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Bad Apples or Bad Barrels?

November 21, 2010

I’m reading a fascinating book: The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Phil Zimbardo, the Stanford professor who conducted the famous Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971. A good one to add to your reading list.

In this experiment, he took a group of college boys, carefully tested them to ensure there was no sign of mental illness, sociopathy or sadism, then randomly assigned them to play the roles of guards and prisoners in a mock prison set up in the basement of Stanford’s Jordan Hall. After just days, the experiment spiraled out of control, with the guards ultimately submitting the prisoners to sadistic abuse far beyond the needs of role playing, and the prisoners descending into very real depression and apathy.  In The Lucifer Effect, Zimbardo describes the experiment in detail, correlating it with much later research by himself and others, including his work with Abu Ghraib prison guards.

Of course, as I was reading the book, my mind went to my own experiences at the Int Base, which were eerily similar to the abuses, degradation and mind games carried out by the SPE “guards.”

Zimbardo talks about what he refers to as the “bad apple – bad barrel” question. Are evil acts the sole result of “bad apples” – individuals who are simply, by nature,  evil – or are there also situational and systemic factors – “bad barrels” – that can cause even good, decent people to carry out, support  or tolerate evil acts?

It’s an interesting question. Most institutions – law, medicine, psychology, even religion – focus on an individualistic orientation.  When bad things happen, it’s because of bad people, period.  In history, we tend to focus on the one evil individual who was responsible for everything bad that happened – a Saddam Hussein, a Stalin, a Hitler.  Hitler, for instance, was responsible for the Holocaust as we all know.


No – it took a huge propaganda machine to turn the German people against their Jewish neighbors. There were books that had to be written, pamphlets circulated, newspapers and magazines about the Jewish “problem” and what to do about it. Jews had to be transported and guarded. Huge prison compounds and extermination chambers had to be built. Poisons had to be developed and manufactured. And one guy did all this? No, there was something else, systemic factors that caused normal, everyday German people to support, tolerate and even commit acts of unspeakable evil.

There’s a quote I love from Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, describing his own prison experience in Gulag Archipelago. He writes: “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not between states nor between social classes nor between political parties, but right through every human heart, through all human hearts.”

This resonates with me as I saw a lot of abuse and cruelty at the Int Base, some of it carried out by people I knew to be basically good, moral, decent people. And it raises the question, why?

I get frustrated when I hear “it’s all David Miscavige.” Sure, the man is a dangerous sociopath, I of all people know that, having worked with him “up close and personal.” But there are a couple of things wrong with this “it’s all Miscavige” theory.

First, Hubbard himself would reject it as a Why, per his own Data Series criteria, for two reasons.  One, it’s not a Why, it’s a Who. And two, it can be “how comed.” As in “How come one individual can corrupt the entirety of Scientology, tens of thousands of people, including highly trained auditors, OTs and Sea Org veterans, all of whom have at their command what Scientology promotes as the most advanced technology of the human mind and life, including PTS/SP technology?”  Well, that’s a good question. A proper Why would answer it. And it’s not “he’s an SP.” What, that gives him super-powers? (See my last post)

Another problem I have with the “it’s all Miscavige” theory is that I personally observed systemic abuse within Scientology as early as 1968. Miscavige was eight years old. Want some examples? Read my book, Counterfeit Dreams.

And this isn’t an invitation for some rant – “see, it’s not Miscavige – it’s all Hubbard’s fault!” That’s just another Who, isn’t it?

We’re not looking to lay blame. We’re not searching for more Whos. Why don’t we look  and see if we can find some situational or systemic factors which tend to make Scientologists, staff, or Sea Org Members tolerate, support or even carry out evil, abusive acts?

Zimbardo points out that defenders of the System (whatever System it may be) tend to divert attention away from an inspection of the System. He encountered this when looking into the abuses at Abu Ghraib. The US military, of course, insisted there was nothing wrong with the military system, the prison, or the procedures. All the abuses were only due to “a few bad apples.” Nothing to see here, keep moving…

Defenders of Scientology, similarly, are hesitant to inspect the System. “There is nothing wrong with the Scientology system,” they might insist. “It’s all David Miscavige.” That’s too bad, because if anyone is serious about reforming Scientology, they should be very, very curious about the real reasons (the real Why, if you will) for Scientology’s systemic problems, and how they can be avoided in future.

What do I mean by systemic problems? Well, two of the factors Zimbardo talks about in his book, factors that encourage people to be abusive to others, are deindividuation and dehumanization.  A person who puts on a guard uniform and reflective sunglasses, as in the Stanford Prison Experiment, becomes less of an individual. A man who puts on a guard uniform at Abu Ghraib undergoes the same transformation. He is in a different world with different rules. He is not himself, he is a “guard.”

Well, what about a person who puts on a Sea Org uniform at the Int Base, told they are to “penalize downstats”? Or a person who is given a baton, told he is the “Master-at-Arms,”  and told that his job is to “find and eliminate counter-intention.”

And dehumanization.  During the Stanford Prison Experiment, the prisoners were all given filthy smocks with numbers sewn on the front, and forced to live in degraded conditions. The guards referred to them as “dogs.” At Abu Ghraib, the prisoners were “towel-heads,” “arab dogs” or worse. It’s “okay” to abuse those who are lesser beings.

Well, how about “downstats”? How about “CI” people? Sure, if someone is labeled “downstat” or “CI” it’s OK to harass, punish and abuse them, make them “do laps,” or scrub out dumpsters or clean out a septic pond. It’s OK to throw them in the harbor or in the lake, or even to shove them, punch them, or knock them down.

Would these people act this way at home, with their families, or in the communities where they grew up? Probably not.  But immersed in a new world with new rules, and given a role to play, they do.

And I can hear all the objections now. “That’s not what Hubbard intended! It’s not what he wrote! It’s a misapplication…”

Well, when virtually every Scientology Org I ever worked in, from 1968 to 2005, was plagued with this kind of abuse to a greater or lesser degree, it’s hard to argue that it’s not systemic.

Here’s an interesting Wall Street Journal Article about an attempt to implement Hubbard’s Admin Tech in the Allstate Insurance Company in the late 1980s, early 1990s. Does this sound familiar?

“Allstate employees who took the classes say an important, although hardly exclusive, theme of the training was an uncompromising commitment to the bottom line — even if that meant treating poor performers harshly. The course materials warned managers never to be sympathetic to someone whose productivity numbers, or ‘statistics,’ were down…”

“Workers with declining production had to be investigated immediately, the course taught. ‘A person with low statistics not only has no ethics protection but tends to be hounded,’ the training manual said…”

“‘It allowed management by intimidation. It was vindictive — a way to try to remove people,’ Mr. Richardson says. ‘We would harass agents by calling them constantly and visiting them repeatedly…’”

“Across the country, a number of agents were making complaints similar to those voiced in Arizona. Lawsuits and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints were proliferating; more than two dozen have alleged fraud, harassment or discrimination by Allstate, often in connection with wrongful-discharge cases. One manager joked about forcing so many to quit that they would have to bring in ‘body bags’ to cart them away, while others described agents with low productivity as below the ‘scum line,’ workers said in pretrial statements related to these lawsuits.”

A few bad apples? Or a bad barrel?

  1. November 21, 2010 6:29 am

    Excellent points, Jeff.

    There was a follow up to the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) in 2006 I think, reported in Scientific American’s “Mind” journal, which replicated its results but gave greater detail to the explanation of those results.

    As I understand it, one of the common take-aways to the original SPE was that individuals can be corrupted by the pressures in their group environments. But the subsequent experiments showed that members of The System try at first to create a fair environment, but in response to the resistance they face from their “underlings”, and the difference in power they enjoy, they implement more and more draconian measures against the resistance in order to maintain their “fair and just” system.

    This of course does not work and then they become more and more tyrannical until they abandon all hope of fairness and just force people to be part of their “better” world.

    To me, this was the first information I ran across that helped me to understand what might have happened to Hubbard in the mid 60’s where many people recognize a huge shift in his thrust of policy and tech in Scientology. This was when most people recognize that Scientology began most obviously to become a cult.

    Maybe he started out trying to create a better world, but people were so “aberrated” and resistant to it that he just used more and more force and tyranny until he had created a cult system to MAKE people “get better”.

    I agree that the parts of the system which create the abuse, the fanaticism, and the criminality have to be identified and eliminated in order to have meaningful reform of Scientology.

    And I see what you are saying that “It’s all Hubbard!” is just as wrong as “It’s all Miscavige!”

    But worse than these, and more relevant, is the “It’s never Hubbard” thinking.

    The “if Ron wrote it, it must be true” crowd can not really be trusted to enact meaningful and effective reform precisely because of their “it’s never Hubbard” thinking.

    I think it is clear that, in order to effectively identify the bad spots, what LRH wrote and the system that LRH constructed must be the main focus of any effective reform of Scientology.

  2. Raindog permalink
    November 21, 2010 8:58 am

    The Lucifer Effect is one of my favorite books and has been very helpful to me in trying to sort out how Scientology changed from a movement that embraced individuality and morphed into a cult. I am spending a lot of time reading all I can about social psychology. It is a fascinating subject.

    What I like so much about Zimbardo is one of his solutions is to study what makes a person a hero, someone that will step out of the group and say this is not okay, and what we can be done to train individuals to respond like that to oppressive group situations.

    I also recommend Dar William song, “The Buzzer” about Milgram’s experiments. Check it out:

    A simple introduction to social psychology:

    Another great article Jeff.

  3. Cool Observer permalink
    November 21, 2010 10:07 am

    Great post, Jeff.
    This is one of the many examples when we’re faced with the uncomfortable fact that we’re not as self-determined as we’d like to think. Another experiment worth considering is the Asch Conformity experiments.

    In 2001 a German movie was made based on the Stanford Prison Experiment – “Das Experiment”. Hollywood just did a remake “The Experiment”, here’s the trailer:

    • Cool Observer permalink
      November 21, 2010 4:49 pm

      Another important study is the Milgram experiment, triggered by the Nazi atrocities to find out why people show blind obedience to carry out unspeakable deeds when ordered by authority figures to do so. Really disturbing stuff.

  4. Mickey permalink
    November 21, 2010 2:15 pm

    Great piece and so well written Jeff. While reading I couldn’t help but conclude this same set of circumstances (uniforms that deindividualize) is what has lead to the whole TSA insanity and otherwise proper individuals to allow such degrading (nude pics taken and viewed by a uniformed “deindividualized” stranger) and unhealthy (whole-body X-ray radiation bombardment) actions being done to them, thus dehumanizing themselves and feeling rightly so. Same mechanisms work with the military and police. Without that uniform the inherent sense of respect for life and others and oneself is restored.

    What a fascinating discovery that deindividualization leads so easily to dehumanization. Does Mr. Zimbardo offer any answers perchance, Jeff?

    • Mickey permalink
      November 22, 2010 2:48 am

      Oops, I meant deindividuation as Jeff wrote in italics in his post.

      I slowly felt like I was loosing my “self” as an individual in acquiescing to less than humane actions of the the larger dehumanizing entity (ie, the group’s think), which is a bit of another topic. Probably all of us out now went through this sort of analyzing and woke up eventually to the phenomena of not wishing to be treated less than humanely and like an individual anymore.

      For any lurkers working things out and trying to unhinge their minds from the hive-mind culture of Scn, I found this “Creed of Freedom” of great assistance and comforting during my restoration period of self. Although written from a political perspective, it still applies in many aspects to any organized religion that has subjugated an individual’s interests for “the greater good”:

      • one of those who see permalink
        November 23, 2010 5:05 am

        Love the Creed!!

  5. November 21, 2010 2:19 pm

    “[I]t took a huge propaganda machine to turn the German people against their Jewish neighbors.”

    Also, it required that opposition be removed (executions, imprisonments,) in effect, causing the German society to lose all its means to fix itself.

    Re. “It’s all Hubbard,” it’s meant as “It’s Scientology doctrines/policies”: They were crafted by Hubbard.

    For those who are still unconvinced that the problem is systemic, I think they should wonder how come the Australia’s Anderson Report, published in 1965, following a thorough inquiry into Scientology started in Dec. 1963, was able to describe so well characteristics observed in Scientology nowadays (comments in brackets are mine):

    “… loss of critical faculties have resulted from scientology processing … to produce a subservience amounting almost to mental enslavement from which, because of fear, delusion, debilitation and other conditions induced by scientology processes, the individual finds it extremely difficult, and often impossible, to escape [Sea Orgers?] … The principles and practices of scientology are contrary to accepted principles and practices of medicine and science, and constitute a grave danger to the health, particularly the mental health [Lisa McPherson, Jeremy Perkins, Linda Walicki] … Financial hardship to the customer is the usual concomitant of processing. [Church of MESTology?] … Scientology is a grave threat to family and home life. As well as causing financial hardship, it engenders dissension, suspicion and mistrust amongst members of the family. Scientology has caused many family estrangements. [Disconnection]”


    Remember, the above were conclusions re. Scientology in 1963.

    • cool observer permalink
      November 21, 2010 11:35 pm

      It also took an exceptional situation to allow a demagogue to thrive. The Versailles “peace contract” was so devastating that the US refused to sign it, England only did after a lot of hesitation, after they decided not to forfeit their share of the spoils. The German colonies were taken away – not that there were many, it was a symbolic act to drive home the message that the days of being an influential nation were over. Thousands of patents were stolen and redistributed among the French and the English, robbing Germany of countless inventions and scientific breakthroughs, the Russians disassembled entire factories, including the brick walls, put everything on trains and shipped them to Russia to rebuild them there. Germany was no longer allowed to have an army, leaving the country defenseless, territories were taken away, and parts of the country were under foreign control. And to top that, reparation payments were enforced, a sum so ridiculously high that it was obvious that it was meant to ensure that Germany would never recover. (BTW, the last installment of this sum was paid in October, 2010)

      Since Germany had been forced to surrender unconditionally, the representatives had no choice but to sign the document, on the other hands the new Nazi movement started to speak out against it. It was easy for them, since they were not part of the government. Their slogan was: The Versailles Contract will be Germany’s doom!

      The movement remained unsuccessful, ten years after the end of WW I they got less than 4% at the elections in 1928. In 1930 they surged to second place. The reason for this sudden rise in popularity? Black Friday 1929. If the US had it bad during the depression, it’s hard to imagine how this affected the German population given the eco9nimic hardship they had been suffering prior to the depression. That’s when people remembered who had predicted this scenario. This gave the Nazis the credibility they had not been able to achieve before, and they were desperate enough to listen to a hatemonger who had been ignored before.

      This doesn’t excuse anything, but it explains how things were able to unfold this way. There were other reasons as well, without Stalin Hitler would have never been allowed break essential stipulations of the Versailles contract (like rebuilding the army, ramping up weapon manufacturing, annexing two countries) before someone decided to declare war. Stalin was already known as the monster he was, so Hitler was regarded as the lesser evil.

      The lesson that Germans have taken to heart ever since is simple: Be vigilant and snuff out any threat to the democratic values and the constitution. This is why the Office for the Protection of the Constitution was created, and what did they do when they learned about Scientology? A “philosophy” that makes people into higher and superior humans – homo novis (it should be homo novus, btw), so much better, more ethical, more intelligent as the common wog, a philosophy that had to be “bestowed” on every living being to “clear the planet” and turn everyone into homo novis. A set of rules to utterly destroy everyone trying to get in the way of this campaign, a demand to only grant civil rights to those toeing the line and the disposal of those unwilling or unable to do so. People below 2.0 should be handled (“persuaded” to conform) or to be disposed of quietly and without sorrow. I don’t think anyone should be surprised why Germany has been so strict, because all the aforementioned aspects sound a lot more dangerous given the experience during 1933-45.

