After a short break, we are back with my on-going series, deconstructing this book, Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis with contributions by a gaggle of sociologists, religious scholars and others who have something to say about the subject of Scientology, usually along an apologetics vein.
I was informed by one of my viewers that James R. Lewis has a new compendium coming out in the UK in November, this one called Handbook of Scientology, published by Brill Academic Publishers. It features a variety of authors, only a couple of whom are featured in this current book I’m taking apart. The new book will only be sold in the UK for something like $200, so clearly Lewis is not interested in anyone actually reading it.
Back in January 2011, in an open letter Lewis sent to an ex-Scientology website, he referred to a new project he was working on that would discuss former members and Independent Scientology as well. Maybe this new book is that proejct.
He also claimed in this letter that his views are no different from most academics about new religous movements, that he seeks to bring a balanced and scientific approach to subjects like Scientology and that he is nuanced and objective in his views. I think I’ve already shown that none of these statements are true, because Lewis’ entire approach towards Scientology is to only take one side of the story, Scientology’s, and to completely ignore anyone like myself who had decades of experience with the subject yet who is critical of its teachings and its founder. He tried, rather unsuccessfully I thought, to claim that he never meant what he actually said, and that he was only referring to deprogrammed former members when he said that apostates are not worthy of being listened to. He went so far as to say that anyone who says otherwise is either consciously misrepresenting his work or is stupid. Well, James, I am not misrepresenting what you said because I’ve quoted you word for word. Am I stupid? Well, Scientologists might think so.
However, I truly do look forward to seeing if he is turning over a new leaf with his new anthology and will bring some balance and nuance to the topic. That is, if I can ever afford to read it. In the meantime, let’s carry on with the book that he said he still stands by and see what we find.
This week we are getting into the real meat-and-potatoes of Scientology with Chapter 9, called “The Development and Reality of Auditing” by Gail M. Harley and John Kieffer.
Gail Harley died in 2008, before this book was actually published. She lived in Clearwater, Florida and taught Religious Studies at the University of South Florida. She wrote books about New Thought and about Hindu and Sikh Faiths in America. John Kieffer was a graduate student at the time of this writing, also from the University of South Florida, whose graduate thesis was called “Finding Confuscianism in Scientology: A comparative analysis” and who was himself involved in Scientology from 1985 – 1990. From what I could find, it appears he is an active atheist now and doesn’t appear to have any academic standing.
One thing that you may find interesting is that many of the authors of essays in this book are located geographically close to Scientology centers. How convenient for them and for Scientology. These two were located just minutes away from the heart of the Scientology world in Clearwater, location of the infamous Flag Land Base and Flag Service Organization. Anyone familiar with Scientology’s history knows that Scientology lied about who they were when obtaining their first properties in that sleepy retirement community. Scientology’s Guardians Office personnel tried unsuccessfully to frame the city’s mayor for a hit-and-run because he was critical of the Church’s actions and since then have paid little to no attention to the needs or wants of anyone in the city if it conflicts in any way with what they want. I don’t think anyone in Clearwater’s government really understood the forces they were up against when Scientology first moved there and at this point, Scientology has now taken control of Clearwater in a way that makes it impossible for anyone to stand against them, from the police and local government officials to local civic and business leaders and even congressional representatives. Scientology buys them all off or uses its power and influence to blackmail them into silence if they get in the way. If Scientology were ever to collapse around the world, Clearwater would be its last and final seat of power.
So let’s get into this paper. It starts with an introduction which examines belief systems that in many ways could be considered precursors of Scientology, such as Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science and Emma Hopkins’ New Thought, both from the 1880s. They write:
“One component of Christian Science is the healing aspect developed by Eddy, who asserted disease could be cured through spiritual and divine power without medical intervention, and in church doctrine medicines and doctors were seen as barriers to optimum health and spirituality; in fact, they represented an illusory dimension of ultimate reality.
