I suppose the Debbie Cook situation is too big a thing for me not to comment on it.
In case you’re not familiar, Debbie Cook is a former high-ranking Scientology executive. Over the New Year weekend, she sent an email to 12,000 Scientologists complaining about the Church’s emphasis on fund raising for ornate Ideal Orgs and forcing Scientologists to re-take “levels” that they do not need. Ms. Cook blames David Miscavige for the destruction of the Church’s management structure, and quotes LRH policy saying that selling Scientology, not fund-raisers, should be used to make money. The letter (authenticated by other sources) can be found at this Marty Rathbun blog entry.
So what does this mean? Well, for one thing, it means you should stock up on popcorn!
I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude towards this one. Debbie claims she is a member in good standing of the Church, and is not in communication with those who aren’t (i.e. Marty and his crew). Her outlook is clearly similar to many Independents – that LRH’s tech is basically good, and David Miscavige’s implementation is bad – although she lacks Marty’s vitriol towards DM. (I’m sure that will come in good time.)
I have often said that David Miscavige is following closely in the foosteps of L. Ron Hubbard. Debbie’s email bolsters the Independent argument that DM is mis-managing the Church, counter to LRH’s intentions. I can’t argue her with the policy she quotes; LRH emphasized exchange (i.e. no something-for-nothing) (although he did have financial mechanisms in place to accept financial “gifts”). Ms. Cook’s policy quotes clearly show LRH’s intention to use Scientology services as the main profit center (something I would think the IRS should take notice of). As for DM’s provenance, there is little evidence available to the public of what LRH actually intended for Church management after his death.
I would imagine that the reason for David Miscavige’s emphasis on fund-raising is that Scientology simply isn’t making money the way it used to. When LRH was alive, he continually updated
the scam Scientology to adapt it to modern times. Since his death, Scientologists have continued to beat the same dead horses. Their vilification of psychiatry, for example, which may have had merit in the 1950s, seems ridiculous and ill-informed today. But with no new policies being written, and their conviction that LRH had all the answers, what else can they do but keep on keeping on?
David Miscavige is the product of a Scientology environment – the “Homo Novis” who is dedicated to fulfilling his purpose, no matter what. He’s exactly the kind of sociopathic bastard that Scientology tries to create. You’ll see similar personality traits in other Scientologists, especially when they get angry. (See Aaron Saxton’s video interview for a candid discussion of just how ruthless Scientologists are supposed to be.)
Anyway, as always, I have mixed feelings about stories like these. On the one hand, anything that exposes the truth about Scientology is a good thing – and Scientology’s endless “regging” for money is the truth.
On the other hand, this story does, in some small way, perpetuate the myth that David Miscavige is the source of Scientology’s bad practices. To be fair, Scientologists like Marty Rathbun and Debbie Cook are too young to know how bad things were when Hubbard was running the show. It’s a classic example of “Good Old Days” syndrome.
Fortunately, there are still people who remember that the Good Old Days were anything but good. Like this person.
So, as I said, I’ll wait and see. As I’m sure Marty Rathbun will. After all, this could go two ways for him.
If Debbie Cook ends up being an ally, this could be a windfall for Marty’s burgeoning Scientology business, with the potential to bring in a lot of customers with big pockets.
On the other hand, if Ms. Cook is laying the groundwork for her own auditing business, then I’m sure Marty will be quick to give her the David Mayo treatment.
As for me, I’ll continue doing what I do best: Talking about the real practices of Scientology as dictated by L. Ron Hubbard. Despite Miscavige’s attempt to accelerate the emptying of parishioners’ pockets, it is within “the Tech” that the real evil of Scientology can be found.
Let’s keep our eye on the ball – as long as people are reaching for information about Scientology, it is the obligation of the protest movement to see that people get the real truth – not the skewed version of those who, like Hubbard, Miscavige, and Rathbun, seek to profit from its followers.