Martin Luther

Commenting on Scientology, Inside and Outside the Church

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

What’s Wrong With the Church, Part 9: Violence and Torture

Ron didn’t have a particular problem with physical fighting. He’d been in fights as a kid and adult. And there aren’t any entries in the Scientology codes of justice about punching someone as a crime. He recognized that sometimes humans get fed up with their fellow man and the result is bumps and bruises. However, so far as we know, there are no known cases of Ron punching anyone in orgs or the Sea Org.

The point here is that, while Ron was connected with managing Scientology, physical violence was not used as a method for managing personnel. Nor was physical torture, so far as we know. There might be those who would argue that the arduous tasks they had to perform on their “Products” (the introductory levels of Sea Org training) or the RPF were torture. Such claims are exaggerated at best. Hard work is not the same as torture.

However, ample evidence and testimony has now emerged that in the last few years, physical violence and outright torture have become commonplace in the handling of executives and staff at the upper levels of the Church of Scientology. If you don’t read the newspapers, you may not have heard of this, but as I say there is plentiful evidence of it, including court testimony from former senior executives of the Church. Much or most of this has been carried out by Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Religious Technology Center, David Miscavige, and his juniors. Most recently, Debbie Cook, former Commanding Officer of the Flag Service Organization testified in court to exactly this. Stories from other (former) senior executives corroborate her testimony.

While Ron may have regarded the rare fist fight as something unfortunate to be cleaned up afterward, physical violence and torture are by no means called for in any policy anywhere written by Ron. Such things were never, ever recognized as methods for persuading anyone in management to perform any task. Yet they appear to be common use at the upper levels of Church management in present time. More than unfortunate, this type of conduct is not only illegal but a PR embarrassment for the Church. There is no room for it in an applied religious philosophy with a rich management technology such as we have.

One has to ask, why would anyone resort to such things? I leave that as an exercise for the reader.


What’s Wrong With the Church, Part 8: Children and the Sea Org

Anyone who knew LRH knows that Ron loved children. He admired the freedom of their spirits and even authored various lectures and issues directly related to children, their care and spiritual advancement. When the Sea Org was started in the late 1960s, there were a number of children aboard the Royal Scotsman (later, the Apollo) both from Sea Org members and from the public who were then being serviced on the ship. At some point, the “Cadet Org” was formed to give some organization to these children, particularly those who wanted to be in the Sea Org. Some of the first Commodore’s Messengers were children. The ship had nannies and tutors as needed to care for and educate the children.

Slowly but surely over time since Ron passed on, the policy in the Sea Org regarding children changed. At one point, Sea Org members with children were forced to serve in Class V orgs instead of Sea Org units. The current policy appears to be to forbid children completely in the Sea Org. There are even numerous credible reports of Sea Org personnel being strongly encouraged, if not forced, to receive abortions. Those who refuse are expelled from the Sea Org. This cuts directly across of second dynamics of Sea Org members.

Such a situation would have horrified and appalled LRH.

Assuming for a moment that you were an SP, and you wanted to suppress the expansion of Scientology, particularly at the upper levels, might one of your methods be to cut completely across the second dynamics of the most senior administrators and technicians in the Church?


What’s Wrong With the Church, Part 7: Pricing

Pricing is a thorny issue. There have been many issues put out by Ron and others concerning this topic. But LRH’s original intent was that an org’s services should be obtainable by the average person at a reasonable rate (ref: HCO PL 23 Sept 64 Policies: Dissemination and Programs).

In the late 70s, the pricing situation in orgs became intolerable. Inflation worldwide was extremely high and LRH ED 284 The Solution to Inflation was issued as an answer to this problem. Various revisions and extensions to this LRH ED were issued subsequently, and after LRH’s passing, others issued similar edicts. Even some of the issues from LRH contradicted other issues he had written.

However, it appears that whatever policies are now in place, pricing for services across the globe are far from obtainable by the average person at reasonable rates. One recent analysis of advanced org services shows that, between the period 1974 and 1996, the prices rose a staggering 2264%, or almost 23 times their original rates. (This does not include the aberration of insisting on 14 intensives of sec checking on OT VII and other such insanities.)

In 1976, the price of an intensive (12-1/2 hours) of auditing was $625 in the United States. I encourage you to check the price of that same item at your local org today and conduct your own comparison of that price against inflation since 1976. I believe you will find the two figures out of line. The pricing of other items, particularly that of advanced services, has risen even more than the base price of an intensive at your local org.

Now, if you were an SP and wanted to prevent people from availing themselves of the way out of the trap of this universe, could one way perhaps be to price the route out of the trap so that only the rich and powerful could afford it?


