For anyone who pays attention to the Church of Scientology on a fairly regular basis, it has become obvious over the past couple of years that its public image has taken repeated well-deserved beatings. It’s so bad that at ths point I believe it has passed the point of no return. There is no road out for Scientology to gain a favorable public image and it’s only going down from here.
What’s not so obvious is why this has happened.
Many of us critics of the Church can only stand with our mouthes open in shock at some of the more insane displays of hate and fear that high level Scientologists demonstrate when the cameras are rolling. I can only imagine the horror that Church members themselves must feel when they see how their organization represents itself to the world at large. Because believe me, despite the Church’s internal demands on its members to not watch or read anything bad about Scientology, the widespread accessiblity of mass media in this day and age makes it impossible to censor the truth.
There are reasons the Church of Scientology acts so blatantly against its own best interests and I’m going to break down some of those reasons for you. With exposes and full-blown documentaries about Scientology on the horizon, I want to also lay out what we can expect to see from the Church in response to these and why their responses are only going to make matters worse for them.
The Office of Special Affairs (OSA)
I think that most people who have any awareness of Scientology know about the Office of Special Affairs, the Church’s legal division. In fact, much of the Church’s bad PR is due to the hard work of OSA’s Investigation and Legal departments, including the non-Scientology lawyers and private investigators they hire to actually carry out most of their dirty work. When you see Scientology stalking and harassing its ex-members, for example, you are seeing these investigators and lawyers doing their daily work.
What many may not realize is that OSA also has a Public Relations department which is fully responsible for the Church’s external public image and media representation.
Public relations is an important subject for any group, company or organization. Technically, it’s the practice of managing the spread of information between that individual or group and the rest of the world, the public. Billions of dollars are spent every year on PR. Some do better than others, but it’s safe to say that almost anything you see in any mass media outlet has been directly affected by professional PR work.
By any yardstick you care to use, OSA has been doing an absolutely horrendous job for many years. It’s degenerated so bady that there hasn’t even been a public media representative or international spokesman for Scientology since Tommy Davis disappeared in 2011. It took two years just to find out that Mr. Davis left the employment of the Church along with his wife and does his absolute best to stay out of the limelight now. No one is stepping up to take his place.
When you look at the press releases, promotional materials and commercials put out by Scientology, it seems difficult to understand just what public image they are trying to create or maintain. All they ever seem to talk about is fundraising for bigger buildings, giving money to their International Association of Scientologists membership fund or making their members re-do services over and over again because supposedly they weren’t doing them right the last time. And of course their members have to pay for the privilenge of these re-dos each time.
It seems as if this organization does nothing except raise money for itself.
Hubbard’s PR Series
L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, wrote a series of policies in the early 1970s called the “Public Relations Series”. These gave the operational directions for anyone in the Church who was going to engage in public relations. It’s interesting to look at a few of these and see how Hubbard set the stage early on for the cataclysmic failures they are now experiencing.
Like every other subject he wrote about, Hubbard claimed that he was the only person to be able to figure out the real laws and workable procedures to execute successful public relations. Yet instead, what he actually offered was a contradictory set of rules that on the surface look like they might make sense, but when you try to use them you end up in a total mess.
One example is when Hubbard talks about the use of truth in PR in a policy letter from August 13, 1970, PR Series 2, THE MISSING INGREDIENT:
“The more lies you use in PR the more likely it is that the PR will recoil.
“Thus the law:
“NEVER USE LIES IN PR.”
Scientologists read this and they think that it’s Church policy to never tell lies and therefore everything that OSA ever says must be true. Right? Not so fast. Because just a little later in that same policy Hubbard then says:
“Handling truth is a touchy business also. You don’t have to tell everything you know…. Tell an <i>acceptable truth</i>.
“SO PR becomes the technique of communicating an acceptable truth – and which will attain the desirable result.
“If there’s no chance of obtaining the desirable result and the truth would injure, then talk about something else.”
In PR Series 16, PR TEXTS, Hubbard even faults a PR textbook because “It continually advises frankness with the press to a point where a PR, using that, could easily create situations of out-PR.”
