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

Chapter 16

Scientology Versus Medicine

  1. He uses a special machine he claims can cure disease.
  2. He guarantees a quick cure.
  3. He advertises or uses case histories and testimonials.
  4. He refuses to accept the proved methods of medical research.
  5. He says medical men are persecuting him or are afraid of his competition.
  6. He believes that his methods are better than surgery, x-rays, or drugs.
  7. He uses high sounding titles easily confused with qualified scientific professionals and organizations.
-- "How to Spot a Medical Quack" by the American Medical Association.{1}

Although Scientologists claim that they are not in competition with medical fields, much Scientology energy has been devoted in the past few years to attacking doctors, and especially psychiatrists. Hubbard and Scientology have never been too fond of the medical profession. Eric Barnes, Public Relations Chief of the New York Church allegedly told writer Howard Eisenberg about a boy whose broken leg had healed in two weeks instead of six through Scientology. Barnes was said to have claimed that doctors were so skeptical, "they broke it again to investigate the phenomenon."{2}

Scientologists are not permitted to take aspirins before auditing,{3} or "receive any `treatment' `guidance' or `help' from anyone in the `healing arts' i.e., physicians or dentists without consent,"{4} except in extreme emergencies when no one in the Church can be reached.{5} But Hubbard's feelings toward doctors and psychiatrists are a bit ambivalent, because while railing against them, he offers a fifty percent reduction to any doctor or psychiatrist taking a Scientology course.{6} Since Scientologists are not supposed to "mix Scientology with any other practice," his goal appears to be to get them to become Scientologists.{7}

Hubbard is convinced, actually obsessed with the delusion, that psychiatrists kill or torture their patients with electric shock treatment, use them sexually, and never ever help them. Hubbard wrote, "We have never found one person cured by psychiatrists, not one. If they call, as they do, anyone who disagrees with them insane, then those who agree with this human butchery should wear a swastika arm band so we can recognize them."{8}

Hubbard's hostility to the medical profession was apparent in the first story he wrote for Astounding Science Fiction in the late 1930's. The story told about a man who had the two halves of his brain sewn up by doctors. At the beginning, with one glance the man could heal anything. Later this miracle of surgery boomeranged and the man could kill with the same glance. In other words, the doctors had given him an evil eye. This hostility also goes back to his first book. Below is a portion of an alleged case study:

... the mental hospital gets our patient and the doctors there decide that all he needs is a good solid series of electric shocks to tear his brain up, and if that doesn't work, a nice ice-pick into each eyeball after and during electric shock.... Our patient can't defend himself; he's insane and the insane have no rights, you know.

Only the cavalry ... arrived in the form of Dianetics....{9}

Although Scientologists claim they are not in competition with analysts, they have tried to lure people away from them: "A complete Freudian analysis can cost $8,000-$15,000. Better results can be achieved in Scientology for $125, and on a group basis for a few dollars."{10} But their primary method of diverting people from psychiatrists and psychotherapy is not so subtle. Scientologists have actively tried to discredit their "competition," and in a manner so libelous that it is hard to believe that the epithets and accusations Scientologists hurl come from the same group that once sued everyone else for libel.

Nonetheless, the Scientologists blithely refer to members of what they call "the weird cult of psychiatry"{11} -- although Scientologists say that they resent being called a "cult" -- as "psychoracketeers," "insidious psychopoliticians," "mental con men," "frauds," "pimps," etc.,{12} who spend their time "giving away free supplies of marijuana and LSD,"{13} "banding together with the Better Business Bureau to stop Scientology,"{14} "killing, maiming and torturing helpless patients,"{15} "castrating them," and practicing "mental murder and sexual perversion" [sic].{16}

In a memo to a private investigator, urging him to investigate psychiatrists, Hubbard allegedly wrote:

A psychiatrist today has the power to take a fancy to a woman, drug or shock her into temporary insanity, use her sexually, sterilize her to prevent conception, kill her by a brain operation to prevent disclosure....{17}

In "A Warning to Brain Butchers," his language was even stronger. Hubbard telegraphed the following "news" to the New York Scientology headquarters to tell them his views on psychiatrists.


[*] Footnote:
Although Hubbard says that the psychiatrist thinks of his patients as a "piece of meat" the reader is reminded that Hubbard calls newcomers in Scientology "raw meat."

