of help we don't need.  One man's (mental) illness and hatred should not be allowed to continue to infect people.

A History of Abused and Tortured Thetans

Scientologists are a little bit sensitive about the whole OT - III "Wall of Fire" Xenu Space Opera.  Perhaps with good reason.  It is a little weird - weird that is if taken as "science" - which is how LRH (L. Ron Hubbard) always described his work.  It's not so weird if taken as science fiction.

In this video, Tommy Davis, head of The Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre, storms out of an ABC interview when asked about Xenu.



Given a yes or no question - do you believe this? - he could have said "no" and put the whole thing to rest.  But, putting that aside, there is plenty of weird science fiction material within Scientology without going into the whole disputed (and falsely denied)  Xenu material.

In the book Scientology: A History of Man LRH described how at death the Thetan (the pure spirit being) leaves his or her physical body and goes to the "BETWEEN-LIVES" area and "reports in." For males this report area is located on the planet Mars; females are required to go elsewhere in the solar system.  At this reporting station the Thetan is brainwashed to forget his or her most recent life.

Additionally it appears that the Thetan is naively curious about bright shiny things and ornate buildings.  Seeing them, the Thetan will approach and can be captured by an Invader using an electronic force. The Invaders are "an electronics people" from heavy gravity planets intent on conquering the whole of the physical universe. The captured Thetans are then abused in a variety of ways - they are beaten up, spun around and around, jerked back and forth, and dropped repeatedly from great heights.

This, according to LRH, is why you and I are so screwed up.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Great Big "SCREW YOU" from Scientology

The auditorium was filled with excited and exuberant Scientologists dressed to the nines for this event – the OT (Operating Thetan) Summit 2007. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley – all the stars were there of course. The Stage was set with elaborate props – including a large portrait of LRH himself, staring beatifically out over the crowd; a slick multi-media presentation had been prepared, complete with humorous computer animations. It was a big deal.

Current leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, strode to the pulpit at center stage and began his address concerning “lost tech” and “the golden age of knowledge.”

I'll summarize the three hour video for you, but you can watch it yourself if you like.

Has Dianetics / Scientology not really worked for you?

Have you had trouble understanding the books and materials?

Well you have to have read them in the proper order. You have to have read them in the exact order that they were written. That’s the only way to understand them. And you have to have attended all the lectures that LRH gave. If you didn’t hear the lectures you won’t be able to understand the later material.

But even if you had read all the books in the proper order, and you had attended all the lectures, you would still not be able to understand LRH’s books because of the thousands upon thousands of errors made by the transcribers who typed LRH’s dictated books and the editors who put them together.

These brain dead idiots and miscreants should be strapped to a volcano and blown up with an H-bomb for what they did to poor LRH’s books. It’s unforgivable.

But now we’ve fixed all those thousands of mistakes and restored LRH’s books to the purity with which he spoke them.

And we offer to you, our faithful Scientologists, this great big SCREW YOU. You’ve sunk thousands and thousands of dollars into this material and you’re going to have to buy it all anew if you want to ever get to clear / OT VIII.

The audience stands and applauds. They cheer. Miscavige exits the stage with a smile and a wave.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's Always the Next Level

In 1950 L. Ron Hubbard published his book Dianetics - the result, he claimed, of years of scientific research into the human condition.  In it he claimed that he could show people how to rid themselves of all irrational behavior, compulsions, and psycosomatic illnessess (about 70% of all illnesses, according to Hubbard.)  He further claimed to be able to alieviate asthma, poor eyesight, color blindness, poor hearing, stuttering, allergies, high blood pressure, sinusitus, arthritus, ulcers, migraines, morning-sickness, alcoholism, tuberculosis, and the common cold.


"Dianetics cures and cures without failure." L. Ron Hubbard


Dianetics would lengthen the human life-span and slow the aging process.  It would boost your IQ by at least 50 points and give you a perfect memory.

The trick was to go "clear" - free of painful memories or engrams that had been recorded in the unconsious or reactive mind.

But this wasn't a problem.  It was simple to do.  A person could go clear with as little as 30 hours of auditing.

In August of 1950, L. Ron Hubbard held a lecture in the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles where he presented a young woman identified as "Soyna Bianca" (a psuedonymn) who was the world's first clear.  He called her to the stage to demonstrate the effectiveness of his Dianetics.  But when the audience began to ask her questions, she stumbled.  When they asked her to demonstrate her "full and perfect recall of every moment of her life" - she couldn't do it.

"What did you have for breakfast on October 3 1942? someone shouted. She couldn't answer.
"What's on page 122 of Dianetics someone else asked. Again she couldn't answer.
At that moment L. Ron Hubbard was pacing the stage and had his back to her. "What color tie is Mr. Hubbard wearing?" And again, she could not answer.

Dianetics couldn't live up to Hubbard's claims and the world's first clear was ushered off the stage.

Undeterred, Hubbard continued to promote his "science of the mind" and making extraordinary claims. In 1952 he published the book, What to Audit (later retitled as The History of Man)  and claimed that with Dianetics "the blind again see, the lame walk, the ill recover, the insane become sane and the sane become saner."

But now it wasn't enough to be clear. Auditing sessions now required the use of the E-Meter (a simple sort of lie-detector), and one had to clear the engrams not only from this life, but from countless thousands of previous lives going back trillions of years.

