A PIECE OF BLUE SKY -- SCIENTOLOGY, DIANETICS & L. RON HUBBARD EXPOSED
CHAPTER THREE: Fair Game, Ethics and the Scriptures
It is paradoxical that people who become involved in Scientology to increase their "self-determinism" usually accept a life of increasing self-sacrifice and "other-determinism" (control by others) if they join the staff. Sea Org conditions are the worst: atrocious, over-crowded and often bug-infested housing; only half a day of free time each two weeks; almost no time with their children (who have often been kept in deplorable conditions); no medical or dental insurance; months together of a diet consisting solely of rice and beans; long working hours and insufficient sleep. These combine to make a regimen which is not only morally unacceptable, but can violate minimum standards of Health and Labor laws. Guardian's Office staff were slightly better treated and better paid (but still below the poverty line) - presumably their conditions have deteriorated with their absorption into the Sea Org.
Org staff members usually work slightly less than the ninety hours or more of the Sea Org member, although they too are paid only a few dollars a week. Mission staff usually fare a little better. Staff members sacrifice their family life, their financial security and their careers to "Clear the planet." There is a conspiracy of silence about this maltreatment. Scientologists are required to direct their complaints only to Organization executives, using the Ethics Report system. Criticism relayed to any unauthorized person is labelled "natter," and the person who "natters" will soon be reported to Ethics for corrective action.
Scientology is highly compartmented, and an air of secrecy pervades most of its departments and activities. The Guardian's Office restricted knowledge of certain events to B-1. There was tremendous esprit de corps, and B-1 agents remained mute about their work. In nine years, I heard nothing of the criminal tactics they employed, and was incredulous when I eventually read the affidavit of a former agent who had run a cell of infiltrators in Boston. The Sea Org kept their austere lifestyle secret. The public Scientologist is in a separate compartment. If a major malpractice was reported by a public Scientologist to the Guardian's Office it would usually be brushed aside with a false reassurance. If the Scientologist was insistent, he might be threatened into silence. If there was enough discontent among Scientologists at one of Hubbard's schemes, a scapegoat would be found. Problems often arose because of the conflict between Hubbard's published Policy and his secret orders, which were followed to the letter.
The Guardian's Office maintained a series of front groups. These are now directed by the Sea Org through the Office of Special Affairs, or the Special Activities Corps. Scientology businesses belong to the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE). Recently, Sterling Management have attracted publicity for their business training schemes. Other front groups used to be managed by the Social Coordination Bureau of the Guardian's Office (SoCo). SoCo was established to monitor and direct Scientology educational and rehabilitation groups, and received a tithe for doing so. In 1989, the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) replaced SoCo. The Church also runs anti-psychiatry groups, as well as a campaign for Freedom of Information outside the U.S., and a campaign against Interpol. These groups are run by trained Scientologists, committed to Hubbard's principles. There is a bitter irony in the Scientologists' campaign for Freedom of Information, allowing public access to government files: The GO never allowed such access by Scientologists to their B-1 files. There is no evidence that these files have been destroyed, or the system abandoned.
In Britain, the Effective Education Association teaches children "Study Tech." Applied Scholastics and Education Alive function in the U.S., where the Apple and Delphi schools are accredited. Greenfields is the name of the Scientology school near Saint Hill, in England. The headmaster of Delphi, in Oregon, has claimed that children who are not educated in Scientology schools are being "psychwashed" by the educational system. Further, he has said that Delphi wants non-Scientologist children so that the Scientology children, who are being trained to become leaders, can gain experience in dealing with "wogs." 1
A brief investigation shows that the extravagant claims made by Narconon, the Scientology drug rehabilitation program, are largely false, including claims of endorsement by governments and state authorities. Those who do withdraw from drug abuse are often recruited into Scientology.
In their anti-psychiatry campaign, Guardian's Office tactics included infiltrating hospitals, stealing psychiatric records and spreading libels about psychiatrists during "noisy investigation." The campaign was stepped up when psychiatrists became active in the anti-cult movement. Psychiatrist John Clark and psychologist Margaret Singer were viciously libeled and harassed for speaking out in public, and for their testimony as hostile expert witnesses in cases involving Scientology.
As ever, Hubbard's ultimate motive for the GO's campaigns is questionable, but good came from some of them. There have certainly been psychiatric abuses, and they were rightly publicized. The Guardian's Office played a part in the exposure of "MK Ultra," a long-running and terrifying series of experiments in mind-control funded by Canadian, British and U.S. Intelligence Agencies. GO staff saw themselves as crusaders against dark forces. They encountered enough duplicity in government to dismiss out of hand attacks upon Scientology. And they worked out of commitment to social change; it certainly was not for personal gain. The good Scientologists have done does not compensate for the harm. The campaigns were largely an attempt to manipulate public opinion and divert critics from Scientology malpractices.
It is a Hubbard maxim that Public Relations should provide an "acceptable truth," tailored to fit the "reality" of a given audience. 2 The practice essentially filters all statements given to the general public and public Scientologists. In the Guardian's Office, it brought into being the technique called elsewhere "plausible denial." Using an acceptable truth at first meant avoiding embarrassing aspects of the truth, and later, more simply, lying. The Church of Scientology has the protection of its public image so deeply ingrained that its representatives perhaps believe the lies they tell about their membership, Hubbard's income, and past misdeeds. The WISE and ABLE front groups are a part of this ongoing deception. The "acceptable truth" is their purported autonomy from the Church, coupled with the idea that they act primarily out of social concern.