      • Heather G permalink
        November 22, 2010 3:41 pm

        Precisely, Cool Observer. The Bavarian government report into the scientology philosophy highlights the very issues that you cite, and expresses concern over the “dehumanization” of people inherent in the language of technology, production, valuable final product, etc.

        The German version of the report has all the pretty graphics. Das System Scientologie

        In English:

      • Cool Observer permalink
        November 22, 2010 6:58 pm


        thanks for the link, I haven’t read this before. Will do as soon as possible.

  6. November 21, 2010 3:32 pm

    Wow! You’ve done it again!!

    IMHO, I believe that Hubbard laid the groud work for this insanity and he did so in attempts to control his organization after seeing that humans could screw it up. Policy after policy was laid out to resolve an issue that threatened to put a crack in the foundation of his creation. More and more policies came about to control and dehumanize people and promote the organization and the tech as senior to all. Hubbard acted from a narcissistic desire for perfection and control. His policies bacame our policies, for to believe otherwise was to make one not a dedicated member. These policies took on a life of their own in the membership by their very nature of being mandated and agreed to. “Purpose is senior to policy” being the most abused at the expense of thinking responsibily from a moral POV.

    That said, your article is excellent in describing the WHY and why the WHY is more important at this point than the WHO. If this analysis were done when Hubbard was alive, early on in the 60’s, the WHY would be the obsessive need to control at the expense of allowing human error to occur naturally. Hubbard hated human error. He would be the WHO behind the WHY.

    But the machine has been running on automatic for years now and it has grown into a monster and we were all a part of it for agreeing not to think independently less one risk
    punishment. The Allstate situation is a great example of what happens. Hitler knew he could reap the rewards of a blindly dedicated few into many, who were equally responsible because they agreed. Mark Rathbun lacks the courage to look at his participation, and so keeps blaming Miscavige and discouraging others from looking elsewhere for the WHY. How these Marty loyalists don’t see that is another example of the mechanisms at work that keep people from thinking objectively. I hope some read this article and wake up. You cannot move forward until you let go of the past.

  7. Joe Pendleton permalink
    November 21, 2010 3:43 pm

    Jeff, just received your book in the mail a few days ago and will be reading it soon.

    This essay may be your most important one yet. The question you pose starts with “How can one individual corrupt…..” is THE key question in the whole matter that we discuss in “the blogs” (really, the “earlier similar” to the current scene). I don’t think it invalidates auditing tech at all or many of LRH’s brilliant and completely workable discoveries (like the ARC Triangle, the comm cycle, how to handle a skipped gradient in learning, etc etc) to look for systemic causes of the current scene and sources of third dynamic dramatization, even if we as individuals decide LRH may have been off base about certain third dynamic ideas, actions or systems that he implemented (and/or that he may have had his own case to deal with in this area).

    This is not to BLAME or disparage Ron or the great work that he did do. It is to be very honest in looking at why a religion/philosophy that aims at great personal enlightment and increased self determinism in individuals – which includes the individuals’ right of personal postulate/opinion/viewpoint, has in its own organizations the practice of the exact opposite of many of these ideals.

    I have my own ideas on this, but am very curious as to what others think. This is a BIG question and I think is THE question.

    • Quicksilver permalink
      November 27, 2010 12:14 am

      Good points Joe,

      I don’t think it invalidates the auditing tech either … at least that is very precise and has to be that way.

      As for policy – different story. While there are many great discoveries or gleaning of past administrative systems, who knows if Ron got out of bed the odd day and could have been pissed off over some report (true or not), or in the middle of some auditing research & restimulated as hell, and just whipped off some policy to handle some sit. Maybe that policy was to handle a specific sit but taken as gospel for everything. Additionally, times have changed … a simple example is the internet … that could & should have been incorporated into a number of divisions, if not, then across the whole org board. I can see applications in all sorts of instances. Policy was to evolve although there are many policies that have some great stable data.

      You are right when you mention the goal of self-determinism yet certain individuals took it upon themselves to suppress this exact self-determinism. This then became one big contagion of aberration and part of the culture. New staff later on the chain have not experienced what came earlier so have nothing to compare it with to determine whether it is truly a plus-point or an out-point. What they see is what they believe to be Scientology. The unfortunate part is some of these yahoos get into positions of power and this think gets pushed down the line.

      Lucky us, we have rear-view mirrors and a bit more experience and will be much better equipped to spot this stuff in the future.

      And what does the future hold … hmm … personally, I would like all data on the net and loose groups offering services (auditing & training). So far there are some very well trained individuals in the field and academies set up. I think this may develop similar to businesses in most field – hang out a shingle, advertise and deliver your service for some exchange. As a ‘consumer’ it would be similar to buying a car – kick the tires and if you like it and are confident in the service being offered, pay the price.

  8. Aeolus permalink
    November 21, 2010 4:05 pm

    Great post, Jeff! Many of us are still wrestling with the “why”, if for no other reason than to avoid falling into a similar trap somewhere down the road, and your article supplies a big piece of the puzzle. And it occurs to me that the “dehumanizing” element is almost inevitable in Management by Statistics. Your strengths or weaknesses, the unique qualities and nuances that make you who you are, count for nothing. What’s your Stat this week?

    Some years ago, while working at a WISE company that will remain nameless, I helped devise a program to debug a particular area of sales that had never been able to increase. I was then assigned to run the program on a pilot basis to see how it worked. Initially the stats, my stats, went up and then up again. Within 3 weeks I was the top salesman of the company, in an area that had never done well. Then a top exec went off to Flag and his post was held by someone who didn’t know about the pilot and neglected some key actions. The stats for program immediately crashed. My stats.

    As you might guess, I was taken off post and investigated. Fortunately I was able to figure out what had changed and was allowed to present evidence to the investigating team. Unfortunately the findings of the investigation, which completely exonerated me, were rejected by top management. After all, I was responsible for my “condition” and I was a downstat, by definition. My stats hadn’t just gone down, they had crashed big time, and there must have been some shortcoming of mine that had caused this. The investigators were ordered to find out what it was, under penalty of being investigated themselves.

    It was always obvious to me that there was some level of insanity in that situation, but it wasn’t until just now that I saw how the dehumanizing aspect of treating a person as a stat rather than an individual was one piece of insanity built right into the system. Also, looking back now at what happened, it strikes me as a more mild version of the “what are your crimes” game that’s been run on almost everyone at the Int Base.

    • John Doe permalink
      November 22, 2010 3:30 am

      I never did quite understand the “Thursday at 2” psychosis fully. In my estimation, if the student or PC completed on Thursday at 3pm, hell, you were on your way to a good start for the next week.

      The only time it really mattered to me was while I was on staff, when I had to be “upstat” in order to get a day off every 2 weeks. And apparently, THAT was the good ol’ days before days off was cancelled!

  9. Skydog permalink
    November 21, 2010 4:18 pm

    As always Jeff, you seem to be the voice of reason. Keep up the good work.

  10. November 21, 2010 5:05 pm

    The first time I saw the Abu Grab disaster and cruelty, I thought of Stanford’s Prison Experiments and Phil Zimbardo. And I also remembered our experiences in the RPF and how we treated people who left before us.
    I was screamed, I just wasn’t a screaming Exec, I could get tense and stern, but I got screamed at, I did not pass it down. I clearly remember while President of Celebrity Centre, I went into the office of one of my staff, and screamed my head off.
    I remember walking away from that incident on the way back to my office and thinking — “Oh, my god, what have I done? I have become what I willingly took” Within two weeks I was routing out of the Sea Org?
    Bad People or Bad Barrel????

  11. November 21, 2010 6:26 pm

    I think Hubbard’s philosophy/auditing is very interesting but the stat-system creates too much tension. People cannot be relaxed and speek freely as much since “the stats have to be up” all the time. Too much focus on work and less on living.

    Keep the tech, training, books, lectures, auditing etc and stop the “stat-frenzy”. And lower the prices. Saw that Saint Hill charges £9339 per intensive for Power processing. Wow.

  12. Gaiagnostic permalink
    November 21, 2010 6:42 pm

    Jeff, Thank you for the important post. g

  13. November 21, 2010 7:56 pm

    Another chronic error that seems inherent to the Scientology Mindset is called the Fundamental Attribution Error.

    The Fundamental Attribution Error is the basis for much of the PTS/SP tech and administrative polices that Hubbard wrote.

    Studying this can have a quite profound effect on one’s outlook. It did on mine:

    In social psychology, the fundamental attribution error (also known as correspondence bias or attribution effect) describes the tendency to over-value dispositional or personality-based explanations for the observed behaviors of others while under-valuing situational explanations for those behaviors.

    The fundamental attribution error is most visible when people explain the behavior of others. It does not explain interpretations of one’s own behavior—where situational factors are often taken into consideration. This discrepancy is called the actor–observer bias.

    As a simple example, if Alice saw Bob trip over a rock and fall, Alice might consider Bob to be clumsy or careless (dispositional). If Alice later tripped over the same rock herself, she would be more likely to blame the placement of the rock (situational).

    More here: The Fundamental Attribution Error

  14. UnDisturbed permalink
    November 21, 2010 7:58 pm

    To me it has worked like this: I have joined a group, and then because of whatever ‘group think’ is involved and my own lack of courage, I have committed overt acts for that group. Not being able to face the overt acts, I blamed the group. This was a convenient way to take no responsibility. Going forward I would find myself hating groups and unable to participate in groups. I was always afraid of what harmful acts I could do once in that group.

    Don’t forget there were German citizens and even Nazi members who stood up to Hitler and condemned what was going on. They said no. Yes they were eliminated, but they maintained their integrity and self-worth. They were heroes.

    Perhaps that is a ‘Why’ to be investigated. Why do individuals lose their courage, do unspeakable harmful acts for the group, and not maintain their own personal integrity? Why do individuals allow themselves to become corrupted?

  15. John Doe permalink
    November 21, 2010 11:10 pm

    “How come one individual can corrupt the entirety of Scientology, tens of thousands of people, including highly trained auditors, OTs and Sea Org veterans, all of whom have at their command what Scientology promotes as the most advanced technology of the human mind and life, including PTS/SP technology?”

    I don’t think the answer to this question, the Why, is simple or singular, but I will make an attempt to respond with what I think is a large part of the problem:

    The culture of the Sea Org has been militaristic and antagonistic since its inception, and within this culture is an implication that this culture itself is senior to anything, including any scientology data, that would refute it. Perhaps there was some necessity for this antagonism when initially training a group of landlubbers and turning them into sailors. Whatever the initial purpose for establishing this atmosphere in the Sea Org, this way of behaving as a Sea Org member is a learned thing as well as being reinforced by many Flag Orders commending such behavior.

    Look at the past and current promo seeking recruits for the Sea Org. You will see photos of young people with unsympathetic, even cold expressions, and words and phrases like, unreasonable, dedicated, unswerving commitment, elite, get ethics in on the planet”, etc.

    To survive the basic Product Zero training and to continue to remain in the Sea Org, one has to agree that is is in one’s greater interest to become like this.

    In one word: indoctrination. And you buy in or you don’t. If you don’t, you’re out.

    So, along comes David Miscavaige, a ruthless, determined, strong-willed Sea Org member, steeped in this culture, and SO members fall in line behind him. And after a few decades of absolute power in the Sea Org, David Miscavaige has become absolutely corrupted and is corrupting what remains of the SO and the church as well. This is a systemic flaw, notwithstanding any sociopathic tendencies DM may have as an individual.

    To me, David Miscavaige, as the leader, is a face, a poster child of the corrupt, militaristic culture of the Sea Org. Thus, he is often singled out by so many as to be The Problem. He certainly is a large part of it, but I believe were he to vanish, another DM-type would appear. It has become quite evident that self-correction of this corrupt culture of the SO isn’t very likely, and those in the SO brook no attempts at correction from organizations or individuals they deem junior to it, which to them, is pretty much anybody or anything.

    Organizations and even empires founded on this antagonistic, militaristic ultimately fail. Thus, the Sea Org is doomed by the very thing that defines it as the Sea Org.

    I don’t think this completely answers the above question, but I think it is a significant element to the problem.

    • Jeff permalink*
      November 21, 2010 11:54 pm

      Good observation. I think trying to apply a military frame of reference to a religion was fundamentally flawed. I agree it’s not just one thing. I am currently compiling my own list of what I consider the systemic factors that have caused Scientology’s corruption and demise.

      • November 22, 2010 12:15 am


        Can’t wait to see that one!!

      • Margaret permalink
        November 22, 2010 12:50 am

        One good place to start, I believe, would be those policies which effectively violate or contradict the underlying Axioms, Codes and Creeds of Scientology from the early/mid 50s.

        If the group’s policies were truly based on those principles/codes/creeds, it’s unlikely that (a) the Sea Org would have ever been formed as it was, and (b) the Justice Codes (i.e. High Crimes, etc.) would ever have evolved as they did.

      • November 22, 2010 3:20 pm

        “If the group’s policies were truly based on those principles/codes/creeds”

        Those principles/codes/creeds are not unquestionable either. Take “Never fear to hurt another in a just cause” from Scientology’s Code of Honor (Nov. 1954). A “just cause” is subjective, and even the same person might change its might about what is a just cause over time, so I think it’s certainly better to scrap that one and to avoid “hurting another in a just cause”, in order to avoid regretting it down the road when one change its outlook.

        “Never withdraw allegiance once granted” and many other are self-serving too.

      • Tony DePhillips permalink
        November 23, 2010 11:44 pm

        Very good point Margaret.
        If the early data from LRH is true and loved by many then why would he come up with other policies etc, that contradict those ideas? This would be a way of applying the data series on comparing the existing scene to an Ideal scene.

    • Karen#1 permalink
      November 22, 2010 4:40 am

      John Doe,

      You said :::

      The culture of the Sea Org has been militaristic and antagonistic since its inception

      I am going to agree with this.
      I feel the Sea Org abuse GREATLY increased for the worse after landing at Daytona.

      One big flaw with the Hierarchy modality is that Lunatics and Sadistic *WHACKOS * are promoted to high posts and then blamed for being “SP” for the trail of destruction they leave…..

      My son Alexander Jentzsch was put to slave labor at the Fort Harrison in Clearwater cleaning toilets and bannisters 12 hours a day with no schooling at the tender age of 12/13 when this incident occurred:::::

      A Former RTC member who’s grandiose title was “RTC officer Flag” took some kind of issue with Alexander for unknown reasons. He would bullbait Alexander by putting his face one inch away from Alexander’s nose and saying:
      “You want to hit me, don’t you ?”
      “Go on, go on, strike me !”

      Alexander, just a kid, would keep his eyes on the floor and say

      “No sir, I do not want to hit you.”

      Whereupon the RTC senior would mock him
      “You are too darned scared to be RPFd for striking me, you chicken!”

