My brief encounter

By Design

Patron
Hello all.

My foray into Scn was very brief. I'll try to recap it, along with my subsequent obsession with the cult, to provide yall with some background on myself.

My best friend (my very best friend, in fact) was born into and raised within the church. He experienced a lot of gains, and would still be working his way up the bridge if he had the funds and lived near an org. His apparent gains, together with the concomitant abilities of the state of clear and the secrecy surrounding the upper levels, motivated me to look into my local org.

I remember being very unimpressed with the org itself. It's a very small, under-furbished building, run by a staff that exhibited none of the cognitive abilities that I had witnessed in my friend (despite the fact that they were, presumably, mostly at or above the level of clear).

I was put on some little Life Improvement Courses, which I agreed to do to pacify my reg. My main goal (aside from running through the bridge) was to get as much data on the metaphysical tech as I could, and so I was soon confounding the staff by taking the courses for Fundamentals of Thought, Scientology 8, and Scientology 8-80, while simultaneously resisting what I viewed as bullshit indoc courses (such as the PTS/SP stuff they were constantly trying to push on me which, I intuitively felt, was rather paranoid tech).

I soon found out why the indoc courses are pushed ahead of the metaphysical stuff. The physics and metaphysics presented in Scientology 8-80 were so indefensible in light of our modern understanding that I was hard-pressed to reconcile them. When questioning the course supervisor about LRH's claims regarding energy (and how those claims relate to our broader theories of energy and mass), I was lead on a semantic journey through a dictionary! On top of this, every staff member I asked about published materials that might detail LRH's research and data-gathering gave me a puzzled look, as if no one comprehended the idea that science proceeds and progresses by way of lab experiments being replicated and falsified!

The above expectations are, admittedly, a bit lolacious in retrospect, given what I know now about Scn (ie, it rejects falsifiable hypotheses in favor of constructs built on wordsmithery). I'm glad that I didn't invest too much money into the whole program before bailing.

Bailing out consisted of me facing three staff members who gave me the hardest sell I've ever had to experience. I finally gave up trying to pry apart the internal inconsistency of the ethics model they were trying to use against me (meaning one can't claim that I'm being unethical by leaving Scn while simultaneously claiming that I am the arbiter of 'what's right for me') and just walked out.

The upshot to this is that I was apparently not declared an SP (probably because I never even got onto the bridge), so my good buddy didn't have to disconnect. We talk about it a little still, with him chalking the whole thing up to KSW and the mis-application of tech by the staff, or inventing other narratives involving me missing a grade or some such. I've given up trying to bring him up to speed on the real debates within Phil of Mind circles in favor of just living and letting live.

Since leaving the church (read: taking a quick dip in the shallow end), I've become fascinated by the overall Scn program as a case study in secrecy cults. The 'tech', as it has been revealed in on-line resources, is apparently a blend of folk-psyche intuitions coupled with eastern religions. That it still attracts new members is fascinating, given the wide-spread debunking of the philosophical commitments of the doctrine. That its business model of having people pay for their own brainwashing is successful is equally so.

And tragic.
 

Ogsonofgroo

Crusader
:welcome: Nice to have ya aboard and thanks for the story! :cheers:

The more you read the happier you will be that you didn't wander any further into the labyrinth of deception and greed.
 

AngeloV

Gold Meritorious Patron
Welcome.

Congratulations on asking the right questions and questioning the answers.

You avoided losing your money, your time and possibly your mind. :thumbsup:
 

AnonyMary

Formerly Fooled - Finally Free
Welcome, By Design, and thanks for posting such interesting experience and thoughts. :thumbsup:

What happened to the friendship with your scientologist best friend?

Mary
 

smartone

My Own Boss
I enjoyed your post By Design and welcome! Glad to see you're still in communication with your friend and your desire to live and let live.

You're very smart to look behind the facade and use your logic. I wish I had done the same!
 

By Design

Patron
Welcome, By Design, and thanks for posting such interesting experience and thoughts. :thumbsup:

What happened to the friendship with your scientologist best friend?

Mary

Thanks. We're still friends. He now lives on the other side of the country, so our interactions are limited to lengthy phone calls to catch up on life. I choose my battles carefully with him when it comes to invalidating Scn. Some of this stems from me just giving up the fight. Mostly it's out of pity.
 