Believers continued to shell out their money for auditing sessions hoping to reach that always elusive Clear.

In subsequent years L. Ron announced that being Clear wasn't enough.  There were further levels beyond Clear.  One had to become an OT - that is an Operating Thetan.  The OT would be able to remodel his physical appearance, grow taller or shorter, loose or gain weight at will. They would have astounding abilities like telepathy, telekinesis, and remote viewing.  All that was required was that you give total control of your life and finances to Hubbard.  Don't ask questions.  Don't think about the contradictions or the failures, just keep working the procedure and Hubbard guaranteed you would become an OT

But then there were ever increasing levels of OT.  OT-I, OT-II, OT-III where one went through the "wall of fire" and was introduced to the space-opera story of Xenu.  The levels of Operating Thetans continued to increase - OT-IV through VIII were introduced each requiring many hours of expensive auditing sessions and books and recorded lectures from L. Ron.  When members of the Church of Scientology don't realize the promised changes in their abilities or health they are told that the next level will bring the break through they've been anticipating.  It's always the next level.  The next level.

David Miscavige - current leader of the Church of Scientology - recently spoke about OT level 56.  It's not clear whether or not he was joking.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Preparing for Psalm 23

The lectionary points to Psalm 23 for this coming Sunday (April 25, 2010) and I am reluctant to follow. I’ve never particularly liked Psalm 23. Gasp!

I know. I shouldn’t say things like that, even if it’s true – Especially if it’s true. Psalm 23 is a beloved psalm, a cherished and treasured psalm. To say that you don’t care for it is like saying that you don’t like grandmothers. How can you be a pastor and not like Psalm 23?

Well never mind my likes or dislikes, I will be preaching from it come Sunday. Until then, I’m considering the various ways that Psalm 23 has been used in popular culture – in songs like Love Rescue Me by U2, Jesus Walks – by Kanye West, and in movies like Pale Rider and Jarhead (Jamie Fox’s character misquotes it “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ‘cause I’m the baddest motherf***er in the valley”)

I’ve also made my own simple arrangement of the psalm for singing. It’s nothing spectacular, and my recording equipment leaves much to be desired, but here is a rough draft of it, anyway.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Weird Eyebrow


This blog post is not about scientology.  It is not about bad books.  It is not about art.  It is not about the Salvation Army.  It isn't about any writings that i've sold or not sold.

It is about my very weird eyebrow.  It is my right eyebrow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Why?" With Incredulous Disgust

On a couple of occasions in the recent past couple of weeks, I have made conversation about my reading of books by and about L. Ron Hubbard, and in these conversations one question has come up repeatedly.

WHY?

And each time it's been asked, it's been with a look of incredulous disgust.  As if the person to whom I was speaking was horrified that I would be interested in such a strange topic.  It's a fair question, I suppose, but I don't understand the revulsion.  But I'll ignore it for now, and I'll try to answer the question.

Why?  Because I want to understand. 
It really is that simple.

Several years ago someone said of me that "he wants to know everything about everything."  It was intended as scorn, as an insult.  But I wasn't really insulted because it's true - or, at least, nearly true.  I want to understand everything about everything.  (I don't ask for much, do I?)

So now I'm reading about L. Ron and his Scientology.  Why?  Because I want to understand this other religion.  I want to understand the nature of cults.  I want to understand con-men and how they lure people into their snares.   I want to understand the human condition.

That's why.  Should that be disgusting?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Don't Care for Music, Do You?

If it's not that secret chord
    the one that David sang
    the chord that Leonard found  to please the Lord,
if it's not that lonely chord
then it's one very like it
   that I'm hearing within me,
and i think it must be true;

you don't care for music, do you?


(with thanks to L. Cohen)


Monday, April 19, 2010

A Very Strange Trip with L Ron Hubbard

In 1987 Dave Wolverton won the WRITERS OF THE FUTURE contest begun by L. Ron Hubbard for his story, On My Way to Paradise.  Some time after that, Hubbard's literary agency, Author Services, Inc., gave Wolverton the opportunity to "collaborate" with Hubbard on a novel.

Hubbard died in 1986 but left behind a number of writings that hadn't been published.  One of these was a full-length screenplay "replete with detailed directorial notes, character sketches and more..."  Wolverton took that screenplay and adapted it as a novel.

I haven't read any of Dave Wolverton's other work  - he writes science fiction under his own name and fantasy under the name David Farland.  I don't know his style. I don't know if he's a good writer or not - though he has won a number of awards.

But A Very Strange Trip reads like the rest of Hubbard's work.  The humor is flat and not humorous.  The characters are undeveloped stereotyped caricatures.  Their actions are wildly implausible and their motivations ludicrous.  As with other of Hubbard books, A Very Strange Trip seems like something written by a jr. high aged boy. It is juvenille.

The protagonist, Everette Dumphree, is given the task to drive a truck full of secret contraband Soviet equipment from Trenton, New Jersey to Denver, Colorado.  Included in this cache is a time machine that is set off with the slightest bump or jostle.

Dumphree finds himself thrown into the past.  There he purchases three indian squaws - Pretty Rose, Bear Tail, and Lotsa Smoke - who are, of course, very beautiful, quite buxom, and barely dressed.  The squaws speak "movie indian" english.
"Go town, now," Pretty Rose said.  "We here long time, we set up trade."

