Michelle Hass on Scientology I have been watching, with definate interest, the banter back

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Michelle Hass on Scientology I have been watching, with definate interest, the banter back and forth about the Church of Scientology article in Time Magazine. Unlike many who have "bashed" the C of S, I actually have first-hand experience about the manipulative crap the C of S indulges in, especially when you cross them. I was sent to a school called The Delphian Academy, which is in Sheridan, OR, in 1978. Sheridan, FYI, is roughly halfway between Salem and Portland along the Willamette River. Delphi, as it was known colloqially, was represented to the school placement bureau that placed me as an "experimental school that teaches by doing." The school represented itself as a "secular school that uses the education technology of educator L. Ron Hubbard." to my mother and I when we went up there to check the place out. Nowhere was it represented that Delphi was basically a Scientologist parochial school, and that one of the goals that was implicit in the Delphi curriculum where "Wog" (Non-Scientologist) children were concerned was conversion. My mother and I had a vague idea about who "Ron" was. But we were assured that since this school was a "secular" one, that my rights as a non-believer would be assured. Passover was coming, and Mom wanted me to go to a Reform Jewish synagogue somewhere to be able to celebrate. The school official who was doing the intake assured Mom that I would be allowed to attend Jewish services in Portland, even flying me over in the school's private plane. This was the first of many lies the faculty of Delphian Academy told to me. I did not want to be a part of the religious training offered there, and wanted to continue with my meditation and Yoga practice. I was born and raised Jewish but at that point I was studying all kinds of alternative religious paths. However, I did not consider Scientology to be an alternative I wanted to explore. I could feel a distinct "bad vibiness" in the halls of the school, and a grimness surrounding the teachers and the Scientologist students. (The son of famed Jazz musician Chick Corea, a charming person named Thad, was one of the very few that did not have the same grim vibe. Nice kid...I wish him well and hope he got off the Bridge in time to save his free Will.) For my attempts to maintain my spiritual independence, I was subjected to the publically disavowed yet privately maintained practice known as "fair game." I will elaborate next post. The policy of Fair Game is a policy where real or perceived "Suppressive Persons" (Enemies of Scientology) are systematically attacked. My only crime that first qualified me as a "Potential Trouble Source" (henceforth referred to by the C of S acronym of PTS) then as a SP was my unwillingness to give up my meditation and my yogic practices, and my unwillingness to move any further up the Bridge (The curriculum of the C of S) than Delphi's take on the Communications Course, a class called "Work Habits and Study Skills" that was a prerequisite for every child attending classes at Delphi. I had things stolen from me; a potential friendship with a nice boy my age was broken up, despite the fact that it was very innocent and not sexual at all; (my mother was told by a school counselor that the boy was a heroin user...blatant lie!) I had my allowance stolen when I was ill and I trusted one of my dorm mates (Scientologist...big mistake!) to get me some "sick food" (chicken soup, Saltines and whatnot) at the store during the weekly trip to town; and finally I had what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette (I later found out from an ex-teacher who quit that the joint was filled only with oregano from the school's kitchen!) planted in my room in my chest of drawers. As anyone who has observed the C of S over the years knows, drugs are a big bugaboo with them. One of the C of S' biggest and most respected front organizations is Narconon, a chain of drug rehab centers. I was told by the school "ethics officer" (read disciplinarian) that I would be restricted "to quarters" until the local Sheriff could come up to arrest me for possession of a controlled substance. By "quarters," the EO did not mean my bunk at the dorm. I was confined to a room at the basement level of the school, where renovations had begun for an Elementary School-level library. There were cans of paint everywhere and only a small study lamp for light. I had to sleep on a bare mattress and I was only fed once: at lunch time, judging from the food they gave me. (Sandwiches mostly) I did not have any way to mark the passage of time. I did a lot of (involuntary) out-of-body travel during what turned out to be my two week confinement to "quarters". I only had my school work to keep me busy, school work that was picked up and delivered when my meal was delivered. It was a horrifying experience, comparable to that which Vietnam-era POWs, the Teheran Hostages and Patty Hearst went through. Thankfully, it didn't last that long. I was abruptly set free of my confinement a day before I was to go back to Los Angeles on a "leave of absence". The EO told me that Admin (the school hierarchy) had changed their minds about reporting me to the cops, and that if I didn't breathe a word of the goings on to my mother that "further repercussions would be avoided." Whether it was intimidation or the beginnings of the "Stockholm Syndrome" are unclear, but I kept the false front and made everyone think that things were going OK there. Upon my return to the school, I was approached by--guess who?