Besides being murderers, madmen, butchers, etc., the Scientologists also accuse psychiatrists of working with the government to control the populace:

Using their connections with government "giveaway" agencies, the psychoracketeers are being provided with billions ... as well as free supplies of marijuana and LSD with which to continue their "research" on helpless psychiatric victims deprived of their rights by laws passed by these same insidious psychopoliticians.

By educating the public that everyone needs mental health treatment, they hope to be able to control the morals, mores and the lives of the entire nation.{19}

Scientologists believe that the psychiatrist's ultimate goal is "domination of every man, woman and child through the use of `mental health' indoctrination programs even now being promoted and promulgated down to a prenatal level." The last words are an interesting slip, since it is the Scientologists and not the psychiatrists who believe that the prenatal period is so important.

Scientologists are not just sitting back and waiting for people to join them in their crusade against the "killers." They are actively soliciting people in America, England and Australia who have undergone "serious mental or physical abuse or damages at the hands of psychiatric frauds" to contact their nearest Church of Scientology and make a full report to their Human Rights Commission.{20}

They will probably find people willing to do so, especially since those who have been hospitalized might prefer to believe that psychiatric treatment was the cause of their problems rather than the result of it, exonerating themselves of all responsibility. The result of this campaign, though, could have an unfortunate effect for the Scientologists. Inviting people who have had psychiatric treatment or been institutionalized to join them in their crusade may make Scientology the world's largest out-patient clinic for mentally disturbed people.

Scientology is also fighting the mental health movements with litigation, and they claim they have filed or are ready to file, $75 million worth of suits against psychiatric organizations and others over the world "in the international conspiracy against Scientology for libel, slander, conspiracy and psychiatric efforts to destroy the Church."

Scientologists have said that if they won the suits and all the money was paid up, it would make Scientology among the richest of religious organizations. They pointed out that all damage monies are tax free, and said that the money would be used to try to "straighten out some of the horror psychiatry has made in the field of mental healing."{21} Although they have not outlined how this would be done, presumably it would be attempted with Scientology techniques.

Scientology is also fighting the mental health field by trying to change the laws. They claim to be preparing an Anti-Butchery Bill for introduction into Congress.{22} The purpose of this bill is to make it a felony to use psychiatry, psychology, drugs, or shock treatment to change any individual's religious, philosophical or political ideas.

From this last statement, along with many others, it is apparent that Scientology, which started during the McCarthyite '50's is still gravely concerned with the menace of Communism{23} and the dangers of secret brainwashing -- even though one of the questions on their own security test reads "Are you in disagreement with any of the stable data of Scientology?"{24}

The Australian Report dealt with the question of whether or not Scientology was a form of brainwashing. It said that "The Board heard expert psychiatric evidence that repetitive questions and repetitive commands increase suggestibility and, if continued long enough, may reach the point where indoctrination could be effected, and a reversal of opinions and ideas previously held could be obtained."

The Australian Board was also disturbed to find that Scientology techniques closely resemble those set out in a book entitled Brainwashing which is supposed to be "A Synthesis of the Communist Textbooks on Psychopolitics."{25} They claimed that evidence was presented to indicate "that the English version of the manual bears a startling resemblance to Hubbard's own literary style." But they stated that it was immaterial whether or not he wrote the book "as was suggested by a witness hostile to Scientology." What was important to them was that Scientologists "assiduously sold and distributed this manual." In fact, one of the exhibits brought to the Board was an extract from the Brainwashing manual with Scientology words substituted. "With these substitutions effected, the extracts were in the main startlingly applicable to Scientology as operating in Victoria."

Scientologists are also fighting mental health organizations by allying themselves with Churches, and working on a campaign to get psychiatric patients to see their "pastor" instead of a psychiatrist.{26} They have quoted Dr. Karl Menninger, co-founder of the famous Menninger clinic, who allegedly said that many people who go to psychiatrists should take their problems instead to a "minister of religion."{27} If Menninger did say this, it is extremely doubtful that he was referring to Scientology, especially since his brother, the late Dr. William Menninger, once said that Hubbard's systems and ideas "can potentially do a great deal of harm."{28}

The Scientologists have also tried to fight the mental health movement by what appears to be simply trying to take it over.{29} In England, a number of Scientologists made an attempt to fill the vacancies in the National Association of Mental Health, most notably David Gaiman to fill the post of Chairman, after the retirement of Lord Balniel.

