Chapter 2

The 'Church' of Scientology: A Self-Portrait

It seems fair to present, thus early in this book, the case for scientology and dianetics, as nearly as possible as their supporters would seem to wish and in the words they themselves have either chosen or approved. They speak with several voices, but this could be said of almost every association, sect or minority, whether or not it calls itself a religion or a church. From what they have said, one dictionary - Funk and Wagnall's, and as far as I can discover no other - has managed to distil an unexpectedly impressive definition of dianetics:

A system for the analysis, control and development of human thought evolved from a set of co-ordinated actions which also provide techniques for the treatment of a wide range of mental disorders and organic diseases.

The most robust of scientology's voices, though not the most literate or persuasive, is that of the founder, Lafayette Ron Hubbard. By way of setting the scene, let us begin with one of his more recent pronouncements, a 'press release' dated 13 November 1968:

The year of human rights draws to its close. The current English Government celebrated it by barring out foreign students [1], forbidding a religious leader [2] to enter England, and beginning a steady campaign intended to wipe out every Church and Churchman in England. The hidden men behind the Government's policies are only using scientology to see if the public will stand for the destruction of all churches and churchmen in England. These hidden men have already said so in an official booklet, and scientology Organisations now have a copy. So the madmen in charge celebrated the Year of Human Rights by beginning their campaign to obliterate all Human Rights and end all churches. Callaghan, Crossman and Robinson follow the orders of a hidden foreign group that recently set itself up in England, which has as its purpose the seizure of any being whom they dislike or won't agree [sic], and permanently disabling or killing him. To do this they believe they must first reduce all churches and finish Christianity. Scientology Organisations [3] will shortly reveal the hidden men. Scientology Organisations have more than enough evidence to hang them in every Country in the West.

When this book was being written, the hidden men had still been neither denounced nor hanged. But L. Ron Hubbard has made no secret of his own identity and history, which is here presented in the wording of a leaflet published in December 1968, by the World-Wide Public Relations Bureau, Church of Scientology, Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex. It is called A Report to members of Parliament on Scientology, and it has been given something of the appearance of a government white paper.

Data Sheet on Lafayette Ron Hubbard

Born 13 March, 1911, in Tilden, Nebraska, USA.
Parents: Fedora May Waterbury, Harry Ross Hubbard, both US citizens.
Father, A US Naval Officer.
Grandfather on mother's side: Wealthy Western Cattleman.

L. R. Hubbard inherited his fortune and family interests in America, Southern Africa, etc.

Hubbard was a man of considerable means completely independent of Scientology. L. R. Hubbard attended Swaveley Prep. School, Manassas, Virginia, and Woodward Prep. School, Washington, DC, and Columbia College, George Washington University, Washington, DC in 1932. Attended Princeton University post-graduate. Led Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition in 1933. Led West Indies Minerals Survey Expedition in 1934. Wrote for various US magazines. Worked in Hollywood under motion picture contracts Columbia Pictures 1935. Many 'screen credits' on major stars and pictures. Led Alaska Radio Experimental Expedition for US Government in 1940. Commissioned US Naval Reserve early 1941. Served as a captain of corvettes, 1941. Commodore of Corvette Squadrons, 1943. Amphibious forces 1944-45. Office of Provost-Marshal, Korea, 1945. Served in all five theatres of World War II. Twenty-one medals and palms. Commission in Navy resigned in 1950 after four years on inactive list. No longer in Navy or on call. No draft liability, as drawing full disability compensation. Hollywood director and writer 1946 on. Wrote several 'best selling' books [4] on applied philosophy 1950. Organised the Hubbard Foundation to handle public interests. Became director and trustee of several international humanitarian organisations.

And to all that may be added the discoveries of Mr Seymour Shubin, who wrote in the SKF Reporter of March/April 1968, that Hubbard was 'an engineer, explorer, wounded veteran of World War II, student of mysticism, glider pilot, former movie writer and at one time a singer and banjo-player on a California radio programme'.

