Alanzo Apologism 101: Does Anti-Scientology Deserve Any Criticism?

Gib

Crusader
Robert L Lifton wrote "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism", which is an ideological document we can start with. It is basically the Bible that all anticult movement believers refer back to.

But as Dick Anthony showed, even Lifton's data shows 'brainwashing' did not work on the people he studied from the North Korean POW camp.

Here’s 8 clear examples Anthony gave – in Benjamin Zablocki’s Misunderstanding Cults.

“As we have shown, the CIA brainwashing model which had been disconfirmed by the CIA research program, as well as by the research of Lifton, Schein, and others, provides the actual theoretical foundation for all statements of brainwashing theory including cultic brainwashing formulations such as Zablocki’s.’​
“Consequently, his cultic brainwashing theory, like the earlier statements of this theory, such as those of Singer and Ofshe, is contradicted by its own claimed theoretical foundation, that is the research of Schein and Lifton. My 1990 article demonstrated that eight variables differentiate Singer’s and Ofshe’s brainwashing theory from Schein’s and Lifton’s research. ”​
“The present chapter has demonstrated the same set of conflicts between Zablocki’s approach and generally accepted research on Communist thought reform as characteristic of the Ofshe-Singer formulation.”​
“As I have shown above, the research of Schein and Lifton on Westerners in thought reform prisons, upon which Zablocki claims to base his brainwashing formulation, confirmed and extended Hinkle’s and Wolff’s earlier findings. As I argued in my 1990 article, their research on Communist forceful indoctrination practices disconfirmed the CIA model with respect to eight variables:’​
1 Conversion. None of Schein’s and Lifton’s subjects became committed to Communist worldviews as a result of the thought reform program. Only two of Lifton’s forty subjects and only one or two of Schein’s fifteen subjects emerged from the thought reform process expressing some sympathy for Communism, with neither of them actually becoming Communists. In the remaining subjects, Communist coercive persuasion produced behavioural compliance but not increased belief in Communist ideology (Lifton 1961:117,248-9; Schein 1958: 332,1961:157-66,1973: 295).​
2 Predisposing motives. Those subjects who were at all influenced by Communist indoctrination practices were predisposed to be so before they were subjected to them (Lifton 1961:130; Schein 1961: 104-10,140-56 1973: 295).​
3 Physical coercion. Communist indoctrination practices produced involuntary influence only in that subjects were forced to participate in them through extreme physical coercion (Lifton 1961:13,1976: 327-8; Schein 1959: 437,33 1961:125-7).​
4 Continuity with normal social influence. The non-physical techniques of influence utilized in Communist thought reform are common in normal social influence situations and are not distinctively coercive. (Lifton 1961: 438-61; Schein 1961: 269-82,1962: 90-7,1964: 331-51).​
5 Conditioning. No distinctive conditioning procedures were utilized in Communist coercive persuasion (Schein 1959: 437-8,1973: 284-5; Biderman 1962: 550).​
6 Psychophysiological stress/debilitation. The extreme physically-based stress and debilitation to which imprisoned thought reform victims were subjected did not cause involuntary commitment to Communist worldviews (Hinkle and Wolff 1956; Lifton: 117, 248-9; Schein 1958: 332,1961:157-66,1973: 295). Moreover, no comparable practices are present in new religious movements (Anthony 1990: 309-11).​
7 Deception/defective thought. Victims of Communist thought reform did not become committed to Communism as a result of deception or defective thought (Schein 1961: 202-3,238-9).​
8 Dissociation/hypnosis/suggestibility Those subjected to thought reform did not become hyper-suggestible as a result of altered states of consciousness; for example, hypnosis, dissociation, disorientation, and so on (Schein 1959: 457; Biderman 1962: 550)-​
as far as I'm concerned Hubbard never read Lifton, so I can't say he used those principles or teachings of Lifton, nor can I say he read them and applied those principles.

I have found no evidence Hubbard read Lifton or used his principles,

I myself do not refer to Lifton as the bible of the anticult movement.
 

Gib

Crusader
I'd say it begins as persuasion, with a very light touch. "Nothing in scn is true except what you yourself have experienced." Who can argue with that? But then more loyalty and effort is demanded, and the acceptance of increasingly bizarre beliefs. With the Manson family for example, it was all peace and love at first, then Manson began talking about the upcoming race war and how the family would escape by hiding in a bottomless hole in the desert. I think you can see the parallel in scn from ideas that are easy to accept (you are a spiritual being, etc.) to ideas that are much more bizarre (evil psychs, Xenu, etc.).

