Requesting your Thoughts on Independent Scientology + A Momentary Lull in the Action

Due to a relatively sudden trip out of town mandated by my Global Capitalism HQ overlords, I was unable to get the Daily Digest done last night. Tonight is not looking great, either. I expect to be back in the saddle with a Daily Digest on Friday night. I apologize for the lack of notice on this one, and thank you for your understanding.

If time permits on the trip, I’ll try to get something done on a story about the scenario for Independent Scientology, which I would love to publish in the next week or two. I would welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

Note for the purposes of this analysis that I do not think it necessary to distinguish between various “flavors” of people attempting to practice their own flavor of Scientology apart from the official Church of Scientology.  In other words, I’m looking for a scenario that encompasses Ron’s Org, Freezone, Milestone Two, “indies” affiliated with none of these other groups, etc.  I believe that one general scenario is possible.

Do you think:

  1. Independent Scientology will become an effective, organized movement that actually helps to drive membership losses at the COS by marketing its positive advantages?
  2. Independent Scientology must inevitably be a way station for people who are leaving the cult but who aren’t ready to walk away from it entirely, and thus it is not able to exist on its own over the long term?
  3. Independent Scientology will be able to attract a significant number of adherents from the world of the never-in’s, by putting together a case for the value of auditing and other Scientology practices?
  4. Independent Scientologists will be able to resolve factional disputes and come together in agreements on key points, to present a unified face, thus attracting new adherents? Or will it forever look like the People’s Front of Judea versus the Judean People’s Front?
  5. Some other scenario will come to pass?

I would welcome your thoughts.  I have my own opinion, which I have shared in many comments on Tony Ortega’s site, but would love to see if there’s some sort of consensus among the cadre of Insightful Readers here.

Not to sound too much like your 9th grade English teacher, but please don’t just repsond with one of the 5 numbers; I need to understand your thought processes more than which answer you think is correct…  Analysis is as much about getting the reasoning process right as it is about getting the “answer” right.

Thanks!

  • Drat

    Well, I’m not in the independet field, but have been watching developments with greater interest since the Joburg 18.

    A new independent centre opened not too far from me just this year. I think it will be slow, but will actually grow into a cohesive movement. It will more likely have a network character than a top-down hierarchy, which witnessed a resounding rejection when Milestone 2 was attempted earlier this year. Many people who joined or grew up in Scientology will want to pursue the goals they had with Scientology, even after leaving. I know this is not tangible, but I am sensing a lightness in the atmosphere since the Joburg 18, like the fear is coming off, dissipating. It appears that more and more people are aware of the blogs, message boards etc. and are less afraid to look and walk out. When they do, some will want somewhere to go, and leaving will gradually become less and less traumatic as this year ends and the new one begins.

    Among those who wish to continue will be many trained people, who will form more small groups and start delivering. Highly trained and experienced people may be looked to to sort out problems in delivery. Overall, I think the fun of group activities may return and keep people there for a while. Time will tell whether it will grow into another behemoth or remain a cooperative of groups and individuals with elected standards committees.

    • John P.

      Thank you for the very detailed and thoughtful comment.

      As I recall, you live in a country whose official language is not English. I wonder if this has a bearing on the ability of “independent Scientology” centers to open and function without harassment by the cult. Note that the mission that declared independence (Haifa, Israel) and the South Africans, who may yet do something similar, are a long way removed from the US by geography and to a certain extent culturally as well as linguistically (SA does have lots of English speakers, particularly among the middle class and higher, but it’s not actually a majority English-speaking country). So perhaps that’s an organizing principle in groups being able to break away at once.

      Your observation that “It [a hypothetical new organizational structure] will more likely have a network character than a top-down hierarchy” is very much in line with what I initially thought when I was a rookie Scientology watcher in 2011. I figured they’d grab some of the organizing principles for Linux and other open source software groups and be able to build an effective organization for distributed marketing and collaboration. I’m not so sure these days, but your comment here reminds me it may be time to consider that specific part of the question again.

      • Davka

        I can’t speak to SA, but Israelis, generally by their very nature, are contrarians – blunt, to the point, and with little to no tolerance for BS. While I’d prefer that none of my tribe, in Israel or outside, was in Scientology, I was both proud and not surprised that somehow the mission to break away was Israeli – I laughed out loud when I read Tony’s original story – of course an Israeli would question authority! I think there is something to your point about cultural differences enabling different responses and ways of breaking away. The US has a different way of addressing these issues. Also may be worth pointing out that in Israel, Scientology is not deemed a religion, and the focus of religious tension is between the Orthodox and everyone else. Also of note, Haifa is a relatively secular city – I suspect the reception to Scientology in Jerusalem might be altogether different.

        • John P.

          Davka, given my dealings with Israelis, it is indeed no surprise that they were the first one in recent years (there were some in the 60s and 70s) to break away from the cult. You’re exactly right: they have little patience for bullshit, and they certainly are not going to put up with bullshit from Corporate Headquarters.

          Haifa is indeed very different within Israel from Tel Aviv and from Jerusalem. Haifa is the “college town” of Israel, with lots of high tech startups, kind of like how Boston is the biggest “college town” in the US. In Jerusalem, I am sure the haredim would be out throwing stones at Scientologists just like they do at women who are “immodestly” dressed in some of the neighborhoods near the old city.

          My favorite trip to Israel was in 2006, when the war with Lebanon was happening. I went to an investment conference and got (through dumb luck) to sit next to Bibi Netanyahu and Shimon Peres at different sessions. I also met about half the cabinet, and CEOs of the biggest companies in the country. For someone used to the size of the US, it’s amazing what life is like in a small country, where everybody seems to know each other because of their time in the army. And we were escorted on a tour of the old city of Jerusalem, with guides plus at least one armed former Shin Bet commando for every tourist. Best conference food ever!

          • Davka

            Ok, now you’re making me long for a trip, and I HATE to fly. I’ve spent long stretches there but not for a long time. You’re right – Haifa has the Technion as Cambridge has MIT – yes, that side of the river 🙂

            It is a different world, but also why I didn’t bat an eye after 9/11 and all of a sudden we had “security” here – I used to go through bag checks and metal detectors at 18 on my way to class, many years before, in Jerusalem, and have been on buses where you close the windows in case of stones.

            And as for the Haredi – I was of course the uppity kid who got into a Shabbat dinner argument about feminism with a rabbi while all the other women were cleaning up. Yup, uppity as usual – that’s actually the source of my name, an untranslatable Hebrew word that basically means, “to spite”, so, in effect, “you expect me to do x, Davka, I am going to do y instead.

          • go2thexaminer

            Cool story. Dianetanyahoo!

        • go2thexaminer

          In the seventies I heard a clam refer to them as “service faccy” … I guess over the years that expression got shortened to “ser faccy.”

      • Drat

        Thank you. I’ll try and keep this one short.

        I agree that geographical proximity to Int/Flag is a key factor in going independent. I also think it’s cultural. At present I can’t see a US org going indie wholesale. I think American Scientologists (dangerous generality, I know) just don’t think in those terms or even consider it an option. Scientology is anathema and utterly toxic in the country I live in. Being associated with it on either side of the fence will sink your career like a stone. The government has learned that non-interference is the best approach, though, and is merely keeping watch and its own stats on membership (declining rapidly). Although they have access to different intelligence, they fail to see the nuances between active membership and under the radar.

        Your theory from when you were a rookie watcher sounds like you thought they’d use marketing professionals like any major corporation would have access to, and set up in business with an open-minded (perish the thought) and innovative approach. No, Scientology doesn’t work like that. It could, but as is often the case, you need someone from outside to point out the obvious. Also, think of setting up in business in competition to Apple. They are so litigious, anybody without substantial resources would be right to deem the undertaking suicidal. This was the case for a long time in Scientology, especially in the US where it has quite a legal track record.

        • John P.

          Thanks again. That’s exactly what I thought they would do: the indies were all burned by the top-down organization and would want to stay away from a dictator at the top. So I thought they’d be interested in a cooperative marketing umbrella and the standards committee you refer to. That is the sort of thing that successful Open Source software communities are really good at creating. But the times that I suggested this on Marty’s blog, it was met with silence. Nobody seemed interested in any sort of organization, no matter how gentle the touch, which surprised me.

          • Bella Legosi

            I think you have something here. I don’t envision a real dictator coming up thru the ranks of Indies. They have survived without much organizational structure and with out a “pope” so to speak. There may be leaders within these groups, but nothing like corporate Co$. What brings them together and keeps them together is love of Source and Tech. I think they have learned from corporate $cientology that absolute strict adherence to a top-down hierarchy only creates the very conditions that made them leave in the first place.

            Like I have said above, they do have a chance to salvage some of this, but that can only happen when L Ron’s Policy is questioned and eventually changed. It doesn’t surprise me that your comments at Mikes blog was met with silence. The mood seems to be that these people are all bonded together over the phliosophy and way of life that $cientology brings, not the structure and everything that comes with it (regging, status, sec checks) In a way they are already going against canon (to use a term from my fanfiction!) by simply leaving the “church” proper and continuing their faith on their own with no control from the official ‘church’. I bet there are groups who do not see ‘wogs’ as harshly as those in coporate $cientology or those who can read critics on L Ron/$cientology and still keep the faith (as well as being able to have it not negatively affect their faith in $cientology). I don’t see them giving up this freedom to prop up another dictator.

