Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimation

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Full article available, both on the webpage and as a docx download.

Academic article: The Dwindling Spiral: The Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimation Crisis
http://www.academia.edu/4517890/The...k_Letter_and_Scientologys_Legitimation_Crisis

The Dwindling Spiral: The Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimation Crisis
by James Lewis


In 2012, the Church of Scientology’s Mission in Haifa, Israel, defected from the Church and reestablished itself as the independent Dror Center. The precipitating event was a critical email sent by high-ranking Scientologist Debbie Cook... more

Publication Date: 2014

Publication Name: Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review 5:1

.docx Download: http://www.academia.edu/attachments/31909184/download_file
 

oneonewasaracecar

Gold Meritorious Patron
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

I am mistrustful of author James Lewis. He used to shill for the church.

Having read this article, it does not read like an academic article. He almost exclusively uses terms which are addressed not to the academic community, but to ex-Scientologists, or Scientologists on the fringe.

His claim that the Dror Org started attracting more public after splitting with the church seems dubious and the source of this information is unclear. Given that he has in the past published Scientology propaganda verbatim, I don't trust his facts.

This reads like propaganda for the freezone.

If that is the case, I cannot see how the freezone can be profiting enough to pay him for it.
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

[Forthcoming 2014 in Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review 5:1]​
The Dwindling Spiral:

The Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimation Crisis


James R. Lewis
University of Tromsø


Abstract:
In 2012, the Church of Scientology’s Mission in Haifa, Israel, defected from the Church and reestablished itself as the independent Dror Center. The precipitating event was a critical email sent by high-ranking Scientologist Debbie Cook to her contacts throughout the Scientology world. The core of her critique was that the Church was in decline – a decline she attributed to policies that deviated from guidelines set forth by Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The present paper analyzes the current legitimation crisis within the Church of Scientology through the twin lenses of the Cook letter and the Haifa schism.

Keywords:
Scientology; L. Ron Hubbard; schism; new religious movements; legitimacy; legitimation crisis

So the ogre which might eat us up is not the government or the High Priests. It’s our possible failure to retain and practice our technology.
— LRH, KSW[FONT=&amp][1][/FONT]
The Dror Schism

On the first day of 2012, Dani Lemberger, head of the Church of Scientology (CoS) Mission in Haifa, Israel, was given a copy of an email by one of the Mission’s auditors (Scientology’s name for its counselors), Aviv Bershadsky.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][2][/FONT][/FONT] Lemberger was initially taken aback. The message was from Debbie Cook, a prominent Scientologist who had been a longtime member of the Sea Org (a religious order that has been described as Scientology’s Jesuits) and Captain of the Flag Service Organization – one of the top posts in the Church of Scientology.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][3][/FONT][/FONT] Lemberger and his wife Tami knew Debbie from time they had spent at the Flag Land Base, CoS’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida.

Cook’s email, which had originally been sent out to a wide range of Scientologists on New Year’s Eve, 2011, presented a startling analysis of various ways in which the Church had become dysfunctional and was beginning to decline. Furthermore, each of the problems she identified were described as deviating from the principles and guidelines laid down by CoS’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986); she backed up all of her points with references to policy letters and other sources authored by Hubbard (also referred to as LRH). Cook was not hesitant to assign blame to COB – Scientologese for ‘Chairman of the Board’ – David Miscavige, the Church of Scientology’s current leader. Lemberger, a stubborn non-conformist within an organization that over the years has become increasingly conformist, had voiced a few of the same criticisms himself. Other issues raised by Cook were revelatory. As one might have anticipated, the Church later sued Cook, but then reached a settlement in exchange for her promise to say no more in public. (Ortega 2012b)

Lemberger’s response to the e-mail was to forward it to Church administrators for comment. Instead of receiving the requested commentary, however, Scientology officials put him ‘in ethics’ – a kind of interrogation program which implicitly questioned his loyalty. They also asked him to read a special issue of the Church’s Freedom magazine which attacked a variety of different former CoS officials who had spoken out against the Church. A sampling of titles from relevant articles that have appeared in Freedom capture the intemperate tone of these attacks:

The Posse of Lunatics: A Story of Lies, Crimes, Violence, Infidelity and Betrayal
Jason Beghe: Apostate Poster Boy and Hollywood Psycho
A Liar is a Coward; A Perjurer is a Criminal

The charges were so over the top that Lemberger knew most if not all of them had to have been fabricated. However, the magazine also mentioned that Marty Rathbun, a former CoS leader, had a blog. So Lemberger went to the Internet and began exploring not only Rathbun’s blog, but also other critical information available about the Church of Scientology on the World Wide Web. It was an eye-opener. He was particularly intrigued by information on the growing independent Scientology movement. The Lembergers then brought together their staff, discussed the Cook email and encouraged staff members to do their own research into the critical material about Scientology that seemed to fill the Internet. Eventually, everyone reached the same conclusion, namely that they should leave the Church.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][4][/FONT][/FONT]

They subsequently composed a letter to Miscavige stating that the Haifa Mission was resigning from its affiliation with the Church of Scientology. The Lembergers also continued to explore the independent movement, sometimes referred to as the Free Zone. For example, Dani Lemberger phoned Max Hauri, head of Ron’s Org, an independent Scientology organization that had left the official Church back in the 1980s. They had a long conversation; he liked Hauri’s frankness and self-deprecating humor. The Lembergers also flew to the United States and visited Marty Rathbun in south Texas.

Following their visit with Rathbun, the Lembergers traveled to Florida to visit old friends in the area. However, upon arrival at Tampa airport, a woman approached them at the luggage carousel and gave the Lembergers letters declaring them suppressive persons – Scientology’s equivalent of writs of excommunication. Suppressive persons are subjected to an amplified version of Amish shunning (‘shunning on steroids,’ as someone once put it). So instead of visiting old friends – who, because of the Church’s disconnection policy (Lewis 2012a, 140-141), were now forced to break off all communication with them – the Lembergers spent the rest of their time in Florida vacationing and making new friends with independent Scientologists in the area.

Returning home to Israel, the Lembergers received a letter from a lawyer in Tel Aviv saying that they were forbidden to use CoS trademarks. As a consequence, they began emphasizing that the Dror (Hebrew for ‘Freedom’) Center was independent, and not a Church Mission.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][5][/FONT][/FONT] They also had a number of business associates break off relations. Some ex-students now crossed to the other side when they walked down the street. Other former close friends neglected to respond to phone calls. Worse than this, however, was the slander to which they were subjected. Applying a Church of Scientology principle called ‘fair game’ (Wallis 1976:144), the Lembergers were accused of being psychotic, of being drug dealers and other standard accusations taken from CoS’s ‘black propaganda’ (Hubbard 1986 [1976]: 47) playbook.

While about ten people left the Haifa Mission after it broke with the Church of Scientology, approximately forty stayed on. The Dror Center also soon attracted participants who had left the Church years before, disenchanted by some of the changes the Church of Scientology had earlier undergone. Certain changes were also made at Dror. In particular, Dror Center took steps to acquire the expertise to deliver the upper levels of auditing.

The core of the spiritual system developed by Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard (LRH), consists of the Bridge to Freedom (or, more simply, ‘the Bridge’), a series of levels through which one passed before achieving a state of total spiritual freedom (roughly, Scientology’s parallel to Enlightenment). The lower levels are Pre-clear (pc) and Clear, while the higher levels consist of eight Operating Thetan (OT) levels. Church Missions like the pre-schism Haifa Center could only deliver the lower levels of the Bridge, and then forward individuals to an Advanced Org (a higher-level Church of Scientology organization) for advanced services.

Prior to the schism, the Haifa Mission was, in terms of auditing and other services, on par with a Class 5 Org, meaning they could deliver up to New Era Dianetics (NED) – in other words, up to the Clear level, though the Church required that one travel to an Advanced Org to have that status verified. After leaving CoS, the Dror Center went through a process of development until it was able to offer the ‘Full Bridge,’ meaning Clear through the OT Levels. Many different high-level independent Scientologists helped the Dror center with this process, including Claudio Lugli (who visited Dror in September 2012) and Silvia Llorens (visited in March 2013). Dror fees also dropped significantly after leaving CoS – approximately a third of what the Church charged, depending the specific service (Lemberger 2013a).


The Schism of 1982 and Recent Defections

The core of Scientology is auditing. Many outside observers, distracted by Church of Scientology (CoS) celebrities, scandals and CoS’s exotic upper level teachings, tend to regard auditing as a sideshow – a quaint pseudo-therapy, distracting attention from the ‘real’ purposes of the sinister Scientology cult. Focusing on the space opera narrative, with its story of the cosmic dictator Xenu massacring millions of aliens whose souls subsequently attached themselves to living human beings, critics often characterize Scientology as an irrational farce (Rothstein 2009). Furthermore, Scientologists, they say, must be crazy, gullible, stupid, brainwashed or some combination of these. Particularly for the Internet ‘trolls’ who busy themselves spreading negative remarks about Scientology across blogs and chat rooms, this evaluation has become an unquestioned axiom, immune to empirical disconfirmation.

