Friday, February 6, 2009

Email 3

I received so many positive, encouraging, and interesting e-mails over the years because of my website that I wanted some day to make a page about, but never got around doing it. Plus there is the problem that I would not post them without permission first.

OK, here is a sequence of mail exchange with one person. I received the permission to post them but anyway will remove the name and address, really... I just don't feel comfortable posting such information.

Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 4:01 AM
I have been reading your web page on Scientology for a while now along with other sites on the internet. For right now I just want to acknowledge your work and to tell you I find your viewpoint a very sane one and thank you for the information you have put together. I will communicate more at a later point in time. I would appreciate a reply to this email just to make sure it got through. One quick question - are you familiar with Brian Ambry and the critiques he has written on Scientology?

Thanks for your mail and kind words. I saw mention of Ambry but never actually got to have a look at his work. It's very extensive. I quickly scanned through the manual and my first impression is that it's too far fetched. Sleep deprivation in the SO cannot be likened to Russian style torture, and the RPF seems to be interpreted according to Stephen Kent, whose work as been already challenged by better studies. Of course you can always find parallels because two totalitarian system will have parallels, especially when interpreted through an extreme critic, that would make the totalitarian org even more totalitarian. This being said I have not read the whole thing so this is a quick impression.

Thanks also for your comment on gays and scinenos. Interesting... [Refers to another mail]

Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 11:57 PM

Brian Ambry was a close friend in high school back in the late 60s who introduced me to Scientology. As a science fiction fan I had read about Hubbard and my initial reaction was negative. I spent much of the time that I was at college reading Scientology books and going back and reviewing the press coverage on it from 1950 onwards. Most of my college papers dealt in someway with Scientology and I tried to contrast it with other religions and psychological systems. In 1973 I dropped out of college and in 1974 I joined staff and I was made ED Comm NYF first working for Colin Thorne and later Wes Beacher. I routed off staff after Wes was taken off by the SO in 1977 (I got a good look at SO craziness while on post). I became interested in the theories of Lyndon LaRouche and after reading the Liepzeg Connection I developed a communication line with Paolo Lionni who was part of the leadership strata of The Delphi School in Oregon. I met with him while he was visiting NYC with the headmaster Alan Larson and eventually I wound up joining staff at Delphi in 1981. Lionni became interested in LaRouche and some LaRouche material got into the The Leipzig Connection (there is a footnote somewhere in the book referencing LaRouche). While I was there I worked for Paolo Lionni part time as administrative assistant and part of the time on the boiler room crew that would harvest the forest for fuel for the boiler. Sundays I got scullery duty in exchange for not having to go on outings with the kiddies. Before Lance Klass (co author of the Leipzig Connection) left Delphi he trained me as the school librarian.
There for all I know I might still be except that the missions were in a state of muted rebellion against the CoS due to the suppression that they had be subjected to. Somewhere a novel concept of management got adopted centered on the theory of de-dinging by mission heads - dinging was considered a form of other intention suffered by said leaders from
their ungrateful staff who then got rebuked in a manner that would make the most gung-ho SO officer proud. Rather than go into agreement with this pschosis I routed off staff. Ironically the SoC a few months later came down hard on Delphi/Martin Samuels and Lionni and the others wound up doing conditions until they got rehabbed into being loyal CoS adherents once again. Lionni who had picked up smoking again when the de-dinging campaign began died a year later of lung cancer (he chose not to go through the standard medical treatment). I sort of think he died as a result of compromising his reality as much as he did of cancer.
That was the end of my involvement in the CoS. I attended some event in NY announcing the formation of the RTC and the fine folks who run it. By this time Brian Ambry was doing a large amount of research which he shared with me. He went out to California from New Jersey and got involved with the Riverside Mission and with the book that Bent Corydon was writing. I am not really in comm with him anymore but he did send me the Brainwashing Manuel manuscript as he was in the process of editing it. His outlook is more harsh than mine which is harsh enough but I balk at defining the CoS as a criminal cult that brainwashes its adherents. I do not support the Anonymous declaration to destroy the CoS (the you tube video was as nuts as anything the SO could come up with) and I dislike the entheta that gets spewed out by many of the anti-Scientology posters on the internet.
I will send you more comments at a later point. I wanted to introduce myself and sort of set forth my credentials. I really don't pay much attention to much of the commentary on Scientology - unless you have done time as either a staff member or auditor (the academics are a different matter) you really can't comment on Scientology with any credibility.

Wow K..., thanks a lot for this detailed introduction. You have quite some background. I must say I pretty much agree with all you wrote down there. Hear you soon again. Bernie

Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 5:03 AM
I think it was Kent that used material from Bent Corydon's Messiah or Madman as a basis of his evaluation of RPF. I read both his and the Italian's studies. Yes, every group winds up with some kind of system of handling out ethics. However the idea of RPF is based on the idea that it is a final chance for people too messed up (rock slamming degraded beings) to be handled any other way. The Church is thus being benevolent in allowing these wretches to co-audit their way out their condition. In actual practice it seems that if one stays long enough in the SO one gets RPFed in the same way that lots of staff get to work their way through the conditions over and over again. After a while it just becomes something to be expected.
I think two things are going on with this. One is that groups dramatize stuff just like individuals do and heavy ethics is a dramatization and a control mechanism. This is where Brian Ambry's analysis is important. The Church uses the RPF as an in-house construction crew and since they are constantly expanding their facilities using the RPF rather than outside contractors saves them a ton of money. Now, one has to buy into this reality for it to work, one has to accept the condition one is assigned. Lots of people will accept a condition as a result of psychological intimidation and as the price of remaining a member of the group. The more closed a group the more unhinged behavior becomes possible. While I don't think Class IV orgs fit the definition of a "cult" I think that the SO may well make the grade. Now, "cult" is a loaded word - I use it more to describe a way in which certain groups are structured in which the members relate to one another in certain ways - looked at it this ways lots of groups can be considered cults which are not normally considered as such ( the US Marine Corp for example). Anyway, time is up and just wanted to resume this discussion - been reading your blog and many of the links you have provided.