            Who knows? Time will tell. Let’s just hope there will be digital records available to the masses far into the future, should anything L Ron survive that long.

  • woodrose

    Independent Scientology will inevitably become as abusive as the Co$. They will inevitably create their own cruel dictator, in the mold of Hubbard or Miscavige.
    The abuse and cruelty is in ‘the tech.’
    ANYONE worshipping LRH and following his words will create an authoritarian, abusive, mean, cruel, money-hungry organization. It’s in ‘the tech’!
    ANYONE following Hubbard’s ‘ethics tech’ will be selfish, empathy-free, ruthless, dishonest, and mean.
    I strongly oppose and speak out against such a misguided movement as independent scientology. Very, Very BAD IDEA. I have no respect for Rinder, Rathbun — deluded, dangerous SOBs.

    • John P.

      It is certainly possible that every cult needs a dictator, and that the power vacuum at the top dictates the shape of the man to fill it. It is true enough in politics — when Chavez died in Venezuela, the people wanted a strongman to be his successor and let them keep feeling good with all his grandstanding stunts. But they got former bus driver Maduro instead, a lightweight who is completely out of his depth, and whenever he tries to talk or act tough, it’s worse even than the time Mike Dukakis tried driving a tank to look like a Commander-in-Chief.

      But the counter-question to consider is this: if it’s inevitable that breakaway groups need ruthless strongmen to compete, why hasn’t this happened at the Freezone or Ron’s Org? The guys in charge there don’t seem to be exactly fire-breathing nail-spitting monsters. And they’ve been in existence long enough (30-ish years) to have gone down the road that direction if it were inevitable.

      It is reasonable to believe that if they don’t have a ruthless Visigoth reincarnation at the helm, that they aren’t really practicing “pure” Scientology the way Hubbard laid it down, even though they think they’re doing it more purely than other splinter groups. Of course, they may not be able to thread their way through the inherent contradiction of this situation, but that’s what’s happening.

      • ze moo

        Olympia Dukakis could drive the tanks much better then Mikey did. Note how the gunner hides here. I suspect that there isn’t enough money in the indie world to attract a Visigoth, not even that sham-wow guy.

    • Terril Park

      Independent /FZ scn has existed since at least 1982.There has been no
      cruel and abusive dictator.

  • splog

    #2

    No independent faction of Scientology is currently amounting to anything much; they all feed off walk-outs from the official church. The most successful seems to be the Dror Center, they broke away from CoS with about 50 or so members, that dropped to 35-40, and after several months has gotten back up to 50. That might sound impressive, but in Hubbard’s hey-day he’d get 10 new folk in the door daily. For all his legion faults, he could get folk to sign up.

    Sans Hubbard’s blessing of an official church, Scientology doesn’t seem to gather much in the way of new people at all. No new blood = shrinkage.

    The greater number of scientologists who walk away from the church eventually walk away from scientology itself and it’s offshoots. There’s a corny stereotypical joke about the EP of scientology being an ex-scientologist but as they say many a word is spoken in jest. This does seem to be the eventual outcome for most.

    Without Hubbard or his successor to bind the whole movement together, it will wither and fade away. I don’t believe it will entirely die out – religions hardly ever do – but it will become very minor indeed or 50 years – perhaps a few hundred members at most.

    • aegerprimo

      Religions may not die out, but Scientology is NOT a religion. People PAY for services, but call them “donations”. We all know they are NOT donations. Scientologist don’t really know what a religion is, they just say it is a because it is part of the cloak. The phrase “applied philosophy” is really what members believe. But, it is possible that Scientologists today are so indoctrinated that they do believe it is a “religion”.

      • John P.

        It’s hard to tell what Scientologists really believe, given their fondness for “shore stories” and giving things whatever spin benefits them the most at the moment.

        If you read some of the gushing prose from people at BlackRob’s thread on WWP (my favorite: the guy who thought DM deserves the Nobel for his years of selfless dedication and his success in clearing the planet), there certainly do seem to be people who think it’s a religion. I suspect that some of the under-the-radar crowd tell themselves “it’s just an applied religious philosophy” even if they used to tell themselves it was a religion.

      • splog

        Legally it’s a religion, and I long since stopped splitting hairs about what a religion is and what it isn’t. I’m an atheist, I regard all religions regardless of source or consensus as nonsense.

        If you find “church” and “religion” as words applied to scientology abhorrent, then by all means replace them with whatever you think applies. It doesn’t change the meaning of my post.

  • Free Minds, Free Hearts

    I think #2.

    I often wonder if being an indie is a way station for many who are slowly clearing their minds of the bizarre cultish ideas. Some have said it takes 10 years to fully let go (especially for those who have been in a long time).

    Look at Mary Rathbun who no longer calls himself a scientologist, even an indie, and is exploring eastern and other ways of thought. And not so long ago he was considered the leader of the indies. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Rinder moves away from indie thinking in a few years, either, as he is exposed to and involved with more and more exes. And look at the many exes who comment here on how long it has taken them to shed the mind numbing ideas inculcated in them so strongly.

    Admittedly, there are others who stick with their loyalty to LRH and stay indie. But if half of them drop out over time as they see more and more contradictions between the LRH they believed in and the actual LRH and tech, the indie movement will never become stable and strong. So I think the indie movement won’t be here long term, because so many are in it only temporarily.

    On the other hand, the indies are prime candidates for following a sociopath who pushes LRH ideas (scary thought), so if a leader arises they may gravitate to that person.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Put my vote down on #2. Scientology, in any form, must adhere strictly to LRH’s batshit-crazy spewings, as well as his horrifically abusive tactics, control structure and twisted morality. There is no way to practice Scientology without running smack-dab into disconnection, utilitarian ethics, fair game, the concept of “pulling in” or being responsible for any misfortunes that happen to you…all of these things are blatantly harmful and will inevitably result in harmed people becoming disaffected and leaving, just like in the CO$.

    And that’s not even factoring in all the batshit crazy stuff like Xenu, implants, rocket-powered DC-9’s, whole-track lives of trillions of years, yadda yadda. The only reason people fall for OTIII et al is because of years of indoctrination, fear of disconnection, authoritarian rule and thought control, denial of access to the internet or “entheta”…which independent Scientology professes will not be part of their practice. But without it, who would believe this shit?

    I see it only succeeding as a way-station for people leaving the CO$ but not yet able to give up the house-of-cards upon which they’ve built their lives (and dumped their life savings). Those who are finally able to access the truth will eventually overcome their cognitive dissonance and see it, unless they are a) mentally ill, or b) financially motivated to continue the lie (e.g. charging for auditing).

    So what you’ll have is an organization made up three types of people:

    1. Recent defectors still working through their cognitive dissonance, who will remain for a short while until they realize how bad they’ve been duped and leave.

    2. Mentally ill people who have the capacity to continue to believe in parasitic aliens and implant stations…the same category of people who offed themselves in Reeboks in order to ride the tail of Hale-Bopp.

    3. The people who will financially prey on types 1 & 2.

  • chukicita

    For more than 2 decades, I’ve watched people leave Scientology. There’s a grieving process. It’s hard to regain your capacity for critical thought overnight.

    Eventually – and this can take years – people realize that it’s not all that efficient to try to “pick out the raisins from the turd” as one ex so eloquently phrased holding on to the bits that seemed to be meaningful in Scientology while eschewing the swampy evil parts. Because they are all thoroughly blended until creamy.

    Can Scientology survive without the pomp and circumstance and polished veneer of authority and stability that COB spends every day trying to spit-shine? Without the infrastructure sustaining the endlessly reinforced assurances that you belong to the in crowd, the ones who’ll ‘make it’ and ultimately rule in the brave new universe?

    Hubbard wrote Dianetics originally as a *self*-help book. It doesn’t really need an organization or fellowship or the bureaucratic layers of policies and org boards and copyrights and attorneys, but all these have become part of the ‘tech.’

    I’m sure people will try it outside of the reich and feel perhaps more free to admit to themselves it’s not really all that and a bag of chips before they walk away, families and wallets intact.

  • 448Beacon

    Another vote for #2. Based on the exit stories I’ve read from exes, the indoctrination comes off in layers, starting with a distaste for the current state of Scientology and moving, sometimes, to complete repudiation of the “tech”, Hubbard, and most basically, the Scilon mindset (narcissism, lack of empathy, fixed beliefs, complete absence of critical thinking, delusion of control). On ESMB, OCMB, and the Rinder and Rathbun blogs, you see people at various stages of recovery.
    Indies can speak to active Scientologists at their level, and moving from organized to independent Scientology doesn’t involve challenging as many beliefs as going straight to the real world. It doesn’t seem to be necessary for *every* ex, but many seem to go through that process, either in a group setting or individually.
    A bit off-topic, but given this, I believe it’s advisable to encourage
    the independent movement, even though the world will be a better place
    when every form of Scientology has faded into oblivion.

