Chapter 3

The Pharisees' View

'All men', says the scientologists' Creed, 'have inalienable rights ... to write freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others.' It seems an invitation, almost a challenge; but only the scientologists can know how many critics taking it up have received writs for defamatory libel from the 'Church of scientology'.

In November 1963, the Governor of the State of Victoria, Australia, appointed a one-man 'board of enquiry', consisting of Mr Kevin Anderson, QC [1. Now Mr Justice Anderson of the Supreme Court of Victoria.], to 'enquire into and make recommendations concerning scientology as known, carried on, practised and applied in Victoria'. This report was published in 1965 and has become known as The Anderson Report wherever scientology is spoken of. It seems an intemperate and exasperated document, to say the least; but if its unfortunate author had really read through the gigantic list of over 600 scientology publications listed in appendix 4 to his Report (of which I have seen less than 60) he may perhaps be forgiven for having produced what is in many ways an emotional and individual polemic rather than the report of a 'Board'. In 1963 the scientologists, who do not like the Anderson Report, served a writ on Mr Justice Anderson demanding damages for 'loss of reputation and good will resulting in loss of members, loss of book sales turnover and loss of staff between the 28th day of September 1965 and the 14th day of December 1965 (see page 71). As it transpired this action failed. They were non-suited because they wanted to present to their case as litigants in person, and the court held that this was not permissible in such an action. But the scientologists have never tired of quoting the (English) Royal Commission on Tribunals of Enquiry of 1966, which deprecated one-man enquiries in these words: 'We recommend that no Government in the future should never in any circumstances set up a tribunal of the type adopted in the Profumo Case.' [1. The enquiry into the Profumo affair was conducted by Lord Justice Denning. It was a one-man enquiry.] Yet as this book was being written, another one-man enquiry into scientology was proceeding - under Sir John Foster, QC, appointed in 1969. It is true that Sir John was not called a board (Mr Kevin Anderson refers to himself throughout his report as 'The Board'); but the scientologists, if they had not liked the Foster Report, might have felt they had cause to complain about it, and they need a constant supply of such complaints with which to fill their periodical literature and sustain their public breast-beating.

On 6 March 1967, in the House of Commons, Mr Peter Hordern, the member for Horsham, initiated a debate on scientology, public knowledge of which was, he said, hampered by the fact that

so far as I can establish, on every occasion that the organisation has been named in a newspaper, that newspaper has been served with a writ for libel. [2. Hansard, House of Commons, 7 March 1967, Col. 1216]

The 'Church of scientology' has always been quick off the mark with the libel writ, but not quite so quick as that. Mr Hordern went on to say that he was protected, in what he proposed to say, by Parliamentary privilege, and that he hoped he would be widely reported 'to allow the nature of this organisation to be understood for what it is'. The effect of the organisation was, he raid, that 'money was extracted from the weak, the credulous and the mentally ill, and the techniques used are potentially, and in many cases, positively, harmful to the mental health of the community'. These allegations are precisely those made by scientologists against orthodox psychological medicine, as we shall see in Chapter 4; but no orthodox practitioner has so far issued a libel writ against the 'Church of scientology'. Mr Hordern concluded his disclosures with these words:

Englishmen have another form of protection besides that of Parliament and the law: It is the Press. But the Minister must know that in this case the public will not have the protection of the Press once this debate is over, because they are likely to be sued for libel if they publish anything about scientology.

When he replied to the debate the Minister of Health, Mr Kenneth Robinson, said he 'would be very surprised if the Press were as poltroonish as the Hon Gentleman fears they may be', and he quoted L. Ron Hubbard as having said:

Incredulity of our data and validity - this is our finest asset and gives us more protection than any other single asset. If certain parties thought we were real, we would have infinitely more trouble.

Thought we were real?

'I hope', Mr Robinson concluded, 'that the debate will be widely reported so that the views of the House on the activities of the scientologists may be known to all.' They were widely reported. So, in due course, were some observations in the House of Lords by Lady Stocks, who is not noted for timidity. But scientology has been credited with views which it disowns. One need go no further than what the Anderson Report said in referring to what it called the scientologists' 'brain-washing manual' (the authorship of which the scientologists have specifically repudiated - they say it was published by them merely in order 'to reveal the true and dangerous nature of communist brain-washing techniques'). Mr Anderson felt, during the course of his enquiry, that 'the general attitude of the scientology interests, while appearing to be helpful and informative, tended sometimes to cloud and confuse issues by too great attention to non-essentials and extremely lengthy expositions of certain aspects of scientology'. And he thought all this was 'really designed ... to so exhaust the patience of the Board' (i.e. of Mr Anderson) 'or so overwhelm it with minute detail that it would be persuaded against prolonging the Inquiry until the conclusion of all relevant evidence. Such a devious plan may well have been inspired by the Brain-Washing Manual ... which scientology appears to have followed in other respects, for that manual gives directions as to 'conduct under fire', and directs that one 'must have to hand innumerable documents which assert enormously encouraging figures ... Not one of these cases need be real, but they should be well-documented and printed in such a fashion as to form excellent court evidence. The manual further directs' (Mr Anderson went on) 'that in order to defend ... a great complexity should be made of psychiatric, psychoanalytical and psychological technology. Any hearing should be burdened by terminology too difficult to be transcribed easily.' The manual (which, be it remembered, is said to be a 'communist' manual, spumed as such by the scientologists) further directs that

