Jim Lewis new paper. 2012 Scientology Up Stat, Down Stat

chuckbeatty

Patron with Honors
[From Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein, eds. The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements. Cambridge University Press 2012, pp. 133-149]


Scientology: Up Stat, Down Stat

James R. Lewis

Scientology has probably received the most persistent criticism of any church in America in recent years. But…Scientologists bear some of the responsibility…. ‘They turn critics into enemies and enemies into dedicated warriors for a lifetime.’

Introduction

The Church of Scientology is a psychotherapeutically-oriented religion founded in the mid-twentieth century by L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986). Hubbard’s extensive writings and taped lectures constitute the beliefs and the basis for the practices of the Church. Hubbard was a talented fiction writer and adventurer deeply interested in the human psyche. Scientology grew out of Dianetics, a popular therapy movement founded by Hubbard in the early 1950s.

Rather like ancient Gnosticism, Scientology views human beings as pure spirits (‘Thetans’) trapped in MEST (the world of Matter, Energy, Space and Time). Humanity’s ultimate goal is to achieve a state of total freedom in which—rather than being pushed around by external circumstances and by our own subconscious mind—we are ‘at cause’ over the physical universe. Unlike traditional Gnosticism, achieving this exalted state of total freedom does not require that we distance ourselves from everyday life. Instead, the greater our spiritual freedom, the more successful we will be at the “game of life.”

Though other non-traditional religious groups that have been involved in dramatic incidents have attracted more public attention for short periods of time, the Church of Scientology is arguably the most persistently controversial of all contemporary New Religious Movements (NRMs). As a consequence of its involvement in numerous legal conflicts, Scientology has acquired a reputation as a litigious organization, ready to sue critics or anyone else who portrays the Church in an unfavorable light. Partly as a consequence of this fierce reputation, academicians have tended to avoid publishing studies about Scientology outside the esoteric realm of scholarly journals.

Thus, at present, there exist only a handful of scholarly, English-language books about the Church, Roy Wallis’s The Road to Total Freedom (1976), Harriet Whitehead’s anthropological study, Renunciation and Reformation: A Study of Conversion in an American Sect (1987), J. Gordon Melton’s short (80 pages) treatment, The Church of Scientology (2000), and James R. Lewis’s anthology, Scientology (2009). The church has generally not interfered with the publication of academic papers, and the bulk of the scholarly literature on Scientology is in the form of articles.

The Founder and the Early History of the Church

L. Ron Hubbard grew up mostly in Montana, but also lived in Nebraska, Seattle, Washington, and Washington, D.C. According to his official biography, he informally studied psychology, philosophy, and religion during his youth. In 1929 he enrolled in George Washington University, studying mathematics and engineering. The Church of Scientology often calls attention to the fact that Hubbard took one of the first courses in nuclear physics, but neglects to mention that he failed the course and dropped out of college before receiving a degree.

He began a literary career in the early 1930s. He published numerous stories and screenplays in various genres, including adventure, mystery and science fiction. Hubbard served in the United States Navy during World War II. He was injured during the war, and it is claimed the he used some of his own theories concerning the human mind to assist in his healing.

Scientology has its roots in the “cultic milieu” of the mid-twentieth century industrialized West (the milieu that later evolved into the New Age Movement) and draws on certain themes in American popular culture. It clearly bears the imprint of American culture’s interest in self-help psychology and popularized psychoanalysis. Though the Church asserts that its closest relative among the world religions is Buddhism, Scientology is more indebted to the New Thought movement for its focus on the solution of practical problems. Hubbard was also influenced by Will Durant’s popularized history of Western philosophy, The Story of Philosophy (1926), particularly Durant’s presentation of Spinoza’s psychology. Though critics have accused Hubbard of having been influenced by the controversial occultist Aleister Crowley, Hubbard’s teachings bear little resemblance to Crowley’s.

In 1950, Hubbard published Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health. This book presented techniques aimed at ridding the “reactive mind” (Scientology’s term for the subconscious) of the residues of traumas that Hubbard postulated lie at the source of irrational behaviors and psychosomatic illnesses. Dianetics quickly became a bestseller, and groups were soon formed to practice Hubbard’s techniques. He lectured extensively and wrote more books. In 1951 he announced Scientology, described as different from Dianetics because it dealt not only with the mind (the focus of Dianetics), but also with humanity’s spiritual nature.

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 was re-located there. In 1966, Hubbard resigned his position as Executive Director of the Church and formed the Sea Organization (often referred to as the “Sea Org”; upper level Scientology Organizations are referred to as “Orgs”), a group of dedicated members of the Church who lived aboard large, ocean-going ships. In 1975 these activities outgrew the ships, and were moved onto land in Florida and California. From this time forward until his death in 1986, Hubbard continuously wrote and published materials on the subjects of Dianetics and Scientology, as well as a number of works of science fiction.

Hubbard has the distinction of being the world’s most translated author. His publications number over a thousand (all of his lectures were recorded and later transcribed into publications). They cover a wide variety of subjects from communication and the problems of work to past lives. Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health has continued over the years to be a best seller.

Hubbard was a complex character. On the one hand, he was brilliant and charismatic. On the other hand, he was controlling and overly sensitive to criticism. He has often been accused of being a power- and money-hungry charlatan. In response to the oft-cited but probably apocryphal Hubbard remark—about how, “If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion”—Harriet Whitehead offered the observation that:

Elements of hype and razzle-dazzle, however, do not necessarily a con artist make. Taken in the context of Hubbard’s long-term commitment to the elaboration, promulgation, and defense of his idea system, even during financially unrewarding years, and also in light of the barricades of secrecy, conspiracy theory, and defensive litigation with which he surrounded his embattled organization (see Wallis 1976:190-241), these traits seem less indicative of greed for gain than part of an egoistic complex that often characterizes visionaries, cranky or not.

Beliefs and Practices

Up until the middle of the twentieth century, most people accorded science and science’s child, technology, a level of respect and prestige enjoyed by few other social institutions. Thus any religion claiming to be scientific drew on the prestige and perceived legitimacy of natural science. The appropriation of the term “science” by groups such as Christian Science and Science of Mind embody this pattern. The Church of Scientology is in this same lineage, though Scientology takes the further step of explicitly referring to their religio-therapeutic practices as religious technology—in Scientology jargon, the “tech.” In much the same way as the 1950s viewed technology as ushering in a new, utopian world, Scientologists see their psycho-spiritual technology as supplying the missing ingredient in existing technologies—namely the therapeutic engineering of the human psyche

The Church of Scientology believes that “Man is basically good, that he is seeking to survive, (and) that his survival depends on himself and upon his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.” This is achieved in Scientology by two methods, referred to as “auditing” and “training.” Dianetics and Scientology auditing (counseling of one individual by another) consists of an “auditor” guiding someone through various mental processes in order to first free the individual of the effects of the “reactive mind,” and then to fully realize the spiritual nature of the person. The reactive mind is said to be that part of the mind that operates on a stimulus-response basis, and is composed of residual memories of painful and unpleasant mental incidents (termed “engrams”) that unconsciously exert control over the individual. When the individual is freed from these undesired effects, s/he is said to have achieved the state of “Clear,” which is the goal of Dianetics counseling. An individual can then go on to higher levels of counseling dealing with his or her nature as an immortal spiritual being, referred to in Scientolgy as a “Thetan,” and eventually achieve the state of “Operating Thetan” (usually abbreviated “OT”). Scientologists believe in reincarnation—specifically, that a Thetan has lived many lifetimes in a human body before this one and will live more lifetimes in the future.

Scientology training consists of many levels of courses about: 1) improving the daily life of individuals by giving them various tools (e.g., concerning communication), and 2) learning the techniques of auditing so that one can counsel others. Scientology teaches people enrolled in its courses a rather elaborate system of practical psychology, along with a new vocabulary involving such notions as the “tone scale” (which arranges various emotional states into a hierarchy), the “eight dynamics” (a hierarchy of increasingly more general levels of the urge to survive), the “e-meter” (a device based on lie-detector technology that helps auditors locate a client’s psychological and spiritual issues), to the “ARC” triangle (affinity, reality, and communication), and the like. Progress along the Bridge—Scientology’s spiritual path—is also arranged into a hierarchy of levels, from pre-Clear, to Clear, to eight Operating Thetan levels (Hubbard actually delineated more than eight levels, but these higher levels were never released).

