by Jeff Jacobsen more
and Robert RJ. Day
"Scientology is evil; its techniques evil; its practice a
serious threat to the community, medically, morally and
socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally
ill." — Australian Report on Scientology
What religious organization teaches that, 75 million years
ago, a tyrannical interstellar ruler named
Xenu solved a
galactic overpopulation problem by transporting beings to Earth
and annihilating them with H-bombs? What religious organization
disciplines its own members with measures ranging from
suspension of pay and disbarment from premises up to labelling
them as "fair
game," for which they can be "tricked, sued, lied to or
What religious organization follows faithfully the teachings
of a pulp science fiction author who claims to have visited
Heaven over forty trillion years ago?
What religious organization has had its offices raided by
government officials in three American states, Canada, Germany,
Italy and France?
Welcome to the church of Scientology.
In 1949, Lafayette Ron
Hubbard, the founder of
the Church of Scientology,
reportedly told an audience at a science fiction gathering,
"Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants
to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his
One year later, Hubbard's book,
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, was
published and became an instant, runaway best-seller.
Hubbard opens the book by referring to some of the great
events in history, such as the invention of the wheel and the
control of fire, then goes on to state, "In my opinion DIANETICS
is worthy of being called a New Idea, and is destined to take
its place alongside of these other milestones of progress. It
might even be considered to be more important than any of these,
for it is a science which for the first time gives us an
understanding of the tool with which these other inventions were
created — the human mind." In the book, Hubbard
claimed to have developed a new scientifically proven technique,
discovered through "many years of exact search and careful
testing," for the improvement of mental health through the
eradication of "engrams" — stored
memories that cause aberration in humans.
According to Hubbard, engrams begin accumulating "in the
cells of the
zygote, which is to say, conception," many of these engrams
being caused by abortion attempts, and that between 20 and 30
such attempts are an average number for a typical mother.
Engrams are removed through a process called "auditing,"
which can produce "tears and wailings," "somatics enough to make
the patient roll around on the floor," and a "patient ... that
bounces about, all unconscious of the action."
Once all the engrams are removed, the person becomes a "Clear"
and never again has colds or accidents, has improved IQ, total
call, a longer life, and is perhaps even cured of cancer. Or
such are the claims.
Shortly after the publication of Dianetics, auditing was
taken up with great enthusiasm in California, and in 1950,
Hubbard booked the 6,500 seat Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium for
a momentous occasion — the unveiling of what he
claimed was the world's first Clear, a college student named
Sonia Bianca. The result was nothing short of a disaster. Miss
Bianca not only could not recall elementary formulae from
physics, which was her major at the time; she could not remember
the color of Hubbard's tie after he had tumed his back.
This setback seemed to be a minor one and, within a year, the
Wichita Dianetic Foundation was doing a booming business,
charging over $500 for 36 hours of Dianetic auditing. In the
meantime, Hubbard had put the Bianca fiasco behind him and was
producing a stream of new and even more amazing facts regarding
According to Hubbard, further research showed that, behind
the analytical and reactire minds, there lay entities known as "Thetans."
These Thetans are non-physical and immortal, somewhat analogous
to the human soul; they inhabit human bodies, moving them around
like puppets. Because of their immortality, when their current
human host dies, they are forced to vacate and must find another
Apparently, these Thetans come equipped with all of the
engrams they have collected in all of their previous lifetimes.
Hubbard taught it was possible, although extremely expensive, to
clear even these ancient engrams. This necessitated a change in
terminology, and what used to be a Clear now became a MEST-Clear,
MEST standing for "matter, energy, space, time," while those who
managed to eradicate all engrams from all previous lives would
have bestowed upon them the title of "Operating
While the Clear state is the main goal of Dianetics,
Scientology continues the process with eight OT (Operating
above this that are available as well, which require more
In both Dianetics and Scientology, the object is to eliminate
the causes of our aberrant behavior by the eradication of
engrams through the process of Dianetic auditing. The person
being audited holds two tin cans which are wired to an "E-meter"
that registers when an engram is discovered. The E-meter (also
called a "pastoral counselling device") is basically a
skin-response galvanometer which the church sells for from $900
to $2500. When an engram is discovered, the event that created
the engram is relived until the needle "floats," meaning the
engram is gone. Strangely enough, Hubbard himself admits that
the E-meter "...is a religious arfifact used in the Church
Confessional. It, in itself, does nothing."
Actually, the doctrine is considerably more involved than the
above, with the mind divided into its analytical and reactive
sides, with "demon circuits," "chains " — in fact, a
476-page "technical dictionary" lists all the specialized
concepts and terminology. Many of the definitions in the
dictionary seem inspired by Hubbard's career as an author of
pulp science fiction. One such listing is for something called
the "Marcab Confederacy," described as an organization of
several planets which have united in the last 200,000 years.
