Category Archives: Selling Scientology

Scientology and government: Who is the real hypocrite?

In his blog post Scientology Inc’s Secular Invasion of Washington, D.C., Marty rightfully calls out the Church of Scientology for trying to push Scientology initiatives on the government:

“The hypocrisy of David Miscavige and his Scientology Inc arms knows no bounds. The following church of Scientology Office of Special Affairs (OSA, dirty tricks, propaganda, and bribery unit) documents it. The document outlines a plan to buy a ‘secular tech invasion in D.C.’, through yet another commission based lobbyist.” — Marty Rathbun

Whoa, easy there, Marty. Hypocrisy? You should know better than anyone that getting involved in the government was one of the goals of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Proof, numerous examples of it, exist in Hubbard’s own policies. What say we take an in-depth look at the history of $cientology’s government involvement?

Early on, LRH realized that governments would make lucrative customers. His first speculation about getting involved in government came in August 1951, when he published An Essay on Management:

“Certainly it is true that ruling, as Group Dianetics concerns itself with government, is a specialized art and craft not less technical than the running of complex machinery, and certainly, until Dianetics, more complex.. .In Group Dianetics, should its results continue to bear out its tenets, one is looking at the general form of the government of the world. That government will not extend, as administrator, out from the Dianetic Foundation. But the Foundation will probably train the personnel that governments send to it and will probably be the advisor to all governments.”

— L. Ron Hubbard, An Essay on Management, The Dianetic Auditor’s Bulletin Vol. 2 #2, Aug. 1951

Although it may have been tongue in cheek, Hubbard did refer to a Scientology-controlled government as early as 1954:

“Seeing that Scientology can embrace a science, a religion, a psychotherapy, one of the wittier DScns* recently invented Scientocracy, which is ‘Government of the people, by the thetans**.'”

— L. Ron Hubbard, Basic Procedures, Professional Auditor’s Bulletin #25, April 30, 1954

* DScn: Doctor of Scientology, a made-up degree awarded by Scientology.
** Thetan: Scientology word for the self-aware spirit.

A year later, in P.A.B. #48, Ron’s wife, Mary Sue, talked about “Ron’s Project” to hound influential citizens, including members of government, until they “submit” to Scientology training, all while avoiding public scrutiny:

“Maybe someday we can realize Ron’s Project. Very few know about it, but someday he hopes to have every auditor in the field ‘who is worth his stuff as an auditor’ on the HASI* payroll. They would be given some person — someone in high government position, someone in the arts, someone in religion—people who are in the public eye and who supply thousands morale in the forms of good public works, books, paintings, humor, spiritual aid, to bird-dog until they submitted to [Scientology] processing. These auditors could then simply process and promote without depending upon public approval or financial support which is dependent upon public approval. Maybe someday we can accomplish this. It is a goal worth working toward.”

— Mary Sue Hubbard, The Way Ron Works, Professionl Auditor’s Bulletin #48, Marty 18, 1955

* HASI: Hubbard Association of Scientologists International, forerunner of today’s International Association of Scientologists (IAS), the organization that all Scientologists must join in order to take services from the Church. (More about IAS and HASI)

And in 1956, Hubbard first proposed that they go to governments (by opening a Church in D.C.), and then that the governments would come to him:

“…we are in Washington [D.C.] to get ourselves sorted out to make sure that we get in good with the government….”

— L. Ron Hubbard, “Scientology U.S.,” Operational Bulletin #16, Feb. 7, 1956

“We should add to this the Washington Foundation and train free classes. We should offer these free classes various leaflets, having to do with what good civilized government is, and we hope eventually to open up something like the Washington School of Government and, who knows, make it mandatory to go to that school before taking office.”

— LRH memo “Test Results,” May 8, 1956

By 1957, Hubbard was definitely seeing potential dollar signs. In HCOB 20 March 1957, INCOME SOURCES, Hubbard’s list of potential moneymakers includes “Possible government contracts.”

And what would a Scientology government be like? Hubbard gave us a hint in a 1960 bulletin entitled “Interrogation”:

“…the answer to passive resistance is for the government to passive strike against any district from which it occurs. No water, lights, pay, government or service. Simply use the same tactic back. Don’t use guns, cordon the area off and shut off power and water.”


As we know, Hubbard’s attempts to get the U.S. government to buy into Scientology were never taken seriously. The Fed quickly saw Hubbard for what he was: An ignorant, power-hungry con man. And just as he did when he was rejected by the psychotherapy community, Hubbard grew bitter. Though he was no friend of government to begin with, Hubbard’s tone began to change. A few of many, many examples:

“I audited an official of a government after a dinner party for two hopeless hours one night… I shamefully and vividly recall now that, not touched by me, his idea of help was to kill off the whole human race!”


“Politics died with Victoria. Government is no longer done that way. It’s done not by appeals to men but appeals to their bellies and their fears. The world is now controlled by economic groups who debase laws and rewrite texts and so make slaves.”


