In a comment on my Scientologists: Can You Remove The “Cult” From Scientology? article, one comment reminded me of one of Independent Scientology’s major mistakes. In my experience, all the True Believers who have left the Church of Scientology make this same mistake.
Let me paraphrase the comment:
The Church of Scientology is guilty of tremendous abuses, crimes, fraud and lies — and the “Why” for all of this is one person: David Miscavige.
(To non-Scientologists: This use of “why” as a noun is from L. Ron Hubbard’s Data Evaluator’s Series and is basically defined as the true reason a “non-optimum” situation came to be. Part of the definition is that the “right Why” opens the door to a handling that reverts the non-optimum situation.)
It must be noted that the “Why” espoused in the comment is not a good example of a “right Why”. It’s merely a description of the the existing scene, not the cause of it.
As with almost all Outside Scientologists, he has the wrong “Who” and the wrong “Why”.
Certainly, David Miscavige is a primary player in this drama, but this commenter, and other outside Scientologists aren’t even asking the right questions.
Consider what “handling” the commenter’s “Who” and “Why” leads to: “Remove David Miscavige from the organization”.
Yup, that’s it.
Now, you need to understand that David Miscavige has set things up, legally and organizationally, so that he cannot, ever be removed. Get it? Pretty much every Independent Scientology analysis comes up with David Miscavige as the “Who” and “Remove David Miscavige” as the “handling”. Just a little hint: An analysis with a “Who” you cannot touch and a “Handling” you cannot implement is, by definition, totally wrong.
Wrong “Who”. Wrong “Why”.
No, this “Why” is a justification for all the things that have gone so very, very wrong in Scientology — both inside and outside of the church. This bogus “Why” is Scientologists’ excuse as to why it isn’t their fault.
Let’s see how the data analysis could have gone a bit deeper:
- The situation is that David Miscavige is abusive, destructive and has been destroying the Church of Scientology.
- The earlier problem was that Miscavige was allowed to do it. He was allowed to take over the church. His sociopathic behavior was not a secret. It was well demonstrated before he came to power.
- Miscavige destroyed L. Ron Hubbard’s tech and Scientologists not only let him do it, they applauded him for doing so! Thousands of people worked to help Miscavige do it.
- Miscavige had and has no qualifications to lead Scientology, no training and no experience, yet no one stopped him. Many Scientologists followed him and helped him.
- Miscavige was abusive from the start and none of the senior Scientologists stopped him. In over thirty years, no Scientologist stopped him or stopped his abuses. Many Scientologists started emulating the abusive Misavige.
- Only a few Scientologists stood up to him and they were destroyed — and other Scientologists helped Miscavige destroy them.
The “Why” is not that “David Miscavige came to power” or any other equally careless, cursory “reason why”.
Scientologists, you have to look deeper and look honestly or this “non-optimum situation” will come back again and again. Since you haven’t figured out the real reason David Miscavige came to power nor the real reason no one stopped him in over thirty years, you have no way to stop the next sociopath — or the next, or the next one after that. I’m talking about Scientology, inside or outside of the church.
As I said before, David Miscavige is a symptom of what is wrong in Scientology, not the cause of it.
Wrong “Who”. Wrong “Why”.
Here is a question that you need to investigate and answer honestly: “What, in Scientology, allowed a sociopath to gain power unopposed?” It was way too easy for him.
Here is another: “Why were and are Scientologists so lacking in responsibility?” They didn’t take responsibility earlier and they uniformly refuse to take responsibility now. The new motto for Scientology should be “It’s not my fault!“
You start talking about the problems of Scientology and Scientologists will unanimously point all their fingers at David Miscavige. We’re supposed to ignore all their actions and inactions for the last thirty years and just focus on Miscavige. Wrong! He is only one man. He needed a lot of people to follow him and a lot more to say nothing.
