I am a Scientology ex-member,
critical of Scientology, but also critical of the anti-Scientology
movement. This is the reason why I describe myself as an independent
Note that independent does not
mean neutral. Neutral means that one does not take position. I do
take position, but the position I take is against the two opposite
extremes in this controversy.
What is your main
contention with Scientology?
My main contention with
Scientology is the indoctrination aspect. It leads one to believe
that his eternal future and that of the planet is doomed without
Scientology. This, in turn, leads to the cultic behavior decried by
What is the difference between your
position as a critic and that of other critics?
As a critic and ex-members, I can agree with
certain aspects that are levied against Scientology or cults in general.
These are, for example, the exploitation of fear and guilt, the endless
repetition, authority, blind faith, exclusivity and unicity, intolerance to
criticism, the us/them mentality, the end justifies the means mentality, etc.
The difference, however, lays in the philiosophical
approach. Critics in general follow the pattern delienated by the anti-cult
framework. This framework consists of a crude duality between the "leader"
and the "followers". The cult leader being the evil exploiter, and the
followers the brainwashed victims. For me, what happens is more akin to a
form of illusion. This illusion is shared and mutually reinforced between
the leaders and the followers. The difference is capital when trying to
understand the cultic phenomenon.
What is your main
contention with the anti-Scientology movement?
My main contention with the
anti-Scientology movement is the tendency of its "members" to reproduce and mirror
the same kind of cultic aspects they blame on Scientology; the exaggerations and
myths creating a phobic reaction; the dangers it poses to civil
liberties; the personal attacks against dissenters; etc. These are
fairly well documented on this web site.
How is your position
against critics different than that of Scientology?
I only criticize critics when I
deem their actions incompatible with what being a critic in the real
sense of the term entail, and not because they criticize
Scientology. My opposition to critics is not based on concern for
Scientology. It is based on concern for civil liberties and on
ethical reasons. This means that when criticism against Scientology
is levied in a truthful and honest manner, and when it does not
promote measures that endangers the civil liberties of everybody, I
have no problem with it whatsoever. In fact, I try to promote
exactly that kind of criticism in my own "cultism" section of this
Another difference is that
Scientology tries to depict Scientology critics as criminals. I
don't. I believe that the majority of critics are motivated by a
sincere desire to do good. This is also, incidently, what I think of
cult members. In both cases, the problem is the same: they bring
their case too far, thereby turning their genuine concern into a
dangerous cultic crusade. Many critics are simply cultists in their
Don't you think that
criticizing critics amounts to defend Scientology?
Criticizing the actions of
George W. Bush in Iraq does not necessarily mean definding Saddam
Hussein or defending terrorists. One can very well have valid
reasons to be critical of one camp without necessarily supporting
It is far more dangerous for a
movement such as Scientology to be criticized it for what it does rather
than for what it doesn't. It is much more effective to respond to
cultic hate with love, patience, and understanding than with anger,
confrontation, and hate. And it is way better to respond to criticism
through an honest examination of what one does than with cultic
attacks against the source of criticism.
This is basically all of what I
am saying, and why I oppose myths and bigotry. I believe that, in
the long run, it can only be beneficial. By all means, it also seems
to me to be the only responsible course to take.
Do you think that your web
site have had a positive effect for the critical movement?
In fact, I do. I believe that
since this web site exists, at least some critics have been much
more cautious in labeling Scientologists "clam", in jumping to
conclusions, in exagerating their cases, etc. They also have become
less tolerant for the actions of their more radical elements. This
has somewhat improved the quality of criticism in general - though
the situation is still very far from what it ought to be.
What is the difference between your position and that of scholars?
I usually agree with scholars (called "cult
apologists" by anti-cult cultists because facts encountered as
part of social studies do not agree with anti's wild claims). I
believe, however, that a moderate approach of the main anti-cult
tenets could be useful in understanding the cultic mindset. Many
scholars have rejected these because of the general fanaticism anti-cultists
have displayed. I believe, however, that at least some of these
tenets are nevertheless still worth examining.
How long have you been in
Scientology and what have you done?
I have been in Scientology for
roughly five years, between 1975 and 1980. For the most part I have
been working in the local org, but I spent the last other year in
Saint Hill, England, working for the "Guardian Office World Wide".
