This is the first installment of the account of a journey into and out of scientology — written by one of our long-term readers. I hope you enjoy her insights, humor and style.
At the end of this post is a wonderful glossary to accompany the story. I will make this its own post and in subsequent installments have a direct link to it so you don’t have to scroll to the bottom of a longish post to access it.
Through the Bubble – Lili’s Adventures in Scientologyland
by Lili Ryder
This is my quirky recollection of events. Others may remember things differently. Lingo is italicized on first mention, capitalized after that. I’ve compressed complexities in the cult to simplify your reading pleasure.
The Wasp and the Ladybug
The part-time job with my sweet Montecito lady changed. She didn’t need me to iron her blouses anymore. It made my eyes sting to see her stay longer in her bed. She and her husband didn’t really need me four hours a day anymore, and I wouldn’t have them keep me on for charity. Her husband and I talked and after one last week, I was unemployed.
I was sad. Maybe depressed. I needed to put myself out there. I needed a goal. I cleaned up all the dog shit in the back yard of my crappy rental. I cooked a vegetarian casserole for my roommates. Then I had to do all the dishes, cuz they didn’t get the whole commune ethos of, she who cooks, doesn’t do dishes. They actually didn’t do such a good job of doing their own dishes.
I noticed that the Drummer was gone most of the time. His dog was still around, shitting madly, but the Drummer’s quiet friendly presence wasn’t there to make the place nice.
Handsome Jesus-Man and Tall and Smart, my all too present roommates, were eyeing each other with loathing. I felt like I’d bought a ticket for the wrong movie. Jesus-Man sometimes stared at me. I couldn’t tell if he wanted someone to talk to, or if he was just bored, because he seemed to have no job, or anything on, outside our cramped little house. I always felt stupid around him and didn’t figure he wanted to jump my bones. Not that I’d let him.
Jesus-Man finally stopped staring at his yoga shoes while feeling the ground under his slow meaningful footsteps and told me his brother was coming to visit. He was going to stay in the Drummer’s room. I thought I must have spinach in my teeth, or three-day BO, because he kept looking at me. Evidently there was more news. The usual mental voices of speculation, could be counted on to say stuff like, “Lili, you need to move out in thirty days,” or “You’re not a good fit here,” or “Your eyes stink,” or whatever the lizard mind could dredge up. He remained silent. “What?” I finally asked.
He explained that his brother was a bit of a user. Huh. Like his last girlfriend tried to kill herself when they broke up. I had no clue why he’d tell me this. I wondered if his brother was visiting to escape the dire vibes emanating from her broken heart.
Like the parasitic wasp who uses the ladybug to incubate its young, sacrificing the lovely, innocent ladybug, Jesus-Man’s brother oozed into the house like dismal fog. Oh, he was glossy and pretty, how could he not be, sharing the same gene-pool with Jesus-Man? But he hid his awful side with, eye-contact, smiles, and normal shoes.
From the moment we were introduced he focused on me. He had no car, I had no job. Was I not the perfect vessel to lay his baggage on, motor him down the Nile, or whatever his mythological mission was? He wanted to do the hikes, and he didn’t like mung beans, so I cooked for him. Cooking in that kitchen, in a house designed without a fixed place to eat, was like cooking in a kitchen, in a house designed by a second grader.
He would drag the conversation into areas of conspiracy theory I was unfamiliar with. I knew nukes were bad, the military-industrial-complex was unsustainable, our acid rain fell in Canada, and that Red-Lining was real. But he had conspiracy theories to spare. His favorite hobby horse was the mysterious and shrouded in fog, Federal Reserve System. Or paper-money-printer of secret Government agencies. Funding for death squads in Third World countries, and paranoid crap like that. He used numbers and described organizational levels of bullshit beyond my ability to care. I just chalked it up to, he had money problems and it was easier to blame The Man, than get a job. I’d supported two horses, had money in the bank, and didn’t think the Fed was out to get me, or kill Third World brown people in my name. I could have been wrong about that.
His deal was that he was under the radar. He moved around and did important research. He thought people who didn’t confront what a police state we lived in, were doomed to be herded like cattle into a choiceless, gulag of commercialism and meaningless employment. Yeah, that’s why he didn’t have a job. It must run in the family. I was pretty sure Jesus-Man’s not-current-girlfriend Tall and Smart, was paying his share of the expenses. Even though they acted like cottonmouths from competing dens.
I picked the wrong time to spill about my lack of direction and ambivalence about the various jobs I saw on offer in the employment classifieds. My tiny sparks of interest, were handily extinguished by the brother’s cynicism. But he’d do it with a chuckle. I didn’t notice that my sparks were dimming in general. Somehow each day, he had a big plan and needed my help, cough, car, to achieve his goals. As I sank further into apathy, his ideas looked like a light on the surface of the water I was under.
My dark dive into a worldview without hope, hit its bottom, the night Jesus-Man found the psilocybin mushrooms in the freezer. I’d always said, no pills, no tabs, no needles, just a joint here and there. Yet there I was, near tears with boredom and apathy, saddled with an environment that was too wet for my cactus self, and too dry for my fern self, breaking trust with myself by chewing these disgusting mushrooms.
