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Anonymous vs. Scientology

The Fundaments of Anonymous


In this Series:

Index
Overview
Masked Protests
Videos War
The Fundaments of Anonymous
Anonymous Glossary


On this page

The Fundament Page
Beliefs vs. Organization
The Ten Pillars of Anonymous Fundaments
│┌1) Corporate asset
2) Conceals doctrine and beliefs
3) Isolates members
4) Indoctrinates members
5) Exploits the faith for profit
6) False image of charitable action
7) Suppresses criticism
8) Lobbies and pressures
9) Dangerous medical and psychological practices
10) Abuses the private and personal trust of members
Conclusion

The Fundaments Page

Anonymous fundaments are to be found at http://www.enturbulation.org/who/why-scientology/ and http://www.enturbulation.org/who/why-different/. This is the web site that organizes the protests around the world and where Anonymous makes a short presentation of the reasons for its action.

Beliefs vs. Organization

Anon starts off by a truly remarkable statement about freedom of beliefs. It very rightly states that "it is their prerogative, and they should never be attacked, persecuted or discriminated for it". It claims not to be against Scientology as a belief system but against abuses on the part of the Church of Scientology (CoS).

This is a beautiful and impressive start.

If indeed Scientology critics would defend the rights of Scientologists towards discrimination such as what is happening in Germany, while still remaining critical of Scientology, they would have much less problems with people like me who are concerned with the rights of religious minorities. Up till now this is not what they did as they have encouraged and fuelled these discriminations.

Will this change with the new wave of criticism such as represented by Anonymous?

I doubt it. Anonymous uses as background references for its actions the very same critical websites supporting the anti-cult point of view at the basis of such discriminations. Reading its fundaments, as analysis below, raises even more doubts.

Indeed, after making the statements above, Anonymous basically goes on to claim that leaders of the movement do NOT believe in their own stuff but are entirely interested in profit.

The exact opposite is true: the cultish attitude of the CoS stems directly and precisely BECAUSE of the cultish assertions ingrained in the writings of L. Ron Hubbard and BECAUSE the members, leaders and followers alike, believe in these tenets.

The biased and false assumption of Anonymous derides nearly all the subsequent ten points he makes to show "How Scientology Differs from Other Religions".

The Ten Pillars of Anonymous Fundaments

(The BS Level of each point indicates how much bullshit they each content. This is not meant as derogatory as much as as a way to quantify my disagreement with each point and to allow for a mathematical rating at the end of this analysis)

1) Scientology treats its doctrine as a corporate asset, rather than as the property of a community - (BS Level: 90%)

Scientology involves a practical set of therapy, called auditing, and which Scientologists claim need to be applied exactly for it to work. To avoid distortions and abuses of their procedures they have copyrighted their material and, as they proved already in many instances, will go to great length to protect them. Comparing Scientology to a religion that does not have such a technical aspect but merely requires its followers to believe is moot.

Anon also claims that this prevents the core belief of scientology to be widely available. This is absolutely not true. It is available for free through the Internet, and for the price of a book through various outlet. If Anon refers to Xenu, claiming it to be the core belief of Scientology, this has already been discussed at length, among other through my Xenu page.

Scientology is not the only religious movement that enforces its copyright. Others do as well, though of course the copyright for the Bible expired quite a long time ago.

2) Scientology actively conceals doctrine and beliefs - (BS Level: 80%)

Quite a few other religious movements also have levels that are only available to initiates. The Kabbalah is just one of several other examples.

Anon also uses a variation of the myth that claims the science-fiction nature of Scientology is only revealed on higher levels. This fallacies has already been debunked on my page dealing with the science-fiction nature of scientology.

It is true however that Scientology uses the higher level as a "mystery sandwich" to motivate people to "advance no the bridge". For this reason I'll give this point only a 80% BS level.