"I make heap strong rat root tea - it give vision plenty."

"We work plenty hard.  One cup firewater not much thanks," Pretty Rose pouted.

The four of them continue the trek towards Denver and experience a number of other cliched time-travelling adventures and the end is predictable enough - they all live happily ever after and have lots and lots of money and etc. etc. etc.

I wonder how free Wolverton was to adapt Hubbard's screenplay.  His career took off after winning the writing contest begun by Hubbard.  The book was suggested to him by Hubbard's literary agency and was published by Bridge Publications, Inc. which is the publishing arm of the Church of Scientology.  I would suspect that Wolverton didn't change much in adapting Hubbard's screenplay into this novel.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Question of Hats and Reverence

What is it that makes doffing my hat in church a special mark of reverence for God - but women can keep their hats on through the service?  Is there a different kind of reverence for men and women?

And why is wearing a hat (specifically a yarmulke) a mark of reverence for Jewish men?  Is there a different kind of acceptable reverence for God for each culture,

or are these things, ultimately, irrelevent?

Does what we wear to church (three-piece suit, Salvation Army uniform, ankle length dress, jeans and a t-shirt, cowboy boots, flip-flops, bathrobe, beret, scarf, earrings, nose-rings, toga, mini-skirt, etc...) matter? 

I can wear the 'appropriate' clothes (whatever that is according to local standards) and I can doff my hat (or wear my hat)  and LOOK reverent without actually BEING reverent.

Does reminding the young gentlemen in the congregation to remove their caps cause them to be any more reverent or are we, by focusing on these externals, just perpetuating trivial individual preferences without ever touching on heart of the matter?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mission Earth: Fortune of Fear or An Excess of Rape?

Fortune of Fear is the wrong title for book 5 of L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth series. Though it does involve a fortune - two actually - and it does involve fear, a more accurate title of this book would be An Excess of Rape.

This book, like the preceding four volumes, does not directly deal with the tenants of Scientology, but it is built upon them like a lattice.  Hubbard hated the world, I think.  He despised everything about the world as a sickness, and he despised anyone or group who might offer cure for that sickness - other than Scientology.

In the course of these science-fiction satires, Hubbard used venomous and vitriolic writing to mock just about everyone:  governments, politicians, churches, preacher, scientists, journalists, teachers, businessmen, bankers, and - of course- psychologists and psychiatrists (always mentioned together without any indication that there is a difference.)

Hubbard loathed psychiatrists and psychologists.  Take, as an example, the titles he gave to pysch text books:

...Government Psychology, all about man being a lousy stinking animal that was so depraved and writhing with unconscious passions that he was totally incapable of rational thought and had to be policed with clubs at every turn;   Irrational Psychology, all about how to cure people by killing them; Psychology of Women, or How to Trick Your Wife and Mistress into Getting into the Bed of Your Best Friend;  Child Pyschology,all about the techniques of turning children into perverts; The Psychiatrist on the Couch, giving seventy-seven ways to engage in sex with animals;  Dr. Kutzman's famous text, Psychiatric Neurosurgery, all about how to end every possible brain function; and Psychiatric Stew, which authoritatively told on what to do with people when htey have turned into vegetables by the latest techniques approved by the Food and Drug Administration.   (pages 177-178)

Hubbard thought the world was sick (and perhaps it is) but his "cure" seems worse than the sickness.  In Fortune of Fear rape cures everything.

Soltan Gris cures the lesbians of volume 4 -An Alien Affair of their lesbianism and of their man-hate by raping them.

The teacher, Miss Simmons is cured of her hatred and her frigidity and her blindness by being gang-raped (or at least by being made to believe that she had been gang-raped).

And her mental illnesses - inflicted upon her by her psychiatrist father - are cured by a 'mental rape' via the Hypno-Helmet (a sort of e-meter worn as a hat, that subjects its victim to a hypnotic state wherein their thoughts and memories are changed without consent.)

"...the incident you have just been through is the right one, the correct one, the one that happened.  All other memories of that time and place are false and are gone.  You have just been through the true one.  Do you understand?" (page 332)

Hubbard was a sick, sick man.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Acceptance and Rejection

In the past couple of days I have received Two responses from magazines about poems that I submitted. 

The first was an acceptance from The Clockwise Cat for the poem "I Was a Teenage Thetan from Outer Space" - a satirical poem concerning some of the things I've been learning about Scientology.


LOL. I don't know a lot about Scientology, but I know enough about it to understand the humor in the poem. We can use it for Issue 18, due out summer.

And the second was a rejection letter from Everyday Weirdness for the poem "By the Speaking of this Charm".  But it's hard to feel disappointed about it:
Dear Jeff Carter,
Thank you for submitting "By the Speaking of this Charm" to Everyday Weirdness. It's not quite what I'm looking for, but I'd like to see something else from you. cordially,
So I'll be sending another very soon - either one from the vaults that I haven't yet submitted anywhere, or one that I am currently writing.  I don't know yet.

I still have two submissions being read (hopefully).  I hope to hear about those as well in the near future.



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mission Earth: An Alien Affair - It Just Gets Worse

I am continuing to make my way through the 10 volumes of L. Ron Hubbards' Mission Earth series, "the Biggest Science Fiction Dekalogy Ever Written."  But size isn't everything.

