Since some of the materials which describe the $cientology cult could be considered to be

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Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Since some of the materials which describe the $cientology cult could be considered to be copywritten materials, I have censored myself and The Skeptic Tank by deleting any and all possible text files which describes the cult's hidden mythologies. I have elected to quote just a bit of the questionable text according to the "Fair Use" legal findings afforded to those who report. - Fredric L. Rice, The Skeptic Tank, 09/Sep/95 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- From news.interserv.net!news.sprintlink.net!howland.reston.ans.net!newsserver.jvnc.net!newsserver2.jvnc.net!netnews.upenn.edu!netaxs.com!rkeller Mon Jul 10 17:01:46 1995 Path: news.interserv.net!news.sprintlink.net!howland.reston.ans.net!newsserver.jvnc.net!newsserver2.jvnc.net!netnews.upenn.edu!netaxs.com!rkeller From: rkeller@netaxs.com (Rod Keller) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology,alt.answers,news.answers Subject: Alt.religion.scientology FAQ for New Readers Date: 7 Jul 1995 17:42:34 GMT Organization: Philadelphia's Complete Internet Provider Lines: 1014 Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.EDU Message-ID: <3tjrma$p3m@netaxs.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: unix3.netaxs.com Followups-To: alt.religion.scientology Archive-name: scientology/new-reader-faq Posting-Frequency: bi-weekly (Fridays) Version: 1.03 X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2] Xref: news.interserv.net alt.religion.scientology:73551 alt.answers:8833 news.answers:32604 Frequently Asked Questions on alt.religion.scientology Version 1.03, 06/09/95 Copyright 1995, by the respective answer writers, unless otherwise noted. Compilation copyright 1995, Rod Keller. Permission to copy this FAQ for non-commercial purposes is hereby granted. The opinions expressed are those of the individual writers. ---------- Background: In January, 1995 I decided to compile a Frequently Asked Questions list for the Usenet group alt.religion.scientology. Several previous FAQs had been written and distributed, but none of them seemed to answer the questions of newcomers to the group, which is the real point of having an FAQ. I feel this document does that. I asked the group for suggestions of frequently asked questions by new readers, and the results were encouraging. Over 15 newsgroup participants responded. I edited and consolidated the questions down to 30 questions, and handed out writing assignments to volunteers. Participants in the group come from several different viewpoints, and I have attempted to include multiple answers for each question, to represent these viewpoints. ---------- What's New? No changes. ---------- Updating: I still plan to update this FAQ with more answers. Several questions have no answers yet. Volunteers to answer a question may e-mail me at rkeller@netaxs.com. Tell me what question(s) you wish to answer, and a little about your background in Scientology. I'm looking for a skeptic, Free Zone and Church answer to each question, so pick one that isn't already answered by somebody from the group you represent. And now, on with the opera! ---------- 1 - What is the purpose of alt.religion.scientology? Is it for or against Scientology? Answer By: Chris Schafmeister Welcome to alt.religion.scientology, or what some of us like to call "our little bit-o-heaven". The "purpose" of alt.religion.scientology is whatever we want it to be within the umbrella of discussions about the beliefs, organization and products of Scientology. A.r.s often more resembles a high school lunch room than a genteel sitting room with individuals tending to show allegiance to one of several groups. Among our members we have active and semi-active Scientologists, ex-scientologists who have grown to dislike everything about Scientology, ex-scientologists who believe in the teachings but have learned to dislike the Church of Scientology, and non-scientologists like myself who for the most part believe that everything about the Scientology faith is bunkum and that the Scientology organization is not good for people. As for a.r.s being for or against Scientology, I've been participating for three years now and I often can't tell. But if I were backed against a wall I would say that the mood tends to be more against the Church of Scientology than for it. 2 - What's the difference between Dianetics and Scientology? Answer By: Jeff Jacobsen Dianetics came first, in 1950. Dianetics deals with the mind. The mind has a problem area known as the Reactive mind, where memories are incorrectly stored. The goal of Dianetics is to clear out the memories stored in the Reactive mind and transfer them to the Analytical, or good, mind. Once this is done you are called a Clear, and Dianetics is basically through with you. Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, explains the processes and theories of Dianetics. Scientology continues the process of fixing up a person by turning attention to the spiritual side. Once you have your Reactive mind taken care of, you must now undertake a house cleaning of the soul. Your soul, called a thetan, has a problem. It has several (perhaps millions) of unwanted house guests stuck to it. These other souls, called Body Thetans (or Clusters if they are in a bunch), are stuck to your soul and must be removed to enable your own thetan to function properly. But you don't really catch this story until you have gone Clear and have taken the first 2 upper level (OT) courses. Once on OTIII you discover how this soul-fusing happened, and how to reverse the process. Dianetics, then, is psychotherapy, while Scientology is spiritual cleansing. Answer By: Dennis L. Erlich The idea of dianetics was part of a science/fiction presentation in Astounding Science Fiction, a 1940s pulp magazine. At that time the line between science fiction and fact was blurred in such periodicals. Hubbard's premise was that Freud's subconscious mind had additional properties never before discovered. What Hubbard dubbed the "Reactive Mind" recorded every item of sensory input a person received while in pain or unconscious. These memory recordings he called "engrams". In the sensory content of these "mental image pictures" are commands which recoil against the conscious mind when "stimulated" by similarities in the current environment and cause all irrational behavior and all psychosomatic ills, he said. Since Hubbard considered most illness, including cancer, to be caused by engrams, his new "science" could cure most anything. In the early 50s, prior to the Food and Drug Administration raid on scientology organizations which confiscated e-meter and books being used in bogus "healing", Hubbard had decided he could get more protection for his therapy by bringing the spirit (thetan, he called it) into the picture and calling it a church. He needed a new name: scientology - the study of knowing. Where dianetics purportedly addresses the mind and the engram recordings in it, scientology addresses the spirit and decisions embedded in the engrams. The spiritual triggers, if you will. 3 - Can you be a Scientologist and a member of another religion at the same time? Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy If you can reconcile any differences in teachings adequately in your own mind, then yes. New data may cause this process of reconciling to be in a constant state of flux. If you start "mixing practices," using some of your outside beliefs while auditing someone else (or maybe even yourself -- not sure), then you will get in trouble. Part of the reason for this is that there have been a few cases where someone besides LRH tried creating/modifying a process, and it turned out very badly (I have experienced one of these, regarding a very low level drill; the altered version was Bad). In a backlash to this, it was decided that it was safer to "freeze" the processes into something that, while it might or might not contain bugs, generally worked very well. Answer By: Rogue Agent Scientology introduces new doctrines for its members as they progress up the Bridge. Some of these doctrines contradict the doctrines of other religions - for instance reincarnation. As these doctrines are introduced, members must choose between being faithful to one religion or the other. Answer By: Mark Adams and Dierdre Scientology imposes no restrictions on religious beliefs. But, members whose religious practices include meditation, yoga or spellcasting are frequently denied Scn services. Individuals within the free zone hold that being allowed to choose your course in life is vital. So an incredible variety of religious beliefs can coexist in harmony. Further, many of those present in the Free Zone borrow from a variety of belief systems to augment their tools. The Truth tends to be found in a variety of places. 4 - What scientific evidence is there for Dianetics and Scientology? Answer by: Jim Lippard I know of only one scientific test of Dianetics or Scientology. Fox, Davis and Lebovits, "An Experimental Investigation of Hubbard's Engram Hypothesis (Dianetics)," Psychological Newsletter, 10(1959):131-134. The researchers performed the test suggested by Hubbard in Dianetics, "If you care to make the experiment, you can take a man, render him 'unconscious,' hurt him and give him information. By Dianetic technique, no matter what information you gave him, it can be recovered. This experiment should bot be carelessly conducted because _you might render him insane_." A subject from the Dianetic Research Foundation in Los Angeles was rendered unconscious with sodium pentathol administered by Davis, an MD. While he was unconscious, Lebovits was left alone with the subject and two recording devices. Lebovits read a 35-word section of a physics book, inflicting pain during the last 18 words. Two days later, the Dianetic Research Foundation audited him, attempting to elicit the engram of the experiment. Several passages were elicited, but "Comparison with the selected passage shows that none of the above-quoted phrases, nor any other phrases quoted in the report, bear any relationship at all to the selected passage. Since the reception of the first interim report, in November 1950, the experimenter tried frequently and repeatedly to obtain further reports, but so far without success". 