Monthly Archives: March 2011

Best Scientology pick-up line?

I will never forget the first time I went for word clearing on the e-meter. The auditor, who was wearing a low cut sweater, looked me straight in the eyes and said “Squeeze the cans, please.” It took a second before I realized she meant the e-meter cans.

Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with Scientology pick-up lines. Here are a few that I’ve come up with:

  • “Congratulations! You’ve gone Clear… to my heart.”
  • “Is that a cluster of body thetans in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”
  • “Your body is in screaming affluence!”
  • “I’m bad luck. Why don’t you pull me in?”
  • “I’ve got some charge you can blow!”
  • “Wanna MEST around?”
  • “My org needs a touch assist.”
  • “What’s a pretty girl like you doing on a prison planet like this?”

And, of course:

  • “How’d you like to pick up these cans?”

Let’s hear yours. Have at it, peoples.

ML,
Caliwog

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So Hubbard lied – so what?

We’re seeing a shift in the arguments from Independent Scientologists, those folks who are stuck somewhere between the organized Church and true out-of-Scn freedom. Since it’s been pretty well established that Scientology cannot be proven to deliver the “OT Abilities” as promised by LRH, they are now attributing other miscellaneous phenomenon to their OT levels.

I’ve heard a similar argument about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. It’s been well established that Hubbard lied about much of his past, including his Navy records, his war injuries, even how many times he was married and how many children he had. So Hubbard apologists supporters have taken a new tactic:

“So what if LRH lied about his past? If his ‘tech’ works, does it really matter?”

I happen to think honesty and integrity are the most important traits a person can have – but let’s face it, lying isn’t always the end of the world.

Let’s say you have a great plumber, and as he’s quoting you a job, he tells you all about his wonderful childhood in Bali, swimming across the bay to school each day and fishing for his dinner. Later, you find out he grew up in a trailer park in New Jersey. All those stories he enthralled you with? All fake. So what? As long as his prices are reasonable and he does a good job, where he grew up really doesn’t matter much.

Now, let’s say you hire an investment counselor, and he tells you that his average growth rate for his clients is 230%, and provides letters from past clients talking about how his stock recommendations made them huge amounts of money. You later find out that he’s done nothing of the sort. He spent the last five years doing taxes at H&R Block, and before that he worked in a car wash. The letters were fake, although he did give some stock tips to his parents – tips that he read about online and claimed as his own.

Do his lies matter? You bet your ass they do, because you’re basing your decision to do business with him on his past experiences.

Based on that reasoning, yes, the fact that LRH lied about his past does matter.

Key to LRH’s story is his assertion that he had severe injuries in World War II, including blindness, and he was able to cure himself. That is the basis for his claims that Dianetics can heal the human body (a claim he later had to back down on when the FDA came after Scientology). Dianetics is key, because it’s the first step most people take into Scientology. (And logically so – if you told even the most susceptible person about Xenu or body thetans right off the bat, they’d run away and never look back. That’s why Hubbard used the concept of the gradient, which he redefined as “a gradual approach to something, taken step by step, level by level, each step or level being, of itself, easily surmountable.” He billed this as a key concept in learning, but it’s also a key element in luring people into Scientology.)

As we now know, Hubbard’s claims about his injuries were false. He was never blinded in the Navy, and the closest he came to real action was when he mined a submarine that didn’t exist – unless you count the time he fired on an island belonging to Mexico and nearly caused an international incident.

In fact, the self-styled Commodore of Scientology’s navy once was evaluated as “lacking in the essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation” by the U.S. Navy.

LRH wrote a book on the effect of radiation, referring to himself a nuclear physicist, when in fact he took one class in atomic and molecular phyisics from George Washington University (which he failed – check out Hubbard’s GWU transcript). He has written books on how to have a good marriage, despite being a bigamist and lying about the number of times he was married. He wrote books about raising children, even though he refused to acknowledge two (and later three) of his own children, one of whom was estranged from him and another who took his own life.