“If the crimes committed by a government in one single day were committed by an individual, that individual would be promptly put in a cell and probably even a padded cell.”


Still, hope sprang eternal in L. Ron’s ample Thetan breast. When he reorganized the marketing arm of his corporate structure, called the Public Division, he mentioned the role of the leader (called the Public Executive Secretary, or PES) in caps, and it included getting involved in government:

“The full functions of the new departments are expressed in the purpose of the Public Executive Secretary. TO HELP LRH CONTACT AND PROCESS THE PUBLIC AND PUBLIC BODIES AND TO MAKE AND GUIDE THE GOVERNMENT OF A CIVILIZATION.”

— LRH, HCO Policy Letter of 16 Oct 1967, THE PUBLIC DIVISIONS

Two years later, in HCO PL 29 January 1969, he refined his organization and spread this duty out over three positions. Again, he used the same verbiage: “To make and guide the government of a civilization.”

Then, in 1970, Hubbard established the famous Guardian’s Office, predecessor of today’s Office of Special Affairs (remember Marty’s description of OSA as Scientology’s “dirty tricks, propaganda, and bribery unit”*). Per HCO PL 20 May 1970, the GO was charged with “Press relations, Government relations, Opposition group relations, Troublesome relations.”

(* It always amuses me how rarely Marty mentions that his right-hand-man Mike Rinder used to run OSA. Back in Mike’s days, OSA wasn’t the clown-college it is today — it was a ruthlessly efficient spying and harassment organization. Just ask Mike’s former victims.)

The GO later ran the famous Operation Snow White, an attempt to steal government records in an attempt to remove unsavory references to Hubbard and Scientology. Eleven Scientologists (including Hubbard’s wife Mary Sue) went to jail as a result. Hubbard was named as an unindicted co-conspirator; rather than stand up for his (supposedly) beloved wife, the cowardly tub of shit went into hiding and let her take the fall. He never saw her or spoke to her again – something those who are considering Scientology marriage counseling ought to know (WARNING: Co$ link).

Incidentally, despite no shortage of verifiable evidence, the Church continues to deny Operation Snow White, instead offering their own version of history (WARNING: Co$ link).

But we’re getting away from our story. Despite his growing realization that most governments recognized Scientology as a scam, he encouraged the gentle intrusion into government that Marty is blaming on Miscavige.

In HCO PL March 13, 1961, Hubbard established the Department of Official Affairs, its purpose being “The bettering of the public representation, legal position and government acceptance of Scientology.” Among its proposed actions:

“Bringing continuous pressure to bear on governments to create pro-Scientology legislation and to discourage anti-Scientology legislation of groups opposing Scientology.” — LRH

Hubbard continued:

“The action of bringing about a pro-Scientology government consists of making a friend of the most highly placed government person one can reach, even placing Scientologists in domestic and clerical posts close to him and seeing to it that Scientology resolves his troubles and case.” — LRH

And in HCO PL 6 February 1966, HOW TO INCREASE AND EXPAND AN ORGANIZATION, Hubbard includes in the duties for a “Class VI” organization:

“Overcome any local objections to your expansion or Scientology. Work on cowing dissident government authorities who seek to prevent expansion – don’t compromise.” — LRH

And then there is this more famous (and more ominous) quote:

“Somebody some day will say “this is illegal”. By then be sure the [Scientology] org[anization]s say what is legal or not.”


So as you can see, attempting to influence government members and policies has a long history, stretching almost as far back as the first publication of Dianetics.

It is right for Mark Rathbun to denounce this sort of behavior – but it’s wrong for him to imply that the “secular tech invasion” originated with David Miscavige. Hubbard’s own writings prove that government infiltration was his idea. Miscavige and his goons are simply following LRH policy, like any good Scientologist

Marty has made it clear that he is a Scientologist, and believes in the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. And yet he’s denouncing the teachings that are bound to be unpopular with his customer base, those Scientologists who are disillusioned with the Church. Once again (and just like the Church), Marty is attempting to re-write history for financial gain.

So tell me: Who is the real hypocrite?


“Push-button McScientology:” Hubbard would have loved it!

A while back, Marty Rathbun published an entry criticizing David Miscavige for what he called push-button McScientology. The “document” he reveals is another alleged transcript from a half-decade-old speech, but let’s give Marty the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s accurate, if outdated. Anyway, it refers to DM wanting to install menu-driven audio-visual (A/V) kiosks at Scientology churches to introduce people to the subject, rather than hear about it from live people. The idea is that people can get instant Scientology answers to whatever issue they face, all at the push of a button.

Marty accuses David Miscavige of trying to eliminate the human factor from Scientology dissemination, and he’s correct. But from what I know about Scientology, I think DM’s video idea plays right into what Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard would have wanted.

Despite its reliance on cheap labor, very little of the manpower that runs Scientology is used to actually teach Scientology. While “auditing” (counseling) is done with another person – and eventually on one’s own – much of Scientology study consists of taking courses, which are delivered in Scientology course rooms.