The problem here is that an acceptable truth is defined in Scientology as anything they want it to mean to attain a desirable result.
Orwellian Re-definition of Terms
George Orwell was the pen name of author Eric Arthur Blair, famous for such works as Animal Farm and 1984. He was a briliant essayist and a lifelong opponent of totalitarianism. Amongst many other things, Orwell wrote about the clever use of language in politics and media and how language can be altered for PR purposes to fool the masses into agreeing with taking away their own rights and freedoms. To demonstrate what he was talking about, Orwell is the one who invented terms like cold war, Big Brother, thought police and doublethink. If you have never read any of Orwell’s essays or books, I cannot recommend them enough.
Hubbard knew of Orwell’s work. He wrote a whole issue about the redefinition of words for progaganda purposes on October 5, 1971 in the PR Series.
But instead of agreeing with what Orwell had to say about this dangerous practice in thought control, Hubbard actually encouraged its use in Scientology PR. In what has to be considered a truly Orwellian twist, Hubbard wrote:
“Many instances of this [re-definition of terms] exist. They are not ‘natural’ changes in language. They are propaganda changes, carefully planned and campaigned in order to obtain a public-opinion advantage for the group doing the propaganda.
“The technique is good or bad depending on the ultimate objective of the propagandist.
“‘Psychiatry’ and ‘psychiatrist’ are easily redefinied to mean ‘an antisocial enemy of the people.’ This takes the kill-crazy psychiatrist off the preferred list of professions. This is a good use of the technique as for a century the psychiatrist has been setting an all-time record for inhumanity to man.
“The redefinition of words is done by associating different emotions and symbols with the word than were intended.”
“A consistent, repeated effort is the key to any success with this technique of propaganda.
“One must know how to do it.”
Hubbard literally advised Scientologists to do the very thing Orwell spent his entire life fighting against, trying to prevent totalitarian dictatoriships from destroying the rights of men. These are the kinds of curves Hubbard threw into almost every subject he wrote about.
So how does this get done in Scientology? Well, here’s one recent example.
Scientology was founded on the idea that its counseling procedures, called auditing, would free a person of past trauma and stress and that eventually one will reach a state of personal spiritual immortality. Hubbard was crystal clear that such a state was only achieved through lots and lots of auditing. The full amount of spiritual trauma any person carries around is called their “case” in Scientology, so personal improvement is called “case gain”.
Now if you look at recent promotional mailers and flyers from building fundraisers and the IAS, they are promoting that case gain is gotten by just the act of donating money.
There is certainly nothing wrong with feeling good by giving money to what someone thinks is a worthy cause. People do that every day with thousands of different charities. Scientology is not a charity and giving money to the IAS is the equivalent of burning it in a fireplace, but that’s not my point.
The real point here is that case gain has now been re-defined by the IAS to mean the feeling that you get when you give money to them. This is a purposeful, calculated promotional action to re-define the very basics of what Scientology is all about.
And by the way, L. Ron Hubbard never authorized or approved of the IAS and I’m quite sure that despite his shortcomings, he would be turning in his grave right now to hear that people are equating money donations with case gain in auditing. Hubbard was very clear in his policies that he did want people to donate to the Church, but they were supposed to get materials and services for their money. There was supposed to be an exchange.
So if you wanted to turn Scientology into a purely money-making enterprise, it would be necessary to first re-define the terms used to describe the gains you get from Scientology. It would be necessary to make it seem like giving money for nothing was just as good, if not better, as giving money for something. They have succeeded in this and Scientologists are now so deluded that they think giving money to criminals is something that gives them personal spritual immortality.
Creepy People doing Creepy Things
When the chips are down and things aren’t going their way, many people can get desperate and start to do desperate things. When you cannot compete in the arena of ideas and tell the truth about what you are actually doing, all that’s left is to attack and resort to violence. And so we come to where Scientology is at now and their responses to their critics.
Since Anonymous started exposing the Church of Scientology’s criminal activities on an international scale in 2008 using the power of the internet, Scientology has been reeling from blow after blow. The truth is a powerful weapon and the internet is a platform which Scientology cannot control.
