In order to facilitate the reading of this Report, it is considered advisable to set out in this introductory chapter a very brief review of what follows and a conspectus of the contents of the Report, so that initial references to scientology theory and practice, which occur before these aspects are fully dealt with, will be more readily understood.
In Appendix 6 is a list of abbreviations used in this Report and a glossary of scientology terms.
The subject matter of the Report has been divided into chapters. Though there is inevitably a degree of overlapping in the topics dealt with, an attempt has been made to deal reasonably completely in each chapter with a specific aspect of scientology. Where necessary, however, there are cross references to other chapters. The latter part of this Chapter is devoted to a reference to salient aspects of the Report.
Though the whole of the Report deals with scientology generally, Chapter 3 makes some reference to Hubbard's descriptions of scientology and the claims which he makes for it.
Chapter 4 deals with the organization of scientology, both on a world-wide basis and in Victoria.
Chapter 5 deals with the financial aspects of scientology in Victoria. This is given in some detail and serves to show the ramifications of scientology. One significant feature is the control that Hubbard exercises over scientology, extending even to retaining to himself and his wife exclusive control of at least two bank accounts in Victoria in which money is regularly deposited. At the conclusion of Chapter 5 reference is made in summary form to certain important financial aspects of scientology in Victoria.
Chapter 6 relates to Hubbard, the founder of scientology, and gives biographical and other details about him. His importance to scientology cannot be over-emphasized. Hubbard makes highly extravagant claims to learning and he parades as a scientist of colossal capacity. He claims also that the theories and practices of scientology are based upon scientific research. All these claims are entirely unjustified; his own deficiencies and those of his "research" are dealt with in Chapters 7 and 8.
Scientology developed out of a pseudo-science called " dianetics ", which is still a significant and dangerous part of scientology. Chapters 9 and 10 deal with dianetics and its association with scientology. The link is an intimate one and, though scientologists claim that dianetics is not now practised, such a claim is false.
Chapter 11 deals with sufficient of scientology theory to give a fair picture of its entirely ridiculous qualities. There is the danger that when one seeks to classify and codify nonsense, the subject matter may acquire a deceptive quality of reasonableness. It would be unfortunate if any such quality were bestowed upon scientology theories by reason of the attempt in Chapter 11 to codify them.
Chapter 12 deals with the teaching of scientology.
Chapter 13 deals in some detail with scientology processing or auditing. A number of processes are dealt with at length.
Scientologists frequently use an electric instrument, called an E-meter, in processing. Very extravagant but unjustified claims are made for this meter, which is dealt with in Chapter 14.
Interest in and adherence to scientology is procured by cunning methods of deceptive advertising and carefully calculated and developed techniques for mental coercion and restraint. These are dealt with in Chapter 15.
Chapters 16 and 17 deal with a person's progress in and dedication to scientology.
One of the most alarming features of scientology, which is denied by Hubbard and his followers but abundantly proved by reliable and convincing evidence, is that beyond its elementary stages scientology techniques are mainly, or almost identical with, those of command or authoritative hypnosis and are potentially harmful to mental health. Chapter 18 illustrates the parallel between scientology and hypnotic techniques.
Scientology, in an indirect way, claims to heal. Chapter 19 deals with those claims.
Other benefits claimed by scientology are dealt with in Chapter 20.
In contrast with Chapters 19 and 20 are Chapters 21 and 23, dealing respectively with the actual general effects of processing and its danger to mental health. Of the many evil aspects of scientology, its danger to mental health is the most serious. Included in the phrase "danger to mental health" are many other evils of scientology, both moral and social, for these are often interwoven with mental ill health.
Chapter 22 deals with the viciousness with which Hubbard vilifies the medical and psychological professions, and engenders in his followers fear and hatred of those professions.
An alarming feature of scientology is its potentiality for coercion. This is dealt with in Chapter 24.
The titles of the next four chapters are self-explanatory: -
Chapter 25 - Moral laxityScientology is a perverted form of psychology. Due to the absence of statutory control of those who profess to practise psychology, opportunities are afforded to charlatans and other persons without adequate qualifications to engage in exploitation of the gullible and impressionable. This aspect is dealt with in Chapter 29.
Chapter 26 - Family discord
Chapter 27 - Scientology and religion;
Chapter 28 - Scientology and politics.
The conclusions of the Board, sufficiently evident from the whole tenor of the Report, are summarized in Chapter 30.
As directed by the terms of reference, the Board makes, in Chapter 31, the recommendations which it considers proper concerning scientology as known, carried on, practised and applied in Victoria.
Conspectus of the Report.
