My love affair with Scientology.

south-park-s09e12c01-free-personality-test-16x9
Credit: South Park: What Scientologists Believe – Business Insider

In the late seventies, I flirted with $cientology (the $ sign isn’t accidental). This happened when I came across one of its books (one of the only ones not written by its founder L. Ron Hubbard, who was not only a malignant narcissist of the highest order, but also a very bad writer), an easy to read and humorous “self help” book called “How to Choose your People,” by a writer named Ruth Minshull. The book was discontinued in the early 1980s, most likely because it wasn’t written by Hubbard and was therefore not acceptable “scripture.” Hubbard, a monstrously narcissistic and sociopathic cult leader, couldn’t stand having to share the spotlight with anyone else.

“How to Choose Your People” was entertaining and well written, and I found its idea of something called “The Tone Scale” intriguing and it seemed to make sense. (In fact, I think it’s one of the very few tenets of Scientology that has any validity). I liked the idea that emotions ran on a sort of continuum, with one logically leading to the next. Every human being can be placed somewhere on this “tone scale.” Although most people move around on the scale according to their mood, everyone can be placed at a “home” tone, where they will be most of the time. The “tones” ranged from Apathy (the lowest you could go–this would be where severely depressed and suicidal people are) to Enthusiasm (very happy and contented people). Each tone was assigned an arbitrary number, although no one ever explained what those numbers meant. *

There were two “emotions” around the middle of the scale, called Covert Hostility (1.1) and No Sympathy (1.2, making it slightly “better”). Although not at the bottom of the scale, while I was involved in Scientology (and the related Dianetics, the mental “technology” that is similar in some ways to psychoanalysis and serves as a tool to brainwash its members), Covert Hostility and No Sympathy were considered by most Scientologists to be the two worst places to be on the Tone Scale. No one wanted to be labeled a “1.1.” Because if you were, it meant you were a Suppressive Person–that is, a sociopathic person who could harm the Church and its members. If you were pegged a “1.1” or a “1.2” you could be excommunicated or punished by a cruel form of shunning (which I was subjected to at one point).

The traits of someone with a “tone” of Covert Hostility or No Sympathy are exactly the same of those of the malignant narcissist. Here is a picture of the tone scale as it appeared on the cover of Minshull’s 1976 book. (There is an expanded tone scale too, which has additional levels, but for our purposes this one is sufficient).

minshull1

Click image for larger view.

The love bombing phase. 

So I finished Minshull’s book and was intrigued enough to go to the local Scientology Center (on New York’s upper west side–I was living in Queens, NY at the time) and find out more. They gave me a “personality test,” that was supposed to identify what my issues and weak points were. There were 200 questions on the test, but when I was done, someone sat down with me and went over my results and convinced me I needed Dianetics auditing or classes in Scientology (much cheaper than Dianetics auditing) to overcome these weak points. The recruiter was very convincing and friendly, and assured me I would only be set back $15 to sign up for the HAS course (Hubbard Apprentice Scientologist aka “Communication Course”), which was really training in something called Training Routines (TR’s) which were actually brainwashing techniques, only they don’t tell you that when you sign up.

At first the TR’s were very seductive–they were fun and actually seemed to work. They did seem to help me be able to “confront” people better. The TR’s involved things like sitting in a chair staring at someone as long as you could without reacting, laughing, or looking away. After this, the ante was upped to something called “bullbaiting,” where the person could try to get you to react and “lose your Confront” by insulting you, trying to make you laugh, or calling you names. There were higher levels of TR’s that involved walking across the room, touching things, asking if birds could fly, and reading passages from “Alice in Wonderland.”

All these things were supposed to help you communicate with others better and raise your “tone,” but in actuality, these were all brainwashing techniques that would eventually result in giving you the infamous blank stare that many Scientologists seem to have while under the cult’s thrall.

The ante is upped. 

cartman_emeter

After I “passed” the Communications Course (by getting a “floating needle” on a lie-detector type of device called the E-Meter), I was convinced without too much difficulty to sign up for the next course, the HQS course (Hubbard Qualified Scientologist). That one set me back $250. (The prices are probably much higher today). By this time of course, I’d been sufficiently indoctrinated that $250 for further “processing” and “training” didn’t seem that bad. It didn’t take much to convince me to hand over the money. The prices of the courses (or “auditing,” if you take that route, become higher the further up the “bridge” you go. At higher levels, they run thousands of dollars. Most people don’t have that sort of money, but can “pay off” the expense by allowing themselves to become slaves to the Church — usually by working on site, or at higher levels, by joining the Sea Org, Scientology’s paramilitary organization in Clearwater, Florida. It’s at Sea Org that you hear all the horrible stories of abuse, starvation, imprisonment, the destruction of families, the separation of children from parents, and even the deaths of a few Scientologists who failed to toe the line or became, in Scientology parlance, SPs or “Suppressive Persons,” just because they still had a mind of their own or balked at the abuse meted out on them.