Jokes (For Those With A Sense Of Humor)

Here are some jokes, just for Scientologists. If you can’t laugh at yourself or some of the quirks of your religion, don’t read them. I have no desire to hurt anyone’s feelings or offend anyone. I expect that even Ron would have laughed at these. The first is one I made up, and the last two have been around for years. I hope you enjoy them.

Joke #1:

My wife was running a touch assist on me the other day, and suddenly asked me if I was wearing rings… (think about it).

Joke #2:

Question: How many Scientologists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Answer: Five. One to screw in the light bulb, and four to sign the routing form.

Joke #3:

LRH dies and goes up to heaven. At the pearly gates, he meets St. Peter. St. Peter has his clipboard in hand with his list of names on it. He asks Ron for his name and Ron says, “L. Ron Hubbard”. St. Peter’s eyes widen a bit as he looks up from his list, and asks, “The L. Ron Hubbard?” Ron hesitates for a second and replies, “Yeah, I guess so, sure.” St. Peter, still a little skeptical, asks, “The L. Ron Hubbard who wrote Dianetics and founded Scientology?” Ron replied, “Yeah, that’s me. Is there a problem?” St. Peter held up his hand and instructed Ron to stay right there at the Pearly Gates. Then St. Peter went inside the gates and was gone for a time.

Soon, St. Peter returned with another gentleman. His companion was a youngish fellow in his early 30s with flowing brown hair, a dark complexion, and a beard. The companion came up to Ron and asked, “You’re the L. Ron Hubbard?” Ron replied, “Yeah. Listen, is there a problem?” The companion, rather than answering the question, simply said, “Come with me.”

Ron and the young fellow proceeded through the Pearly Gates and to a pathway which led to a long set of steps. They began to climb the steps, and soon Ron could see that at the top of the steps there was an older gentleman sitting on a golden throne. The older man was dressed in white robes and had long, flowing white hair and a long white beard.

Soon, Ron and the younger fellow were at the top of the stairs. At this point, the young fellow addressed the older man sitting on the throne. He said, “Father, I have brought you The L. Ron Hubbard.” The older man looked Ron up and down, and in a deep, booming voice said, “So you’re the L. Ron Hubbard, eh?” Ron, sensing that this fellow was someone very important, said, “Yes sir. I am.” Whereupon the man on the throne pointed to his side and said, “Say listen, Ron, I’ve got this somatic right here….”


What’s Wrong With the Church, Part 6: The Golden Age of Knowledge

A few years ago, the “Golden Age of Knowledge” (GAK) was released by the Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center (RTC), David Miscavige, and the management of the Church of Scientology. This consisted of newly edited editions of all the basic books, a mass of Ron’s lectures now on CD with transcripts and glossaries, the Congresses, on CD with transcripts and glossaries, and eventually, the Advanced Clinical Congresses (ACCs) on CD with transcripts and glossaries (all collectively now known as “The Basics”). In addition to the fact that this material was now more readily available (no more reel-to-reel tapes as the only source for many of the lectures, and no transcripts), they were billed as being available in a much broader array of languages.

According to the information given out by Miscavige at the GAK release, the basic books had never been edited properly, and had in fact been, in some cases, considerably altered by others. I happen to have 1979 editions of all these books and more, and I can attest that some of the original edits were quite bad. Others seemed perfectly fine. (One peculiarity about this release was that word came down later that older releases of the books should be destroyed. I take exception to this. If they could be badly edited in the first place, they could likewise be badly edited with GAK as well. I would encourage anyone to keep your older editions around. There is some suspicion in the Independent Field about some of the edits which were done for GAK.)

On the plus side, having this material available (particularly the ACCs) is a boon to Scientology. Some of these lectures hadn’t been heard in decades since they were originally given by LRH. And I have no doubt that LRH wanted them all fully available in a form which was readily accessible to Scientologists. There are Scientologists who, up until the GAK release, had no idea of the timeline of discovery of the Tech, or even the timeline of the books they routinely saw for sale in their Church bookstore. One has to wonder how they imagined all this Tech came about, or if they ever thought about it at all.

Along with the books and CDs themselves, courses and extension courses were also released. This, too, was a bonus. This would put some discipline in on learning this material. According to many of the people subsequently doing these courses, they appear to be of great benefit. The wins are many, as they usually are when studying LRH material. Many have reported that doing these courses has sped up their progress on other parts of the Bridge. Another bonus. (Many in the Independent Field might argue that such success stories are likely coerced. While this may be true, it’s likely that many experienced real gains by reading, studying and listening to this material. I would advise this: don’t invalidate a student’s gains. You wouldn’t do so for a PC. Afford students the same courtesy. And if you’re someone who has experienced gains from this material, remember that if it’s true for you, it’s true.)