It does not, however, take much reflection to see that this portrayal is, at best, a caricature. As anyone familiar with the movement at a ground level will attest, a wide variety of different people become involved in Scientology, including more than a few sane, smart individuals. Rather than being impressed with the ‘space opera’ story (Hubbard 1978, 398), new recruits are impressed with how auditing ‘works’ – or at least seems to work. Though I have myself never been audited (except by the IRS cult), I have seen numerous e-meter demonstrations. Using the same basic technology as a lie detector, in the hands of a trained auditor an e-meter can appear to almost read one’s mind, quickly zeroing in on unresolved issues from the past. I have also seen people being audited who ‘run’ an incident from the past, and have witnessed the relief that followed the session. In order to understand the appeal of Scientology, one must understand the impressive power of this seemingly simple process.

The importance of auditing and of certain other practical teachings that address issues in one’s everyday life, explain why many of the people who leave the Church of Scientology continue to believe in the Scientology system (Rubin 2011). In contemporary sociological terminology, we would say that that while defectors have disaffiliated (left the organization), most have not become apostates (rejected the belief system[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][6][/FONT][/FONT]). This stands in marked contrast to people who leave conservative Christian sects like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the majority of whom become apostates. Unless one understands the attractiveness of core Scientology practices, one cannot truly understand why ex-members of CoS would continue to identify as Scientologists.

There were two time periods during which large numbers of people left the Church of Scientology. The first was the Schism of 1982 (or, perhaps more accurately, the Schisms of 1982/3). The second was a much more dispersed series of defections that took place across the course of the first decade of the 21[SUP]st[/SUP] Century and that, to a certain extent, continues into the present. The first period of mass exits is easier to explain than the second, though one first has to understand CoS’s Mission Franchise system.

Hubbard experimented with various forms of a Scientology franchise system throughout his career, but the basic idea is simple: Like a commercial franchise, individuals pay an upfront fee, pay for Scientology materials and pay a percentage of franchise income to the Church. As explained earlier, franchise centers like the original Haifa Mission eventually referred their clients to Church Orgs for advanced processing (and receive a commission for doing so).

By the latter 1970s and into the first years of the 1980s, Scientology was enjoying tremendous growth. Most of this growth was coming from the franchises, and a number of franchise owners were becoming wealthy. Though this point might have been debatable at the time, it is clear in retrospect that the administration of the Church decided that CoS should enjoy a larger part of this wealth. This led to the infamous Mission Holders Conference in San Francisco on 17 October 1982. David Miscavige, current leader of CoS, was master of ceremonies at the event (Appendix to Latey Judgment 1984). Much of the independence of the Missions was taken away, and owners were forced to sign new agreements that put their franchises more directly under the control of the Church (Atack 1990, Chapter 3). Subsequently, the booming growth the movement had been enjoying up to that point began falling off, and “[v]irtually every major productive mission holder left the church over the next year or two” (Rathbun 2013, 195). At around the same time, there was a purge of CoS leadership that served to push numerous highly-trained Scientologists outside of the Church.

During this period, Hubbard was in hiding to avoid being served legal notices (Rathbun 2013, 145). He separated himself from the day-to-day running of his organization and retreated into the background, surrounding himself with a small number of loyalists – one of whom was David Miscavige – through whom he communicated with the rest of the Church. He also stopped attending public events. Toward the end of his life, only a handful of Scientologists even knew where Hubbard was physically located (Gang of Five 2009). The secretiveness of this situation provided fertile ground for later conspiracy theories about the usurpation of power that allegedly took place in the years leading up to his death.

In the aftermath of the purge and the Mission Holder’s Conference, the first significant independent Scientology movement emerged. Particularly in Europe, the independents described themselves as participants in the Free Zone, a term originally coined by Bill Robertson (affectionately known as ‘Captain Bill’). LRH’s absence enabled the independents to conclude that Hubbard had been tricked and kept in the dark during the 1980s until his death in 1986. In other words, the people who disaffiliated later claimed that the objectionable policies which drove them out of CoS were either issued by others in the name of the founder, or else that Hubbard had been systematically misinformed and misled about what was actually happening in the Church during the period when he issued disastrous policy statements (Rathbun 2013, 199). This conspiracy theory (an expression I am here using descriptively, not disparagingly) allowed defectors to reject the emergent policies put forward by CoS in the eighties, while claiming fidelity to Hubbard’s teachings.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][7][/FONT][/FONT]

Of the independent Scientology organizations established in the wake of the Schism of 1982, the most significant groups were David Mayo’s Advanced Abilities Center in the Santa Barbara, California, area and Captain Bill’s group, Ron’s Org, originally established in Germany. Mayo’s as well as other, smaller independent centers were soon sued out of existence by CoS. But Ron’s Org exists to this day as a growing confederation of centers in Germany, Switzerland and the CIS countries (especially Russia). In all cases, once free of the Church, the independents fell back on the core of Scientology – namely auditing and the training of auditors. In point of fact, Ron’s Org currently produces significantly more auditors per year than CoS. (Park 2013)

The more recent rash of defections dates from the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century, when David Miscavige, CoS’s formal leader after Hubbard’s passing, stepped forward to take a more active role in (some might say micromanaging) the day-to-day running of the Church of Scientology. Because the Free Zone account of the flawed managerial decisions made in the eighties had attributed these to Hubbard’s successor, the Mission Holders’ Conference conspiracy theory has thus been able to come full circle to posit Miscavige as the source of both cycles of mismanagement and mass defections.

After the purges, schisms and defections of the eighties, the Church of Scientology seemed to bounce back and, certainly at the outer level, it recovered much lost ground. At the ‘inner’ levels, however, the story was different. Part of what happened during the events of the eighties was that the movement lost many of its top-level practitioners, administrators and numerous class VIII, IX and XII auditors, the highest classes of spiritual therapists. Statistically, CoS never recovered. Furthermore, the rate at which even lower-level auditors were being produced went into a decline after Hubbard’s passing. The further loss of upper level talent was also a feature of the defections that have taken place over the past decade or so. For people who understand the emphasis Hubbard placed on this rather elaborate auditing system as well as his administrative system, the current Church of Scientology is a shell of its former self.

When Miscavige began to assert more direct control over the running of the organization in the first decade of the current century, he closed down certain offices in the Church, and sent some high-ranking officials (the ones who had not left outright) to CoS’s re-education camp at Gilman Hot Springs in California. Later narratives accusing him of the physical abuse of CoS staff emerged as part of the defection stories of numerous, formerly high-ranking Church officials. These in turn led to a prominent series of exposé articles in the St. Petersburg Times that began in 2009, which then led to further negative media coverage by other news outlets and, eventually, a spate of new books in the exposé genre (e.g., Sweeney 2013; Wright 2013).

The second wave of high-level defections does not thus far seem to have generated new religious organizations, in part, it appears, out of fear of being destroyed by CoS litigation. The single exception is the Haifa Mission/Dror Center, discussed above. There are, however, informal associations of independent Scientologists that in the past five years have grown up around various website and blogs, such the blogging activities of Marty Rathbun.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][8][/FONT][/FONT] These associations vary. Beyond mutual support and providing information about the Church (particularly, but not exclusively, on the Internet), the focus of at least some of the associations appears to be to initiate a reformation of CoS from the outside (Rathbun 2012). Many critics of the Church of Scientology envision that the current leakage of members will eventually grow into a flood that will finally burst the seams of the organization. Some version of this scenario – rather than any naïve expectation that the top management of CoS will change its present policies – appears to be their goal.


Down Stat

Though the Church of Scientology continues to claim that it is experiencing unprecedented growth, the actual situation is that its statistics have been steadily declining for many years. This decline is reflected in CoS’s own statistics – as collected by Kristi Wachter on her “The Truth About Scientology” website (http://www.truthaboutscientology.com/stats/) – and by national census and survey data.

Thus, for example, Australia holds national censuses every five years. Over the past four censuses, people self-identifying as members of the Church of Scientology gradually rose across three censuses and then dropped off significantly during the most recent:

Australian Census figures for the Church of Scientology
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Census Year: 1996 2001 2006 2011
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Scientologists: 1,488 2,032 2,507 2,162

I should, however, quickly point out that not all census data is negative. In the United Kingdom there have been only two national censuses in which religious affiliation has been reported. In 2001, 1781 people self-identified as Scientologists in England and Wales, whereas in 2011, 2418 respondents reported being Scientologists. Critics, however, note that whereas the Australian census specified Church of Scientology, figures for the British census resulted from respondents writing ‘Scientology’ into an ‘Other’ box provided on the UK Census form. Thus at least some of the growth might be accounted for by an increase in numbers of independent Scientologists.