Back to my own story. In order to help pay for the HQS course (because in those days $250 was a lot of money, especially for a 19 year old) it was suggested I work at the Scientology Center (actually a Mission, which does not offer higher level training and auditing) part time, answering phones and opening and distributing mail. The position (called a “post”) paid nothing, but I got “credits” to help pay for the course. Of course, by now I was spending most of my free time at the Center, because right after “work” it was time for the classes, which ran about 4 hours a night (5 days a week).

Students were closely monitored and every class ended with a session on the E-Meter. If you were caught yawning or daydreaming you were told you had a “misunderstood word” and had to go back and re-read Hubbard’s unreadable material to try to find the word you did not understand. You were not allowed to move on until you found the word and “passed” on the E-Meter. I began to realize I wasn’t having much fun anymore, but if you criticized Scientology or its “teaching technology” in any way, you would be sent to Ethics.

e_meter
Scientology E-Meter

Scientology’s real agenda begins to emerge. 

No one wanted to be sent to Ethics. If you were sent to Ethics, it meant there was a problem and you were considered a “Potential Trouble Source” (PTS) and disciplinary action would be taken. I was sent to Ethics about three or four times, all for very minor transgressions such as minor criticism–or catching a cold (more about that later). The punishments ranged from having to re-read material to find “misunderstood words” (and be “passed” being connected to an E-Meter), to cutting off friends and family members who could be potential “Suppressive Persons” or enemies of Scientology (you would be required to write them a letter telling them you were cutting them off), to shunning, to excommunication.

One time I came to the Center with a bad cold. I was immediately sent to Ethics because according to Scientology’s deluded doctrine, if you became ill, it meant there was a “SP” in your life who was hostile to your involvement in Scientology and by default, you became a PTS (potential trouble source). Sniffling and sneezing, I sat down and held the two metal cans of the E-meter. I was asked a bunch of questions about anyone in my life who was hostile to Scientology. You couldn’t lie, because that would be picked up by the meter. At the time, I was dating a guy who thought Scientology was stupid, and I told them that. I was ordered to “disconnect” from him, or be excommunicated. I had to write the boy (who I was still in love with) a letter telling him I was disconnecting from him because he was hindering my progress up the “bridge.” I cried while writing to him, but it did get mailed and I did disconnect.

Later, I almost had to write a “disconnect” letter to my own father, who I had once dumbly admitted had been making fun of Scientology. I was able to get out of that one by insisting he really wasn’t opposed to my involvement and just liked to make jokes about lots of things. But I did know other people there who were ordered to disconnect from family members, sometimes their entire families. I have heard of some Scientologists even being forced to disconnect from their own children. Looking back, I recognize this as the cult-equivalent of what a narcissist does when they attempt to isolate you from friends and family members. It’s a way to weaken you by cutting you off from your support systems so they more completely own you.

Shunning is another disciplinary measure, and I was once subjected to it (I cried while “auditing” a student, which I’ll describe in more detail later). I was told although I would still be required to fulfill my job duties and attend classes, no one would be allowed to speak to me and I was allowed to speak to no one (unless it was directly related to my job or something I was learning). It was horrible. This torment on for several days, until I was “passed” up a level and allowed to be spoken to again. But before that could happen, I had to go up to every high level member and employee, make amends to them and “re-introduce” myself. I also was required to do some tasks to “make up” for whatever “sin” I’d committed. Some involved things like cleaning bathrooms or washing dishes. But others could get pretty weird. I’ll describe the task I was required to fulfill in order to be re-accepted into the group.

