The weekly show where I answer questions posed by viewers either in the comments sections of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) Thank you so much for your helpful series. I have learned more from you about Scientology than I ever did from reading Hubbard’s books.
I have a background in psychology and philosophy, and was excited back in 1987 to read Dianetics for the first time to find out what I was allegedly missing in my study of the human mind. As I read, I remember thinking how shockingly shallow and offensive the book was, and how poorly written (and unedited) it appeared to be. I was getting more insight into Hubbard’s personality disorders than I was about any “modern science of mental health.” But I always try to give everything a fair shot. I read the entire book, even though it left a horrible taste in my mouth, with the words “charlatan” and “con artist” constantly at the forefront of my critical thoughts.
I decided there had to be something to this, however. How could so many TV commercials, book sales and happy members numbering into the “millions” be involved in something as shallow and offensive as this? So I acquired a few other books on the subject by Hubbard — all equally full of empty rhetoric and odd self-posturing on his part. Eventually I told myself that I would reread Dianetics, just so that I really didn’t miss anything. And in 1995, after the second reading all the way through, I realized there had been nothing there to miss in the first place.
My question is, did you or anybody else out there notice these same two things about his books that I did?
First, auditing is simply a reformatting of Freudian psycho-therapy, where the patient keeps free-associating until significant events come to mind. Then they continue to talk about them over and over as more detail builds up. Eventually the goal is to incorporate the subconscious material, as it surfaces, into the conscious mind where it is finally processed and integrated, causing the patient to feel better about the event. In Dianetics, it appeared that Hubbard kept stealing concepts and techniques like this from Freud and other people, renaming them, then claiming he “discovered” them.
Second, everything in Dianetics and Scientology seems so quickly fabricated and sophomoric, without much thought put into it, such as the Axioms, the Eight Dynamics, the Tone Scale, etc. (My college students have come up with observations and data involving more depth and usefulness than Hubbard’s.) Did he think that charts with terms and numbers would dazzle his followers and validate his claims? In the actual fields of both psychology and philosophy, there have been some amazing and brilliant discoveries and theories made, by the sharpest minds of our species. But Hubbard’s terms, charts, scales and approaches seem like a poor man’s attempt to explain something that is irking him. “A poor man’s religion, which costs a rich man’s estate.” Perhaps their more accurate motto?
Anyway, could you comment on these two observations? Keep up the great work, Chris.
(2) I have 3 family members in the COS and was wondering if you could maybe do a video on how to approach them and change their “hearts and minds” with some really good facts and arguments that they can’t twist and turn around. I’ve been reading a few of Hubbard’s books and trying to get a handle on the “lingo” so I can at least argue I have some actual knowledge on the subject, but there’s just so much intertwined crap and soooo much stuff to wade through. Any help greatly appreciated.
(3) Marty Rathbun calls critics of Scientology the “Anti-Scientology Cult (ASC)”. Are they? Do people ever go from one cult to another? Do cults talk about other cults? I believe that cult critics are the opposite of a cult.
(4) How common did you find it during your time in the actual Sea Org that you would run into someone who would listen to LRH recordings and then imitate phrases from them back during the day at random times? Or constantly talk out loud to themselves complaining they were the only one who could get things done correctly? Constant demands for “stats” and “speed of the particles” and the like, seems like a lot of self-hypnosis going on.
(5) When it comes to the military, it seems that Scientology is influencing veterans. Especially of late, I’ve seen Scientology messing with many vets going through PTSD. How can people stop abuses done to vets? Can the justice system and government be improved in any way to stop such people sending propaganda to scam others, whether they are a vet or regular citizen? If so, what are some ideas to make “separation of church and state” more effective?
(6) Most of the stories I have heard about Scientologists are of those who eventually joined the Sea Org. It seems that everyone eventually does so, but I assume not all Scientologists end up there. Are there those who remain public their whole life and only move up The Bridge through the local churches? Or do they get up to Clear locally, then have to move to Flag or LA to go through the OT levels? Are there those who just get to Clear and then stop and never choose to move on despite the pressure to do so? And if they just remain in their local churches, do they have to become staff eventually? Or can one just do some of the levels and be peripherally involved? It seems there is so much pressure to move up and get deeper and deeper into the organization, but I can’t imagine that’s true for every Scientologist.
(7) Any way to guess how much money the average CofS public member (gives/is ripped off) to CofS per year, whether that is a donation or payment for “services?” About how many people bail out of the organization per year?
(8) How archaic is the record-keeping at orgs? A Flag video from 2004 shows a woman wheeling around paper files on a cart. Are auditing records digitized yet? Or do Scientology orgs lag significantly behind the rest of the world in IT?
(9) Chris, what are your thoughts on Freemasonry?