SAINT HILL Manor nestles in the woodlands of Sussex, two miles from the town of East Grinstead. A gaudy board advertising Dianetics stands at the entrance gate, and the lodge exhibits a home-made notice proclaiming that its owners have nothing to do with Scientology. So the visitor must pass on through the gates where he will see a large car-park to his left and a notice proclaiming the Church of Scientology accompanied by the eight-pointed crucifix, which, like all the trademarks and utterances of L. Ron Hubbard, has been registered for copyright. Over to the right as the drive continues downhill, the visitor's eye is drawn to a large, one-storey complex built in the distinctive yellow sandstone of the area in the style of a castle. Over a verandah hangs the Reception sign and it is here that students from all over the world get their first glimpse of what was for fifteen years the headquarters of Hubbard's empire: a cramped bookshop (only works by Ron on sale), a tiny old-fashioned manual telephone exchange and everywhere on the walls pictures of Hubbard or posters carrying slogans from his works.
To the rear of the 'castle' is the course-room where students hunch over desks, wearing earphones through which they listen to taped lectures by Ron Hubbard. Open in front of each of them is a dictionary, since a prime dictum is that no student should ever pass a word he or she does not understand. The dictionaries are special Scientology ones and include definitions of certain words which are used in a special way by Hubbard (e.g. 'Having: to be able to touch or permeate or to direct the disposition of'). Presiding at a side table sits the Case Supervisor who assists and tests the students' familiarity with the study material. With its blackboards, posters and tables littered with books and teaching aids, the course-room resembles a school-room
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Around it are a honeycomb of auditing rooms where auditors and their preclears are closeted in private session. In my several visits over the past few years these have rarely been in use and the students working in the course-room have never numbered more than a couple of dozen.
The 'stats crash' which hit the Church of Scientology in the wake of the expulsions and resignations of 1982-3 has hit Saint Hill harder than most. The castle complex was begun in the boom years when cash and people were pouring through the gates of Saint Hill. It was constructed largely by 'slave labour' and finished only in October 1985. The conscripted workers were members of the Rehabilitation Project Force or RPFers as they are known within Scientology. These are staff members who have gone 'out-ethics' - jargon for sins committed. These might range from incompetence or dishonesty to sexual misdemeanours or uttering opinions subversive to Scientology. Their pay as staff members (usually not much more than bare subsistence level) is halved and they are given low rations while they are working their penance on the RPF.
Within the castle is Ron's room: a study, it was set apart for the 'Commodore' should he ever return. Every Scientology org has one, kitted out with photographs of Ron, a desk and chair, some personal mementoes and a bust in bronze of the man himself. On the desk lies a white Navy cap. Hubbard never saw some of these offices but they were provided for him should he arrive and 'want a place of work'. He did, however, use the large office/shrine in the manor at Saint Hill when he went there in 1959.
To reach the study, the visitor continues his journey down the drive, past the canteen unit, a shabby prefabricated building which resembles a greasy-spoon cafe inside. The appearance of the hut does not apparently belie the quality of the food. Former students at Saint Hill recall eating low-quality food while paying richly for courses, and in recent years a diet of rice and beans was fed to the troops when income dipped low. Strategically placed around the drive and wooded grounds are loudspeakers and occasionally Ron's voice will literally talk to the trees, booming forth one of his lectures in his distinctive style. Opposite the canteen is the conservatory known as the Pavilion where he really did talk to the plants, which were connected to E-Meters to study their reactions to events around them. Allegedly he produced some giant tomatoes by this method, but like many of the legends of Hubbard prowess, the tomatoes may have grown more in the telling.
The most distinctive room in the manor itself is not Ron's study but the Monkey Room - a large lounge surrounded completely by a mural painted by the artist John Spencer Churchill for a previous owner. In spring 1985 the room was restored by the Scientologist owners to its former glory and I attended the opening at which a bemused Mr Churchill made a polite speech surrounded by Scientologists and the monkeys of every species which had been painted anthropomorphically by the artist with particular personalities in mind. The grim statistics had been put aside for the day and as I sipped my half glass of champagne (perhaps this was to be my version of the RPF), I mused that it was appropriate that the shrine of Scientology, which had specialized in making monkeys out of so many people, should be graced by such a mural.
The religious nature of Scientology is not very evident at Saint Hill. The chapel of this Mecca of the prophet Ron is scarcely used. On one visit I ran my finger along the pews in the chapel, which is no more than an outbuilding of brick bordering the Pavilion. It came up pretty grimy. Although 'ministers' of the Church of Scientology adopt the style 'Reverend' and occasionally wear dog-collars, attendance at services of worship is not obligatory or a regular part of the practice of Scientology. There is a religious service. Craig Mathieson, who runs the UK organization, told me: 'There are hymns and readings from Ron Hubbard and Saint John, stuff like that.' Craig is a Scot whose brother is highly placed in the Los Angeles org and whose 'second dynamic' abilities to attract ladies to his team at Saint Hill earned his apprentices the nickname of 'Craig's harem'. The overseer of the 'tech' for the US is Richard Reiss, an American whose sober manner gives him an air of a divinity don, which is the role he fulfils with regard to the doctrines of Scientology. Hubbard, he explained, is not God, but a spiritual being who discovered a system through which men and women could attain the status of gods (or thetans) through its techniques. When asked where that left the relationship of Scientology to Christianity, Richard Reiss replied with some understatement, 'Jesus Christ does not figure in the religious technology of Ron Hubbard.' That was an honest answer, for, as we shall see, there are several areas of complete incompatibility between Scientology and Christianity, despite the claim made by well-meaning Scientologists that many of their members are both.
The Scientology cross is at first glance a crucifix with splintered ends. The eight points represent the eight life dynamics. There the resemblance ends. Christianity believes in a creator God.