I have just finished book four, An Alien Affair.  On the back of the book are a number of blurbs praising the book, and the series.  And what I don't understand is how Orson Scott Card - who is an extrodinary writer, gifted, and talented and has written some of the greatest science fiction and fatasy novels - could describe this series as "Ironic, exciting, romantic, and hilarious," and then to add "It delighted me from the beginning." 

I'll give him "Ironic," but any snot-nosed kid can be ironic.  The series is not "exciting".  I've finished reading the first 4 books, but very little has actually happened to move the plot forward.  There's a lot of running around but nothing is accomplished.  There's no sense of danger (d'uh, he's not going to die here, we've got another 6 books to go).  The series is not romantic. God no.  There is no romance.  There's a lot of sex and sexual innuendo.  But there's nothing of romance in these books. There's nothing of love. 

And "hilarious"?  Absolutely not. Hubbard's idea of humor is to give all the characters punning names. For example:

The editor of the St Petersburg Grimes is Mr. Vitriahl.
The head of the International Pyschiatric Association is Dr. Frybrain.  (not to be confused with the Dr. Kutzbrain we met in book 3)
The District Chief of the IRS is Mr. Stony T. Blood
and
sceince authors Carl Fagin and Albert Blindstein.

This is humorous?  I suppose it might be if you're thirteen.

But putting all of that aside, there are some seriously distasteful things in An Alien Affair

The narrartor, Solatan Gris, finds himself captured by a pair of misandrists - two sadistic, men-hating lesbians - who torture him for sexual thrills.   The illustration on the cover of the book refferences these scenes of sadism and torture.

But these two lesbians (named Miss Pinch and Miss Candy Licorice!) aren't the only homosexual characters in the series.  There is also the effeminate homosexual man, Odur, whom Gris consistantly calls "Oh Dear" or "the little homo."

L. Ron did not like homosexuals.  No,not at all.
"The sexual pervert (and by this term Dianetics, to be brief, includes any and all forms of deviation in Dynamic II [sexuality] such as homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual sadism, etc... ) is actually quite ill physically. ... He is very far from culpable for his condition, but he is also far from normal and extremely dangerous to society." (Dianetics -page 122-123)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quick! Answer These Questions....

What was the name of the Cyclops Odysseus blinded?

Whom did the Cyclops work for?

Who made Zeus’ lightning bolts?

What minor gods are associated with the sea?

What is the Labyrinth?

What is the Minotaur?

Who were the ‘weird sisters’?
      How many eyes did they have?


<---Who is this god?

What were the 10 labors of Hercules?

Who is Ammon-Ra?

What happened to Osirus?

What happened to Horus when he was an infant?

Who is Annubis?

Who were the sons of Odin?

Where did Thor get his hammer?


What is the name of the battle at the end of the world according to Norse mythology?

What is Loki known for?

What did the dwarves make?

In Norse mythology, what was the first living thing on earth?

Can you answer these questions? My 8 year old son and 11 year old daughter can.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Thetan and Your Life as a Clam

Scientologists like to claim that they “proved, for the first time, that man was a spiritual being, not an animal.”i

I too believe that we are spiritual beings, but I don’t know what they cite as evidence – what scientific, tangible, quantifiable, verifiable evidence they have of the spirit, the soul, - or in Scientologist terms – the Thetan. I’ve read a fair number of their books now, and I see the claim, “we’ve proven it” many, many times. But I’ve not seen the proof, just the repeated claim that they have the evidence.

In fact, in the book Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought, Hubbard details the where and when of this exciting discovery:

Probably the greatest discovery of Scientology and its most forceful contribution to the knowledge of mankind has been the isolation, description and handling of the human spirit, accomplished in July 1952 in Phoenix Arizona. I established along scientific rather than religious or humanitarian lines that the thing which is the person, the personality, is separable from the body and the mind at will and without causing bodily death or mental derangement. ii(Italics added. jc)
Can you imagine that? He isolated and measured or quantified or inspected the soul. He even “handled” it. I’ll bet my Thetan is sorta’ squishy.

This event is not, however, mentioned in the list of “Important Dates in Scientology” found in text-book styled What is Scientology? In this list June 1952 has Hubbard giving lectures in Phoenix Arizona concerning the subject of “effort and energy.” And then in July of 1952 “Scientology: A History of Man book is published.”iii It says nothing about the astonishing discovery of scientific evidence for the human soul.

Oh well, maybe it wasn’t that important.

A History of Man claims to provide “a cold-blooded and factual account of your last sixty trillion years...iv" In it Hubbard traces the immortal, omniscient and omnipotent Thetan through the entire history of the universe, and even before.

According to Hubbard, before the universe existed, there were Thetans who concocted a universe for their own amusement, but became enmeshed in this universe and forgot their omnis (omnipotence and omniscience). They forgot that they were ‘gods’. As I said before: this is Gnosticism.

It seems that these Thetans (which you and I are are, we’ve just forgotten) inhabited countless, innumerable bodies though these trillions of years, including many pre-historic life-forms. Ever feel like a dinosaur? That’s because you were one in a previous life.

And in all these multitudinous lives, the Thetans accumulated Engrams – painful experiences that were stored in the eternal memory and now cause everything from arthritis and allergies to cancer, schizophrenia, and behavioral ills like murder and drug abuse…

The Thetans accumulated many of these engrams during their time as clams. The clam’s main problem – and he had many problems– was one of opening and closing the hinge of his shell. This hinge, according to Hubbard, eventually evolved into the bones of the human jaw, and if you were to be so indiscrete as to discuss the clam and his difficulty with his hinges with somebody not yet familiar with the tenants of Scientolgy, you could reawaken their engrams and cause them pain.

