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When Scientologists Attack

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  • When Scientologists Attack

    Hi Mike - I hope you're well.

    As a renowned author, I wondered if you have had any dealings with Hubbard's Scientology. The following happened to me back in the summer. I've been fairly unsettled by it ever since and wondered if you, or anyone else here, has experienced the wrath of this odd global cult?

    On occasion, I work down in Poole in Dorset. One lunchtime, I'm strolling through town and stopped by a man with a clipboard. Now, I'm not usually one to stop for men with clipboards, but he'd complimented me on my T-shirt, and hey, I'm a sucker for flattery. So I stop. He asks me a few questions along the lines of 'Are you happy?', 'If there was one thing you could change about yourself/the world, what would it be?' I reply fairly flippantly. Undeterred, he begins telling me about L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics programme. Now, I've heard of L. Ron Hubbard. I know he was a third-rate sci-fi author. I know he was leader of the Scientologist movement. I'm also aware in the back of my mind that Scientology isn't quite right; but I'm not quite sure why. He invites me for a chat in the Dianetics offices, just above an Italian restaurant across the road. He seems like a decent chap, so like a fool, I oblige. In their offices, he hands me 'Dianetics' - a weighty tome by L Ron Hubbard, and gives me some spiel about it being a life-changing book read by millions. I crack some joke along the lines of, 'that may be so, but anything endorsed by John Travolta and Tom Cruise scares the hell out of me.' But it's only a fiver. Like a mug, I buy it. And like an even bigger mug, I give him my address so that he can 'write and ask me how I'm getting on with it.' Amazingly, considering my sheer stupidity thus far, I decline giving him my phone number.

    So I leave.

    The next few nights, I try ploughing through the book. It's hard going. Full of psycho-babble and jargon. But it does reveal a few 'a-ha' moments about why we might feel grumpy with others and ourselves. Then into around the third chapter, it claims that all our negative responses are a symptom of 'engrams' - behaviour that's been pre-programmed during unconscious states throughout our lives. For example, in the womb, if we're in some discomfort (don't know what this could be… umbilical cord wrapped too tightly around your neck?) if someone outside says 'Nice weather we're having', we'll hear it, and for the rest of our lives, when someone mentions this phrase, we'll experience the same trauma. Hang on, I think. What about conscious influences throughout our lives? Don't they have an effect? I flip through the pages. No reference to unhappy childhoods. No mention of bad acid trips. Nothing. I throw it under the bed and look up dianetics on the internet. In a couple of clicks, I've found this site:

    http://www.xenu.net

    I'm horrified. Apparently, these cranks believe engrams come from a galactic leader named 'Xenu' who, millions of years ago, trapped the souls of humans in volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Floating in the ether, Xenu enticed the souls to huge cinemas where he enslaved humanity with negative engrams (essentially tiny alien critters attached to our souls and limbs like cosmic crustaceans.) Insiders say that scientology claims all world religions are an 'engram' illusion. So, if you ever hear them claim that scientology is compatible with your religious beliefs, it's bullshit. 'Why do people get hoodwinked into believing this guff?' I hear you cry. It's a classic 'bait and switch'. They lure you in with the promise of self-improvement. Then, and only when, after many years of paying anything up to آ£300,000 (or more) on their therapies, and you reach a level called Operating Thetan 8 (Travolta is one) do you hear about Xenu and his diabolical plan. Until then, you're none the wiser. But, I imagine, if you've been unwittingly conned out of your life savings, you'd be prepared to believe in the Jolly Green Giant.

    A few days later, I'm back working in Poole. I pop out to lunch and get stopped again by another man with a clipboard. I let him do his sales pitch. Then I begin questioning the idea that life experiences have no effect on your behaviour. He fixes me with an alpha stare and an inane grin. Like the other one, he's undeterred. I go in harder and mention the galactic overlord (not by name, you understand; Scientologists believe that merely uttering his name aloud before achieving Operating Thetan 8 will invoke immediate death). He continues grinning and asks me repeatedly to mention his name. I don't. He then asks me my name. Feeling brave, I tell him. He grins again and says that he will contact the police and do checks on me because he's convinced I am a criminal. (I'm not. OK, maybe I've returned a few late library books, but I've always paid my fines.) I can't believe what he's saying. Things get a bit heated. He's convinced I'm a convicted criminal (I discover later that this is part of their brainwashing - anyone opposed to Scientology is hiding heinous crimes, and indeed less than human).