It was the first time I’d spent with Jesus-Man and his brother in the same room. Jesus-Man looked at me with worry, his brother patted me like I was his puppy. I’m convinced that either psilocybin mushrooms are very subtle, or they’d been in the freezer too long. The two brothers decided to dissect my personality. Bottom line, neither of them thought I’d amount to much.
I had my dignity. I said I was tired, went to my room with Summer, and with one arm around her, and one around my pillow, I gasped and cried as quietly as possible, as my hopeless future yawned before me. I needed my mom.
Mom’s Train Goes in a Different Direction
I slept late and shouted off the brother’s plan du jour through the flimsy bathroom door. He needed a ride into downtown regardless. Too bad. While he was reading War and Peace, in the one-fucking-bathroom-in-the-house, I drove off, legs pressed together, to pee at the commune I used to live at, in Mission Canyon. The Oakes. I got there in the late morning on a perfect day. The sun streamed down on the organic garden, wafting friendly turned-earth smells. Winter in Santa Barbara is not like real winter. No snow, not enough rain, and an opportunity to get a sunburn in January.
I wandered around the wraparound-the-house yard till I found Mom. She was nude sunbathing on our private deck, off my beloved sun room. Wait, it was a Wednesday. Why wasn’t she working? Turned out she’d decided to quit her bookkeeping job and take some time off. She looked relaxed, as she self-actualized her fantasy of how she’d live if she wasn’t chasing the almighty dollar, and raising the millstone-around-her-neck child.
I did a pretty crap job of venting my angst about my aimless, unhappy, life. I heard myself sound like a spoiled, no-one-wants-to-hear-her-shit child. I cringed. Then Mom, oh so helpfully, started trotting out her friend that worked at the bank, who she’d mentioned me to. Oh, great, I could work for The Man and all my problems would be solved.
I defaulted to my worst self, because nothing says, I don’t want to actually solve this problem, like picking a fight. There was Mom, enjoying some peace after successfully fledging her live chick out of the nest, and said fledgling was doing her damnedest to ruin mama-bird’s day. Mom had a new manfriend to make her life softer and I should have been happy for her. But it was all about me. I was still a teenager. I tromped off, after ensuring she felt as bad, and as baffled as I did. Maybe Mom should have just shoved, What Color is Your Parachute at me and then ejected me from the premises. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.
Not knowing where to go, I drove sort of aimlessly, till I saw the client parking spot at Margs Rolfing Palace was empty and pulled in. She cut off the long version of the short slide into awfulness that my life had become. Margs pointed out that my well-planned sob story was me trying to wrap my problems in a shiny ribbon, put them on a silver platter, and hand them off to someone else to solve. And punishing them when they tried. Because only I could solve my problems. And for the clincher, that this was a pattern with me. I felt more angry, alive, and ready to combust, than I had in a long time.
I Find the Catalyst for Change I’d Been Looking For
When I got back to my rental, the brother was gone. For good. The cranky vibes emanating from the walls reminded me of the last days in Barbara’s Berkeley abode, before I lost an extended family I valued. I didn’t love living in the crappy house on the Mesa anymore, but I didn’t want to look for a new place to live either.
I went grocery shopping. I was going to make creamed-spinach, breaded-eggplant lasagna. It took me like three hours every time I’d made it in the past, because I can be a bit slow in the kitchen. I can get distracted. But the result had always included, how great of a cook I was. I wanted to do something I was good at, that I could share, even if it took all day.
First, I did a sink full of other people’s dishes. I hauled the table and four chairs out into the living room. You could barely open the fridge with that damn table in there and forget opening the oven. An alter-niche with a Quan Yin statuette couldn’t have helped the Feng Shui of that kitchen with that dumb table in it. I liked being barefoot, so I got down on my hands and knees and cleaned the sticky floor. My feet purred on the newly cleaned linoleum.
The double baskets with mung bean sprouts that covered the worktops, rendered the flat spaces barely usable. I carried them into the living room. I could breathe. The available places to chop, slice, and bread calmed me like stroking a cat. I nipped into the Drummer’s room, turned on his awesome stereo, and blasted the neighbors with Seals and Crofts and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. As I danced in the kitchen, sunbeams rayed in the window, and I felt smiley inside. It took me four hours to make my masterpiece. I bugged Jesus-Man to tell Tall and Smart, and the Drummer, that their presence was required for that night’s feast. As the Pyrex dish started bubbling, I found a tablecloth and some candles.
While looking for my hand-written recipe for lasagna, I’d stumbled upon the Scientology Personality Test Margs gave me months earlier. Impulsively I made an appointment to meet with Margs’ Scientology friend, to explore the attributes of my faulty character. I made the appointment for the next day, so I’d have something on my to-do list, besides backsliding back into the slough of despond.
Dinner was awesome; Jesus-Man and Tall and Smart got back together, she spoke to me, a little, and the Drummer told us he was practically living in a house around the corner, with a friend of the band. His eyes lit up with a glow. I knew whether his squeeze was male or female, the Drummer was in love.
With Summer at my feet, it took me over an hour to fill in the Personality Test. Even though the instructions said to respond with the first answer that pops into your head, I thought, thinking more carefully about which oval to fill in, yes, no, or maybe, would obviously be more accurate. I left Summer in the backyard and jumped into Blueberry, my VW bug, for the trip to my personality evaluation.
