In this video we are going to talk about the Church of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard’s beliefs and claims about curing people suffering from mental illness. While Scientology’s outright hatred of psychiatry and psychology are well known and even promoted by the Church through its advocacy front group, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, what is less known and less talked about are Hubbard’s fantastical pseudo-scientific claims about insanity. A recent story out of Cannon County, Tennessee highlighted for me that it was time to get this information out there, with the purpose of hopefully ensuring no one is uninformed enough to trust Scientologists with anyone’s physical or mental care now or at any point in the future.
Journalist Tony Ortega first broke the Tennessee story on his blog, The Underground Bunker, on May 3 and the story was quickly picked up by other news outlets. A facility called the Life Center for a New Tomorrow, run and staffed by Scientologists, had been shut down by court order after a man who was held there against his will for nine months managed to alert the sheriff. As reported in the Cannon Courier that same day:
“A series of rehabilitation facilities have been permanently closed in Cannon County and three suspects charged in the case.
“The 16th Judicial District of the state of Tennessee, Cannon County, has charged three suspects in the case. Two of the three, Dennis Flamond and Hans Snyder Lytle, entered guilty pleas in General Sessions Court on two counts of false imprisonment.
“The third suspect, Marc Vallieres, was charged with two felony charges of facilitation to kidnapping in Circuit Court.
“Circuit Judge David Bragg ruled in this final disposition of the cases that ‘all facilities in Cannon County are closed and will not operate any resident facilities in Cannon County, TN.’
“A 911 emergency phone call provided the Sheriff’s Office with the opportunity to go inside the facility which they described as a double-wide trailer with several tiny cabins located behind it.”
According to an officer’s report from the scene, this is what they saw on arrival there:
“‘We proceeded up the hill through a gated, makeshift paddock that is secured externally with a steel latch.’ The officers reported the individual who called them was looking out through a Plexiglas window.
“‘He is locked inside the cabin with no way to remove himself from the building. The caretaker unlocks the door and lets us enter the cabin.
“‘The cabin is bare there is a small pile of sheets in the corner, there are no obvious amenity for life,’ the officers reported.
“The man being held there tells the officers he is being held against his will and is given unknown medications. He explains that he is there to have rehab and get cleansed through Scientology.
“‘He states that he has been there for nine months and is being mistreated and falsely imprisoned and all he wants is to go home.’ the officers said.
“The man then shows his room to officers.
“‘It is a small room with a single bed in it, the bed is bare except for a one sheet that he covers up with, his bathroom is the only room with a light.”
The officers took the man to the hospital and then contacted his mother, who lives in Beverly Hills, CA.
“‘We relay to her the events and she is in disbelief, she has never actually seen the facility and is only aware of the conditions from what is available on the Internet, which is presented in an entirely different manner than actual living conditions. After about approximately 15-20 minutes of explaining what is going on there she believes us, and at the time of our last conversation she was getting a plane ticket the next morning for Tennessee.'”
Tony later reported that the brother of the 24-year old man who called 911 and was rescued was very relieved and the man is now receiving proper treatment. He had been diagnosed as both bipolar and schizophrenic, conditions which none of the staff of the Life Center was trained to deal with. This man’s family were not Scientologists and never had any dealings with the Church or Scientologists prior to the Life Center.
There was another 48-year old woman also being kept there who was also rescued. Her brother is a Scientologist and spoke with Tony Ortega, eagerly defending Marc Vallieres and calling him a saint. He said that his sister, who was also diagnosed bipolar and schizophrenic, was worse off now that she was in a mental health facility in San Jose and that she had been given a quiet, environment in Tennessee and was being dealt with using Scientology processes because she was Type 3. We’ll talk more about this Scientology jargon later in this video. As to this Scientologist’s grip on reality, he also had this to say about the sheriff’s report which said they found his sister padlocked in a small, unsanitary cabin:
“Sure, that’s what the sheriff says. Maybe they were locked inside for a few minutes to keep them from running around. The sheriff has nothing to say. They torture people daily.”
Thankfully, his sister is a ward of the state and not in his custody and hopefully will respond to the medications and professional treatment she is now receiving, no thanks to her brother.