“Humans, for Hopkins, were spiritual beings, in essence divine sparks of God who did not realize their own divinity. This lack of knowledge diminished the divine power of humans to know their spiritual inheritance, and subsequently erroneous thinking manifested as illness, poverty, and misery in the mundane world. She prescribed teaching that would transform the individual into a spiritual being with health, positive thoughts, and a serenity of countenance.” (p. 183)
These concepts are extremely similar to Hubbard’s version of spirituality, with each of us being an individual spiritual entity called a thetan and a major goal of Dianetics and Scientology being to not only return the thetan to its native state of infinite knowingness but in the course of so doing, heal the body and provide optimum health. The parallels are too obvious to ignore. In fact, the authors go on in this vein:
“The unorthodox theological precepts taught by Eddy, Hopkins, and other ambitious and eager minds set the theological stage for the emergence of a plethora of religions that placed responsibility for lifestyle choices on the individual, and saw the humans as divine beings who could take charge of their spiritual and daily life and deliver the methods needed for their own salvation.” (p. 184)
But while these new religious movements may have shared a conceptually similar base, they could vary quite widely in their practices.
“As a trailblazer in religion in America, Hopkins, a mystic as well as a metaphysician, taught a theological oneness in which evil did not dwell. New Thought, unlike Christian Science, however, did not subscribe to the idea that medical treatment was harmful. Hopkins, a prolific teacher and writer, continued to teach her monistic ideas of the newer ways of thinking about health, healing, and spirituality until her death in 1925. <i>High Mysticism<i>, her magnum opus, is as avidly read today among religious seekers as Eddy’s <i>Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.<i>” (p. 184)
Unfortunately for their analysis, these authors took flawed and outright false information about L. Ron Hubbard’s childhood from J. Gordon Melton, whose nonsense I already debunked in my video covering chapter 1. They do get it right that Hubbard was very likely exposed at an early age to information about Sigmund Freud’s theories and the practice of psychoanalysis and this very likely influenced his work in creating Dianetics, but everything else is romanticized nonsense. For example, they write:
“In 1925, Hubbard returned to the family homestead in Montana having been suitably informed by the eclectic, military, international, and political milieu of Washington, D.C. He left home again in 1927 to set out on international journeys, which became the hallmark of his lifestyle and permitted him to associate with peoples of varied religions and exotic cultures. Encountering sages and teachers abroad during his journeys stimulated his curious quest to know different spiritual and theological phenomena.” (p. 185)
Here’s an actual excerpt from Hubbard’s own diary, showing how profoundly he was influenced by the varied religions and exotic cultures when he was in the Orient:
“They smell of all the baths they didn’t take. The trouble with China is, there are too many chinks here.” – L. Ron Hubbard’s diary, 1928 (as quoted from A Piece of Blue Sky by Jon Atack)
It’s just another example of slipshod research and lack of academic integrity that Harley and Kieffer forward this false information about Hubbard, making their work sound like Church propaganda and not serious, objective research. The truth about Hubbard’s early life was so easy to find by the time they were doing this work that it’s painfully obvious they couldn’t be bothered to even look.
