Church of Scientology Policy Outlawing “Joking & Degrading”

For a man who insisted his literary swan song “Mission Earth” was a masterwork of satirical genius – skewering such undoubtedly worthy targets as psychiatrists, industrialists, and homosexuals – L. Ron Hubbard had a surprisingly thin skin when he himself became the subject of other people’s laughter. The following article from Jeffrey Augustine’s excellent blog, the Scientology Money Project, reveals Mr. Hubbard’s exact thoughts on why anyone would feel the need to make fun of him or his work. To summarize, such “jokers and degraders” are one of three things: evil, under the influence of evil, or insane.

One can only imagine Hubbard’s reaction to Saturday Night Live’s “Neurotology” song and video. Whether the producers, writers, cast and crew of SNL are evil or insane, I leave up to your judgment.

Read on for a fascinating glimpse into the paranoid and petulant mind of L. Ron Hubbard, in all of his passive voice glory.

The Scientology Money Project

Saturday Night Live has just done a magnificent parody of the Church of Scientology and its 1990’s promotional video We Stand Tall.

What must the Church of Scientology think?

I can tell you what the Church thinks: L. Ron Hubbard had absolutely no sense of humor and hated what he called “Joking & Degrading.” Hubbard formalized this into a policy outlawing Joking & Degrading (J&D) in the Church of Scientology.

One of the first things Scientology does to a person is to outlaw and destroy their sense of humor. As Hubbard wrote in KSW:

The whole agonized future of this planet, every man, woman and child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology.

This is a deadly serious activity. And if we miss getting out of the trap now, we may…

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Scientology Math: 1 = 18

Amid all the shocking tales of disconnection and other horrors the Church of Scientology perpetrates upon its members, it can be easy to forget that these members (and ex-members) are also constantly subjected to an array of smaller annoyances that the cult has apparently perfected in an attempt to drive its parishioners mad. Chief among these annoyances is an absolute inability to maintain any semblance of good record-keeping.

I got a stupid letter from the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (AOLA) the other day. I normally put that stuff straight in the recycle bin, but this letter caught my eye because of the name of the addressee.

It’s a long story but I thought I would share it as a cautionary tale and yet another reason to stay away from the Church of Scientology: not only will you receive junk mail from them for literally the rest of your life – they will bugger up your name somehow in a daily reminder of just how annoying Scientology really is.

A Central Files Tale of Woe

I have more than the usual number of surnames for an American male because of three things: a) I was born out of wedlock and my mother chose to use her maiden name as the surname on my birth certificate, b) nevertheless, for a while, I still used my biological father’s surname, and c) my mother married my stepfather when I was three at which time he adopted me and I took on his surname. So – three surnames before age three.

Yes, it’s always been a lot of fun dealing with government records, but the government ain’t got nothing on Scientology.

Both my biological parents were staff members at LA Org (where I had my name-giving ceremony – please don’t call it a christening 😜). Any Scientologist, ex or not, will tell you about the ridiculous amount of (junk) mail the cult spews out in an endless stream of dead trees. Once a name goes in Central Files, there it stays until the end of time, including misspellings, alternate names, and dead people.

My first name is Derrick. (My middle name is Shane, which I prefer, and which also gives us Shanester, the handle I use on the internet.) The name Derrick can be spelled about four different ways. One day when I was ten years old I received eighteen copies of the same flyer from AOLA, all iterations of “Derrick” spelled and misspelled six different ways in various combinations with all three of my surnames. It was ridiculous. My mother couldn’t stand it anymore and she took all the flyers to the Org to demand that they clean up their records. Which they sort of did. To this day I get at least two copies of everything from AOLA, and, unfortunately, also LA Org, ASHO, Flag, and Saint Hill (UK!).

But the one thing my mother did definitely take care of in 1978 was to get her maiden name (my birth certificate surname) off my Central File record. That name was Jennings. Literally since 1978 I have never seen any mail from any Scientology organization that still had “Jennings” as my surname.

Until today.

AOLA Letter 3-25-2015
An Annoying Scientology Junk Mail Solicitation

What the hell! How is this possible? (See for yourself in the attached scan.)

Not once since 1978 – and now, in 2015, they somehow exhume this ancient record? The mind boggles.

