Scientology is evil and scientologists are dangerous.
By Michael Leonard Tilse
Copyright�2012 Michael Leonard Tilse. This essay may be freely republished for non-commercial use as long as it is complete, unaltered and includes this copyright notice. All other rights, including publication for profit, are reserved.
Why the bold title?
It seems very uncompromising, not tempered with tolerance. Scientologists and the corporations of Scientology will disagree with it. I feel that although it seems intemperate to say “Scientology is Evil”, it is not. This essay is about how even good caring people get drawn into scientology and wind up with a value system that condones, even demands, acts that people outside of the scientology influence see as evil.
Most if not all scientologists I have known are good people. They are not arch villains. They believe they are helping themselves and helping others. Yet, in their acceptance and following of scientology doctrine, they do things that become evil. A comparative would be what is described in Hannah Arendt's book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the Banality of Evil”. From the article on Wikipedia: “Her thesis is that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.” My thesis is that scientologists accept the premises of scientology and therefore act with the view that their actions are normal. Yet the result is still evil.
It is well documented in court cases and testimony under oath, personal histories of ex-scientologists and criminal investigations that scientologists acting from scientology concepts, commit crimes, abuse people and violate human rights. It is easy to use the Internet to search for and find many examples with documentation of these things. The death of Lisa McPherson, the practice of Disconnection, the 'Rehabilition Project Force', 'Operation Snow White', The civil cases of Lawrence Wollersheim and others, all will give ample records of scientology and scientologists acting in ways that most would consider evil. Where these acts stem from the doctrine and values instilled by study of and adherence to scientology, or are defended by scientology as 'religious practice', then scientology itself must be considered evil.
The evil of scientology is masked by its self-promoted “good works”. In order to control what the media reports and the public's impression of the organization, it engages in widely (self)publicized programs like the “Way to Happinesss” book campaigns, the New York Firefighters 'Detox' program, or the 'Volunteer Ministers' helping in disaster zones. When something that would reflect badly on scientology hits the news, corporate scientology spokesmen deflect the attention by pointing out it's 'good works'.
It is part of the scientology doctrine to provide 'Acceptable Truth' in response to those who question it's plans or actions. This is otherwise known as lying. To those who were in the Sea Organization, it's a “Shore Story”. The shore story is what sailors tell the officials or curious people so they don't know what the mission of the ship really is. It's doctrine. It always has some element of believability. But it is a cover, and sometimes a cover-up.
It is also masked by the fact that scientologists themselves believe they are doing good and helping people. Most scientologists I met during my twenty-seven year membership thought they were doing good. They were caring people who adopted the view that the best thing they could do for people was to get them into scientology. I was one of them. I tried to help people with what I had gotten from scientology. Using values learned from scientology I also destroyed friendships, was abusive to my family, attacked ex-scientologists, covered up crimes and helped commit others. I thought that was helping people too.
Actions stem from Belief
I used to think that Hubbard's massive output that constitutes scientology was possible to separate from the behavior of scientologists. The idea that scientology could be a protected “religion” independent from the actions of scientologists seemed to make sense. But doctrine and action are inextricable. External behavior follows from inner thought.
As a scientologist I studied Hubbard's words and took part in his training regimens and experienced his counseling, (“auditing”,) procedures. I also supervised others doing these things. Those who were never scientologists do not appreciate how the study, training and counseling alters one's world view and values or even replaces them. It is this change that enables the scientologist to commit evil while believing they are doing good. It is what changed my values, the way I viewed myself and how I thought the world works. It is why I say scientologists are dangerous. Most don't mean to be, but they are.
So, it is important to explain how these changes take place. This is part of my responsibility to scientologists, ex-scientologists and the rest of the world to try to explain from my experience how it happens. I hope it helps.
“How did you fall for that crap?” is one of many similar questions I am asked when I talk about my experience. Many people assume that only stupid people would become involved. Yet in my experience, many very smart and capable people have become dedicated scientologists. It's a complicated thing to try to understand. I think that many of the mechanisms that capture and hold people in scientology operate not on intelligence, but rather on emotion and responses that don't depend on intelligence. There is also the aspect that my friend Arnaldo Lerma points out, that intelligent people are more vulnerable to the hypnotic aspect of scientology BECAUSE they can control their mind better.
Without adequate education about scientology, even intelligent people are vulnerable to scientology's tactics.
Information that would counter Hubbard's hyped image and scientology's representations was a bit hard to come by. One of the evil things scientologists do based on scientology's doctrines is to steal critical books about Hubbard and scientology from the local libraries. In San Francisco in 1975, I couldn't find a single one in the massive downtown public library. Only later did I learn that making critical information unavailable is standard procedure for scientology. That act also makes it fraud.
I was in my early 20's living in San Francisco when I got into scientology. I was looking for something to orient my life. I was vulnerable to those who represented themselves as wise, knowledgeable, capable. I had not been educated on con-men or how scams are run on the unsuspecting. I hadn't read anything about scientology, didn't know anyone in it. I didn't realize that people who dress nicely and speak well can also take advantage.