Now to be clear, this Tennessee facility was not run by the Church of Scientology officially. It was run and staffed by Scientologists, though, using L. Ron Hubbard’s methods and techniques in a vain attempt to deal with people who have serious mental issues. Now if you look, you can find other instances of this, including earlier stories of abuse from this Tennessee facility. Vallieres did not identify anywhere on his website that his facility was using Scientology procedures or was in any way connected with L. Ron Hubbard’s methods. There are surely other Scientologists also running similar facilities so it is very important that anyone seeking alternative methods of help for their mentally ill loved ones question those who they contact to ensure they are not Scientologists. Why? Let’s take a bigger look at this now and see beyond this one story, what the deal is with Scientology and mental health.
Scientologists are positive that they have a handle on mental illnesses, neuroses and psychoses of any and all kinds. Why are they so sure of this? Because L. Ron Hubbard told them in his books and lectures that he had developed and tested techniques which work 100% of the time on mentally ill patients and that he had the problem totally resolved. He often derided psychologists and psychiatrists for their ignorance in such matters and never failed to take them to task for the use of lobotomies and electroshock therapy, calling such practices barbaric and claiming that they caused more insanity than they ever cured. These days, Scientologists are totally against all psychotropic medications, stating they are worse than useless and they actively work to close down mental health facilities and cancel their funding. In fact, here is Marc Vallieres himself on video talking about Scientology beliefs and psychotropic medications:
[clip from interview]
Even after making these claims, accusing psychiatrists of being frauds and cheats and the like, Hubbard never had Scientologists go in to mental health facilities and empty them out by curing all the patients. If Scientology has the cure for psychosis and insanity, why don’t they practice what they preach? Because Hubbard said that Scientology isn’t for them. Back in 1952, in the book Scientology 8-8008, Hubbard wrote:
“The essence of Scientology is its practicality.
“Its application is broad and its results are uniformly predictable. It was designed to ‘make the able more able;’ not to ‘treat’ the psychotic or neurotic or psychosomatically ill. But its application in the latter, when done by a competent and properly trained practitioner, forms the only thoroughly validated psychotherapy known to Man today and, by its use, some 70 percent of Man’s ills may be remedied at a cost of time and money lower than any other similar effort and with higher effectiveness.”
Bold claims and unfortunately, not backed up with any real science. He reinforced this in a Church policy letter entitled “Policies on Physical Healing, Insanity and Sources of Trouble” where he wrote:
“With insane persons or persons with a proven record of insanity, do the following:
“1. Establish to the best of your ability within reasonable administrative limits and known tests that any [parishoner] accepted for processing does not have a history of deserved institutionalization in an insane asylum or similar place;
“2. Process only those persons who have no such history;
“3. Do not recommend any other treatment by practitioners in the field of insanity where there exists any evidence that such practitioners injure, disable or maltreat patients by violently-reacting drugs, by painful shocks, surgery or other barbaric and outdated means of ‘mental treatment’;
“4. If no recommendation is possible under (3) above, recommend only rest and a change of environment, but not in a professional capacity.”
If all of this sounds like a cop-out, that’s because it is. Imagine having the cure for cancer and then not using it because your procedures were supposedly developed to deal with the common cold instead. Would it make any sense that instead of curing cancer, you would instead charge exorbitant amounts of money to cure the common cold, and then not even accomplish that? That’s exactly what Hubbard did with Scientology. Oh, and he said he could cure cancer too.
Scientologists believe Hubbard when he says in his books and lectures that he has the solutions to all of life’s ills, including mental illnesses. And he started making these claims right from the beginning, starting in 1949 with his precursor to Dianetics, a work called The Original Thesis. In this book, Hubbard invented two parts of the human mind: (1) the analytical mind which acts like a calculator and analyzer of problems and (2) the reactive mind which contains recordings of every moment of pain and unconsciousness and uses those recordings against the person on a sort of stimulus-response basis to keep them out of danger. These moments of pain and unconsciousness are called “engrams” and when someone eradicates them all using the techniques of Dianetics, they are said to have achieved the state of Clear and are therefore able to think clearly and rationally. About insanity, Hubbard said this:
“EVERY ENGRAM CONTAINS AND ENFORCES THE COMMAND ON THE ANALYTICAL MIND THAT IT HAS BEEN DISPERSED AND IS NOT OPERATING.
“This is common to every engram. This is reduction of the intellect by engrams, totally aside from specific engramic content. It explains at once insanity and the remarkable mental facility of a Clear.”
