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 Post subject: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:24 pm 
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Here is an open letter from James R. Lewis, the well known professional writer and academic specializing in new religious movements and New Age. In 2009 he released the anthology on Scientology on Oxford University Press.

Errors in this repost of his letter might be due to me reformatting of the letter to post it here.

Quote:
18 January 2011

An Open Letter to:

Scientologists, Ex-Scientologists, and Critics of the Church of Scientology

James R. Lewis

[This letter may be re-posted, as long as it is reproduced in full, without alteration. JRL]

I am an academician and a specialist in the field of new religious movements. Particularly during my early career, much of my research focused on the alternative religions that have been labeled "cults," and on the controversies in which they have been involved. Though I have sometimes been criticized as a "cult apologist," in point of fact my views on such groups are nuanced and often critical (in this regard, refer, for example, to my online essay, "SafeSects?" http://www.religioustolerance.org/safe_sec.htm). It should especially be noted that my views on these matters generally conform to the consensus views of mainstream scholars of new religions (i.e., my views are not unique to me). As an academician, my primary audience has been other academicians. Thus, over the years, I have ignored the often ad hominem criticisms that have been leveled against me online by individuals involved in the cult controversy.

However, two things have happened in recent years that have prompted me to address these matters - particularly as they involve the Church of Scientology (CoS) - in a more personal way: (1) My edited collection on Scientology, published by Oxford University Press in 2009,had the effect of raising my profile in the cult controversy. (2) As the result of the defection of large numbers of upper level Scientologists, the Church of Scientology has received increasing media attention - which has had the effect of calling further attention to my Scientology anthology. Thus it seems that circumstances have been pushing me to set forth some of my views on CoS - both academic and personal - in a public way. Hence the current "open letter," which I hope will be widely distributed (and not quoted out of context).

I should preface my remarks by noting that academicians are ill-suited to participate directly in public controversies, in part because, as a group, we do not think in sound bites. Also, in almost any controversy, all sides of the conflict tend to boil issues down to black-and-white, good-vs.-evil terms, and sometimes adopt a belligerent attitude of "you're either for us or against us." I anticipated this reaction when, in the introduction to the Scientology anthology, I asserted that "This volume will...likely end up pleasing no one engaged in the Scientology/anti-Scientology conflict...."

Predictably, critics trashed the book as a public relations exercise, "obviously" paid for by the Church of Scientology. However - as any informed observer could easily have anticipated - CoS hated the collection, particularly the Xenu chapter, which one of my former contacts in the Church characterized as "blasphemy." Another chapter described CoS's attempts to suppress scholarship that the Church viewed as presenting Scientology in a negative light. And there were other critical evaluations peppered throughout the text. But, because the book as a whole was not a negative exposé, many anti-Scientologists dismissed the wholecollection as a "whitewash." For its part, the Church of Scientology soon stopped communicating with me altogether, meaning that I have probably been re-categorized as an SP as a direct result of my book.

In this Open Letter, I will not rehearse the social-scientific analysis of the cult controversy that is the consensus view of mainstream new religion researchers. Rather, I will focus the discussion on my evolving understanding of the Church of Scientology.

Neither I nor the great majority of new religions specialists view ourselves as defenders of groups like Scientology. Rather, we are interested in understanding social-psychological processes and the dynamics of social conflict. The fact that many of our analyses undermine the more simplistic accusations leveled against controversial new religions makes it appear to critics caught up in black-and-white thinking that we have made a conscious choice to defend "cults." However, to the extent that we have chosen to defend anything, we understand ourselves as defending good science against bad science, and, in some cases, as defending religious liberty against the threat to religious liberty posed by the least sophisticated forms of anti-cultism.

My orientation to the study of new religions is informed by the fact that, for three years in my early twenties, I was a member of a controversial new religion, Yogi Bhajan's 3HO (I have recently described my defection from 3HO in an online article, "Autobiography of a Schism" http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb03/ivk/mjr/ ... s_2010.pdf). Though I held certain negative feelings toward my former organization after my exit, these feelings were on par with the feelings one might have about one's ex-spouse following a divorce (i.e., bad, but not extraordinary). Additionally, I had a number of positive experiences during my term of membership in 3HO that served to balance out my negative experiences.

