We’re still waiting on the official Church of Scientology response to the New Yorker article, but one pro-Church anti-Marty site has already weighed in, telling it’s readers they needn’t bother to read the article.
Says author “Joe”:
I don’t recommend anyone read the article. It’s a waste of time for anyone who has ever been genuinely helped by Scientology, and who has seen the same old tired attack points put forth before.
It just so happens that it’s not the same old points, although the theme that L. Ron Hubbard was a con man and full of crap is fairly consistent throughout most Scientology criticism. But that’s neither here nor there.
What does LRH say?
I’m sure there are Independent Scientologists who would characterize this as typical of modern-day Church leader David Miscavige. To his credit, Marty did encourage his flock to read the New Yorker article, despite the anti-LRH content within. But as “Joe” points out, the idea of ignoring criticism is not a new one – it comes from LRH. He’s even kind enough to provide an LRH reference, a technical bulletin that LRH originally wrote as an article in Scientology’s Ability magazine, and which became part of Church scripture in 1987. Here’s LRH:
“Those who are not Scientologists are left in complete ignorance of the motives of the dishonest. And they have no chance of personal immortality.
(Get that? We wogs don’t know anything about what’s really going on; only Scientologists get it. Sorry for interrupting.)
“Those who criticize one for being a Scientologist or make snide remarks cannot stand a personal survey of past actions or motive. This happens to be a fortunate fact for us. The criminal abhors daylight. And we are the daylight.
“Now, get this as a technical fact, not a hopeful idea. Every time we have investigated the background of a critic of Scientology, we have found crimes for which that person or group could be imprisoned under existing law. We do not find critics of Scientology who do not have criminal pasts. [Emphasis in original]
“Criminals hate anything that helps anyone, instinctively.
“There is no good reason to oppose Scientology.
“And we have this technical fact—those who oppose us have crimes to hide. It’s perhaps merely lucky that this is true.
“Never discuss Scientology with the critic. Just discuss his or her crimes, known and unknown. And act completely confident that those crimes exist. Because they do.” — LRH, HCOB 5 November 1967, CRITICS OF SCIENTOLOGY
Read the full bulletin here.
Kill the messenger
This is LRH’s famous “dead agent” technique: Instead of addressing the facts, kill the writer’s credibility. To be fair, LRH doesn’t outright say to ignore the New Yorker article (at least, not in this policy). But he makes it clear that Paul Haggis and Lawrence Wright are criminals. They must be, because they criticize Scientology. And why listen to a critic?
Besides, Scientologists are taught to avoid “entheta” (bad news, anti-Scientology statements, etc.) at all costs. Entheta isn’t just an annoyance – it can cause problems with your spiritual progress which have to be corrected. And at up to $1,000 or more per hour for Scientology auditing, who wants to risk that?
No wonder Scientologists will happily take Joe’s advice to skip the article, and if they don’t, they will happily take LRH’s advice that these are just criminals desperately putting up a smoke screen so that their own crimes won’t be discovered. (There’s something to that. I don’t write this blog because I want to help people avoid Scientology – I do it because I’m a serial car thief. Every time my neighbors see a new Mercedes parked in my driveway, they say “Oh, good – a new Caliwog blog post tomorrow!”)
But what about “Look, don’t listen”?
Some Scientologists have argued that LRH did not tell people to ignore criticism. They quote LRH as saying “Look, don’t listen.”
LRH did indeed write those words – it was the title of a policy letter, as a matter of fact (HCO PL 16 March 1972 Issue I). But “LOOK DON’T LISTEN” doesn’t talk about evaluating criticism. It’s a policy about being an Esto, or Establishment Officer, the person who’s job it is to make sure that an organization does business briskly. And what the policy says is not to take into account extenuating circumstances. Look at production, and if it’s low, don’t listen to why; just go in and blindly kick some ass.
Back to my point: What “Joe” is saying is correct. If you are a Scientologist, and if you believe that what LRH said was true, then Haggis is a criminal, as is Wright – of course, Hubbard also says that reporters are simply tools who are paid to write bad stories. (More on that here.)
Either way, if you’re a Scientologist, you’re free to ignore the fact that Scientology is a scam, Hubbard was a con man and a liar, and David Miscavige is a thug. Just keep getting processing. You’re not the one being fooled – the rest of the world is!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pass some bad checks in order to get ready for my next critical article…
P. S. My favorite part of LRH’s CRITICS OF SCIENTOLOGY is the second paragraph
“If the wife was stepping out with your best friend behind your back, and one day she found you had thoughts of joining a group that taught you people’s motives and reactions and made you understand them, she would throw a mad-dog fit to prevent your progress.” — LRH
Um, no, dumbass, she’d encourage you to join and go to lots of meetings so she could spend more time boffing your best friend. Geez, Ron, no wonder you got caught when you cheated on Polly!