Unlike many other NRMs, its membership includes people from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. There are also numerous community action and social reform groups affiliated with Scientology that concern themselves with literacy (the World Literacy Crusade), education (the Study Tech), drug rehabilitation (Narconon), the rehabilitation of criminals (Criminon), and other issues.

Scientologists refer to a Supreme Being, but do not worship any deity as such, instead focusing on the application of Scientology principles to daily life. One unusual aspect of the Church is that members are not discouraged from actively participating in other religions, though few upper level Scientologists or full-time staff actually do so.
Many critics have focused on the so-called “space opera,” which involves secret teachings only revealed to Scientologists at the OT III level. The reasoning behind these critics’ focus appears to be that—as captured in Mikael Rothstein’s words—it seems “so utterly stupid that it unwittingly provides the best argument why people should denounce L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings and altogether avoid the organization he founded.” Another sore point for critics is that Scientologists who have reached the OT III level routinely deny the existence of these inner teachings (what has been referred to as the Xenu narrative) rather than simply stating that they are not permitted to discuss it.

Part of the problem appears to be that upper level Scientologists take these teachings literally, as potent information that must be kept secret from the uninitiated. However, as Whitehead points out, “Hubbard was careful to emphasize that these accounts are speculation, not established fact,” and that he often presented this information in a “tongue-in-cheek tone….Hubbard’s interest in the universal incidents was less in their character of unalterable revelation than in their usefulness as a springboard for his technical abstractions.” In the case of the Xenu narrative, Hubbard’s purpose was likely to provide an etiology for the “body thetans” that are exorcised during OT III processing rather than to reveal timeless truths.


Controversy

One of the first new religions in the second half of the twentieth century to be embroiled in controversy, Scientology eventually prevailed in the majority of its legal suits in North America and played a leading role in destroying the Cult Awareness Network, the most important anti-cult organization in the United States. While earlier controversial religions like the Jehovah’s Witnesses had attracted controversy as a consequence of their very public proselytizing, Scientology’s initial point of friction with the larger society was its challenge to the medical and psychotherapeutic establishments.

During the initial stages of the Dianetics movement, Hubbard naively contacted medical and psychiatric associations, explaining the significance of his discoveries for mental and physical health, and asking that the AMA and the APA investigate his new technique. Instead of taking this offer seriously, these associations responded by attacking him. The subsequent popular success of Dianetics did nothing to improve the image of Hubbard in the collective mind of the medical-psychiatric establishment, and was likely instrumental in prompting an FDA raid against the Church.

On 4 January 1963, the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, DC, was raided by United States marshals and deputized longshoremen, acting in behalf of the Food and Drug Administration. Five thousand volumes of Church scriptures, 20,000 booklets and 100 e-meters were seized. In 1971, after years of litigation, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued the Founding Church of Scientology v. United States decision. The Food and Drug Administration was ordered to return the books and e-meters that had been taken in the 1963 raid. In its decision, the court recognized Scientology’s constitutional right to protection from the government’s excessive entanglement with religion. Though the raid was declared illegal, the seized 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. The documents also revealed that there had been various attempts by Scientology to infiltrate anti-cult organizations.

After the raid, the Church’s Guardian’s Office sent a number of top officials incognito into selected government agencies that were collecting data on Scientology. Several members were eventually indicted and convicted for theft of government documents. The convicted members were released from their positions within the Church. The Church of Scientology then closed the Guardian’s Office, which had been responsible for initiating illegal activities. It was thus made to appear that the Church of Scientology had disbanded a rogue office. However, the Church’s Office of Special Affairs, which was the organizational successor to the Guardian’s Office, has subsequently been accused of continuing most of the objectionable practices of the Guardian’s Office.
In 1991, Time magazine published a front-page story attacking Scientology, which subsequently responded with a massive public relations campaign and with a lengthy series of full-page ads in USA Today. Early in 1992 the Church filed a major lawsuit against Time, after discovering that the maker of Prozac—a psychiatric drug Scientology had been active in opposing—had been the ultimate prompter of Time’s assault on the Church. This suit was eventually dismissed.

The Church of Scientology was also involved in extended conflicts with the Australian, French, and German governments, and problems with the IRS through the 1980s and 1990s. Hubbard was charged with criminal tax evasion, and the IRS often moved against the Church in ways that questioned its tax-exempt status. These problems terminated in a landmark decision in 1993, when the IRS ceased all litigation and recognized Scientology as a legitimate religious organization. Following this decision, the Church redirected its legal resources against the Cult Awareness Network, and managed to sue the group out of existence by 1996. Scientology in North America then entered a period of relative calm, but more recently the Church has been in the news again because of the public activities of Scientologist Tom Cruise, a high-profile episode of the TV show “South Park” that led to the resignation of the late Isaac Hayes (another celebrity Scientologist) from South Park, and an exposé article that appeared in Rolling Stone in early 2006.

In 2008, an Internet group calling itself Anonymous began a campaign against the Church of Scientology that involved, among other strategies, picketing Church facilities and harassing Scientologists. The most recent controversy involves Scientology’s current leader, David Miscavige, who has been accused of abusing Church members. The source of these accusations has been numerous high-level defectors who have taken their stories to the press. There was a particularly notable series of articles based around interviews with these ex-members published in the St. Petersburg Times in 2009. The St. Petersburg Times exposé subsequently prompted a number of TV news programs—BBC’s Panorama and CNN’s AC360—to air special programs based around the physical and psychological abuse of these ex-members.



Patterns of Organizational Self-Sabotage

In the majority of conflicts, the Church of Scientology has proven to be its own worst enemy. Thus, for example, the covert infiltration of U.S. government agencies has been responsible for generating some of the Church’s worst publicity. The Church has also frequently employed the strategy of attempting to block publications—both popular and scholarly—judged to be critical of Scientology. Once again, this aggressive tactic has produced far more negative publicity than if the Church had simply ignored these publications.

One of the more heavy-handed practices has been to declare anyone who criticized Scientology a “suppressive person” (S.P.). As originally formulated, suppressive persons were “fair game,” meaning, among other things, that they could be “Tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.” The fair game policy was terminated only after Hubbard concluded that it resulted in “bad public relations,” though he added that this does not “cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an S.P.”

In more recent years, the Church of Scientology has waged a vigorous campaign against online critics, which has led Scientology to become one of the most attacked religions on the Internet. Church leaders appear to believe that they can use the same unproductive tactic they have used over and over again in the past to obtain a different result in the present. Whitehead observes that distortion often enters into the Church’s conflicts as a result of its “overreaction to threat and its unwillingness to examine its role in provoking or exacerbating hostile reactions. Conflicts, rather than being defused, are often escalated.”

In addition to attacking the Church’s critics, Hubbard also adopted harsh policies regarding ex-members. As part of declaring a former member to be an S.P., individuals who had been personally close to the ex-member (e.g., family members, close friends, or even a spouse) were required to cut off all communication. Though comparable to the Amish practice of “shunning,” Scientology disconnections involve additional practices, such as former associates sending “disconnection letters” to ex-members. In recent (2011) media interviews, current members of the Church of Scientology have adamantly denied the existence of the Church’s disconnection policy.

This ill-advised policy has helped transform many otherwise neutral-to-moderately-critical ex-members into devoted enemies of the Church. Research on apostates from other alternative religions has demonstrated that, on the whole, ex-members generally tend to be at least mildly positive about their membership years. In my own research, I have also observed that many individuals who drop out of full-time involvement in a new religion would prefer to remain linked to the group as a part-time participant—if that option is available to them—and sometimes will later rejoin as a full-time member after a longer or shorter period of reflection outside of their former group. This scenario is obviously far less likely in a religious organization that adopts an attitude of sustained hostility toward former participants.

These policies help to explain the emergence and growth of the “Free Zone.” The Free Zone refers to the large, but loosely-organized community of people who consider themselves Scientologists, but who are not members of the Church of Scientology. Across the course of the sixty years of the Church’s existence, tens of thousands of Scientologists have left the fold. Many of these former members left for personal or for organizational reasons, and continue to believe in Scientology as a religious philosophy. Because of Church policies toward ex-members, rapprochement with the Church of Scientology is extremely difficult, creating the conditions for the emergence of an independent Scientology community.