Hubbard’s supporters and apologists say that LRH’s lies don’t matter because “his tech still works.” But if you can’t take Hubbard’s word on his past, how can you take his word that his tech is actually his tech?

The truth is that much of early Dianetics – the bits that many people agree does produce noticeable “gains” – is taken directly from proven psychotherapeutic techniques. Hubbard has said his methods have their basis in Freud and Eastern philosophy, implying that he somehow improved on them. That’s an understatement (rare for Hubbard). In truth, he stole them outright, changed and re-defined the terms, and then set about doing what he did best: Going into long, rambling detail about the most trivial subjects. And his followers make a mistake that is all too common: Mistaking verbosity for intelligence.

So yes, Hubbard’s lies matter.

Even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t claim to be a Scientologist but simply someone who believes that Hubbard’s “technology” helped you, ask the question: Is the “tech” really Hubbard’s? If you’re talking about Dianetics, especially the bits that involve bringing past incidents out into the light for closer examination, bear in mind that this “tech” actually comes from the field of psychiatry and psychotherapy – you know, the folks that Hubbard tried to paint as the root of all evil. (They aren’t evil. But to L. Ron Hubbard, they were competition for Scientology.)

Let’s go back to our mythical stockbroker, who got his stock tips from a web site. Are they good tips? Yes. Will they make you money? Yes. But if you’re looking for the best possible advice, who would you rather to go – the actual source of the advice, or a known liar who simply read someone else’s work and claimed it as his own?

ML,
Caliwog

More about Hubbard’s military record

“Imagine” explained, sort of

Lurker posted a comment asking for a translation of Marty Rathbun’s latest blog post, Imagine. I figured I’d take a quick whack at it, and that my quick whack deserved its own blog entry. I may not have everything right, so I’d appreciate it if those of you with more experience in these matters would please, please, please help me out in the comments.

Quick translation: Imagine if Scientology worked the way it says it does.

Long version…

First, the “ownership” stuff – I’ll be honest, I have no idea what LRH is talking about. A Scientologist might order me to “clear my words” (look them up in a dictionary, and if that doesn’t work, look in a Scientology dictionary to see how LRH re-defined them), but knowing the definitions of “own” and “ownership,” it still makes little sense.

Now, to a Scientologist, that makes anything I say from this point forward invalid, because if I have a misunderstood word, I can’t understand the rest of what’s being said. If I WERE a Scientologist, I’d find a justification in lieu of true understanding, otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to go on. Hubbard loved to create conundrums like this; it made for nice long (and expensive and profitable) lectures that keep people pondering and directed inwards, not outwards.

Anyway.

The concept of being “in session” basically means being totally, 100% focused on and devoted to the auditing session. It’s funny – Hubbard said “Absolutes are unobtainable” (Scientology 8-8008, 2007 ed, pages 14, 84, and 163), and yet he dealt in a lot of absolutes. Marty said “There is no such thing as ‘kinda in session’,” and he’s correct. You can be sitting in front of your auditor, e-meter cans in hand, hanging on every word of every question, and then a thought pops into your head and bam, you are “out of session.” Not just momentarily distracted; completely out of session.

Now, compare that to, say, Itzhak Perlman. I’m sure there’s been a time when he’s gone into a show preoccupied, or perhaps he’s been in the middle of a performance and some random thought creeps in – “My foot itches,” or “Gosh, that string is a wee bit out of tune,” or “I wish the timpani player would stop staring at my wife’s hooters.” But he doesn’t stop the concert. He doesn’t consider himself “out of performance.” He lets the thought pass and goes on, but the music keeps going.

It’s an interesting academic point, by the way – if we are distracted, are we still doing what we are doing? The problem is that in Scientology, it is just one of a thousand reasons to stay focused inward and ignore what’s happening outside the bubble of Scientology – a bubble that you at first only allow to envelop you during session, but you soon enough allow to envelop your entire life.

Tone 40 means being totally in command. “Do this now!” It’s an order. It’s how Scientologists are supposed to talk when they want something done. It’s about focusing and ignoring everything else (again, as Marty said, “Intention without reservation.”) Your wife is at home dying of cancer? Doesn’t matter. “Stuff those envelopes NOW!”

