I'm an upset and pissed-off concerned citizen because The Church of Scientology - the organisation - have recently been acting like a pack of utter scum in America and Europe. (Though consistently scummily with past documentation of their actions. Scientology was banned in Victoria from 1965 until 1982, and quite rightly too.)
This started as a war on the Internet (still ongoing - check the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, or the World Wide Web page listed below) and has spread beyond the realm of the computer geeks into real life raids on people's homes and legal harassment. I feel a need to make one hell of a fuss about this.
For years, the Church of Scientology has spied on, terrorised and attempted to discredit critics of the Church, particularly ex-Scientologists or those who choose to follow their own version of the church's teachings. Recently, they have tried to control the activities of respondents of the Internet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, by harassing firstly the individual respondents, then their system administrators, in an attempt to have the critics removed from the Internet entirely.
The harassment often consists of making unfounded accusations against their critics ('dead agenting' - "lurid blood, sex, crimes" [LRH]), forcing them to defend themselves, and even making threats to the person's safety. In one case, an anonymous writer on the newsgroup (TarlaStar - firstname.lastname@example.org) had her real name, home address and phone number published by the Church - information that could only have been obtained by spying on her activities. (Her Internet provider doesn't have her true name. Paranoia? Justified, I'd say.)
Other tactics include copyright terrorism - frivolous 'copyright' lawsuits (unwinnable, but designed to ruin the respondent financially), threats of such lawsuits and even raiding people's homes and seizing their actual computers to obtain the information thereon. This is designed to intimidate others from questioning or criticising the Church of Scientology in any way.
This last tactic blew up in their faces. An unknown critic, Dennis Erlich, on a little-read backwater newsgroup, alt.religion.scientology, got raided in a frivolous 'copyright' lawsuit. (The court ruling has just come in, telling the Church it was full of it.) If the Church had just kept quiet and maintained face, no-one would have known of Erlich's postings and no-one would have cared.
But on the Internet, everyone can hear you scream. The newsgroup is now one of the top ten in readership and has about four hundred messages a day. Church behaviour over the last forty years is being exposed left, right and centre ...
This is not an issue of the teachings of the Church of Scientology; but rather, of a systematic attempt by a large and powerful organisation, with considerable resources at hand, to eliminate criticism of itself through any means possible, and to prevent members and ex-members of the Church from discussing the Church's teachings. If the Church of Scientology is permitted to get away with this sort of harassment, it sets a precedent for any organisation to prevent dissemination of publicly available information - cults, corporations, you name it.
Due mostly to pressure from the culture industry, the copyright laws have of late been strengthened way beyond what is safe for a free society. Public interest is usually held to be adequate reason for what, on the face, is a copyright breach - publishing documents ... but it first has to be fought through the courts, against an extremely well-financed opponent. Good luck.
A protest was held outside the Church's Russell St headquarters (corner of Russell St and Flinders Lane) on the 9th of September - the Scientologist holiday 'Auditor's Day'. The rally, one of many to be held across the world, was organised through the Internet and media campaigns. It went pretty well - blown out of the media by Tahiti, but boy did we hand out leaflets. And we got the whole thing on videotape. A full report will be featured in the next issue of NoName. (Email or write to me if you're not at VUT and want a copy.)
From the Los Angeles Times, November 5, 1985 - Scientologists Block Access To Secret Documents
[...]Now you know why the cover of Dianetics has a volcano on it.
The documents at issue were submitted as part of a civil case brought by former Scientologist Larry Wollersheim. He claims that the organization defrauded him by promising him higher intelligence and greater business success through Scientology courses that cost thousands of dollars.
Scientology is widely known for its use of 'auditing,' a form of one-on-one counseling in which a lie detector-like instrument called an E meter is used to help a person erase negative experiences, assertedly freeing him to achieve his full potential. The group bases its beliefs on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, the reclusive science-fiction writer who in the early 1950s published the best seller Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health.
What is rarely discussed, however, is Hubbard's secret teachings, which reveal his thoughts on why mankind has been plagued by problems through history, the topic of the disputed documents.
