Martin Luther

Commenting on Scientology, Inside and Outside the Church

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

What’s Wrong With The Independent Field: Psychs, Part 2

A while back, Marty Rathbun made a post to his blog concerning Ron’s and the Church’s attitude toward the psychological/psychiatric field: Scientology Inc. versus the Psychs. I posted some comments to that blog entry, along the lines that I was puzzled why there was so much sympathy toward the psychs in the Independent Field, and cautioning that I felt such sympathies were misplaced. Finally, Marty responded to one of my comments this way: “Your views and your blog are flat earth, pure and simple.”. I was taken aback by this reaction, and answered his post along these lines: “An ad hominem? Seriously? My whole blog? How about if we let others decide” and then I included a link to my blog. Marty didn’t allow that comment. And to my knowledge, he as not allowed any comment of mine to appear on his blog since that time. (When I try to post a comment, I don’t even get a “your post is being held for the moderator”.)

I have no interest in getting into politics or a firefight in the Field. And I have nothing particularly against Marty. In fact, I applaud and appreciate what he’s done for the field. He provides a clearinghouse for people “coming out” of the Church, provides vital strategic intelligence of Church tactics, and does a lot of vitally needed repair on people who, coming out, desperately need it. And his book (What Is Wrong with Scientology?) was a good read. If nothing else, I learned a lot about grades processing that I didn’t know before.

Nonetheless, Marty is very sympathetic to psychiatry/psychology/sociology. His reading list includes at least two books by psychs/sociologists. And his latest post (Selectively Numbing and Thought Stopping) includes a video clip of a brief talk given by a research sociologist. Marty comments that her talk is a good adjunct to some of the concepts he mentioned in his book, and serves to further explain the origin of and need for “decompression” time when people leave the Church.

As I understand it, when Marty exited the Church, he was in bad shape spiritually and mentally. His very compassionate wife, Monique, and her father (an ex-Marine and therapist) were instrumental in helping him get to the point where he could begin to confront his experiences with the Church, etc. So I can understand why he might be sympathetic to psychs.

What I take issue with is three-fold. First, Marty is (not by his choice) seen as an opinion leader in the Independent Field. If you look at the comments attached to his latest post (cited above) and others, they are almost uniformly positive and laudatory. This includes one by Mike Rinder, which characterizes Marty’s search for understanding as “inspiring” and “greatly appreciated”, even though it veers into the psych field. Despite Marty’s protestations, he is accumulating a “cult of personality” around him. This was inevitable, given his visibility, experiences, and his excellent ability to communicate. But because of his status, people who might otherwise be persuaded to look to Scientology for the piece or pieces of the Tech to handle their problems or questions, instead are being directed toward psychology and sociology.

Second, there is Marty’s reaction to my blog comment (cited above) and others who disagree with his viewpoint on this subject: personally attack them (ad hominem) and censor them. Don’t get me wrong. Marty has every right to do as he likes on his blog, just as I do. And not being able to comment on Marty’s blog is more a nuisance to me than anything else; I have no burning need to comment. I just find it remarkably hypocritical on his part. At every turn, he seems to advocate for free thought and free speech in the Field. But when it comes to this subject, the discussion appears to be closed. I also find this reaction remarkably similar to the way the Church has come to react to those who disagree with or question its activities: attack the person and censor them. (In the Church’s case, it’s declare and disconnect.) And it is precisely these kinds of reactions that Marty and others in the Field appear to object to from the Church. It is definitely not the type of reaction expected from someone (or some entity) with clean hands and a pan-determined attitude. I’m not trying to cast aspersions on Marty’s character. I’m merely making a technical observation.

Third, the vast majority of people who exit the Church profess to still believe in the Tech as a workable system which should be standardly practiced and which does produce the products it claims to. Their beef is not with Ron’s technology, but with the Church and David Miscavige. And yet, when they begin to “decompress”, what do they do? They appear to dive straight into their own cases, figure-figuring about what they did wrong, what the Church did to them, why it happened, etc. etc. Is this what Ron would recommend? Or would he instead insist you get some help and get into session? Does anyone believe that the horrible experiences you’ve just been through in the Church cannot be undone with the proper application of Standard Technology? It is for precisely this reason that I advocated earlier (The Leaving Scientology Rundown) for a set of case and ethics (not justice) actions to repair those in need of repair when leaving the Church.