Which were you, dear Scientologist? Were you the one who applauded while your church was destroyed? Were you one of those who disconnected from your parents, your friends, your children? Did you help the church destroy innocent people? Or did you just turn away, hoping “things would get better” and didn’t say anything?
Were you the coward, or the enabler? How many of your principles did you fail to uphold? When did you decide it was too hard to be honest and decent? How did you help in the destruction of Scientology and your fellow Scientologists?
Don’t look too far for the “Who” in all this. Some day you might grow enough to take responsibility for what you have done, what all us Scientologists have done.
I don’t care much about the Church of Scientology, but what is important is all the people who have been harmed and destroyed — with your assistance, or at least your tacit approval.
Now, do you think you can find the right “Why”? One that doesn’t involve blaming David Miscavige for everything?
I doubt you can do it. Judging by the last thirty years, you have neither the courage, the honesty nor the decency to do it. As long as you keep insisting on the wrong “Who” and the wrong “Why” — excuses for why you’re not responsible — you will never be able to stop the inevitable destruction of Scientology.
The ball is, as it always has been, in your court.
To all the Scientologists who aided and abetted the crimes and abuses of the church; to all the Scientologists who disconnected from family and friends — while knowing it was wrong; to all the Scientologists who let their religion be destroyed; to all the Scientologists who stood silently while this went on:If Scientology was as good as you believe it is, you don't deserve it.
You make a good point but I would say I fell under the category of just being duped. They paint such a rosy picture I had no idea things were as bad as they were and I would guess many still in believe the same. Also they set it up to be very dangerous and expensive to be critical of dm and the church at all which puts a major hindering on the thinking process.
What I'm getting from the Scientologists willing to defend the Co$ on this site is that everything is a dodge: blame the Sea Org, blame Miscavage, (probably) blame the media for misrepresentations of the tech, etc. The bottom line is that they aren't taking responsability for how their religion is being run, that they probably know the church will collapse if things continue along this path… but they are too scared to initiate change because the penalties are steep. So they drift with the tide, and the ship of Scientology runs onto the rocks and sinks.
As an outsider critic, I have always wondered how David Miscavige has kept power for so long. Why have so many Scientologists been willing to do what he says, or even just kept on giving him the benefit of the doubt whenever they hear the negative rumors they must have been hearing? I assume it must be because Miscavige provides something they want, and provides it well enough that he has no competition. What is it he provides?My guess is: he provides belief. Whether it's because he's an expert cynical manipulator, or because he's just too ignorant or self-absorbed to know better, he paints a brighter picture of Scientology than anyone else can. Anyone more aware or more honest would have to admit grave faults in a system that basically does not work; but Miscavige pitches straight-up-and-vertical good news with a perfectly straight face.I think maybe that's what has kept him in power. Scientologists want to be lied to, so they support the best liar they've got.
Great stuff, Bill, that was really powerful. But the basic conundrum remains: How do you tell people who're not thinking straight that they're not thniking straight?
Bill, excellent article.You and Pogo have summed it up correctly: "We have met the enemy and he is us." Looking back at my failures to take responsibility when I should have for the Church's erroneous behavior I see several things. If you are trying to get through a course or a level of auditing it is much easier and certainly tremendously less expensive to put on your blinders, do what you have to do to get through, not make waves and thus stay out of Review and the Ethics Division. When the Sea Org would come to Saint Hill and take over the course rooms you maintained a very low sort of invisible profile and if you were smart you did NOTHING. By that I mean no discourse with the Sea Org Gestapo and no auditing of others. You were blasted for making mistakes in auditing and trying to help others but nothing happened and you fared much better if you simply did not audit. After each S.O. mission the statistics would, of course, crash.The entire system is geared to punish you physically, mentally and financially for not going along with the flow or thrust of the Church. Want to really get in trouble….point out to the Church staff the reference(s) showing their actions are incorrect. Many people I know were booted out of the Church for doing what you are supposed to do. The Old Geezer
@James AnglinTo an outsider, the persistence of church members in the face of everything must be a mystery. The simplistic answer is control. See Scientology and Control and, of course, my latest. Once a Scientologist buys into the dogma, it sets up an automatic, self-reinforcing, thought-control mechanism — the more they feel attacked, the tighter they control their thoughts.The key information that a Scientologist needs to get out of that trap is information they cannot look at.