And the end of the post is all about how good Scientology would be if everyone had this sort of blind devotion.

The bottom line is that it’s all about devotion to the cause. Devotion to the cause is the MOST important thing.

How else will Scientology save mankind – or pay for David Miscavige’s private jet, or LRH’s desert compound, or Marty’s mortgage?

ML,
Caliwog

Scientology marketing: Give ’em what they want

All the recent talk about OT abilities raises an obvious question about Scientology: How do perfectly reasonable, intelligent people come to believe in stuff like this?

There’s an assumption that Scientologists are stupid or gullible, but I don’t think that’s true at all. L. Ron Hubbard may not have known fuck-all about nuclear physics, but he sure knew a thing or two about marketing, the purpose of which he said is “to create want and to sell something” (HCO PL 1 Jan 1977RA, MARKETING HAT). Let’s talk about how Hubbard designed Scientology to be marketed to new prospects.

I once heard L. Ron Hubbard’s marketing “tech” summed up in a single sentence: “Ask people what they want, then tell them that you have it.” Hubbard-style marketing basically involves taking a lot of surveys – surveys to find out what people want, surveys to find out what they will believe, surveys to find out what their emotions are about a given subject, surveys, surveys, surveys. “Surveys are the key to stats,” LRH wrote.

“…when we broadly offer everything we can do, it is too much. To find out what people want or will accept or will believe, one does SURVEYS.” — LRH, HCO PL 2 Sept 1979 [emphasis in original]

Everything in an ad is supposed to be surveyed, right down to the images – they must be shown, by survey, to remind people of the concept the ad is trying to portray.

Marketing to “new public” (or “raw meat” as Hubbard sometimes referred to them) involves finding out exactly what their problem is — finding their ruin. It’s similar to what happens in the follow-up interview after taking Scientology’s infamous personality test. Hubbard talks about it in HCO PL 23 October 1965, DISSEMINATION DRILL:

“…find out what their own personal ruin is. This is basically – What is ruining them? What is messing them up? It must be a condition that is real to the individual as an unwanted condition, or one that can be made real to him… Once the person is aware of the ruin, you bring about an understanding that Scientology can handle the condition… This is done by simply stating Scientology can, or by using data to show how it can.” — LRH [emphasis added]

For ads aimed at raw meat, Scientology uses survey data to find out what people feel is lacking in their lives. Let’s say surveys show that 65% of non-Scientologists are worried about the economy. Okay, there’s our survey “button.” What do people want? Survey says: Economic security. What do people associate with economic security? Survey says: A house on the beach. Resulting Scientology ad: A family on the porch of their beach house with the copy “It’s easy to secure your economic future – we can show you how. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

Once you call or come in, you get funneled through the same process as other prospects, most likely the introductory film or an attempt to hard-sell you Dianetics or the Communications Course. And that’s where things start to get seriously un-kosher: No matter what your problem is, Scientology sells you the same solution.

So what if you’re not susceptible? You’ll most likely self-filter out of the system – I wrote about that process in “But the technology works!”. Once you’re funneled in to the system, it’s like driving onto the track at an automatic car wash — you get pulled along through successive steps, until you reach OT VIII… and then, like your car, you’re totally hosed.

—=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=—

Let’s shift gears for a moment, back to my third-favorite Scientology topic, Marty Rathbun. Remember, Marty is trying to “create want and sell something” – he sells auditing to Scientologists disenchanted with Church management. To him, ex-Churchies are “raw meat.” See if you can spot the way he communicates “survey buttons” to his potential customers.

I’m sure you saw Keeping It Real, Marty’s latest (and so far last) salvo in the Great Debate about OT Abilities.

After saying that he would only show his abilities to those who believe in them, Marty now says that while he and his wife (a new to Scientologist) enjoy telepathic communication, it doesn’t actually matter if you get OT abilities from Scientology – you should do Scientology for the sheer joy of doing it.

