If you are curious about Scientology, how it works or what its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, was really all about, then I think this is the video for you. In this, I’m going to actually give you a window into the deepest and most important part of Scientology and exactly how Hubbard convinces his followers that Scientology is the most important thing in the world, more important than their job, their money or even their friends and family. So let’s take a look and see what’s behind the curtain.
L. Ron Hubbard was a prolific writer, not only writing books and giving lectures, but also issuing thousands of bulletins and policy letters which laid out the rules and guidelines for the Scientology religion. What we’re going to do in this video is critically analyze what Scientologists consider to be the single most important issue he wrote, entitled Keeping Scientology Working.
Before I get into that, I want to give a very brief rundown on the events that led to Hubbard writing this issue. You who are watching this video may know all about Scientology’s history or you may know nothing about it. I’m going into this assuming that you don’t know much, so for those of you who do, thank you for your patience.
There is a large and pretty strange vocabulary that goes along with Scientology. The main reasons for that are that like many destructive cults, Hubbard created specialized definitions and words to give Scientologists a feeling that they are involved with something special that no outsiders really understand, and also to control their thought processes through language, giving them a unique way of looking at each other and the world at large by shaping what certain things mean and what is important and what isn’t.
I’m going to do my best to explain things and keep this to regular English words as much as possible but there are some places in this Keeping Scientology working issue where Hubbard uses specialized language and I’ll try to explain those words when they come up.
So to give a very brief history, the Scientology religion was founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1953, following the publication, success and ultimate failure of the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and the movement that book spawned. Dianetics was a sort of self-help psychology for the layman and promised to create a new, superior state of being for everyone who used it called a Clear, meaning someone who was no longer affected or held back in life by past trauma or emotional problems.
When that failed and went bankrupt after just three years, Hubbard decided to try what he called the ‘religion angle” with Scientology. He had failed to gain scientific legitimacy or backing with Dianetics and its unproven claims to not only cure all diseases of a psychosomatic nature but also such things as arthritis, heart illness, asthma, leukemia, bad eyesight and cancer. With a religious organization, Scientology would be able to continue to make these claims but they would now be faith-based and wouldn’t have to rely on pesky things like scientific studies or evidence.
Hubbard grew this new religous organization through the 1950s into a worldwide movement with churches sprouting up in England, Australia, Canada and Europe as well as the United States. Although originally a US based religion, in the 1960s Hubbard centralized and solidified his power base at a large, palatial estate in England called saint Hill Manor.
By 1965, Hubbard had this international organization well in hand and it was prosperous. Organizations were answering up to him each week with their progress through what was then a high-tech telex communication system and were directed by Hubbard and his aides on what to do. Royalties and fees were being sent to Saint Hill and Hubbard was pocketing a lot of money.
So Hubbard decided it was time to lay down the law and get his followers into a very dedicated frame of mind about Scientology. It wasn’t just a self-help group now, but something Hubbard thought of as a life-or-death matter.
So in early Feburary 1965, L. Ron Hubbard wrote what he would refer to as the single most important policy letter in all of Scientology, entitled “Keeping Scientology Working”. To this day, this policy is cited over and over again throughout the Scientology world, quoted from extensively and used as a core teaching of the Scientology religion. Every Scientologist is familiar with it and many could practically recite whole passages from it verbatim.
David Miscavige, the current leader of Scientology, has stated that his most important role as Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center or RTC, indeed the very purpose of RTC as an organization, is to see to it that this one issue is enforced throughout all of Scientology.
I had an idea to begin critically analyzing in detail some of Hubbard’s more important issues and texts. And it only makes sense I would start with this, the most important words Hubbard wrote.
To give you an idea of how crucial this issue is, Hubbard specified that it be placed at the beginning of every single major course that Scientologists do. This doesn’t include the beginning courses that you do when you are fresh in off the street. No, I mean this issue shows up on what they call the “major” courses, once a person has moved on past the beginning services. In other words, once you get your foot in the door and you start on to what we could call “the real stuff” you begin the real cult indoctrination with this issue. And like any cult’s indoctrination, it only works through repetition.
At 6.5 pages, this issue clocks in as a hefty one. Hubbard has a lot of indoctrinating to do. I’ve broken it down into sections, which we’ll walk through one at a time.
Section 1: The Setup
First, there is the introduction or setup.
It begins with “We have sometime since passed the point of achieving uniformly workable technology.”
Hubbard refers to Scientology here as “technology” which I’ll talk about in more detail a bit later. Here he is saying that Scientology is supposed to work on everyone all the time.
There are some Scientology apologists who might try to wheedle out of this by arguing the definition of “workable” and that Hubbard is not making an absolutist claim here. But let’s take a look at this.