Over the years there have been numerous schisms and alternative organizations, some of which have been sued out of existence by the Church. At one point, Hubbard’s own son left the Church to set up a more profitable private practice. This led Hubbard to begin utilizing e-meter technology for “security checks” that identified potentially disloyal staff members. Hubbard also regularly sacked high-ranking Scientologists (most of whom subsequently left the Church) who he thought might one day challenge his authority. One result of this preemptive policy—in combination with certain other ill-considered actions, such as the Mission Holder’s Conference that led to the schism of 1982/3 —was to place numerous highly-trained, upper level Scientologists outside of Church control.

The emergence of the Internet within the past couple of decades has been a boon to the Free Zone. It has not only provided Freezoners with a forum for airing grievances against the Church, but the Internet has also provided more recent ex-members with points of contact for becoming affiliated with the Free Zone. Given the decline of the Church in recent years, it may well be that independent Scientologists will one day outnumber members of the Church of Scientology.

NRM Scholarship on Scientology

The field of NRM studies as we know it in Western countries came into its own in the 1970s, though NRM studies had emerged several decades earlier in Japan in the wake of the explosion of religious innovation following the end of the second world war. Even the name “new religions” is a direct translation of the expression shin shukyo that Japanese sociologists coined to refer to this phenomenon. Though the generation of new religious groups has been an ongoing process for millennia, the study of such groups and movements was the province of pre-existing academic specializations (e.g., social anthropology) in the West until the Seventies.

However, when a wave of non-traditional religiosity emerged out of the declining counterculture in the late 1960s and early 1970s, academicians at first perceived it as representing a different phenomenon from prior cycles of religious innovation, and NRMs initially attracted scholars from a wide variety of disciplines who were interested in assessing the broader cultural significance of New Religions. It was at this juncture that the study of NRMs began to develop as a distinct field of scholarship in Western countries.

This academic landscape changed over the course of the Seventies. By the latter part of the decade, it had become clear that new religions were not indicative of a broader social transformation—or at least not the kind of transformation observers had anticipated. Also during the Seventies, issues raised by the cult controversy—issues like conversion and ‘brainwashing’—gradually came to dominate the field. Because social conflict and social control are bread-and-butter issues for sociology, more and more sociologists were drawn to the study of new religions. By the end of the decade, the study of NRMs was a recognized specialization within the sociology of religion.

The Church of Scientology was one of the first modern NRMs to be utilized as a case study in this new field. Some of the earliest serious research was carried out by Roy Wallis. In his classic The Road to Total Freedom, and in some of his articles, Wallis used his research on Scientology as the basis for his theory of ‘sectarianization,’ which was a way of interpreting Scientology’s transformation from an individualistic cult to an authoritarian sect. Wallis was also interested in developing a new typology for NRMs. In his schema, Scientology was a prominent example of a “world-affirming” (as opposed to a “world-rejecting” or a “world-accommodating”) movement.

In their “Of Churches, Sects and Cults,” Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge put forward another influential typology that classified cults into audience cults, client cults, and cult movements. Comparable to Wallis’s use of the cult-sect distinction, Stark and Bainbridge’s tripartite classification was utilized by Paul Schnabel to describe the evolution of Scientology from the period of Hubbard as an audience cult leader (when his following was confined to readers of Dianetics and other early titles), to the formation of his fully-blown cult movement—the Church of Scientology. More recently, David G. Bromley has utilized the Church of Scientology to exemplify a ‘prophetic, contractual religion,’ which is a classification in his typology of religions.

When new religious movements first became the subject of serious social-scientific inquiry in Western countries in the 1960s and 1970s, researchers initially focused on trying to understand how and why members became involved. Though the topic of conversion was gradually displaced from the center stage of NRM studies, it is still the single most discussed subject in the field. There is general agreement among researchers that such converts are disproportionately young. In Lorne Dawson’s survey of NRM conversion studies, he briefly covers the psychology of why people join alternative religions. Both of the studies he summarizes—Eileen Barker’s study of the Unification Church and Saul Levine’s longitudinal study of NRM members —portray involvement as a crisis of youth. However, data from James Lewis’s and Nicholas Levine’s recent (2010) study of a high-demand group indicating that the average recruit is middle-aged calls this generalization into question. There were, however, much earlier studies which should have prompted researchers to question the youth-crisis model decades ago, particularly the research reported in Wallis’s Road to Total Freedom, which determined that the average age at which people joined Scientology was 32 years old.

As a major new religion that neither claims continuity with any prior religion (except for a tenuous parallel with Buddhism) nor asserts that it grows out of a special revelation, Scientology is an especially interesting case study for researchers analyzing this movement’s claims to authority. Some observers have examined Scientology’s appeal to the charismatic status of L. Ron Hubbard as a uniquely gifted individual. A number of other observers have pointed out how Scientology appeals to the authority of science rather than to a religious tradition. This mode of analysis has been brought to bear on the question, hotly debated in some countries, of whether or not Scientology should be regarded as a religion. Additionally, the Church of Scientology is an obvious case study for the analysis of ‘invented traditions.’

Because it is so often embroiled in conflict, Scientology is also a useful case study for analyses of the ‘cult’ controversy. As part of a larger effort to discredit Scientology, critics have, as mentioned earlier, called attention to what they regard as the transparent absurdity of the Church’s secret teachings. Scholars of religion normally feel bound to respect such prohibitions, but the fact that Scientology’s “secret” teachings are now widely available on the Internet places them in a unique category. Mikael Rothstein has recently put forward an argument for why researchers should make the Church of Scientology an exception in this regard. Additionally, the Church’s efforts to control its own image have extended to academicians, which has provoked resentment and influenced at last some scholars to avoid researching Scientology—and even, in a few cases, to become dedicated critics of Scientology.


The Future of Scientology and the Future of Scholarship on Scientology

Prediction is always a problematic business, especially with regard to dynamic situations in which many variables can affect outcomes. Yet it is probably safe to assert that the quantity of scholarship on Scientology will increase. Scholars avoided undertaking extensive research projects on the Church for many years, in large part because of the kinds of interference Wallis and others encountered during their research. However, Church officials finally seem to have realized that their efforts to control what academicians write about Scientology does them more harm than good. Thus, for example, the most recent book-length treatment of the Church—my edited volume, Scientology (2009)—contained material judged to be ‘blasphemous’ by members, yet neither I nor my publisher were threatened with legal action. This bodes well for the future of research on Scientology.

The future of the Church itself is less certain. I have observed this organization for over two dozen years. For most of that time, it seemed Scientology confronted every challenge, emerged victorious more often than not, and continued to grow and even thrive in the face of adversity. However, the relatively recent defection of large numbers of long-time, high-level Scientologists—some of the most experienced administrators and others with expertise in the highest levels of Scientology technology—bodes poorly for the future of the Church. In particular, the pattern of solid growth I analyzed just a few years ago seems suddenly to have ground to a halt.

Based on the upgrading and expansion of its various worldwide centers over the past several years, the organization appears to be healthy from the outside. But funds for the upgrading of Church facilities (for the so-called “Ideal Orgs”) have been generated almost entirely from new strategies for amplifying donations from current members. For instance, new, slightly “corrected” editions of Hubbard’s basic books have been issued, and Scientologists have been asked to purchase as many sets of volumes as they can afford so that complete sets can be donated to libraries across the globe. This has all been done in the name of the utopian ideal of “clearing the planet.” But placing books in public libraries is a poor strategy for spreading any sort of message in a digital age.

Unless the Church is able to stop hemorrhaging top talent, stop burdening its congregants with increasingly heavy donations, and, more positively, develop better strategies for reaching new clients for Scientology services, it appears to be headed for a sharp decline in strength and numbers.


Suggested Readings

James R. Lewis, ed., Scientology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

J. Gordon Melton, The Church of Scientology. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books 2000.

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

Roy Wallis, The Road to Total Freedom: A Sociological Analysis of Scientology. New York: Columbia University Press, 1

During his tenure as organizational head, L. Ron 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 is the bane of many 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.”

Douglas Frantz, “Boston Man in Costly Fight with Scientology,” New York Times, 21 December 1997, 24. Cited in Douglas Cowan, “Researching Scientology: Perceptions, Premises, Promises, and Problematics.” In James R. Lewis (ed.), Scientology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 73. The quote is from an interview with J. Gordon Melton.