As I listened to the sociologist’s talk (cited above), and thought about the experiences of those leaving the Church, I was struck by the remarkable similarity to the experiences, attitudes and reactions of rape victims. Betrayal, guilt, individuation, shame, feelings of rejection, etc. And in many senses, what the Church has been doing to parishioners in the last few years is, in effect, a form of rape. If not physical, certainly spiritual. Think about it. The question is, is rape (spiritual or physical) beyond the reach of our Tech? Of course not.

I understand. You just got out of a no-win scenario with the Church. You’ve been suppressed. Don’t think this. Don’t look at that. Don’t read the other thing. And now you’re finally free. But you’re loaded up with psychic scars, the likes of which you may not have experienced for lifetimes. You’re looking for answers. You’re looking for relief. But instead of looking to the one place where you profess there is a workable technology to handle your conflicted emotions and answer your conflicting questions, you’re investigating psychology? Or eastern mysticism? Or the Tao Te Ching? And you say you’re looking for truth? For answers? On the study tapes, Ron talks about the need to discard areas of unproductive inquiry in order to better focus on areas where true answers may lie. Again, people are free to look where they like for answers. But if you’re looking into the field that brought us ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), prefrontal lobotomy and behavior modification, how many truths do you think you’re going to find? (Many folks will say that psychology has changed over the years. I’ve got news for you. Psychology started “changing” in the 1930s, starting with Abraham Maslow. They still haven’t developed a workable technology.)

And yet you find people in the Independent Field actually pointing you in that direction. Let me reiterate some things you’ve read on every course you’ve ever taken in Scientology.

In fifty thousand years of history on this planet alone, Man never evolved a workable system. It is doubtful if, in foreseeable history, he will ever evolve another. …

It has been proven that efforts by Man to find different routes came to nothing. …

Scientology, exactly and correctly followed, takes the person up and out of the mess. …

Scientology is the only workable system Man has.

(Taken from HCO PL 14 Feb 1965 Safeguarding Technology)

Whatever Ron may have said earlier about other avenues and other similar subjects, the above is what he said in 1965, and it never changed thereafter. And its importance is underscored by its inclusion on virtually every checksheet in Scientology.

If the above is “flat earth, pure and simple”, then I live on a two-dimensional planet, the same one LRH used to live on. You’re welcome to live here, too.

What’s Wrong With The Independent Field, Part 8: Your Third Dynamic

There is a decidedly “us versus them” attitude in the Independent Field when it comes to the Church of Scientology. This is somewhat understandable. Many of those in the Independent Field have had to endure the betrayal of the Church and their friends and family. And in some cases (like Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder), the Church and its agents have dogged and harrassed them beyond reason.

And like many in the Field, I’ve read more than my share of Doubt Formulas ending in the person’s decision to join the Independent Field and effectively “disconnect” from the Church of Scientology. The end result is generally that those in the Field now consider the Field their new “third dynamic”.

While I don’t want to evaluate for anyone, let me pose a question: Why aren’t those people who are still in the Church of Scientology part of your “third dynamic”?

Those people who are still part of the Church share a common reality, however submerged and subverted, with those of us on the outside. We generally all share a love for, respect for, and devotion to Standard Technology. We all agree (or should) that, when properly applied, Standard Technology works, and will resolve the problems of life to which it is properly addressed. We share a common language. Most of us have been audited to the point where we share a common reality (more or less) on the whole track. If trained, we share common experiences (sometimes painful) on being trained. If we’ve been staff or Sea Org, we share common reality on doing our Staff Statuses and/or our Products (Sea Org). If we’ve been audited, we (hopefully) share a common reality on whatever levels we’ve attained in processing. And deep down, I hope we all share a common purpose to see this planet cleared.

While we (in the Field) may object to a lot of things going on in the Church, we still have a lot in common with many, if not most of the people who are still in the Church. In fact, we may have more in common with each other than we realize.

Perhaps this is part of why I object when I hear HE&R and natter coming from the Field with respect to the Church (other than the pure technical facts LRH points out about these things). I still consider the people “inside” part of my third dynamic. They may be misled. They may be mistakenly following the wrong path. They may have some confused ideas. They may not have screwed up their courage enough to actually look at the disaster happening around them. But they’re still part of my third dynamic. It may be a diseased and viciously administered part, but still part of my third dynamic.