This Report covers a very wide canvas and deals with many phases of a body of learning and a collection of techniques, compendiously described as "scientology", which appear strange and unreal to the average individual. Scientology claims to be "that branch of psychology which treats of (embraces) human ability." Its theories are, however, generally impossible, peculiar, and novel to itself. In that it deals with a variety of real and imagined activities and conditions of the mind, scientology may be classed as a kind of psychology, though often irrational and perverted. Its techniques are a conglomeration of procedures based on misconceptions of psychiatry, psychology, psycho-analysis and other sciences, as well as a very heavy leavening of procedures that are its founder's own brain-children.
The word "scientology" was first used probably in the middle thirties of this century by Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, the founder of the "science" of scientology, which is the subject matter of this Report. In about 1936, Hubbard, then a young American author, is said to have formulated certain "axioms" which later developed into the axioms of scientology and the axioms of "dianetics". The word "scientology" was not used, except perhaps sporadically, until 1951. In that year, Hubbard claims to have succeeded, at Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A., in proving by " scientific rather than religious or humanitarian" means the existence of a spirit, akin to the soul, which he termed the "thetan", and thereupon to have founded or discovered scientology.
Scientology grew out of dianetics, which Hubbard had founded a year or so earlier. Dianetics, which he described as "the modern science of mental health", started life fully-fledged in 1950, when he published his first major book on the subject named, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. The following year he published Science of Survival. In these two books he set out and developed his main theories concerning dianetics. He claims that the first book was based on a vast amount of experiment and data and that it was written in three weeks. The claim is made for both dianetics and scientology that each is a science, validated by its "workability". No scientific evidence was called to support such claim. On the other hand there was a large and impressive body of expert evidence which refuted such claim in no uncertain terms. The Board is satisfied on the evidence that there is no justification for this claim in respect of either dianetics or scientology. (See Chapters 7, 8, 9.)
In dianetics, Hubbard claimed that the hidden source of all psychosomatic ills was the "engram", and that dianetic skills had been developed for the invariable cure of all psychosomatic illnesses, "which constitute 70 per cent. of man's illnesses." The "engram" was defined as a "moment of unconsciousness containing pain or painful emotion and all perceptions and is not available to the analytical or conscious mind as experience". The engram was said to be received in one's past, the "past" in dianetics being either in this lifetime, or more likely and more frequently in the prenatal period, i.e., during the mother's pregnancy. (See Chapters 6, 9.)
In dianetics, Hubbard dealt with "the clear" who was the optimum individual and was the goal of dianetic therapy. A clear was an individual who was entirely without ills or aberrations, with an intelligence high above the current norm. In later years the concept of a clear developed and changed somewhat, but the state of clear became seductively more desirable of attainment, yet remained for all an elusive will o' the wisp. Adherents of dianetics and scientology vaguely thought and still think Of the state of clear as being a worthy goal and something highly desirable and, as "preclears", they strive to attain it. For many years Hubbard, both in dianetics and scientology, has been promising his followers that they would very soon be clear; but few have been recognized by scientology as having attained that state or, if they attained it, to have remained long in it, in spite of the award of a silver bracelet by Hubbard to those whom he certified as clear. Beyond the "clear" lies the ultimate goal of scientology, namely, "operating thetan" or "OT", said sometimes to be a purely hypothetical state but, according to Hubbard, readily attainable if only scientology practitioners could do their jobs properly. The accolade on attaining such an ecstatic state is a gold bracelet bestowed by Hubbard. Hubbard has claimed that the state of OT has been attained, but that for the time being those so exalted are remaining incognito. (See Chapter 11.)
Many of the processes of dianetics and scientology are essentially hypnotic and induce hallucinations. (See Chapter 18.) As the practice of dianetics developed, processing purported to bring to light engrams which related to periods long before the prenatal period. Hubbard assumed that these hallucinations were real and he developed the theory that the incidents had occurred in a "past life", that is, in a previous lifetime of the person. On this basis he claimed to have discovered the thetan, which was really the person, the "I", which he declared had survived the deaths of countless bodies to which it had been successively assigned over the untold trillions of years of the thetan's existence.
In 1950 Hubbard had founded the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in California. In 1951 differences between him and the board of control of that organization caused him to withdraw from it, and he then founded scientology. He proceeded to build up his scientology organization to promote the theories and practices which his prolific mind and pen produced. He is a man of great imagination and energy, and Hubbard Association of Scientologists International (commonly referred to as "the HASI"), which he incorporated in 1954 in Phoenix, Arizona, now has branches in many countries of the Western World. (See Chapters 4 and 6.)