The word Scientology was painted in blue above the front entry door of a three-story, big old building, a half a block off State Street, the main drag. A bookcase near the door had three shelves of books. All the same. Dianetics, by L Ron Hubbard, (LRH), with the one on top open in a book holder with highlighted sentences. A friendly middle-aged lady greeted me from behind a desk. I expected to see an I heart Dianetics pin on her collar to complete the, it’s-all-about-Dianetics décor. Nope. I knew I’d seen that book somewhere, but then the moment passed. I noticed no typewriter on her desk. Maybe I should try for a receptionist job. I can smile and say hi, right?
I was in the mood to turn my life around. I’d even considered joining the military for two seconds. But then the whole vegetarian, bohemian, commune-upbringing, reared its groovy head and shouted that shit right down.
Margs’ friend was a tall, serious-looking, middle-aged guy. I noticed his awkward, what do I do with my hands, posture. Well, she obviously hadn’t Rolfed him. I rolled my shoulders back. He had the nice receptionist grade my test, while he chatted me up in a build-my-trust, and find-a-connection, kind of way.
I’d entered the Roach Motel; where you can check in, but you can’t check out. Or the Hotel California, where you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. One of Scientology’s sticky bits was the wagonload of L Ron Hubbard wordventions. The lingo flew like swarming termites from the moment I crossed their threshold. Like a secret handshake, loaded words separated those in the know from the ordinary non-Scientology drones, mindlessly buzzing from work, to home, to couch.
The insidious thing about their usage of familiar seeming words, was that you heard it and thought you knew what a Scientologist meant, except that it didn’t really make sense. So, you’d squint and do a weak smile. Lingo words often didn’t mean what Webster’s dictionary said they meant.
In the Scientology Dissemination Drill, (how they rope in new people,) that chatting me up part is called, Contact. The Test Evaluator asked what I knew about Scientology. I told him maybe Margs did some Scientology voodoo on me, about dying in the Dark Ages. He did this frown and nod thing, like he detested the word voodoo, but the Dark Ages dying thing was the norm in his Scientology world. That step is called, Handle. It’s where the Test-Evaluator handles any ‘lies’ you might have heard or read about Scientology. Too bad Radia Perlman hadn’t invented the internet yet.
The Test Evaluator showed me the up and down lines of my Personality Test result, with a large dip below the midline under the heading, responsibility. I thought of my recent convo with Margs and my shoulders sagged. It was official, I didn’t own responsibility for my shit. He asked for examples and got the waterworks I’d been saving for Mom, if she hadn’t pissed me off with unwanted advice, or Margs if she hadn’t chopped off my long intro, so she could be on time to torture her next client.
This guy was patience itself. Just when I was done crying, he’d ask for another example, of a time when not taking responsibly had ruined my life. What kind of sadistic freak was he? But crying, being listened to, and acknowledged, is quite cathartic. I was fully in the, Salvage step, where the Test-Evaluator finds your, Personal Ruin, or, what’s ruining your life. Sometimes it must be a challenge for them to pick just one thing, when someone like me comes by, with a cornucopia of choices.
Then comes the, Bring-to-Understanding step. Wherein the wise and patient Test Evaluator, who’s just listened to you vent for over an hour, mentions the Communication Course, the precursor to the life-changing Personal Integrity Course. I really wanted that Integrity one. But I had to shout at walls or something first to get it. Fifty dollars poorer, I signed up.
Down the Rabbit Hole – Opinionated Glossary of Lingo
Auditing – Auditing in Scientology consists of a tightly controlled system of techniques to find items/subjects that disturb the parishioner. The Auditor uses the E-meter, the lie detector box connected by wires to a couple of soup cans the parishioner holds, to assist them in finding the hot Buttons of the parishioner. They use a system of questions that they ask the parishioner and the parishioner answers. The E-meter needle on a dial tells the Auditor, bang, that item’s a hot one. Yup, got a firecracker there. Do your L Ron Hubbard thing on that subject. The purpose is to free the spiritual being of some past compulsion to yell at people, have affairs, hate women, or break stuff when they’re mad. According to L Ron Hubbard, we are amnesiac spirits that ride a meat-sack body. Our Reactive, bad-talk Mind, causes all the trouble and that’s why corporal punishment doesn’t work. Oh, and Auditing is where you get to experience your Past Lives. According to L Ron Hubbard, all the good fictional space operas and sci-fi stories spring from Past Life events that the writers dredge up from their Time-Track. (Another word-vention of LRH’s) These authors mainline dangerous memories like that time they helmed the space barge Maruka, blew up a misbehaving planet, then wrote a story about it. What follows, according to an amusing LRH anecdote, is the author goes insane because you shouldn’t poke around with your Past Lives without an expert guide like an Auditor.
Big Win – When a Scientologist studies L Ron Hubbard’s teachings, it’s supposed to be this spiritually meaningful thing. This measurable uplifting in your understanding of the world, the universe, and how the game of life plays out. Since we’re all supposed to feel fortunate that we’ve discovered LRH’s towering wisdom, cough, we of course, have to ooh and ahh over what we’ve learned. But it doesn’t stop there. We have to be the living embodiment of improved people. If you’re not telling Big Wins at the end of your Course or Auditing Program and sharing how your new understandings have changed your life, then it’s one-way-ticket-to-deep-shit-land for you. Yeah, no. You don’t need that next trip to Ethics. You share your Big Wins that you make up on the spot. Making up happy-talk bullshit is yet another life skill you learn that has nothing to do with the life improvement they’re flogging. You learn to speak in public, unrehearsed, and off the cuff.
