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August 9, 2009 6:50 PM   Subscribe

British Department of Health releases LR Hubbard Docs The British government has released documents compiled to expose Scientology's founder as a fraud.

The main foci seem to be the role of Sequoia University in granting Hubbard's PhD, and the sudden mental illness of an investigating district attorney after visiting with some dubious doctors.

previously.
posted by HotPants (79 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
*gasp*
posted by jonmc at 6:56 PM on August 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I have the feeling that someone is going to mysteriously disappear in the night.
posted by Askiba at 6:57 PM on August 9, 2009


Oh, and Billy May was on coke. WHO EVER EXPECTED THAT, HUH?!?
posted by yhbc at 6:57 PM on August 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


The CoS has the power to induce mental illness via visitation? There go my hollywood party plans.

Interesting that another PhD from Sequoia is a major creationist. Any CoS<->Creationism connection, or were they just happy to take anyone's money for a fake degree?
posted by DU at 7:00 PM on August 9, 2009


I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
posted by Sandor Clegane at 7:00 PM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hubbard -- a fraud? Really?
posted by ericb at 7:00 PM on August 9, 2009


Wasn't there something about teeth?
posted by ericb at 7:01 PM on August 9, 2009


This is my surprised face.
posted by chimaera at 7:05 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Probably one of your single letter links above ... nonetheless, worth highlighting: Trapped in the Closet.
posted by ericb at 7:06 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


One expects a bunch of SP's working for a wog government to spew lies like that.
posted by contessa at 7:10 PM on August 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Yup. In this case, fer shure, PhD means Piled Highed and Deeper.
posted by drhydro at 7:11 PM on August 9, 2009


Damn. All those millions of dollars for nothing.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:11 PM on August 9, 2009


Aren't they afraid of getting sued?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:13 PM on August 9, 2009


That hypnotism bit is ridiculous. Note that the CoS spokesperson latched onto it immediately, and apparently didn't say a thing about the Sequoia University stuff.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:13 PM on August 9, 2009


Scientology is like any other cult. It's leaders are charlatans who hide behind fake mysticism and vague assertions about the order of things in the world to hoodwink sheep into following them.

I tried to read Hubbard's books as a kid and they were piss poor. He's lucky he was able to ingratiate himself with the Hollywood elite.
posted by reenum at 7:13 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


He's lucky he was able to ingratiate himself with the Hollywood elite.

He's lucky he was able to get the juicy goods on some celebrities from their "audits," so as to blackmail them to stay in the fold.
posted by ericb at 7:18 PM on August 9, 2009


He's lucky he was able to get the juicy goods on some celebrities from their "audits"

And by "lucky" you mean "crafty".
posted by Nelson at 7:35 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Scientology is like any other cult. It's leaders are charlatans who hide behind fake mysticism and vague assertions about the order of things in the world to hoodwink sheep into following them.

It's not a religion. It's a mafia. It's an organization that was created as a religion explicitly to avoid being taxed; the spirituality is a front for, not a cause of the organization.

Remember, this is an outfit that broke into IRS offices to modify its own tax records. These aren't charlatans, these are outright criminals, hiding behind pious faces and savage attacks on their critics.
posted by Malor at 7:36 PM on August 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


Heh. I just realized, I'm not sure who I'm more afraid to make comments about on the Internet: the anti-abortionists or the Scientologists.
posted by limeonaire at 7:40 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


These aren't charlatans, these are outright criminals, hiding behind pious faces and savage attacks on their critics.

Wait, but I thought you said it's not a religion.

I keed, I keed
posted by hifiparasol at 7:46 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fraud? In *my* Scientology?
posted by the painkiller at 7:58 PM on August 9, 2009


One expects a bunch of SP's working for a wog government to spew lies like that.

?? Where I come from "wog" is pejorative slang coined by colonials to slur people from Asia/East India.