      This bullbaiting went on a several time.
      Alexander was alone at the Flag Land Base at this time, while his father Heber Jentzsch was going through hard labor and DM abuse. Heber would stand on his feet several hours a day steam cleaning the SO buses that would transport SO to Hemet.
      I had left the Sea Org but Alexander was not able to tell me any of this as I was non-SO.
      Sea Org members are carefully indoctrinated to not let SO abuse and SO bad occurrences leak to outside the SO

      It was only after this abusive RTC member BLEW and got declared Suppressive Person did Alexander feel comfortable telling me these incidents.

      So who puts a WHACKO abuser type in an RTC position at Flag so he can throw his weight around ? Other more senior RTC !

      And why do all Sea Org members kow tow and bow to the floor to RTC ?
      Because they have SENIORITY to abuse those lower on the food chain.
      Because they have the POWER to RPF you ~~ a hell you will endure for the next 7-10 years
      where you are cut off from all communication to the outside world.

      • Grateful permalink
        November 22, 2010 3:27 pm

        I am so sorry, Karen. This breaks my heart.

  16. November 21, 2010 11:18 pm

    This article is right on the money, Jeff – thanks for posting it.

  17. idle org permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:29 am

    Very good article, Jeff.

    Why do some people get into cults (Bad Barrells), and the like? Well……

    People (not all, but many), need drama. They need to play roles. They need leaders. Heros. Sports stars. Movie stars. Rock stars. Saviours. Gods. And even dictators to tell them how to think, what to think of others and how to treat them.

    People need systems. They need to be told what to do. What hats to wear in life. Where to go and what time to arrive.

    Has anyone noticed the myriad of self-help books out there with titles like “What’s Your Purpose In Life?” (made-up title). Well, the self-help sections in the large, chain bookstores are big. Very big. Lots of authors telling us who we are. What we’re supposed to be doing with our lives. Why we’re depressed or overweight or, or, or……. And many of these books are making their authors quite rich.

    Oprah comes to mind, here. Millions upon millions of people would follow her right off a cliff if she told them to. And they’d give her lots of money all along the way, to boot. And unfortunately, I’m not kidding.

    Now, mix the above with a good, solid Bad Barrell and you get organized Scientology.

    Miscavige is just a nasty little man who saw an opportunity to seize power, rather brutally. Indeed, he has made things vicious. Indeed, he is quite possibly the final say on how the church operates and so could be held up as the most responsible for this mess, absolutely.

    I’m not an LRH hater at all. I do have some problems with the Bad Barrell he created. But I’m talking about the system, not the tech that has done me some good, personally.

    While I could really choose to hate him if I were motivating in that way, I choose instead to think of life as a very long process. And Scientology is absolutely brand, spanking new, relative to thetans and this game called life.

    For all I know, Scientology may have a real, positive impact on this and other planets in a millenium or two. Quite possibly not, also.

    But right now, the system LRH created just ain’t workin’. Obviously.

    If anything, LRH needs a big, fat pink sheet on how to set up a sane 3rd dynamic. Maybe he’ll nail it in a lifetime or ten? Maybe he’s outta here for good? Who knows…

    Step one of said pink sheet, IMHO, would be for him not to write ten trillion words on the subject of organization, as this just confuses everybody and leads to massive contradictions and gross mis-interpretation, power struggles and so on.

    I like simplicity. Here’s a made-up example that could’ve saved so many bank accounts it’s not even funny: “Never fund raise for property! Only use Scientology service and delivery! Violate this rule and you are out!”

    Yes, I know, I wasn’t there. Wasn’t in his shoes and all that. I’m just sayin’……

    I could go on, but I just hit the E/P…..

    • Quicksilver permalink
      November 27, 2010 4:01 pm

      That made up example you gave near the end is actually in policy.

      Fund raisers, BBQs, the IAS, endless status’, Ideal Orgs (in someone’s current mis-interpretation), were never LRH policy.

      There are many policies on where funds come from, how they are made and how they are allocated … they simply boil down to delivering Scientology – in other words, turning out happy pcs & trained auditors.

      Simplicity – Yes!

  18. November 22, 2010 1:40 am

    Well Jeff,

    You know I’ve always totally disputed the “lone Miscavige theory” even when you yourself defended it.

    Now I notice that there are many on this board claiming it was all Hubbard’s policy.

    Going from a person to an inanimate object!

    Personally I don’t view this as an enlightened step at all.

    Sure there were abuses in the 70’s when I first returned to Scientology after an almost twenty year absence but they were never as endemic as they are now under Miscavige.

    I’ll tell you what it is from my perspective.

    (I suppose you’re expecting some long complicated “conspiracy theory”)

    And that it is that we changed from a democratic or at least quasi-democratic system of ECs and ACs coordinating a horizontal Fast Flow system of management at WW using the multiple viewpoint system.

    What changed in the early ’80’s was that the Sea Org took over after eliminating the ACs ECs WW and the GO and created a vertical or top down system of management that is autocratic by nature which allowed someone like Miscavige to seize control as the undisputed “Man Behind Scientology” its soi-disant “Spiritual Leader”.

    • Jeff permalink*
      November 22, 2010 2:39 am

      RJ, you might think I’m going to argue with you, but I think you have a valid point. I think creating a totalitarian top-down management had a lot to do with it.

      I never believed in the “only Miscavige” theory (as I observed systemic abuse long before he was on the scene), but I also never bought the idea that he had US government or intelligence community backing. That’s where we differed.

      • Ackerland permalink
        November 22, 2010 3:39 am

        If Miscavige has had government backing, I think it is not before the IRS deal. Everything else is pretty implausible.

      • November 22, 2010 4:19 am

        I think we both can agree that the shift to authoritarian management had a lot to do with it.

        As you know I never wrote that Miscavige is completely a product of some vast Government conspiracy.

        However you must admit even with a superficial assessment of the scene that he does indeed have US government backing by virtue of the fact that the organization he now holds hostage has 501ciii status.

        Also the organization itself to an extent has had IC backing as well in their support of the Remote Viewing Program:

        The only thing disputed is whether they directly supported Miscavige himself.

        Some evidence does exist however that he does have backing indirectly via many of his IAS members who themselves have connections to intelligence agencies.

      • Moving Forward permalink
        November 24, 2010 9:00 pm

        Jeff, I agree that the idea that it was all Miscavige does not hold water. There have to have been systemic problems for someone like him to get to the top and be able to get away with what he does. I didn’t join the SO until about 1990 so have no personal knowledge of life in Scientology pre-Miscavige.

        After much reading and reflection on my own experiences, I tend to agree with the idea that the militaristic setup of the SO seems to be at the root of much of the evil. I’m really interested in what life was like in Scientology organizations pre-1968 and also in hearing your insights into what you consider to be the systematic factors that caused the abuse and corruption.

    • Grateful permalink
      November 22, 2010 3:25 pm

      I think that a top-down organization with power over its members is doomed to failure and coruption. Look at the US government. It was set up to protect the liberties of the citizens – intricate checks and balances, Bill of Rights, etc. Little by little, it became more and more powerful until we have naked body scans, income tax and all the rest. Although things did get worse in the 80’s, the system and mindset were in place to allow this. If it were not, no one would have gone along with the insanity. The acceleration by Miscaviage only made it all the more visible.

  19. Watchful Navigator permalink
    November 22, 2010 3:20 am

    Great article, Jeff. Right on target as to the investigative questions we should be asking ourselves regarding reform. It goes far beyond simplistic assignment of cause to any one individual, to be sure.

    I learned so much today from all the discussion and running down the links here.

    I’ve stated it elsewhere but it bears repeating here. I find it the most amazing irony that techniques fully capable of freeing people from the “groupthink” LRH attacked in Keeping Scientology Working could fall into such a trap as it has.

    I know Scientology has that capability (relative freedom from groupthink) because I have myself come out of its grip on that very basis. Seeing Marty’s story at Tampa Bay News and that of many other Independents, we have gotten as far as we have because of the stable data inherent in our Codes, as well as LRH lectures and articles where the individual is granted beingness and warned about and encouraged time and again to overcome, the insanity of the group.

    A similar effort, to protect the individual from abuse of authority, was launched at the founding of the United States of America in the writing of its Constitution. Many troubling periods in our history, during which individuals and/or minority groups were denied their rights, attest to the difficulty of the human condition in maintaining liberty and human rights. The Deterioration of Liberty LRH lecture is a good commentary on all that.

    LRH once gave a lecture with his comments on the Code of Honor, in which is emphasized how powerful the relationship to a group is – both on one’s personal integrity and on one’s obligation to it. Of course, the group emphasizes the obligation part far more heavily – just as LRH warned us it would: “…it is the bank that says the group is all and the individual nothing” – ironically in that KSW issue most utilized to demand subserviance of individual and other interests to a “deadly serious activity”.

    I think we have to walk the “middle path” here and acknowledge that while a certain individual at the helm has played a key role in the suppression of individual freedom, a structure has nevertheless arisen which must be subjected to deep re-evaluation.

    Interestingly, an extremely under-utilized, very basic tool around since the first year of Dianetics, is Group Engram “auditing”. Refinements in a similar area were made with the Data Series but unfortunately I have not known of any effort to put those effective tools together.

    No, I don’t mean holding group meetings like have been described in Jeff’s book. Those are where group engrams (Severe Reality Adjustments, Gang Sec Checking, Overboarding, Public Confessionals, etc.) were IMplanted severely in the top executives of Scientology, filtering down into the lowest of Orgs.

    Group Engram auditing requires an honesty and freedom that the church has never had available except in rare instances in isolated areas. Part of this limit of free theta was of course, the external pressures LRH was faced with during the Cointelpro years.

    The essence of correction is humility. That too, is lacking in a religion which holds as its fundamental, Affinity-Reality-Communication. The highest ARC admits error and is capable of confronting any reality, while entertaining many viewpoints.

    I still say that taking the foot off its neck – removing David Miscavige – is 90% of the battle. Then in an environment where the balance of power is effectively spread to constitute genuine checks and balances, without heavy ethics, make-wrong or make-guilty actions, compassionate, competent and mature evaluators could apply Group Auditing, then publish its results without fear, correcting where necessary, using survey. Then using these results, determine through survey of public (our society) and staff (our religion) what needs to be reformed and DO IT.

  20. November 22, 2010 3:35 am

    Jeff, a necessary consequence of these observations, most importantly that abuse was observable even in 1968, is one of the two:

    1.) Hubbard’s model of the human mind is fundamentally flawed.
    2.) There never existed the technology to bring out the purely good in an individual, i.e. the state of clear as described in Dianetics.

    I believe one of these two to be the “why” for a simple reason: Scientology was built on the very premise that individuals in top management positions were “clear” and thus act for the greatest good on the greatest number of dynamics. Everything stands and falls with that premise.

    However, in spite of the alleged workability of the technology, people would not live up to expectations and would make mistakes, or were simply unable to meet unreasonable demands. The policy letters from the Commodore himself would do a patchwork job of fixing bits and pieces where the system has gone leaky. I mean just look at the sheer volume of the policy letters. This does not speak for an organisation where people are trusted to think for themselves to make good decisions. Yet this is exactly what Scientology claims to produce.

    Sure, you can find any number of reasons why the system Hubbard created itself enables an abusive environment, citing policy letters, e.g. the militaristic approach to the religion or because people are only looking at stats to evaluate a person. You can also say that the history of this system followed a similar path as the Stanford prison experiment did. I wholeheartedly agree there are striking parallels, by the way.

    But a system that must be self-sustaining while hiding the points mentioned in 1) and 2) would need to be built in exactly this way as we observe today under Miscavige. In fact, it is the logical progression of an at its outset liberal, friendly system, that is based on these false precepts and desperate to survive. This is where the circle closes. The one necessitates the other.

  21. November 22, 2010 4:46 am

    “How come one individual can corrupt the entirety of Scientology, tens of thousands of people, including highly trained auditors, OTs and Sea Org veterans, all of whom have at their command what Scientology promotes as the most advanced technology of the human mind and life, including PTS/SP technology?”

    Jeff, that is the $64,000 question!

    Another statement of yours Jeff that’s certainly worth repeating, “…if anyone is serious about reforming Scientology, they should be very, very curious about the real reasons (the real Why, if you will) for Scientology’s systemic problems, and how they can be avoided in future.”

    There always seems to be a few bad apples in a barrel that contaminate other apples until they’re spotted and removed And at such point when all the bad apples are removed the remaining apples stay good. But a barrel that’s contaminated that in turn contaminates the bulk of the apples put into it…well, that’s another matter altogether. And the obvious question immediately surfaces, “How is it that the barrel became contaminated in the first place? I wonder, was LRH himself the product of a contaminated barrel?


    Re Allstate’s implementation of mgmt. by statistics…that reminds me of what I saw in Alex Curtis’s documentary, The Trap. After watching The Trap I got the distinct impression that LRH was getting a lot of his policy ideas from situations and programs extant in the environment outside scn. For example, in the video below this guy, Alain Enthoven, (in the late 60s) is implementing his version of mgmt. by stats and getting the same results as Allstate did.

  22. November 22, 2010 1:38 pm

    Please excuse my grammar and expression.
    I love this discussion.
    But I think before any valuable statements are voiced one has to really study the whole history of LRH and Scientology.
    If we take the tech of democracy for an example and as an analogy. We could make all kind of statements about it, from that it is a suppressive tech to the paradise of mankind. There are democracies like Switzerland, where still the people is deciding about politics and which is a paradise to live in, then you have democracies like Italy or Greece, where there is a lot of criminality (Mafia) and then you have democracies in eastern and African or south American countries that are oppressive towards its people. I
    Then you have the Christian religion that was used for to suppress people, but also to free people and bring them up to unbelievable creations (renaissance).
    The same with the Koran. It was used to civilize eastern countries and they had scientists, great artists, great writers and great kings. But it was also used to kill thousands of people.
    What I think is that it is never the written word, the system or the guy that is in power alone at the end, but the decisions of individual people about what they will do with the instruments at their disposal in the whole system.
    The great philosophers of the 18th century, also the Greeks and the Romans realized that the only solution to mankind problems is to have an educated people, where the individual can think for himself and makes the right decisions for himself. This means that a person is really educated in philosophy, history, geography, can read, calculus, politics, religion etc…
    The reason why in the western world we are having the freedoms we enjoy is because of those postulates of the 18th century. It created the United States of America, the French Revolution etc…And most importantly was that any kid in the western civilization had to go to school and learn to read and much more since then.
    As Lrh says in Dmsmh education and training is also a valid process that inhibits the reactive mind.
    And at the End when you read Battlefield Earth and Mission Earth he continuously stresses Knowledge, Education, going to University and understanding the world, getting a certificate or nobody will listen to you.
    Those books were in fact a confession of his errors.
    To the end of his life he was working mainly on getting people educated and being able to read, all his works about False data stripping, crashing Mu’s, KTL, LOC etc….
    He discovered the reactive Mind, but he had no title, certificate or University degree and in the beginning he tried to put his works on a scientific base, but was so pissed about the establishment not acknowledging his discoveries, even attacking him or other people trying to get the rights on his work.
    He had to defend himself continuously and find solutions to continue his work. Some of the solutions are no more applicable nowadays, but at those time served its end and sometimes perhaps not.
    But the main problem was that he let people assume positions of power that weren’t qualified for it and gave out the phrase for the Sea-Org that one can do any job without any training by just confronting it. On a short term basis by raising the necessity level of people and getting them to confront anything, one can get people to achieve impossible things, but not on a long term basis, you have to educate them.
    It is a phenomena that people that are not intelligent can in a movement that takes everybody in, without looking at their qualifications, raise to power and suppress the intelligenzia (communism, religions.., despotic countries..).Because of the importance they are displaying and the 100% security they display that they know what they are doing, while an intelligent person is continuously questioning himself and looking and reevaluating his data and can’t conceive of anybody being so evil, greedy, dumb and power-hungry. That in the moment she realizes it, it’s mostly already too late.
    If only well educated people, with proven production record can assume power in the C.O.S I think, lots of common sense would be used on the 3rd dynamic and the Church would just expand as many other organizations do on this planet.
    One could give temporary auditor and executive assignments to staffs, but they have to get their education, next to normal Scientology training. One mandatory course would be to read anything of Will Durant, to know the history of religion, the French and English philosophers of the 18th century, History of the Greeks, Arabs, Romans and of Democracy as well as of Humanism. Should know about contemporary sciences and history of it etc….
    Look at the successful countries in this world (Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, to some degree also USA);they all have schools and everybody has to go to school and democracy is functioning in those countries. And then take another look at countries that are failing and have problems, look at their schools and you have the solution, better said the why !
    I would formulate the why in Scientology as this:
    ” Letting people without proper training, education and qualifications assume positions of power and authority and so misusing the tools given to them and throwing common sense out of the window that intelligent people couldn’t then leave the organization ”
    In my humble opinion this why would open the door to handling. First get rid of DM then get intelligent people that are using common sense in position of power and authority and then also implementing some democratic processes. All the management tech and policies would be sorted out very fast of what works and what doesn’t.
    I’m 100% sure that LRH would handle it today quite differently.
    LRH’s purpose was to find out how you can clear people and get them through the Ot-Levels. This purpose he achieved. If he would come back he probably would work on how to get those Clears and OTs well educated and trained.