Introduction to scientology
“The first contact I had with scientology was in October 1975. I think it is important to understand how these introductions occur and how they are deliberately structured to break down a persons defenses that would otherwise warn them away.
The introduction is almost always based on the “dissemination drill” or “dissem drill”. Hubbard wrote it to teach scientologists to use a structured process for breaking down a persons “sales resistance” to the offer of scientology and create in the person a desire to participate.
That sounds like manipulation and it is. But underlying that is the reasoning as to why it is acceptable to manipulate a person and break down their resistance to scientology. It is because Hubbard said scientologists are better than you.
“Us” vs “Them”
In fact the idea that scientologists and scientology are better, more capable, more rational and in fact superior “New Humans” (homo novis, in scientology terms), permeates all of scientology's materials. And you are told you can become one of these just by doing scientology. Because of this polarization, scientologists have the idea they can do anything and should be in charge of society -because- they are scientologists. Non-scientologists are dismissed as wogs, whose value is that eventually they will become scientologists too. This polarization is part of how a scientologist can justify their actions.
The other part of it is that Hubbard says that non-scientologists, the normal human, are unconsciously dominated by their 'reactive mind' and cannot make rational decisions even about their own lives. To allow them to have objections and thereby miss out on becoming scientologists is condeming them to oblivion. To not override their objections is to be wishy-washy and just not effective. The best most caring thing you can do for a person is turn them into a scientologist. The fate of humanity and even the universe depends on it. So, the dissem drill is taught to make that structured and effective. It's a 'drill' in the sense it is a structured and practiced routine, similar to the'welcome aboard' ceremony being a 'drill' on a warship.
The Dissemination Drill
I met 'Julie', and the dissem drill on a street in San Francisco in October 1975. The drill contains 4 official steps: 1. Contact, 2. Handle, 3. Salvage, and 4. Bring to understanding. Like so much in scientology, this seems benign at first glance. But in practice is is a way to bypass your defenses and change your internal value system so that scientology seems to be the thing to do. And it rides on private understanding of the scientologist that you are basically insane and need to be rescued.
To understand how this drill works and show an example from my experience, I took some clues from the psychological concept of “cognitive dissonance”. I'm not an expert, but I'll try to show my understanding.
Different than the scientology term, “cognition” in psychology refers to thoughts, processes of thinking, values, memories of behavior, observation of self behavior, etc. “Cognitive dissonance” occurs when we experience a conflict between two or more 'cognitions'. This experience is uncomfortable and we want to resolve that discomfort. For example, the cognition of oneself valuing honesty could be in conflict with not wanting to hurt someone's feelings. That is dissonance. I have seen where the concept of Cognitive Dissonance is only taken as far as explaining that two conflicting ideas are somehow held in the mind at the same time, but it goes further.
To me, it is far more interesting what follows from the conflict: An effort to reduce the discomfort. It is how one resolves the conflict.
In the above example, if you find some way, internally, to reduce your personal value of honesty or increase your value of not wanting to hurt feelings, you reduce the discomfort. It changes the conflict by changing the perception of the conflict. It is how you respond to the dissonance. In the drill your own effort to resolve internal conflict is used against you as a structured and intentional tool to break down your resistance to the scientology sales pitch.
My experience with the 'dissem' drill
Walking down the street in San Francisco, I met a young woman who was disseminating for scientology. This young woman asked me if I wanted to "learn to communicate better." Being uneducated about scientology, cults or con games in general and in a personal crisis, I agreed that I wanted to communicate better. After all, I was an artist. It offered me a small, seemingly benign solution to some difficulties in my life.
From a viewpoint 30 years later it was a pattern that repeated throughout my scientology experience. And what did happen there?
I was vulnerable due to personal history, emotional difficulties, depression, no supporting group of friends or family and other factors. Even being smart and incorrectly thinking I would recognize being taken advantage of, made me vulnerable. Without understanding of how such groups operate I didn't have sufficient pre-existing defenses.
I had no specific direction I was going that day. I was attracted by a pleasant looking woman and an interesting approach. I was diverted. That is a very important thing to understand. It was a small diversion, but it lead to all the rest.
That diversion was a choice I made in a structured scenario. I had no idea of the factors that were being brought to bear. One sometimes makes choices for known reasons, others choices are made almost unconsciously to avoid being uncomfortable.
With a pretty woman offering me a solution to my problems, I was uncomfortable saying no to her. Had I said no, she might have made me ashamed of distrusting her, until I solved it by saying yes. Or saying I was going somewhere, she would have made me question that by asking if not being late was as important as being able to communicate better? I said yes anyway.
