You’ll forgive me for pulling a Marty, but I was watching the movie Gandhi the other night and there was a scene that inspired me to write this blog entry. It’s the part where Gandhi addresses the Indian National Congress (Chapter 7 on the DVD). The speech (the movie version, that is) goes like this:
“What we say here means nothing to the masses of the country. Here, we make speeches for each other, and those English liberal magazines that may grant us a few lines. But the people of India are untouched.” — MovieGandhi
I realized that the same thing applies to the Scientology protest movement.
Most Scientologists are not Sea Org members or staffers, but “public” Scientologists, the people who pay for courses and live ordinary lives. They are the people of Scientology, and much of what we say means nothing to them.
Why do they remain untouched? Because so much of what we (and Marty Rathbun) talk about – beatings by David Miscavige, entrapment at the Gold Base, forced disconnections for those who “blow” (quit) the Sea Org – mean nothing to them. It’s easy for them to dismiss our claims as lies because they don’t see them first-hand. (L. Ron Hubbard coined a word for this: “Out-reality.”)
So does that mean they are immune to the dangers of Scientology? No way – not by a long shot.
Lisa McPherson, who died after 17 days locked in a hotel room undergoing the “Introspection Rundown,” was a public Scientologist. So was Heribert Pfaff, who stopped taking his epilepsy medicine, had a seizure while sleeping, hit his head on the nightstand and died – at Scientology’s Fort Harrison hotel, no less, where he was taking services he was told would cure him.
See, that’s where the real danger lies in Scientology.
This is something I’ve seen with my own eyes: Grown people with jobs and educations, people who should know better, who send their children to auditing instead of the doctor, and who believe that if a person is accident-prone, it is because they are harboring evil intentions. They make poor decisions – decisions you and I would laugh at if the results weren’t so tragic – because they believe anything and everything that L. Ron Hubbard writes.
“But Scientology has all those disclaimers about how it doesn’t treat any disease…” Yeah, right – we all know how much those mean. In fact, they mean even less in Scientology, because Scientologists are taught that they are a special breed, the only group that knows the truth. Listen to an LRH lecture, and if you can stay awake, there’s a good chance you’ll hear him talking about some sickness that Scientology cures. Remember, government regulations – and governments – are for suckers like us, not the über-elite Scientologists.
Want to know how public Scientologists feel? Check out this blog entry. I bet this guy tunes out as soon as he hears stuff about the RPF and DM’s beatings, because it’s out-reality – it doesn’t relate to his experience. As far he’s concerned, Scientology is the reason for his success. (And his failures are a result of not applying Scientology technology properly.)
In fact, if you read that blog entry, it may sound familiar, because it’s the same thing nearly every pubic Scientologist says. That’s another alarming thing about Scientology: Ask ten Christians what they love about their faith, and you’ll get a variety of answers. (For the record, I don’t believe in Christianity any more than I do Scientology.) Ask ten Scientologists the same question, and you’ll get nearly-identical answers. That’s drilled-in groupthink for you.
But let me get back to my point: The things we spend so much of our time discussing – crimes of Scientology management, Marty’s lies about DM and LRH, whether Scientology can be reformed – do they really matter?
Maybe not as much as we think they do.
That leads me back to the issue of Scientology reform, which I’ve been thinking a lot about this week. If the abuses that the Independents allege were to cease – no more haranguing for donations, no more alterations of LRH’s writings, no more beat-downs by David Miscavige and his staff – and the Church delivered only “pure LRH,” would Scientology really be any better?
Not really, no.
It’s the 80/20 rule at work. 80% of the headline-grabbing abuses affect 20% of Scientologists. But even if those abuses were to stop, the real crimes will still be part and parcel of Scientology. And I don’t even mean the abuses we’ve proven are based in LRH tech – things like disconnection, low staff pay and the RPF. I mean the mindset that causes people to make bad decisions for themselves and their families. The mindset that killed pubic Scientologists like Lisa McPherson, Heribert Pfaff, and who knows how many others.
For all the attention I give him, Marty Rathbun is really little more than a diversion. If we’re going to make a difference, if we’re going to help people steer clear of the dangers of Scientology, we need to make sure we communicate to the masses on a level they can understand.
We need to push our message that Scientology is dangerous and LRH is the reason why.
What’s the best way to make that happen? I don’t know, and I’d love to hear your ideas.
PS: One other line in Movie Ghandi’s speech: “They [the Indian pulic] see no reason to give their loyalty to rich and powerful men who simply want to take over the role of the British.”
I’m looking at you, Marty and Mike.