New Book: Son of Scientology: Dad, L Ron and Me


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The Motley Moose: Scientology: Beyond the Battle of the Gods

By Peter Jukes - Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:26:02 AM EST

Hope the Moose don't mind if I share the English language version of an article for the Polish weekly magazine Krytyka Polityczyna about Scientology. The story of my father is the subject of my next book for Unbound, which should go live in the next two weeks. This is a more impersonal take the religious claims of Scientology which will also form the basis for a talk I have to give in May. Comments therefore very much welcome, both for that and the forthcoming book.

First two paragraphs:

Though it claims to be one of the world's fasting growing religions, and now holds over $1 billion in liquid assets, last year wasn't great for the Church of Scientology. The news that its most famous public adherent and advocate, Tom Cruise, was divorcing fellow actor Katie Holmes brought with it a rash of renewed criticisms of the futuristic religion, including a tweet from the media mogul Rupert Murdoch that it was "creepy - maybe evil'. This year started out even worse with the publication of a major expose into the practices of the religion. Lawrence Wright, who won the Pulitzer prize in 2007 for his analysis of Al Qaeda, The Looming Towers, has just released his next big opus: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. The book isn't available in the UK thanks to our draconian libel laws, but Wright's damaging allegations about bullying, mismanagement and intimidation have been widely reviewed and publicised. Rarely, in its 60 year history, has Scientology's reputation in its American heartland and homeland been at such a low.

Nonetheless, a greater threat to the new age church may not lie in US free speech but in European legislation. A month ago, after five years of investigation, Belgian prosecutors announced they were charging the church as a 'criminal organisation' on the basic it practiced extortion, "pseudo-medicine" and the keeping of records that contravene privacy laws. Though there are only a five hundred Scientologist s in Belgium, Brussels houses the church's European HQ, and the legal case could be crippling to the group in Europe.

Last paragraph:

I still shudder to think how my mentally unbalanced father would have responded to these apparent manipulative abuses of psychiatry, but he disappeared in 1996, and we discovered only recently he was buried in 2008 near the British sociology HQ in East Grinstead. However, evidence of allegations of privacy breach, extortion and potential blackmail will be tested in the Belgian courts, rather than unprovable claims about past lives, and Scientology will finally have to publicly account for its behaviour.


Peter Jukes is a journalist, author and screenwriter. His book on the hacking scandal Fall of the House of Murdoch was published last year. His next book Son of Scientology: Dad, L Ron and Me will be published later this year. He lives in London.



@IndieScieNews on Twitter

Peter Juke
Peter Jukes is a dramatist, screenwriter and journalist based in London. His television credits include Waking the Dead, Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Sea of Souls and In Deep, which he also created. Included in his radio work is two series of Bad Faith, starring Lenny Henry, nominated for the Writer's Guild Award. He also writes non fiction for magazines and newspapers, including the Independent and Prospect Magazine. He is currently covering the Hacking scandal and Leveson Inquiry for Newsweek/DailyBeast

Books by Peter Jukes (See all books)

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Fall of the House of Murdoch
Kindle Edition: $7.99August 8, 2012

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Unbound (August 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,250,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

A Shout in the Street: An Excursion into the Modern City
July 9, 1991

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (July 9, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,174,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books

Prenup (BBC Radio 4: Afternoon Play)
Audible Audio Edition: $5.95August 22, 2011

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Publisher: AudioGO Ltd (August 22, 2011)

What's It All About

Patron with Honors
Good article; very astute analysis. It's a family tragedy that his manic depressive father disappeared into the maw of scientology.

This is one of the most concise, thoughtful statements analyzing Hubbard's fear of psychiatry that I've encountered yet: (my bolding added)

"Religions reserve their strongest invective for their greatest competitors, and Scientology's antipathy to psychiatry and psychotherapy suggests a huge hidden dependence. The core practice of the church is the 'auditing session' - a quasi-therapeutic interview where the subject is wired up to a primitive skin conductivity detector (the 'e meter') and asked probing questions by an auditor about his or her sex life, traumas, anxieties, nightmares. Signs of stress, measured by fluctuations in skin conductivity, are noted as 'floating needles' and pursued vigorously during sessions. This is effectively psychoanalysis with a lie detector."

When you combine this example of Hubbard's prolific borrowing from both Catholic confession and "talk" therapy with the fact that he sought psychoanalysis, and whether he received treatment or not, found that it failed to solve his problems (if he did receive treatment) with the fact that therapists and/or medical doctors were likely to diagnose him correctly as a compulsive liar (or fantasist, as the Brits call it - perfect for a fiction writer), socio- and/or psychopath and drug abuser, you can easily understand why he might demonize the professions.

He also wanted attention from the U.S. government and failed to get taken seriously by them as well.

He attempted to mimic the core elements of the organizations that he was paranoid about, while telling his adherents that they should free themselves from any for or involvement with those entities. He simply tried to control medicine, psychiatry and government by substituting his own version, minus any system of checks and balances.

He was terrified of doctors, but found a doctor to sign blank prescription pads so that he could self-prescibe. And he instructed followers to believe that we cause all our own health problems and therefore should be able to resolve them without medical intervention, thereby passing on his rejection.

He mimicked talk therapy coupled with the "science" of lie detection.

He assembled files on every practitioner and critic alike with an eye to being able to manipulate them through threat of exposure, mimicking the FBI and CIA. And now many of the buildings are full of audio and visual recording devices, like other institutions that require high security. Very important work must be going on if every building has spying capabilities!

We see the results: a sick, paranoid, addicted, alienated, terrified, violent hysteric and liar trying to make money by selling his system of delusional self-empowerment. And it worked, temporarily, to get him money, if not good health, loving relationships or a distinguished legacy. What on "teegeeak" does this say about the human willingness to be conned if we are just told what we want to hear?

Hubbard seems like a man who was both grandiose and frightened. He used drugs to supply the energy for writing and sex and also suffered from the destructive side-effects. And nicotine, another of his addictions, is known to cause reduced blood flow, which can cause not only heart attacks but impotence as well. He was disappointed by medicine and psychiatry because he wasn't able to use them to solve his problems and by the government because they took no interest in his Communist-fearing "reports".

So he got his revenge on all of them. He must have tapped into a part of us all that wants to be told what to do while fancying ourselves to be unique rebels and truth-seekers, all while being lied to, treated like pawns and exploited. What contradictory creatures we can be! And how lacking is self-awareness, all while claiming to make "a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves", as they put it in Alcoholics Anonymous.

I guess a system of self-help, masquerading as a religion for reasons of greed and motivated by revenge, fear and lies is ultimately going to fail.

What "wins" could ever compensate for this fundamental unsoundness? Although that sounds like a rhetorical question, I genuinely wonder. I assume that there may be many exes who got a great deal from their involvement, like group affirmation, a sense of camaraderie, hope, idealism, a sense of being one of the cognoscenti, empowerment, etc. Which are all comforting and powerful incentives to stay involved. It's hard to lose that for the uncertainties of life "going it alone".

I think there's a thread about the "wins". I'll try to find it.