Course rooms don’t have teachers; they have “supervisors” – and they aren’t allowed to teach. They can only steer “students” to LRH policies or dictionaries, look at their clay demos (Scientologists build models out of clay to show they understand concepts), and test them on what they have studied, but the actual information they are learning is supposed to come exclusively from tapes or writings – never from the Supervisor’s mouth. That way, there is no room for interpretation; students learn exactly what LRH wanted them to learn. And they are further conditioned to credit no one but LRH for delivering that information.

Matter of fact, explaining LRH’s “technology” is a sin — a major one. Christians, Jews and Muslims are free to sit up all night and debate the meaning of Bible or Koran passages, but not Scientologists! They are only allowed to show each other written references. Telling someone about a policy or bulletin is considered “verbal tech” and is a major sin. From the Admin Dictionary:

“VERBAL TECH: about the most ghastly thing to have around is verbal tech which means tech without reference to an HCOB [official Scientology bulletin] and direct handling out of the actual material.”

Here’s some of what the Ol’ Fraud Hisself had to say about verbal tech (sorry to shout, but LRH wrote the first policy all in caps):




“The worst thing would be to pretend to have a course but have missing materials and Supervisors giving verbal advice or tech.” — HCOB 27 June 1971, SUPERVISOR TWO-WAY COMM EXPLAINED

“If it isn’t written it isn’t true.” — HCOB 9 Feb 1979, HOW TO DEFEAT VERBAL TECH

Now, in the real world, one way to see if a student understands a concept is to have him explain it in his own words. But in Scientology, that’s a major no-no. Know what the Scientologese word for “learn” is? It’s “duplicate.” Now you know why.

It gets better: Not only can supervisors not actually teach the work, but students may not discuss it with each other. Most course room “study” is done on one’s own, but students must occasionally work together, a process known as “twinning.” Since Scientology is all about isolation, it’s no surprise that Hubbard wrote a long policy dictating the rules of twinning, including a warning that students must not exchange opinions about the material:

“The issues on verbal tech, HCOB 9 Feb 79 HOW TO DEFEAT VERBAL TECH and HCOB 15 Feb 79 VERBAL TECH PENALTIES, should be well-known in the course room.

“Even so, students, particularly when they are new, sometimes get into an exchange of verbal data or opinion while they are twinning. A Supervisor must be on the alert for this and step in to handle at once when he observes it happening. He … always refers the students to the above mentioned HCOBs on verbal tech.” — HCOB 21 August 1979, TWINNING

This is why I think Hubbard would have loved the idea of an all-A/V org – it’s the perfect way to wipe out the scourge of “verbal tech.” Even the best trained Scientologist can’t be expected to remember everything about the Tech – hell, not even Hubbard could keep it all straight. So why risk missing out on a chance to provide the right answer and sign up a new Scientologist?

The idea of A/V dissemination is not new. Remember, Hubbard was obsessed with making films – a fact David Miscavige would know, as he was one of Hubbard’s favorite cameramen. But at the time Hubbard was alive, reproducing films was an expensive and time-consuming process. Video was still in its infancy, and quality was not good.

Today, we have the ability to instantly broadcast HD-quality video to any place in the world from a central server, providing perfect quality with total control over the message – exactly what LRH wanted. If LRH was alive today, he might well give David Miscavige a gold star, a written commendation, and a pat on his little head for his A/V kiosk concept.


What’s all this about the “Mayo Myth?”

Marty’s latest concerns what he calls the Mayo Myth (catchy title, by the way). It’s a Scientology sore point – the idea that David Mayo, a Scientologist who was close to founder L. Ron Hubbard, actually wrote some of Scientology’s upper-level (read: expensive) materials – specifically New Era Dianetics for Operating Thetans, a.k.a. “NED for OTs” or “NOTs”, which encompasses OT levels 5 through 7.

Why is this important? Obviously, every Scientologist is concerned with the origin of the doctrine. After all, this is supposed to be LRH’s “tech,” and the idea of Mayo writing the NOTs materials is similar in magnitude to a revelation that God had help creating the earth. (I’ve always suspected Him of subcontracting out the birds and reptiles.) Doubters claim that LRH came up with the materials and Mayo merely transcribed them.

For Marty, the issue isn’t just about authorship – it’s whether Mayo’s materials are legitimate. Those materials are in the public domain, but merely reading them isn’t enough; you need an auditor to deliver them. If the Mayo materials are legit, Marty can deliver them to paying customers – specifically mid-level OTs, the folks with motivation and money.

Now, some might say it’s unfair to accuse Marty of having a financial motivation; after all, he doesn’t charge sky-high prices like the Church. He claims to ask people to donate what they feel the services are worth. But what do you think someone who is prepared to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Co$ for the OT levels would be willing to pay to Marty? Twenty bucks? No way, Jose. I’m sure Marty, just like David Miscavige, has realize that OTs are where the dough is. Why hit up his dozens of blog commenters for a few hundred bucks of lower-level auditing, when all he needs is two or three OTs on the hook to pay off his house? For the record, I think Marty really does believe in this shit, but which would you prefer – salvage the universe, or salvage the universe and get your bills paid?

