The next episode of Listener Questions. As always, we cover a lot of ground, though not nearly all the questions you have submitted. This time we try our best to answer questions about how many scientologists are left, why scientology is so “white,” should scientology celebrities be boycotted, the front groups of scientology, Applied Scholastics schools, Degraded Beings, Dilettantes and more. It’s a lot of stuff!
And here are some documents and resources to go alo0ng with the answers.
The number of scientologists today — this is a great visual done by Jefferson Hawkins in 2018. Things have only gone downhill since then. Today there might be as many scientologists left as there are members of the Flat Earth Society.
This a summary of Hubbard’s writings about dealing with “enemies”: Dealing with Critics of Scientology — the L. Ron Hubbard Playbook
What is CCHR? An excellent series of three articles recently published on Tony Ortega’s site by Chris Owen detail the history and activities of CCHR:
First, do harm: Scientology’s secret war on mental health
Defeating the ‘Satan worshippers’: Scientology’s secret war on doctors
“Global psychiatric obliteration”: Scientology’s ongoing war against psychiatry
Scientology is “white” — my earlier blog post about how and why this is:
and Hubbard’s statements about race.
What is a Degraded Being? Here are the definitions from the official scientology Technical and Administrative dictionaries.
These are the statements by Hubbard that they were willing to have published. In common usage in scientology, the term is far more derogatory. A direct translation might be “bum” but even that is less derogatory than the significance attached to the term “DB” in scientology.
Sea Org Insignia and Ranks
Scientology schools — take a look at this recent post about Applied Scholastics schools being the recruitment pool for the Sea Org:
Front Groups of Scientology List (and as Leah promised, a link to Jeffrey Augustine’s blog The Scientology Money Project)
This is a partial list of the most well-known ones, and a Wikipedia entry on the subject.
Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE)
Applied Scholastics (and the schools that come under them like Delphian)
Way to Happiness Foundation
Set a Good Example
Concerned Businessmen’s Association of America
Foundation for Advancement of Science and Education (FASE)
OSA Front Groups
Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)
Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination (STAND)
Youth for Human Rights
United for Human Rights
National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice (NCLE)
Drug Free World
Drug Free Marshalls
Truth About Drugs
Freedom Media Ethics
Religious Freedom Watch
WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises)
Hubbard College of Administration
Author Services Inc
Writers of the Future Competition
New Era Publications
Michelle Trobiano says
I love the listener Q & A’s! My question is this: If parents are in Scientology, then one parent leaves Scientology and takes minor children with them, does the remaining parent still have contact with the child or does that relationship end. I’m thinking of the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes/Suri situation.
Mike, could you elaborate on Werner Erhard’s involvement in Scientology? All I know of it is that Hubbard thought Erhard took Scientology, and fair gamed him pretty severely. But you’re about the best authority on Scientology that I know, so I figure you’ll give the straight dope.
Like Neal above, I’ve done Landmark courses and haven’t experienced any kind of coercion, requests for money, or abusive practices. I don’t know what it was like when it was est, so I can’t speak to what’s different now versus then. I was following Scientology and cults before I did Landmark, and I never get the culty vibe from them. I feel like I’m hyperaware of red flags for that, and I don’t see any.
Erhard was an interesting figure in that he was involved in a lot of key things in the 1960s, from Zen Buddhism to Esalen. He was also a leader for one or more early LGATs (Large Group Awareness Trainings) and was probably more involved in those, than Dianetics and Scientology.
I think that unfortunately that it falls into Scientology’s propaganda trap, and Hubbard’s self-aggrandizing, to look back and say anyone who did Scientology and then did anything afterwards, did it just as an offshoot or “squirrel” of Hubbard’s “work” and the CofS. There was a whole stew of ideas and groups, often referred to as the Human Potential Movement, and Scientology was just one of the better-known (and most self-promoting) things for seekers and explorers to put on their dance cards. And Hubbard himself plagiarized so many things (including through others around him who did much of the real leg work), and then so deviously tried to cover it up and take credit for himself, that it’s hard to tell where anything came from; for example, if Erhard’s est/Landmark adapted Buddhist ideas, did those come via Hubbard’s covert copying of them (reportedly in good part via LRH, Jr. “Nibs”), or Erhard’s own personal study of the subject?
