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The Mind Benders, Scientology

by Cyril Vosper

11. Promotion

"Be a Scientologist."

"Buy a book."

"Get trained."

"Attend ...", "Join ...", "Go to ...", "Take ...", "Come to ...".

The advertising of Scientology services does not credit its audience with much intelligence.

"Don't be reasonable", Hubbard has said and the advertising is duly unreasonable.

Also it is often incomprehensible, facile, boring, boastful (always), tasteless, inaccurate, uninformative, absurd, hypocritical, pretentious, undiscerning, rude, sugary, ludicrous, self-centred, blatant, overdone, unimaginative, in fact, fairly typical of all advertising.

Scientology promotion is churned out in vast quantities.

A sadly comic reflection though it may he on the discernment and judgement of we humans, advertising works when it ignores any faint glimmerings of intelligence on the part of its audience, when it is unreasonable, when it boasts and goes in for some of the more unattractive of human traits and when it repeats all of these things, over and over again, to the point of a mind-bending mental conditioning.

Non-Scientology advertising men - are they truly men in the Homo sapiens sense or are they alien invaders from some distant star out to reduce us to mindless jelly before their saucer-shaped battle fleets arrive? - justify their presence in human society by the claim to be necessary for economic health.

Scientology does not justify its promotional methods with any such trivial excuse. Humans need to be forced to be free. They need to be taken out of themselves, painfully if necessary. They need to be expanded beyond the confines of their shallow and meaningless lives. If that means doing a hard sell on them, beating them mercilessly with mostly unwanted and incomprehensible words, then that is how it must be done. No one has ever claimed this to be a perfect world and for the good of mankind's everlasting soul, it is necessary to give him a very hard time so that he will be able to enjoy the good time to follow. It is the so-delightful-and-refreshing-when-one-stops-banging-one's-head-against-the-wall sort of reasoning.

If ever there is an accurate history of the twentieth century written in the future - and if Scientology gains the upper hand it is doubtful if historians will exist let alone accurate historians or even a future - Scientology will surely gain recognition, amongst its many other remarkable features, for having brought human ideals, philosophy, religion and wisdom to the status of a Baked Bean. For that is the status of the most sought for goals of humanity in the eyes of L. Ron Hubbard.

Packaged truth; merchandised wisdom; hard sell sanity with a five per cent discount; sexy birds smiling invitingly over the top of an E-meter; "Ron's Journal 1968" a brand leader; maximised shelf-space for Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health; give away offers; special discounts for just YOU; "six months' free membership for your name and address"; Extra; New; FREE; convenient; "try our free course"; money back guarantee; easy; bold type faces; screaming invitations; "Don't give your prospect a choice - tell him!" - the whole gamut of modern marketing, salesmanship and advertising. To Hell with the customer: get his money.

It goes without saying that Scientology improves the effective impact of anything yet seen in the way of illustration and product presentation. Your actual advertising agency, for all its market research statistics, depth analyses, psychological motivational research, subliminal sexual titillation and the rest of that ponderous jazz, does not have the key to 300-odd trillions of years of what makes the cosmos go round.

In his researches into the OT III materials, Hubbard came across a reputed 10,000 mental image pictures which, if seen by anyone not yet at the level of being an OT III, have a truly remarkable effect. They are magical. They apparently engender an uncontrollable desire in anyone looking at them to have them. They bring peace, quietude and serenity. They make people feel happy. Because of this remarkable feature, Hubbard had the brilliant idea that if these pictures could be reproduced on the jackets of his books, people would be so keen to look at them, they would buy the books. This demonstrates, if further proof were necessary, Hubbard's good will towards all men. He doesn't keep these pictures to himself, but graciously allowed them to be displayed for all to see on the covers of his books.

Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health, first published in 1950, and one of the world's best sellers in its field, has a full-colour illustration on its dust-jacket of a volcano erupting, complete with huge fiery rocks hurtling into the sky, lava cascading down the mountainside and a general impression of nature at its most virulent disregard for peace and harmony. You can almost hear the mind-shattering roar.