Can you tell me what you mean?
posted by reflecked at 8:01 PM on August 9, 2009


In 1971 Sir John Foster became my legal guardian, so I could live and study in England. Just at the time I met him he was preparing and presenting The Foster Report and his Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology Report London December 1971. He was also a "British public figure who was a target of their private "intelligence" operations".

Mary Sue Hubbard's letter to Sir John Foster from the excellent Bare Faced Messiah site. Timeline from the same site.
posted by nickyskye at 8:05 PM on August 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Totally off topic, but whoa, weird synchronicity:

So the other day I was clicking through this post about Charlie Brooker and during the past few days, in my boredom during these slow days on MetaFilter, I've been watching random episodes of Screenwipe, and happened upon one where he shows a chapter of Trapped in the Closet, which, for some reason, I had never before seen, heard, or heard of, and I found the clip on Charlie Brooker so intriguing that I went looking for more info about this R. Kelly (whoever he is) opus and spent some hours today reading about it and watching the whole thing on Google video.

Then I come here and see ericb's link, which wouldn't have made any sense to me about 8 hours ago.

posted by Hal Mumkin at 8:06 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


From wikipedia:

Amongst Scientologists, wog is used as a disparaging word for non-scientologists. Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard defined wog as a "common, everyday garden-variety humanoid ... He 'is' a body. [He] doesn't know he's there, etc. He isn't there as a spirit at all. He is not operating as a thetan. The term comes from 'Worthy Oriental Gentleman', from the days of the British in Egypt. [sic]"
posted by Monsters at 8:08 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, DUH.
posted by newfers at 8:08 PM on August 9, 2009


Not going to Google for it at work, but I read a Playboy interview [online] with Hubbard’s son that was a huge eye opener. Stories of his father packing up his family and bundling them into the car, along with suitcases full of money, just as the law was closing in. Then off to the next town to do the same…

I always knew he was dodgy. I just didn’t realise he was that dodgy. It should be a must read for any Scientologist or would-be Scientologist.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:12 PM on August 9, 2009


Can we use an iconograph to denote "lots of single-letter links"? How about...

]previously[

or

}}previously{{ ?
posted by andreaazure at 8:13 PM on August 9, 2009


?? Where I come from "wog" is pejorative slang coined by colonials to slur people from Asia/East India.

Can you tell me what you mean?


My reaction on reading contessa's statement was that it was intended ironically, to place Britain in the same relationship to the U.S. that India used to have with Britain. (And taken as such, I appreciated the bitter humor.) Regardless, I'd love to know what an SP is.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:18 PM on August 9, 2009


If you were to ask many Scientologists, they would tell you that they don't mean "wog" as a pejorative term, that it's simply the word used for non-Scientologists. Based on my fairly considerable experience, I'd say most Scientologists don't really understand the full historical context of the term. If they did, I imagine most would have at least had the good grace to look embarrassed when using it around my very "Oriental" looking self.
posted by Diagonalize at 8:19 PM on August 9, 2009


Interesting. The British Department of Health took steps to protect their citizens from a cult providing false psychological and psychiatric help.

Hmm. Wonder what the American government did. I mean, I'm sure our government was even more interested, seeing as how it was happening in our country.

Hmm.

Nope, guess we didn't do anything at all.

So, as the game goes into the final quarter, it's the British with a comfortable lead, and the Americans still arguing over the shape of the ball.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:21 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Regardless, I'd love to know what an SP is.

SP = suppressive person.

The term is often applied to those whom the Church of Scientology perceives as its enemies, i.e. those whose "disastrous" and "suppressive" acts are said to impede the progress of individual Scientologists or the Scientology movement.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:22 PM on August 9, 2009


reflecked & A dead Quaker: "wog" is a term scientologists use to disparagingly refer to non-scientologist groups or individuals.

"SP" means supressive person, another very loaded term within scientologic alterna-linguistics.
posted by contessa at 8:23 PM on August 9, 2009


Uncanny hengeman, was this the interview with L. Ron Hubbard's son that you were referring to?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:24 PM on August 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


SP stands for "Suppressive Person", a term used to describe someone who is an enemy to Scientology and/or the individual Scientologist. Their very presence is considered highly toxic and contact is strongly discouraged/forbidden if a resolution is found impossible.
posted by Diagonalize at 8:25 PM on August 9, 2009


Not going to Google for it at work, but I read a Playboy interview [online] with Hubbard’s son that was a huge eye opener.