It has also been pointed out to this writer that, if one had only the 2001 and the 2011 figures from the Australian census, the data would appear to indicate growth (from 2032 members to 2162 members) rather than a decline. The implication of this observation is that had the UK held a census in 2006, perhaps one would find a comparable decrease in numbers of Scientologists in England and Wales between 2006 and 2011.

The U.S. census does not measure religious affiliation. However, in 1990, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York conducted a National Survey of Religious Identification (NSRI) via randomly dialed phone numbers (113,723 people were surveyed). Eleven years later, in 2001, the same center carried out the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) in the same manner. There was subsequently another ARIS survey in 2008. Categories were developed post facto. The contrast between the 1990 data, the 2001 data and the 2008 data allows one to make judgments about the growth or decline of select religious bodies in a manner comparable to census data.

NSRI and ARIS data for Scientology (Adults - 18+)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Survey Year: 1990 2001 2008
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Scientologists: 45,000 55,000 25,000

The drop in the total number of Scientologists between 2001 and 2008 was likely much less dramatic than these figures indicate due to sampling issues involved with measuring a small religion like Scientology (http://ocmb.xenu.net/ocmb/viewtopic.php?t=30372). I nevertheless have the impression that these figures are indicative of a real decline in the number of Scientologists in the United States.

It should finally be mentioned that researchers at the University of Copenhagen have been collecting quantitative data on Scientologists for the past several decades. This data is significant for the study of Scientology in Europe in part because the Copenhagen Org was the first major Scientology center to be established on the continent proper (Saint Hill in England had been established earlier), and served as a dissemination point to the rest of Europe. In connection with a different project (Lewis 2014), researchers at the University of Copenhagen generously supplied the present writer with data that had been collected on new members of the Church of Scientology in Denmark up until 1998. Andreas Baumann, a graduate student at the Department for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen, calculated the relevant figures:

New Members of the Church of Scientology Copenhagen

5-y period Mean Age N

1996-1998 30.68 22
1991-1995 25.70 63
1986-1990 29.58 183
1981-1985 26.02 273
1976-1980 23.48 232
1971-1975 23.25 177
1966-1970 24.13 90
1961-1965 25.00 22

An analysis of the decline of Scientology in Denmark is provided in an important piece by Peter B. Andersen and Rie Wellendorf (2009). In addition to conflict between CoS’s American ethos and the ethos of Danish society, one of the reasons for the Church’s decline is that it has become a closed community (Andersen and Wellendorf 2009, 160-161) – a situation of social encapsulation that extracts members from the social networks through which new members are typically made (as discussed in Dawson 2006). Generalized beyond the specifics of Danish society, I would hypothesize that this basic analysis could be cautiously extrapolated to the Church of Scientology’s situation in most of the rest of Western Europe.

From an external point of view, this decline is not extraordinary. Many other religious denominations are experiencing a similar decline. However, from an internal point of view, these figures could be interpreted as calling into question the legitimacy of the current management of the Church of Scientology. As anyone familiar with CoS is aware, L. Ron Hubbard was obsessed with growth, and devised a reporting system that enabled him to keep track of his movement’s expansion. During his tenure as organizational head, Hubbard established the tradition of each branch of the Church sending in reports on Thursdays. He then spent Fridays reading them. This is the origin of the ‘Thursday Report’ that figures so importantly in the lives of staff members. The ideal Thursday Report embodies a measurable increase over the preceding week’s report, which is referred to as being ‘Up Stat.’ A decrease is referred to as ‘Down Stat.’ (Lewis 2012a) Furthermore, individuals whose statistics are increasing are rewarded, while anyone with decreasing statistics – particularly stats that had declined several weeks in a row – have certain privileges taken away or are punished in some manner in Scientology orgs.

The Church of Scientology experienced what has been called a ‘statistics crash’ in 1990, and subsequently never recovered its momentum. Information on the ‘crash’ can be found on any number of websites (e.g., http://www.savescientology.com/stats_allegations.pdf). Years in the making, CoS’s dwindling spiral was ultimately set in motion by the organizational absorption of the franchises following the Mission Holders Conference and the accompanying purge of upper-level management within the Church proper.

Because individuals are legitimated within CoS by their statistics, the administration of the Church cannot acknowledge these declining statistics, much less present them to other Scientologists. Instead, in annual reports on the Church’s progress (a longstanding tradition within CoS), it is alleged that the administration cherry-picks statistics from areas where Scientology is growing. It is only by this kind of selective reporting that CoS’s Freedom magazine is able to carry headlines like:

The Fastest-Growing Religion in the 21[SUP]st[/SUP] Century
The True Face of Scientology: Unparalleled Growth Since 2004
David Miscavige: At the Helm of Scientology’s Explosive Growth


The Debbie Cook Email

The Cook email (Cook 2011) did not explicitly address the issue of falling statistics. Rather, it questioned the legitimacy of a range of administrative actions, both in terms of their effectiveness and their deviations from the administrative principles laid down by LRH. However, the sense that CoS had taken a wrong turn and become entangled in the underbrush is implicit in a number of her observations. Thus, for example, in a muted call for action, her email reads: “…you should be able to see that over regging and frequent tech changes are not OK and you have a responsibility to do something to Keep Scientology Working.”

“Regging,” derived from ‘registering,’ refers to bringing in money. “Tech changes” refers to changes in Scientology auditing and other processes. “Keep Scientology Working” (KSW) is the title of a prominent policy letter that Hubbard issued on 7 February 1965 which insists, among other things, that his directives regarding how things are done – both in terms of administrative policy and in the technical area of auditing – should be strictly adhered to and not changed. Her statement embodies concerns Cook had expressed in the beginning of her email about the overemphasis on fundraising and unjustified tech changes. The reference to KSW is mentioned to remind her audience of how strongly LRH emphasized that Scientologists should not innovate, as well as to imply that CoS was in danger of declining. More explicitly, her email’s penultimate statement – “If we took all that energy and directed it into auditing, training and raw public dissemination, we would be winning” – clearly indicates that the Church of Scientology is currently not winning, but is, rather, declining.

Cook begins her letter by first complaining, in some detail, about the “new age of continuous fundraising” the Church is experiencing, and then goes on to register complaints against the current administration of the Church of Scientology under four headings:

The IAS (International Association of Scientologists)
New Org Buildings (the so-called Ideal Org program)
Out Tech (changes in the way the Bridge is being delivered)
LRH Command Structure (the elimination of certain upper level administrative posts)

The IAS, Cook notes, was the creation of David Miscavige and Marc Yager, not L. Ron Hubbard. Furthermore, these “membership monies are held as Int [referring to CoS’s international HQ] reserves and have grown to well in excess of a billion dollars. Only a tiny fraction has ever been spent,” which is in violation of LRH policy. She then goes on to lament that none of these funds have been spent on promoting Scientology.

Most of the fundraising Cook complains about is being used to build large, expensive new buildings for Scientology Orgs. These ‘Ideal Orgs’ directly contravene Hubbard’s directives against excessive investment in real estate, as pointed out on many critical websites (e.g., http://www.scientology-cult.com/declarations-of-independence/375-conny-and-ing-marie-lundberg.html). In a lecture given on 31 December 1960 during the Anatomy of the Human Mind Congress, Hubbard even famously directed Scientologists to blow up central headquarters if buildings ever became important to the Church of Scientology.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][9][/FONT][/FONT]

The email’s third complaint is that COB (Chairman Of the Board, David Miscavige) had been tampering with the Bridge by, in part, requiring people to redo certain levels and by mixing together certain processes that should remain separate. The goal of these changes, Cook makes clear, is transparently to collect more fees.

Finally, the email complains, large components of the Church’s upper-level management structure – a structure developed by Hubbard himself – had either been eliminated or de-staffed. Cook notes that she visited key staff members who had been removed from their posts, and found that the entire International Management team “were all off post and doing very long and harsh ethics programs.” Her implication was that COB had to remove these managers in order to run the Church the way he wanted – that is, minus personnel who had been charged with the task of managing the Church of Scientology’s internal system of checks and balances.

On 4 July 2012, a bit more than six months after the Cook letter, Dani Lemberger issued his own letter, in which he and seven other members of the Dror staff assigned the Treason condition (‘condition’ has a specific meaning within the Scientology system; refer to Hubbard 1978, 86-87) to David Miscavige (Lemberger 2012). More extensive than the Cook letter, the Lemberger letter repeated a few of her points and added a number of new points. But the basic issue was the same: Contrary to the express wishes of the founder, changes had been introduced into a number of different aspects of the Church of Scientology that were leading to its decline.


Discussion and Conclusion

Despite claims to the contrary, CoS is, in fact, currently in what Scientologists refer to as a dwindling spiral (Hubbard 1978, 127). Though criticisms by ex-members and other outside critics might have left their mark, it appears that management decisions – assuming that Debbie Cook’s and Dani Lemberger’s evaluations are even partially correct – are causing the worst damage. Of the various problems outlined by Cook and Lemberger, the one most obvious to outsiders is the Ideal Org program.