Nice to hear from you again and thanks for reading my blog. Initially it really was something I started more for myself so I could track off the news but it turned out to be somewhat more interesting to do than my web page, partly because of the up-to-date synchronization with current events and because of the interaction aspect. I now try to reserve my web page for more detailed and synthetic articles like I am gradually doing for the Magoo page.

I think it may be interesting to publish on my blog this e-mail exchange, or part of it, but I would not do it without authorization of course, especially since it contains personal information.

Let me know what you think of the idea.


Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 9:22 PM
Hi Bernie
You can post anything I send to you. I find myself often thinking about Scientology and Hubbard and so I think it would be helpful to write them out - sending any such ramblings to you would be therapeutic - for me anyway.

Freedom of my Mind from Your Mind

Anti-Cult Controversies: More Information Control from Steve Hassan

Monica reports that she has been banned from the new forum of Steve Hassan, "Freedom of Mind" - Oh the Irony... Freedom of Mind...

Human Trafficking

I wanted to blog about that but Monica as now made a post that basically say what I wanted to say so I'll just copy/paste :-)

AntiCultControversies : Message: Allegations of "Human Trafficking" in Scientology:

Here is a website that is a good example of the problem I am having with some of the claims being made by ex/anti-Scientologists.

Here, they are accusing Scientology of practicing "human trafficking", a very serious offense that involves slavery of people, usually people who were in extremely vulnerable positions to begin with, such as people from third world countries living in extreme conditions of poverty. People are either kidnapped and forced to work as slaves or prostitutes or they are lured into a situation under false pretenses and then forced to stay and work. This is a very serious international problem.

However, is Scientology practicing this by recruiting people into the Sea Organization? That seems to me to be a stretch, yet in this discussion, one person even went so far as to allege the practice is widespread in every Scientology org. People can go to this link and witness what happened when I and a few others tried to challenge this:

It is interesting to see how they take certain parts of official definitions of Human Trafficking out of context and try to apply it to Scientology. If criteria were that loose, however, I wonder how many mainstream organizations would also be in trouble.


Jodhi's No Speak Scientology Policy

AdelaideNow... Jodhi's new pet project

Jodhi Meares, ex-wifes of ex-Scientologist James Parker, will not say whether she has been doing Scientology or not:

The notoriously private bikini babe refused to speak about claims she has spent the past year being audited by the controversial Church Of Scientology.

"I'm sorry, I don't like talking to the papers," she said politely.

Poor thing had her dog die recently. As a friendly dog myself, I can only have empathy for her, especially after see a couple of pictures from this albums: Jodhi Meares struts her stuff | AdelaideNow:

Relate blog entries: R-packer-

The Help Factor

I had to do some hard thinking yesterday, because that day was the first deadline of a series of jobs I want to apply. As of late I have been in a sort of very long dream holiday... But everything has an end.

Without going into details, I am in a position where I have a wide variety of job opportunities, and sometimes making the right choice is not easy. I was in a closed quandary as to what to do until I found what for me was the key, and that is - the help factor. "In which position am I best placed to really help people?" This is the angle that really appeals to me. Not "which job will bring me the most money?"

And so, I passed on this first deadline. I didn't apply, because, although the job came with lots of gusto and relish, the help factor was limited. Mind you, it does not automatically mean that a job where the help factor is important is necessarily one that pays less. But the consequences simply should not take precedence on the purpose - and that was my "cognition" into this question, which resolved the quandary. The feeling is completely different. I guess I still have not lost my "cultic" need of "meaning" in what I do.

And this brings me to the reason why I am blogging about this at all, and that is that such a key should also be the one to guide my web site. (As for my blog I mostly write for my own benefit so I am not as "constrained" there, haha :-)

Anyway, it brought me to re-write my opening page , with this in mind, as follows:
"Hell is paved with good intentions" - Dante.

This sentence may summarize the whole Scientology controversy.

I have no doubt that Scientologists feel they have a "technology" of the mind and spirit that can really help people and society. To a certain extend, they do. The problem with Scientology is the extreme position its founder took on various issues. Their good intentions, thus, can also turn into hell in certain circumstances.

These extremes is what anti-cult groups try to address. Unfortunately, they often fall themselves in the same traps cults do and, ironically, sometimes illustrate cultic zeal better than what they are trying to address. Here too, they end up doing more wrong than right - all wrapped in genuine good intentions as well.

Scientology has its limits. These are what I try to point out in my critical section. However, it also is not the monster critics try to paint. Such a depiction leads to discrimination, ostracism, and sometimes to outright drama and tragedies. This is the reason why I try to debunk the most common anti-Scientology myths. We need to take a critical stand towards Scientology, but we also have to avoid falling in the opposite trap of oppressing a religious minority. This is what I refer to as the Third Way.

Ultimately, it all boils down to our common search for true meaning and values. Obviously, good intentions are not enough. There is something else that ought to go with it. Understanding the issue at hand may help us find what this missing ingredient is.