Martin Luther

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Archive for the category “Church of Scientology Versus The Independent Field”

The Other Side Of The Fence

Last entry, I told you of my declare by the Church. When I got the declare, I sent off emails to a couple of friends in the Field to let them know. I also had one friend from almost forty years ago, who was on staff at my first org, who’s been sort of sitting on the fence recently. I felt it only fair to let her know, since she’s still part of the Church. I wanted to warn her in case it came up on her lines. Apparently, it already had. She had received a call telling her she should unfriend me on Facebook. She had asked for a goldenrod on the matter, and was told she could view it at her local org (our old org). Of course, it won’t be there, and I told her so.

In our email conversation, she asked if I had actually “developed a rundown”, as they apparently told her. I thought back, and finally realized they were talking about a rundown I had suggested in this blog to handle people just emerging from the Church. This rundown involved things like Repair of Past Ethics Conditions, Conditions and Exchange by Dynamics, L1C to handle losses connected with forced disconnections, some O/W (metered, “I am auditing you”, no sec check, we don’t care what you did; this is just to unburden you), and the like. Obviously, none of this involves any non-LRH technology, no mixing of practices, squirrelling, or anything of the sort. I called it something like the “Leaving Scientology Rundown” or something of the sort. And I didn’t “develop” it. I merely suggested someone with more technical savvy than me work out the details and package it up for use. Of course, the Church knows this. They read my blog far enough to know about the rundown, so they know what it involved and my role with regard to it. They simply chose to lie to her about it. In any case, I explained this to her, and she was relieved to hear the truth about it. “Developing a rundown” didn’t sound like something I’d do.

This friend isn’t someone who goes into the Org all the time. She’s OT III as I recall, She makes a reasonable living with her husband, and I’m sure goes to events at the Org once in a while. So it’s not like she’s heavily involved in Scientology affairs on a day to day basis. I doubt she gets regged for IAS and the like much, since she simply doesn’t have enough money to make it worth the Church’s while to chase her around. I don’t know if she reads the newspapers or anything. She does surf the Internet like most people. Her org has had a few high level defections, which I’m sure she’s heard about. And she probably hears rumors about this or that. She’s smart enough to realize rumors are just rumors, and that they may or may not be true. She’s also busy enough with grandkids and her business that she doesn’t have the time or inclination to chase every rumor down and fully investigate it.

In other words, she’s probably pretty typical of most Scientologists who are still part of the Church.

When confronted with my declare, my friend reckoned that she would probably have to honor the Church’s wishes and not communicate to me for a while. I made this choice okay for her, as I understand her situation. At the same time, I’m disappointed in her. When I was faced with a similar situation, I was fully ready to tell the Church to pound sand. No one tells me who I can and can’t be friends with, who I can and can’t communicate with. My friend who was declared was not an SP, and was still my friend. He didn’t deserve yet another of his friends deserting him. Now, if he was actively engaged in enturbulating me, that would be another story. But the choice to communicate or not with him would be mine, not the Church’s. Any policy that gives the Church the power to dictate my associations is flawed, at least in that respect. The senior policies in my opinion are On Personal Integrity and The Code Of Honor.

In any case, my friend bemoaned this divisiveness that seems to have infected her church. She said that ever since she’d gotten into Scientology, there had been some regime which maligned the previous one. (She was at one time in the oft-maligned Guardian’s Office.) She believed that the current situation is just the latest incarnation of the same, tired situation. She longed for the day when we could all just get along.

If you’ve been in the Field for a while and publicly resigned the Church, you probably look at her reaction and shake your head. She simply doesn’t see what’s going on.

She may have heard about Miscavige beating people up, but if she has, she probably considers it a vast exaggeration. He probably just smacked someone once.

Since she’s not actively on training or delivery lines, she probably hasn’t heard about the 3-swing F/Ns.

She has probably never heard about all the millions collected for “Ideal Org” buildings, and how they end up sitting idle, with Orgs unable to pay for them.

Knowing her, she’s seen all the glossy mags extolling the virtues of people who give millions to the IAS, and how they’re doted upon and worshipped. She probably considers this inappropriate, but just part of some senior executive’s goofy independent policy bright idea.

She’s probably heard about the Super Power building project and wonders why it’s still being delayed. But it’s a long way from her and she’s too busy and too inadequately connected to truly find out what’s going on. She probably just shakes her head about it.