Scientology, as we shall see later, believes in a sci-fi cosmology which teaches that the earth was invaded by clusters of 'body-thetans', akin to demons or astral spirits. Not all Scientologists are aware of this teaching until they reach the higher levels, but there is no doubt that this holy grail - of which I have seen a photocopy in Hubbard's hand-writing - comes nearer to pagan cosmologies than it does to the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. Why, then, does the Church of Scientology persist with its quasi-Christian costumes, symbols and titles for its 'ministers'? Why does it conduct ceremonies parallel to the christenings, weddings and funerals of Christian churches? The cynical answer might be that thereby it can claim tax-exempt status as a religion. In a Christian culture the 'ministers' can command the status and respectability which accrues to ministers of religion, and attract interest as a moral force for good in the community.
There is no doubt that many Scientology works are of the highest ethical nature. The booklet *The Way to Happiness* is a distillation of the ethical principles of the great religions, and it is a tribute to Hubbard that he could issue something so simple and popular which can be read by the man in the street when many of those religions are struggling to make themselves heard. The goal of 'clearing the planet', the equivalent of bringing in the Kingdom of God on earth (a world 'free of insanity, war and crime'), is altruistic. Many of the campaigns upon which Scientology has embarked are socially beneficial. Its members have campaigned against leubotomy surgery in psychiatry and take a radical approach to mental illness which has come into fashion long after they first espoused it. They work to eliminate drugs through the programme Narconon and there is evidence that many young people have been weaned away from drugs through this therapy. I met Nicky Hopkins, once a session keyboard man with the Rolling Stones, who gave Narconon the credit for his rehabilitation from drugs. In Hollywood a gentle and polite young man named Gary Wallman administered a 'touch assist' (trying to channel mental energy into a sick person by touching him) to me when I had a stomach upset. Afterwards he told me that he had been a 'long-haired, no-good who wanted to kill people'. Now he is a clean-shaven, well-mannered person with a black belt in karate and a job as a lighting electrician on the sets of Hollywood television series like 'Hart to Hart'.
Stories like these cannot be thrown away. But the black belts must be set against the black record of Hubbard. Utilitarianism - the pursuit of the greatest good of the greatest number - is a system of
evaluation which does not rate Scientology very highly. One analogy might be that poisonous popes and corrupt cardinals in the medieval church could still not prevent some spiritual luminaries from shining. Another analogy closer to our own time sees Hubbard as a Hitler who gave people a system, albeit an evil one, through which to channel their energies, and while not all the Germans who supported Hitler were evil, so there are benign Scientologists who work through Hubbard's system for a better world.
At Saint Hill Manor in his vast study, Hubbard worked through the sixties improving the way in which his theories were put across. Emphasis was on standardized techniques, which were dubbed the technology. There was no greater sin than adulterating the 'tech' as it was called. This led him to pour forth a succession of memoranda defining processes and terms. These HCOBs (Hubbard Communications Office Bulletins) were epistles added to the gospels of Dianetics and they soon became holy scriptures in themselves. Their style grew increasingly more authoritarian and idiosyncratic.1 While drug-taking is 'out-ethics' for Scientologists, smoking cigarettes is not. I have never encountered such a high proportion of cigarette smokers among younger people as I have in Scientology. It was suggested to me that this habit mimics the behaviour of Ron, their hero, who was a chain-smoker. It is almost as if nicotine is exempted because of the founder's little weakness for the weed. However, smoking is not allowed while 'in session', i.e. during auditing. Neither is alcohol permitted twenty-four hours prior to a session.
'Auditing,' declares Senior Technical Consultant (UK) Richard Reiss, 'is the heart of Scientology.' It is also the most expensive part. An E-Meter costs over $2,000 and a session of auditing in 1984 was $200 per hour. Scientology defends these prices on two grounds: auditing is cheap compared to alternative services of other 'professionals' such as psychiatry; it is priceless and not obtainable elsewhere. This was one of the sensitive issues when the independent movement began in 1983 and started undercutting the official church's prices.
It is worth saying something about the Church of Scientology's methods of recruiting members. Some recruits come through reading one of Hubbard's books (18 %). In recent years strenuous campaigns throughout the world have been undertaken to promote DMSMH in paperback, even selling it on the streets. Its cost is low and it contains
1 *see also pages 40 and 55-6*
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information about where Dianetics is available at the local branch of the Church of Scientology. However, the Church of Scientology claims that the bulk of its recruits come through a friend or relative (34%) or by word of mouth (23%). Another method is to invite passers-by to undertake a personality test (10%). This consists of filling in a form and answering various questions. Those who have completed it are added to the church's mailing list and invited back to discuss how they can iron out 'one or two problem areas'. This will involve taking a Scientology course, usually the Student Hat (more of which in a moment). This costs a mere $35 and is within the pocket of most people. Pressure will be put on the student if he or she shows interest or competence. Little is said at this point about Scientology doctrines or rules or the authoritarian structure of the organization. Why should it be? It is perfectly reasonable that Scientologists should (a) promote what they believe in; (b) do it a little at a time, without force-feeding their converts. Sometimes opponents of Scientology argue as if its very existence is a crime. That only serves to prove the church's claim that it is suffering persecution. One must be careful to distinguish between the right to believe the earth is flat and the right to charge people large sums of money to jump off the edge.
The potential member is usually invited to undertake more courses. If he has sufficient funds he will be advised that APs (advance payments) will enable him to purchase these courses now and take them tomorrow at today's prices. At this point the enthusiasm of the convert is mingled with vast ignorance. Knowledge only comes a little at a time. You cannot leapfrog up the 'Bridge', the name for the stepladder of courses which Hubbard wrote. You must go one step at a time. Each step costs a great deal of money (*see pages 164-5*).
The Bridge is basically divided into two sections: (a) personal progress and (b) training as an auditor. Personal progress is aimed first at the goal of 'Clear'. To reach 'Clear', several sub-levels are involved and after Clear the next steps are the OT levels. These are known as 'going OT', which stands for Operating Thetan. This training is only available residentially at a few centres and the costs begin to rise steeply. Pressure is also exercised on the smaller orgs to 'flow them up the Bridge'; in other words, to ensure a steady supply of paying customers for the advanced centres which are at Saint Hill, East Grinstead; Clearwater, Florida; Los Angeles; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Sydney, Australia. There are eight OT levels and some above, which Hubbard is said to have prepared but not 'released'. His habit of expanding the ladder with sub-sections and only issuing one step at a
time, or revamping certain courses in the manner of 'new improved' washing powder (as in the 'New Era Dianetics' material reissued in 1978), has guaranteed a steady flow of income over the years. Later we shall look at these OT levels, which are treated as if they were the holy grail itself.