What have you done in the
I started working for the
"Social Coordination" bureau, the section of the GO that promoted
the use of Scientology in society. I was then transfered to the
Admistration section, that dealt with the internal management of GO
staff. For more about my time in the GO, see my
Why did you leave the
It is a long story, but mostly because I realized
its cultic aspects (dependence, authority, need to
believe, conformity, unquestioning attitude, intolerance towards
dissenters, justifications, etc). My move from the local
organization to Saint Hill proved central in my leaving, as it
provided me with a larger view about the workings of Scientology.
More about that in my extended story.
What have you done after
I went back to my family who
were surprised but delighted to see me out of the movement. I had to
rebuild for myself a life in the "wog", or outside society. I was
lucky in that it was about the time the "personal computer" made its
apparition. I took a ride on that wave and found myself far above
the level where I needed to worry about material necessity. However,
I kept an interest for the spiritual field and developed a new
interest for the whole field referred to as the "anti-cult
movement". I traveled to the US to meet major personalites of this
movement and accumulated a wealth of documents. My interest estomped
somewhat in 1987 but got revived when the internet became a reality
for me in 1996.
What "case level" have you reached while in Scientology?
I received some basic auditing
while in Sain Hill but never attested to "Clear". However, the
auditing I received allowed me to make for myself a fairly good idea
of what it is all about, as well as the kind of effects the "tech"
is able to create.
Have you joined the
"Freezone" after you left Scientology?
No. When I quit
Scientology in 1980, I dropped it all together.
(Note: the "freezone" is made of
ex-Scientology members who keep on practicing Scientology "auditing"
outside from the official church).
What do you believe now?
My present belief would be a
mix of New Age and Krishnamurti, but I am not
affiliated with any group. My orientation is more of a mystical
nature, based on intuition rather than creed. In case you want to
know more about my spiritual orientations, you can check my
personal website, and more
particularly a "my story" I wrote for it
that delves into these questions.
As an ex-member, do
you feel you have been hurt by your stay within the group?
No. Mostly because I don't view the cult experience
along the simplistic oppressor/victim duality promoted by
anti-cultists, but more as a
form of illusion in which both members and leaders have their part.
There are positive aspects as well. As the report
of the Swedish Government's Commission on New Religious Movements
The great majority of members of the new religious
movements derive positive experience from their membership. They
have subscribed to an idea or doctrine which corresponds to their
personal needs. Membership is of limited duration in most cases.
After two years the majority have left the movement. This
withdrawal is usually quite undramatic, and the persons
withdrawing feel enriched by a predominantly positive experience.
All in all, I am glad I was in the group
AND glad to be out of it. I share this feeling with most of
my friends who went out of the movement as well.
Some critics complain that
although I claim to be balanced, neutral, and unbiased, I am not.
The problem with this argument
is that I do not claim to be balanced, neutral, or unbiased. What I claim to be is independent. Neutral means that someone
does not take side. I do take side, and what is more, I doubly
take side, because I take side against Scientology and against
I also do not claim to provide
for an equal balance between criticism of Scientology and criticism of
anticultists, because pages critical of Scientology are to be found
by the HUNDREDS, whereas independent pages critical of anticultists
are very rare and there is A LOT to write on the subject. This is
why I consider this site a counter-balance to critical site, and why I call it
"another look". This web
site is best understood after having read critical web sites to
first understand their claims and then complement it with the
information from this web site.
However, I still remain critical
of Scientology and this is reflected in the cultism section of
this site. This also is an alternative kind of criticism
because my interest is to offer a realistic view of the life in
Scientology (often focusing on
the inner workings of the cultic mindset) rather than the
typical anticult horror stories.
"OSA" stands for "Office of
Special Affairs", the department in Scientology that deals with
legal matters, the press, "intelligence", and everything that
relates to the outside world rather than the "tech" and its
dissemination. "GO" stands for "Guardian Office", the
predecessor of OSA.
When someone disagrees with
critics he is often accused of being "OSA", or an agent for
Scientology. Needless to say, having a web site strongly critical of
critics, the accusation is happily launched at myself, and repeated
in spite of critics admitting they have no proof of it (nor will they ever
have since the accusation simply is not true).
A variation of this is saying
that as an ex-GO member (I worked for the last other half year of
five in the GO department responsible for the "admin tech"), this
has somehow corrupted me or makes of me a bad person. Never mind
that critics like Dan Garvin, Neil Hamel, Bid Harrington, Frank Olivier, and
others have worked for much longer and for much "worst" departments
of the GO.