Re: I was dupedYes, that would have been my answer a few years ago. But I don't think that's quite it. I'd say I allowed myself to be duped.All the information that one needs is right there. To continue being a Scientologist, I had to close my eyes to so many things. I had to suppress all those feelings of "That's not right!"No, if I'd been honest, I would have recognized the truth. I wanted to believe and so I allowed myself to be duped.
I agree that Scientology includes a lot of cultish thought control features, Bill, but I think your response "re: I was duped" is just as important: it takes two to tango, and Scientologists are mostly at least partially willing victims. Scientologists want to believe, so they allow themselves to be duped. They want to believe, so they empower whomever best helps them believe. Since the tech doesn't actually work, nothing beats lying as a way to help people believe in it. So the Church ends up led by the best liar it can find.I don't necessarily fault Scientologists for wanting to believe in it. And I'm not saying I'd have done any better at insisting on truth over wishes, if I had even been sucked into the cult. But for what it's worth, given my lack of personal experience, I think your point stands and is important: Scientologists must share some measure of responsibility for their situation, because Miscavige has no power but what Scientologists have freely given him.
Re: Basic conundrumThat truly is the basic problem: How to tell someone they are not in touch with the truth when they are certain they, and they alone, know the real truth — and that everyone else in the whole world is wrong.I sincerely believe that almost all Scientologists are aware, at some level, that something is very wrong in Scientology. That is why they get so very, very defensive when you point out the inconsistencies and disconnects — you point those out and they feel their whole universe start to crumble — because they know these are true.
Excellent assessment… you put into words all the frustrations i struggle with when i read stuff from the outside Scientologists.Likely just wishful thinking, but I hold out hope that sooner or later legal proceedings will bring something out into the light of day that will rock peoples perception enough to knock off the blinders of denial.
"Judging by the last thirty years, you (Scientologists) have neither the courage, the honesty nor the decency to do it(clean up CoS). As long as you keep insisting on the wrong "Who" and the wrong "Why" — excuses for why you're not responsible — you will never be able to stop the inevitable destruction of Scientology."Well said. I would add that the lies, powermongering and abuses perpetrated in Scientology are because a significant number of Scientologists are sociopaths. Some organizations (maybe only a few, I don't know) have ways of rooting out sociopaths, but the Church of Scientology embraces and promotes them. Many who won't leave or who are trying to start a 'new' Scientology don't want to give up the enabling of their worst traits. That's my opinion.
I've also noticed the response of Scientologists at protests when the abuses are brought to their attention is invariably "I wouldn't know about that." or "That hasn't been my experience." As if they are not responsible if someone else is harmed by the church. And it is not their responsibility to look into it.
@Vera KeilThanks for your comment. However, the "it" I am referring to is not "cleaning up the Cos". I, personally, think that is impossible, and a waste of time. It is damaged beyond repair.The "it" was, more specifically, "clean up Scientology". Scientologists have to see and admit all the failures of Scientology before they can make the necessary changes. If they don't, everything that happened to the church will happen to every Scientology group in the future.