I don’t want to usurp Mike, who may know more of the nitty gritty of Erhard’s involvement (though I base what I write, in part on talking to old timers who provided details I haven’t gotten in to), and have a perspective on Landmark though his work, but I think I can speak to the big picture of the 1960s
Thanks for that. What you wrote was more my understanding of it. Erhard studied a bunch of stuff, a small bit was Scientology. Erhard started est from pulling from all those with nothing specific to Scientology, but Hubbard went nuts anyway. But I asked because I don’t know much about Erhard.
Though I don’t know much, I do get the sense that while Landmark originated with est, that it’s something very different and distinct from it.
Erhard’s est did take some things from Dianetics and Scientology, and my understanding is that in its earliest incarnations, a couple of those were obvious. But again, it took from many other things, as well – plus maybe even Erhard deserves credit for some new things of his own.
est was in some ways informed by things Erhard saw in Scientology that he didn’t think worked – probably rightly so, even though some would disagree with what he did instead. Besides converting to the LGAT format, he dialed down the intensity and harshness of anything he did borrow; and created an organization that largely offered a limited curriculum with minimum time requirements, designed for people to “graduate” and move on (a basic course, and a handful of topical follow-up courses, later expanded somewhat) rather than demanding virtually a lifetime of daily devotion. From what I can tell Landmark took that a step further, with its “Forum” being even kinder and gentler, relatively.
In my view, just about anything humans get themselves involved in, can get a bit culty. I don’t know quite how to rate Landmark, but it does appear to me that they have deliberately tried to avoid a lot of what is seen in Scientology for example, even if they haven’t succeeded entirely.
Valerie Feria-Isacks says
It’s an alteration of https://www.britannica.com/topic/brevet
Valerie Feria-Isacks says
All the neverin’s (ie people who’ve never been in scientology) that I trust deeply are either related to my neverin hubby OR are out there being anticult OR were in a different cult + worked/classmates with me post-SeaOrg.
It’s like a risk vs reward calculation that goes on in my head.
I know if they’re in one of these groups that they won’t sell me out to the cult, but if they aren’t then I can only trust them so far and with things I’m already out about on the internet. My trust of neverins is limited to having had other experiences similar to scientology or having attacked similar/related groups.
Hopefully this makes sense to others? the technical term is hypervigilance.
Lizzie Mills says
Really, really enjoyed this Q&A/FAQ session, it was one of the best. Both of you speak so thoughtfully, intelligently, and insightfully about human nature (Leah defining racism off the top of her head, and the exploration of the hierarchy of people’s core beliefs and why you love them anyway…) What an enormous amount of work you must have both done to undo what was forced upon you in a cult for all those years. I love this podcast (and its sister podcasts like A Little Bit Culty) despite having a cult-free background, because who can’t identify on some level with the abuses of power and coercive control that’s taken to extreme in those environments? Love it, love the swearing. Universal essential listening for anyone.
Neal Wexler says
I love your podcast, and have a tremendous amount of respect for you and Leah.
However, with respect, I wanted to respectfully respond to something you said on the last episode. You mentioned that Landmark was “horrible” or something like that. I’ve been taking Landmark courses for over 20 years, and while I’ve had issues with some of their business practices over the years, specifically the hard-sell and insistence on bringing guests, I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of value out of the courses, and have seen major changes in their approach to be less hard-sell.
Yes, there are a lot of similarities in the material and practices with Scientology, and other types of organizations like NXIVM, however, I can honestly say that the modern day Landmark is a far different organization that Est was, or even Landmark of 10 years ago. I don’t feel they are predatory and do run their business ethically. Past experiences may have been different, but as of today, this is my feeling.