3) Scientology isolates members (BS Level: 50%)

Disconnection is one of the valid points of critics. Because Scientologists believe that to stay in close contact with people who strongly disagree about Scientology is “dangerous” for their own advancement on the “bridge”, they may “disconnect” from friends and family members, even close ones. This is sad and objectionable. A good illustration of disconnection among other things is the story of Sasha. It makes for a fascinating reading, but also illustrates the fact that disconnection happens primarily because the belief is ingrained in the cultic assertions of Scientology itself, and not necessarily because it is forced upon members by the CoS.

For the rest Scientology has indeed an extensive set of technical terms, just like any other technical field has. This may indeed help reinforce the Scientology conditioning, but it is more a consequence than an aim, and the effect on the so-called isolation is minimal. In addition, this point is a bit ironic, knowing that anymouses have themselves have their own library of in-words, such as "lulz", "tl;dr", "scilon" and other "scifag".

It is also true that Scientology advises its members to avoid certain books and to use a net nanny to protect them from what they consider abusive and harmful attacks against their religion, but these are only advises and not rules. I even doubt the Scieno-sitter is still used today since the last workable version was for win95/NT only.

Any absolute belief system almost automatically “isolates” its members by the sheer of it being an absolute belief system. The argument is completely moot when it comes to address the question on ""How Scientology Differs from Other Religions".

However, because disconnection is a major argument in Scientology criticism I'll give this point only 50% BS Level.

4) Scientology indoctrinates members (BS Level: 40%)

Every ideological group, religious or otherwise, indoctrinates its members. This is even more the case, of course, for absolute belief systems. Again the argument is completely moot when it comes to address the question on ""How Scientology Differs from Other Religions".

It is true, however, that the e-meter can act as a sort of censor mechanism, because, whether it be through “sec-checks” or auditing sessions, people can not hide their thoughts from the system. This is a serious concern when used within an intolerant system where thinking bad of the leaders is itself a crime.  This is indeed something peculiar to Scientology alone, even though it obviously is a consequence of the combined effect of auditing technique with the ingrained cultic assertions contained in Scientology rather than something that has been devised at the start.

Of course, members “express themselves in specific ways”, any community does, but it is false to claim that this is something required, just as it is false to claim that members “must take part in regular activities”. There is no such obligation in Scientology.

I'll nevertheless give this point a whooping 40% BSL only, because indoctrination in Scientology is an important factor, as is the use of the e-meter to control thoughts.

5) Scientology exploits the faith of members for profit (BS Level: 60%)

While I agree with Anon that spiritual achievements should not be charged, it is fair for a group offering a therapeutic technique to charge. Comparing on that point Scientology with religions based only on beliefs is moot.

Of courses, the prices in Scientology are outrageous. In a way, it is true that the "eternal salvation" justification for it is a form of exploitation, but, again, the reason they push this argument is because they really believe it is so. One may disagree with such a belief, as I do, in which case Scientology hold no attraction.

Anon statement that Scientology charges internally is misleading. Staff can go up the bridge for free. They are only charged for the service if they break their contract and if they want to join the movement again.

I also find ironic that Anon uses a Muslim comparison and ends his statement by “See how far you get”. I have another proposition. Rather than picketing Scientology, try to stand masked in front of a Mosque instead, waving offensive signs about the Prophet and accusing Muslims of all kinds of crimes – and see how far you get...

6) Scientology creates a false internal image of charitable action (BS Level: 100%)

Anon may believe that a soup is worth more than helping people through Scientology tech but this is a value judgment (and there I thought Anon tried to stay away from criticizing Scientology beliefs) and is hardly enough to accuse Scientology for creating a false image of charitable action.

Scientologists believe their tech can help other people, and of course they also hope that through their help people will recognize the value of Scientology, because like any other religion they consider that joining their movement is the ultimate help.

This is not basically different than what other religions do.

Anon also claims that Scientologists are "trained to honestly believe that this IS a way of helping"! The BS meter hits the roof on that one. So, not only the leaders do not believe in their own stuff but are only out to make profit, the members also only believe in it because they are "trained to honestly believe that this IS a way of helping".

