This brilliant essay is written by my friend Paul Schofield.
To read more of Paul’s story go here – CIFS
Why do I oppose Scientology?
It’s something I spent the better part of 30 years supporting in every way that I felt I could. I did 80 courses on the subject and received a lot of Scientology counselling in that time as well.
I was a staff member for over twenty years and later worked for Narconon (Scientology’s drug rehab organization) intermittently from 2002 to 2008. I did some work with Applied Scholastics (the Scientology organization dedicated to getting Scientology’s Study Technology into the schools systems) and was on the Board for the local Applied Scholastics school for roughly a year.
I trained at the self-professed “Mecca” of Scientology in Clearwater, Florida for over a year and trained twice at the International Training Organization of Scientology in Los Angeles. My expenses were paid for during my time there. I was twice flown to LA in my time at Narconon for briefings and training. I was an ordained Scientology minister who was recognized by the state of NSW in Australia as a religious marriage celebrant and performed quite a number of weddings for Scientologists in that capacity. I was one of a very people awarded the certificate of Professor of Scientology – I gained mine in 1989 after completing many courses.
So – why do I oppose Scientology?
Is it because in the vast majority of time I worked for the “Church” or any of its “social betterment” organizations that the pay was a pittance? Never enough to feed me, let alone raise a family or buy a house? Even when I worked for a wage at one Narconon, the pay was minimal. At the other Narconons I have worked for, the pay was dependant on how much money was gotten in for that week – at one time, I went for five weeks and received no pay at all because little or no money had come in in those weeks. I have been longer periods than that working for the “Church” for no money at all. Most of the time, a pay of more than $50 was a “good” week.
But I knew what the pay was before I started and agreed to these conditions even though I thought the pay would increase rapidly (and had been told this.) The decision to suffer these conditions was mine and mine alone – I could’ve left any time I felt like it. Although I was convinced I would have to pay back many thousands of dollars for training and counselling received while on a staff contract. But this also was something I’d agreed with when I started (even tho’ it’s not legally binding on me, as I recently found out.)
So – why do I oppose Scientology?
Is it because the focus of all the activities of this “Church” now seem to me to be totally aimed at collecting money?
No – while I feel like a fool for having supported such an organization, the world is full of such organizations and they’re not necessarily something to be attacked. Even if the current leader of the “Church” spends millions on houses, cars, motorbikes, holidays etc. for himself while many of those doing 80 or 90 hour weeks for the self-same “Church” earn $5 or $10 dollars allowance plus basic food and clothing each week. They do it voluntarily for the most part. Just like I did. I feel for them, but it is their choice to stay there.
So – why do I oppose Scientology?
Is it because of the cover-up of the Founder’s past, turning his life into a total myth of enormous scope?
No. I was rather upset when I found that this man who I’d been led to believe had been a dynamo achiever of huge goals was actually neurotic and unstable. His war history bore no resemblance to facts. He manufactured so much of his history he must’ve known he would eventually be found out. Either that or he was delusional. Yet I enjoyed my time studying his writings and listening to his recorded lectures and found much that I felt was useful in them. If a man wants to invent his past that is his business, not mine. It is only what the man achieves that I am interested in, and I felt then that he achieved much. Even if his achievements didn’t result in the universally workable technology he claimed. And I now know that much of his major “breakthroughs” were actually the work of others.
So – is it because his “technology” is flawed and doesn’t do what he said it would? That his many claims for his mental therapy is little more than blatant lying and every simple independent test conducted on this proves this so? That no-one out of all his adherents have ever achieved even a small part of the claimed benefits of the promised superhuman?
No. There are some benefits to be had, even if they aren’t the overall goal of a new improved human being as stated often in Scientology literature. In fact, I think it largely depends on the person. I know several people who have spent a lot of time and money receiving Scientology services and they are still the crooks or fools or connivers or bullies that they’ve always been. Maybe now a bit better at it. And the nice people are still nice, if now broke. And I believe the benefits could be gotten a lot easier (and a lot cheaper) in other practices available to the average person. But it wasn’t all bad and I did learn some valuable life lessons from my time as a Scientologist
So – why do I oppose Scientology?