I’ve always looked at Landmark as a place to take very helpful, valuable, and life changing seminars and programs, and if it’s looked at like that, an educational company, then that’s all it has to be. You can choose to become as involved as you want to, but if you just want to take a seminar and stop, or an occasional seminar here and there, that’s not an issue at all, as with most legitimate businesses.
I’ve done assisting, and taken higher level courses, and have found incredible value out of all of it, but when I want to take a break, as I currently am, no one calls and harrasses me, beyond an occasional sales call to let me know about an upcoming course I may be interested in.
I think there is legitimate critique of how Landmark has operated over the years, and the remnants of Scientology and Est are still there to a small degree, but they’ve done a lot to create a new and better organizations that provides a ton of benefits, with most of the the older hard-sell practices left behind.
This is just my 2 cents, take it for what it’s worth, but having taken courses for over 20 years, I’ve seen them change and wanted to acknowledge their own growth as an organization.
With much love and respect,
Mark Kamran says
Excellent podcast 👌
And collections of degratory comments about visible minorities by founder .
It’s hard to imagine if it’s not influenced the followers and maybe that’s why ,as you mentioned , it’s so white.🤔
love the podcast, mike! i love these types of episodes. you two are both VERY insightful- i definitely love hearing both perspectives; civilian and exec. so fascinating and informative. i’m hoping in maybe a future episode you guys could discuss things like the hole and rpf, i feel like there’s not a whole lot of info out there and i just cannot believe they can just exist the way they do!! anyways, thank you both for all that you do.
Hi ,I’m a big fan of your podcast and Mike I admire the courage that you have to confront the true and I’m so happy for the family that you have.
I will love to hear you talking with Gerry Armstrong!
O/T. Quillette: Huxley, Burroughs, and the Church of Scientology
Published on July 6, 2021
written by David S. Wills
Wow! Excellent excellent article by the author of a really great book, this is the kind of intellectual backing I really wished had continued, but due to Scientology lacking merit, it is worth always mentioning that continued intellectual support of Scientology never has gotten off the ground!
David S Wills’ book, very worthy book to see the best that a writer utilises of Hubbard’s quackery to add to their art.
Burroughs to me was easier to understand compared to Finnigan’s Wake by James Joyce by miles.
But huge thanks to David S. Wills!
There just is not making a silk purse out of Hubbard’s sow’s ear quackery.
Lisa Ledesma says
I just texted my born-in-to-scientology mom and called her a dilatant. Haha! Can’t wait to see what she says. You guys are so great.
I was wondering if you and Leah have listened to the Oh No Ross and Carrie episodes Leah mentioned?
Love to you both
Jay Tee says
I have a question that I’m hoping you can answer during your next Q&A. Has Miscavige himself made it to OT8 and who audited (or currently audits) him?
Jere Lull says
I’m not Mike, but what I have gleaned is that Davey considers all that below him. He failed to complete his Class IV internship at St Hill after he punched his female co-auditor out in session, and has never been seen in the Academy studying L. Ron’s sacred text. Famously, when highly classed auditors offered to take him into session to help him through a rough patch, he categorically refused. I believe he glances through Hubbard’s writings sometimes in order to twist them to his own purposes, but doesn’t put much credence in them except as ways to control those he wants to damage or destroy.
“This person cannot be at cause without attaining OT 111.”
If I were David Miscavige I would have fixed the sabotage by the suppressive typists who made it sound like there are one hundred and eleven OT levels because they were too lazy to type shift+ i before I purged the suppressive semicolons. But I’m reasonably sane and not a money-grubbing self-appointed pope.
O/T. Law Review Article — Ministerial Exception: The Involuntary Servitude Loophole, by Juliana Moraes Liu* (2020). (The article discusses Headley v. Church of Scientology International.)
*J.D. 2020, Yale Law School; B.A. 2017, Columbia University. Juliana would like to thank Ambassador Luis C. deBaca for inspiring this article and guiding it through its development.
First Amendment Law Review
At 314 – 344.
