The Scandal of Scientology, by Paulette Cooper | Next | Prev | Cites | Index

Chapter 12

The World of Scientology

Suzie saw the pc well into the PT and practically collapsed on the missed W/H.
-- bulletin by Hubbard explaining what he and his family were currently doing.{1} (What this seems to mean is 1) Suzie is Hubbard's wife and sometimes acts as his auditor. 2) pc is preclear or someone being audited; in this case it may have been Hubbard. 3) PT means present time or current problem. 4) Missed W/H means missed withholds or something the person hasn't disclosed to his auditor.){2}

It may seem by now that Scientology is filled with followers who dare not speak out against it and are being held at the Orgs against their will. While the first may be true, the second is definitely not. Although Scientologists are not permitted to speak against Scientology, most of them don't want to, because they truly and unquestionably believe in Scientology's principles and practices, and sincerely want to stay there and be a part of it.

In fact, it is because of this unquestioning dedication that they react so strongly against those who try to turn or speak against them. Most Scientologists are perfectly content to work for the Org, be audited or audit others, "disconnect" or divorce themselves, if necessary, from their "suppressive" spouses or parents, remarry other Scientologists, and bring their own children into the group.

The result is that the Scientologists have formed a little world of their own, a world that seems removed from the real one. From the moment you walk into an Org, it hits you like heat on a hot summer day.

L. Ron Hubbard, or "Ron," is the unquestionable leader of this world and some of his Orgs are said to have an office for him just in case he should drop by. Although he never does, his presence is felt, seen and heard nonetheless. In one room, Scientologists may be listening to tapes of him speaking on Scientology, in the next room others may be doing their homework (which often consists of reading one of his books and sometimes writing a synopsis on it), and elsewhere, newcomers may be watching a movie about him. Huge posters of his face hang from the walls, statues of him rise from the floor, and photographs abound, sometimes of Hubbard in a nautical outfit with one of his ships as a background.

The world of Scientology not only has its own leader, but also its own language, look, and behavior. This language is so specialized that Scientologists have had to print a special dictionary to translate all their words, some of which are neologistic combinations of science, science fiction and mumbo-jumbo (enturbulation, engrams, enmest, dub-ins, entheta, rock-slams, Boo-Hoo, etc.), along with so many abbreviations (itsa = it is a; uncon = unconscious), and acronyms (PTS, PABS, LRH, SP, WOG, MEST, PC, HCO-WW, etc.) that most Scientologists sound as if they're eating a metaphysical alphabet soup.{3}

In addition to their own language, Scientologists have their own look and behavior that enables a trained Scientology spotter to discern one easily. The giveaways are their eyes. Scientologists are trained to stare relentlessly in to the eyes of others and acknowledge everything said to them (Thank you, OK, beautiful) in a way that can sometimes be unnerving.

Sexual behavior in this world is also said to be different, and Hubbard has admitted that some of the Orgs have had sex problems.{4} The London Sunday Times quoted him as saying "I know of four Orgs in all our years that have collapsed or nearly collapsed. And each one was sex crazy." The Australian Inquiry investigated these sexual attitudes and found that some Scientologists believed it was all right to seduce, say, a fifteen-year-old-girl, because a thetan has had many sexual activities, and furthermore she was really over seventy trillion plus fifteen years old (and obviously past the age of consent).

The Inquiry also reported that Scientologists' casual attitude toward sex was apparent in the case of one Scientologist who read his wife's Scientology files in the course of office routing and discovered she was having an affair, either real or fantasied, with another Scientologist. He simply endorsed the files of his wife "lacks morals."

The Board was also disturbed to find that abortions were "almost a regular coffee break topic" at the Australian Org, and they attributed this to Hubbard's constant mention of abortions in his writings. The Board also claimed to have found evidence that many of the staff, both married and unmarried had undergone abortions, but since this report was written in 1965 when attitudes toward such matters were less liberal, its importance today is questionable.{5}

In addition to their own language, look and morality, the Scientology world has its own definition of crime and punishment, with certain acts labelled as "misdemeanors" (e.g., refusing an E-meter check), "crimes" (e.g., heckling a Scientology supervisor) and "high crimes" (e.g., yielding a Scientologist to the demands of civil or criminal law).{6}

Scientologists must obey an enormous number of rules, some of which are outlined for them in HCO (Hubbard Communications Office) orders, which are usually posted on the bulletin boards.