    Enraged, I storm across the street and into their offices. A man in naval uniform (he's a member of Sea Org - L Ron Hubbard's sea-faring branch of Scientology) and tell him I've just been threatened by one of his cronies. The man fixes me with the same alpha stare. He says nothing. At which point, the street scientologist enters and calls me an 'arsehole'. I laugh wildly: "So I'm the one with the engrams, and this prick is calling me an arsehole?!" A lady then enters the fray and asks us to shake hands and make up. Reluctantly, I agree, saying 'don't you bloody dare contacting or checking up on me'. He agrees and I leave.

    Since then, I've read up more and more on this subversive outfit. I can't believe I was suckered into buying the book. Indeed, I'm bloody embarrassed about the whole episode. If you ever come across one of these aggressive little androids, keep walking. Check out http://www.xenu.net or http://www.xenutv.com and you'll see why.

    Mike, have you had any run ins with bizarre cults like this?

  • #2
    Once, when I was 18 or so I replied to an ad in the paper for an administrative position in San Jose, California...When I called for an interviews they made no mention of Scientology at all, they only gave me an interview appointment time and an address. So I took the VTA bus over there and once I arrived was led in and taken to a conference room along with another girl. There they showed us a video about 'Scientology', after that was over we were both lead out and given I.Q. and personality tests...which I thought was rather odd to say the least. Then I was lead to a cubicle office where I spoke to a man who tried to convince me to buy Scientology books + a membership. I already had a bad feeling when I watched the video, it was pseudo-psych babble and it never defined WHAT Scientology's underlying beliefs and principles really were. So I turned the tables on my interviewer and started to barrage him with questions. He was polite but never managed to give me a straight answer to almost any of them. At the end of the conversation I asked him why I needed to buy anything so expensive in order to even be considered for an admin position. Turns out they wanted me to do both admin and 'recruiting' which I was not willing to do. I (unlike him) was truthfull and told him that I was in no financial position to spend that much money and furthermore that my (lack of) people skills weren't what they were looking for. I was young and somewhat naive but the whole setup screamed CULT. I think I did well to heed my intuition...

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    • #3
      Forgot to log-in :oops: ...the last testimonial is mine...

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey stevet! I go to Poole quite regularly, and I know exactly what you're talking about... although I never followed them back to their "nest", as it were. But I always used to stop for the questionnaires, assuming that the people with clipboards were students or something. A friend of mine actually joined for a while, and he says he had a number of what you called "a-ha!" moments, but most people can probably find the same sort of "enlightenment" for free down the local library in any number of philosophical or spiritual works. My friend couldn't afford to continue, so that was pretty much the end of that. Personally, I always get a cold sweat when people smile at me the way you described (whatever their belief system) and tend to avoid them on principle. If there is such a thing as a "Guru" or enlightened being, the first clues should be:

        a) They make you feel welcome and at ease without having to try.
        b) They don't ask you for your bank details before sharing their wisdom.

        In my humble opinion.

        I can't answer for Mr M personally, but the subject has come up before and I would suggest that he's no fan of the Scientologists...
        "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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        • #5
          A Warning To The Curious:

          The Dutch journalist, Karen Spaink had some run-ins with the CoS over the legalities of Net publishing and related.

          The court case 'raged' in the Netherlands from about 1995, until 2003, when the Dutch courts eventually found in favour of Ms Spainks.

          Karen Spaink's web page: 'I write Therefore I am'

          About the court case concerning the webpage in wuestion, 'The Fisherman Affidavit'

          The case file for Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz contains over 700 documents. This web page presents a declaration filed by Steven Fishman on April 9, 1993 in which he included the OT (Operating Thetan) materials as exhibits. Links to a few other interesting affidavits are given at the end of the page. The order form for these materials will not be honored now, since the judge sealed the files on August 15, 1995.
          'The Fisherman Affidavit'

          ...