She undoubtedly hasn’t been put through six intensives of sec checking in the middle of NOTs, and may never have heard of it happening. If she’s heard of it, she probably thinks it’s a one-off case. (Though I can guarantee she will run into it when she gets onto NOTs.)

She hasn’t been told, in the middle of some OT level, that she never made it to Clear like she thought.

She hasn’t been put onto endless hours of objectives in the middle of her OT levels. She might have heard rumors about it, which she likely discounts.

She probably doesn’t realize that the whole executive superstructure of the Church has been emptied and replaced with one guy. Rumors? Maybe. But they’re just rumors, and there’s no way for her to know for sure.

And so on. She thinks this is just a dispute between “regimes” or excessively stubborn individuals, independent thinkers and whatnot.

She’s busy. She doesn’t like all this conflict, doesn’t want to have to deal with it, wants it to end. She hasn’t connected the dots, hasn’t really looked at what’s really going on. She hasn’t pulled on all the strings which are obviously hanging out, signifying there’s more to this than is obvious. People like Debbie Cook don’t just walk off for no reason.

But this is what you’re dealing with on the other side of the fence. This is the nameless face of the thousands or millions of Scientologists who haven’t crossed the fence to our side. For every staff member who can clearly see what’s been going on, there are hundeds or thousands of public and former staff out in the field (lower case “f”) who don’t.

These are the people on the other side of the fence.

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The Monopoly On Scientology

This essay started as a result of a comment made by Ronnie Bell about a prior essay I had posted. He expressed the (widely held) opinion that the Church should not be allowed to have or continue its monopoly on the practice of Scientology. The reason being that the current Church’s monopoly was hindering our ability to practice Scientology in the Independent Field, to which I had to agree. However, I also saw that this monopoly was at least partially by design, and would normally serve to ensure the standardness of the technology. The fact that the current Church of Scientology was using this monopoly as a weapon against the Independent Field was an unfortunate byproduct of the fact that we, as parishioners, had allowed the Church to become a suppressive organization. This was and is a paradox, but I could see no way around what was done and now can’t be undone. So I was prepared to defend the current state of affairs, even though the Church, not the Field, is now the home of the squirrels (though there are plenty of squirrels in the Field, too).

But midway through my defense of the status quo, I hit an impasse. So I decided to step back and look at this issue from a different perspective. One of the fundamental beliefs in the civilized world, enshrined in our U.S. Constitution, is the right to free exercise of religion. This is generally considered an inalienable right, meaning it is not given to us by some entity or the government. It isn’t even granted by the church whose religion we follow. It arises from the fact of our humanity. At least in the United States, it cannot be hampered or dictated. Given this fact, how do we resolve the Church’s monopoly on the practice of Scientology?

First, we have to consider how the Church enforces this monopoly. It does so primarily through the use of two legal tools: copyrights and trademarks.

The Church (and/or its ancillary organizations) owns the copyrights to all the original LRH materials. In the Church’s case, because the organizations which control the publications (Bridge and New Era) are also part of the Church, they can can control not only the copying but also the ultimate distribution of all the materials. That means that legally, you can’t copy HCOPLs or HCOBs unless the Church gives you permission. You can’t manufacture your own packs. You can’t copy lectures, except for backup purposes, and even then only for your own use, not to lend to others.

Furthermore, the Church (and/or its ancillary organizations) owns the file cabinets, buildings and vaults where the original materials are stored. You don’t have access to them and likely never will. Whether those materials are unadulterated or not when they get to you is a question only the Church can answer. Whether all the materials are available to you is also a matter of the Church’s discretion.

And you’re even on shaky ground when it comes to quoting parts of Ron’s work. In the end, you’d probably win any court case the Church filed, but not before the legal process sucked you dry.

Regarding trademarks, the Church (and/or its ancillary organizations) owns the trademarks associated with the services delivered by the Church. This means you can’t deliver something called “Scientology” in the Field without risking a lawsuit (or fifty) from the Church. You must be given their permission to deliver pastoral counselling services under the moniker “Scientology” or “Dianetics”. You also are not allowed to train anyone to do Scientology auditing while also calling it that, without their permission. You can’t manufacture jewelry using those marks without running afoul of Church lawyers. And the Church has been quite rigorous in trademarking just about every term or symbol even vaguely related to the subject.