In 1948, according to Dr Christopher Evans (writing in The Observer, 11 August 1968), a group of science fiction writers in New York, including Lafayette Ron Hubbard, were discussing the inadequacies of the various religions in the face of mankind's technological progress [5]. Science fiction writers are exposed, or expose themselves, to a special state of scepticism; perhaps because their inventiveness seems to them superior to anything that normal creation has achieved. It is a state of mind that can overtake a conjuror when he becomes so good that he nearly deceives himself; sleight-of-hand, as an accomplishment, can be nourished by 'audience reaction' until it seems to justify a claim to the possession of occult powers. The science fiction writers decided at their meeting that the time had come for a new religion. God would be in it, but so would psycho-analysis and space-time fantasy.

Nothing, at that stage, seems to have been worked out. It was not until 1953 that scientology was born, under Hubbard's midwifery, and it was then found to embody the three elements described. Its name derived from the Latin word scio and the Greek word logos, by the simple expedient of giving them meanings not previously understood or accepted. Scio no longer meant 'to have knowledge of' but 'knowing in the fullest sense of the word', and logos, having for so long been a noun with meanings that varied from speech and discourse to the second person of the Holy Trinity, became a verb - 'to study'. Scientology was announced as 'an applied religious philosophy of life and a body of knowledge concerning man and his relationship to the universe and to his fellows scientology holds that man is inherently a spiritual and immortal being and is basically good'. In 1951 Hubbard had made a discovery about God (quoted in the Report to members of Parliament on Scientology, 1968, p.4).

No culture in the history of the world, save the thoroughly depraved and expiring ones, has failed to affirm the existence of a Supreme Being. It is an empirical observation that men without a strong and lasting faith in a Supreme Being are less capable, less ethical, and less valuable to themselves and society. A Government wishing to deprave its people to the point where they will accept the most perfidious and rotten acts abolishes first the concept of God.

A little later in the same document there is a summary of what this kind of thing entails:

The abandonment of the admission of a Supreme Being as a reality, intimate to the life of man, makes prostitution the ideal conduct of a woman; perfidy and betrayal the highest ethic level attainable by a man; and obliteration by treachery, bomb and gun the highest goal attainable by a culture. Thus there is no great argument about the reality of a Supreme Being, since one sees in the failure to countenance that reality, a slimy and loathsome trail, downward into the most vicious depths.

The aim of scientology is self-realisation, 'to make the able more able'. Its techniques or 'routine drills' will, it is claimed,

  1. Better one's ability to communicate.
  2. Give one the ability to handle problems.
  3. Enable one to be a social being without committing anti-social acts.
  4. Enable one to confront past failures in order to get on with being successful.
  5. Enable one to act as a being rather than react as a body.
  6. Clear one of unwanted mental mass, free one from the lies of the physical universe, and free the individual to be at cause over mental matter, energy, spare and time.
If you have read that without skipping anything, you are now becoming acquainted with the special language of Lafayette Ron Hubbard, the quasi-philosophical argot in which, in 1950, he wrote a book called Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health. It was from this book (and its unexpected success) that scientology developed. Its 'basic discovery' was 'the exact anatomy of the human mind'; not the brain or the nervous system or any physical manifestations of either, not even the mind but the spirit, or as scientologists call it, the Thetan. A man's Thetan is an inherited faculty, and may be as old as the universe. In the course of some trillions of years (Hubbard is unimpressed by other people's theories about the age of man - or of the earth), it may have acquired some false ideas, owing to 'the aberrative power of mental image pictures or an experience containing pain, unconsciousness and real or imagined threat to survival'.

These damaging mental pictures are called engrams; and dianetics was, among other things, a method of erasing them. They have to be erased before a human being can be fulfilled, or 'clear'. An engram is (may I repeat) 'a lasting trace on an individual, a mental image picture of an experience containing pain, unconsciousness and a real or fancied threat to survival'.

The reference to 'unconsciousness' as something undesirable has a special meaning. Unconsciousness is not here the state of the man who is drugged, drunk, hypnotised or injured. It is not even what the dictionaries call the state of 'having no mental perception'. It is, as I understand it (though I may well be wrong), the subconscious mind. Whatever it is, to be a good scientologist you must get rid of it, completely erase it. You must be aware of everything that ever was in your subconscious, so that the only thoughts in your mind, always, are conscious thoughts. Once you have done that, you are a 'clear'. Until you have done it you are, by another ingenious recourse to Latin, a 'pre-clear'.

'Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health', accordingly involves dredging up the subconscious mind in a way suggested by psycho-analysis, though it is not done by psychoanalysts. The patient, recruit, novitiate or (as the scientologists prefer to call him) the 'pre-clear', has a series of sessions with an 'auditor', who is accorded by scientologists the status of a minister of religion. The 'auditing' process is likened to the confessional, and male auditors who are 'ministers' may, and sometimes actually do, wear clerical collar and pectoral cross. Auditing is 'not solely the recounting of sins or wrongs that the person has done. The purpose of auditing is to make the person more spiritually able, more aware, more free.'

Until December 1968, the resulting records were kept for reference in determining the student's progress; but then this practice was discontinued (with others) in deference to public criticism. The person being 'audited' is still required to hold in each hand a metal canister - it looks like a soup-tin and that probably, is what its manufacturers thought it was destined to be. Each tin is connected by copper flex to a simple type of voltmeter, which, if it effects any recordings while the 'pre-clear' is giving his answers to the questions put to him, does so within the vision of the 'auditor' only. This device is called an E-meter. It presumably registers the resistance set up by the interposition of the 'pre-clear' between the two terminals. No one outside the scientology community knows whether it serves any purpose other than to look scientific. But it has been explained to me, at Saint Hill Manor, that what effectively interposes itself between the two electrical poles is the 'mass' of the patient's thoughts. The syllogism is that since thought = energy, and energy = mass, then thought = mass. In other words, as Prentice Mulford wrote years ago, 'Thoughts are Things'; and their presence is registered by the needle on the dial of the E-meter [6].

It must be assumed that there are people who have read right through Hubbard's magnum opus, Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, though it is inconceivable that any one could do it without becoming a scientologist first. It is turgid, pretentious and strikingly ill-written. But 'the book caused a tremendous furore' when it appeared in 1950 in the USA, according to a Report to members of Parliament on Scientology; indeed 'dianetic groups sprang up all over the world, and many people used the techniques on their friends with startling good results'.

Someone seems to have compared the 'discovery' of dianetics in the twentieth century with the 'discovery' of the wheel in prehistoric times. Was it Mr Walter Winchell, the American columnist? Well, the scientologists' Report to Parliament puts it this way: 'The statement which compares the discovery of Dianetics in the twentieth century to the discovery of the wheel in prehistoric times could rightly be attributed to Walter Winchell the American Columnist.'

What it seems to have discovered was a way of giving some sort of communicable expression to the familiar but usually inarticulate 'sense of personal identity', the 'I - am - I' state of awareness that passes for philosophical maturity among very young people and political despots. All men at times (usually times of idleness or self-pity) see themselves with the world around them rather than the world with themselves in it. As the widow says in The Taming of the Shrew, 'He that is giddy thinks the world turns round.'

The literature of scientology is full of declared aims, stated intentions, creeds, disavowals. By way of rounding off scientology's account of itself, here are three of these recent statements:


by L. Ron Hubbard
September, 1965

A civilisation without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of scientology.

First announced to an enturbulated [8] world fifteen years ago, these aims are well within the grasp of our technology.

Non-political in nature, scientology welcomes any individual of any creed, race or nation.

We seek no revolution. We seek only evolution to higher states of being for the individual and for society.

We are achieving our aims.

After endless millenia [sic] of ignorance about himself, his mind and the Universe, a breakthrough has been made for Man.

Other efforts Man has made have been surpassed.

The Combined Truths of Fifty Thousand Years of thinking men, distilled and amplified by new discoveries about Man, have made for this success.

We welcome you to Scientology. We only expect of you your help in achieving our aims and helping others. We expect you to be helped.

Scientology is the most vital movement on earth to-day.

In a turbulent world, the job is not easy. But then, if it were, we wouldn't have to be doing it.

We respect Man and believe he is worthy of help. We respect you and believe you, too, can help.

Scientology does not owe its help. We have done nothing to cause us to propitiate. Had we done so we would not now be bright enough to do what we are doing.