Full article available for free at:
* * * * * BEGIN ABSTRACT * * * * *
Human trafficking through religious organizations is a frequently overlooked issue in both human trafficking and First Amendment scholarship. In the face of expanding protections for religious organizations, the ministerial exception has grown into a powerful doctrine that shields religious entities from employment-related legal consequences in civil courts. Courts must recognize the ministerial exception’s expanded reach and refuse to allow its operation as a jurisdictional bar for human trafficking cases arising under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (“TVPA”). Lower courts in the United States have begun addressing the intersection of the ministerial exception and the TVPA and arrived at opposing conclusions. This Article provides legal and normative justifications for refusing to apply the ministerial exception to trafficking claims and contributes to First and Thirteenth Amendment scholarship by furnishing courts with several interpretive alternatives that can be used to resolve the tension that arises when these constitutional provisions come into conflict.
* * * * * END ABSTRACT * * * * *
* * BEGIN TABLE OF CONTENTS * *
Table of Contents
I. THE ROOTS OF THE MINISTERIAL EXCEPTION 318
A. Shukla v. Sharma 319
B. Headley v. Church of Scientology International 320
II. DOCTRINALLY, IMPOSITION OF FIRST AMENDMENT INVIOLABILITY IS AHISTORICAL AND INAPPROPRIATE IN AN ANTI-SLAVERY SETTING 322
A. The Thirteenth Amendment Supersedes the First Amendment in a Constitutional Framework 323
B. The Thirteenth Amendment Deliberately did not Carve out Religious Protections 324
C. The Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses do not Provide Immunity for Religious Organizations 326
D. Regardless of the Ministerial Exception’s Outgrowth to Cover All Employment Decisions, Human Trafficking Falls Outside the Scope of Labor Disputes 328
III. NORMATIVELY, THE MINISTERIAL EXCEPTION OUGHT NOT BE APPLIED TO THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT CLAIMS 330
A. Religious Organizations are Not Necessarily Aligned with the Moral “Good” 330
B. Extending the Ministerial Exception to Include TVPA Cases Creates a Safe Harbor for Human Trafficking via Religious Organizations 333
IV. INTERPRETIVE ALTERNATIVES TO AVOID THE TRAPPINGS OF THE MINISTERIAL EXCEPTION 335
A. First Alternative – Constrain the Ministerial Exception to Employment Decisions Based on Doctrinal Issues 335
B. Second Alternative – Raise the Standard for Determining which Employees are Covered by the Ministerial Exception 338
C. Third Alternative – Give Force to the “Outward Physical Acts” Distinction 340
D. Fourth Alternative – Apply the “Harm Principle” when Analyzing the Ministerial Exception 342
* * END TABLE OF CONTENTS * *
* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *
B. Headley v. Church of Scientology International
In contrast, the district court in Headley affirmatively applied the ministerial exception to a TVPA claim and allowed the Church of Scientology to eliminate the court’s subject matter jurisdiction through the ministerial exception. Referencing the Shukla decision, Judge Fischer refused to follow the New York court, holding that the ministerial exception does not apply to the TVPA. The Headley opinion dismissed the Shukla decision stating that “[t]he only support for this argument comes from an out-of-circuit magistrate judge’s report and recommendation that does not even cite to Ninth Circuit decisions on the ministerial exception, let alone apply the exception in accordance with Ninth Circuit case law.”
Plaintiffs Marc and Claire Headley joined the Church of Scientology’s secretive “Sea Org” as teenagers. They labored for over 100 hours per week but received only $50 in weekly stipends in addition to their Church-provided living expenses.33 They were also assigned additional manual labor as a form of discipline. 34 Further, they alleged that they were unable to leave. Claire and Marc Headley filed suit against the Church of Scientology under the TVPA.
24. Headley v. Church of Scientology Int’l, No. CV 09-3987 DSF (MANx), 2010 WL 3184389, at *6 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2010).