Here is it.
posted by Brian B. at 8:25 PM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thankyou Brian B, I knew it would only take a moment for a link to appear!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:31 PM on August 9, 2009


Ahh, thanks for the clarifications!
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:49 PM on August 9, 2009


Wog = Muggle
posted by blue_beetle at 9:05 PM on August 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


One wonders why it took so long for this to be released.

I have a hard time believing that after all the years of public, perfectly accessible heaps of documentation regarding the OT "become a God" stuff, the implications in various crimes (including but not limited to murder), the infiltrations of several national government agencies around the world, the lawsuits, the trail of disillusioned ex-believers left in poverty, the threats, the intimidation, the stolen government documents recovered in an FBI raid, and the federal convictions of Hubbard's wife along with several other co-conspirators, that someone would read the above article and say this:

"Oh, he wasn't actually a doctor? Well, fuck that. And to think I almost gave them my life savings."
posted by middleclasstool at 9:11 PM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Muggle = Level VIII Operating Thetan
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:15 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fraud? In *my* Scientology religion?

Meh.
posted by pompomtom at 9:23 PM on August 9, 2009


L Ron Hubbard's son, Ron DeWolf, exposes Scientology video.

His affadavit:
My father has always used the confidential information
extracted from people during auditing sessions to intimidate,
threaten and coerce them to do what he wanted, which often
meant getting them to give him money. My father routinely
used false threats and auditing information particularly
about crimes people had committed to extort money from them.


Then on January 3, 1960, my father sent me a telegram saying that he was going to have me arrested for theft of a mailing list and money — that he was going to ‘crush’ me, and that I’d better run and hide or he would find me and destroy me." Later, however, father and son were more amiable and exchanged correspondence, although they never saw each other again.


— it’s a money-and-power game, period. It’s who’s got all the money, who can step on whom to climb up higher, who can control the most number of people...


L Ron Hubbard, a classic malignant sociopath, tried to make a Manchurian Candidate out of his son, starting with phenobarbital laced bubble gum.

Videos of The Clearwater Hearings.

This review of Prophetic Charisma helped me to understand some of the allure of the pathological narcissist as cult leader.

Mary Hubbard, sounds like she was an Inverted Narcissist. What mystifies me to this day is the dedication of the henchmen, the devotees, who witness the criminal, abusive, sadistic, manipulative, exploitative behaviors, damage the cult leader does and yet side with the abuser year after year.
posted by nickyskye at 9:44 PM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]




NBC -- Beyond Weird: Scientology's New Uniforms.
posted by ericb at 10:10 PM on August 9, 2009


The British government has released documents compiled to expose Scientology's founder as a fraud.

Fast forward to today!

Scientology Leader David Miscavige: Still A Scary, Insane Psychopath.
posted by ericb at 10:15 PM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


"... What mystifies me to this day is the dedication of the henchmen, the devotees, who witness the criminal, abusive, sadistic, manipulative, exploitative behaviors, damage the cult leader does and yet side with the abuser year after year."
posted by nickyskye at 12:44 AM on August 10


Well, duh...that's where all the goodies come from. Jesus may be dying on a cross next to yours, but if you want to go to His Heaven, you gotta believe, still, that He's the deathless Son of God, and talk pretty, in order to be "forgiven" and make the cut. Because that other guy, over there on the third cross, in order to keep his last crumb of self-respect, and not confess, further, is not going to Heaven, for failing to believe in Jesus, and confess that publicly.