5 - Why do Scientologists believe in past lives? Answer By: Rogue Agent Scientologists do something called auditing, where they think back to past events in their lives and remember the experience. Sometimes when they do this they find the memory is of a past life. Skeptics question whether these memories are of real or imagined events. Answer By: Mark Adams Since Scientologists conceive of themselves as spiritual beings who 'animate' a body, their life need not be limited by the lifetime of a body. Much literature has explored the possibility that people may have memories of existences prior to their present life. Outside of Scientology, cases have been documented where a persons memories under hypnosis have been independently verified and documented. So the concept of living as different human beings is not unique to Scientology. And I know of no rules requiring a being to inhabit a human body. One could be an Antelope, Zebra, Tree or Rock if one chose so. Some, upon being liberated from their body may just hang around. This is very much different from the strict definitions of reincarnation, which to my understanding, leave little control in the individuals hands as to what he returns as. 6 - What's an E-meter? Answer By: Chris Schafmeister An E-meter is a simple device which measures electrical resistance across the range of 3000 ohms to 7000 ohms at its least sensitive setting to 4500 ohms to 5000 ohms at its most sensitive setting. Scientologists believe that the E-meter reacts whenever they think about spiritually important topics. Scientologists use E-meters by holding onto two electrodes while they sit in a room with another person who repeatedly asks them questions about traumas from their life or putative past lives until the E-meter reacts in a way described by L. Ron Hubbard. Scientologists believe that once the E-meter acts in a predetermined way when they are asked a question, that the subject of that question no longer influences their personality. I have played with an E-meter and observed that my body electrical resistance changes rapidly over the course of tens of seconds in a random way. The E-meter needle motions did not appear to be correlated to my thoughts. My training as a scientist has lead me to conclude that the physiological reason why the body electrical resistance changes over the course of seconds is due to ion channels in cell walls opening and closing under semi-automatic control and that Scientologists train themselves to control their body resistance through a process of biofeedback. Scientologists then fall deeper into the cult when they see what appears to be conformation of Hubbard's writings but is actually their own self-delusion. 7 - What is auditing? Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy It's where one person sits down and asks questions of another; the fundamental notion (in my view) being that if someone can bring a forgotten or mostly forgotten incident into conscious memory, that incident will hold less or no power over the person's reactions. The experience can still be used as data, but it won't provoke an unthinking reaction or lack of reaction. It's also just "good to do," since having all those mostly-forgotten incidents cluttering up the "background" of one's mind means that one's CPU time is being taken up with things that aren't useful. Answer By: Dennis L. Erlich It is the scientology form of therapy; a process by which questions and directions are given to a subject. These force him to see his mind and how it functions in a new way and to accept a new model of his existence. since the model introduced is one of Hubbard's own creation auditing changes a person drastically and irreversibly into the type of person Hubbard was (or wanted to think he was). The basic principles of scientology that are purportedly at work during auditing are those of communication and as-isness [sic]. These terms have very specific new meanings in the newby scientologist's model of his mind. According to Hubbard, unwanted conditions exist in the mind because they are not properly viewed to see the lies contained within them. In auditing, the lies are "dug out" using questions and the e-meter, until the mental "energy" contained in the recording vanishes. This is called viewing something "as-is". Supposedly anything can be made to as-is (vanish) if you see all the lies contained in it that are making it persist. Even solid objects are solid only to the degree that they contain lies. However they contain a LOT more lies than "mental mass". Hence it is easier to make stuff that's all in your mind anyway, vanish. That's how auditing works. Answer By: Deirdre Auditing involves a practitioner who asks questions of a person. The questions are determined by a case supervisor, who reviews each session and determines the overall course of a person's progress toward Clear and OT. The questions asked are related to the ability the person is to attain, though the relationship may not be immediately obvious to the person being asked. 8 - What is a Thetan and an Operating Thetan? Answer By: Rod Keller Hubbard defines the Thetan as a creator of things, which cannot be measured. (paraphrased from Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, p.69) It is usually described as the Scientology equivalent of the soul. The name was probably intended to make Scientology sound scientific. Scientologists believe that the Thetan usually resides in the skull, but can "exteriorize" and see places and objects that would normally be hidden from view. Descriptions of exteriorization are anecdotal. No double blind experiments have been reported on alt.religion.scientology. Operating Thetan refers to people who have taken courses to reawaken abilities they possess as Thetans, but that have been forgotten. These abilities are supposedly to control any part of matter, energy, space or time (MEST). Examples that have been reported are stopping the rain, rolling marbles on a table, preventing traffic accidents, quelling riots, and killing Communism. Again, no double blind experiments have been reported on alt.religion.scientology. Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy The easiest parallel is that a Thetan is a "spirit" or "soul." However, one does not *have* a Thetan -- one *IS* a thetan. The body is not the self, it is merely the tool that the self uses to play the Great Game of Life. An OT is a thetan who's less likely to be affected by things unknowingly. That's really simplistic,though -- one would do better to find an org and ask to read the Scientology terminology dictionary entry on the subject. Answer By: Mark Adams Thetan is a coined term used within the CoS and the Free Zone. It represents the portion of you that is not Matter, Energy, Space or Time. The term spirit and soul were not used, as they're commonly seem used in a manner that could be confusing. Specifically, you may remember hearing that children's pray, 'Now I lay me down to sleep'. Note that in this prayer, one line is "I pray to God, my soul to take". Note the possession. "My Soul." You are a thetan. Not "you have a thetan". The thetan is that portion of individuality which makes you you, which does not require a body to be. Operating Thetan describes a state of being where one no longer requires a body to operate. Since originally defined, various gradations of OT have been defined and redefined to describe attributes and skills of a Spiritual Being who can function with or without a body. By operate, I mean able to be at cause. This includes communicating, creating, changing, destroying. 9 - Wasn't L. Ron Hubbard a science fiction writer? Answer By: Rod Keller Hubbard wrote some science fiction. The church claims he was one of the early great writers in the field. I haven't seen any non-church sources that support this status. He did write for several magazines in the early, formative years of the genre. Two of his works are the novel Battlefield Earth and the Mission Earth dekology, a 10 volume series. Both were maneuvered into bestsellers lists by the church to lend Hubbard prestige. One tactic was for members to purchase dozens of books, wait for the bookstore to reorder, then return the books. The trade newsletter "Hot News" reported that Bridge Publications, a church operation, offered over 230,000 hardback remainders from the Mission Earth series in 1989. These volumes falsely counted towards the total sold. Both titles are heavily allegorical. The conclusion to Battlefield Earth has the hero, who resembles Hubbard, conquering the aliens and taking over the galaxy by outmaneuvering the galactic lawyers, who resemble sharks. In Mission Earth, the hero also conquers the galactic empire, this time defeating a main villain who is a saboteur, assassin and psychologist. Both titles draw heavily on the OT3 science fantasy story. Mission Earth is particularly interesting in that both the hero and the villain use dirty tricks tactics similar to those of the Church of Scientology today, such as extortion, blackmail and kidnapping. 10 - What does Scientology teach about drugs? Are tobacco and alcohol drugs? Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy Mind-altering substances are to be avoided -- mostly the illegal ones, and particularly LSD. (According to my biochemistry major friend, it DOES TOO remain stored in the body, and can cause later "trips" if there's enough of it. Nyah. :-p) I have heard that a major reason for avoiding heavy drugs is that they tend to mess up one's ability to "timestamp" memories, especially past-life ones, which (I imagine) slows one's ability to find the little suckers and drag them into conscious memory. Answer By: Rogue Agent Scientologists believe drugs affect the mind negatively, and have a process called the Purif to get rid of drugs lingering in the body. Skeptics question whether the Purif works. Answer By: Deirdre Scientology teaches that drugs are a major source of troubles in spiritual advancement. For this reason, most new Scientologists do the Purification Rundown as their first major service, and eventually do a Scientology Drug Rundown. They may also do a New Era Dianetics Drug Rundown if the case supervisor thinks it's appropriate. All cases will do the NOTs (New Era Dianetics for OTs) Drug Rundown when they reach OT IV. While tobacco and alcohol are drugs, Scientology doesn't seem particularly concerned about these two. Many Scientologists smoke. While alcohol is not encouraged, one is simply asked "Have you had any drugs, alcohol, or medicine in the last 24 hours?" If not, auditing can proceed. 11 - Who's in charge of the church, now that Hubbard is dead? Answer By: Rogue Agent Heber Jentzsch is the President of the Church, but David Miscavige is the de-facto head. 12 - What is the Sea Org? Answer By: Rogue Agent The Sea Org was originally an Org (parish or local church) that sailed with Hubbard all over the world in 3 large ships. Since then they have become an elite, devoted corps who work for slave wages. They wear pseudo-naval uniforms. Answer By: Deirdre The Citizens' Commission on Human Rights. This is a Scientology front group that Scientologists say works to reform Psychiatry. Skeptics say the CCHR is used by the Church to eliminate the competition; some Free Zoners agree. 