To its devotees Scientology is a religion and an applied philosophy (Scientology devotees, past and present, include movie stars John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Karen Black, entertainers Sonny Bono and Priscilla Presley, football great John Brodie, jazz pianist Chick Corea and EST guru Werner Erhard, as well as convicted murderer Charles Manson). To many "wogs" (Scientology jargon for "outsiders") Scientology is a cult or a con game. To me Scientology is science fiction come to life. In fact, Scientology is the creation of a (now-deceased) "wog world" science fiction writer, an American named L. Ron Hubbard -- Mr. Scientology. In 1947, just before he first publicly entered the mental and spiritual sweepstakes, Hubbard asked an assemblage of his science fiction writer colleagues, Why write for a penny a word when the way to make money is to start your own religion? Hubbard went beyond what purports to be a religion to create his own world, a colony of followers on earth whose purpose is to "Clear the Planet" -- meaning seize it from the "wogs."
After twenty years' familiarity with Scientology I'm still awed that one person wrought this bizarre, colorful, complex world-in-itself that incorporates:
a powerful indoctrination machinery for implanting "Tech," an unlikely mixture of pop-psychology, biofeedback and secret processes;
a maze-like bureaucracy of rules and ranks, rewards and punishments, implemented by a system of classifying everything in the universe according to Scientology standards;
a language of its own which I call "Scientologese."
Hubbard's guru venture reportedly brought him over one billion dollars, in foreign bank accounts, a fleet of sailing vessels that included a "flagship" to float him about on the Mediterranean, multitudinous branches of his parent organization worldwide linked up by a vast telex system, and control over thousands, perhaps millions, of lives. Hubbard was genius, lunatic, businessman, charlatan, saint, despot -- or some combination. The Scientology organization promulgates an "official" biography of Hubbard, most of it apparently written by Hubbard himself. Wog chroniclers have found a lot of holes in the Scientology version. Areas of Hubbard's life now and perhaps always will remain in shadow.
So omnipresent is Hubbard, still, in Scientology that my capsule definition of Scientology remains "Hubbard's world," and of a Scientologist "One who believes everything Hubbard said." His followers consider him superhuman, his origin not Nebraska circa 1911 but another planet trillions of years ago.
In the late '60s I was involved in Scientology, for about one year on the fringes of the group, then for several months in Great Britain at two Scientology headquarters to receive the "secret processes." My account of the involvement was published in 1972 under the title Inside Scientology (Olympia Press). I wrote the first drafts to cure myself of the sickness and confusion I suffered from the experience, in effect deprogramming myself before "deprogramming" became part of the language of defection from cults, or new religions. The present volume is essentially the same story, what I believe to be the first disclosure of the secret Scientology processes, including "clearing" and the "Upper Levels."
During the story two themes intertwine: the sequence of increasingly freaky Scientology "processes," and my passage to a different world and back, with attendant skepticism, then belief, then disenchantment. Through the narrative form I believe I have captured more vividly Scientology's unique atmosphere, or "feel," than the "wog" accounts.
I've changed the names of most of the characters, both Scientologists and wogs. It should be kept in mind that dollar amounts are at 1968-9 worth, much greater than today's.
Since Hubbard's "Tech" is the be-all-and-end-all of Scientology,[*] I have reconstructed processing sessions as "scripts," to bring it right to the reader, and have adorned the story with direct quotes of Hubbard as well as indented sections, my own paraphrases of his message. You may enjoy imagining these quotes and paraphrases delivered in a rich baritone, husky yet mellifluous, at once ingratiating and commanding: the voice of Mr. Scientology.