For general information, refer to J. Gordon Melton, The Church of Scientology (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books 2000); Lewis, Scientology; Dorthe Refslund Christensen, “Rethinking Scientology: Cognition and Representation in Religion, Therapy and Soteriology.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Aarhus, Denmark 1999; Roy Wallis, The Road to Total Freedom: A Sociological Analysis of Scientology. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976); Harriet Whitehead, Renunciation and Reformulation: A Study of Conversion in an American Sect. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987).

Hubbard likely drew this expression from the title of Florence Scovel Shinn’s 1925 popular New Thought book, The Game of Life and How to Play It, though his notion was significantly different than Shinn’s. For an overview of Hubbard’s notion, refer to Harriet Whitehead, “Reasonably Fantastic: Some Perspectives on Scientology, Science Fiction, and Occultism.” In Religious Movements in Contemporary America, ed. Irving I. Zaretsky and Mark P. Leone, pp. 547-87. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1974) and Whitehead, Renunciation and Reformulation.

Cowan, “Researching Scientology.” In Lewis Scientology, pp. 52-79.

Wallis, Road to Total Freedom, 21, footnote #1.

Colin Campbell, "The Cult, the Cultic Milieu and Secularization." In A Sociological Yearbook of Religion in Britain 5 (London: SCM Press, 1972), pp. 119-136.

Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy. The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1926).

Gerald Willms, “Scientology: ‘Modern Religion’ or ‘Religion of Modernity’?” In James R. Lewis (ed.), Scientology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 245-265.

L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. (New York: Paperback Library, 1950).

Many critics, including certain national governments, have rejected Scientology’s status as a religion. In part, this seems to be based on the “misunderstanding that once the label is granted to Scientology, then somehow one has approved of its basic goodness.” (Andreas Grünschloß, “Scientology, a ‘New Age’ Religion?” In James R. Lewis (ed.), Scientology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 227. Once the “goodness” issue is set aside, it is obvious that Scientology is a religion – and it certainly functions as a religion in the lives of most members of the Church of Scientology (refer to the discussion in Ibid., p. 227). On the other hand, Hubbard regarded Dianetics-Scientology as a science rather than as a religion (as discussed in Willms, “Scientology”), meaning that Scientology was incorporated as a religion for pragmatic purposes.

Whitehead, Renunciation and Reformation, pp. 53-54.

Mikael Rothstein, “‘His name was Xenu, He used renegades’: Aspects of Scientology’s Founding Myth,” In Lewis, Scientology, p. 383.

Whitehead, Renunciation and Reformulation, p. 170.

Ibid,, p. 172.

Ibid., p. 185.

James R. Lewis, Cults: A Reference Handbook (Santa Barbara, California, 2005).

John Bowen Brown, “The Scientology Critic Group Anonymous: A Research Paper.” A paper presented at The CESNUR Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 11-13, 2009.

L. Ron Hubbard, HCO Policy Letter, 18 October 1966. Cited in Wallis, Road to Total Freedom, p. 144.

Sir John G. Foster, Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology (London: HMSO, 1971), p. 129. Cited in Wallis, Road to Total Freedom, p. 144.

Whitehead, Renunciation and Reformulation, p. 223, footnote #3.

As discussed in Wallis, Road to Total Freedom, pp. 144-145.

James R. Lewis, Seeking the Light (Mandeville Press, 1998); James R. Lewis and Nicholas M. Levine, Children of Jesus and Mary: A Study of the Order of Christ Sophia. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Wallis, Road to Total Freedom, p. 148.

Ibid., pp. 154-5.

Jon Atack, A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed (New York: Lyle Stuart Books, 1990), part 7, chapter 1. It is generally agreed that it was the fallout from the Mission Holders’ Conference that led to the emergence of Free Zone Scientology.

James R. Lewis, ed. Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).

Wallis, Road to Total Freedom; Roy Wallis, “Scientology: Therapeutic Cult to Religious Sect.” Sociology, Vol. 9, No. 1, (1975), pp. 89-100; Roy Wallis “A Comparative Analysis of Problems and Processes of Change in Two Manipulationist Movements: Christian Science and Scientology.” In Contemporary Metamorphosis of Religion: Acts of the Twelfth International Conference for the Sociology of Religion, pp. 407-422.( Lille, France: Edition du Secrétariat CISR, 1973).

Inspired by Richard Niebuhr’s theory of ‘denominationalism’ as presented in Niebuhr’s classic study, The Social Sources of Denominationalism (New York: H. Holt and Company 1929).

Roy Wallis, The Elementary Forms of the New Religious Life (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984).

Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge, "Of Churches, Sects and Cults," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 18 (1979), pp. 117-133.

Paul Schnabel, “Tussen stigma en charisma: nieuwe religieuze bewegingen en geestelijke volksgezondheid/Between stigma and charisma: new religious movements and mental health.” Erasmus University Rotterdam, Faculty of Medicine, Ph.D. Thesis. (Deventer, Van Loghum Slaterus, 1982, p. 82 & pp. 84-88).

David G. Bromley, “Making Sense of Scientology: A Prophetic, Contractual Religion.” In Lewis Scientology, pp. 83-101; David G. Bromley, “A Sociological Narrative of Crisis Episodes, Collective Action, Culture Workers, and Countermovements,” Sociology of Religion 58 (1997), pp. 105-140.

Lorne L. Dawson, “Who Joins New Religions and Why: Twenty Years of Research and What Have We Learned?” In Lorne L. Dawson, ed. Cults and New Religions: A Reader. (Oxford, UK: Blackwell 2003), pp. 116-130.

Eileen Barker, The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1984.

Saul V. Levine, “Cults and mental health: Clinical conclusions.” Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 26:8 (1981), pp. 534-539; Saul V. Levine, Radical Departures: Desperate Detours to Growing Up. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984).

Lewis and Levine, Children of Jesus and Mary.
Dorthe Refslund Christensen, “Inventing L. Ron Hubbard: On the Construction and Maintenance of the Hagiographic Mythology on Scientology’s Founder,” In James R. Lewis. & Jesper Aagaard Pedersen, eds., Controversial New Religions (New York: Oxford University Press 2005), pp. 227-259.

E.g., William Sims Bainbridge, “Science and Religion: The Case of Scientology.” In The Future of New Religious Movements, edited by David G. Bromley and Phillip E. Hammond (Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1987), pp. 59-79; Lewis Legitimating New Religions; Mikael Rothstein, “Science and Religion in the New Religions.” In Lewis The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements; James R. Lewis, “The Science Canopy: Religion, Legitimacy, and the Charisma of Science.” Temenos 46:1, 2010; Régis Dericquebourg, “Legitimizing Belief through the Authority of Science. The Case of the Church of Scientology.” In James R. Lewis and Olav Hammer, eds. Religion and the Authority of Science. (Leiden: Brill, 2010).

E.g., Gerald Willms, “Scientology: ‘Modern Religion’ or ‘Religion of Modernity’?” In Lewis Scientology, pp. 245-265.

Mikael Rothstein, “Scientology, Scripture, and Sacred Tradition.” In James R. Lewis and Olav Hammer, eds. The Invention of Sacred Tradition (Cambridge University Press 2007), pp. 18-37.

E.g., Anson Shupe, “The Nature of the New Religious Movements - Anticult ‘Culture War’ in Microcosm: The Church of Scientology versus the Cult Awareness Network.” In Lewis Scientology, pp. 269-281; James T. Richardson, “Scientology in Court: A Look at Some Major Cases from Various Nations,” In Lewis Scientology, pp. 283-294; Susan J. Palmer, “The Church of Scientology in France: A History of Legal and Activist Responses to the Forces of Anti-cultism and the Government-sponsored ‘War on Sectes’.” In Lewis, Scientology, pp. 295-322.

Rothstein, “His name was Xenu,” pp. 365-387.

Cowan, “Researching Scientology.”

Lewis “The Growth of Scientology.”