No cattle prod ever did a better job of turning a painful introvert, shy-to-the-point-of-hard-to-look-at, into a rah-rah public speaker, than fear of Scientology Ethics. Because, if you’re not telling your Big Wins, and you haven’t yet dodged the cult, Ethics has a chair for your shy butt. And somewhere in your past-life transgressions is that time you violently silenced noisy, blameless, victims, you shitty-past-life-person you. But now that you’ve written that all up, you can strive to be a better person. You can paint the Executive Director’s office for an amends project. Don’t want to paint that Exec’s office? Shout out your Big Wins, dipshit.
Blow, Blown – To leave. If you leave the course room without signing out and having a damn good reason, you blew. If you decided not to work at the org anymore because your pay packet wouldn’t cover your Tampax bill, people in the everyday world would say, “you left.” Scientology would say, “you’re blown,” like it’s this heinous betrayal. And according to the big nasty book on Ethics, there are harsh penalties for leaving. This applies to staff and students. It’s completely unacceptable for you to choose to blow the cherch. An even worse transgression is the hugely wrongo – saying goodbye first. Yeah, that’s some Suppressive shit right there. The draconian Ethics rules ensure that you can’t come back without groveling. As if.
Bright Idea – L Ron Hubbard loves the concept of Bright Ideas. Out of the blue solutions to problems. Murphy’s Law says that any Bright Idea solution could cause a geometric progression of new problems. But who cares? You already got your Commendation Chit that you can use to dodge your next Ethics interrogation. Wait, what? You thought there would be a cash reward for the time you spent researching a solution to this horrid problem the cherch has? And you saved them thousands of dollars with your brilliance? You are so funny!
Body Routers – A staff member or volunteer who goes out on the streets with a clipboard near the Scientology Center, or Organization, or whatever dark lair they spring from, to do surveys. The surveys contain innocent questions that elicit yes answers, then segway to “Are You Curious About Yourself” or the current Button du jour on offer. The attractive female Body Router would offer the today only, cough, free personality test. She then leads the prospect (Raw Meat) off the nearest cliff. Oops, I mean to the nearest chair in front of a Personality Test Evaluator. It’s a pretty crap way to get Raw Meat in the door, but LRH said to do it. So there.
Buttons – Can we talk about ‘Buttons?’ When I first got into Scientology and did that Bull-Bait Drill on the Communication Course, it was supposed to flatten my Buttons. Buttons that make your Reactive Mind hijack your brain, which makes you do stimulus-response stupid stuff. But when I went to the upstairs course room, I ended up studying how you can find someone else’s Buttons, push them, and get a predictable result. Ooh, that sounds so religious and useful. And not controlling or sick or anything. Kinda like how they pushed my Buttons when they evaluated my personality test. Turns out, all that Bull-Baiting I did, failed to flatten any essential Buttons. Like the ones the cherch staff used liberally on me whenever they wanted me to perform some odious task. And I ended up doing a whole passel of things I didn’t want to do for them, like Call-in. (Defined below.)
Bull Baiting – Ah, the Bull Bait Drill. It’s where you had to look at someone eyeballs to eyeballs and confront them while they said shit to push your Buttons. If you laughed, or twitched, or reacted in some way, that was a flunk. I flunked a lot. This repetitive Drill was supposed to flatten your stimulus-response Buttons from your Reactive Mind. The goal was that you wouldn’t be thrown off in life when some asshat talked trash to you instead of telling you what time it was. In truth, it taught you how to be dead inside. And bonus skill, if you had any personal boundaries, you could kiss that shit goodbye.
Call-In – Wherein some luckless staff member or manipulated parishioner gets shanghaied into making hours of phone calls to extol the virtues of some dreadful upcoming Scientology Event. No one wants to get these calls. These events were shit shows of awful videoed, toe-the-line-of-ideal boredom, well-behaved-example setting, and dreary no-new news. These rah-rah, Registrar-infested ordeals needed to be hyped up so the Registrars would have veins to open. These unfathomably wretched incidents, many of which I’ve blocked out, in search of an unfindable reality, persist to this day. You’d get someone’s answering machine and have to leave long hyperventilating sales pitches about how this event was different from other terrible events in specialness, uniqueness, necessary-ness, and other breathy nesses. Doing Call-in was worse than scrubbing toilets.
Certainty – Certainty takes on a whole new meaning in Scientology. In real life, you study something and get the gist of what its points of functionality are. And whether it works. To find that out you test it. These are brake pads and this is how they work. Good let’s install them and test them out. Ah, they work. Good times. I now have certainty that brake pads as an invention are functional and lifesaving. That’s the real world.
Let’s move over to Scientologyland. L Ron Hubbard says, you yell at your wife because in a past life, the only way you could survive getting eaten by woman-y looking creatures, was to repel them by yelling at them and then they killed you anyway. Past lives explain your irrational actions today. I look at that and I can see that it’s a theory. A shitty, whacky, and not even very interesting theory, but it’s a theory.