    I don’t see any independent movement having much success recruiting never-ins, though. There have been enormous cultural changes since the heyday of Scientology, and there doesn’t seem to be the same desire for alternative spiritualities as there was in the ’60s and ’70s. The other option, positioning it as an alternative therapy, seems nearly impossible. Alt-med has become much more pseudoscientific, and the explanations change with every scientific advance. Scientology, meanwhile, is stuck in the middle of last century: a lot of the conditions Dianetics purported to address just aren’t a concern anymore, and new worries (autism, toxins, chronic pain and fatigue, etc.) have replaced them. Any therapies for those would have to be created de novo, but resistance to innovation and focus on Hubbard as sole Source is central to the post-Dianetics “tech”.

  • Graham

    # 2 sums it up for me. The independent movement is currently acting as a way-station for those unable to accept the full reality.

    They’ll practise the bits that work for them. Many will look around and see that there are other self-help techniques they could use which work just as well. They’ll be surprised to recognise the correspondences between pretty much every workable element of the tech and elements of other self-help systems. They may or may not have the ‘cognitiion’ that this is because that’s where Ell-Wrong nicked them from.

    Thus the current Indie movement will widen out and its energies become dissipated, a bit like river water flowing into a delta. People will be practising bits and bobs of this and that and mixing them with any bits of New Age woo or mainstream self-help that seem to fit, or just abandoning it altogether and getting on with living.

    The essential glue that holds $camatology together- the fear, the peer pressure and the heavy brainwashing- will be absent. Unless of course another charismatic figure arises and whisks off a small splinter group, pied-piper fashion (Either to $camatology II or some marvellous new cult of their own devising). From my very limited knowledge I can’t think who that would be, but never underestimate the need some people have to give away their power and autonomy, to willingly put themselves in thrall to any passing saviour.

    I can’t see much scope for fresh meat. $cientology must be one of the world’s most toxic brands- though there’s always another generation on the conveyor belt of life for whom these ideas are new and fresh.

    Stage hypnotists always start their act by getting the whole audience performing some silly trick. In this way they can identify the tiny percentage of the audience who are ultra-suggestible and invite them onto the stage for the full works. The $camatology stress test performs a similar function. 1) appeal to the vulnerable 2) con them with a “scientific” test 3) tell them with authority that they are damaged and you have the answer. This seems to be a very effective and systematic way of panning for gold. The independent movement has nothing like this. So I can’t see where the fresh meat would come from in any consistent kind of way.

    Many years ago I got semi-involved with a cult (The Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh movement). There was a fair bit of love bombing and peer pressure. Also if you did commit you had to change your name and wear a distinctive uniform, which made it a little difficult to then abandon the cult without loss of face. However, people did slip in and out of the movement quite easily. It was possible to be semi-engaged and not many were full-blown kool aid drinkers. It lacked many of $camatology’s ‘lock in’ systems.

    Eventually Bhagwan was exposed as a complete fraud and died with his feet of clay fully exposed. Nevertheless a few hard-core disciples managed to re-brand him as Osho and are still, in a small way, selling this much diluted bag of goods to the next generation.

    I imagine a similar fate for the Indie Scio movement; gradual decay with a few hard-core Ronbots sucking in small numbers of the next generation with a sanitised version of The Wisdom of Ron- probably no more than an anodyne feel-good self-help system.

    Bear in mind that I’m a never-in, and am looking at it from the UK,.the land of unbelieving cynics where $camatology’s all but dead already.

  • aegerprimo

    I think the indie movement will turn out like the Monty Python skit you mentioned “People’s Front of Judea vs the Judean People’s Front”. Or it may go like when Don Purcell rescued Dianetics from bankruptcy in the early 1950’s. Scientology came about from it and progressed to become under the cloak of a religion, but Dianetics went bankrupt again. IMO any indie movement will eventually go bankrupt, will not have the protections of being under the cloak of religion, and there is the possibility of what happened to Dianetics even earlier than Purcell’s rescue in Kansas, in New Jersey. The Hubbard Research Fdn. closed its doors because of it was found that they were practicing medicine without a license.

  • aquaclara

    I am jumping on #2 as well. We have seen evidence of the need for individuals to transition out, at their own pace. As most leave as individuals (vs. leaving as a group), I will stick with this scenario for my comments.

    The indie movement HAS worked to allow people to pick and choose what they like, and to reject other things they didn’t like. These are not static elements, so a more organized structure in my mind is not really feasible. What someone likes/needs when they are first out will not necessarily remain as a like or need 2, 5 or 10 years later.

    Supporting this, we have also seen the top down approach fall apart, as we could have predicted it would. The “command and control” style is on the list of stuff exes are trying to leave behind.

    If one made a list of each of the big and small elements found in Scientology, and gave them to a group of people to select what they liked and didn’t like, most of the stuff in and of itself would not attract much interest. Evidence of this is that we don’t see “never ins” falling for this BS even after all the time spent learning about it, dissecting it and hearing about it from experts. I can safely say there is not one element that I find helpful or useful or necessary in my life.
    So in and of themselves, this set of components is not persuasive enough for people to be attracted to. And therefore, it’s not marketable.

    People who joined Scientology often started off with an idea to save the world, or fix a fail, identified and heavily sold by the cult. This is not a typical buying pattern; nor is the control that’s applied all throughout the “teachings” within the organization.

    So an indie movement that relies on “Pick and Choose” is marketing a product that has no appeal without the control aspects. And the one aspect I think just about every indie would leave out of their scenario would be the mind control piece. (At least I hope so).

    Back to that same hypothetical scenario with the research study of the list of LRH elements that comprise Scientology, we can look at the body of information we have at why people left, and what they tell us they miss most after they have left.
    The ” feeling of belonging” and the very much related “the feeling that I have to stay or I will lose my family” is pretty consistently cited. By definition, the indie movement can provide some of the more positive feeling of belonging, but not the other, (thankfully).

    However, they lack the mass and the geographic concentration that would make this truly work as a reason for staying in a group. We could work our way through each of these items, and find similar reasons for why the individual elements that comprise Scientology are not really appealing. And without that appeal, it’s just hype and fraud that keep people using it.

    The auditing element seems to be an area Indies are most reluctant to let go. However, if they had a chance to see a trained counselor, Psychiatrist or Psychologist, they might not feel the same way. And unless they change the questions, it still seems so intrusive and mean-spirited, even when done in a “nice” manner. This may be the biggest way-station hook, though. And for others, it provides a nice living while getting used to the outside world.

    So for all these reasons, I don’t feel the indie set is feasible for widespread use or for a full-out marketing effort. And for that, I’m glad.
    Sorry this is so long.

  • Science Doc

    I’m not convinced that an independent scientology-light movement would necessarily be as evil as the current one. Although the blogging of the ethics book on the Bunker shows how early and deep the bad stuff runs.

    A schismatic movement in Scientology could be very useful for pulling people out of the corporate group if they could ever be accurately informed about it. On the other hand I would not like seeing new converts to engrams, body thetans, and other false beliefs that might impede access to legitimate health care or more constructive human relationships.

    I think what the people here and at the Bunker are most interested in is helping people escape a very a very abusive situation and helping other people avoid it in the first place. Providing support for people transitioning out includes respecting and even facilitating their opportunities to continue practicing non exploitive and non abusive aspects of something deeply ingrained into their minds. Personally I would consider teaching children study tech to be detrimental to the point of child abuse.

    So, somewhat reluctantly I agree that the independent movement will function as a halfway house of sorts, but I hope critics will treat independents with respect and compassion.

    Unfortunately LRH designed a trap that was all too complete, and it does not allow the average person to exist in an open modern society. Wine tastes better than Kool Aide, but if you can cut someone off completely from choices and information you can keep them singing the praises of sugar water.

  • Bella Legosi

    I honestly never see Dianutty or $cientology ever truly going away.

    It will die out eventually, but there is something to this whole “philosophy” (lack of a better word) that does suck people in. Whether it is the strive to make Man and the World a better place or making one’s self better. In both instances that philosophy speaks to the part of a persons core and either as a designed or unintended result that process/philosophy ends up catering to a person’s ego (I mean hell they are powerful beings, immortal, and now that they are on the Bridge they are also the most ethical people on the planet right?) Once the guards come down (thru giving Co$ benefit of doubt or out of desperation) it is only a matter of conditioning and application that would make a person actually stay after they have read, “You knock your fetus out by BM’s” stuff. That is just one example. However, there have been instances where the craziness, now very evident in Followers/Staff lives, doesn’t cut the cord, so to speak. How many of those In, Born In, or Staff have had to say to themselves, “All this craziness and abuse is because of the pressure to make stats. It’s not their fault they blow up…….well it is, but look at all the good they are trying to do. Look at all they have done for ME? I can’t leave this. Too much invested. There has to be SOMETHING to all of this! Why would there be anyone if SOME of it didn’t work?” It is the same words said by abused women or children who are being controlled by the Abuser. But, what we have here isn’t a complex relationship between two adults. What we have here deals with not only the Heart, but the Soul and Mind as well. That is why I believe Dianutty and $cientology to be so damn evil and hard to escape. It is also the last thing this dying cult is going to wager all the chips on, IMO. For, $cientology can tell a well rounded and social being, “You seem like you have a great life……….MAKE IT BETTER.” or “Your life SUCKS! But, not to worry! We have real ANSWERS for you and WE WILL make you into a BETTER PERSON.” In the world of Co$ nobody is perfect, unless you have paid to be perfect.