They even seem to get the sequence of events wrong when they say this in the very next paragraph:
“Scientology had its preliminary origins in Hubbard’s book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (DMSMH), developed in the 1940s and presented in book form in 1950. Because of the title of his book and its reference to mental health, Hubbard, a religious entrepreneur who considered himself a founder of a religion, was challenged. Hubbard continued to work on theories and hypotheses until he felt that he could advance the precept that his work was of religious origin.” (p. 185)
A religious entrepreneur? Now they’re just making stuff up. Dianetics had nothing to do with religion and unless they are somehow slyly referring to Hubbard’s earlier assertions that the best way to make money was to start a religion, there were no earlier statements or writings that I’m aware of which indicate that Hubbard wrote Dianetics with the intention of starting a religion. They go on to say this:
“Long after Hopkins and Eddy had developed their theologies of healing and religion, Hubbard developed his science of spirituality based on mental and physical health that, according to the teachings of William James in <i>The Varieties of Religious Experience<i>, written fifty years earlier, would place Hubbard’s teachings in the arena of the mind cure movement or religion of healthy-mindedness. Hubbard himself, apparently, did not see how his work dovetailed with the religions of healthy-mindedness. He assumed he was an original thinker or even avatar.” (p. 185)
It’s debatable whether Hubbard truly thought of himself as an original thinker or was simply a bold plagiarist who pulled ideas willy-nilly from earlier religious and mental health researchers to create his own hodge podge mix called Dianetics and then Scientology. Many of the new religious movements of the 20th century drew enormously from earlier works going all the way back to Madame Blavatsky and the idea of Transcendent Masters, so Hubbard was not the only one who engaged in this kind of operation. He even admitted to it himself in his lectures, stressing that it was not the content of his work that was so different from earlier works, it was that he had found what was important which the earlier researchers had missed. Unfortunately, too many people have given him too much credit for this and grant Hubbard an authority and legitimacy I don’t think he ever earned.
The rest of the introduction continues to read like a Scientology promotional piece about Hubbard’s genius and lofty intentions as a spiritual leader and humanitarian, which we’ve covered before in earlier videos so I’m not going to repeat it again. Let’s get into the next section, called “Auditing Field Experience.” This is by far the most interesting part of this chapter. It begins:
“This writer became interested in auditing, which is considered the most sacred process in Scientology. After extensive field visits to a number of Scientology centers, orgs, and FLAG bases, I enquired if I could be granted some auditing sessions. Throughout the past eight years, prior to and after September 11, 2001, I have conducted opportunistic surveys of people who were not Scientologists but who had unusual encounters with the auditing experience. Examples of anecdotal evidence came from several people, including a former university student of mine. A woman reported to me that as a young person she was on vacation in New York City and encountered a Dianetics center. Being curious, she went in and had a brief auditing session. She reported that a red blister appeared on her hand in the same place she had been burned in an accident as a child. As she worked the painful event through verbally, she reported that the red mark disappeared, that she subsequently no longer thought of it as a hurtful event, and that she simply went on with her life. She never returned to Scientology because, she stated, she was too busy searching and seeking out other spiritual practices. She still is! Another person, a retired professor, told me he had become involved with Scientology some years ago and had taken various courses. He had lost a dear friend in Vietnam and had never been able to deal with his grief over this loss. He said that during an auditing he was able to cry and mourn for the first time. His demeanor as he recounted this to me seemed to indicate he was at peace with his friend’s death.” (p. 187)
Now I’m not going to try to debunk these two anecdotal, second-hand accounts of auditing results. I’ve said before that Dianetics does have a limited usefulness with a certain percentage of people, as do many other forms of fringe therapy which rarely go above a placebo percentage of effectiveness. If someone thinks their blister came back and disappeared, I can’t say it didn’t but I am certainly skeptical about it. That someone felt emotional relief in recounting the loss of a friend is no surprise at all and hardly indicative that Dianetics offers a unique and universally workable therapy that will alter the destiny of Mankind. But I’m not knocking that one individual’s anecdotal experience.
I’m assuming from how this is written that this is Gail Harley’s writing and that she is the one who eventually did receive auditing herself. I want to say that while I’m giving these academics a lot of grief over their lack of academic rigor, I will acknowledge Harley for actually going the extra mile and taking part in Scientology processing to see what all the fuss is about.
For the Church to have granted her request, though, is unusual in the extreme. Scientology’s policies clearly state that no one is to receive auditing who is there to investigate Scientology or who has an open mind with no personal hopes of gain. The policy on this matter is crystal clear and the Church labels such people “Sources of Trouble.” For whatever reason, the Church members dealing with Gail chose to ignore Hubbard and audited her. Given that Scientology officials have long since ceased to follow a great deal of Hubbard’s policies, and pretty much pick and choose what is convenient for them, this really isn’t that big of a surprise but it is worth mentioning.