Hubbard is the governing director of and is all powerful in his organization. He directs and controls everything and everyone to an astonishing degree. Though this is a report of an inquiry into scientology, it must necessarily and equally be a report on its founder and master, for his personality pervaded the whole Inquiry and an understanding of Hubbard is necessary for an understanding of scientology. Hubbard will be referred to constantly in this Report. Though Hubbard did not attend the Inquiry and presently resides at East Grinstead, Sussex, England, and was last in Victoria in 1959, scientology as known, carried on, practised and applied in Victoria is as much under Hubbard's direction and control as though he had been, for the past eight and more years, sitting in the chair behind the desk in the room at the Melbourne HASI which is always kept ready for him. Hubbard's writings, which are very voluminous, appear in several books, many magazines and pamphlets, a multitude of bulletins and many other communications. The Board considered that an important part of its inquiry related to Hubbard, the power which he exercised over the organization in Victoria, the influence which he wielded over members of the community who became interested in scientology and the literature and other communications and instructions emanating from him which were the foundation of scientology practice in Victoria. (See Chapters 4 and 8.)
Hubbard's theories developed along astonishing lines; he had been a successful science fiction writer before 1950, and it is fair to say that in his scientology writings thereafter he continued to demonstrate his remarkable flair for fiction and fantasy. He wrote thousands of pages and spoke millions of tape-recorded words about thetans, operating thetans, past lives, time tracks, engrams, implants, galaxies, events of countless trillions of years ago and a multitude of other similar topics. He propounded axioms, factors, logics and prelogics; and he wrote about dynamics and emotional tone scales. Parallel with and incorporated in his theoretical writings are the details of ever changing techniques which he claims to have developed by research at his home at Saint Hill Manor. (See Chapter 8.)
So far at least as Victoria is concerned - but the same seems to be generally true for other countries, too - scientology does not claim to be a religion. It claims to be an exact science. Hubbard claims, amongst other things, to have discovered by exact scientific method rather than by humanitarian or other means the existence of what he called the "thetan", which is imprecisely defined in scientology but which, for convenience of forming a concept of it, is sometimes described as being like the soul in Christian belief or a spirit or something to that effect. Hubbard claims that scientology changes no man's religion and changes no man's politics and that a person could consistently belong to any religious denomination and at the same time be a scientologist. In America, there are what are called "founding churches of scientology", founded by Hubbard. In Victoria there is no such establishment as the founding church of scientology, though in the early days of scientology in Victoria some of its adherents referred to
themselves as "the reverend" and for a time there was even "a bishop", the illusion being heightened by their clerical garb. The title of "Doctor of Divinity", designated by the letters " D.D.", is used by some scientologists and on occasions even by Hubbard himself. This "doctorate" was bestowed by some Hubbardian institution in the United States. But these and a few other trappings do not make scientology a religion or its practices or beliefs religious. Nor do belated claims that scientology is a religion, made towards the close of the Inquiry in an attempt to obscure the real issues involved in the Inquiry, transform scientology into anything even remotely religious. (See Chapter 27.)
Dianetics specifically claimed to cure mental and physical ills. Though it was said that dianetics was not now practised, that is not so. Dianetics is said to be a part of scientology and in Victoria scientology has been actively practised in the fields of mental and physical health. The HASI claims to be " the world's largest mental health organization" and has frequently claimed that it "proofs people against mental and physical ills." The Board heard a large body of expert professional evidence which proved conclusively that from a psychiatric and psychological point of view there are grave dangers to mental health attendant upon treatment by scientology, and that the extravagant claims that dianetic and scientology processing could effect cures of mental and physical ailments or would proof against illness were entirely unjustified. The scientologists have devised means whereby, though not in terms claiming to heal, they nevertheless manage in a very skilful and deliberate way to spread the belief that scientology cures both mental and physical ills. Dianetic theory and practice are so interwoven with scientology theory and practice as to be often indistinguishable. All dianetic literature is recommended reading for scientologists and the two names are constantly linked. (Chapters 3, 9, 10, 19.)
From an early stage in dianetics, and thereafter consistently in dianetics and scientology, many of the techniques used were and still are potentially harmful hypnotic processes. They are administered by the wrong people, on the wrong people, for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way. Hubbard has said that his techniques are not hypnotic and some witnesses have stated they were not, but they plainly are, as the evidence of expert psychiatrist witnesses made clear; and it is obvious that in Victoria for the last ten years and more an increasing number of scientologists, quite unfitted for the task, have been meddling in an unskilled and dangerous way with the mental health of thousands of persons, some of them in urgent need of proper psychiatric treatment and care. (Chapters 18, 21, 23.)
Scientology practitioners are called "auditors". These auditors are often young persons, some still in their teens or just beyond, sometimes ill educated, and with only a few months' training in scientology techniques to equip them for their task of taking control of the minds of their patients. They are persons who earlier have found their way into scientology, lured by the promises of scientology which they accepted against reason and without question. In some instances, auditors are persons who themselves are or have been mentally ill and this circumstance has predisposed them to espouse scientology. (See Chapters 12, 13, 15, 16, 17.)