    • Jeff permalink*
      November 22, 2010 6:37 pm

      A good point. Having unqualified people on executive posts is certainly a factor. But, playing devil’s advocate, as a Why it can be “how-comed.” How come unqualified people would be allowed on executive posts?

      • November 22, 2010 8:14 pm

        Good question !

        You got an answer to it ?

      • Watchful Navigator permalink
        November 22, 2010 9:42 pm

        “Because we have to Clear the planet – NOW!”

        “We have to start somewhere! These here are the only people we’ve got…”

        I’m beginning to suspect this (the late 60’s when he wrote “5 Years” as an “optimistic view of how much time this planet has left”) is where LRH started working furiously to make it all happen “now”. One definition of an engram I have read – seems especially applicable to the 3rd Dynamic, that of “groups”, is, “too much being made to happen in too little time”. Or applying the Data Series (“dropped time”) and especially the “SUPERFICIAL ACTIONS” HCOB, comparing with stories of how quickly the Sea Org got put together and how far out of control it got in some areas…

        By the way, LRH was obviously off on his estimate of “how much time left”, but not in my opinion, the fact we don’t have unlimited time. Anyone paying attention to how fast things are deteriorating now? (Does anyone else out there wonder how much longer we’ll be able to eat decent food or buy vitamins?) Don’t blame you, I don’t like confronting it either. Which is why it melts my grounding rods to watch DM throwing away our eternities with his selfish, cowardly and corrupt activities…

        Back to the point.

        Those Exec postings on young guys and gals who showed bravado (and who LRH trusted would bring out their “Whole Track” abilities and know-how) were in retrospect, SUPERFICIAL ACTIONS. They backfired then, resulted in harsh ethics as one “solution”, and are continuing to backfire all the way up to this day.

        Witness a 16-yr-old recruit with “bravado” who got onto LRH’s most intimate comm-lines, destroyed his family and – well, you can read the history elsewhere.

        In my own experience, I have observed Scientology tech – even the admin tech which is admittedly more problematic and as others have pointed out, possibly subject to becoming outmoded by changes or advances in society, to be very workable and productive – actually quite brilliant – when it is “used as directed”, among reasonably intelligent and socially oriented people.

        Just some observations in response, here. I don’t claim to have the full answer and I am finding quite a bit more to factor in, reading others’ responses.

        Ah, but you are moving the TA here, Jeff.

      • November 22, 2010 10:52 pm

        Supply and demand. Any group only has the resources available. You want to man a post, you have to pick from the available individuals.

        If you have this idiotic idea that anyone can be trained to do the post, you run into all sorts of problems.

        “Anyone can be trained to play like Heifetz, just throw anyone into that seat and give them a violin, we’ll be okay in a couple of weeks after they’re trained.”

        And then don’t even train them because they’re thetans who have done everything and all you need to do is raise their necessity level above the bank so they can operate as OT’s who recall all their old skills.

        In real life, it doesn’t work that way. We’re all different with different abilities. Even on the track, some were better at things than others. Far, far better. Intelligence is not spread like butter over the spiritual universe. Some individuals are just plain smarter and more capable.

        Unless you live in pure theory. And then all of us are equal. All of us can do any post or task equally well.

        But, that a person can do one thing better does not give them the right or altitude to lord over others and make them feel inadequate.


      • November 23, 2010 4:04 am

        @ Watchful – since you asked, “(Does anyone else out there wonder how much longer we’ll be able to eat decent food or buy vitamins?)” yes, I too wonder about that and much more. But how come? How come are we in a set of circumstances where we are having to wonder about such things as being able to have decent food, being able to buy vitamins, freely travel across the land, and so much more?


        It guess it was about a decade ago now when I expected to see Super Power comps spilling out across the planet, stabalizing Mother Earth, bringing peace, calm and order. Then, right behind them, the cavalry of OTs galloping in to take key positions to do…(exactly what the OT Cavalry would do was a mystery, but…it was given that they would do good stuff). Hmmm…I’ve always been a sucker for a good fantasy where everybody wins in the end. 🙂 No hard feelings LRH. Thoroughly enjoyed sharing your illusion for the time I did. I do very much wish that it could have ended better for you than it did though. But, as you said, when you step off the path of truth all matter of things will befall you. I wonder what it was that pulled you away from the path.


        In 78′ I embarked opon a journey of self-discovery of a scope that was not previously envisioned by myself. In November, 09′ I stepped out of that journey – I left Scientology. It took a while, but I did come to realize that I had it wrong all those years…Scn was never the journey I believed it to be, it was only a step in the journey. And, for me, a very beneficial one as it served to connect me up to me. I am grateful for the experience and the lessons gained on that step.


        IMHO, any and all religion is man-made and thereby flawed. Religion is the Drama Triangle i.e., persecutor, victim and rescuer (look it up) and it is a circular trap, the wheel of karma. Religion will never free anybody. However, that said, religion can be a used as a boat to cross a river or two in one’s journey but, once on the other side of the river, be sure to leave the cotton-pickin boat behind! 🙂


        Note: in way way or another all my comments here have been prompted by the wonderful and insightful comments of others that I have read on this thread. Thank you all.

        Okay, if you haven’t listened to the lyrics of this song in some time, try em out now and see whether or not they have a broader deeper significance. They certainly do for me. I’m Free!

      • November 23, 2010 11:08 am

        Watchful Navigator,

        Good answer it makes sense ! Those were quite different times !
        I think if LRH would be here today he would do it another way.
        With all the whole track scenarios in his mind and the condition the planet was in at those times.
        He put himself and the group under a heavy pressure

  23. Grateful permalink
    November 22, 2010 2:48 pm

    This nails it, Jeff. And the ensuing discussion continues digging deeper and deeper.

    Here’s something I read the other day that seems apropos:

    “I remember George Bush, Jr. routinely and publicly calling his long-time friend and confident Karl Rove by an exceptionally revolting scatological term. (if you want to know it Google ‘George Bush nicknames.’) This nauseating label reminded me of the Groom of the Stool.

    “The Groom was a key figure in the British Empire. The mightiest in the world, the British regime attracted power seekers like flies to honey. The closer one was to the king, the more cash, influence, women and other perks he would enjoy.

    “The highest, most prized position in the British bureaucracy was the Groom of the Stool. The Groom administered the royal finances.

    “In exchange for this exalted position, the Groom was required to tend the king in the toilet, cleansing the king’s nether region.

    “Who was more warped, the kings who required this, ot the finance officers who submitted?

    “The Grooms of the Stool revealed more about the effects of political power on the mind than any ten weighty tomes could. Power makes people really, really wierd.”

    This is from an article by Richard Maybury. There is also a YouTube video by the same entitled “Why Does Political Power Corrupt?”

    Becoming educated about these influences, as in books like The Lucifer Effect goes a long way for me in diffusing the negative effects of this phenomenon. When I found myself losing integrity as a result of a reverse ethics handling at Flag, it scared the shit out of me and I got very interested in seeing how this works so that I would be able to not allow it to happen to me again.

    I believe that most SO members are the finest people you will ever meet when they are not in the “barrel.” If not, why would they devote their eternities to help mankind? They have bought into a sick system.

  24. windhorse permalink
    November 22, 2010 2:54 pm

    Jeff — this is I believe my favorite article of yours — thus far.

    The one thing that I would add is: each person unless they’ve somehow become a saint have what new agers will call a “Shadow” side.

    Call it what you will — I’ve never met anyone to date that doesn’t have “stuff” even if they have it well under control.

    Given the right set of circumstances (the bad barrel) and right set of other players (the bad apples), our SHADOWS can come right to the fore.

    Without a shadow – it wouldn’t matter if the barrel were bad and full of bad apples.

    The person would rather DIE, than become aggressive and potentially harm another human being.

    I am inspired by various buddhist monks who after years of severe torture would say — the only thing they feared was starting to hate their fellow man.

    And where does this shadow reside and where does it come from? Those who subscribe to the lifetime theory, can point to millions of lives, which have some carry over to this life. To those who don’t – well, we are trained into “me first” competitive behavior from the cradle. Which gets worse as we go to school, seek partners, jobs etc.

    So one’s shadow sees the bad barrel, finds resonance there and then decides to eat a bad apple because afterall —

    It’s ALL ABOUT ME 🙂 … this video explains it well (IMHO)


    • November 23, 2010 1:14 pm

      Interesting video. A Buddhist cum New-Age rapper. So many possibilities in life.

      Shadows. There is light shining, interfered with by obstructions, casting shadows, which fall upon a surface. Do we seek to remove the obstructions? Without them, no shadows fall. Or do we seek to remove the surface upon which the shadows fall?

      Should light fall everywhere?

      I love the late afternoon, when the sun shines at an angle through the trees, past dark clouds, creating vivid lights and shadows. That moment when chiaroscuro paints the landscape. And the world seems so alive.

      How much light must life contain? How much shadow? How many obstructions?

      Bad apples make vinegar. What would I add to my salad without oil and vinegar?

      But how much?

      Without villains, my movies would be less interesting. As they would without heros. How much villainy? How much heroism?

      Without a me, there would be no one for a you to think about. Without a you, there would be no one for me to think about. How much me? How much you?

      The shadows fall. The trees rustle. A flower blooms, and in its shadows I see dimension. A gift plucked. Handed to you. A smile received. The world becomes balanced.

      No more questions. No more whats.

  25. Summer Wind permalink
    November 22, 2010 3:35 pm

    Loved the article. I don’t know about others but for me being in Scientology and buying into all the bullshit was MY DOING. I’ve been “out” for about 3 months now and I have to tell you I will never be apart of a religious group again. Organized religion is a downward spiral. There is always someone who thinks he or she is smarter, more able and “must control the minions” in order for it to work. It’s sad but it’s true. I think we as being will need to evolve a lot more on the 3rd dynamic before organized religious anything will work. I prefer to know what I know and move on.

    • November 23, 2010 1:24 pm

      Summer Wind,

      Yeah, but knowing each other is such a gas. Fifteen people sitting around a table in China Town, chatting about theta and the universe and all the wonderful things life has to offer. The sound of chop sticks and bowls. The murmur of waitresses hustling to bring food. The warmth of someone sitting next to you, crowded in elbow to elbow, hardly enough room to move. Laughter. Knowing looks. Ah, the smells. The spices, so fragrant and inviting. In that and a million other moments I find religion.


  26. Grateful permalink
    November 22, 2010 4:40 pm

    In the end, it still comes down to personal responsibility. The Germans who bought into and committed Nazi atrocities were not given a pass because they were good people. They were held accountable. Each of us needs to be mindful of the models or systems that we buy into. We need to really observe and evaluate with logic and the scientific method. This is something that no group policy or set-up can accomplish. It has to be an individual awareness. It is hard work. I know I got lazy.

  27. Floating Needle permalink
    November 22, 2010 5:48 pm

    Jeff, you make a valid point, and I realized when I read “to dispose of quietly and without sorrow.” this was one of the first points where I blindly accepted a statement without inspection.

    Although, Hubbard made his point WHY it was OK to do away with these types more clearly in subsequent paragraphs, he nevertheless was saying it was OK to kill these types of people, and provided the justifications for you!

    I believe the statement comes from SOS where he’s talking about people below 2.0 on the Tone Scale. It was for me the first distinction of “WHY” it was OK to class myself above certain other people.

    This datum, and others like it, is what slowly over time got me thinking I was above certain types of people (like wogs, which is basically everyone else on the planet) and it is what leads to otherwise good people will do BAD things for “the good of the Church.”

    They believe in a false superiority they have when in fact it is based on there own perception. IN the statement “to dispose of quietly and without sorrow,” it is the individual’s perception of who is “below 2.0”

    Obviously, if the person himself is below 2.0, or, is just not that bright, his judgment will be swayed by his education and personal Tone level and his understanding will be different from someone higher on the Tone Scale.

    This post had helped me in my quest for that answer. Thank you.

  28. It's me again permalink
    November 22, 2010 6:19 pm

    “A few bad apples? Or a bad barrel?” ……”A proper Why would answer it.”

    People are in a body. Bodies follow a different pattern than the person. If you look at history you will see a very similar pattern of slavery and how it is accomplished. Why do people let themselves become enslaved can be debated for eons, but I have an simple opinion.

    First you have the person running the body that has to be tricked into agreement (propaganda). Once that is accomplished, all you have to do is get the body going into survival pack mode (degrading and other non survival actions). If you want to make this composite into slaves, all you have to do is offer them something better than the situation you have put them in. You now can offer the body all kinds of things that would make it comply to you…sleep, food, shelter, money, things etc. You can offer the Being education, salvation etc.

    There is always a person or group that starts this going. They are the know- best that have to control the masses, but they are ” persons” that poison the barrel and then control the barrel by keeping the masses in the barrel in a controlled situation.

    The more a person can control the urges of the body the more the person is himself and can think rationally. For instance, there were many Germans who help the Jews escape the Nazi’s and some of those people lost their lives doing so.. At first some may have believed the propaganda and went along with it, but something within themselves knew that something was not right and got out of the body self- survival pack mode and started helping his fellow man in the face of death to his own body.

    Lets not forget those who took charge and fought against the poison in the barrel they were smothered in, the brave souls who took charge and saved the lives of men, women and children.

    Of course this is a simple explanation and I could factor in other things that would just generate debate on this site but I hope we can all agree with this….
    We are not a body or a collective mind…we are individuals…anyone who tries to make you think otherwise is a slave master poisoning the barrel.