This program began in 2002-2003 when the Org in Buffalo, New York, was evicted under eminent domain and when the Org in Tampa, Florida, was evicted as a consequence of failing to pay rent. The Church of Scientology filed a lawsuit in Buffalo that netted enough funds to permit Scientologists there to purchase a new building. In Florida, COB was able to persuade some Scientologists in the area to push the Flag public (non-staff Scientologists associated with Flag HQ in Clearwater) to be responsible for ‘their org’ in Tampa. Something similar happened in Johannesburg (the third center to become an Ideal Org) where the Org had been in a very violent location in downtown Johannesburg and was forced to move. (http://www.mikerindersblog.org/johannesburg-ideal-org-truth-revealed/)

Miscavige then turned this into ‘the thing to do.’ … t is the only thing he can use to show that he is doing an effective job of clearing the planet.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][10][/FONT][/FONT] Scientologists would not support him if they thought he was not accomplishing that goal. (Rinder 2013)

The first few Ideal Org projects were quite successful. Buffalo had money from its lawsuit to acquire nice property, and Tampa was able to draw resources from the large Scientology community that had formed in central West Coast Florida where CoS’s ‘Mecca’ (the Flag Land Base) was located. These were, however, unique situations. The subsequent decision to extend this facilities expansion program – initiating ambitious building programs simultaneously across the entire Scientology world – was ill-considered. Most orgs were simply not in the same fortuitous situation as Buffalo or Tampa. As a consequence, the Church of Scientology had to embark on an expansive fundraising push that continues up to the present. In the meanwhile, members have been leaving and potential new members have backed away – turned off by the high-pressure overemphasis on donations. Furthermore, funds that might otherwise have been used to further individuals’ progress up the Bridge have been diverted to donations.

However, the most important issue for many insiders is that the emphasis on fundraising contradicts Hubbard policy, as Cook noted in her letter:

If the org slumps… don’t engage in ‘fund-raising’ or ‘selling postcards’ or borrowing money. Just make more income with Scientology. It’s a sign of very poor management to seek extraordinary solutions for finance outside Scientology. It has always failed. For orgs as for pcs, ‘Solve It With Scientology.’ Every time I myself have sought to solve financial or personnel in other ways than Scientology I have lost out. So I can tell you from experience that org solvency lies in more Scientology, not patented combs or fund-raising barbeques. – LRH HCO PL 24 February 1964, Issue II, Org Programming, (OEC Vol. 7, p. 930)

In the face of these developments, it is easy to understand how members might be tempted to leave the Church and start an independent organization. However, the policy of the Church of Scientology that makes this difficult is that Church lawyers will file lawsuits against the emergent group, even if the lawsuits have no chance of success.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][11][/FONT][/FONT] This important consideration aside, there are a number of different other aspects of Scientology that make it easy for people to leave, individually or as a group.

As discussed in Chapter Ten ofRoy Wallis’s Salvation and Protest, a religion can assert authority on the basis of several different types of claims. Though Hubbard considered the idea of presenting himself to the world as a messiah (Urban 2011, 138-139), he ultimately decided simply to claim that Scientology was the end result of his scientific researches rather than a revelation. What this means is that Scientology was and is, in Wallis’s terms, pluralistically legitimate. Thus, and despite Hubbard’s other assertions about the Church of Scientology being the sole source of hope for the planet, anyone should be able to follow Hubbard’s teachings without becoming a CoS member. In fact, in terms of legitimacy, one could theoretically start one’s own Scientology-based group in the same way one might start a new scientific research group. Had Hubbard claimed to be a messiah or some other divine figure and then passed the mantle of prophethood on to a designated successor, the situation would be different. But he did not.

Whenever a non-CoS Scientology organization forms, one of the first accusations leveled against the group by the Church is that it is a squirrel (Hubbard 1978, 399). In the technical vocabulary of Scientology, a squirrel is someone who deviates from ‘standard tech’; in other words, they modify the auditing procedures taught in the Church of Scientology, thus psychologically and/or spiritually damaging the individuals being audited. This accusation is made regardless of whether the non-CoS practitioner actually modifies auditing or not, in part because there are usually no other substantive criticisms the Church can offer.

Minus threats of litigation, ad hominem attacks and the discourse about squirrels, the conflict between CoS and non-CoS Scientologists boils down to competing assertions about legitimacy. The Church of Scientology’s claim to authority is obvious: The Church is the institutional embodiment of Hubbard’s legacy and, despite the cloud of secrecy that surrounded LRH in his final years, Miscavige’s claim to have inherited his leadership position from the founder seems reasonable enough (though many critics will dispute this).

Non-CoS Scientologists, on the other hand, level their criticisms against COB, and base most of their criticisms on a close reading of Hubbard’s writings. This line of attack is almost inevitable, given that all of LRH’s non-fiction writings have been declared scripture (Rothstein 2007). However, even had his writings not been declared scripture, KSW, as indicated earlier, had emphasized that Scientologists should never innovate, but instead adhere to all of Hubbard’s technical and administrative directives without deviating. Thus, in both the Cook Letter and the Lemberger Letter, the authors constantly quote Hubbard, citing the equivalent of chapter and verse from LRH’s extensive policy letters and other sources.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][12][/FONT][/FONT]

Whether or not Cook and Lemberger regard Hubbard’s publications as scripture, these writings are treated as authoritative documents, to the extent that they effectively function as scripture within the larger Scientology subculture. LRH’s work can be quoted to legitimate particular positions as well as to de-legitimate the positions of others. This legitimation strategy seems to derive, in part, from the cultural heritage of the Judeo-Christian tradition, which locates the source of religious authority in sacred texts. In other words, being raised in a religious tradition that emphasizes the authority of scripture creates an attitude that can be unconsciously carried over to other, very different kinds of writings.

As discussed elsewhere (e.g. Lewis 2002; Lewis 2003; Lewis 2012b), the classic discussion of the issue of legitimacy is Max Weber’s threefold schema of traditional, rational-legal, and charismatic legitimations of authority (Weber 1962; Weber 1968). Weber’s work on the legitimation of authority provides a useful starting point for understanding the legitimation strategies deployed by contemporary new religions, but it is necessary to first modify his framework. Thus, for example, in contrast to what one might anticipate from his discussion of charismatic leaders – whose legitimacy, in Weber’s view, springs entirely from her or his personal charisma – one often finds leaders of new religions appealing to tradition. Furthermore, the explicit nature of such appeals means that they constitute a variation from what Weber had in mind by the traditional legitimation of authority.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][13][/FONT][/FONT] Also, when nascent movements attempt to justify a new idea, practice or social arrangement by attributing it to the authority of tradition, it is usually only through a reinterpretation of the past that they are able to portray themselves as the true embodiment of tradition.

Charisma might thus be the keystone in a new movement’s initial attractiveness, but charismatic leaders typically appeal to a variety of other sources of legitimacy. For instance, many modern movements – including Scientology – appeal to the authority of rationality as embodied in natural science.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][14][/FONT][/FONT] This is because the general populace of industrialized countries accord science and science’s child, technology, a level of respect and prestige enjoyed by few other social institutions – to the extent that, as a number of observers have pointed out, science has come to be viewed quasi-religiously. Thus any religion which claims that its approach is in some way scientific draws on the prestige and perceived legitimacy of natural science. Hubbard claimed just that, meaning his explicit appeal for the legitimacy of Scientology was, in terms of Weber’s tripartite schema, a rational appeal.

While Hubbard was a charismatic individual, and while his personal charisma was undoubtedly crucial for the successful birth of his movement, in the present discussion I am less interested in analyzing the initial emergence of Scientology than in the transformations that have taken place in the post-charismatic phase of the movement. Weber was also interested in this kind of transition, which he discussed in terms of the routinization of charisma. By this Weber meant that, because personal charisma tends to be unstable (Weber 1968, 22), charismatic authority must eventually move toward dissolution, legal-rational authority or traditional authority. In the case of Scientology, LRH and his writings on Scientology became the functional equivalent of traditional authority.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][15][/FONT][/FONT] Furthermore, as discussed in detail by Christensen, the Church of Scientology is thoroughly committed to presenting Hubbard as the “only ultimate source and legitimizing resource of the religious and therapeutic claims of the Church.” (2005, 227)

In earlier stages of its development Scientology was, at least in theory, empirical and open to new discoveries (an integral part of Hubbard’s appeal to rational legitimacy). After the death of the charismatic founder, however, CoS quickly solidified into a rigid organization focused – at least ideally – on maintaining and continuing the legacy of Hubbard as its primary source of legitimacy. The Church has thus stressed its role as LRH’s organizational successor. In terms of Weber’s analysis, one would say that the Church of Scientology’s legitimation strategy has narrowed to focus almost exclusively on its claim to what has become – both in form and in effect – traditional authority.