When I first became interested in the cult controversy as a subject of academic inquiry in the mid 1980s, I was struck by the uniformly negative picture painted by "deprogrammed" ex-members of controversial groups - a picture that contrasted sharply with the mixed evaluation I had formed of 3HO. I suspected these negative evaluations were shaped, at least in part, by the deprogramming experience itself. So I surveyed former members - both deprogrammed and non-deprogrammed - and found that the data strongly supported my hypothesis. (In this regard, refer, for example, to my "Apostates and the Legitimation of Repression," Sociological Analysis 49:4. 1989, and my "Reconstructing the "Cult" Experience," Sociological Analysis 42:2. 1986. Parts of these papers reappeared in my Legitimating New Religions. 2003.)

I first made contact with the Church of Scientology during this period for the purpose of locating former Scientologists to whom I could send questionnaires (this never worked out because of CoS's ill-conceived policy of disconnecting itself from ex-members). A few years later, the Scientology organization became enthusiastic about the conclusions I had reached, and later referred to my research in some of its legal cases - in large part due to the fact that this research called into question the hostile testimony of deprogrammed former Scientologists.

CoS subsequently decided that I was an "ally" (a quasi-technical term within the universe of exotic Church jargon). From that point forward, I was sometimes (but not frequently) asked to write letters of support, usually in response to specific conflicts. I was also once asked to testify as an expert witness in a Scientology court case (to which I agreed, though I never did testify). Additionally, during the years I lived in Santa Barbara, California, I attended various Church events, particularly events at the Hollywood Celebrity Center. Finally, during the ten years I lived in the Midwest, I regularly invited Scientologists from the Chicago Org to speak in my university classes. (As part of my approach to teaching courses on new religions, I invited representatives of many different groups to speak in my classes - not just Scientologists.)

I was, of course, aware of CoS's unpleasant history, particularly its often vicious attacks on perceived enemies. But, as I got to know Scientologists on a personal basis, I was informed - and came to believe - that the illegal and truly onerous attacks had been discontinued following the dissolution of the Guardian's Office in 1983. (Unfortunately, the systematic harassment of high-profile ex-members and other critics has become de rigueur in recent years.) And while I disliked certain aspects of Scientology - particularly certain aspects of the Scientology organization - my personal experiences with Scientologists over the course of the past two dozen years have been generally quite positive. As a result of my recent book and as a result of this letter, they may never speak to me again, but I still like and respect almost everyone I knew within the Church.

One aspect of the organization that particularly impressed me was the Church's social outreach activities, such as the Literacy Crusade and Criminon. Though often dismissed by critics as "front groups," or as elaborate PR exercises, it is clear that, at Source, these activities are serious enterprises. At several junctures over the years of my acquaintance with CoS, I even requested support for undertaking an academic study of these enterprises. These requests were always denied (for which, in hindsight, I am exceedingly grateful).

I was not prompted to re-think my basic evaluation of the Church of Scientology until relatively recently. This came about as a consequence of several different factors:

(1) The defection of large numbers of long-time, high-ranking Scientologists, who reported intensive abuse at the highest levels of the Church. I am aware that CoS's position on this has been to deny everything, and to accuse these ex-members of conspiring to concoct a negative picture of events. I find the official response unconvincing.

(2) The sacking of Heber Jentzsch. I knew Heber from when I first began to communicate with CoS in the mid 1980s. I respected him and came to regard him as someone I could trust. Retrospectively, I can now see that my evaluation of Heber significantly shaped my evaluation of the Church. So when he was taken off the front lines and consigned to some dungeon (figuratively speaking) in Gilman Hot Springs, it served to confirm, to my mind, what the high-ranking defectors were saying.

(3) The marketing of "new editions" of L. Ron Hubbard's basic works. 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 possible so that complete sets can be donated to libraries across the globe. This has been done in the name of the utopian ideal of "clearing the planet." But placing books in libraries seems an ill-conceived strategy for spreading any sort of message in a digital age. I was a guest at a Scientology workshop not too many years ago where I observed the very hard-sell tactics used to unload these multi-volume sets. It was transparent that this was a fund-raising ploy rather than an effective strategy for disseminating the message. Though I know Scientology has regularly been accused of using unethical methods for raising money, I felt that this was a particularly disingenuous tactic - and yet another symptom of the dysfunctionality of the Church's top leadership.

