Tony Ortega: Scientology Mythbusting with Jon Atack

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. A new Karen de la Carriere video:

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  2. JohnnyRUClear Member

    AGP is channeling his energies in a very productive direction lately. These videos are very good!
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    FEAR: Jon Atack on Scientology’s Essential Ingredient

    By Tony Ortega

    Jon, we’ve seen some amazing bravery on the part of people speaking out about the abuses in Scientology. Just yesterday, Jenna Miscavige Hill’s response to Barbara Walters really took guts, and we’ve seen many other examples of people like Lori Hodgson and Monique Rathbun daring to speak out or take on the church in litigation. But you know as well as we do that the vast majority of people who leave Scientology with similar experiences never speak out about them. We’ve talked to people who were shockingly mistreated, but years later they still can’t talk about it publicly. You said you had something to tell us that might help explain that situation.

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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack Considers L. Ron Hubbard’s Tangled Relationship With Mind-Altering Substances

    By Tony Ortega

    Jon, you’ve previously made some references to L. Ron Hubbard and drug use. But this week you wanted to take a closer look at what the man had to say about mind-altering substances and relate it to his development of Scientology. We figure we’re in for another wild ride, so take it away.

    JON: Scientology promotes itself as utterly anti-drug, yet this was by no means the attitude of the Founder, who was much more in line with current, progressive “harm reduction” ideas. In 2010, the prestigious medical journal The Lancet published the largest survey of the social and individual harms of drugs to date, which concluded that the most dangerous drug in our society is alcohol. No one at Narconon or Say No to Drugs jumped up to point out that this reflected their own ideologue’s policy, but here it is, as stated in his 1950 work, Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health:

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  5. Anonymous Member

    NOTE TO SELF: Buy Jon Atack's new book!!
  6. OTeleventy Member

    Well worth it. I enjoyed it tremendously. He writes very well. He takes (what i think for many outsiders is) a rather complex topic and distills it quite nicely.
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  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack Answers The Question: How Do Smart People Fall for Scientology?

    By Tony Ortega

    Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and on Saturdays he’s helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.

    This week, Jon answers a question we get maybe more than any other. Scientology has so many outlandish concepts and makes so many unfulfillable promises, how is it that smart people get involved in it and then spend years chasing its impossible goals? Jon sent us this response, and we think it’s the best one we’ve seen yet on the subject.

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  8. muldrake Member

    Tertullian actually answered this question almost two thousand years ago. Actually, he didn't. The answer was neither by Tertullian nor is it even very good Latin, but the phrase often quoted is "Credo quia absurdum." That is a statement that one has faith in a proposition precisely because it is absurd and impossible.

    If you look into the ridiculous beliefs of Scientology, they are actually so complicated and bizarre you have to be fairly intelligent even to understand them. To believe them, you have to be so smart you're stupid.

    If that statement doesn't make sense, it wasn't meant to anyway.
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  9. Anonymous Member

    Understanding them isn't a requirement - getting lost in the maze seems to work well enough.

    And, ffs, can someone who actually understands physics explain big bang theory to him?
  10. Anonymous Member

    And that Steady State wasn't cyclic at all?
  11. Anonymous Member

    Jon Atack interview on triple j's Sunday Night Safran:

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  12. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: Did Mary Sue Hubbard Doubt Scientology’s Key Experience?

    By Tony Ortega

    Jon, you had an interesting anecdote for us this week about Mary Sue Hubbard. She was L. Ron Hubbard’s third wife, and they had four children together. They were married in 1952, and she was an enthusiastic Scientologist and helped him run his movement, including the years from 1967 to 1975, when they ran Scientology from sea. But you say that didn’t always go smoothly?

    JON: Otto Roos was the first OT VIII and one of only five Class XIIs trained by Hubbard, personally. While he was Hubbard’s auditor, aboard ship, he overheard Mary Sue loudly castigating her husband. Imagine, the wife of the Founder, the Deputy Commodore and Controller of the Guardian’s Office, was shouting at the Old Man of the Sea Org and calling him a fraud and a charlatan!