The problem with this focus, however, is that it entails strict adherence to Hubbard’s policy directives, directives from which the Church has deviated. The dwindling spiral of internal statistics also threatens the legitimacy of the current CoS administration from an empirical angle: If the shrinkage of the Church becomes undeniable and members begin to seek explanations for the decline, the numerous changes that have been introduced since Hubbard’s passing will likely not escape scrutiny. Additionally, like Dani Lemberger, members might also be prompted to consult the Internet for alternate sources of information.[FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][16][/FONT][/FONT]

Prediction is always a problematic enterprise. In the present case, the Church of Scientology is in a dynamic state of flux with many factors impinging on the situation, making a number of different future scenarios possible. Thus, for example, the Ideal Org program might unexpectedly become an engine for growth and attract many new people to become involved in Scientology, reversing what currently appears to be an irreversible pattern of decline in Church membership. Alternately, perhaps the current membership has reached a ‘steady state’ in the sense that – while it will continue to slowly leak defectors – the overall number of members will remain relatively constant for many more years. Based on current trends, however, the overall picture is that CoS’s decline will continue – whether quickly or gradually – while independent Scientology will grow. The Free Zone in Northern and Eastern Europe already produces many more auditors per annum than the Church, while growing primarily by recruiting new members from the general population rather than from among disenchanted ex-CoS members. And while Dror Center has thus far been the only Mission to declare independence during the present cycle of defections, the incidence of such schisms might multiply as the current crisis continues to weaken member perception of the legitimacy of Church leadership.


References

Andersen, Peter B., and Rie Wellendorf, 2009. Community in Scientology and among Scientologists. In James R. Lewis (ed.), Scientology, New York: Oxford University Press, 143-163.

Appendix to the Latey Judgment. 1984. The 1982 US Mission Holders’ Conference, San Francisco. http://www.xenu.net/archive/audit/missions.html. Accessed 17 June 2013

[FONT=&amp]Atack, Jon. 1990. A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed. Lyle Stuart Books.[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Beatty, Chuck. 2013. [/FONT]Communications with author, June 2013.

[FONT=&amp]Bromley, David G. 1998. “The Social Construction of Contested Exit Roles: Defectors, Whistleblowers, and Apostates.” Pp. 19-48 in The Politics of Religious Apostasy: The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movements. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing. [/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Christensen, Dorthe Refslund. 2005. Inventing L. Ron Hubbard: On the construction and maintenance of the hagiographic mythology of Scientology’s founder. In James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen, eds. Controversial New Religions. New York: Oxford University Press, 227-258.[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Cook, Debbie. 2011. New Year’s Email from Debbie Cook. December 31, 2011.[/FONT]
[FONT=&amp] http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/category/debbie-cook/ Accessed 16 June 2013.[/FONT]

Dawson, Lorne. 2006. Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements. Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press. 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Edition.

Engler, Steven & Gregory P. Grieve (eds). 2005. Historicizing ‘Tradition’ in the Study of Religion. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Gang of Five. 2009. The Secret History of David Miscavige. http://www.scientology-cult.com/secret-history-of-david-miscavige.html. Accessed 17 June 2013

Harman, Danna. 2012. Breaking out of Scientology’s iron grip. Haaretz 30 September 2012.
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world...aking-out-of-scientology-s-iron-grip-1.467576. Accessed 16 June 2013.

Hellesøy, Kjersti. Forthcoming 2014. In James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen, eds., Controversial New Religions. New York: Oxford University Press, 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] edition.

Hubbard, L. Ron. 2007. Introduction to Scientology Ethics. Commerce City, California: Bridge Publications. 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Edition. Originally Published 1968.

-----------------. 1986. Modern Management Technology Defined: Hubbard Dictionary of Administration and Management. Los Angeles: Bridge Publications. Originally Published 1976.

-----------------. 1978. Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary. Los Angeles: Church of Scientology of California Publications Organization.

-----------------. 1955. The Scientologist: A Manual on Dissemination of Material. Ability, the Magazine of Dianetics and Scientology. (Major Issue 1).

Lemberger, Dani. 2013a. Communications with author, June 2013.

--------------------. 2013b. Ron’s Single Biggest Mistake. Accessed 20 June 2013.
http://www.mikerindersblog.org/dani-lemberger-speaks/

--------------------. 2012. An Open Letter to All Scientologists: Assignment of Treason Condition – David Miscavige. 11 July 2012. Accessed 16 June 2013.
http://markrathbun.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/an-open-letter-to-all-scientologists.pdf.

Lewis, James R. 2014. The Youth Crisis Model of Conversion: An Idea That’s Time Has Passed? Numen: International Review for the History of Religions 51.

-------------------. 2012a. Scientology: Up Stat Down Stat.In Mikael Rothstein and Olav Hammer, eds. The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 133-149.

-------------------. 2012b. Excavating Tradition: Alternative Archaeologies as Legitimation Strategies. Numen:International Review for the History of Religions 59, 202–221.

-------------------. 2010. The Science Canopy: Religion, Legitimacy and the Charisma of Science. Temenos 46:1, 7-29.

------------------. 2009a. The Growth of Scientology and the Stark Model of Religious “Success.” In Scientology, ed. James R. Lewis. New York: Oxford University Press, 117-140.

------------------. 2009b. Introduction. Scientology, ed. James R. Lewis. New York: Oxford University Press, 3-14.

------------------. 2008. Infernal Legitimacy. In Jesper Aagard Petersen, ed. Contemporary Religious Satanism. Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 41-58.

------------------. 2003. Legitimating New Religions. Piscataway, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

------------------. 2002. Diabolical Authority: Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible and the Satanist Tradition. Marburg Journal of Religious Studies 7:1.

------------------. 1997. Clearing the Planet: Utopian Idealism and the Church of Scientology. Syzygy: Journal of Alternative Religion and Culture 6.

Lewis, James R., and Sarah M. Lewis, eds. 2009. Sacred Schisms: How Religions Divide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Momen, Moojan. 2007. Marginality and Apostasy in the Baha’i Community. Religion 17, 187-209.

Ortega, Tony. 2012a. Scientology Crumbling. The Village Voice. 6 July 2012.
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/07/scientology_dani_lemberger.php
Accessed 16 June 2013.

---------------. 2012b. Scientology Settles with Debbie Cook. The Village Voice. 24 April 2012.
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/04/scientology_settles_debbie_cook.php
Accessed 21 June 2013.

Park, Terril. 2013. Communication with author, 19 June 2013.

Rathbun, Mark. 2013. Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior. Amazon Books.

------------------. 2012. The Scientology Reformation. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Rinder, Michael. 2013. Communication with author, 30 May 2013.

Rothstein, Mikael. 2009. ‘His name was Xenu, He used renegades’: Aspects of Scientology’s Founding Myth. In Scientology, ed. James R. Lewis. New York: Oxford University Press, 365-387.

------------------. 2007. Scientology, scripture, and sacred tradition. In James R. Lewis and Olav Hammer, eds. The Invention of Sacred Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rubin, Elisabeth Tuxen. 2011. Disaffiliation Among Scientologists: A Sociological Study of Post-Apostasy Behaviour and Attitudes. International Journal for the Study of New Religions 2:2, 201–224


Sweeney, John. 2013. The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology. London: Silvertail Books.

Urban, Hugh B. 2011. The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Wallis, Roy. 1976. The Road to Total Freedom: A Sociological Analysis of Scientology. New York: Columbia University Press.

--------------------. 1979. Salvation and Protest: Studies of Social and Religious Movements. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Weber, Max. 1962. Basic Concepts in Sociology. H. P. Secher (trans). New York: Philosophical Library.

--------------------. 1968. Weber, Max. Economy and Society. New York: Bedminster Press.

Wright, Lawrence. 2013. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.



[FONT=&amp][1][/FONT] KSW is the abbreviation of a prominent policy letter, “Keeping Scientology Working.”

[FONT=&amp][2][/FONT] The following account is derived from Harman 2012, Ortega 2012a and ongoing communications with Dani Lemberger and Tami Lemberger.

[FONT=&amp][3][/FONT] ‘Org’ is short for organization. In addition to groups like the Sea Org, Scientologists refer to their official centers as Orgs. For general information on Scientology, refer to Urban 2011, Lewis 2012a and Hellesøy 2014.

[FONT=&amp][4][/FONT] In the Introduction to Sacred Schisms (2009), the editors indicate that one of the major sources of schisms is a significant change in the primary group. The Cook letter focused on changes within CoS that had taken place since Miscavige took over from Hubbard.