    With all this in mind and considering what gets people “In” and keeps them there I foresee very harsh times for anything Hubbordian. However, there will still be those who claim, “This is it!”. Anyone who reads Dianutty and thinks, “Yeah, I can see that.” or “Well, he’s got some loony ideas, but I get where he is coming/going.” will only further $cientology numbers. That is why I do not think “they” will ever go away. At the best, I do see a profitable future for FreeZoners and Indies. So, long as they learn from the mistakes and crazy kamakazi policy that is L Ron. Should the Indie Movement truly flourish, they will have to deal with tremendous J&D, critics, and whistle blowers. They have to know that if Indie is going to survive they need to change A LOT. And in order to NOT become the laughing stock of spirituality or the Mafia-esk criminals of Co$, that change is going to have to be to the Draconian Policy of Hubbard himself. This sounds crazy and many reading this prolly say, “That will never happen.” But, I am not so sure. The love for a person’s religion trumps any Prophet or Savior. Look up the Protestants! There was a time when people could never foresee a church doing away with Communion or Confession! Yet, they have!

    I don’t touch on Indie’s a lot at the Bunker. They are in a grey area for me. I don’t entirely trust them, but they have every right to believe what they do……SO LONG AS THEY ARE NOT CRIMINAL. I wouldn’t be adverse to befriending and Indie either (if they could stand my wog PTSness and questions).

    The Indies have a chance to actually change the perception towards L Ron and Dianutty/$cientology, but does their love of faith trump the love of Source? Can they see that in religion, there is no black and white, narrow, door of understanding? Can they realize that MAYBE Source didn’t know as much as he claimed? That Source WAS human and when you are human you ARE susceptible to the flaws of power and corruption?

    I see Independent $cientology riseing from the ashes of the Corporate $cientology. As long as there are people who seek enlightenment, betterment, or a Cure to the condition of “life” there will always be someone saying, “Have you heard the Good News?” or “Have you heard of the Bridge to Total Freedom?” Today’s recruits have the advantage of the internet where they can actually read what L Ron is about, but it will come down to any perspective Follower letting those guards down and giving Co$ the benefit of doubt. That is why I see $cientology being here to stay. Not in the numbers of the past, but there will always be some sort of L Ron Camp, waiting for that person to call or come thru the door.

    There! Hope that was understandable as well as readable! I just discovered your blog John!!!! 😀 So happy to be here!

  • LongNeckGoose

    Dianetics and Scientology are comprised of two components: the mousetrap and the cheese that attracts the mice.

    My first question would be: is the point of Independent Scientology to build a better mousetrap or to distribute free cheese?

    There is some value in using survival as a standard of measurement by which to evaluate your actions. Likewise, it may be of some benefit to help people who are feeling “low” to feel better until they are in “high spirits.” Some students benefit from looking up the definitions of words in the dictionary rather than by guessing at their meaning from the context. It’s usually best not to become addicted to drugs. About 4% of people are sociopaths lacking a conscience and it is wise to avoid their company. You will probably be happier doing what you want to do rather than spending your life carrying on the work of your dead relatives. OK, that’s the cheese. A good writer could probably produce one good, readable self-help book from this.

    Then you have Dianetics auditing. No validity. Few (if any) people have become hypnotized from words they heard while they were unconscious. Humans often act as if they are hypnotized by people’s words, but those would include advertising slogans, bumper stickers, the Boy Scout oath, the Ten Commandments, old sayings, etc. but Dianetics doesn’t mention those.

    And Scientology. No validity. You are not suffering from hypnotic implants that you received before the Big Bang. You are not carrying around invisible space fleas made up of degraded souls that prevent you from living forever in perfect health. You are going to get sick and die someday even without body thetans clinging to you. That’s life. It’s finite.

    And even though you may be an idealistic person who wants to become part of something greater than yourself in order to help your fellow human beings, you cannot do it by peddling this New Age snake oil, distilled from spiritism, reincarnation, the occult, pseudoscience and quack medical cures.

    So what would the point of Independent Scientology be, exactly?

  • Eclipse-girl

    You have got a whole lot of responses to read and right now and I am pissed and do not want to be influenced by others writings (no matter how insightful).

    For the Indie movement to last they have to get away from Hubbard. Yet, that is a death knell.

    Hubbard was a bastard. He wanted full control over his recruits. He wanted to control their thoughts as much as possible.

    Hubbard was a fraud. There is no research.

    Even the POS Tommy Davis said something to effect that if Hubbard was not blind and severely wounded it would show scientology was a crock of BS (MY WORDS)

    We (at the Bunker and elsewhere) are well aware Hubbard was a racist, homophobic and sexist bastard.

    I do not want to deny someone beliefs, nor do I want do dent to deny some one’s “wins” through scientology

    But it was built on paper. And I do want to hold a candle to the paper and let the light shine

  • Lady Squash

    I’ll second Drat: “I see Independent $cientology rising from the ashes of the Corporate $cientology. As long as there are people who seek enlightenment, betterment, or a Cure to the condition of “life” there will always be someone saying, “Have you heard the Good News?”

    The reason I agree with Drat is this: In my current life, I sometimes explain some basic Scientology concepts to friends or acquaintances, like Dynamics or ARC. And to my dismay, the response is often intense interest. This had led me to believe that many people are hungry for more knowledge about themselves and the nature of man and as long as you aren’t mean to them, they’ll listen.

    I like the “raisins from the turds” analogy of another poster. Scientology has two parts. The Red on White could be called the raisins and Green on White could be called the turds.

    Most of the evil stuff is the green on white: The Ethics Tech, the GO, the Office of Special Affairs, disconnection, The Responsibility of Leaders–all green on white. (Of course Hubbard said if you didn’t like the Green on White then you were a suppressive or something like that. Naturally…)

    Jettisoning the Green on White would eliminate the worst abuses. Still, the Red on White is a bit odd here and there. However, if one were allowed to study in an open atmosphere of questioning and critical inquiry, the flaws would perhaps be recognized as such and be dismissed.

    I believe the basic stuff would find an audience. I believe this because I was a Course Supervisor on Div 6 Courses (beginner stuff) once upon a time and my course room grew by leaps and bounds. I started with one student and in 3 months had 20 students with standing room only. My courseroom was so crowded that new students had to wait outside till someone graduated so that there would be a seat for the new person. Publicity was word of mouth.

    But it ended badly. The Executive Director went Rambo on everyone’s ass. She tried to enforce “standard scheduling” and bullshit like that. After an “ethics” interview with the Director, my students would leave in tears and that’s the last I would see of them. It was like watching a lioness eat her own. It was very disturbing and I was heart sick about it. I left as soon as I could. I thought the ED was very aberrated, now I realize she was just “following orders”.

    Hubbard’s Red on White Tech gives people some hope and a new way to look at life then the Green on White squashes them like a bug. If I were a sadist, I suppose that is what I would do.

    Can Scientology without the bad parts survive? I don’t know.
    If wild, unrealistic promises are not made, would anyone try it? If one were honest about the Founder, would anyone stay? If one were allowed to disagree and reject parts of it, would it still work? Much I still don’t understand.

    I’m enjoying your website. Thank you for doing it.

    • Missionary Kid

      How long ago were you a course supervisor? Were the students that you had off the streets?

      How likely, given the public’s perception of Scientology, would it be that you’d have that many students?

    • ze moo

      Well spoken LS. But the raisins in the turds were rabbit turds. It isn’t easy to mix two types of turds but Lroon found a way to mix a lot of things together. Your characterizations of the ‘management tech’ match what I have seen published elsewhere, as a never in we rely on the experiences of the exs. .

  • I think there will be both Wendy Honnor and Stave Hall types leaving the criminal organisation known as the “church” of $cientology. Some people will always need a cult, some people break away in an instant.
    There has been, in the past, off-shoots which kept going as organisations in their own right for quite a few years, both as something else (Avatar and so on) and as more-$cientology-than-the-Co$ (Ron’s Org etc). The later type could – until now – depend on a steady influx of ex-victims of the Co and might flourish briefly if the Co$ started shedding large groups more often.
    I expect indies in a post-Co$ type world to split into small groups some of which will keep going, some of which will disappear with time.

    What I don’t know is how the dynamic of successful groups having previously been victims of the Co$ and its particular brand of “religious tolerance” (Dave Mayo’s outfit, for instance) will change once the Co$ loses its ability to sue everyone into oblivion.
    So, no idea if larger indie groups will form. I suspect not, since the Co$ appeals to inner teenage egoist in its victims and these people are only kept together by the iron fist of “ethics.”

  • DodoTheLaser

    I will just share my experience briefly.

    After being in for about 15 years, working with Clears and OTs,
    auditing and supervising full time, I started having doubts about the validity
    of it all. I started having questions like: “Is it really worth it?”, “Are we really clearing a planet?”, “Why are Clears and OTs having the same problems as “wogs”?

    So I started visiting ESMB, OCMB, etc., reading other people’s accounts and books, comparing it with my own experiences and connecting the dots in overall.

    It didn’t take me too long to start realizing more and more what a scam scientology is.