Picture yourself as a Kool-Aid drinking Scientologist. You learned early on that what L Ron Hubbard said is always right. If it doesn’t make sense to you, it’s your fault for not being smart enough to keep up with his leaps of wisdom and bright burning brilliance. Sigh.
Now we get to Certainty. In Scientologyland, Certainty is you being certain that L Ron Hubbard’s teachings, cough, are 100% correct. Not because you can understand them or prove them, but because LRH wrote them. Scientologists love Certainty. A garden variety Scientologist meets an anti-Scientologist out in life. This Anti-Scientologist manages to point out that human trafficking of Eastern European people straight into the Sea Org, the twelve-hour-a-day working of minors, and other too many to mention illegal acts are undertaken daily by the cherch of Scientology. The Scientologist knows this is bullshit. They have Certainty that their uber-ethical cherch would never do any of these things. Especially that bullshit about coerced abortions. LRH hated abortions. In writing no less. The good Scientologist doesn’t investigate. They don’t doubt the cherch. If they see any proofs of these claims, they view them as counterfeit documents created by the Psychs, the Medicos, or the Twelve Suppressive persons who rule the world covertly. They just make this shit up, out of whole cloth, (a favorite LRH phrase) to try and hurt the cherch. Because bad people always attack good things.
Certainty in Scientology is a blinders-on, look-straight-ahead, never-doubt-LRH’s-teachings, or the policies that rule your existence. But it gets worse.
Certainty in Scientology is the short cut between an L Ron Hubbard statement and your commitment to its truth. Your Certainty bypasses any thought process other than a bit of justification as to why it’s true, even if it seems to be nonsense. Certainty here, means even if you don’t understand it, you find a way to believe it. All by your cute little Certain self. Yeah, Certainty is an ugly thing in Scientology.
Scientologists love to crow about their Certainty. It becomes this, I decided this is so and so it is. They declare their Certainty that they are really good at this thing. Even when they are not. I’ve seen Scientology business people acting like they are hella competent and professional at what they do and charging top dollar for their shoddy services. And I’ve noticed that nope, they are not good at what they do. They are good at saying how good they are at their skill, profession, or job. This is not to say that there are no competent Scientologists. I’m saying beware of someone who uses Certainty over experience, or Certainty over proof, to declare how awesome they are while asking you for your top dollar. Confidence is sexy, I get it. Scientology gives the unconfident the gift of Certainty. In Scientology Certainty equals delusion.
Clear – Ah, the Scientology carrot. Scientology sold a whole cosmology of how we were super-people as spiritual beings. But Xenu and his asshole henchmen fucked it all up. Oh yeah, and our bodies in this material universe stop us from making milkshakes with our minds. Freaking bodies, being such impediments. But yay, Scientology has Certainty they can get rid of your Reactive Mind, that shitty, outdated, stimulus-response mind, and leave behind your clear-thinking, good, Analytical mind. The Analytical Mind according to LRH is like a glitch-free computer. Once you’re Clear, you’d end up all rational and shit and could do shit with your mind, while your useless meat-sack of a body could be discarded in the nearest dumpster or something.
Coffee Shop Auditing – Before L Ron Hubbard went bankrupt after releasing the Clear-pimping book Dianetics, people would ask the dianetics questions and do the processes he wrote up in the book without e-meters (the lie detector thing) like talk therapy. They often met and did these processes in coffee shops. Many people liked this. But, LRH needed an income stream because he was shit with money management. So, dianetic auditing with an expensive e-meter and expensive training became the new necessary normal. Don’t fuck around with those past lives with an amateur, or you’ll get pneumonia and die type of thing. Then he turned the whole con into a religion, so he had tax-exempt status. At least in the US. Other countries chased him out. Some wanted to jail him. Alas, they were too slow and didn’t care enough to lock up this nut case. Coffee shop-auditing faded into history as a practice. People referred to old-style coffee shop-auditing as this wild, wild, west historical activity. In other words, back in the early days, when Scientology was kind of fun, when people drank too much, slept around, partied till dawn, and laughed out loud. Yeah, LRH didn’t hold with that shit and invented Ethics Codes, Rules, and Penalties.
Commendation Chit – A write-up that details some, laudatory and above-and-beyond activity, you didn’t get paid to do. Oh yeah, that benefits the cherch of Scientology. These chits are used like chess pieces to dodge Ethics actions against you by proving you are an up-statistic, Up-Stat, individual. Your attacker, who hopefully has fewer commendation chits than you, can then end up in the shit for attacking an Up-Stat like you.
These chits also come in handy when you want to do your confidential and wickedly expensive OT Levels. To start an OT level, you need a golden engraved invitation. This is because the OT teachings are so super-duper secret and special and shit. (Or you could just read them for free on the internet.) Like, it’s not enough that you just impoverished yourself and your heirs with all your freaking borrowing. Now you need to wait, like Oliver in rags on a bench, holding out the soup bowl and saying, “Please, Sir. I want some more.”