[FONT=&amp][5][/FONT] My initial impression had been that ‘Dror’ was newly adopted after leaving. However, Dani Lemberger informed me that, “Our name was Dror Center for the past 20 years, when we were a CoS Mission. We retained the name after leaving. It is unusual, but some Missions are allowed ‘special’ names if it helps locally. Church Management never asked us to drop the Dror name.” (Lemberger 2013a)

[FONT=&amp][6][/FONT] It should be noted that a number of social scientists give apostate the further meaning of a defector “who is aligned with an oppositional coalition in an effort to broaden a dispute, and embraces a posture of confrontation through public claimsmaking activities” (Bromley 1998:97). Traditionally, however, the term apostate was applied to anyone who rejected a specific religion, whether or not s/he adopted a stance of overt hostility toward her or his former religious community.


[FONT=&amp][7][/FONT] Comparatively, Moman briefly discusses how the online community of former members of the Baha’i religion have reconstructed certain events – some historical; some more recent – into a self-legitimating ‘apostate mythology’ (2007, 202).

[FONT=&amp][8][/FONT] It should be noted that Internet groups consisting of earlier independent Scientologists had formed prior to the more recent activities of ex-members like Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder. (Park 2013)

[FONT=&amp][9][/FONT] This discussion is quoted on the Web in many different places, including several postings of the excerpt on youtube; e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdLXcE9R4Gs. Also refer to: L.Ron Hubbard, HCO P/L 23 September 1970, Quarters, Policy Regarding—Historical (OEC Vol. 7, p. 1394).

[FONT=&amp][10][/FONT] Hubbard’s notion of ‘Clearing the Planet’ is discussed in the Introduction to Scientology (2009b, 9-10). Also refer to Lewis 1997.

[FONT=&amp][11][/FONT] This strategy was promoted by Hubbard himself, where he famously said that “The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.” (1955)

[FONT=&amp][12][/FONT] It should be emphasized here that, unlike CoS Scientologists, many – though not all – Independent Scientologists feel free to criticize LRH (e.g., Lemberger 2013b)

[FONT=&amp][13][/FONT] Weber viewed traditional authority as more implicit than explicit; in this regard refer to the introductory essay in Engler and Grieve 2005.

[FONT=&amp][14][/FONT] Where Weber discusses ‘[t]he Bases of Legitimacy of an Order,’ he notes that ‘[l]egitimacy may be ascribed to an order by those acting subject to it’ in four rather than three ways (Weber, 12). He does this by separating rational legitimacy from legal legitimacy (in other places, he presents these together as rational-legal). For my purposes here, I focus on the legitimacy of rationality.

[FONT=&amp][15][/FONT] Though one could argue that, in the case of emergent religions, the authority of new traditions are, in some sense, a form of charismatic authority (Lewis 2010, 9-10).

[FONT=&amp][16][/FONT] If a Scientologist adheres to the guidelines in Hubbard’s Introduction to Scientology Ethics, then she or he knows that the utterances and writings of a Suppressive Person are taboo – which is why members normally steer clear of ex-members blogs and websites (Beatty 2013). The Church of Scientology’s attempts to control the flow of information on the Internet – Church secrets as well as critical information about the Scientology – have been clumsy and have often backfired (Urban 2011, 188-190). As a consequence, the Internet is packed with information critical of CoS.
 

thewritegoddess

Patron with Honors
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

I am mistrustful of author James Lewis. He used to shill for the church.

Having read this article, it does not read like an academic article. He almost exclusively uses terms which are addressed not to the academic community, but to ex-Scientologists, or Scientologists on the fringe.

His claim that the Dror Org started attracting more public after splitting with the church seems dubious and the source of this information is unclear. Given that he has in the past published Scientology propaganda verbatim, I don't trust his facts.

This reads like propaganda for the freezone.

If that is the case, I cannot see how the freezone can be profiting enough to pay him for it.

Here's the big indicator for me: use of the first person especially with pronouns. You NEVER refer to yourself in the first person individual: I, me, my! Basic, high school level composition rules. The author's personal testimony and endorsement of auditing makes it obvious he's far from an impartial observer.
 

Terril park

Sponsor
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

I am mistrustful of author James Lewis. He used to shill for the church.

Having read this article, it does not read like an academic article. He almost exclusively uses terms which are addressed not to the academic community, but to ex-Scientologists, or Scientologists on the fringe.

His claim that the Dror Org started attracting more public after splitting with the church seems dubious and the source of this information is unclear. Given that he has in the past published Scientology propaganda verbatim, I don't trust his facts.

This reads like propaganda for the freezone.

If that is the case, I cannot see how the freezone can be profiting enough to pay him for it.

He would be quoting Dani Lemberger re Dror Org.

He is paid niether by CO$ or the FZ. He's an academic and paid by Tromso University.

An open letter he sent in 2011:-

http://isene.wordpress.com/2011/01/...sts-and-critics-of-the-church-of-scientology/
 

Udarnik

Gold Meritorious Patron
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

He would be quoting Dani Lemberger re Dror Org.

He is paid niether by CO$ or the FZ. He's an academic and paid by Tromso University.

An open letter he sent in 2011:-

http://isene.wordpress.com/2011/01/...sts-and-critics-of-the-church-of-scientology/

Interesting. Thanks.

I read both articles. I'm not impressed by his claims to be scientific. He's glossed over a lot of material that is negative about the cult in order to appear even handed. Whether that is some innate sympathy for the cult, a desire up until now to keep on good terms in order to maintain access (and he seems to indicate that he's noted a shift in the center of gravity to the Free Zone, so maybe he doesn't give a shit now about access to official Co$, hence the shift in emphasis to FZ), or whether it's sloppy research, I can't completely tell. There is no way to have immersed yourself in this subject and come out thinking the Orgs are reasonably well-functioning because the members who come visit you are smiling.

My own opinion is that it's a little bit of the access issue coupled with whole lot of sloppy research. His conclusions and hypotheses as put forth in the papers are somewhere between sophomoric and trivial. Detail is sketchy. There is little to no reference to cognitive or behavioral social sciences. If a hard scientist sent a paper like this to even a third tier journal, it would be rejected.

There's a reason he's an English-speaking prof at a two-bit, 40 year old University in the backwaters of a tiny, frozen country that only managed, by dint of acquisitions of 2 other institutions, to attract a student body about 1/3 the size of Virginia Tech. I get the feeling the place exists primarily for Arctic Research, and all the rest of the departments are window dressing to get University status.
 

Terril park

Sponsor
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

Interesting. Thanks.

I read both articles. I'm not impressed by his claims to be scientific. He's glossed over a lot of material that is negative about the cult in order to appear even handed. Whether that is some innate sympathy for the cult, a desire up until now to keep on good terms in order to maintain access (and he seems to indicate that he's noted a shift in the center of gravity to the Free Zone, so maybe he doesn't give a shit now about access to official Co$, hence the shift in emphasis to FZ), or whether it's sloppy research, I can't completely tell. There is no way to have immersed yourself in this subject and come out thinking the Orgs are reasonably well-functioning because the members who come visit you are smiling.

My own opinion is that it's a little bit of the access issue coupled with whole lot of sloppy research. His conclusions and hypotheses as put forth in the papers are somewhere between sophomoric and trivial. Detail is sketchy. There is little to no reference to cognitive or behavioral social sciences. If a hard scientist sent a paper like this to even a third tier journal, it would be rejected.

There's a reason he's an English-speaking prof at a two-bit, 40 year old University in the backwaters of a tiny, frozen country that only managed, by dint of acquisitions of 2 other institutions, to attract a student body about 1/3 the size of Virginia Tech. I get the feeling the place exists primarily for Arctic Research, and all the rest of the departments are window dressing to get University status.

I'm a little surprised at your comments that he's not very scientific. I suggest this is because sociology is a "soft" science compared to your own fields. Also comments that
he's glossed over material that is negative. I'd say that comes down to the fact that he's an academic and not a critic. I know 2 professors of new religious movements and a third who is a PhD and author of Scn related books. I took 2 of these to a anon protest. :) Plus I know some university faculty people in this arena. Along with Hugh Urban they are becoming more and more critical of CO$.

Mr Lewis wrote:-

"One aspect of the organization that particularly impressed me was the Church’s social outreach activities, such as the Literacy Crusade and Criminon. Though often dismissed by critics as “front groups,” or as elaborate PR exercises, it is clear that, at Source, these activities are serious enterprises. "

This may have been true at one time. Criminon was originally a grass roots movement
started by a prisoner, William Benitez, and on this forum you can read Alan Walters
time of lecturing at Folsom Prison. As usual once CO$ got hold of it it was fucked up
and used to make money if only by getting the parishioners to donate.

I'm extremely knowledgable re the FZ, and as knowledgable about CO$ and critical matters as all but a few. Mr Lewis got his facts pretty correct.

You said:-

"There is no way to have immersed yourself in this subject and come out thinking the Orgs are reasonably well-functioning because the members who come visit you are smiling."

I missed anything that would indicate he thinks that but it was a quick second time skim of the materials.
 

oneonewasaracecar

Gold Meritorious Patron
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

He would be quoting Dani Lemberger re Dror Org.