Excellent article, Just Bill.Well, I'll take a stab at it. While I don't disagree that scientologists have allowed, condoned, and abetted David Miscavaige in his destruction of the church, I don't think that laying the blame all upon scientologists collectively really answers your very apt question:What, in Scientology, allowed a sociopath to gain power unopposed?In 1965, LRH issued the policy Keeping Scientology Working. Aside from the admonitions and the points 1-10, the policy is written in a tone suggestiong LRH was pretty peeved. In this policy, LRH also elevates himself waaaaay above us mere mortals with such statements like, "We will not speculate here on how I came to rise above the bank".In order to be a scientologist, you have to pretty much abide by KSW 1 like it was gospel from God. Scientologists have been run thru a filter of sorts: if they stick around, they have bought into KSW 1; if they don't agree, they go on their way.So, scientologists collectively have this similar flaw in their thinking, something along the line of, "If LRH said it, it IS true, and don't try to change it or have your own 'new ideas' or you are gonna create trouble for ALL your dynamics."So, now we have this Single Authority Figure, who can pretty much say what scientlogy is or isn't. Hell, any topic at all he ever uttered anything about becomes gospel.Well, when LRH died, he left a gaping hole: OMITTED RON. Omitted "guy with all the answers". Sheesh, what now?Quick, get another Single Authority Figure, preferably someone who worked personally with him, is powerful in demeanor, a take-charge kind of guy.After seeing Miscavaige in action for a couple of years and seeing him launch the Freewinds and such, scientologists heaved a collective sigh of relief: the subject could go on and they could continue up the bridge.Whereas the above my not be the why, it is certainly closer to it than "Miscavaige done it."
@Just BruceThank you. You make some very good points. I agree. A system like Scientology, built as it was on One Super Authority, cannot exist, in that form, after that person has gone — unless, as you say, they find another One Super Authority — or change the system. Since change was forbidden, I guess they had to find another Super Authority.Interesting point.I'm not sure I was "blaming" Scientologists so much as asking that they recognize their part in all this. Maybe their acceptance of Miscavige was "inevitable" but it was still a very poor decision — and their acceptance of all the evil after that is 100% their responsibility.Unless they recognize their responsibility in this, and admit the flaws in Scientology that make all this possible (and I'd say inevitable), it will happen again and again.
Just Bill, I thought you agreed with many of us on here that everything invented by a conman is a con–so how could Scientology 'work' for anyone, at anytime? Hubbard stole everything from the Bhavagad Gita, esoteric Buddhism (Noh theatre, for example), early psychoanalytic theory and the Catholic confession ritual. There is no "there" there in Scientology. It is nothing.If past lives exist, and there is no evidence they do, then perhaps what we recognized in Scientology was the stolen material we had previously studied. Who knows?
@Vera KeilOn the contrary, the best con is one that, at least initially, actually works. A number of the lower level Scientology "assists" and such may produce good results in some people. And just about every auditing session produces a temporary feeling of euphoria in true believers.It is phenomena like this that convince people that "Scientology works". If it never worked on anyone, no one would become entrapped.And, because there is this phenomena, I'm in favor of more study of it to find out why, and how.Don't worry, I haven't forgotten that Scientology has failed to actually produce any of the miraculous results Hubbard promised.
@Vera KeilOne additional note on this: I urge Scientologists to find out and fix what is wrong with Scientology for two reasons.First, because it is healthy for them to get the idea that almost all the problems they are seeing are not because they are "out ethics" but are because Scientology is very flawed. It would help free them.Second, if Scientologists did remove the abusive, flawed bits, Scientology would cease being a cult and mostly cease harming so many people.
Okay, I am reassured!I also see your point about moving people out of the rigid viewpoint one step at a time. The main goal is to prevent further abuse, for sure.
I think it is fair to blame scientologists for their problems because at the end of the day people have to take responsibility for their own actions. However I suspect that a large amount of scientology's problems (in addition to most of it being nuts) really lie in the organisational structure and culture. If DM wasn't the psycho in charge it would be someone else just like him. I think this is one of the most interesting aspects of the whole issue. I think it is even more interesting because I don't think the situation in side scientology is unique or even unusual, just more extreme than most. From my experience many of these issues exist in many a large corporation which often seem to exhibit some of the cult characteristics you mentioned in your previous post.Large corporations (and other organisations) are full of people at all levels who just don't want to rock the boat about issues they see around them. They have mortgages to pay and families to look after and in the end it just isn't their job to sort out wider problems. I suspect that it is the same in scientology. But then if no one speaks up there is no limit to the outrages that can be carried out in such an organisation.I think it is not generally realised just how rare it is to find someone who is able to think against their whole peer group and say so.It would be interesting to know how the Pope went from being just a bishop to God's representative on earth. Maybe a dark ages DM is to blame?