Scientology "infiltrates" in an insidious way. In its early stages, its practitioners pretended to be ministers of religion and, so garbed, they effected entry to various places. This practice is now discontinued. Instead, a system of apparently innocuous advertising has taken its place. Scientology organizations, under various names, advertise free lectures and courses, where "the able are taught to be more able", and promises are made that techniques are available to increase IQ and improve personality. None of the theories or advanced practices of scientology is mentioned in the advertisements. The appeal is made in the advertisements to the anxious, the worried, the inadequate, the lonely, the gullible, and (though he may not know of his condition) the mentally ill. The pleasant surprise of the free lectures and the impression made by the apparent efficiency and the glibness of the HASI staff hold promise of greater things to come, the unsuspecting individual is persuaded to undertake processing or a course of training and eventually, even if he realizes the deception, he is generally so indoctrinated as to be beyond caring. (See Chapters 15, 16, 17.)
Scientologists frequently have a strange and obsessive dedication to scientology, which enables them cheerfully to make considerable personal and economic sacrifices in the interests of scientology. (See Chapter 17.) This dedication arises because of the bemused state produced by its processes and the insidious appeal which it makes to those persons who seek escape from the realities of everyday existence and its problems. Adherence to scientology is sustained by a mixture of mental conditioning and fear. The mental conditioning is effected by hypnotic techniques and procedures which have a "brainwashing" effect. The fear develops because of the dependency in the preclear on the HASI which the various processes engender and because of the realization that the organization possesses detailed written records of intimate and shameful disclosures made by the preclear during processing. The Board did not hear any evidence of blackmail in the sense that money was extorted under threat of exposure; but it is satisfied that the knowledge that the organization possesses such records acts as a very potent force in compelling obedience to the organization, which generally involves continuing communication with it and the undergoing of repeated sessions of auditing. (Chapter 24.)
Scientology possesses certain features which are morally highly undesirable. Many of the processes are of a hypnotic nature and normal inhibitions and restraints are relaxed, with the result that when matters of sex and perversion are introduced into processing, as is frequently the case, they are discussed and probed and dwelt upon sometimes for hours on end. The quality of the filth and depravity recorded in the HASI files as being discussed between preclears and auditors almost defies description. One highly disturbing feature of the dangerous hypnotic techniques used is that the perverted and erotic disclosures of a preclear are very frequently merely hallucinatory, yet they persist as realities to the preclear who is thereby often morally disturbed. (Chapter 25.)
Though scientology affords for some people an escape from the realities of life, it is not in any way a healthy diversion or recreation. It is quite the reverse. It robs people of their initiative, their sense of responsibility, their critical faculties and sometimes their reason. It induces them mentally to debase and enslave themselves. It has done, and is capable of doing, grave harm to the mental and physical health of its victims by the practice of dangerous procedures and by persuading them that orthodox medical care and treatment, which some of them may urgently require, is evil and to be avoided. It consistently relieves them of large sums of money in payment of fees for processing and training. (See Chapters 16, 17, 21, 22, 23.)
The income of the Melbourne HASI for the six years ended the 30th June, 1963 was well over a quarter of a million pounds. During that period many preclears paid large sums of money for auditing and other services; in several individual cases the sum paid was substantially in excess of £1,000. (See Chapters 5, 17.)
Many of the theories and teachings of scientology are so fanciful that the reaction of the normal individual on hearing them is generally one of amusement and incredulity. On this account, the impression may exist in the community that scientology is just harmless nonsense and its followers merely queer people? that its theories are foolish but funny and that not much harm is being done by allowing silly people to have their silly beliefs and carry on their silly practices. Such an attitude is welcomed by the scientologists, for it serves to obscure the real nature of scientology. A tolerant "live and let live" attitude is what scientologists fervently desire, for it is on the inertia of the community, generated by tolerance and polite disinterest, that scientology thrives.
Hubbard is well aware of the value to him and his organization of good-natured tolerance and incredulity, and he trades on it. In HCO Bull. of the 29th July, 1963, he writes,
"Incredulity of our data and validity. This is our finest asset and gives us more protection than any other single asset. If certain parties thought we were real we would have infinitely more trouble. There's actual terror in the breast of a guilty person at the thought of OT, and without a public incredulity we never would have gotten as far as we have. And now its too late to be stopped. This protection was accidental but it serves us very well indeed. Remember that next time the ignorant scoff."Tolerance of the beliefs of another, however silly they may seem to be, is one thing. Inaction, when the practice of those beliefs is positively harmful to others and may be permanently damaging, is quite another thing. The damage done and likely to be done by the practice of scientology is alarming and if this Report fails to make clear the great danger to the mental health of the community which scientology has been and is, the appointment of the Board will have been in vain.
Last updated 21 February 1997
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