He is paid niether by CO$ or the FZ. He's an academic and paid by Tromso University.

An open letter he sent in 2011:-

http://isene.wordpress.com/2011/01/...sts-and-critics-of-the-church-of-scientology/

I've posted elsewhere in this forum about him (post lifted from below). He is either lazy, incompetent or on someone's payroll. I don't think the is lazy or incompetent.

I will post this again with some commentary.
pp 158-159
Scientology, Church of: The Church of Scientology, one of the genuinely new religions to originate in the United States in the twentieth century, was founded L. Ron Hubbard (1911-86). Hubbard grew up mostly in Montana, but as a teenager travelled throughout Asia and the East.
He did not travel extensively in Asia. Author is taking biography directly from Scientology.
In 1929 he enrolled in George Washington University, studying mathematics, engineering, and nuclear physics.
Notable is the omission of his failures in physics and his inability to graduate.
He subsequently took up a literary career, publishing numerous stories and screenplays in various genres, including adventure, mystery and science fiction.
This is the standard Scientology ordering of his genres. Although he wrote predominantly science-fiction, this is placed last.
Hubbard served in the United States Navy during the Second World War.
A large number of omissions here, in particular his disability pension and the lack of correlation between the official illnesses of blindness and the actual reports of a stomach ulcer.
By 1950 Hubbard had completed enough of his research to write Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health.
If ever there was a shill line this is it. What research?
This book described techniques designed to rid the mind of irrational fears and psychosomatic illnesses. Dianetics quickly became a bestseller, and groups were soon formed so that individuals could assist each other in the application of Hubbard's "auditing" techniques. He lectured extensively, and wrote more books. In 1951 he announced that the "applied religious philosophy" of Scientology had been born. It was described as a subject separate from Dianetics, as it dealt not only with the mind of an individual, but with one's nature as a spiritual being.
In 1954, the first Church of Scientology was established in Los Angeles, California. In 1959 Hubbard moved to Saint Hill Manor, in Sussex, England and the worldwide headquarters of Scientology were relocated there. In 1968, Hubbard resigned his position as Executive Director of the Church and formed the "Sea Organization," a group of dedicated members of the Church. In 1975 these activities outgrew the ships, and were moved onto land in Clearwater, Florida.
No one believed Hubbard's 'resignation.' This is the most uncritical cut and paste job I have ever seen. Interestingly, he refers to 'these activities [in the Sea Org]' without actually telling us what any of the activities actually were. There was obviously another sentence in there, possibly written by Scientology that he omitted, but then he did not bother to edit the final sentence so the paragraph was intelligible. What a lazy writer and editor.
From this time on until his death in 1986, Hubbard continuously wrote and published materials on the subjects of Dianetics and Scientology, and a number of works of science fiction.
The Church of Scientology has been involved in a considerable number of controversial episodes since 1958, such as battles concerning tax issues, a ten-year battle with the Food and Drug Administration regarding the Electro-meters used to assist auditing, and the conflict with the Australian government. The most notorious series of events in the Church began in July 1977, when the FBI conducted a raid on the Washington, DC, and Los Angeles churches and seized many files of documents. The raid was declared illegal, but the documents remained in government possession and were open to public scrutiny. According to these documents, the Church was keeping files on people it considered unfriendly, and there had been various attempts to infiltrate anti-cult organization.
After the raid, the Church sent a number of top officials incognito to selected government agencies which were collecting data on the Church. However, several members were indicted and convicted for theft of government documents. The convicted members were released from their offices in the Church, which began a reorganization and closing of the office responsible for initiating illegal activities.
This would have to be the most factually inaccurate portrayal of Operation Snow White I have ever heard. It is so ridiculous, I don't think the author wrote it. A few facts bear mentioning
1) The raid was not declared illegal.
2) The infiltration of the government by Scientology did not occur after the raid. The raid occurred as a result of Scientology's infiltration; specifically with Operation Snow White which occurred between 1973 and 1976. Infiltration of US govt also preceded the Snow White Raids.
Problems with the IRS continued through the 1980s and 1990. L. Ron Hubbard was charged with criminal tax evasion, and the IRS often moved against the Church in ways that questioned its tax-exempt status.
An interesting admission.
These problems terminated in a landmark decision in 1993, when the IRS ceased all litigation and recognized Scientology as a legitimate religious organization. The Church has also been extensively attacked in Europe.
www.scientology.org

I'm a little surprised at your comments that he's not very scientific. I suggest this is because sociology is a "soft" science compared to your own fields. Also comments that
he's glossed over material that is negative. I'd say that comes down to the fact that he's an academic and not a critic.
Sociology may not be an exact science, but if Lewis doesn't check his facts re Scientology and Hubbard, the conclusions he draws from them are dubious.

James R. Lewis could have checked that facts regarding Operation Snow White. He did not. That makes him a very bad sociologist.

I cannot consider a person a serious academic if they do nothing other than publish PR for cults.

I know 2 professors of new religious movements and a third who is a PhD and author of Scn related books. I took 2 of these to a anon protest. :) Plus I know some university faculty people in this arena. Along with Hugh Urban they are becoming more and more critical of CO$.

This is not relevant to James R. Lewis' words and work.

Mr Lewis wrote:-

"One aspect of the organization that particularly impressed me was the Church’s social outreach activities, such as the Literacy Crusade and Criminon. Though often dismissed by critics as “front groups,” or as elaborate PR exercises, it is clear that, at Source, these activities are serious enterprises. "

This may have been true at one time. Criminon was originally a grass roots movement
started by a prisoner, William Benitez, and on this forum you can read Alan Walters
time of lecturing at Folsom Prison. As usual once CO$ got hold of it it was fucked up
and used to make money if only by getting the parishioners to donate.

Scientology is a totalitarian organization. No entity has ever been created in the name of the organization without the authorization of the Commodore or COB. William Benitez was a Scientologist, acting under orders.

I'm extremely knowledgable re the FZ, and as knowledgable about CO$ and critical matters as all but a few. Mr Lewis got his facts pretty correct.

You said:-

"There is no way to have immersed yourself in this subject and come out thinking the Orgs are reasonably well-functioning because the members who come visit you are smiling."

I missed anything that would indicate he thinks that but it was a quick second time skim of the materials.

It may be that his facts are correct. I know far less about the freezone than CofS. However, given his track record as an academic, I don't consider him a reliable source.

Given your views on Criminon are just as demonstrably false, you disqualify yourself as a reliable source on the freezone.
 

Terril park

Sponsor
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

I've posted elsewhere in this forum about him (post lifted from below). He is either lazy, incompetent or on someone's payroll. I don't think the is lazy or incompetent.[snip]

Scientology is a totalitarian organization. No entity has ever been created in the name of the organization without the authorization of the Commodore or COB. William Benitez was a Scientologist, acting under orders.[snip]

[snip]
Given your views on Criminon are just as demonstrably false, you disqualify yourself as a reliable source on the freezone.

James R Lewis may have made academic errors, I haven't read his materials that you
refer to. Note that academics main source of info is a religions scriptures and writings.
Also CO$ is generally regarded as being one of the most untrustworthy groups as to
the truth of their statements. Even 2 days ago the UK Times while giving accurately
the census results for UK Scientologists also said their was an estimated 10 million
worldwide.

I was slightly mistaken about Criminon. I assumed that as something was started by Willian Benitez in a prison that was what he started. In fact he started Narconon
and named it, and Criminon was an offshoot of Narconon.Below I quote 2 people from this board who knew William Benitez. It was originally helped and funded by the Missions, and of course was free to those who chose to do it. There is also a video of William Benitez talking at a school a few months after he left prison where he states he founded Narconon in an Arizona Prison. Interestingly he decided to remain in prison for 16 months after he was free to go in order to get Narconon better established. Note that this didn't include the purif which was not available then.

Note also the later director Mark Jones [ later an FZer] was awarded an Intra -Science foundation award for Narconon.

In the early days when William Benitez was in charge Narconon got excellent results. At
some point after CO$ took over it was used to make money for CO$. Narconon's main stat is money sent uplines to CO$. It is also used to get the clubbed seals to give and give donations.

------------------------------

"I knew William Benitez when he first began to introduce his progam.

I introduced him to several Mission Holders - we helped put the program out - it was free.

I also got Bob Thomas to give air-cover under the auspices of the USGO.

Benitez worked very hard to keep the program going.

About 1972 maybe a little earlier Mark Jones took over the program.

He did a tremendous amount of work introducing the program in prisons and drug facilities and delivering the courses at no cost - quite a few Mission Holders also helped with funding and delivering courses. But Mark Jones was the driving force.

There was no charge for these courses.

It was very successful - as it was based on the old 4 night Personal Efficiency Course and the Comm Course.

I taught the program in Folsom Prison - to about 40 lifers - gawd! it was scary

But after a couple of lectures and drills - they lapped it up.