(Incidentally, in doing some research on the matter of the Church’s trademarks, I discovered a surprising fact: very few trademarks had been registered in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The vast majority of the trademarks the Church holds were first registered starting in the early 1980s. As a result, I have to question whether the registration of all these marks was even something that LRH intended. Certainly he had the opportunity to register them earlier, but apparently didn’t do so. Even the term “Scientology” wasn’t registered until 1970, and then only in relation to “BULLETINS, BOOKS AND NEWSLETTERS”. So questions arise: Were these marks registered so recently for the purpose of exercising control over those who practice Scientology? And if not, then why? And whose idea was it?)

In case it’s not obvious to the casual reader, there is a benefit to having the Church hold the copyrights and trademarks. Under normal circumstances, it ensures the standardness of the Technology. You’ll notice, I couched this with the proviso “under normal circumstances”. Obviously, we don’t live “under normal circumstances”. The Church having been turned on its head, it no longer guarantees the standardness, but ensures the non-standardness of the Technology. But guaranteeing the standardness of the Technology is still an important function which should be done by someone. It’s not something of theoretical concern or an incidental issue. It is, and always has been a matter of primary importance.

So we have two requirements. The first is our right to practice our religion without interference, and the second is having some way to know or ensure what we’re practicing or receiving is “standard” Scientology. How do we satisfy these two, sometimes competing, requirements?

I’m not necessarily the smartest guy in the room, and there may be others who have some better solutions. But for now, I’ll offer you what I believe is the most reasonable solution going forward. It has a variety of facets.

First, since the Church controls the practice of Scientology primarily via the use of trademarks and copyrights, the rigid enforcement of them must be stopped. For the trademarks, the Church could retain control of them or not, re-register them or not (this must be done every ten years). But it would have to generally ignore what would normally be considered trademark infringement.. Anyone (squirrel or not) would have to be allowed to brand their version of Scientology as “Scientology”. By itself, this would eventually lead to the invalidation of the marks, since failure to enforce their exclusivity is legally equivalent to abandonment. For the copyrights, those which have not already expired will all do so at some point before 2073 and cannot be renewed. In the meantime, considering that the use of LRH works is necessary to the practice of the religion, the enforcement of copyright in those works would have to be abandoned or seriously curtailed. Both of these measures, painful though they might be to the Church and it ancillary organizations, would be the only way to allow unfettered practice of Scientology in the Field.

Second, the issue of the “standardness” of Scientology. For this, an entity of some kind would have to be created (or an existing entity given the task) to pass judgment on the technology and materials in use. Call that entity “J”. Any auditor, field group or mission could practice “Scientology”, but only those which had been examined by J could advertise that they had earned the “Mark of J”. Classed Orgs would probably have a representative of J posted in them to ensure and maintain Orgs’ standardness. But they, too, would be subject to having their certification pulled if they drifted into non-standard territory. J could publish a list of those who had passed muster on their website. Incidentally, this “standardness” oversight would also extend to administrative, not just auditing technology. Orgs would no longer be allowed to simply put an unhatted person on some random post and hope for the best. Staff would have to be properly trained and apprenticed before being allowed to fully take a post in an Org.

This J organization could also be tasked with the job of ensuring that the materials of Scientology were complete and unadulterated. It would have access to all the original LRH materials, and examine each book, bulletin, policy letter and lecture to ensure all published materials conformed to the originals and didn’t cut corners or include inappropriate additives.

Those paying attention will notice that the mission of this J organization looks a lot like the original mission of Religious Technology Center (RTC) before it was corrupted. And indeed the usefulness of the “Mark of J” could be corrupted by politics and abuse in the same way. If J became involved in non-standard tech or admin, its mark would cease to have much meaning. That’s why the certification of J would be optional. It also means that J would have to allow certification of people or groups not in good standing with the Church. J would have to be free of “politics”.

Of course, there are lots of details which would have to be worked out. J would probably have to be manned by FEBCs and Class XIIs. It would have to charge something (reasonable) for its examinations. But how often would re-certification be required? Could certifications be revoked? If so, under what circumstances? What about OT levels (confidential materials) in the Field? What about pricing in the Field vis a vis Orgs?

Even with all the questions satisfactorily handled, there would still be those in the Field who would object to this solution. They would probably go along with the Church’s now lax attitude toward trademarks and copyrights, but object to the existence and mission of the J organization. They would be free to do as they please, and simply ignore J and the Church. Those wishing to obtain service from such Field members would have to decide whether J’s certification was important to them or not.