Man suspects all offers of help. He has often been betrayed, his confidence shattered. Too frequently he has given his trust and been betrayed. We may err, for we build a world with broken straws. But we will never betray your faith in us so long as you are one of us.

The sun never sets on Scientology.

And may a new day dawn for you, for those you love and for Man.

Our aims are simple if great.

And we will succeed and are succeeding at each new revolution of the Earth.

Your help is acceptable to us.

Our help is yours.

So the 'aims', the breakthrough, are still in the first sentence: no insanity, criminals or war, prosperity and freedom for the able and honest. Then in the scientologists' journal Freedom Scientology No. 18 of 1969, the 'actual intentions of the Founder' were set out in rather more defensive language - 1969 had been a bad year, defiled by many critical attacks on Hubbard. The statement was accompanied by a declaration that 'anything stated by the enemy to the contrary is an effort to discredit a development which would cost them and their God-like pretensions and illegally obtained power and finance':

  1. To make well happy human beings by individual processing.
  2. To be friendly and always willing to help.
  3. To create a safe environment by protesting the use of hypnotism, violent treatment and illegal seizure of people.
  4. To make a better world by making more able individuals.
  5. To work toward spiritual freedom.
  6. To support the legal government of the country in which each organisation is situated.
  7. To make its organisational technology and other discoveries generally and freely available.
  8. Not to interfere with the morals and customs of any people.
  9. To refuse no one help by reason of race, colour or creed.
  10. To conduct activities as good citizens working in the interest of the country.
'Not one scrap of actual evidence exists anywhere in the world', this statement concluded, 'that would refute any of the above. Thousands of papers, daily deeds and decent actions exist to prove the above.'

And in No. 13 of Freedom Scientology in the same year there appeared:


We of the Church believe:
That all men of whatever race, colour or creed were created with equal rights.
That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performances.
That all men have inalienable rights to their own lives.
That all men have inalienable rights to their sanity.
That all men have inalienable rights to their own defence.
That all men have inalienable rights to think freely, to talk freely, to write freely, their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others.
That all men have inalienable rights to the creation of their own kind.
That the souls of men have the rights of men.
That the study of the mind and the healing of mentally caused ills should not be alienated from religion or condoned in non-religious fields.
That no agency less than God has the power to suspend or set aside these rights, overtly or covertly.

And we of the Church believe:
That man is basically good.
That he is seeking to survive.
That his survival depends upon himself and upon his fellows, and his attainment of brotherhood with the Universe.

And we of the Church believe that the laws of God forbid man:
To destroy his own kind.
To destroy the sanity of another.
To destroy or enslave another's soul.
To destroy or reduce the survival of one's companions or one's group.

And we of the Church believe:
That the spirit can be saved and
That the spirit alone may save or heal the body.

It will be seen that all this carries the flavour (plus some of the terminology) of the US Declaration of Independence of 1776; and it would of course be unexceptionable to most people if only because of its vagueness. Whether the vagueness is the product of a vague mind or the sophistry of a devious mind, ready to change (as circumstances require) while maintaining that nothing has changed, may appear in the following chapters. By way of concluding this one, here is an extract from a statement published in the form of a letter to The Observer on 25 August 1968, from Mr David Gaiman, public relations officer to the Church of Scientology at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead. It was written in answer to a critical article the week before by Dr Christopher Evans, author of Twentieth Century Cults (Nelson, 1969). Mr Gaiman explains the condition of being a 'clear' under the dianetic process and of being a 'clear' for the purposes of scientology:

A Dianetic clear [9] was one relieved by Dianetic auditing of engrams sustained during his lifetime. An engram is a mental image-picture of an experience containing pain, unconsciousness and a real or imagined threat to survival: it is a recording in the re-active mind, which works as a stimulus response basis not under the volitional control of the individual, which has actually occurred to the person. These incidents have no command value over a Dianetic clear.

A Scientology clear has no reactive mind. He or she has a high survival and success potential and is more at ease over self and environment than unwilling effect.