Basically the common denominator for most of the prisoners was; they could not read or write.

I not sure when it became a money making scheme - sometime in the early 80's.

Alan"


http://www.narconon.org/history/1972/first-intra-science-research-foundation-award.html


"Prof. Norman Kharasch of USC, head of Intra-Science Research Foundation, made the award to Lt. Col. Mark Jones, USMC (Ret.), for his highly successful leadership of NARCONON, a Los Angeles-based international drug addict rehabilitation program."

http://www.solitarytrees.net/cowen/Narconon/sources/jones_declaration.htm

"I, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Jones, USMC (Ret) of Los Angeles, CA declare and say:

1. In or about 1971 I was approached by Arthur Maren who was the Assistant Guardian for Public Relations in the United States branch of the Guardian's Office of the Church of Scientology. Maren asked if I was willing to set up a Narconon office and establish programs under the direction of the Guardian Office. At this time, one Narconon program existed in the Arizona State Penitentiary and one was being established in the Cal. State Penitentiary at Vacaville by a member of the San Francisco Scientology Guardian Office. I agreed to do this and undertook to make Narconon an international drug rehabilitation agency on behalf of the Church of Scientology."

Video/talk by William Benitez

http://www.narconon.org/about-narconon/william-benitez.html


Post 26 0n Thread: Davey and the IAS: "We Are Millions"by Face.

"I met William Benitez once and spent a little time with him in the latter '60's and, back then, I knew fairly well for awhile Jim Cimino who was an ex con, ex drug addict and former gang member and one of the original group of Willie's Program when they were incarcerated together in prison.

They were hard but fine men with tremendous Hearts that had lived lives that most of Us could not imagine. From what I remember about what Jim told me about the Program it was NOTHING like it is today. It wasn't about dough, it wasn't about regimented Scn Protocal...it was self help, helping each other, philosophical discussion and sharing of deep seated thoughts, beliefs, feelings and ideas...sort of a quasi group therapy."
[snip]
 

Veda

Sponsor
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

Double-talker&hypnotist Hubbard has them in the palm of his hand.
[video=youtube;KdLXcE9R4Gs]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdLXcE9R4Gs[/video]
"We own a tremendous amount of property... [but property's not important] and it keeps growing... a bank account never measured the worth of a man...[Money's not important]." Message: "It's OK to give me your property and your money because it's not important."



James R Lewis may have made academic errors, I haven't read his materials

-snip-

They're quoted in the post to which you're responding. Lewis' errors, in his book, are astounding.

I was slightly mistaken about Criminon. I assumed that as something was started by Willian Benitez in a prison that was what he started. In fact he started Narconon
and named it

-snip-

That's right. Benitez named Narconon and started it while in prison. It wasn't long before Scientology took it over and used it for PR and as a feeder group, using well-meaning cult members to offer their services to run and maintain it. Later, in the 1980s, with the addition of the "Purif," it became more complicated. Was it replaced with Criminon? AFAIK, prisons usually don't have saunas.


The most famous inmate TR 0 graduate.
manson.jpg
 

Terril park

Sponsor
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

Later, in the 1980s, with the addition of the "Purif," it became more complicated. Was it replaced with Criminon? AFAIK, prisons usually don't have saunas.




Criminon exists as well as Narconon. Putting in a sauna would be a minor expense for a prison.

They ask for and sometimes get government funding.

http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php/page,Criminon.html

[snip]
What's this about Criminon in Albuquerque, New Mexico?

In September of 2006, the program found its way to the Duke City, housing itself in an old jail facility on the city’s west side under the guise of rehabilitating low-risk offenders of their chemical dependencies. They managed to secure nearly $1.5 MILLION dollars in government funding - although how much of that they actually managed to wrangle out of the unsuspecting taxpayers is still somewhat of a mystery.
[snip]​
 

Veda

Sponsor
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

Criminon exists as well as Narconon. Putting in a sauna would be a minor expense for a prison.

-snip-

I like the way you made James R. Lewis' terrible "scholarship" a non-issue by just ignoring it. Well done. The room seems brighter!:yes:


From the starting of Narconon in 1966, to it being taken over by Scientology in 1970, to the late 1970s, there was no "Purification RD', and Narconon involved only TRs, Objectives, etc. Sans sauna, it still is praised in the 1978 edition of 'What is Scientology?'.

'Purification RD' began around 79?, so what became of Narconon in prisons where there was no Sauna? And is there no Criminon in places where there's no sauna?

I'm not that much interested, frankly, but the post 1979ish requirement of a sauna (if there is such a requirement) would seem to pose a problem for the implementation of these programs in many locations.

Or do prisons routinely have saunas these days?

I'll let you figure it out.
 

Terril park

Sponsor
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

I like the way you made James R. Lewis' terrible "scholarship" a non-issue by just ignoring it. Well done. The room seems brighter!:yes:

Would you like others to have similar wins?:coolwink:

From the starting of Narconon in 1966, to it being taken over by Scientology in 1970, to the late 1970s, there was no "Purification RD', and Narconon involved only TRs, Objectives, etc. Sans sauna, it still is praised in the 1978 edition of 'What is Scientology?'.

'Purification RD' began around 79?, so what became of Narconon in prisons where there was no Sauna? And is there no Criminon in places where there's no sauna?

I'm not that much interested, frankly, but the post 1979ish requirement of a sauna (if there is such a requirement) would seem to pose a problem for the implementation of these programs in many locations.

Or do prisons routinely have saunas these days?

I'll let you figure it out.

Of the first 4 pages of a google almost all hits were CO$ based. Here is one that isn't.
Thus little criticism to date.

https://whyweprotest.net/community/threads/infodump-criminon-uk.110628/

Looks like most action is correspondence courses based on way to happiness, and
there seems little purif action in prisons.

But Criminon seems to perform after inmates are released. I've already posted this URL.

http://forum.reachingforthetippingpoint.net/index.php/page,Criminon.html

Anony Mary can probably say more or discover more. I'm not that familiar with Criminon.
 

aegerprimo

Summa Cum Laude
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

Finally finished reading the article; “The Dwindling Spiral: The Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimation Crisis”.

I’m really not qualified to make a critique of any academic research... except that I have done a few college research papers of my own, and I worked in a college library for a while - LOL...

Anyway, this “research paper” or “academic article” leaves me spinning. From the beginning and throughout, it had info that did not make sense even though it seemed it was backed by research (lots of in text references). It seemed to me the article was overall, a bunch of bullshit written to dazzle a college instructor. It seemed the writer had taken the side of the underdog as perceived by the writer, Scientology). I am not sure what this article may tell about people who are... “sympathetic to Scientology tech because it sometimes seems to help people so what are you complaining about” ...group.

One paragraph I thought particularly confusing –

...critics often characterize Scientology as an irrational farce. Furthermore, Scientologists, they say, must be crazy, gullible, stupid, brainwashed or some combination of these. Particularly for the Internet ‘trolls’ who busy themselves spreading negative remarks about Scientology across blogs and chat rooms, this evaluation has become an unquestioned axiom, immune to empirical disconfirmation.”

WAT?!?!?!? So many things I could say about that particular paragraph. Mostly, it contains several thoughts that are twisted. Who exactly is a troll and what is empirical disconfirmation. Huh? Is the author questioning what/who’s bias is invalid?

Confusing is the use of the word in the title, “legitimation” or should it be “legitimatization” ??

I get nothing from this article, not even a clear explanation of the history of the Scientology Indie movmement in Israel (an important element to understand the overall demise of the Co$ and Scientology).
 
Last edited:

thewritegoddess

Patron with Honors
Re: Academic article: Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimat

Finally finished reading the article; “The Dwindling Spiral: The Dror Center Schism, the Cook Letter and Scientology’s Legitimation Crisis”.

I’m really not qualified to make a critique of any academic research... except that I have done a few college research papers of my own, and I worked in a college library for a while - LOL...

Anyway, this “research paper” or “academic article” leaves me spinning. From the beginning and throughout, it had info that did not make sense even though it seemed it was backed by research (lots of in text references). It seemed to me the article was overall, a bunch of bullshit written to dazzle a college instructor. It seemed the writer had taken the side of the underdog as perceived by the writer, Scientology). I am not sure what this article may tell about people who are... “sympathetic to Scientology tech because it sometimes seems to help people so what are you complaining about” ...group.

One paragraph I thought particularly confusing –



WAT?!?!?!? So many things I could say about that particular paragraph. Mostly, it contains several thoughts that are twisted. Who exactly is a troll and what is empirical disconfirmation. Huh? Is the author questioning what/who’s bias is invalid?

Confusing is the use of the word in the title, “legitimation” or should it be “legitimatization” ??

I get nothing from this article, not even a clear explanation of the history of the Scientology Indie movmement in Israel (an important element to understand the overall demise of the Co$ and Scientology).

The writing was rather Hubbardian, IMO.
 
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