The dialog was structured so as to minimize alarm and hold out a potentially valuable and wanted thing. To communicate better! Yes! Who wouldn't? Something is offered that is valuable. My other immediate things to be doing were made to seem of much less importance. I'm uncomfortable because I've been halted in my direction, whatever it was, and now I have to respond to this offer, this sales pitch. So I proceed to solve it and reduce the uncomfortable feeling: Sounds good, I'll check it out. Now, I'm doing something. I've changed my course to seeing what this communication thing is and have forgotten about what I was doing. Observing myself going with her, I make up a reason for going with her. I have to explain to myself this new cognition.
The encounter was structured to make me think what she was selling had value to me, and to diminish the value of the other things I was doing. Structured to lean me in the direction of at least listening to what she was offering.
I went in a direction that reduced my discomfort. I went with the woman around the corner and into the building.
I have been “Contacted”. The woman will mark me as a statistic on her production graph. I've also been “Handled”, my objections to going with her have been set aside. Had I previously heard bad things or exhibited resistance, she would have pulled out counter arguments and employed the sales techniques from Les Dane's “Big League Sales” book, which scientologists then were trained on.
Big League Sales details how one can break down a potential customer's “Wall of sales resistance” brick by brick.
If I'm walking along with her, even if I'm still mulling it over in my mind, I've now got the problem that to back out now will seem rude. And it is also known in psychology, that if you realize you are doing something, you will come up with a reason why you should be doing it. In fact you will invest in this new reason enough value to explain the act you are already doing. For me: I don't want to seem a bad guy, don't want to be rude, wasn't doing anything anyway, she's a pretty woman and I might get a date, maybe there is something to it.
Going into the building, the lobby is grungy. Its the Native Daughters (or Sons) of the Golden West building at 414 Mason street. We took the elevator to 4. I'm getting a bit concerned as this doesn't look like a prosperous place but I said I'd listen. I don't want to go back on my word, so I keep going.
I kept going, partly so I don't have to make a scene to excuse myself.
The woman sits me down with Barbara and leaves. I have a choice. If I stick around, maybe I'll see the first one again. With not enough inner alarms going off, I have to explain to myself why I came this far if I now choose to leave. Vague disquiet doesn't seem enough of a valid reason to be rude to this lady.
The registration interview
Barbara is a Registrar. Other wise known as a 'Reg.” She signs people up for scientology services. She closes the deal, using all the tools of salesmanship and scientology.
Barbara starts into her pitch. They have this test, called an OCA. Oxford Capacity Analysis. It sounds scientific, like it came from Oxford University, England. The title lends it an air of credibility. None of that is true of course. She says it'll help them figure out how to help me. That Scientology is fantastic stuff and it works and we just need to find out some more about you and I'll tell you some more, she says. It's not verbatim, but something like that. See, that's continuing the “Handle” step and going into the “Salvage” step. They need more information.
Again, a subtle choice. I've been told that they have this fantastic stuff, like it's a fact. I'm told that Hubbard figured all this stuff out and it's amazing, like it's a fact. Of course, that's salesmanship, but it's also making statements that I rely on to make a decision to stay or go, to buy or not buy.
It's promises that I can learn to communicate better and if I fill out this 200 (!) question test I'll learn more. It's a bit of a shock to find out it's going to take more than the few minutes I was told by the first woman. But Barbara is so matter-of-fact that I might as well do it. I learn much later that this skill is drilled into scientologists. The ability to control another's behavior just by your behavior and body language and not even allowing the other person time to think of doing something else.
At this point I've made choices that lead me further into the indoctrination. Choosing to leave is going to cause some upset and be rude, while staying holds the purported promise of all this good stuff. The relative value of choices has become stacked in favor of remaining for the sales pitch and against leaving.
Most people don't realize that in the first moments of your contact with scientology, you are being sold on it's value, it's effectiveness, it's ability to make you better. If you go past those statements without questioning them, you've started to assign the implied value to it. And assigning value will lead you into acting as if it had value, in making choices in favor of that value. The foundations of your trust and belief in scientology are being laid.
Read the title of the "dianetics" book. "dianetics, the modern science of mental health." If you didn't question that it was a science, that it could actually have something to do with improving mental health, that it was indeed, “modern”, you've started down that path. The title alone asserts a high level of value for itself.
I did the test. It was about half-an-hour. Barbara graded the test and drew some lines on a graph. Then she did the "OCA evaluation". In short, she told me how I was all messed up in communication, in relationships, in work and most other areas of life. Against the high value and importance of scientology contained in her sales pitch, she has devalued nearly everything about me. Since I didn't have a good self image anyway, everything she said I connected to something I didn't like about myself. She didn't even have to be right. I would have made that connection myself.
Then we talked about the messed up state of affairs of my life. I gave her even more information. And of course, she used that to further point out how I was really ruined and needed scientology's help.
That is the first part of “salvage”. It's making the person aware something need fixing.
It's called "sticking him in his ruin". It's a calculated technique, studied and drilled by scientologists, and particularly the ones who sell scientology in the corporation units they call "churches." It's finding what really makes a guy feel bad about himself and his life and really grinding it in on him. So the stage is set.
