Hey everyone. I’m back and this week, I really mean this when I say we have a fascinating chapter for you. In fact, never have I been so appropriately dressed for the occasion. As with every video in this series, we are taking on a new chapter of this book, Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis and featuring academics writing about Scientology. So far, whether they have been sociologists, psychologists or religious studies professors, Lewis managed to gather together a group of people who have favorable ideas about destructive cults like Scientology and whether he meant to or not, he put together a book of apologetics about it. However, this week we truly do have something so different and unique from what has come earlier, I honestly wonder if it somehow slipped into this book by accident.
Chapter 19 is called “‘His name was Xenu. He used renegades…’: Aspects of Scientology’s Founding Myth” and it is beefy. I’d actually been looking forward to reading this academic analysis of the famed OT III Xenu story since I started this book. I am very happy to report that of everything I’ve read here so far, this is the first chapter where no bias comes into play. This is not apologetics nor is it anti-cult preaching. In other words, somehow a real academic paper made it in here.
For anyone who has watched South Park or read even casually about Scientology, you know that there is this famous mythology created by L. Ron Hubbard about a galactic overlord named Xenu and there are spaceships and volcanos and dead spirits and all sorts of fun things and that Scientologists are crazy for believing any of it. Well, if you want a more nuanced and detailed account of what this whole thing is really all about, keep watching. There’s a lot to cover, so we’re gonna just dive right in.
Oh, first a word about the author. Mikael Rothstein is an associate professor of religious history at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He has been called one of Denmark’s top researchers in new religious movements and has been credited with making them a topic of scholarship.
In his introduction, Rothstein first defines how academics have studied Scientology mainly from a sociological point of view, with few papers actually being written from the perspective of comparative religion. If you look over the chapters we’ve covered so far, you’ll see how this has been. Only a couple of the chapters we’ve seen have really gone into looking at Scientology as a religion, comparing it to say Buddhism or Christianity or even other NRMs. Rothstein says:
“In this chapter I shall contribute along the same lines and offer an analysis of one of Scientology’s more important religious narratives, the text that apparently constitutes the basic (sometimes implicit) mythology of the movement, the Xenu myth, which is basically a story of the origin of man on Earth and the human condition.” (p. 365)
Now just to clarify because this is commonly misunderstood, Scientologists do not think that the Xenu story is their creation myth and it does not explain the origin of life or express in any way how life was created. Calling the Xenu story Scientology’s creation myth is a misnomer. This is not a mistake that Rothstein is making but it’s a mistake plenty of other people have made so I just want to mention that. Rothstein goes on:
“In the public and legal sphere Scientology rightfully demands to be treated as any other religion, and in this chapter (in the academic context) I intend to do just that. The critical, scientific investigation into Scientology’s religious narratives, however, does not support the proclaimed self perception of the organization. What I have to say will generally contradict or question official Scientology claims. This independent scholarly interpretation should therefore not be confused with Scientology’s theological teachings. I shall gradually approach the text itself. First, however, it is necessary to discuss the conditions under which the Xenu myth originated and thrives.” (p. 366)
Now as we’ve made clear in earlier videos, I don’t happen to think that Scientology should have a status as a recognized religion for reasons we’ve talked about already. However, I don’t really have a problem in this context with Rothstein claiming that he’s analyzing the Xenu myth as religious scripture and it’s from this viewpoint that the rest of the paper comes together. Perhaps one reason I don’t have a problem with this is that one thing Rothstein is not doing is using Scientology’s religious status as a weapon to beat me over the head with and demand that it be afforded certain rights that Scientology should not have.