The other branch of the Bridge is to become an auditor. From the basic book auditor who acquires the ability to help others through the application of data contained in books of Dianetics and Scientology, the would-be auditor climbs through a dizzy series of grades until he or she reaches Class XII Auditor, by which time he or she will have joined the permanent staff of Scientology and the Sea Org, a uniformed organization formed by Hubbard aboard his ship in 1967. Its members wear naval insignia and sign billion-year contracts binding them to Scientology in this and future lives. Each step as an auditor has an upper level at which the student acquires the ability to C/S (or case supervise) the level beneath. One of the consequences of the breakaway movement in 1983 was that many of the more qualified auditors were 'busted' from their posts when the Religious Technology Center assumed control, thus creating a dearth of people who could 'deliver the Bridge'.
It is the policy of the Church of Scientology to offer refunds to all those who have made APs and do not wish to proceed up the Bridge. The severity of the 1982-3 purge - which was followed by mass defections - is shown by the figures produced by the law firm of Eberle & Jordan of Glendale, CA for the years 1983-4. Refunds total over $2,064,992, of which $1.5 million was outstanding in June 1984. Not all Scientologists pay the full price of the courses. If they join the staff they receive an allowance per week, free accommodation and are required to work for the church, but in recompense they receive free auditing. However, there is a catch. They must sign a 'freeloader bill', which obliges them if they leave the church at a future date to pay for all the courses they have received at the full rate. Not only has this resulted in freeloader bills of thousands of pounds being presented to former church members, but it clearly can, and has, been used as a means of suppressing dissent and enforcing conformity to church discipline. No one who is in two minds about leaving the only friends and contacts he has had for a decade would do so if he knew that he would immediately be bankrupted by court action the minute he strode out of the gates.
Another way credit is extended to Scientologists is in the form of loans. One such scheme was operated by Lee Lawrence from
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38 Morton Road, East Grinstead. His purpose, he says in a letter outlining the scheme, is to help Scientologists up the Bridge. 'I make loans only ABOVE L5,000. I believe that an able Scientologist can manage a smaller amount without borrowing from me.' The borrower who signed up with Mr Lawrence would have had to pay interest at the rate of 30% if he had taken out a loan in June 1982. Although by the following July Mr Lawrence was offering loans at 25%, it is worth noting that in the interim the Bank of England lending rate was as low as 9% (5 November 1982). Lawrence claims that the high interests are to enable him to cope with service price increases and any losses from default. However, he has his own scheme to cope with default. 'To discourage late payments I use a loan agreement which imposes heavy penalties for ANY late payments, even if only one day late, and I ascertain that no more than two thirds of the borrower's surplus income is required to make the monthly payments.' He adds that every loan agreement is checked and approved by the Church of Scientology officially. This means that the Church of Scientology cannot argue that the hardships arising from this scheme are outside its sphere of responsibility. Two loan agreements which I have examined, dated June 1982 and June 1983, quote interest rates of 30% and 25% respectively. In the former, penalties of L16 were imposed for late payment every month for the first year but were 'forgiven' until May 1983, when they climbed swiftly to a total of L100 alongside the monthly payment of L155. These sanctions are but one example of the control mechanisms under which the Scientologist comes should he deviate from what the church expects of him in behaviour.
Squeezing individual Scientologists for as much as they can pay is justified by the Church of Scientology on the grounds that recruits are buying the unique gift of survival through future lives as a thetan. Giving away all one's possessions would be cheap at the price, runs the argument. That is indeed what many recruits do end up doing. One girl I spoke to spent L6,000 in six months on courses which never went beyond introductory level. She was already a graduate so she was not stupid and unable to learn the 'tech'. But she had the money, left to her on the death of her parents. To protect her, because her brother is still active in Scientology, I shall call her Alyson, but her story is worth telling in detail because it parallels so many others among the young, idealistic, middle-class white persons who constitute the typical recruits to Scientology. Alyson's experiences are in her own words, drawn from letters and conversations:
'Right now I wonder how I ever got involved, though I must admit
to a certain amount of vulnerability at the time due to the death of both my parents in 1979 (I was 26 years old at the time). The money I used on the advice of my older brother Simon, who is a Scientologist, was inherited. I am a diabetic and nearly killed myself on the "Purification Rundown" (mega vitamins, running, sauna, to rid the body of drugs, radiation, etc). I struggled through various courses of auditing, the latter at the reduced rate of L56 per hour because I was a student, I witnessed and was subjected to some terrible incidents. I was pretty disillusioned very soon but they are an extremely clever and strong organization and they don't give up until you've spent every penny you have. I am an intelligent and moral person and have a B.Sc. degree, yet I was duped.
'After a few upsetting and disgraceful incidents I realized that in no way was I going to get value for my money. However, I soon learned that it was not easy to leave ("blow"). It was about six months after I first blew that they finally left me alone. There were endless phone-calls and one staff member arrived on my doorstep and proceeded to verbally abuse me. I returned his abuse and got rid of him but the incident left me shaking with anger and I reported the incident to Tottenham Court Road (the London Scientology HQ) and I received a letter and a phone-call of apology. I wrote to Ron Hubbard twice with a view to retrieving money I had spent (including L800 I had spent on an E-Meter I had never used). I thought of writing to a newspaper to expose them but I was held by fear of retribution, but now the years have passed and I am not afraid any more and would be glad of the opportunity of preventing someone else making the mistake I made.'