Anyway, back to Marty, Mayo and the NOTs. The Church’s big claim against Marty Rathbun is that he’s a squirrel and doesn’t have proper materials to deliver. That’s the reason many Scientologists cling to the Church – as one Scn friend put it to me, if you go to the Free Zone, “How do you know you’re getting the right stuff?” Remember, Scientologists believe that LRH’s “tech” must be applied exactly as written or it won’t work. Having accurate materials is key.

So if Marty can convince people that Mayo’s NOTs material are correct, he’s got a good business opportunity. (And if he can convince people that the Church’s materials have been altered (or “squirreled”), that’s even better, because he can make money and live out his revenge fantasies against David Miscavige.)

Now, if Scientology really worked, this would be a simple issue to solve: Simply see which folks have the abilities promised by the OT levels. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy – by the time he got to the OT levels, Hubbard shied away from solid claims like he made for Dianetics. Furthermore, asking an OT to demonstrate his “abilities” is not allowed – nor is discussion of what happens on the OT levels. That leaves Scientologists crediting all of their good fortune, explicable or not, to Scientology and their “OT abilities,” while skeptics stand at the sidelines and call “Bullshit.”

Did Mayo really write the NOTs? I don’t know and I don’t care. I suspect his role was much like Marty said; after all, LRH wasn’t one to share the spotlight. That said, it’s in Marty’s best financial interests if people think that the Mayo materials really were written by LRH.

Not that it matters much. For both Marty and the Church, it’s important to keep people focused on things like this – anything to distract them from thinking critically about the “tech” for which they are paying so much money.


Positioning, Misunderstanding Of

Back in college I read a fantastic book called Positioning, which is now considered a marketing classic. The basic idea behind Positioning is that brands occupy a sort of ladder in the mind, and the goal is to be on the top step. If I ask you what the number-one fast food chain is, chances are you will say McDonalds. If I ask you about cola, you’ll probably think of Coke. Those brands occupy the lead position in your mind.

So when I went to work for a company that uses Scientology’s “Administrative Technology,” I was pleased to see that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was also a fan of Positioning; in fact, The Positioning Era, an article which preceded the book, is reprinted in the current Admin Tech volumes as HCO PL 13 September 1988R. (For those who have this PDF, it’s in MS3 under Marketing Series.)

The realization that Scientology embraced Positioning was like running into an old friend in a foreign country. I was hugely relieved. Finally, I thought, some proven marketing methodolody that actually makes sense!

But my joy was short-lived when I turned the page and came to a Hubbard policy called HCO PL 30 January 1979, POSITIONING, PHILOSOPHIC THEORY. The beginning is classic Hubbard:

“Although Madison Avenue has used ‘POSITIONING’ for some years, it has not fully understood the actual philosophical background that makes ‘POSITIONING’ work.

“There is an excellent booklet called The Positioning Era put out by Ries Capiello Colwell… It is an excellent booklet. It does not, however, give the philosophical background which, probably, is not generally known. Probably it was never discovered. I had to work it out myself.” — LRH

Did you get that? Jack Trout and Al Ries, the marketing geniuses (and I don’t say that lightly) who came up with Positioning, did not understand the philosophic theory behind it. It took L. Ron Hubbard to straighten them out.

Here’s the true tragicomedy: Once you read the entire policy letter, it becomes clear that Hubbard has no idea what Trout and Ries’ Positioning is all about. The subject appears to have gone entirely over his head.

Hubbard’s idea of positioning is that one can influence someone’s opinion by comparing the unfamiliar to the familiar. Which, by the way, is true. You may have no idea what frog legs taste like, but if I tell you they taste like chicken, you’ll understand.

Hubbard writes:

Positioning takes advantage of a fact that one can compare the thing he is trying to get the other person to understand with desirable or undesirable objects… one can position above a familiar object, with a familiar object, below a familiar object, at, to, against and away from a familiar object. This opens the door to an opportunity to establish an opinion of the thing one is seeking to communicate. You might call it an ‘instant’ opinion.

“For example, we know that an astronaut is a familiar, highly regarded being. Thus, we position a product above, with, below, at, to, against or away from an astronaut.” — LRH

Of course, Hubbard can’t resist taking a swipe at his old friends, the “psychs” and the IRS:

“We know people loathe psychiatry, so we communicate something as being loathsome as saying it is below (worse than) psychiatry. We could also make people think something was good by saying it was against psychiatry, bad because it would bring them to psychiatry, or awful because it used psychiatrists (like the tax people).” — LRH

(This, by the way, is one reason Scientologists come up with such ridiculous opinions. Society at large does not loathe psychiatry, but Scns believe this because Hubbard said so.)