In fact, in talking about Scientology in general, it was very refreshing to see that Rothstein sees exactly what Scientology is actually all about and can sum it up pretty clearly:
“Scientology is primarily a religion of action. Even if the religious goals are ultimately defined according to a Gnostic formula, the religious lives of Scientologists center on an ongoing line of ritualized practices, ‘courses,’ that gradually…pave the way toward religious enlightenment. In this perspective Scientology has taken speculative or intellectualistic religion into a new realm, leaving the disregard for rituals and initiations in Gnostic traditions behind. Through the application of various therapeutic techniques, so it is believed, the individual is gradually transformed from a state of deluded consciousness to that of ‘Clear,’ and from that point on to ultimate enlightenment, and eventually ‘freedom.'” (p. 366)
It’s not too many of these scholars who have noted Scientology’s Gnostic roots. Gnosticism, of course, is a very old collection of philosophies which have the concept of “gnosis” or knowledge at their core. In other words, gnosticism is about gaining spiritual enlightenment and salvation through knowledge, through learning and education, more so than through faith or ignorance or leaving it up to someone else to know what is best for you. There’s much more to know about that particular subject, as I’m only skimming the surface of it, but Hubbard’s ideas of religion were basically gnostic ideas and he expressed these throughout Scientology’s scriptures all the way to one of the last bulletins he wrote for OT Level 8 in 1980. Anyway, getting back to the text:
“To most attendees and practitioners of Hubbard’s religious techniques, this mythological level will be…virtually unknown. Scientology is an esoteric religion, and it is necessary to progress on the Bridge to the advanced stages before the participant is exposed to the myth about Xenu, which, in the shape of a science fiction–inspired anthropogony, explains the basic Scientological claims about the human condition.” (p. 367)
Again, this is an important point and one that almost every single media outlet and journalist who talks about this topic misses over and over again. The Xenu myth is NOT something every Scientologist knows about. In fact, only about 5% of them ever get to the level where they do read this material. So it is a fact that most Scientologists you talk to will have absolutely no idea what you are talking about if you start shouting Xenu at them. Rothstein then talks about the accessibility of the OT III materials, and how the Church has gone to great lengths to try to keep them secret. Here is something I’ve never heard before. You’ll have to forgive the rambling sentences here – Rothstein is definitely not an English major:
“For many years copies of various texts have circulated among anticultists, and critical reporters have, on many occasions, been able to obtain the texts. Scholars have had the same possibilities, but for ethical reasons there has been some reluctance to publish texts from organizations that consider them secret and sacred. Furthermore, scholars and others have had unsettling experiences with relation to such materials: In 1997, following an incident from the year before, in which a private person, wishing to counteract Scientology, had deposited a number of esoteric Scientology texts (the so-called OT-II and -III files to which I shall return) in the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in order to make them publicly available (according to Swedish law all documents in the governments position are, in principle, accessible), I received a copy of the texts from a Danish reporter (I have no knowledge of his contacts). He wanted my comment, and I said that the texts would mean nothing to the uninitiated, myself included. At that point I was unable to make any concrete use of the documents, and the political climate did not encourage anything of the kind. I browsed through the papers, felt reassured that this could mean something only to devoted Scientologists and the very patient scholar, and placed the material in a drawer at my university office. When I, at a later point in time, wanted to work a bit on them, they were gone. I have been through all of my shelves, drawers, and boxes but to no avail. The texts are not in my possession any longer. I have no clue as to where they are, but neither a specific indication of either intrusion or theft. My case is not unique. My colleague Dorthe Refslund Christensen, at that time with the Department of the Study of Religion, University of Aarhus, had a similar experience, and, in order to keep possession of the texts, a Christian anticult organization in Denmark, the Dialog Centre, kept its Scientology documents in a safe. This in itself, the ongoing conflicts, and the sense of uncertainty that seems to adhere to the texts, explain why many scholars over the years have been rather reluctant to take on the challenge of interpreting Scientology’s esoteric myths.” (p. 367)
Would Scientology be above breaking and entering into the offices of academics to take back what they think are their unique and confidential scriptures which no one else has a right to own? You bet they would. As Rothstein goes on to say though, all of Scientology’s confidential materials are so freely available across the internet and have been for so many years, that trying to pretend they aren’t is just ridiculous. So on that note, they should be looked into by academics without reservation. Rothstein then goes on to talk about the myth that Scientology has created around the myth of OT III. Specifically:
“The argument is religious and resembles what many other esoteric movements have said again and again: The texts may be harmful, if not straightforwardly dangerous, if you are unprepared and uneducated. Rumor has it that the uneducated will die from pneumonia if he or she should read the text, a notion derived from the text itself, as we shall see.