By the way, in case you wonder whether such a system could work, there is a system remarkably like this in place in the auto repair industry. It’s anchored by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). It trains, tests and certifies mechanics and shops in the auto repair industry. Its testing and certification is optional, but mechanics and shops which are certified by ASE proudly display their certification and use it as a badge to indicate their quality. Other non-certified shops ignore this certification and may still deliver high quality service. Consumers are free to take ASE certification into account or not.

One major question remains after all this: How or when could the Church be persuaded to go along with this solution? Well, at this point, the answer is probably, “never”. The Church and David Miscavige relish their monopoly, and aren’t likely to relinquish it any time soon, human rights and the Constitution be damned. And though many predict that the Church is close to implosion at this point, that’s still a long way from an agreement to free the Field from its suppression. In any case, only time will tell. In the meantime, all we can do is continue to work toward completing our Bridges and freeing those under the spell of oppression.

Church of Scientology Versus The Independent Field, Part 3

In the previous entry in this series, the question was posed: What do you do if

  • You can’t get Standard Technology from the Church of Scientology, because
  • Standard Technology has been altered by the entity meant to protect it (RTC), and
  • The only people you could report it to are gone.

That is exactly the situation as it exists today. The result has been a mass exodus from the Church. This is particularly true among highly trained technical terminals and highly audited OTs. They were some of the first, and best placed to notice the problems. Aside from those who left voluntarily, there are those who were excommunicated for not going along with what was going on.

Consider the magnitude of this for a moment. Imagine what it takes for someone to come to the conclusion that their only choice is to leave the Church of Scientology. You may be aware that doing so may mean that all your friends and relatives would disconnect from you because the Church has illegally reinstituted the LRH-canceled policy of  disconnection. Not to mention all the thousands of Scientologists you will never meet because they are still in the Church and unaware or unwilling to look at what’s going on. You can never walk into an Org, a St Hill, Advanced Org or Flag again.

And yet hundreds or thousands of Scientologists have made this decision (and continue to). In this, I also include those like myself who do not openly proclaim they have left, but are nonetheless no longer members of the Church.

But that’s not really my point with this post. Up until recently, those who left the Church were generally either genuine SPs, severely PTS, or squirrels. Scientology justice codes were written with provisions for dealing with such people. People who left (or were thrown out) were the bad guys. Scientology justice rightfully applied to them because they were the bad guys. However, now we have a situation where many, if not most of the people in the field who have left or been kicked out are really good guys. Think about that for a moment. Look again at the bullet points above. Scientology justice was never meant to handle a situation like this. There’s no precedent for it.

And that’s the situation as it stands. Who would ever have imagined such a thing?

Church of Scientology Versus The Independent Field, Part 2

According to the documentation we have at hand, the original purpose of the Religious Technology Center (RTC) was to hold the trademarks and advanced technology, ensure their ethical use by the Church of Scientology, and not permit their use in such a way that it damages the religion of Scientology or damages the reputation of LRH. It had no management powers over the Church or Scientologists. It did, however, have the power to revoke the Church’s license to use the technology.

Based on the other posts on this blog and the eyewitness reports of many other people more recently connected to the Church of Scientology, RTC is no longer doing this job. In fact, it would appear that RTC has significantly altered the original LRH technology so as to make it unworkable in many cases (see other entries in the “What’s Wrong With The Church of Scientology” series). Nor is it clear at all who, if anyone, else is working at RTC other than David Miscavige, the Chairman of RTC’s Board of Directors. Moreover, the alterations appear to authored by Mr. Miscavige himself.

It also appears that most or all of the executive infrastructure of Scientology has been eliminated. The Watchdog Committee appears to have been disbanded. Senior C/S International appears to be missing in action. Executive Director International rarely ever appears in public these days. Many of these people have even left the Church.

So here’s a question: Let’s assume for a moment that all the above are facts. If in fact RTC has ceased to do its job and in fact badly altered the Technology, what do you do? You want to Keep Scientology Working, so what would be obvious first action? You’d report your observations, right? Of course. But here’s the next question: Who do you report such outnesses to? What if, as noted above, there appears to be no one else of sufficient altitude to report these things to? What do you do now?