“What do claims, representations, and promises have to do with it? Not a blessed thing. Just like any other life endeavor, if you reach for it you might achieve it. … If you enjoy pursuing it, and you achieve a little higher ground while doing so perhaps you’ll continue pursuing it.” — Marty Rathbun

That one is bound to strike a familiar chord with Scientologists – although it’s sort of ironic that Marty, who claims the organized Church does not deliver the gains promised by LRH because it is not delivering proper Scientology, is now saying that his auditing might not deliver those gains, either.

Well, except for him and his wife and their ability to communicate without phones. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

If you believe that, I’ve got a Bridge to sell you.

ML,
Caliwog

OT Abilities (Oh, God, not *another* blog entry)

With Jeff Hawkins’ OT Abilities blog entry getting so much attention that Marty Rathbun felt he had to step in and do some damage control, I thought, what the hell, I’ll weigh in, too.

(Update: Jeff is keepin’ the pressure on with OT Abilities, Continued. Go Jeff!)

For those not familiar, “OT abilities” are the superhuman powers that Hubbard said would come with doing Scientology’s Operating Thetan levels. They include having out-of-body experiences at will, the ability to create and destroy universes, and complete control over MEST – Matter, Energy, Space and Time.

Do OT abilities exist?

I think that as we go through life, some really strange, often inexplicable stuff happens to us.

I also think that the human brain is an amazing organ, capable of creating some amazing effects and convincing itself of some pretty incredible things. However, it also has some severe limitations – and ironically, one limitation is its inability to accept that it has limitations.

But let’s go back to the amazing stuff the brain can do. And let’s start by throwing a ball.

It is possible to mathematically describe the path of a ball thrown through the air. If you know the size of the ball, the speed and angle at which it was thrown, and the prevailing winds, you can calculate exactly where the ball will land.

Or you can just stick your hand out and catch it.

So how is it that we can catch a ball? Are we all amazing mathematicians? Do we have a psychic ability that tells us where the ball will land? Is it an “OT ability?”

Of course not. Our eyes watch the ball, our brain works out the arc and tells our hands where to go to intercept the ball. It’s not psychic and it’s not magic — it’s simply one of the things our brain is hard-wired to do. And with a little practice, we can do it perfectly every time.

Standing up is another great example. Balancing a 6-foot 170-pound multi-jointed object on its narrow end is a difficult thing to do. And yet our brain constantly makes the minute adjustments necessary to compensate for our movements and maintain stability. An OT ability? Nope — it’s just part of being bipedal.

Catching a ball and standing up are truly amazing feats, and yet because they are so familiar, we hardly think about them. So why is it that when our bodies or minds pull off an amazing feat that we’re not familiar with, we rush to attribute it to the supernatural?

I think this has something to do with our culture of education. Learning has become such an integral part of the human experience that we even talk about natural abilities as learned, such as a baby “learning” to walk. A lot of this stuff is instinct, hard-wired into our brains, but we don’t see it that way.

So when we react in some unexpected way out of instinct – for example, when we have a sudden stressful event, like a car accident, and time seems to slow down, or when a dozen small hints too small to take conscious notice of suddenly coalesce into a notion that comes true, or when our mind simulates an experience so realistic that we are convinced it actually happened – we attribute it to something otherworldly.

It’s not. It’s just our brain – our amazing, spectacular brain – doing what it has evolved to do.

Now, I’m not saying that inexplicable stuff doesn’t happen; I’ve experienced it myself. But most of the time what we think is inexplicable – and I include “me” in that “we” – really does have an explanation. We simply don’t understand it.

The problem is that we have a hard time understanding that there are things we can’t understand. That, too, is hard-wired into our brains. Anyone of us can easily imagine a stack of 3 pennies or a stack of 10 pennies. But ask someone to visualize 10,000 pennies, or 300,000 pennies, or 33,487,562 pennies, and we just can’t do it. All we imagine is a huge stack of pennies. We’ve gone beyond the capacity of our brains.

