Satan's Power

by William Sims Bainbridge

From Fri Nov 24 03:20:37 EST 1995
Article: 132798 of alt.religion.scientology
From: (Ron Newman)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: William Sims Bainbridge on CoS Training Routines (TRs) (REPOST)
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 1995 02:20:30 -0500
Organization: CYBERCOM Internet Services  (617) 396-0491
Lines: 198
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[Note to a.r.s. old hand: this is a repost of a book excerpt that 
 I have posted several times before.  -- Ron N.]

"Satan's Power", by William Sims Bainbridge (University of California Press, 1978) is a largely sympathetic sociological description of a short-lived cult called the Process Church, which could be considered a splinter group from Scientology. The author actually joined the Process cult and was a participant/observer for several years. Before that, Bainbridge also spent 6 months as a participant/observer in Scientology itself.

In a rather silly attempt to protect the privacy of the people he studied, his book used pseudonyms, not just for the individuals, but also for the names of the cults. In his book, Scientology is "Technianity", L. Ron Hubbard is "Gordon Rogers", and The Process Church is "The Power Church".

The two founders of the Process Church met in an auditor/client relationship while both were active in Scientology. I'll pick up Bainbridge's narrative here.

[ on page 32 ]

"Because they doubted Rogers and because they were intelligent, exploring individuals, Kitty and Edward chafed at the rigid system of therapy demanded by their superiors. One of Rogers' favorite slogans, simultaneously a boast and a demand, is `100% Standard Tech!' This means, Technianity's spiritual technology is to be followed exactly, without the slightest variation. Kitty was especially anxious to experiment in the sessions she ran, changing the questions slightly or departing from the established order of procedures. Edward says he was less inventive than she at first, but both of them wanted the freedom to try out their own ideas. They did not want to be mere robots in Rogers' science fiction world.

"The doubt and constraint they felt in Technianity became focused when Kitty discovered to her immense anger that the session rooms were bugged. She accused her superiors of listening in on her sessions through hidden microphones. If they were in fact doing this, it was to make sure that she and other therapists performed correctly and gave their clients 100% Standard Tech. There had been no complaints about her or Edwsard. Both of them were considered excellent therapists. They felt the bugging was an invasion of their privacy which neither of them could accept. They left Technianity, according to Edward parting amicably with the Technianity organization."

[ pages 204-206 ]

Several activities [of the Process Church] were clearly derived from Technianity, although the meaning given to them and the exact procedures were changed radically. Examples include: Acceptance, Reflexes, Articulation, and Acknowledgment.

The first was derived from the very basic Technianity exercise TR-0 (Training Routine Zero), in which one is instructed to sit for up to two hours, motionless, unresponsive, eyes glued on the eyes of another student who is sitting three feet away, following the same instructions, gazing back. TR-0 trains a student to "be there". In 1961, Gordon Rogers wrote, "Anything added to BEING THERE is sharply flunked by the coach. Twitches, blinks, sighs, fidgets, anything except just BEING THERE is promptly flunked, with the reason why. Patter: Student coughs. Coach: `Flunk! You coughed. Start.'" The Training Routines involved very strict discipline.

A second part of TR-0 was called "bull baiting." The student sits in the catatonic immobility of TR-0, and the coach tries to make him react against his will. Rogers says, "This TR should be taught rough-rough-rough and not left until the student can do it. Training is considered satisfactory at this level only if the student can BE three feet in front of a person without flinching, concentrating or confronting with, regardless of what the confronted person does."

In theory, the student is said to be vulnerable at certain points, to have "buttons" which if pressed will make him react. Sensitivity about being overweight, for example, may cause the person to blush when his fat is poked. These psychological buttons are to be found and "flattened." Sometimes, it seemed to me, the student himself was flattened by bull baiting. At the very least, this and the other TRs are successful in flattening the affect of the student, reducing his emotional responsiveness and his emotional resistance to control by Technianity.

TR-0 could also produce an altered state of consciousness. One time I did it with a young man from Kentucky, an English teacher I happened to like. We sat staring at each other for two hours, which is 120 minutes, which is 7,200 seconds. A long time to stare into someone's face, allowed to breathe and blink occasionally, but never look away, never smile or fidget. Afterward my partner exclaimed excitedly that he had seen me change before his very eyes! I had become different persons -- a savage with a bone through my nose, then a decayed corpse covered with filth and cobwebs. He was sure these were glimpses of my previous incarnations. Everyone in the Technianity center was pleased and complimented him on his perceptions. His interpretations fitted the cult's ideology exactly.

I did not tell him what I had seen. He, too, had changed. A halo of light had grown around his face. He had become pale and two-dimensional, shimmering, covered with dark spots. Of course, I interpreted what I saw as simple eye fatigue. He and I had experienced the same stimuli but understood them differently. Unusual experiences like his, perceived within the definitions provided by the cult, are powerful conversion mechanisms.