Geir Isene, a Norwegian OT VIII who left the Church not too many years ago, has been highly critical of the emphasis on new buildings that constitute the centerpiece of the Ideal Org program, accusing the new building program of being itself a covert strategy for enriching the Church. In Isene’s words, “I find the Ideal Org program to be a scam where the church tries to add to its value of assets by pressuring its public for money with no exchange back.” (http://www.isene.com/GeirIseneDoubtCoS.pdf.) He cites L. Ron Hubbard in support of his critique: “When buildings get important to us, for God’s sake, some of you born revolutionists, will you please blow up central headquarters.” Hubbard Tape: The Genus of Scientology, 31 December 1960 (from: The Anatomy of the Human Mind Congress).

According to the pseudonymous ‘Plockton,’ who contacted the ARIS (American Religious Identification Survey) researchers directly, the ARIS estimate for the number of Scientologists in the U.S. for 2008 was 25,000. This contrasts sharply with the 55,000 figure from the 2001 ARIS survey. (“2008 ARIS Study on Scientology Membership in US – Important Data.” Posted March 28, 2009 at: http://ocmb.xenu.net/ocmb/viewtopic.php?t=30372.) The drop in total numbers was likely less dramatic than these figures indicate (due to sampling issues discussed by Plockton in his posting). In 2011, there will be national censuses in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, all of which will produce figures for total numbers of self-identified Scientologists. It will thus be relatively simple to contrast these numbers with comparable data from the 2001 censuses (for Canada and the UK) and from the 2006 censuses (for Australia and New Zealand). The net figures derived from these comparisons should indicate decisively whether membership in the Church of Scientology is growing, declining, or stagnating.
 

Infinite

Troublesome Internet Fringe Dweller
..

. . . Many critics have focused on the so-called “space opera,” which involves secret teachings only revealed to Scientologists at the OT III level. The reasoning behind these critics’ focus appears to be that—as captured in Mikael Rothstein’s words—it seems “so utterly stupid that it unwittingly provides the best argument why people should denounce L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings and altogether avoid the organization he founded.” Another sore point for critics is that Scientologists who have reached the OT III level routinely deny the existence of these inner teachings (what has been referred to as the Xenu narrative) rather than simply stating that they are not permitted to discuss it.

Part of the problem appears to be that upper level Scientologists take these teachings literally, as potent information that must be kept secret from the uninitiated. However, as Whitehead points out, “Hubbard was careful to emphasize that these accounts are speculation, not established fact,” and that he often presented this information in a “tongue-in-cheek tone….Hubbard’s interest in the universal incidents was less in their character of unalterable revelation than in their usefulness as a springboard for his technical abstractions.” In the case of the Xenu narrative, Hubbard’s purpose was likely to provide an etiology for the “body thetans” that are exorcised during OT III processing rather than to reveal timeless truths . . .

Perhaps these [STRIKE]apologists[/STRIKE] academics missed the Scientology Axioms which state that the exact time, form, place and event must be as-ised before the charge can be released? Harriet Whitehead appears to have swallowed the original lie back in 1974 and it is still being repeated.
 

Boomima

Patron with Honors
I should read James Lewis' book on Scientology before I say too much but there were a few places that I thought he should have placed a footnote to further explain his position or provide evidence. Infinite pointed out one.

Another was the dismissing of the influence of Crowley on Hubbard. A third would be the mention of whether or not Hubbard was greedy. My final question is why there is a sense in the piece that Hubbard was unfairly attacked by the medical establishment. If you didn't know better, you would get the idea that the APA, AMA, and pharmaceutical industry conspired with the government and mainstream media to defeat Hubbard.

I don't think that scholarship in the area of New Religious Movements benefits from this sort of brushing aside of the real criticisms of the CoS. Both ex's and critics have been articulate and precise in their critique of the subject.

A last question is why he only mentioned Dr. Urban's work in the end of the piece. Lewis' 2009 book is not the most recent scholarly book about Scientology; Urban's is.
 

Gib

Crusader
As a consequence of its involvement in numerous legal conflicts, Scientology has acquired a reputation as a litigious organization, ready to sue critics or anyone else who portrays the Church in an unfavorable light. Partly as a consequence of this fierce reputation, academicians have tended to avoid publishing studies about Scientology outside the esoteric realm of scholarly journals.

Thanks for posting Chuck. We don't know each other and I know you more than you know me as I have read many of your postings and comments on other sites. I really like your comments.

In the quote above, that is really something.

Others are afraid to comment on the COS. That in itself tells one that the church is the bully on the block and enforcing it's reality on others. The church has created fear in others. And of course it's own members with endless sec checks. Conform or be silent.

The Furian.
 

Lermanet_com

Gold Meritorious Patron
Thanks for posting Chuck. We don't know each other and I know you more than you know me as I have read many of your postings and comments on other sites. I really like your comments.

In the quote above, that is really something.

Others are afraid to comment on the COS. That in itself tells one that the church is the bully on the block and enforcing it's reality on others. The church has created fear in others. And of course it's own members with endless sec checks. Conform or be silent.

The Furian.


Chuck Beatty's page on Lermanet.com from 2004
 

chuckbeatty

Patron with Honors
..



Perhaps these [STRIKE]apologists[/STRIKE] academics missed the Scientology Axioms which state that the exact time, form, place and event must be as-ised before the charge can be released? Harriet Whitehead appears to have swallowed the original lie back in 1974 and it is still being repeated.

Agreed.

In fact, on YouTube, somewhere, is the specific Class 8 lecture sniippet (not from Tape 11 Assists, but from another of the Class 8 lectures) where Hubbard snarlingly spits out that his OT 3 case stuff is FACT! And he says FACT like he's ripping your face off!

Naw, incomplete research, and I'll let Jim know on this exact point, so before relies on Harriet's incomplete research, since she wrote her paper prior to 1987 I think.

Yea, one scholar screws up, the next one relies on that screwup, and the screwups carry on.

There are so many ex's and hobbyists who know where the detailed Hubbard written words or spoken details are, that ALL past scholar mistakes have to be picked to pieces and SENT to them.

Here's Jim Lewis' email address, for people to email any of his paper's mistakes to him.

He's at least trying to come up to speed.

Again, there are more experts on the Hubbard corpus to prove the scholar's mistakes, now, so I urge people to email their corrections on papers the scholars do.

[email protected]
 
This is generic fluff. It's similar to a Wikipedia entry, and written from an uneducated eye... whereas Keith Urban's book was researched.
 

AnonyMary

Formerly Fooled - Finally Free
It's nice to see Lewis waking up a bit. I hope he looks deeper so he can get a better understanding of why many did not do his survey last year. He thinks 'fair game' is a dead' policy and doesn't connect it with the shunning and enforced disconnection so many members and ex-members fear and tiptoe around.

Perhaps one day he'll get it. Perhaps then he can resurrect his survey and actually get more responses than he did the first time.
http://leavingscientology.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/an-open-letter-from-james-r-lewis/

I know he was disappointed at the number of responses that did come in, because I wrote him asking how it went. Truth is, his disappointment was really founded in a lack of understanding the bigger picture. People have to trust that you are being objective and many didn't in that case. But he's getting there..... slowly. Truth and facts are what they are and if he sticks with those, I think he'll rise to the challenge.
 

Petey C

Silver Meritorious Patron
This is generic fluff. It's similar to a Wikipedia entry, and written from an uneducated eye... whereas Keith Urban's book was researched.

Lewis also says the last book-length work on Scientology was his own 2009 work, whereas it should be Urban's book which was released in 2011.

I think there are a lot of omissions in this article. Though Lewis mentions Hubbard's false claim to be a nuclear scientist, he doesn't go on to name all the other false academic claims. Hubbard lied about so much of his past: his birthplace, his qualifications, his naval attachment, etc. Surely his propensity to falsify and make large claims to make himself look better are, at the very least, an indication of character.

On the other hand, I like the conclusion he comes to regarding Scientology's probable demise, maybe because I believe the same. However, he doesn't say anything much about the fundamentalist nature of Scientology. Even though what Hubbard wrote is being rewritten by the current powers that be, the dogmatic position that Scientology must be taken absolutely literally will confine it to a particular time and space and not allow it to grow flexibly as time passes. Example: Scientology developed in the Cold War age and has come to grief in the Internet age. There's nothing in Hubbard's writings that predicted the Internet or how to deal with it. Lewis correctly notes that selling hard copy books to people for libraries is hardly the way to approach the Internet generation. But Scientology has to do that as it has to keep up its NNCF stat (and Hubbard royalties which is surely someone's stat at ASI) ... and can't abandon the Hubbard-dictated specification!
 