          This homepage is approved of by court. THRICE, by now. It has thereby become the world's first (triple) legal Fishman Homepage. Read the ruling of the February 1996 lawsuit, summary proceedings, in either English or Dutch. On June 10, 1999, there was a second ruling, this time in full procedure: my page can still stay up. Read the ruling in Dutch or in English. Scientology has appealed this ruling.

          On September 4 2003, the ruling in appeal was pronounced. The courts deemed my q uotes to be fully legal. The Dutch ruling is here. The English translation will be posted soon.

          ...

          This is the famous Fishman Affidavit. To explain why is has become so famous, I'll give you some more information. And please take a look at the Scientology Litigation Kit, where I list the materials used for my defense and the lawsuit materials (lawsuits, plea, defense, rulings) and at postings and news about the Dutch Protest. ....

          Comment


          • #6
            Stevet, I too had an encounter with the Hubbard-org, way back in the late 70s (or thereabouts) in London. The person who clip-boarded me didn't say who the organisation was, and nor did their office hold any clues. It was near Goodge Street underground station, and afterwards someone told me it was a Dianetics/Scientology front.

            I sat in said office long enough to be shown a graph which proved scientifically (using my answers to a few questions) that I was living just below my full potential. All I needed to lift myself up above the line was, of course, to join their club. I smelled a rat and excused myself.

            I �m grateful for your steer to the Xenu web site. I see they have Russell Miller's book on Hubbard and his cult, Bare-Faced Messiah, on line. I read this many years ago, and it left me gape-jawed with amazement.

            One thing all SF fans used to hear about L Ron was his transformation from SF writer (for John Campbell’s “Astounding�) to guru, around 1958. A line of Hubbard’s was often quoted or paraphrased: 'Writing [pulp SF] for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be to start his own religion.'

            This is quoted in Bare-Faced Messiah, and it’s authentication attributed to the SF historian Sam Moskowitz, who says he heard Hubbard say it at a meeting of SF writers. SF writer Ted Sturgeon had similar tales to tell.

            Best wishes to all,
            Guy

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            • #7
              Oops, that should have been 1948 not 1958...

              Apologies.

              Guy

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              • #8
                ew...Stevet, sorry for your bad experience. i think that would scare me, that they had my address! 8O

                GuyLawley: Yes, that quote was one of the first things i thought of about him.

                also, L. Ron Hubbard had interest in Aleister Crowley, but Crowley had no interest in him. The whole thing is just too strange. Finally, I do wonder if this is why Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise split up--his weird belief system. :roll:

                Comment


                • #9
                  Dug up a link to the main discussion we had on this subject, if you're curious:

                  [broken link]

                  Just to give you a flavour, Mr M comments:

                  I really despise scientology , as much as I despise all quasi-religions which in my view prey upon people with problems and in fact make life harder for them by offering them a specialised vocabulary which rather than helping them handle the world only makes it possible for them to think in self-referential terms. A never-ending cycle, which makes a few scientologists rich and most of the others pretty poor. I've disliked them since they began (as Dianetics) and have published several remarks about them in various places.
                  Last edited by Rothgo; 04-21-2010, 02:51 PM.
                  "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the info DeeCrowSeer! I should have checked out the previously posted topics more thoroughly. Sorry for my rambling first post - I think I was just getting the whole experience off my chest! Scientologists... the buggers... they left me feeling a bit, well, stupid...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Was it Saturday Night Live last night that said Tom Cruise's speech at the Golden Globes (was it?) would have carried more weight if he hadn't begun 'People of Earth, I bring you greetings...' Apparently he plugged his scientology stuff. Confused people who aren't very bright but need to give some shape to their lives tend to go for these quasi-religions (or indeed religions) as some kind of spar to cling to. I'm not unsympathetic but I personally believe there are stronger and more useful spars. I'm listening to Cliff Richard as we speak... Certainties for baffled public personalities. Great business. At times like this I'm inclined to recommend the Salvation Army. At least they turn their beliefs into soup kitchens and blankets.