    So, with all the above in mind, positive things I’ve seen and experienced in scientology are being significantly outweighed by the fact that no one ever became Clear or OT. Not even Hubbard. Especially not Hubbard.

    Hence, I am no longer a scientologist. Independent or otherwise.

    I hope I answered your question JohnP.

    • DodoTheLaser

      P.S. People’s Front of Judea versus the Judean People’s Front video IS funny!

  • koki

    this are a great questions,but I spend more time thinking about- what will happen if DM has sudden death….Like plane/car crush or even a stoke- what will happen in next year or two, will all that groups try to melt into one again?

  • go2thexaminer

    What if people here think that auditing is a form of mind-control, brainwashing or hypnosis, every step of the way? If so, wouldn’t the indie movement be a continuation of the evil of Scientology?

    And if the indies survive, would it be in the form of a self-help group? (If you believe that’s possible.) Or as an old-age belief system for the new age?

    To survive as a self-help group I would recommend they jettison anything that conflicts with science. Any part of Scientology that conflicts with science, just scratch it.

    What do you have left? Auditing commands? Enough for one book? A pamphlet? Do any of these audit processes make people feel better?

    It ‘s not like seeing a therapist and it’s not like meditation, but there are certain auditing processes which I thought were unique.

    Without getting into theories of the mind and all that crap, let me ask this: What makes us different from the animals? Consciousness? No. Language? LOL! It’s our enhanced ability to reflect. We can reflect on who and what we are. We reflect on where we’ve been, and where we’re going. We have the ability to reflect on all kinds of things.

    I believe that forms of reflection can have a therapeutic value. And there are auditing processes I would put in that category that are like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

    There are other auditing processes I would think of as an exercise in imagination. Some may even improve visio-spatial skills, and I feel quite certain of that, although you could say the same thing about studying geometry. But, most forms of therapy seem to be verbal in nature, and I think there’s real potential for therapies which involve higher thought processes.

    “The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought.” – Albert Einsten

    Also,

    “I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” – Albert Einstein

    I don’t think of exteriorization as a form of disassociation, like others have said on this blog. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with it. Scientists have recreated out-of-body experiences in the lab. No, it’s not a very accurate way of looking at the world, because all you see is an IDEA of what things look like, created by your brain. But, having a heightened visio-spatial ability is always good. It is literally thinking in a higher dimension.

    Getting sec-checked broke me down as a person. I didn’t like that.

    The first time I got sec-checked I thought to myself, “This SUCKS. He must be doing it wrong …”

    I knew a guy in the GO who accompanied Diana Hubbard when she visited radio stations, traveling around the country promoting her new album. They became friends. When she was in Hollywood, she’d call him and say, “Let’s get a piece of cake.”

    When he left the church, this ex-GO guy told me a lot of interesting things about Scientology! He said Hubbard believed if you can’t keep a secret from someone, it lowers your intelligence towards that person. In other words, the person who can’t keep a secret from you is the person who will do something stupid for you.

    When I got sec-checked, it asked me for secrets in a way which seemed to violate the boundaries of my personhood.

    • go2thexaminer

      There is a contraption that pops you out of your head every time, and it’s not in the super power building!

      I’m surprised the indies haven’t picked up on this. It works better than any of Hubbard’s exteriorization processes.

      You sit in a chair wearing video googles and get a tummy-rub.

      3 feet behind you is a video camera pointed at the back of your head.

      Just in front of the video camera, in the lower field, someone moves their hand in a circular motion, just like your tummy-rub.

      Your brain combines all this information, processes it, and pop! You’re out of your head. Works every time.

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=real-outof-body-experiences

    • Guest

      This blog is anti-Scientology and for good reason. Scientology destroys lives.
      I paid a price for my involvement in Scientology!
      So, when I say certain scientology processes elevated my mood, I’m just making an observation. I’m not promoting Scientology, and I’m not promoting the indies!
      Hubbard’s theory of the mind is pseudo-science. The rest is sci-fy cosmology.
      But, somehow or another, Hubbard seemed to stumble upon SOME things that, for better or worse, actually work.
      When I did the “book and bottle” (op pro by duo), I did NOT exteriorize. And I was someone who had already had out-of-body experiences!
      Most of it doesn’t work, and it’s all designed to drain you of your resources.
      I’M JUST SAYIN’!!!

      • John P.

        Thanks for weighing in with your story. I have said before that it is possible for individuals to have “wins” in auditing (I just hate the term, which is why I put it in quotes; mental health is not a roulette game), but at the same time, it is likely that auditing does not produce enough positive results across a population in a controlled study to be considered effective.

        Auditing will undoubtedly produce more than zero positive results, if for no other reason than the placebo effect and/or the Hawthorne effect. It’s just as unlikely to say that auditing works 0.00% of the time as it is for Scientology to say that “the tech” works 100.00% of the time when applied standardly.

        You’re exactly right about how auditing (and Scientology in general) is designed to drain you of your resources. The mindf**k is basically this: you get cheap auditing at the beginning of your involvement in Scientology. A sizable percentage of people drop out after a few sessions where they don’t get any “wins.” But some do get some notable “wins” and stay in. Over time, auditing likely becomes less effective, but the control mechanism of the “if it works, it’s because of Scientology and if it doesn’t work, it’s because you’re a screw up” keeps you in. At the same time, the price goes up and you have to work harder and harder to keep justifying the sunk cost of the time and money you have invested. It must be exhausting.

  • villagedianne

    I think Independent Scientology will draw never-ins only if it really helps people. Since the early processes do seem to be beneficial for some, word-of-mouth might bring in new people. As in many self-help groups, most of the newbies will only dabble, only a few will stay long-term. Independent Scientology will become one more stop in the spiritual marketplace.

  • ze moo

    Any indie start up is going to be the nail that stands out and gets hammered down. Corporate $camatology will not allow any competition. Trademark and copyright litigation will kill any start up that does not have deep pockets. Throw in the suicide bombers of the loyal minions and no one can get a serious competition of the floor. The harassment by the loyal clam minions will monumental. Davey will use every nasty trick to put down any attempt at a large indie group.

    There is no one in the indie world like Lroon or Miscavige because the start up costs are too high and the right combination of philosophical bullshiter and egomaniac megalomania sadist is very hard to find outside of a penitentiary. I hear Charlie Manson is available, but he does have a habit of killing people. This causes the police to intervene and the rapid shut down of the enterprise ensues.

    I can’t see the indie world getting any standards body together. That would threaten the local ‘auditor in chief’ who is making money out of auditing. Any structure would attract the $cam hammer.

    Any Hubbardarian movement that survives will be small and it will work around a small group of auditors and case supervisors who can sell the magic of auditing to newbies. I suspect the supply of such gullible people to be very limited, but ‘mediums’ and ‘psychics’ are still in business. Maybe they can buy the shamp-wow guys customer list? I shouldn’t single out the sham-wow guy, it is after all a tangible product with real proven abilities. It get stuff dry. Any indie group is going to do the same to your wallet.

    • Anonymous

      There are some VERY funny lines above!

      Not sure you know this or not, but the ShamWow guy (Vince Offer Shlomi) dabbled in Scientology before he became “famous.” Apparently he has since left / sued the church.

      I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.

      • ze moo

        Vinces history in the clampire was known to me. His commercials for all the stuff he hawks have been every where in the last few years, though I haven’t seen much of him this year.

        • Anonymous

          Vince’s most recent “work”:

  • Anonymous

    John P.

    For what it’s worth, my guess is that the independent movement will be a mix of this:

    Independent Scientology must inevitably be a way station for people who are leaving the cult but who aren’t ready to walk away from it entirely,and thus it is not able to exist on its own over the long term..

    And this:

    Independent Scientologists will [NOT] be able to resolve factional disputes and come together in agreements on key points, to present a unified face, thus attracting new adherents…

    Living / working on staff within the culture of hardcore Scientology is incredibly stressful. There is policy about EVERYTHING. And all of it, or none of it, will be applied in any given situation at the whim of the most senior person involved in any particular issue.

    Inside the church, the hierarchy of power is relatively clear at any given moment, however anyone with any tenure knows that the entire deck of cards can be re-dealt in an instant with people re-posted, busted, sent to the RPF etc. for the most trivial reasons.

    Because of this, and because of the frantic nature / tone of much of the POLICY of Scientology, there is a near attack-dog mentality that causes tension and bureaucratic warfare to be the near continuous condition of “normal” on staff. But there is a way to get a dispute cleared up and that is to query the matter to the top of the totem pole (formerly Hubbard, now wee Davey.)

    Scientology was designed from the beginning to be a tyranny. It REQUIRES a tyrannical leader to resolve the inevitable disputes caused by its convoluted and contradictory POLICY and TECH.

    Outside the hardcore church, nobody has to listen to anybody about anything. But the attack-dog mentality inbred into former staffers continues to prevent then from developing a genuine cooperative relationship. Thus they continuously battle among themselves, each one flinging some Hubbard policy tripe to support their position on any given matter. But since their is no real hierarchy and no tyrant to resolve disputes, the stuff just festers forever.

    What seems to happen over time, is that the smart ones finally just shrug their shoulders and move onto other things with their life, leaving Scientology in the dust. Some still try to do some auditing, but won’t get involved in organizational matters as they just do not want the hassle.