"Scientology can handle that!" How simple. I'm offered the choice of joining this wonderful, happy, magnificent purposeful group, buying this great scientology service that will help me immensely. (And of course, each of those assertions are unexamined claims that you simply can't really evaluate at that moment, except to trust them.) Or I can remain the miserable, messed-up, confused and aimless slob I am now pretty well convinced I am. So ends step 3. of the dissem drill, Salvage.
Again, the relative values of the choice have been stacked with all the worth on scientology's side. A few minutes ago, I was enjoying the day, not feeling too down, exploring San Francisco. Now I am feeling that my life is crap and out of the goodness of their heart, scientology is throwing me a solution. Only twenty-five dollars.
For me to leave without buying this solution, I have to somehow recover some self-respect, analyze the sales pitch, be willing to be rude and able to give myself a reason for leaving that I can stick to in the face of considerable persuasion.
I made a feeble attempt to explain that I couldn't spend the $25 bucks. Of course this was rejected as a reason. Who can't spend $25 bucks on something so valuable?
It is stacked so that agreeing with what is being sold is less uncomfortable than refusing to. I bought the course. I started that course that evening. They don't allow any lag, going away to think about it, anything. It's “START NOW!” Thus the 4th step, “Bring to understanding” is completed.
This event lead to a long line of such events that became 27 years of being in and supporting that group.
Scientologists sometimes say that people decide to be in scientology of their own free will. But, as you can see, their free will is influenced by tremendous emotional manipulation and persuasion pressures coupled to what are factually lies, that make it anything but a scenario of balanced choice.
Looking back at my years in scientology, it seems to me that nearly every step in scientology carefully devalued my own life, standards, education, thoughts and hopes if they were different than what scientology deemed valuable. Whenever there was a choice to make, assertions of value of scientology, emotional manipulation, persuasion and peer pressure were all brought to bear on me so that each decision took me further into scientology and dependence on it. Soon I began to provide the self-devaluation without prompting. And accepted without much examination the claims as fact. And of course it WAS valuable: I had paid so much for it.
I really thought I was making independent, reasoned choices.
One of the sad things is that most scientologists simply cannot see how these decision points are unfairly structured against them. And yet, they learn carefully and well the techniques of employing exactly the same emotional manipulation and persuasion to get other people into scientology or keep them in and paying for more. The assertion by Hubbard that non-scientologists are insane and unable to make rational decisions justifies it. Most of them truly believe they are helping these people by stacking the deck against them.
The Communication Course
This manipulation of internal values continues in the so-called “Training Routines” also known as the “TRs”. These exercises are usually found in the first course a person does in scientology. I think it is now called the “Communication Course”. In 1975 it was the “Hubbard Apprentice Scientologist”, (HAS), course.
The first part of the course involves study.
Hubbard represented himself as an amazing person. In my earliest exposure to scientology, from the words of the scientology salesmen and the brief biographies in the scientology books, I learned he was a larger-than-life philosopher, nuclear physicist, war hero, author, pilot, etc. He promoted himself as Authority. I didn't know, and wouldn't know for almost 30 years that most of it was lies. So the first thing I accepted in studying scientology was that Hubbard was an Authority. That gave an unconscious weight to what he said. It is integral to how I was brought into scientology and why I continued. That he lied about his personal history makes it fraud from the very beginning. It doesn't matter if Hubbard deliberately misrepresented himself or he merely let others hype him. He clearly let the fraud go uncorrected his entire life.
Like almost all scientology courses, HAS starts with studying one of Hubbard's most authoritarian writings: “Keeping Scientology Working”. KSW was written in 1965 and revised a few times over the years. The gist of it is that scientology is the only hope for sanity and happiness in the entire universe, the only one there has ever been and the only one there ever will be. And YOU are responsible, personally, right now, for its success or you will forever be personally responsible for the horror of every spiritual being for all time being trapped alone in the dark and in pain.
Ok, that's a big chunk to swallow. Its ludicrous on its face. How did I come to buy into it? Again, it's a process of resolving my internal cognitive dissonance. Normally I cannot grant it any value. Yet, here I am, sitting in a classroom with some other folks, I've paid $25 that I didn't really have to spend, I've bought into a view that I am worthless and incapable and can't communicate and I want to change that. I must have done that for a reason if I respect myself at all. That I've done all that weighs heavily against deciding this KSW document is nuts and walking out. I'd have to admit I was in error and made bad choices from the pretty girl on the street all the way up to sitting in this chair. That's a lot to go against. It is easier to give it the benefit of the doubt, and see how it goes. So, I de-value my initial response, withhold instant judgment and continue to study. I start to absorb the words of Hubbard, try to get something out of this.
Another scientology practice comes into play once you start studying. It is the so-called “study tech”. Like so many things, it is on the surface sensible while having a powerful subtext that alters ones internal value structures. With study tech, the “supervisor”, (not teacher, Hubbard's writing is doing the teaching. The supervisor is watching the process and keeping it from going awry,) watches for 'non-optimum' responses in students. Things like yawning, going to sleep, acting aimless, wanting to leave, disagreement with the text are all non-optimum. Study tech says that these are problems from errors in study. Either mis-understood words, not grasping orientation or reality of the things being studied, or trying to go too fast are all problems with specific remedies.