“As always a promoting or qualifying narrative, in effect a myth in its own right, surrounds the myth. This mythological wrapping is quite similar to what we find in most religions. The Qur’an, for instance, is enveloped in the hadith of how Muhammad received it through channeling mediated by the angel Jibril, and the Book of Mormon is legitimized through the myth that recalls how the young Joseph Smith, through divine intervention, was instructed to dig out the golden tablets with the original text on them. Sacred texts (not least founding myths) are themselves very often carried by a myth. In the case of Scientology ‘the myth about the myth’ maintains that it is dangerous to approach the text without the proper initiation.” (p. 369)
And this answers another question I get asked all the time. If you want to know why Scientologists don’t know about Xenu despite the fact that it’s all over the internet, it’s not because the church has to block or filter their access. Scientologists are convinced by Hubbard’s words to not look at the material themselves. Hubbard prepared them for this with these words from a lecture called Ron’s Journal 67 where he first announced that he had discovered something of great importance. Here are two excerpts from that talk:
“And so I decided that I had better go out and contact an exact point or two, not so much for me, but where things had happened in ages past which were really the beginning of the demise — or were the demise for this civilization as it then existed. Without telling anyone about this – or what I intended to do – I went out and took my life in my hands, you might say, and brought the matter off. The mystery of this universe and this particular area of the universe has been – as far as its track is concerned – completely occluded. No one has ever been able to make any breakthrough and come off with it and know what happened. As a matter of fact, it is so occluded that, if anyone tried to penetrate it, as I’m sure many have, they died.
“The material involved in this sector is so vicious that it is carefully arranged to kill anyone if he discovers the exact truth of it. So in January and February of this year, I became very ill, almost lost this body, and somehow or another brought it off and obtained the material, and was able to live through it. I am very sure that I was the first one that ever did live through any attempt to attain that material. This material I’m talking about, of course, is very upper level material and you will forgive me if I don’t describe it to you in very broad detail because it’s very likely to make you sick, too.” (RJ 67)
And in case you have any doubts that he’s talking about the Xenu story in a roundabout way, he also says this in the same briefing:
“In the lower grades one is mainly concerned with himself and his own case or his immediate family, but as one moves up the line, one becomes more concerned with the environment and the world in which he lives; and with this concern comes the realization that all has not been well. And it is very true that a great catastrophe occurred on this planet and in the other 75 planets which formed this Confederacy 75 million years ago. It has since that time been a desert, and it has been the lot of just a handful to try to push its technology up to a level where someone might adventure forward, penetrate the catastrophe, and undo it. We’re well on our way to making this occur.” (RJ 67)
Until Scientologists make it all the way up to OT III, what I just played you is pretty much all they get to hear about it. Now Rothstein makes a very good point about why it is that Scientology may actually have something to worry about in working so hard to keep these materials a secret:
“And perhaps Scientology has something to worry about. Not because people die or get pneumonia from encounters with the esoteric texts, but because it makes them abandon Scientology. It is well documented that potential high level initiates have left the organization once they learned (through unofficial information) what waited at the more advanced stages. A woman had, for instance, read about the Xenu material in a newspaper…and subsequently decided to discontinue her engagement with Scientology. Her explanation: ‘It was simply too silly, too stupid. Who would take such a story seriously? Certainly not me!’ In this particular case the impact of Scientology’s religious education had been too weak to keep the potential high-level initiate on the track: She obtained the newspaper even though Scientology discouraged members from doing so. Had she been more advanced along the Bridge she might have refrained from reading the article, or perhaps the outcome of reading it could have been different.” (p. 370)
There’s one last point on this Rothstein brings up which I had to comment on in terms of Scientology’s efforts to control its membership’s access to this information:
“…it seems unrealistic to suppose that no dedicated Scientologist would peek into what is available on the Internet, no matter what warning they are given by Scientology and disregarding their general recognition of Scientology’s authority. Some will, of course, abide by the organization’s rules and accept the second-level narrative as true. Others most certainly will not. Anticult movements have claimed that in 1998, when the Internet was still new and not as diffused and uncontrollable as it has become, Scientology began issuing a CD containing the browser Netscape Navigator to its members. This CD, it was said, would secretly install a ‘censorware program’ that would make it impossible to access Web sites with critical information regarding the movement, including sites that carried the esoteric texts. I have been unable to confirm this information from Scientology sources, but the very rumor indicates how the emergence of the Internet has pushed the conflict over the texts into new realms.” (p. 371)
Well, the good news here is that I can confirm for you without question that Scientology did indeed try to covertly censor public Scientologists’ access to the Internet in 1998 by secretly putting filters into that Netscape Navigator program and getting Scientologists to use that program when they browse the web. I talked about this in detail with Robyn Capella, a former staff member from the Office of Special Affairs. That interview is linked below (Part 6, 33:15) and I think you’ll find it fascinating. Now with all that intro out of the way, Rothstein gets to the OT III material itself:
“This analysis builds on prominent anti-Scientology activists such as Jon Atack, but primarily on a semiautobiographical text, The Road to Xenu, by Margery Wakefield. Apparently ‘Margery is a fictionalized character whose story combines Wakefield’s own experiences with those of other Scientologists.’ In the partly fictitious story told in The Road to Xenu, Margery’s first encounter with the OT-III material is dramatized. In her real autobiography the context is different and less elaborate. The mythological text referred to, however, is more or less the same….The closest we get to a transcript of Hubbard’s handwritten account, and thus the original version, is what Margery Wakefield provides in her more elaborate version (81–82):
“The head of the Galactic Federation (76 planets around larger stars visible from here) (founded 95,000,000 years ago, very space opera) solved overpopulation (250 billion or so per planet, 178 billion on average) by mass implanting. He caused people to be brought to Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H-bomb on the principal volcanoes (Incident II) and then the Pacific area ones were taken in boxes to Hawaii and the Atlantic ones to Las Palmas and there ‘packaged.’ His name was Xenu. He used renegades. Various misleading data by means of circuits etc. was placed in the implants.