Gail went into some detail about her auditing experience:
“I arranged for auditing in a mission facility in the Tampa Bay area. Though I realized that my request as a scholar was out of the ordinary, I was advised that I could receive auditing with experienced auditors using E-Meters. Due to my schedule, the only time that I had available was on Saturday after I had handled my responsibilities for that week. It was made clear when I spoke with the two auditors who were assigned to me that Scientology was offering me the auditing process not because I was a historian and scholar studying comparative religions but because I was a member of their version of the human family, a thetan. It is not the purpose of this chapter to discuss the controversies that abound regarding mental health, Scientology, and the viewpoints the Church holds about psychiatry. Nor will I draw parallels between auditing and psychotherapy. To be brief, Melton’s interpretation of Hubbard’s thinking was that psychiatry was ‘built upon a false foundation’ because it ignored the fact human beings were spiritual beings (thetans). I was not a Scientologist, but their view that I was a thetan included me in the company of Scientologists as a preclear. Noteworthy as well was that I was not excluded simply because I was a researcher. Ideally, a dedicated preclear attends sessions daily; however, my sessions were carried out intermittently from July to October 2001, due to my schedule and the 100-mile round-trip commute from the rural area where I lived. The first day that I arrived at the mission center I was cordially greeted, and chatted informally with Kathryn, the person chosen to be my auditor. We entered a modest office equipped with a heating blanket, a tiny fan, and a small desk with a dish of polished rocks to the side of the desk. These few tumbled rose quartz stones represented a ‘demo kit’ and could have been any variety of items. With some interest, Kathryn watched as I took a few out of the dish and rolled them around in my hand, lined up several, and then carefully placed them back. I advised her I was a rock collector of sorts and liked them there. She beamed. I had just demonstrated one of Hubbard’s premises that theory must be combined with mass. Adjustments were made to the air-conditioning system so that I would feel comfortable: not too hot and not too cold. Blankets were placed under my feet so there would be no drafts to disrupt me. The blinds were drawn so the room had enough light for her to administer and chart the auditing process in a file folder. She chose several different can sizes for me to hold that were attached to the E-Meter. It was important to find the correct fit for my hand size. After that I was given a hand cream to use so that the silver metal cans made closer contact with my skin surface. The process began. I was asked what I was thinking or seeing in my mind and, after several minutes of this, Kathryn seemed have the E-Meter tailored for my specific electrical charge. By reading the needle on the meter, she could tell when I was being affected emotionally. When I would reach an area that indicated emotional charge, she would instruct me to elaborate more fully about it. As I repeated the incident over and over, she responded with a corresponding series of positive, short acknowledgments, such as ‘good,’ ‘that’s fine,’ or ‘got it.’ When I became bored with the repetition and sighed, the auditing process for that series of incidents had reached an end point as I had apparently released the emotional charge connected with it. In one instance, I had another auditor, Shelly, who operated in much the same standard style that Kathryn did. I got the impression that auditing is very precise, with oversight by case supervisors ensuring that each session follows a precise format and that variations in standard protocol do not occur.” (p. 188)
In addition to the policy violation of auditing a researcher who was there simply to see what Scientology does and if it works or not, there were also specific rules of how auditing is supposed to be done which were also broken. The auditor, Kathryn, was probably Kathy Feschbach, the owner of the Bellair Mission in Tampa, Florida and someone who is trained to the highest level a public Scientologist can be trained to, called Class 8. The fact that she ended processes when Gail became bored definitely shows that she was not taking them to what is supposed to be the proper end result of the preclear having a floating needle on the E-meter and having had a cognition, the Scientology term for a new realization about themselves or life. At the end of every auditing session, the preclear is supposed to feel invigorated, happy and very satisfied with the experience. This is called Very Good Indicators in Scientology. Gail did not indicate she was experiencing any of that in her auditing. She went on to say this:
“I no longer can recall the specifics of each and every session. Some were determined by the auditor to be past life events held in my reactive mind through what could have been a number of lifetimes. I do not know. Just as a number of religions believe in rebirth or reincarnation, Scientology holds this premise as well. Though I cannot validate that aspect of religious belief, two sessions that took place on two different days several weeks apart could possibly cause someone to rationalize it in that way. During these sessions I became emotionally charged about scenes that I saw very clearly in my mind at that time. These images were challenging and somewhat painful to talk about; in fact, as I slowly related the incidents, a few tears streamed down my cheeks. As in my previous auditing sessions, these incidents were run out to an end point. To this day, I still recall those scenes as graphically as I did during my auditing experience, except that there is no emotional response: They are just pictures — intriguing pictures. I cannot explain the phenomena, at least not in a scientific way. Perhaps they were vignettes from books I had read as a child or clips from a movie that I had forgotten. Hubbard, of course, would posit that these were past life recalls.