And that doesn’t sit well with us. How is it that we can build magnificent cities, send human beings to the moon and back, catch a ball flying through the air, and yet we can’t accurately visualize a lousy hundred bucks’ worth of pennies?

So instead of simply accepting that there are some things our magnificent brains cannot handle, we invent solutions that fit the limits of our understanding: An omnipotent God. Psychic powers. Operating Thetan abilities.

I’ve wandered a bit from the original topic, so I’ll sum up: From what I have observed, Operating Thetan abilities don’t exist, in that there are no special abilities that people gain expressly and exclusively from Scientology’s upper levels.

So what about all the phenomenon that Scientologists describe as “OT phenomenon?” Are they delusional? No. They are simply experiencing the same phenomenon that other human beings experience, some real and some simply perceived, but all of it just outside of human understanding – not because they are simple, mind you, but because these things push the limits of what the human brain can comprehend.

And because L. Ron Hubbard conditioned them to credit all of their “gains” to Scientology – and because these people want to experience benefits from Scientology – and because these normal human experiences loosely fit the “gains” promise by Hubbard – they attribute them to “OT abilities.”

ML,
Caliwog

Marty, have you no shame?

I’ve been making an effort not to write headlines about Marty Rathbun, because it makes me sound too much like these guys (a pro-Church, anti-Marty site).

But in Marty’s most recent blog entry, More Truth Revealed, I read something that made me see red. It came right smack in the middle of yet another diatribe about how David Miscavige is screwing up Scientologists, and one day after a blog entry in which Marty said he can fix those screwed-up Scientologists (for a modest fee, I imagine). Here’s the sentence that set me off:

“The last folders I am aware of David Miscavige personally reviewing and C/Sing were those of Lisa McPherson shortly before her spin, psychotic break and untimely death.”

All I could think was: How dare you, Marty?

Seriously – how fucking dare you?

Need I remind you, Marty, that Lisa McPherson is dead because of LRH’s “technology” – the technology you believe in and push on your followers?

Need I remind you that you’ve repeatedly blamed Lisa’s death on Miscavige’s “mishandling” of Lisa’s “case” – not on the Introspection Rundown, in which LRH says that the way to cure a psychotic break is to lock someone in a room and not talk to them? Not even if they are fighting to leave? Not even if they are starving to death?

Need I remind you that you were part of Church management, you were Miscavige’s right-hand man, and you didn’t do ONE SINGLE FUCKING THING to save that poor girl’s life?

What were you doing for the two weeks when Lisa was locked in that room, trying to fight off her silent captors, slowly going crazy, her body slowly dying from lack of food and water?

What were you doing as Lisa made the transition from a beautiful, vibrant young woman to a scrawny, dehydrated, cockroach-bitten corpse?

What were you doing at the moment Lisa died, Marty? Sitting in your office, sucking down a Kool and reading LRH policy?

I know there are a lot of people who did a lot of terrible things in Scientology, people who left and feel a lot of remorse. And I feel sympathy for those people. I feel sorry that they carry so much guilt.

You told the St. Petersburg Times that right after Lisa’s death in 1995, you wanted to “follow your heart” and tell the Attorney General that the Church would “take responsibility.” To the unwary, that sounds like remorse.

Except that about a year later, you later ordered the shredding of the documents that could have forced Scientology to take legal responsibility.

And fifteen years later – fifteen years that you’ve spent starting a new life, falling in love, getting married, getting a house, and starting a business – fifteen years of life that Lisa McPherson was denied – here you are trying to use Lisa McPherson’s death as a pawn in your stupid battle for personal satisfaction. Here you are, using her as a sales tool to get people to pay you for auditing.

Have you no shame, Marty? What kind of a person are you?

Of course, I know what kind of a person you are. You’re the kind who fell under the spell of L. Ron Hubbard – the man who penned the Introspection Rundown, Lisa’s death warrant.

I know you believe in LRH’s bullshit, Marty. I know you look to LRH for the answers, just like Lisa did. I know you trust LRH, just like Lisa did. (I wonder if she figured out it was all a scam before she lost what remained of her grip on reality?)

