Social Control in Scientology, by Bob Penny  -- prevToCnext

But I Thought You Cared about Your Children...

The salesman gets the prospect saying yes. Once the prospect establishes a pattern of agreeing, he is divested of his objections in small increments, each not unacceptable in itself, until finally he must either accept the close or awkwardly contradict what he apparently agreed to before. If the prospect still resists, the salesman then can accuse him of betrayal, of leading him on, of wasting his time, and attempt to shame the prospect into the close: "But I thought you cared about your children...."

The salesman gets agreement on a sufficient number of apparently innocuous points to covertly define the terms of the discussion (the rules of the game, the agenda) in a manner that permits only one outcome.

Scientology asserts a distinction between the spiritual being that is really you (good) and your case, which is the composite of all sources of irrational conduct (bad), and that only Scientology can know which is which and free the spiritual being from its case. Suppose for the moment that you really want to better yourself and others, and that you have gone along with this thus far.

What happens now, when you find agreement with whatever the registrar wants from you validated as really you (good) and any other of your interests and values ruthlessly invalidated and attacked as just case (bad) on the basis of the supposedly expert knowledge of the Scientologist? Suppose you were reluctant to mortgage your home or company, or trash your children's college savings to purchase Scientology services. "But I thought you wanted spiritual freedom...."

Of course this is logically absurd, but it is nonetheless a cognitive trap that has nailed many people.

Any sale results in the person getting on course, being "connected up," his "body in the shop" exposed to group influence.

Look Only Where I Tell You to Look

Scientology presents itself to the public as a dedicated group of concerned people trying to help. The Scientologist might talk about how children do better in school if they look up misunderstood words in a dictionary (as though that notion was anything peculiar to Scientology). This is the stage magician's trick of misdirection -- he can make you see what he wants you to see if he can get you to look only where he wants you to look. In addition to this misdirective attempt to identify Scientology as consisting of one or a few acceptable concepts, contrast with criminals or drug dealers may be used to argue what a beneficial thing Scientology is by comparison. Note what happens if you add none of the above to the artificially restricted choices offered by the salesman.

Key words, such as "communication," "drugs," "education," "management," "religion," "freedom," etc., are buttons used to attract and direct attention. By attacking opponents of the cult as soft on drugs, against education, and so on, Scientology attempts to:

Once one responds to a button, the first introduction to Scientology, such as a Dianetics lecture or Communications course, is generally pleasant, sociable, non-threatening and in some way useful or seemingly so. The perspective jolt of new viewpoints may be exciting and somewhat liberating in itself. The staff group's morale is high and contagious, somewhat like that of a theater company whose members similarly share the task of presenting a special reality to the straight world. It is easy to say yes and go along with what is happening.

This is salesmanship of membership -- not of the ostensible purpose or activity -- but of belonging to a group.

Scientology's agenda begins with the fact of membership -- a matter handled as routine upon starting any activity with the group. The person who came in for a Communications Course suddenly becomes a member of something. He has joined something. He has, by whatever means and however naively, been persuaded to accept a new label and role with consequences as yet unforeseen -- but this is not what you are supposed to look at or notice.

One learns, in the Scientology environment, that he is either a Scientologist or a wog, a derogatory and racist term used to refer to non-Scientologists, defined as a person who isn't even trying. That is the real curriculum and message.

The fact of membership -- then, of having taken a course or participated in any way -- is asserted by registrars and others as evidence of commitment, often greater than the person ever understood or intended, to compel deeper participation which then can be used as evidence of deeper commitment, and so on. "You are loyal to your friends, aren't you?"

One might be asked, "What could be more important than starting your next course?" Any answer at all to such questions gives the registrar some area of meaning and value in the person's life -- anything that might compete with the priority of membership -- to invalidate and knock out of the way. Through this "take a mile if he gives an inch" sales technique, the proselyte continuously is asserted to be more and more deeply committed to the group, so that he must either say yes and take another small step forward (then rationalize having done so), or disagree and create a significant upset. Small non-upsetting steps are usually the path of least resistance.