Before Scientology attorneys had requested an order to seal the documents, The Times obtained them from the court file. Generally, they suggest that a major cause of mankind's problems began 75 million years ago, when the planet Earth, then called Teegeeack, was part of a confederation of 90 planets under the leadership of a tyrannical ruler named Xenu. Then, as now, the materials state, the chief problem was overpopulation.
Xenu, the documents state, decided to take radical measures to overcome the overpopulation problem. Beings were captured on Earth and on other planets and flown to at least 10 volcanoes on Earth.
The documents state that H-bombs far more powerful than any in existence today were dropped on these volcanoes, destroying the people but freeing their spirits - called thetans - which attached themselves to one another in clusters.
After the nuclear explosions, according to the documents, the thetans were trapped in a compound of frozen alcohol and glycol and, during a 36-day period, Xenu 'implanted' in them the seeds of aberrant behavior for generations to come. When people die, these clusters attach to other humans and keep perpetuating themselves.
Before a Scientologist can learn about these thetans and how to eradicate them, he must go through a progression of costly programs.
In arguing to keep the court documents sealed, the church has told its members that it could be physically and spiritually harmful for them to learn about the upper levels of Scientology before they have mastered the preparatory courses.
Scientology's chief attorney, Earle Cooley, said outside the courtroom Monday that unsealing the materials amounted to "the biggest threat to this religion so far."
He said the materials were stolen from the church and altered to hold the church's beliefs up to "ridicule, hatred and contempt" ...
By the way: according to Hubbard, anyone reading the above before they are properly spiritually ready will die of pneumonia. Whoops, sorry about that, kids! If it's any comfort, Los Angeles failed to perish under a pneumonia epidemic after the publication of the above.
The "costly programs": The price to reach OT III is about US$159,160 minimum (current price list). The complete course, up to OT VIII, will set you back about US$300,000 or more. Next time the annoying git asks you if you'd like a "personality test", just tell 'em you're sorry, but you don't have three hundred thousand bucks on you right now.
One amusing thing is that Hubbard himself was going to sell these secret scriptures out from under the Church. He wrote a one hundred and forty page screenplay, Revolt In The Stars, telling the EXACT SAME STORY that is sold off for fantastic sums of money in OT III - of a dictator called Xenu, his use of "renegades", his oppression of the minorities, his taking them down to Earth and strapping them to volcanoes and H-bombing them, his defeat and imprisonment. The script was universally rejected ...
From the Clam FAQ by William Barwell (SubGenius Pope Charles of Houston) (email@example.com)
Warning! Top Secret Clam facts are about to be exposed. This may cause jaw pain and extreme cases of uncontrolled laughter.
All over the Internet, the latest question due to well known controversies originating from alt.religion.scientology seems to be, "What is this bit about clams?" "Why do people on ARS think this is funny?", and the ever popular, "Can I be in on the joke?" Well, here are some answers to all of this and more.
L. Ron Hubbard late in 1952 wrote a book called What To Audit, later renamed The History Of Man. It is still sold by the Church Of Scientology, and this book contains many of the basic beliefs of the Church Of Scientology. It is considered by many connoisseurs of kook literature as a true classic of kook nonsense and it is well worth looking for this book in used books stores if you are indeed interested in a book that proves that there isn't anything so stupid that people won't believe in it if it's in a book.
L. Ron Hubbard in the introduction claimed it was "a cold blooded look at your last 60 trillion years." How could this be wrong? He also claimed his book finally proved the theory of evolution.
History Of Man is also described in the book Bare Faced Messiah by Russell Miller, a fine book for the neophyte Scientologist watcher and clam aficionado. (Sphere, ISBN 0-7474-0332-5)
In a narrative style that wobbled uncertainly between schoolboy fiction and a pseudo-scientific medical paper, Hubbard sought to explain that the human body was occupied by both a thetan and a 'genetic entity', or GE, a sort of low-grade soul located more or less in the centre of the body. To underpin his new science, Hubbard created an entire cosmology, the essence of which was that the true self of an individual was an immortal, omniscient and ominpotent entity called a 'thetan'. In existence before the beginning of time, thetans picked up and discarded millions of bodies over trillions of years.