Scientology’s vendetta against mainstream mental health and the part I played in it. 

lronhubbard

L. Ron Hubbard: pulp science fiction author turned self-proclaimed messiah.

It’s well-known that Scientology has always been very hostile to mainstream psychology and psychiatry. L. Ron Hubbard thought of psychiatry as the worst evil to befall mankind. My theory about this is based on his malignant narcissism. When he first developed Dianetics (the “auditing technology” that resembles psychoanalysis in some ways) back in the early 1950s, Hubbard had attempted to get it recognized in the psychiatric community as a valid form of psychotherapy. Of course, Hubbard had no psychology degree (and in fact, had lied about much of his background). The psychiatric community refused to promote his ideas or his book, “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.” Hubbard, enraged by their rejection of his “brilliant technology,” turned against the psychiatric and psychological communities (and marketed his book, at first, through ads in pulp science fiction magazines, where he was already known as one of their contributors).   Eventually, he decided to turn his ideas into a new religion and named it Scientology.  Now, he could make more money than he ever could as a mere author, and never have to pay a dime in taxes.

That’s the background that will explain the task I was assigned to do to get back in good graces with the Church. I was given a list of names of psychiatrists and psychologists and told to go to the library and look up each one in the phone book and get their phone numbers. Okay, that was easy enough. I headed back to the Center with the phone numbers filled out, hopeful that this would fulfill my duty.

But no, they weren’t done with me yet. I was told to go home with the list of names and phone numbers, and call each of the doctors and ask them what they thought about Scientology! As someone who hates phones and alway felt awkward speaking on them, I felt like I was in some kind of nightmare. I also had to LIE to them and tell them I was a research student doing a study for a university program.

But I did do it. A few of the doctors refused to call me back, or I only got to speak to their secretaries, who couldn’t give me an answer, but most of them I got to actually speak to, and as would be expected, most of the responses were negative toward Scientology. Apparently, my research was sufficient. Finally, I was then allowed to “make amends” to all the higher level staff members and the shunning was lifted.

Ironically (or maybe not so ironically), a year later, I entered college as a Psychology major.

Disillusionment and return to reality.

Toward the end of the HQS course, you are told to recruit other people into Scientology. I had to go outside, no matter what the weather, and try to talk people into coming up to the Center to take its personality test. The more advanced TR’s taught in this class became increasingly bizarre. These sessions could go on for hours, and as part of the training, I was also required to “audit” other students and conduct TR’s on them. If they proved difficult or uncooperative, I was the one who was blamed and was not allowed to stop “running the TR’s” until my student had passed on the E-Meter. If it went on all night, then so it did. You were not allowed breaks to eat or rest, and neither was your student.

This is what led to my “shunning” punishment. What happened was I was so exhausted from lack of sleep and hunger that I burst into tears in the middle of running a session, and was immediately sent to Ethics and that’s how I got shunned. I was stunned by their total lack of empathy. You were never allowed to show any emotions other than fake happiness (“Enthusiasm” on the tone scale); showing any “low toned” emotions like fear, grief, frustration, pain, or anger was “bringing ‘case’ on post” and you would be sent to Ethics or punished for doing it.

I thought about leaving, but didn’t dare–because they threatened you with something called “Fair Game.” No one ever explained exactly what that was, but in Hubbard’s indecipherable scripture, “fair game” appeared to imply the Church reserved the right to stalk you, torment or even kill you if you “blew” (left). I’d also paid so much money into it by this point and spent so much time with them that I was hesitant to toss in the towel.

Shortly before I was to graduate from HQS (which I never did finish), I was sent to talk to a recruiter about my next “step up the bridge.” I was told I should sign up for “Life Repair,” which cost $6K. I told the recruiter I did not have that kind of money. The recruiter turned to the hard sell at that point. He told me to get a bank loan or ask my parents for the money. Neither was possible. There was no way I could pay back the bank, as my other (paying) job was part time and paid only $2.75 an hour (minimum wage at that time), and my parents were not the type to hand over large sums of money, even for something legitimate.

Finally, after two hours of unsuccessfully trying to get me to sign up for this $6,000 auditing package, the recruiter gave up and was quite hostile to me after that. He not only told me that I must not really be interested in moving up the Bridge, but that I was probably a Suppressive Person and an enemy of Scientology because I would not put myself in huge debt to continue to be brainwashed.

It was at this point I left the Church. I just didn’t care anymore. I had gradually come to realize that the “emotional tone” of the organization was somewhere around Covert Hostility and No Sympathy–which was quite interesting since those were the tones that were the most hated and feared and were the realm of the dreaded Suppressive Person. In other words, Scientology was a psychopathic, narcissistic cult, founded by a psychopathic malignant narcissist (1.1 on his own Tone Scale) whose ravings (and fabrications as a “war hero” among other things) are legendary. What they were really doing was projecting their own emotional tone (malignant narcissism) onto those who disagreed with them.