That was part of Alyson's letter. She is a quiet and gentle girl. She loves her brother, but Scientology is a big part of his life. 'His wife is anti it, but he loves it, and after he's been to Saint Hill he feels as if he is walking on air. He says that he's had out-of-body experiences and after you go to OT III even if the Bomb is dropped you'll be immune. They only talk about that among themselves because they say the public couldn't handle it if it got out.' Alyson smiled ruefully when she recalled leaving. 'One day I just thought, "Well, it's only money anyway."'But her Face darkened as she recalled some of the nastier tactics which were used against her. 'They make you sign overt sheets (that's the things you've done wrong): I was in trouble because I used to smoke cannabis a little, and threaten you if you don't sign that nasty things like accidents can happen. This guy Steve that I knew at Tottenham Court Road, who was really nice, came round once and was very aggressive when I had left and threatened to use the overts against me.'
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There are three points worth making at this stage about Alyson's story. In every org there is a sign exhorting Scientologists to 'write to Ron' with the boast 'all mail received by me will be answered by me'. Alyson, like thousands of others, was deafened by silence in reply to her letter to Ron. Secondly, there is the reluctance of the Church of Scientology to implement its refund policy despite the large sum she had been persuaded to put on account. Third, there is the sinister use of overts as blackmail. This is decidedly contrary to church policy but, as we shall see, it has happened and Mary Sue Hubbard admitted in the Armstrong trial that pc folders were used to cull incriminating material against defectors. This is equivalent to using the secrets of the confessional against Catholics and is also expressly forbidden in the codes of Scientology, yet was practised at the highest level by the wife of the founder.
It was at the end of our meeting that Alyson made her most impressive strike against the Church of Scientology. She picked up two red-covered files which represented the records and materials of her L6,000 worth of processing. 'Here,' she said, and handed them to me, 'have them and see for yourself.' I protested that they represented L6,000 and six wasted months to her. 'No,' she said with a smile, 'they're of no use to me.' Alyson may be a sadder young woman after her brush with Scientology but she is a wiser one, knowing what true values are.
It is worth looking at the kind of materials which Alyson was given for her L6,000. Step one is usually the 'Student Hat', which concentrates mainly on study methods. One of the axioms of Hubbard has been much vaunted as an educational tool. This is the rule that a misunderstood word must not be passed until it is properly mastered. In HCOB of 10 March 1965, headed 'Words, Misunderstood Goofs', Hubbard writes: 'There's no hope for it, mate. You'll have to learn real English, not the 600-word basic English of the college kid, in which a few synonyms are substituted for all the big words.' This somewhat startling use of slang in praising the precise use and definition of words, is, like all the HCOBs, framed like a military directive and postscripted with the ever present 'Copyright (c) 1965 by L. Ron Hubbard. All rights reserved'.
These are the three distinguishing features of the materials: (1) the authoritarian tone of the commands; (2) the idea that they are unique and technical/scientific/esoteric; (3) their distinctive style mixing slang with pseudo-technical terms and Scientology neologisms. For example, HCO Policy Letter relating to conduct of auditors, issued
on 19 April 1965, states: 'Any staff auditor who runs any process on any org pc that is not given in grade and level HCOBs may be charged by the Tech Sec or D of P with a misdemeanour.' In other words, you do everything according to the book written by Ron and woe betide you if you don't.
This highly controlled system of behaviour is another axiom. Standard Tech delivered in a standard manner is how the Scientologist would describe it. Thus the HCOBs are not insights which Ron offers for development of the person but strict dicta which must be followed. In the 'Guide to Acceptable Behaviour for Students' contained in the HCO Policy Letter of 7 May 1969, there is a commandment to the effect that there shall be no other gods before Ron, viz: 'Do not engage in any rite, ceremony, practice, exercise, medication, diet, food therapy or any similar occult, mystical, religious, naturopathic, homeopathic, chiropractic treatment or any other healing or mental therapy while on course without the express permission of the D of T/Ethics Officer. Do not discuss your case, your auditor, your Supervisors, your classmates, L. Ron Hubbard, ORG personnel or the ORG with anyone. Take up any complaints with your supervisor.'
Other commands forbid sexual promiscuity, especially adultery; or are of the school-rules variety about not dropping cigarette ends in wastepaper baskets. While many are ethically worthy they are presented overall in a manner which reduces the status of the 'student' to that of a schoolboy. Even the method by which concepts are represented by objects or plasticine and moved around a board by the student heightens the process of subjugation of the individual's rational powers. This is even more the case with the TRs (or Training Routines/Regimens).
One of the first of these is 'Confronting'. The student and coach sit facing each other and stare directly into one another's eyes. Any blink, fidget or movement by the student is greeted with a cry of 'Flunk!' by the coach and they go back to the beginning. The idea is to 'train students to confront preclears in the absence of social tricks of conversation and to overcome obsessive compulsions to be "interesting".' The end product, a zombie-like stare, is consonant with the passivity which Scientology demands of its followers towards the tech. A more colourful TR is 'Bullbaiting', which is designed to 'flatten any buttons' (areas which produce a reaction from the student). The coach is joined by others who will variously tease, insult, or shout at, the preclear who must keep a passive countenance. Tickling, making funny faces, absurd suggestions, these are all part of the game and if the pc laughs
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then the baiters keep on and on until no reaction is produced and the pc's buttons are said to be flattened.