Hubbard uses the word “uniformly” which means “something done in a consistent or identical manner.”
Workable means “capable of producing the desired effect or result”.
So there is no question Hubbard is using language that indicates that Scientology will produce the desired result when it is used per instructions and it will do this all the time. There really isn’t any other way of interpreting “uniformly workable”.
Yet if you look at this from a modern perspective, this claim of uniform workability doesn’t make sense. Hubbard made a lot of changes after 1965 to Scientology’s methods and practices. Now some of this might sound a little arcane to anyone who isn’t familiar with Scientology already, but I think you’ll get my point.
If it was true that everything was utterly workable and perfect at that point, then why did Hubbard have to do all of these things after 1965:
- invent the OT levels
- invent all of the ethics and justice policies
- invent the suppressive person and everything that goes along with that
- revise Dianetics with Standard Dianetics in 1969
- clarify fundamental basics like how to read an E-meter
- Completely revise how to do Scientology confessionals or sec checks
- Do a full correction and revision of all aspects of Scientology methodology in 1975
- Revise Dianetics again in 1978 with New Era Dianetics
- Write hundreds of more bulletins and policy letters
I’m just skimming the surface here, based on my casual recall of what Hubbard ordered done from 1965 until he died in 1986.
Since 1986, there have been no less than five MAJOR overhauls of all of Scientology’s methods and materials. Not just repackaging of the materials but full revisions of all the books and course materials to ensure “it was in full compliance with Ron’s wishes”.
Knowing all of that, does it sound like Hubbard really had it nailed in 1965? Or even 1970 when he had this policy letter re-issued? Or again in 1980 when he had it reissued again?
Let’s face it – the most important issue in all of Scientology starts off with a bald faced lie.
He goes on to say that if Scientology organizations, called orgs, can’t get results or get bad results, they are going to have upset people on their hands. That’s true enough with any customer service business. Of course, such a thing isn’t true of many religions, because I think it’s safe to say that religion is not a results-oriented activity. You either believe or you don’t believe, but you don’t see too many people beating down the cardinal’s door because they didn’t get tangible results from their prayers. Not a huge deal but I thought it worth mentioning that Hubbard is approaching Scientology with a business attitude.
He then says “Attacks from governments or monopolies occur only where there are ‘no results’ or ‘bad results’ which is also an interesting thing to say because here he is planting a seed of an idea which he will develop over the next few years into an elaborate international plot that Hubbard claimed existed to destroy Scientology. He said that newspaper chains, psychiatric groups and even government officials were owned and controlled by a select few international banker types and that these puppet masters were making the governments and monopolies attack Scientology. It’s a kind of weird logic here, because wouldn’t such attacks only come if Scientology actually worked and was actualy producing results? Why would attacks come from these big bad guys if Scientology wasn’t producing any results? Well of course, they wouldn’t because no one would care. Now we know that’s actually the case anyway, but I’m just analyzing the backwards logic of Hubbard’s claim here. What he’s saying actually makes no sense.
Section 2: Scientology is the Only Correct Technology
Now Hubbard states that the only way to deal with this is to get Scientology applied. But instead of saying Scientology, he sort of euphemistically refers to it as “the technology” which is very much done on purpose. Technology is a more generalized term which refers to the methods or applications of a body of science. It’s kind of a loaded word because it carries all sorts of connoations and meanings with it, different from just the word “Scientology”. In a relatively new Scientologist’s mind, freshly reading this, he might disagree if the word Scientology were repeated at him over and over again. But “technology” is a regular English word, is already perfectly acceptable and reminds the reader of other exact sciences like engineering, physics and computer programming. It makes everything Hubbard is about to say about Scientology more agreeable.
So what does Hubbard say? He lays out a series of 10 steps which he says are necessary to get Scientology or “the technology” into correct use. The steps are:
One: Having the correct technology.
Two: Knowing the technology.
Three: Knowing it is correct.
Four: Teaching correctly the correct technology.
Five: Applying the technology.
Six: Seeing that the technology is correctly applied.
Seven: Hammering out of existence incorrect technology.
Eight: Knocking out incorrect applications.
Nine: Closing the door on any possibility of incorrect technology.
Ten: Closing the door on incorrect application.
So you see what he’s done here? He’s actually written a road map to a state of mind of fanatical devotion.
You see, because Hubbard is using the word “technology”, it has the double duty of carrying a more generalized meaning. When he says “hammering out of existence incorrect technology” and “closing the door on any possibility of incorrect technology” he’s not just referring to Scientology technology but any technology. For example, Hubbard despised pschology and psychiatry and he used every opportunity he could to bash them in his lectures and writings.