And now we come to the dark side of GAK. First, it appeared at the time that every Sea Org member in the world was instantly recruited to become a reg for Basics packages, no matter what their actual post. Flag, which had ignored me for a quarter century, sent at least four Sea Org members to my house to pressure me to purchase Basics packages, despite the fact that I was a freeloader. Apparently, my freeloader debt was a minor issue compared to the need to move volumes of Basics packages quickly. Mine was not an isolated case. I’ve heard from many other people who have more than one, and sometimes many Basics packages sitting around gathering dust. I have an extra set myself, if you’re interested in purchasing one. Needless to say, the pressure to purchase these was enormous. There was a tremendous push to purchase these things to get them into every library in the world as well. Considering the number of “extra” sets gathering dust, I have to assume that all the libraries who needed or wanted them must have copies by now. (There is widespread agreement in the Independent Field that many of the sets sent to libraries were simply resold or discarded by them as unwanted. How true this is planet-wide is unknown.)

The point here is that these sets were fairly expensive, and Scientologists were crush regged to purchase them, regardless of the circumstances. One has to ask how many Bridge services were forgone in favor of Basics purchases. This was an unwise and detrimental use of money better spent elsewhere on the Bridge. Particularly when Scientologists were regged to purchase many sets they would never use or be able to rid themselves of.

And now we come to the real crime with regard to the Basics and GAK. The Basics instantly became a prerequisite for other Bridge actions, including the OT levels. While a hatted PC or OT is always preferred to one who is not, this is clearly a Tech additive. It acts as a hidden additive on the checksheet of every course or action it is a prerequisite for. According to the promotion by the Church, doing the Basics full time takes eight weeks. Part time would be much longer.

Let’s return to the idea that, upon the departure of Ron in 1986, the subject of Scientology was workable and complete. Let’s ignore the existence of the lectures from the Basics for the moment and concentrate strictly on the books. The basic books, regardless of how well or poorly they were edited, were for sale in 1986. And as needed, these books were selectively required by LRH on certain courses for certain specific reasons. Nowhere did Ron designate that all basic books be gotten through as a prerequisite for any other course or Bridge action. Yet after GAK, all the basic books and lectures became prerequisites for significant portions of the Bridge.

If you don’t comprehend the significance of this, then grab a current (2012) copy of Advance! Celebrity, Source, The Auditor, or any other org magazine. Flip to the section of the magazine when they detail graduations and completions. Count up how many students have completed Basics courses versus the actions which would normally be the bread and butter for those orgs (Briefing Course for SHs, OT levels for AOs and Flag, OT VIII for the Freewinds, etc.). You’ll find that nearly every course room everywhere has been turned into a Basics academy. As a particularly significant example, look at AOLA. AOLA is not particularly known as a training org. They do deliver some training necessary to make solo auditors. But primarily they deliver OT levels. Yet current Advance! magazines show that AOLA appears to be delivering mostly the Basics. It’s the wrong action for an advanced org, forced on it by the need to handle what is now a tremendous backlog of people on their way to or in the middle of their OT levels, who must now catch up by doing the Basics line-up.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with studying the Basics. There’s everything wrong with making them prerequisite for everything else under the sun. Here’s what should have happened instead. If the PR from the Church is true, and the Basics actually do speed up other Bridge actions (and if this was found to be valuable button), then the study of the Basics could have been offered by Class V orgs and Missions as a therapeutic action, apart from the Bridge. If the speed-up button wasn’t valid, then surveys could have discovered some other buttons which would result in people wanting to purchase and study the Basics as a separate action. They could be delivered in volume by Class V orgs and missions, where such actions belong.

One other point. At the GAK unveiling and since, a promotional point has been made that the book plus the lectures surrounding it equal “full conceptual understanding“. This is a subtly invalidative statement on two levels. First, it implies that, if you studied the book alone before, you simply didn’t get it because you didn’t listen to the lectures as well. Despite the fact that you applied standard study tech under the supervision of your supervisor. It also invalidates the book as a standalone source of the Tech. Despite the fact that Ron never demanded you listen to the lectures in order to understand the book he wrote.

Now the question: If you were an SP and you wanted to stop or significantly slow the progress of Scientologists up the Bridge, what’s one way you could do it? How about a slew of courses never called for by LRH, but inserted as a prerequisite to most parts of the Bridge?

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