    THE BUNKER: That is startling. Let’s explain a few of those terms. While Hubbard ran Scientology from the yacht Apollo in the early 1970s, the crew was busy with a lot of auditing and training to be auditors. Otto Roos was one of a few auditors who was trained personally by Hubbard to the highest rating, Class XII. He also reached the highest level of spiritual advancement, Operating Thetan Level Eight, when it was released years later. Mary Sue, meanwhile, was not only the wife of Scientology’s founder, who called himself “Commodore,” but she also ran the Guardian’s Office, the notorious spy network of Scientology. But in spite of her high position, she called Hubbard a fraud?

    JON: Eventually, Hubbard placated Mary Sue by asking how he could prove to her that Scientology really worked. There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation: Mary Sue had never been “exterior with full perception.” So, poor Otto was ordered to run every exteriorization process he could find (about 90 of them existed, if I remember rightly), until Mary Sue popped out of her head. I don’t remember for how many weeks this elaborate farce lasted, but in the end, Mary Sue decided that she would rather not go “exterior” than have to continue with these absurd “processes.”

    Continued at
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  13. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: Why do Scientologists Find it So Difficult to Apologize?

    By Tony Ortega

    Jon, you said you wanted to talk about forgiveness in Scientology, which sounds like it could be a pretty volatile subject. Give us your best shot.

    JON: I was on the Class II course when the bulletin Proclamation: Power to Forgive was handed down from on high. This was apt, as the Class II course deals with “confessionals,” and the Class II auditor is granted this right of forgiveness along with a pretty, gold-blocked certificate. So, I was one of the first to grant forgiveness to a fellow Scientologist.

    I was already bemused that the procedure known by this time as “confessional auditing” or “integrity processing” had formerly been known as “security checking.” Listening to the Hubbard lectures and diligently assessing the course materials, it was strange to me that the very lists used as “security checks” when the procedure was introduced to rein in dissident South African Scientologists had simply been relabeled, without change to their content. In a later development, the confidentiality of such “integrity processing” was waived, and an auditor could simply declare “I’m not auditing you” and the confession could be written up for the ethics file, and distributed according to the needs of Scientology. This despicable variation on confidentiality was a persuasive factor in my decision to leave the organization, along with the reintroduction of “disconnection” and the raft of Suppressive Person declares, issued without trial.

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  14. The Wrong Guy Member

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  15. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: What we have here — in Scientology — is a failure to communicate

    By Tony Ortega


    ... there are hundreds of people with whom Scientologists may not communicate, if they wish to avail themselves of the “services” of the “Church.” Disconnection has long been the answer to real world communication problems. At worst, those who retain their inalienable right to communicate their opinions have frequently been terrified and traumatized into silence.

    John McMaster, the “World’s First Real Clear,” told me that he tried to remonstrate with Hubbard that rather than running away from “Suppressive” people, we should heal their destructive urge. He realized that until such a “Tech” existed, Scientology would always be at war. And it has been.
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  16. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: For Scientologists, thinking outside the church can feel like breaking a taboo

    By Tony Ortega

    Last paragraph:

    To break free from the influence of Scientology, I thoroughly recommend an encounter with a few psychiatrists and psychologists. Do this procedure until you realize that they rarely agree on anything, so the notion that they are in a conspiracy to rule the galaxy is simply bonkers. The secret given to Sea Org recruits that they are doing this through perfumes just shows how desperately delusional Ronald Hubbard was. A couple of books that make a good start in this direction are Aaron Beck’s Prisoners of Hate, a very closely reasoned argument for compassion (rather than the harassment doctrine of Scientology), and Robert Jay Lifton’s Destroying the World to Save It, a chilling account of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which stockpiled enough sarin gas to kill millions in Japan. Much of Lifton’s reflection upon cult involvement is highly relevant to the irrational and unthinking behavior inculcated in Scientologists by Hubbard. Here are two of the great minds of the twentieth century, and their ideas should wean anyone from the infantile notion of any great conspiracy. It takes a while to digest Scientology and get it out of your system. Why not treat yourself, and break a few taboos for your New Year’s resolution?
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  17. The Wrong Guy Member

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  18. The Wrong Guy Member

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  19. OTeleventy Member

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  20. The Wrong Guy Member

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  21. The Wrong Guy Member

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  22. The Wrong Guy Member

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  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: The harassment of independent Scientologists didn’t begin with David Miscavige