According to the dictionary, "In the last 10,000 years they have
gone on with a sort of decadent kicked-in-the-head civilization
that contains automobiles, business suits, fedora hats,
L. Ron Hubbard had been a science fiction writer both before
and after his work on Dianetics and Scientology, and there is
overwhelming evidence that biographical Scientology literature
on Hubbard is just as much a work of fiction. According to
Church literature, Hubbard's exploits were nothing short of
legendary and his lifetime accomplishments would have put a
dozen ordinary men to shame.
Closer examination, however, reveals a very different
picture. Rather than being, as he had claimed, a war hero, a
famous Hollywood screenwriter, a U.S. intelligence officer, a
record setting pilot, a Princeton graduate and a rocket
engineer, Hubbard was in fact a
at George Washington University who dropped out after two years
and failed the one course in nuclear physics in which he was
Navy fitness record states that he was "lacking in the
essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation" and
was "not considered qualified for command or promotion." The
most notable incident of his military career appears to have
been, when in command of a submarine chaser, he fought a
prolonged, two-day battle against what proved to be a magnetic
deposit on the ocean floor.
In a 1984 British custody battle involving Scientologists,
Mr. Justice Latey, a high court judge in England, also concluded
that Hubbard was not a war hero, a squadron leader, an atomic
physicist, nor an intelligence officer for the U.S. In fact, the
Scientology counsel in the case did not even attempt to refute
the charges against Hubbard. According to Latey, "There is no
dispute about any of this. The evidence is unchallenged."
Still another judge, Paul A. Breckenridge of the Los Angeles
County Superior Court, presided over a lawsuit against the
church in 1984. Of Hubbard, he said, "The evidence portrays a
man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to
his history, background and achievements."
One former Scientologist,
Armstrong, left the church after being assigned to write a
biography of Hubbard. The documents he was given showed that L.
Ron Hubbard had seriously misrepresented his past. Armstrong
went to court to keep these documents, fearing that without them
he would be vulnerable to attack from the church. Armstrong had
good reason to fear. In a 1967 memo that came to be known as the
Fair Game Policy, Hubbard described penalties for lower
conditions, including, "Enemy — SP (Suppressive
Person) Order. Fair Game. May be deprived of property or injured
by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the
Scientologist. May be tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed."
Hubbard's attitude to potential criticism of the church was
that, "If there will be a long term threat, you are to
immediately evaluate and originate a
black PR campaign to
destroy the person's repute and to discredit them so thoroughly
that they will be ostracized."
A chilling example of the above involves
Paulette Cooper, the
author of the
Scandal of Scientology. The Church's response to
Cooper's book is detailed in a document describing "Operation
Freakout," which was designed to "get PC incarcerated in a
mental institution or jail, or at least to hit her so hard that
she drops her attacks."
Cooper, who says she was served with 18 lawsuits against her
by the church, had a nervous breakdown after someone sent
bomb threat on her stationery. She was cleared of the
charges after a 1977 raid on a church office where documents
outlining Operation Freakout were discovered.
In a section entitled "VITAL TARGETS," the document
"Operation Freakout" gives specific details of the harrassment
program against Cooper. Such actions include an obvious attempt
to impersonate Cooper, with directions like "To recruit an FSM
(Field Staff Member) that looks like PC...," "to get familiar
with PC to find out some of the clothes she wears particularly
what sort of coat she usually wears...," "To get a cheap coat
that is very similar to PC's," "To have someone available to
steak (sic) out PC when she leaves her place the day of the
caper, to ascertain when she leaves, what she's wearing, etc,"
"Obtain wig that looks like PC, so that FSM PC can wear it
during caper," etc. Further details of "Operation Freakout"
describe framing Cooper on a bomb threat charge against two Arab
consulates in New York City. A further memo dated 13 April 1967
regarding "PC Op Freakout" states, "The FBI already think she
really did do the bomb threats on the C of S."
Someone else who incurred the Church's wrath is
Dr. John Clark, an American
psychiatrist and outspoken critic of Scientology. According to
the Latey decision, "Beginning in 1977 the Church of Scientology
has conducted a campaign of persecution against Dr. Clark. They
wrote letters to the Dean at the Harvard Medical School and to
the director of the Massachusetts General Hospital. They refused
to gag him. Scientology agents tracked down and telephoned
several of his patients and interviewed his neighbors looking
for evidence to impugn his private or personal actions. They
submitted a critical report to a Committee of the Massachusetts
State Senate. On three occasions during the last five years a
Scientology "front" called the
Citizens' Commission on Human Rights has brought complaints
against him to the Massachusetts Board of Registration alleging
improper professional conduct. In 1980 he was declared a "Number
One Enemy" and in 1981 they brought two law suits against him
(summarily dismissed, but costly and worrying). They distributed
leaflets at the Massachusetts General Hospital offering a
$25,000 reward to employees for evidence which would lead to his
conviction on any charge of criminal activity. They stole his
employment record from another Boston hospital. They convened
press conferences calculated to ruin his professional
reputation." Scientologists use many tactics in carrying out
their Fair Game Policy. The church's "Operation Snow White,"
which had many covert agents looking for dirt on enemies and
possible enemies of Scientology, landed
Hubbard (L. Ron's third wife) in jail for a year. She and 11
other members were sent to jail for covert acts against several
federal agencies. Specific plans of action, detailed in a March
9, 1970 letter, include "Invent letterhead of some organization
that is spurious," "using a phony News Agency," "Infiltrating an
enemy group with the end to getting documents," and "Direct
theft of documents."