Is it the widespread (but constantly officially denied) practice of disconnection? Where an adult with children will be told by a fourteen year old staff member to leave their spouse or be unable to continue with their Scientology services? Told that if they stay with someone who is critical of Scientology in any way they risk their own immortal future? And that of everybody else because it may impact on the whole scheme of things?
No, although I have lost several friends to this very practice recently. One is a staff member who believes that he is trained in the basic secrets of human behaviour and instructs others in how to counsel people with Scientology. He works his forty hours plus for the “Church’ and also works another job just to get by. He informed me that he could not communicate with me until I “handled” my “problems” with the “Church” that he had read about on the staff noticeboard. This was a communication I never received from the “Church” so I know not what it is that I need to handle, nor do I think the “Church” will tell me any time soon. But, to my friend, the fact of an official announcement on a noticeboard on my apparent wrongdoing is enough to abandon our friendship. Without once consulting me for my side of the tale. Because he believes sincerely I have “gone over to the Dark Side.”
Another is a friend who knows of my disagreements and has disconnected also because of the few I have voiced to him. He is a man who is risking bankruptcy yet continues to donate money he hasn’t made to the “Church” because he sincerely believes it is the best thing for him to do – the greatest good for the greatest number. His children have mostly signed billion year contracts and do the expected 80 to 90 hour week of the Sea Org (the paramilitary arm of Scientology that perform all of the upper management functions.) He urges his fellow Scientologists to follow his example and give freely of both time and money. He owns neither car nor house. He has nothing set aside for his retirement yet he has earned probably millions and given it to the “Church” over the years.
When I spoke frankly to him of what I saw were the dishonesties of this “Church” he told me he would get someone to get me the true data on this and turned the whole matter over to the “Church” for official handling and has not communicated to me since, nor do I expect him to. For once a person in Scientology is officially labelled as some sort of enemy in any way, none who wish to “remain in good standing” with the “Church” may communicate with the now-enemy.
Even when I mentioned I had doubts about Scientology to my wife, her reply was that I needed to “handle” this or I would never see her nor our children again. She then rang the “Church” for advice on what to do to “help” me.
I have no problem with any of the above people’s actions as it’s what I would have done in the same position as a dedicated Scientologist. It certainly isn’t totally the fault of the people who are doing what they thought was best for me as well as them. And there are other religious and non-religious groups that practice disconnection, although probably not to the same lengths as Scientology goes in its “official” pronouncements to its members.
So – why do I oppose Scientology
Is it because of the reported human rights abuses? The reported unjust imprisonments and coerced abortions?
I have a friend who was in the Sea Org and got pregnant with what would be her second child. There had been an edict put out by the Executive Director International of the Church in the mid eighties that forbade Sea Org members having children as children had become too much of a drain on resources. Should anyone become pregnant they would be sent away from their home in the Sea Org to a “small struggling” Church and raise the child then return to the Sea Org once the child themselves were of the age to join up as well. Her first child was born before this edict came into force.
My friend was seen by a number of senior executives who tried to get her to abort the child, as both her and her husband were highly trained counsellors and their services brought in a lot of money for their “church.” She refused, citing the Founder’s first book on the subject of the mind where he stated flatly that only an insane person would want to abort a child for any other reason than the possible death of the mother should the pregnancy continue. Her husband divorced her to remain in the Sea Org and she was sent to another “Church” where she basically had to fend for herself, with her two children. The pay at that “Church” was abysmal and she had to clothe, feed and house herself and her family by working another job as well as working at her new “Church” for at least forty hours a week.
To be fair to her husband, he first joined “Church” staff at the age of fifteen. A couple of years later, he joined the Sea Org with his mother (a single parent) and she was expelled from the “Church” soon after. He was soon assigned to the “Rehabilitation Project Force” where he was made to spend months running around a track in southern California as part of his program. He told me he wore out five pairs of running shoes doing this “therapy’” running from morning until after dark every day for that entire time. He was still a teenager, with no contact allowed with either of his parents, nor indeed with anyone outside of the project. He could not speak to anyone unless they spoke to him first. He needed to be cleansed of his “evil purposes” so that he would be a fit and proper sea Org Member in the future.