Typical of the routines which are offered to apprentice Scien- tologists are the CCHs, which stand for Communication, Control and Havingness, which Hubbard developed in Washington in 1957. He wrote: 'The purpose of the CCHs is to bring the pc through incidents and into present time. It is the reversal of "mental" auditing in that it gets the pc's attention exterior to the bank and on present time.' Hubbard adds that the pc must be coaxed as firmly as possible but not too firmly lest he be unwilling to co-operate. But he adds, 'If you have to manhandle a pc, do so. But only to help him get the process flat. If you have to manhandle the pc you've already accumulated ARC breaks and given him losses and driven him out of session .' The CCHs are a series of robotic commands and actions: CCH 1 consists of the auditor telling the pc, 'Give me that hand' over and over again and replacing it in the pc's lap. CCH 2 is supposed to demonstrate that the pc has control over his body. The auditor commands him: 'You look at that wall. Thank you. You walk to that wall. Thank you. You touch that wall. Thank you. Turn around. Thank you.' Only these words are used and auditors are not meant to enter into dialogue with pcs during session. Pc remarks are met with stone-walling remarks such as 'I'm glad you told me that...OK. Is there anything else you want to tell me?...Fine. OK', and then the session is simply resumed without further comment. The robotic activity of the auditor cannot fail to have an effect on the pc, especially when CCH processes are repeated over and over again. CCH 3 and CCH 4 are designed to get the pc to mimic movements of the auditor's hands and to mirror movements of a book which the auditor holds and moves around. A further stage requires the pc to move his mind to the wall and in his imagination put one corner next to another. The idea is that the thetan is controlling his environment, not the other way around. Ashtrays and rag dolls are employed and the pc talks to them, giving them commands and moving the objects in response to his commands. For example, I was passing along a corridor in Clearwater, Florida, when I witnessed a man shouting at a chair and manhandling it. 'Don't worry about that,' said my companion. 'He's completing one of our training processes.' Talking to ashtrays goes on for a long time and supposedly reaches the point at which the pc so penetrates the 'reality' with his mind that intention and thought are father to the action itself. Full-grown 'thetans', then, control their surroundings, not the other way round.
A Religious Studies student at Lancaster University named Sarah Hogge undertook the CCH course as a non-Scientologist. The Church of Scientology had previously been wary of writers and journalists taking courses and writing reports. It argues that it is impossible to observe and to submit properly to the training regimen. However, it allowed Sarah to make her study, and her tape-recorded sessions and observations make interesting reading to which both she and the Church of Scientology have allowed me access. We join Sarah Hogge (S.H.) and the auditor (A.) on her introduction to CCHs.
'Whilst on the E-Meter I was asked to define every single word that was used. This included words such as "and", "you" and "that". If I hesitated too long, or got something wrong, the misunderstood word and all possible meanings was read out from the dictionary and I had to define it for each meaning and write sentences using it. The whole process took about two hours and I hated it. It gave me a splitting headache.
'Sessions one and two. During these early sessions I didn't experience strong negative reactions to the auditing. My reactions were more of amazement. I found it difficult to take seriously what was happening. I was being subjected to extremely monotonous processes ...the auditor with a straight face, and for such a long time. Many thoughts passed through my mind - how the auditor sounded like a robot - how ugly he was close to - how they were trying to "brainwash" me - how much longer would I have to be in the room doing the same thing over and over again. I also kept having uncontrollable fits of laughter at how ridiculous the situation was. The auditing hadn't really started having a deep-down effect on me at this stage. I wasn't yet vulnerable.
A. You look at that wall.
S.H. [*uncontrollable laughter*]
A. OK. What's happened?
S.H. I just think you're so funny.
A. Thanks for telling me. We'll carry on....You look at that wall.
S.H. [*more laughter*]
A. You look at that wail.
'This illustrates the way in which the individual is suppressed during the sessions. If a comment or question is raised it is acknowledged by the auditor with "OK" or "Thanks for telling me" and the commands begin again. Commands are run virtually all the time. It is not
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possible to get answers from the auditor about what is happening during a session. (The Church of Scientology would acknowledge that this is correct. Standard Tech means that the exact programme laid down by Hubbard must be followed.) If physical pain or discomfort develops it is not possible to take a break or talk about it. The idea is to carry on with what brought it about in the first place.
A. Give me that hand.
S.H. I've got a headache.
A. OK. Thanks for telling me about it, but the best thing to do is to carry on and you let me know how it goes. Give me that hand.
'CCH 1 was then repeated four times before:
S.H. I was thinking that it's only the best thing to carry on for you, 'cos I've got the headache and you haven't.
A. Right. You see, what happens is that in Dianetics and Scientology processes there's a rule that what turns it on turns it off. So if the process has turned this on, then if we just go on, then you should find it will go. Give me that hand.
'CCH 1 was then repeated another six times, CCH 2 four times, then I came out with the source of my headache:
S.H. That's what gives me a headache. That wall.
A. Right. Thanks for telling me.
'After going through CCH 2 another ten times the headache went away, only to come back and I was told that I could take only a half-hour break instead of the usual hour. I suddenly became really frightened. I was afraid that any more of these sessions would break me down and that I would become "brain-washed".
S.H. I want to tell you that I don't find it frustrating any more and that I did before and that it doesn't give me a headache any more....
A. OK. That's good. Thanks for telling me.'
Sarah was now having disturbed nights of sleep. She asked some of the friendlier students at Saint Hill what the 'cognition' was which she was supposed to experience because if she could reach it, then her sessions would be at an end. Mostly they said, 'Oh yes, we felt like that too. Don't worry, you'll get it. It's really great.' Their laughter from 'the other side of the fence', as Sarah puts it, triggered her next stage
of reaction - rage. She became rebellious. In the next session she told her auditor that she wondered what it was like to be in prison. Shortly afterwards he terminated the session.
Sarah became even more antagonistic towards the auditing when she was told that she had to complete this until the desired result was achieved, before she would be allowed to move onto the practical side of the TR course. It was as if she was being forced to take auditing, which she felt was more likely to break down her resistance, before she could get what she wanted. The TRs were the carrot and the auditing the stick.
She was put on an E-Meter, which has often been compared to a lie detector, and asked the question which had been put to her at every session, viz: 'What are your feelings about Scientology?' She said that while there were good points there were also bad ones and that she felt Scientology did not really attract her. From then on, Sarah Hogge was kept waiting for long periods of time. The appointments set up with officials to sort out her 'problem' were not kept. She suspected the bureaucracy was being used against her. Eventually the Ethics Officer told her that she was PTS, a Potential Trouble Source, someone who is hostile to Scientology. She finally left frustrated and confused, realizing that the processes had set up tensions within her that undermined her objectivity. 'The more sessions I had the more emotional and unbalanced I became...I either cried or felt like crying a lot. I felt that I was the victim of something that was beyond my control.'