Conditions – Conditions of Existence – Conditions Formulas – This Conditions of Existence discovery (or a plagiarizing, pillaging, and pawning off of someone else’s research as his own) of L Ron Hubbard’s, included step-by-step formulas to follow depending on which way your chosen productivity statistic pointed. There were twelve Conditions Formulas in total. The angle of your statistic determined which Condition Formula steps to apply. I believed these Condition Formula steps worked like magic. I always strived to improve my stat and got a bit frowny-faced if my stat dipped. No big surprise that I started working more hours in my cheat to goose up my stats and keep in myself in a ‘good’ Condition. That right there is one of the many ways Scientology turns its adherents into workaholics. I got to a point where my weekly Condition decided for me what actions to take, as I followed the steps LRH laid out for me. Too bad those cookie-cutter steps bypassed using my own instincts, wishes, and goals in decision making. I really thought I could change the trajectory of my existence for the better if I followed these Condition Formula steps. Nope. Striving to constantly improve your sales numbers, your customer calls, your letters out to prospects, etc, paints you into the fail corner and leaves you, the dog chasing its tail, empty of a life outside of striving for the elusive ever-higher stat.
Disconnection – A high-control group wields power over you with the threat that they can break your connection with your family, friends, and work. I can’t joke around about the broken families, the suiciding Scientology kids, heartbroken moms and dads, and other blood-bath victims of Scientology’s Disconnection Policy. Suffice it to say, they say Disconnection isn’t a thing, and L Ron Hubbard canceled it. Yeah, no. They’ll trot out the bulletin Disconnection Canceled. However, if you read their publicly available book, Introduction to Scientology Ethics, you’ll see right there, not hidden or anything, that the good Scientologist has to ‘choose’ to Disconnect. Oh, I see. It’s a free choice. No, it isn’t. It’s the most soul-crushing experience to have your best friend Disconnect from you. Disconnection is horrible. In the cherch, Disconnection is alive and happens frequently. The disconnector gets to feel all high and mighty and responsible and shit. The disconnectee is left empty-handed, broken hearted, with no final conversation, no closure, no secret tortured looks that show that the disconnector is doing this against their wishes. All the disconnected person wants is their family member, their friend, or their old job back.
Duplication – The concept of Duplication in Scientology has a subtle twist in its use. It’s not just imitating something perfectly. It’s also understanding it perfectly. As if by reading directions about hang gliding you could duplicate the idea and just be able to do it. Yeah, don’t do that.
Ethics – This is a massive part of Scientology’s successful high-control manipulation of parishioners. All church’s have codes of behavior and rules that allow them to get along and feel like they are a good influence on society. But if you want to control people, you need rules, lots of rules, and even more penalties. Scientology has their very own hardback book, the Introduction to Scientology Ethics. In it, L Ron Hubbard opines about the importance of striving to be good, to overcome evil. But you need to be good the Scientology way, which isn’t good for the rest of the world. And certainly not helpful to that down-on-his-luck homeless dude who slept in the Org’s doorway last night. Yeah, no Scientologist is going to buy him breakfast and sent him on his way with a tenner. Scientology Ethics is a snake pit of who to attack, who to hate, who to Disconnect from, and who to sanctimoniously dismiss in their hour of need. Because they’re fucking Down-Stat pieces of shit and Pulled-it-in.
Event – Scientology figured out that it wasn’t enough to sell people shit to study or spiritual counseling to keep the faithful charged up. They certainly weren’t going to do Sunday services because the faithful were a bunch of rebels, and if we wanted Sunday services, we’d join up with the Christians. Their solution for taking the pulse of the parishioners was to hold Events—lectures, celebratory get-togethers, etc. The hard-core, Kool-Aid-drinking bubble dwellers came enthusiastically to these gatherings. The less gung-ho, gutting-it-out, going-on-hopers showed up as well. The below-enthusiasm spouses ditched events at their future-marital-status peril. Some events were fun, like picnics and crap like that. But Upper Management couldn’t micro-manage a picnic, so this type of event was frowned upon and slowly ground out like a cigarette butt under the heel of obedient Sea Org enforcers.
Knowledge Report – This special write-up report is LRH’s bright idea to alert the “correct terminal” (most ordinary humans call them people) of some violation in the Scientology Ethics book. Sooo many rules to break. An example of what you’d write about in one of these reports could be; Joe Blow embezzled all the book-buyer cash because he was freaking starving, but they’d leave out the bit about why he stole it. Or Sue Poo said a critical thing about; insert petty pet peeve in Scientology here, level of stupid. A Knowledge Report is a tattle-tale write up. Scientology’s snitch culture thrives, because if you saw it and didn’t write it up, you can scrub toilets with the guilty. Yeah, let’s hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Oh, sorry, wrong church.
Franchise Holder – The Scientology Franchise was administered by a Franchise Holder, who ran it semi-independently and would pay a percentage of the income to Scientology Upper Management. Some Scientology Centers were Franchises until some Scientology Upper Management types thought they were missing out on some of that sweet Franchise cash. These Centers/Franchises delivered lower levels of L Ron Hubbard ‘teachings’ and lower steps on the Bridge to Total Freedom.
Moonlighting – Well, I thought it was this whole sex on the side thing. Evidently, in Scientology, it’s the horrid, terrible, betrayal, of working a non-Scientology job for money to pay your bills, when your true and proper job is as a Scientology staff member. You can get in deep Ethics doo-doo for Moonlighting.