("The genetic entity apparently enters the protoplasm line some two days or a week prior to conception. There is some evidence that the GE is actually double, one entering on the sperm side ...")
The GE carried on through the evolutionary line, "usually on the same planet", whereas the thetan only came to earth about 35,000 years ago to supervise the development of caveman into homo sapiens. Thus, the GE was once "an anthropoid in the deep forests of forgotten continents or a mollusc seeking to survive on the shore of some lost sea". The discovery of the GE (Hubbard hailed every fanciful new idea as a 'discovery') "makes it possible at last to vindicate the theory of evolution proposed by Darwin".
Much of the book was devoted to a re-working of evolution, starting with "an atom, complete with electronic rings" after which came cosmic impact producing a 'photon converter', the first single-cell creature, then seaweed, jellyfish and the clam. (Look! Clams!)
Many engrams [memories forming the 'reactive mind', the subconscious], for example, could be traced back to clams. The clam's big problem was that there was a conflict between the hinge that wanted to open and the hinge that wanted to close. It was easy to restimulate the engram caused by the defeat of the weaker hinge, Hubbard pronounced, by asking a pre-clear to imagine a clam on a beach opening and closing its shell very rapidly and at the same time making an opening and closing motion with thumb and forefinger. This gesture, he said, would upset large numbers of people.
"By the way," he warned, "your discussion of these incidents with the uninitiated in Scientology can cause havoc. Should you describe the 'clam' to some one [sic], you may restimulate it in him to the extent of causing severe jaw pain. Once such victim, after hearing about a clam death, could not use his jaws for three days."
Poor little clams! Snap! Snap! Snap! Does your jaw ache, dear reader?
Low level Scientologists are discouraged from reading this book and are told it will all be explained later when they are ready to understand the higher secrets of Scientology.
After the clam became the 'Weeper' or the 'Boohoo', a mollusc that rolled in the surf for half a million years, pumping sea water out of its shell as it breathed, hence its name. Weepers had "trillions of misadventures", prominent among them the anxiety caused by trying to gulp air before being swamped by the next wave. "The inability of a pre-clear to cry," Hubbard explained, "is partly a hang-up in the Weeper. He is about to be hit by a wave, has his eyes full of sand or is frightened about opening his shell because he may be hit."
Progressing along the genetic time-track, evolution arrived at the sloth, which "had bad times falling out of trees", the ape and the famous Piltdown Man, which was the cause of a multitude of engrams, ranging from obsessions about biting to family problems. These could be traced back to the fact that "the Piltdown teeth were enormous and he was quite careless as to whom and what he bit." Indeed, so careless was the Piltdown Man, Hubbard recorded, that he was sometimes guilty of "eating one's wife and other somewhat illogical activities."
(Unfortunately for Hubbard, just twelve months after The History of Man was published, the supposed fossil remains of primitive man found in gravel on Piltdown Common in the south of England were exposed as a hoax. The Piltdown Man had never existed.)
The History of Man drifted into pure science fiction when Hubbard came to the point of explaining how thetans moved from body to body. Thetans abandoned bodies earlier than GEs, it appeared. While the GE stayed around to see the body through to death, thetans were obliged to report to a between-lives 'implant station' where they were implanted with a variety of control phases while waiting to pick up another body, sometimes in competition with other disembodied thetans. Hubbard revealed that most implant stations were on Mars, although women occasionally had to report elsewhere in the solar system and there was a "Martian implant station somewhere in the Pyrenees".
Well, there you have it. How can we deny the genius of L. Ron Hubbard? The thoughtful and useful ideas he taught the world? The obvious deep learning and careful judgement? The certain correctness and amazing insights of the basic beliefs of Scientology?
More tartare sauce with your clams?
Poor Little Clams! Snap! Snap! Snap!
On the Internet, go to World Wide Web page:
or the centre of the action, newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, for a more detailed discussion of the above issues. You'll see me there.
And clam yourself silly.
Snap! Snap! Snap!
David Gerard, alt.religion.scientology Central Committee (with thanks to Ms .45 for assistance)
(Conspiracy? Hell, no. Everyone here is an independent concerned citizen. Yes, that's right.)