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Comments on 'The Road to Total Freedom-A Sociological Analysis of Scientology' by Roy Wallis Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. 1976.
In this very well researched analysis Dr. Roy Wallis assembled a wealth of information about the early years of the Church. He also collected the opinions and experiences of many who had broken with the Church up to 1975.
In carrying out a 'sociological analysis' of the development of Dianetics and Scientology, Dr. Wallis comes up with a number of interesting ideas. These may explain to the confused outsider (and some insiders) why the Church has come to operate as it does.
One of these ideas is that Dianetics emerged briefly from what he terms the 'Cultic Mileu'. This is the shadowy area of fringe therapies and practices based on ideas ranging from the mystical to the occult. The ideas within this area are fluid and are constantly being adapted and modified by their supporters. Numerical support is not large for any one set of beliefs and further limited by adherents moving from one idea to another as they become attracted by something new. From time to time an idea or methodology may emerge from the cultic mileu and be taken up by significant numbers of the mainstream population. Usually this happens only briefly. Disillusionment and dissension then set it and the idea is left with only a small following and returns to the cultic mileu. This is what Wallis maintains happened with Dianetics in the early 50's.
Wallis suggests that as a reaction to this, the founder of Dianetics. Ron Hubbard, made a deliberate change in strategy for the successor to Dianetics. This was to develop Scientology as a 'Sect'. Wallis defines a sect as a committed grouping of individuals who give strong support to one idea or group of related ideas and who accept one individual leader as a focus of authority. He compares this process with earlier movements to have established a centralised authoritarian structures, such as Christian Science and the Unity School of Christianity.
Another interesting idea to emerge is that the attacks on the Churches of Scientology by governments, media and medical establishments suit the Church s strategy very well. This hostile climate enables it to justify its centralised control on truth. Questioning of the principles or practice of the Church can be discouraged because of its weakening effect on the movement in the face of attacks from outside. High priority is given to
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solidarity and faith in the wisdom of the charismatic 'leader'.
The continual claiming of overt and covert attacks on the Church also enables it to maintain strict internal discipline on its staff and field members. This takes the form of 'heavy ethics' and leads to periodic purges of those staff and members who have stepped out of line. These dismissals usually include claims that these dissidents were supporting a conspiracy to bring down the Church from within.
Wallis also portrays the Church as a 'bureaucracy'. The Church maintains large numbers of staff in unwieldy bureaucratic structures. Little authority is devolved from the centre, great reliance is put on written rules and procedures and initiative is discouraged by fear of heavy penalties. Thus most of the ingredients exist for an inward looking bureaucracy which most outsiders find very insensitive.
In addition to these interesting ideas, Roy Wallis has also provided a very comprehensive commentary on the Church's interaction with the outside world in his chapter 'Relations with State and Society'. This seemed very fair to both sides. He suggests that vested interests have probably combined to make a scapegoat of the Church for the developments in society that they are not able to control, or even understand. This chapter also includes graphic accounts of the 'dirty tricks' tactics of certain agents of the Church to discredit or embarrass its critics.
As a sociological analysis and carefully researched early history, this book is extremely illuminating. On the matter of whether many individuals have gained significant or lasting benefit from Dianetics and Scientology, Wallis remains sceptical. As to whether the principles and therapies developed and refined by Ron Hubbard have been or could be of benefit to our society, his opinion is of course as valuable as that of any other individual.
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APPENDIX B - SUGGESTED READING AND REFERENCE WORKS
There is a considerable amount of reading material on the subject of Scientology. Anyone wishing to make an extensive study of the movement is recommended to read 'The Road to Total Freedom' by Roy Wallis - Heinemann Education Books 1976. Although it is now out of print, library copies are available.
This book covers the historical and sociological background to the emergence of Dianetics, a detailed history of the early 50's and an outline of the development of the Church up to 1970. It also contains a very extensive list of further reading.
For anyone wishing to introduce themselves to the subject without the burden of too much reading, the best starting point is still 'Dianetics - Modern Science of Mental Health' published for the Church of Scientology by New Era Publications, Copenhagen. As this is quite a long book some readers get disheartened. Part way through it may be helpful to read two shorter works Dianetics Evolution of a Science' and 'Dianetics - The Original Thesis'. Both are by Ron Hubbard and published by New Era Publications.
Moving on to Scientology, the best starting point would be the introductory books assembled from Hubbards writings, such as 'Scientology A New Slant on Life', 'The Creation of Human Ability', 'The Fundamentals of Thought' and 'The Problems of Work'. Also very useful is a self-help manual called 'Self-Analysis'. This contains auditing procedures one can do on oneself and has a very useful introductory section.
Two other useful guides to the practical application of Scientology to everyday life are books by Ruth Minshull. One is 'Miracles for Breakfast' about how one can apply some of these principles in bringing up children. The other is 'How To Choose Your People'. This book helps you to spot people who are likely to upset you and thus enable you to avoid their negative influence. These books were printed in the United States and are now unfortunately out of print. Some libraries have copies, or can obtain them. The publisher was Scientology Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, (not a person but a place) Michigan. If you are unable to get a copy most Scientologists would be willing to lend you their copy.
