How do people believe even the advertised claims?

MafiaWog

Patron
Typing on my cellphone, I apologize for typos. Second, if somehow I upset or insult anyone, it was not my intention to do so. Alright...

Nowadays, the internet plus somewhat mainstream media coverage, including news and shows like South Park, would pretty much supply most people with information on Scn, even if they had never heard of it. And let's suppose someone encounters an org first, there's plenty of readily accessible information to be had.

I know this was not always the case, back when libraries were about the most flexible source of information people had access to.
I have never been in Scn or any related groups, have been researching it and coercive groups for 6 years or so, and actually have had first-hand experience with sleep deprivation and its effects on decision making... That proved to be an interesting incident at work... but anyway...

But even before the psychological tricks start coming into play, and assuming a person honestly doesn't know anything about Scn except what they're told by a current member/reg, I still have trouble understanding how people believe some, if not many, of Scn's claims.

I am assuming upon first arrival, the hard sell isn't quite as extreme, for that would freak people out (it eventually did with me...not a member but I've been to big blue and spoken with members, etc). So overwhelming people probably isn't employed at this point...or is it?

I guess I'm wondering how,given a moderately relaxed atmosphere where someone asks what Scn is all about, how does one's basic critical thinking get circumvented? Being polite, keeping your concerns and seemingly apparent contradictions to oneself, leaving quietly after would be no big surprise. But to come back, after having had time to research or ask others their thoughts...? Why leave thinking it's bunk only to come back unless it's to clarify and discuss concerns? How would anyone come back, genuinely interested?

Basic stuff: I get a copy of Dianetics. Maybe I have some periphery awareness of it from TV... Assuming I could plow through it in all its turgid splendor, how do people not wonder, if it can do all it says it can, why isn't it more well-known and in use?

How do women ignore the claims that most of them have attempted abortions numerous times when...well, they haven't? How do these things not make one question the claims being set forth? Heck, a lot of claims in DMSMH are radical ones, easily tested and proven.

The claim that it is a science, yet there is little written about it outside of Scn? The way the e-meter supposedly functions; do people really believe that thoughts hold enough mass to affect the machine?

I'm ignoring some of the more..."advanced"(?) inconsistencies and conflicts, ones which may require even an intuitional understanding of the scientific process, logical fallacies, etc. It just seems that with so many blatant claims and assertions, people would be more suspicious of those claims just via basic curiosity and logic.

I'm sure the "medical profession and the psychs are keeping info about Diabetics hidden so they can make money" argument gets thrown around, but I mean come on...usually you want to keep your conspiracy theories under wraps till a few weeks in, ya? If there's anything that's gonna tip me off, it's conspiracy claims...

Sorry if this is a bit long and rambling, slept very poorly, couldn't really get my question out with more eloquence...

Is the seeming promise of a more fun and free life enough to make one ignore such glaring inconsistencies? If that's the case... I still just don't understand how people don't see red flags super early on. Insight?
 

Iknowtoomuch

Gold Meritorious Patron
I don't think many do. From what I can tell there are few new Scientologists that are older or even have life experience joining these days.
It's mostly children of current Scientologists. And they have already been indoctrinated.
 

bluewiggirl

Patron Meritorious
...

How do women ignore the claims that most of them have attempted abortions numerous times when...well, they haven't?
...

Most women know at least one other woman who has had an abortion. I would go so far as to say most women know more than one woman who has had an abortion. For pro-choice women, it could be possible to generalize this into "when abortions were illegal and contraceptives were harder to obtain, like when this book was written, I'll bet a lot more unwanted pregnancies happened and more women would have tried to deal with it themselves. How awful to have lived in such barbaric times!" and for pro-life women to generalize that other women use abortion like birth control and how awful it is to live in such barbaric times.

Most of the rest of it is easily dismissible bullshit, that one line right there actually has a semi-rational answer though.
 