It all amounts to whether you dutifully go along with the main
anticult tenets. If you do, you are ok. If you don't, then critics
will dig out anything and put a spin on it, use attribution of
motives, and whatever personal attacks or innuendoes they can think
of to try and discredit you. The truth is, however, that my time in
the GO has nothing to do with the fact that I am critical of
critics. Quite on the contrary, it was at this time that I came into
contact with enough outside information critical of Scientology that
led me to leave the movement. I went into all this in quite some
details on my GO page.
"Cult apologist" is another
label anticultists use against outsiders, scholars, or moderate
ex-members who disagree with various claims they make. The
implication is that, for some reason, "cult apologists" feel the
need to come up with excuses for the cult. They may do this for
money or other advantages, or because they have ulterior motives, or
maybe simply because they are stupid and unable to understand the
obvious rightness of critics in face of the tremendous danger of
cults. The label originates with Margaret Singer who started using
it after her "mind-control" theory was beaten to death by academic peer reviews.
Needless to say, for critics, I also qualify
for being a "cult apologist". Never mind that I am critical of
Scientology. I oppose critics in their holy crusade, dare to stand
against exaggerations, myths, and unethical behavior on their part, and therefore
am automatically OSA, an idiot, a wicked individual, or a "cult
apologist" - and preferably all of these at the same time
To me, of course, this kind of
labeling and personal attacks are yet another illustration of the
very point I am making - that anticultists mirror the cultic mindset
of those they criticize.
Armchair psychology and
The number of "explanations" as to
why I am critical of anticultists circulates among critics. These
are excuses and rationalizations and simply do not have truth in
them. They include such things as
saying that I got my feelings hurt by
critics' attacks and now I am taking revenge;
or that the reason I am having such a
web site is to show to the world how "clever" I am;
or, on the contrary, that I am
"brain-damaged" by my stay in the cult - which makes one wonders how
I can even manage to type or use a computer :-)
ANYTHING will do for critics to
explain away why someone dares to dissent, except confront the fact
that the reason one may be critical of some of the critics' actions
is because they simply deserve criticism.
Needless to say, countless
insults of all sort are also thrown in my direction. If I had to put
together a signature file with just a few of the allegations critics
have made about me, it would run something like this:
Spam king clone.
PTS Type III.
On OSA Payroll.
Known cult apologist.
Sad poor soul.
A lonely voice in the desert.
Critical and confidential
Critics are not the only ones
to make objections to this web site. Scientologists have been making
them too, although this usually takes the form of individual advices
rather than public declarations. Scientologists
would like to use my anti-Scientology debunking data but usually do
not dare to link to my web site because it contains critical
material and references to confidential information like the Xenu
story. They even advised moderate Scientologists whom I host to not
refer to their own web site because of
that, banned me from their forum because of my web site (never mind,
critics banned me too for the same reason), and sent their lawyers
against my ISP to force down the CoS owned pictures I have
Critics often overlook the
critical material to be found on my web site because of their anger
at me having also critical material towards critics. Little do they
realize, however, that the critical material towards Scientology I
host on my web site is often much MORE potent at making
Scientologists doubt their involvement than what is to be found on
the "best" critical sites, and this for two main reasons.
I do not use the typical bloated
accusations of killing, forcible restrain, and other scare-tactics
to be found on critical web sites. This is often what prompts
Scientologists to stop reading critical web sites after the first
few lines. Better still, I denounce and exposes such myths for what
I do not mock Scientology
beliefs or disparage Scientologists as "clams", and I do not
"analyze" their beliefs by providing a totally distorted rendition
of what these are. I do delve into Scientology tenets to show how they
may help to reinforce the cultic mindset, though, andd I go into the
psychological mechanism of the cultic illusion within Scientology,
using my own experience and insights. The stories I hosts also tend
to be respectful of Scientologists as a person, realist in their
claims, and thoughtful in their analysis of the mindset.
This web site is thus, indeed, a
dangerous place for Scientologists and would-be Scientologists in
that it does not encourage participation in the movement and in that
it debunks the Scientology illusion much like it debunks the
anticult one. On the other hand, it also respects the decision of
Scientologists who have found meaning and help in the movement.
Nothing is black and white and I do not claim to possess the
ultimate truth - only to offer my own perspective.
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.