                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by stevet
                        Thanks for the info DeeCrowSeer! I should have checked out the previously posted topics more thoroughly. Sorry for my rambling first post - I think I was just getting the whole experience off my chest! Scientologists... the buggers... they left me feeling a bit, well, stupid...
                        Well, the topic title referred to Rose's Revenge, so it wasn't an obvious connection to make... and you don't need to apologize to us... we've all had a rant or two on here before, and no doubt will do again. At least your ire was directed at people who had directly offended you, rather than the random pop musicians who wind me up all the time.

                        It used to be very annoying in Poole because their HQ was directly opposite the comic book shop, where I had to go every time I visited. being an insecure lad with hunched shoulders and bad hair, they always seemed to target me as a likely prospect. These days I've perfected my "I'm important and in a hurry" stare, so I don't get derailed by religious types as often as I used to.

                        Actually I'm going to rant again right now: I once came up with an idea for a film about a girl who "escaped" the Scientologists, only to end up in the thrall of a vampire. This was just after my friend had left the local group (quite peacefully and amicably as far as I know), and it was a subject I was interested in. I told a friend of mine in America about it (vaguely connected to the movie business) and he warned me against writing anything that criticized the "religion". I think we can all come up with examples of recent films which have offended or parodied one religion or another, but I can't think of a single movie that has really taken on Scientology in the way that Dogma did with Catholicism. I'm not suggesting that there is a conspiracy of silence, or even outright censorship, but it does seem odd to me that the public at large know so little about the beliefs and aims of a group with so many high-profile followers.
                        "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I went to university in Bournemouth a few years back - scientology had a big prescence down there too - used to see students handing out books and leaflets in the high street...

                          Only last week my wife and I went to Glendale and found a guy (mid 20's bad hair etc) camped out with a folding table and a wooden sign reading 'stress test'. The fact he was right near the pedestrian crossing in front of the Borders Store mean't he could harrass anyone who came by. My curiosity was duly extinguished when I saw the dianetics paraphenalia carefully laid out on the table...

                          The L Ron Hubbard building and museum is actually on Hollywood Boulevard - oddly enough opposite another museum (thankfully now since closed) - intriguingly titled the 'death' museum. We chose to visit that one - only to leave after spending 15 minutes walking around a pokey little building looking at crime scene murder photos and car crash victims. Left a bit of a nasty taste in the mouth.....

                          They did have a small exhibit of the Heaven's Gate cult (laughably consisting of a bunk bed with dummies laid out under sheets). Kinda reminided me a bit of the scientologists - makes you wonder how many of them actually believe that Dianetics rubbish and how many are weak vulnerable people, looking to find some sort of purpose to their lives. Seems a little criminal to play with people in that way....
                          Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                          Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

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                          • #14
                            I think I got into Scientology briefly around 13 years ago. I had read the Dianetics book. And at the time, I was also studying into Gnosticism, so I was interested in seeing if there was anything to this stuff. Being that I had a cushy job at the time, I laid down $100 at the Church of Scientology for a Dianetics course. I probably went to about 2 1/2 sessions before I realized they were trying to plant suggestions of "engrams", and their touch therapy really creeped me out. It was probably the touch therapy that bothered me the most. I left partway through, and told the secretary to keep the money and never contact me again. Fortunately I have never heard from them since.
                            Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

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                            • #15
                              I remember John Sladek's expose of the cult in the 80s (I think) was seriously censored as a result of the scientologist's threats of lawsuits to the publishers.
                              It's been around almost as long as I can remember (ASTOUNDING SF --
                              Dianetics: A New Science of the Mind) and I knew some of the first people who joined up, most of whom lost interest as they began to realise what a cobble up it was. Judy Merril and one or two others told me that a bunch of 'Futurians' were sitting around in NY shortly after WW2, when they'd been demobbed, wondering how to make money. They agreed that the best way to do it was to invent a pseudo-scientific 'religion', base it in California and sit back and clean up. 'The rest of us went back to writing sf,' said Judy, 'but Ron went ahead and did it...' I've often thought that the state you can get into while writing at great speed (Hubbard and I had that in common) you can easily start believing the stuff you're writing. Anyone who wants an insight into scientology should read Slaves of Sleep or Typewriter in the Sky. He used to be a pretty good sf writer. :)

                              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                              The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                              Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                              The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                              Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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