I do not know whether that conveys any meaning to you, but it may be an example of the influence exerted by the prose style of L. Ron Hubbard upon disciples who, as the following further extract from Mr Gaiman's letter shows, may be capable of relative literacy when they let go the master's hand and walk by themselves:

It has never been implied that a cleared dustman suddenly becomes an Einstein. ... From a personal viewpoint I am a little bored with the allegation that everyone in Scientology is either neurotic, weak-witted or naive, especially since the mentally and physically ill are not permitted Scientology training and processing (counselling). Scientology is for the able and effective, and from this stratum of society we draw our membership. We are not interested in converting and saving the world; we are interested in being effective. It is easy to make a superficial, sophisticated judgment and state that what is a simple truth is naive. I would bring to your attention that all basic truth is simple. And this fact is far more ancient than Scientology.

And thus we conclude a chapter which has attempted to explain what scientology is all about. Undoubtedly any scientologist would say it is riddled with inaccuracies, though most of it is carefully taken from scientologists' own writings. As a report to the Governor of the State of Victoria said in 1965:

One difficulty which faces anyone concerned to obtain a comprehensive picture of scientology is that since 1956 no attempt has been made to produce a comprehensive and unified thesis on the theories and practices of scientology. ... In the result, there exist in an uncodified or unclassified form tape recordings which are said to contain 30,000,000 words spoken by Hubbard and writings by Hubbard which run into tens of thousands of pages. The Herculean task of reducing to manageable size the content of these Hubbardian emanations must await the labours of a dedicated scientologist with the time, money, capacity and compulsion to undertake such a useless exercise.

If ever it is done, it will not be the work of a dedicated scientologist. It will be the work of a pharisee, and it will probably go on a postcard.


1. Mr Kenneth Robinson, as Minister of Health, stated in the House of Commons on 21 July 1968, that foreign 'students' of scientology would not in future be admitted to this country as students.

2. This must have been Mr Lafayette Ron Hubbard.

3. These are esoterically known as 'Orgs'.

4. The quotation marks are faithfully reproduced.

5. This story is generally refuted by scientologists. Mr David Gaiman in a letter to me says it has 'no foundation in fact'. On the other hand Mr Gaiman said in a letter to The Observer on 25 August 1968 that Dr Evans's 'precised history of the beginnings of Scientology was fairly accurate'.

6. The E-meter has been described by non-scientologist observers as 'a kind of lie-detector', though Hubbard disclaims that that is its purpose. The lie detector (or 'polygraph'), much used in the USA, is sometimes said to be a discredited instrument for detecting liars, but an experience of my own may be of interest at this point. In 1968, as a visitor to the Los Angeles Police Department, I was asked if I would like a session in the 'Polygraph Room'. I readily agreed and sat at a small table with a young police lieutenant, a large and mysterious radio-like cabinet on the table between us. He connected me to this by means of three electrodes: one on my chest to record respiratory changes, one on my biceps for blood pressure, and one on the palm of my hand to record sweat fluctuations. He then gave me a pack of cards to shuffle. Packing the cards again, he said he was going to show me three different cards without looking at them himself, and would like me to commit them to memory. He held up in succession the three of clubs, the queen of spades and the seven of diamonds, and I made careful note of them. He gave me the cards to shuffle again, and said he was going to show me the whole pack one by one, asking me each time whether the card held up was one of the three; the purpose of the exercise being that I was to give at least two false answers. He switched on the machine and we began. I decided to tell half a dozen lies. I said 'yes' to three cards when I should have said 'no' and I denied former acquaintance with the chosen three as they came up. My three electrodes were meanwhile tracing a graph on the machine.

Then he reversed the machine and we watched a 'playback'. Each time my three fairly straight lines reached the point at which I had lied, they all made an unmistakable leap upwards. I was astounded, nettled and slightly suspicious. Why should the thing record any physical effects, I asked, when it was of absolutely no importance to me which cards came up? 'It must have had a bit of importance for you, Mr Rolph,' the lieutenant said. 'That thing doesn't tell any lies.' I remained unconvinced but worried. The worry persists.

7. This was a paid advertisement in a North London newspaper.

8. This seems to be a Hubbard word unknown to the lexicographers, meaning 'in a state of turbulence'.

9. Dianetic clarity seems now to have been superseded by a new form, developed from it by scientology.

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