“I do remember setting it up in my mind that I would use logical linear left-brain functioning to keep track of what the reactive mind was doing and feeling. I found this experimental technique to be confusing and decided to go with what was happening at the time — auditing — the release of the reactive mind to upsetting events and episodes. I would leave rational analysis for later.” (p. 189)
For the average Scientologist, going back and recalling incidents of this kind usually result in a surge of excitement and belief in past lives. Subjectively, the person could very well just be imagining the whole thing based on movies or books or simply pure imagination. Gail did not fall into that trap but tried to maintain an objective perspective as a researcher but it was difficult for her to do so and she found herself simply surrendering to the auditing process. I would say this is somewhat indicative of the hypnotic nature of the Scientology auditing. You are supposed to believe that everything that comes to mind in response to the auditor’s questions is real and the E-meter responses are supposed to provide “proof” that this is so.
One day, Gail describes how Kathy had to punt because Gail wasn’t up for an auditing session:
“On one Saturday I arrived at the mission tired and a bit achy. Kathryn tried to get a correct E-Meter reading on me to start the process of auditing for that day. She never did. Resourcefully, she changed gears and we set out on another path I had not explored before. We did what she called a ‘locational’ — orienting the person to a specific area. We walked around the neighborhood as if we were taking a casual stroll, enjoying the weather. While pointing out various things — trees, buildings, plants, flowers, porches, shops and so forth — she would say, ‘Look at that’ and name the item. I would reply, ‘I see,’ and she would acknowledge my response with the sort of short answers used in auditing. This procedure is designed to bring an individual into what is known as ‘present time and space.'” (p. 189)
If this sounds like a waste of time, it is. Walking around and looking at things certainly can have a therapeutic value of sorts and can be very effective to help calm someone down who is experiencing some anxiety or stress, but rarely would that require someone guiding you and telling you to look at things. In Scientology, there is a lot of stock placed in this kind of technique, called Objective Processing, because it’s supposed to get a person “into present time” but this makes the rather unwarranted assumption that a person is not already in present time. The fact is, that you are never anywhere else but right here, right now. A person may become lost in their thoughts or distracted, but they are still right here, right now. People can be sold on the idea that something is wrong with their everyday life and thoughts and then sold the “cure” of Scientology, or other practices which really are not doing anything for the person except solving a problem that never existed. This is how I see all Objective Processing in Scientology. At best, it can help calm or ease someone’s nerves, but mostly it’s a waste of time and at worst, it induces hypnotic states through hours of repetition in which a person can become more suggestible.