Church Scientologists also justify their incessant attacks upon critics and perceived enemies through the courts as an ethical practice: the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics. So, in accordance with Hubbard's dictum, the law is indeed used to harass. Of course, more directly harassive tactics have also been used, usually but not always remaining just inside the law, and bearing a marked similarity to the Campaign to Re-elect President Nixon's "ratfucking," made public during the Watergate scandal. Disrupting meetings, making false allegations in anonymous phonecalls, giving information from confidential counselling folders to the police, stealing medical and psychiatric records, burglary, bugging, and infiltrating government agencies.
The compartmenting of Scientology runs throughout the organization and throughout the literature. And even in the compartments there are hierarchies. Not only does the Scientologist not see Hubbard's statements with the emphasis they have been given here, but some of the references are to obscure and secret materials. The sequence in which information is presented is crucial. Having given an initially favorable impression, it is easier to persuade someone to believe a slightly irrational statement, and thence gradually to persuade them to believe ever more wildly irrational statements. This all takes place in the setting of peer group pressure: as in most cults, Scientologists are highly solicitous towards new members.
The sheer volume of material obscures Hubbard's true intentions. The Technical Bulletins, the books and most of Hubbard's tapes deal with the procedures of counselling. Most of the Church's public see mainly these issues, and either receive auditing or train to become auditors. Policy Letters deal with the Organization. Some public do "admin" courses, so they can apply Hubbard's administration techniques to their own businesses.
There are many forms of internal directives, some distributed to all staff, others only to Sea Org staff (the 4,000 or more Flag Orders fit largely into this category), others only to Guardian's Office staff. Many are unavailable to the public Scientologist, or indeed to anyone without a high enough position in the Organization for which the directive was written. So there are B-1 directives which were only available to individuals who had passed through a stringent series of filters.
Individuals evaluate information differently, selecting different priorities. In such a quantity of material, there is usually a preferable opinion, which can be used either to avoid or to enforce an excessive rule. Moderate Scientologists will justify excesses as examples of Hubbard's frustration at human incompetence.
Hubbard's utterances can be separated into several categories. He wrote many short essays for release in Scientology magazines in the 1950s and 1960s. These were designated "Broad Public Issue" (BPI), and included "My Philosophy," where he spoke of having worked his way back from being "permanently physically disabled," and said "one should share what wisdom one has, one should help others to help themselves, and one should keep going despite heavy weather for there is always a calm ahead." In "What Is Greatness" he said: "The hardest task is to continue to love one's fellows despite all reasons he should not. And the true sign of sanity and greatness is to so continue." (By this standard, Hubbard could make no claim to greatness: he was petty and vindictive in the extreme.)
Hubbard essays, supplemented by extracts from lectures, are reprinted endlessly in Scientology magazines. They sell Scientology as a cure-all, insisting that there is hope for everyone if they only embrace Scientology. Inside Scientology there are a number of broadly known and often quoted Policy Letters. The most important is "Keeping Scientology Working," where the Scientologist is sternly admonished to police the use of Scientology and ensure that there are no departures from Hubbard's teachings. A list of ten points is given for the protection of "Standard Tech," among them "hammering out of existence incorrect technology." This Policy Letter exists in all but introductory Scientology courses. It is there to inculcate reverence to Hubbard as the "Source" of Scientology, and to show the crucial role of the Scientologist's mission on Earth.
"The Responsibilities of Leaders" is another well-known Policy Letter. It is usually referred to as the "Bolivar," because Hubbard wrote it after reading a paperback biography of Simon Bolivar's mistress, Manuela Saenz. Hubbard discussed Bolivar's mistakes at length, and then presented seven maxims for the retention of power. Among these we find:
While this Policy Letter is available to all Scientologists, many others are not. Confidential counselling, or Tech, issues are distributed with care. The public Scientologist taking OT3 knows far less than an OT3 review (Class 8) auditor knows about the supposed OT3 incident. Only Sea Org members have ever been allowed to train as Class 10, 11 and 12 auditors, or as NOTs auditors. Some issues and tapes were restricted to Sea Org "missionaires" going from Flag to raise the stars in the outer Orgs. There were also many confidential Guardian's Office issues. Because of compartmentation, it is likely that no single individual in the Church saw all of this confidential material. Sea Org members were not usually in the GO, so their secret indoctrination was kept largely separate. People who were highly trained in the Tech were not usually involved in administrative work, and almost never in Guardian's Office work. The secret issues included tapes of Hubbard lectures made specifically for a given audience. They differ markedly from the broadly issued material. For example, there are confidential Public Relations issues which explain how to discredit critics. There is no suggestion that the subject of criticism be investigated; only the critic.
The image that Hubbard wished to project becomes clearer to the Scientologist as he receives more counselling and more training, and moves into higher and ever more remote positions in the organization. The cognoscenti, the tiny few who have received all the counselling techniques and reached the heights of management, have a very developed view of the Commodore. He is a great spirit, responsible through the millennia for many (if not most) of the real achievements of history, and, indeed, those of the quadrillennia of prehistory. He was Rawl (the imprisoner of Xenu, perpetrator of OT3), the Buddha, and Cecil Rhodes. He is reborn, life after life, to benefit humanity, and in preparation for the great work of liberating mankind and all intelligent life in the universe, from captivity. Most Scientologists feel that they have served the Commodore in earlier lifetimes. Some even insist that they were with him on his fictitious attacks on German submarines during the Second World War. Hubbard was scientist, philosopher and messiah rolled into one. Scientologists forget that he was not only a science fiction writer, but also a competent hypnotist. A very competent hypnotist.
1. Alan Larson circular letters, 17 June 1985, 19 August 1987
2. The Management Series 1970-1974, Hubbard, p.116
3. Organization Executive Course vol. 7, pp. 357-8