Happy Aberree

Patron with Honors
FSM'ing is still a big thing with new recruits (getting in via a friend who is a scientologist). When there is always that person there to explain away questions -xenu, law suits, anon, etc and if the person is a trusted friend, you would be surprised at what they will ignore when told to by their friend.

Also, many scientologists I knew and exes I know, got in a long time ago -before the internet was what it is today. I would say that nowadays, it is much harder to get new starts at orgs because of the prevalance of the internet.
 

Lurker5

Gold Meritorious Patron
Wishful thinking

I think young people, not all, but a lot of young people, or younger persons who have been sheltered by our middle class upbringings, are innocent, naive and trusting, and thus have a 'wishful thinking' thing going on. (And I am not referring to the young kids whose parents were in scn - they really have nothing else other than scn and are given no choices - I am only referring to those who have the choice).

Maybe that - the wishful thinking - comes from our culture (of movies and tv, romance, idealism, heroism, etc). Or maybe it is just a part of a young person's make-up/no-life-experience yet.

Perhaps young people with a rougher upbringing, on the streets, a young person with more street smarts, ones who have been kicked around, had to survive on own, without the sheltering of middle class parents, don't have as much trust and naivity and are not as susecptible. I am not sure. I wasn't one of those.

It makes a big difference, one's upbringing does, on how one views the world and the people in it, and one's basic trust - of the world and of life. Sort of liken it to - the difference between growing up in NY City as compared to a Nebraska farm.

Anyway, wishful thinking is the thing that has rather innocent trusting people WANTING to believe fantastic incredible claims. That or being desperate, poor, uneducated, in need, lonely, hurt, abandoned, not belonging anywhere, having/seeing no future, having no family, having a rotten family, feeling depressed/suicidal, etc.

With no prior experience with sociopaths, a trusting wishful thinking person is going to believe humongous lies because they cannot concieve of someone telling lies THAT huge. Who would do that ?

LOL.

Even once a trusting wishful thinking person becomes AWARE of being burned by a sociopath, it is unbelievable - and it takes a while to comprehend and accept that this evil is really going on FOR REAL. This is true for the general public too. The general public has a very hard time believing in the evil that is sociopathology too. That's how and why sociopaths get away with it, and can hide in plain sight for so long . . . I mean, even your question shows that kind of thinking. How could anyone believe this shit? How can these terrible stories be true? No one would stay in conditions like that. If the conditions were that bad, why didn't these people leave? Etc.

Well, think battered wife syndrome . . .

I think it takes a scn'ist a bit longer because by the time they start becoming aware that something is not right, they have been thoroughly conditioned to assume the problem is them, not scn. It is a nasty Catch 22, that traps a scn'ist there until their mind breaks from the stress, the psychic tension - of holding everything - apart - disconnected (as they are thoroughtly trained to do). They are trained to dive deeper when the doubts start coming up.

Some go psychotic, some break out of the brainwashing. It is a safety mechanism, I believe, in the brain, that finally snaps when the pressure gets too great, the pressure of holding onto the lies, and blocking out the truth. Eventually the brain breaks. Psychotic or breaking out of the brainwashing.

By that time, if still sane in mind and body, they come to a REALIZATION they have NOTHING outside of scn. Their lives have BEEN scn, totally. And they have been BETRAYED - in a most monstrous way.

They might try to just go on (for awhile, trying to avoid/ignore the bad stuff, diving deeper), or they might start coming up for air, figuring out how to get the f out.

Sort of like a battered/abused wife or child. It takes awhile, and sometimes a life threatening situation, to get a person to get to the breaking point.

Once out, the psychological woundings take a long, long, long time to heal, because their basic trust in humans beings/life has been betrayed and shattered.

The courage it takes, to stay, to endure, to get out, to speak out, is astounding, to me. And what always amazes me is the resiliency of the human spirit - to go on, to endure, to recover - to keep on trying to make it better.

