You’re Free to Say What We Want You to Say
In part 3 of this series, I explained how L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, invented the Scientology Bad Guy – the Suppressive Person – and how this was done to not only explain away Scientology’s failure to universally produce results but also to vilify anyone who didn’t want to do Scientology or who said it didn’t work.
I want to elaborate more on this now and talk about how the Church of Scientology is actually like Opposite World. Its policies, methods and history are filled with contradictions and conflict.
Unable to reconcile these things or even fess up to earlier wrong doings, the Church has chosen to take the most authoritarian road possible. Its public relations people deny that the Church or its leaders have ever done anything wrong and act as though Hubbard, and its current leader, David Miscavige, are both incapable of making even the tiniest mistake.
And it rules over its members with an iron fist in a somewhat velvet glove. Let me elaborate.
At one end, you have the Creed of the Church which states “That all men have inalienable rights to think freely, to talk freely, to write freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others….and that no agency less than God has the power to suspend or set aside these rights, overtly or covertly.”
Inalienable rights means exactly what it says – no one can take them away. This is the same wording used in the US Constitution.
But at the other end of the spectrum, you have the Scientology Justice Codes which define the various offenses, and also lays out the penalties which Church members are subjected to if they break the rules. Hubbard actually broke these down into misdemeanors and crimes and high crimes. Here are some of them:
- Spreading destructive rumors about senior Scientologists
- Causing severe and disreputable disturbances resulting in disrepute
- Holding Scientology materials or policies up to ridicule, contempt or scorn
- Testifying or giving data against Scentology falsely or in generalities or without personal knowledge of the matters to which one testifies
- Public disavowal of Scientology or Scientologists in good standing with Scientology organizations
- Public statements against Scientology or Scientologists but not to Committees of Evidence duly convened
- Testifying hostilely before state or public inquiries into Scientology to suppress it
Now if you pay attention to the wording, some of these are very open to interpretation. I mean what does “causing severe and disreputable disturbances resulting in disrepute” even mean? Well, it could mean anything at all. And I’ve only listed a few here. There are pages and pages of these justice codes, many of them just as vaguely worded.
There is one thing that is not vague about any of this: if you dare to openly voice disagreements with the Church’s management or its policies, you are going to be expelled.
If a Scientologist is caught even looking at anything anti-Scientology on the Internet or in a book or magazine, he risks being declared a “Suppressive Person” which will result in his immediate disconnection from all other Scientologists, even his children, his parents or his spouse. It has happened time and time again.
In this church, freedom of speech is practiced only so long as you don’t try to direct that freedom towards the Church itself.
Now I know that Scientology is not the only religion to have expelled members because they expressed disagreements. This is nothing new in the history of religion. But what I’m trying to point out here is that Scientology is not like any other religion.
Just ask a Scientologist. They’ll tell you that Scientology is not a belief system and it does not require faith. It is an applied religious philosophy – a codified series of exact actions and procedures that, when used, are supposed to bring about personal spiritual freedom in anyone, regardless of their religious beliefs.
The actual procedures they use and the theory behind those procedures are all based on ultimate truths that L. Ron Hubbard supposedly researched and wrote down in his books or talked about in his lectures. And those truths are supposed to be universal and on the same order as natural laws. Laws like gravity.
For example, very early in Scientology’s development, Hubbard wrote that communication is the key component of life itself. In fact, he went so far as to say that through communication, any problem at all could eventually be resolved if both parties would just stay in there and keep trying.
I happen to strongly agree with this principle. It’s why I’m making this video series.
Now it’s somewhat surprising that after discovering this principle that communication is the universal solvent, Hubbard would then turn around and write policies that require expelling someone for communicating their disagreements or upsets with Scientology or its management.
Or maybe it isn’t surprising at all. Under the current church leadership, the Church finds it more convenient to simply kick the “troublemaker” out and then take measures to ensure that he can’t talk to anyone in the church ever again.
Remarkably, they actually tell the rest of the Scientologists that they gave the person they kicked out every opportunity to handle his situation and make good with the Church.
No. What they did was try to suppress the hell out of the guy for trying to communicate what was on his mind and when they couldn’t shut him up, they kicked him out! And conveniently, once they kick him out, he’s not around to contradict their story so they can say anything they want to about him.
