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On Scientology and Me, Part Five: Hubbard, Mao, and Me

@stjohnofthecruz SO MUCH of what is actually useful and workable in Scientology is part of the general knowledge base in the field of Psychology/self-improvement. The organization successfully controls its adherents by convincing them that they cannot find spiritual/mental betterment any place else. They can claim you are "using Scientology", but if it's general knowledge, what can they do? There are also many former Scientologists who went on from that experience to develop new therapies that pull some from Scientology, but in a non-controlling, non-dogmatic setting. One that comes to mind is Metapsychology, but I'm sure there are many splinter groups or practices that may be evolving.

For your situation, you might want to seek out a therapist who has had experience and success working with former religion/cult members, or research into some books on the topic.

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm 0

On Scientology and Me, Part Five: Hubbard, Mao, and Me

@stjohnofthecruz As a former Scientologist high level "auditor," I had no other options than to build a therapy practice after I left as I had very few other skills! I found, however, that the common sense parts of Scientology fit nicely with several different schools of therapy. After all, Hubbard was clearly a master synthesizer of various theories. Dianetics was Freud, slightly altered, and packaged up for a layman's use. It is very similar to various forms of Regression therapy still practiced today. Some of the later stuff has some remarkable similarities to Cognitive Therapy (my favorite) and as you note, Neuro-linguistic Programming. The goofy stuff is....just goofy... and best left alone (unless you're into exorcisms). It really is quite possible to leave Scientology and find many options for self-help or therapy, and not have the damages from being part of a controlling cult

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm 1

On Scientology and Me, Part Four: Disconnection

What a spot-on comment regarding "the normal side that became less normal over time......" That was a big part of it. It really did not feel cultish or incomprehensibly odd at first, but the deeper you got into it, and the more you were privy to the inside stories (the way staff was treated, accounts from people who had been involved a long time, etc) the wierder it got -- sort of an Alice in Wonderland sort of experience. By then you were more invested, in every way possible, and you would keep trying to re-frame what you saw into explanations that made sense, based on your initially good impression of the group. A big reason people like Cuise and Travolta stay involved is that they are deliberately protected from seeing the ugly sides. They are treated like royalty because of their PR value. There is even a Hubbard policy regarding "how to treat Opinion Leaders" ( famous people, basically)

On your second comment, what strikes me about this account is the point it makes about Forgiveness. The writer had every reason to hate her father for what he did to her, but she continued to see the good in him, continued to try to understand his actions in context, and just kept loving him despite it all. And as corny as it seems, love won in the end.

Posted on November 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm 2

On Scientology and Me, Part Four: Disconnection

@Springtime for Voldemort Answers.com has a very good explanation. In this case, I would suggest that Scientology fits the definition in the following ways: They use coercive techniques of persuasion, (intense recruitment pressure) they isolate the members from family and friends (this part in series as example), there is powerful group pressure to conform (must agree 100%) information management (members are strongly discouraged, if not forbidden, to look into any information out there that is critical of the group), There is suspension of individuality and critical judgment and there is strong promotion of dependence upon the group. These last two are well covered in this series and in books that are referenced. Another criteria that is often mentioned regarding cults is that they are very difficult to leave. I think this author and many commentors have shed light on this. Hope this helps.

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm 5

On Scientology and Me, Part Two: What Scientologists Actually Believe

@White Rabbit While I do agree with your first statement. I think the life you have post-scientology is determined in great part on how much you gave up (in terms of money, years, relationships, opportunities) while involved. Those who gave up most, have the greatest resentment. Also, those (like yourself it appears) who are able to incorporate any useful bits into their new lives without rejecting it 100%, are healthier, as they do not have to look back at that time as completely wasted. I think a good way to help a friend or relative in Scientology, is to try to keep them balanced, and involved in other aspects of their life.

