Martin Luther

Commenting on Scientology, Inside and Outside the Church

Dan Sherman, LRH Biographer

Before I go too far, let me first say that I am not a professional writer. So I’m not an expert in the field, and I don’t purport to be. So take my comments with whatever grain of salt you like. End of caveat.

Dan Sherman is the official LRH biographer. He occasionally pops up at the periodic international events held by the Church of Scientology, and says a few words about Ron. But as far as I can tell, you can hear his prose at every event where David Miscavige speaks. He appears to be the official speech-writer for Miscavige. Subsequent to every such event, the Church puts out a tabloid size magazine detailing what was said at the event, which appears to contain all or most of what Miscavige said.

I haven’t been to a Church event in over two decades, but I do get the magazines. I used to read them cover to cover until I became so repulsed by the writing that I couldn’t take it any more. The prose is wretched. And apparently, Mr. Sherman is the author of all of it.

Many many others in the Independent Field and in the press have noted the odd phraseology Sherman constantly uses, but no one seems to have seen fit to explain it. I think I can.

When I was a kid, we had to do book reports and research papers for school. The way you did these was to go look up a bunch of stuff about whatever the subject was and make a list of important facts on notebook paper or 3×5 index cards. But part of your grade on these reports had to do with whether you could actually write a coherent, readable report from what you found. I wasn’t enough to simply write all the facts down on paper, one after the other. You had to weave all these facts into something the teacher might consider readable. How did you do that? Well, you tried to find facts that might relate to each other in some way, and then you inserted a lot of “joining words” in between them. Words like “whereas”,  “heretofore” and the like. Stick a bunch of those in there surrounding the facts on your cards, and you were golden.

That’s what Dan Sherman does. He’s given a raft of facts that Miscavige has to get through at an event, and he does exactly what I used to do when I had a research paper to do in school. He tortures the syntax of English and adds a bunch of joining words to make the whole thing sound like it’s not just a random listing of facts. If you don’t believe me, go read a bunch of his prose in one of those magazines. The first time I read any of it, I immediately spotted the same trick I used to pull in school.

No offense to Mr. Sherman. I don’t know the guy. I don’t what what else he’s written besides these speeches. I’m not making a case that he can’t write (though I have my doubts). I’m just pointing out a likely explanation for why what he writes sounds so weird.

 

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