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 Post subject: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:26 pm 
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Hello,

I'm trying to put together information and experiences of (ex)Scientologists - in particular experiences with conversion for a dissertation paper.

I'm interested in how people become involved in Scientology to begin with - who were they recruited, secondly how did you feel bout the Scientology before conversion and how did the the 'church' of Scientology make you overcome any doubts.
Thirdly, i am interested in how members handle their conversion with their friends and family - for instance, did you tell your friends about it, or did your friends become other Scientologists.

Any experiences of feedback would be hugely insightful


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:47 pm 
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Read the entries from "My Story from Within Scientology" at
viewforum.php?f=3

A good summary is at Why do people believe in scientology? http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index ... 544AAu8foI

To get real-book footnotes about recruitment, you can read online for free:
L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman http://www.xenu.net/archive/books/mom/M ... Madman.txt
Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard http://www.xenu.net/archive/books/bfm/bfmconte.htm
A Piece of Blue Sky http://www.xenu.net/archive/books/apobs/order.htm
The Scandal of Scientology http://www.xenu.net/archive/books/tsos/sos.html
My Nine Lives in Scientology http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Library/Shelf/pignotti/
The Total Freedom Trap http://www.xenu.net/archive/books/ttft/
Road to Xenu http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Library/Shelf/xenu/

More recent books worth buying are:
Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman (attracting big media attention this summer) http://www.janetreitman.com/
Blown for Good http://blownforgood.com/
Counterfeit Dreams http://counterfeitdreams.com/
My Billion Year Contract http://mybillionyearcontract.com/

CoS uses
- free stress test - to get you in the door
- appeal to idealism (fight psychiatrists),
- flattery (frequently saying your IQ test was high)
- greed (for vaguely promised supernormal abilities),
- fear (saying your personality test shows dangers).
- family ties (pressuring new recruits to bring in friends and families)
- love-bombing - being your new best friend, as long as you pay and obey
- cheap intro classes, like a communication course (which you could get, better, at an community college), that seem useful.
- celebrity name-dropping - my relative was sucked in, in the 1970's, because they dropped the name of Chick Corea and John Travolta.
- verbal (never written) promises that "Scientology can help you with that" (stopping smoking, improving family trouble, etc.) Of course it's YOUR fault later if you're still smoking or still have family trouble, because you have "overts" and misunderstood words" and a "third party" like your non-Scientologist relative who is secretly sabotaging you.
- your suggestibility after an auditing session, due to mild euphoria from the hypnotic aspects of auditing; so you literally led to a registrar to buy another course, before you regain your natural resistance to overpriced courses.
- the tax-deductibility of donations AND courses, pretending that means a seal of approval from the government
They use young, attractive recruiters that you never see again after you join. They falsely claim "scientifically proven" if you're not religious, and "spiritual tech" if you are. They hide the Xenu story and other mythology and their rapacious demands for courses costing tens of thousands of dollars, until you're in deep.

Wieber described the "fear" aspect of recruitment:
Quote:
...Essentially the method of this is to get into communication with the mark, um I mean . . . The proper term for a person who is being approached is raw public or in the case of a field staff member, a selectee. One starts be getting into communication with the person. Then you get friendly with them and gain their confidence sufficiently so that when you invade their privacy they will answer.

What you are looking for is the thing that is ruining that person’s life. There may be nothing ruining that person’s life, but you will find something or create something that is.

You may finally ask, “What is ruining your life?” You do this in such a friendly concerned caring manner that the person tells you. Whatever this person says is ruining their life the next thing you say is, “Scientology can help you with that.”

Then with some hard sell applied to the person with the knowledge of what is ruining their life you can get them into the first stage of Scientology where the hypnotic trance can be induced and the person can be made very suggestible.

“Well, yes, $200 is a lot of money, but that is ruining your life isn’t it? You do want to get that handled, don’t you?” (Nod the head. Nod the head.) “We want you to get on course right away so you can start to handle that now. Why wait? Now is the time.”

Everything in Scientology is urgent and has to be done or handled NOW!!!!!
Right now, you may be thinking, ‘Those bastards!’ But here’s the thing. The people who are doing the disseminating, bringing people in, selling them things and getting their money are just as in the dark as to the mechanism of what they are doing as the people they are doing it to.
from viewtopic.php?f=3&t=27000

The home page of http://www.xenu.net has several recruitment links:
Personality Test at http://www.xenu.net/archive/oca/
How to Believe in Scientology http://www.xenu.net/archive/personal_st ... donny.html


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:30 pm 
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thanks for this, what I don't understand is how new recruits become involved with Scientology more and more in the light of negative pre-conceptions? Obviously some will not have heard too much bad press or it won't bother them, but some recruits must know before hand that there is a lot of bad press about Scientology

Is it the case that CoS quickly neutralizes the stigma that surrounds it before a recruit has a chance to realise.