I also realized how I had been gradually seduced into this sociopathic organization through misrepresentation, manipulation, threats and lies. The personality test and the inexpensive and fun HAS course that promised to help me feel happier and more confident was merely the “love bombing” phase before the abuse that would come later and increase over time. I did NOT want to become one of the upper-level Scientologists, with their blank, weird stares, creepy smiles and total lack of empathy. Just look at Tom Cruise today: does he even seem human anymore? Hell, I’d rather be a Suppressive Person any day.

I didn’t get nearly as far up the “Bridge” as many other people, and therefore did not experience some of the trauma and torture inflicted on members who are more deeply enmeshed with this cult. Eventually they WILL take over your entire life. For anyone interested in finding out more about the evil mindgames this cult plays, its psychopathic paranoia about both government agencies like the IRS and its hatred and fear of traditional psychotherapy and psychiatry, and the horrific (and sometimes fatal) punishments inflicted on many of its members and their families, I highly recommend either of these two websites that call out Scientology for what it really is.

The Ex-Scientologist Message Board: http://www.forum.exscn.net
Operation Clambake: The Inner Secrets of Scientology: http://www.xenu.net/

This is also pretty interesting, and what they actually believe is NOT a joke.
South Park: What Scientologists Believe (Business Insider):
http://www.businessinsider.com/south-park-what-scientologists-believe-2015-3

*****

* I just read that the numbers assigned to the emotions on the Tone Scale come from E-meter readings. In fact, Hubbard did not invent the E-meter. It was invented by a Freudian psychoanalyst named Volney Mathison, who used it on his psychotherapy patients.  It was called the Electropsychometry meter.  Hubbard bought the rights to the E-meter, and adapted it for use in Dianetics and Scientology auditing. The readings on the E-meter determine a person’s emotional tone.

Here is a picture of Volney’s E-meter, before it was co-opted by L. Ron Hubbard:

volney_emeter

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About luckyotter

Recovering from BPD and C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse from childhood. Married to a sociopath for 20 years. Proud INFJ, Enneagram type 4w5. Animal lover, music lover, cat mom, unapologetic geek, fan of the absurd, progressive Catholic, mom to 2, mental illness stigma activist, anti-Trumper. #RESISTANCE
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30 Responses to My love affair with Scientology.

  1. TheOriginalPhoenix says:

    ….I’m speechless. I have no words to describe this. I can’t believe you went through such a thing but I think you’re very brave to be so open and honest about this. Thank you for opening my eyes, I knew Scientology often leads to suicide but I didn’t know that there was human trafficking (at least that’s what your description sounded like to me) involved. I also didn’t know that they despise psychology. You learn something new everyday!

    Liked by 2 people

    • luckyotter says:

      I sure did learn a lot! I never thought of what they do as “human trafficking,” but actually, it really is! And they get away with it and pay no taxes. I hate Donald Trump, but he did tweet that Scientology needs to be stop being tax exempt because they are not a proper religion. I have to say I agree with him on that.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. STUNNED to see your title in my reader, I simply had to check this out, even though I intended to be headed to bed (well after 3AM here). Only yesterday I was describing my own experience at the NYC “Celebrity Center” to a friend because, returning from walking my pup and checking my mail, I saw that they somehow found me again.

    I never did anything with them but fill out their personality quiz at the request of a casting director (an actor at the time – if she had requested that I jump off a bridge I might have considered it, so this seemed little enough to do to toady favor). I was then requested to pay the Center a visit “to get my results,” and ended up putting down a $5 deposit on the cheap course you described above — since the hard-sell recruiter was CLEARLY not going to let me out of the building until he had “convinced” me to sign up. (Which I had already decided I was *never* going to do, thanks to the rest of my experience there. Keep reading.)

    The Center was still being constructed at the time – no interior walls yet, except for a large supply closet where they kept the books for all the levels (so how many years ago was that?) When I arrived for my appointment there was a meeting still being held. So I was escorted into said supply closet, given a chair and told (nicely and cheerfully) to wait there until the meeting concluded. They’d come get me.

    ME: no sense of time, love to read, room full of “secret” books. No problem. And they forgot I was in there.

    Nobody entered the closet until almost closing time, several hours later, GREATLY disturbed to see what I was reading, oblivious to the passage of time myself. Since I speed read, BOY did I find out a bunch of things nobody is supposed to know until they are much further along (um, up the Bridge). So what you had to say above was no great surprise to me.

    I even know how to build my own E-meter with two tin cans, wire and a light bulb. No kidding – IN one of those books, for “emergency” auditing situations. So much for advanced-technology, huh? Did YOU know why women in labor must deliver silently? I do. So they don’t give the baby an engram they’d have to audit out later, of course.

