Below is a list of some of the blogs and sites in the Independent Field, and my evaluation of them. “My evaluation” is my opinions. You may or may not agree with my opinions, but hopefully this will serve as a handy guide for those who wish to pursue the continuing stories of the Church of Scientology and the Independent Field. The list isn’t in any particular order, nor is it exhaustive.
- Marty Rathbun’s Blog. This is probably the most popular of the Independent Field sites, with near daily postings. Marty was, at one time, the number two person in the Church of Scientology, after David Miscavige. The blog is run solely by Marty, who is generally the only poster to the blog (though he includes other people’s stories from time to time). It typically consists of four types of content. First, the “I’m out, and here’s my story” posting by someone freshly “out” of the Church. Second, the “Church of Scientology/Miscavige are bad and here’s another reason why” posting. Third, the “former insider revealing secrets” post. And fourth, Marty’s analysis of this or that part of Scientology or the Church. Marty also uses this blog to promote his book, What is Wrong with Scientology?, and to a lesser extent, the services he delivers at his home in South Texas. The comments accompanying Marty’s posts are generally sycophantic. Dissent usually only comes from non-Scientologists. Marty does a fairly good job of trying to keep people from smearing LRH. However, a word of warning: Marty believes that LRH was misguided in his targetting of “psychs”, and that Scientology should be integrated with psychology and sociology, among other things. If you disagree loudly enough with this premise, be prepared to be blocked from commenting on his blog, and being called a “flat-earther“. As Marty’s following grows, he shows himself to be more critic/spectator and less defender and practitioner of Standard Technology. As an example, in a recent post (19 August 2012), Marty published an essay which he gives to those who do TRs at his house. The essay is written by him and wanders into quantum physics and eastern philosophy as an introduction to TRs. No mention of the cycle of communication and no credit given to LRH’s more-than-adequate introductions to the Training Routines. While Marty explains that the essay is an attempt to give the TRs some “context” in modern thought, its language and tenor appear to be designed to impress the reader with his wide-ranging intellect. Instead, it mainly obfuscates the subject, and makes you wonder if perhaps Marty needs Remedies A and B. Another recent blog post (23 August 2012) carefully details an inherent “fraud” in Scientology itself. If you agree that Keeping Scientology Working and Safeguarding Technology should be the first and second HCOPLs on every checksheet, Marty’s blog probably isn’t for you, except as a way to keep track of “who’s out” stories. UPDATE: Marty’s blog has recently (March 2013) moved solidly in the direction of expounding on his philosophical musings, and away from the “who’s out”, “Miscavige/Church is bad”, and “insider reveals secrets” postings. For this latter type of content, see Mike Rinder’s new blog, mentioned later in this essay.
- Mike Rinder’s blog. This blog was only recently started (March 2013) and takes up where Marty Rathbun’s blog used to go. It is supposed to feature the three types of content Marty has seemingly abandoned: 1) I’m out and here’s my story; 2) The Church/Miscavige is bad and here’s why; and 3) Insider exits Church and reveals secrets. Fair warning: Rinder and Rathbun are best friends and Mike defends Marty’s stances on a variety of subjects, including Marty’s desire to “integrate” Scientology with psychology. But as long as he holds to the above three types of content, his blog should be interesting reading, if you haven’t already been beat to death by stories in the above three categories.
- Dave Fagen’s Blog. This site is little-known, but one of the most fair-minded and even-handed in its analysis of the current Church of Scientology. Dave was a staff member at Chicago Org for 25 years. He will readily admit (as do I) when he has not witnessed events which others in the Independent Field testify to. And he tells you to decide for yourself. I highly recommend this site for its fairness and objectivity.
- iScientology. This is a site from Steve Hall, a former high level marketing executive in the Church, who posts to other blogs (and his own) under the moniker “Thoughtful”. Steve actually has a whole “suite” of sites, and this is his latest (as of this date). It not only serves as a gateway to his other sites, but as a repository of content on its own. It answers many questions about the Independent Field movement, and your possible place in it as a Scientologist. It also serves to market Steve himself, as a “bright light” (my words not his) in the Field. This makes sense, since Steve is a marketing guy. It is an attractive and well-organized site. Recommended.