Again, this is sound marketing. But original to Hubbard? Not by a long shot. Advertisers have been using it for years — beer ads showing people having a good time, watch ads showing people getting off private jets, etc. Nothing new. And yet in a different policy (HCO PL 27 Septemper 1979, ADS AND COPYWRITING), Hubbard says this that doing it this way is wrong:

“Here’s an example of an ad that doesn’t communicate… It’s actually supposed to be a cigarette ad but it shows somebody getting dragged on a sled through the snow. It’s obvious what they’re selling – they’re selling snow!” — LRH

As someone with a fair bit of experience in advertising, stuff like this makes me wonder if there isn’t a higher-than-normal suicide rate among “wog” marketing professionals forced to use the Admin Tech.

Anyway, let’s get back to POSITIONING, PHILOSOPHIC THEORY. Hubbard goes on to say how the pros on Madison Avenue are doing it all wrong:

“A common use of positioning in advertising is to take a product which… is regarded by [the public] as the leader in the field and then positioning a new, untried, unfamiliar product above it, with it, or just below it…

“Apparently, from talking to ad guys, they thought that by putting their products in the pecking order against the top product they made their product higher or just with or just below the top hen. That’s what the advertising people get for associating with such ‘experts’ as psychologists.” — LRH

This last bit proves that Hubbard doesn’t understand what Positioning is all about. In fact, Trout and Reis came right out and differentiated their concept of brand positioning from the sort of product positioning LRH is talking about:

“Yesterday, positioning was used in a narrow sense to mean what the advertiser did to his product. Today, positioning is used in a broader sense to mean what the advertising does for the product in the prospects mind.” — Trout/Reis

How did Hubbard miss this?

Trout and Ries are very clear: If a brand owns the top rung on a ladder, like McDonalds does on the fast food ladder, it is very difficult to unseat them. That’s the whole concept of Positioning – it’s better, they say, to try to create a new ladder – for example, fresh-made fast food or “The Un-Cola”.

Now, if Hubbard really understood Positioning, he’d be talking about trying creating a new ladder in the mind by making Scientology synonymous with some concept – say, freedom or charity. The idea would be that when people think of freedom, they think of Scientology.

Instead, he goes off on a tangent about finding a concept that people can relate to, and then writing copy and generating illustrations that will give people an instant favorable opinion. To be fair, this does have some validity. And one could argue that “positioning” is the correct word to use, in the sense that one is positioning a product with something people find favorable. But to say that this is the previously-undiscovered philosophic theory behind Trout and Reis’ thesis just shows that Hubbard had no idea what these guys were talking about. The two concepts simply don’t connect.

Fortunately, at the companies I worked for, my fellow marketers (mostly Scientologists) did have a good understanding of Positioning and we were able to put it to use with excellent success. From what I see of Church ads, the Co$ doesn’t — and I suppose that’s a good thing.

This is why it irks me when people defend Hubbard by saying that, for all his lousy personality traits, his “tech” was basically good. Here we see Hubbard claiming to have discovered the philosophy behind Positioning, and yet it’s clear to anyone with a two-year degree in marketing that he doesn’t understand the basic concept.

Much of Hubbard’s marketing “tech” is good and usable, but very little of it is original – it’s a collection of good ideas that were already in widespread use in the real world. Where Hubbard does claim to have some original insight, he comes across as naïve and oblivious. As we discussed recently in The Art Series, the same is true of his artistic “tech” – and we have the awful music and movies to prove it. I’ve read anecdotes about ship captains who were appalled by his seamanship. It seems that any time an expert in any field weighs in, they find Hubbard’s “philosophies” to be baseless and ineffectual.

And yet Hubbard’s followers are convinced that he has uncovered the true secrets of life, the universe and everything.

Perhaps there’s one thing at which Hubbard did have some true expertise: He was one hell of a con man.


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.


Sympathy for the Indies

I’ve been reading up on the Upper Levels of Operating Thetan recently, and came across a posting by Tory “Magoo” Christman caled A Day in the Life of a Scientologist on OT 7. Tory talks about one of the factors that turned her away from Scientology: The idea that she used to be a truthful person, but had started lying to Scientologists every day when they asked what it was like to be on OT 7 (she told them it was great, when in reality she was having a terrible time).

Reading this gave me some insight into the Independent Scientology mindset. Here are all these people studying the upper levels of Scientology, and they’re having problems. They’re not getting the gains they were promised. They’re not having the “wins” they used to have when they first started on LRH’s Bridge to Nowhere Total Freedom.

And then here comes Marty, loudest of the Freezoners, saying “I’ve found the problem! David Miscavige is screwing up your case!”

Now, if I was a dissatisfied Scientologist, I imagine this would be a huge relief. I’ve been conditioned to believe that the tech ALWAYS works, and that the problem has been me. And yet try as I might, I just can’t figure it out. And here’s the Independent movement with a ready answer: “DM is the why!” It’s just the piece of driftwood I need to cling onto.