At the other extreme, The Phoenix Lectures, derived from the curriculum of the Phoenix, Arizona, Professional Scientology Course in July, 1954, has a picture of a Christian cleric with distinguished white hair and a Walt Disney expression of peace humanity and good will, dressed in maxi-length black habit and with a silver crucifix around his neck. His arm is around an inscrutable Chinese gentleman. This caricature of Confucius crossed with Lao-Tse has an extremely long left arm - his fingertips would easily reach below his knees - is dressed in a blue-green flowing robe, clutching a long staff in his right hand, has a black hat on his head, and disporting one of those long white beards that denote patience and wisdom of the Eastern variety. Presumably this peculiar picture is meant to signify that Scientology is a unifier between Eastern and Western philosophies, though what Chairman Mao's thoughts would be on the whole thing is open to speculation.

Scientology: the Fundamentals of Thought, Scientology 8-80 and The Findings - on the U.S Food and Drug Agency display the head of a hirsute and venerable old gentleman. For The Findings, this head has been placed incongruously on the shoulders of a judge-like figure sitting at a bench. The effect is startling and hilarious. The other two books have "Scientology is here to rescue you" written under this illustration. Many people on seeing this drawing assume it to be L. Ron Hubbard who is portrayed, but it is not.

Problems of Work shows a colossal black figure of a man towering about mountains in the distance. The Evolution of a Science shows three men in white spacesuits loading cardboard boxes into a spaceship. Child Dianetics shows something along the lines of a black and white wire-haired terrier staring reflectively from the front cover. Science of Survival shows a solitary, leafless, windswept tree against a desert background.

Scientology: A New Slant on Life displays a muscular male figure hanging from a cross. At first this may be taken to imply some connection with the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth but on closer inspection it can be seen that the nails go through the unfortunate man's elbows.

How to Save Your Marriage - which is a particularly depressing title as well as a derisory and worthless exposition of Hubbard's opinions on marriage and children - shows the stern features of a young reclining woman in profile and the pudgy and neckless head and shoulders of a twelve to eighteen months old curly-haired baby, all surrounded by a gold ring.

Presumably there are a good many more of these pictures to come. Richard Gorman is the artist of these immensely forgettable pictures. He submits the roughs for the pictures to Hubbard for approval. Therefore whether it is Gorman or Hubbard who is finally responsible for the lack of even elementary draughtsmanship and the weak colouring is not known.

Perhaps it is the irrelevance of most of the pictures to the contents of the books they grace that is the attraction, for since these new covers have been introduced, since about mid-1967, sales of Scientology books are claimed to have risen markedly. This is probably explained more accurately by the fact that there was, in 1968, a hard-sell programme introduced to place Scientology books in retail outlets throughout the world. Previously, Scientology books had been sold directly from the bookstores of every Scientology organisation or through mail order.

With the new sales programme, it was felt that status could be achieved for the books and Scientology generally by placing them in every bookshop and quite often all sorts of other shops. Every staff member of every organisation in the world was given a suitcase full of books and told to place them in every retail outlet in a specified area. For normal sales there was a 33 1/3 per cent discount from recommended retail prices; for quantity sales to important outlets - the major bookshops in cities and towns, multiple retailers like W. H. Smith & Sons or John Menzies - a discount of up to 40 per cent could be allowed. If these methods proved impossible, small stocks could be left on a sale or return basis. The staff member cum salesman was given a maximum of three days to dispose of his books through the trade, or be assigned a Condition of Liability. It worked; sometimes with hilarious results, but it worked.

A frail lady of about sixty, staggered about Sutton and Cheam, a south-west suburb of London, with her case of books and managed to place a few in a BUTCHER'S shop. Such superlative saleswomanship should not go without recognition.

A Scientology book is the policy-approved means of introduction for a newcomer to Scientology. Beyond the fact that his books contain the unsullied word of the Master, L. Ron Hubbard's books let the purchaser in for the main promotional activity of Scientology. Buy a book and you become a NEW NAME. Your name and address is added to the Addressograph plates of your nearest organisation. A file is opened in the Central Files in Dissemination Division II, with as much personal information in it as possible. Address stickers derived from the plates of all the Addressograph installations throughout the world are used to mail The Auditor - the tabloid monthly journal of Scientology. These same plates are used for weekly local mailings of advertising blurb, such as the announcement of a new book, a local Scientology Congress, a lecture tour by John McMaster or some other notable Scientologist, New EXTRA 100 per cent Standard training or processing developed especially with "the English CASE" in mind by L. Ron Hubbard (he seems to think there is something particularly peculiar about "the English case", so do most other people) or to promote any brand leader. The plates are also used for mailings to specific groups, such as those people who have not taken professional training and who are urged, or rather given an unarguable Tone 40 command, to GET TRAINED (it can only be a matter of time before OR ELSE is added to these commands).

