Daily Archives: September 5, 2010

Mike Rinder’s survey, Part 2: What the results teach us

Congratulations! You made it through last week’s lecture about Scientology surveys and marketing. Today, we’ll talk about the more interesting stuff: The results of Mike Rinder’s survey and how they can help the Scientology protest movement.

In his blog entry “Survey: What Impinges — Results“, Mike talked about his survey of Independent Scientologists to find out why they left the official Church of Scientology. And in those results is some excellent information for us protesters on how to communicate with Scientologists, especially Independents who feel they are “out,” but are actually only free of David Miscavige’s church and not the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

According to Mike, the top results were:

  • 68%: Out-tech (improper teaching of LRH’s Scientology)
  • 64%: “Vulture Culture” (constant haranguing for money)
  • 36%: Squirrel ethics/injustices (improper use of Scientology’s in-house justice system)
  • 36%: Lying in the media

First of all, notice what’s not on the list: Anything about Xenu, interplanetary warfare, and the like. No surprise, since this is a survey of people who still believe in the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. To me, this served as a reminder that many Independents are hard-core Scientologists. These are people with free access to the Internet, and aren’t likely to be swayed by obvious fallacies in Hubbard’s sci-fi universe (like the fact that the volcanoes described in the Xenu story didn’t exist at the time Hubbard said the incident took place).

No, these folks believe that David Miscavige has hijacked the Church and is willfully destroying it by running it counter to LRH’s intentions. Luckily, LRH left an extensive written record in the form of policy letters, bulletins, and directives. With tens of thousands of written pages to wade through, it’s no wonder that Marty and Mike are able to easily convince their followers that DM is working against LRH – but in fact these policies show that DM is, for the most part, running Scientology exactly as Hubbard intended.

68%: “Out-tech”

According to Mike, “OUT TECH was the most common response.” According to LRH, “The term ‘OUT TECH’ means that Scientology is not being applied or is not being correctly applied” (HCO Bulletin of 13 September 1965, OUT TECH AND HOW TO GET IT IN). When out-tech happens, parishioners don’t get the promised results.

“Of the 68% who answered with this,” Mike writes, “most said it was problems with Clear or being sent back to re-do steps on the Bridge.”

This is not a new problem. In the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (available online here; beware, it is copyrighted material), LRH promised that Clears would have optimized senses, freedom from “all psychoses, neuroses, compulsions and regressions,” as well as increased intelligence and perfect memory and recall.

“The dianetic clear is to a current normal individual,” wrote L. Ron Hubbard in Dianetics, “as the current normal is to the severely insane.”

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. In his book Bare Faced Messiah, Russell Miller wrote that in 1950, before a live audience at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium, LRH presented a young woman as the “world’s first clear.” But despite her “perfect recall,” she couldn’t answer audience questions such as what she had for breakfast on a day eight years before or what was on page 122 of Dianetics. In fact, when Hubbard turned around, she couldn’t even recall the color of his tie.

The fact is, Scientologists have been having trouble with the technology for years, and LRH addressed the subject repeatedly: If a Scientologist isn’t getting results, it’s not because the tech doesn’t work; it’s because something was done wrong – bad technique, a misunderstood word, etc. LRH’s tech, according to LRH, is perfect:

“You’re never led by anything into departing from Standard Tech. The only reason it doesn’t work is that it hasn’t been applied.” — LRH [emphasis in original]

HCO Bulletin of 25 June 1970, C/S Series 11

Now, it’s hard to argue with a Scientologist who thinks that the tech works; faith in LRH’s technology is a belief that is built up slowly and carefully until it is a solidly-built wall that is difficult to knock down. Luckily, there are lots of cracks in the mortar, and many Scientologists eventually see the daylight shining through. So how can we apply this data? By reminding Scientologists that trouble with the “technology” is nothing new, and that the Church is simply following LRH’s orders: If the tech doesn’t work, find out where you screwed up. And since LRH isn’t around to issue new updates that plug the leaks, the Church has to make do with what’s there. The only way the tech works is if the person thinks it works – but the provable results just aren’t there, and never have been.

64%: “Vulture Culture”

Mike Rinder explains the #2 reason: “64% said it was the VULTURE CULTURE that shoved them out the door. More horror stories of late night reg visits, money being taken off account without permission, absolutely no concern for Bridge progress – just relentless and incessant ‘Give me your money. All of it. Now. Take a loan and give me more.'”

The fact is that Scientology has always been expensive; in her 1969 article, The Tragi-Farce of Scientology, and in the follow-on book, The Scandal of Scientology, Paulette Cooper talks about the high prices of Scientology, and in the 1970 bulletin What Your Fees Buy, LRH brags about low staff pay. That said, the evidence does show that the current Church management is more obsessed with heavy donations, and that they are demanding donations for donations’ sake in addition to – and often in place of – donations in exchange for a service or a product.

