In an article published on Saturday, Tony Ortega reported that Scientology is pushing to open the new Ideal Org in Orlando soon. I decided to take a look at the numbers behind the building and behind Scientology in Orlando. This Ideal Org is doomed to failure because of the small number of members in Orlando and the location of the facility, even further off the beaten path than most new Scientology buildings.
“In my opinion· the church has one of the most effective intelligence operations in the U.S., rivaling even that of the FBI,” says Ted Gunderson, a former head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office.
“Scientology: The Cult of Greed”
Time Magazine, May 6, 1991
The head of the FBI’s LA Field Office said this about Scientology a quarter century ago, not long after a major investigation of the cult stalled. The article also claims that FBI agents were tiptoeing around the church, because of fears that it would retaliate personally against them. So was Gunderson’s observation correct? More so, given my observations in my previous articles regarding GO/OSA competence, is there even a valid comparison between the bureau’s intelligence efforts during that era and those of Scientology’s Guardian’s Office? Continue reading “But the FBI Said Good Things About Scientology’s “Intelligence Operations!””
Another reason Scientology auditing doesn’t work: if it worked, there would be tons of “independent Scientology” groups, practicing the “tech” outside of the evil cult. But they’re nowhere to be found. Auditing is thus less valuable to ex-Scientologists than many think. Those leaving today want to distance themselves from all of what they experienced in Scientology, even the allegedly good parts.
I recently posted an article showing why success stories are not sufficient to prove that Scientology auditing actually works, even though there are many people who claim to have received life-changing “wins” while using this technique. That’s because of the nature of establishing the statistical validity of a hypothesis. The essence of the argument is that “the plural of anecdotes is not data.”
But here’s another reason that we can be fairly confident that auditing is a relatively ineffective tool for fueling personal growth: “independent Scientology,” the practice of L. Ron Hubbard’s “tech,” should be a much bigger movement than it actually is.
In this post, I’ll further examine how Scientology morphed from a radical, insurgent mindset, to one of totalitarian monolith, ironically becoming the target of asymmetric tactics, rather than a practitioner. It starts with Hubbard’s embrace of the occult in pursuit of methods of control over an individual or situation. However, the natural progression never stops at one; it invariably leads to an obsession with subjugation and power over an ever-increasing group, rather than simply individuals. Motivation is key in determining the intent of a foe, more so if there’s asymmetry or incoherence in their strategy, especially if their motivations appear highly ideological-based. While financial gain and ideological dominance were part of Hubbard’s motivations, occultism was a founding ethos in Scientology, indeed a vital pillar underpinning Scientology’s abhorrent world view. Continue reading “Asymmetric Activism 3: Occultism Drove Scientology to Be An Asymmetric Totalitarian Target”
This contribution by Dutch Anon Trevor Horn, who posts in various forums as TrevAnon,reveals a different side of Anonymous, one where a committed team laboriously puts together a database over the course of a decade to help show the degree of abuses that Scientology has committed. They are aiming to compile the definitive list of all former members of the Church of Scientology who have spoken out publicly against the organization’s abuses.
This is a far different side of Anonymous than the one most of us recognize – the protesters outside Scientology facililties with clever signs, a determined but fun attitude, and lots of caek. But the committed activists laboring on these projects are making an ongoing difference, long after most Anons have hung up their masks.
The “Big List” project is important but is underappreciated and understaffed. In this post, Trevor will talk about what it does, why it matters, and how people interested can help, with a one-time perusal of the list to spot any easy additions, to becoming a project member.
How do you prove that something like Scientology auditing “works?” I’ve had many discussions with former Scientologists who say that their lives changed for the better because of Scientology auditing, and that I should not treat it with such contempt.
I believe the stories of people who have life-changing “wins” from auditing yet, at the same time, I remain resolute in saying that auditing is not proven to be useful. How do you resolve the apparent paradox in my view?
The first post in this series discussed the use of principles adapted from the military doctrine of asymmetric warfare as one possible strategy to combat Scientology. This weekend marks the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Anon’s version of asymmetrical warfare against Scientology, both in the virtual and physical spaces, and seems an appropriate place from which to assess Scientology’s use of similar asymmetrical or unconventional tactics.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of Anonymous’ epic protests at Scientology locations worldwide. While headcount is hard to estimate precisely, the number of people who turned out, many in Guy Fawkes masks, was at the very least a significant fraction of cult membership globally, and may have actually exceeded the total membership of the cult, which we now estimate at around 22,000 globally. Numerous sources have covered the reasons for and the history of Anonymous’ protests far better than we could.
More importantly, the scale of Anonymous’ protests put the cult into a defensive posture from which it has never recovered. The idea that a large group could show up on Scientology’s doorstep without the cult’s OSA goon squad anticipating it and preventing it undoubtedly shook leader David Miscavige to the core. And the cult’s playbook for dealing with protestors was forever shattered.
In this post, we look at why Anonymous was such a landmark in the evolution of opposition to the cult, and we put it in the context of the evolution of cult opposition over the last 50 years. We connect the dots and take a stab at predicting the nature of cult opposition that may come next, particularly if existing opponents change strategic focus to make these next generations of opposition happen.
Scientology devotes an immense fraction of its staff to fixing substandard delivery of its services. It has more people devoted to detecting and deterring “thoughtcrime” from members whose loyalty may be wavering … and even more toiling away in a complex organization designed to ferret out and punish staff incompetence and disloyalty.
To a never-in, this smacks of a poorly designed product from an incompetent organization. But more importantly, it suggests that Scientology “tech” may actually be deliberately and cynically designed to be impossible to succeed at, with the punishment of failure used as a retention mechanism to keep people in the cult.
Hana Whitfield, a prominent ex-Scientologist who worked personally for founder L. Ron Hubbard for many years, has contributed her perspective on whether Scientology is intentionally (and cynically) designed to fail, whether it was designed to help people but failed at that noble goal or whether Hubbard had a very different approach. The answer will surprise you.