Despite claiming to have recall of advanced galactic civilizations dating back trillions of years, somehow Hubbard never conceived of the internet, nor was he able to write any operating policies for the Church to deal with mass media dissemination of anti-Scientology information. Up until he died, Hubbard’s policies all concerned censorship and intimidating his enemies into silence through threats and force. That’s not possible with the internet, so the truth remains out there about the Church despite its best efforts to stop it.
Realizing that they were not going to have much success using their old tactics, Scientology attempted a series of attacks using disinformation, trying to paint Anonymous as a terrorist organiation. The Church literally made up a story that Anonymous had threatened to blow up bombs on church property. This was later disproven and recoiled back on the Church badly.
In addition, on February 4, 2008 a video was posted by Ruthie Heyerdahl. She appears to be spontaneously speaking out as a non-Scientologist against Anonymous protests of the Church that year. However, as with everything associated with Scientology, looks can be deceiving. Let’s see what she had to say in this short three-minute video.
Now it turns out that Ruthie was in fact, a Scientologist actress or at least someone who had done Scientology services as far back as 2002.
How far she got or whether she is still doing services is not clear. She removed her entire YouTube channel and almost all online traces of herself after the massively negative responses she recieved to her pro-Scientology stance back in 2008.
The negative feedback was well deserved, but why am I bringing it up now, nearly six years after the fact? Because this video was, in fact, a carefully scripted and orchestrated work by the Office of Special Affairs to counter not only that one Anonymous protest, but every attack brought against the Church since.
This vidoe represents the best OSA has to offer in terms of a seemingly reasoned response against people critical of the Church. The lines used in this video are still in use by the Church today and are the ones they are going to continue to use to try to shut down critics.
That being the case, let’s deconstruct the key statements she makes and analyze what we find:
“I just saw something that totally creeps me out. Wow.”
“I just think it’s really weird.”
She starts by purposefully setting the tone for what’s coming using these phrases to describe the Call to Action video from Anonymous. Using words this way is a technique called “guilt by association”. The listener is supposed to get the idea that Anonymous is now creepy and weird. Later in the video she also describes Scientology protestors them as “strange” “fake” and even uses the word “evil”.
“I don’t know what exactly they plan on protesting. Religious freedom? Constitutional rights? c’mon guys, really?”
Now this part is crucial. In fact, most of the video hangs on this statement. This is called a straw man argument, and all that means is that she is inventing completely different reasons for why Anonymous is protesting Scientology, and she will then use these invented reasons to ridicule Anonymous throughout the rest of her rant.
This is a very common technique in PR and is used all the time by people who can’t argue the facts and instead want to distract from the real issues by putting words in their opponents’ mouths.
She is specifically avoiding the real issue, which is that Scientology brutalizes its members, especially those in the Sea Org, and engages in outright criminal activity on an almost daily basis. Those are the issues that OSA PRs cannot and will not address directly. Instead, they throw out misdirectors every single time.
This also conforms with the Hubbard PR policy I mentioned earlier of avoiding the truth by simply not talking about it.
Right after this misdirection, Ruthie reveals her actual loyalties by showering unwarranted praise on the “ton” of Scientology friends she has. She describes all of them as “involved”, “ethical”, “friendly”, “so happy” and says they “have such a purpose in life.” They “try to make a difference.” She implies they vote without saying that they do, but then says they are “the most involved people” she’s ever met, that they “care” and are “great”. She even re-iterates that they “make a difference.”
I have no doubt that all of these qualities came from surveys of the general public to find out what would be desirable qualities in friends or relations. These words have nothing to do with how Scientologists actually act, as proven over and over again by the horror stories that literally thousands of ex-Scientologists have told over the past three decades.
And just stop and think about this for a second. When was the last time you saw a Scientologist making a difference in any community anywhere? Beyond maybe a few random acts of kindness from individual Scientologists, have you ever seen the Church of Scientology do much of anything for anyone else that didn’t serve its own interests?
