I’ve talked a lot about Scientology’s “us vs. them” mentality. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard realized early on that in order to keep people in the scam, he had to keep them facing inwards and give them a way to reject outside influences. Hence the Credo of a True Group Member, which he wrote in 1951, shortly after the establishment of Dianetics. (Marty Rathbun and other independent Scientologists also believe in the Credo.)
Scientologists unquestioningly accept the Credo as gospel — but let’s go through it point-by-point and see what it really says. (You can read the original at this Church of Scientology site.)
“1. The successful participant of a group is that participant who closely approximates, in his own activities, the ideal, ethic and rationale of the overall group.”
In other words: Conformity is paramount. In order to be a member of the group, you must mold yourself into the group ideal. This is one reason so many Scientologists sound alike, and often (subconsciosly?) mimic the behaviors of LRH – they emulate his writing style, use the same phrases he wrote into policy (Marty does this all the time), and even disregard the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
“2. The responsibility of the individual for the group as a whole should not be less than the responsibility of the group for the individual.”
This may sound noble, but in fact it’s one of the most dangerous aspects of the Scientology mindset. People ask how well-meaning Scientologists could lock Lisa McPherson in a room and allow her to starve to death. Well, here’s their excuse: The group was “taking responsibility” for the individual. Rather than turn her over to the “evil psychs” who could have helped her, the Scns administered Hubbard’s Introspection Rundown. Hubbard famously said “We’d rather have you dead than incapable.” That’s exactly what happened to Lisa McPherson, thanks to a group of Scientologists following Hubbard’s Credo of a True Group Member and “taking responsibility” for Lisa.
“3. The group member has, as part of his responsibility, the smooth operation of the entire group.”
Again, the idea here is that if one is a member of a group, one must be fully committed to it. This sounds noble, but it just isn’t true. Example: I own an old car. I belong to a few online owner’s groups for that car. I do nothing to contribute to the “smooth operation.” I don’t help run the board. I can’t contribute much knowledge. I just stop in once in a while and ask questions like “How the fuck do you loosen the fucking power steering pump when the fucking bolts are hidden by the fucking air conditioning compressor? Fuck!” (If anything, I’m sowing discord!) Does that mean I’m not a member of the owner’s group? According to LRH, I’m not!
“4. A group member must exert and insist upon his rights and prerogatives as a group member and insist upon the rights and prerogatives of the group as a group and let not these rights be diminished in any way or degree for any excuse or claimed expeditiousness.”
I love this point, because it shows LRH at his most devous. He starts out talking about the group member’s rights, but that’s not really the point he’s making – this is really about the good of the group. The meat in this sammy is that every member must fight for the rights of their group, which Scientologists do with vigor. (Funny that LRH wrote this so early in Scn’s history — he must have known how much controversy his then-fledgeling con was going to cause.) But it’s that first innocent-sounding bit – actually, just the fact that it’s there – that gives us some clue to LRH’s thought process, that he was even then trying to hide his true motivations from his own followers. Sneaky little fucker, wasn’t he?
“5. The member of a true group must exert and practice his right to contribute to the group. And he must insist upon the right of the group to contribute to him. He should recognize that a myriad of group failures will result when either of these contributions is denied as a right. (A welfare state being that state in which the member is not permitted to contribute to the state, but must take contribution from the state.)”
Okay, first, he’s wrong about a welfare state – as far as I know, there is nothing in the welfare system of any country that prohibits members from contributing, or requires them to take benfits. Even the most right-wing conservative knows that, and yet Hubbard spouts off this wee bit of bullshit, and his followers just buy it. Remember when Debbie Cook said she was ignorant of her legal rights until she hired a lawyer? Well, this is why – she just blindly believed in what LRH and Scientology told her.
As for the rest… “exert and practice his right to contribute to the group”??? Fuck me. What LRH is saying is that working for the group is a right that might be denied or taken away if not constantly used. Well, yeah – if you have a job at a company and you don’t do it, you get fired. But that’s not about rights, its about responsibilities – and LRH seems to be trying to get his followers to confuse the two. This is just another way of getting Scientologists to feel obligated to contribute – if they don’t, they’re not exercising their rights! (What a fucking load, but you have admire the genius, or at least the tenacity, of a con artist who could come up with this shit.)
I’m going to stop here, because this article has gone on long enough, and the next to points of the Credo are closely entwined. Tune in tomorrow to see more of how LRH uses the group credo to enforce conformity and supress bad news.