This Open Letter is not an apology for anything I have written in the past on Scientology or on the cult controversy. I stand by, and am quite happy with, my body of work up to this point. Rather, in light of new information I have been receiving on the Church of Scientology, there are certain aspects of my scholarship that I would like to clarify and supplement as they bear on the current controversy.

In the first place, I should say that the only article-length paper I have ever written on CoS is my chapter on the growth of the Church in the Scientology anthology. In that piece, I criticized the claim that Scientology was the "fastest growing religion in the world," but I also painted a picture of an expanding organization enjoying healthy growth. Though the statistics I collected (from the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand) did not go beyond 2001, more recent data from the 2006 New Zealand and Australian censuses have continued to support this picture.

However, current events have completely overturned my evaluation of the CoS as a rapidly expanding religion. The relatively recent defection of large numbers of long-time, high-level Scientologists - some of the organization's most experienced administrators and others with expertise in delivering 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 agoseems suddenly to have ground to a halt.

According to the pseudonymous "Plockton," who claims to have contacted ARIS (American Religious Identification Survey) researchers directly, the ARIS estimate for the number of Scientologists in the U.S. for 2008 was 25,000. (I referred to ARIS data in my chapter on the growth of Scientology.) 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 new national censuses in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, all of which will produce figures for total numbers of self-identified Scientologists. So by 2012, it will be relatively simple to contrast these numbers with prior census data. The figures derived from these comparisons will indicate whether membership in the Church of Scientology is growing or declining. Assuming the latter, these statistics should decisivelyrefute David Miscavige's claim that, under his leadership, CoS has become "the fastest growing religion in the world."

Secondly, I have seen my research on former members of controversial new religions misrepresented. To clarify what should already have been transparent: The central point of comparison in my several articles on new religion apostates was between deprogrammed ex-members and other ex-members who left their respective movements on their own, without outside intervention. As mentioned earlier, I found a highly significant difference in the post-involvement attitudes of these two sets of apostates, a difference that called into question the veracity of statements made by deprogrammed ex-members about the religious groups to which they had belonged. My questionnaire data had nothing to say about individuals who defected without this kind of an intervention, except that they were likely more objective about their membership period than their deprogrammed counterparts. So, to be perfectly clear: anyone who cites my conclusions about deprogrammees as a way of dismissing the testimony of voluntary defectors - including the testimony of individuals who left the Church of Scientology - is either consciously misrepresenting my work or stupid.

Finally, another criticism leveled against the Scientology anthology was that it should have included a chapter on ex-Scientologists, and perhaps another chapter on the Freezone. I think this is an appropriate critique. I will therefore be undertaking systematic research on former Scientologists and on the Freezone - research that will be reported in future publications. If any ex-CoS members reading this Open Letter think they might be interested in participatingin this project, please contact me at: religionresearch@gmail.com

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:13 am 
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I try to hold some skepticism for my own enthusiasm: are we who are closely involved in criticizing Co$ just getting into a group-think whereby we just pat ourselves on the back with every anecdote of defection, voiced disaffection, and sign of shrinkage that we're tricking ourselves into believing what we want to believe? I think I've recently seen a large number of defections of high-ranking, long-term Scientologists; when an academic with more perspective than I refers to this phenomenon as "defection of large numbers of long-time, high-ranking Scientologists," I feel validated. Maybe what I think I'm seeing isn't just due to the color of the lenses I'm wearing.

Thanks for posting this, Andreas.


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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:31 am 
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Very interesting. Thanks Andreas.

it's nice Lewis is changing his opinion. But it would been much better if he had done a more thorough investigation in the first place. Guess the mass exit of high ranking Scientologists has shown that deprogrammed $cn'sts tell the same or similar stories as non-deprogrammed $cn'sts. No doubt there will be many ex-scientologists who will volunteer to be interviewed. Yahoo...won't Miscavige have a fit?

But isn't Lewis the "cult apologist" who, with Gordon Melton, went to Japan to defend AUM Shinrikyo? I wonder if he ever wrote an open letter explaining that misjudgment.


James R. Lewis - religious cults, sects and movements
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/l33.html

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:06 am 
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Quote:
it's nice Lewis is changing his opinion. But it would been much better if he had done a more thorough investigation in the first place. Guess the mass exit of high ranking Scientologists has shown that deprogrammed $cn'sts tell the same or similar stories as non-deprogrammed $cn'sts.