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:17 pm 
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CoS often hides the name Scientology when offering the free stress test. They might use the name "Dianetics" which is not as infamous, or "Life Improvement." And, even when the recruit is informed it is Scientology, the recruit may be ignorant of scandals and abuse, and think it can't be bad if Tom Cruise endorses it. Many people don't watch or read news at all. They don't know who the Vice President is, for example. If they can get the recruit thinking Scientology will solve all his or her problems, and the alternative is a scary wog world, that recruit will develop a blind spot to any bad news about Scientology. For example, the recruit might conclude (coached by CoS) that his own relatives are "suppressive persons" and "haters" for pointing out the scandals.


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:28 am 
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A friend got me in, back in the late 70's, early 80's: twisted my arm so to speak. I had read some negative info (Reader's Digest series back then) but when I finally checked it out for myself, it didn't seem all that bad. I was not a very confrontational person and once I made up my mind to check it out, I approached it with an open mind. Any doubts I have fell by the wayside as I progressed, so they didn't really have to "handle" me much once I got started. I did auditor training and I thought I could help people with it. Then it seemed like I was helping them because the responses to auditing were very good (they write success stories and write their "wins"). It probably took a year of doing lighter courses before I became truly immersed, signed their staff contract, and got the "fixed dedicated glare" they talk about. It is the staff who become deeply immersed. That is what you have to understand, the different levels of immersion, the different levels of investment and dedication among members. Not all scientologists are the same on this point. It is not simple like Catholicism where you convert and pretty much do the same things everyone else does (weekly church, Bible study, Communion). Scientology is a different and very personal experience for everyone who is touched by it (similar to psychological counseling). Because it involves a great deal of mind control, it is a complex process. It is designed to get people hooked one way or the other. Once you are hooked, it completely takes advantage of you. Different aspects of scientology hook different people. It can be the knowledge, the counseling, the social relationships (people), or the idea of really changing the world. If scientology helps you with a problem, you feel like you "owe" it something beyond the dollar amount you paid for the service. You observe how dedicated everyone else is and that becomes seductive in itself. And, because it is so completely authoritarian in nature, you eventually learn to be very compliant with what is demanded of you. The group demands quite a bit of loyalty, to the detriment of your personal space and especially to the detriment of your personal intimate relationships.

Let me know if that is the kind of response you're looking for. Also it'd be great to read your dissertation once its published. Maybe you could post it somewhere, or provide a link or something.

_________________
“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”
― Hannah Arendt


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:43 pm 
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One lure is getting a job, as an auditor, that you can quickly train for, without any college or even a high school diploma. You get instant respect from your students, hear their feeelthy secrets, and feel superior. The ego boost of having a "genuine" career trumps the abysmal salary and bullying superiors. You pay CoS to get certified as an auditor, but with shrinking membership, the existing auditors are underemployed, so CoS will pressure you to do sales, or paperwork, or manual labor, or harassing critics, and you may be just an occasional auditor these days.

Whether full-time or occasional, auditors can cause tragedy. Following CoS's anti-psychiatry dogma, they can harm a mentally fragile, spirally downward student by discouraging trained psychiatric care. They may tell someone on psychiatric meds to stop them, which can lead to suicide or murder. Those quitting CoS auditing are often shocked that their cheesy certificates, and years of coaxing past-life fantasies out of students, are useless in the outside, non-Scientology, non-Freezone world. Many flock to Freezone groups hoping for new students that will hand over money, obedience and respect, rather than admit they are quacks.

In Scientology or Freezone, many students like blabbing about me-me-me and my-very-own-body-thetans and Mom-was-mean-to-me and don't-I-have-exciting-past-lives. They pay for someone to act interested in their lives, but they are not getting professional counseling, which requires at least a master's degree. Scientology and Freezone auditing ignores the scientific advances since the 1950's: better understanding of brain chemistry and neurotransmitters, genetics, magnetic fields into the brain to help depression, new meds including those for treating alcohol and drug addiction, nano-current stimulation of the vagus nerve for depression, and more.
Recently doctors are treating teens with early signs of schizophrenia by giving them low-dose psychiatric meds, and preventing full-blown late-teen or early-twenties psychosis. A Scientology auditor would listen to a 14 year old's tale of hearing voices occasionally, but wouldn't think "I could save this kid from full-blown schizophrenia by getting him to a psychiatrist." They'd just tell him to keep coming in for Scientology auditing. In many cases, Freezone auditors, even some nice auditors aligning themselves with Marty Rathbun, would be just as ignorant and dogmatic.


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:01 pm 
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thank you, these responses are really very interesting/helpful - one thing i've picked up from current Scientologists i've talked to is the way they completely deny the term 'conversion' - as if this makes it less extreme, or that it is a slow burning process which means you don't have to suddenly BECOME something different -i.e. converting to Islam or Christianity.