    Ron’s Org’s are the only substantive group that has lasted more than a few years…most groups devolve into squabbles or succumb to monetary pressure much sooner.

    I do not see any real likelihood of “new” people approaching a breakaway Scientology group in anything like meaningful numbers. The Scientology brand is broken and its “tech” has been reduced to a laughing stalk. It will be very hard for a breakaway group to convince newbies that things are “different” outside the main church.

    That’s my read – looking forward to seeing feedback from others and your comparative analysis.

    • aegerprimo

      Yes, (as I understand your outline), the whole Hubbard “If it isn’t written, it isn’t true” will be the downfall of any spin-off of Scientolo-gee.

    • NeverIn

      You posted this as I was composing mine comment, and too bad too – I could have just written “ditto”.

      • Anonymous

        I noticed that too. I think it makes the viewpoints even more valid as each was arrived at independently from different observations.

  • NeverIn

    I don’t believe Scientology as a philosophy, let alone religion, can stand on it’s own. It is the cult dynamics, not the belief system, that has held it together this long. By cult dynamics I mean: the extreme pressure to conform to group behaviors; thought policing; otherwise supplanting an individual’s identity (and humanity) with the group identity; and frankly, belief in the infallibility of a living, present leader.

    Scientology “scripture” has the cult group dynamics built in, but LRH named only himself as leader. The unquestioned LIVING leader is required to interpret, arbitrate and discipline; without one there is room for disagreement, and therefor critical thinking and individuality, which are simply and profoundly incompatible with both cult dynamics in general and Scientology in particular.

    For such a person to rise up after David Miscavige is not impossible. There are lots of ruthless cunning sociopaths on this planet, and if some young person could somehow convince enough old guard that he’s LRH returned before Miscavige had a chance to destroy him, I’m not sure I’d be surprised.

    The real problem is the internet and, well, us. Scientology’s brand is beyond repair. No new version of this cult could successfully recruit enough people today to reach the critical mass necessary to sustain its own internal pressure.

    So what we’re left with is a lot of people with varying experiences each trying to find and hold onto what was good and useful about Scientology, and each coming up with different and changing answers, and by definition that means it isn’t Scientology anymore. People may continue to think of themselves as Scientologists, and even LRH followers, but without the cult dynamics or the ability to recruit (let alone the money) the Scientology influence will dissipate.

    Sadly, there are other cults.

  • Lurkness

    JP I am sure you have already seen it, but Mike Rinder’s recent post AND discussion on the Dwarfenfurher’s new business model post-GAT II release is very instructive to your/our analysis. Basically, he has declared everyone an SP and requiring them to re-do all the basics. Other than Flag and the bigger orgs, there is and will be no auditing–so potentially remove that profit line, particularly in the field and outside FLAG. Appears (or so the argument goes) that because auditing and the upper bridge work was all but eviscerated with GAT I, DM is seeking gross income by requiring everyone to do the basics again, which does not require from the CoS much trained staffed (many of whom were previously declared and already out, independent or otherwise) or cult “expertise”. Here is the post:

    http://www.mikerindersblog.org/miscaviges-golden-age-ridge-on-the-bridge/

    • Anonymous

      If Mike’s post is accurate, it confirms the already stated suspicion that GAT II and the giant new building at FLAG are both CONSOLIDATION moves, not expansion moves. Scientology is crumbling to dust and wee Davey is trying to salvage whatever income stream he can, while essentially holding a giant clearance sale.

      What is likely to be gone after the clearance sale is the last of the remaining old-timers who knew Scientology when its benign side was still stronger than the malignant side.

      If I had to add a prediction, I’d guess that there WILL be a new and relatively massive ad campaign (spending Sea Org reserves) to try and recruit net new Scientologists to all the fancy new buildings and revised GAT II “tech.”

      And I’ll further the prediction by saying that ad campaign will fail to attract significant new members because of the church’s horrible reputation and Davey will be gone within 3 years maximum, possibly sooner.

  • Lady Squash

    I don’t see Scientology continuing and can not imagine the Independent Scientologists pulling together for many reasons. One is that Scientology is not what it says it is: It isn’t a game where everyone wins; It doesn’t deliver what it promises; the money doesn’t go where Hubbard says it goes; Hubbard was not who he said he was; Scientology isn’t a science–there is no research; and auditing does something but were not sure what. How do you sell that?
    And yet Scientology seems to have some value. If life is chaos, Scientology offers orderly patterns: emotions can be put into a Tone Scale; activities and drives can be broken down into categories called “dynamics”; ethics have conditions; bad behavior can be explained and a seemingly worthwhile goal–clearing the planet and going totally spiritually fact; and auditing does something, but we’re not sure what.
    Can one start a Scientology mission or church and still be honest?

    • Lurkness

      No! There is nothing honest about them or the tech.

    • Exterrier

      Brilliant. Yes, the first paragraph is absolutely true. The second one describes my experience, or how it definitely helped me for a year or so…… I needed an “applied philosophy” with a bit of discipline and a location and comrades in it, as sort of “training wheels” out of the chaos I found myself in at midlife. I feel sorry for any kids who were born in or dragged in by parents.
      There was some value in something like what it claimed to be. I did not go too deep because of the creepiness factor that kept rearing up, and the fact that roboticism is alien to my nature.
      You raise a great question as to what an honest Scientology mission would look like. You’d have to pretty much eliminate all the tapes and lectures by Lron, and his image everywhere, because there was nothing much honest about the man.

    • Anonymous

      Sure…I mean besides the fraud, the deception, the lying, the outrageous cost, the lack of results, the fake Hubbard bio and the well documented violence of the current leader, what’s really wrong with Scientology anyway?

  • Casabeca

    #2. As a mistreated public or staff member awakens to abuses against himself and others, he might start to permit himself to wonder what is and isn’t true and beneficial in Scientology doctrine and practices.
    One possible initial conclusion would be that the tech is good and COB and managers/fundraisers are the problem.
    If he does a little research and hears that he could still have those addictive wins,for less money and hassle, he might feel like he could handle the leaving the official church.
    Knowing that one could get the craving satisfied another way could make quitting less scary.
    Like going from cigarettes to a nicotine patch, it moves one in a good direction, but is a less than ideal permanent state. Once the old Scientology habit has begun breaking down, IMHO the chances are good that, over the years, the whole association will be less depended on.
    People who are properly fed, rested and with leisure time to analyze seem unlikely to me to stay locked in.

  • CraftLass

    Before I become influenced by other comments, I’ll add mine. Apologies if I’m repeating other people’s ideas, but, hey, that’s part of honest analysis, right? See if certain notions come up across a spectrum of people?

    Scenario 1 is the one I see as least likely. As much as we like to joke about the numbers of faithful members of the corporate church, it’s still got a good amount of people involved, the legal status to make it “legit” to those who are uninformed on the issues surrounding it (and, yes, most people still don’t know much, if anything, beyond the celebrity members, even with all the critical press these days), those precious copyrights, and the money, lots of money. I suspect that any indie group that directly took on Co$ in a big enough way to actually siphon “raw meat” customers, they would be bankrupted very quickly even if they never make it to a trial, unless they had major reserves.

    Scenario 2 is much more likely. There are some adherents who will likely stick with these philosophies and practices for life (most likely with some shedding of more obnoxious bits), but that will not be a majority. Being allowed to explore who LRH was, openly and honestly, is one of the best cures for believing in him. Some people take the truth and still stubbornly insist that this very flawed man came up with some good stuff. Others find themselves discarding bits and pieces as part of the process of healing, eventually hitting the point where they are simply done with it all. Still others might continue until they come across that perfect bit of information that makes them drop it all at once. If independent Scientology is healing those damaged by the cult, more power to them. Probably the best thing about this scenario is that it brings exes together and allows them to speak frankly with each other for the first time. That has to be a revealing experience! Independents seem to have a wide range of adherence over time.

    Scenario 3 seems absolutely unlikely. They could maybe grow a little, get a few never-ins, but it would be very low numbers. This is not the 1950s or 60s. People are, by and large, savvier now. Without actively pursuing the hardcore indoctrination that has sullied the official church, the vast majority of new samplers would walk away fairly quickly. Remember, the official church has been using such samplers to pad their numbers since the beginning and those numbers have always dwarfed the numbers of those who stayed beyond a course or two.

    The only way this scenario would work is if they followed the path of the original, with all of the evil that most exes are trying to escape.

    Scenario 4, for similar reasons, also seems unlikely. While there may be more consolidation among Indie groups in the future, there seems to be a lot of issues between them that would require a whole bunch of time and energy just to work those out. By the time that could happen they would find their fields a bit depleted, because so many indies DO wind up using it as a step towards no longer practicing at all. The added infighting that usually happens while attempting consolidation could also easily tear people further apart rather than bringing them together. It could easily scare off potential members, too.

    For all it’s bluster about “improving communication skill”, Scientological communication is more about how to be a better asshole. It’s not communication. Cooperation requires actual communication skills, the kind that include compromise and humility. Under the philosophies of LRH, at least to my understanding, you’d have to have that one leader ruling over the rest, someone sitting at the top of the Org Board. Any scenario where a leader is running a group using these techniques is going to become a dangerous cult again. I also think that the most powerful independents know this better than we do and would be more likely to work against such a scheme rather than assist the process.