27. Headley v. Church of Scientology Int’l, 687 F.3d 1173, 1174 (9th Cir. 2012). 33 Id. at 1176. 34 Id.
28. Id. at 1177.
29. Id. at 1178.
Unlike Magistrate Judge Pollak on the Second Circuit, Judge Fischer approached the TVPA and trafficking as an extension of labor relations. The Headley court readily accepted the Church of Scientology’s argument that the challenged conduct was “doctrinally motivated,” and therefore refused to investigate the merits of the Headleys’ claims. The court explained that “inquiry into these allegations would entangle the Court in the religious doctrine of Scientology and the doctrinallymotivated practices of the Sea Org.” Judge Fisher applied the labor-based precedent of the ministerial exception to the trafficking claim, explaining that it would be impossible to disentangle the Headleys’ allegations from the Church of Scientology’s religious doctrine. Throughout the Ninth Circuit opinion as well, much deference was given to the Church of Scientology’s claims of doctrine. Although the Ninth Circuit did not reach the ministerial exemption question, both the trial court and the Ninth Circuit exhibited a reluctance to distinguish human trafficking from existing ministerial exception jurisprudence.
The district court opinion improperly allows room for human trafficking to be legitimately contained within religious doctrine deserving of judicial protection. Judge Fisher wrote “[d]etermining whether Scientology’s practices of routing out, censorship, or heavy manual labor as a form of discipline, for example, constitute involuntary servitude within the meaning of the TVPA is precisely the type of entanglement that the Religion Clauses prohibit.” This extreme deference to religious doctrine dangerously allows the legitimization of religious practices that
30. Headley v. Church of Scientology Int’l, No. CV 09-3987 DSF MAN, 2010 WL 3184389, at *4-6 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2010).
31. Id. at *6.
33. For example, Claire Headley alleged that one of the methods of control exerted over her by the Church of Scientology was its forcing her to obtain two abortions. Id.
at *5. Judge Fischer explained that “inquiry concerning the pressure Plaintiff allegedly faced after becoming pregnant would require review of Scientology’s doctrine prohibiting Sea Org members from raising children.” Id. at *6.
34. The Ninth Circuit began its analysis by setting forth Scientology’s expectations for its members, effectively laying out First Amendment exemptions for the organization. Headley, 687 F.3d at 1174 (“The Sea Org demands much of its members, renders strict discipline, imposes stringent ethical and lifestyle constraints, and goes to great efforts to retain clergy and to preserve the integrity of the ministry. These features of the Sea Org flow from the teachings and goals of the Scientology religion.”).
35. See id. at 1181. See also Headley, 2010 WL 3184389, at *6.
36. Headley, 2010 WL 3184389, at *6.
would otherwise be prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment.
The Ninth Circuit’s refusal to reach the ministerial exemption question prevents the Headleys and others similarly situated from using the legal system to remediate alleged human trafficking. In fact, this district court approach would, if it were binding precedent, legitimize human trafficking by religious organizations and give them carte blanche to ignore the Thirteenth Amendment. The Headley district court decision to apply the ministerial exception to TVPA cases allows First Amendment protections to entirely overwhelm and cast aside any Thirteenth Amendment concerns, effectively permitting religious organizations to engage in serious human rights abuses without any judicial scrutiny.
37. See, e.g., Jennifer M. Chacón, Misery and Myopia: Understanding the Failures of U.S. Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking, 74 FORDHAM L. REV. 2977, 2998 (2006) (arguing that the TVPA was enacted to “revitalize” the protections of the Thirteenth Amendment against involuntary servitude).
* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
* * * * * BEGIN CONCLUSION * * * * *
The ministerial exception exists to protect religious organizations from the type of government interference that would prevent the fulfillment of religious missions. It does not exist to exempt religious organizations from all laws and regulations, and it certainly does not exist to give religious organizations a free pass to traffic their employees. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act is a vital piece of legislation that provides survivors of human trafficking with civil remedies against the infringement of their constitutional Thirteenth Amendment rights. The First Amendment’s Free Exercise and Establishment clauses must not be interpreted to vanquish Thirteenth Amendment protections. Such an approach would be counter to public policy and to the original intent and mission of the Thirteenth Amendment, which deliberately did not carve out an exemption for religious organizations.