The icing on the cake is the obnoxious “statement” where they are clearly “postulating” that my forthcoming donation will get me back and winning on the Bridge. And the letter is from the org “examiner”? Classic Scientology.

Ugh. Scientologists are pushy wankers. How about you get my damn name right, you jerks?

I shared this tale of woe with the folks at the Underground Bunker where I received some advice and background on why the cult insists on maintaining all of these incorrect names. Short answer: how else are they going to claim there are eleven million Scientologists? “New Names in Central Files” is an important statistic in the cult, and the poor sucker responsible for that statistic will be punished if this stat “goes down”.

That’s part of how Scientology does its math: 1 Derrick = 18 dedicated Scientologists in the World’s Fastest Growing Religion®.

I Haz the Twitters, or I ❤ Wil Wheaton

Finally got a Twitter account. Hey, did you know that you can embed tweets? It’s really quite simple — all you have to do is…

Oh. You did know that?

k, whatevs. #WelcomeToThe21Century

This is an example of why Twitter can be awesome, or, if you are not following Wil Wheaton, you should do so immediately:

Ok, don’t know why I resisted the Twitters for so long. They might not be so bad after all.

Anonymous Scientologist Threatens Mike Rinder With Grave Bodily Harm

“The Church of Scientology is being broken upon the wheel of history.”

Well said, and not soon enough.

The Scientology Money Project

As Mike Rinder reported on his blog today, an anonymous Scientologist has threatened to inflict grave bodily injury upon him; this in addition to surveilling Mike 24/7.

When the social veneer and fake PR is stripped away, this is how the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige actually behave:

You’re an SP. Why? You are actively trying to STOP the expansion of Scientology. You claim to have a beef with COB, yet your actions seek to cut public affinity lines with Scientology in general. Get that? CUT AFFINITY LINES WITH SCIENTOLOGY IN GENERAL. What would LRH think? Rather, what DOES LRH think? Would he side with you if he was here? Reinstate you? No, Rinder. He’d cut your fuckin balls off and hang them from a tree. Something I would LOVE to do. And I mean, actually do. Unfortunately, its illegal in this country…

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Church of Scientology Launches Smear Campaign Against HBO and Alex Gibney

With the upcoming documentary on Scientology from HBO and Alex Gibney, the church is relying on its usual playbook of dirty tricks, exaggerations and lies to defame its critics — all funded by its more than two billion dollar tax-free war chest. Just the sort of normal activity by any friendly neighborhood church, wouldn’t you say?

The Scientology Money Project

The one-minute trailer for Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary has gone viral with >143,000 views in 24 hours:

Given the buzz surrounding the documentary, Alex Gibney and HBO have become the target of yet another Scientology smear campaign.

Scientology has engaged in paranoid smear campaigns since its early years when L. Ron Hubbard accused several early Dianeticists of being Communists sent in to ruin his organization and technology. Hubbard also accused his second wife Sara of being a Russian spy. Hubbard later said in a television interview that he never had a second wife.

In 1951, Hubbard wrote the US Attorney General a letter in which he claimed:

I was in my apartment on February 23rd, about two or three o'clock in the morning when the apartment was entered, I was knocked out, had a needle thrust into my heart to give it a jet of air to produce "coronary thrombosis"…

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Ron the (Terrible) Writer

When I read L. Ron Hubbard, I’m reminded of the old saying about a thousand monkeys pounding on a thousand typewriters for a thousand years to produce the works of Shakespeare. Whatever else one may think of Hubbard, there’s one thing for sure: the man was prolific. From his adolescent (and racist) travel writings through his penny-a-word days all the way up to his “advanced research” before he went spinning off to another galaxy, he may have produced as many as fifty million words (a figure which includes the transcriptions of his numerous lectures).

Anyone who has had the misfortune to read (or be forced to read) much of this gargantuan output quickly becomes aware of how poorly written it all is. Behind every great writer is a great editor, even in the unique cases where the writer is himself the editor, and it is abundantly clear that Mr. Hubbard was not the sort of man inclined to engage in the introspection that self-editing requires. Make no mistake, Hubbard was clever and more than capable of turning a pretty phrase, or even a meaningful one, but his gigantic ego would never allow himself to consider the possibility that every turd he dropped out of his pen or mouth was not in fact a shining gold medallion of truth and inevitability. And editors? The quality of his writing tells us that no one dared to tell the Old Man that he needed to brush up on his Elements of Style, beginning with Rule No. 13: “Omit Needless Words” — not to mention basic grammatical concepts like run-on sentences and dangling participles.