various types of insanity should be characterised by difficult terms. The actual state should be made obscure, but by this verbiage it can be built into the Court or investigating mind that a scientific approach exists and that it is too complex for him to understand. It is not to be imagined that a judge or a committee of investigation should enquire too deeply into the subject of insanity since they, themselves, part of the indoctrinated masses, are already intimidated.

But as the 'masses' come into contact with scientology 'every new person walking in the door, even the postman', is registered. [1. Hubbard Communications Office news-letter 7.5.62.] 'No matter what they say, if they are there they have come in for help of some sort. Sell them a book. Don't let them leave without something.' At this point it will be of interest, therefore, to consider a letter I received in 1970 from a friend who had for many years suffered from tinnitus (a ringing in the ears), which can be productive of acute mental suffering. 'Such was my inability to get any peace,' she wrote, 'that whenever I heard of anyone who might be instrumental in bringing me a degree of relief, then heedless of the expense I set out to find him. Thus mention by a friend of the international body calling themselves scientologists started me on my next journey. ... Upon arrival at their establishment I waited for some time in an office on the walls of which were (to me) incomprehensible charts, and pictures of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder, and his relations. When at last I was shown into an inner room, the young lady, an American, who was about to interview me asked if I minded her smoking. After lighting a cigarette she put a few questions to me while I held a lead which was attached to what I gathered was known as an E-meter. She then assured me that there would be no difficulty in treating my trouble. When I asked how much it would cost I was, oddly enough, shown into another room where another young lady was seated at a table. She smiled as I entered, and immediately I took the chair opposite her, she too asked if I minded if she smoked. It surprised me a little that in an establishment which, among other things, aimed at enabling one to meet the demands of life with equanimity, two of its young officers were obliged to have a drag at the weed before even starting interviews which, presumably, they were considered competent to conduct.

'Having lit up, this second young lady stated the scientologists' terms for treatment, and it was then I who needed the soporific. For being "processed", which was apparently their term for firing questions at me in order that my thoughts could be "audited" and my mind thus purged of whatever it was that was plaguing it, the charge was sixty guineas for the first twenty-five hours. There would then be a reduction in the fee, and the usual course of seventy-five hours would, I understood, cost me about L165. The "processing" would take place at week-ends, during which I should stay at a hotel recommended by them in the vicinity.

'All the people who had passed to and fro while I sat in the office and whom I had assumed to be scientologists, had looked so young that I couldn't think how they had acquired the necessary qualifications to carry out this psychoanalytical work which I had hitherto believed to require years of study. And the girls who had interviewed me had left me so unimpressed that I couldn't reach a decision at once as to whether or not to have treatment.

'But later sitting wearily in the train, my head at bursting point, L165 plus expenses seemed a reasonable amount to pay, in view of the time that would have to be devoted to me by someone able to disburden me of the cross with which I had now been saddled for fourteen years. Although after this outlay, should I be "clear"? Might I not at the end of the seventy-fifth hour be told that because they hadn't achieved success I must continue reveal my thoughts to scientologists for yet more week-ends while staying at a hotel of their recommendation? My pocket was certainly going to suffer, and I wondered, too, how my already-tortured head was going to stand up to the strain of non-stop "auditing" week-end after week-end.

'Being still unable to come to a decision after talking the whole thing with my husband, I wrote to the scientologists and asked whether, after one hundred and sixty-five pounds' worth of interrogation, they could guarantee that I would be relieved of trouble. They replied they could guarantee nothing, so I did not go. I thought this would be the last I should hear from them, but I was sadly mistaken. For years afterwards I continued to receive literature featuring L. Ron Hubbard and all his works. These pamphlets and charts were couched in the oddest American terms which I found extremely irritating. Words like "preclear" and "org" were constantly cropping up, and to one not versed in scientology everything was completely unintelligible. Had I wished to discover more about the cult I could have done so, I learned, by buying L. Ron Hubbard's expensive books. Already knowing more than enough I wrote several times asking for my name to be removed from their mailing list. My letters had no effect whatever, and only after I threatened to put the matter in my solicitor's hands did the welter of words stop.'

In another scientology Bulletin [1. HCO Bulletin 9.4.60.], anyone coming in who may be a 'prospect' is the subject of careful instructions:

When the prospect comes in, see him or her at once (no waiting). Be courteous, friendly, businesslike. Rise when they enter and leave. Call Reception to show them out if they stay too long. Be willing to take their money. Always prefer cash to notes. We are not a credit company. Always see the student or the 'pre-clear' before they leave the place after service. You can often sell more training or processing. It is a maxim that unless you have bodies you have no income. So on any pretext get bodies in the place, and provide ingress to the Registrar when they're there.