“When through with his crime loyal officers (to the people) captured him after six years of battle and put him in an electronic mountain trap where he still is. ‘They’ are gone. The place (Confederation) has since been a desert. The length and brutality of it all was such that this Confederation never recovered.
“The implant is calculated to kill (by pneumonia etc.) anyone who attempts to solve it. This liability has been dispensed with by my tech development. One can freewheel through the implant and die unless it is approached as precisely outlined. The ‘freewheel’ (auto-running on and on) lasts too long, denies sleep etc. and one dies. So be careful to do only Incidents I and II as given and not plow around and fail to complete one thetan at a time.
“In December 1967 I knew someone had to take the plunge. I did and emerged very knocked out, but alive. Probably the only one ever to do so in 75,000,000 years. I have all the data now, but only that given here is needful. One’s body is a mass of individual thetans stuck to oneself or to the body. One has to clean them off by running Incident II and Incident I. It is a long job, requiring care, patience and good auditing. You are running beings. They respond like any preclear. Some large, some small. Thetans believed they were one. This is the primary error. Good luck.”
Now there has been plenty of commentary all over entertainment and social media about this story and I’m not going to add to it here myself. Instead, let’s get into some things you guys might never have known or thought about as to Hubbard’s text. Here’s what Rothstein says:
“Hubbard’s science fiction novels and short stories are to a certain extent preoccupied with UFOlogical scenarios, just as most other science fiction during the 1950s and 1960s. He started out as a writer of popular novels, and then transformed his fascination with science fiction into a therapeutic practice (Dianetics), which was subsequently developed into a religious philosophy (Scientology). The notion of UFOs, space beings, remote universes, and so on remained part and parcel of his work. Therefore it is the use or the emphasis laid upon such stories, not the stories themselves, that are significant if we are to understand Hubbard’s mythological creativity in the context of the Scientology religion.