Mention has been made of 'The Hidden Story of Scientology' by Omar V. Garrison - Arlington Books, London, 1974. This book has been
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described as pro-Scientology. More accurately it seems not to have set out with the obvious intention of being anti-Scientology. Although it is now a bit out of-date, it provides useful background on the conflict between the Church and the psychotherapy establishment and various government bodies in the sixties. It also contains a limited but useful series of references to relevant professional journals and government documents.
A number of audiocassettes that give useful data are available. First one should listen to Ron Hubbard's own. 'The Story of Dianetics and Scientology' was a lecture given by him in 1958. It is available from the Church or most Scientologists would lend you a copy.
A number of other tapes have emerged that give additional information on both Ron Hubbard and the Church. Because their content is mostly not flattering to the popular image of Hubbard or the doings of the Church, they are denounced by the Church. Few people can authenticate their accuracy. The listener must therefore make up his own mind how likely the events related in these tapes are to be true in the light of his own knowledge of what has happened.
The main tapes are the Zegal Tapes, a series of three tapes by Jon Zegal and The Flynn Tapes, by an American lawyer acting for some o the Independent Scientologists. There is also 'The Nibs Tape'. Nibs was the pet name of Ronald de Wolf, the estranged son of Ron Hubbard by his first marriage. At the time of writing copies of these tapes can be obtained from Brian Parker, 69 Queens Road, East Grinstead, W. Sussex, England.
A useful and mostly objective summary of the most recent events in Church in the United States appeared in the Sunday Times Colour Magazine on 28th October 1984.
The most recent addition to the sources of information is a 'Time Track' or chronological record of the documented events relating to Hubbard's life and the development of the movement. This is being assembled by Jon Atack and details can be obtained from 'Reconnection' at the address given in Appendix C.
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APPENDIX C - CONTACT POINTS
To avoid a long list of addresses the main contact points only are given. An approach to any of these should provide up-to-date information on the nearest group, mission or source of published material.
Church of Scientology, Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, West Sussex. 0342-24571.
Advanced Ability Centre, 52 West Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex. 0342-21752.
Reconnection - Journal of the Independent Scientologists, 2 The Close, Copyhold Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex.
Advanced Ability Centre, 39 Shandon Crescent, Edinburgh, Scotland. 031-337 3037.
International Flag Services Organisation Inc. P.O. Box 23751, Tampa, Florida. 33630-3751.
Advanced Ability Centre, 1280 Coast Village Circle, Santa Barbara, Calif 93108. This group produce their own journal six times a year - copies and subscription details from the address above.
Church of Scientology, Jernbanegade 6, 1608 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Independent Scientology, Per Schiottz, Association of Applied Philosophy, Hjortekaersvej 192, 2800 Lyngvy, Denmark.
Church of Scientology, 201 Castleragh, Sydney NSW Australia 2000.
Independent Scientology, John Mace, 29 Norma Road, Myaree 6154 West Australia.
Church of Scientology, Security Building, 95 Commissioner St Johannesburge SA 2001.
Independent Scientology, Regina Dennison, PO Box 30311, Point, Durban, 4069.
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APPENDIX D - Open letter to the Church of Scientology
In writing this book I am well aware that most books written about Scientology without the support of the Church have been attacked by it and frequently subject to legal action.
Despite this I have felt impelled to try to compile an unbiased summary of the factual development of the subject and the Church, from the information sources available.
Where this has involved going beyond the histories published by the Church, I have attempted to quote all my published or recorded sources. Where there is no reference to source it is because I have assembled this information from personal observation and talking to a great many staff and members of the Church over many years.
I have not attempted to pass judgment on the Church or the subjects of Scientology or Dianetics. By providing an unbiased summary of the relevant facts I hope to let readers do that for themselves.
If there are significant factual gaps or inaccuracies I would be pleased to know about them and will incorporate any substantiated corrections into any future editions.
Any opinions that are expressed are my own and clearly identifiable as such. I consider myself up to this time to have been a loyal and dedicated member of the Church.
With best wishes for the task ahead.
THE SAD TALE OF SCIENTOLOGY
By Eric Townsend
Few people have not heard of Scientology but very few can tell you anything about it!
The aim of this book is to separate the ideas of Scientology from the activities of the organisation that was set up to promote the subject, the Church of Scientology.
Scientology covers a group of discoveries and therapies which can help people to get on better and live happier lives. These ideas have at times been pushed into the background by the controversial doings of the Church of Scientology.
This book aims to help people with friends or relatives involved with Scientology and who want some unbiased information to enable them to make an assessment of this subject for themselves.
Eric Townsend was brought up as a Roman Catholic but rejected formal religious beliefs while at University. In middle life he found a need for greater spiritual awareness and fulfillment. After trying a number of avenues he found that Scientology most adequately filled this requirement.
While he has had immense spiritual and practical benefits from Scientology, he does not feel that it is the right way for everyone. However, under-informed public opinion, plus sensationalist press coverage means that many people may reject the subject on inadequate information.
His aim in writing this book is to provide a brief and balanced summary of how the subject has developed. By doing this in a way that tries to be fair to all sides, he hopes that the open- minded reader will have enough information to make a rational decision about whether to take their interest in the subject further or not.
ANIMA PUBLISHING, PO Box 10, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire SK7 2QF, England
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