Embedded within the process of study tech is the assumption that in any disagreement between what the student knows or thinks and what Hubbard says, Hubbard always wins. Always. It is always some fault with the student or his understanding or his application. There is no effective means to compare Hubbards assertions with the worlds of science or philosophy or the world at large.
Never mind that Hubbard ripped-off the study tech from some loyal adherents in the 60s and sold it as his own, he makes it a big deal you NEVER go past a misunderstood word. And KSW starts out with a whole bunch of acronyms and Hubbard coined words you have never encountered before. You have to clear them up an that leads you further into Hubbards writings.
So I am stuck trying to figure out these new words and using the supplied dictionary and I am very impressed with how much emphasis is put on understanding every little thing. It might be a good way to study, I could see its potential even now, but it really changed my internal values. It was like THIS IS IMPORTANT! If that much attention was being placed on it, then I should perhaps make it more important to me.
I got through KSW finally after having looked up a ton of words, including many regular english words I had begun to doubt meant what I thought. That actually took a couple of days. Then I had to get a checkout. Getting a checkout is proving to the supervisor or another student that you actually understand in detail what Hubbard wrote. By now, it's a rite of passage. I wanted to do good. I wanted to get on with the course and save my sorry ass from oblivion.
In a study checkout you are asked to give definitions to random words in the text. And then answer questions about the text. And then answer some question like “what does this all have to do with YOU?”
Internally, I had to take this important message from Hubbard, (it's now very important,) and somehow figure out what I was now going to do about it. How I was going to apply it to my life. I know if my answer is not acceptable, I'm going to have to study more definitions of words, even to scouring the text for words I MUST have misunderstood. Then re-study of it. Then checkout again. Lather, rinse, repeat. It creates the response that Hubbard is infallible.
So this is the cognitive dissonance resolution process in action: I'm here and since I'm here, this must be something I want to do. I've given money, I've spent time so it is important. Bailing out means shame, lost time, loss of self image. Going forward offers approval from this new group, better self image. All the emphasis means it IS important. And it is so important that you have to know it in minute detail, so it must be true! Its my responsibility to save the universe!
And that is the start of a major value shift that turns me away entirely from my current life, friends and goals.
I pass the checkout.
Along with KSW and some other mimeographed materials I read some chapters in a couple of books called “Fundamentals of Thought” and “Problems of Work”. This is more esoteric information, written by Hubbard. He puts forth his theories on the human mind and how we err in communication. And in the back are the mini-Biographies that tell how he is a WWII hero, nuclear physicist, and all around most amazing guy ever. I'm stoked and I feel like I have discovered something possibly really worthwhile.
After some more reading of what Hubbard says is the secret to communication it is time for those TRs.
The Training Routines (TR's)
TRs are explained as developing skills so you can communicate properly. That is, according to Hubbard's communication formula. You could say its kind of an electronic communication protocol concept, for humans.
It is thought that communications begin from a “point” and end at a “point”. So, the first thing you learn is that you have to “BE THERE” before you can originate or receive a communication. And that if you giggle, avert your eyes or feel uncomfortable then you are not “BEING THERE”. The first TR is an exercise in learning how to “BE THERE”. And since you haven't done it before you get to do it with your eyes closed.. It's called OT TR-0. (You get to word clear “OT”, and get introduced to the concept of being outside of your body. That sets you up a bit for what follows).
OT TR-0 is sitting in a chair close in front of another person doing the same thing. Eyes closed. You are supposed to not move, twitch, fall asleep or do anything else but “BE THERE”. You do this until you can do it comfortably and have a realization you can do it. (The “win”.)
It is not as easy as you think. I was not told it was akin to meditation. Or to hypnotism. Or other eastern practices. But it is a trance inducing practice. I didn't recognize the trance phenomena for what it was. Instead, I thought I had really accomplished something. I had. I had started the process of suppressing my natural responses. I trained myself to not be startled if someone spoke near me, snapped their fingers or other sudden things. It seemed that I was more alert than normal, more direct. Win.
And internally, I decided to give a little more weight to this Hubbard guy. It seems like he knew what he was talking about.
TR-0 starts with doing the same thing except with eyes open. And you are not allowed to blink unless your body does it by itself. And it ramps up to where you are not just sitting in front of another person but in front of another person who can do ANYTHING to distract you. Telling jokes, swearing, pretending to hit you. Almost anything. Doing this I had to further train myself to not react. To not have emotional response. To accept any communication, any event in front of me without responding voluntarily or involuntarily. And the kicker, to do it for two hours straight.
It took quite a while to pass that one. The subjective experience was of being hyper-alert, feeling disconnected, even outside of my body. Not having any emotion. It was a new, powerful experience for me. I felt POWERFUL. CENTERED. CAPABLE.