    [fast-forward, skipping much here]

    I have moved like a gypsy for the past 25 years (every two or three years for much of that time, losing contact even with people with whom I WANTED to stay connected). They have found my address every single time, sending me mailers and brochures and other little quizzes – sometimes with a hand-written note from some poor schlub reminding me that they were still holding my deposit. (I have NEVER given them any further indication that their attempts to contact me were welcome, or that I planned to investigate further, btw.)

    Does anybody else find this t-totally creepy? Scary, actually!

    Somebody fell down on the job this time, however. Although they were sending their latest missive across several state lines, all of the literature was targeted to someone who lives in the NYC area with ready access to the Manhattan Celeb Center. Oops! (and I know enough about how they operate that I could probably tell you JUST how that happened.)

    One of my closest long-term friends is connected with another “escapee” like you – from the group almost at the very top of the organization – so I have learned from him WHY they are so big on their Purification Rundown — leading to their targeting ADD meds and Shire Pharmaceuticals specifically, aggressively and repeatedly, successful in their lobbying efforts to get Obetrol pulled off the market (before it was renamed after a second – expensive! – FDA approvals trial, rebranded as the Adderall we all know today). ALL true – all documented. Another story, another time – but WOW!

    I also have an extremely credible former colleague who was friends with L.Ron back in the days when he was a science-fiction writer – before he wrote Dianetics & founded his Church – so I have been privy to quite a few “Say WHAT?” items from that source as well.

    No WONDER people are afraid to run away from these folks! I am questioning whether it is wise to post this comment even as I type. Since their mission is nothing less than saving the planet from world domination, who KNOWS what means they’re willing to justify toward that end.

    Brave post, lady – why now?
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      WOW! Is all I can say! That’s hysterical that they left you in a closet with all those upper level books and you learned how to build your own e-meter! Wow, some of that stuff is top, top secret (now, of course, it’s allo ver the internet). Supposedly, if you found out about OT III before you were ready (that’s the level where you find out about the evil overlord Xenu and the Wall of Fire) you will go insane. Well, when I found out about it (reading the entire Level online) I laughed my head off. I imagine it was top secret because they knew anyone at a lower level who hadn’t invested all that money yet would “blow.” Some still do when they get to that level and find out they were bait and switched!

      That’s very creepy they were still able to find you after all those moves! Somehow, they must have lost touch with me. Not that I’m complaining! I did receive a few of those “handwritten notes” after I left, but maybe they stopped because I was too “suppressive” for them to really want to have me back. In fact, while I was “on post” there, part of my job was writing those little notes myself.

      I remember a bunch of people there who were doing the Purification Rundown. They were HUGE on that — getting all those former acid-heads to get all the LSD out of their system. I remember the weird diets and drinks. Lots of rice and beans and vegan type food. Did you know LRH himself regularly took LSD while he was involved with Aleister Crowley’s black magic?

      Now, the organization has been taken over by that evil sociopath David Miscavige (even his name sounds evil). I read with horror about his little games of Musical Chairs, where advanced residents at the Sea Org and Flag are offloaded if they fail to get a chair. He sets the games to music like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Is he aware Freddy Mercury was gay? (Scientology is very anti-gay).
      I wouldn’t worry too much about them coming after you. All the “secrets” you uncovered are no longer so secret and there are websites full of people who left Scientology and don’t have very nice things to say about it.
      Thanks for sharing your story!
      I actually wrote this post awhile ago, but edited and updated it and decided it needed to be posted again. I think it’s a great thing to blog about because it’s an interesting story and because it’s about religious abuse, is related to the content of this blog anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep. It was more like a storage room than a closet, but it was the only place with walls at that time. I’m sure the person who spirited me in there was afraid to come forward after the initial oops, hoping I’d left when nobody came for me after an hour).

        I did not know about musical chairs, but did figure that Miscavige was either evil incarnate or certifiably NUTS through a support site I ran across years ago where teen Sea Org runaways shared what happened to them – all carefully anonymously at the time, btw.

        I also did not know about the Evil Lord or the Wall of Fire, but have to say that I chuckled when I found out that they are positive that those engrams they are so dedicated to prevent and destroy supposedly function as nano-bots of some sort — and aliens who plan to control the earth for their own benefit can activate them if enough of us are implanted. (Apparently “pre-clears” can be controlled – and you can’t get “Clear” until you are “purified” – thus the NO drugs stance in a nutshell).