--the EO. She told me that I was still on "ethics probation" and strongly suggested I start Scientology training immediately. I told her that I still didn't want to, and that even if I did, I would be unable to because of the cost. "You get the Bridge for free if you join the Sea Org." she said. I knew I didn't want to do *that*. The Sea Org (Sea Organization -- a "monastic order" within the C of S that consists of Scientologists that pledge "a billion years of service to 'Ron'" in exchange for free auditing and other services. They wear pseudo-naval uniforms and are literally slave labor for the C of S, given free lodging and food but no pay for their often 16-hour days of soliciting. Sound like typical cult programming? It is!) types were the creepiest people of all. Some of them worked out of the offices of the "Church of Scientology Mission of Davis, CA at Sheridan, OR" which were also housed in the Delphian Academy campus. And some of them visited from the Mission of Portland. I was told that if I didn't, the harassment would continue and would extend even to my life in Los Angeles when I finished my time at the school. I pondered what I thought my options were. If I called my mom, I would go home to possibly continued harassment and family troubles. If I stayed, I would either have to take the vow and join Sea Org to get free auditing or continue being "fair game". If I ran away, I'd have nowhere to go and no friends to help me survive. The only other option was suicide. I attempted the very latter, and was discharged from the school as an "insurance risk." Mom was not given a refund on the unused tuition -- the only option was to enroll me for free at another C of S school, the Apple School of the San Fernando Valley. I stayed at Apple for another half a year. I couldn't tell you why I was actually treated like something more than dirt there...per- haps my status as a full-fledged SP was not known to them, or perhaps they found me likeable. I don't know. But I survived. Thank Goddess. Sorry Nathan et al...this *did* happen to me. And I don't put it past the C of S to do any number of things that were mentioned in the article. Perhaps there's exaggeration there. The press loves sensationalism. But there is truly fire beneath the smoke. It almost fatally burnt me. Michelle Hass Re: C of S analysis with the Cult Evaluation Frame The Cult Evaluation Frame first appeared in P.E.I. Bonewitz's "Real Magic" and was reprinted in Adler's "Drawing Down The Moon". It's a very handy guideline to tell if a given religious group is destructive or benign. The ratings are from 1 to 10 in ascending order of harshness. 1.) Internal control over members' lives. The C of S varies in this regard. Those Scientologists who are living on their own and going about their business are perhaps not as controllable as Sea Org members, but I'd say that it averages out to 8 or so. 2.) Wisdom/lack of human frailty claimed by leaders. It is debatable whether or not L. Ron Hubbard claimed godhood or infallibility. But in a book-length poem attributed to him, "The Song of India," Hubbard refers to himself as "Maitreya," the name given by Buddhists to their expected "Final Buddha" who will usher in the new golden age. Probably an 8 or 9. 3.) Wisdom/lack of human frailty ascribed to leaders by membership. A definate 10. "Ron" is seen as a god-like, if not directly a deity figure. According to some reports, the notorious "OT 9," the highest post-Clearing initiation given so far to C of S members, reveals as its "final secret" that Hubbard is God Himself. Since the hierarchy continues to maintain that it speaks for "Ron", the C of S hierarchy from David Miscavage on down has wrapped itself in "Ron's" robe of deity. 4.) Dogmatism, rigidity of doctrine. Another 10. The zeal with which the Religious Technology Office of the C of S pursues "squirrel" groups (splinter groups that do auditing on their own) is legendary. There are also "Technical Bulletins" on practically every aspect of a Scientologist's life, from conduct and ethics to roles within marriage. (the repulsive "Marriage Hats" document which delineates a very traditional patriarchal model for married life.) 5.) Emphasis of recruiting, proselytizing, "witnessing". I'd rank that as a 9. There are people literally everywhere in the world running free personality tests as the entree into Scientology. Much of the recruiting is done by the Sea Org as part of their "billion year contract" although some is done by paid workers, therefore no 10 there. 6.) Number of front groups maintained by the organization. I'd give those guys a 10 for that one. Everything from musical concerts (Edgar Winter is very blatantly proselytizing for the C of S) to drug rehab to consulting companies are run as front groups by the C of S. Including the Delphian Academy both in Sheridan, OR and La Canada Flintridge, CA, the Apple Schools around the US and Canada and Apple Schools' parent company, Applied Scholastics. Not to mention Saint Hill University in Britain, the American Saint Hill Organization, the Sea Org, the Hubbard Dianetics Foundation and other "front names" for blatantly Scientologist spinoffs. 