…your discussion of these incidents with the uninitiated in Scientology can cause havoc. Should you describe the “clam” to someone, you may restimulate it in him to the extent of causing severe jaw pain. One such victim, after hearing about a clam death, could not use his jaws for three days.
The book continues tracing the Thetan through the millennia – as other assorted animals, as cavemen, and eventually into their lives as humans. Volcanoes come into the story quite frequently v and lots of Thetans were eaten.

But eventually humans evolved, and here we are, you and I with our immortal, invisible Thetans and I’m kinda’ hungry for some clam chowder now.



***

i What is Scientology? Bridge Publications Inc, Los Angeles CA, 1993. page 641


ii Hubbard, L. Ron, Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought, Bridge Publications Inc, Los Angeles CA, 1988 (originally 1963) page 63.

iii What is Scientology? Page 776

iv Sixty trillion years would be roughly 4,300 times the general scientific consensus on the age of the universe. Don’t let science get in your way, though. Hubbard never did.

v Volcanoes are a big part of Scientology – note the volcano on the cover of Dianetics. Xenu used a volcano to obliterate billions of Thetans, but that’s a story for another blog post.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I May Have Lost a Lot of Important Things

Yesterday my laptop - that MPC brand piece of ...well

Yesterday that laptop bit the dust, gave up the ghost, shuffled off the mortal coil and joined the choir invisible.  It is now an ex-laptop.  It is defunct.  It is no more. It has ceased to be.

There were some important things on there that  might not be recoverable:  Several years worth of sermons, other assorted writings, background images for media presentations, videos, music...

When I turn it on now all I get is the message "Operating System Not Found"

The wizards in the IT department at headquarters are going to wave their wands over it to see if they can restore it to life but, I'm in a glass-half-empty kind of mood about it.  I don't expect much.

But here's hoping, anyway.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This is How You Shall Worship – Psalm 150

Some churches say you can’t pray with your hands in your pockets. You must have them raised high into the air if you want God to hear your prayer.

Some churches say that you can’t experience the presence of God if you aren’t speaking in tongues.

Some say that you can’t have guitars in church – especially electric guitars – and you can’t have drums, God no – and you can’t have keyboards in church, unless it’s a pipe organ and you’re playing the music of Bach, and Handel, and Mendelssohn.

At some churches they want you to sing the “old songs” and by “old songs” they mean a Gaither song. You can’t have church without a Gaither song. “How can you be a pastor and not like southern gospel music?” they say.

At some churches they want you to sing the “old songs” and by “old songs” they mean Gregorian chants.

Others say that you may only sing the Psalms because to sing songs of human composition would violate the command of God.

Some Churches say that you should clap during worship songs; others say that you should not clap. Some allow that you may clap if you like, but not the off-beats.

Some churches will allow you to dance in the aisle. But at most churches they’ll glare at you. Dancing is not allowed. No Dancing. Stop it.

At some churches you must wear a suit and a tie. At some churches you must wear an ankle length dress.

At some churches you’re not really worshipping until you’ve got a handful of snakes, glory-be-to-Gawd-hallelujah-amen!

At some churches you must have a sermon, and it must be an alliterative three point sermon with balanced and equal sub-points, that opens with a joke and ends with a poem.

These things are expected. These things you must do.

A door-to-door evangelist once rang the bell at my house. When I opened the door he introduced himself and then looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “Do you think that we are free to worship God in any way that we choose?”

This seemed a strange way to begin his attempt to convert me, but I told him that, “yes, I do believe that we are free to worship God in whatever form is comfortable for us, provided that we are worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth.” He didn’t really like that answer, but that was all I had time to give him. He shook his head and went to the next house on the block.

Some places of worship are quite restrictive concerning the ways and means of worship – with a list of do’s and don’ts concerning the proper mode of worshipping the Living God. Sometimes these rules are unwritten – they’re just kinda' known by all the regularly attending members - and woe to you if you visit and ignorantly do the wrong thing at the wrong time. “We don’t do that here,” they might say. “That is not the way to worship.”

There are two kinds of approaches to the ways and means of worship.

The first is a Minimalist kind of approach that says that whatever is not specifically described in the words of Scripture is not allowed. The bible does not mention an altar call – so your worship service should not have an altar call. The bible does not mention electric guitars – so your worship service should not have an electric guitar.

An example of this attitude can be found in Chapter 21 of The Westminster Confession - Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath-day.

21.1. The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all; is good, and does good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.

You may think that it’s a great idea to have a video projector and have all sorts of fancy graphics and videos as part of the worship service. It may be beautiful and stirring and powerful – but if it’s not specifically described in the bible then, according to this minimalist approach, we shouldn’t have them in our churches.

A minimalist approach to today’s Psalm would allow us the use of trumpets, harps, lyres, tambourines, dancing (gasp!) strings (but still no electric guitars!), pipes (break out the bag-pipes, I say!) and various kinds of cymbals.

Anything more than that would be – at the least, our own vain imaginations – or at worst, the prompting of the Satan.

