I believe that that the body of work known
as Scientology is extremely valuable and that
its application, correctly done, can be beneficial to anyone.
I also believe that the management and staff of the modern day church are trying
(a) to promote and deliver Scientology;
(b) to act within the law;
(c) to bring the organization closer to being a respected mainstream religious movement.
The church has faced considerable pressures during its formative
decades. Its representatives have not always acted in the most appropriate
manner. Some of its problems - but by no means all - have been iatrogenic.
In this essay I have categorized four of
the major reasons for the attacks.
1. The Psychological Imperatives of Apostacy (or: By Golly, I
was right to leave!)
There is an interesting sociological phenomenon whereby someone who leaves a
religious group sometimes seeks to justify their renunciation of belief by
damning most everything to do with it.
Their testimonies can be superficially convincing to outsiders. However they are
generally biased because of their desire to cut their ties, to show they are definitely
against their former church, and to prove to everyone (including themselves)
that their new life plan and future is the right one.
There are a few good pages on the Religious Freedom Watch site about this
phenomenon. They quote an eminent, a remarkably eminent, scholar:
'Professor Bryan Ronald Wilson is the reader Emeritus in Sociology at the
University of Oxford. For more than 40 years, Professor Wilson has conducted
studies of Scientology, Christianity and many other beliefs. He is one of the
most well-known British scholars of religion and provides here a thought
provoking study on the subject of apostates and apostasy.'
Here's a relevant piece from his essay. This is where he discussed examples from
history of the same phenomenon we can see today:
'In the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, at a time of crisis in Christian belief, there were some celebrated
cases of apostasy from the Roman Catholic Church. They were represented as
occurring in that church because of the rigour of its requirements of belief and
practice; because of its resistance to modernism; and in particular because it
encouraged the most devoted of its votaries to join monastic orders or
congregations. Some of the lurid stories of monastic life, purportedly related
by apostated monks and nuns -- the celebrated case of Maria Monk was widely
publicised -- turned out to be largely fictional, but were much used by the
anti-Catholic propagandist media of the day. In the present age of religious
pluralism, in which a spirit of ecumenism prevails among many of the major
and in which the so-called "switching" of allegiance from one of these movements
to another is not uncommon, the charge of apostasy is less frequently heard. But
since c. 1960, with the appearance in western society of various new minority
movements which have distinctive religious teachings and which require a strong
sense of specific commitment, a member who departs is likely to be regarded as
apostatizing, and all the more so, of course, if that member then proceeds to
ridicule or excoriate his former beliefs and to vilify those who were previously
his close associates. '
For anyone who reads a.r.s. it is an essay worth reading in its entirety.
I'll now go on to the next point.
In this modern age of materialism and the massive lawsuit there has sometimes been
another reason for coming
out against Scientology:
According to the St. Petersburg Times of May 18, 2002, a guy called Bob Minton spent $10,000,000
on his fight against the church.
It's not unreasonable to suggest that at least a ~few~ heads in the small
critical community might have been
turned by the possibility that they might receive some of that largesse.
"Scientology critic Robert Minton has funnelled
$10-million into a global anti-Scientology crusade, financing lawsuits against
the church and supporting some of Scientology's most strident opponents."
Note carefully in the above that to get the money you had to be 'strident'.
I think a good assessment of what happened with Bob was made back in 1998, by a
poster called RonsAmigo. In light of recent revelations, it seems remarkably
Here's RA's response to one of Bob's posts about Scientology:
From RonsAmigo (10 Feb 1998):
Robert S. Minton:
> But most of all management of Scientology fears
that drawing attention to
> these things will strike a cord in the heart of Scientologists--who have no
> voice, no human rights, no civil rights, no legal rights, no free speech,
> no free thought. In other words, NO CHANCE, until they can break the chains
> that THE Church of Scientology chooses to bind them in.
Perhaps you are sincere in your intent, but your
rather strange assertions
just make you look silly to Scientologists. Where on earth did you get the
idea that I and other Scientologists have, "no voice, no human rights, no
civil rights, no legal rights, no free speech, no free thought"?
When you first came on the scene, my initial impression was that you were a
sucker being taken for a ride. Reading your "Emancipation Proclamation",
reaffirmed that impression. Don't underestimate the skills of the con-artists
you have climbed into bed with. That you now believe and espouse the kind of
nonsense that you do, is sure evidence of either their skills, or of some deep
seated desire to be victimized. (What we Scientologists call "motivator
starvation.") What you need to realize, is that the "Scientology" depicted on
ARS, is not the Scientology that exists in the real world. For that reason,
when those truly familiar with Scientology as it exists in the real world read
your words, their reaction is more than likely going to be laughter at you, or
pity for you.
In the real world, Scientologists are pretty much like everyone else. They go
to work, love their kids, go to the movies, have their dreams and goals etc.
Many are involved in social betterment activities (redefined on ARS as
"Scientology front groups") such as Criminon, Narcanon, Literacy Program, Etc.
They do these things because it is the right thing to do, and helping others
to make dramatic changes for the better is personally very rewarding. And of
course we occasionally partake of Scientology training or auditing.