We are back in the old anti-cult argument that whatever members believe is irrelevant because they have been brainwashed into believing it, a position that led to gross human rights abuses on the part of the anti-cult movement and has already been discussed at length and quite utterly debunked.

If anything, this one deserves a full 100% on the BS meter.

7) Scientology aggressively suppresses criticism (BS Level: 40%)

Scientology indeed believes that people who criticizes it only do so because they have crimes they don’t want Scientology to find out. Otherwise, why would anyone seek to undermine the “only hope for Humanity”? The Fair Game policy is a brainchild of that mentality, and canceling it because it creates bad PR does not change the mentality itself. The only difference is that the CoS now harasses its critics as far as they can legally get away with it. This is of course one of the valid arguments of critics, even though they engage in wild exaggerations about it and sometimes even manufacture harassments when they can’t find enough to blame the CoS on.

However, Anon loses the benefit of this point when, in an attempt to negatively compare Scientology to other religions, he states:  “the organisation is hostile to criticism of any sort, for any reason at all, to a degree that is not considered acceptable in any other community of faith”.

Really?!

What about officially sentencing someone to death because he wrote a fiction offensive to the Prophet? What about a film director actually being killed in the streets of Amsterdam for the same reason? How about people being forced to witness the public burning of their own family members because they have been labeled "heretic"?

The atrocities committed in the name of God down history are too numerous to be listed, and it is still happening today. Maybe Anon considers as "acceptable" a woman sentenced to 40 lashes because she allowed one of her pupils to name his Teddy Bear Mohammed?

Give me a break, Man!

8) Scientology actively and covertly lobbies and pressures for gain (BS Level: 100%)

So? Any group, religious or not, will try to lobby the power in place to get its line through.

The extend to which critics are willing to twist whatever Scientology does to make it sound bad is reaching ridiculous proportions. It is not a matter of trying to honestly compare Scientology with other religions anymore, it is a matter of blaming  Scientology for the same things other groups do, just because it is Scientology.

Anon's comment about the "B-movie conspiracy brought into reality" however leads me to think he actually aims at something else by this point.

In spite of all the mud-sliding, Scientology has gotten away with one of the best tax-deal possible, the criminal prosecution of the Lisa McPherson case has been dismissed, Keith Henson has been sentenced to jail for a Cruise missile joke he made on the Internet, Scientology successfully sued CAN into bankruptcy and thereupon bought it back for their own ends, etc, etc.

These are seen by critics as gross miscarriage of justice. The only way they can make sense of it is that Scientology did something untoward to achieve these wins. They don't think even for a moment that maybe the claims they relentlessly repeated on the Internet weren't quite true. This is what I try to expain on my page where I go into the cognitive dissonance created between critics' claims and reality, and how their attempt to explain it away leads into B-movies scenarios that only they end up believing.

Keith Henson was not sentenced for a joke he made on the Internet, nor for holding a peaceful protest. He was sentenced for actively stalking Scientologists to the point an independent jury found him guilty. CAN actively supported forcible deprogramming, and this was the real reason for its demises, as confirmed by all appeal courts, etc, etc.

Of course it is much more exotic to keep on believing one’s own myths and engage in paranoid explanation to justify it all, and it surely does look much better on picket signs.

If critics were truly critical in the real sense of the term they would question their own assumptions, and they would seek alternative viewpoints outside from their own circle instead of dismissing dissenters as "OSA" and "cult apologists", or banning them from their so-called "free speech" forums. This may be a good way to cure the B-movie ailment they currently suffer. THEN they could concentrate on what is really to be criticize about Scientology, and there are enough of it as it were without having to twist things to a point they barely have anything to do with reality anymore.

9) Scientology actively promotes incorrect and dangerous medical and psychological practices (BS Level: 80%)

This is a classical question. To what extend faith or alternative medicine healing start to become medical malpractice? To what extend can we accept a victim of road accident refusing blood transfusion on religious ground?

