January 2010


“On Source”: Meaning to follow Scientology teachings exactly as L. Ron Hubbard intended it.

Exactly 27 years ago, the St. Petersburg Times published an article titled “A ‘new breed’ reported taking over Scientology,” relating the takeover of the Church of Scientology by a handful of young believers, whose stated rationale was to bring Scientology back “on Source” (following the “Operation Snow White” mess.)

Given the ongoing events surrounding Scientology, and the new breed of defectors who wish to bring back Scientology “on Source,” I thought it was an appropriate time to transcribe this old article here.

A ‘new breed’ reported taking over Scientology

By Robert Lindsey
January 7, 1983
© New York Times

Defections by older members and publicity given a legal battle over control of hundreds of millions of dollars are believed to be cutting into the membership of the Church of Scientology.

The church, which has a headquarters in Clearwater, is described by its leaders as a religion and by its critics as a highly profitable business with cult-like overtones.

The church claims a worldwide membership of 6-million, although former officials say the number of adherents is probably fewer than 700,000.

According to dissident members, former Scientology officials and allegations in court documents, the church is currently controlled by a cadre of former servants of the organization’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, whose 1950 book Dianetics became the cornerstone of its program. The takeover by these members, who are in their 20s, has led to the expulsion or resignation of more than 150 senior members in the past year.

FACED WITH the loss of millions of dollars in income, the expelled operators of several regional Scientology franchises have set up their own organizations based on Hubbard’s teachings.

Meanwhile, the oldest son of Hubbard, Ronald E. DeWolf, has contended in a lawsuit that his father is either dead or being held captive by the former servants. He is suing to gain control of his father’s estate, which he says is worth more than $100-million.

In interviews and affidavits, some former church officials and other dissident members have contended the church is a lucrative business enterprise that systematically suppresses dissent. And more than 20 suits have been brought against the church by former members, represented by Michael Flynn, a Boston lawyer.

Spokesmen for the church have denied the accusations, including assertions of fraud and contentions that the church does not represent a bona fide religion.

“It’s a con — it was a fraud from the beginning,” Gerald Armstrong, formerly a close aide to Hubbard and the church’s archivist, said of the organization. He said he left the church a year ago after gaining access to records that he asserted indicated a long pattern of deception and fraud.

ACCORDING TO estimates by some former church officials, the organization, much of whose income is tax-exempt. has assets of more than $300-million around the world, much of it in bank accounts in Switzerland and the Caribbean. And each week, the former members said, it takes in more than $2-million at more than 100 branches in this country and abroad.

Former officials estimate that the Clearwater facility alone takes in upwards of $1-million a week.

Much of the current strife in the organization, former members say, began in the spring of 1980, when, without warning, a number of new people appeared in the church’s upper echelons and began demanding more money and less independence from the regional franchise owners.

The majority of them were members of a group called the “Commodore Messenger Organization” This designation stemmed from a period in the 1970s when Hubbard ran the church from a 300-foot yacht, the Apollo, and referred to himself as the “Commodore.” Some Scientologists took their children to live with them on the ship, and older children were designated personal aides to hubbard.

ON THE SHIP, and later, when Hubbard moved the headquarters to a 500-acre resort called Gilman Hot Springs that the church bought in the desert near Palm Springs, Calif., the status of the teen-agers was raised.

According to the dissidents, they were taught to obey Hubbard explicitly, to mimic his voice and to inform on members who criticized him. Not long after moving to the desert facility, former church members say, Hubbard retreated increasingly into seclusion and usually saw only members of the messenger corps, who were granted the right to discipline adult church members.

Many of the former messengers are said to wear the naval uniform of an elite church branch called the “Sea Organization.” The dissident members say that a half-dozen or so of them appear to be controlling the church and its assets through the Religious Technology Center, a corporation established in January 1982.

“It’s like the Lord of the Flies,” said a former franchise holder who spoke with the understanding that he not be identified. “The children have taken over.”

THE CENTRAL figure in the corporation is David Miscavige, 22, who has told franchise holders that Hubbard had granted the corporation exclusive rights to the Scientology trademarks and the copyrights of his books.

According to the former officials, the new leadership group has demanded that franchise owners send their clients to the church-owned counseling centers rather than continuing to profit from them at the missions.

At an Oct. 17 meeting at the San Francisco Hilton, members of the new leadership group informed the franchise owners that the church had been reorganized “to make the whole structure impregnable, especially in regards to the IRS.”

According to a transcript of that meetings, one of the former messengers said, “The fact of the matter is you have a new breed of management in the church. They’re tough, they’re ruthless, they are on Source.” The term “Source” refers to the teachings of Hubbard.

According to one of Marty Rathbun’s latest post, titled “Censorhip”:

censorship should have no place in a civilized society.  There is no purpose for it other than to attempt to control the flow of information amongst the minds of beings.  It is the supreme invalidation of the beings it targets. It implies they are not intelligent enough to evaluate information for its credibility and importance.  It has historically been used by dictators and tyrants attempting to suppress dissent and differing views.