Gail goes on to talk about getting a Scientology technique called a touch assist:
“On Monday, two days later, I was diagnosed with a minor eye infection. I cannot say if it was my immune system that was mobilizing to fight this infection that caused a somatic situation that dropped my energy level to the extent that I could not be audited. On another date in October, again Kathryn could not get me to register the appropriate energy on the E-Meter to be able to audit with it. Instead we walked again and she administered what is called a ‘touch assist.’ This is a gentle process in which the auditor systematically touches the person lightly on certain neutral areas of the body. Each touch was associated with a communication cycle that included the auditor’s command ‘Feel my finger,’ a response from the individual such as ‘Yes,’ and the usual short acknowledgment by the auditor. This procedure is meant to bring the person back into communication or, more precisely, what is known as ‘ARC,’ with one’s body.” (p. 189)
Similar to Objective Processing, assists are Scientology’s version of “laying on hands” and work about as effectively as faith healing. From the time I was a little kid, I hated assists and never found them to relieve any pain or physical difficulties I was having, even when I could cajole someone into wasting an hour or two doing one on me. I know that some people swear they were helped by Scientology assists, but I personally know more people who said they were a total waste of time.
Harley finishes this section with a sort of commerical advertisement for the effectivenss of these assists:
“Scientologists typically administer these locationals, assists, and other rudimentary processes following catastrophic events to help calm people who have become hysterical and disoriented. On Thursday, September 20, 2001 the New York Times published an article, ‘Changed Lives; Religious Leader Takes His Calling to Ground Zero,’ praising the efforts of volunteer ministers from Scientology for their response to the devastation of September 11, 2001. These locationals, similar to those applied to me, were given to the exhausted workers grappling with the devastating effects of human carnage after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Keeping the workers themselves grounded to the present, the outside world, instead of the horror within the rubble. When other workers were sent home for the weekend, volunteer ministers of Scientology were asked to continue on along with other pivotal social and religious agencies such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross. Hubbard writes that in order for ‘a society to survive well, it will need at least as many Volunteer Ministers as it has policemen.'” (p. 189)
It’s true that Scientologists were on the ground at 9/11 and did offer round-the-clock help to the rescue workers there. I praise anyone who would give of their time and energy like that, so I’m not knocking individual Scientologists for their efforts to help. What is annoying about this is this statement that Scientologists were kept on to help when other workers were sent away, as though Scientologists were considered at the same level as the Red Cross, which I can assure you was not the case. There were literally thousands of people down there giving of their time for days on end and the Scientologists were but a very small part of the overall effort, totalling maybe 150 people according to their own reports. And what did they spend much of thier time doing? According to Simon Hare, a Sea Org member from Canada who was there at the WTC site, they were actively blocking mental health professionals and other religious workers from going in to help the rescue workers. Here’s a quote from his appeal on September 14, 2001, to get other Scientologists to come help:
“…we are trying to move in and knock the psychs out of counselling to the grieving families and that could take another 100 plus people right now. Due to some brilliant maneuvering by some simply genius Sea Org Members we tied up the majority of the psychs who were attempting to get to families yesterday in Q&A, bullbait and wrangling. They have a hard time completing cycles of action and are pretty easy to disperse. But today they are out in full force and circling like vultures over these people and all of our resources are tied up in the support efforts in the disaster zone at present.
“There is nowhere on Earth right now that hurts like this place. These are brave people and they are the able and they don’t know it but they need the Scientologists with LRH’s tech to be here right now. The fire-fighter company down the street from the org lost 14 members on Tuesday. No one can do anything for them or the rest but Scientologists. The other religions here with their ministers have shown their true colors and are working hand in hand with the psychs to give these people as much false data and restimulation as they can. They HAVE NO TECH and they’re not even trying to hide it anymore. They’ve crossed over and abandoned anything spiritual and to hell with them. The Red Cross has told us when we went to help at their shelters and found no one there, ‘the people say they are doing fine so we send them back out’. That’s because the Red Cross’ confront is sooo low they can’t even see when people are suffering right in front of them.”
This horrible quote is just one of many examples I could site. It’s disgusting and I’m calling it out for what it is: opportunism. This certainly does not apply to every single individual Scientologist, many of whom pay their own way to get to disaster sites and try to help with supplies, medications and logistics. I am aiming my criticism squarely at the Church of Scientology as an organization, which does almost nothing to support these individuals but does everything it can to get photo-opportunities so it can raise money for itself and swell it’s own gigantic coffers with more money which will not be used to support disaster relief efforts. Again, Harley had full access to the same information I do about Scientology, so there’s no excuse for her to not look into this more closely before praising the Church of Scientology’s humanitarian efforts.