It’s no stretch of the imagination for someone to think after reading these points that Hubbard would demand that such incorrect technologies be hammered out of existence . Look at what Scientology tries to do to psychiatry right now with their Citizens Commission on Human Rights group which has no other reason to exist except to eradicate psychiatry. I’m quite sure anyone in that group would be proud to say they are following the steps of Keeping Scientology Working by doing so.
So here’s the thing: according to steps 7, 8, 9 and 10, the only way that Scientology is supposed to work is if you literally destroy anything else that is not Scientology! This is very very important. It is the lynchpin upon which the Scientology doctrine rests and when a person accepts these steps as true, they have started down a very slippery slope which ends up with them believing that nothing else in the world besides what L. Ron Hubbard says, matters in any way.
Now lest you think I’m exaggerating, let’s see how Hubbard follows this up.
He says “Seven is done by a few but is a weak point. Eight is not worked on hard enough. Nine is impeded by the ‘reasonable’ attitude of the not-quite-bright. Ten is seldom done with enough ferocity. Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten are the only places Scientology can bog down in any area.”
Hubbard said ‘reasonable attitude’ there and you need to know that ‘reasonable’ is a bad word in Scientology. Hubbard actually redefines the word ‘reasonble’ to mean ‘faulty explanations’ or accepting reasons why something can’t be done or even dreaming up false reasons or justifications for something. It’s no accident that ‘being reasonable’ in Scientology is a very bad thing. So here he is saying that if you don’t close the door on any possibility of incorrect technology, you are illogical and actually destructive.
So getting back to the text, you see that right off the bat, he’s using insulting language to make the point that no one is actually doing these steps ferociously enough and that not destroying things other than Scientology are the only reasons that Scientology doesn’t succeed. I’m not making any of this up.
The next paragraph is more of the same, where Hubbard says that people who don’t do these things are self-important and stupid, that they literally have a low IQ and can’t observe and that their mental problems make them so crazy they want to destroy good things and keep bad things going. He uses more Scientology jargon for this so I just summarized it for you instead of having to explain more of this super-specific vocabulary.
But here’s why this is really important: what I just read to you, right here, is the exact place where Hubbard sets up an “us versus them” mentality. Anyone who is not ferociously on the side of Scientology is stupid, self-important or somewhat psychotic. No one wants to be any of those things, so of course they’d want to be on the side of Scientology, where the good people are getting results and making the world a better place.
He ends this section by saying “Thus, we as Scientologists and as an organization must be very alert to Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten.”
It is a vital part of any destructive cult to establish that kind of ‘us versus them’ thinking to ensure loyalty and get a person in a frame of mind where they will defend ‘us’ and attack ‘them’.
Section 3: Hubbard is the Only True Savior of Mankind
In the third part, Hubbard switches gears and starts talking about himself and how important he has been to Scientology.
One of the defining characteristics of a destructive cult is having a centralized leadership, usually one person, who holds all the answers and who demands un questioning loyalty and committment. Now when you’re not in a cult and you are looking at those who are, you can easily think that they are just a bunch of idiots and that you would never blindly follow anyone like they do. It might make you feel more comfortable or superior to think that, but statistically speaking you’re probably wrong. It’s not just religious cults that people fall for either. Look at the fanaticism that can exist in politics, sports or social issues.
So how do people like Hubbard get his followers thinking so fanatically? Well, let’s take a look at what he says in this next section. It starts with this:
“In all the years I have been engaged in research I have kept my comm[unication] lines wide open for research data. I once had the idea that a group could evolve truth. A third of a century has thoroughly disabused me of that idea. Willing as I was to accept suggestions and data, only a handful of suggestions (less than twenty) had long-run value and none were major or basic; and when I did accept major or basic suggestions and used them, we went astray and I repented and eventually had to “eat crow”.
“Eat crow” is an old term for admitting you are very wrong, the idea being that you were humilated and now have to eat crow, which tastes really bad, to make up for what you did.
Here we have Hubbard starting to assert this idea that he is the only one who could come up with truth and that everyone else was just making things worse when they were trying to help. What’s actually kind of amazing about this statement is how insulting it is. He’s literally saying that no one else had anything constructive to say or add to his researches. And this, by the way, flies in the face of every great discovery made in mankind’s history. Because no one, not one person in history, has ever made any discovery all by themselves that wasn’t improved upon by someone else laster on. But if you don’t know anything about science or history and you think that all of the advances in history have been made on the backs of single lone heroes who didn’t have any help, then you might fall for this ridiculous idea that Hubbard is putting out.