But I’m not one to take a minimalist sort of approach. I don’t believe that to be the right – or the best way to understand what the bible is telling us about worship.

“The true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; that is the kind of worshipper the Father seeks.” (John 4:23

The other way to approach worship is with a maximalist approach: That which is not specifically forbidden is allowed (and maybe even encouraged). Psalm 150, I think, provides an example of this approach.

Psalm 150 isn’t meant to be a restrictive list (only these things are acceptable) but rather as a representative and illustrative list. Psalm 150 is open and expansive and inclusive. It encourages the creative and the imaginative. It encourages the new and boisterous and the strange and exotic.

The worship described by the Psalmist in this, the last of the canonical psalms, the doxology of the Psalter, is exuberant, jubilant, and yet solemn and stately and magnificent.

Hallelujah – this is actually two words in Hebrew: Hallelu -Praise & Yah- Yahweh. It is a command. It is an encouragement. It is the ready, set, go of worship. People praise Yahweh.

And that word Hallel is a euphoric, triumphant, kind of praise. It is a shouting, singing, skipping head over heels, celebratory praise of the Living God, Yahweh, the God of Heaven.

We are encouraged to praise him in his holy place – in the vault of heaven. Here in this place, today, this morning in this building where we are gathered, we are right now, this very moment, praising God in heaven. We are in heaven praising God. We are making heaven in our praise. Praise him in the heavenly vault of his power. Praise him for his mighty deeds. Praise him for all his greatness.

We are encouraged to praise Yahweh with creativity and diversity, with intelligence and rhythm, with beauty and with art.

We are encouraged to worship him with a fanfare of trumpets – bold brassy sounds that echo from the walls and the roof.

We are encouraged to praise him with harps and lyres – restrained, quiet, melodious instruments.

We are encouraged to praise him with tambourines and dancing – this is the beat, the heartbeat, the rhythm, the dance, the motion of worship. This is the kinetic energy of worship.

We are encouraged to praise him with strings and with pipes and with various cymbals, loud crashing cymbals that jolt awake the one sleeping in the back pew.

And lest we begin to approach this psalm in a limiting, restrictive, minimalist manner, the psalmist throws it wide open, “Let everything that breathes praise Yahweh.”

The psalmist doesn’t define it or limit it. The psalmist doesn’t circumscribe it. He throws it open. Are you breathing? Then you should be praising. Hallelujah!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Impenetrable

I am making it a point of study to read everything about Scientology and its creator, L. Ron Hubbard, on the shelves of the Martin Co. Public Library. The latest book is Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought – written in 1965, though this particular edition is copyrighted 1988 – 2 years after Hubbard’s death. I don’t know if any changes were made between those editions.

Fundamentals of Thought was “originally published as a resume of Scientology for use in translations into non-English tongues…”  (page 1) It also includes the same warning as Dianetics about not going past a word that you don’t understand.

Having read several of Hubbard’s books, I thought I was beginning to get a handle on the particular way that he mangled the English language, but this book really threw me. It is impenetrable.

Try this example from pages 33 - 34:

Criminals or maniacs are people who are frantically attempting to create an effect long after they know they cannot. They cannot then create decent effects, only violent effects. Neither can they work (do).

Despair of creating an effect brings about aberration and irrational conduct. It also brings about laziness and carelessness.

Command of attention is necessary to creating an effect. Therefore, when one conceives he cannot easily get attention, he seeks to create stronger effects. He creates effects to get attention. He gets attention to create effects.

As in Axiom 10 [defined later in the text], the creation of an effect is the highest purpose in this universe. Thus, when one cannot create effects, he has no purpose. And thus it works out in life. It may be all right to be a stern and unrelenting superior or parent, but such create laziness and criminals. If one cannot have an effect created upon one (and one is known to another), very definitely harmful results will ensue.

As one believes he creates the least effect upon unconscious or dead people, these, as in hospitals or China, become the subject of much aberrated activity. “What effect could you create on an unconscious person (or a dead person)?” asked over and over by an auditor obtains some astonishing results.
Forget translating this into other “non-English tongues.” It sounds like “Engrish” already.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ace Men























These men, in their foppery and their finery, know that they are most excellent men, that they are the genteel elite.  Their buckles are always polished and their tobacco always fresh.  They eat only cream and their farts smell like roses.  They are, of course,  Ace Men.

Mission Earth: The Enemy Within

The story so far (such as it is):

The plan is for Voltarian agent Jettero Heller to introduce advanced technology to the inhabitants of earth so that their ecological destruction of the planet will come to a halt. This isn’t done because of any Voltarian generosity. No. The leaders of the Volatarian Confederation of planets intend to invade the planet Earth and they don’t want it to be a charred husk of a planet when they arrive.

Soltan Gris has also been dispatched to Earth. He is a cruel and murderous agent, petulant and juvenile. He suspects his own twisted evil in everyone around him. Gris is sent as Heller’s handler. But he has been given another secret mission – to interrupt and delay Heller, and ultimately, to kill him. Gris’ boss, Lombar Hist has been importing drugs (Speed and Heroin) from Earth to Voltar for his own plans of overthrowing the Votlarian government and he doesn't want Heller or the planned invasion of Earth cutting off his supply of drugs.