I was “Blown out” or out-of-my-body. A big “WIN”.
Not knowing anything about Trance, Hypnotism or other mental phenomena, I thought I had gotten something extraordinary. But in the process I had completely suppressed normal emotional reactions. I had disconnected from the people around me. Emotional contact with others had to go through some kind of intellectual process that simulated connection.
If you meet a scientologist that seemingly won't respond to even the most heartfelt expression of emotional agony, you are seeing the result of the TRs. The skills of suppressing emotion and reaction enable a scientologist to not pay attention to their internal censor, their sense of fairness, and inhibits so many other human traits it makes them like robots. TRs are repeated over an over throughout scientology. I believe it underlies the sociopathic like behavior that so many scientologists exhibit. It also enables scientologists to train themselves to lie convincingly.
My personal feeling of power again raised the value and importance I assigned to scientology and Hubbard. It devalued my former life even more. It was evidence I was no longer human, I was on my way to homo novis and operating thetan. It is what finally tipped my internal scale over to automatically granting Hubbard authority and infallibility. It was proof my choices were correct.
When I finished the HAS course, I was on this meditation/TRs/disconnected high. And another thing happened. I had to write a success story. This is another way that scientology stacks the value/integrity deck. You cannot complete a course without writing a success story. So I wrote it. I was honest, I felt high, flying with a feeling of power and accomplishment.
If you have doubts, you learn you will be found out because they put you on the e-meter and ask you a question and note your response. So you cannot lie. And if you are lying, you internalize that it is the truth.
Scientology then can use that success story to reel you back in. To get you to continue. They say, what about that feeling you had on the TRs? Did that mean nothing? Remember how that felt? That's scientology! That means scientology is worth doing! You have to continue! And that is hard to deny. After all, I wrote the success story. If I deny that, I'm back to being worthless directionless mere human being.
What happened next illustrates the huge effect this had on me.
I look for answers and almost escape
Right after finishing HAS I made a tentative agreement to join scientology staff and made an appointment. They try to sign you up right after a course when you are still high. It was either pay for the next course, or join staff and work for them with the implied promise you can do scientology courses for free, as staff.
Then I went out and tried to recruit my girlfriend to do scientology. Unexpectedly, she had read the LIFE magazine article years before and also heard it was bad news through the student grapevine at San Francisco State University. We had a huge fight, and I treated her like crap. I didn't feel any emotion. It was like I was directing my communication and thoughts from somewhere 'other', with a laser focus. The result of the TR's enabling me to ignore the person in front of me as I tried to get her to do scientology. Now, I'm ashamed of how I acted, but it seemed right at the time.
She did go into the organization once, to check it out without me, but was creeped out. In reaction to her concern, (which did get to me somewhat, I loved her,) I went on a search in the S.F. public library. There were NO non-L. Ron Hubbard books, no magazine articles. Not even listings in the card catalog. I was really intent in finding at least some non-scientology source with information about it. That should have given me an idea something was wrong, but my normal reaction was suppressed.
Finally, after consulting the Readers Guide to periodicals I found some mention of articles about scientology published in some british newspapers from the late 60's. By chance San Francisco library had some copies in their stacks.
I asked for them and sat and read them. Now I was freaked out. I believe it was the British Guardian, from around the time scientologists were being denied entry to England. It made some mention of scientology using personal information against ex-members. In general, very negative toward scientology.
Still, later that week I went in for my staff interview. I was able to suppress my nerves. They had me sit down and fill out a “Staff Application form”. For those who don't know, even in 1975 this was an 18 page legal page size form. It asked detailed questions about my life, my family, my education, my interests and especially specific requirements to list in detail every sexual experience in my life including who with, what was done, when it was and where it was.
Part way through, I really started to freak out badly, remembering the British article, and I tore up the form and put it into my bag. As I was leaving, someone had noticed my agitation and four scientologists surrounded me in the lobby and prevented me from leaving, peppering me with questions about who I was and who sent me and what was I doing. I had a rising, overwhelming sense of terror. Finally I pushed through between them and ran down the stairs.
Depression comes calling
What followed for me was extreme depression. I withdrew into my bedroom, walking the streets at night to try to calm down, avoiding friends and not attending my classes at San Francisco Art Institute. From the beginning of November 1975, I was basically non-functional. Over and over I tried to come to some realization, some understanding of the conflict within me over scientology and the counter-scientology information I had. I didn't want to go back, but I couldn't stop thinking about it and what I had experienced.
During this time, scientology had called me several times, trying to get me back. I refused to return while I grappled with my depression. I went to visit my family for christmas and new years. Then I returned to SF. To make it worse, Dennis from the organization had started to show up at my apartment. Dennis had a staff position that was specifically for recovering scientologists who left. He would bring books, and use the dissem drill and his TRs and try to get me to come back to scientology. They would not leave me alone, it only made me even more upset.