Any resistance to these ideas is met by harangues re-emphasizing their importance, threats of punishment or actual punishment. Think WC'ing or ethics handling. Think WC'ing isn't brainwashing? You will start looking up words you actually already understand because study tech says all disagreement comes from MU's. You will convince yourself you have MU's and convince yourself you've cleared them and now understand the material, because you want to escape the tedium of endless WC'ing. And you do this without even realizing it.

What are the lower conditions but punishment? I never saw the conditions from liability on down as anything but. But instead of calling the lower conditions punishment, Hubbard calls them "ethics." Because that sounds better than "punishment." By using a milder term he puts a better face on it, hopes to get us to accept it.

And I think that's what Alanzo is doing here too. He wants us to abandon the negative term "brainwashing" and accept the positive term "loyalty." He wants us to see scn in a more positive light for some reason.

I don't know why. Even after we left scn, it took many of us years to gradually come to a realization of just how wrong it was. Would it benefit us now to see scn in a more positive light?

Is scn just some poor little minority religion that we should stop treating so mean? Sorry, I don't think so.
are you kidding me Pineapple it begins as persuasion, with a very light touch, it always has been persuasion and to the end.

The Hubbard said he was coming back, LOL

There are no clears, or OT''s or coming back. Sorry to rain on everybodies parade, but the Hubbard is full of shit.
 

Emma

Con te partirò
Administrator
And no one even shared with me that there was even a movement.
If only you were in my shoes....there was a movement. A lot of it co-ordinated to swing opinion. It worked pretty well too. I was involved and regret it very much.
 
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Bill

Gold Meritorious Patron
I was not aware that I was a member either, when I first started to think about it.

Read this article. I'll bet you can find yourself and your friends in it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-cult_movement
Let's have a poll here:

Who here is a current member of the Anti-cult belief system movement and needs to hear a lecture by Alanzo?

Seriously. What evidence do you have that ANYONE here is a member of your Anti-Cult Movement Belief System? Why do you think so?

Before we go further down this rabbit hole, let's find out if your mind-reading assumptions are true.
 

Gib

Crusader
Let's have a poll here:

Who here is a current member of the Anti-cult belief system movement and needs to hear a lecture by Alanzo?

Seriously. What evidence do you have that ANYONE here is a member of your Anti-Cult Movement Belief System? Why do you think so?

Before we go further down this rabbit hole, let's find out if your mind-reading assumptions are true.
not me, never heard about it.

Am I missing something so profound? LOL
 

pineapple

Silver Meritorious Patron
But what about Patty Hearst's brainwashing defense?

With all her dad's money, and F Lee Bailey at the helm, why was she convicted of the crimes she committed? Why didn't her brainwashing defense work in court?

If brainwashing was anything more than a belief, why couldn't the jury see the objective truth of it?

And what about Squeaky Fromme and the other Manson members? They were convicted too, right?

Why?

And the people who murdered Leo Ryan on that airstrip in Guyana. Aren't they still in prison for those crimes?

So these three court cases you presented, Pineapple, as proof of the existence of brainwashing as something more than your own belief, are actually proof that your belief in brainwashing is false.

Do you have any more evidence we can see that positively supports your claim that brainwashing is anything more than your own belief?
Why didn't the brainwashing defense work in any of the above cases? Because juries generally don't like the "insanity defense" or its equivalent. They take the (reasonable) attitude that "you did it, so you're guilty."

I don't blame "brainwashing" or whatever you want to call it for my initial involvement in scn. I got in on my own determinism while the coercion was still at the mild persuasion, "take it or leave it" stage. No one held a gun to my head.

"Brainwashing" is a slang, non-scientific term, but I'd say the following definition is a good one.
brainwashing def.png
Scientology certainly does this, wouldn't you say?
 

pineapple

Silver Meritorious Patron
'm not sure that is true. I think it's easier in your own mind to recover from "coercion" or "manipulation" or "blind loyalty". These are things you can examine, see how it works, and learn how to avoid these things again. If you believe you've been brainwashed I think it opens the door to a feeling of helplessness, or permanent damage. Language is important.
I agree that language is important. "Coercion" and "manipulation" are good terms, IMHO. But I think we need to beware of a redefinition of terms, and of replacing commonly used terms like "brainwashing" with milder ones that make scn seem less insidious than it is.