In addition, Scientologists flooded the association with applications for membership. They might have made it, except that NAMH members became suspicious as they received 250 applications instead of their normal rate of about twenty a month. Furthermore, it was noticed that almost all of the two guinea postal orders were issued by the East Grinstead Post Office.

The National Association of Mental Health wrote letters asking the Scientologists to resign (according to David Gaiman they were "expelled"), and Gaiman, the Scientology spokesman in England, offered to withdraw if the Association instituted certain reforms. Eventually the Scientologists managed to stop the annual meeting of the NAMH while they paraded outside, asking for, among other things, a public inquiry into conditions in mental hospitals.

What is the Scientologist's goal in all this? Is the crusade of this "Church" against a nonreligious field based on a sincere abhorrence of its methods? Are they really so concerned about conditions in mental hospitals, since, after all, they claim Scientologists have never been there, and for that matter, never end up there?

Is it an attempt to discredit their "competition" so that people will go to Scientologists instead? Is it a vindictive act to get back at groups whose criticism against them seems to be quite mild, if one considers what the Scientologists have had to say about them? Is there some psychiatric history in Hubbard's own past that has caused this incredible vendetta? Or are they anxious to divert attention away from inquiries into Scientology by trying to get an inquiry into conditions in mental hospitals? It is true that attacks against psychiatry have intensified as public inquiries into Scientology have been established. Hubbard wrote the following in Freedom:

Instead of attacking Churches and independent research, Governments should ... inquire into the abuses ... by psychiatry.... For psychiatric organizations to criticize Scientology is the most fantastic hypocrisy on Earth. These men are not healers, they are trained killers.{30}

Perhaps their reasons for wanting an inquiry into mental hospitals are really altruistic. Lest anyone doubt this, they have offered to sit in on the inquiry, and possibly contribute, "as part of our charitable work."{31}

Mental health organizations have taken an amazingly tolerant view of the whole situation, probably hoping that like the plague, the Scientologists will eventually disappear. They may also fear that if they attack Scientology they might give it publicity and draw more attention to it.

Thus, if someone calls and asks the American Psychiatric Association whether to go into Scientology or psychiatry, they do not try to convert them to psychiatry. Instead they sometimes send them Scientological literature against psychiatry, hoping that they would be appalled at the epithets and accusations and make a decision from that.{32} The following quote from the American Psychiatric Association's lively Psychiatric News is not the official policy of the APA, but it presents one opinion of how to handle this situation:

Well, it's a religion of course. It is for you to decide whether to join the Church. If you wonder whether it has anything to do with psychiatric treatment the answer is no. You might also like to know that it costs a significant sum to be "processed" in the Church. And if you would like my personal opinion as a fellow American, I wouldn't be caught dead entering its doors.{33}

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Citations & Notes

{1} first quote [263]
{2} quote by Barnes [283]
{3} (4) no aspirin [121]
{4} (3) no treatment [14]
{5} except in emergencies [255]
{6} discount to doctors [116]
{7} (8) don't mix Scientology with other practices [146, 261]
{8} (22) psych has Russian flavor [77] {ambiguous citation}
{9} (33) Hubbard's first story [106]
{10} (9) cost of analysis vs Scientology [25a, 142]
{11} (10) weird cult [57]
{12} (11) con men; frauds pimps, etc. [69, 73, 77]
{13} (12) giving away marijuana and LSD [66]
{14} (13) AMA, BBB, etc. [71]
{15} (14) killing, torturing, etc. [68]
{16} (15) mental murder, sexual perversion [69]
{17} (16) Hubbard quote on psychiatrists and women [203]
{18} (17) warning to Brain Butchers [76]
{19} (18) quote on psychoracketeers and domination [66]
{20} (19) soliciting people for {Human Rights} commission [70, 73]
{21} (20) litigation; quote on what they would do with money [57]
{22} (21) Anti-Butchery Bill [69]
{23} hostility to communism [261]
{24} question on their sec test [85]
{25} (34) Brainwashing [261]
{26} (25) campaign to see pastor [55, 56]
{27} (26) quote by K. Menninger [55, 56]
{28} (27) William Menninger [158]
{29} (28) Scientology "takeover" [238, 276]
{30} (29) Hubbard quote [57]
{31} (30) offer to sit on inquiry [61]
{32} (31) psychiatrists send Scientology literature [277]
{33} (32) quote on someone who calls [133] {ambiguous citation}
Extraneous citation notes:
{34} (7) Hubbard quote [57]