Here at Scientology Watching Central, we often get asked, is Scientology really a religion? In general, we tend not to get into a debate about that — Scientology calls itself a “church,” so we do the same. We find that it only makes the organization’s alleged abuses — including ripping apart families with “disconnection,” forcing women in the Sea Org to have abortions, and holding its executives in a brutal concentration camp — even more startling, since it’s a “church” that’s involved.
But there are other reasons why thinking of Scientology as a religion is, well, bizarre.
As we pointed out recently, one of the very strange things about Scientology is that its members can experience amazing personal journeys as they recover memories of themselves in daring exploits from millions of years ago on other planets — but they must not talk about these experiences even with their fellow church members.
Instead, what Scientologists end up talking about with each other is about as far from space opera as it gets: they talk about statistics, production lines, and “bodies in the shop.”
To help you understand, we thought we’d lead off this Friday morning post — a day we usually set aside to look at Scientology history — with this gem of a video, which has been floating around the ‘net for a couple of years.
Even if you knew very little about Scientology, this awkward briefing by two of the church’s highest-ranking officials should give you the general idea that the members of this organization see themselves as deadly serious soldiers in a war to attract people into Scientology, keep them coming back, and most importantly, to keep the money flowing in.
In 1984, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was in hiding. His third wife, Mary Sue, was serving prison time for Scientology’s massive 1970s infiltration of federal government offices, Operation Snow White, and Hubbard worried that the FBI might pull him into a similar prosecution at any time.
With Hubbard in seclusion, the young David Miscavige was consolidating his power over the church that he leads to this day. In this video, two of Miscavige’s most loyal executives lay out a strategy for all of Scientology’s worldwide “orgs” (short for “organizations,” their word for “churches”) to attract more people and reach “5.4X” — to expand their numbers by 5.4 times.
The two men are Marc Yager — who identifies himself as the commanding officer of the Commodore’s Messengers Organization International (“CO CMO Int,” in Scientologese) — and Guillaume Lesevre, the church’s “ED Int” — executive director, international.
Yager and Lesevre were not only two of Miscavige’s most loyal Sea Org lieutenants; over the years, they’ve also been known to be two of his favorite whipping boys.
In February, former church executive Debbie Cook testified under oath in a Texas court that in 2007 she saw Yager and Lesevre attacked by her fellow prisoners in Scientology’s concentration camp for executives, “The Hole,” in order to get them to confess to a homosexual affair, admissions that Miscavige wanted beaten out of them. (When Cook objected, she was treated to her own hellish hazing — she was made to stand in a trash can for twelve hours as the other prisoners hurled insults at her, called her a lesbian, and dumped water on her, she testified.)
Back in 1984, Miscavige still trusted Yager and Lesevre enough to make this video briefing, which would have been sent around the globe to give local officials their marching orders.
What it amounts to is this: if you lunkheads running local orgs will just follow L. Ron Hubbard’s policies to the letter, you’ll attract more followers, and eventually you’ll grow your org 5.4 times, to the size of “Old Saint Hill.”
What they mean by that is that in the mid-1960s, before he became “the Commodore” and took to sea to run Scientology from a yacht in 1967, Hubbard was living in Sussex at Saint Hill Manor, an estate that he purchased from the Maharajah of Jaipur in 1959. By 1965 or so, Scientologists will tell you, the place was booming with huge numbers of people coming in to be audited, to train to be auditors, and to spread the word about Hubbard’s “technology.”
To this day, the Manor is the UK headquarters of Scientology, and all orgs are told that they must strive to become “Saint Hill Size” — the size of the Manor at its height, in the mid-1960s — as their everpresent goal.
As we’ve pointed out before, there’s a problem with that comparison: Scientologists are urged to make their orgs Saint Hill Size, but they’re never actually told just how big that is. Go ahead — look through all the online resources you can, you won’t find an exact definition of it anywhere. Was it the number of people auditing? The number of auditors being trained? The physical size of the facility?
Scientologists are simply told to “boom” their stats by 5.4 times. (And that in itself, if you think about it, is a sleight of hand — 5.4 times what, exactly?)
Anyway, as stilted as this video is, I think it’s extremely important for one reason that may not be obvious: the Scientologists who would have been required to watch it would naturally have been worried about Hubbard’s absence. Since 1980, almost no one in the church had seen him, and longtime church members would have been concerned about the direction the young new leaders were going in.
With this video, Miscavige is really reassuring Scientologists that Hubbard’s own policies were still their focus. It was Hubbard who tended to bring in new bodies, and it was Hubbard’s policies that would keep them there.
So it’s useful, for church historians, to know the contents of this video.
But it’s also just a hoot. I mean, you have to love those Sea Org naval outfits.
Now, if you haven’t had enough of the comedy stylings of Yager and Lesevre, here’s part two!
“Vital data to help your org expand.”
Wow, that’s good stuff.
On the next page: Our regular Friday feature, Scientology on the High Seas…
Scientology on the High Seas!