Of course, the truth is that upper levels are science fiction bullshit. If they seem to work at all, its because Scientologists want them to work – and Scientology helps that along by conditioning folks to believe that all their gains are due to Scientology, and all of their failings are due to their own mistakes.

The human mind is an amazing thing, and it can subconsciously create all sort of illusions that our conscious mind wants to believe. But at the end of the day, most of the gains that Hubbard promised simply aren’t possible. Clears do not have perfect recall and immunity from sickness. OTs cannot create universes at will. Cancer cannot be willed away, and psychotic breaks cannot be cured by locking people in a room and not talking to them.

The euphoria of “discovering” that David Miscavige is the cause of all their problems can only last so long. Sooner or later, Independents will run into the same problems they had in the Church: The tech isn’t working.

They’ll become like Tory and countless other Scientologists, telling fellow believers that the upper levels are great and the gains massive, all the while wondering to themselves why things aren’t going right.

What happens to the Independents then? How will Marty Rathbun explain that away?

Actually, I think I know the answer. Marty recently wrote this blog entry about David Miscavige delaying the release of the next Operating Thetan levels. “The gains will come on on OT9 and OT10, but DM is blocking them from being released!” And if 9 and 10 ever are released, when people begin to have problems, those will be addressed in OT 11. Then OT12. Supposedly LRH wrote levels all the way up to OT15.

What’s really going on here? L. Ron Hubbard talked about it in a policy called COME ON DISSEMINATION:

“Reach gets blunted or terminated once a person gets his question answered, the solution to his problem, etc… Imbue your prospects and the public at large with a thirst to find out. Mystery, not little scraps of data, will be found to be the biggest puller.” — L. Ron and Suzette Hubbard, HCO PL 25 June 1978, COME-ON DISSEMINATION

This policy specifically talks about how to rope in new victims, with the premise that once they start paying the big bucks taking “major services,” they will get the answers. But from what Tory and other independent and former Scientologists tell us, it’s clear that “come-on dissemination” extends right up to the upper levels of Scientology.


Independents lie like the Church

One of the most devious lies told by the Church of Scientology is that Scientology is compatible with other religions. Scientology tells its followers that you can be a Scientologist while being a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, etc.

It’s only later, if and when you make it to the upper OT levels – once you’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars, years of your life, and very likely turned your back on close friends who are critical of Scientology – that you find out the truth: In Scientology, there is no God, because essentially you are God. As far as I know, that view is incompatible with every major Judeo-Christian and Islamic religion. The story I’m about to relate deals specifically with Catholicism, which strongly rejects the idea of reincarnation — a central tenet of Scientology belief. In fact, Scientology and Catholicism are about as incompatible as two religions can be.

Marty Rathbun should know this. But that didn’t stop him from lying to a neighbor who picked up a Scientology Handbook that Marty had thrown away, read the introduction, and specifically asked if he would have to give up Catholicism to pursue Scientology. Marty lied and told him he wouldn’t.

Dox: Go to this blog entry and run the video. When you get to 0:45 or so, you’ll hear Marty say:

“He read the introductory part of it, all about the religious [sic] and all that stuff, and he got to the end of it, he said ‘It’s kind of interesting, but do I gotta, like, get rid of Catholicism, you know, if I do this?’ and I said, ‘No, no, no, no. That’s just a PR part. Get into the meat and potatoes of it.'” — Marty Rathbun

Now, this story smells a bit, because IIRC the Scientology Handbook does include the lie that you do not have to give up your religion to be a Scientologist. (That is the “PR part,” so in a way, Marty was telling a half-truth.) Scientologists don’t encounter “past lives” doctrine until well into their Scientology indoctrination. Nevertheless, here we have Marty, who supposedly wants to “reform” the Church of Scientology – and yet he’s telling the same lies that the Church uses to lure newcomers.

You can accuse me of harping on a tiny detail, and you’d be right. This is just another bit of evidence that the idea of Scientology “reform” is baloney. Nothing has changed in sixty years. LRH = DM = MR. It’s all the same shit; it’s simply coming out of a different asshole.


Follow-up: Re-reading this post this morning, I wondered if I should have titled it “Marty lies like the Church.” But I decided to leave it. A large group of Independents seem to have identified Marty as their leader (see “propitiation” on the tone scale, peoples). They largely agree with what he says (although that could merely be an illusion forwarded my Marty’s Draconian censorship. And at the end of the day, you are known by the company you keep. If you are an Independent and you think Marty was wrong to lie to his neighbor, please speak up. Remember, unlike Marty’s blog and Church-backed sites, comments on Caliwog’s blog are not censored. ML, CW

Hard sell

This is one of my favorite bits of L. Ron Hubbard’s administrative “technology:”

“Hard sell means insistence that people buy. It means caring about the person and not being reasonable* about stops or barriers but caring enough to get him through the stops or barriers to get the service that’s going to rehabilitate him.” — LRH, HCO PL 26 Sept 1979, COPYWRITING

* “Reasonable,” in Scientology, has been redefined to mean “accept[ing] reasons why something cannot be done.” It is seen as a bad thing. (Source: Scientology Admin Dictionary)

See what LRH did there? LRH redefined hard sell to be about caring. You don’t hard-sell someone to get money out of them; you hard-sell them because you care about their eternity. This is one of the ways LRH took advantage of his Scientologists, many of whom were (and still are) big-hearted people with a genuine desire to help. With the concept of hard sell, LRH appealed to their better nature, taking advantage of their altruism to make more money for his business.