And of course it is tragic when the mind/spirit is so broken, the person is not able to do that.

It could happen to any of us - if the moment in time is right, and the person is ripe for it. I believe the human condition sets us up for it - unless we are in a very, very, very stable and good condition/place, when the 'exploitating' entity finds us.
 

Voltaire's Child

Fool on the Hill
Well, shows "like South Park" do not supply the public with information about Scientology. South park is a hilarious funny wonderful show- yes, but the misunderstanding about Incident II (aka "Xenu") depicted there is clearly risible to anyone who really knows jackshit about the Scn philosophy. "this is what they really believe"- Ummm...noooo...most Scn'ists have never heard of Incident II. Plus, those who have know that Scn theory dictates that it's what's behind the alleged "incident" that affects the individual. So, although I'm a major S Park fan, I'd say that anyone who says "I know about Scn because I've seen South Park" is a fucking idiot. And believe me, I've talked to quite a few people on yahoo answers who preface their questions with exactly that comment. Sure, they don't have the info but to assume that a cartoon is a depiction of the entire Scn philosophy- nope, fucking idiots.

And why shouldn't people believe the claims in Scn? There's been wowie zowie stuff in religions and some philosophies for thousands of years. I'm not saying it's all true or that even some of it is true- that's up to the person to decide, but I'm saying there is precedent and that the world is filled with ideologies that preach such things are possible and people who believe those things who've never been in Scn.
 

Student of Trinity

Silver Meritorious Patron
Is there any information on the average education level among Scientologists? I mean, supposing that it turned out most Scientologists were high-school dropouts, that might explain a certain amount of credulity. It could be just ignorance and lack of training in critical thinking. But of course, if Scientologists are pretty much as educated on average as anybody else, then this explanation doesn't fly. What do we know about this?
 

Voltaire's Child

Fool on the Hill
Is there any information on the average education level among Scientologists? I mean, supposing that it turned out most Scientologists were high-school dropouts, that might explain a certain amount of credulity. It could be just ignorance and lack of training in critical thinking. But of course, if Scientologists are pretty much as educated on average as anybody else, then this explanation doesn't fly. What do we know about this?

Most are not that well educated. But then again, how do you explain the billions of people who believe in heaven, hell, demons, angels, saints, saddhus, etc, etc? Many of those are well educated.

Sheesh!
 

bluewiggirl

Patron Meritorious
Most are not that well educated. But then again, how do you explain the billions of people who believe in heaven, hell, demons, angels, saints, saddhus, etc, etc? Many of those are well educated.

Sheesh!

I think the point they're trying to make is that unlike the majority of other religions, Scientology makes claims that ARE testable. You can't test whether there's a heaven or a hell or even a soul, but you can test whether someone's IQ improves. Believing something that makes demonstrably false claims is harder than believing in something that makes wacky but untestable claims.
 

Iknowtoomuch

Gold Meritorious Patron
There's no doubt Scientologists in general and specially the younger crowd are less educated than even the average American.
The vast majority of younger people in the Sea Org never finish High School. That was the way it was when I was there. And once you're fully connected up you only have time for Scientology not continuing to get a real education. Or even follow world events.

But I do agree with VC, even the very intelligent are suckers for indoctrination.
 

FinallyMe

Silver Meritorious Patron
According to several articles I've seen, cults are joined by people who are "needy" in some fashion, as I was- they have been unable to solve some sort of issue in their life, like love, friendship, career, money -- this would be the "ruin" that the Scientologist digs out, promising a solution. "Research" at the early stages, I think, involves doing a communications or other basic type course, and/or reading a book. I have discovered over and over that the more times I read a book, the more I get out of it - the more I see what I didn't see the first time. I think that I "get" out of a book, what impacts me when I read it, is what I am interested in or need at the moment. What I got out of the Dianetics book the one time I read it was what seemed to be a logical explanation for why I was so miserable, and I wanted to try it. The point being that I suspect we all "get" from our "research" those things which are real to us, and which interest us at that moment. If the book talks about why nobody likes me, and it says auditing can fix that, thats the part of the book I will remember. It wouldn't matter that the book also talked about women having abortions, because that was completely unreal to me at the time, and I sort of skipped over it.
 