    • Jeff permalink*
      November 22, 2010 6:30 pm

      Interesting point. But one might ask why then would Scientologists be susceptible to such a tactic? They have been educated that they are not their body or their mind.

      • It's me again permalink
        November 22, 2010 7:34 pm

        Almost all religions teach you are not your body, whether the body dies and you go to heaven or controlling your thoughts through meditation and not going into body temptations…most religions teach the difference between you and your body.

        Because you are taught this doesn’t make it any easier to control body survival genetics. Bodies are programed to survive and that survival is hard to rise above at times, especially when there is a propaganda group survival emergency being put out into the group.

        Try telling a young, healthy, active 25 year old guy to control his sexual body urges….procreation is very hard to control in the species, whether you know your not your body or not. Hunger is another very hard to control. Can these things be done? Probably by some, but what a kick back you are going to get from the body I don’t care who you are or what religion you believe….You can control masses just on body survival alone.

        There have always been who rise above the poisonous propaganda in the barrel and who have risked their own body survival to help the others in the bad barrel through out history. I just want to acknowledge all those who have help others out.

        Thanks Jeff, Happy Thanksgiving.

  29. Anonymous permalink
    November 22, 2010 6:26 pm

    Another brilliant blog post Jeff. Thank you!

  30. November 22, 2010 8:13 pm

    I’ve been a Scientologist for 40 years and have never been in a cult. I was recruited to join the Sea Organization many times over the years but never wanted to join that cult. It turns out I was right. What should have been a short-lived “project” became, over the years, a destructive enforcement arm of a sociopath that has ruined many lives and crippled a vital movement by destroying its reputation and denying the people of earth access to a source of true help they desperately need.

    There is an “admin why” and it’s called The Sea Organization

  31. November 22, 2010 10:30 pm

    My first thought: What a comforting post!

  32. November 22, 2010 11:02 pm

    What about them WOGs? When I got into Scientology in 1970 I was suddenly the proud owner of the idea “those WOGs are inferior.” Boy, was that a great datum to own. I could carry it around anyplace I went. And it made me float. It made me just know that whenever I was standing in line, I could see over everyone else’s head–unless there were some fellow Scientologists in that line.

    Hell, armed with that idea, I felt justified in pushing all those WOGs right out of my way, stomping on their fingers and moving right to the head of the line. What rights did they have anyways? They were just WOGs.

    Oh, I loved that idea.

    Sometime after I left Scientology, way back, thirty years ago, I lost that idea. It had started to tatter before I left. But, one day I just couldn’t find it anymore. I couldn’t find any WOGs either. I stood in lines and their were people taller than me. And shorter than me. And prettier. And smarter. And who had just the same rights to be in that line that I did.

    And, even though I didn’t feel superior anymore, I felt happier. I liked the people of the world a lot more. And I made a lot of friends. Friends who were not WOGs. I even married one, and had two children that were ones. And I love them dearly.

    So, the idea of “us versus them” is deeply embedded in Scientology. And the idea of individual superiority justifying trampling over others is deeply embedded by implication. That something is not specifically written does not mean the idea isn’t implicit and tacit.


  33. plainoldthetan permalink
    November 22, 2010 11:17 pm

    Jeff, I’ve been rolling this question “bad apples or bad barrel?” over and over for 24 hours now and the simplest answer I can come up with is “Crashing Misunderstoods on the concept ‘greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics’. Then I came up with “False-data proneness so rampant that people are willing to abandon their own and the group’s moral and ethical codes.” Now I have to ask myself: Do either or both open the door to a handling?

    • Jeff permalink*
      November 22, 2010 11:28 pm

      Sure, those are potential factors. But – just to play devil’s advocate again – this is the group that supposedly has the tech to handle crashing misunderstoods and false data. So again you get to a “how come” – how come they didn’t apply that tech?

      • plainoldthetan permalink
        November 23, 2010 1:21 am

        Good question. Correct question. I’d say that my 2 answers do begin to answer it, especially answer #2, as regarding abandoning the erthical and moral codes.

        Looking at it further, and having worked at a Scientology company whose upper level was populated by ex-Sea Orgites, my answer to “how come” was along these lines:

        When faced with a question of “do I follow the rules/policy/tech or do I make and enforce a decision that’ll make me a bunch of money”, the upper level ex-Sea Orgites ALWAYS decided to make a buncha money, amd don’t follow the rules/policy/tech.

        But that’s my answer #1, I figure.

        When I look at the story on Marty’s site about Tithing Through Your Teeth, I find that my 2 offered answers fit quite well.

        (Remember, a Scientology company is like a septic tank. The really big pieces float to the top.)

      • plainoldthetan permalink
        November 23, 2010 1:32 am

        Well, I meant that parenthetical expression ending my last comment as a joke, but I realized it was answer #3:

        Crashing Misunderstoods and misapplication of Rewards and Penalties.

        In other words, suck-up-to-the-boss-itiveness works like a hot knife through butter in a Scientology company because of the indoctrination in Rewards and Penalties.

        If the boss sets the tone of the company as “above all, make a pile of money”, then any rule-breaking, policy-altering or tech-ignoring that gets done in the name of “making a pile of money” is rewarded. If the company has the tone of “above all, make a pile of money”, and you’re caught following the rules, adhering to policy, and applying the tech, with the perceived result that you’re slowing down the inflow of money, you’re penalized.

        I don’t think that’s what Ron intended. But it worked that way in my ruddy-rod shop.

      • Fellow Traveller permalink
        November 23, 2010 1:43 am

        Perhaps that is part of the conundrum — the why is maybe circular. If the tech exists, it has to be applied to be of any use. Now the folks responsible for the (learning as well as the ) application, including the timing of the application, are themselves having crashing misunderstoods and false data getting in the way of the application. There was a concept from DMSMH, tacit consent which seems it could apply in some fashion.

        Just attempting to think with my fingers here.

      • November 23, 2010 12:53 pm

        ‘Cause it didn’t work?

      • Watchful Navigator permalink
        December 2, 2010 11:34 pm

        The “tacit consent” concept Fellow Traveller brings up especially, captures something of the mutually perpetuating factors inherent in such a spiral downward. Out in the real world, we call that process “corruption”.

        This is the process LRH sought to prevent by issuing the policy STAFF AUDITING.

        In my experience as staff, this spiral was inevitable, except for when a good dose of quality auditing or even training and cramming was applied and you could see the spiral break off or even reverse.

        But as mentioned, “It has to be applied to be of use”!

        When you can “get around to doing it”, that is, in-between the events, the ISA quotas, the phone-regging cross-orders… Oh, and “the one auditor we have left is so busy with ‘public cycles'”… For anyone who has served on staff at any level, it is not hard to see why so little real Scientology gets done in the Orgs.

        A long, long time ago Scientology Missions actually built up their staffmembers with training and auditing with relatively uncorrupted versions of Scientology. One power-hungry, money-motivated David Miscavige arrives at the top of the heap and takes a look at the flourishing and prospering staff with happy public, and goes into fits of rage, verbally declaring Mission Holders who dared to even meekly hold their positions in defense against his insane attacks, destroying the relatively independent, happy and successful Missions, sometimes in some places “squirrely” – true, but never approaching the alteration and destruction of tech which DM has visited on Scientology ever since.

  34. Quicksilver permalink
    November 23, 2010 12:34 am


    What a quest! This is simply the best article I have read … and the responses – what can I say … I am truly grateful that there are so many well-meaning individuals – their viewpoints shine!

    As we write, we release charge – we communicate – we cognite. Agree/disagree, right/wrong – really, they are simply considerations and everyone has that right to communicate whatever they ‘see’. After looking over the responses, I have no doubt that saner heads will prevail.

    What I looked at was the varying responses … this to me is a definite point to look at. We do not all ‘see’ the same – yes, there may be similarities, but we all perceive differently. How is it that 2 beings approach the same situation differently? Why do some lead & others prefer to follow? How is it that some can communicate their ideas so easily & succinctly, while others watching wished they had that same ability or some may simply love to listen? How is it that a devious being can rise to a position of power, yet well-intentioned beings feel cowed or unable to voice the out-points they see? Do they even ‘see’ the out-points? Well, the questions could go on & on.

    We operate with the chains of ages past. These chains cloud our views, jade our decisions right or wrong, put up barriers when least expected, control our every motion, and yes, some even speak for us. We all view & operate thru our case to a greater or lesser degree. A good example is coming out of a NOTs session … on top of the world, blown out, and the cognition you had was the best ever – a new state of ‘beingness’- you feel SO sane – it just couldn’t get any better! Amazing stuff until you come out of the next 5 minute NOTs session, again blown out, feeling so ethical, so aware! You look at the session before and that cog you had, and you wonder “What the hell was I thinking? That was nuts! NOW, I am REALLY sane!”

    As we are composites, perception & awareness will change whether operating in daily life, on staff, working, getting auditing/training, or reading great articles such as yours. Even me saying it is a ‘great article’ is a consideration. Is it really me liking that article, or is what is written aligning with some consideration, word, or postulate from years ago. So, again we view thru many vias.

    And so it goes with the SO, the GO, OSA, the IAS, etc. Yes, there are some bad apples who are in the game for themselves. There are also opinion leaders that want to be interestING rather than be interestED. These individuals have led us down the garden path and we bought it to a greater or lesser degree. I could go into the pluspoints & outpoints of each of these groups, but it has been gone over & over & over.

    So, we acknowledge that it happened, know that we could have done better (hell, we have all done a lot worse – this is just a minor blip), handle(expose & oust) the goofs that are still running this nutty game on others, and continue on up to greater heights. As Ron says, ‘Do the next step on the Bridge’.

    It is an evolution. WE have exact TECH; policy will be adapted to the current scenes, but the show will go on. If you look up the track a bit, you will see that similar trials & tribulations will occur and at that time we will be better able to SEE how to handle them as they occur. With quality people like the posters on this and other sites, the future is bright!

    • William permalink
      November 24, 2010 12:39 am


      You say “So, we acknowledge that it happened, know that we could have done better (hell, we have all done a lot worse – this is just a minor blip), handle(expose & oust) the goofs that are still running this nutty game on others, and continue on up to greater heights.

      That’s not going to work. Unless you acknowledge the failures of Scientology that allowed the very bad things to happen — not just allowed, but provided a fecund place for the abuses to flourish, and unless you fix those problems of Scientology, it will happen again and again.

      Don’t say, “it was misapplied” because that would be a failure of Scientology; Don’t say “it was misunderstood” because that, too, would be a failure of Scientology. Massive failures and abuses occurred and continued year after year. If you just get rid of a few “goofs” and “continue on” you will be continuing the exact head-in-the-sand behavior that made all the abuses possible for so long.

      In other words, what you are proposing is a recipe for continued failure and abuses.

      • Quicksilver permalink
        November 25, 2010 2:07 am


        I guess what I’m trying to say is that everyone understands tech/policy/ethics/justice differently by reason of their aberrations/case level & training level.

        It is an evolution … less case, more training will increase ARC & KRC.

        Blanket statements that Scientology is the problem is false. Books & tapes do nothing … people do.

        Make the able more able – that’s pretty simple.

        I’ve been around for a few years and have personally seen the lockups, the verbal abuse, the stat pushes, the credit card scams, the mortgage scams, G.O. break-ins, the SO/GO/IAS/OSA flexing their muscles on some off-beat purpose, … need I go on. And this is in most sectors that I have been involved with.

        None of the above is Scientology. It *IS*, however, someones perception that it is. Then you have agreement and then it becomes SOP.

        Years ago Missions (franchised at the time) did very well – busy, produced auditors & audited pcs and were solvent for the most part. I doubt there is one solvent (cash/bills) org on the planet at this point save possibly in the orient.

        Best option … find a good auditor you trust, find an Academy that trains you as you want and go on your way … outside the church.

      • William permalink
        November 25, 2010 11:02 pm


        Actually, I never made “blanket statements that Scientology is the problem“. What I did say is that Scientology had serious failures. Scientology did not prevent widespread corruption, criminal behavior and serious abuses. You carefully continue to avoid that concept, but it is undeniable. Scientology Qual, Scientology Study Tech, Scientology Ethics, Scientology Auditing — are all supposed to remove aberration and correct errors, but what happened to the Church of Scientology is massive aberration and incredible error after error after error.

        Now, you continue to have faith in that exact same system. They say that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. They also say that insanity is doing the exact same actions and expecting a different result.

      • Quicksilver permalink
        November 26, 2010 8:43 pm

        Ok … this is good. Something more specific. I do understand where you are coming from. I took you statement “What I did say is that Scientology had serious failures” as a generality.

        As I said, it is an evolution both in training & auditing. You & I may read the same item and get 2 totally different things out of it. 2 people may read the same policy and one uses it to harm and the other towards survival. When ever I read or study, I look at improving conditions. I would suppose if I had all sorts of evil intent, I would be looking for things to use to take advantage of or harm others. As my auditing goes along, hopefully I handle these. But I sure don’t expect everyone including myself is looking for an instant solution and that Scientology immediately solves all one’s problems, etc.

        Ethics Tech was used to harm although if I whip out my 1968 copy, it mentions ‘reason & contemplation of optimum survival’. If I assimilate that with the Code of Honour, the Creed, the Purpose, I hopefully will come up with a survival outlook on ethics and it’s use and use it to help others rather than how some individuals have used it.

        I frankly don’t dwell on the past much at all other than looking to learn (and I do that very little). I tend to look ahead and deal in future create, and when it comes to auditing or training, that means outside of the church, and going with what I know.

  35. November 23, 2010 4:27 am

    Geir I feel this was brought on by how I been being treated on the yahoo lists. What you wrote here makes it more understandable l why I been basically kicked around by the more so called purists X churchies.

    I am not saying all for I do have my friends in the FZ. But even some of them have a bit of the think. Not many but I have felt it there too. Probably not done consciously.

    In the church I was one to kick to the curb as a low stat person and never judge by what I did but how much money I had or what ever it was.

    I saw the abuse myself in the 70’s and in a way was a target then. I saw screaming in the SO then and that was before DM.

    I am thinking now there may not be many true SP’s just people who follow others and become monkey see monkey do.

    I quit the yahoo list and if I did not think auditing worked I would quit the whole thing but I know it works.

    I continue to bring the Venus Project to the world for they point out such things as you posted here and it is helping me see. Thanks for your support in what I been doing and hugs to you.


  36. Ronalda permalink
    November 23, 2010 4:39 am

    It is bad barrels!!!!

  37. Tony DePhillips permalink
    November 23, 2010 11:54 pm

    I think the obvious answer is that it is a bad barrel.
    It is a flawed system organizationally.

    I believe that the system is too complex. Most poeple just want to survive. When they get into a system that keeps them at effect then they feel threatened and do odd things.

    I like the idea of freeing up the tech and let people use it individually and create competition if you will. The ones that are using it in a pro survival way will flourish and the SP types will contract and fail.
    Humans are flawed. That is what Scientology seeks to correct. No system will be perfect as LRH says. (it is a workable system not a perfect one) If you let people get on with it the ones that are sane enough will get enough right so people will win.

    The monopoly is the failed system or bad barrel.

    • Valkov permalink
      November 24, 2010 5:30 am

      It is neither the apples alone, nor the barrels alone. Either considered by itself is like the sound of one hand clapping. The character and qualities of the barrel is shaped and altered by the action of the apples within it, and the transmutation of the apples is conditioned by the
      the ever-changing character of the barrels they are in.