Getting back to the article, the next section is called “Training and Auditing through Primary Text Materials.” This is where the writers begin breaking down Scientology in their own words, spending pages describing its training and then auditing procedures. For what they are doing, it is a decent and accurate job. I’m not going to go over all this because it’s familiar territory and does not add any real commentary, criticism or analysis. I’ll just cover a couple of points of interest:
“‘The only reason that [Scientology] orgs exist,’ according to an official policy letter written by Hubbard in 1983, ‘is to sell and deliver materials and service to the public and get in public to sell and deliver to.’ Hubbard believed that it was through the delivery and application of his doctrine, or ‘Scientology tech,’ via a worldwide network of orgs functioning as frontline marketing, distribution, and service centers that the planet would have had any hope of being cleared.” (p. 190)
True enough but I think that sounds more like a business model than a church. They then go on to explain how Scientology services are broken down on a big chart called the Bridge to Total Freedom, rising one after another on a scale which is supposed to lead one eventually to total spiritual awareness and immortality. These services are divided on the chart into training classes on the left side and counselling or auditing services on the right. Their descriptions of all this are accurate including how the church charges money for its services or a person can work for the organization and ostensibly receive these services for no charge. They also note that Scientology tends to push that its members do the training classes to become Scientology auditors. However, they get it wrong on this statement:
“…a more economical (and usually encouraged) route is for the individual to purchase training and advance up the Bridge by co-auditing the grades with fellow org students. This mode significantly reduces the individual’s utilization of the org’s staff auditors and, consequently, the monetary expense associated with processing through the various grade levels toward Clear.” (p. 191)
While Hubbard wrote some things that indicated training was valuable, the entire culture of Scientology for as long as I was involved with it from the 1980s forward heavily pushed people to buy expensive blocks of professional auditing and just sail up the Bridge that way. Auditor training was always something that most Scientologists I knew resisted doing and co-auditing was nearly non-existent.
They breaks down the cost of services here:
“The costs of the services, especially those that occur beyond the introductory phase, are private information and are provided at a time when the individual is qualified to advance to those services. Training is purchased as individual courses, in packages of several courses, or by placing money in an escrow account and drawing as necessary from it. Auditing is purchased in blocks called ‘intensives,’ which consist of at least twelve-and-one-half hours of auditing. In a 1964 policy letter, Hubbard stated that the fee for a block of twenty-five hours of auditing was to be ‘computed as costing the same as three months’ pay for the average middle class working individual’. John Kieffer, a former member of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS), reports that in the mid-1980s the cost of a twelve-and-a-half-hour intensive, including a 20 percent discount for IAS members, was $2,000 at the org in Tampa, Florida. In a phone call to that org in 2007, a staff member informed him that the fee for the twelve-and-one-half-hour block of auditing was currently $4,000, or $3,200 with IAS discount. To forecast the financial outlay of going up the Bridge for any given individual, however, is virtually impossible as each case represents a unique journey that can be made through many combinations of professional auditing and co-audited training. It is safe to say that for most it will necessitate numerous blocks of auditing and/or years of training.” (p. 191)
Auditing to Clear and then on up to OT is never going to cost someone less than a few hundred thousand dollars in total and then on top of that are numerous high pressure demands to make straight donations into the IAS’s coffers, ostensibly so Scientology can spend that money saving the planet through its social betterment programs. Unfortunately, hardly anyone ever hears anything about Scientology’s social betterment programs and very little of its money goes into funding them.
It was interesting to me in going through the next section on metered auditing, that while the writer precisely describes the end result expected in an auditing session, they never comment about how in Harley’s own auditing that end result was not achieved. Perhaps I’m reading more in to what she wrote than what actually happened, or more likely this whole section describing all of the Scientology training and processing was written by Kieffer and not Harley and he just didn’t notice that her auditing was sub-standard according to Scientology’s own principles.