- Scientology-Cult. Scary name. Good site. (The name is a product of marketing; Steve Hall found that “Scientology cult” was the number two search term with respect to Scientology.) Primarily this is the home of Steve Hall’s blog, but there are many other authors on the site. Steve was a senior marketing executive for the Church for many years before he left the Church. The site is similar to Marty’s in the sense that there a lot of “I’m out” and “The Church is bad” postings. New postings are rare. The site is also home to the Indie 500, a list of the first 500 people who have resigned the Church and are willing to do so with their real names publicly. It generally promotes standard Scientology.
- Rediscover Scientology. This is another Steve Hall site. In his words: “…a light version of Scientology-cult for those with an ingrained aversion to the word ‘cult'”. This site is very similar to scientology-cult.com, and has some identical content, though far less of it.
- Friends of LRH. This site is hard to characterize. It’s very plain. It’s not a blog. It’s a site that contrasts LRH with David Miscavige, and asks what happened to training in the Church. It advertises upcoming content but is rarely updated. It’s not clear who the site belongs to, but it includes a lot of LRH quotes. The site is worth bookmarking.
- Wise Old Goat. This is actually the site of a Michel Snoeck. I don’t know who this is. I’m guessing he was at one time a Scientologist. The specific link I give here is to the part of the site where he spends considerable effort detailing research he’s done into various aspects of Scientology and the Church. There are sections on all kinds of subjects, like how the Grade Chart changed over time, how fast flow training came about, you name it. He’s probably done some research on it. Very thorough. If you’re doing research on something regarding Scientology, this is an excellent place to go, because Michel has done some quite thorough research.
- Oasis for Personal Freedom. This is the blog site of Ingrid Smith, a 40-year trained OT in Southern California. It appears that she practices standard Scientology, and uses the site to promote her services, among other things. The articles are infrequent, but uplifting. If you need a pick-me-up, her site may provide it.
- The Association of Professional Independent Scientologists. This is a website which promotes a loosely affiliated group of standard-Scientology practitioners (individuals and groups) who have left the Church. You pay an inexpensive yearly fee to this group, depending on the type of member you are. There’s a constitution, and the purpose of the group apparently is to promote standard Scientology and provide an umbrella organization for Field practitioners (to resolve disputes, etc.). One odd thing, though: the guy who started this, one Michael Moore, is apparently president of this group for life. Make of that what you will.
- Possibly Helpful Advice. This is a blog by two auditors, David St. Lawrence and someone going by the moniker “Plain Old Thetan” (he also posts on various blogs under this nickname). Here are three quotes from David St. Lawrence:
This website represents my effort to contribute to the reformation of the Church of Scientology and to improving the workability of the technology assembled by Ron Hubbard.
My goal is to help create a stable future for the development of workable technology and a network for the delivery of that technology.
I deliver auditing over the Internet.
Apparently, Mr. St. Lawrence doesn’t understand that the existing technology by Ron is workable, or believes he is qualified to improve upon it. And that you can deliver auditing over the internet. This is rightfully called squirrelling. Visit this site at your own risk.
Revised: David St. Lawrence apparently objects to my viewpoint. See his comment(s) below.
- Scientology Lies. This is a site by a person who “dabbled” in Scientology at one point for about a month. She is extremely critical of Scientology. I include it here because it may be cited elsewhere as a place to go for information.
- Standard Tech Academy. You’d think this site would be advertising for some group which delivers training, but no. Apparently, whoever this is intends to come out with Scientology radio programs, and redo the tech films (which of course are not available in the Field), starting with one on floating needles. But as of this date (21 August 2012) there is nothing complete. There are some links to some news stories on the site, but that’s about it. It might be worth bookmarking this site, just to see where it goes, and if it ultimately delivers on Standard Tech e-meter films. Update (10 Nov 2012): This site appears to be down.
- The Pro-LRH Tech Community. This is a site of forums and ads for people who are “out”. Not very active, and it has obnoxious pop-up ads for 000webhost.com which appear every time you open a different page.
- Leaving Scientology. This is the website of Jeff Hawkins, a former high-ranking marketing guy in the Church for decades. It has ads for some expose-type books on the Church, Jeff’s blog entries (rarely added to these days), and other assorted content. It also contains advice on how to leave the Church or the Sea Org. As the site is seldom updated, it may not be worth bookmarking.