      Barrels and apples are an interactive reality that is actually a flux, like a flowing river.

      Part of what happens is due to human nature. Here is one aspect I haven’t seen mentioned. It is the activation of what might be called the “herd instinct”. If a human being’s composite nature is viewed as having developed through an evolutionary process, then the potential of the activation or recapitulation of any of the more primitive instincts can occur, as the potential of all o fthem exists in present time, in every organism.

      One such phenomenon has been called by social psychologists, “Diffusion of Responsibilty”.
      It is also sometimes called “Bystander Apathy”.

      From this site:

      “Diffusion of responsibility, also called bystander apathy, is a social phenomenon which occurs in groups of people who all witness a crime and do nothing to help the victim. Diffusion of responsibility can manifest itself in two ways: a group of people see someone breaking the law or being injured and no one acts; or, in hierarchical organizations when underlings claim they were just following orders and supervisors claim they were just issuing orders from someone higher up than they are.

      A troubling example of bystander apathy occurred on the morning on March 13, 1964. A young woman named Kitty Genovese was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death outside of her apartment building in Queens, New York. Thirty-eight of her neighbors watched the attack from their windows or heard her screams for help, but did nothing to help her during the thirty-five minutes that Genovese was being attacked—no one called police or went to her aid……..”

      We are co-creators of our shared universes, whether it is our church, workplace, neighborhood, town, and so on.

      “WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?” The answer is – YOU ARE.

      • Jeff permalink*
        November 24, 2010 5:58 am

        You should read Zimbardo’s book. He covers bystander apathy – the Genovese incident and others – and many, many other factors.

        Personally, I think that to say “Who is responsible? You are,” is a bit too general and loosey-goosey. Everyone isn’t responsible for everything. When something evil is done, a specific person did it, and specific others helped him or condoned it or saw it and did nothing.

      • Valkov permalink
        November 24, 2010 10:45 am

        Every one is not responsible for everything. Each person is responsible for co-creating whatever scenes s/he is directly involved in. Like your family, your workplace, your neighborhood, etc.

        Well I guess I didn’t make myself clear at all. There is nothing general about how I meant it – I thought I made that clear by my reference to our “shared universes”. Obviously I am not responsible for whatever you are doing on the West Coast, if that’s where you live. But you have a shared responsibility, along with the others you interact with, for setting the tone of where you live, your house , your neighborhood, the company where you work, etc. Your blog. The blog is a good example. Each person who posts here becomes a co-creator of the blog, and assumes a share of responsibility in what it becomes. But of course you are the final arbiter of what gets posted. So the rest are “junior co-creators” in a sense, but in the end the blog wouldn’t exist as a shared universe if it had only your thoughts on it.

        I know what you mean about expressions that are a bit too general. When folks fail to differentiate between Hubbard the man, the philosophy he expounded, the Church of Sci, and the auditing tech, for example. That’s when the word “scientology” becomes some smooshy generalization, and the word becomes all things to all men. But is anyone then on the same page with anyone else?

        The folks who saw/heard the Kitty Genovese incident were involved, whether they wanted to be or not. What did that do to their neighborhood, that none of them tried to help her?

        In fact, I like the saying “shared responsibility is no responsibility”, because as you say, it comes down to individual actions, or individual fauilure to act.

        That’s a far cry from “every one is responsible for everything”. Don’t get me started on Communism, now…. where “everyone owns everything”, supposedly.

        My overall point remains, that framing the question as to whether it’s the apples or the barrels is a red herring. That’s too Black and White, too Either/Or. That’s not how life and existence really are. The truth is complex and involves the interaction of many factors.

        But you know that.

      • Jeff permalink*
        November 24, 2010 5:51 pm

        Good points. Personally, I don’t think it’s an either/or between bad apples or bad barrels. There are both personal and situational or systemic factors. That’s Zimbardo’s point – you can’t focus on only personal factors and ignore the system.

      • Tony DePhillips permalink
        November 26, 2010 11:20 pm

        Hi Valkov.

        I understand what you are saying. I have read a lot from LRH that one is totally responsible for the ocndition that he is in. I think that is ok on a theoretical basis and also it is an ok premis for auditing so you can always find an anser within yourself to solve your own problems.

        Operating in the physical universe though, you have to assign corrrect causation in order to improve conditions. Is the old lady that comes into Scientology because she has problems really the bad apple if she gets fleeced out of her life savings while trying to handle her problems??
        I say no!!
        Of course ultimately she will have to pick up the peices and she does have some casusation in the problem. She had problems to handle and she had bad judgement trusting those unworthy of trust. But is SHE really the correct target?? NO WAY!!
        The barrel is the target. The system that said IT WOULD HANDLE the planet is the correct target. It has to be, it is the one who stated that it is CAUSE. The lady or others as consumers did not say that they were the cause. They wanted to be helped. The ones that said WE CAN HELP and then betrayed are the correct target. They are the ones who lied and did not follow through on their commitments.
        I believe that the tech ahs value but only in the hands of those who are trustworthy. The current system ( or barrel) has failed, that is observably true. I do belive that a system is possible that will work but it would have to include competition and not a monopoly. Once you have a dictatorial situation it opens the door for abuses.

    • November 24, 2010 1:24 pm

      After being in Scientology for too long, Scientologists generally possess a screwed up sense of responsibility. They think they are responsible for everything that ever happened to them, or for every lie that was told to them.

      This is not true.

      You are not responsible for the lies that are told to you – the liar is.

  38. Fencesitter permalink
    November 24, 2010 1:26 am

    For a person like David M to become the leader of such a powerful cult it has to be a rotten system. Mr. Hubbard screwed the pooch when it comes to turning over his hat. He was such a stickler for such things and he did the worst job of all.

    • Valkov permalink
      November 24, 2010 10:58 am

      One could say the same about any country which has fallen afoul of a brutal dictator. Oops, that’s an awful lot of countries, today and even in recent history.

      So who screwed the pooch in all those places? Russia. Poland. Czechoslovakia. Slovenia. Romania. Serbia. Croatia. Macedonia. Not to mention all the Central Asian countries that were in the Soviet Union. Italy. Germany. Iraq. Iran. Cambodia. Burma(Myanmar). China. NorthKorea. Rwanda. Nigeria. The Congo. Columbia. That’s a partial list.

      Does it ever seem like we have a rotten system here on earth, for how our leaders get in power?

      I believe Iread that DM once said his big “cognition” was that “power is assumed”.

      That seems to be how it happens most of the time. Someone just assumes power.

      I’m feeling cranky about it.

      • Cool Observer permalink
        November 24, 2010 5:55 pm

        I think the essential question is this: The tech, delivered pure and unadulterated (before DM changed everything) was supposed to make people more intelligent, more aware, more determined to do what’s right to improve conditions, more able to spot evil and more willing and able to confront it. According to Hubbard’s claims there was no group of people better equipped to prevent a vicious, hostile and sadistic sociopath from seizing power. And yet ist happened and nobody objected. What does that say about the tech?

      • November 25, 2010 2:24 am

        Cool Observer –

        Very, VERY good question.

      • Tony DePhillips permalink
        November 26, 2010 11:21 pm

        I’m sorry to say but you are starting to sound like a dm apologist.

  39. November 24, 2010 3:50 pm

    I have a question for the Blog here:

    Does the “Bad Barrel” effect apply to David Miscavige?

    • Jeff permalink*
      November 24, 2010 5:59 pm

      My own view is this: normally in society a sociopath is constrained to some degree by the law, by social mores and so on. He can’t go too far. When you take a sociopath and put him in a toxic, isolated environment and, heaven forbid, put him in charge, then there are no constraints on his sociopathy. He is given free rein. I believe there are systemic factors in Scientology which make it possible for a sociopath to operate without check. More on this later.

      • Ackerland permalink
        November 25, 2010 1:38 am

        Have you read these blog posts from Bill?

        I believe Bill has already raised many of the points that you have been making here. If not, it’s really interesting that two people come to similar conclusions independently.

      • Valkov permalink
        November 25, 2010 8:02 am

        Right. Let a psychopath get in absolute charge of a system so he can make his own rules, and criminality will be the rule rather than the exception. The apple works to refashion the barrel in his own image, which then works to refashion the other people into that image also. It’s a self-perpetuating feed back loop type thing. Also contagion of abberation.

        The Co$ became a microcosm of something that has happened in many countries, and still happens. Just Google “10 worst dictators” or some such, you’ll find many results and examples.

        Whatever the C0$ was like “Before Moascavige”, he took advantage of the system to make it worse.

        At this point in time, the US is a young country in which the checks and balances have not been completely eroded. But as the world grows smaller, and all countries more interdependent, it is just one barrel in the larger planetary barrel. Other countries have an increasing stake in the US economy. The more of the US barrel they control, the more they can influence it’s configuration.

        Well, enough of my paranoia for now…. 🙂

        If we do come back, what kind of USA will we find in 100 years, or 200 years?

    • Cool Observer permalink
      November 24, 2010 6:02 pm

      One could argue that nobody is born evil, it’s the environment we grow up in that shapes us, especially people we look up to, people we learn from. […] How you want to continue this train of thought is up to you.

      • Valkov permalink
        November 25, 2010 8:21 am

        That’s already been argued endlessly from time immemorial, and still is in academic circles today.

        It’s simplistic in my opinion. The classic objection is why does one child from a ghetto family strive to become a doctor, another becomes a drug dealer/pimp? Same parents, same neighborhood, same schools, etc.

        My guess is, you’ve never had and raised children, or you would have seen that each individual brings something to the table, that helps determine how s/he plays the cards s/he’s dealt.

        I make no claim to knowing what all the factors are; part could be genetics, part could be individual past-life experiences, part could be collective unconscious-type stuff, who really knows?

        But even puppies from the same litter have widely varying personalities from a very early age.

        I guess I could not be convinced it’s all environment.

      • Cool Observer permalink
        November 25, 2010 7:28 pm


        I assume you have read Counterfeit Dreams, either online or the book, so you will remember what Jaff wrote about the messenger girls who terrified the staff and seemed to enjoy “impersonating Hubbard” by unleashing his holy wrath. Why would Miscavige not have been affected by this? You’re correct by saying it’s not only the environment, and I didn’t want to imply that, I was just too lazy to be more elaborate. Nobody knows wheather or not Miscavige was prone to violence in the first place or if it was “all” Hubbard (I don’t think so), but to assume that Miscavige was so aberrated even before he worked under Hubbard that even the constant high tone and ARC of the Commodore didn’t rub off is a little far-fetched. Hubbard did not just create a system that is perfect for a ruthless leder to terrorise cowed individuals, he also influenced Miscavige, and DM clearly picked up only negative characteristics. As a messenger he learned to impersonate Hubbard and scream abuse at trembling “lowlifes”, who couldn’t make it go right, so in my opinion it’snot surpising that he enjoys to have gone beyond being the impersonator to be the real deal now. It’s no secret that Hubbard was capable of unspeakable cruelty (not that he was all the time), and Miscavige was anm avid student.

  40. Anna permalink
    November 24, 2010 4:40 pm

    I’ll take a stab at what happened here.

    If you read policy backwards, you can see the evolution of the policy as it solves problems related to the survival of the group. One of the biggest problems that happened in the early days of the group was that groups would form up, hiring staff beyond the group ability to produce viability. In the early volume 3 OEC volumes there is discussion of the group running up debts. Big, big debts. Burgeoning payroll commitment was correctly targeted as the key factor in causing this financial situation. The solution (created by the executive council of the time) was to introduce proportionate pay. No wages or salaries. This took out the mushrooming payroll expense factor. But it opened the door to a new problem. People who would have taken the positions on a salary/wage basis did not want to participate in a proportionate pay plan and that included auditors who were accustomed to earning hourly wages. Now the problem became how to detect people who were not contributing to the viability of the group as everyone’s pay depended on everyone producing very well on their posts. Statistics were implemented to detect trouble areas and non-producers. As well, there was a problem with recruitment for most people wanted some kind of base pay so they could cover their basic expenses of living. Solution was fast flow recruitment. The idea was hire anyone, put them on post and weed them out just as fast. The problem then became that the recruitment pool dwindled as now there were people on these posts who were essentially clueless about even the most basic principles of Dianetics and Scientology. They reverted to doing what they knew how to do to handle other people, i.e. whatever their familial or educational track had been before they participated in Scientology.

    And so it goes on an on, with new methods of trying to get people on post quickly and efficiently within the held down 7 of proportionate pay.

    Meanwhile the Mission / Franchise network was functioning very well. Individual franchise holders set the financial policies of their own groups and they did pay base wages and hourly wages. They were the successful network. They fueled the orgs and they produced like mad.

    As the franchise network was building, the number of orgs was rising because of the fast flow hiring system. They were not particularly effective as an example Portland org never did well, the Mission was huge though.

    Managing all of this became a nightmare. You can see the upper management policies being developed. But it is costly and on top of all that the Missions and orgs would fail to deliver or do stupid things that resulted in legal costs. Costs go out the roof. The G.O. and S.O. are developed to address all this. Since they do not produce income, they can’t really work on proportionate pay. So S.O. berthing is come up with as a solution.

    The management nightmare is in full swing.

    So what’s at the bottom of this initial effort to reduce payroll by introducing proportionate pay, statistics management and the myriad solutions to the problems stemming from extremely poor financial management?

    Not enough funding to get the new groups off the ground in terms of training and apprenticeship.

    LRH was funding the growth of these groups early on, picking up the slack and so on.

    In the late 70s the ever-hungry management networks turned a baleful eye on the income coming in from the Mission networks. In particular they targeted the income levels of the franchise holders as a source of income that could be tapped if the franchise holders could be made to go on proportionate pay. DM spread a false datum that the franchise holders were withholding people and funds from the orgs. It was a LIE of magnitude. The franchises were forced onto proportionate pay. The franchise holders were blown off for disagreeing. The orgs helped themselves to the goodwill and resources of what was left of those franchises. And when that ran out the statistics began to dwindle.

    It was the franchises who were making the beginning auditors you see. When that was taken from them and they were stripped down, the underlying engine was crippled and the whole fizzle fazzled.

    Now compare this to Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, Communist China and the efforts of these nations to solve depleted wherewithal. Compare this to the U.S.A. All three were working hard to stabilize the general welfare of the individuals within their nations i.e. ensure that THEIR people had enough to eat, someplace to get out of the cold, safety and security.

    The U.S.A. has been able to create a decent level of prosperity for most people in the U.S. and so has Germany by raising enough funds, real or on paper to implement road systems, railroads, communications systems, big systems that are COSTLY to establish but maintainable once the initial costs have been absorbed.

    Could it be that there was simply a lack of wherewithal to establish? Could it be that the franchise holders provided the wherewithal to establish their little groups?

    Could it be that there really are booms and depressions as groups wax and wane?

    Could it be that the simplicity is that one has to work out a better way to fund a repository of the original technology?

    I believe the problem was that it was so expensive to communicate broadly that it WAS the original problem.

    I believe that our friends at DARPA and Berkeley solved that problem beautifully. For everyone. Its called the Internet. Its fast, its cheap and its instantaneous.

    And so now the problem can be reviewed fully, keeping in mind that the original proportionate pay plan was NOT created by LRH, but by an Executive Council.

