All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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By Michael Pattinson
Michael Pattinson's Experiences with
Scientology - Part 1
I have decided to post to Google.com (as fully as possible) my experiences with Scientology here both to exercise my USA First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and to share with others what I went through and what I learned.
I have not posted this series (which I hope will be read by quite a few people) to create threads on a.r.s., as frankly comments and challenges will not change my past experiences or what I have learned with hindsight. Also, what some cult members will post under fake and anonymous nicknames to discredit my story will not affect its truth one iota.
This may also inspire others to post their stories more fully, which will help to give a broader view of the whole situation.
I do hope that the relating of what happened will be of use to others who don't have the hindsight or direct experience or the 24 year track record I had with Scientology from 1973 to 1997, when I left the cult and regained my freedom and self-determinism.
I want to do this in several parts, and to give my story and what I learned in hindsight for each section of the posting. It gives a good contrast and some interesting counterpoint to show the facade of Dianetics and Scientology from when it was happening and what I learned since I left.
I may also ad items to the postings as I remember them so the full picture will be painted in the end.
I was a professional artist when I first heard about Dianetics and Scientology in Paris in 1973. I had a job giving english lessons to corporate executives and bankers. A doctor, friend of mine from University in Scotland, (where I got a Masters Degree in Economics and Social Sciences) sent me Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard. I had been previously reading some books on spirituality, etc but read the Dianetics book as Mary (Rogers) had recommended it.
I went to the Paris Dianetics-Scientology "church" in Rue De Londres after finishing the book to find out if I could get a few past nasty incidents run out of me to get rid of a stomach ulcer and to cure myself from being a "gay" person, so taboo at the time..
I was greeted by a staff member and given a "personality test" with 200 questions, and failed to get a high score. I was then "routed" (taken physically) to a "registrar, a Ms Colette Byasson and we sat down for an interview. She went over the personality test results with me to show me how the low points must be "ruining" my life, and that Dianetics-Scientology were my only hope of ever remedying these flaws. I was also shown Hubbard's "The Bridge To Total Freedom" as a chart-diagram of steps to gigantic spiritual powers ( a state called "O.T." which is supposed to be a spiritual being endowed with being permanently outside its body, lives forever, can do telekinesis, etc.) through Scientology and Dianetics. I was impressed.
We got into my "gay" aspects too and telling Ms Byasson about it literally brought me to tears as I had not confided in anyone about that previously. I was 24 years old at the time and had not been able to tell anyone in my life about being gay till then. In England, where I grew up, being gay at that time was sufficient to create huge social and familial chaos if known, as it still is today in many areas of the world. This created a kind of "bond" with Colette, which remained even after she was expelled from Scientology in about 1980.
It also formed a bond between myself and Hubbard's "Tech" as I had been told, during a moment of real grief and emotion (while Colette was pointing out my "ruin" after the personality test) that it was my only hope for any kind of resolution. I did a "communications Course" with hours of supposedly (but practically impossible) unblinking staring at someone else's eyes, bull-baiting and fronting up to verbal abuse and harassments and then a lot of reading of lines from Alice In Wonderland to practice parts of a whole communication structure. I did that for a week or two and then was encouraged to do a "study technology" course with Hubbard texts on studying, words, clay modelling exercises and tapes of "technology" about studying.
Even though I was pretty literate and well educated I had serious difficulty with the "checkouts" where, if I could not give an INSTANT CORRECT definition of any words selected at random by a supervisor I was "flunked" (given a fail grade) and made to re-study the text all over again till I could do it with all instant definitions perfectly. The first text "Keeping Scientology Working" which was pretty long, took me about 3 weeks to pass on the instant word or re-study checkouts! It contained technical jargon from Hubbard's later courses, so I was obliged to study a whole lot of other materials to see what they meant. They were not english words in any english dictionary. It did get easier as I went through more and more texts but it was a real nuisance to have to be that meticulous at such an introductory stage.