7.) Wealth of the organization, %age of money taken by group from members. An easy, easy 10. The courses are horrifically expensive, the merchandising and subsidiary stuff is almost limitless and expensive. And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the church encourage tithing? Nathan? 8.) Political power/ambition of group. Unquestionably another 10. The Church of Scientology is attempting to infiltrate the Libertarian Party in the United States by a mass voter registration drive. Need I say more, chillun? 9.) Amount of sex-life control wielded by leaders of group. Give it an 8, unless you are really tied up in the inner workings of the group, in which case it is a definate 10. "Out-2D" (anything the C of S considers sexually aberrant) is something that the C of S holds over a member's head, especially during auditing. This was used as a way of getting at me back at Delphi (the young boy that I met in Portland that my Mom was told was a heroin addict!) and apparently is being used as a stick to keep John Travolta from defecting from the church. (The tabloid articles about Travolta's gay sex life stink of being planted in a "fair game" operation.) 10.) Censorship/amount of control of outside or dissident opinions on group, doctrine or leaders. 10. Unquestionably a 10. The most innocent quip I made about the omnipresence of pictures of "Ron" at Delphian Academy ("So, that's Chairman Ron, huh?") resulted in my instant classification as a PTS. Like I said earlier, "squirrels" are harassed relentlessly. And critics are given both barrels of the "fair game" gun. 11.) Intensity of efforts to prevent dropouts or "backsliding" in the membership. Definate 10. See Criterion 10. 12.) Endorsement of violence on behalf of organization/leader. Also a 10. Several people have had their lives, liberty and property destroyed by the C of S. They tried with me. 13.) Paranoia regarding "enemies" of the organization. 10. Obviously. 14.) Amount of disapproval considering jokes about organization, doctrines and or leaders. A definate 10. See incident described last post with the "Chairman Ron" quip I made. 15.) Amount of turning over of decision making to leaders. I imagine it varies as to how deep in you are. If you are in Sea Org or at a Scientologist school, I'm sure it's a 10. If you are just a run-of-the-mill Pre Clear, I imagine you have a little more control over your life. But I'm sure even then it's a 7 at least. Pretty close to the top on all scales. --.\\<-H-- Two Christian scholars blast Time article on Scientology By Religious News Service NEW YORK (RNS) -- A specialist in civil and religious liberties and a prominent Holocaust scholar, both United Methodist ministers, have blasted Time magazine for its May 6 cover story that denounced the Church of Scientology as a "cult of greed." The Rev. Dean M. Kelley, counselor on religious liberty for the National Council of Churches, and the Rev. Franklin H. Littell, a founder of the Annual Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches, wrote to the newsmagazine to protest the article. The church has also issued an 80-page defense, consisting largely of documents, titled "Fact vs. Fiction." In the article, written by Associate Editor Richard Behar, Time declared that "the Church of Scientology, started by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to `clear' people of unhappiness, portrays itself as a religion. In reality the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner." Stressing that his views do not necessarily represent those of the National Council of Churches, Kelley wrote that he "could hardly believe that a magazine of the usually high quality of Time should give space to such a bare-faced hatchet job." Kelley said that although there are "various things about the group that I don't agree with or don't approve," by and large he has found Scientologists "to be earnest, enterprising, public-spirited and committed people, not the unscrupulous, money-obsessed racketeers you make them out to be." The religious liberties specialist also declared that "it doesn't matter what L. Ron Hubbard thought he was doing when he invented Scientology; it doesn't matter what you or I or Cynthia Kisser (president of the Cult Awareness Network) or disgruntled ex-members or angry parents or other outsiders think of it; it's what it is doing for those who believe in it -- however misguided we may think them to be." Littell told Time the article reminded him "of the venomous attacks on the Mormons a century ago, attacks also joined by supposedly reputable journals of general circulation." He said he can "match every charge and calumny against the Scientologists, true or false, with earlier attacks on the Roman Catholics, Mormons, Methodists, Baptists, Mennonite/Anabaptists. ... The affirmation of what Roger Williams called `soul liberty' cannot be put at the mercy of embittered individuals with soured love affairs, anti-religious psychiatrists and ambulance-chasing lawyers!" Neither Kelley's nor Littell's letter has been published in Time, which ran a sampling of responses in its May 27 issue, along with a box that said that of about 400 readers who wrote about the article, "25 percent were in favor of the church, 75 percent opposed it, and at least 10 percent asked that we not print their name."


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