Posted on November 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm 1

On Scientology and Me, Part Three: Leaving the Church

@White Rabbit Wow, kudos to you for persisting and making it out. I was not Sea Org, but literally tiptoed past the Flag Land Base chaplain (back turned to me, typing, thankfully) with my 2 year old son on one hip and my suitcase balanced on the other, called a taxi and did what they call "a blow" leaving without authorization.
I thusly avoided the Sec Check, and I am disappointed to hear that this "style of sec checking" (gang bang sec checking) is still prevalent, many years later.
The process I was referring to was called "False Data Stripping." In some ways it is more insidious than asking for misdeeds, as it is looking for "bad thoughts" and then tracing those back to other persons (who could be your friend, spouse or coworker) who influenced you. Then they can go after them, to "correct their thinking." The overarching assumption being that if you have disagreements, you have false data, and that can be "cleared."

Posted on November 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm 1

On Scientology and Me, Part Three: Leaving the Church

@Stella Forstner Hubbard was always adamant that his "tech" not be improved, altered, adapted, etc., maintaining that only "standard tech." gets results. This is so contrary to the evolution of scientific knowledge, that it astounds me that we all bought into it as long as we did. But then, most Scientologists weren't exactly trained in scientific inquiry! Anyway, as it turns out, this is also a very effective way to create a cult, as it eventually turns the founder's writings into "religious dogma" that cannot be questioned. "Squirreling" is made up verb to describe messing around with something. In the early days, practitioners of Dianetics would get creative with the techniques, and it would be roundly criticized, as not "Standard Tech." To a degree, this is sensible; When you are teaching something, you want the trainees to really understand and not pull off some goofy move, especially if you are dealing with someone's pysche. But this morphed, over the years, to an absolute refusal to accept any evolution of technique, other than that mandated by Hubbard, and one could not criticize, at all. So those who leave the group, and maintain that some aspects of Scientology are fine, whereas others are absolute idiocy, are "Squirrels."

Posted on November 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm 2

On Scientology and Me, Part Three: Leaving the Church

@Bittersweet Yes, and any other fascist type govt or organization that derives it's power from controlling people's every action,....and thought. When I was thinking of leaving back in 1986, there was a current "auditing" process that was very much in vogue - not sure if it still is. The basic idea was to "clear" bad thoughts. This could be something that is holding a person back, such as thinking "I am stupid." But the process was more often used to locate the genesis of negative thoughts about Scientology. The process went like this: You would make a statement that needed to be "cleared" such as "Scientology costs too much." The auditor would then ask "Where did this idea come from?" and it would get traced back to somebody who "told you." They would never accept "I just thought it," or "I concluded that after seeing someone spend $100,000 in two years." In other words, you cannot have an original thought - someone had to plant it in you. Truly dis-empowering for the individual, and protects the organization from disagreements. Another upside was that they now had names of people spreading what they considered falsehoods about Scientology, and these would be reported to the Ethics branch

Posted on November 21, 2012 at 11:58 am 2

On Scientology and Me, Part Three: Leaving the Church

@Stella Forstner Harassment was in response to actual, stated Scientology directives which they call Policies. One states something along the lines of "Whenever attacked, don't defend: find, or manufacture (yep) something on the enemy and attack back. It is deeply engrained in Scientologists that the ONLY reason someone attacks Scientology is that they are destructive, evil people and/or psychiatrists, so they fully expect that they will find all kinds of damning evidence in your trash. Being labeled as an enemy can be for something as simple as just leaving the organization, and telling someone why. Harassment is also an intimidation technique, as many former members don't want the embarassment of going around to all the neighbors and explaining why there is a PI asking about them. Fortunately, my neighbors all liked me, and it really backfired on Scientology, as they thought "those people must be nuts."

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm 3

On Scientology and Me, Part Three: Leaving the Church

@whateverlolawants Think of the Scientology "spies" as parishoners doing their duty --that's how they see it. They are protecting their "church" by finding out who, amongst the flock, are straying. If someone would have asked me to do that when I was involved, I would have found some way to blow them off, but often staff members and even non-staff members, are too cowed or too enmeshed in the beliefs to question. In the articles, she has touched on the way linguistics (the nomenclature, the specialized way of communicating about things) helps the cult isolate it's members. It is quite powerful, and for someone who isn't really a very independent thinker in the first place, it's easy to slip into the abyss.

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm 1