    So, I guess I think that either the indies can’t consolidate or they’ll have to do it in a way that will hurt everyone involved in the long run. It’s very difficult to see a middle ground.

    All of this said, I don’t think independent Scientology is going to disappear anytime soon, either, regardless of what happens with corporate Scientology. As long as there are people there will be those willing to try anything that even has a slight chance at improving them and their lives, even if those improvements are an illusion. There are enough statements of “wins” from past and current members to intrigue certain types forever. Co$ is FAR from being one of the biggest scams in this country, let alone the world, and there are good reasons why people get suckered.

    As long as they aren’t getting too organized, I’m okay with that. As long as indies let people walk away without harassment, it’s all good.

    Now, Study Tech and Purifs – that’s a different matter. Those needs to be immediately crushed like cockroaches anywhere they pop up and I really hope all indies realize the dangers in them.

  • Cece

    Hi John P
    I answered this some hours ago and the post is not showing up. Just so you know.
    Happy Saturday 🙂
    Cece

    • John P.

      Cece, I am sorry that Disqus ate your comment. I can’t see it using the administrative functions. I would love to have your thoughts. If you still have an original copy, please e-mail me at johnpcapitalist at (sounds like “gee male”). Thanks!

      • Cece

        Well hear is the deal John PC, Ya can’t lump us together. We have been ‘lumped’ together for so long we just all need or freedom. I can’t have a baby because my tubes are tied. Well another bad make for SO and Jack.
        Cece

        • Cece

          I can’t edit John PC. I meant another bad Mark. But to be fair I must say I went there on my own initive. No one forced me.
          Cece

  • Robert Eckert

    I believe #1 is impossible because #4 seems to be impossible, as the rapid death of the Milestone Two unification effort indicates. Each faction will continue to go its own way, much as Protestant sects stubbornly splintered from the beginning and were never going to form a new monolith in opposition to the Catholic monolith.

    #3 I would seriously doubt. I do not know of a single case of a never-in joining an Indie Scientologist group. I would assume it has happened at least once (hardly anything is so strange that some person somewhere hasn’t done it) but it must be exceedingly rare.

    #2 I would have thought the most likely scenario, but I had to ask myself whether it was really true that adherents to Indie movements always drift away, given enough time, and looked to see if there was anyone who had stayed with an Indie movement for a decade or longer. Indeed there exists such a case: Theo Sismanides, well known to Bunkerites, posted a piece on the Freezone board in 2000, explaining how the “Golden Age of Tech” release (the semicolon purge) first raised his doubts and how he broke with the {church} fully by 1999 because of his faithfulness to the original LRH teachings as he perceived them:

    http://www.freezone.org/reports/theo_01.htm

    So, some Indie groups do die out (the Aberrees of the late 50’s left no trace behind) or mutate away from any Scientological connection (David Mayo’s group ultimately turned into “Metapsychology” which has no Hubbardism left in it), but some others will chug along, reinfused by desertions from CoS but none really capable of living longer than the last survivor of the CoS.

  • DodoTheLaser

    As a side note, I think we can all agree, and I mean all of us, including current scientologists, that David Mayo (LRH’s personal auditor and contributor), was the biggest Indie ever after all. He is no longer scientologist either. The list goes on.

    • aegerprimo

      History has a tendency to repeat itself.

    • Anonymous

      He was also the most sensible.

  • Anonymous

    One more observation for consideration in this thread – It is extremely common for a Scientologist who first leaves the official church to arrive at this momentary conclusion about Scientology:

    **** The “tech” is good; the “management” is bad. ****

    Later this evolves more generally to “”Hubbard’s “red on white is good” but his “green on white is bad.””

    Upon further reading about the true history of the church and after comparing notes with many other ex-Scientologists, many Ex’s start examining the foundational structure of the “tech” itself by comparing the ancient philosophical and psychological sources from which much of it was derived / plagiarized / summarized.

    Eventually, many realize that while they may have received value from their experience in Scientology, most of that value was / is available elsewhere without the hassle.

    Ultimately, most Ex’s also come to the conclusion that the states of “Clear” and “OT” do NOT exist, at least as described in the literature of Scientology. And even if those states exist in a theoretical sense, MORE Scientology of any stripe, cannot deliver those states to themselves or others.

    That final conclusion is the one that helps many go on with their lives and find something else to occupy their attention.

    • Terril Park

      Hi John, have enjoyed your posts on Tony O’s blog.

      I have been involved with the FZ and active in it for at least 13 years. And know many of the people involved.

      “1 Independent Scientology will become an effective, organized movement that actually helps to drive membership losses at the COS by marketing its positive advantages?”

      This has been happening. I’ve been promoting that one can do
      “TECH outside COS” for my time in the FZ. This has resulted in more than 2000 being connected to auditors or FZ Forums. These are english speakers. Rons Orgs in Europe and Russia have at least that number. In recent times there have been many FZ facebook forums started, one having over 3000 members. Looking at the extrordinary demands of GAT 2 more and more people are going to be dissasociating from CO$, many will want to turn to the FZ. I only recently discovered that there is a very large FZ Org with 100 staff in Taiwan.

      “2 Independent Scientology must inevitably be a way station for people who are leaving the cult but who aren’t ready to walk away from it entirely, and thus it is not able to exist on its own over the long term?”

      The FZ has existed for 15 years at least and has been expanding. Some do walk away many remain scientologists.

      “3 Independent Scientology will be able to attract a significant number of adherents from the world of the never-in’s, by putting together a case for the value of auditing and other Scientology practices?”

      The vast majority of Ron’sOrgs are “never ins”. Generally people who are potentially interested in Scn are wary of CO$ and some approach the FZ.

      “4 Independent Scientologists will be able to resolve factional disputes and come together in agreements on key points, to present a unified face, thus attracting new adherents? Or will it forever look like the People’s Front of Judea versus the Judean People’s Front?”

      There are not really factional disputes. A key issue is how “standard” one is, and this has led to arguments and confrontations. Some take the green on white quite seriously
      others not so much. The KSW purists don’t generally regard Rons Orgs favourably as they have slightly different levels after OT 3.

      Marty is an interesting example. He claims he is no longer a scientologist , yet still delivers auditing. Also recommends
      reading certain psychologists, and various philosophers. He has
      a very liberal approach to Scn, one which I like personally. Some
      purists condemn him for this.

      I would say that all who do scientology outside COS broadly agree that the tech is useful and valid.

      ” 5 Some other scenario will come to pass?”

      Inevitably CO$ will decline, and probably faster in the future
      than it has in the past. In the short to medium Term the FZ will
      grow. Long term in english speaking countries its hard to be certain of the future. Highly trained auditors are aging and not much replacement is going on. Ron’s Orgs will probably continue to grow. They now have as many or possibly more L’s auditors
      than CO$. There is a big question as to whether CO$ can successfully train auditors anymore.

      Finally TIR and Metapsychology have established a bridgehead
      in main stream therapy.

      • Anonymous

        Terrill,

        While I respect and defer to your vastly superior knowledge about Ron’s Org’s in particular and the Freezone in general, I am extremely doubtful of your statement that:

        “There are not really factional disputes.”

        I’m made even more doubtful of your statement because immediately afterward you state:

        “A key issue is how “standard” one is, and this has led to arguments and confrontations. Some take the green on white quite seriously others not so much. The KSW purists don’t generally regard Rons Orgs favorably as they have slightly different levels after OT 3.”

        And Marty does not even consider himself a Scientologist anymore, yet you cite him as someone delivering “auditing.”

        If those are not examples of “factional dispute(s)” please describe what would be?

        • Terril Park

          Good points.

          Much has been spoken about the difference between
          ” Indies” and “FZers”. There is really no difference.

          I challenge you to find any 🙂

          Yes you make good points re factional differences.

          However most follow red on white pretty closely.

          Conflicts in the past have been mostly about how standard one is.

          Note that Ron’sOrgs are VERY standard. A friend, formerly a Flag course sup has praised such standardness
          having studied there.

          Where in any area are there not factional disputes of some kind?

          IMO factional disputes in the FZ/Indie area are not so important.

          However my possible bias is quite clear. 🙂

          Thanks for comment:)

          • Anonymous

            Terrill,

            Again, I respect your desire to contribute to preserving what you see as the valuable parts of Scientology.

            The bigger point I was making in my writeup was that because of the nature of the training (and the accompanying mindset) that ex-staffers have received in Scientology (especially ex-Sea Org staffers) their willingness to band together in a post-Scientology “Indie” umbrella of Kumbaya for the sake of marketing a “kinder, gentler tech” is very low.

            It’s not that it cannot or will not happen, I just think the likelihood is very small.

            And even if it does happen, the global impact will be as close to zero as can be measured.

          • Terril Park

            I’d say you are correct. Scn is very much a minority
            interest.

            However they are persuing their goals and banding together.

          • John P.

            Do you have any perspective you could share on the aims and goals of Milestone Two and of what the *(*@#$ happened? I was surprised to see it announced with such fanfare only to be subject to some apparently vicious and potentially fatal bickering among board members over issues that I figured would have been handled thoroughly prior to the launch.