The Church of Scientology exercises little or no control over the lives of
Scientologists. (although Scientologists are expected to live moral lives and
to abide by the laws of the land if they wish to remain eligible for
The vast majority of Scientologists hold David Miscavige, Heber Jentz and the
other leaders of our church in very high regard. We appreciate the weight of
the responsibility they have taken on, and the personal sacrifices they must
make on a continuing basis in order to continue to serve us. Their
communication lines are very open to us. Many of us get a chance to chat
personally with them from time to time, and of course they are always willing
to engage in the exchange of notes, letters, etc.
Please realize, that the entire purpose of ARS is to create antagonism toward
Scientology and Scientologists. AND THAT IS ALL THAT IT'S REALLY ABOUT. The
most atypical events are reported as typical. The wildest, stupidest lies,
rumours, and half truths are blindly embraced by most ARS "critics." While you
may take many of the reports of ex-Scientologists at face value, most of us
are very skeptical of them because: A) Many of us knew those making such
reports while they were still Scientologists and did not then hold them in
high esteem for very good reasons. B) It becomes obvious that many of the ex
Scientologist are "ex" because for whatever reason, they never figured out
what Scientology really is. C) More than a few ex-Scientologists were then,
and are now, just plain nuts. They didn't make it in Scientology, because
Scientology is not set up for the treatment of the insane. Outsiders often
jump to the wrong conclusion, and assume that Scientology is responsible for
their condition. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The real strength of the Church of Scientology lies in the unity and common
purpose of both its staff and its public. That strength grows stronger every
day, as does our ability to successfully apply our technologies and our
abilities to flourish and prosper. (both as a group and as individuals)
The Church Of Scientology will still be here long after ARS is but some
footnote in a dusty, never read, obscure volume. And every day, despite the
best efforts of those who live to create antagonism against the Church,
thousands of people find it, correctly assess the real value of it, and become
The concept that one might be able to make
money by attacking the church didn't, of course, start with Minton:
Over the years a number of people have worked for groups
that have been dedicated to attacking and destroying the church and other
minority religions. Their actions and their criticism were simply aspects of
Some people truly had bad experiences in the church. Finally, they became
despondent or angry and decided to take their bat home.
Procedures were misapplied. Or maybe they were applied well, but the procedures
themselves were then subsequently found to be in need of revision. Sometimes bad or stupid people
were in positions of responsibility within the church...
Because of these things, some people have stories which are both regrettable and
true. These add a certain something to the critical mix. It becomes hard to
differentiate truth from lies, the straight tale from the slanted one.
On the whole, I believe that bad experiences are reasonably rare, although that
doesn't help the individuals affected. I think this is one reason the church
management have been tightening up in so many areas. To make sure that things
are kept as straight and on-policy as possible. A balance has to be kept between
(a) allowing groups and individuals to do as they think best, and (b) running a
tight ship according to centralized policies. Over the past few years we have
seen movements in various areas towards the latter.
Some web critics actually have very little idea what
Scientology really is, or about what happens at a Scientology church. They have
a lot of data but it happens to have largely stemmed from biased sources. If anyone
feels that they themselves might be in that position (very unlikely i know) I would suggest browsing
through the following collection of links:
A Collection of Scientology Articles and Information
RonsAmigo once speculated about why two critics had gotten themselves into legal
'Most who visit ARS are of sufficient intellect to spot it for what it is, a
two-for-a-quarter usenet hate group. Some few however swallow what they read
here hook, line and sinker. They sincerely believe that the "Scientology" that
they read about on ARS actually exists in the real world. They find a cause.
They find comradeship. ... It's all one big on-line video game where the
horrible Scientology monster is fought by daring net gladiators around the
'Some few of the few (unbalanced individuals) carry their ARS fantasy world over
into the real world. Here they get into trouble. When they break real world
laws, they may well pay a real world price. When they sincerely believe and
live their life as if the delusional world of ARS and the real world are one,
they set themselves up for a heap of trouble. When they engage a lawyer who is
fully as unbalanced mentally as they are and who is himself immersed in
the SAME delusion ..... well they're in for a very severe reality adjustment
when their delusion collides with the real world.'
He was talking about Grady Ward and Keith Henson:
Also, here is the 'mea culpa' of another guy who believed the things he read on
ars - and then got into trouble with the police when he took illegal actions
based on those beliefs.
Ron Hubbard wrote:
'Not all the people, of course, who make the
attacks upon Scientology, its organizations, its auditors or LRH, do so from any
other motive than confusion.'
L. Ron Hubbard. Ability Magazine. Circa Mid March 1955. The Scientologist. A
Manual on the Dissemination of Material.
Quite right in my opinion.
People tend to believe those things which are beneficial for them. I like
Scientology, and I prefer to believe that the church is improving and doing
well. For others it is going to be difficult for them to see the force of the
kind of viewpoint expressed by RonsAmigo above.
I suspect most of the contributors to ars are not money-motivated. They are
fighting the good fight based on the information they have.
Once they have started attacking the church it is easier to keep on believing
the line of thinking that has led them to that course of action. It takes a good
deal for a critic to start seeing the other point of view. Various mental and
social factors come into play.
Such changes ~do~ happen though. I've been pleased to see a number of critics
become more moderate as the years have passed.
I'd be extremely
pleased to get your feedback. How could I improve this page?
Also I'll try to help you
if you need some advice.
Here's my email address
for the moment: trendail AT yahoo.com
Two starving men
cannot be twice as hungry as one; but two rascals can be ten times as vicious as
~George Bernard Shaw~