    Jon takes on an interesting point that we want to set up a little. In recent years, one of the biggest crises Scientology has faced has been an exodus of longtime, loyal members fed up with leader David Miscavige and his focus on fundraising and internal security. These members have been leaving, even though they still admire Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and they plan to continue doing the processes of Scientology itself. Some of the ‘independent Scientologist’ — even some who have not been particularly outspoken, have found themselves to be targets of the church’s legendary retaliation schemes. But Jon wanted to put that harassment in some larger context.
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  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: Why it takes so long to recover from Scientology


    The first year after I cast off L. Ron Hubbard’s “Tech” was a great year. I hadn’t realized just how much I was having to conform to the straitjacket of Ronthink. After so many years of diminished thinking, it was a tremendous pleasure to rediscover my self-determinism and draw my own conclusions.
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  25. The Wrong Guy Member

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  26. Random guy Member

    Cudos to Atack for telling it like it is! No, the CoS is not a church in any meaningful use of the word. This is the only beef I have with Ortega. For a man with his talent and writing skill, substituting "church" with words like "group" or "organisation" should not present a problem. Without going into the "cult vs religion" debate, I see no reason he should run the CoS' errand.
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  27. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack’s final weekly column for us on Scientology, and it’s a doozy

    Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and he’s helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.

    Once again, Jon is taking on Scientology’s most basic beliefs and putting them under a microscope. This week, he has some thoughts for us about how Scientologists internalize L. Ron Hubbard’s toxic policies of Disconnection and Fair Game.
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  28. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: The abandoned ideas that L. Ron Hubbard turned into Dianetics

    Jon, it’s great to see you back, at least for a one-off. Please take us on another dive into the history of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard.

    JON: My pleasure. In a recorded lecture, given in June 1950, Hubbard admitted his own addiction to the barbiturate phenobarbital (Research and Discovery, volume 1, p.124, Case Factors, 15 June 1950). His Navy records show that he was prescribed phenobarbital for a suspected ulcer, towards the end of WWII. By the time Hubbard was admitted to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, this same drug was being used to induce an altered state in traumatised combatants by psychiatrists Roy Grinker and John Spiegel.

    When Hubbard boasted of sneaking into the library at Oak Knoll Hospital to read the latest texts, the work of Grinker and Spiegel was likely available. Their first paper was published in 1943. A book followed in 1945 (Men Under Stress, first edition 1945, second revised edition 1963, McGraw Hill, NY). These two psychiatrists were administering barbiturate drugs — which are classified as “hypnotics” — to US airmen who had survived catastrophic events. Once they were in a barbiturate trance, they were led to abreact — or re-live — those catastrophic events, in the attempt to overcome what has since been labelled Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Similar work was being done in Britain by William Sargent, who would later be listed by the Guardian Office as the UK’s top Suppressive Person.

    Grinker and Spiegel called their work “narco-synthesis” and Hubbard was aware of it — he referred to it in Science of Survival. The two psychiatrists used an old Freudian technique, once their patients were in a barbiturate trance.

    Hubbard had been practising hypnosis for some time, so with access to both barbiturates and the new ideas about “battle fatigue” or “shell shock,” it is no great surprise that he came up with Dianetics, though he advocated the use of amphetamines rather than barbiturates in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Like barbiturates, they reduce the ability to reason, so increase hypnotic susceptibility (D:MSMH, p.363; p.389 in later editions).

    Dianetics is little more than a technique abandoned early on by Freud, which seeks to abreact traumatic memories. In his Worcester Lectures, given before the First World War, Freud explained this experimental method is some detail (Two Short Accounts of Psycho-Analysis, Penguin books, 1962). The English translation — published long before D:MSMH — gives the terms “chains” and “charge.” It also mentions memories of physical trauma — Hubbard’s “engrams” — as well as the “secondaries” and “locks” of Hubbard’s later reworking. Freud used a counting technique to induce rapport (or reverie, as both other hypnotists and Hubbard call it). He also used the repeater technique.

    Continued at
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  29. The Wrong Guy Member

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  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: Escaping the trap Scientology sets for the mind

    After a tragic love affair, many people close down emotionally. They avoid involvement for fear of suffering those overwhelming emotions again. It happened to me, when I was nineteen, and I ended up in Scientology with the determination to achieve an emotional equanimity so complete that nothing would ever pitch me down into the darkness again. It didn’t work. I still have the full complement of emotions, despite my best efforts and Ron Hubbard’s worst. And I am so grateful!
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  31. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: The games L. Ron Hubbard played

    Jon, we’re tickled that your column this time was prompted by a response one of our readers made to a previous piece. We really do have a great commenting community here. So please take us on another exploration of Scientology lore.