In November the Voice obtained hundreds of copies of L. Ron Hubbard’s previously unpublished “Orders of the Day,” which he gave to crew members as he sailed the Atlantic and the Mediterranean on the yacht Apollo. Our documents cover the period from late 1968 through 1971, and this time we’re looking at what was happening the week of August 5 – 11 during those years.
This week, the Commodore gets gastronomic…
August 6: The cash arc!
A NEW TRIANGLE
The outer areas, in studying them, seem to be suffering from 2 scarcities — people and operating funds.
From this I wonder if there isn’t a third dynamic triangle like the ARC Triangle that goes:
Service — Funds
Maybe People are A, Service is R and Funds is C. Sort of a solid ARC triangle.
Seems to work that when you drop out people you drop out services you drop out funds.
Orgs work this way.
Also the world. The International Banker is campaigning for less people, making funds scarce and service non existent.
An org that dismisses staff to save money drops service and winds up with a high debt.
In an org when I manage one directly, I always push up numbers on staff, push up service and the money rolls in.
Asho and AOLA and SSUS run on operating fund scarcity, dismiss staff, fail to recruit and now have crashed stats.
Until all observations are in, I can’t tell for sure but apparently Pacs trouble is scarcity of people and scarcity of operating funds and “fast flow” “quickie grades” and no EP on Dn or Ppwer and few SHSBC materials add up to scarcity of service.
The fund scarcity is done by the orgs, not FBOs as the ors don’t even do CSW or put in for vital expenses. Their FP No 1s are unreal, and these were done by the divisional officers.
I’ll have to study this further but it sure looks like a fact.
There is a contrary fact. Governments use tons of people, absorb tons of funds and give no service and are largely out of ARC. So it isn’t just numbers of people that make the A. “People” probably needs a special definition. It may be “beings” or “productive individuals” or people in affinity with each other. I’ll work on this. I feel I have my finger on something of value.
AOLA and ASHO people scarcities, however, is silly. Pac rejects or quickly dismisses 80 percent of their applicants! They do not try training and processing. I have 2 letters here one from each org requesting to use untrained people in the ors and evidence that the ship recruitment includes kidnapping staff members out of the ors.
So that’s the nonsense that prevents Flag from moving trained people on up. However, the line is now better. Several are arriving and our 25 recruits for the August Ship Pgm may be met.
We have to force in (1) Accept people attempting to enroll in the SO (2) Train and process them (as well as existing staffs) (3) Build up our orgs to full strength (4) Increase (and prevent waste of) operating funds to build up image, and promotion. (5) Increase service volume and quality. That’s our long range program for the SO.
August 7: LRH with the humble brag…
Did you know that a Statless person is Fair Game?
Persons with high stats, if the stat is reported to HCO on time, has Ethics protection.
I was interested that last week one of my own stats was 91 working hours in the week.
A lot of Plus Points exist. If all looks too gloomy for words take the Plus Point list and go over it and find an example of it in your current life and surroundings.
Works like magic!
August 11: LRH, gourmet!
Protein and a balanced diet are necessary. Food must also taste good.
Cooks ride hobbies. Had this cook once. Couldn’t cook without tomato sauce. Everything had tomato sauce in it, even pie. So I ordered it ended, this tomato sauce. Next day it was ended. Canned tomatoes were served!
Rations can cost a fortune with little to eat. Caned ham, for instance. Canned ham is used after 2 years in the Arctic when you have boiled up all the spare shoes aboard. Nobody would seriously serve it as food. Yet it costs the earth.
Rice is a cheap food. But you can buy “Uncle Ben’s” Rice for a mint of money — so why serve it — why not buy food.
Spaghetti is entertaining but if you don’t speak Italian or know how to mix interesting sauces its a waste of time.
Prudence Penny recipes of how to save leftovers used to be a scream in US papers. “To save yesterdays cup of peas, the economy minded housewife would follow this recipe: Take one quart of whip cream, a filet mignon, 2 pounds of Russian Caviar…..”
The answer to leftovers — don’t mis-estimate and cook too much.
I used to have a drill worked out for the Avon River how I could single-hand bridge and engines and on return by going through the galley I had it so I could stir the soup.
I hope we don’t intend to include that in my duties now.
In the last few days I’ve made about three upper level breakthroughs, two very important. One of these is comparable to the CC breakthrough. The other deals with On [Cn?] perception, why it’s off and how to turn it on.
So my own hats have a high stat this week. About a century’s worth.
It’s over the waves today, I hear. I trust we will not hit all the ruts.
Let’s see these watches work as smooth competent teams now.
August 6: LRH, party animal…
The local Lions Club was entertained aboard with great success.
Candlelit dining room, guitar music. Caviar, lobster, salad and cigars and cognac after.
25 came. They cancelled their own first dinner of the season and came to ours.
