By Michael Leonard Tilse more
27 September 2003
Copyright (c) 2003
How to get a Scientologist to talk to you. Essay
Copyright (c) 2003, Michael Leonard Tilse, All rights
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Doing so is a violation of my copyright. Anybody else can read
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27 September 2003 Copyright (c) 2003,
Michael Leonard Tilse
How to get a Scientologist to talk to you.
Recently I wrote an essay entitled: "How to talk to a
scientologist." Now revised to version 1.1 It seems to be well
received and useful. But it has been mentioned that it is hard
get scientologists to really talk with you. Instead, they seem
to be interested only in recruiting, or if you are a critic,
making you wrong.
Now, I think this is a limited view. When I was in
scientology and talking with my friends who were scientologists,
many times we would talk about how mad we were that somebody was
doing unethical things, or our failures or things that we knew
we needed to fix about ourselves.
We all hoped that we could use scientology to improve these
things. And we were privately amazed and disgusted when someone
on OT VII would refuse to pay rent for a house they occupied and
then also refuse to leave the house. And the scientologist who
was owner couldn't get them thrown out because the deadbeat was
"high on the bridge."
Or I heard about a scientologist company owner who gave the
weeks payroll to the IAS and then gathered the staff and told
them the company was now a "Patron", and they would have to wait
to get paid. (Actual event described as a "win", and
communicated to me by IAS West US Membership Tour staff.)
We would have these kinds of talks where we shared our
feelings and our opinions, the internal scientology gossip,
quite often in the best give and take manner of the scientology
communication formula. Real communication.
But, no matter how much these kind of events horrified me or
my friends, we would never reveal them to any
non-scientologists. It would be bad "PR". And so no real
communication about these matters would escape the fold. Or so
When I was in scientology and talking to someone who was not
a scientologist I would suppress my dissatisfactions and try to
win them over to become a scientologist. And when I confronted a
critic I would try to intimidate them and make them wrong. So
strong was my self-created hope that scientology worked for me
that the trance like state of needing to remain in scientology
continued in the face of these things that didn't make sense. It
was a picture of scientology that I kept putting in front of my
eyes, kept hoping for, instead of the actual state of things.
There is another reason why you cannot get a scientologist to
really talk to you. It is because they are intent on doing
something to you. In most cases, this is the so-called
"dissemination drill." This "dissem" drill is designed to bring
you to understanding that scientology is for you. It has
specific parts to it and a scientologist who is trying to
recruit you is going through the steps of the drill. Their
attention is on the drill and how to move you through it, not on
really communicating with you. Some times their communication is
only feigned so as to make it appear they are really interested
in you, when really they are intent on doing the drill to get
One thing used is the steps of "help", "control",
"communication" and "interest". First will come a discussion or
mention of "help" and how people should be helped. And of course
it is hard to disagree with that. Next will be a mention of or
perhaps an example of "control". Such as you bringing them a
book when they asked or passing the salt cellar they requested.
An explanation follows about control not being bad if it is
direct and unharmful. Perhaps the idea that control of a car is
good contrasted with lack of control. And it is hard to disagree
there also. And so on with communication which we also agree is
necessary. By then we are supposed to be interested in what the
scientologist has to say.
I think these steps, while appearing benign, are really a
kind of hypnotic induction that makes it difficult to disagree
with the scientologist while making the subject of this
procedure suggestible. Of course, even though Hubbard was a
master hypnotist, scientologists would deny that this has
anything to do with hypnotism. Even if it was hypnotism, it
might be justified as being useful, as long as it made more
Another thing that happens, if you are a critic and they know
it, is that they will use scientology principles to try to
introvert you or chop off your communication.
An instance is the famous "LaserClam" who posts to the usenet
news group "alt.religion.scientology." This thing posts
questions designed to make a person posting to or reading the
forum to introvert. These are similar to questions that would be
used in scientology style counseling, designed to bring
upsetting feelings to the forefront for repair. But in such a
forum no repair can occur, only upset. Surely a black use of
So, I have some basis for understanding why a critic or an
outsider sometimes can't get a scientologist to talk to them.
What is the solution? I have no pat answer. Certainly any
communication you make with the idea to forcibly or slyly
"change their mind", will be met with resistance. That is not a
way to real communication.
So, how DO you get a scientologist to talk with you?
I have a suggestion, which might alienate various critics,
but which I want to explore in this essay. Call it a working
hypothesis. It extends from my own experience and the
experiences I have read in the stories of ex-scientologists.
Among them Tory Christman and
Arnie Lerma. And lest you think
otherwise, no, I'm not covertly trying to make you into a
You see, one of the reasons I am out of scientology is that I
experienced a refusal to apply scientology basics by staff
members, ethics officers and management. In fact it might be the
basic reason. I couldn't understand how the simplest basics of
scientology writings were being ignored wholesale when I tried
to apply them to my experiences in the church itself.