    JON: Some months ago, an astute reader pointed to some of Hubbard’s comments about games. I copied the note, but not the reader’s name, so I apologize for that, because credit is due for pointing out one of the most important Hubbard admissions, in the welter of chatter, contradiction, and misdirection that constitutes the work of Our Founder. I had to hunt out the specific lecture, which deals with the “caste system of games.” It is Philadelphia Doctorate Course lecture 39. The astute reader had this to say: “It contains some priceless insight into how Ron viewed other people, structured his organizations, and generally ran Scientology.” And he (or she) was so right.

    On a historical note, Hubbard assigned all of his rights in Dianetics, including the book Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health, to Don Purcell, the Kansas oilman who had bailed out the original foundation, after Hubbard had spent all the money. Hubbard and Purcell believed that Dianetics would be lost in bankruptcy. Neither had predicted that the rights would be offered by the court, and Purcell was there to buy them, for a few hundred dollars. Hubbard had his new “business manager,” one James Elliot, steal the Kansas Foundation’s mailing lists, and poured forth a stream of over 30 letters, whining about his fortunes and pleading for people to leave Dianetics and join his new venture. He was not very successful.

    Because Dianetics was gone, Hubbard had to think of something new. That something was Scientology, which came into being at the start of 1952. The famed Philadelphia Doctorate Course lectures were delivered at the end of the year. Dianetics had swept the US as a craze, with 150,000 sales of the book, before the publisher withdrew it as fraudulent. By the time of the PDC, only 38 people could be persuaded to part with their money.
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  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: How Scientology’s methods of manipulation stay with you after you leave

    We’re fortunate to have two pieces this week from you, Jon. On Thursday, you told us about L. Ron Hubbard’s theory that life was a game, with him controlling the pieces. Today, you’re talking again about leaving Scientology and recovering from it. Help us understand why it is ex-Scientologists have a hard time leaving the church behind.

    JON: To keep the follower trapped in the mindset of the group, it is necessary to erect fences, so that they will not stray. In most groups these fences melt away once the rituals of the group are abandoned. The Krishna stops chanting all day long. The TMer stops repeating the “secret” demonic name, ceaselessly. Away from the rallies and the group euphoria, people come down from the high and integrate back into reality and the mundane. Not so with Scientologists. Scientology is self-reinforcing. We keep on “confronting” with our TRs “in,” and we try to inflict the petty, endless rules of L. Ron Hubbard on all who are around. Until we don’t, which usually takes some intervention on the part of reality (or from me and others of my independently-minded ilk).

    Hubbard devised a set of tricks that reinforce the beliefs he so carefully implanted into us. Krishnas are made phobic of the world with talk of “deadly demons.” Moonies are taught that lapsed members are devils, and that your family is destined to destruction if you abandon belief in the True Messiah. Hubbard replaced these traditional views by borrowing from psychiatry. He grabbed hold of Hervey Cleckley’s work — including the psychiatric designation “anti-social personality disorder” — and induced phobia about “Suppressive People.” These people are so toxic that your life will collapse in ruins if you even talk to them. And none of the tools of the Tech will save you. You will never be OT enough to overcome the SP. They will always leave you quivering.
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  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack on Scientology’s current cycle of action

    Historian Jon Atack sent over a brief note for us this week.

    L. Ron Hubbard claimed that his “cycle of action” originated in the Vedic literature. He simplified it to “start, change, stop,” but in fuller form gave it as “birth, growth, conservation, decay, and death.”

    It is fairly evident that since Miscavige’s takeover, the cult has been in conservation — from the buried caches of material of the early 90s to the overhaul of all previously published material.

    The cult now seems to have moved into the decay stage. I hear that a couple of years back, wealthy members were offered free auditing. Some were foolish enough to take it — despite the well known adage that there’s no such thing as a free personality test, leave along free auditing. The auditing proved to be confessional in nature (the technique formerly known as “security checking” and elsewhere called “interrogation”). The question was simple: why weren’t these Patrons’ children in the Sea Org?

    Through the despicable abortion policy, the ready pool of new recruits provided by the Cadet Org has dried up. South Park and Anonymous, the Underground Bunker,,, Infinite Complacency and many other fine internet sites have dried up the recruitment of “dead in the head, raw meat, wogs,” as Hubbard labelled the general public. Instead, the Org will now recruit as many next generation members as possible. Even the staunchest Patrons may baulk at the treatment their own offspring receive in the Sea Org. Roll on the final stage of the cycle of action.