I guess as well that we do have individual agency - like you've just said, you had heard some negative info but this didn't make you completely rule it out, we like to think that we can be in control and choose what we want 'I want go down the route that everyone does', in other words we hear bad things about drinking/drugs but we still do them. Perhaps that, coupled with intense mind control it is easy to see why people join a difficult group like CoS.

the importance of a personal link has become evident - it is so often a friend or even family member that initially gets someone involved. I would be glad to post my dissertation, it's only half way through but your responses are really helping me get a clearer picture.

Im wondering, what did the church do, if anything to dispel the negative thoughts/stigma or is it more or less implied after you become involved - is it managed? or ignored?


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:11 pm 
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thank you, these responses are really very interesting/helpful - one thing i've picked up from current Scientologists i've talked to is the way they completely deny the term 'conversion' - as if this makes it less extreme, or that it is a slow burning process which means you don't have to suddenly BECOME something different -i.e. converting to Islam or Christianity.

I guess as well that we do have individual agency - like you've just said, you had heard some negative info but this didn't make you completely rule it out, we like to think that we can be in control and choose what we want 'I want go down the route that everyone does', in other words we hear bad things about drinking/drugs but we still do them. Perhaps that, coupled with intense mind control it is easy to see why people join a difficult group like CoS.

I would be glad to post my dissertation, it's only half way through but your responses are really helping me get a clearer picture.

Im wondering, what did the church do, if anything to dispel the negative thoughts/stigma or is it more or less implied after you become involved - is it managed? or ignored?


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Another lure is becoming a Scientology minister, a near-instant "career" without four years of university plus divinity school. You may imagine you are a peer with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Archbishop of Canterbury, but you just paid good money for a meaningless certificate that impresses nobody outside Scientology.

And, funny thing, you're mostly doing paperwork, sales, or even manual labor, not "ministry." With dwindling membership, CoS has a surplus of "ministers" eager to audit and do other "religious" work. CoS took your minister course money and fooled you.

Are you mostly bringing dirty dishes to a dishwasher? You are a busboy, not a minister.
Are you mostly pruning, weeding, watering, mowing, and raking? You are a lawnboy, not a minister.
Are you mostly cleaning toilets, sinks, and other surfaces? You are a scrubwoman, not a minister.
Are you mostly doing paperwork? You are a file clerk, not a minister.

Real ministers decide their own schedule, and as long as they fulfill their sermon and other stated obligations, are free to come and go as they choose. Are you? If a boss is breathing down your neck, you are an underling, not a minister.


Last edited by Don Carlo on Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:18 pm 
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graymilne wrote:
thanks for this, what I don't understand is how new recruits become involved with Scientology more and more in the light of negative pre-conceptions? Obviously some will not have heard too much bad press or it won't bother them, but some recruits must know before hand that there is a lot of bad press about Scientology

Is it the case that CoS quickly neutralizes the stigma that surrounds it before a recruit has a chance to realise.

Okay, let's dig in to this. There are documented cases of people who see Scientology protested today (by Anonymous, for example) and they get curious "what's all the fuss about" and they go in to check it out. When they do, they do not necessarily find a bunch of stary-eyed zombie-fied followers. They find real, likable people. If they go in with an open mind, they may have a "win" and continue. Depending what follows from there, they stay or eventually leave if/when promises are broken (which is often the case).

Yes, absolutely CoS quickly neutralizes the stigma and they have many techniques with which to do this. One technique is "PTS-SP" technology. This is a part of their scripture that says anyone who speaks against "betterment" practices (such as Scientology) is a "Suppressive Person". This is Hubbard's version of the Anti-Social Personality. Another way they neutralize stigma is a with a whole mythology and story about how the Founder was attacked by the AMA and APA for "giving Dianetics to the people". It is not an illogical story, that Hubbard gave a handbook (Dianetics) which contained a do-it-yourself therapy that erases all psychosomatic illness and neurosis, to the people and was "attacked" by the AMA/APA establishment because they saw Dianetics as a competitor. A new, unsuspecting person will think "that makes sense". IMO the opposite is the truth. Hubbard could not legally compete with the institutions (AMA/APA) and so he decided to turn it into a religion in order to place it outside their jurisdiction. But Dianetics and Scientology are ALL ABOUT an offbeat form of psychotherapy and physical healing.