15 - Does Scientology use "front groups?" What are they? Answer By: Maggie Council Scientology has roughly 260 front groups. These are organizations that may or may not profess a direct link to Scientology. Most are aimed at destroying or erasing opposition to Scientology, directly or indirectly. Scientology is not just in the business of religion; Hubbard created a variety of 'technologies' such as 'study tech' for students and 'administrative tech' for businesses. ABLE (Association for Better Living and Education) offers training in Hubbard's study tech and attempts to get Scientology programs in PTAs and school systems through Applied Scholastics. ABLE manages Narconon, and Criminon, and many programs under the Way to Happiness Foundation, such as CCHR, Concerned Businessmen of America, Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Education, Religious Freedom Crusade, Citizens for an Alternative Tax System, Nat'l Coalition of IRS Whistleblowers, National Toxics Campaign, and the Nat'l Commission of Law Enforcement, which attacks Interpol. WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises) pressures Scientologists to license their businesses, which then tithe a percentage of their income. WISE licenses the Purification Rundown for use in Narconon. WISE also licenses business management firms that teach Hubbard's methods to health care and other professionals. A few of these firms: Sterling Management, Hollander Consultants, Uptrends, Stellar Management Exec Tech Mgt., Horizons Mgt., Cause Co. Seminars, and The Advisory. 16 - What do the confidential levels of Scientology consist of and why are they secret? Answer By: Deirdre Power and Power Plus (Grade V and VA) deal with the reasons one is holding back one's power. Sample questions: tell me a source/tell me a not source. R6EW (Grade VI) stands for "Routine 6 End Words" where one runs the "end words" off the reactive mind. There's 50 of them. The Clearing Course is where one runs the basic implants that comprise the bank. These consist of five types of implant: The 7's, which consist of dichotomy pairs based on the verbs be, do, have and stay (example: to be nobody/to be everybody); the Basic End Words, a list of 21 words to run (The Now, The Past, etc.); the Confusion GPM, which is a dichotomous pair for each of the Basic End Words (Creating to Destroy the Now/Destroying to Create the Now); the Hollow Objects, where a series of shapes of objects moves toward and away from you; the Solid Objects, same as hollow except the objects are solid. More usually delivered: Clear Certainty Rundown - where one gets the state of Clear validated and rehabilitated. It is generally a short action of only a few hours. Sunshine Rundown - a locational the person does on their own. Before the OT levels, one will also do the Solo Course, part 1 and 2 which will teach one to solo audit. New OT IV and OT V are not run solo. Now onto the OT Levels: OT I - a locational which a person does on their own, but more involved than the Sunshine Rundown. OT II - "The Wall of Dichotomies" the stated purpose of which is to free one up from binary thinking. GPM means "goals problems mass" and indicates the mass that occurs when a goal and its exact opposite collide. For brevity, Electrical GPM, Tocky GPM, Big Being GPM, House GPM, Psycho GPM, Banky GPM, Basic-Basic GPM, Basic GPM, the Command GPM, Lower LP GPM, LP GPM, Body GPM and Lower Bank are all based on dichotomies. The Forerunner GPM (aka O/W GPM), the Arrow, Double Rod, Woman, White Black Sphere, Hot Cold, Laughter-Calm and Dance Mob are all individual incidents. OT III - The first Body Thetan (BT) level, where one is auditing other beings in one's space. Prior to NOTs, also the last BT level. In this, one runs body thetans through two incidents. Incident 2 involved being captured 75 million years ago, frozen, shipped to Earth, taken to a volcano where one was nuked, then captured in a field, implanted with all sorts of horrid goals for 36 days and packaged up as body thetans and clusters (groups of body thetans). These were then given to folks like you and me in gobs. Incident 1 involves a multi-media show with chariots, angels, waves of light and then blackness. OT IV - (pre-NOTs) Among other things, one created and uncreated each part of the Clearing Course implants until one could do it freely. New OT IV - (NOTs) Is the last drug rundown, where one runs the drugs out of one's body thetans and clusters. OT V - (pre-NOTs) A series of drills involving matter, energy and space, including drawing power from other objects. New OT V - (NOTs) Audited NOTs, where one performs the beginning steps of the NOTS rundowns, including handling where any BTs went Clear, any that went exterior, any prior auditing that was messed up, any BTs that were PTS and so on. OT VI - (pre-NOTs) While this is not quite the same as the "Grand Tour" in Creation of Human Ability (R1-9), it has similarities. Essentially, one is learning to be exterior in specific places. New OT VI - (NOTs) The Solo NOTs Auditor's Course OT VII - (pre-NOTs) A collection of drills designed to help one project intention. New OT VII - (NOTs) Solo NOTs, where one audits BTs. This is a very long level and generally takes over 700 hours to complete. The End Phenomena are "Cause over life" and "A body transparent to theta vision" New OT VIII - Auditing on things which prevent one from seeing the Truth. Also confidential: L 10, L 11, L 12 Now, why are they secret? 