I had abandoned my classes at SFAI and didn't have much to look forward to when I got back to San Francisco. In my mailbox was an “Ethics Summons” the next level of scientology's efforts. It is yet more evidence of scientology refusing to let people alone, their disregard of personal choice. It said that I had to return to the organization or I would be expelled from scientology. Somehow, this amplified my worry and indecision about scientology, I felt I didn't know if I wanted to do more or not but I wanted to keep the option open.
I went in and saw Bill Steiner at the San Francisco scientology organization. Bill was an old time scientologist and had been around since the beginning in dianetics. I talked with him and told him my concerns, including the information I had found in the British newspaper. He wanted me to decide to do scientology, I couldn't decide, telling him I needed to think about it more. And this is where scientology uses your initial excitement against you. Bill brought up my HAS course success story and when he couldn't get me to unconditionally agree that was worth continuing, he pulled out the Hubbard policy on 'potential trouble sources'. It is how scientology is supposed to handle people who cause trouble or have the potential to. He said I fit in the category “people who have an open mind”. Hubbard denigrated these and said these people who have an open mind have one so open that everything falls through. I still couldn't decide to continue scientology.
Yet, supposedly scientology has something to do with science, which is the essence of maintaining an open mind and seeking facts.
I left with a paper declaring me a potential trouble source, in more turmoil than ever. Scientology pulling yet another of its emotionally abusive tricks to either bring their members back into its group or destroy their mental health. I went even deeper into depression and withdrawal. January 1976 was horrible. I was sleeping 18 hours a day and overwrought when I was awake in unresolved conflict.
I couldn't make my experiences in scientology agree with what I had read in the Guardian and my girlfriend's reaction. I had no one to counsel me, no trusted person to help me, no way to sort out my confusion. Finally, and to my eternal regret I hit upon a way to resolve the conflict.
I had kept a copy of my success story and the two books from the class. I looked at my success story and I asked myself a question, “Was this success story real? Did I actually feel the way I had written?” and I decided it was true. I had honestly felt that way. And that turned me back toward scientology.
I had managed to do to myself what scientology had tried to do with its calls and ethics orders and Dennis visiting me. As a result I treated my girlfriend even more soullessly, broke up with her and went through with joining scientology staff. Where ironically, I took over Dennis' job. And spent the next 27 years being a scientologist above everything else.
Scientology's version of Karma
I want to illuminate a key part of Hubbard's scientology teaching that prevents scientologists from escaping. It is called the “overt-motivator sequence”. It is presented by Hubbard as an explanation for why people cannot resolve or free themselves from times when bad things happened to them.
An “overt” is a bad or contra-survival act. A “motivator” is something one thinks of as a justification for committing the overt. Example: Someone hitting you motivates you hitting back. But, like so many things in scientology, this too is twisted. Hubbard explains that the reason some things don't resolve is that ACTUALLY, you did something bad first and then invented a justification for doing it, like: “He hit me first”.
Or sometimes you “pull in the motivator” and receive something bad from another source that explains why you did the overt act. An example might be getting fired from your job. That's a motivator and is causing you upset. To understand and resolve the upset the scientologist, applying the overt-motivator sequence, would look into his past, before the firing, to try to find his own earlier bad act that lead to the motivator. There might be no actual connection, but the scientologist, applying this bit of “Tech” will be sure there is one.
At first glance, this seems ok. After all, if you can realize your own responsibility for something, then it is less upsetting. It is kind of a bastardized version of Karma. But in the context of scientology, it becomes an endless search for the cause of troubles. Something negative happens and the first thought becomes “what did I do?” Hours and hours are spent in counseling trying to get to the bottom of connected incidents, (called “chains”), of overts and motivators. Trying to find the earliest incident that started it all so you can release it. This concept also filters into daily life and how friends and others are treated.
You've been BAD
This concept is used explain the present condition of the scientologist and people in general. A central theme of scientology since the early days of dianetics is that a human being is really an immortal spirit that has lived many many lives before. In past lives one lived in wars, died of disease, was a criminal or a saint, was any and every kind of being who did every kind of good or evil.
Now here we are, living on a third rate planet in a kicked-in-the head civilization, how did we get this way? And the answer is, “overts”. We must have all committed horrendous crimes in past lives to have pulled in such a disappointing present. It becomes personal reality to the scientologist.
In auditing I tried to explain my various upsets and failings in terms of having been terrible, evil people in my past lives. Thieves, pedophiles, corrupt priests, warlords who destroyed planets, anything I could come up with that might be the early overts that explained my present condition.
In the process of “auditing”, scientology's counseling procedure, you have to find an answer, you have to locate in your mind the past incident, no matter how remote, that was the earliest one on a chain of overts and motivators. You can't get out of the session until you do, until you locate it and recount it and feel relieved. It can be a long process. Some sessions last 6 or 8 or 10 hours. Because of the overt-motivator idea, you know you have to have done something bad, and eventually you will 'discover' what you did. As a scientologist I was conditioned to this idea, and in practice I equate it to the way sometimes a person being questioned by police will convince themselves of a crime they didn't commit. Because, otherwise, why are they there?