    • Jeff permalink*
      November 24, 2010 5:48 pm

      Interesting analysis. Significant that the Orgs “couldn’t afford” to pay their staff, while the Missions could. My own view is that this was due to exorbitant “management” costs – with a huge percentage of Org income being scooped up and sent to Flag, and the Orgs left with barely enough to survive. The FBO system took all limits off how much could be scooped up by Management. If the percent to Flag had been held to, say, 10%, then the Orgs might have been viable. Why was so much sent uplines? Maybe…unchecked greed?

      • Moving Forward permalink
        November 24, 2010 9:26 pm

        Very interesting analysis indeed. It was always really interesting to me how the missions were booming in the 70’s, but yet supposedly being run by a bunch of supressives who were then declared. The mission network never recovered from that and the relationships between orgs and missions remained strained, nearly 15 years after the fact.

        As far as payments to Flag encumbering orgs, well, I can’t speak for what happened in the 70’s and 80’s, but in the 90’s and to present, the issue was more orgs not making even close to enough income and PTF wasn’t the actual problem. Orgs were so bogged down in dealing with unrealistic and unrelenting stat pressure, ridiculous demands coming down management lines and continual IAS events draining the public of money to be able to actually produce anything viable. With the whole Idle Org ‘strategy’, it’s much worse now.

      • Tony DePhillips permalink
        November 25, 2010 3:59 am

        Hi Jeff,

        I was talking to a recruiter who wanted me to join staff awhile back and told her that I thought the staff pay being so low was a huge out-point. I told her that I thought that management should get NO MONEY until the Org was viable. Because if the Org wasn’t viable then THEY WEREN”T DOING THEIR JOB. This has been a long term situation. DM is in LOWERS for sure!! He is probably assigning as punishment to others the punishment that HE DESERVES..

        I think he deserves much worse actually.

      • Anna permalink
        November 25, 2010 3:26 pm

        I really don’t think it was greed (early on) that brought about the upper management’s insatiable demand for money. I think it was desperation and a very real failure to come to terms with the realities of what kind of people and resources it takes to launch and establish fully a new enterprise.

        LRH was always an entrepreneur (or freelancer if you will) except for his brief stint in the navy.

        Successful use of a proportionate pay system requires a level of teamwork and initiative that is extraordinary. The franchise networks were headed up by entrepreneurs, people who had LOTS of auditing and LOTS of auditor training BEFORE they attempted to launch and establish their franchises. They were skilled, they were uptone and they had already invested THEIR OWN WHEREWITHAL to develop their skills and tone level. Then they invested THEIR OWN WHEREWITHAL to launch and establish their franchises. Early on in their establishment phases they demanded that their new personnel have a specific level of training and auditing before they could be allowed to even apply for staff. They did not carry the cost burden of training and auditing their staff. What they did very closely paralleled what LRH did. LRH wrote about these people, and referred to them as “pioneers” or even sometimes as mavericks, to be lightly ridden and never ordered about. Why? They don’t need orders and orders and excessive management simply did not work on them. Quite the contrary. They rebelled and went away. They rightly resented the complete failure to ignore their PERSONAL INVESTMENT OF WHEREWITHAL AND SKILL to launch and establish these entities. And oh yes, by the time this happened in the early 80s, they were VERY VERY VERY successful. Their operations were STOLEN from them. Out and out theft. They screamed to the high heavens and they were declared. And the jerk who declared them and destroyed them has a name and it IS David Miscavige. HE BRAGGED ABOUT IT.

        In comparison, the orgs hired ANYONE. ANYONE who was not grievously unqualified. Very, very few of those people were entrepreneurial. Very, very few had any auditor training or auditing. The org took on the extreme challenge of bearing the cost of training them administratively and technically. A SLOW and EXPENSIVE process with more than 80% failing to make the grade. So constant turnover amongst staff, and to make it worse “make it go right” became the order of the day rather than a full training, auditing, and apprenticeship regimen. I know staff members (both S.O. and lower org) who worked in orgs for over 25 years who NEVER got trained as auditors and never had any real bridge auditing. Demand for production was seen as the necessity and demand rolled all the way down hill from the top as money tightened up and people had to eat rice and beans for dinner or moonlight constantly.

        At the bottom of it all is insufficient funding to do full establishment — the franchises solved it by funding their own establishment. THEY DID NOT SOLVE IT WITH SCIENTOLOGY per se. They brought their own developed skills and beingness to the table along with their own money that they had earned with whatever skills they had already developed. They were not 16 year olds fresh out of school or dropped out of school. They were educated (on their own dime) they were skilled (on their own initiative) they were auditor trained (you had to be Class 4 to take a franchise) and they were already up the bridge (ON THEIR OWN DIME) and they set minimum standards to have their staff have at least minimum qualifications in place (ON THEIR OWN DIME).

        The orgs were faced with the cost burden of training, auditing, and apprenticing their own people, people so green and so inexperienced that it was outrageous. The flow of people from the franchise network MASKED that the orgs were not working and I believe they were NEVER intended to anything but SERVICE that network. SERVICE. Not order. Not control. Not micromanage. Not take over. SERVICE. Put really GOOD academies in place.

        But the destruction of the franchise system took ALL the entrepreneurs OUT of the system. And what do you know. Several years later there is NO ONE TO SERVICE.

        BTW here is an article summarizing research done on the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. Most people who have had a complete lower bridge and auditor training, along with learning the associated skill sets of business would have these characteristics.


        Read the early policy letters. The orgs were supposed to SUPPORT the franchises. SUPPORT the field auditors. SUPPORT the field. NOT RUN IT. NOT BE IT. NOT DO ITS ACTIONS.

        Without the field and the franchises there simply is not enough resources to support the level of expertise that the orgs were INTENDED to offer.

      • Anna permalink
        November 26, 2010 3:19 pm

        @ Jeff

        The problem wasn’t just the percentages sent uplines. The problem was that the upper orgs (ASHO/AO/Flag) had grown tremendously in response to servicing the tremendous growth at the franchise level. They were prepared to deliver to the public coming online. They promoted continually to the franchise network with tours intended to develop a stream of public going from the franchises to their service units. They were VERY good at what they did. The flow became get up to grade 4 in a franchise, then go to ASHO or Flag for training, ASHO, AO or Flag for upper bridge services. The local orgs became superfluous. And they starved because the people they were INTENDED to support and service went straight to upper orgs. Not because they hated orgs, but because the upper orgs did GREAT events and had GREAT pr. And people coming back to the franchises reported GREAT WINS.

        The upper orgs needed to be forbidden from offering lower org services at all, i.e. no lower grade chart actions and no lower academy training. The alternative would be to have NO lower orgs at all, just franchises and upper orgs. As well, the upper orgs needed to be forbidden from destroying lower orgs by recruiting out all their good people.

        No one even addressed those problems. Consequently the lower orgs LIMPED along as they simply didn’t have the resources they needed to establish and grow and become a superlative service unit. It was also very destructive that Flag essentially bad mouthed the lower orgs in not so many words — come to the Mecca of Standard Tech! Well if they are the mecca, then the lower orgs are…. what? Poor cousins? Lousy service units?

        No one paid any attention to that. Without any kind of real review it just became a big big push on the staffs in the lower orgs to get their stats up. Well, if they’d had any sense at all they would have insisted that the original franchise system be implemented AS IT WAS. Not as the parody of it now called SMI, which is now run by another management network, just as stifling and onerous to an entrepreneur as any top-down or traditional management system.

        The big LIE was that the franchises were denying public and so they became the target of ire, similar to the jewish people became the target of the German people. And what do you know, the franchises were incinerated too.

    • John Doe permalink
      November 25, 2010 1:10 am


      Thanks for your insight on this. I’d like to add that of all the groups I’ve worked in, scientology was the most top heavy bureaucracy I’ve ever seen. LRH even called upper management, in the 70s, “Flag Bureax”! I’ve seen huge layers of “upper management” whose management actions largely consisted of phoning or telexing the Executive Directors of orgs and yelling at them to “get the stats up”, or “get done program target x”.

      To me, it seemed to be quite counter productive, to have all these management people writing “urgent programs” and calling the orgs all the time. I was posted on such a post for a 2 or 3 month period and was completely miserable because I knew my actions were unnecessary, even counter productive. When I got busted and went onto doing renovations, I had a huge resurgence in happiness due to feeling I was doing something useful.

      In contrast, I’ve worked in non-scn organizations where the tech/admin ration is probably something like 15:1 and the amount that gets done in a short time is often unbelievable. And good morale all around!

      • Valkov permalink
        November 25, 2010 8:09 am

        I never worked in any of it, but seeing all the posts and titles put me in mind of a government/military bureaucracy that was destined to sink under it’s own weight eventually. Especially with no tax money to support it. It’s been said that General Motors got pretty bloated, perhaps the Co$ is a comparable example.

      • Valkov permalink
        November 25, 2010 8:33 am

        The people in the orgs I believe, were supposed to “query orders” that were not right. Of course, how many actually did that? There were always some staff when faced with that kind of bullshit told the caller or intruding missionaire to f*ck off, but they were probably a minority.

        And in addition to doing their own jobs, they ought not to have been required to do that to get their jobs done! Somehow I feel it was the increasing emphasis and blind robotic pursuit of “stats” without understanding their proper use and purpose, that led to this bad scene of a pecking order.

        Finally now, most people who are out are rejecting the whole idea of such a top-down organization,and basically feeling like “F*ck off, let me live my life, do my job, and get the hell off my property(or out of my territory!)”

      • Moving Forward permalink
        November 26, 2010 7:17 am

        John, I’ve had similar experiences with posts, one that I was on for several years! I noticed quite a few people who hadn’t been doing well and were very unhappy and ended up being sent to PAC Renos as a ‘punishment’, but yet they ended up being much happier and started doing really well!

      • plainoldthetan permalink
        November 26, 2010 5:42 pm

        “Orders, Query Of”, only works if the management is willing to listen to the workerbee. In the CofM, or in badly run Scn companies, OQO has turned into a mechanism to detect “counter-intentioned clay pigeons”. CICPs get ordered to sec-checking at their own expense, or delegated to shit jobs that they didn’t join up for. Since the dynamic principle of existence is “survive”, one is rapidly taught that he can’t survive by doing an OQO. This is taught wheb one is watching the heads rolling around him.

    • Quicksilver permalink
      November 25, 2010 8:14 pm

      Great analysis Anna,

      It almost parallels what went on in the Mission I started at.

      As you mentioned, they were franchised and the Mission Holders were trained (in many cases directly under LRH) and they took it upon themselves to pioneer new territory. In Mission I was in, the ED(Missionholder) was an HSST, original OTVII, OEC, the Deputy ED a Class VIII, C/S etc …there were a number of Clears & OTs. The Mission started out in an old house and as numbers increased, it eventually qualed for ORG status.

      The distinct changes I noticed in the Mission/Org where I was (and this may not be the same for everyone), were the following:

      1) Decimation of Mission Office WW – in the early years, the line to WW was light, new HCOBs would come down the pike as Ron was continuing research … they would be forwarded to us usually within 3 days of issuance. We had our own mimeo, copies would be printed and distributed. Worksheets, SRF, ARF & Repair lists would also be available for purchase. The Mission was solvent & busy. The Mission or Charter holder was virtually autonomous, after all, he owned it. Prices were reasonable (auditing had just gone up from $15 to $25 per hour). With the lach of comm line with WW, we started to get pressure from the Cont Org – some 2500 miles away.

      2) Pressure starting from above – Cont orgs trying to determine what the Mission Holders should be doing – quite the opposite from what Ron wanted and despite Missions being ‘owned’ so to speak.Whether it be finances or general stats, the Cont Org attempted to move in and usurp the Mission Holder.

      3) The Declaration of numerous Mission Holders(1982) – this was one of the single biggest killers of the pioneers and mission network and from this point, it was clear what the new ‘Command Intention’ was about.

      4) Presence of GO – this is probably one of the most, if not *The* most, significant change for the worst. The GO set-up shop: locked offices, very secretive, rip-off of Org staff, metered wordclearing on the Art of War amongst others, breakins, locking people up and in general creating extremely bad PR which culminated in the various court cases around the world.

      4) Presence of the Sea Org – by this time, stats were the name of the game and they definitely were PUSHED. The sheer mention of the Stat Push reference would label you as CI, disaffected, etc. The pressure exerted & the massive programs coming down the line overwhelmed small orgs. As mentioned before, orders to have 25 full-time staff by Friday when the Mission had 3 or 4 and a few part-time was ridiculous.

      And the rest I shall say is history … so many good people lost and the public duped. There were so many stellar pioneers who really did want to make lives better on this little mudball but these items above definitely crushed many.

      • Quicksilver permalink
        November 26, 2010 1:02 pm

        Gee … I forgot

        5) Disbanding of HASI and the start of the I.A.S

        6) Grabbing any body that showed fog on a mirror and putting them a post – reminds me of the day miscavage came in for an unannounced inspection and there was an untrained 7 year-old on reception.

      • Quicksilver permalink
        November 26, 2010 1:20 pm

        I must also mention that the 7 year-old was usually feverishly working away on her colouring books and would answer the phone ‘Chuch of Thientology’


    • Moving Forward permalink
      November 26, 2010 7:13 am

      Anna, this is SO spot on. And to top it off, not only were the franchises destroyed, orgs were taught to look upon missions with suspicion, at least in the areas (large metropolitan ones with previously very large, successful mission) that I had experience with.

      As you said, orgs are supposed to establish and support missions, but the orgs themselves are so disestablished that the whole system then collapses. As you said, with orgs hiring pretty much anyone regardless of qualification, it was a huge burden to train new staff and most new staff didn’t make it. The ones who did often learned by doing what their predecessors did or what their seniors told them to do because they were never really trained themselves. In one org that I was in, they were doing some really sketchy things to get the Paid Completions stat up every week and, upon investigation, some of those ideas had been implemented by an executive 10 years previously and passed down from one PES to the next. The EC of that org had been replaced something like 3 times in as many years and ‘management’ couldn’t figure out why nothing was changing!

      Orgs themselves are supposed to be established using the Org-Prod-EstO system, but that was thrown out for the ‘produce now for Thursday before 2 at any cost to the well-being of the staff and the establishment of the org’ system. After doing your event call-in all week, of course.

      Management of orgs was supposed to be based ENTIRELY on individual org evals, which were supposed to be done by programs chiefs. This system was changed somewhere along the lines (before 1993, I know that much) and an Eval Corps was formed. I wish I knew the particulars on that one, I tried to find out why and kept being told that this was based on supposed ‘LRH advices’. Instead, management became all about forcefully pushing down rather arbitrary orders to orgs that had zero basis in reality for said orgs.

    • John Doe permalink
      November 28, 2010 8:02 pm


      Wow. You have such a clear overview of how the orgs were marginalized, and then slowly left to starve after the franchise network was destroyed. I’ve never heard it put together so succinctly.

      I don’t think LRH completely accepted how the flow from franchises was booming scientology, nor how the importance of letting entrepreneurs run the franchises in their own fashion kept those activities humming along.

      LRH, for whatever reason, had quite a button on people taking his work, scientology, and imprinting their own personality on it. Look at the list of high crimes and see how much of it is focused on stopping splintering or squirrelling. He ranked “falsely representing oneself or others as Source of Scientology or Dianetics Technology” as a crime equal in magnitude to “any felony such as murder, arson, etc.” (Does that mean in a world run by Scientology, if one said he or she had invented the touch assist they should be imprisoned for life, right next to murderers and arsonists? But I digress.)