Take a Mile If He Gives an Inch

The idea of "gradients," or steps, is espoused in Scientology as the way to "handle" something in an orderly, step-by-step manner. In actuality, this concept becomes justification for deception. For example, the new proselyte is not told about Hard Sell because that would be "out gradient."

One who encounters "out gradient" material -- for example, by witnessing Hard Sell used on another -- is belittled and invalidated by being said to have "not cognited yet," and treated like an immature schoolchild having trouble figuring it out. The implication is that when he grows up a little more he will come to agree with the use of coercion and become more skilled at understanding deception.

Training courses are the usual introductory service (start of the gradient) sold to "raw meat." Training for life involves the same courses as training for the "profession" of auditor.

The rationale is that one needs auditor training to "handle" life. In doing the Communications Course, for example, or another common introductory course called the Hubbard Qualified Scientologist (HQS) Course, one comes to discover that he has thereby embarked upon auditor training.

By the time he has completed the introductory course the new member will have spent enough time with the group to have become somewhat accepting of, or at least familiar with, the idea of becoming an "auditor."

Thus he is sold another new label and role, and becomes subject to additional expectations and demands by the group. Now he must complete his auditor training and then audit. The latter is commonly done by joining staff, and so it goes.

Regardless of his original purpose, the new group member is expected to believe that this new profession exists and possesses a legitimate body of knowledge. And it is easy: one can become a valuable and skilled person wholly in group terms, without having to deal at all with outside standards of accomplishment.

That initial course begins the softening-up process by which the proselyte is introduced and gradually acclimated to the actual agenda of Scientology; i.e., this is his introduction to what really is being sold.

The first pages of all Scientology courses are a policy letter called "Keeping Scientology Working" from which I quote:

When somebody enrolls, consider he or she has joined up for the duration of the universe never permit an "open minded" approach. If they're going to quit let them quit fast. If they enrolled, they're aboard, and if they're aboard, they're here on the same terms as the rest of us -- win or die in the attempt. Never let them be half-minded about being Scientologists.... The whole agonized future of this planet, every Man, Woman and Child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology.

One could walk out, but in most cases the habits of social cooperation suspend response to the unreality of this inexplicable diatribe.

One cooperatively continues along the gradient, hoping that whatever this may turn out to mean, it will be sane and acceptable.

The person who thought he was taking a Communications course thus unknowingly grants some degree of complicity to a different agenda which has as its goal making him a group member above all else, and an auditor, and signing him up for the duration of the universe. That apparently innocuous membership begins to acquire quite a different meaning, but group pressures keep him playing along until he gets used to it and thoroughly trapped.

The person was persuaded to "say yes" and agree that his being here has to do with caring about his children, spiritual growth, or something of undeniable value -- a hope and commitment he cannot deny. So he goes on.

Education, business, and drug rehabilitation are areas infiltrated in this manner, to covertly introduce the agenda of Scientology through activities which apparently have other purposes. This is illustrated by a student at the Delphian School (reported in The Delphian, Issue XXIV, 1989, p.7), who wrote, "it took a lot of effort from everybody here ... to help me understand that this was the right group for me." That student indeed got the message.

Remember the Hard Sell concept of truth: anything that will undermine the mark's position and obtain compliance with the "ethical" actions that will bring in More Money to Scientology. Apply that to the concept of "gradients" and what do you get? The New York Times, July 17, 1989, discussed a Narconon facility planned near Newkirk, Oklahoma:

Townspeople say that Narconon has not been honest about its links to Scientology, its financing, its medical credentials, and its plans for the project.... Narconon officials denied any connection to Scientology until confronted with a Scientology magazine article titled, "Trained Scientologists to Staff Huge Oklahoma Facility."

The truth would have been "out gradient" for the poor wogs of Newkirk. In the same way, other Scientology front groups conceal their real agenda.

A Sea Org (Scientology) magazine, High Winds, Issue 9, 1989, refers to the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE) working to boom Scientology through its use and dissemination into businesses. It also refers to the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE),

... where the many vital social programs using LRH's technology are administered. One such program which receives guidance from ABLE is Narconon....

Another is the Delphian School.

In Other Words... (a summary)

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