I’ve read three of ten books in L. Ron Hubbard’s Mission Earth series now, the third volume of this insipid series being The Enemy Within. And only now at the end of the third book is the plot beginning to move – but not very much. Instead of telling the story as outlined above, Hubbard has taken us through Heller’s strange antics – enrolling in classes at Empire college, taking a tour of the FBI headquarters, ingratiating himself with the Corleone mafia family (yeah, Hubbard was that lazy),forming a multinational corporation with the help of his somewhat nerdy (and Jewish) friend. (Get it? Hubbard’s reminding us that the Jews control everything) and competing in a stock car race.

And when we’re not following agent Heller’s meanderings we’re subjected to the rantings of Soltan Gris, who has finally received the concubine he ordered. He spends a considerable portion of The Enemy Within conspiring to get her into his bed.

This is top notch stuff, I’m telling you. Riveting.

There’s nothing new in The Enemy Within, the same complaints: poor writing, terrible grammar, ridiculous characters and implausible scenes.

But there is however, Hubbard’s overriding hatred for psychiatrists and women. In this third volume of the Mission Earth series, Jettero Heller is seen visiting the psychiatrist Dr. Kutzbrain and his assistant, Nurse Screw.

I’m not kidding.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Scientologists are the New Gnostics



Here is what I have discovered: Scientologists are the new Gnostics.

This isn’t a new discovery; I’m not so brilliant as to have a completely original thought. Others who study theology and religion have already reached the same conclusion.

And in bold fact, Scientologists openly acknowledge the fact.

“Scientology is a Gnostic faith in that it knows it knows.” i

According to Scientology every person is really a Thetan - an infinitely capable and immortal spirit that has become trapped into a physical body and in this physical reality. Through the secret teachings of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, the Scientologist believes that he or she can learn to escape the confines of this physical universe.

And this is Gnosticism.

Gnosticism was a widely varied system of belief in the ancient near east. It was syncretistic – meaning that it melded together bits and pieces from different philosophies and religious. But one of the unifying thoughts of Gnosticism was that the Gnostic believer would have revealed to them an esoteric knowledge through which the spiritual elements of humanity would be reminded of their true origins within the superior Godhead, being and thus be permitted to escape materiality. ii

Scientology maintains that mankind is basically good. Men are not evil. Women are not evil. Instead, they are just ignorant of their real divinity. We do not need a savior. We do not need a Messiah. According to the Scientologist we need only to awaken to our own potential. We can, they say, save ourselves.

But I know myself well enough to recognize the error there.

I am not “basically good,” or if I am (having been made in the image of a perfectly good creator) then I am, because of my own choices and my own actions, bent towards evil. I cannot dig myself out of this pit that I have dug for myself. I need a Savior.
 
i http://www.basicscientology.com/basic-scientology.htm
ii (Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels, Vintage Press, 1989, pgs. 18, 37, 42.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coming Soon: Northwoods TV 2010

Is it too early to be excited for music camp?  I don't think so. 
Especially since I'll be working with the Northwoods TV again this year.

Here's a trailer to whet your intrest:



At my Youtube channel you can also find playlists for Northwoods TV 2008 and 2009.

Were you there?  Are you in the video?  Are you going to be there this year?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Basic Language of Dianetics

“In reading this book, be very certain you never go past a word you do not fully understand. The only reason a person gives up a study or becomes confused or unable to learn is because he or she has gone past a word that was not understood.”

This “Important Note” prefaces L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics. It is a fair warning. Hubbard makes strange use of the English language and if you attempt to read it as if it were written in English, you will not understand it and you will probably give up.

He insists that he is writing in “Basic language” (pg. 2) so that ordinary housewives and businessmen can understand. He isn’t interested in peddling his “modern science of mental health” to scientists, biologists, physicians or mental heath professionals. In fact, Hubbard sneers at scholars and academics and intellectuals.

He is dismissive of them because they can see through his pretentious pseudo-scientific style. Over and over again in Dianetics, Hubbard insists that this is “scientific fact” and that his program is a “science of the mind.” But he does not offer any evidence. Not once.  

Instead he piles claim upon outrageous claim. “About 70 percent of the physician’s roster of diseases fall into the category of psychosomatic illness,” he claims on page 111. Documentation of this? Statistical analysis? Nope. Just the claim that Engrams cause them all and that those engrams can be “cleared” from the devoted follower.

Don’t ask questions. Don’t try to understand the meaning of words. Don’t expect evidence. Just keep forking over the money for your auditing sessions.

Monday, April 5, 2010

This is Dianetics

Hey. Remember that time when I had surgery and I was unconscious because of the anesthetics and the Doctor called the nurse a “stupid twit” but my ‘reactive mind’ heard it and how ever since then I’ve acted like a stupid twit? Remember that?

Or

Remember when I was really young – this was two or three weeks after my conception, and my mom was at the grocery store and someone bumped into her with a grocery cart and they said to her “you’re in my way” and I felt the bump and I thought they were talking to me and so now I hide in my room all the time so I won’t be in anyone’s way.

No? Why are you snickering? This is serious stuff.
This is Dianetics.

According to L. (Lafayette) Ron Hubbard, creator of Dianetics, we all have what he termed a ‘reactive mind.’ This ‘reactive mind’ is recording every moment of our lives, every experience, everything we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, think and or imagine. Everything.