Ogsonofgroo

Crusader
Thanks. We're still friends. He now lives on the other side of the country, so our interactions are limited to lengthy phone calls to catch up on life. I choose my battles carefully with him when it comes to invalidating Scn. Some of this stems from me just giving up the fight. Mostly it's out of pity.

Hi and welcome too, and I can relate, I have a few good Christian buds whom I use this on, like, meh.... 'Ya still friends?' "Lets not talk about yer head then" frustrating but, if you loves yer buds, it cannot be bad thing.

:cheers:
 

Sindy

Crusader
Hi, By Design.

You sound like you were way, way too educated before you walked in the door and far too independent in your thinking for the cult to be able to ensnare you.

This was a really well written post. You seem like someone I would like to stay up talking to all night or maybe for days. :)

:goodposting::welcome:
 
Last edited:
G

Gottabrain

Guest
WELCOME TO ESMB, BY DESIGN!

welcome-BLUE.jpg


I enjoyed your story and your (mostly) objective, critical view of cults will be very handy here. Hope to see lots more posts from you.
 

scooter

Gold Meritorious Patron
:welcome: and thanks for the brief outline of your story.

I take it your friend is still "in" and drinking the Koolaid deeply - what does the friend think about the current attacks on the toxic cult?
 

By Design

Patron
I take it your friend is still "in" and drinking the Koolaid deeply - what does the friend think about the current attacks on the toxic cult?
We don't discuss it. The tl;dr version is that I actually don't initiate any conversations about the church or the philosophy anymore. The ensuing arguments were not very productive, and in my mind were threatening to undermine the friendship.

The expanded version is:
For a few years after my Scn experience I did attempt to engage my buddy. This was when I was wrapping up school and becoming more acquainted with broader theories of mind, such as cognitive neuroscience, with more explanatory and predictive power (eg, the neural network paradigm). We've learned quite a bit about the brain in the last decade or so (far more progress than has ever been made in the subject).

I would try to leverage some of this knowledge against the model presented by Scn (which is, as I said, simply the same old folk-psyche categorizations of mental properties that have proven to be grossly false, with a heavy dose of dualism added in). The problem with this is that it forces the believer, in the end, to retreat into an absurdly skeptical form of solipsism wherein the believer simultaneously (1) makes ontological commitments regarding the way things are while also (2) rejecting the existence of any foundational ontology. (A toy version of this would be a claim like: 'It is a law of nature that there are no laws of nature.')

So our discussions (between me and my buddy) would devolve into arguments over how, if we can't trust our own senses as Scn seems to suggest, any information can be gained through introspection or in-session observations. How could it be that one's mental capacities are so unreliable as to give one an absolutley false sense of reality while, at the same time, they are so reliable that one can trust one's experience of exteriorization or memories of past lives during a sessions?

Answering with something to the effect that the mechanics of thetans are such that a particular process will cause a particular ability to awaken are, imo, not allowed, because the premise underwriting the whole thing is that one's observations of everything, including apparent relationships between causes and effects, is highly dubious. I would be referred to 'Source' to answer a 'how?' question like this.

Other things we talked about are the knock-down arguments against dualism, the absurdity of the whole track incidents, and the violation of many successful theories from such wide-spread domains as cosmology, evolutionary biology, and geology if the whole track is to be taken seriously. For answers to all these problems, I was referred to 'Source'.

A note on 'Source', from my perspective:
No two physicists today, arguing over some General Relativity problem, would settle their dispute by going back and looking at Einstein's original work. In virtue of the way that science enables theories to progress, it's a safe assumption that any grad-level student in the field today knows much, much more about Relativity than Einstein ever did.

The scientific program doesn't have patriarchal authorities in the way that religions do. It does, of course, hold various people in honor, but this is functionally different from differing to those honorific persons as 'Source'. We have a holiday to celebrate Darwin's publication of his theory, despite knowing his theory was, strictly speaking, inaccurate in many details. The only time someone references, eg, Darwin, is when the disputed claim is so ancient that it was sufficiently refuted by him (so, for instance, the Creationist claims of 'irreducible complexity' can be satisfactorily addressed by referencing Darwin's discussion on the matter despite the fact that Darwin didn't have a theory of a mechanism (having, famously, not known about genetic inheritance)).