It seems to me that where Alanzo is going with all his arguments is to paint scn as a poor little misunderstood "minority religion" that we should stop being so nasty to. He wants to turn the tables and say WE are the cult, not scn.
 

programmer_guy

True Ex-Scientologist
Does Anti-Scientology Deserve Any Criticism?

In general, NO.

However, a few individuals might try to use it to get money.
And, protestant Scientologists don't like much criticism of "the tech".

This is similar to when Christian apologists say that science is just another religion.
 
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Type4_PTS

Diamond Invictus SP
If only you were in my shoes....there was a movement. A lot of it co-ordinated to swing opinion. It worked pretty well to. I was involved and regret it very much.
One of the definitions of 'movement' is:
"a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas."

Is that what you mean by it?

Even if that is true, people working together to advance their ideas in not inherently a bad thing. It could be good or bad, depending on the quality of the ideas they wish to advance.

In my case, my opinion about Scientology was formed over many years, doing extensive reading on the subject, both here on ESMB and elsewhere.
But in my 10 years I've been here on ESMB no one (including yourself) has tried to influence my opinion backchannel, to persuade me to accept parts of this belief system Alanzo keeps harping about.

There's been times that I've sensed that the majority of posters here share certain opinions in common and sometimes I agreed with the majority and other times not. But that is true on any forum, isn't it?
 

Alanzo

Bardo Tulpa
There's been times that I've sensed that the majority of posters here share certain opinions in common and sometimes I agreed with the majority and other times not. But that is true on any forum, isn't it?
No.

I was on an American Civil War forum that had every possible view on it.

You can imagine all the highly emotional themes running through that - families destroyed, slavery, racism, war and murder.

Every possible view on the American Civil war was represented there.

The forum was very well moderated. You found out quickly that if you broke the rules, your post was gone - no explanation, no apologies. If you wanted to be part of the discussion, you simply had to follow the rules. Participants learned very quickly, and simply followed the rules.

I wouldn't say the uniformity of thought and conformity of belief that is now ESMB ONLY occurs in the discussion of Scientology. And even in the discussion of Scientology, there have been many fora where every possible viewpoint was allowed. ARS for instance. And now the open Facebook group SCIENTOLOGY DEPROGRAMMING.

Really, in the discussion of Scientology, this kind of uniform groupthink MAINLY occurs where Mike Rinder & Karen De La Carriere, and their surrogates, are in control of the board. That is where I saw this strange anti-free speech trend in the discussion of Scientology first emerge - with the emergence of Marty, Mike and Karen back in 2009/2010.
 
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strativarius

Inveterate gnashnab & snoutband
And where can one find the 'beliefs' of this 'Anti Cult Belief System' that members are supposed to adhere to? Serious question.
 

Emma

Con te partirò
Administrator
Is that what you mean by it?
Yes.
But in my 10 years I've been here on ESMB no one (including yourself) has tried to influence my opinion backchannel, to persuade me to accept parts of this belief system Alanzo keeps harping about.
This isn't about Alanzo.

I'll give you an example. In 2013 there was a theory floating around that Marty & Mike were going to try to oust DM and take over the CoS. Remember? This was also around the time Monique Rathbun filed her lawsuit against the CoS.

This theory split the board into two camps. The "Marty rah rah" camp and the "Marty still sucks" camp. The "Marty still sucks" camp was primarily Veda, with some help from Caroline Letkemen (Gerry Armstrong's wife). Both had good reason to suspect Marty of not being honest.

Although Veda's voice was just one dissenter in hundreds of others, he needed to be shut up.

How was this handled? A certain person in the Indi camp was contacting me all the time, feeding me black PR on Veda and Caroline, crying persecution etc. Because this person was now seen as "important" (thanks in part to me promoting this person) and was financially contributing the the cost of the board, I was easily able to be influenced, and my opinion about these dissenting posters was affected.

Below are some posts from Veda at the time.
Why, Emma, would I engage you in a conversation when you own the playing field and the bleachers, and your personal peanut gallery of fans are ever ready to pounce on me if I dare to "attack" you?