I learned from that course that I "MUST NOT go past a misunderstood word or symbol EVER" or I would have a probably fatal series of consequences i.e. I would "go blank" in my mind, I would separate myself from the study materials and from the group, I would then start to "commit destructive acts" on the area and group and then leave and give up my one hope of ever being a free being or of helping create a better planet Earth. I would also be lost in the oblivion of being a "Wog" (Hubbard term for any non-Scientologist) and remain utterly ineffective in all domains of Life forever. This is not an exaggeration. Such is still being taught in Scientology today.
So I used my newfound "tech of study" to ask what the crosses were on the walls and around the necks of some black-garbed staff members. I was told it was because the French government was trying to shut down Scientology and that it had been decided for it to "be" a church to have more tangible protection both in France and abroad. There was no real atmosphere of a "church" there, however, in my observation. God was certainly nowhere to be seen, just lots of photos of Hubbard all over the place.
It was not a pleasant factor, too, that my course supervisor, Jean-Pierre Vogel, was often telling me he discovered he was a Nazi in his immediate past life! His Nazi checkouts where he would flunk me about 1/100th of a second after asking the word definition and I hadn't yet spoken didn't go with any concept I had of a "religion".
IN HINDSIGHT (for the above period) I LEARNED AND SAW:
(after 24 years of experience within Scientology and over 5 years out of it.)
1. The religious aspect was really only for legal and financial reasons, and had no real factual basis in the studies I took there, which, in definitions of Scientology, specifically excluded "God" from Scientology as it was "outside" the domain of either Dianetics or Scientology. The Hubbard writings about anything at all, however insignificant, to do with "God" are few and very far between, even in their so-called "Ministers Course" (which I took).
2. The Communications Course was a part of a training system to be indoctrinated as an "auditor" (a Hubbard technical practitioner) and was designed to put me under the control of the organization right from the start.
3. The "ruin" aspect of the personality test and first registrar interview was designed to motivate me, by pain and unconsciousness (as my ruin was painful emotionally and from a source unknown to me) to remain in Scientology every time it may come up in the future because the pain would supposedly drive me back in if I had strayed. There was huge emphasis on the "only hope for me or Mankind" aspect (which is utterly fake and false) so I "knew" from what I was repeatedly told that if I failed in Scientology I was as good as dead forever. This IS what keeps intelligent people who are trusting in the cult for SOOOOO long. This, and the longing for huge but non-existent (but promised anyway) spiritual powers that are advertised but not delivered.
4. The Bridge to Total Freedom is not a Bridge (I walked all the way to the end by 1990) and I found it was a Pier to Total Flotsam, as people who get to the end and protest the fact that it goes nowhere pretty soon get thrown overboard and out of the group to re-integrate a society from which they are estranged by too closeted a cult-life. A bridge has 2 ends on different shores. There is no new shore at the end of the pier I walked across. It is a fake "Bridge".
5. Today, in 2003, there is yet to be an "O.T" with scientifically and/or publicly demonstrable "O.T. Powers" made or advertised to exist.
6. The technology of study seems to me more oriented towards cult-indoctrination than self-discerning free-thinking STUDY (i.e. Hubbard is never wrong; if you disagree with him on ANYTHING It is because you have gone past a word or symbol that you did not fully understand. Hubbard being wrong about ANYTHING is not a thought that a Scientologist can compute with in their indoctrinated mind.
7. Being gay was not ever my choice or intention but it is not something that Scientology will ever "handle" however much one spends (I spent close to a half million dollars in Scientology, and I still want my money back!). Scientology considers being gay as an "aberration" that needs to be erased. However, they don't erase it and are in actual practice anti-gay (as I and others got sent to "ethics" correction for such behavior). They did, however, accept hundreds of thousands of "Gay dollars" from me in full for a service they never delivered in full. Being gay may be something we don't understand yet but it exists in millions of people and, even when humans who misapply their own religious beliefs and spit hate out at gays, God loves me just the way I am.
8. I have never known ANYONE to flawlessly pass the "personality test". So there is ALWAYS fodder to ask the testee for money to "handle".
That, alone, is worth more than all I ever got out of Scientology.