THE CHURCH IN THE 70's
The setting up of a network of Scientology Churches across the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and Australasia was largely complete by 1972. These Churches came to be known as Orgs. They were run by staff directly employed by the Church. They were equipped to deliver all the necessary auditing steps to get a person to Clear and to train competent auditors. Training as an auditor very much accelerates the speed at which an individual's own state of spiritual awareness can progress so all newcomers to the subject are encouraged to train as Auditors. In addition the Org would provide a range of introductory courses, films and group activities for people new to Scientology.
The Mission programme got started in the 70's. Its aim was to make Scientology available more locally than just major cities. These were geared to provide the basic introductory courses to Scientology and lower levels of auditing and training. Between 1971 and 1977 over 100 Missions were set up in the United States, 30 in continental Europe, and 8 in the UK.
They were run by a Mission Holder who was a Franchisee of the Church. They employed their own staff and were required to charge at least the same for their services as their nearest Org.
The intention was that the Mission would produce a flow of people ready to go to the higher levels of auditing and training at the nearest Org. The Org would in turn provide support, guidance and training to the Mission Holder and his staff. The Org would also assist any other local groups or individual Field Auditors operating in its area.
During this period some necessary consolidation of the written materials of Scientology and Dianetics was done. One of the problems with the rapid growth of the subject was terminology. With Hubbard's emphasis on fully understanding words, it became necessary to produce a Technical Dictionary defining the Scientology and Dianetic terms in regular use. The advances made in Dianetics were assembled and published in Dianetics Today in 1975. A further major advance was a book on applying Scientology in the community to help others. This was the Volunteer Ministers Handbook published in 1976.
Although the Church had its own publishing house in Copenhagen other writers and publishers were not discouraged from producing book on Scientology. One very successful publisher was Scientology Ann Arbor
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of Michigan. They produced some very useful basic Scientology booklets. These dealt with such subjects as Personal Efficiency, Happiness, and Ups and Downs in one's personal state of mind, All these books could be read and applied by someone knowing nothing previously about Scientology.
Another successful contribution came from an author called Ruth Minshull who wrote books about applying Scientology to bringing up children and how to recognise and handle people who could upset you. Other authors wrote books on money management and how to be more successful in daily life. Due acknowledgement was made in all these books to the origin of the principles and it was hoped people who gained benefit from them would then want to know more about Scientology.
One very successful initiative was a comprehensive explanatory book called 'What is Scientology?' published by Scientology Ann Arbor in 1974. So successful was this book that it was taken over and published by the Church from 1978.
All these works were acknowledged by the Church as helpful and were on sale through the network of Orgs and Missions, alongside the many books by Ron Hubbard himself,
During this time the Church became more active in the field of social services. Mention has already been made of the Educational Programme and the programme for the rehabilitation of drug addicts called Narconon,
The 'Citizens Commission on Human Rights' (CCHR) is dedicated to the elimination of psychiatric abuse. It believes that mental patients constitute one of the most oppressed and least represented minority groups across the world. One of its first major successes was in obtaining the release of a Hungarian, Victor Gyory, from a mental hospital in Philadelphia in 1969. He had attempted suicide but spoke little English. He was held against his will, drugged and forcibly given electric shock treatment (which kills part of the brain tissue). The CCHR took his case to court, got leave to get their own medical examination done and got a writ of Habeus Corpus from the courts to release Victor Gyory.
This shows graphically the field that CCHR is addressing itself to. They are not alone in this concern. Two books on the subject are 'Psychiatry in Dissent' by Anthony Clare (Tavistock Publications, London 1980) and 'Limits to Medicine' by Ivan Illich (Pelican, 1984). For many the best insight into the subject is the setting of the story filmed as 'One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest' with Jack Nicholson.
Citizens Commission on Human Rights groups have been set-up in various parts of the world. In 1976 the CCHR played an important role in getting a law passed in California making it a requirement for the patient
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to be informed of the nature of Psychosurgery and Electro-Convulsive treatment (ECT) and for his consent prior to treatment being obtain without duress.
The reasons Scientologists are so concerned by these abuses are, firstly, the irreversible damage done to the brain in psychosurgery may prevent that person ever freeing himself of the mental states that are oppressing him. Secondly, Scientologists believe that there are far more practical and effective methods of dealing with mental problems.
The 'Commitee on Health and Public Safety' (COPHS) was set up with Church support to probe the cost effectiveness of health care. In the United States many individuals do not have health insurance and have to pay heavy medical bills themselves. The costs of treatment and drugs are at least as high in the United States as in the UK, and the effectiveness of drug dependent medical therapy was already being questioned in the early 70's.
The COPHS published details of alternative health care facilities. It also attacked the health care monopoly exercised by the American Medical Association and the pharmaceutical industry. It claims that this alliance works against alternative forms of help such as osteopathy, nutrition analysis and vitamin therapy. Once again the Scientological viewpoint opposed the heavy use of drugs and tranquillisers as being both wasteful and ineffective.
Other areas of social services are the Gerus Society which concerns itself with the conditions in which elderly people are kept in institutions particularly with the heavy use of drugs to keep them quiet. The National Alliance on Alcoholism, Prevention and Treatment (NAAPT) was set up to change the attitude that alcoholism was a psychiatric condition with drug treatment being the only recourse, Also started in this era was CREO (Committee to re-involve Ex-Offenders) and Task Force on Mental Retardation. Both groups aim to shake fixed views on these problems and how they should be handled.
This work to improve the lot of the weaker members of our society expanded in the 70's and was extended from the US to many other countries. However, it was and is quite separate from the network of Orgs and Missions which constitute the Church and does not involve the staff who work for the Church.