ME TALK PRETTY is a universal truth in religions. It's a hard rule, but it's the First Rule.
posted by paulsc at 10:18 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


from that Penthouse interview:

L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., is a survivor. His appearance on earth, May 7, 1934, was the result of failed abortion rituals by his father, and Ron, after only six and a half months in the womb and at 2.2 pounds entered the world...Ron Jr. says that he remembers much of his childhood. He claims to recall, at six years, a vivid scene of his father performing an abortion ritual on his mother with a coat hanger.

If there's a Hell, I hope LRH is in it being eternally raped on the thorns-and-barbed-wire cocks of demons while digesting cut-up clock springs and gargling Drano and broken glass.
posted by I, Credulous at 10:18 PM on August 9, 2009


The world is completely full of shit. To people like Hubbard this is an opportunity.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 2:08 AM on August 10, 2009


Alright, I find the Penthouse article a little hard to believe. I mean, it really sounds like its just pandering to everyone's ideas of Hubbard as supreme evil -

...his father, in an attempt to get his son in tune with his black-magic worship, laced the young hubbard's bubble gum with phenobarbital. Drugs were an important part of Ron Jr.'s growing up, as his father believed that they were the best way to get closer to Satan --the Antichrist of black magic.


What? I think, if I recall correctly, that in the 80's, for the general public in North America, Satanism and black magic were considered actually threatening bogeymen (or maybe it's just that I was a little kid growing up in a religious family).

I also find the use of the term abortion ritual really, really wierd.
posted by molecicco at 4:44 AM on August 10, 2009


ME TALK PRETTY is a universal truth in religions. It's a hard rule, but it's the First Rule.

No, actually it's not at all. Christians, for example vary from Four Square Baptists to Catholics to Universalists. Some Christians don't even use the example you just gave. Some Christians don't even teach the divinity of Jesus. Also (most) Christians don't try to ruin your name in the press if you decide to leave.

Scientologists don't vary. They don't question. They don't have sects. They only parrot the talking points. They have billion-year work contracts.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:01 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Interesting. Where I'm from, a "wog" is someone who has not yet crossed the equator and undergone the rite of passage of becoming a Mighty Shellback, i.e. a "slimy polliwog". (For those who don't know, that would be the US Navy).
posted by greasepig at 6:06 AM on August 10, 2009


Typically, when it comes to religion, as long as you leave me alone, I'm usually pretty cool with whatever wackadoo thing you choose to believe.

That said, Scientology creeps me out.

I think that the reason it's so prevalent among Hollywood types is that so many of them didn't develop a critical thinking component and they're amazingly gullable. Consider this, most people in Hollywood think that they're talented, instead of lucky.

Also, the idea that a particularly successful person in Hollywood must have some kind of higher, better developed...something, has got to appeal to these folks. "I'm successful, not because I'm cute, but because I'm more highly evolved than you are."

Ew. Just Ew.

The rest of it just adds a level of creepy to the creepiest thing ever.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:18 AM on August 10, 2009


And in other Metafilter news.

If you put Dianetics into the "I just read_____" Book selector, here are the books it recommends:

BOOK OF MORMON by JOSEPH SMITH
Chariots of the Gods? : Was God An Astronaut? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past by Erich von Daniken
Communion: A True Story by Whitley Strieber
Bare Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard by Russell Miller
L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? by Bent Corydon
Necronomicon by Simon
0312359861 by Somebody
The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey
Dr Atkins' New Diet Revolution by Robert C. Atkins
The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Castaneda


I get the other religious stuff, but the Atkin's book?????

Gullable books for gullable people.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:22 AM on August 10, 2009


" Drugs were an important part of Ron Jr.'s growing up, as his father believed that they were the best way to get closer to Satan --the Antichrist of black magic."

What? I think, if I recall correctly, that in the 80's, for the general public in North America, Satanism and black magic were considered actually threatening bogeymen (or maybe it's just that I was a little kid growing up in a religious family).

Ron DeWolf was born on May 7, 1934. He grew up before and during World War II.