      Because of his button, LRH very much distrusted franchises and franchise holders, despite their obvious contributions to the growth of Scientology. They simply were less able to be controlled. He focused a great deal of his efforts on getting the orgs up and running and wrote many polices and orders and such to try to get them up to a level of competency and viability. Some orgs did achieve this viability, but along with observing those few successes goes the fine print at the bottom of the screen, “Results NOT typical”.

      Your comments about the orgs being saddled with the cost of training and elevating very green staff to a level of competency were accurate and incisive, and got me thinking back to the days when Super Power was created: It was late 1978 when LRH announced that Super Power was on its way and would soon be delivered in Saint Hill organizations. However, the primary reason Super Power was developed in the first place was to take very green org staff and rapidly get them up to a case/cause level so as to ensure the average competency level of org staff would steadily be on the increase. Delivery to the public was second in priority. I remember in 1978 at WHQ, there were quite a few arrivals at one point who were of questionable qualifications, some not even seeming to fully be scientologists, and the idea was to square them around with Super Power. Well, due to the inability to get the Super Power auditors trained up, most of those green staff failed in a short time and some quite spectacularly, such as the couple that disclosed the location of WHQ, causing LRH to have to rapidly move away.

      Clearly, LRH recognized the necessity to rapidly train org staff and get them functioning and Super Power was an effort to abridge the process. From all that I’ve heard of Super Power, I think it would have been a benefit in this direction, but its release has been withheld and its purpose has been perverted into a non-stop money making scheme.

    • December 1, 2010 1:16 pm


      All I can say is, “Wow!” I saw a lot of this and I think you’re spot on. To read such insight thrills me.


  41. Sidewinder permalink
    November 25, 2010 2:06 pm

    I´d like to give you some first hand experience on how
    to survive while dealing with an SP. If you can´t disconnect fast
    for one or the other reason, there is a basic rule which must be applied
    so you don´t become an immediate target of destruction.

    “Masking strongness with weakness is a basic tactical consideration”.
    Sun Tse Chinese general 500 BC.

    In other words: One acts as the apathic fool which will not (seem) to be a danger
    for the SP. While doing this, you are collecting every data,set it aside,
    so you can nail him up the wall later when disconnected.( compiling artillery).

    Demonstrating strongness,competence and success will upset him and he
    is going to chose you as a (wrong) target.
    Sadly as Scientologists we are supposed to do so and sadly LRH did not train us
    in the “Art of War”.


  42. GetTheConcept permalink
    November 25, 2010 6:42 pm

    So far, for me, this is the best posting of all the postings I have seen since leaving the church earlier this year. Not just the main article but the comments I have read so far on this posting have been sensational. I find it very interesting that Jeff’s mentioning the need for an actual why to be found is bringing forth such intelligent, differentiating statements by all. In previous postings on all these websites, I’ve read my share of comments that I agreed with and my share that I’ve disagreed with and I’ve read my share of comments that made me wonder if some of the people making them had just joined new cults to substitute for the one they had left. The latter kind were not in the majority but I have read a share of over-generalized comments that did not lead to any solution. But on this one, I have read about half of the comments so far, and every one of them has been spot on, in my view.

    What could happen if the actual Why were found? Maybe this whole thing could come together. Maybe it could bring about a smoothing over universally, or at least bring about more progress toward that. Maybe if the why really were correct, it would make sense to everyone, or almost everyone, like all the independents and all the people who want nothing to do with Scientology anymore, and all of the protesters and many of the critics AND maybe it could even reach a lot of people still in the church. I can see it increasing understanding and that is very important. Certainly it couldn’t bring about any harm.

  43. Anna permalink
    November 26, 2010 4:02 pm

    I don’t quite know why Jeff but your article has really hit home for me and I have been realizing so many things since I read it. Can’t really put my finger on what it is about that article but there it is anyway.

    I have been writing about franchise holders and how they were entrepreneurs this morning. Interestingly, they are discussed in an Essay on Management, described as “little goal makers” who bring their own theta to the scene. Management is cautioned NOT to destroy them. This is exactly what happened.

    The orgs were built up to service a flow of traffic generated by franchises. The franchise holders were charismatic, pioneer, goal setters, capable of generating a great deal of theta and setting the tone of their franchises. By the late 70s they were generating a massive flow of public and the upper orgs were building throughout their build-up to service that flow. When that network was destroyed, there went the flow. And with the flow the resources to support the monstrous infrastructure that had been created. The local orgs became the target, now responsible for getting in new public. They simply couldn’t do it. Why? Because they were trained to follow orders, not create awesome environments that people wanted to be a part of.

    Now add to this the proportionate pay system and SO berthing system which made it possible to keep everything limping along despite the destruction of the feeder franchise system.

    Now add to this the wrong why of the franchises were denying public and resources to the orgs and management.

    Now add to a completely missed why for success of entrepreneurs, little goal makers being driven off.

    Now demand that people who are green, untrained, unaudited, and uneducated who have never freelanced or run any kind of small enterprise or group and HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO MAKE THAT WORK are now “responsible” for reproducing the results of those missing franchise holders.

    The problem with the statistic system is the statistics themselves. As an example, HCO has the statistic of qualified staff hired. This statistic is expected to go up and up and up and up and up and up, regardless of any other conditions. It is a poorly constructed statistic as it loads the organizations up with un-needed staff, especially true when the feeder system of the franchises was destroyed.

    The other problem is demanding that a franchise apply that statistic is pure foolishness. The personal touch and smallness of the franchises was something new people really loved. Warm and friendly, it was home.

    I would rework the statistic of HCO completely to reflect its real purpose – establishment of a viable organization. Not just a BIGGER organization. I wouldn’t even allow this statistic. Only a statistic that monitored the HEALTH of the organization. Perhaps two or three.

    Every single statistic would have to be reviewed. Very, very carefully with due attention to extreme consequences and whether they really reflect a stable, sound environment in which auditing and training can occur.

    Long range statistics would need to be implemented. Things like realistic programs being done that don’t destroy current production or the “feel” of the place.

    And I would take away Sea Org berthing and proportionate pay. Put them all on base pay with pay bonusing and training awards. And take them off their massive schedules so they can breath a little.

    But most of all I would find a way to detect the managers who make their way by destroying the work of others i.e. SO recruiters who rip apart the orgs to make their way. IAS reges who make their way by ripping off income that should have gone to the orgs. Management who falsely declares good people to help themselves to their resources. And so on.

    You see, the unstated policies are on the org board in the VFP sections. Who wrote the VFPS? The statistics? The routing forms? These are held down 7s that were created by who? And did they have ANY clue about what they were working with or were they just being clever?

    If the problem is systemic, it is in these things. If you read policy from the perspective of a service unit designed to handle the flow from feeder franchises, it all makes sense. If you don’t, then it doesn’t. And of course, the statistics don’t make sense when the feeders are gone.

    • Moving Forward permalink
      November 27, 2010 7:52 am

      Anna, I’ve really appreciated reading your analysis. My focus has always been on orgs and org management and I see that I completely missed the boat when it came to how important the missions were to the whole picture.

      Also, it struck me when I read this line, “The personal touch and smallness of the franchises was something new people really loved. Warm and friendly, it was home. ” that this was what LRH stressed in HCO PL Ideal Orgs. So very different than the current ‘strategy’.

      I’ve been thinking about the systemic problems and one thing I keep coming back to is the operations of the Sea Org. I always thought I’d defend the SO forever, something I was convinced of until about the last year or so. Now that I can separate the stated purpose of the SO from the reality, I find myself seeing the SO itself as the major problem. The heavy-handed policies upon which the SO operates have created an out-ethics situation far worse than whatever it was intended to correct.

      I always found it a conundrum that ethics was supposed to be a personal thing, but yet the SO was supposed to ‘get ethics in on this planet’. The heavy focus on ethics seemed to create an atmosphere of distrust, one in which a crafty SP can thrive. Using ethics and responsibility against ethical people is clearly very effective. Almost everyone I knew in the SO were innately very ethical people and yet they were treated with such distrust and as constantly out-ethics cats — and for stupid things like masturbating and such!

      When I left the PAC base in the mid-90’s, security cameras were just being installed in the berthing hallways and I remember thinking how wrong that was, how it showed such a failure to apply actual Scientology technology. Little did I know that the situation at the Int Base was already far worse than this, and frankly had been since its inception. Going through people’s mail because you can’t trust them? You have already failed as an organization, especially one that is supposed to be creating a saner environment and is supposed to have the technology to spot and handle SPs. Not to mention requiring sec checks before staff take vacations (rarely as that happened). SO members were supposed to be the most ethical beings on the planet, but yet they couldn’t be trusted to leave for a few days without blowing? I never understood this.

      In fact, so much of Scientology technology seemed to not be applicable to the SO. The technology on the dynamics is apparently entirely inapplicable to SO members and the operations of the SO were essentially designed in a way that they suppressed dynamics, particularly 1 & 2. In Ethics, Justice and the Dynamics, LRH said that this sort of thing would lead to criminal behavior.

    • Aeolus permalink
      November 27, 2010 2:29 pm

      Anna, I think you are exactly right about the missions supporting the upper orgs. Miscavige’s act of thuggery at the mission conference was the beginning of the end for the church, and made about as much sense as cutting off the roots of a plant to save more water for the trunk.

      I always had the most success as an FSM by routing new people to the local mission, or even to a field auditor, and making sure they had some wins before they ever saw the inside of an org. I also preferred to do services at the lowest-level local org that provided those services.

      It was kind of an extension of my anti-WalMart philosophy, which involves shopping at farmer’s markets and patronizing local family-owned businesses whenever practical, if for no other reason than to make sure those resources are around in the future. The most important votes we cast come from our wallets.

  44. Tony DePhillips permalink
    November 26, 2010 11:26 pm

    Hey Jeff,
    While reading your blog on my smart phone there was a “truth about Scientology” add on my phone and was wondering if it was part of your blog? I was wondering how that works? Do you get paid ad money for letting the c of m put adds on your blog? Or does wordpress get the revenue? If you got money from it I would feel fine about it, I was just curious.

  45. Quicksilver permalink
    November 27, 2010 4:43 pm

    Hey Jeff,

    A possible idea for another article …

    Get everyone’s ideas on what form or how they would like to see Scientology in the future. I think it would be an interesting read and I think there would be some great discussions on how to move ahead and what evolves into the future.


  46. exilo permalink
    November 27, 2010 5:49 pm

    Great article Jeff.

    Let’s face it. Hubbard was by far not perfect and his Admin Tech has huge flaws. The references that emphasis punishment or restrict or make it hard on people to leave or suggest disconnection from family coupled by the church being lead by a self centered sociopath are really what make this church a dangerous cult. I am not going to dis all Hubbard has developed and overall the good technology outweighs the bad by far. I think that’s what the whole Indie Movement is all about.

  47. November 28, 2010 4:28 pm

    A small portion of the barrel under magnifier:

    ORDER TO HCOs SEC ED 178 INT, 27 January 1966:

    “Tolerate ethics chits and hearings only where statistics are down. Hound the personnel in that area. Ignore and refuse all ethics actions where statistics are up that week. Advertise that freedom from ethics is obtained by up statistics.”

  48. freespirit permalink
    November 30, 2010 10:55 pm

    Jeff, So great to see so many comments posted on this. I think aside from the fact that there are criminal postings (done for whatever reasons – duress, desperation, evil intention,etc), there is a fundamental oddity – in my opinion – which is that Hubbard wrote SOMETHING about EVERYTHING. One can take a policy and use it to justify a perverted implementation and claim boldly:” See I am operating On-Source because here is the reference.” So any psycho can use LRH policy to justify his actions. How many times did I hear about the high class bastard that can get a job done, hence Der Leader is justified in his actions as long as he got a product or so it appeared to be so.

    Next, the system itself – it is a militaristic system designed to ENFORCE command. And ultimately it is a system that only reflects the nepotism of its leader – benign or otherwise.

    He talks about PURPOSE being senior to POLICY. So I guess one would have to look at what is the PURPOSE? What is the Policy? Is policy being interpreted towards expansion or not? LRH is extremely clever in providing wiggle room so that someone can grab hold or challenge when it comes to adminstration and ethics/justice. Arguments can go on and on until the militaristic ruler cries out,”Enough” and puts a stop to any discourse. And so it becomes a complicated mess where ultimately the people (unskilled in living life generally since they are effectively shut off from it) would prefer the less complicated thought stopping solutions and go along with it, or silence their voices in the face of the group who won’t provide an equitable and fair platform to listen.

    It requires some patience and real work to handle the democratic process. My work with the legislative and executive branches of the federal government have really taught me this lesson. Many people just do not want to confront it because its real work and it takes some intellectual ability to wade through the stuff and examine what is most optimum. I believe that in part this weakness is taken advantage of and used to a sociopath’s advantage.

    But bottom line – Hubbard provided enough writings to allow any nut case to use to justify their actions. But so do most religions. How many people have you heard quote something from the Bible with complete conviction that they were guided by what is right? How many execs or Scns have you heard quote an LRH reference to justify what appears to you to be the most bozo of actions?

    I think, that with such you’d have to do what is true and right and this is where personal integrity and Code of Honor come in. This is where once sucks in their breath and steps up to the plate. And where they get hung.

    And this is where the dictator steps in and sets systems in place to squelsh this freedom or to foster and develop free thought, free speech,etc.

    The problem with DM or anyone is that he is in a position to change this – to examine Purpose before Policy, and change it all for the better, but sadly the man is so sick that he perverts it all. Fundamentally the system is flawed at the very very top – it seems to be a system designed to enforce the will of the leader as opposed to the will of the majority and the allow for the voice of the minority. And holy hell will reign, as it has, if that leader is a psycho.

    It may just be that Hubbard set it up because he was fighting for his life and fighting to set up a new organization that was to take on all those “bad” government agencies. But be that as it may DM has had the opportunity to change it and make it better and instead he elected to drive it further into the ground. This is where I say he is one real sick puppy.

    I may not be coherent in all my thoughts but I guess that’s the gist of what’s going on in my head so far behind your EXTREMELY thought provoking blog.

    • December 1, 2010 12:26 pm

      When one tries to express an argument as to what happened to make Scientology what it is, one has to start *somewhere*. Where else than Hubbard’s policies can we start? I might pull one policy once in a while to make a point, but I do so when I believe that this one policy is representative of an overarching theme in all of Hubbard’s writings. I can’t possibly enumerate *all* of Hubbard directives which underly a particular overarching theme, isn’t?

      So I pointed out this particular *one* directive regarding Scientology’s “upstat”/”downstat” concept, but let’s not fool ourself: In Scientology, the concept of production before individuals is *one* of the overarching themes, at the root of the systemic abuses/wrongdoings.

      Another noxious overarching theme is the “suppressive person” doctrine (aka “critics of Scientology/Hubbard are criminals.”) Another one is the use of deceit to justify the expansion/protection of Scientology.

  49. Maxim permalink
    December 2, 2010 5:04 am

    Jeff… you bring a wave of grace to the discussion of scientology as you did on that tv show with Anderson Cooper where your remarks were read to your ex-wife saying she had a heart of gold.


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