These questions show that these are not the prerogative of Scientology only, and in that sense I would like to know where it fits with the question "How Scientology Differs from Other Religions".

As far as I know, Scientology works together with MDs during treatments and even during auditing sessions. In that sense it is in a way doing a better job than other religious groups.

Now psychiatry is another question. Scientology is obviously vehemently opposed to psychiatry, but then, we enter here into a field that is far less rigorous and far more controversial than standard medical practice.

I personally do not see concrete ground for claims that Scientology engage in dangerous medical or psychological practice. It again mostly bowls down to a value judgment.

While critics maintain lists of Scientologists who died since its inception. All these lists show is that people die, and that Scientologists die too. Quite on the contrary, given the number of people who have applied Scientology procedures to themselves or others in the last 50 years, it shows if anything that these procedures are relatively innocuous.

As for Lisa McPherson, I already addressed this issue on my Lisa McPherson page.

10) Scientology commonly abuses the private and personal trust of members  (BS Level: 80%)

Anon claims that "peeking" at the file of someone below you is fairly common" and that this constitutes a breach of privacy.

I am not sure what Anon means by that. If he means that several people have access to the PC file, then by itself this is not a breach of privacy. Medical information about a patient is shared between doctors and specialists who need to know. The same happens in Scientology where the auditor, the case supervisor, the Qual staff, all work as a team. This is not something done covertly and the PC knows about it. Of course, release of this information to outsiders would be a gross breach of privacy, and I believe it would be just as severally punished in Scientology as it would in our society.

There may be concerns about staff from ethic or OSA having access to the PC file for administrative reasons. I would agree with Anon that this would be a breach as well. Needless to say, using elements from these files to harass that person would be a serious crime. I do not put beyond Scientology to do that, knowing their paranoia and hate towards critics, but I have yet to see any convincing evidence that this ever happened.

Quite on the contrary, I have witnessed the CoS to go to great length to prevent government agencies to get hold of PC files. Guess who supported government in this despicable discriminatory action? The very same critics who complain about breach of privacy on the part of Scientology. That's the reason why I sometimes refer to them as hypo-critics rather than critics. Mind you, this is not meant to refer to all critics indiscriminately, but it certainly does to those who support and encourage this type of behavior.

Conclusion

Anonymous seems to brings some original and novel ideas to the anti-Scientology movement and also refrains from some of its most outrageous claims such as gross accusations of brainwashing or "cult". He also takes care to make some basic distinctions and claims to be respectful of Scientologists' belief. This still needs to be put to the test and I am eager to see Anon wear his mask in front of the Bundestag to protest German discrimination towards Scientology. I do like the conciseness of his presentation and the organization of his web site, including the forum that makes it easy and "fun" to join the protests.

Anon arguments however are just new dressing for the same old salad, even if the dressing itself is somewhat an improvement. The "we do not attack beliefs but only actions" is in fact a classic anti-cult claim, and through his basic assumption that CoS leaders do not believe in their own stuff, Anon shows his sympathy for anti-cultists' point of view which, in spite of their claims, have lead to discrimination on the basis of Scientologists' beliefs alone.

The average BS meter is quite high, showing the degree to which I disagree with Anon's claims. Anon engage in a fair amount of mental gymnastic in his effort to negatively compare Scientology to other religions, and because Scientology has at its core a psychotherapeutic technique that the majority of other religions don't have, the basis for the comparison is often moot.

That Scientology is a cult is a granted, but Anon fundaments have not convinced me it is worth being picketed. I'll rather wear my mask and protest the killing of thousands of innocent people through weapons of mass deception leading to an unjust war, or State-approved mistreatment of millions of women in the name of God.


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This web site is NOT created by a Scientologist. It is created by a Scientology EX-MEMBER who is critical of Scientology. However, this ex-member is ALSO critical of the anti-Scientology movement. This does not make him a Scientologist, nor a defender of Scientology.

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