Some Thoughts on Scientology Criticism

by Chris Shelton

Let’s talk a bit about the Church of Scientology’s current campaigns to dispel rumors and lies about its organizations and members. One can divide Scientology supporters into roughly five categories:


(1) Scientologists, who obviously are going to speak in support of what they think their organization is and does. It’s quite surprising to many of them to discover how much of the Church’s real history and activities they are unaware of until they leave the Church and do some research.

(2) Ex-Scientologists who are still caught up in the Scn mindset and feel that they need to speak in favor of Scientology’s practices or methods or who still feel that L. Ron Hubbard was a genius researcher and humanitarian philosopher. The kindest thing that can be said about such people is that they have not availed themselves of the information available to them which would show them that Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard are no such thing. The facts on this are crystal clear and hardly up for debate, but sometimes it takes people a while to come around to accepting the truth of those facts.

(3) Paid schills such as private investigators and lawyers the Church hires to do its dirty work and maintain a layer of protection for the Church executives who order surveillance, dirty tricks and Fair Gaming of ex-members and critics.

(4) Academics with various biases or suffer from ‘publish or perish’ and so don’t do good research and end up writing papers the Church of Scientology uses to support its abusive behavior. There are a handful of these academics who personally seem to believe that any religion in any nation is entitled to protection from any and all scrutiny no matter what those religious groups do, including groups such as Aum Shinrikyo after they committed a sarin gas attack against innocent people on the Japanese subway. To these academics, religious groups should be held blameless for any atrocity including murder, so that tells you a lot about their judgement and objectivity.

(5) Uninformed politicians or local opinion leaders who get roped in to speaking at their events and openings. Sometimes these people don’t even realize that they are speaking on behalf of the Church of Scientology and retract their statements when it’s made clear to them what the Church is doing with them.

The Church of Scientology is very sensitive to criticsm. This is a direct reflection of Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s ego and he empowered a whole division of the Church to take out critics. Originally this was the called the Guardian’s Office, but after they got a little too enthusiastic enforcing Hubbard’s wishes and 11 of them went to jail, including Hubbard’s wife, this division was renamed the Office of Special Affairs or OSA. They are not a passive group. Their opposition is a directed and premeditated operation which seeks to eliminate any criticism of Scientology in any format. In fact, Church policy on the matter clearly states their goals are:

“…to locate every source of opposition to Scientology and the control point of these sources and to reduce their power to ineffectiveness and/or take them over.”

Their final product is:

“Exterior enemies and attacks located and restrained and/or removed.”

Measures taken can be anything from rumor campaigns to full-blown investigations and Fair Game operations. This has been documented over and over again in the Church’s own issues, Hubbard’s lectures and directives and in programs the Guardian’s Office and Office of Special Affairs have produced to counter specific individuals or groups.

Their current narrative is two-fold:

(1) Defend the Church on the basis of religious freedom and claim anyone who speaks against Scientology is a bigot.

Well, a bigot is a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions, esp one who regards or treats themembers of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance. The term actually goes back to 16th century French and meant a sanctimonious person, excessively religious person or a religious hypocrite.

If there is anyone in this situation who are acting like religious zealot and seem to hate their opposition, it’s the Scientologists. Just look at some of their hate websites. Their exaggerated or entirely made-up claims against Scientology critics are repeated on the STAND website, in Reddit subforums, on the Ex-Scientology Message Board and of course on Twitter and other social media.

Then there is (2), claim that there is an Anti-Scientology cult which the most prominent critics apparently are the leaders of. The idea of this took shape on Marty Rathbun’s blog and has spread from there to social media and Reddit.

The major problem with this claim is that the whole thing is predicated on the idea that any group of people who agree with one another are a cult, Well, no, that’s not the case. The term cult is problematic because it is so subjective but when it’s being used in this context, it’s clearly an effort to turn the term against those who speak out about destructive cults in the first place. What Scientology totally misses in the details of this is that a destructive cult actually has specific characteristics which just don’t apply in this case.

Let’s look at the community of ex-members and those who were never in who learn about the deceptions and human & civil rights abuses Scientology commits against its members. Because these people have learned about these abuses, they are now cult members? No, that’s not how any of this works.

Most of the people I’ve talked to don’t care one bit about the philosophy or religious beliefs of Scientologists, so they can’t even be classified as anti-Scientology. What they want is for members of the Church of Scientology to stop lying to people and to stop abusing them. They aren’t anti-Scientology, they’re anti-abuse!

Just to drive this home, a destructive cults has specific characteristics which I’ve broken down a few times on my channel. Here are some of those characteristics:

* The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

Anyone who spends any time interacting online or in person with people who fight against Scientology abuses will quickly realize that there are no leaders in this group. No one is giving orders to anyone else as to what to say or do and everytime someone has tried, it’s blown up in their face a la Marty Rathbun back when he first started speaking out against the Church.

* Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

This is the one of the things people who speak out against Scientology are protesting.

* The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

Again, what we find in the ex-Scientology community is an aversion to any of this kind of thinking. From what I’ve seen, most people who come out of Scientology and especially the Sea Organization just want to get on with their lives without any more special statuses and they certainly aren’t trying to exalt any leader.

* Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

More than anything else, those who speak out against Scientology are protesting how Scientology enforces disconnection from former members or anyone the Church deems a bad person. The only thing many of these ex-members want is to be reconnected with their loved ones. They want to see an end to disconnection.

This counter-offensive on the part of the Church of Scientology is just another epic fail on their part because (a) they are lying through their teeth in misrepresenting what they actually do or (b) under the guise of answering accusations against them, they deflect and misdirect and refuse to deal with the civil and human rights abuses they have committed. In other words, the Church of Scientology cannot ever be wrong or admit to any wrongdoing.

However, the exposure of the abuses has been too widespread and too accurate. The Church of Scientology’s image has been destroyed, not because bitter and hateful apostates are lying for money, but because executives and members of the Church of Scientology and their hired goons have gone way out of their way to destroy people’s lives and liveliehood. This is documented fact. In fact, for those of us who do work to expose Scientology’s abusive behavior, we are constantly surprised at how low the bar goes for this group. The adage that Scientology is always worse than you think continues to prove itself with each new story or testimonial from former members, their family members and loved ones.

The goal of all this is not to destroy Scientology. It’s not to incite violence or hatred towards individual Scientologists. It’s to get the Church of Scientology to come clean and simply stop abusing people and destroying their lives with its harmful methods and destructive “technology.” In fact, if you think about it, I would say that the mission of those who speak out against Scientology could be described by the mission statement of Scientology’s STAND league:

“To protect Scientologists from intolerance and prejudice and to dispel rumors and lies about the Scientology religion, Scientologists, Church leadership and its Founder.”

Ironic, right?

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