Hubbard claimed that engrams were the single source of insanity, that “neuroses, compulsions and repressions are the efforts of the analytical mind to reach solutions on observed data with the reactive mind in partial command of the organism.”
Hubbard was not shy about these claims, even going so far as to say that the most common type of engram that caused insanity was from failed abortion attempts carried out on a person before they were even born. In Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, he makes very specific claims that Dianetics is based on clinical tests which prove that his assertions are scientific facts. Yet when I scoured Hubbard’s published materials including even older editions of his work, I could not find any case studies, notes from experiments or peer-reviewed publications which validated any of Hubbard’s claims. This means that his claims fall under the heading of pseudoscience, meaning they have as much validity as me saying the moon is made of cheese. You can make any claim you want, but if you can’t back it up with proof, you are not doing real science.
In Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, Hubbard claimed that Dianetics could cure people institutionalized in mental health facilities and he made it sound relatively simple to do. He described using Dianetics techniques on patients in coordination with medical doctors, administering doses of nitrous oxide or sodium pentathol to put them into a deep level of trance and then locating engrams and eradicating them using Dianetic technique. He further said:
“The dianetic auditor who practises with the institutionally insane exclusively should provide himself with the text now in preparation on that subject: the techniques are similar to those described here but incline more toward heroic measures: this present volume is addressed to treatment of the normal person or the neurotic patient not sufficiently violent to be institutionalized. However, with intelligence and imagination these same techniques can be applied with success to any mental state or physical illness. Institutional Dianetics is primarily the reduction of an insanity to a neurosis.”
No such text was ever forthcoming and Dianetics as a subject went bankrupt within two years of its publication. Institutional Dianetics was never developed using Dianetics techniques. Instead, Hubbard created the Church of Scientology in 1953 and headed off in a whole new direction.
Over the years, Hubbard uttered a lot of gobbledy-gook nonsense when he talked about insanity and psychosis. For example, in a 1953 lecture he said:
“Just as an aside on this emotion called insanity, people worry about insanity and they do lots of things about insanity, but it is an emotion which is brought about by the compulsion to reach and the inhibition not to reach, or the compulsion not to reach and the inhibition to reach.”
or there’s this one from 1961:
“Insanity is a solution. It’s the adaption of a solution. The obsessive adaption of a solution, to the exclusion of all other solutions, in the absence of a problem. Got that? There’s no problem there, but the fellow sure got a solution. And he can’t be any other solution.”
By 1965, Hubbard changed his tune because he’d started putting a lot more emphasis on antisocial personalities, or what he called suppressive people. He said that about 2.5% of the population are acting in a totally evil fashion and basically want to watch the world burn. He felt that these people were the underlying cause of insanity and psychosis as well as roller-coastering, a term Hubbard used to describe someone gaining and then losing in their Scientology auditing. He said that being connected to one of these suppressive people would cause a person all kinds of personal problems and he labelled anyone in such a position a Potential Trouble Source or PTS. In a bulletin of Nov 24, 1965, called Search and Discovery, Hubbard said this:
“There are three types of PTS.
“Type I is the easy one. The SP on the case is right in present time, actively suppressing the person.
“Type II is harder for the apparent suppressive person in present time is only a restimulator for the actual suppressive.
“Type III is beyond the facilities of orgs not equipped with hospitals as these are entirely psychotic.”
“The Type III PTS is mostly in institutions or would be.
“In this case the Type IIIs apparent SP is spread all over the world and is often more than all the people there are — for the person sometimes has ghosts about him or demons and they are just more apparent SPs but imaginary as beings as well.
“All institutional cases are PTSes. The whole of insanity is wrapped up on this one fact.
“The insane is not just a bad off being. The insane is a being who has been overwhelmed by an actual SP until too many persons are apparent SPs.”
So how does Hubbard say to deal with a Type III?
“The task with a Type III is not treatment as such. It is to provide a relatively safe environment and quiet and rest and no treatment of a mental nature at all. Giving him a quiet court with a motionless object in it might do the trick if he is permitted to sit there unmolested. Medical care of a very unbrutal nature is necessary, as intravenous feeding and soporifics (sleeping and quieting drugs) may be necessary. Such persons are sometimes also physically ill from an illness with a known medical cure.
“Treatment with drugs, shock, operation, is just more suppression. The person will not really get well, will relapse, etc.