On a bulletin board in England, one HCO order read: "To all Staff. Subject: B.O. All staffers are to wear a deodorant." Another prohibited all Scientologists from seeing the movie 2001 -- A Space Odyssey because it "produces heavy and unnecessary restimulation" (in other words, it will perhaps remind them of their past lives when many of them believed they lived in outer space).

A third HCO order declared a person "suppressive" for likening the Sea Org to the Hitler regime. A last one concerned someone who was "unshaven and scruffy on public lines." For this, he was not only fined by the Scientologists and ordered to buy a $50 suit and have his hair fixed, but was also told to take and pay for certain Scientology courses.{7} Sometimes the notices are a bit lighter. One person once posted a notice on the bulletin board to tell the others how great he felt the moment he had paid his Scientology bill!{8}

Punishment for infractions of the Scientology rules depends on the crime, but it sometimes seems well out of proportion. While some of the punishments may perhaps have some educational value, like writing additional words or adding case studies to their thesis{9} or even making them undergo additional auditing,{10} other punishments seem to be merely humiliating. Scientologists may be made to perform menial work, deliver a "paralysing blow to the enemy," admit their errors, and petition every other Scientologist in the Org for forgiveness.{11}

Other punishments are even worse: a person may be declared "nonexistent," and may not be allowed to bathe, wear makeup, go to their hairdresser, shave, take lunch hour, leave the premises. A person may be put into a "condition of liability" and be confined to the premises with a dirty grey rag on his left arm. For a greater infraction a person may be put into a "condition of doubt" and confined or barred with a handcuff on one wrist. A person may be declared an "enemy" and restrained or imprisoned,{12} have the label of "Treason" attached to his records, and be turned over to civil authorities with his "full background to be explored for the purposes of prosecution."{13}

Alexander Mitchell, who writes consistently interesting articles on Scientology for the London Sunday Times, found that in the basement of the Scientology Queen Street office, London, the Scientologists actually had a prison -- a tiny padlocked room known as the "dungeon" where erring Scientologists were locked up, sometimes for several days, on bread, butter and water. "If a member of the staff made an accounting slip, or infringed on an ethics order," he wrote, "he is taken to the dungeon to enable him to find out where he is in Scientology."

One Scientologist told Mitchell that after he was locked up for two days, "I signed an order saying I would observe all regulations of the org, but they weren't satisfied. I was told to go on a £6 (about $14) an hour course to improve my ethics. I couldn't take anymore so I quit."{14}

Punishments administered by Scientologists are not restricted to erring members alone. In Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, Willa Hickman, owner of the Harewood Hotel, decided not to cater to the Scientologists after they placed him in a "condition of liability" (which meant he would have to wear a dirty rag on his arm) and told him he would have to get his Scientology customers to sign a petition of forgiveness -- all because he had run out of apple pie.{15}

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Citations & Notes

{1} initial quote [89]
{2} (15) meaning of initial quote [10]
{3} (2) special words [10]
{4} (3) orgs have sex problems [241a]
{5} (4) seducing 15 year old; wife's files; abortions [261]
{6} (5) misdemeanors; crimes; high crimes [141a]
{7} (6) HCO deodorant; 2001; Sea Org & Hitler; man dirty [227]
{8} (7) how happy to pay bill [141a]
{9} (8) adding words to thesis [14]
{10} (9) additional auditing [25]
{11} (10) punishments manual labor, admitting errors, paralyzing blow; petitions [187]
{12} (11) condition of liability; doubt; enemy [141a, 227]
{13} (12) treason [227]
{14} (13) Scientology prison & quote [241a]
{15} (14) Harewood Hotel [192]
Extraneous citation notes:
{16} Hubbard's wife his auditor [261]