..
Perhaps these [STRIKE]apologists[/STRIKE] academics missed the Scientology Axioms which state that the exact time, form, place and event must be as-ised before the charge can be released? Harriet Whitehead appears to have swallowed the original lie back in 1974 and it is still being repeated.

Perhaps it would be better if you got down from your own high horse and considered the actual difficulties entailed in reconciling the many inconsistent and mutually contradictory statements of l. ron hubbard in an academic context. These people aren't involved in a crusade to destroy the church.

The intent of religious studies academics in this matter is to study a topic and organization which has been sufficiently successful as to motivate the involvement of several thousands of people over a period spanning multiple decades into, for good or ill, a new religious institution.

The overt bias you expect and call for is inappropriate in an academic study.

Their role is not interested in making a spiritual or criminal or societal case against hubbard, the church, and scientology. That is a role for evangelists, social critics, and state prosecutors.

Whitehead's remarks as cited are quite reasonable and have a factual basis in at least some of hubbard's published materials. In contrast, the characteristic qualities of reason and based in fact are not readily seen to be present in many of your own prior remarks on the subject. :eyeroll:


Mark A. Baker
 

hartley

Patron with Honors
I gave this one yet another hatchet job on ARS already, please excuse Usenet formatting as I copypasta:

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

Subject: Re: Jim Lewis latest paper. 2012 Scientology: Up Stat, Down Stat
From: Hartley Patterson <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 18:22:40 -0000
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology

[email protected] posted:

> Scientology: Up Stat, Down Stat
>
> James R. Lewis

Has the man no shame? Can't he just shut up?

> The Church of Scientology is a psychotherapeutically-oriented religion

It's a CULT. Revealing you don't know what a cult is in the first sentence
of a text is just silly.

> Thus, at present, there exist only a handful of scholarly,
> English-language books about the Church, Roy Wallis?s The Road to Total
> Freedom (1976), Harriet Whitehead?s anthropological study, Renunciation
> and Reformation: A Study of Conversion in an American Sect (1987), J.
> Gordon Melton?s short (80 pages) treatment, The Church of Scientology
> (2000), and James R. Lewis?s anthology, Scientology (2009).

Melton's pamphlet was not scholarly, it was an error riddled whitewash of
Scientology that should have been buried long ago. Lewis knows this.

> The church has generally not interfered with the publication of academic
> papers

Misleading. It has frequently attacked Stephen Kent. It has schmoozed and
flattered academics including Lewis himself, I call that interference.

> He began a literary career in the early 1930s. He published numerous
> stories and screenplays in various genres, including adventure, mystery
> and science fiction. Hubbard served in the United States Navy during
> World War II. He was injured during the war,

Untrue. There is no evidence that he was injured. He became ill. He
claimed to have a Purple Heart - this was a lie.

> Hubbard was also influenced by Will Durant?s popularized history of >
> Western philosophy, The Story of Philosophy (1926)

No, Hubbard CLAIMED he was. Considered his poor knowledge of history, it
was perhaps one of the few such books he read!

> Though critics have accused Hubbard of having been influenced
> by the controversial occultist Aleister Crowley, Hubbard?s teachings
> bear little resemblance to Crowley?s.

This is a strawman. The influence of occultism is obvious in Scientology
to those who look, but no one claims that Hubbard was a disciple of
Crowley. He dabbled in the occult and then ran off with and bigamously
married Jack Parsons girlfriend! Melton deliberately covered this up in
his pamphlet.

> The Church of Scientology believes that ?Man is basically good, that he
> is seeking to survive, (and) that his survival depends on himself and
> upon his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.?

Lewis is still like most scholars hung up on a false belief that the
Church of Scientology is a religion. It is not, it is a totalitarian cult,
and like other totalitarian organisations its professed beliefs are not
followed in practice. When convenient, its staff simply ignore them.

> Unlike many other NRMs, its membership includes people from a wide
> variety of ages and backgrounds. There are also numerous community
> action and social reform groups affiliated with Scientology that concern
> themselves with literacy (the World Literacy Crusade), education (the
> Study Tech), drug rehabilitation (Narconon), the rehabilitation of
> criminals (Criminon), and other issues.

Untrue. These are all front groups. Lewis knows this.

> Many critics have focused on the so-called ?space opera,? which involves
> secret teachings only revealed to Scientologists at the OT III level.

Wrong. The Space Opera exists outside OT3. Doesn't Lewis KNOW this?

> played a leading
> role in destroying the Cult Awareness Network

Wrong. No one else was attacking CAN.

> Early in 1992 the Church filed a major lawsuit against Time, after
> discovering that the maker of Prozac?a psychiatric drug Scientology had
> been active in opposing?had been the ultimate prompter of Time?s assault
> on the Church.

I've not heard that one before. Dox?

> In 2008, an Internet group calling itself Anonymous began a campaign
> against the Church of Scientology that involved, among other strategies,
> picketing Church facilities and harassing Scientologists.

"harassing Scientologists?". Dox please.

> There was a particularly notable series of articles based around
> interviews with these ex-members published in the St. Petersburg Times
> in 2009.
>
> The St. Petersburg Times exposé subsequently prompted a number of TV
> news programs?BBC?s Panorama and CNN?s AC360?to air special programs
> based around the physical and psychological abuse of these ex-members.

Wrong. The Panorama programme was in 2007, and was one of the prompts for
Chanology in 2008. There were many other TV and newspaper exposes before
this that academics simply ignored.

> The emergence of the Internet within the past couple of decades has been
> a boon to the Free Zone.

Lewis is still out of the loop. Amongst scientologists who are anti-
Church, 'Freezone' refers nowadays to a specific sub group including the
Rons Orgers. 'Independent Scientologists' are another subgroup centered
around Marty Rathbun, and others aren't part of any association.

> Because it is so often embroiled in conflict, Scientology is also a
> useful case study for analyses of the ?cult? controversy. As part of a
> larger effort to discredit Scientology, critics have, as mentioned
> earlier, called attention to what they regard as the transparent
> absurdity of the Church?s secret teachings.

Strawman. Critics have always given primary attention to the bad behavior
of the Church, not to its theology. Throughout this paper Lewis confuses
beliefs and organisation.

> The future of the Church itself is less certain. I have observed this
> organization for over two dozen years. For most of that time, it seemed
> Scientology confronted every challenge, emerged victorious more often
> than not, and continued to grow and even thrive in the face of
> adversity.

2012 - 24 = 1988. Wrong. The Church's decline began in around 1990 in
terms of membership, and bums in pews is all that matters. It has also
been in steady decline in the propaganda war.

> the pattern of solid growth I analyzed just a few years ago seems
> suddenly to have ground to a halt.

Chuck, can you PLEASE remind him that he got this WRONG. The 'growth' he
saw was well within the margin of error. He alludes to this later in the
paper, but still doesn't seem to understand statistics.

> Unless the Church is able to stop hemorrhaging top talent, stop
> burdening its congregants with increasingly heavy donations, and, more
> positively, develop better strategies for reaching new clients for
> Scientology services, it appears to be headed for a sharp decline in
> strength and numbers.

That's been happening since 2008.

> Many critics, including certain national governments, have rejected
> Scientology?s status as a religion. In part, this seems to be based on
> the ?misunderstanding that once the label is granted to Scientology,
> then somehow one has approved of its basic goodness.? (Andreas
> Grünschloß, ?Scientology, a ?New Age? Religion?? In James R. Lewis
> (ed.), Scientology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 227.
> Oncethe ?goodness? issue is set aside, it is obvious that Scientology is
> a religion ? and it certainly functions as a religion in the lives of
> most members of the Church of Scientology

Lewis seems incapable of grasping one of the fundamental aspects of his
own discipline - that belief and organisation are not the same. As a
result, his thoughts and writings are muddled and confused. In
Scientology, this is called a 'misunderstood word'!

> Jon Atack, A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron
> Hubbard Exposed (New York: Lyle Stuart Books, 1990), part 7, chapter 1.
> It is generally agreed that it was the fallout from the Mission Holders?
> Conference that led to the emergence of Free Zone Scientology.

It was Captain Bill who founded the Freezone. There were defecting groups
before that and after. What the Conference did was destroy the Mission
franchise system and bring the whole Church firmly under Miscavige's rule.