I know it could have been you in that hotel room.

I know that I should pity you just as much as I pity poor Lisa McPherson. But when you write shit like this, I just can’t.

ML,
Caliwog

“The exact reason why I consider Scientology to be a fraud”

“Mostly Lurker” posted the following as a comment on Jeff’s Leaving Scientology blog, in response to Jeff’s post OT Abillities (referring to the “Operating Thetan powers a Scientologist is supposed to gain from doing the expensive upper levels). Mostly Lurker has generously given me permission to re-print it here. Enjoy. ML, Caliwog.

This is the exact reason why I consider Scientology to be a fraud. It promised “OT powers”, “Total Freedom”, “100% workability”, yet delivered very little. There are some subjective results, for some people results are life changing and spectacular, for others are less than that, down to many others who would have been better off without Scientology and its abusive practices. But the point is: it didn’t deliver what promised. No OT abilities, no 100% workability. David Mayo told us that [Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard] was still working on his goal to go exterior* when he was auditing him. (When was that, 1978?). If LRH was ever exterior, visiting the Van Allen Belt or Venus as he was claiming in the ‘50s, in 1978(?) he was not. Alan Walter wrote on ESMB about an instance where on the Apollo LRH has been caught pretending to see what was happening on his back. An OT8 I know told me he actually went exterior once, but as a kid, long before joining Scientology.

[* “go exterior”: Have an out-of-body experience at will, one of the claimed “OT abilities”. — CW]

Occasionally, I can foresee events. Often with friends we have the same thoughts at the same time. All these things are phenomena, not abilities, and can be found amongst wogs too no less frequently. With my wife often words aren’t necessary, she predict my needs so many times that she amazes me and she never was Scientologist but she knows me. Scientology offers a lot of knowingness about these phenomena, but how much of it is pretended knowingness?

When I was a kid I knew I was not my body, I was drawing spaceships but I don’t remember wanting to go “exterior” nor wanting to gain OT powers. Then I meet Scientology, it acknowledged many things I knew but implanted in me that desire to gain OT Powers. It was not my own. It was LRH’s goal. It was LRH that, with his fictional/theoretical/subjective fake descriptions of the State of Clear and State of OT, created in me a need to reach what he was promoting and promising. My two decades spent in Scientology to “save the Planet” (another implanted goal, not my own) passed with great sacrifices, disconnection from family, no education, and I got almost nothing of what was promised. I am certain that my life would have been much better without Scientology.

Much of the knowledge I acquired in Scientology is turning out to be pretended knowledge or even blatant lies. How do I know? Because there are no consistent results. Look at the Church, it’s a cult that enslaves people. It is evident to anybody that Miscavige is a criminal, but OTs, Clears and preclears in the church are blind and as puppets they will throw family and their own lives under the bus for him, looking forward to the day he will give them the key to the “Total Freedom” that LRH promised. Except, there is no key.

Back to the OT abilities. Auditing helps people change their ideas and points of view and that’s all it does – it never delivered any ability. To gain abilities you need training and practice. With auditing you may get the idea that you can do something, where before you had the idea that you can’t. This is mind manipulation, most of the time desired by both the auditor and the preclear*. The value is that by turning those “I can’t” into “I can” you may accomplish things that maybe you wouldn’t have even tried doing. Therefore is not impossible to recover abilities with auditing as it is not impossible with self hypnosis and with other self help systems. But it opens the door to delusion too.

[* Preclear: Beginning Scientologist who has not yet reached the state of “Clear”. — CW]

Unfortunately Scientology is not just desired mind-manipulation done in session but hidden mind manipulation as well, designed to control, to get people discard own purposes and interests and to assume LRH/Miscaviges purposes and interests. Facing Life, the perfect Ron-droid would not ask himself “How I would do that?” but “How would Ron do that?” I used to think that way for 20+ years living someone else’s life. But that’s another topic, another can of worms. — Mostly Lurker, March 15, 2011