More on hard sell from the same policy letter:

“It is necessary in writing an ad or a flier to assume that the person is going to sign up right now. You tell him that he is going to sign up right now and he is going to take it right now…. One does not describe something, one commands something. [People] respond to direct commands in literature and ads.” — LRH

An interesting religious “tenet”, eh? I wonder what Jesus or Buddah or Moses or Allah said about writing advertisements… oh wait, they didn’t.

Hubbard apologists might try to argue that the policy letter from which I am quoting comes from the “admin tech” and had nothing to do with religious beliefs. Oh yeah?

“If one does not understand this, and if he doesn’t know that Dianetics and Scientology are the most valuable service on the planet, he will not be able to understand hard sell or be able to write good copy.

“So realize that you’re not offering cars or life insurance or jewelry or stocks or bonds or houses… You’re offering a service that’s going to rehabilitate the thetan.” — LRH

If you ever wonder how Scientologists can push so hard to sell services or solicit donations – how they can harangue fellow Scientologists to give past the point that they can reasonably afford – perhaps this will give you some insight.

Imagine what these same people could do if they invested their time, energy and enthusiasm in something that really did help people.


How Hubbard almost sold the Xenu story for $2.50

Scientologists pay thousands of dollars to hear the Xenu story, revealed in Operating Thetan Level Three (OT3), the so-called “Wall of Fire.” But did you know that LRH had a plan to offer the Xenu story to the public for the cost of a movie ticket?

Back in the late 1970s, Hubbard turned the OT3 story into a movie script called Revolt in the Stars. Hubbard reportedly raised a good chunk of money to finance the movie, but it was never made.

Why is this such a big deal? Keep in mind that Hubbard warned his flock that learning the OT3 story by any method other than paying for expensive Church services was potentially lethal. Scientologists weren’t supposed to discuss this level with other Scientologists (not even their spouses), because, according to Hubbard, getting the information about an OT level before one had done the preceding steps would prevent the listener from reaping the benefits.

But when the prospect of millions of box office dollars came up, apparently the risks weren’t such a problem.

Now, if I was a public Scientologist who had paid over $150,000 for OT3 – or even a Sea Org or staff member who had given up years and years of labor for minimal pay – I’d be pretty well pissed off about this. So how did Hubbard expect his followers to accept him suddenly giving away the Xenu story for a couple of bucks?

The Free Zone published a missive from Hubbard, although it has not been authenticated by other sources. As per his PR policy, Hubbard apparently told an “acceptable truth”:

“The RTS (Revolt in the Stars) film… will re-create the events surrounding a 4th Dynamic engram which affected this Sector circa 75 million years ago. However, it will present the data in a way which releases charge and brings up awareness and confront.
.. A wide field of PR activities will at once open up and present itself for use… the film itself is to be viable, allowing a wide range of follow-up items and… a thrust from the public to be developed which can be channeled toward the orgs… Most importantly, since the events portrayed are true, there will be a degree of as-isness of the interlocking bank structure on the planet, thus making our job a bit easier.

” — LRH

In other words, Hubbard wasn’t simply selling the Xenu story at a bulk discount; he was making more potential Scientologists. (We later saw how well that worked with Battlefield Earth.) Of course, if he happened to make a couple of million bucks in the process, well, shit happens.

Now, there is some debate as to whether by this time Hubbard had begun to believe in the sci-fi universe he had created for his followers. Personally, I don’t believe that. When Rocky 2 opened in 1979 – when movie tickets averaged $2.50 – it made over 6 million dollars just in its opening weekend alone. (Adjusting for inflation, that’s about $17.5 million today). That’s a lot more than Hubbard could bleed from his modestly-sized group of followers in such a short time. I think he simply saw dollar signs. Or perhaps he was seeking Hollywood glamor. After all, he was never shy about his self-perceived skill as a science fiction writer.

To me, Hubbard’s willingness to sell the Xenu story to the mass market at a discount proves one thing: Hubbard knew he and his “religion” were full of shit.

Download the Revolt in the Stars script from Wikileaks


Mike Rinder’s survey, Part 1: Surveys and Scientology

While I was away, Mike Rinder wrote a blog entry entitled “Survey: What Impinges — Results“. I’ve got a lot to say about this, so much that I’m going to split it into two blog entries.

Today, I want to talk about the significance of surveys in Scientology marketing. I know, that sounds like a boring college thesis, but I think L. Ron Hubbard’s own polices on the matter provide convincing evidence that he intended Scientology to be first and foremost a money-making venture. Read today’s entry and decide for yourself.