“(Note: These paragraphs on the Type III make good a promise in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health to develop ‘Institutional Dianetics.’)”
So you can see that Scientologists take it very seriously when someone is labelled a suppressive person, because they think SPs can cause all kinds of damage.
Now as time rolled forward, Hubbard took to the sea and started his own paramilitary navy called the Sea Organization. And it was while out sailing that he thought he’d hit on a new idea about psychosis and insanity. On November 28, 1970, he wrote a bulletin called “Psychosis” and here are some excerpts from it:
“The alleviation of the condition of insanity has also been accomplished now and the footnote in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health concerning future research into this field can be considered fulfilled.
“About 15% to 20% of the human race apparently is insane or certainly a much higher percent than was estimated.
“The truly insane do not necessarily act insane visibly. They are not the psychiatric obvious cases who go rigid for years or scream for days. This is observed only in the last stages or during temporary stress.
“Under apparent social behavior, the continual crimes knowingly committed by the insane are much more vicious than ever has been cataloged in psychiatric texts.
“The German psychiatric 1500 or so ‘different types of insanity’ are just different symptoms of the same cause. There is only one insanity and from it springs different manifestations. Psychiatry erred in calling these different types and trying to invent different treatments.
“Insanity can now be precisely defined.
“The definition is: INSANITY IS THE OVERT OR COVERT BUT ALWAYS COMPLEX AND CONTINUOUS DETERMINATION TO HARM OR DESTROY.
“Possibly the only frightening thing about it is the cleverness with which it can be hidden.
“Whereas a sane person can become angry or upset and a bit destructive for short periods, he or she recovers. The insane mask it, are misemotional continuously and do not recover. (Except by modern processing.)”
Hubbard developed a new kind of Dianetic auditing using the E-meter called Expanded Dianetics to find the evil intentions he thought were the cause of psychosis and insanity and resolve them. But then, in 1973, Hubbard isolated two people he felt had had psychotic episodes onboard his ship and, communicating with them via notes slid under the door, he reportedly got them to calm down and rejoin the crew. And thus was born his final work on the subject. As usual, Hubbard was not shy about it:
“I have made a technical breakthrough which possibly ranks with the major discoveries of the twentieth century. It is certainly the greatest advancement of 1973 and is now being released after a final wrap-up of research. It is called the Introspection Rundown.”
Without getting into even more Scientology technical jargon, Hubbard explained that he had found why people have psychotic breaks and the reason had to do with being told something about themselves with which they did not agree but that was forced on them anyway. In Scientology this is called a wrong indication. He said:
“The essence of the Introspection Rundown is looking for and correcting all those things which CAUSED the person to look inward worriedly and wrestle with the mystery of some incorrectly designated error. The result is continual inward looking or self-auditing without relief or end.
“In a normal person this becomes diminished activity, unhappiness or illness. In [a person with a hidden evil intention] this becomes insanity and a psychotic break occurs at the last severe point of wrong indication.”
They are to be isolated and once they calm down, they are to be given a series of Scientology processes that are supposed to find and resolve the underlying reasons for the psychosis, mainly revolving around what the person has done that was evil intentioned and getting them to realize they are responsible for their actions. Here are the first two steps:
“0. On a person in a psychotic break isolate the person wholly with all attendants completely muzzled (no speech).
“00. Give vitamins (B complex, including niacin) and minerals (calcium and magnesium) to build the person up.”
Now to be clear, this isolation and muzzling is absolute. Hubbard clarified this further here:
“With someone in a psychotic break, it is necessary to isolate the person for him to destimulate and to protect him and others from possible damage. While in isolation the person receives the Introspection RD done flawlessly on a short-session basis, gradiently winning and gaining confidence. Between sessions the muzzled rule is in force. No one speaks to the person or in his hearing.
“There comes a point where the [supervisor] must decide to release the person from isolation. To do this the [supervisor] must know that the person can take responsibility for his actions as regards others, as well as toward himself.
“The [supervisor’s] action is a direct communication line to the person by notes. The person is provided with paper and pen to reply. The [supervisor] must determine the person’s responsibility level. Example: ‘Dear Joe, What can you guarantee me if you are let out of isolation?’ If the person’s reply shows continued irresponsibility toward other [people] or fixation on one [person or thing] to the exclusion of others damaged, the [supervisor] must inform the person of his continued isolation and why. Example: ‘Dear Joe, I’m sorry but no go on coming out of isolation yet. Your actions threatened the survival of hundreds of people indirectly and six families directly by burning down their houses. You are unaware of the effects this could have had and still only concerned about your own welfare. You must hate the human race quite a bit.’