What can we, as protesters, take from this? We can emphasize the fact that Scientology has never been a free “religion.” It has always charged money for its version of “the truth,” be that $5 for a copy of Dianetics or $300,000 or more to achieve OT8. The fact is that just about every major religion asks for donations. They have to, because legitimate religions don’t charge for the truth. Anyone can get a free Bible, or at the very least can get someone to tell them the contents. Nothing is hidden – not even the hard-to-believe stuff like burning bushes that talk or virgins getting pregnant or guys who walk on water. Only Scientologists charge for the truth, and use the promise of the truth as a sales tactic. (Advanced-level Scientologists aren’t even allowed to talk about space aliens – this despite the fact that a good percentage of Americans believe there is life on other planets.)

LRH’s own words show his obsession with bringing in cash. There’s famous and oft-quoted bit of LRH policy that says, “MAKE MONEY. MAKE MORE MONEY. MAKE OTHER PEOPLE PRODUCE SO AS TO MAKE MONEY.” This comes from HCO PL [Policy Letter] 9 March 1972 Issue 1, INCOME FLOWS AND POOLS, and the full policy letter isn’t as sinister as this quote would lead one to believe; the policy talks about the corporate structure of the Church and the quote is from a list items that make up “the governing policy of Finance.” Still, one has to wonder why a religion would need such a carefully-structured and sales-oriented financial policy.

In fact, if you listen to enough lectures and study enough of the tech, you’ll spot a pattern: When he talks about his technology, LRH is frequently vague, glazing over complex explanations with phrases such as “and so on” and “it’s very interesting”. And yet, when he speaks or writes about the Church’s administrative policy – especially marketing, sales, and finance – LRH is never vague. I’ve never heard or read an “and so on” when LRH was talking about money – only very precise and exacting instructions.

36%: Squirrel ethics/injustices

Mike says: “The next highest percentage (36%) was squirrel ETHICS/INJUSTICES. Many mentioned being on the other end of an ethics cycle where the Church protected a big contributor in direct violation of standard policy.”

This is probably true, although it’s based on anecdotal evidence – and there is just as much anecdotal evidence about ethics operating on LRH’s whims back when the old man was alive. It doesn’t take much web surfing to find stories of LRH’s famous screaming fits and temper tantrums. Although Church-going Scientologists will avoid web sites with anti-Scientology “entheta,” Independents are pretty web-savvy. If you have the opportunity, point them to some of these stories about LRH and ask how they are that much different from the stories today about David Miscavige. (This also explains why Church-going Scientologists have a hard time accepting “entheta” about DM – the people telling the stories are apostates who are lying out of anger at the Church.)

36%: Lying in the media

Sayeth Mike: “35% said they saw Tommy Davis or the wicked witches LYING on TV or read the over-the-top Freedom Mags. Its always good to know what a great job the C of M PR machine does to swell the ranks of those who see the real truth.”

This is my favorite one, because lying to the press is a Scientology tradition that predates David Miscavige. In fact, Mike Rinder himself was a Church spokesliar for years – if he’s such an LRH scholar, why did he go along with the program? Probably because lying to the press was LRH’s program. Hubbard hated the press. Let’s hear from the old man himself:

“There are no good reporters… In all the history of Scientology no interviewing reporter ever helped. They all meant the worst when they acted their best and we are always sorry ever to have spoken. Even if the reporter is all right, his newspaper isn’t and will twist his story. We have done best when we have blocked off reporters and worst when we’ve been nice.” — LRH


“A continuous assault on public morale occurs in the press and other media. Happiness or any satisfaction with life is under continuous attack.” — LRH

HCO PL 14 December 1970, GROUP SANITY

LRH even lied to the press himself: Check out his one and only television interview, in which he lies about his marriages. (Scientology later did an in-house interview with LRH, which they claim was his only filmed interview – another lie. You can see that one here. Warning, it’s long. And a bit boring.)

Considering the treatment Scientology has always received in the press, it’s not surprising that LRH wasn’t a fan. Yes, it’s true that the Church spokesliar of the moment almost always looks bad in the press. So did Heber Jentschz, so did Mike Rinder when he had the job, and so did LRH. This isn’t anything new, but the nature of the Internet means that Scientology’s media face-plants are simply easier for the world to access.

Bring the truth

Thanks to Mike Rinder’s survey, we know more about what the Independents are thinking, and thanks to Wikileaks, we can read LRH’s actual policies and shine the light of truth on the lies of both the Church of Scientology and LRH’s apologists (many of whom, by the way, may not even realize that they are lying.)

Let’s not forget, my friends, that Scientology is a harmful practice invented by a man whose intention was to bilk money out of people who seek nothing less noble than to find the truth or improve the world. Our job as protesters is to be alert and well informed. The truth is on our side; all we have to do is keep talking about it.

My heartfelt thanks to Mike Rinder for publishing his survey and providing the protest movement with such excellent data. I can’t wait to have you on our side, Mike.