Terril park

Sponsor
Is there any information on the average education level among Scientologists? I mean, supposing that it turned out most Scientologists were high-school dropouts, that might explain a certain amount of credulity. It could be just ignorance and lack of training in critical thinking. But of course, if Scientologists are pretty much as educated on average as anybody else, then this explanation doesn't fly. What do we know about this?

In earlier times, there were many highly educated, intelligent people drawn to scientology. Many still scientologists, probably mostly in the FZ now.
Most FZers are quite well educated, just look at the postings of those who post here. I'd be towards the bottom of such a list. Grammer school UK
and Art school before being thrown out.

In earlier times COS was a lot more selective re staff.

In my time on staff one had to get certain scores on IQ, OCA, and
an interesting " Ability " test which seemed to be interested in logical
thinking.

Not sure now but I think they have relaxed staff quals even further.
Anyone have recent info?

One point is that you are in scientology looking at man's spiritual nature.
In that context scientology is relatively straightlaced, and relatively logical.

That Hubbard made many promotional statements, jumped to conclusions
too quickly, got things wrong at times and contradicted himself is no doubt true.

However, as philosophical precepts show something better than the axioms and factors. I think someone has pointed out the axioms may not be axioms.
Maybe debatable, but look at the thoughts expressed. Show something
better.
 

Axiom142

Gold Meritorious Patron
They believe because they want to believe.

I wanted to believe.

I wanted to believe that the world could be a better place. I wanted to believe that we were all immortal and that we could become demigods and solve any problem just by looking at it. I wanted to believe that there was something more to life and that Scientology was the only way to get this. And once you believe, really believe, then you will do almost anything to keep believing and shut out anything or anyone that disagrees with this.

I wanted to believe this so much, I sold if not my soul, then my self-determinism.

Axiom142
 

MafiaWog

Patron
Thanks for the input thus far. There is a definite parallel to battered wife/Stockholm syndrome, but that takes time to foster. And of course the ongoing social pressures and expectations, but again that takes some time to work its magic.

Thanks to whoever beat me to the point that unlike other religions, Scn states its teachings are factual, scientific, and therefore, testable. I had a PR person correct me once for calling it a faith-based system; she emphasized it is an action based system. Perhaps that coupled with the old "true for you" adage can contribute to "well it sounds somewhat incorrect, but maybe I'll try it...these people seem happy and honest..." thinking.

For those who were/are in, did you encounter any such questions in your early interactions with Scn?
 
Hi Mafia Wog,

I'm going to try to be brief, as I have to leave for work soon. I havent got time to read the other replies so I appologise if I'm repeating something someone else said.

I'm interprepting your question as "How do people get into Scn, when there's so much out there that says it's wrong?"

So here I'd like to point out that I'm 21, my parents became involved in scientology after I was born and I have been brought up a scientologist, now a couple of years free :)

My mum was caught by scn because they had a code of ethics, and appeared on the outside to be, as they claimed, the most ethical group on the planet. And that's all my mum wanted. being brought up in other religions being told she was born bad and had to prove to god that she was good so she could go to heaven, she wanted to be a good person, to be part of a group that was there to improve the conditions of one's self and 2nd and third dynamics, then help the rest of the world.

She believed that this group, with the information infront of her, would give her true happiness.

Myself - well, I saw the wins other's were having in the course room around me, and I wanted that too. This was a div 6 course room. Where the teachings are basic philosophies of life, that we could have read in any other book, but we were there in that course room, thinking it was all LRH.

The basics and fundamentals all made sense to me. they applied and worked in my everyday life. What it was was true to me.