Is that what he's saying? I think his point is that he STILL thinks that deprogrammed Scientologists have a more extreme (and less reliable) negative attitude. I don't think he's apologizing for that, and stands by that assessment.

He says:

Quote:
As mentioned earlier, I found a highly significant difference in the post-involvement attitudes of these two sets of apostates, a difference that called into question the veracity of statements made by deprogrammed ex-members about the religious groups to which they had belonged.


As far as I can tell he is only apologizing for saying that Scientology is rapidly growing religion, and for not having a chapter on his book about non-deprogrammed exes.

He still seems to feel that the veracity of stories from deprogrammed exes is questionable.

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:39 am 
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Tigger wrote:
[...]

It's nice Lewis is changing his opinion. But it would been much better if he had done a more thorough investigation in the first place.

[...]



^This. but...

What does he think of Prof. Stephen A. Kent's work?
Why does he think it is important to dismiss testimony of ex-members yet assume that most of what he was being told by scientology was truth enough to base a whole book on it? The part in the letter where he mentions "outreach" programs like Criminon etc, he says he is impressed by them. Is he being more impressed by the cult's attempt at looking legitimate (i.e. their soundbites) or does he actually think that the programs themselves really are widely accepted/proven and scientifically sound?

Also, talking of the testimony of members, here's a shamless plug for Anonlover's Jan 2011 quartely Exit Survey update:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=33724


BTW, I've linked to this thread from WWP, just in case there's any input there.
http://forums.whyweprotest.net/threads/ ... ook.68063/

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Last edited by Sponge on Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:12 am 
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Posting these collection of documents on the off chance that James R. Lewis reads this thread.

Scientology "Religious Order" Dox and Rebuttals


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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:22 am 
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I'mglib wrote:
Quote:
it's nice Lewis is changing his opinion. But it would been much better if he had done a more thorough investigation in the first place. Guess the mass exit of high ranking Scientologists has shown that deprogrammed $cn'sts tell the same or similar stories as non-deprogrammed $cn'sts.


Is that what he's saying?


No that was what I was saying. I was guessing that abuse stories told by recently out non-deprogrammed $CN'sts
might have turned on that lighbulb for him.

Quote:


I think his point is that he STILL thinks that deprogrammed Scientologists have a more extreme (and less reliable) negative attitude. I don't think he's apologizing for that, and stands by that assessment.


I didn't think he was apologizing for that either. In fact, his open letter to me looked more like an attempt to save his reputation AND his theories.

This is how Anson Shupe did his research.


Quote:
When asked about how he gathered his evidence against CAN, Shupe admitted that he had never attended a CAN meeting, did not know the names of its officers, had not conducted formal research on the organization since 1987, and had not formally interviewed anyone on the "countercult" movement since 1979. Moreover, he had never subscribed to CAN's newsletter, although he "was able to obtain copies now and then from various people around the country" (Scott v. Ross, et.al., 1995a, 83-87).
[/quote]


When Scholars Know Sin -- Stephen A. Kent and Theresa Krebs
http://www.skeptictank.org/wsns.htm

Does anyone think Anson Shupe will write a letter of apology for anything?

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:40 am 
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Also see Geir Isene's blog, who also reposted the letter, for any reader responses....
http://isene.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/a ... ientology/

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:56 am 
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Quote:
In fact, his open letter to me looked more like an attempt to save his reputation AND his theories.


Agreed.

It's great that he seems to realize that abuses have gone on in the church. However, I gotta wonder, if he thought that it was true that Scientology was the worlds "fastest growing religion" then it makes me suspicious about the veracity of his other findings.

I'm just trying to picture in my head how he did the research that proved that de-programmed ex cult members were less reliable than cult member who left on their own. First he has to know what's true and false about the cult to be able to decide if the the deprogrammed ex-members are wrong or not. How does he do that? I can't even picture how you would do this study.

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:25 am 
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Oh dear. I just found this. I wonder if he still stands by this? Maybe he thinks it was true when he wrote it....

http://www.whatisscientology.org/html/P ... 605-b.html

Quote:
I have observed the Church of Scientology over the past few decades. Its critics have come and gone. It has emerged victorious from struggles with powerful governmental institutions and with organized bigotry. In the wake of every controversy, the Church has grown and prospered.