Before the 1960s, Satanic groups were considered underground and often illegal. Anti-witchcraft laws such as the British Witchcraft Act 1735 (not repealed until 1951), reflected strong public sentiment against witchcraft and Satanism. Religious Satanism began in 1966 with the founding of the Church of Satan.
posted by nickyskye at 6:51 AM on August 10, 2009


Yeah, sorry, let me clarify, the Penthouse article is from 1983. So what I'm saying is, I think he references the anti-Christ and Satanism to make his father look like the epitome of eeeeeeeevvvvviiiiiiiiiiiillllll. You know, in line with all the shrill "oh my god heavy metal is satan's work and all these bands use black magic to brainwash our children into serving the devil!" that was going on at the time (such as the Ozzy Osbourne teen-suicide case).
posted by molecicco at 7:04 AM on August 10, 2009


Important to the understanding of the concept of a Suppressive Person is that Hubbard declared SP's to be "fair game" for anything, including slander, alienation, and violence. FairGamed.Org has more info on how Scientology responds to criticism.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:05 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Alright, I find the Penthouse article a little hard to believe."

L. Ron really *was* a Satanist .. or at least he pretended to be at one time. A Crowlean, to be precise. And drugs really were part of Crowley's attempts to contact other worldly beings, and, yes, there really were abortion rituals, and all sorts of other rituals too, in Crowlean Magick.

Hubbard ended up thieving a lot of the structural ideas from Crowley's OTO for use in his 'religion'.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 7:07 AM on August 10, 2009


Corwley wasn't a Satanist, he was a Thelemite. The Satan references were for mundane-freaking purposes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:08 AM on August 10, 2009


yes, there really were abortion rituals, and all sorts of other rituals too, in Crowlean Magick.

Do you have a cite for the "abortion rituals" in Crowleyan/Thelemic magick? Because after studying Thelema for over 20 years, I'm pretty sure there aren't any.
posted by malocchio at 10:41 AM on August 10, 2009


Awkward personal history time: My parents were fairly active in Scientology throughout most of my childhood, and, by default, so was I. Going to a heavily Scientology-influenced school for most of my life, I grew up almost exclusively amongst Scientologists. I wasn't OT or even Clear, but, at my parents' and teachers' urging, I'd done courses, had auditing, and lived with Scientology principles in my everyday life. That said, I never really felt comfortable identifying myself as a Scientologist. It just didn't feel right. I was pretty miserable during my teen years, after I started openly questioning a lot of their beliefs and practices. Once I left for college, I effectively broke ties with almost all parts of that life, packed up my emotional baggage, and moved on. I do not have any current ties to or even particular sympathies for Scientology, but it's still surprisingly difficult to read some of the harsher comments on here.

That said, I'm very glad that these reports are being made public. I know that it can and does make a difference, especially for kids who are raised in Scientology. I'm probably not in the best position to make judgments about Scientology for anyone, but I do think that everyone has the right to be fully informed. People should know the truth and be able to decide for themselves whether or not this is something they want to be involved in. Maybe this new information won't make a lot of difference, but I do know one young man who was born and raised a Scientologist and left after reading Hubbard's post-mortem toxicology report. Scientologists often put a lot of stock in documentation*, and sometimes all you need is one chink in the armor.

I only mention this to give you a sense of where I'm coming from. People can and do leave Scientology, with varying degrees of difficulty. They've never bothered to contact me, but I think that to this day, my parents don't answer their home phone to avoid being stuck in conversation with some terrifyingly earnest young staffer at Flag (but I don't think they've been particularly persecuted beyond that).



*Even I think that Penthouse interview is laying it on a little thick. It's one of those oft-quoted pieces that should be taken with a grain of salt. I've read it before and it always seemed like the result of sensationalistic journalism and a very bitter family relationship more than anything else. There are plenty of other reasons to dislike Scientology without bringing Satanic rituals into it.
posted by Diagonalize at 11:33 AM on August 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


I do not have any current ties to or even particular sympathies for Scientology, but it's still surprisingly difficult to read some of the harsher comments on here.

Do yourself a favour and read A Piece of Blue Sky. It might be in your library and it is available on the web.