> The drop in total numbers was likely less dramatic than these figures
> indicate (due to sampling issues discussed by Plockton in his posting).

Gibber. He's typing nonsense again. Having firmly claimed that membership
was rising from one set of numbers, he's now saying that it isn't falling
using the opposite reasoning!

> In 2011, there will be national censuses in the UK, Canada, New Zealand,
> and Australia, all of which will produce figures for total numbers of
> self-identified Scientologists. It will thus be relatively simple to
> contrast these numbers with comparable data from the 2001 censuses (for
> Canada and the UK) and from the 2006 censuses (for Australia and New
> Zealand). The net figures derived from these comparisons should indicate
> decisively whether membership in the Church of Scientology is growing,
> declining, or stagnating.

As indeed they do.
 

Boomima

Patron with Honors
Perhaps it would be better if you got down from your own high horse and considered the actual difficulties entailed in reconciling the many inconsistent and mutually contradictory statements of l. ron hubbard in an academic context. These people aren't involved in a crusade to destroy the church.

The intent of religious studies academics in this matter is to study a topic and organization which has been sufficiently successful as to motivate the involvement of several thousands of people over a period spanning multiple decades into, for good or ill, a new religious institution.

The overt bias you expect and call for is inappropriate in an academic study.

Their role is not interested in making a spiritual or criminal or societal case against hubbard, the church, and scientology. That is a role for evangelists, social critics, and state prosecutors.

Whitehead's remarks as cited are quite reasonable and have a factual basis in at least some of hubbard's published materials. In contrast, the characteristic qualities of reason and based in fact are not readily seen to be present in many of your own prior remarks on the subject. :eyeroll:


Mark A. Baker

I think that there are problems with the piece and I'm not biased for or against Hubbard, Scientology or the CoS.:eyeroll:
It's difficult to reconstruct early Christianity. Pre-Islamic Arabia is also difficult to analyze. A new religious movement that started in the 60's which still has living witnesses would seem to be a little less problematic. Hubbard is not the only source (see what I did there? :p) for information on Scientology.

While I can't say that I agree with everything that has been included in the criticisms of this piece, no academic publishes something without expecting a critique. There are certainly gaps in the article.

In Infinite's defense, I don't think that it's universally accepted that OTIII was presented as "tongue in cheek" by Hubbard.

:brow: <--- This one is adorable! If you are going to overuse smileys, use some of the cute ones!
 

ClearedSP

Patron with Honors
Rather like ancient Gnosticism, Scientology views human beings as pure spirits (‘Thetans’) trapped in MEST (the world of Matter, Energy, Space and Time).

I don't know where this sort of thing comes from, but I have to question it. Gnosticism's beliefs along those lines are probably best typified by Manichaeism (which is never named as similar, likely due to its less appealing historical rep). The basic belief was that the universe was divided into spiritual and material halves, created respectively by a good deity and their evil twin. Existence was the ongoing struggle between the spiritual and the material, good and evil.

Scientologists would say that was wrong, that MEST was something the spiritual made in order to have games to play. Calling it evil would be, at minimum, a sign of extremely low havingness.

I'm thinking that this paper could use some work.
 

Infinite

Troublesome Internet Fringe Dweller
Perhaps it would be better if you got down from your own high horse and considered the actual difficulties entailed in reconciling the many inconsistent and mutually contradictory statements of l. ron hubbard in an academic context. These people aren't involved in a crusade to destroy the church.

The intent of religious studies academics in this matter is to study a topic and organization which has been sufficiently successful as to motivate the involvement of several thousands of people over a period spanning multiple decades into, for good or ill, a new religious institution.

The overt bias you expect and call for is inappropriate in an academic study.

Their role is not interested in making a spiritual or criminal or societal case against hubbard, the church, and scientology. That is a role for evangelists, social critics, and state prosecutors.

Whitehead's remarks as cited are quite reasonable and have a factual basis in at least some of hubbard's published materials. In contrast, the characteristic qualities of reason and based in fact are not readily seen to be present in many of your own prior remarks on the subject.

Oh dear, yet again . . .

Scientology 101: when confronted with undeniable facts and/or irrefutable logic, apply ad homs

. . . you need a new schtick. Still, that you should attack me for pointing out that Scientology attacks others who speak truth about its core belief is ironic. The denigration based on the lie that taking L Ron Hubbard literally indicates a lack of understanding has been a standard operating procedure for more than 50 years and, although minor in this case, you perpetuate Scientology's abuses by repeating it here. In a subject like Scientology, where it only works if it is applied exactly as Hubbard wrote it and without alteration, and all instances of bad results are because it has been altered from exactly and only what Hubbard wrote, the label “literal-minded” is hardly a bad thing to a Scientologist. Are you really saying that after using a dictionary to clear each definition of every word to full conceptual understanding, use false data stripping to ensure Scientologists are understanding exactly what was written, and demonstrate the passage “exact time, form, place and event” in clay, then they must remember not to take it literally?

I know Veda can provide chapter a verse on where this "literalism" attack stems from but one of the earliest and most public examples comes from 1965 followng the release of the Anderson Report. In that case, the "literalism" lie was applied in defence of HCO Bulletin of May 11, 1963, "Heaven" - you know, the one where L Ron Hubbard said he went to Heaven and "discovered" that Christianity was based "on a very painful lie, a cynical betrayal". Obviously, this L Ron Hubbard anti-Christ message attracted criticism and, surprise surprise, the defence was that L Ron Hubbard's statement was metaphorical. Trouble is, Scientologists were caught in the lie when it was pointed out that the HCOB also contained the statement:

. . . (Note: This HCO Bulletin is based on over a thousand hours of research auditing, analyzing the facsimiles of the reactive mind, and with the help of a Mark V Electrometer. It is scientific research and is not in any way based upon the mere opinion of the researcher. This HCO Bulletin is not the result of the belief or beliefs of anyone. Scientology data reflects long, arduous and painstaking research over a period of some thirty years into the nature of Man, the mind, the human spirit and its relationship to the physical universe. The data and phenomena discovered in Scientology is common to all minds and all men and can be demonstrated on anyone. Truth does not require belief to be truth any more than water requires anyone's permission to run down hill. The data is itself and can be duplicated by any honest researcher or practitioner. We in Scientology seek freedom, the betterment of Man, and the happiness of the individual and this comprises our attitude towards the data found. The data, however, is simply itself, and exists whatever the opinion of anyone may be. The contents of this HCO Bulletin discover the apparent underlying impulses of religious zealotism and the source of the religious mania and insanity which terrorized Earth over the ages and has given religion the appearance of insanity. As the paper is written for my friends it has, of course, a semblance of irreverence)."

Those L Ron Hubbard lies about scientific rigour and concern for all are, and always have been, central to the Scientology fraud. Equally central is the Xenu story and L Ron Hubbard's direct instructions to lie about it. Obviously, the Xenu story can no longer be denied, so, instead, we see Scientologists, and even the odd Bakerologist, pulling out the good ole "literalism" attack. Frustratingly, that "literalism" lie has filtered into public discourse and is now being repeated by those who should know better.

Also frustrating is that this "literalism" ad-hom, make-wrong, service fac Scientology label is so easily dismissed. Even a cursory reading of the Xenu story's accompanying "processing tech" reveals that the story is to be taken literally. Consider HCO BULLETIN OF 15 NOVEMBER 1978 - Dating and Locating which forms part of the OTIII processing tech. In there you will find a direct reference to the pertinent Scientology Axioms, specifically, Axioms 30 and 38:

Axiom 30: “The general rule of auditing is that anything which is unwanted and yet persists must be thoroughly viewed, at which time it will vanish.”

Excerpt from Axiom 38: “... Truth is the exact time, place, form and event.... Thus we see that the discovery of Truth would bring about an As-is-ness by actual experiment.”

The HCOB goes on . . .

. . . A thetan knows that if he could remember the exact place a thing had been generated, the exact time and the exact conditions, and the exact person who did it, he would then get a disappearance of the thing.

Dating is the action the auditor takes to help the pc spot the exact time something happened.

Locating is the action the auditor takes to help the pc spot the exact place something happened.

By dating and locating, getting the exact time and place a specific thing happened, the pc is able to blow the mass and energy connected with the occurrence which has hung him up at that point . . .