When he graduated, he became a counsellor for the Sea Org and was renowned for his dedication to his work. He won several annual awards for the most hours done over the year period, averaging well over forty hours every week, seven days a week, year in and year out. His seniors even publicly joked that they didn’t allow him out for meals any more, just pushed the food under his door and let him out after ten every night when he had finished for the day.
I know of many other horror stories, including several personal tragedies. But for each and every one of these cases, there has always been the complicity of the victim themselves who has agreed to this – most could have walked away if they so wished.
So – why do I oppose Scientology?
A fundamental belief of Scientology is that everybody is an immortal spiritual being who has been around for eternity and has been kicking around this universe for trillions of years. And once we all were gods, with powers of creating and destroying universes all by ourselves just by thinking about doing it. But now here we are, stuck on a minor planet at the rear end of this universe and we can’t even cure headaches properly. Why?
Because we’ve all sinned against each other and so limited our powers down and down to the point where now we are so close to total extinction that only a miracle will save us. And that miracle is Scientology.
Scientology is the product of its Founder and he alone (per the official Scientology biography) came up with all of the Scientology miracles. And the greatest sin any Scientologist can do is alter the sacred technology of Scientology that the Founder left his faithful.
And it is a broad collection of technology.
From how to save a marraige to how to look after cut flowers. From communication to espionage. From counselling to creating artistic masterpieces. From running an expanding, prosperous business to how to drive a car.
Every Scientologist is constantly exhorted to emulate the Founder and “Do what Ron would do.” Live life by the exact dictates that Hubbard laid down as that is the only way out of The Trap that is this universe. The only way to reverse the Dwindling Spiral we all are apparently on that, if not “handled,” will result in the ultimate degradation of all that is good and true. The only way out is to be like Source, the Founder, Mankind’s Greatest Friend.
In effect, to become a copy of the Founder and do what he would do throughout all areas of your life.
Those who train to be counsellors listen to tape recordings of his counselling sessions and work hard to emulate him. Those who work on staff are told to ask themselves “What would Ron do?” if they are in a situation they can’t solve. Those who study Scientology are told that their disagreements are a result of them not fully understanding what Source is saying. Source is infallible. Scientology works if applied exactly. If it fails it is in the application of it, not the original technology.
So the road back to Total Freedom as an individual is through totally prostrating oneself before the identity of the Founder and seeking to become Him as only He ever did anything that resolved this Downward Spiral. All one’s efforts in all those endless past lives just added to the degradation of themselves so the individual has no idea of what it takes to be free, only the Founder knows. And only by following his Closely Taped Path will anyone ever be free. All other religions, all other practices (especially the evil ones of Psychiatry and Psychology) lead to further degradation of one as a spiritual being. The world outside of Scientology is a scary place, full of evil people who wish to destroy Scientology, The Only Hope For Mankind. Because, if Scientology ever succeeded, these evil people would have their sins exposed.
And those who aren’t inherently evil are poor duped fools living miserable lives who badly need Scientology brought home to them. They don’t rush for Scientology because they can’t see the freedom it offers because they are so trapped in this universe. They have to be shown what a terrible state they are in and slowly brought to the realization that their only salvation is Scientology.
So the Road to Total Freedom requires becoming a clone of the Founder, as He is the only person to have ever worked out how to be free. All everyone else ever did was create less freedom.
A Scientology world would never allow a Gandhi, a Beethoven, a Buddha, an Edison. a Michelangelo, a Mandela, a Tolstoy, a Dickens – it would be a world where everybody is devoted to the goal of Scientology in which everything else had no place. Time and time again I heard people told that their goals were nothing compared to the goal of Scientology and to follow their own goals was “out-Ethics” – the Scientology equivalent of sinful. Many was the time this happened to me – I abandoned pursuing my own goals until Scientology was achieving its own. Which of course never happened. And will never happen, because it offers no real freedom but just a dull hypnotic state where one thinks one has become cause again but actually is having a harder time coping than the average person.
Scientology promises immortal and invincible individuality: instead, it swallows the individual whole and regurgitates them as the perfect soldier who will follow any orders because their Founder has all the answers and His teachings are the only thing worthwhile in this (or any other) universe because they are supposedly the way back to the state of Immortal and Invincible Individuality.
That’s why I oppose Scientology.
Paul “Scooter” Schofield