      • Robert Eckert

        I am interested in your assertion that the vast majority of Ron’sOrgs are “never ins” since (as I said below in my post) I have never encountered someone who joined an indie group without previous involvement in the {church}. Are you an example, or is there someone posting at the Bunker or at Mike’s who is?

      • John P.

        Terrell, thanks for sharing your perspective. I have a couple of questions, one echoing what Robert Eckert said above, plus a few others.

        1. I am interested in the existence of a FZ “org” in Taiwan. Do you have any English-language references that I can use to track that down? And it is surprising to see that they would have 100 presumably full-time staff — that’s probably greater than the full time staff of the Kaohsiung org that Miscavige constantly trumpets as his shining (not really that great and probably the only) success in Asia.

        2. I am surprised to see that FZ or Ron’s Org is strong in Russia, given the harassment directed at COS by the Russian government, feeling that it is essentially a front group for the CIA (given Hubbard’s statements about offering auditing “tech” to various governments while he was at sea, a Russian FSB agent searching for background on the cult could easily read that and think that Hubbard was in the spy business if he didn’t understand that Hubbard was basically delusional). It’s a short step from the harassment given COS to the harassment given FZ or Ron’s Org.

        3. I am particularly surprised that you would characterize the differences between Indies and FZ and Ron’s Org as relatively minor academic disputes over the finer points of auditing technique. As I recall, sometime in 2012, Steve Hall basically claimed that the Freezone was a bunch of OSA plants and that he and a select group of Indies were the only ones doing what Ron wanted. In other words, he questioned the right of FZ to exist. He certainly didn’t make it sound like the groups were aligned like, say, Methodists and Baptists. Those kind of statements made in some of the bars I used to frequent at university would get you a free trip to either the hospital or the morgue.

        4. Any place I can look for anything more rigorous than anecdotal information about the percentage of FZ and Ron’s Org people that are never-in’s?

        5. As far as we can tell, using the rate of growth on the “Indie 500” list as a guide, the “indie” field isn’t growing particularly quickly. I understand that list is a small sample of the people leaving the official COS, so the actual numbers are higher, but the rate of growth over the last 1.5 years don’t really suggest that the Indie field is growing. Since they are being fed by defectors from the COS the same as FZ and Ron’s Org, why would the latter be growing rapidly as you suggest while the former is probably operating at something close to a replacement level?

        Again, I appreciate you taking the time to write a long reply, sharing experience from a perspective I have not had a chance to understand all that well. I’d welcome your further thoughts here and your contributions in the future.

        • Terril Park

          1.
          I was suprised to get this a few days ago as it was news to me. Helen Chen took most of the chinese students with her from LA when she left
          CO$. She set up a new FZ org in LA which at least prior to current events outdid LA orgs in producing auditor completions. And How Helen had something going on in Taiwan for 12 years while
          in CO$ I don’t know. Perhaps this also was a CO$ Mision.

          “Trey Lotz 19 November 09:18

          We’ve had a great couple of weeks here.
          I did 79 hours of auditing, resulting in an L12,
          three Original OT 7, and two 8-8008 Certainty Auditing
          completions.

          Novia has been the very capable ED of Hellen Chen’s
          org in Taiwan for 12 years. This org has over 100 staff
          and is the largest independent org in the world!”

          Here is Helen in her LA Academy :-

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQVui1csNAA&feature=youtu.be

          2. Generally government harrassment of CO$ dosn’t affect the FZ. See on Marty’s blog about his public meetings with Ursula Caberta.

          In Russia people were very happy to be exposed to western ideas and also religious ideas both previously suppressed. Also there was initially no bad press about Scn. Dianetics came to Russia
          in 1995 approx. Many in Russia wanted Scn also and they wrote to Max Hauri and Otfried Krumholz,
          two of ROs leaders,and invited them to Russia. They all got on very well and Max and Otfried went on to deliver the HQS course to about 50 people.
          HQS is TRs,objectives, SA lists and assists. From this acorn grew Ron’sOrgs Russia. Maybe 40 groups, 2-3000 people.

          I have met Max and Erica Hauri, and Otfried, been C/Sed by Erica met quite a few of their auditors and C/Ses and was for a couple of years part of a forming RO in the UK. I know that most russian RO members were never in CO$. Whether that info is on any of there websites I don’t know.

          http://www.ronsorg.com/

          3. Steve Halls diatribe against the FZ was completely ignorant and I don’t know how someone so seemingly capable could have made such a post. It was pointed out to him by FZer Michael Moore mainly, the error of his ways, and he recanted. In fact he and Mike are both strong upholders of KSW and this is an important commonality. They have lots in common.

          One could consider KSW1 a ser facs [make wrong] charter. Most disputes in Indie/FZ area have been based on who asserts standardness
          and castigates what they consider as non standard.

          4. Mail Otfried Krukholz

          ok@rons-org.de

          5. I don’t think the indie 500 list indicates a lot. I’m not even sure if I ever signed it. It seems mostly people who started on Marty’s Blog. I have some 900 members on two FZ forums, and more than 2000 names of people who contacted me for auditing or to join forums for more than a decade.
          Interestingly Marty’s blog mostly attracted people who’d never contacted me or who mostly I had never heard of. High fives to Marty for that 🙂 For many years I averaged 30 new contacts per month.
          Now most new activity is blogs or facebook forums,
          at least 10 FZ ones.

          ROs have been established for some 19 years or so and have really got their act together. As I mentioned few come via CO$. Even in the english speaking world most new comers are fairly new to the subject. They may have started a beginning course in CO$ only to leave at a run after being asked to donate thousands, or some other stupidity, or bypassed CO$ altogether. One US poll found this organisation more reviled than Al Queda.

          Below the only TV program that puts COS Tech in a good light Filmed in RO’s by Brit Channel 4.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VblMGk13Eg

    • Exterrier

      Excellent summary of the Steps or stages, Anon. We should actually number those and refer to ourselves and exes as a “Stage One” recovery, “stage two” etc…. It might sound a bit like Siphonallofme itself, though. Might be useful. I’m at the final Stage six conclusion you state, and it is great. Oops, I guess not, though, or it would not have my attention, and I would not be writing this.
      I still learn more about it by these blogs and links. I have just explored all of Stacy Brooks’ testimonies and essays, and it cleared up even more about auditing….there are still lingering mysteries, I gues.

      • Anonymous

        When I cross-posted a similar post at The Bunker earlier today the stages actually were numbered for clarity. 😉

        And there is always the “being able to warn others” aspect of staying aware of what is current in Scientology, even if one has no interest in pursuing it any longer oneself.

  • Snippy_X
    • Eclipse-girl

      The NZ Org (AUkland) was loaned the $ to purchase the building. That is unusual and John P should have the new data. I worry about the rate of interest being charged

  • Bella Legosi

    teeeheee maybe the Indies are already in the “People’s Front of Judea/Judea’s Peoples Front (Spliters!)”???

  • Robert Sherwin

    Let me throw my $.02 into the pot. First off I am not longer what you would consider a Scientologist. However I am not an Indie or Ron’s Orger. I am a free and critical thinker who can pick and choose what piece of technology works for me. I did spend 20 years in Scientology.

    One thing about technology is that it evolves. It does not stand still, so KSW is completely invalid. Looking at your list and talking with several independent practitioners, I have discovered that 10-20% of their clients tend to be never ins or guys that did some beginning stuff and got turned off by the prices or IAS reges.

    Now these practitioners do not have the Scientology flag waving outside their office. You have to realize that what has attracted people to a technology like Scientology in the past is the thing that will attract other people to the new brand of practitioner. The old Scientology brand will evolve into more of an open source model where each practitioner will will cherry pick what works and even develop some of their own. That is what auditors were told to do in the 50’s. The current brand is broken. But people will always have something they want to handle in their life, death of a loved one, a divorce, loss of a job, depression, sadness … the list goes on and on. That is usually how someone gets involved with Scientology in the first place.

    With the internet and people looking for answers to their problems, there will always be a need for some sort of help from others. There always will be someone there to offer help. Many will have high ranking websites with success stories that others can relate to and will get business from that.

    As far as Hubbard is concerned, my viewpoint is that he was able to borrow or steal a lot of what he put on paper. But he did refine some of it. He made very few of his own discoveries, but that does not invalidate the workability of it. Some of it actually does work, some more than others. Otherwise the movement would not have gained this much momentum. And it would not be as hard to break free of it.

    Although I love all that you write John and I love your logical thinking, I think there is another item to be put on the above list. And that might be that the tech will morph itself to get away from the negative effects of the brand and be called something different but will still use many of the principles of the original tech. And also there will be a combination of the items that you have listed above in varying percentages, but I highly doubt that anyone will become the glassy-eyed staring robot that was the end product of the Cof$.

    I will add that I have received auditing over Skype at less than one third of what the Cof$ charges with no regging or IAS nagging. No sec checks or visits or phone calls. The results are quite spectacular when there is no interference. And I can do it from my Lazy-Boy.

    So to answer the above question, I would have to say there there will be a little of all the above, plus what I have added. It will be quite splintered. Each person has there own needs and there will be many practitioners delivering the tech in many different ways to their clients.