The Church of Scientology would argue that it is impossible to be audited and simultaneously to observe the process without destroying the effect. This is probably a valid point, but it does not remove the unease which these repetitive drills must cause in anyone who is familiar with methods of mind control. As we shall see in Chapter 6, psychiatrists argue that while auditing is not strictly the same as hypnosis and auditors use 'cancellation' statements at the end of a session, the end effect can be very similar. Flattening the 'buttons', constant repetition of apparently meaningless actions, the authoritarian context in which the sessions take place, all contribute to this picture. The cycle of emotions through which Sarah Hogge moved is one in which curiosity does not kill the cat but ensures that it eventually ends up eating out of the hand that feeds it. Biting that hand is not tolerated ...It does not breed zombies but it ensures control. Doubts, dissents, distaste for any part of the 'tech', are firmly and systematically suppressed.
Alyson was recommended to have the Purification Rundown, a
A RELIGIOUS TECHNOLOGY
programme which prescribes a diet of vitamins and sauna baths. A glossy booklet (*Purification: An Illustrated Answer to Drugs, Bridge Publications*, 1984) makes the claim that many people have experienced the effects of radiation sickness during the sauna stage and past sunburns have reappeared, only to vanish for ever as they churned their way through the course. However, the booklet insists that the exact prescriptions must be followed and of course these are only available to those who pay for the course (cost L1,284 inc VAT). The Purification Rundown was developed by Hubbard allegedly after studying all the latest literature on vitamins and callisthenics. There is nothing revolutionary about using vitamins, exercise and healthy pursuits to improve health, but it casts doubt on the bona fide of Scientology, whose proclaimed purpose is to help the unhealthy and the addict achieve a better life, that it only spreads such knowledge at a cost. Critics point out that the programme has not been shown to be any more efficacious than simple diet and exercise and its claims are bogus. In some cases (like that of diabetic Alyson), it can lead to actual harm because it makes the patient conform to the system, not the other way round.
There is also the system of 'assists': touch assist; contact assist; and Dianetic assist. These are used on 'somatics' or illness in the body which can be affected by treating the mind. Pain can be diverted by using the touch assist. A finger is placed on the spot where pain is felt and repeated questions: 'Can you feel my finger? Thank you' are made until the pain is lessened. It is an imaginative process. Contact assist means taking the person physically back to the spot where an injury occurred. An electric-shock victim is asked to grasp the spot where he received the shock (current now switched off, of course) and this results in a discharge of the 'engram' which he received from the incident. Dianetic assist is running the person through the incident on an E-Meter. I do not doubt that these psychosomatic processes often result in a placebo effect. In other words, if the patients think they are getting better, they do improve - and I would not wish to quarrel with that. But in the 1974 HCOB on the subject, there are pieces of nonsense such as this: 'There is a balance of the nerve energy on the body of 12 nerve channels going up and down the spine. The type of energy in the body travels at 10ft. a second. The energy from a shock will make a standing wave in the body. The brain is a shock cushion, that is all. It absorbs the shock from large amount of energy. The neuron-synapse is a disconnection.' It is redolent of the quackery and the pseudo-science which gurus perpetrate on gullible followers. One
cannot help feeling that Hubbard's megalomania was such that he could not humble himself to accept the advances in science achieved by others more competent than himself. The science-fiction writer had to invent his own system in which he always carried off the Nobel Prize.
By far the most sinister of Scientology exercises are given to those further up the Bridge, who are asked to devise tactics to use in response to enemies of the church. The basic theories and TRs of the 'Student Hat' have been turned into a bond between the individual and the Church of Scientology which demands that they respond to attacks on Scientology with ruthless counter-attacks. The infamous 'Fair Game' doctrine, which declared that enemies of Scientology could be 'tricked, cheated, lied to, sued or destroyed', was but one manifestation of this. Typical of the Church of Scientology's attitude to outside criticism was the HCO Policy Letter of 25 February 1966 which described how to react to attacks on Scientology by feeding counter 'black propaganda' about the attackers to the Press.
There is also the HCO *Manual of justice* written by Hubbard which outlines procedures to be used in dealing with the media or enemies and includes the spine-chilling phrase: 'There are men dead because they attacked us - for instance, Dr Joe Winter. He simply realized what he did and died. There are men bankrupt because they attacked Us...' The same booklet outlines the procedure to be followed for the 'entheta' Press who write hostile articles. 'Hire a private detective of a national-type firm to investigate the *writer*, not the magazine, and get any criminal or Communist background the man has....Have your lawyers or solicitors write the magazine threatening a suit. (Hardly ever permit a real suit - they're more of a nuisance to you than they are worth)...Use the data you got from the detective at long last to write the author of the article a very tantalizing letter. Don't give him your data...Just tell him you know something very interesting about him and wouldn't he like to come in and talk about it. (If he comes ask him to sign a confession of collusion and slander - people at that level often will, just to commit suicide - and publish it in a paid ad in a paper if you get it.) Chances are he won't arrive, but he'll sure shudder into silence.' This version of 'an eye for an eye' written by Hubbard has the distinction of incorporating a malevolent mixture of blackmail and vindictiveness. No wonder that someone from the Church of Scientology has written 'Confidential - for HCO personnel only' on my copy of the manual. It is hardly a work to which a religious organization might normally wish to lay claim.
* * *
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Far from the imposing manor of Saint Hill, in the midst of the Grampian Mountains in Scotland lies an equally, if not more, striking country house set in acres of woodland with walled gardens and extensive lawns stretching out in front of the imposing spired facade of the main building, which is nothing less than a castle in the Scottish baronian style. This is Candacraig House, Strathdon, built and furnished with riches from the Far East. Until recently it was the headquarters of a counter movement within Scientology. Its main purpose was to attract students who would study the upper levels of Scientology outside the church organization. The charges were cheaper and although those running the Advanced Ability Center, as they called it, believed in Hubbard's technology, they had broken with the Church of Scientology. They were 'squirrels' - people who had chosen to follow modified 'tech'.