1) LRH has said he believed this material was too restimulative to be widespread (I disagree); 2) The mystery entices people to pay for it who otherwise might not. Imho, NOT handling an entity sitting in a person's face because they're not case-prepared for OT 3 is no excuse for not running what they need handled. Answer By: Dennis L. Erlich The test consists of 100 statements which you had to rate as to how much you agreed or disagreed with them. Once completed, the questionnaire is taken into a separate room for marking. While I was waiting for mine to be marked, a young, attractive woman came up and started chatting to me, asking me where I lived and finding out about my family circumstances. The fact that my father had died recently came up. A few minutes later I was led into another room for my results. The results had been plotted onto a graph and it was explained that all of the points plotted should be above the horizontal axis of the graph and those which fell below indicated areas of psychological concern. Unfortunately for me, several points were far below the axis. The scientologist then started to interpret the results with uncanny accuracy, even guessing that I had recently suffered the loss of someone close to me. He then said that the results showed I was in danger of suicidal depression and that it was imperative that I pay 40 Uk pounds for a counselling session immediately. I decided I was being conned and left. Afterwards, I realised that he had heard every word I had spoken to the woman since the wall between the two rooms was only a thin partition which didn't even reach to the ceiling. Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy It's a fun little thing that tries to measure "quality of life." Or at least that's my take on it. I think the "good levels" indicate that one is alert, interested in life, and generally in control of one's own life. The "bad levels" would indicate depression and areas of one's life that one does not feel in control of. Yeah, it's a hook to get people to come in and look at the stuff. But it's kinda fun anyway. 18 - How much does Scientology cost? Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy Depends on how much you want to pay, I suppose. It can cost as little as the price of a _Dianetics_ book and maybe a few movies at the local org. It can cost a lot. I admit, the amount of money it can cost makes even *me* a bit concerned that people might try to skim some, here and there. :-p A lot of people think that the cash they pay is worth it, though. That's a personal judgment call. 19 - Is Scientology a religion or a cult? Answer By: Jeff Jacobsen "Religion is the human enterprise by which a sacred cosmos is established" (The Sacred Canopy, Peter L. Berger, p.25). In other words, religion defines for us what the world is all about and what our place in that world is. In this respect Scientology is definitely a religion. Scientology tells us who we are (a thetan, or soul), what the universe is all about (a game we thetans created and then got stuck in), and what our place is (to learn our true nature and get back to it's glorious freedom). Scientology admits that it is gnostic, which is a religious tradition 2,000 years old (Advance! iss. 93). In general usage today a cult is a dictatorial group that overly controls its members and teaches ideas far from the mainstream. In this definition Scientology fits very well. Every doctrine and practice of the church comes from L. Ron Hubbard and no one else, and this is strictly enforced with no deviation or criticism allowed. The church is tightly structured with rules and punishments for every part of life, including how to wash your car. The church has its own judicial and prison systems. As for the church's doctrines, the higher you go in the teachings the farther from the norms of our society you get. In conclusion; yes, the church of Scientology is a religion because it answers our deep questions about the meaning of life; and yes, it is also a cult because it fits the general usage of that term today. 20 - What is the Free Zone? Answer By: Mark Adams The Free Zone is the area outside of organized control, including that of the Church of Scientology. Over the years, a number of people have acquired knowledge and skills contained within the documentation of Scientology. Having found value in that information, these individuals continue to use it to improve the lives of those around them, and thence their own lives. More than anything, the Free Zone represents individuals who are willing to do what they can, in their own way, to better life for us all. Just as a single source of chaos can make life difficult for many people, a single source of order can stabilize and improve things for many people. 21 - What is a Squirrel? Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy A small furry rodent... Oh, jargon. Right. It's the term for someone who changes the techniques used to get results. Most of the time, when this happens, it's Very Bad overall (in fact, *all* the times anybody remembers, it's bad; it's possible that "good" changes have been forgotten about). I don't know why it's the term -- perhaps because of an insult, "squirrely," that was in vogue at the time. Perhaps because the offenders "squirrel" the unchanged document away and bury it somewhere. People who "mix practices" (see my comment to #3) are said to be "squirrels" or "squirreling." 