It's a pointless endeavor, one in which I am always at a disadvantage, as the dominant ESMB "reality" is always slanted your way.
Yes it is and was. I knew that and I used that.
What I think is that having your own clubhouse of followers has affected your judgement. What you wrote above is just silly game playing. You know I don't think any such thing.

You disappoint me.
I'm sorry Veda. I have disappointed myself.
When you see "sly digs" it's because you want to.

When your pals engage in actual "sly digs," it's somehow tolerable to you, or you celebrate them.

What once was a message board has become your club.
Yes. Again I'm sorry.
Oh please. :melodramatic:

Both those individuals arrived at ESMB as official VIPs. Karen DLC was the PR/Propaganda person, Mike Laws, it seems, as I have recently discovered, operated mostly behind the scenes.

This established a kind of caste system, with a few "VIPs," an inner circle, and the great mass of common folk.

Many people left, most quietly. To remain was to agree to "get with the system."

Within the "system" there was a wide range of views that was acceptable, so one could get along pretty well, as long as one knew when to keep one's mouth shut.

It was a very destructive period, and the harm lingers. Mentioning it can be, to say the least, unpleasant. It's a taboo topic.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I was one of those classified by the two newly arrived VIPs, mentioned above, as an "SP" or its equivalent. :ohmy: Things, for me, on ESMB, would never be the same after that.

ESMB is still a unique place, and an important place for people leaving the Cof$, and a newbie can arrive here and none of this past manipulation and past drama will affect them. So ESMB still works, and still helps people, IMO. Thank goodness. :)
You were right about certain aspects of this all along.

If anyone wants to get a fuller understanding, read the whole thread. BTW this is just one thread. This theme can be seen along multiple threads running at that time.

Was Veda right about Marty? You decide. However he was howled down at the time for having the "wrong" opinion. His dissent was not allowed to stand. Maybe you can understand now why I'm allowing dissent. Hindsight is 20/20 but what about the present? Shouldn't we be exposed to all possibilities and questions? Or do we just apologise later to the people we trampled on because they disagreed at the time, and obliterated them in the process.
There's been times that I've sensed that the majority of posters here share certain opinions in common and sometimes I agreed with the majority and other times not. But that is true on any forum, isn't it?
Yes it is.

I suppose I'm in a unique position and it's probably difficult for anyone to understand what I've witnessed over the last 12 years. Nobody has been in my position except me. No one else had been arrested and had a threat of 10 years prison hanging over their head. No other forum has been as successful as ESMB which at times, had 500 new posts a day. Nobody else has experienced the position of being an unwilling opinion leader with the influence to change minds, but at the same time, being unfamiliar with dealing with manipulation. I was manipulated in the CoS, but this was different, much more subtle.

I have been manipulated, mainly by money. I hated doing the fundraisers. It was just so much easier to have 2 or 3 members contribute large amounts each year. Each year fewer and fewer members actually chipped in, and so having 2 members basically cover it each year was a blessing & a curse. The trade off was that I wasn't allowed to moderate one poster, no matter how offensive or nasty the post, and I wasn't allowed to let any criticism stand against the other. I think that has been proven out in the last week.

I moderated and I criticised.

A lot of this stuff has only become clear to me in my own mind over the last few weeks. I believe a theory floating around is that Alanzo hypnotised me. I wish this was true. If he was that good at it I would have hired him to help me stick to a diet. What opened my eyes to this was me deciding to close ESMB. With that decision all the "must do's and mustn't do's" kind of shattered and I could see clearly for the first time that I had allowed myself to be controlled.

I'm not saying any of this was malicious. People have agendas. We all do.
 
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Alanzo

Bardo Tulpa
How was this handled? A certain person in the Indi camp was contacting me all the time, feeding me black PR on Veda and Caroline, crying persecution etc. Because this person was now seen as "important" (thanks in part to me promoting this person) and was financially contributing the the cost of the board, I was easily able to be influenced, and my opinion about these posters was affected.
Who was the "important Indi"?
 

Alanzo

Bardo Tulpa
I have been manipulated, mainly by money.
I remember I 'floated' the idea once that Karen paid the bills here at ESMB.

You responded by saying that, in fact, I paid more money to ESMB than Karen ever did.

Was that true?
 

strativarius

Inveterate gnashnab & snoutband
Yes.