As for Satanic rituals, Hubbard was a devotee of Crowley. You better believe there was ugly shit going down.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:05 PM on August 10, 2009


five fresh fish, I understand that you mean well, but you seem to think that I'm in need of more information. I'm not. I've read plenty of anti-Scientology literature since college, and as it is, I suspect I already know more far about this subject than most ever should, the good and the bad, on a first, second, and even third-hand basis. At this point, I'm mainly interested in distancing myself from that world. My difficulty with the subject is mainly because it sucks to look back on a huge portion of my life and realize that complete strangers also view large portions of my childhood with as much or more anger and disgust than I do.
posted by Diagonalize at 2:35 PM on August 10, 2009


I think he references the anti-Christ and Satanism to make his father look like the epitome of eeeeeeeevvvvviiiiiiiiiiiillllll. You know, in line with all the shrill "oh my god heavy metal is satan's work and all these bands use black magic to brainwash our children into serving the devil!" that was going on at the time (such as the Ozzy Osbourne teen-suicide case).

molecicco
, it is hilarious when parental anxiety over dramatizes banal heavy metal music as "eeeeeeeevvvvviiiiiiiiiiiillllll" ( might as well crank up the silliness and ad the Vincent Price sepulchral laugh bwahahahaha!).

But there is behavior which can be termed depraved and in common or legal parlance could be quite rationally termed evil. Drugging one's young son and daughter with phenobarbital laced bubbled gum, attempting an abortion on your wife with your young son watching, chronic blackmail and intimidation tactics, enforced abortions, pathological deceit, decades of conning, stalking , harassing, smear campaigning anyone who didn't toe the line, threatening to crush your son for detaching, these would be examples of both parental and cult leader evil, plain four letter evil.

Malignant Narcissism, L. Ron Hubbard, and Scientology's Policies of Narcissistic Rage by by Dr. Stephen A. Kent.

Refund and Reparation
A resource for victims of Scientology's unconscionable policies and practices.


Diagonalize, Congratulations for having the courage to talk about your having made an exit from the Scientology cult. I really respect your sharing your experience here.

In making an exit from the Tibetan Buddhist cult, what was painful for me was finding a way to keep what I valued, what was intelligent, wise or useful in Buddhism and to let go of the cult aspect, what was unhealthy, cultic, unwise, deranged, misinformed, unhealthy. It's a process, not an event, and part of that process is being able to talk with others. It's not easy and often emotionally painful.

The wife of an old friend just published a memoir about her awakening, exit and recovery process, The Guru Looked Good by Marta Szabo.
posted by nickyskye at 4:19 PM on August 10, 2009


Although I'm still unsure if I would call them a cult, I appreciate the support, nicky. The main issue for me hasn't been trying to synthesize what I thought was valuable about Scientology, but the isolation aspect. My K-12 school was tiny, and you could count my graduating class on your fingers. When I left, I never really looked back, and it was a jarring process moving from a microscopic Scientology school to a large state university. By this point I had lost ties to most of my old friends, and I had a difficult time making new friends. I was fortunate in having siblings close in age I could talk to about our shared experiences, since I don't think I've met anyone else who has been in quite the same situation, but it is a process, and I'm still learning how to deal. Thankfully, I'm still young and resilient, so I don't think I'm going to come out of this significantly stranger than the average person on the internet.
posted by Diagonalize at 5:36 PM on August 10, 2009


"wog" is a term scientologists use to disparagingly refer to non-scientologist groups or individuals.

Thank you for clarifying. I can see how the term is used here, in the context of discussing Scientologists. That doesn't make it less offensive; it's another item in their debit column.
posted by reflecked at 7:21 PM on August 10, 2009


Sorry Diagonalize, didn't mean to offend. I had thought you were implying that we were being particularly harsh toward the cult in this thread. When you know what the cult has done and does do, what we've collectively said in this thread is benevolent by comparison.