Another answer involves the time factor. In the 70's and 80's when I got in there was no internet. Few people had heard anything about the subject, positive or negative. Scientology experienced several big booms in membership during this time period. Back then it was easier to get people and keep them. Many people still in Scientology today are the ones who joined pre-internet. They had years to work on getting in family members, or their own children, employees, etc. Today member numbers are seriously declining (I assume you are aware of these statistics). Today most people are on the internet and are forewarned, plus there is plenty of negative TV and print media as well. But mostly the advent of the internet and all the critical info available correlates with the huge decline in CoS member numbers. As members grow old, die or leave, they do not have enough of an influx of new members, and so their numbers are seriously decreasing. To sum it up, back in the 70/80's and early 90's, when most people got in, access to negative info was not as easy as it is today, therefore there was less need for the organization to deal with that problem. I'm not sure what it is like today because I have not worked in an organization since the late 90's.

_________________
“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”
― Hannah Arendt


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:45 am 
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LOL. Oh man Don Carlo you are cold. Talk about cutting to the chase. Why don't you say what you mean instead of beating around the bush?
:mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:45 pm 
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Another to add to Don Carlo's above book list is the new one from Hugh B. Urban: The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion.
You'll find this useful for a paper since it is written by an academic and, so I'm told, doesn't suffer as much from the pitfalls of your typical "new religious movement" professor, many of whom failed in the past by taking a distinctly apologetic stance (as if protecting their own "living experiment" and gravy train). Off the top of the head, here are some academic apologetics to be aware of: J. Gordon Melton (basically ignorant and sounds more like a propagandist), James R. Lewis (who came crawling on this board after realising it was a mistake to treat ex-scientologists testimony as broadly unreliable), Eileen Barker (of the "Inform" charity who cosies up to the PR people at scientology UK, defends cults/NRMs, and seems to think that critics of cullts/NRMs are part of the problem).

Details of Urban's book here....
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=35639
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Church-Scientolog ... s_12773_10
Also look up papers by Professor Stephen A. Kent of the University of Alberta. Probably the best academic on the subject.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_A._Kent

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Other Activism: Divided By Zero forum, Why We Protest forum
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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:12 pm 
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I respect the work of cleaning, lawnmowing, and filing papers. I don't like CoS's deceit of tricking staff into paying for minister courses,* and then making them do manual labor and late-night filing. Add to that paying them under-minimum-wage because of a claimed "ministerial exception" (which violates the "equal protection" clause, in my non-lawyerly opinion).

I would never call a real worker a lawnboy or a scrubwoman; I maintain that CoS THINKS of them that way. CoS "ministers" that tell outsiders, in a lofty tone, that they "work for their church" should be honest to themselves and others - "CoS employs me as a dishwasher."

*or, if in Sea Org, scaring those exiting Sea Org into a unenforceable freeloader debt to "pay" for minister courses that they took "for free."


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:22 pm 
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i know what you mean about Melton, not terribly helpful.
on the other hand, Kent - absolutely superb


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 Post subject: Re: Conversion Process
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:45 pm 
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I'd love to read your dissertation, graymilne.

graymilne wrote:
Im wondering, what did the church do, if anything to dispel the negative thoughts/stigma or is it more or less implied after you become involved - is it managed? or ignored?


The idea of negative thoughts and criticisms is a huge, all pervasive part of Scientology and being a Scientologist. Tech on critical thought is taught, as well as tech on ferreting out critical thoughts by E-meter and by intelligence. Critical thoughts are audited, sec checked, suppressed, managed, punished, eliminated or otherwise dealt with by the individual Scientologist and the org. The suppression of critical thought is essential to becoming a Scientologist -- the conversion -- except with clear sociopaths, who recognize the things most people would be critical of, and embrace being able to do those things.

Conversion is not a bad word here because it's the word the CIA uses when discussing changes of allegiance or loyalty in subjects/people. Scientology seeks and gets total loyalty. Hubbard, knowing what he was doing, wrote famously that Scientology "can brainwash faster than the Russians (20 secs to total amnesia against three years to slightly confused loyalty)."

That shift in loyalty or allegiance is what it means to become a Scientologist. The Scientologists will say that's not true, of course, because lying is what loyalty to Scientology requires.

Even in pre-conversion contacts, people are put into positions where they must divulge personal information and admit to having problems ("ruins") for which they have no solution. After purchasing the course or auditing that will handle their ruin, and otherwise investing in the Scientology solution, but before actually starting course, "raw meat" as Scientologists call them, get interrogated against the PTS A-J checklist. (Ref. OEC Vol 1,HCOPL 27 Oct 1964R, Policies on Physical Healing, Insanity and Sources of Trouble, pp.983-8. OEC Vol 1".) The converted state in which Scientologists successfully suppress and self-handle critical thought is maintained and managed with Scientology's PTS tech, which is the internal application of the "Suppressive Person" doctrine. External application of the SP doctrine is known in Scientology scripture as "fair game."

_________________
INTELLIGENCE SPECIALIST TRAINING ROUTINE – TR L
Purpose: To train the student to give a false statement with good TR-1. To train the student to outflow false data effectively.
Commands: Part l “Tell me a lie”.


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