As you can see, rather than the "bias" and destructive intent which you attempt to smear me with all I'm calling for in this case is that the truth to be told, and truth as obvious as this is most certainly a part of any academic study. By repeating the "literalism" lie, Lewis is highlighting the fact that he either has not read the material or it is himself who misunderstands it. In doing so, Jim Lewis does his subject, himself, his publisher, and the tens of thousands hurt by Scientology a grave misservice. He is going to have to "let go his darling" and accept that Scientology is not a religion - it is, in fact, an organised, on-going criminal conspiracy to defraud and has been since the day L Ron Hubbard said he used Dianetics to cure war injuries.
 
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Gib

Crusader
Chuck Beatty's page on Lermanet.com from 2004

Thanks Arnie for Chuck's write-up. I did read it a few months ago. And I re looked at it today.

But, I found this write-up by you which I never found before and read today. I'm laughing as I read it only because while I'm reading it, I'm realizing in my 10 months journey into the internet here on EX's stories I was piecing together events of the history of the church and piecing together the truth of scientology and piecing together my knowledge of scientology from reading all the books and lectures. So while piecing this all together, even the status of "clear" and "ot", here you write what I had figured out and that's why I'm laughing:

"Once a person is thus duped into opening this book, the entire implication of Dianetics is to get the trusting adherent-to-be to mock up a reactive mind. How this Reactive Mind works is explained in grisly, pedantic, lugubrious, detail. Now, after learning how this fabrication, this piece of science fiction, the 'reactive mind', purportedly works, Hubbard uses this as the program to trick you into creating your very own reactive mind."

http://www.lermanet.com/exit/FINAL.htm

Mind you I'm only at Grade 0 on that their painted picture of a bridge.

But, here's what I realized in your write-up linked above. You know when you read a book, you mock up images and scenes in your mind of the story being told. Now when a movie comes out for the book you read, why if the scenes and imagery in the movie match or are similar to your own mocked up images, why you think it's a great movie. If the movie really is altered from the book and one's own images of the book created by oneself, why the movie sucks.

Thus the power of words and creating images in one's own mind by another. Which is what Hubbard did. He created a reactive mind and got others to believe it. :melodramatic:
 

Infinite

Troublesome Internet Fringe Dweller
. . . snip . . .

Jim Lewis said:
Many critics have focused on the so-called "space opera", which involves secret teachings only revealed to Scientologists at the OT III level.

Wrong. The Space Opera exists outside OT3. Doesn't Lewis KNOW this?. . .

As accurate and as thorough a Fisking as I've seen. Nice work. That reference to "space opera" is particularly galling. Has Lewis not heard of "The History Of Man" - originally published as "What to Audit"? Interesting to note that the Dianetics & Scientology Technical Dictionary, 1975 Edition, defined the term as:

SPACE OPERA

Of or relating to time periods on the whole track millions of years ago which concerned activities in this and other galaxies. Space opera has space travel, spaceships, spacemen, intergalactic travel, wars, conflicts, other beings, civilizations and societies, and other planets and galaxies. It is not fiction and concerns actual incidents and things that occurred on the track. See also whole track."

Emphasis mine. The definition has since been changed . . . don't hear too many Scientologists baaawing about that alteration to the tech, eh?
 
I think that there are problems with the piece and I'm not biased for or against Hubbard, Scientology or the CoS.:eyeroll: ...

There are problems with the piece. Not, however, ones cited by "infinite". He has a lengthy & unfortunate record of getting things wrong due to his penchant for leaping to false conclusions. This is largely as a result of his oft displayed ignorance of the subjects he chooses to critique. What little he does know about the subject of scientology, he's gleaned only from perusing limited sources on the net; not itself a noticeably reliable or complete source of information and one likely to produce misconceptions due to the polemics routinely involved.

And FWIW, I choose my own smileys, thank you very much. I've used :brow: before where it served my purpose and no doubt will do so again where I consider it appropriate. :hmmph:


Mark A. Baker :biggrin:
 
I gave this one yet another hatchet job on ARS already, please excuse Usenet formatting as I copypasta:

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

Subject: Re: Jim Lewis latest paper. 2012 Scientology: Up Stat, Down Stat
From: Hartley Patterson <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 18:22:40 -0000
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology

> Early in 1992 the Church filed a major lawsuit against Time, after
> discovering that the maker of Prozac?a psychiatric drug Scientology had
> been active in opposing?had been the ultimate prompter of Time?s assault
> on the Church.

I've not heard that one before. Dox?
The Co$ claimed that Eli Lilly was behind the Time article in order to be "right" about how bad the psychs were, to rally the troops, and to divert attention from DM.

Thanks for the patience to write an excellent timeline.
 

Infinite

Troublesome Internet Fringe Dweller
There are problems with the piece. Not, however, ones cited by "infinite". He has a lengthy & unfortunate record of getting things wrong due to his penchant for leaping to false conclusions. This is largely as a result of his oft displayed ignorance of the subjects he chooses to critique. What little he does know about the subject of scientology, he's gleaned only from perusing limited sources on the net; not itself a noticeably reliable or complete source of information and one likely to produce misconceptions due to the polemics routinely involved . . .

79100922551332248782.jpeg

Whatever your opinion, it is impossible to escape the conclusion that the Xenu story is to be taken literally. This is dictated by Scientology's Axioms which are not "articles of faith" nor "suggested guidelines" but the very fundamental bedrock logic upon which the entire Scientology edifice is predicated. I can understand why you are reduced to futile but venomous splutterings when faced with this truth because, even as L Ron Hubbard his-own-fat-self reiterated, something built upon a dodgy foundation must itself be dodgy.

But its not just the Xenu story which is dodgy, is it? While duplicating Xenu to the spiritual essence of aliens brought to Earth in UFOs sits at the pinnacle of Scientology processing, so does the erasing of imaginary Engrams sit at its smelly bottom. And there you have it - from top to tail - all Scientology processing has to offer is the working through of hypnotically-induced L Ron Hubbard lies, one after the other, and all distracting the unfortunate Scientologist while, front and centre, the "bank" is systemically "cleared". Clever scam is clever.

No so clever is the blatant application of tired out Scientology lies and the on-going malicious DAing of those who speak truth. There most certainly are "problems" with Lewis' piece and the use of the "literalism" ad hom is certainly among them. That Lewis repeats the lie confirms its existence, diminishes his stature as an academic, and highlights yet another of Scientology's mendacious machinations. Among the instructions for running an OSA op is to ensure as far as practicable that Scientology is not seen to be involved. In this piece from Lewis we have him quoting, not L Ron Hubbard from whence the "literalism" lie came, but another academic-turned-shill, namely Harriet Whitehead. And spilling over here we have a continuation of that L Ron Hubbard directive - always attack, never defend. Tsk tsk.

But, like I said, I understand. In fact, your fear of having the Scientology belief system resolved down to its criminal basic-basic by truth and logic is tangible, as is your reactive application of ad homs. I forgive you and promise to continue pointing it out so that you might eventually be helped.
 

AussieCase

Patron
I gave this one yet another hatchet job on ARS already, please excuse Usenet formatting as I copypasta:

-------------------
<snip>

And an excellent copypasta job it was.

I wanted to add one thing about Scientology. This bloody so-called technology was originally considered as science. If you look it Marty's painful blog, you see that people believe (think) that this so-called tech works, if applied "flawlessly."

The practice of Scientology is auditing--a pseudo-psychology (or a pseudo-science).

In the scientific academic literature, Dianetics was soundly criticized. In a December 1950 Psychiatry journal, the same journal which rejected his Astounding Science Fiction manuscript, Hubbard was criticized for his lack of evidence and his "ignorance of reality." A small study into the effectiveness of Dianetics published as an NYU PhD thesis in 1953, found it systematically ineffective.

It's a shell game, the pseudo-science technology was initially appropriately discredited, and then Hubbard hid it behind the shield of religion, and some academics argue if it is a religion or a cult. And now in the modern world cult is considered a dirty word.

Regardless of what you call it, the history remains the same.

1) Hubbard creates batshit pseudo-science
2) Real scientists ask for evidence
3) Hubbard says, "No no it's a religion not a science." (nod nod, wink wink, nudge nudge, say-no-more)

All the while people give their families savings, go into great debt, and scrub toilets for decades to receive the empty promises of this hack science fiction writer.
 
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