“The [supervisor] has drawn a conclusion based on the information he has and lets the person know where he stands. He does not reintrovert the [patient] by asking him, ‘Why did you burn down those houses?’ He draws an accurate conclusion and indicates it. This will elicit a protest from the person and bring about an involvement in the [area] concerned. It also serves to bring about an awareness of consequences. Example: ‘But…but…I never meant to threaten others’ survival. I just wanted to burn down the houses because I like fires. Gosh…I didn’t mean it. I don’t hate the human race…. Oh! I really don’t hate the human race.'”
I think it’s pretty clear that telling someone that they must hate the human race is a pretty grim thing to do for someone who you have locked up and are trying to keep calm and get them to chill out. But more to the point, there is absolutely no reason to believe that Hubbard hit on the cause of psychosis or how to cure it when the sum total of cases he tested this on was two people. And if you want further proof of how deadly Hubbard’s pseudoscience is, you have to look no further than Lisa McPherson, who died under the care of the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, Florida on December 5, 1995 while receiving the Introspection Rundown.
Lisa’s tragic story is too long and involved to give all the details here, but the relevant points are this:
(1) On November 18, 1995, Lisa was involved in a minor car accident in Clearwater, Florida. She was a Scientologist and had achieved the state of Clear two months before.
(2) When Lisa began removing her clothes in front of the paramedics who had been called to the scene, they took her to the hospital and kept her overnight for observation. Reportedly she told the paramedics “I need help. I need to talk to someone.” A gang of Scientologists showed up and had her check out of the hospital and into their care.
(3) She was taken back to the Church facilities and put under isolation and 24-hour watch as the first part of the Introspection Rundown. Detailed logs were kept except for the last two days, which former Sea Org member Marty Rathbun admitted he had ordered to be destroyed to hide the details of what really happened to Lisa.
(4) According to the logs which were kept, Lisa was rambling, tried to get away, her physical and vital signs were all over the place, she refused to eat, appeared to have measles or chicken pox on her face and was sometimes violent.
(5) After 17 days, she was finally taken to a hospital in New Port Richey – driving past four other closer hospitals – so she could be seen by David Minkoff, a Scientologist and Emergency Room doctor. He had already twice prescribed Lisa Valium and chloral hydrate without ever examining her. She had been gasping and had labored breathing enroute, but the Scientologists didn’t stop until they got to Minkoff who was 45 minutes away. By the time they got there, she was not breathing and had no pulse. Minkoff prounounced her dead. There was no public police report or media notification of the incident. In fact, the Church attempted a total coverup, saying she was at the Scientology facility for “rest and relaxation” and “suddenly fell ill.” Scientologists contacted Lisa’s family and told them she had died of meningitis or a blood clot while at Fort Murray. It took a year before the media even began to catch wind of what happened.
No one connected with this incident was arrested and after extreme pressure was brought to bear on her personally by the Church, the medical examiner Joan Wood changed the cause of death from “undetermined” to “accident,” thereby undercutting the state prosecutor’s ability to bring criminal charges against the Church and its members. In May 2004, Lisa’s family settled with the Church but the terms of the settlement remain confidential.
It should be clear at this point that trusting any Scientologists, whether they are connected with the official Church of Scientology or not, to treat mental illness, or anything at all really, is literally a case of putting your life into their untrained hands. When it comes to physical and mental treatment, these people have no idea what they are actually doing and yet have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and knowledge. Despite numerous and well-documented cases of death and permanent bodily injury in their drug rehabiliation and church facilities, as well as this most recent case of kidnapping and false imprisonment in Tennessee, Scientologists will tell you that these were just isolated instances or that the people involved were not practicing “real Scientology.” That is simply not true.
It has been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t think that Scientologists are out to purposefully do harm or hurt people. But regardless of what good they thought they were doing, people have died under their care and that should be enough to raise a thousand red flags about what Scientologists are up to. Be safe and ensure your loved ones, family and friends get treatment from reputable, proven doctors and care givers who are trained, knowledgeable and experienced. Stay away from the Scientologists.
Thank you for watching.