Ron, Dime-Store Machiavelli
Ron the Contradictory Writer*

One of the reasons people have difficulty understanding Scientology (beyond its purposeful opacity) is the sheer amount that Hubbard produced, and none of it particularly clear or well written. L. Ron Hubbard was a one man monkey pounding on a typewriter for sixty years, a scenario lacking in monkeys, typewriters and years to produce anything close to Shakespeare. Though it was enough time, apparently, to push the right buttons to get people to listen to him, and then use the force of his considerable personality to reel them in the rest of the way. As the years passed and he continued to pound out ream after ream of material, he managed to replace his personality with a cleverly devised system of slow indoctrination — and this is the true and evil genius of L. Ron Hubbard: his diabolical system of indoctrination.

But his writing? Terrible. Every once in a while he would say something nice, or touching — “But before you go, whisper this to your sons, and their sons: ‘The work was free. Keep it so.’” (Ha!) — but for the most part his writing was confusing where it was not harrying, bullying, or just plain ridiculous. Even a review of his supposedly greatest work Dianetics the Modern Science of Mental Health reveals a middling writer who would accept no criticism of his not-so-silver words, no matter how long-winded, contradictory or enervating those words might be. And to find out what I mean by enervating, see how long you’re able to keep cruising down this list of juicies before your eyes fall out of your head:

I recently came across the entire works of Hubbard (thanks Wikileaks!) and merrily began re-reading a bunch of his stuff. Ugh. I cannot tell you how tedious and boring his terrible writing quickly becomes, especially in combination with his obnoxious — even cruel — tone. And shouting! Great Xenu’s Balls, that man loved to shout. Whenever he had anything important to say, which unfortunately was often, he would make liberal use of the UPPER CASE. No wonder I hated reading him when I was a teenager. Teenagers hate being shouted at, and that is exactly what Scientologists do: Shout. A lot. Beginning with Hubbard’s upper case diatribes throughout his innumerable maunderings. To get a feel for his not-so-loving tone and predilection for screaming, read his hateful “Keeping Scientology Working Series”, where you’ll never believe green-colored Times New Roman could be so loud and mean.

If Hubbard hadn’t been such a megalomaniacal douchebag, his lack of literary greatness would have been tragic. Imagine spending all that time and effort — and words! — to produce very little of note. The few gems he did produce are the ones that get repeated over and over — simply because they are the only meaningful quotes, around ten or so, that he managed to write in a career spanning sixty years and fifty million words.

* Ron, Dime-Store Machiavelli image created by Observer. You can find more of Observer’s excellent “Truth about L. Ron Hubbard” series on the Facebook community page “Freedom of Speech: LRH”

My Beloved Grandmother, Part One

My grandmother so wanted to be free of my grandfather that she lied to make it happen. This arguably was the only lie she ever told. In 1951, a woman in California could not institute divorce proceedings against her husband without him having done provably terrible things to her. Whispers in my family suggested that a few terrible things had happened, not least of which were his affairs and his alcoholism, but these were the only two specifics ever confirmed to me. In any event, she so wanted to be free of him that she lied to the judge, confessing to her own adultery. The divorce was granted. My grandfather demonstrated little interest in his daughter, and so, from that point on, my grandmother raised my mother all by herself. My mother was four years old.

My grandmother never remarried; indeed, she never demonstrated any interest in doing so. She was a single woman and a single mother all throughout the 1950s and 60s, when this sort of thing was unheard of — and much frowned upon by society. Nevertheless, my grandmother was ahead of her time. She was a freethinking proto-feminist who gave no external evidence that societal disapprobation had any effect on her.