I have also had the opportunity to interact with ordinary Scientologists in everyday settings. I never fail to be impressed by the solidness, clarity and high ethical standards of Church members. Thus, at both an institutional and an individual level, Scientology has a strength of character that bodes well for its future.

I would finally like to mention that the Church of Scientology has taken responsibility for the surrounding society. Critics never seem to find the room to mention the Church’s work in educational reform, in the fight against drugs, in the publicizing of medical abuse and in other areas of social reform. Thus Scientology continues to work toward a brighter future for all of us, and I, for one, wish the Church every success in its endeavors.

Prof. James R. Lewis
Chairman, Department of
Religious Studies
World University of America


I'm feeling less and less warm and fuzzy about Mr. Lewis. It seems like he's saying he did this very specific study, and that the Scientologists he hung out with were very nice. This statement, though: "...has a strength of character at and Institutional level." Yikes.

It sort of begs the question, too: Does a researcher such as Mr. Lewis have an obligation to determine what type of organization it is that will benefit from his testimony/research? For instance, what if he researched rape victims, and decided that certain rape victims were less reliable (in his study) than others? What if this research were then used to justify the rapists activities? Pretty dicey situation to be in, I believe.

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:31 am 
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Good thread on WWP about the book ("Scientology") which is actually a collection of essays:

http://forums.whyweprotest.net/threads/ ... wis.35040/

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http://www.youtube.com/user/ScilonTV#p/


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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:36 am 
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I'mglib wrote:
However, I gotta wonder, if he thought that it was true that Scientology was the worlds "fastest growing religion" then it makes me suspicious about the veracity of his other findings.


I question his whole method because it seems to be akin to going directly to the mob to see if they will admit to committing crimes and then taking their answers to that at face value. I'm sure the Gestapo would have said it was all smiles & sunshine for everyone in Germany if someone had gone and asked them.

Lewis method:
James R. Lewis wrote:
I first made contact with the Church of Scientology during this period for the purpose of locating former Scientologists to whom I could send questionnaires (this never worked out because of CoS's ill-conceived policy of disconnecting itself from ex-members).

...I have observed the Church of Scientology over the past few decades. Its critics have come and gone. It has emerged victorious from struggles with powerful governmental institutions and with organized bigotry. In the wake of every controversy, the Church has grown and prospered.


Organized bigotry? How did he come to that conclusion? Victorious struggles with government organizations? He makes it sound as if those fights were above board! Very poor researcher!

I'mglib wrote:
I'm just trying to picture in my head how he did the research that proved that de-programmed ex cult members were less reliable than cult member who left on their own. First he has to know what's true and false about the cult to be able to decide if the the deprogrammed ex-members are wrong or not. How does he do that? I can't even picture how you would do this study.


Exactly it could have been the ones who were not deprogrammed that had still enough indoctrination to see things with rose colored glasses still and/or hold back due to fear!

There are some very poor researchers who will do only easy minimal barely scratch the surface research and put forth their bias as to how they believe things are in society! :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:53 am 
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For Lewis to dissociate from CoS in light of "new information" or "new revelations" shows that the Cult can no longer love bomb or coddle him. Even the spectacular love bombing given at CC Int appears to have lost its charm as evidenced by the fact that Lewis feels compelled to defend his professional reputation by updating and restating his position on CoS.

A public restatement is an extraordinary act, an unusual solution so to speak, for an academic to engage in. Lewis could not ignore the facts coming from the Indie Camp, the St. Pete Times, Paul Haggis, and so many other media outlets and former members of CoS. Still, Lewis' reversal of position argues that he needed and wanted a quick and public intellectual divorce from CoS. What does this portend? Did Lewis exit publicly ahead of more damaging PR or charges of some type being filed against Scientology? I ask because several books by former SO have been out for well over a year and Lewis is only responding now. This is a technically a Comm Lag for Lewis. Still, better late than never. Now what we need is J. Gordon Melton to do what James R. Lewis has done and CoS' shaky secular academic stilts that sometimes prop it up in court will come toppling down.

We also need former SO and former CoS publics to keep the books coming!