High commendable to Peter Warren, John Bragin and our two magnificent girls Mrs. Jone van Hoecke and Mme Francoise Cugnot, Sven as Chef and Kenilee Moore as Maitre de Hotel, and the waters Rick, Jesse, Charles, Bob and several others. It was very commendable team work.
Very well done!
Our PRO Area Control has been greatly advanced with local influential business men.
As Peter Warren said, “New horizons have been reached.”
The Port Captain’s Office is doing very well.
Some spectacular Dianetic wins have just occurred.
The key to Dianetic and Auditing major wins is Drugs, Medicine and Alcohol. When these aren’t run first the case makes slow progress on anything else. These can freeze up a case.
Only Dianetics in all the world can unlock this one.
It takes an awful lot of drugs, medicine and alcohol to make a heavy effect on a case. But when it does — wham — there goes the case gain.
The modern drug culture is wrecking beings left and right.
Only Dianetics can salvage them.
Good old R3R.
More 1970s Awesomeness!
After L. Ron Hubbard had moved HQ from the yacht Apollo to the Florida coast, Advance! magazine was thrilling Scientologists with tales of “OT Phenomena.” Those church members who had reached the higher levels of spiritual training shared their stories of superhuman powers with fellow dupes — er, enthusiasts. This excerpt is from Issue 45, March/April 1977. (And another cover featuring a photo by the Commodore!)
Almost as astonishing as this story was my getting the job in the first place, as a foreman in a plastics factory, with absolutely no background in plastics — just LRH study tech!
Right away I noticed an unholy amount of time wasted making major repairs. I began to look for the reason why. I looked very hard to find the reason the same part totally disintegrated twice in four months (it was a 6-inch axle!) or why the 135,000 pound (67 tons) machine could up and move three feet in six hours one night due to “vibration.” And i didn’t think it was out-ethics on our part.
No, I thought we were haunted; and I became convinced of it when one night I pushed a start button on a large electric motor and the machine burst into flames! “Confidentially,” I was told later, all four pumps on the motor had simultaneously jammed — about a one-in-a-million chance. I was mad.
So I stalked that being and found him laughing to himself, sure enough, in a secluded corner. I asked him if he felt he was helping, and he only “said” he wasn’t sorry to cause these effects. So I told him about a better game — Dianetics and Scientology and how he could go to a hospital for a new body. He began to see a better solution and left.
Order returned to the plant. We’ve run for three months, seven days a week, 24 hours a day without any major breakdown. Before, there was a major problem every two to three days.
The swing-shift foreman confided to me he thought the plant had been “enchanted.” He told me about coming in alone one dark night to start up the machines and he heard a chain rattling! He suspected it was the ghost of a man who was killed in that building before our company moved in. He apparently drove the other outfit out of business and was doing the same to us, thinking we were the same people (or some such A = A).
But this foreman “knew” no one would believe him and withheld the facts until I came along. Now I am disseminating to him, too. — Dan Guetzkow
During my auditing on OT III I had many great things happen, but the most outstanding was gaining “freedom from overwhelm.” An example of this was being completely in control of a golf game with three other professionals and Johnnie Mathis as my partner. I hadn’t played much at all since I started my training and processing and golf is a game that seems to demand constant drilling and practice. But I shot a 68 (36-32), four under par back nine to win it all. Needing to birdie the last two holes and doing it with such certainty and ease was a great win for me personally, because a couple of years ago under similar circumstances I would have looked at all the ways I could lose or just play badly and got so nervous that I would have lost. But with OT III abilities of “freedom from overwhelm” I just did what I know I can do, with no misemotion, fear, etc.
I know everyone could use this level to succeed in whatever endeavor they chose. — Tom Jefferson
Ghost stories and golf scores. It’s too bad Scientology isn’t a little more honest. I’d love to see them put on billboards that spending a few hundred thousand for auditing will help you clear out spirits at your workplace, or lower your golf handicap by a few strokes. That would be something.
“Tom Cruise worships David Miscavige like a god”
Scientology’s president and the death of his son: our complete coverage
What Katie is saving Suri from: Scientology interrogation of kids
Scientology’s new defections: Hubbard’s granddaughter and Miscavige’s dad
Scientology’s disgrace: our open letter to Tom Cruise
Scientology crumbling: An entire mission defects as a group
Scientology leader David Miscavige’s vanished wife: Where’s Shelly?
Neil Gaiman, 7, Interviewed About Scientology by the BBC in 1968
The Master Screenplay: Scientology History from Several Different Eras
And a post that pulls together the best of our Scientology reporting
Please check out our Facebook author page for updates and schedules.
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you ask nicely he’ll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.
New readers might want to check out our primer, “What is Scientology?” Another good overview is our series from last summer, “Top 25 People Crippling Scientology.” At the top of every story, you’ll see the “Scientology” category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.
As for hot subjects we’ve covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology’s “Mecca,” whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.
Other stories have looked at Scientology’s policy of “disconnection” that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We’ve also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there’s plenty more coming.