Now doesn’t that seem like a major contradiction? Doesn’t it seem like this Church should actually practice what it preaches?
Well, there is a list of people, thousands long, who have left Scientology and who then spoke out publicly against it. Almost everyone on that list was unable to have their claims or problems impartially listened to when they were still active members. Many had no desire to be expelled and did not want to leave the Church at all.
Instead of listening and seeing if any of these thousands of people had any valid points to make, the Church’s response is to call them names and say they are lying. Names like “bitter apostate”, “sex pervert”, “unrepentant liar” and “self-proclaimed psychotic”, to name a few.
This is sort of the “liar liar pants on fire” approach and doesn’t hold any water logically. But that’s pretty much the best the Church has to offer these days when it comes to countering the valid claims of critics and whistle blowers.
The irony is that many of these whistle blowers were actually trying to just correct some situation where the written word of Hubbard wasn’t being followed by some senior executive or manager. Very few of these thousands ever wanted to leave the Church at all much less speak out publicly against it. But the Church left them no choice.
Now they even have staff and Sea Org members sign these voluminous documents saying that they will never speak out against the Church or its executives or denigrate it in any way. These documents have no real power or authority at all. It’s not that easy to violate a person’s human rights. The right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to impart information through any media is in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s something the Church of Scientology cannot take away from you.
Before the rise of the Internet, Scientology’s ability to control the flow of information about itself was relatively easy. Suppressing news media at a local newspaper level or stopping a few television reports with threats of legal action were easy enough to arrange.
The Church’s legal division, originally called the Guardian’s Office and now known as the Office of Special Affairs, liked to flex its muscles and did so often to silence public criticism by bringing lawsuits against the whistle blowers. Per Hubbard’s policies, the only reason for the lawsuits was to harass and wear the whistle blower down. In many cases, if the complaints stopped, the lawsuits stopped.
And where legal threats didn’t work, OSA didn’t have any problem using much harsher, more underhanded methods such as harassment, blackmail and sending false reports to the media and legal authorities to get their targets in very serious trouble. This is all well documented with cases such as Paulette Cooper in the 70s and Monique Rathbun today.
However, like many fascist and dictatorial governments are finding in this Information Age, controlling the flow of information has become harder and harder, and now is a near impossibility. So it is no coincidence that since the 1990s, Scientology’s membership has been steadily decreasing.
In early 2008, the hacker collective known as Anonymous decided to go head-to-head with Scientology. Almost overnight, the abuses and actual crimes being perpetrated by the Office of Special Affairs and the Church’s management were suddenly known the world over.
Information exploded all over the blogosphere and Scientology’s public image went from a mysterious and somewhat kooky fringe religion to something that was actually dangerous and was ripping apart families. Despite the Church’s denials, their practices of expulsion and disconnection were now easily proven to be true, as more and more stories began to surface with real people coming forward.
Then, claims of actual physical abuse being perpetrated by the head of the religion started becoming more widespread and they were far too numerous to be explained away or shrugged off.
So it’s no wonder that as more and more of this gets out, members are quietly leaving in higher numbers than ever before.
Hubbard died in 1986 and despite all his supposed knowledge of intergalactic civilizations that lasted trillions of years, he somehow never envisioned the internet or the World Wide Web. Using entirely antiquated and inadequate policies, Church officials continue to try to squelch the free flow of information to their parishioners with draconian control measures. But the tighter they draw the noose, the more members are slipping through and quietly exiting out the back door.
Hubbard said that the hardest thing to kill is an idea. He also said that from a historical perspective, censorship of free thought never works. He commented on this in many places and he was absolutely right.
So I guess he should have taken his own advice. Because the policies he wrote that are now being enforced with an iron will, the ones I’m talking about in this video series, are the very policies that are destroying the Church.
Hubbard may very well have had the best of intentions. Maybe he never thought that what is being done now in his name would ever happen. We won’t ever know for sure because he’s not around to ask.
And the person who took over for Hubbard, David Miscavige, refuses to answer any questions from the media or even be deposed in a court of law about his intentions and activities.
The cold hard truth with the Church of Scientology is that people’s lives are being ruined, their reputations destroyed and families ripped apart, all in the name of bringing the ultimate truth and spiritual freedom to everyone.
To that, I say the end does not justify the means, now or ever.
Thank you for watching.