Technianity converts people slowly to its perspective, following a _reality gradient_. This is Rogers' own terminology, but idea for social scientific use as well. A reality gradient is a gradual introduction into a new ideology, step by step through a series of ever more alien experiences and a progression of ever more deviant ideas. The therapy processes of Technianity gradually committed my friend to ever more deviant levels of cult belief, drawing him into its reality and away from that shared by conventional outsiders.

[ pages 206-207 ]

I remember the exam I passed in Technianity to prove I had mastered TR-0 The secretary of the center, a pleasant young woman who happened to be the daughter of a dean at the university I was attending, gave me a "check-out" on TR-0. We sat in straight chairs, facing each other, our knees almost touching. "All right," she said, "Start." I sat upright, my hands on my knees, gazed into her eyes, and went into TR-0. "Hi, Bill! How 'ya doin'?" She bounced up and down in the chair and waved. She pretended to be insulted and hurt that I wouldn't react to her. She acted mad. She pouted, then cracked a few stale jokes. Smiling, she brought her face close to mine and rocked from side to side.

She took my hands in hers and waved them through great circles in the air. She let my arms drop, and they fell at my sides. She said she was going to poke out my eyes and described how she was going to do it. She remarked she hadn't had the fun of poking out an eye since last week. She said the poor fellow she had blinded then was still in the hospital. She pretended to gouge out my eye with her thumb. She held my fist, pretending it was an electric shaver. "Bzzzzz." She shaved my face. She placed my hands on my knees, then played with my sideburns. She fluffed them up and said I was a bear. She took my hand, noted it was sweaty, and said, "Ah--a wet palm! Do you come from Wet Palm Beach, Florida?" Through all of this, I gazed straight ahead and reacted not at all to anything she said or did. "Okay. It's a pass. That's it."

Some participants say they "exteriorize" while in TR-0. When a person exteriorizes, his spirit leaves his body temporarily, perhaps hovering a short distance from his head. The concept is akin to "astral projection." Rogers [i.e. Hubbard] suggests that the ideal relationship between the spirit and its body is one of moderate exteriorization. The spirit should be outside the body, but near it, operating the body at arm's length, so to speak. In psychiatric terms, this seems to be a state of general dissociation. When deep in TR-0, I noticed that my physical sensations were greatly attenuated. A feather lightly brushing across my face did not tickle. An itch did not matter. I was only dimly aware of the existence of my legs. It seemed as if my personal boundary had contracted. When my hand was touched to my face, I sensed the contact in my cheek, but not in my fingers!

[ pages 207-208 ]

Power [i.e. Process Church] exercises _Articulation_ and _Acknowledgments_ were derived from the Technianity procedures TR-1 and TR-2. This pair was also called _Alice Games_ by Gordon Rogers, because they drew upon _Alice in Wonderland_ for material. In TR-1, the student is supposed to read a quotation from _Alice_, memorize it, and, while "holding his TRs," speak the sentence to the coach as though it were his own contribution to some hypothetical conversation they were having. Sometimes we used actual copies of _Alice_, back in 1970, and at other times we read from sheets of excerpts. How many dozens of times did I say these crazy sentences? I will never forget them!

I'll give them a new pair of boots every Christmas.
Four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen.
The question is, what did the archbishop find?
You insult me by talking such nonsense.
You're enough to try the patience of an oyster!
What a number of cucumber-frames there must be.
The master says you've got to go down the chimney.
I didn't know that Cheshire cats always grinned.
She doesn't believe there's an atom of meaning in it.
However, I know my name now, that's some comfort.

I found it singularly appropriate to quote the Cheshire cat at my Technianity coach: "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." Alice asked, "How do you know I'm mad?" The cat replied, "You must be, or you wouldn't have come here." There is a subtle brainwashing and propaganda effect here. The student becomes inured to crazy ideas. He treats them as detached words, bleached of their meaning, absurd, unconnected to his surroundings. He is confronted by madness and sees it as a beneficial game. He plays the game. After he has accepted the words of Wonderland, he has no difficulty accepting the words of the cult. The student submits to the discipline of the cult, merely by going through the exercise. If he performs poorly, the coach shouts "Flunk!"

TR-2 is a reversal of TR-1. This time the coach recites a quotation from _Alice_, and the student tries to acknowledge it in such a way as to bring the dialogue to a full stop without encouraging the coach to continue. Acknowledgment is a means of control. The student was permitted to use one of the following five acknowledgments: alright, okay, thank you, good, fine. Rogers said that a properly delivered acknowledgment is so powerful it "can take a client's head off." "An acknowledgment is a very, very powerful sixteen-inch gun,..." and "it actually staggers people to have an acknowledgment come to them." But, Rogers warns, "We're not trying to reach the ultimate in an acknowledgment, because that would be the end of the universe. If someone could say, `Yes' -- `Good' -- `Okay' with enough intention behind it, all communications of this universe from the moment of its beginning would then be acknowledged, totally." Technianity seems obsessed with the idea of power.