22 - What is the RPF? Answer By: Mark Adams RPF is an acronym for Rehabilitation Project Force. The closest approximation I can identify is the process of "Community Service" ordered on occasion by traditional courts. Typically, a hearing (CommEv or Committee of Evidence) held by one's peers determines if the groups morales-rules were violated. If so, an assignment to the RPF may occur. While on the RPF, a person continues study, but under much closer supervision. In addition, a great deal of physical labor takes place. Instead of picking up litter along the highway or creating new forest trails, the RPF engages in reconstruction of older buildings, cleaning the common areas etc. However, activity takes place at a high activity level. No loitering allowed. RPF members don't use the elevators, they use the stairways, and at a trot. They don't originate conversations with non RPF members, and they use all of their available time in some constructive manner. There is no RPF in the Free Zone. Each person uses their understanding improve life within their sphere of influence. We are responsible for our own actions. We must act within the limits of our own ethics. Answer By: Dennis L. Erlich The Rehabilitation Project Force. Formerly the Deck Project Force. Bad Sea Org members are banished to "rehabilitation" for being insufficiently under control. In the RPF: - those sentenced are not allowed to speak to anyone but fellow RPFers. - physical work is performed from sun up til late into the night doing building renovations, cleaning toilets, dumping garbage, studying and auditing scientology. - those sentenced have to run anywhere they go. - they are not allowed to use the telephone. - their mail is read and approved (or destroyed). - they are treated much as military prisoners during a war. Once sentenced to the RPF one must do an exact program of discipline and thought reform in order to graduate back into the mainstream of Sea Org staff. 23 - Who are the skeptics? Why do they spend so much time here if they don't even believe in Scientology? Answer by: Rachel Meredith Kadel The skeptics are a very varied group. Some are on alt.religion.scientology because they are concerned about the threats to freedom of speech posed by the Church of Scientology's recent actions. Some are on alt.religion.scientology because they are simply curious about just what Scientology is, and why there's such a fuss about it. Some are on a.r.s. for laughs -- certain posters can get quite ridiculous at times. Some skeptics came to alt.religion.scientology in concern because someone they know has joined. Some skeptics have had bad experiences with scientology, and want to share information about them so that others don't have the same bad experiences. Some people came to alt.religion.scientology for one or another of the above reasons, and stick around because they've become friends with, and concerned about, some of the other posters. In short, the skeptics are as mixed a group of people as you're likely to come across. 24 - How Does Scientology Deal with critics of the church? Answer By: Deirdre Severely. First off, critics are usually declared suppressive persons, which means they may not receive Scn services. If they are outspoken, they may be harassed in person. If their knowledge is dangerous to Scn, they might have a brake line cut or a cat shot. All these things have happened to folks right here. 25 - What lawsuits has Scientology been involved in? 26 - What is an SP? Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy A Suppressive Person is someone who, at some point, was in a REALLY nasty situation that was so bad that they decided, "I must control and crush everyone else! Only that way will I be safe!" After this decision has been forgotten, it still affects the person so that he or she is always subtly trying to gain control by stabbing other people in the back. This can manifest as a "caring mother" who plys her overweight daughter with candy to "make her feel better" after all the other kids teased her about her weight; maneuvering others to be dependent on the SP for self-esteem is one of the ways that an SP can be dangerous. It can manifest as a co-worker who twists what everyone says so that it comes out looking like what *he* wants said. It can be the boss who sexually harasses his/her employees. Since there's an underlying certainty that everyone else is just out to "get" the SP, it's very hard to help them. Most of the time, the safest thing to do is "disconnect," get out of their field of influence so that they don't mess up your life. It's possible to be Suppressive to a narrower subject,one person, or one group, for instance. This sort of person is still hard to help, but it's possible. People who have been suppressed for a long time (say, is in an abusive family) can become suppressive themselves, because they've learned that the only way to be safe is to hurt everyone else around them. Answer By: Mark Adams One potential view of the world is two poles, labeled "Good" and "Evil". A continuum may exist between these two poles. More difficult to conceive, both "Good" and "Evil" depend on one's viewpoint. Individuals may commit suppressive acts during the course of their existence. Such an act would, in my mind, be defined as "inhibiting the determinism, actualization, or survival of another entity". As a concrete example, I offer the act of removing an insect's legs. Most of the free zone bristle at the idea of "declaring" an individual suppressive. (Oddly, some jostle to be first in line to be declared!) This probably stems from an inner knowledge that choosing "Black Hats" is the first step on the path of reduced rights then persecution for those so labeled. As two concrete examples, I offer Hitler & the Jews, and the witches of Salem MA, USA. LRH did indicate this risk in (HCOB 27 Sep 1966) "All one has to do is designate 'people wearing black caps' as the villains and one can start a slaughter..." "... therefore it is even more important to identify the social personality than the antisocial..." Answer By: Chris Schafmeister I really don't know how Scientology