Bodies, of course, means 'pre-clears', but even in that benighted state a human being has a Thetan, or spirit, which will be released by his death and can then go off to some other part of the Universe and be 'implanted' in a new body. The places where this is done are called 'implant stations' or 'report' areas (because Thetans report there for a new job). There is one on the planet Venus, but Hubbard says in a book called A History of Man that most Thetans go to Mars to get their new bodies:

The report area for most has been Mars. Some women report to stations elsewhere in the Solar System. There are occasional incidents about Earth report stations. The report stations are protected by screens. The last Martian report station on Earth was established in the Pyrenees.

In case anyone should doubt the reliability of this cosmic information, the Foreword to Hubbard's History of Man says the book is a 'cold-blooded and factual account of your last sixty trillion years' (i.e. your Thetan has been around all that time merely inhabiting different people's bodies). And in case you should doubt whether it helps you much to know about this, the Foreword reassures you:

This is useful knowledge. With it the blind again see, the lame walk, the ill recover, the insane become sane and the sane become saner. By its use the thousand abilities Man has sought to recover become his once more. [1. These claims are worth remembering when considering scientology's claims to have nothing to do with healing.]

Do you want any more? This chapter has consisted, mainly and deliberately, of quotations from scientology's own literature, since no criticism from outside the movement is sufficiently dispassionate. With similar quotations it could go on in this way for another 100,000 words without effort. You could not read it. By 25 July 1968, it seemed that even the Government had had enough, for on that day in the House of Commons the Minister of Health, Mr Kenneth Robinson, made the following announcement:

There is no power under existing law to prohibit the practice of scientology: but the Government have concluded that it is so objectionable that it would be right to take all steps within their power to curb its growth.

It appears that scientology has drawn its adherents largely from overseas, though the organisation is now making intensive efforts to recruit residents of this country. Foreign nationals come here to study scientology and to work at the so-called college in East Grinstead. The Government can prevent this under existing law (the Aliens Order), and have decided to do so.

The following steps are being taken with immediate effect:

The time has come, therefore, to turn to the scientologists' counter-attack. But for fear that you should be tempted to dismiss scientology, on this evidence, as the craziest of all the cults, here is a news item from issue No. 35 (February 1968) of The Auditor, 'The Monthly Journal of Scientology'. It shows pictures of a number of well-known people from different walks of life who have become scientologists. They include Mr William Burroughs, 'the famous American writer, pictured soon after he attained Power Release at Saint Hill. 'In the booster', continues the caption under the picture, which shows Burroughs earnestly reading a copy of Dianetics, 'William picked up the book which introduced him to scientology - Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, by L. Ron Hubbard.' And alongside the photograph there appears this memorable statement:

William Burroughs, internationally famous American author of five novels, is now a Grade VA Release and a Solo Audit Course student at Saint Hill. William graduated from Harvard in 1936 and did postgraduate work in anthropology. Later, he did a variety of work until becoming a professional writer in 1950.

His first introduction to Scientology was in 1959 when he read Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, by L. Ron Hubbard. At this time he did not do anything further. Then, in autumn, 1967, he was experiencing difficulty writing his latest book, so read further Scientology books. As a creative writer he was particularly intrigued by L. Ron Hubbard's The Creation of Human Ability. By mid- September, 1967, he was doing his Level 0 Academy training in the London Organisation.

In November he received auditing to Grade IV Release with very definite gains, including the ability to get a third more writing work done, discovering fresh areas of very valuable fictional material, and achieving the ability to communicate with real people rather than with imaginary characters. ...

On 26 January, 1968, he was audited at Saint Hill on the Power Processes, to Grade VA Release. Afterwards he declared: 'Anyone who experiences Power Processing knows that he has been released, and that he has regained his power that he can now apply to his life and work.' The next day he sat down and wrote, with no effort, a chapter he had been trying to write for the past month.

William has found that his ability to create fictional characters and situations has measurably increased with Scientology processing, and that the cost of his processing has already been recovered by the sale of stories he could not have written without processing. He strongly contests the widely held misconception that artists create because they are neurotic and would cease to create if they were restored to well-being. He says: 'I am convinced that whatever anyone does, he will do it better after processing.'

William is now well advanced on the road to Clear.

In fact Mr Burroughs has since relinquished this status. But there are distinguished public men in England who declare that scientology has brought them mental benefit. They include, as will be seen in Chapter 7, Mr William Hamling, Labour MP for Woolwich West since 1964, and Sir Chandos Hoskyns-Abrahall, CMG, retired Colonial Service official who has been Deputy-Governor and Chief Commissioner in Nigeria.

[ Previous chapter | Next chapter ]