Natter – To speak ill of someone or something. If Scientologist Juan stole your pen, that was Juan’s bad. But if you bitched about it to a couple of staff members, or (gasp) public Scientologists, thus being critical of another Scientologist, you were the bad person for being critical. What?
On-My-Lines – When someone is connected to you. As if you need invisible lines to remind yourself of the concept of friendship, business connections, acquaintances, etc. Example: If I had been friends with Irene since Kindergarten, and we still talked to each other, she’d be said in Scientology terms to be on-my-lines. If she visited me and said L. Ron Hubbard lied about having a degree in Nuclear Physics and he flunked out of High School and College, and she had incontrovertible proof, I’d have to get her off-my-lines. Out of my life. Disconnected. Kaput. Because believing LRH was a Nuclear Physicist, was more important than a lifetime of friendship if you were inside the bubble.
On Purpose – Getting with the program, as far as Bridge to Total Freedom is concerned, and working on going up the Bridge. The easiest way to do this is to give the Scientology Registrar money. If you donate some money, that shuts up anyone who wrote a Knowledge Report because they saw you at the Mormon Temple. Or because you missed the last three events. Because donating money to Scientology proves you are on-purpose. Cough.
Organization – (Org) Administratively speaking, a Scientology outpost that delivers up higher steps on the Bridge to Total Freedom than lowly Centers or Franchises. Translation, less fun, more uptight.
OT Levels – In Scientology, the OT Levels are the spiritual levels above Clear. It’s massive woo, hard, no fun, and a peek inside the mind of a sick cult leader. Oh yeah, and stupidly expensive. Because if it wasn’t, you might wonder why the fuck you believed this crap. But after borrowing all that money, you’re committed. And you haven’t risen to the wisdom level necessary, to see clearly (pun intended) that you’ve hitched your wagon to the wrong horse. While I was on my OT levels, I was doing something horrible to myself. It somehow fired up my desperate need to dig in my heels and prove I was right to do it.
Out-security – Inside the bubble, they use the word Out to denote something terrible. So, if you’re Out-Security, you’re revealing the secrets or risking the secrets. Because you know the FBI taps the phones, the NSA reads the mail, and I guess de-codes the faxes because cherch staff members weren’t allowed to use these methods of communication for the top-secret stuff. Stuff like the Sea Org investigators are coming to your org to burn someone at the stake.
Out-Exchange – Out-Exchange is a word-vention of L Ron Hubbard’s which means that the exchange level between you and someone else is out of whack in a negative way. The idea of exchange says that you need to give value when you get value, but LRH adds a, don’t owe people favors, kind of negative vibe. And don’t let others suck your productivity for nothing, deal. In other words, don’t be nice for nothing. I also took in that I couldn’t inconvenience people because that could hurt their productivity. There’s more to LRH’s definition but when I soaked it in at eighteen, that’s what stuck.
Postulates –L Ron Hubbard asserts that we can change events in the past, the present, and the future. Uh huh. This Postulate thing is supposed to drag that future visualization into a kicking and screaming reality. The nuts and bolts of it is that you picture what you want (the goal) as having already occurred. Sorry to bent your brain there. I should have posted a trigger warning. It works best if you aim low. I’m not saying magic isn’t real, or that you aren’t a magical being capable of creating miracles. I’m saying dream big. But don’t say, I’m already this famous singer, then never take lessons, practice, or have sex on couches with agents, to make it happen.
Raw Meat – A sales prospect in the cherch who has not yet shoved their bent-up bills across the desk for services. This term was used freely in the cherch buildings I spent time in. Dehumanizing language is a specialty of high-control groups. Other Scientology dehumanizing favs included, Bodies-in-the-shop, Terminal (person or their Post,) or referring to my husband, whose name they knew, as “this guy.” As in, “we need your help to get this guy routed onto his services before Thursday at two.” That little exchange translated to the fact that they were trying to get me to tag-team my own husband, ‘this guy,’ into paying for a ten-thousand-dollar service in the next fifteen minutes, so they could count the money-in stat, and get him on a routing form to his new service for their bodies-in-service or some shit stat. That whole Thursday at two shitshow is Scientology’s week-ending moment in time, when one week stops statistically speaking, and a new one starts. The decibels rise, the desperation peaks, and the f-bombs fly in the run-up to Thursday at two.
Reactive Mind – The bad, irrational, stimulus-response mind. Its counterpart is the rational Analytical Mind. The goal of Scientology is to vanquish the out-dated Reactive Mind, which causes you to tell inappropriate jokes, steal cars when you’re bored, and murder innocent people because they stole your parking spot. I know, can a person who stole your parking spot, really be called an innocent party? Anyhoo, the goal is to excise the Reactive Mind and leave you a calculating, perfection-obsessed robot. Umm, I mean a happier person.