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  34. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack takes his presentation — ‘Scientology: The Cult of Greed’ — to Russia

    Jon, tell us about your recent trip to Russia.

    JON: I was in St Petersburg, last week, as a guest of the Irenaeus Centre for Religious Studies, which hosted a conference for priests and bishops from the Orthodox Church and various other interested individuals and organizations. The conference was largely dedicated to Scientology, and I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker.

    Continued here:
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  35. Random guy Member

    It's amazing looking at the impact Atacks speech is likely to have. He's just one man with a book. The cult have hundreds of people working on the PR, they have printing facilities and glossy promo material, and compared to Atack's talk, the achieve virtually nothing.
  36. The Wrong Guy Member

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  37. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: How to talk to a Scientologist to plant the seeds of doubt | The Underground Bunker

    Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.

    Jon, it looks like you have found another fun way to turn the words of L. Ron Hubbard back in on themselves. Let’s hear it.

    Continued here:
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  38. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jon Atack: The question Scientologists aren’t allowed to ask each other | The Underground Bunker

    Jon, thanks for another new post. Tell us about the question Scientologists can’t ask each other!

    JON: My late friend, Professor Johannes Aagaard, would become agitated at conferences when listening to some sociologist pussyfoot around the activities of a cult group. Like me, he objected to the term “new religious movement” when it was applied to groups that had no religious pretensions, such as the Landmark Education, Amway, or the Larouchies. Like me, he objected to the refusal to discuss the biography of a cult leader, because such “hagiographies” must never be questioned (and, yes, sociologists use this term, which means “the biography of a saint.” So, Hubbard’s invented exploits are “hagiographies”). If you had video of Jesus changing water into wine at the Wedding at Cana, there was no way that these sociologists would let you watch it. You must simply accept the elaborate deceptions of the likes of Ron Hubbard. On such occasions, the good Professor Aagaard would take a sharp intake of breath and say, “Why don’t they ask the truth question?” Why should we not question the usefulness of the doctrine itself?

    The Buddha insisted that his followers present every aspect of the doctrine for discussion and debate. Monks have formalized ways of arguing both for and against any and every doctrine, every article of faith. In the Kalama Sutta, this supporter of reason over authority said:

    Believe nothing on the faith of traditions, even though they have been held in honour for many generations, in many places. Do not believe a thing because many people speak it. Do not believe on the faith of the sages of the past. Do not believe what you yourself have imagined, persuading yourself that some god inspires you. Believe nothing on the sole authority of your masters or priests. After examination, believe what you yourself have tested and found to be rational, and conform your conduct thereto.

    Curiously, this is the source for Hubbard’s statement “What’s true for you is true.” Hubbard also reversed the Buddha’s insistence that every doctrine be challenged and thoroughly examined by banning any discussion of his supposed “technology.” This is termed “verbal tech.” Scientology is most certainly not “twentieth century Buddhism” as Hubbard claimed. Indeed, he showed not the slightest understanding of Buddhism (check the core doctrine of anatta if you don’t believe me). And, he was not Maitreya, he was a very naughty boy. Maitreya will lead all of humanity to enlightenment. Dying — sorry, “dropping the body” — is not an option when it comes to this prophecy.

    The truth question is never discussed in Scientology. I am convinced that the key to recovering from Scientology is in asking that truth question. Does increased communication always lead to increased affinity? Hubbard says that bullets are communication, so, is it true that when someone shoots you, hits you, or yells at you that you feel more affinity for them? Is it right to give yourself, your family, and your pet rock an equal vote with all of humanity when using the 8 Dynamics to solve a problem? And, if you believe in God, how can you outvote Him?

    Continued here:
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  39. The Wrong Guy Member

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  40. The Wrong Guy Member

    John Atack: Are cult members — like those in Scientology — unduly influenced?

    We really have a treat for our readers today. It’s a major new piece by Jon Atack that discusses undue influence in Scientology, a controversial topic in social science that, as Jon says, some scholars resist. With extremism on the rise around the planet, we think it’s time for this idea to get more currency. And we’re thrilled that Jon chose the Underground Bunker to reveal his hard work in this new article.
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