        Looking at the take-over of McDonald & cohorts, maybe we were hasty in our judgment? 🙂 (btw – reflecting on his actions, that clownish name is the only one suitable for the incumbent pres. in my mind, should you wonder about my reference.) Nano-bot control is as good an explanation for why so many Americans voted for him as any other 🙂

        I must have somehow “cleared” myself, since I did not fall under his spell, I guess, unwilling to overlook his actions, statements & lies!
        xx,
        mgh

        PS. Science has many cognitive dissonance studies exploring the hold that significant investments of time or money can have on humans, an unconscious attempt to reduce the extreme mental discomfort of holding 2 opposing thoughts about something or someone because we are “hard-wired” for certainty (attempts to study and understand the actions of victims of Stockholm syndrome, hazing, as well as what you described above – also relevant for victims of narc-abuse, btw).

        Liked by 1 person

        • luckyotter says:

          Maybe I “cleared” myself too, since I never fell for the lies and ignorance that so many Americans seem to hold, as if they’ve been programmed by something outside themselves. It really does seem that way doesn’t it? 😮

          Liked by 1 person

        • luckyotter says:

          Oh, also, LRH did say that there are “natural clears” but no “natural OTs”. He said that figures like Jesus Christ and the Buddha were probably natural clears, but not much more than that. I guess any drug taking would preclude that. I was never much of a drug taker but I did try LSD once and was a regular smoker of weed, so I am probably not a natural clear. Oh well. I don’tneed to be. I think it’s our “reactive mind” (which Dianetics processing is supposed to get rid of) that gives us our souls and humanness, even if we often act irrational or overemotional. You look at these upper level Scientologists, like Tom Cruise, and wonder if their souls were EXTRACTED! As for John Travolta, he never seemed to really lose his soul, in spite of being so high up in his OT levels, and can you explain to me also why they were never able to “process out the GAY?” According to LRH and Scientology, being Gay is at 1.1 on the tone scale. Well, my son is gay and he definitely isn’t a 1.1 (in spite of his sarcastic sense of humor which I have too). So it’s all BS.
          Also, I met many Clears and OTs when I was active at the Mission, and guess what — they acted just like regular people, temper tantrums and grouchy moods and all the rest of it. The only difference is they had that unnerving stare.

          Liked by 1 person

          • As an unusually well-informed brain-based coaching advocate, I promise that it’s ALL “bs.”

            Human brains have evolved to be sort-of “hard-wired” for certainty, so any format that seems to offer a concrete explanation that will allow people to stop questioning and find a solution to struggle will always be embraced by some folks. I just never expected so MANY of them to embrace McDonald’s finger-pointing BS!! Still stunned by that.

            Brain damage to a particular area results in what is called “confabulation” – these individuals will concoct even outlandish explanations for events and behaviors when their brains can’t find a pattern-match in its storage tanks. The brain’s pattern-recognition processes are frequently used to explain the unconscious pull toward confirmation bias (seeing only what affirms what we already suspect or believe).
            xx,
            mgh

            Liked by 1 person

  3. dennis says:

    Oh, them…

    I recall passing by a place where one of their, uh, meetings was being held sometime in the mid-to-late nineties. It made me recall the book I’d read about Hubbard, et-al – and “Hubbard on my mind” was the result.

    Glad that you’re no longer ‘a prisoner of his cocaine’. (A line from the poem…)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lisa says:

    Hi LuckyOtter,

    First of all, Happy New Year! Although I do not write a lot, I keep reading all your posts and find them very interesting. Thank you!

    You are really brave to speak up about this subject. You went through a nightmare and I am glad you were able to get out of this horrid cult and to recover from all the torments and abuse they inflicted on you!

    Many of the tactics these cults use are very similar to those used by narcissistic families.
    I was triggered when I read that they (luckily unsuccessfully!) tried to coerce you to sign up for an expensive course and you would have to put yourself in debt to continue letting them brainwash you and abuse you and when you said NO, they treated you as if you were their enemy.

    My narcissistic father treated me like a slave all the years I worked for his company. A couple of years before he died, he wanted me to put myself in deep debt. He wanted me to start a particular business he had chosen so that he would get an advantage from it but he was wealthy enough not to need it actually. He was exerting control over me, although we lived in different countries at that time. He was clearly setting me up for failure.

    When I told him I would not do it, he played the victim, gave me the silent treatment, took back his decision to support me in the future (in case I needed it), and turned other family members and people who knew me against me. This was the last straw that led me to my decision to go no contact.