- Pierre Ethier’s site. This fellow is one of a few Class XIIs who is “out” and the site is a sort of rough compendium of notes he has compiled on various subjects. Pierre travels the world delivering auditing and talks. He claims to be the only Field auditor in the world who has the full materials for the L Rundowns (recovered from his incredible memory), which he has decided he will not release until he is good and ready. Pierre is very impressed with himself and brags quite a bit about his abilities and accomplishments. He claims to know a great deal more about the upper Bridge (OT VIII and beyond) than anyone else I’ve ever encountered. I’m personally skeptical about a lot of his claims. And I personally doubt he’s as good as he thinks he is. For you to decide. Interesting site, though. Rarely updated.
- Save Scientology. This site claims to be run by some individuals who are in good standing with the Church. It has the occasional blog entry critical of the Church. But what’s most interesting about it is that it pulls back the curtain from the corporate structures and safeguards LRH left behind to protect the Church from the destruction which has now taken place to those very safeguards. Unless you were a very high ranking Church official, you have never read about or heard of this material before. I can’t vouch for its veracity, as I was never high ranking. But it’s worth reading about. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether it’s all true or not. Very interesting reading.
- Free And Able. This is another of the Steve Hall suite of websites. It is a lot like “Craig’s List” for people who are “out”. In fact, some of the verbiage is lifted directly from Craig’s List. You can buy, sell, trade or whatever. The listings appear to be a little sparse, and I’m not sure how popular the site is. But it’s probably worth bookmarking, so you can find it later if you want to advertise on it, or find something or someone.
- Ex Scn. It’s hard to characterize this site. It’s a collection of articles and a forum for people who are “out”. But it also appears to have garnered a significant number of members who were never “in”. And the tone is generally negative, not only about the Church but about Scientology itself. There are a lot of stories here about how Ron was really a bad guy, and how a lot of the stuff he did was wrong, etc. If you consider yourself a real Scientologist (regardless of your position on the Church), I would avoid this site, except to note its existence. By the way, when you see the abbreviation “ESMB” out in the Field, this is the site they’re talking about. ESMB stands for Ex-Scientologist Message Board, the forum on this site.
- Idle Orgs. This site attempts to document, through the occasional blog entry, the “big lie” about Ideal Orgs– the fact that they are actually scams perpetrated by the Church and/or David Miscavige. Through photos, news stories and personal eyewitness accounts, the site seeks to make clear that most or all Ideal Orgs are in fact, Idle Orgs. If this is an issue you’re interested in, this is a good site to bookmark.
- Ron’s Org. Let’s be clear: these people are squirrels. At one time there was a high-ranking officer in the Sea Org known as “Cap’n Bill” (Bill Robertson) who worked off and on with LRH, but left in the early 1980s when Ron came off of direct management lines. Bill subsequently opened his own field practice(s) and proceeded to do his own research into the OT levels, eschewing Ron’s OT levels in favor of his own. Bill died some years ago, but various field practices adhering to his doctrines still exist, all of them in Europe and former Soviet Union countries. This site is the umbrella site (in English) for those entities. It is worth knowing what “Ron’s Org” means in this context, but not worth spending any time on this site, unless you want to verify what I’ve just written about.
- True Source Scientology Foundation. Another odd site. These people appear to want to preserve the materials of Scientology, as written/spoken by LRH for the world to use. There is some discussion on the main site about the actual status of the LRH copyrights, but to gain any significant use from the site (or the group), you must register with them. As I have not done so, I cannot determine what materials they have available or in what state they are. I can say, though, that on their forum page (one entry there), they provide links to Ron’s Org (see above). So I suppose that covers all you need to know.
- Scientilopedia. This site appears to be primarily a “wiki” to tell stories about the history of Scientology, Ron, the Church, and discuss various aspects of Scientology. The problem with this concept is the same one Wikipedia suffers from: some people tell the truth and some people don’t. And sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Some of the entries in this wiki are fairly entertaining. Whether their recountings of historical events are true or not is another matter.
- Reform Scientology. The author of this site (whoever it is) has done my job for me. A quote from its home page:
This site is a collection of stuff I found whilst spending much time researching possible reasons why my religion was not expanding fast enough.