What if you keep being overrun on processes and rundowns because an F/N has been redefined to be three swings back and forth (fact)? What if, when you arrive at Flag for your six month check on OT VII, you’re told you’re not even Clear (this has happened to many many public)? What if you arrive for your six month check on OT VII, with enough money for several intensives for security checks, and find that you’re going to need more than ten intensives of sec checking (this has happened to many public)? What if you arrive at Flag for your six month check on OT VII and are put instead on a program of Objectives (this has happened to many public)? Etc.

To summarize, what if, despite your best efforts, you cannot get “Standard Technology” delivered to yourself. And what if the reason you can’t get Standard Technology delivered is because Standard Technology is no longer being delivered by the Church of Scientology? And what if the reason it’s not being delivered is because it’s been altered by the very entity which is supposed to protect it, RTC? And what if there’s no one left at the executive level left to report the problem to? What do you do? How do you resolve the problem RTC and the Church of Scientology have presented?

How do you get up the Bridge?

Church of Scientology Versus The Independent Field, Part 1

Let’s say we have a fellow named Joe Jones who thinks he’s found a way to get rich quick. Joe knows that Coca-Cola is more popular than Pepsi, but Pepsi is cheaper to buy. So he proceeds to gather up a bunch of Coke bottles and fill them with Pepsi, re-cap them and sell them as Coca-Cola.

Let’s say you’ve drunk Coca-Cola and Pepsi since you were a kid, and you can tell the difference between the two (some people can’t). And you prefer Coca-Cola. So one day you go into the mini-mart after filling up your gas tank, and buy a Coke. You’re all ready for that clean, refreshing taste. You pop the top on your bottle of Coke and take a big drink. Argh! This doesn’t taste like Coke at all! It tastes like Pepsi! You take the bottle back into the mini-mart and complain to the owner.

(I’m not proclaiming anything, including a personal preference for Coke over Pepsi. It is simply a convenient example. If you prefer Pepsi, just switch the example around in your mind. The principle is the same.)

What’s Joe done wrong? He’s violated trademark law. Trademark law is based on the idea that, if you buy a product with a certain name on it, you expect it to conform to certain standards set by its maker. It applies to things like Cadillac automobiles, Big Mac hamburgers, Frisbee flying disks or any number of other products and services including carbonated drinks. Joe has sold a product which purports to be Coca-Cola, but is in fact not Coca-Cola at all, but a competing product with an entirely different formula and taste.

How does this apply to Scientology? Scientology is perhaps the first example in history of an applied religious philosophy which has trademarked its name. You may have noticed in the paragraph above, when I used a trademarked name (like Cadillac), I followed it with the more general name of products in that category. That’s actually the proper way to refer to such things. Trademarked products and services are particular examples of more general products and services. So in our case, it would be proper to say, “Scientology applied religious philosophy”, to distinguish Scientology from other “applied religious philosophies”.

But what makes Scientology different from other applied religious philosophies? To make a long story short, our technology. When I say “technology” here, I mean our administrative, ethics and auditing technologies as laid out by L. Ron Hubbard. When properly applied, our technologies produce more able and happier people, booming orgs, and a better environment. Not to compare Scientology to hamburgers, but when you walk into any McDonald’s on the planet and you buy a Big Mac, you expect it to have certain ingredients in certain proportions, arranged a certain way, resulting in a certain taste. Similarly, if you walk into any Scientology organization on the planet, you expect its Treasury Division to have invoices composed of five copies (according to policy in volume 3 of the Organization Executive Course), for example.

Now, notice in the above paragraph, I mention that Scientology’s uniquely trademarked aspect is its technologies as laid out by L. Ron Hubbard. Not Bob Johnson or Sam Foster. Ron founded this subject and is considered its Founder and Source. We don’t mix it with something else. That’s called squirreling. And the result is not Scientology. If someone in the field were to open a place to deliver what he called “Scientology”, but actually delivered a mix of LRH tech and something else (or containing no LRH tech at all), it would be a squirrel operation.

It would also be a trademark violation.

Now I want to ask you to consider something very carefully. Churches of Scientology are supposed to deliver Scientology applied religious philosophy, and operate using its technologies. But what if, one day, they stopped doing that? What if they delivered something else? Or what if they delivered something which was a mixture of LRH tech and something else? Or what if they delivered and operated on something significantly altered from LRH’s original technologies? Would that be a violation of trademark?

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