Anonymous fundaments are to be found at
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.
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
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
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
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
indoctrinates members (BS Level: 40%)
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
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
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
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
7) Scientology aggressively
suppresses criticism (BS Level: 40%)
Scientology indeed believes that people who criticizes
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”.
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
Give me a break, Man!
8) Scientology actively and covertly
lobbies and pressures for gain (BS Level:
So? Any group,
religious or not, will try to lobby the power in place to get its line
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
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
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
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:
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.
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'
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.