My mother told me a few stories from this unusual childhood during the Eisenhower era. Chief among them was the religious circuit my grandmother seemed to pursue, taking my mother to the services of a host of religions and their varieties, including Catholic, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, Baptist, Quaker, Seventh Day Adventist, Christian Science, Religious Science, Jewish, Buddhist, Mormon, Baha’i, and Jehovah’s Witness. Keep in mind my grandmother was transporting her single self and her young daughter to all of these services during the 1950s. There were more religious varieties but that is all I can remember right now. I wish I had taken notes.

My grandmother was an avid reader and had among her collection works by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Will Durant, Ayn Rand, Leo Strauss, and other thinkers of the twentieth century. She also had the Kama Sutra; the Book of Mormon; at least three different versions of the Bible, including a Gnostic text and one book on the Apocrypha; a couple of different versions of the Koran; the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam; and various treatises on religious thought and identity. When she could, she enjoyed attending lectures and having her mind stimulated by the intellectual voices and fresh thinkers of her day.

If that woman wasn’t looking for something, I don’t know who was. The only specific advice on religion that she ever voiced to my mother was this: keep an open mind.

By the end of the fifties, my grandmother seemed to have given up on her religious pursuit and stopped attending any sort of services anywhere. But then, in 1960 or 1961, she came across a book which would have a profound impact upon herself and her entire family — for the rest of their lives.

That book was called “Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health” and it was written by L. Ron Hubbard.

During this time Hubbard purchased an estate in England called Saint Hill at which he established a seminal organization of the young religion he was calling Scientology. As well, he was a popular speaker and traveled around the world giving lectures about his research and discoveries. He made stops in Los Angeles and my grandmother attended at least one of his lectures at the newly established American Saint Hill Organization (ASHO). Before my mother graduated from high school in 1964, she had been introduced to Scientology by my grandmother and the two of them were taking courses at ASHO. When the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles was founded, in 1967, my mother was honored to be recruited to join staff. Unfortunately, she didn’t last long. There was a young man also on staff with whom my mother had an affair, which resulted in her becoming pregnant.

As surprising as it may sound to the modern observer of Scientology, and especially in light of Scientology’s reputation as a hotbed of infidelity and sexual shenanigans in the ranks, back then things were different. AOLA was a brand new organization and was very concerned with proper appearances. Scientology was still new and shiny. It didn’t want the controversy of an unmarried and irresponsible young woman who seduced impressionable young men. My mother was offloaded from AOLA staff while the man who inseminated her was reprimanded.

At this time, my grandmother, who had been so entranced with the magnetic L. Ron Hubbard at the beginning of the decade, became increasingly disillusioned with Scientology. She despised authoritarianism and patriarchy. She read with increasing concern the series of bulletins and policy letters that began to roll out of the Hubbard Communications Office that established, piece by ominous piece, Scientology’s ethics and justice system. When she witnessed that system exercised against her daughter in a dreadful display of patriarchal authoritarianism, she gave up in disgust. She could not believe that the man who had so inspired her with his message of self-help was the same man who was now instituting this authoritarian justice system. She felt betrayed and confused, and utterly — and permanently — withdrew from the religion.

Together, my grandmother and seven month-pregnant mother moved away from Los Angeles eighty miles northeast to the (then) small, desert community of Lancaster. While it was true that my grandmother and mother were disaffected from Scientology (and, in my grandmother’s case, permanently disaffected), it was also true that both of them were deeply affected by its teachings and, probably, never stopped believing.

About ten weeks after moving to Lancaster, I was born in my grandmother’s house, delivered by my grandmother’s hand, in complete silence, except for our cat Figaro, who would not keep his mouth shut, much to my grandmother’s annoyance. After I was safely and smoothly delivered in, apparently, a picture-perfect delivery, Figaro jumped up and sniffed me, wrinkled his nose, shook his head, and meowed at grandmother, who shooed him away. Given my affinity for cats (or, as I think of it, their affinity for me), my mother was reasonably confident that Figaro’s mewling had not given me any engrams, thank goodness.

Later, my mother would smile as she reminisced about those days as a young woman in Los Angeles. It was an exciting time to be in Scientology, toward the beginning, when it was new and everything seemed possible. While the world seemed to fall apart with wars, assassinations, and upheaval, Scientology was an oasis of hope, a way out — and up — with infinity as the only guide.

At least, that was how my mother remembered it. My grandmother’s expressive eyebrow belied her silence on the matter.