Leonard Susskind is the 'father' of string theory (contemporary string theory), but this doesn't place him in some privileged status where his claims enjoy a scrutiny-free reverence. On the contary: despite being embraced by mainstream science, string theory gives rise to certain predictive theories about the cosmological picture for which there are now emerging, rival theories (referring here to the Eternal Inflation model, as evidenced by microwave anisotropy, vs Lee Smolin's Cosmological Natural Selection, which is yet to be falsified but is, at least, falsifiable).

In Scn, 'Source' is like the ultimate card. It is absolutely unchallengeable. For one thing, one can't just 'refer to Source' without undertaking the prerequisite coursework and grades to have access to the referenced material. But in the broader picture, it is unchallengeable because, at that point, the believer has explicitly rejected falsifiability.

The 'Source' card is, in that respect, like the 'faith' card in other religions, wherein one can't really continue a reasonable discussion because one party has substituted loyalty in place of reason.

One interesting side note here: when talking to my buddy, I find myself lacing my part of the dialogue with Scn lingo. We talk about normal stuff, but I've developed a habit of unpacking stories and explanations using the jargon and concepts of the cult. I'm not sure if this is helpful (as it no doubt feeds his case), but it IS a common language between us. I wonder if it's offensive for a believer to hear a wog using the lingo.

edit:

This was a really well written post. You seem like someone I would like to stay up talking to all night or maybe for days. :)
:coffee:
 
Last edited:
"....I wonder if it's offensive for a believer to hear a wog using the lingo...."

A scientologist would not be offended. They could have these reactions/ responses:

1. Happy that you are willing to use sci-speak - you could reject it which would increase "emotional distance". If you never used sci-speak, the speaking would probably have stopped much earlier than it did - at least on the subject of scientology. Too much of a language barrier for someone who does not understand English!

2. Possibly aware of your use of sci-speak and see it as an acceptance which may lead to more acceptance. (Gradient use of acceptance/indoctrination)

3. Possibly aware of your intermittent use of sci-speak and (internally) critique you occasionally as to whether you really understand the term you are using. Your friend would be very helpful and offer "wordclearing" to ensure that you do understand.

4. Been in the spin machine so long they no longer distinguish between sci-speak and non-sci-speak.
 

LongTimeGone

Silver Meritorious Patron
Welcome aboard.

You should know that it is ALWAYS "the mis-application of tech by the staff."

Never the fault of the cult, always the fault of the staff member.
This way you can be assured that it will never happen again.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

LTG
 

thetanic

Gold Meritorious Patron
The above expectations are, admittedly, a bit lolacious in retrospect, given what I know now about Scn (ie, it rejects falsifiable hypotheses in favor of constructs built on wordsmithery). I'm glad that I didn't invest too much money into the whole program before bailing.

Love your way of phrasing that. Welcome.
 

FrankBooth

Patron with Honors
bydesign said:
The above expectations are, admittedly, a bit lolacious in retrospect, given what I know now about Scn (ie, it rejects falsifiable hypotheses in favor of constructs built on wordsmithery). I'm glad that I didn't invest too much money into the whole program before bailing.

Love your way of phrasing that. Welcome.

Of course. The minute that happens, the entire house of cards will crash and burn faster than the Hindenburg.

So instead of a logical discussion, I must ask you, BD, what are your crimes?
 

AngeloV

Gold Meritorious Patron
In Scn, 'Source' is like the ultimate card. It is absolutely unchallengeable. For one thing, one can't just 'refer to Source' without undertaking the prerequisite coursework and grades to have access to the referenced material. But in the broader picture, it is unchallengeable because, at that point, the believer has explicitly rejected falsifiability.

I enjoyed your essay concerning your communication with your in-scientology friend. I agree, the 'Source' card is akin to the 'Miracle' card drawn in a religious discussion. Once irrefutable proof is given that falsifies some passage in a religious text, the believer will say 'well, a miracle occurred'. This terminates any further discussion about the matter since a miracle means that anything can occur due to god's intervention in the physical world. It cannot be refuted by any evidence whatsoever.

In scientology, Ron is 'Source' or God. Ron said it, that settles it. No room for argument or disagreement. If you have either, you are wrong, have an MU or are suppressive. You are at fault.

Regarding using the lingo with your friend: I think it would keep the relationship going because it shows that you understand what he is talking about. Who knows, maybe he'll see that you are flourishing and prospering with out the 'technology' and begin to question his involvement with scio.

Good luck.
 
Top