The Central Files folder is used by Letter Registrars to send personal letters to everyone in the record. These letters are not the photo-litho reproductions of set letters and signatures favoured by mail order firms and sometimes euphemistically described as "A personal letter from the Chairman, Mr. Z. William Winklebaum". Letter Registrar letters are individually written or typed to YOU, with but You in mind and sneakily try to make You think You are something more than a name on a file.

"Dear John,

How are you getting on, John?

I would love to hear from you soon, John.

You are important to me, you know. I want you to get on the Road to Total Freedom right now, John.

Write to me soon and let me know when we can look forward to seeing you here, the best possible place for you to be. Right here among all these beautiful Clears and beautiful people all helping themselves to make the world a better place.

With all my love,
Letter Registrar, Clear No.: 12345."

Or, less gushing but equally unlikely, is the following letter from the Advance Organisation for the United Kingdom, in Edinburgh, sent to someone who has repeatedly stated in letters to the various Scientology organisations that she has no possible interest in Scientology:

, , March 1970

Dear ___,

How have things been for you in 1970?

At AOUK we offer higher levels of awareness and ability.

If you have any questions or comments, do write.

I'd certainly like to hear from you.

My best wishes,
Alex Macrae
(for) Bill Wood
Letter Registrar.

All hand-printed in blue ballpoint in a very untidy and immature script.

Insincere though these letters may be in the main - after all they are written to all and sundry and the only justification is that the recipient must have bought a book - they work in a sufficient number of cases to make the Letter Registrar operation a highly successful one. It does personalise the Scientologist's contact with his local organisation. Until the end of 1967 when Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex, was the world centre for Scientology training and processing, it had a remarkable effect on someone living in the backblocks of Queensland, Australia or Vancouver, Canada - the far-flung outposts of the Scientology Empire - to receive a bright and breezy letter of hope and encouragement from the mystic centre of all Scientology. These letters also have the practical advantage that the prospective customer of Scientology can refer his problems or queries to an actual person rather than to an impersonal organisation. Hubbard has laid great stress upon the function of the Letter Registrar as THE most important single promotional activity after selling books. It is comparatively cheap and highly effective in persuading people to act rather than to simply think of acting. A Letter Registrar is rarely successful at persuading someone to take a stronger interest in Scientology but is highly effective in persuading those who have a strong interest to put their interest into practical form. Amongst the instructions followed by a Letter Registrar is to ignore or make light of real world difficulties.

Someone could, reasonably, reply saying that they had a house, job, family, etc., in Wellington, New Zealand, and they could not see their way to throwing all of this over to spend a year in England on Scientology courses, much as they might like to. A Letter Registrar would be criminally "Off Policy" to agree that these difficulties looked insurmountable. Instead she must take the view that his difficulties are basically motivated by the Reactive Mind. No matter how good his life seems now, it will be anything from ten to one hundred times better once he has some Scientology courses under his belt and it is his duty for the sake of the survival of the human race to get to England, post haste, and start pitching it with all these beautiful and worthy Scientologists. "Do it for me", the Letter Registrar might well say, and an astonishing number of people do.

Each letter written by a Letter Registrar must be uniquely addressed to that individual. Form letters or paragraphs are shunned. In at least one instance, a Committee of Evidence was convened with a Letter Registrar as "Interested Party", to determine whether form wordings had been used in her outgoing letters. Because of the difficulty of writing a letter, with an adequately personal slant, to someone who has only bought one book, questionnaires are used a good deal to try to determine what the individual's goals in Scientology are. These questionnaires ask "How did you learn about Scientology?", "On which aspects of Scientology would you like more information?" "Have you had any training in Scientology?" and so on, as well as questions about age, marital status, occupation. The individual who sends this back in good faith, indicating, for instance, that he has not had any Scientology training, will soon be bombarded by letters and leaflets telling him to GET TRAINED.