    Unfortunately, people only believe us if the abuse comes from outside the family, like in the case you described but we are not believed when it comes from inside our own families.

    Liked by 2 people

    • luckyotter says:

      I definitely think the tactics used by cults like these are THE SAME ONES that are used in abusive, narcissistic families. There are so many parallels it’s uncanny. Only it’s on a larger playing field.

      I’m actually grateful for what happened to me, as unpleasant as it was, because I sure did learn a lot, and have an interesting story to tell to help others avoid it!

      Also, truth be told, I still kind of like and use the tone scale, because I think it actually is somewhat valid — though definitely flawed. 😳

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa says:

        LuckyOtter, I hadn’t heard about the tone scale until you mentioned it. Thank you!

        No, you are not flawed at all! It seems to be really useful and I am working on it right now. I do not think that this cult invented it. Narcissists rarely invent anything. They take credit for other people’s work and ideas.

        I have just found out that my perpetrators want me to go from 1.0 (home tone due to their overt and covert threats) up to 1.5 and/or down to 0.5, and of course way down to 0.05, if possible. Now I am getting a clearer picture of what they are doing to me.

        Thanks again for it. I hope you are taking good care of yourself and feel safe!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. nowve666 says:

    This isn’t your story, is it? Is this a story by someone else? Or did all this happen to you? I am fascinated but I haven’t had time to read it all. I wanted to comment now because it might take a while for me to finish reading. I have some personal experience with this. When I lived on a hippy commune, there were three cliques, the elite who really ran the place and made the major decisions, the “goat people” as we were known. We were the group that was most committed to living on the land and we took care of the goats and the garden. Then there were the “town people” who liked to go into town and get free food from supermarkets. They gave it away if it was just a bit too old to sell. We actually lived on the food the town people brought in. Anyway, one day a group of Scientologists came in and converted the entire elite clique. Suddenly, our “leaders” were Scientologists. The sinister thing was that they decided to pick on this one woman (one of the “town people”) and accused her of “covert hostility” (remember the tone scale). Apparently, she had shot her mouth off and criticized Scientology. It was really heartless because she was kind of middle-aged. She had arrived with her man in a camper. They were a couple but the Scientologists urged her man to abandon her and leave her without even the means of transportation. Happily, he didn’t go for that and neither did the rest of us. We stood behind her and she was OK.

    Another association was that my sister was a member for many years. She still basically believes in them but she no longer is a member. One day, I was walking down the street and was accosted by some recruiters for Scientology. I agreed to take their personality test. I have done this a few times just for kicks. Every time, I got a different result but the answer was always to take their Communication Course. Well, this time my resistance was low and I agreed to take the course. It cost $15 if memory serves. I didn’t have my checkbook on me so they pulled out blank checks and told me I could fill one out and it would be valid. They also assured me that there would be no further charges for this course. When I showed up that evening for the class, I was immediately asked to buy a book. I pointed out that this broke their promise of no further charges. They stayed firm so I told them I wouldn’t be taking the class after all. I demanded they return the check. First, they made me sit in their reception area for a time. Then I was called into an office with a big sign called “Ethics Officer” or something like that. The guy’s desk was higher than my seat, obviously an effort to be intimidating. He asked a bunch of off-the-wall questions of the paranoid variety. Was I in touch with enemies of their group. Stuff like that. I put up with it for a while and then I pointed out that I was only complying as a courtesy to them. I told them I could put a stop payment on the check and would if they wouldn’t return it to me. They finally told me that their procedure was to put the check through some sort of administrative processing before I could get a refund. I called bullshit on that and left, putting a stop payment on the check the next day, as I had warned. Soon after this, I got a letter from my sister telling me she wanted to end all communication with me. The wording of this letter convinced me that it was a form they gave her to follow. This was all about Scientologists being butthurt over my “defection” after being with them for a few hours. LOL! My sister and I are friends now.