And that’s pretty much the case. It’s a selection of posts and articles from other Independent Field blogs. Not updated often.
- Independents Connections. This is a small site seeking to connect up people regarding housing, jobs, romance, friendship, or stuff to buy/sell. Not much here. It appears to be the creation of one Sylvia Kusada, a Class VI field auditor.
- Independent Checksheet Foundation. This is truly a worthwhile site. Two trained Scientologists are doing the research to put together checksheets for various courses, like the HQS and Solo I. The problem with Church checksheets is two-fold:
- They can’t be purchased by Independent Field members from Pubs orgs, and they can’t be copied without running into copyright restrictions.
- In their current state, they contain a lot of Golden Age of Tech garbage and possibly other alterations.
So these two fellows are doing the hard job of finding the proper references from before the original checksheets for these courses were altered by the Church, adding the proper drills, demos and such, based on older checksheets, and then rewriting them so that the copyright does not rest with the Church. These would be the first Independent Field checksheets which would hopefully conform to what LRH intended for these courses. The checksheets are downloadable for free. Well worth a look and a bookmark. And kudos to those doing the research.
- Life Enhancement Center of Coeur d’Alene. This appears to be the site of a field practice in Idaho. However, among the statements they make on their home page is this:
In their counseling, they often use pastoral counseling techniques developed by L. Ron Hubbard.
This makes one wonder what other techniques they use. Are they mixing practices? I do not know. If you have direct knowledge, feel free to let me know. In any case, they appear to have a small staff which delivers training and auditing.
- Independent Scientology Community. This appears to be a portal to connecting with others in the Field, via forums, blog posts and a want-ads area.
- Pierre Ethier’s Blog. Pierre is mentioned earlier in this post. This is his blog site.
- Super Power Fraud. This site is dedicated to detailing the fraud that is the Super Power building project.
- Spargo Story Blog. This is Steve Spargo’s Blog. He is an ANZO Scientologist who publicly resigned from the Church on 10 September 2012. His blog is the result of his detailed observations of the Church, and his evaluations of where it has violated LRH ethics, tech and admin. He includes references and his observations appear to be first-hand. If you have someone “on the fence” who needs to complete his or her Doubt formula on the Church, I would suggest Dave Fagen’s blog (above) and Steve Spargo’s. Both are thorough and generally free of HE&R.
- Xenu.net. This is the original and number one site of Scientology critics everywhere. I believe it contains all the OT materials and probably every lie ever told about Scientology, as well as some truths. I include it here so that you’re aware of it when it comes up in your travels. But I do not recommend it. If you are not OT III, I recommend you avoid it completely, since its owners are quite casual about this material where it appears on their site.
- From Ashes Born. This is my wife’s blog on the subject of Scientology. She is very smart and highly admin trained. We mostly agree on things, but not always. So don’t expect an echo of what you see here. She has her own unique perspective and voice. Highly recommended, obviously.
- Scientology Reviews. This is a brand new site (November 2012) by Steve Hall which is a one-stop-shop for reviews on all things Scientology. From Orgs and management units within the Church of Scientology to field auditors and groups. Even specific books and services can be reviewed. Although moderated, it accepts both positive and negative (unbiased) reviews on any of the above. If you were going to buy something, wouldn’t you want to know what others who have bought it think of it? That’s the idea here. Highly recommended.
There are likely other sites I’ve missed. If you can think of some worthy of mention, please let me know. There are probably blog sites for any number of other active Field practitioners. I don’t have much interest in these, though you may. There are lots of websites critical of Scientology which were put up by non-Scientologists and outright critics. For the most part, they aren’t worth mentioning and I won’t put them with this collection. They aren’t worth visiting. If you are a non-Scientologist and want content with that slant, use Google. Also note that the Church has been very busy putting up anti-Marty-Rathbun and anti-high-level-ex-Scientologist sites all over the internet. These are not to be confused with the real sites by the real ex-Scientologists. If you want to know what someone thinks, just go to their site, not to some site the Church has put up to smear them. Most of the people who are “out” are not the SPs the Church claims they are, and the lies the Church tells mostly dead-agent the Church.