@AnonymousAll very good points. You are so right, if it hadn't been David Miscavige, it would have been someone else destroying the organization — because it really is built into the system.
@ Just BillRe: Super AuthorityThere is a way around that problem: dynastic succession. Just as in North Korea, L. Ron should have equipped his sons with the power to run the organization after he "dropped the body." Yes I know he drove Nibs away, and Quentin to suicide, and it would have revealed that the tech was a fraud, but the only autocratic way to keep a guy like Miscavage out was by passing the Commodore's cap to the son who wanted it. The non-"Sword in the Stone" way to keep Slappy away would have been to form a "survival board" of trustworthy people and let them run the Church after Hubbard was gone. It's my understanding that there was something like the survival board in place when Hubbard died, but Miscavage subverted it, then took over.[BTW, what has been going on in North Korea is an absolute farce of how even a Stalinist government should work; juche, the idiotic stories about the "miracles" that "happened" when Kim Jong Il was born, the state's use of Confucianism without calling it that – it's no longer a Communist country, but a variant of the degenerated Ba'athism Saddam Hussein practiced in Iraq, where all the top slots are filled with relatives of the lider maximo and the cronyism can be felt three countries away.]
Just Bill,I don't know if I ever commented on your blog before, but you're doing a great job of explaining it like I'd like to say it, and probably many others. You keep nailing it. I'd like to add what I think may be a big part of the "Why."L. Ron Hubbard declared WAR against the "reactive mind" and then recruited an army to go to battle (the Scientologist). Like the "War on Terror" or the "War on Drugs" it's a never ending battle that will never be won. Every policy letter ever written by Hubbard was from the frame of mind as a military General or Admiral especially SO Flag Orders. And of course "Orders is Orders." Scientology will never get anywhere as long as they continue to be at WAR. But you can't get the WAR out of Scientology because it is the foundation it rests upon. In a war, one will always have enemies. The world will never be Scientology's ally, because the world has already been labeled as the enemy. Hubbard and the Scientologist have already dubbed in the Real World as being a product of the Reactive Mind. The "Why" is Hubbard's initial declaration of War. Marty and the Indy's despite being out of the CoS are really just renegades in the SAME war under the command of Commodore LRH.Does this make sense?
@John PeelerI think your point about the real world being (according to Hubbard) a product of the reactive mind is an interesting one. It certainly is part of the reason they wall themselves away from the real world and may be a large factor in their rejection of facts and evidence in favor of belief and faith.
This was truly brilliant:"Which were you, dear Scientologist? Were you the one who applauded while your church was destroyed? Were you one of those who disconnected from your parents, your friends, your children? Did you help the church destroy innocent people? Or did you just turn away, hoping "things would get better" and didn't say anything?Were you the coward, or the enabler? How many of your principles did you fail to uphold? When did you decide it was too hard to be honest and decent? How did you help in the destruction of Scientology and your fellow Scientologists?"You and Jeff are doing really great analysis. Thank you.
After reading the comments I have to say that those who justify their actions by blaming the system or others, all fall under the category of themselves being the problem. I am not a $ientologist but have been subjected to their ruse as an SP and through disconnection by dear family members. The truth is not what most people want to see, hear or know but Miscavaige could have never come to power, muchless run the church, had it not been with the willing co-operation and blessings of the majority. Remember that Hitler was legally elected by the majority of Germans and of course, none of them were to blame for his actions.Johnny RebelDefender of Free SpeechIn the former Republic of the united States of America
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