Even non-critical journalists and students who have gone into Churches of Scientology have come out writing articles about how the staff were uncaring, robotic, pushy and only wanted to sell them something.
Keep in mind that Scientology is not supposed to be a business. It calls itself a religion. When was the last time you went into a Catholic church, a Jewish synagogue or even a Mormon temple and had someone try to sell you something?
“To protestors, all I can say is I don’t really understand what you expect to accomplish, like the US government is going to be like ‘Oh right, Scientology, no it’s not actually a relgion. We were just kidding.’ I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
She now addresses the protestors directly in an attempt to discourage them by setting up another straw man. She purposefully exaggerates and alters the goal of the protests to be taking away the Church’s religious recognition when that’s not the issue at hand.
“I mean, I’m not a Scientologist but I’m not the type of person that’s just going to sit there and let a relgious group be bashed. What time do we live in where it’s normal to bash someone’s religion. Are you joking me?”
This is interesting because she’s positioning herself as a non-Scientologist, something we know OSA has done since when they comment on websites or blogs or news articles to try to make it look like the general public is in agreement with the Church when the exact opposite is the truth. This is more than a PR action and actually goes over into a kind of covert operation, something which Hubbard said was sloppy and desperate in his PR policies.
As for the religion bashing, this is just another misdirector because no one was protesting their religiosity.
She then plays the “think for yourself” card by challenging anyone watching to actually go into a Scientology organization and ask questions. She even goes so far as to accuse the viewer of being afraid to find out directly from Scientology what they are all about.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with thinking for yourself. In fact, I highly encourage it in every aspect of your life. I’ve already talked at length in my other videos about how Scientology refuses to let its own members think for themselves, so I won’t belabor their hypocrisy again here. If you have never been in a Church of Scientology and you want to go into one, go for it.
But realize that going in and talking to one person at the lowest levels of that organization is not going to provide you with any real information about its true operations because you’re talking to people who themselves don’t know. The corruption in Scientology is at its highest levels, not its lowest.
But beyond all that, let’s talk about the underlying assumption behind this “think for yourself” challenge.
Scientologists assume that if you don’t like Scientology, it’s simply because you don’t understand it or know anything about it. Because they think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, they are absolutely certain that you would too if you only give it a chance.
This is an unwarranted assumption but it is a fundamental thread which runs through all of their promotion and marketing materials and every Scientologists’ view towards the rest of the world. They believe this because L. Ron Hubbard tells them to in his books and lectures. Like any other cult, they are absolutely sure they have all the answers to every single issue that plagues anyone.
The fact that they are failing miserably in their own conquest of the world and that Scientologists die of cancer and other diseases, file for bankruptcy and that they continue to have the same life problems as the rest of us, does not seem to shake their faith in the slightest.
No amount of talking to Scientologists or reading L. Ron Hubbard’s works is going to change the fact that Scientology just isn’t universally workable nor does it have universal appeal.
“So you don’t like Tom Cruise? Big deal? What does that have to do with the Church? Since when did Tom Cruise become the Jesus of Scientology?”
Hmm, wherever could anyone have gotten this idea? Maybe from David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology?
The Joker in the Deck
Now everything I’ve gone over here is how Scientology PR operates according to Hubbard’s directions. However, there is another joker in the deck and this person has actually radically altered the entire face and character of Scientology. That person, of course, is David Miscavige.
None of Scientology’s PR activities make any sense if you look at them against the gauge of what an orgnaization should be doing to expand itself.
Unlike Hubbard, Miscavige does not care at all about Scientology expanding or growing or conquering the world. He really doesn’t.
You can listen to the words someone says, even if they continue to mouth them year after year, and think that’s what that person is doing. But any executive or leader is going to reveal his true intentions through the actions his organization takes under his leadership and what it actually produces versus what it says its producing.
For example, if someone leading a religious crusade in this day and age was serious about it, they would be promoting that crusade on every conceivable media channel, repeatedly and continually, using as many of their resources and as much of their money as they could possibly round up.