Of course I wholeheartedly agree with such statement — it is what got me involved with exposing Scientology in the first place, with the Church of Scientology’s attempt at censorship when it tried to force Google to remove links to a site critical of Scientology from its search results, in 2002 (see “Google pulls anti-Scientology links,” CNet.) Now, keeping in mind that Marty Rathbun is still faithful to L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings, his post re. censorhip is rather surprising to say the least.

L. Ron Hubbard teachings permeate intolerance to dissent. It would be plain impossible to enumerate all instances that hint at intolerance to dissent in Hubbard teachings, but it’s easy to cite a few of the most obvious:

The DEFENSE of anything is UNTENABLE. The only way to defend anything is to ATTACK, and if you ever forget that, then you will lose every battle you are ever engaged in, whether it is in terms of personal conversation, public debate, or a court of law. NEVER BE INTERESTED IN CHARGES.

[…]

The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.

[Ref. “THE SCIENTOLOGIST / A Manual on the Dissemination of Material,” L. Ron Hubbard, 1955]

And

People who attack Scientology are criminals.

[Ref. “Branch 5 Project, Project Squirrel,” L. Ron Hubbard, LRH ED 149 INT, 2 Dec 1966]

And

Never discuss Scientology with the critic. Just discuss his or her crimes, known and unknown. And act completely confident that those crimes exist. Because they do.

[Ref. “CRITICS OF SCIENTOLOGY,” L. Ron Hubbard, HCOB of 5 November 1967]

And

Find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace. Originate a black PR campaign to destroy the person’s repute and to discredit them so thoroughly they will be ostracized. Be very alert to sue for slander at the slightest chance so as to discourage the public presses from mentioning Scientology. The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win.

[Ref.: L. Ron Hubbard, as quoted in the Reader’s Digest in 1980]

And so on.

Farther in his post, Marty Rathbun states states:

I have told many people that the greatest ability I ever attained in Scientology was the ability to disagree.  When I regained that faculty I considered myself no longer  a lemming following group think over the cliff.

The double-speak in there boggles the mind. Therefore I couldn’t resist commenting on this, twice. First:

This is what got me involved, “attempt to control the flow of information” by the Church of Scientology.

So, I gather this means I can talk freely about L Ron Hubbard’s policies re. the treatment of critics, like “noisy investigations,” (to which you were subjected in the U.K. as per your blog) with specific examples like Paulette Cooper, Jim Berry, etc.? You know, those on-topic posts, filled with specifics, I made on your blog in the past which you never allowed to be read by others — because you deemed them… let’s say… ‘enturbulating’ I suppose? Or is censorship not censorship when the rationale involves the subjective concept of ‘enturbulation’?

By the way, what happened to your Dec. 23 post titled “Brisbane Independent – Lise O’Kane,” which was the subject of a lot of criticism? I can’t see it here. I have a full copy of it if you wish to reinstate it here.

Second, in response to one of his comment:

Doesn’t strike you as ironic to justify the censorship of comments by referring to them as “full of generalities,” without anything more specific? (Since we can’t see these censored comments, you are asking people to trust entirely *your* interpretation — but with all due respect, I rather rely on my *own* interpretation.)

I ask, because the comments I made in the past, which you never allowed, had specifics in them, and yet somehow you decided against them. I would appreciate very much that you point out actually *specifically* where the problem(s) was(were) in those posts.

None of those comments were accepted for publication on his blog, and neither did he care to explain his contradictory statements/behavior.

I gather Marty Rathbun’s newfound ability to disagree doesn’t include disagreeing with the teachings of Scientology, which is not at all surprising, given that Scientology teachings call for the intolerance of dissent — as per Scientology self-serving teachings, Scientology doctrines do not allow doubt of Scientology teachings (Ref. “Keeping Scientology Working”)

On these words, here is a bit of Scientology history, pre-David Miscavige era, an excerpt from a news 1972 article (my emphasis):

Most important, perhaps, Cooper says that her case is typical of efforts by Scientologists to silence anyone who writes critically of the church. Her complaint alleges that Scientology has filed 100 libel suits in the last two years in the United States and Britain. Among those who have been sued in America, in addition to Tower and herself, are the American Medical Association and the National Education Association, Fairchild Publications (for an article in Women’s Wear Daily), The Washington Post and George Malko, along with Delacorte Press, for his book, Scientology—The Now Religion. The Scientologists have also sued Realist publisher Paul Krassner. And they’ve tried to block the publication of an Olympia Press book about the church by Robert Kaufman. They have also threatened to sue Life, the Rev. Lester Kinsolving of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times and Parents’ Magazine, to name a few, according to Cooper.

Scientology has won none of these suits. The actions against Tower, Cooper, the AMA and NEA, Delacorte, Malko and Krassner are all in process, with no quick settlement in sight. The suits against Women’s Wear Daily and The Washington Post were dropped. And a hearing is to be held some time in May on the Kaufman book.

[Ref.: “Scientology fights back,” The Nation, May 22, 1972. Keep in mind that in 1972, the Scientology attempt to silence Paulette Cooper through Hubbard’s “Operation Freakout” had not been uncovered yet.]

(David Miscavige was around 12 year old at the time…)