The moving spirit behind the Center was a businessman in his mid-thirties, Robin Scott, a history graduate of Oxford University who had come across Scientology as an undergraduate and joined the staff of the Church of Scientology in 1973. He met his attractive wife Adrienne in the Sea Organization and they have three vivacious children. But in 1978 he protested about the way some things were being done at Saint Hill. He was summoned for a 'Sec-Check', a compulsory session on an E-Meter to check his 'security' rating. The needle showed 'rock slam' and proved to his interrogators that he was harbouring hostile thoughts. The 'Sec-Check' involves a long list of questions including 'Do you harbour any hostile thoughts towards the Church of Scientology? L. Ron Hubbard? Your org?' A needle reaction on these questions is tantamount to a confession of guilt, Robin Scott was required to sign a confession of his 'crimes'. He became a travel courier and was presented with a 'freeloader bill' of L40,000 for the auditing he had received while a staff member. However, Robin Scott requested a 'Comm Ev' or Committee of Evidence, which is like a court martial conducted by the Church of Scientology to review discipline cases, and he was reinstated. Three years later he left for good and together with his wife was declared a 'Suppressive Person' or one who seeks to damage Scientology.
The Scotts decided that they wanted to fulfil the ideals of Scientology as they still saw them and bought Candacraig. Robin Scott had several business interests and even if Candacraig was only charging a fraction of official Church of Scientology rates he thought that the books would balance. He found, however, that the confession he had made after the Sec-Check was being used against him. This was one
of the reasons which had made Adrienne Scott want to leave when she worked in the personnel department at Saint Hill. She had been asked then to go through files which might contain admissions of drug offences, homosexuality or even felonies and to 'get the dirt' on other members of the church. When she refused, she had been labelled a 'non-compliant junior'.
A lawsuit was taken out by the Church of Scientology against Robin Scott in an attempt to shut down Candacraig as an Advanced Ability Center. One factor stopped Candacraig taking off. It lacked the written materials of the highest levels of the OT courses. This was when Robin Scott made what in retrospect he now considers was a big mistake. He resolved along with others to steal them. Knowing that he and his group would be well-known at Saint Hill and instantly recognized as SPs, they planned their coup at a high-ranking Church of Scientology establishment in Europe, in Copenhagen.
Early on the morning of 9 December 1983, Robin Scott picked up Morag Bellmaine and Ron Lawley in East Grinstead and set off for Copenhagen in his Volvo. They drove to the Scientology Advanced Organization for Europe and Africa (designated AOSH EU & AF in the paramilitary terminology of the Church of Scientology) at number 6 Jernbanegade. Lawley and Bellmaine emerged from the car dressed in the Sea Organization Class A uniform, wearing the insignia of senior officials of the Church of Scientology. (They left Robin Scott in the car with its engine running.) They presented themselves as missionaires from the Religious Technology Center (RTC) and told the Copenhagen officials that they had come to check on standards of technical delivery of Scientology counselling at the org. They were given a private room where, upon request, the 'New Era Dianetics for OTs' materials were delivered to them. Morag Bellmaine put these in her handbag and they hurried out of the org and drove off in Robin Scott's Volvo.
Back at Candacraig, in the converted stables block, the Scotts constructed the classrooms which they hoped would become a purified Saint Hill to replace Hubbard's HQ. But in March the following year, the Church of Scientology played a cunning card. A man telephoned Robin Scott saying that he was wealthy and interested in pursuing upper levels of counselling. He was en route through Europe. Could they perhaps meet at Coperhagen airport? Robin Scott agreed. But when his plane touched down on Danish soil, the police, together with the officials from AOSH EU & AF, were waiting. They identified him and he was arrested and taken to the cells accused of theft. It had
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been a clever set-up and the Danish police had co-operated because theft was involved, although subsequently the Danish court took a different view of the value of the materials which the Church of Scientology had claimed were worth over a quarter of a million dollars. Robin Scott served a short jail sentence of one month and returned, much chastened, to Candacraig.
Candacraig attracted clients who were accommodated in the sumptuous state rooms with four-poster beds installed by the Wallace family from whom Scott bought the house for L110,000. It was more luxurious than the rice-and-beans regime at Saint Hill, but the Scotts were specializing in up-market clientele. Scott continued to run his business in Aberdeen, which specialized in drilling concrete. The locals were suspicious and in August 1984 the Lonach Highlanders, in celebrating one of the colourful festivals of Deeside, gave Candacraig a wide berth, refusing to stop there for a traditional Wallace dram (or toast) because of the Scientology connection. But it was not being misunderstood by the locals which worried Scott most. The flow of clients was diminishing, as was his fervour for the tech of Ron Hubbard. He resolved to sell Candacraig and close down the centre. When I called in the summer of 1985 the course-rooms were empty and the Scott family were preparing to leave. Robin Scott was by now deeply disillusioned with even the upper-level materials which had caused him so much hassle. He now regarded them as 'mainly fraudulent and harmful'. They were surrounded by hype and mystique within Scientology. They were supposed to contain the secrets of the universe, and to be so explosive that anyone reading them without being properly prepared could die! This shroud of mystery served several purposes. It was a superb marketing gimmick. The OT aspirant felt he was getting something really special. Secondly, the build-up to these revelations created an atmosphere of credulity and conspiratorial secrecy which was a disincentive to anyone who might want to cry that they were simply hokum and that 'Emperor Ron' had no clothes. Third, even if after going OT the students had doubts about the validity of the material, the vows of secrecy ensured that an objective analysis of the material was not possible. Robin Scott decided to lift the veil of secrecy and to go public. 'It is high time the whole fraud perpetrated by Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology was more fully and clearly exposed. Although I don't welcome the personal attacks on me that will undoubtedly follow, I consider it well worthwhile if we can get this
whole sordid affair out in the public knowledge, so that vulnerable people will no longer be exploited by the vicious and unpleasant monster that Ron Hubbard created with his organization - little wonder he ended up in hiding,' Scott now says.