But even beyond that, what really pours salt on the wound here is that not only did Hubbard not come up with this subject all on his own, but he actually plagiarised other people’s materials and called it is his own throughout the whole history of Dianetics and Scientology. I’m talking about very major and basic parts of the technology, not what Hubbard describes as incidental and unimportant things. It was at this point in 1965 that Hubbard now comes out saying that it was all him. His plagiarism is well documented and I’m not going to get into the specifics of it here, but I have to point out that in this Keeping Scientology Working issue, Hubbard is being very two-faced and hypocritical.
Alright, so getting back to the text, he goes on to say:
“On the other hand there have been thousands and thousands of suggestions and writings which, if accepted and acted upon, would have resulted in the complete destruction of all our work as well as the sanity of pcs. So I know what a group of people will do and how insane they will go in accepting unworkable “technology”. By actual record the percentages are about twenty to 100,000 that a group of human beings will dream up bad technology to destroy good technology. As we could have gotten along without suggestions, then, we had better steel ourselves to continue to do so now that we have made it.
I did the math, and if he had actually received 100,000 suggestions over the course of 15 years, that means he was getting 18 a day every single day of the week. Now we are supposed to believe that out of all those suggestions and tips, only 20 of them were actualy of any use and every other one was not just unhelpful but actually destructive and would result in people being worse? How could anyone actualy believe this? Well, the only way you could bring yourself to believe this would be by raising Hubbard up on a pedastal of greatness and at the same time, reducing everyone else to the status of very dangerous morons. Maybe they mean well, but they just can’t help their destructive nature. And believe me when I tell you that this is exactly what Scientologsts think of non-Scientologists.
He then justifies this mental shift by saying:
“This point will, of course, be attacked as ‘unpopular,’ ‘egotistical’ and “undemocratic.’ It very well may be. But it is also a survival point. And I don’t see that popular measures, self-abnegation and democracy have done anything for man but push him further ino the mud. Currently, popularity endorses degraded novels, self-abnegation has filled the Southeast Asian jungles with stone idols and corpses, and democracy has given us inflation and income tax.”
So here he is pretty bluntly showing how bad off the world is when people are allowed to think for themselves and how awful the combined works of man actually are. This not only helps justify the “us vs them” mentality that Hubbard instilled earlier, but it’s the sort of thinking that gets Scientologists to get behind people not having rights in the first place.
Here’s what I mean: Hubbard says that democracy has given people income tax and inflation. Democracy is also what has given people like Hubbard the constitutional right to freely utter his destructive tripe without fear of prosecution or consequences. Not just here in the United States, but if you look at any country where Scientology exists, you’ll find the kind of democratic system where people are afforded the rights to speak and think freely. So here Hubbard is lambasting and ridiculing democracy but the fact is that Scientoloogy couldn’t exist without it.
And of course, the other thing here is that it is this kind of thinking that allows Scientologists to justify why people like myself, a critic of Scientology, shouldn’t be afforded these same rights, even when they are written into the Creed of the Church of Scientology. The irony here is so thick you can cut it with a knife.
He goes on with three more paragraphs of this which I’ll skip over because it’s pretty much same same same – him aggrandizing himself, making nothing of everyone else and emphasizing how destructive mankind is when left to its own devices. But he does end off this section by bringing it back to those ten points of KSW and the language he uses is pretty interesting:
“So realize that we have climbed out of the mud by whatever good luck and good sense, and refuse to sink back into it again. See that Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten above are ruthlessly followed and we will never be stopped. Relax them, get reasonable about it and we will perish.”
Notice how he uses “we” in this section three times. He’s spent all this time throwing everyone except himself under the bus, but now he’s kindly including the reader – the Scientologists – into this tight knit conspiracy he’s creating of people who have the special miracle information that can save the world, and he’s imploring them to ruthlessly destroy anything that is not Scientology. Otherwise everyone, themselves included, will all perish. None of this wording or the language Hubbard is using is an accident.
So you can see here that Hubbard is faithfully following the cult leader’s playbook step by step, instlling in his followers the exact things needed to put them in a frame of mind where they will follow his word as law, negate any other beliefs or subjects and view the world through an “us vs them” filter. There’s a lot more of this in the rest of this issue, but at this point I am going to end the first part of this analysis.
I would really like to hear your take on this in the comments and what you think about what I said here. Don’t be afraid to disagree with me on any of these points or offer up any suggestions if you think I might have missed an important point. Unlike L. Ron HUbbard, I don’t think that the people who listen to me are imbeciles or destructive morons. I want to learn from you as much as I want to try to educate you.
We will pick this back up in the next episode. If you haven’t subscribed to my channel yet, please do so and consider showing me some love with the support button or becoming part of my Patreon campaign. Thank you for watching.