Yet where are these campaigns? Where is Scientology in the mass media? The last time there was any international media campaign of any note was in the 1980s. Jefferson Hawkins was the mastermind behind that campaign and he was ousted by David Miscavige personally for treasonous conduct. What was Jeff doing that was so treasonous? Trying to promote Scientology!
David Miscavige does not care one bit about the dissemination of Scientology. He only cares about himself. And when you look at Scientology’s more recent media activities in that light, everything starts to make sense.
Last year, Scientology purchased the old KCET television studios a couple miles away from their Los Angeles headquarters. Miscavige has been promising that they are going to renovate these studios at great expense and open up a 24/7 broadcasting station emitting L. Ron Hubbard’s works on all media channels.
This is not going to happen. Why do I say this? Because the facilities to do that work already exist. They’re called Golden Era Productions and not one Scientologist could argue with me about this because they’ve seen the pictures and videos of that multi-million dollar audio and video production facility.
If Miscavige wanted Hubbard on the airwaves 24/7, he could have had that happening 20 years ago.
This broadcasting station is just the latest gimmick, a pack of lies designed to keep Scientologists pumped up and giving more and more of their money.
I am no fan of L. Ron Hubbard but after studying the man’s works for decades, I have a pretty good sense of what he was about. Church expansion was important to him. He wanted Scientology to succeed. He cared about dissemination and marketing, so much so that he worked hands-on to make films and promotion himself to ensure it was done the way he wanted it done. It might not have been very good promotional material, but under Hubbard’s watch, Scientology grew. That is undeniable, historical fact.
Since Miscavige has taken over in the 1980s, it has been one disaster after another and Scientology is now the world’s fastest shrinking religion. The Church has always refused to give any hard numbers when it comes to their membership, but all evidence points to the fact that there are less than 30,000 members worldwide, including their own staff.
The clips I showed at the beginning of this video are ambush tactics carried out in pure desperation by Scientologists and private investigators for only one reason: to get back at ex-Scientologist critics for daring to defy David Miscavige and speak out about the abuses at the Church’s highest levels. You are looking at a vicious and personal attack campaign carried out in front of the whole world by a bully.
Because make no mistake, when you have high level Sea Organization members like Jenny Linson, Marc Yeager and David Bloomberg hounding and harrassing ex-members and critics, the only way that can happen is by David Miscavige personally authorizing or ordering it. He can’t or won’t deign to show himself personally, so he sends these people out to harass and antagonize critics. All so Miscavige can get the satisfaction of publicy striking back at people exposing what he is doing. It’s crazy, but that’s what the Church of Scientology has devolved into.
Scientology is collapsing right before our eyes. We are watching it happen. All they can do now is snarl and lash out at their critics while they defend themselves against serious legal charges both here in the US and abroad. It’s not overstating the facts to say that they are on the verge of being outright banned in France and Belgium and that serious investigations are underway here in the United States.
I don’t have to predict doom and gloom for this organization. I’m merely telling you what is right before your eyes if you care to look at the facts.
There is no amount of PR that can keep the truth under wraps forever. It would be well for Scientologists to take this to heart and start opening their eyes to what the organization they are supporting is actually doing.
Here’s my challenge to you. Walk into any Church and actually look around.
“The scene is in the hats or lack of them. The scene is on the org board or lack of it.
“THE SCENE IS RIGHT BEFORE ONE’S EYES.
“It is moving or it is not.
“Its graphs are rising or they are level or falling or they are false or don’t reflect the product or they aren’t kept or they aren’t posted.
“Products are appearing or they are not.
“Overt products are occurring or good products.
“The lines are followed or they aren’t.
“The mest is okay or it isn’t.
“It is a SCENE. It is in three dimensions. It’s composed of spaces and objects and people.
“They are on a right pattern or they aren’t.
“A person is on post or he is moving onto one or moving off or isn’t there at all or he is dashing in and out.
“None of these things are verbal.”
That’s what L. Ron Hubbard said to do. Do this and if you have your eyes open I think you’ll see the truth of what I’ve been talking about here. Or are you afraid to try?
Thank you for watching.