As a scn I was not allowed to research the internet for more info about scn - the reason given by the cult is that some disgruntled ex and an sp had posted the OT levels, and if I read any of the OT levels I would not be able to continue on the bridge - also, I would likely get nuemonia or cancer because the information in these OT levels had to be approached on a gradient (read - we had to be fed a little bit of shit before they could get us to believe a lot of shit).
And as a great friend of mine said last weekend, it's like the donkey and the carrot, you just keep following the carrot - and the carrot is the end result that you want, but you may get draged through the mud backwards following that carrot.

Anyway, I'll post more later - off to work. I hope that has helped.

Cass
 

Mest Lover

Not Sea Org Qualified
There's no doubt Scientologists in general and specially the younger crowd are less educated than even the average American.
The vast majority of younger people in the Sea Org never finish High School. That was the way it was when I was there. And once you're fully connected up you only have time for Scientology not continuing to get a real education. Or even follow world events.

But I do agree with VC, even the very intelligent are suckers for indoctrination.

I completed a 2 year college education and consider myself, as do many more than I, rather intellectual.

However, I was rather naive when I was recruited, I come from a place that is extremely trusting in others. I trusted SCN to live up to their words.

THEY LIE! DO NOT BELIEVE ANY PRACTICING SCIENTOLOGIST TO BE TELLING YOU THE TRUTH!
 

Iknowtoomuch

Gold Meritorious Patron
I completed a 2 year college education and consider myself, as do many more than I, rather intellectual.

However, I was rather naive when I was recruited, I come from a place that is extremely trusting in others. I trusted SCN to live up to their words.

THEY LIE! DO NOT BELIEVE ANY PRACTICING SCIENTOLOGIST TO BE TELLING YOU THE TRUTH!



Just to clarify, I was talking about what's happening now days. Not some years ago.
 

FinallyMe

Silver Meritorious Patron
Education and IQ have absolutely NOTHING to do with one's susceptibility to cults, battered wife syndrome, Stockholm syndrome. Either that is true, or I'm a freak, having endured all three with a good education and Mensa level IQ.
 

Terril park

Sponsor
They believe because they want to believe.

I wanted to believe.

I wanted to believe that the world could be a better place. I wanted to believe that we were all immortal and that we could become demigods and solve any problem just by looking at it. I wanted to believe that there was something more to life and that Scientology was the only way to get this. And once you believe, really believe, then you will do almost anything to keep believing and shut out anything or anyone that disagrees with this.

I wanted to believe this so much, I sold if not my soul, then my self-determinism.

Axiom142

I was never interested in belief. Was oscillating between athiest /agnostic.

But liked the idea that one was a spiritual being when introduced to scn.

Was never, still really not so involved, with being a demigod.

However for whatever reasons I have no fear that my personality
will disolve on bodily death.

These were early considerations really pre scn related. Pre scn created the ability to exteriorise at will.

Where else do you go for that?
 

Student of Trinity

Silver Meritorious Patron
I can well believe that very intelligent people could be sucked in. Reality is very subtle and complicated, and life is hard, and in comparison no human being is really all that smart. Even the brightest of us can be overwhelmed by circumstances and do dumb things.

I think education is more likely to be a factor in staying out. Not necessarily an infallible one; but I'd really like to know how common it is for a Scientologist to have a Bachelor's degree. Maybe I'm totally wrong, but somehow I just find it a lot easier to picture people I knew in high school getting into Scn, than people I knew in senior year of college. The shine of easy enthusiasm is gone; an ingrained reflex has been acquired to think, "Wait, was what I just said nonsense?" The number one product of higher education is bullshit detection; it works, and it helps people.

A poorly educated brilliant person is actually probably at high risk. They're smart enough to know they're missing something valuable, so the promise that they can make up the difference and more by learning this easy new thing will be especially attractive. And once they want something, being smart can mean they're just better at rationalizing it.
 
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