Next time I’ll post part two, about the results of Mike’s survey and what we as protesters can take from it. There’s a lot of good information that can help us get our own message out.

Surveys and Scientology marketing

Surveys are an integral part of Scientology. Why is a so-called religion so concerned with surveys? LRH gave the answer in an executive directive (ED) entitled “SURVEYS ARE THE KEY TO STATS”.

“You and your org[anization] are involved in exchanging valuables for valuables. You offer a valuable service in return for valuable money… So in surveying you are in actual fact seeking to know WHAT SERVICE THAT YOU CAN DO WILL PEOPLE CONSIDER VALUABLE ENOUGH TO GIVE MONEY OR VALUABLES FOR.” [Emphasis in original] — LRH

ED 161 Int, 18 December 1971, SURVEYS ARE THEY KEY TO STATS

So far, this sounds like good business sense. A bit dodgy for a religion, maybe, but fair enough. But LRH carried things further. His idea was to survey to find out what people needed, then sell them Scientology as the answer — whatever their problems were:

“The primary thing you get from your survey is a ‘button’. This is the answer that was given the most number of times to your survey question. In the case of the most recent national surveys that button is HAPPINESS. You want to get HAPPINESS across in your promo. […]

“‘Learn about HAPPINESS – Come to our intro lecture.'” — LRH


Why not just sell the philosophies of Scientology? Because LRH knew that if the average Joe were told about the actual practices, he’d think they were nuts. Better to be vague, LRH said, and conceal the craziness:

“Some student can make his whole audience depart by talking about past lives and OT states when if he explained that people often led sad lives after a family member died he might have an awed audience.” — LRH


Of course, he didn’t want to make it sound like Scientology was crazy; rather, it was the rest of the world that had gone nuts, and Scientologists that had to adjust to our wacky behavior. Again, from SURVEYS ARE THE KEY TO STATS:

“If there was ever a way to ‘win friends and influence people’, this is it. We as Scientologists are continually jolted by the primitive nature of the general populace around us. So by establishing the local Reality and Tone we can at least present ourselves and our product in such a way as to be accepted.” — LRH

Scientology marketing before “survey tech”

Even before LRH developed his “survey tech,” he was looking for ways to convince people that Scientology was the answer to their problems, regardless of what their problems actually were. In 1959, he got the idea that salesman would make great Scientology prospects:

“We should run an ad for salesmen… as follows: ;Treble your selling record – Communication is the key. Free course in how to communicate to people.’

“A salesman is a sucker for a salestalk…they’ll buy any high pressure salestalk ad about increasing sales by learning communication. It is a tailor made cynch.” — LRH

HCO Bulletin of 21 September, 1959, AN IDEA FOR PROMOTION

And salesmen weren’t the only “suckers” targeted by LRH. From HCO Bulletin of 15 September 1959, DISSEMINATION TIPS:

“The best ad to date on actual test is ‘No matter how bad your problem is, something can be done about it, phone . . .'” — LRH

Later, LRH developed his “survey tech” to better zero in on what people were looking for. You can see this in modern Scientology advertising. Last year, Scientology did a series of video ads entitled Life, You, and The Search (YouTube links). Don’t be surprised if they strike a chord, because they were written based on surveys of people like you and me.

Bring them in at all costs

With all of LRH’s ads, you’ll note that there are no answers, only the promise of an answer. The purpose of Scientology ads has always been to get prospects to come into a Scientology organization where they can be hard-sold a course or a book.


“If we tell him there is something to know and don’t tell him what it is we will zip people into Div[ision] 6 [the group that markets Scientology to new prospects] and on into the org…You channel by indicating where and how to get the data – never just GIVE the data.

“Reach gets blunted or terminated once a person gets his question answered, the solution to his problem, etc… keep the prospect’s appetite for knowledge and mystery well stimulated and channel the person right along so that he will and does become an actual Scientologist.” — LRH


I’ve given you a lot of information and thrown a lot of LRH quotes at you, so let’s take a moment to process.

LRH is talking about sales. Find out what people want. Run ads that pique their interest based on what they are looking for — not on the features or benefits of Scientology products. Don’t talk about what Scientology actually teaches, because they won’t believe it (and by the way, that’s their problem, not ours), but rather just get them in and sell them something. Don’t ever give them the answers, just keep stringing them along so they buy more and more and more. And when they reach the end – OT8 – tell them the only way to get the next set of answers (the as-yet unreleased OT9 and OT10) is to bring in even more people.

What other religion works that way? None that I can think of.

What businesses work that way? A hell of a lot.

And if you have any doubt as to LRH’s true intentions, check out this one final quote from the original version of SURVEYS ARE THE KEY TO STATS:

“An example is an AO [Advanced Organization] that got fat selling OT VII to old customers and neglected promotion to get new customers… So surveys of old customers and new customers have to be done.” — LRH

What legitimate religion refers to its parishioners as “customers?” None that I can think of.