The article ends with a Conclusion section which I thought really went over the top as a Scientology promo piece. Again, maybe I’m reading this wrong but I think this bit is really bad for a supposedly objective academic paper. Here’s how it starts:
“The training and auditing described in this project is but the tip of the theological iceberg containing the doctrines, the teachings, and sacred rituals of Scientology. Hubbard, a pioneer in New Age technology, created a novel window of opportunity through his creative visions into the sacred ordering of the universe. Notable in his work is the notion of ‘clearing the planet’ by training auditors throughout the world. Through the disciplined tenets of Scientology, humans in increasing numbers from every region of the globe can step into the stellar realms of awareness that Hubbard institutionalized through the auditing process. This is similar to the way adherents viewed and participated in the spiritual worlds created by religious entrepreneurs, reformers, and spiritual figureheads such as Buddha, Emma Curtis Hopkins, and Mary Baker Eddy who, in their time, structured their particular universe into novel paradigms of thinking.” (p. 202)
The rhetoric tones down a little in the next paragraph when they say this:
“For specific reasons detailed in this chapter, Scientologists find a unique salvation in the auditing process, a confessional of conscience, and pathway up the Bridge to enlightenment. Scientology has been zealous in defending its theological turf and has conspicuously grown from its theoretical beginnings with its founder L. Ron Hubbard (who grew up in a rural America) to have an uptown presence. Other made-in-America religions have similar histories. Old mainline Christian traditions are also caught in the crunch to keep membership high and attrition low. All religions face contemporary challenges, not only from a pluralistic cultural milieu, but from political, religious, and governmental hazards encountered with globalization, critical economic and environmental changes coupled with natural disasters. Scientologists have joined other religious organizations and groups upon the planet with a new theological method. As William James might have said, they are the new kids on the block of the mind cure movement. Their desire to become ‘Clear’ through the auditing process and free of entanglements, not only for this lifetime but also in expectancy for others to come, is commendable in a world frequently cluttered with pain, sorrow, and poverty. The missionaries, ministers, and members of this religion are grappling with and against elemental and sophisticated forces of the human, natural, and spiritual universe to get to the ideal of ‘Clear’ for the planet — meanwhile preparing themselves for lifetimes of dedicated service to the earth and its peoples.” (p. 203)
As a former member, all I can say to that is “Gee, if only that were true, I might not give Scientology such a hard time.” Sure, your run-of-the-mill Scientologist believes this and thinks they are part of a society-changing movement that is going to save the world. Just because they believe it doesn’t make it true. The leadership of Scientology is engaged in anything but a campaign to save the world and it is the leadership of Scientology specifically which determines its course of action and where its funds go and what its members do.
If Scientology’s current leader, David Miscavige, ordered all Scientologists out to feed the homeless, mentor the illiterate and work on the streets to clean up drug parks or even highways, I might be a little more impressed. If Miscavige directed that Scientologists take all that money that they are throwing into the IAS’s coffers and use it to for real disaster relief efforts or even contribute to building a hospital or two, I might be a little more impressed. If Scientologists would go into those hospitals or care homes or out to third world nations and use their assists and auditing techniques to actually try to cure those people, I might start changing my mind about their dedication and belief. I doubt that Scientologists would do much good but at least they’d be trying. It might start looking more like Scientologists were actually serious about changing conditions in this society. But none of that is happening and it’s a safe bet that none of that is ever going to happen.
The reason why is obvious. Scientology is not and never has been about helping the world or saving society. It’s about feeding the egos of its members and filling the bank accounts of its leader. It would be a grand thing if Scientology really worked and really could deliver what it promises on a spiritual or personal level. But nope, it can’t even do that.
Any time the Church of Scientology wants to prove me wrong, I’ll be happy to listen and I’ll be happy to recant everything bad I’ve ever said about them. Well, Scientology….I’m listening.
Thank you for watching.