Another example of these tactics involves ex-Scientologists
Robert Dardano and Warren Friske who testified to some of the
activities they and others were involved with on behalf of the
Church. These activities include the burglary of the Belmont
office of a psychiatrist in order to steal files, the theft of
documents from a Boston law firm, the systematic theft and
destruction of books critical of the Church from libraries
throughout New England, and the planting of a church member as a
volunteer inside the state attorney general's office to
intercept consumer complaints about Scientology.
While the church claims that the Fair Game Policy is no
longer in effect, a
Hubbard letter of October 21, 1968 allegedly revoking this
policy concludes, "This P/L does not cancel any policy on the
treatment or handling of an
The Church has filed countless lawsuits against its supposed
enemies, including the Clearwater (Florida) Sun, the San Diego
Union, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner of Scotland, and
authors Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman.
The Church has also been sued countless times, and it has
lost several of these. In July, 1986, former Church member
Larry Wollersheim won
a 30 million dollar award against the church for aggravating his
mental problems and ruining his business (this award was
recently reduced to 5 million dollars). Scientology settled out
of court with former Clearwater, Florida, mayor
Gabe Cazares, who sued
the church for invasion of privacy. Over 500 disgruntled
ex-Scientologists and current Scientologists have filed a 500
million dollar class-action suit against the Church's
"fraudulent business practices." The six plaintiffs named on the
lawsuit were all highly placed Scientologists with many years in
Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church, was arrested along
with 71 other church members on various criminal charges
including fraud and tax evasion.
Seventy five members of the Church's Italian operation went
before a Milan court on March 29, 1989 to face "a long list of
charges ranging from fraud, extortion and tax evasion to the
illegal practice of
medicine and taking advantage of incapacitated people."
If you are still interested in giving Scientology a try, you
should first consider the
price. Most people are introduced through a book or the
communications courses that are free or quite cheap. Once you
express an interest in following up on their pitch for higher
courses, you are no longer "raw
meat," but a "PC"
(preclear). The average cost of the 82 courses listed in the
Catalogue of Services is $1600. In the 1988 catalog 12 1/2 hours
of auditing costs $3224 with a free 6-month membership in IAS
(International Association of Scientologists). The bills can
pile up fast. It is estimated that the average cost to become a
Clear today is around $400,000 [1989 prices]. The Church also operates under a
variety of names and businesses. According to a British BBC
expose, organizations that are associated with the Church or are
fronts for Church operations include All-Party Freedom of
Information Center, Author Services, Inc., Bridge Publications,
Inc., Campaign Against Psychiatric Atrocities, Citizens
Commission on Human Rights (mentioned earlier), Concerned
Businessman's Association of the UK, Criminon, Dianetics
Information Center, Dignity for the Aged, Dr. Pillpusher
Campaigu, Effective Education Association, Foundation of
Advanced Abilities, Institute of Advanced Philosophy,
International Biographical Center,
Narconon (a drug abuse
group), New Era Publications, Rehab, Religious Research
Foundation, Religious Technology Center, Saint Hill Foundation,
Set a Good Example Campaign, Society for Safety in Mental
Illness, Task Force on Mental Retardation, UK Police Reform
Group, and Way to Happiness Campaign.
Justice Latey's description of Scientology in the 1984
custody trial is absolutely scathing, and is worth reproducing
in some detail:
"Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious... In
my opinion, it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt
because it is based on lies and deceit and has as its real
objective money and power for Mr. Hubbard, his wife and those
close to him at the top. It is sinister because it indulges in
infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line
unquestioningly and to those outside who criticize or oppose it.
It is dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially
children and impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and
brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives
and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living
and relationships with others."
When an organization calls itself a religion, this should not
negate the need to critically evaluate the group before deciding
if it is legitimate and beneficial. The over 900 deaths in
Guyana have shown that sinister, demented people can hide behind
the cloak of religion to prey on unsuspecting, well-meaning
It is not wise to take a salesman's words at face value,
whether he is selling cars or religion.