Of course if I'd given it a second thought, I'd have realized an ex-insider would know the truth and might feel discomfort for other reasons.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on August 10, 2009


I'm still unsure if I would call them a cult

Curious why you think that term does not apply to Scientology.

All cults isolate their devotees as part of the mind control, depicting the teacher-guru-leader and adherents as superior while the rest of the world as one type of wrong, inferior person or another. It can be intensely hard in subtle or obvious ways, after making an exit from such an enmeshment, to then become an integral, healthy part of the river of humanity again after such isolation.

In making an exit from a mind control situation, if one works on the healing process over time that can be a source of meaningful understanding. I wish you well on your journey.

Learning about pathological narcissism helped me understand the people who become not only cult leaders but powerful in society. If one has been brought up with a narcissist, such as Ron Hubbard, as a role model, one would likely then go on to have further enmeshments with narcissists in one's love, friendship and career choices. It might be useful info for you to check out.
posted by nickyskye at 7:49 PM on August 10, 2009


As for Satanic rituals, Hubbard was a devotee of Crowley. You better believe there was ugly shit going down.

Certainly, the image of Hubbard and Crowley engaging in practice for the XI Degree constitutes something I'd probably rather not see.

Were you thinking of something else?


In making an exit from the Tibetan Buddhist cult..,


(This is getting complicated...)

nickyskye, are you suggesting that all of Tibetan Buddhism is a cult, i.e. that Tibetan Buddhism is closer to Scientology than it is to other forms of Buddhism, or to other world religions? I'd disagree with that broad a characterization. Or would '"a" Tibetan Buddhist cult' work as well? I know there are such things.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 9:07 PM on August 10, 2009


It's okay, five fresh fish. I wasn't offended, just wanted to clarify.

As for my hesitation to call them a cult...well, I have problems with the word "cult" in general, largely because its meaning is so ill-defined and often vague. By some standards, all major religions also fall under the definition of "cult", and I really don't think I'm best qualified to make the distinction.

As for the mind control and pathological narcissism, I appreciate the input, but I don't know that it particularly applies in my instance. I was certainly isolated within my lifestyle, but I don't know that it was significantly different than your garden variety childhood indoctrination. I like to imagine that it was sort of like growing up in a small town that had one primary religion. I was never forbidden or even particularly discouraged from talking to non-Scientologists, it's just that I didn't know any (which isn't even quite true; I just didn't know any well enough to feel comfortable talking about Scientology with them). And while I certainly had enough people around advocating Hubbard as a role model, he was dead for nearly all of my life, and my parents never propped him up as a role model. Scientology was more like something I just grew out of. I didn't know David Miscavige well, although I knew those who did, and while I had friends who joined the Sea Org, I was never recruited myself. Truthfully, in most ways, I was Scientology-lite; I just had a helluva lot more minor contact than most will ever have.
posted by Diagonalize at 12:22 AM on August 11, 2009


closer to Scientology than it is to other forms of Buddhism

The belief systems of Scientology and Tibetan Buddhism are not similar at all to the best of my knowledge. The pathological narcissism of L Ron Hubbard could be compared to at least a couple of Tibetan teachers who came West.

/derail
nickyskye, are you suggesting that all of Tibetan Buddhism is a cult

Basically, yes. An illiterate, unbalanced, theocratic, cultic societal structure with no non religious education of any kind and dozens of cult leaders venerated -literally prostrated to, seated on thrones, telling their devotees they are to be perceived as "a living Buddha" - as reincarnated versions of the previous cult leader. And yet there are parts of Tibetan Buddhism -the belief system-, as with any of the world religions or shamanism, that are deeply meaningful, such as the focus on compassion. But then that is the focus of Mahayana Buddhism in general.

or to other world religions?

Similar in some of its strange beliefs to other world religions.
posted by nickyskye at 6:30 AM on August 11, 2009


Diagonalize, you might want to look at the Ex-Scientology Kids Forum. It's run by people who went through a lot of the same experiences you did & dedicated to making sense of those experiences.
posted by scalefree at 8:56 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


An illiterate, unbalanced, theocratic, cultic societal structure

This is getting into definitions. A societal structure is something different from a cult: I don't think "Medieval Christianity", for example, could usefully be called a cult, so Tibetan civilization, which you seem to be referring to, ought not to be characterized in this way.