“In this connection it would be wrong not to pay attention to the wave of religious interest in UFOs and extraterrestrial visitation that swept over the United States at exactly the time of Hubbard’s writings. Hubbard’s notion that human souls — thetans — are spiritual implants that originate in another world is, for instance, quite parallel to religious assumptions expressed by UFO religions such as Ashtar Command and other propagators of the ‘walk-in’ or ‘Star Seed’ hypothesis that claims humans to be incarnated extraterrestrials presently bound to earth. Hubbard’s teachings explain how the single thetan carries an unconscious ‘track’ of memory that stretches all the way back to its origin. After Xenu’s sinister deeds (‘Incidents I and II’ in the myth) the thetans were trapped in the material universe known as MEST (as it is constituted by Matter, Energy, Space, and Time) and declined into physically constrained beings. The intention, by means of Scientological wisdom, is to free the thetans from their prison-like state by awakening them and giving them full self-awareness and the ability to transgress the limits of the three-dimensional universe.” (p. 375)
Now while his point about science fiction is well taken, Rothstein makes a couple of factual errors here in his interpretation of the Xenu narrative. Xenu is not responsible for Incident I, nor does the Xenu narrative explain why thetans are trapped in the physical universe. I’m not just being nitpicky in pointing these out but these are not so important that they throw off Rothstein’s analysis. Let’s continue:
“The demonology in Hubbard’s story is not typical of mid-twentieth-century religious UFOlogy, but the rest is by no means special. The Theosophical trends in religious UFOlogy of those days as expounded by contactee movements or actual UFO religions such as the Aetherius Society or the Unarius Foundation, are very much concerned with the mind-body complex and the impact of extraterrestrials. Hubbard was not original in that respect. In fact, Hubbard echoes the early contactees in many ways, for instance, when he describes the fashion and style of Xenu’s times. Apparently people would dress very much like people in Hubbard’s day. The same was the case when the first famous UFO contactee, George Adamski, told how people on Venus looked a few years before Hubbard revealed his knowledge. Furthermore, Hubbard’s science fiction is highly appreciated by Scientologists as entertaining literature. They consider Hubbard a leading author, and Scientology promotes his productions with fervor and energy. The link between their literary interest and their religious aspirations may be much stronger than they are aware of.” (p. 375)
Now this is the kind of refreshing academic analysis I was talking about at the beginning. Here is someone who is honestly looking at Hubbard’s work in the context of the time and place it was written and showing that Hubbard was far from an original thinker. If you’ve never heard of the Unarious Foundation or George Adamski before, that’s no surprise. They were just a couple of numerous UFO movements and claimstakers from the 1950s and 60s who were riding a wave of enthusiastic belief in visitors from other worlds. This would eventually lead to even wilder tales of ancient astronauts and humanity coming from alien breeders as written about by Erich von Daniken and Zecharia Sitchin and surviving to this day on the History Channel in Ancient Aliens. All of this pseudoscientific nonsense has little grounding in anything resembling fact but it sure is interesting to talk about. Rothstein goes on:
“Already in his book Scientology: A History of Man (originally published as What to Audit, 1952) UFOlogical themes are dealt with and all the substantial claims from the Xenu story are detectable. Today the book, which — to say the least — escapes all kinds of rationality, is no longer a precondition to the auditing ritual, but it is required material at the more advanced esoteric levels. According to Hubbard, he ‘plunged’ into the depth of human history in December 1967 to be the first in innumerable years to realize the deepest causes of the human condition. ‘Plunging,’ in this case, means going back along the ‘time track’ by means of the religious technology he had developed. From a historical point of view, what he did was in fact to transform the basic outline in Scientology: A History of Man into a genuine religious myth that would enhance Scientology’s ambition of developing a soteriological strategy.” (p. 375)
Now this is true. Rothstein has nailed the fact that, whether Hubbard meant to or not, he actually gave Scientology a firmer ground for its argument at being a religion with the Xenu story than anything he had said or written before. It is inarguable that as a Scientologist, you have no choice but to take this story on faith. It not only sounds like a ridiculous fable but the fact is that every single claim Hubbard makes in the Xenu story has been shown to contradict everything we know and can prove from a scientific perspective. In making a case for Scientology being a religion, Scientology’s best ammunition is Xenu. And this next bit is even more important:
“It appears the myth of Xenu entails more than simple explanation. It also offers a ritual procedure and implies a structure of power and authority. Having read about Xenu’s brutality and the fate of the thetans, the reader (who is supposed to be attending the OT-III program) is warned that ‘the implant is calculated to kill anyone who attempts to solve it.’ However, thanks to Hubbard’s ‘tech development,’ this liability is no longer a threat, providing his instructions are followed. There is only one way of doing that: subject oneself to the procedures in the advanced courses on the Bridge, most profoundly, the OT-III program. Recognizing the myth of Xenu as true therefore implies recognizing Hubbard as the only authority, and as his charisma is routinized in his writings and in the soteriological rituals of Scientology, compliance with the course program is the only way. The myth is an account of primordial events, but indirectly it also promotes Hubbard as the savior of humankind and Scientology (being the guardian of the soteriological rituals) as his tool. Furthermore, developing the ability to perform the feats promised in the OT program, the devotee is positioned on the same path as Hubbard himself. The Xenu text explains how the religious genius paved the way back in time and achieved all necessary knowledge needed to move forward. Now helping others to go back on the time track (by means of the ‘tech’) Scientology, realizing Hubbard’s legacy, is creating a reborn super race of thetans, free from bodily constraints, beings that will resume ‘the full cause’ over the physical universe (MEST) and act independently of time and space mastering time travel, bilocation, telepathy, levitation, and so on.” (p. 376)
Here is an aspect of the Scientology mind control that is not generally talked about, especially in regard to the OT III narrative. One thing that Scientologists talk about amongst themselves is what a genius L. Ron Hubbard is, how they don’t understand what it is about him that makes him so special or unique but somehow he did manage to rise above the mental and spiritual challenges which none of the rest of us have ever been able to do and provide us with a way out of the physical universe we are trapped in. This is not raising Hubbard to the status of a diety and no Scientologist would ever tell you that they worship L. Ron Hubbard like a god, and yet for all intents and purposes they actually do. They have made Hubbard into a Messiah and regard him with the same level of awe and respect that Christians have for Jesus Christ. I don’t say this lightly. Many Scientologists wouldn’t even admit what I’m saying to themselves, because they don’t think about Scientology as a religion in the same way that Christians think about themselves as religious. Yet the reverence with which they regard Hubbard is akin to that of a Savior and this is something which holds them in Scientology. It’s a belief that Scientology is the one and only path to spiritual salvation and L. Ron Hubbard is the guide on that path. For all his efforts, even David Miscavige has not yet achieved that same level of reverence. As to whether or not Scientologists are supposed to believe in the Xenu narrative literally, Rothstein addresses this too:
“According to Scientology dogmatics, Hubbard single-handedly solved the riddle of human existence. Nothing was revealed to him. He discovered truth in the same way any scientist uncovers hitherto unknown facts about nature. To devoted Scientologists this makes the narrative about Xenu a scientifically proven fact rather than a religious belief, as the ‘tech’ provided by Hubbard is understood to be a reliable tool that leads to objective insights. By means of the same techniques as those applied in Scientology’s therapeutic rituals, Hubbard was able to attain absolute knowledge of things otherwise out of reach of ordinary humans, and parts of what he learned he shared with his disciples — for instance, what transpired when Xenu was in power. Accepting the religious techniques as authoritative and workable (1), and adoring Hubbard as the most sublime human being that has ever lived (2), a third dogma follows logically: What the man experienced by means of his marvelous techniques is by definition true (3). The very existence of the myth, consequently…points to the unprecedented and unparalleled genius and importance of Hubbard.
“In Scientology everything written by Hubbard is ‘scripture,’ and everything pertaining to the Scientology religion has to be ‘on source,’ in other words, based and argued with direct and specific reference to Hubbard who is ‘source.’ The Xenu narrative is definitely ‘source,’ which means that even if the peculiarity of this particular text may tempt some Scientologists to focus their religious interest on something else, it is impossible to bypass. The cult of the religious leader forces devotees to accept the Xenu story as highly important. The intellectual weaknesses of the text, and the absurd claim that it should be scientific, is overpowered by the urge to honor Hubbard as the greatest individual that has ever lived. In effect the myth adds to the hagiographic construction and maintenance of Hubbard as savior.” (p. 378)
Again, Rothstein is making some very factual and important statements here. Bottom line is that the Xenu story doesn’t just cost a lot of money and time and take a lot of effort. Its very existence and meaning gives Scientologists an even stronger reason to believe in L. Ron Hubbard as their savior and increases the depth of their committment to Scientology, even if they struggle personally with believing the literal content of the story.
In fact, what I just said applies to Scientologists at all levels, even those who haven’t even gotten to OT III yet. For example, I never made it to OT III when I was in Scientology, but from what I was told by people who had done it, this level contained not just the ultimate secrets about life, it also contained the key to unlocking world peace and understanding. Just the idea of that kept me in Scientology and the Sea Org through some of my roughest times. I thought that if we had that, any amount of hell was worth going through and I know that I’m not alone in having thought that.