    So you can see, I have a lot of experiences and associations with this organization and find it fascinating. I will most certainly read everything you have on your blog about it. BTW, I was a member of a cult once. It was Divine Light Mission, a Hindu-style cult under Guru Maharaj Ji, more popularly known as the “fat 14-year old.” I had been dropping ACID twice a week for some time. I “realized nothing mattered” but somehow it did matter and I was feeling spiritually needy and at loose ends. Maharaj Ji promised to give the “knowledge of God” to anyone who asked “with a guileless heart.” I “received the knowledge” and was a faithful follower for maybe a year or two. I went to India for a big conclave. I left the cult in the end. I can never stay in something like that for long. But I got something from it. Although I wasn’t supposed to drop ACID any more, I did and the trips were so much more than before. I passed a plateau and got to a really awesome place. I am finished with both Divine Light Mission and ACID now but I value what I got from them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • luckyotter says:

      Good for you for standing up for yourself, and for your middle aged friend too. Yes, they will accuse anyone who is a “truth teller” of all kinds of horrible things (projecting and gaslighting is what they are trained to do.) In fact, on the ex-Scientology forum (which I listed), there is a “directive”, verbatim from LRH himself, that actually teaches you how “to lie effectively.” It’s there for all to see, if I can find it again.

      And yes, this story is my own. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. luckyotter says:

    I just found out where the “arbitrarary” numbers for the tone scale come from — they are from E-meter readings, but the E-meter was not invented by LRH, nor was the tone scale. It was developed by a Freudian psychologist named Volney Mathison. I have added the info about that to my post.

    Like

  7. avaswan says:

    I always had a sense that it was a cult, but you have shown how evil it really is. I’m so glad you got out when you did.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jazzyjenness says:

    Wow!!!. Thank you for enlightening us. I am sorry that you had to go through such an ordeal, but thankful to God that you were able to get out when you did.
    There are so many predators out there and they come in all shapes, sizes, and disguise themselves in many forms and or positions.
    I pray every day for those deceived by false prophets, cults and others.
    Be well and blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wolfgirl says:

    My gosh.

    Ever since I was…ten? Eleven? Probably too young to think about brainwashing, in any case, lol…I have been fascinated by stories of dystopias – specifically, anti-utopias, in which it seems like a utopia but actually isn’t – and the brainwashing that goes on, and characters trying to flee them. What you just described sounds almost *exactly* like almost all those stories…there’s one in particular that’s really standing out to me. It’s about owls and it’s a very long series, but in the first book the main character is kidnapped (or owlet-napped) by these owls from the St. Aggie’s Academy for Orphans (I think that’s the name, been a while since I read the book), and they proceed to subject him to brainwashing, trying to make him forget his name, his past, and become their willing slave. He escapes, and it’s all very exciting, but now I’m wondering if the author didn’t have any run-ins with scientology herself, because it sounds alarmingly similar. Brr.

    Anyway, long story short, it sounds really creepy and I’m so glad you made it out of there! Also, is it just me, or does L. Ron Hubbard have the unnerving “dead” eyes of the malignant narcissist?

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      That story sounds interesting. All cults operate pretty much the same way, and that story was probably written by someone who had experience with them.
      As for Hubbard’s eyes, they look like that in all his pictures, even when he was a child. Cold, dead, and soulless. He has the eyes of a killer. David Miscavige has the same look. So does Tom Cruise, these days.

      Like

      • Wolfgirl says:

        It definitely was, and now that I’m thinking about it, that was only the first cult in the series. There were at least two more (although only one was really religious), and at least one in the spin-off series.

        OK, by this point I think I can say that the author either was involved in a cult at some point in her life, knew someone who was, or else found the whole concept of cults darkly fascinating.

        Good grief, that is terrifying. I also found what you said about his being a terrible writer interesting, because a bit of a hobby of mine is reading sporkings (snarky critique of bad stories/movies/etc.), and judging by how many of the authors react when their stories are criticized, they sound awfully narcissistic to me. I kind of wonder if being a narcissist leads to bad writing – they can’t take criticism, so they can’t get better, and they just write whatever interests *them*, which often doesn’t interest anybody else.

        Liked by 1 person

        • luckyotter says:

          I think that’s an interesting observation about narcissists and writing (or any other creative skill). They tend to be dilettantes and never want to put that much work into anything, but then get butt hurt when criticized, even if it’s constructive, helpful criticism. Hubbard was an atrocious writer, but of course, if you didn’t understand his word salad, it was YOUR fault because you had a MISUNDERSTOOD WORD. 🙄

          Like

          • Wolfgirl says:

            If that’s not the height of narcissism, I don’t know what is! 🙄 But yeah, that’s what I think too. They probably go into writing/art/music thinking they’re already so good they don’t need to learn, and then they get upset when they’re, well, not.

            Liked by 1 person

            • luckyotter says:

              I can’t help but think of those auditionees on American Idol who thought they were the greatest singers ever, and got insulted when the didn’t get through because they were really so awful. Deluded!

              Like

  10. What a great share! Thanks for the honesty in this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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