defines a SP or "Suppressive Person". I have a few working definitions though that I have developed after talking to Scientologists for three years. The first definition is "pretty much anybody who doesn't like Scientology and says so publicly". Scientologists appear to believe that if you don't like something you should ignore it and leave it alone. Non-scientologists who take the time to point out shortcomings within the beliefs and organization of Scientology are quickly labeled as SP's by Scientologists. I have been labeled as such by several members of Scientology. The second definition is "whoever is on the official Scientology Suppressive Person list". Scientology maintains a LONG list of people and organizations that it officially considers to be "Suppressive". These are people and organizations that have been "declared", meaning that paperwork has been generated that officially labels them as "Suppressive". I believe the list can be downloaded from FACTNET. Scientologists are instructed to cease interactions with "Suppressive Persons" lest the Scientologist become infected or something. Also within Scientology is the rather enlightened principle that SP's may be lied to, cheated, harassed, and "destroyed"; it is what used to be called the "fair game" policy. 27 - What is PTS? Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy Potential Trouble Source. Despite what it stands for, it's more often used in the form of: "I'm PTS to Uncle Alfred." or "I'm going PTS to my job." The state of being PTS is characterized by roller-coastering emotions, depression, and generally having no fun, being stressed, and being hard to get along with. People who are connected with SPs or who are in a suppressive environment much of the time are likely to "go PTS." Since PTS people don't get much useful accomplished at their job or in their life (if you're feeling rotten, do *you* get much accomplished? If you say yes, I'm boggled...), it's considered a good idea to figure out what's stressing them out, and try to remove or limit the stress. Kick Uncle Alfred off of the living room sofa and make him get his own apartment, say. 28 - What is a Wog? Answer By: Deirdre Used to mean a non-Scientologist, the term "wog" is often used with derision. Sometimes, it is used to mean someone in Scn who isn't acting like one might expect a Scn to act; I have heard a new clear called "a cleared wog." Furthermore, prior to Scn, the term had racist overtones. Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy It's not much in use anymore, from what *I've* heard. Maybe it's more prevalent in some areas than others. My mom uses "raw public" or "green public" instead. 29 - Did Hubbard say that the way to make a million dollars is to start a religion? Answer By: Chris Schafmeister The following is shamelessly summarized from Don Lindsay's excellent FAQ on the subject. Several people have been quoted as saying that they heard Hubbard talk of starting a religion to make money and avoid taxes some time around 1945 to 1950. Among them are Jay Kay Klein, reporter Neison Himmel who shared a room with Hubbard in 1945, then editor of the "Thrilling" group of magazines Sam Merwin, writer Sam Moskowitz, science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon, and writer Lloyd Arthur Eshbach. On the other hand, the church of Scientology has obtained affidavits from a David A. Kyle and Jay Kay Klein who claim they were at the same talk that Hubbard gave when Moskowitz claims Hubbard made the statement and that Hubbard never made the "start his own religion" statement. The Kyle and Klein affidavits have clashed with an affidavit from Moskowitz in a German court of law and the case was dismissed when the Moskowitz affidavit was produced. Don concludes in his FAQ that he can't see how the witnesses to Hubbard's statement could be wrong and I would have to agree with him. Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy Probably. If I had a time-machine, I'd probably want to go back and smack him for it, though it's not really a "new" idea. The test for the techniques espoused is to try them without hoping they'll fail. If you like them, then does it matter what he said? 30 - I have a family member involved in Scientology. How do I help them get out? Answer By: Deirdre First off, recognize that joining any group is a solution to a perceived problem. Finding out what that problem is will help give you insight about why they remain there. Usually, this is something the person still wants resolved and will not be resolved within Scn. Secondly, respect the person's wishes and support them. Go at it gently. It is best if you find ex-members who can be friendly and supportive of the person. Answer By: Elizabeth McCoy Does the person *want* to get out? I mean, maybe they're working long hours and paying money, but so long as they're surviving and not using anybody *else's* money -- if they're happy, why try and stop that? (I mean, I pay money to go to SF conventions and buy things about fiction; it makes me happy and I wouldn't want people to "help me get out of fandom.") If somebody isn't happy, well, that's a different story. No-one should be in any group that's making that person unhappy. Just be polite and stick to your guns, I guess. If there's someone in the local org who's putting on too much pressure, then backing off may be the right thing for someone. Turning around and sniping at the CoS at every opportunity is kind of Bad Form, though, IMO.

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