The average member of Church staff is encouraged to keep his attention on his job and the affairs of his Org. It may seem that this is because it makes him easier to control but it does increase the chance that he will make some effective contribution to the Church's progress.
Most people who come into brief contact with the Church will
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naturally make their initial assessment based on the people they encounter. If this includes meeting members of the Church staff, then they will inevitably be influenced to some degree by their impression of them. Regrettably, they will too often not form a good initial impression.
The key to understanding how this comes about is the nature of the Church's recruitment policy. Most Church staff are recruited from people passing on the street. The usual method of getting people interested is the 'free personality test'. There is an open-door policy for staff recruitment with very few disqualifications from joining Staff are paid a fixed proportion of the income to their Org. This comes from sales of books, courses, auditing services and training. The proportion of income going to wages does not vary with the number of staff and is thus divided among however few or many there are. Church staffing policy maintains that the more staff you have the more activity will be generated and this will produce increasing revenue. Therefore almost anyone who wants to join the staff can do so.
The method of recruitment and terms of employment offered means that the staff acquired fit a predictable pattern. They are mostly young and unattached. They do not need to maintain a high income and are prepared to put idealism before practical needs. It could be said that they are also impressionable and easily duped. On the other hand they are at least open-minded and willing to see if this new way of thinking and living is actually better.
Inevitably recruits include many who have previously been dropouts from mainstream society. These include those disillusioned with education or traditional social patterns. They are looking for a better way of living, and in Scientology they judge that they have found it. Many of the enthusiastic young recruits run true to their previous form and fade away after a few weeks, but some stay on.
Those that stay beyond the first few months do get some training in both Scientology and doing their jobs. They may also receive some auditing. but not usually much in their first year or two. They are given very specific responsibilities and basic training on how to fulfil them Although training is usually less than it should be, the study methods used are such that they find that maybe for the first time in their lives, they can learn things and take responsibility as a member of a team.
One thing that is worth noting is that the whole organisation genuinely gives Equal Opportunity. Women and blacks hold high positions without it being a matter of any significance. Creches are even provided in the Sea Org for young children.
The major problem for staff members is the tendency towards
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isolation from the outside world. Although some staff members hold ordinary jobs, they tend after a while to drop them in order to work full time in the Church. The jargon of Scientology has almost become a special language, and for many staff members is a comfortable overcoat. Generally they are unable to reduce the subject to simple terms comprehensible to outsiders. As a result they inevitably distance themselves from family and friends.
The problems of opening up the subject of Scientology to people who know nothing about it concerned Ron Hubbard, and he wrote a lot about it. Unfortunately the solutions he produced were only partial and not very simple. The average staff member thus retires into the smaller world of people who already understand the subject and where he can communicate comfortably.
The staff in the Org are strongly motivated to get results. Hubbard was the classic scientific manager. Every job should have its quantifiable results and those should be measured regularly. Scientific management may have been reappraised in recent years by large centralised multi- nationals but not yet in the Church of Scientology. The Church is an extremely centralised organisation. There is a regular flow of communication both ways. However, while the flow from the centre is management orders and filtered information, the upwards flow is largely of statistical results.
There is no opportunity for worker participation in the running of the Church. Almost all the actions taken in an Org are laid down in management policy and they are done in the same way in Milwaukee and Munich. There is little scope for local initiative and few Church executives have the experience or confidence to pit their judgment against 'policy'. Too often therefore executives stick to the book, repeating actions they have seen fail already, but at least confident that they cannot be accused of being 'off-policy'.
By the end of the seventies, the Church was probably becoming top heavy. There was a steady flow of people up through the Church's organisation to the central management and administrative departments. Any staff member in a local Org could move him or herself up at anytime by volunteering for the Sea Org, which still continued its separate existence even after the demise of the ships. There was a continual hunger for people in the Sea Org. Assuming one met the minimal qualifications for the Sea Org one could get in, and their recruiters were always on the look-out for likely talent.
The Sea Org by now had taken over operations of the more prestigious delivery points. Saint Hill Advanced and Foundation Orgs were
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taken over by them in 1970.
Many Executive Directors of local Orgs must have had the disheartening experience of sending a good staff recruit to Saint Hill for training, only to find he had been persuaded to join the Sea Org. This would mean that he would become a staff member at the Saint Hill Org, or be moved into an administrative job, or taken into FOLO (Flag Organisation Liaison Office). So big did Saint Hill become that FOLO was pushed out and acquired premises at Rottingdean on the south coast.
The organisational structure designed by Hubbard for running the Church was well balanced and potentially very effective. Like all large organisations however, it does not seem proof against empire building executives and bureaucracy. Highly trained Sea Org members were used on central administrative functions and there was little use made of them to support the local Orgs. More usually Sea Org members are seen only on flying visits, known as 'Missions'. These are intended to sort out lack of results in a particular Org, or to try to sell services for the Org where those Sea Org members are based.
The other area that seemed to have lost its original sense of purpose was the Guardians Office. It had got itself more involved in legal battles, many with governmental bodies, than ensuring that whole structure was efficiently delivering 'Standard Tech' and operating 'On Policy'. The extent of this battling with government can be judged by the raid carried out by the FBI on the Churches in Washington DC and Los Angeles in 1977. Many documents were seized in these raids though some were returned by court order.
These events may be connected with the subsequent prosecutions of a number of members of the Guardians Office, including Mary Sue Hubbard, Ron's third wife. At all events Mary Sue Hubbard and her co- defendants were tried and admitted guilt to various charges of theft of materials from government offices. They were sentenced to periods of imprisonment of one to four years each in 1981.
Thus the 1970's represent a period when significant progress was made by the Church in establishing Scientology as a beneficial movement for humanity. Its setbacks were mostly of its own making and it seemed unable or unwilling to extricate itself from the courts.
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