This isn't about Alanzo.

<snipped for brevity>
All this is a real eye-opener to someone like me who is a relative noob. It certainly helps me get things in perspective, knowing a little of the back story to all this intrigue.

About the board. I maintain a server, and although there's oceans of space, all I have on it are a few of my tunes and a sort of record of my experiences in the music industry. I pay for it myself.

I've chipped in a little to keep ESMB on the road in the past, and if it was threatened with closure through lack of funds I'm sure people would gladly stick their hands in their pockets - or at least I hope they would. I don't see why you need to dislike fund-raising for the board so much, we don't think you're father christmas and we all know there's no such thing as a free lunch.
 
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Little David

Gold Meritorious Patron
Yes.

This isn't about Alanzo.

I'll give you an example. In 2013 there was a theory floating around that Marty & Mike were going to try to oust DM and take over the CoS. Remember? This was also around the time Monique Rathbun filed her lawsuit against the CoS.

This theory split the board into two camps. The "Marty rah rah" camp and the "Marty still sucks" camp. The "Marty still sucks" camp was primarily Veda, with some help from Caroline Letkemen (Gerry Armstrong's wife). Both had good reason to suspect Marty of not being honest.

Although Veda's voice was just one dissenter in hundreds of others, he needed to be shut up.

How was this handled? A certain person in the Indi camp was contacting me all the time, feeding me black PR on Veda and Caroline, crying persecution etc. Because this person was now seen as "important" (thanks in part to me promoting this person) and was financially contributing the the cost of the board, I was easily able to be influenced, and my opinion about these posters was affected.

Below are some posts from Veda at the time.

Yes it is and was. I knew that and I used that.

I'm sorry Veda. I have disappointed myself.

Yes. Again I'm sorry.

You were right about certain aspects of this all along.

If anyone wants to get a fuller understanding, read the whole thread. BTW this is just one thread. This theme can be seen along multiple threads running at that time.

Was Veda right about Marty? You decide. However he was howled down at the time for having the "wrong" opinion. His dissent was not allowed to stand. Maybe you can understand now why I'm allowing dissent. Hindsight is 20/20 but what about the present? Shouldn't we be exposed to all possibilities and questions? Or do we just apologise later to the people we trampled on because they disagreed at the time, and obliterated them in the process.

Yes it is.

I suppose I'm in a unique position and it's probably difficult for anyone to understand what I've witnessed over the last 12 years. Nobody has been in my position except me. No one else had been arrested and had a threat of 10 years prison hanging over their head. No other forum has been as successful as ESMB which at times, had 500 new posts a day. Nobody else has experienced the position of being an unwilling opinion leader with the influence to change minds, but at the same time, being unfamiliar with dealing with manipulation. I was manipulated in the CoS, but this was different, much more subtle.

I have been manipulated, mainly by money. I hated doing the fundraisers. It was just so much easier to have 2 or 3 members contribute large amounts each year. Each year fewer and fewer members actually chipped in, and so having 2 members basically cover it each year was a blessing & a curse. The trade off was that I wasn't allowed to moderate one poster, no matter how offensive or nasty the post, and I wasn't allowed to let any criticism stand against the other. I think that has been proven out in the last week.

I moderated and I criticised.

A lot of this stuff has only become clear to me in my own mind over the last few weeks. I believe a theory floating around is that Alanzo hypnotised me. I wish this was true. If he was that good at it I would have hired him to help me stick to a diet. What opened my eyes to this was me deciding to close ESMB. With that decision all the "must do's and mustn't do's" kind of shattered and I could see clearly for the first time that I had allowed myself to be controlled.

I'm not saying any of this was malicious. People have agendas. We all do.
This is a very insightful and honorable post.

When I started posting on OCMB and then here on ESMB a certain "VIP" poster tried to help me learn how to post in the "correct" way by sending me flattering and "corrective" pm's. I've since learned they were equally generous in sharing time from their hectic schedule with other newbies.
 

Alanzo

Bardo Tulpa
This is a very insightful and honorable post.

When I started posting on OCMB and then here on ESMB a certain "VIP" poster tried to help me learn how to post in the "correct" way by sending me flattering and "corrective" pm's. I've since learned they were equally generous in sharing time from their hectic schedule with other newbies.
Who is this "VIP"?

Why will no one speak the name?
 
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