Rothstein makes some other notes about the contents of the Xenu story, such as the fact that the idea of a Galactic Confederation is not unique to Hubbard, or that concerns about overpopulation were a very common theme in the 1950s and 60s, so of course these things found their way in. Same with H-bombs:
“The H-bomb was tested by the United States for the first time in 1952 on the Marshall Islands of the Pacific, and the following year the Soviet Union joined in. The H-bomb (or atom bombs at large) was the symbol of the gradually developing Cold War. As religious imaginations always draw upon the prevailing resources (people are usually unable to escape the social and cognitive reality to which they belong), it is no coincidence that Xenu in the myth uses the same weapons as humans in the early 1950s. The major advantage, of course, is that the participant in OT-III courses will think of the primordial event as something real and intelligible. Furthermore, it has been shown on many occasions that the driving force in the creation of the UFO or flying saucer myth that swept through the United States during the 1950s (and into which Hubbard inscribes his work) was based on Cold War fears, especially people’s concern about atomic bombs and cynical politicians. Hubbard was in alignment with the minds of his contemporaries when he formulated the myth.” (p. 380)
In fact, almost every element of the myth has its roots in the concerns and fears of Hubbard’s time. One wonders what the Xenu myth would look like today if Hubbard formulated it last month. Would it include the use of an intergalactic internet to lure in unsuspecting souls instead of tax audits? Would it include social media as a driving force of influence in Xenu’s cause? Maybe chemical weapons would be used to do away with the billions of souls harvested here on Teegeack instead of H-bombs. Times change, technology improves and while we move forward, in so many ways we also stay behind. For example, there’s another point Rothstein relates:
“Hubbard claimed his findings to be scientifically valid, but everything in his story is contradicted by science. Trivial geological facts contradict Hubbard’s vision. Mauna Loa, one of the volcanoes on Hawaii’s Big Island is at the most 1,000,000 years old, possibly as young as 600,000 years old. Hubbard talks as if it were ninety-five times older. However, myths should not be tested against facts, and Hubbard’s scientific claims should count as a religious discourse strategy. This became evident when I encountered two Scientologists on a private pilgrimage to Hawaii’s National Volcano Park. Preparing a study of the goddess Pele, who is mythologically linked with the Kilauea volcano, I spent some time on the slopes of Mauna Loa and happened to meet these people (winter 2006). They were amazed to learn that I had some understanding for their project, but they were not prepared to accept the information about the volcanoes that is made available at the park’s visitor center. They found it convincing, and not at all strange, that Xenu had captured the thetans in ice cubes that were later dissolved in the volcano.” (p. 381)
One thing is for sure about people when they decide on a belief. You are not going to sway them with facts. There’s a bit more here that relates to the Sea Organization which some of you might find interesting:
“One thing more seems to be mythologically rooted in the Xenu story, the elite group within Scientology, the Sea Org. According to the anonymous writer on Wikipedia, the Sea Org members, who have dedicated millions of future lives to Scientology, are supposed to mirror the team of ‘loyal officers’ that helped overthrow Xenu. In Scientology they are supposed to be loyal to Hubbard and his organization. The article continues as follows:
“Its logo, a wreath with 26 leaves, represents the 26 stars of Xenu’s Galactic Confederacy. According to the Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary, ‘the Sea Org symbol, adopted and used as the symbol of a Galactic Confederacy far back in the history of this sector, derives much of its power and authority from that association.’ In the Advanced Orgs in Edinburgh and Los Angeles, Scientology staff were at one time ordered to wear all-white uniforms with silver boots, to mimic Xenu’s Galactic Patrol.” (p. 382)
Of course, none of us lower-level people who were in the Sea Org were ever told anything like this because remember, Xenu is confidential until you get to it and very few people in the Sea Org have gotten to it. This is just another one of those layers of stuff that exists in Scientology at certain levels which I’m sure was in Hubbard’s mind the whole time and which he didn’t have a problem passing on to those who he felt were ready for it, but for the rest of us, we were never let in on the secret.
Rothstein spends a couple paragraphs discussing the use of the Xenu story by anti-Scientology critics but there is nothing particularly new or different there worth remarking on. So with that we are at the end of this week’s chapter.
For the most part, I’ve not spent a lot of time in my video work discussing Xenu and OT III because I put together a lengthy analysis of my own about all of the upper-level Scientology scriptures in my book, Scientology: A to Xenu – An Insider’s Guide to What Scientology is Really All About. In this video, we’ve discussed Rothstein’s analysis, but I highly encourage anyone who is interested in finding out even more about this to check out my book. This isn’t just a shameless plug, either. The fact is that for all this talk about this old galactic overlord and blowing up thetans here on Earth, Xenu is actually the least important part of the OT levels to Scientologists. There’s a lot more going on with these levels, enough that it would easily take me another hour to tell you all about it. Instead, I wrote it all down as just one chapter in my book. So check it out on amazon.com. There’s a link in the notes below.
As always, let me know any feedback you have on this and please do like and share this video around the interwebs. Thank you very much for watching.