I was delighted that he chose me to be one of the first to see behind the curtain and felt no sense of impending doom as I descended from my baronial bedroom with its four-poster bed to the study where I was to be shown the infamous OT documents. Indeed, when I read the first page of OT III in Hubbard's own writing, the overwhelming temptation was to giggle.
OT I and OT II are regarded as preparatory actions for OT III (the 'Wall of Fire', a past trauma so horrendous that anyone trying to absorb it without Ron's guiding light would die of pneumonia). Robin Scott calls OT II 'about a hundred pages of gobbeldy gook', so I started with OT III. It reads like science-fiction cosmology. Seventy-five million years ago there was a galactic confederation consisting of seventy-six planets which had an over-population problem. The head of the confederation was named Xenu and he resolved that he would entice the entire population of the confederacy to Earth (called Teegeeach) and blow them up. He did this by popping nuclear bombs into twenty volcanoes and wiped them out. The individual spirits or thetans were thus deprived of their bodies and were collected, frozen in a substance like antifreeze, and packaged in boxes known as clusters. Thus there are billions of disembodied thetans and clusters hanging around earth, too severely shaken up by this incident to control a physical body by themselves, so they cling to life by parasiting on human beings. However, these Body Thetans (BTs) and clusters cause undesirable mental and physical conditions in the human being to which they cling and the route to well-being and happiness lies in removing them. This is achieved by auditing a person back down the 'time-track' to the moment these psychic limpets attached themselves, and then discharging them. This can be a lengthy process and Robin Scott told me of one wealthy man he knew who had worked his way through a million dollars in buying 600 hours of auditing. Contacting the BTs is done telepathically and they are then guided back down the time-track to the moment seventy-five million years ago when Xenu vaporized them, which is known as Incident 2. The principle is the same as in auditing an 'engram' out of a preclear. The auditor commands the person to 'recall that incident' and leads him through it, supposedly discharging the trauma associated with it. Once through Incident 2 the BT can roam off and pick up a body
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to resume the karmic cycle of reincarnations like the rest of us. The idea was that the OT and the BT mutually benefited and it was whispered that OTs derived all kinds of psychic powers once they had shaken off the BTs. They could levitate, have out-of-body experiences at will and were free from any manner of ailment, including vulnerability to atomic radiation. I say whisper because when questioned about these claims, Church of Scientology officials will politely tell you that this might have happened to some as a by-product but it is not the aim, nor a necessary by-product, of going OT.
Of course, Incident 2 raises the question of what constituted Incident 1. This is the very beginning of the Universe itself which had been vouchsafed to Ron in a revelation. It, too, created trauma and the reason offered for the lack of total success with BTs was that they needed to be taken further back down the time-track to Incident 1, which is dated four quadrillion years ago. Here in Hubbard's words is Incident 1: 'Loud snap. Waves of light. Chariot comes out, blows horn, comes close. Shattering series of snaps, Cherub fades back (retreats). Blackness dumped on thetan.' This is the creation of the world according to Hubbard, the Big Bang which ended for me not with a whimper but with a giggle that anyone could sit down and buy this sci-fi fantasy for thousands of dollars.
Scott explains the gullibility of intelligent people like himself as being due to success in using the earlier parts of the technology ('wins' or 'gains', as they are known), so that the critical faculty is dimmed as one gets higher up the Bridge. But there were many who were paying through the nose for this counselling and who were not getting 'wins'. They sometimes had to worry about money with which to continue auditing and such worries were not supposed to afflict OTs. Before doubts about OT III and above began to spread, in 1978 Hubbard issued 'New Era Dianetics for OTs' which was like many a brand of washing-powder - the 'new improved' version was launched amid much hype and trumpeting (no cherubs presumably). Like the launch of a commercial product, the effect was to re-stimulate sales. These new levels were known as NOTs and were nothing, admits Robin Scott, but a revamped version of OT III'. There were apparently more subtle layers of BTs and of clusters and these new procedures were designed to cope with them. A Solo NOTs level was introduced for several thousand more dollars, which enabled the person to work away at his clusters (with a case supervisor in the background to check whether he ought to be doing more). By 1985 only one person had reached OT VIII.
If the levels up to 'Clear' are easier to understand as a form of psychotherapy rather than as a religion, the OT levels reveal Scientology as a religion with a cosmology, albeit a strange one which sounds like the product of a science-fiction writer, which is, of course, what Ron Hubbard was. But there are other more sinister elements. There is the appeal to the age-old gnostic heresy: i.e. you make spiritual progress by working (or, in the case of the Church of Scientology, buying) your way up a ladder and can look down on those beneath. There is the occultist element. What can BTs and clusters be but demons? Imperfection in the individual is ascribed to the influence of these psychic forces, which then require to be 'exorcized'. This lays the basis of dissociation of personality and occult practices which are the very opposite of religion, which works for a whole, integrated personality. Just as Scientology's doctrines of 'Fair Game' and 'Suppressive Persons' sprang out of the paranoia of Ron Hubbard, so we must look to his schizoid personality for the creation of such a theology.
The top-secret materials have also been the subject of controversy since I got my peep into Creation according to Hubbard. In November 1985, the OT materials were introduced into court as part of a civil case brought by former Church of Scientologist Larry Wollersheim against the church. Although Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Alfred Margolis allowed the evidence, 1,500 Scientologists crammed the court buildings, the *Los Angeles Times* reported, to ensure that the materials were not subject to public scrutiny. The Scientologists' attorney argued that unsealing the documents 'amounts to the biggest threat to this religion so far'. Although the court resealed the documents after the evidence had been heard, the *Los Angeles Times* published a similar account to the one I have given (although, perhaps because of differences in reading Hubbard's spidery writing, they call the Confederation ruler Xemu, not Xenu). So far, none of the dire consequences of catching pneumonia have befallen those who were exposed 'illicitly' to the OT materials. I hope after reading this chapter, you will remain just as exempt from the curse.
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