The great bulk of material of a promotional nature which flows from every Scientology organisation is not designed to be educational about Scientology. If one wants to be educated there are books, tape-recordings, long playing records and courses. These, and auditing, are what make the money. The organisations of Scientology headed by The Church of Scientology, of California, Inc., are non-profit-making organisations. All income is distributed according to a set formula between wages, running expenses, property and promotion. There are no dividend receiving stockholders - Hubbard has claimed Scientology to be the only mankind betterment movement with no vested interest pressure groups - and despite the constant accusation by press and television commentators that Hubbard has made himself a multi-millionaire from Scientology, it is probably impossible to distinguish between which funds are his personally and which belong to the organisations. Various guesstimates have been made as to the money he has made out of Scientology, anything between $5,000,000 and $30,000,000 - he was reported in the Daily Mail to have $7,000,000 in LRH Personal Account No.: 272'893·2 in the Pictet Bank, Geneva - though Hubbard's claim, believed by all Scientologists, is that he inherited a large fortune in oil-yielding land in Montana. He has also gaily claimed to be a director or shareholder of some 200 U.S. Corporations, the names of most of which he cannot remember. He bought the buildings and thirty-five acres comprising the Saint Hill Manor estate from the Maharaja of Jaipur in 1959 for £14,000. During the following ten years various additional buildings were erected, including the Chapel, the Lower Hall and the Castle, and the whole lot, sold as a going concern and including "goodwill", was sold to the Scientology organisation in residence, The Hubbard College of Scientology, for a reported £100,000, some time during 1969-70.

In an article entitled Why Feel Guilty? which appeared in Coronet magazine in 1969, Hubbard states: "Concerning my critics: I am accused of making a fortune from Dianetics and Scientology. Yet over $13,000,000 of unpaid royalties and moneys owed to me I foregave and let be spent on helping Man." I can only reply: "Maybe so; but how much did he take if he can forgive $13,000,000?"

The major point though is that the very nature of the structure of Scientology makes it impossible to determine Hubbard's financial situation. Saint Hill Manor was not only the international centre for Scientology until about 1967, but was also Hubbard's home. Presumably, maids and butler, food and cars, ponies for his children, rates and electricity were paid for by the Scientology organisation. Now that he lives on the Sea Org., a fleet of yachts and ships with hundreds of Scientologists as crew, servants, cooks, shoe-polishers, etc., he, again, would have little need for actual money.

If Hubbard has not made a large personal fortune out of Scientology, he certainly should have done. He has developed a commercially viable system almost entirely from his own genius and efforts and, whether his methods have been always beyond reproach or not, he is fully entitled to take his rewards. If he places a price of £3,500 plus for anyone to participate in his ideas and these people are prepared to pay it, then it is their decision - caveat emptor.

The promotional techniques used may smack of unprofessionalism, they may shock the tender sensibilities of those who feel "truth" to be beyond commercial exploitation, yet Hubbard, with a typical disregard for the opinions of others, has used proven methods of marketing and advertising to sell his product. Scientology is changing the entire outlook of the human species and is reformulating the structure of human society. It is not purely a religion for belief and faith but a technologically oriented method of changing people. To do this with the optimum result requires stringent control, a precise and orderly organisation and money - lots of it. On libel suits alone, Scientology must spend thousands of pounds every year - at one point there were over forty libel suits against newspapers in the United Kingdom. Hubbard stresses the idea that Scientology is in a state of siege against the powers of destruction and evil in the world. Scientology is pure truth and integrity; all else is reactive aberration. This justifies high prices and produces, as a bonus, that "holier than thou and we're the top 10 per cent of the world's population" attitude of Scientologists.

