Censor: A person authorized to examine books, films, or other material and to remove or suppress what is considered morally, politically, or otherwise objectionable. [The Free Dictionary]

At what scale censorship becomes questionable? Each time I ponder about this, I can’t help, I find that even at individual level, acts of censorship  are objectionable.

When you look at it, Scientology scriptures mandate self-censorship, as per L. Ron Hubbard writings, which in short means that the whole systemic censorship emanating from Scientology find its source in a single individual, L. Ron Hubbard.

So here it starts, on Geir Isene‘s blog (Geir Isene is an independent Scientologist), in the comment section of his post titled “AP: The Church of Scientology is going through a difficult season”:

Patty Pieniadz
2009-11-02 at 12:36 | #46
Robert Vaughn Young, Former Head of PR for the C of S in the US, spilled the beans on this false reporting of the # of Scientologists in his 1997 post

How Scientology “Grew” to 8 Million Members

Here’s an excerpt.

“When what came into play was the LRH order that Scientology is always growing. He wrote it in a policy letter, to never admit to anything but growth. That meant the “one million” had to grow. Again, no calculations were made. No organizations were asked to submit figures. Perhaps six months later, we were “1.1 million” and then later “1.25 million” and so the membership figure began to grow. Occasionally it would produce some humor, as when a reporter would call the US office and along the way ask for the membership figure and he/she would be put on hold while someone asked what the latest one was. “1.5″ someone shouted. “No, we used that one last month, make it 1.6,” suggested another. “Why not 1.75,” someone else asked. “Too many digits,” someone would call back, “make it 1.8.” “Hey,” the original PR would ask, “I’ve got a reporter here on hold, gimme a figure!” “Racquel Welch,” came a fast reply from someone coming down the stairs. ”

Full post here: [link removed due to reference to confidential material]

[Addendum: Patty Pieniadz provided me with the original link which was removed, here it is: http://groups.google.co … 94840d]

This is were I wondered: That doesn’t seem right, censoring someone else’s post. I don’t know what was the link removed, but it appears it was a reference in support of the post. So here is the exchange between me and Geir Isene regarding this:

R. Hill
2009-11-06 at 22:30 | #49

“Full post here: [link removed due to reference to confidential material]”

Link removed due to reference to confidential material?

Maybe it’s time to rename this blog “Somewhat straight talk on Scientology”?

The message sent here, is that Scientology, in the end, is about having someone else decide for you what is appropriate or not for your “spiritual progress.” This holds true for the Church of Scientology, and this appears to still hold true for ‘independent’ Scientologists.

Sorry, can’t help, I’ve always been suspicious of those who rationalize one way or another that some things must not be said/seen. Would the censorship you engaged here still apply if the whole planet was run under Scientology rules?

2009-11-07 at 07:15 | #50

The rules should be simple enough to understand. The reasons should be clearly explained. As for the someone else decide for you, read all my blog posts and look again. You are trolling, but I guess you knew that.

R. Hill
2009-11-07 at 14:13 | #51

I am not trolling — and dismissing me as a troll is not going to help me understand your rationale. I read your position re. confidential material: “I will not post or link to confidential material on this blog. Scientologists should feel safe coming here to get truth.”

That’s what I fail to understand: How is a link to (supposedly) confidential materials going to make Scientologists feel unsafe? (You can answer in private if you wish, I don’t mind, although I suspect you must be pretty busy.)

2009-11-07 at 17:45 | #52

I know how a scientologist feel regarding this subject. I have spoken to hundreds of scientologists about this and they do feel it is unsafe to risk exposure to upper level material. I draw the line at a safe place in the sand, that’s all.

I didn’t say you were a troll. I said you were trolling. Please don’t take it personally.

R. Hill
2009-11-07 at 18:46 | #53

My whole point is that I make a distinction at removing entirely a link, as opposed to merely labeling a link as “Unsafe for Scientologists.”

Hence my last question: With your rationale, on a planet only populated by Scientologists, none of them could find those confidential levels in the event they change their mind. The example might seem extreme, but ultimately it’s the outcome of applying your rationale, and that’s the kind of thought experiment that makes me conclude your rationale in removing the link entirely is not compatible with letting people chose for themselves.

2009-11-07 at 19:02 | #54

Jumping to the conclusion that my rationale would remain the same when you extrapolate your interpretation into the absurd is ….. well, absurd.

R. Hill
2009-11-07 at 19:30 | #55

Not really absurd. A real life example is the Church of Scientology — which no doubt use the same rationale: protecting its members. The principle of free flow of information (as opposed to censorship) starts at individual level. Any individual action to prevent people to reach more information is a brick on the wall.

2009-11-07 at 19:47 | #85

You were concluding on my stance on this based on an extrapolation ad absurdum – that my stance would remain the same given that the whole population would become scientologists. I say that does not logically follow. Then you answer with the above. Handle your logical fault first.

R. Hill
2009-11-07 at 20:43 | #86

No, I concluded on what happens when whoever/whatever uses your rationale on a larger scale. The bottom line is that you did removed non-private information posted by someone else, which could be of interest to a reader, self-assessing yourself as someone who “know[s] how a scientologist feel regarding this subject.” The Church of Scientology has a history of doing the exact same thing (Ex. it did it with google/[link removed due to reference to confidential material] back in 2002.) And now you are asking me to dismiss what you did here, and rather speculate that at some unknown, larger scale, you would stop engaging in doing this. My opinion is that principle of free flow of information starts at individual level, and if someone violate this principle at individual level, you can’t fault someone else for thinking that the violation would not still apply at an ever larger scale. On the other hand, I would have found admirable if you had merely labeled the outgoing link with “(WARNING: Might not be suitable to Scientologists — Isene Geir).” Having been warned, Scientologists in the end could decide to follow or not the link, their choice.

2009-11-07 at 21:15 | #87

It’s my blog. Back in 2002, the Internet wasn’t and never will be the property of the CoS. Your logic is faulty. You seem to have very little knowledge of how a scientologist thinks about these things. There are plenty right here on this blog who has commended the rules. And I am not asking you to speculate on my views given an absurd extrapolation – you were already. I asked you to stop speculating. So, again, please stop.

My blog. My rules. Don’t like it? Too bad.

In the meantime, obey the rules.

In my “logic,” who owns what is irrelevant: I was making a point that censorship is inherent to Scientology doctrines, regardless of whether one is an independent or good standing member of the Church of Scientology.

R. Hill
2009-11-07 at 22:02 | #84

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Fair enough. I will just conclude with the irony here considering your blog-post titled “On the fear of the unknown,” in which you say “The video contains a lot beyond the fear of the unknown, though – such as fixed ideas, daring to look …”

“Fear of the unknown” => “Fear of the [confidential materials]”
“[F]ixed ideas” => as in “Confidential materials must not be seen prior to proper training”
“[D]aring to look” => “Daring to look [at the confidential materials]”

But maybe I make too much out of this, and if so, let’s just say that the long track record of censorship – as per Scientology doctrines – by the Scientologists over the last decades didn’t exactly help. And now I see that this censorship is still at work in self-described ‘independent’ Scientologists.