We also have what he called an ‘analytical mind’ which is our thinking, reasoning, deciding mind. And this mind is perfect. It never makes a mistake. Never has a fault. According to Dianetics our perfectly operating ‘analytical mind’ is blocked up by ‘Engrams’ created by the ‘reactive mind’.

Engrams are the impressions of painful events when we were either unconscious or not yet aware – like my surgery or prenatal experiences. In fact, Hubbard says that most of our engrams come from the trauma we endured in the womb.

And these engrams are responsible for everything: arthritis, bursitis, asthma, allergies, sinusitis, coronary trouble, high blood pressure, cancer, poor vision, hearing loss, even depression, schizophrenia, and various kinds of cancer… And what is more, these engrams are responsible for our poor behavior as well. Are you timid – Engram! Are you addicted to pornography – Engram! Are you angry – Engram! Are you an alcoholic- Engram! Are you a murderer – Engram!

It’s not about what you do. No, no, no. In Dianetics, it’s about what happened to you to cause all of these Engrams that make you the way you are.

There is no judgment in Dianetics. There is no fault or sin or moral depravity. In Dianetics there are only engrams. And those aren’t your fault. You got your reactive mind all filled up with engrams because mommy and daddy had sex while you were in the womb, because mommy was constipated while she was pregnant with you, because she used a douche while you were in the womb.

Your reactive mind is filled with engrams because daddy yelled at mommy while you were in the womb, because daddy hit mommy, because daddy threw mommy down the stairs, and tried to give her an abortion by punching her in the stomach…..

Seriously. 90% of Hubbard’s anecdotal illustrations are of spousal abuse or attempted abortions. This, I think, says something rather striking about Hubbard’s own mind.
But praise Xenu there is a cure.

Your troublesome engrams can be “cleared” from your reactive mind. With the help of a patient ‘auditor’ you can become a “clear” and never again have to worry about engrams causing you to make bad choices or to suffer a migraine.

More later.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mission Earth: Black Genesis Fortress of Evil - the awefulness continues

Give up. Maintain a low expectation. There will be no reward, no prize at the bottom of the box. There will be no buried treasure. L. Ron Hubbard’s 1.2 million word Mission Earth series is a literary black hole, an abyss, a bottomless pit of despair.

So, I can hear you asking, why am I subjecting myself to it? Why am I doggedly plowing through this morass if there can be no expectation of reward? I have, I guess, become rather fascinated with L. Ron Hubbard and with his sci-fi religion, Scientology.

You don't get rich writing science fiction.
If you want to get rich, you start a religion. 1
               L. (Lafayette) Ron Hubbard

In Black Genesis Fortress of Evil, the second volume of the Mission Earth series, Hubbard continues the story of Jettero Heller – a Voltarian agent sent to Earth to save the planet from it’s own self destruction and of Soltan Gris – another Voltarian agent whose mission is to sabotage Heller’s mission so that a steady supply of narcotics can be delivered from Earth to Voltar.

But none of that matters.
Nothing in the first two volumes, nothing in over 900 pages has anything to do with this.

Jettero spends all of Black Fortress allying himself with a mafia family and enrolling in classes at Empire college. Soltan Gris spends the book remotely watching Heller via an implant in Hellar’s skull, that and kicking children to make them cry and complaining that his concubine hasn’t been yet been delivered.

But I am coming to understand something about Hubbard the man. I think that he wanted to be perceived like his hero Jettero Heller – good, noble, pure, idealistic, virtuous, generous, and endowed with a superhuman intelligence. But he has lavished such careful attention on the villainous Gris, that I am convinced that this is a more accurate representation of Hubbard’s character.


There is no more ethical group on this planet than ourselves. 2
Soltan Gris hates everybody, thinks everyone else in the world is uncultured, incompetent, and up to no good. He sees in everyone else what is true about his own self. This is, psychologically speaking, projection – but don’t let Hubbard hear me say that. He hated psychologists and psychiatrists.

He also hated the FBI, the CIA, the IRS, - well any government agency. He also hated educators, journalists, homosexuals and women.

The misogyny in these books is unmistakable. There are only two kinds of women in The Mission Earth books (at least in the first two, the two that I’ve read) – Women are either cold hearted men hating bitches or sluts willing to spread for the first man who comes along. In the first volume the reader was introduced to Countess Krak. This, I thought, was just an unfortunate name, but in the second volume we meet Soltan Gris’ concubine Utanc. It’s an anagram. A very crude anagram.

But don’t let anyone ever say that the Mission Earth books are sophisticated. They’re not. They’re juvenile. They’re puerile. They are the kind of books that a Jr. High version of Dwight Shrute (from The Office) would write.

Some random examples of the quality of writing in Black Genesis:

Miles from the U.N. area, and now in the garment district, Heller was clickety-clacking along, on his way to I knew not where, but if I knew Heller, up to no good. -pg. 248

“Kid,” said Vantagio, “you saved my life! I never before seen such terrific shooting!” He regarded Heller for a bit. “How did you come to get here, anyway?” - pg. 242


I groaned. I was dealing with an idiot, not a special agent. Special agents don’t eat candy! They smoke cigarettes! – pg. 165


I'm reading Dianetics now.  I'll write it up when I finish.  Wish me luck.

1 Response to a question from the audience during a meeting of the Eastern Science Fiction Association on (7 November 1948), as quoted in a 1994 affidavit by Sam Moskowitz.


2 "Keeping Scientology Working" (7 February 1965)

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