Permitting the use of the ministerial exception as a defense to TVPA cases is improper from both legal and normative perspectives. Human trafficking in religious organizations is an unfortunately common occurrence, and religious traffickers must not be excused solely by virtue of their religious status. Courts handling TVPA cases should not permit the use of the ministerial exception as a jurisdictional bar given the unique legal status that human trafficking has in American law. The Thirteenth Amendment must not be reduced to simply another manifestation of labor laws that fall subservient to broad religious freedoms in the United States and must instead be upheld as constitutionally vital and crucial to the fight against human trafficking.
* * * * * END CONCLUSION * * * * *
Bruce Ploetz says
I don’t understand all the legalese but I sure hope this means that there is some possibility that someday charges will be brought against the Church of Scientology organizations for their obvious and egregious violations of labor laws, human trafficking laws and basic human decency.
I had occasion once upon a time of visiting a real monasterial environment, names and details withheld to protect their privacy. Just know that these were main-stream religious orders under very strict vows.
The real deal:
Very nice communal accommodations.
Dozens of people crammed into accommodations designed for two or four. At one point I was sleeping in an unfinished 30s basement with 20 or so others, bare dirt walls next to my bunkbed. More terrible horror stories abound, involving wildlife and pestilence. To be fair I think this may have improved in some areas since I left in 2004.
The real deal:
Set hours of work and worship, somewhere around 8-10 hours a day. Time off for rest and recreation.
“Normal” schedule 14 to 18 hours a day 7 days a week with possibly a few hours once a week for cleaning and personal affairs. But the normal schedule is often violated for weeks or months at time, becoming occasional naps in the midst of 24 hour days.
The real deal:
Very good food. One time I happened to visit in the middle of Thanksgiving Day preparations and found every kind of good Thanksgiving feast food items being enthusiastically prepared.
If it comes in a can cheap from Sysco it will be on the table. But only when the money happens to arrive that week. No money, rice and beans. Sometimes they do the rice and beans as a punishment too, for months at a time. One time we were on rice and beans and the cook decided to change it up a bit, trying different spices and condiments. As soon as David Miscavige saw that it was back to red kidney beans and white rice stat. I will say there was usually home-made yoghurt and granola available, which is very cheap to make. Many weeks I basically survived on that and candy bars from the canteen.
The Real Deal:
Isolation: They were sequestered and had somewhat limited contact with the general public. But they were also doing teaching and charity purposes that kept them in contact with the outside world despite that. No limitations on visits from family and so on that I could see.
Depending on when and where you worked, you might be 100% isolated from the outside world for months or years at a time. Friends and family can never visit the isolated areas like the International Base or the Freewinds. In areas like the Big Blue it is possible to get out a bit if you are not in trouble. If you end up on the Rehabilitation Project Force it is back to 100% isolation, even from your Sea Org colleagues.
The Real Deal:
Trafficking: I have no way of knowing if some of the ones I knew were trafficked, but I never observed the obvious signs like someone who speaks little English.
Trafficking is a way of life for them, having very little appeal to the general labor market in the US. Many non-English speakers working as domestics etc. I observed many who joined only to get into the US, and many others who were tricked into it in a scam just like the old “Russian bride” scam you used to see on the Internet. Marriages just to get someone a religious green card. Lies on green card applications. Visa overstays hidden in out-of-the-way locations. About as religious as a brothel.
The real deal:
Care for the elderly.
No retirement plan unless you know too many secrets damaging to the Church to be let out. Then you may end up at the Int Base in the Hole. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. Typically when you “age out” of the Sea Org you are found to be unfit and dumped one way or another. If you are originally from a country that has government health care you may get shipped back home. After decades of dedicated service many have no retirement savings and have not worked enough quarters to get Social Security or Medicare. Though the Church has millions of dollars in reserves it feels no obligation to care for those “unfit to serve”. So effectively the retirement plan is “toil ’til you drop in the traces”.