Your remarks about some Tibetan teachers I have no problem with - I've had some mixed experience in this regard myself. You specifically mention 'teachers who came West'. It seems to me that Tibetan teachers and Western students in particular, constitute a mix which can get toxic pretty quickly. This might make a good post. But that phenomena is a pretty small subset of Tibetan history (which is inextricable from Tibetan religion).
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 10:32 AM on August 11, 2009


I have heard of and visited the Ex-Scientology Kids Forum--I know one of the founders, in fact--but I have a number of reasons why I choose not to participate there, one of the big ones being identification. The internet is a big place, but it gets a lot smaller when you frequent a visible target, and I'd rather save my family the hassle. I don't think we ever officially "outed" ourselves, and that's helped to minimize the drama.
posted by Diagonalize at 11:14 AM on August 11, 2009


/axe-grindy derail which really should be taking place in memail.

This is getting into definitions.

It seems likely that any good discussion depends on accurate definitions or discussing the definition itself to some mutual agreement or disagreement.

All cults exist within the culture in which they arise. Some cults become the social structure of the culture in which it arises. This could be said to be the case with a number of political leaders around the globe. The cultic worship of the political figure, Kim Jong Il for example, in these cases is mixed with the social and political regime.

A societal structure is something different from a cult...I don't think "Medieval Christianity", for example, could usefully be called a cult

But now is not the Medieval times. And a good deal of Medieval Christianity was cultic, including grossly corrupt priests selling permissions to enter Heaven, hundreds of years of the Inquisition, witch trials and all that insanity. That is why there was the Protestant Reformation.

Tibetan theocracy, control of an illiterate population with no access even to the use of any wheel, except for prayer wheels, continued up until 1959. 50 years ago. And cultic worship of supposedly reincarnated "living Buddhas" is still ongoing (almost always with large political and financial clout, including control and manipulative powers over the Tibetan society connected with the geography of the reincarnated lama). People are piping up about this.

Even the Dalai Lama has spoken about a future Dalai Lama being a choice of the Tibetan people, not him.

2009-Mar-13 Fri: Tibetan official: Dalai Lama's reincarnation needs nod from central government

However, some of these supposedly reincarnated lamas are rebelling, saying they are not interested in carrying on this tradition.

It seems to me that Tibetan teachers and Western students in particular, constitute a mix which can get toxic pretty quickly.

Please read The Blue Annals (online for free), the official history of Tibet, which depicts in detail a thousand years of sectarian Tibetan Buddhist, cultic bloodshed in Tibet itself.
posted by nickyskye at 12:17 PM on August 11, 2009


An illiterate, unbalanced, theocratic, cultic societal structure
A societal structure is something different from a cult: I don't think "Medieval Christianity", for example, could usefully be called a cult, so Tibetan civilization, which you seem to be referring to, ought not to be characterized in this way.


OTOH, I think North Korea could be called a cult. I don't see why Tibet shouldn't also, especially the Tibet of old.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:30 PM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you would like to call North Korea a cult rather than a totalitarian state, so be it. We can't agree on definitions. And I'm familiar with the ins and outs of Tibetan politics and history, thanks anyway for the reading suggestions.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 5:33 PM on August 11, 2009


I did not give you any reading instructions, nor are we particularly arguing about definitions. You can reject out-of-hand the idea that North Korea might be usefully viewed as a cult, or you can mull it over and see what you get out of it. No skin off my ass either way.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:55 PM on August 11, 2009


The only thing religious about Atkins is people's hatred for it. Look, Atkins makes a scientifically provable prediction: Eat almost no carbs, and you'll lose an absurd amount of weight.

Lo and behold, if you eat almost no carbs, you will lose an absurd amount of weight.
posted by effugas at 2:32 AM on August 12, 2009


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