Let me pose another question: If the Church wasn’t forbidding communication between you and people still in the Church, would you want to communicate with them?

The next time you stop to consider who is and isn’t part of your third dynamic, you might want to take into consideration the above. (And by the way, this has nothing to do with what ethics condition anyone is in with regard to anyone else. That’s a different matter.)

Proper Handling of Email

Let me state from the beginning that this post is not aimed at any one person. It’s aimed at everyone who sends or receives email.

Email has actually been available in one form or another since about the mid-1960s. This was long before the World Wide Web as we know it today was developed. In that time, a great many formal and informal rules have been developed to dictate how email is created, handled, routed, encoded, etc. There have been a great many heated arguments about various aspects of email for many years. The Church of Scientology even has/had its own internal version of email called “Mercury” or “Merc” back in the early days of INCOMM.

I don’t want to get into all the ins and outs of all that. I want to emphasize some points which appear to be lost on Scientologists who should know better.

An email message is a piece of communication. It’s a message. It can be a question, a comment, an origination or a command. It can contain a combination of the above. But above all, it’s a message.

Have you ever taken a TRs course? Ever done TRs? Do you know the difference between TR-1, TR-2, TR-3 and TR-4? Did it ever occur to you that those drills, designed to train someone to handle the different parts of a communication cycle, also apply to email? Believe it or not, since an email message is a piece of communication, the same rules which apply to live human communication, in person, also apply to email.

Let that sink in.

This means that when you get an email message, you should probably read the whole thing and understand it. You should probably know what parts of it are commands, questions, originations or comments, after reading it. And you should probably respond to the individual parts of an email as appropriate to that type of communication. Makes sense, right? Certain parts should simply be acknowledged. Certain parts should be handled. Etc. It seems that at the very least, an email ought to replied to, if its contents warrant that. And not next year. Now. If you only occasionally log in to read your email, fine. But once there, be prepared to answer your email, if any part of it requires some sort of answer.

LRH spent endless hours talking about communication in lectures and writing about it in books and HCOBs. In the end, he even developed the “Training Routines” to teach auditors (and Scientologists) the components of the cycle of communication and how to handle each one of them. The least you can do is apply that basic Scientology technology to email as its own type of 21st century communication. Right?

And one more thing. Consider email as communication happening on a “long distance communication line”. There are additional rules about what you put on a long distance communication and how you handle it. These would also apply to email as well.

It’s really not that hard, folks.

What’s Wrong With The Independent Field, Part 7: E-Meters

You need an e-meter to audit most things. It’s a fact of life and has been for 55 or so years. But currently new ones cost $4000 or more from Pubs Orgs (Bridge Publications or New Era Publications). These are the Mark Super VII Quantums, possibly soon to be replaced by the Mark VIIIs. It might not be evident, but the actual cost of production of these meters is probably on the order of a few hundred dollars, if that. The Church has been making a killing on these for years. Not to mention the periodic re-certification of them.

If you’re in the Independent Field and are unfortunate enough to not possess a meter (like me) or you need a spare, you may be disinclined to buy one from Pubs, particularly for four grand a pop. So what do you do? There are four choices if you want to avoid spending a fortune:

  • Purchase one from the “after market”, like E-Bay. Mark VIs are available on E-Bay for something like $300. These get more expensive the closer their manufacture date approaches present time. (Mark Super VII Quantums would be much more expensive, but still less than Pubs.) These are generally guaranteed by the seller to be working meters, and come with the usual gear, like the case, different sized cans, etc. Remote tone-arms are occasionally also available as a separate item. You can also occasionally pick up an e-meter signed by LRH or an original 1950s Volney e-meter for several tens of thousands of dollars, if you’re into nostalgia and have deep pockets. The older Mark Vs are also available from time to time. These don’t cost too much, but often don’t come with anything but the meter itself.
  • The Clarity Meter. These used to come in two varieties. The older ones, no longer made, were around $1400. I cannot vouch for anything about these meters, except that they aren’t making them any more, according to the website. The currently Clarity Meter is not actually a meter at all, but actually a piece of software which runs on your Windows computer. This sounds like a pretty cool idea, right? Wrong. I know nothing about this meter. But I can emphatically recommend you avoid it, and here’s why: I know quite a bit about computers and computer software (programs). Windows, Macintosh and Linux computers are all meant to be multi-purpose machines. They run a great many processes in the background which you never see. Running e-meter software on top of this is the last thing you want to be doing. Your computer can be slowed down by processes it’s running in the background, or corrupted by viruses and spyware. It can be temporarily distracted by a single process running in the background. You do not want to be in the middle of a session when this happens to your computer, which also happens to be running your e-meter software. I would strongly advise that you neither purchase this software, nor allow yourself to be audited by someone who is using a computer running this software.
  • The Starlight Meter, going for about $600. I cannot vouch for this meter either. However, the website provides the circuit used and notes that the designer worked for ten years repairing e-meters in the Sea Org. Unfortunately, it appears that these meters are hand-made, and the maker is booked months in advance. So if you order one, you may be waiting for the better part of a year before you get it. And you may have to be satisfied with the current color on the website, since it appears that they make a run of a certain color for a period of time and then switch. These meters look very much like the current Mark VI/VIIs, but smaller. They come with all the usual gear. If you have experience with this meter, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know what your evaluation of it is.
  • The Ability Meter, going for about $1100. I cannot vouch for this meter, either. It looks much like the old Mark V (wood case and all), and is supposedly hand-made in England. Obviously, it’s a little pricey, but is supposedly (according to the website) very sensitive. The current model is the 4a, and orders for it can be filled from stock. My only real comment about this meter is that the “Tone Arm” is what appears to be a quite small potentiometer knob, instead of the usual large “pointer” knob on the Mark V through Mark Super VII Quantums. I’d like to see them change that, but it looks like they’re using off-the-shelf components in this meter. Again, if you have experience with this meter, please let me know.

That’s my survey of e-meters currently available in the Field. If you know of another manufacturer or type of meter, please let me know.

The Leaving Scientology Rundown

Let me reiterate something I believe I’ve mentioned before. We in the Independent Field need something which might be called, more or less, the “Leaving Scientology Rundown“. This could be a brief, one intensive set of actions, done at a discount by field auditors for the benefit of newly independent Scientologists and the entire Field. From what I’ve seen and read, there seems to be a common set of symptoms and complaints by newly independent Scientologists:

  • Natter and HE&R with regard to Orgs, Management, the Sea Org, staff and David Miscavige (deserved or not, natter is natter)
  • ARC Breaks with friends and relatives who have disconnected
  • Feelings of betrayal toward the Church, its personal and those who have disconnected
  • Injustice visited upon the individual by the Church
  • An inability to adequately explain why the individual hung on so long in the Church and/or what their responsibility was in contributing to the situation which caused them to want to leave
  • A tendency to fixate on the first dynamic
  • An avoidance of the third dynamic
  • An abandonment of the fourth dynamic
  • General case damage from Church mishandling

I should make clear from the outset that I am not tech trained, so I’m not qualified to do a full evaluation of this situation. And people who have been handling recently “outed” Scientologists, like Marty Rathbun would have a much better read on things like “general case damage” above, and possibly other aspects that might need to be addressed.

I would make some suggestions, though. For example, a list should be made of example O/W questions for those having left, and this list should be fully audited, if possible FPRD style. We are not interested in what you’ve done, only that you confess and confront it and possible causes. Additionally, I would suggest “Conditions and Exchange By Dynamics” for straightening out dynamic misalignments mentioned above. This is a relatively quick and simple action which can yield tremendous wins by itself on a PC. Been there, done that. Well worth it.

At the end of this rundown, there could be an optional reading list for those who desire it:

  • Keeping Scientology Working
  • Safeguarding Technology
  • What We Expect of a Scientologist
  • On Personal Integrity
  • The Code of Honor
  • An Open Letter To All Clears

I’ve left out the Code of a Scientologist, since (from memory) I believe it mentions not giving interviews to the press, something which is being understandably violated on a daily basis by many Scientologists.

In any case, I believe that if someone would implement the above, pilot it, and then publish it for use in the Field, it would greatly benefit not only those recently having left the Church, but the Field itself.

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