Recovery – Many Scientologists have moments when they come up for air and realize it’s not fun anymore. Or it’s not helping anymore. Or that they need to stop neglecting their kids, spouse, car, friends, family, bank balances, etc. Or perhaps something they study is so convoluted and crap-tastic that they say, Hell No. Possibly some non-Scientologist, or ex-Scientology friend, tells them that the Sea Org uses eleven-year-olds, twelve hours a day, to clean those same hotel rooms at their spiritual base in Florida that you paid too much per night for last year when you visited. This same person may have told you that they force women in the Sea-Org to get abortions, so pregnancy does not interrupt their consecutive sixteen-hour workdays. I could go on. Anyhoo, this Scientologist, an anomalous unicorn with still-functioning brain cells who hears these truths, is suddenly too busy to be on course, come to one of their atrocious Events, or respond to the forty-odd phone messages left by various frantic-to-up-their-week-ending stats org staffers. Not to worry, Scientology has you covered. Their Recovery Techniques are no-doubt written-up, fer sure heavily drilled, and sinister as Satan. If your disaffected ass gets on their radar, buy tickets to Amsterdam and spend the day in one of their coffee shops. Turn off your social media and location permission on your phone. If you don’t, those sneaky bastards will use your children, your mother, your best friend, or anyone else who is an Opinion Leader for you to drag you back in. Opinion Leader, by the way, is L Ron Hubbard’s fancy word for someone you respect.
Having personally been on the receiving end of Scientology’s Recovery machine; twice, is a cringe-worthy shame thing. These were experts, they were like excellent deprogrammers, except that they were really re-programmers. Their well-planned tag-team ambushes, set up by our best friends, were neatly executed, frying my functioning brain cells. These pincer maneuver, Seal Team take downs, were documentary worthy. I know how forceful the Recovery hook is. Unfortunately. I was as blind as a coal miner when the headlamp went out. Sadly, when I look back, it’s dead obvious.
Responsibility – From The Introduction to Scientology Ethics book, L Ron Hubbard defines Responsibility as “The nonrecognition and denial of the right of intervention between oneself and any being, idea, matter, energy, space, time or form, and the assumption of full right of determination over it.” Cough. What? This may be the hill you die on. In your quest to reach the Scientology version of Responsibility, you’ll fail, you’ll do many Amends projects, you’ll lose friends, lose your self-respect, and get talked into doing appalling things. Responsibility is blame in Scientology. Or at least that’s what it looked like to me as clenched my arms to my sides, quaked in my boots, and avoided looking in the eyes of my, pick one: Course Supervisor, Registrar, or Ethics Officer. These dreadful life low points occurred when I failed to live up to some star-high target, or pie-in-the-sky goal given me by one of the aforementioned Scientologists. I was after all an immortal spiritual being. My egregious failure to break the laws of physics and find that ten thousand dollars for the Registrar before Thursday at two, or some other vital request, just showed how little Responsibility I was taking in this sector of the galaxy. Yeah, Responsibility is not your friend in Scientology.
Statistic – Stats are so awesome. Scientology uses stats to measure fucking everything. They are super handy for making you wrong and showing you that you have limits. They’re also champion at teaching you to count the number of phone sales you made as a higher value, than time spent holding your grandma’s hand when she’s scared because her memory is slipping. Scientology’s focus on Statistics teaches all the good little parishioners that life is transactional, and you’re only as valuable as your most recent donation. And bonus skill, the more you use statistics to measure your worth, I mean your productivity, the deeper you dive into your workaholic beingness. Yeah, beingness is yet another word blast-forged from the blunderbuss mouth of L Ron Hubbard. It basically means who you chose to be at any given moment. My beingness as a commune-singing-nature-fairy, sprinkling fun dust wherever I went, yielded no measurable statistic. I joined Scientology, took on the beingness of a housecleaner, and got a proper, dollars-a-day statistic, and therefore validated my existence to the world at large, as worthwhile. Yay, statistics.
Suppressive Person – (SP) A person who leaves the cherch without following L Ron Hubbard’s punitive policy. A person who commits a High Crime in the cherch. A person in the wrong place at the wrong time. SP’s are considered enemies of the cherch. All Scientology friends, family, and acquaintances have to disconnect from the SP. Mothers who quit lose their Scientologist children, wives divorce SP-declared husbands, and if you are declared an SP and work for big bucks in a Scientologist-owned business, you can kiss that job goodbye. And don’t ask for a reference. And if you “spoke out” about what a shit show Scientology is, in your opinion, they might make a new website; your name.com. This slander-y new website will contain unflattering photos of you along with your confidential transgressions and crap they made up in hopes of ruining your life. Because it’s L Ron Hubbard policy. Being declared an SP is awful unless it happens early on in your Scientology adventure. Then there are no Scientologists you care about, whose disconnection would shatter you.
It’s quite the control thing if you’ve been in a while. Here’s an example: Wealthy Scientologist has three kids, gives one the Sea Org. Oooh, so upstat. Then twigs on what he got dragooned into, quits the cherch, and loses the Sea Org child to Disconnection. Many Scientologists realize they’re in an awful high-control group and want out, but the threat of Disconnection keeps them in and keeps them donating. Sad face.
Time Track – The idea that your past-life history is saved like a super long movie in your mind. According to L Ron Hubbard, your Time Track goes back Quadrillions of years.
Why Finding – An LRH word-vention way of saying, doing an investigation and finding out why something happened. Used in situations of Scientological awfulness. It might better be called Who Finding, since once they get the Why, they light the torches, heat the tar, and loose the dogs. No proper Why Finding quits before they locate rightly or not, someone to blame. That someone is the Why. You don’t want to be the Why. If the Why fled the state, that Why Finding ain’t over till someone new can be found to wear that crown of thorns.