Having the understanding of scientology basics that I do, and
being faced with the continued refusal of the church of
scientology to use them created the conflict that eventually
drove me out. I tried for years to figure out why this was
happening. I tried to fix myself by getting scientology
counseling. Yet, in the end I simply couldn't reconcile how I
was being treated, as compared with what I expected from
studying basic scientology principles.
I think Arnie Lerma experienced an extreme form of this same
kind of conflict. When he was threatened with physical harm if
he didn't call off his impending marriage to Hubbard's daughter
Suzette, on orders from the "top", it was a conflict. I think
that at a basic level, this was so obviously NOT scientology
that it broke the trance. As he relates, it shattered the "pavlovian
What happened to Lisa McPherson was not scientology. This is
one reason why many scientologists have a hard time believing
what you say about it. It is simply inconceivable that it would
happen. But once they read official documents like the felony
indictments, read the deposition transcripts, it begins to dawn
on them that what happened, and is being vigorously defended by
the church, would never have happened if simple basic
scientology like "if you are sick, see a doctor" had been
applied. And reading that is something that breaks the trance if
they can get that far.
Tory Christman is another example. I believe that when she
was confronted with the actions of the OSA "mafia", (as she
calls it), that she had been lured into working for, she
observed a blatant conflict with basic scientology principles.
That with everything else finally shattered the "Truman Show"
for her so she was ready when Andreas of
sent her a compassionate email.
Given these stories and others, I have the hypothesis that
the reason people leave scientology is that they realize it is
no longer actually scientology, and it isn't working.
A scientologist who hasn't left yet is still trying to make
scientology work, and still thinks with the basics of it.
So to really get a scientologist to talk to you, if they are
not disenchanted yet, you're gonna have to learn some basic
scientology. And use it.
Why is that? One reason is that any scientologist is a sucker
for scientology. They respond to it. After all, there they are,
right? Another is that some of the basic understandings in
scientology, for good or ill, do seem to be workable. Even if
Hubbard was a lunatic.
My theory is this: You have to get them to directly compare
their actual environment in scientology with the picture they
have of scientology. And you can use some basic scientology and
their knowledge of it to do that. You can get them talking to
you and then, if it goes well, looking at scientology instead of
reflexively defending it.
I would start with not invalidating them for being a
scientologist. Just don't criticize them at all. When an church
of scientology staff or OSA member harassing a picket line
invalidates a critic they are actually violating scientology.
They are using a form of black scientology. Don't respond in
kind, communicate in the way scientology itself teaches!
One basic to use is the scientology concepts of affinity,
reality and communication. In scientology this is known as ARC.
It is an interesting concept.
The affinity point explains why you are more willing to talk
with people you like.
The reality point explains why you have more to talk about
with people who have similar ideas or experiences.
The communication point explains that it can increase both
affinity and reality.
All this together is supposed to equal understanding.
Now, I don't care if this concept and its application REALLY
works or not. Or who wrote it or invented it. The point is, a
scientologist is trained on this, he lives it. It works for him.
And if you use it when you are trying to get him to talk to you,
it will work, because it works for HIM.
Find a reason to like this person. Be compassionate. Be
willing to be near them, be willing to have them communicate.
After all, it could have been you, once. Or still.
Figure out something that you can agree on, because in
scientology, agreement equals reality. See if you can discuss
things that you don't have in conflict. Baseball, the weather,
how hard it is to get shoes that fit. Don't talk about the
obvious things you have disagreement on, like Hubbard, or "it
isn't a religion."
If they insist on saying things you don't like, let them know
that they aren't building much affinity. And that it is hard to
communicate if they insist on doing that. If they assert things
are true that you don't agree with, let them know that you don't
have much reality with that and you would like to communicate
about things you both agree with. If they try to invalidate you
or try to introvert you, call them on it as a black use of
All these things are easier with family members or friends
because you already have affinity and reality with them on
things that don't involve Scientology.
If you feel that they are doing something, be upfront about
it. Ask them if they are doing a dissem drill or some kind of
handling? Tell them you want to really talk together, not be the
subject of some "process." Have them tell you about what they
were doing. Did it seem to be working? What did they think of
your reactions? If they were going to continue, what would they
do next? And then find out if there is anything they think you
might both agree on?
Another tactic is for you to use the dissem drill. I think
reversing this on a scientologist you want to talk with will
pull them right into communication.
Use the help, control, communication, interest to draw them
in. Use ARC to get them talking with you.
You can continue on in this line until you and the
scientologist are on a good conversational friendly level. If
you read "Dianetics 55" or "Problems of work" by Hubbard, these
can give you an idea of the basics the scientologist works on.
And give you something to talk about.
Let them know you are there to listen. And to help. Mention
your own experiences, things you actually know to be fact.
Saying things about what other people have said is, I think, a
losing game. They can tune you out and justify doing it as "you
are spreading lies." Because it is secondhand. But your own
experience is powerful. It is you and your truth testifying.
If you take this approach, you will wind up in communication
with your scientologist.
Then take to heart my other essay, "How to talk to a
scientologist." I think you might both have a win. ;-)
Michael Leonard Tilse