The real deal:
No coercion. Those who feel they are no longer called to the monastic life are not illegally incarcerated. Think of the first 20 minutes of “The Sound of Music” (“What do you do with a problem like Maria?”)
Wanting to leave is considered a confession of the most egregious sins. You may spend months or years being interrogated. You may be held against your will in horrible conditions. Many have reported dramatic escape attempts. Why would you lock yourself in a stranger’s automobile trunk to escape somewhere? Only if you felt there was no other way out.
I can understand that there are First Amendment protections that allow uncompelled non-minors to voluntarily participate in rigorous training or monastic vows and so on. Scientology is not that. Scientology is engaging in abuse of those under undue influence. I can only hope that the distinction between these two very different human endeavors someday begins to legally make a difference.
Dwarf Vader says
100% spot on. Whatever faults people find in traditional religion, if you choose to leave the Catholic Church or the vast majority of denominations, they’ll leave you alone. And you can even come back without if you feel that’s your calling.
A big problem is “whataboutery” bandied about by critics of religion, as if to make Scientology no different to any other religion (usually Christianity). And they’re actually helping the cult as much as cult apologists, by failing to make requisite distinctions.
Bruce Ploetz: Thank you for this well thought-out and well described compare and contrast. Truly appreciate it. Needs to be shared with others and I plan to do so.
Mark Kamran says
The basic question is why would a middle class American leave his religion, say Christianity and join a cult .
Its Christian Church which established school where his kids study .
His old parents are at nursing home managed by Christian Church .
When he is homeless they provide him shelter.
When he is hungry they give him meal.
When he is broke they provide clothing and basic necessities of life.
Why would he leave them a join a cult which needs him to pay for its staff food , housing , dress etc
Definitely , a middle class blue or white collar no longer interested in SciFi cult which more sounds like Ancient Alien 👽 script.
At Going Clear Conference in 2015 , the Ex-Scientologists attended , joined in 80’s or 90’s
But if they were in year 2005 and later , majority of them won’t even think about joining it.
Bank in 80’s and 90’s every thing was reference base .
News were based on reliable newsagency and newspapers.
Books by major publishing house were credible source .
It was isolated world and we used to see in terms of reference.
NOW , for last 15 years we are living in info age where individuals are making news and views and media houses quoting it.
Before a statement stores in our mind we already Google it to check it’s authenticity.
Dwarf Vader says
Cults or NRMs emerged in two different eras in the West. The first was in the 19th Century, which gave rise to Mormons, JWs, Adventists, British Israel, Black Hebrew, etc movements. Most of these groups are not considered orthodox Christians but still within a “Christian” frame of reference. Most or all of these have largely attained “normalisation”.
The second wave came after WWII and especially in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Scientology was just one of many such groups, others included Children of God, Hare Krishna, Osho, Eckankar, Moonies, Transcendental Meditation, etc. Scientology has trumped them in terms of financial resources, if not absolute membership numbers (actually a few such NRMs especially in Asia absolutely dwarf Scientology in membership and influence), and far outdistanced them in notoriety and criminality.
Most NRMs have proven sufficiently flexible and adaptable to ensure their long-term survival. The Internet has been good for them in this regard (as most of their materials are readily available to the public), and their literature means that even that their movements can revive in some form or another if there is someone with the will to do so.
Scientology’s prospects of doing so look dim because it’s unreformable.
Mark Kamran says
The second wave of Cults after 2nd World war is the by product of Cold War Era under the mentorship of BIG Brothers as they need it against Soviet block.
After the fall of Berlin war they were orphan , as their utility were marginalised.
Now they are struggling for their survival against the Time which bringing new communication technology every 5 years .
Making internet time less and geographically free.
In coming years with Covid restrictions in place till 2025 ( as per World Bank ) and new technology every 2 years ……it’s a final count down for them.
They should get isolated ASAP , other wise , their youth shall revolt .