Scientology promotion works. Hubbard has stated that the membership of his organisations is doubling each year; probably exaggerated, since by 1982 the entire population of the world, plus a few million Martians and Venusians, would be members at this rate. David Gaiman, the Scientology spokesman, was reported in the Daily Telegraph of 19.5.1969: "Despite the ban on students from abroad, Scientology in Britain is recruiting more than 100 members a week." Even if these figures are exaggerated, there are over 200 students on the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course in Los Angeles and this is one of the senior training courses in the entire range and takes approximately four months to complete: over 5,000 Scientologists attend the weekly Clear declaration presentations in Los Angeles; there are some forty Scientology organisations dotted around the world as well as probably 200 semi-official Franchise Centres; the worldwide membership is claimed to be 5,000,000 as of 1970; if only 1 per cent of this total takes its training and processing all the way, it represents a staggering £175,000,000 income; from my observations of conversion from mild interest to active participation on the part of Book Buyers, it is reasonable to expect an incredible 8-10 per cent which would delight any non-Scientology mail order operation, and represents a total near to £2,000,000,000 income over the next few years. Hubbard once told me that more money could be made from Scientology than anything else. If these predictions are wildly exaggerated and assuming that, with this sort of money, Scientology will be able to expand more rapidly in future, then it makes General Motors, Standard Oil, IBM, Dupont and the national budgets of the majority of countries look like very small operations.

It also makes governmental actions to try to stop or restrict Scientology, such as in the State of Victoria, Australia, where Scientology is banned (although it is now claimed that a Scientology organisation is flourishing in Melbourne under the direction of John Bellmaine); such as the one-man governmental enquiry being conducted by Sir John Poster in London; such as the Food and Drug Agency legal actions taken unsuccessfully against the advertising and descriptions of the Hubbard E-meter in Washington, D.C.; such as the Republic of South Africa's Commission of Enquiry appointed in Pretoria by Dr. Carel de Wet, Minister of Health, on February 2nd, 1969 to investigate Scientology, described as "a cancer, like communism, which could destroy South Africa"; the growth of Scientology makes these attempts seem half-hearted and very much too late. Add to these the fact that Scientology is a truly pan-national movement not subject to any laws except its own and actions taken by individual nations, even if they can dredge up any instances of proven illegality, can only hinder in a small degree the forward progress of the movement. It also makes martyrs: see Kangaroo Court: an Investigation into the Conduct of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology, Melbourne, Australia - a swingeing rebuttal of the charges and findings which led to Scientology being banned in the State of Victoria and subsequent government actions being taken in the States of Western and South Australia; The Findings: on the US Food and Drug Agency, mentioned earlier and citing instances of the FDA's "Big Brother" operations; and A Report on the Conference of Health Ministers - a strange document with a large red "SECRET" printed on the front which claims to report on the meeting of the Health Ministers of the Australian States in Darwin, 1968, and suggests that there is a Smersh-like conspiracy against Scientology in Australia.

Scientology promotion works because it uses the proven methods of advertising. Its product is health, wealth, beauty, superiority and everlasting life. Its "salesmen" - meaning every Scientologist, and he carries his "product" in his smiling, confident and aggressive attitude to life - are totally convinced of their own rightness. Any criticism must always seem like petty fault-finding. Theirs is the right. They know where others doubt. They are unstoppable.

Such conviction, backed up with modern marketing techniques, cannot help but produce results. Hubbard has stated that Scientology will best gain support in those areas in which older standards are eroded. It will step in to substitute the older order.

Scientology may seem to be a too highly sophisticated system of beliefs to gain wide acceptance but because of the ultra-simplicity of its message, the material spoken of in its promotional literature, the newcomer to Scientology does not learn much of the underlying message for some time.

As a religion, it contains a more rational story than other beliefs.

As a science, it seems to be based upon statistical evidence of overwhelming substance.

As a way of life, it claims, with a good deal of evidence, to be better than any other.

BUT as an appeal to the hopes and dreams of the plain man, it takes over where communism and socialism have failed. It offers not just welfare and security but mental and spiritual superiority. It is a new and exciting appeal.

When Coca-Cola advertise, they show happy, virile CLEARS. When some firm wants to sell its dried mashed potato, it shows happy CLEAR children munching away with sparkling eyes as their adoring and CLEAR parents laughingly munch away too, in a bright CLEAR world. All of them are super-people.

Scientology promotion promises "YOU TOO CAN BE A SUPER-PERSON".

You can be a CLEAR!

[ Chapter Ten | Table of Contents | Chapter Twelve ]