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:48 am 
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International Cultic Studies Association:
Periodicals : International Journal of Cultic Studies Vol. 01, No. 01, 2010
http://icsahome.com/infoserv_respond/ic ... 49910#Read


Snippet.....
Quote:
This article is an electronic version of an article originally published in International Journal of Cultic Studies, Vol. 01, No. 01, pages 90-96. Please keep in mind that the pagination of this electronic reprint differs from that of the bound volume. This fact could affect how you enter bibliographic information in papers that you may write.



Book Review



Scientology
By James R. Lewis (Editor)

New York: Oxford University Press. 2009. ISBN-10: 019533149; ISBN13: 9780195331493 (hardcover), $35 ($29.92, Barnes&Noble.com, Amazon.com). 464 pages.



Editor James R. Lewis claims that his volume, Scientology, is unlikely to please anyone who “engages in the Scientology/anti-Scientology conflict, which is perhaps as it should be” (p. 5). In reality, it is most likely to please persons who take an uncritical view of Scientology. Contributors to this book make diverse comments about the Church of Scientology, but most of them are favorably disposed to the group’s religious claims. Consequently, many of these authors criticize “anti-Scientology” media and literature, and downplay controversies that they claim to analyze. Moreover, far too many contributors in this volume fail to critically assess the data that they gather, thereby falling short of providing evidence that has undergone rigorous academic inquiry. Without rigor or critical assessment, a book such as this one (about a supposed new religious movement [NRM]) risks becoming pro-NRM propaganda.

Lewis begins Scientology with a short critique of some of Scientology’s critics, an outline of Scientology as a religious organization, and a description of each contributor and her/his strengths as a researcher. Part I of Scientology outlines the group’s history, discusses Hubbard’s life, locates Scientology as an NRM that receives unfair media attention, and implies that thorough research into Scientology is rare. The book then ventures through theoretical and statistical analyses of Scientology in Part II. Authors in Part III highlight the community and practices of Scientology and its adherents. These authors focus on how Scientologists share certain common beliefs and how, despite the individualistic nature of Scientology, they may share certain communal components (such as holding other Scientologists in high esteem). Part IV provides an analysis of Scientology’s religious claims, and one chapter even acknowledges that not all of Scientology’s practices are necessarily harmless. Next, in Part V, contributors to the book illustrate a selective history of the controversies that the Church of Scientology has experienced. In Part VI, “International Missions,” only one chapter actually focuses on Scientology’s global dissemination, with the remaining two chapters providing information concerning Scientology in Sweden and Australia. Lastly, Part VII, “Dimensions of Scientology,” provides information that did not fit in the other sections, as well as further references for anyone studying the group.

Although the specifics of each chapter differ, the theme that connects most of them is the allegation that Scientology suffers illegitimate discrimination from the media and “counter-cult” academics. Although the authors are correct that Scientologists should never suffer discrimination based on their beliefs, these authors have overlooked, misrepresented, uncritically interpreted, or only superficially researched many issues involving Scientology’s actions and policies. To demonstrate how these misrepresentations and superficial interpretations appear, I briefly outline James Lewis’s background. Then, I explain some of Scientology’s shortfalls. Finally, I conclude that although this book brings needed academic attention to Scientology, its shortfalls are substantial enough to render it as an unreliable source of information about the organization.


....more in above link.....


So, it's not just the so-called "apostates" or "anti-cultists" that thinks his book is shit.

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 Post subject: Re: Open letter from James R. Lewis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:23 pm
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Location: Denmark
Well, I haven't been 'deprogrammed' in any way. I left because I observed that Scientology is a totalitarian and violently evil movement.. And I'm devastatingly negative about my experience in Scientology and the cult itself.

I even doubt that 'deprogramming' is done very often.. I don't actually know anyone who was deprogrammed.. In fact it would seem to me that 'deprogramming' is a word invented and used by the CofS to explain away and vilify people who wake up to the scam.. The word was,and are, being used in scare propaganda by OSA aimed at scientologists.

And I would suspect a statement from an 'authority' (James R. Lewis) to the effect that former scientologists are 'made' insanely hostile by 'deprogramming'.. That 'message' could very well have been tailored in OSA's offices.. This exact 'viewpoint' has been used repeatedly by CofS in PR and in courts.

Ah.. So James R. Lewis now corrobates this as a 'scientific' conclusion?

--Belch!--

Fact is this: Scientology needs to be thrashed! The sooner the better!

:onebounce:

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