The awful secret
So, the scientologist you are talking to has a secret, he has been a very bad boy, many many times. He KNOWS this. He or she has remembered, in session, (and sometimes out of session,) slaughtering billions or pimping out babies or crimes that are almost unimaginable. And his continuing in scientology is the only possible hope of salvation from repeating it again and again and again in future lives to come. They know how bad they were, they are saving the universe from themselves.
Speak of the Holocaust or Stalin or the Killing Fields and inside the scientologist thinks, “ho-hum, that's nothing to what I did 22 billion 543 thousand 259 years and 23 days ago when I threw 58 planets with over a billion innocent beings each, into their suns to fry just for my amusement.” Hitler was an amateur.
Saving you from yourself
And they are saving the universe from you. You don't realize what you have done, the crimes you committed. Only the scientologist knows what happened and can prevent it in the future. Only scientology can prevent disaster. A scientologist shouting “what are your crimes!” is sure you were just as bad as they know they were. They are trying to introvert you into your past.
Scientology is then of utmost importance. Just like Ron said, it, by evidence of our own memories, it is the most important thing in all the universe. Nothing can be allowed to stop it or slow its progress. The laws of society, normal respect for others, fairness, all manner of humane treatment of others can be sacrificed to preserve scientology.
And if you are being abused by scientology, you pulled it in. You did something to deserve it. That explains it. All those people who never leave even when on the RPF or in “the hole” and they have a chance, endure their condition and treatment out of this well of guilt. Why people who give hundreds of thousands of dollars, hardly advancing within scientology, keep at it and defend it to the death. Why they will lie willingly and at length to protect scientology.
You can see that internal values have shifted until the importance of scientology outweighs everything not-scientology.
Behavior flows from internal values
The truly committed, those who can be called fanatics, volunteer to break laws, infiltrate governments and harass ex-members. At one time I helped harass the break-away members of David Mayo's scientology group. And I am ashamed to admit, there was a time I thought scientology was so important that I would have most likely accepted an order to kill someone viewed as a threat to it.
Because scientology has practiced Hubbard's paranoia for years, it has amassed extensive files on any potential threat. Anyone in any position to affect scientology officially or in its public image is investigated. They are either recruited, courted as allies or enough dirt is gathered on them to neutralize their power.
And something else not often considered, is the records of auditing sessions. Because of the emphasis on revealing all the bad that's been done, each scientologist will wind up recounting in exhaustive and specific detail all the sexual acts and disreputable behavior of their lives. This includes the names, events, places and dates. If it needs to, scientology will use that information to control the scientologist, ruin the ex-scientologist or influence any people mentioned in those sessions who have grown important or pose a barrier to scientology.
I can easily imagine information extracted from those files being used: “Senator, how about that under-aged girl you slept with ten years ago, remember her? She says hi. Oh, by the way, there is this bill we want voted down....”
Much more to understand
This is a brief sketch of what happens to a scientologist as they internalize the teachings of Hubbard. It is understandably not complete. But I do think it covers the process, at least as I experienced it, of changing my value system to put scientology above all else. It is a process of gradual change one makes to oneself to resolve the dissonance between how you view yourself and what scientology is telling you. It involves changing values to explain and rationalize those changes in belief and behavior. I'm pretty sure this theme plays out in the experience of nearly every scientologist. But it is sufficient to begin to explain how otherwise intelligent, good, caring, self-respecting people who are scientologists can commit banal evil when following some of the destructive practices of scientology.
What to do about it
By and large, scientologists are people of good heart, intelligent, caring, wanting to help and do good. They do not themselves realize how their value system and thus actions have become altered.
They are worthwhile people. They deserve to be loved and helped. Once they start to wake up and re-evaluate, it can take years, even decades for them to extract themselves from the belief and value system they adopted.
A large amount of compassion is necessary. Understanding is necessary. Willingness to educate is necessary. But what is also necessary is to prevent the evil. It may seem harsh to personally refuse participation when something might ultimately be used to forward scientology. To not loan money, to not hire someone into a sensitive position because they would have access to information scientology could use may seem overreaction. But, think of it as tough love. Think of it as not accepting into your world potential evil brought in under the bright banners of scientology. Think of it as opportunity to educate each time you have to explain why you won't support the organization or one of it's members. It's not about cutting off friendship, or breaking up relationships, it is about getting them to really experience the consequences of what they think and do.
I say that Scientology is evil is because it changes the minds of its members through the application of its policy, technology and practices. The members come to view scientology as the most important organization and activity in all the universe and that they alone are the new superior humans who will salvage it from unimaginable horrors. These elite, these homo novis then have the mandate to do anything necessary without regard to morals or laws or acceptable conduct among us humans to ensure scientology not only survives, but becomes itself the dictator of laws, morals and acceptable conduct. It is a recipe for evil.
That's the evil of scientology and thats why I know scientologists are dangerous. I used to be one.
Michael Leonard Tilse