07.20A Skeptic Joins Scientology
by Perry DeAngelis
Well, I am the newest member of the New Haven, Connecticut Church of Scientology. I am on the road to being “clear,” and releasing the long dead alien engrams trapped in my reactive mind and destroying any chance I have at becoming enlightened. Thank goodness.
If the above seems a tad enigmatic, then you obviously have not been introduced to the theory of Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’s marvelous mental health technology, Dianetics, or his church, Scientology. I will cover the basic tenets of these in this article as well as relating to you my own experience at the “church.” The relationship between Dianetics and the church was at first arcane to me. Yet now I understand it very well. The Church of Scientology is the institutionalization of Dianetics. It’s that simple. If you buy into the pap of Dianetics, then you buy into Scientology. You cannot have one without the other. Virtually all members of the church have gone through the process of Dianetics and have either reached or are working toward becoming clears.
How Dianetics Works
The basic philosophy created by Hubbard is that the mind is made up of two distinct portions. The first is the analytical mind, that is the portion of your mind that receives and stores the vast inflow of data that we are all pummeled with on a daily basis. The analytical mind thinks, solves problems, and stores this data inflow as mental pictures in the vast filing cabinet of our brains – that is, all data except for two very specific kinds of “data,” emotional and physical pain. These negative occurrences do not take the path into our analytical mind’s filing system, but are instead rerouted to the second part of our mind, the reactive mind.
This second part of our minds, according to Hubbard, is where these very negative mental pictures go, and are thence forward referred to as “engrams.” This mis-routing of data only occurs when we are at a diminished state of capacity. You have to be incapacitated in some way in order to create an engram. The classic ways this could occur would be when you are knocked unconscious in an accident, or are under anesthesia in a hospital. However, the Dianetics definition of when a person’s capacity is diminished is very fluid. It could simply mean the shock of bad news, being on prescription or over-the-counter medications, or even being depressed. Thus, one can see that engrams can be created in quite a large number of ways, and it is the exorcising of these engrams that Dianetics strives to perform. For when a mind is choked by these engrams in the unconscious or reactive mind, they will have untold negative influences on your conscious or analytical mind, causing you to act in self-destructive ways for seemingly no reason.
In the video I was shown at the state’s only Church of Scientology, located at 909 Walley Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut, a woman is shown falling from a step ladder in her kitchen after her children accidentally bump her, resulting in contact between her head and the floor. Her family chatters around her while she’s unconscious and their statements such as, “Shut up you idiot!,” and “Don’t move her, she has to stay right here!,” and so on are apparently absorbed by her reactive mind. Later, she is shown to react to a stepladder falling over by getting a stabbing headache and refusing to go with her husband to a business party because she says, “I have to stay right here!” This inappropriate behavior caused by her engram is referred to as an “aberration.”
Ok, so that is how an engram is created. Now, the way to wrench that engram from the reactive mind and neutralize it is through a process known as auditing. This is where an auditor sits with the PC, or “preclear,” and gets them to recall incidents in their past that they are comfortable recalling, but which are troublesome in some way. Then the auditor gets the person to repeat the experience over and over again, asking to go back to the beginning of the incident and recall any additional data they can. Via this piercing process, the woman mentioned in the above video comes to the shocking realization that she had overheard her family saying those things while she was unconscious, and her headaches instantly disappear and she is cured. According to the tape, this process took about an hour. You have to go through this process for every single engram that you have, but once you do, you basically obliterate your reactive mind and are free from its devastating negative energies, you are clear.
I thought you said the engrams were “alien” in origin?
The fact of the matter is that Dianetics is only the merest surface of Scientology. Its gets much weirder from there. According to Hubbard, we are all the victims of not only our self-created engrams as described above, but also of a 75,000,000 year old galactic crime that is still plaguing us to this day. (This is the place where veteran skeptics sigh, and chock up another in a seemingly endless supply of childish fantasies embraced by “rational” adults in their desperate struggle for meaning and healing.)
OK, so this one goes that an intergalactic leader of low moral character by the name of Xenu was in charge of 76 very over-crowded planets (average population 178 billion), including our own Earth, then known as Teegeeack. In order to solve this vicious over-population problem, Xenu tricked billions and billions of people, with the help of psychiatrists, into accepting injections of alcohol and glycol which paralyzed them. He then packed the paralyzed folk into a series of airplanes with rocket engines on them and flew them to Earth where they were stacked around the bases of volcanoes. Xenu then lowered hydrogen bombs into the volcanoes, detonated them and killed everyone.
(Pause for a sip of coffee and a yawn.)
Uh… right, so anyway, everyone died and their souls known as “thetans” were all swirling around the nuclear winds. Xenu knew that these thetans would come back again unless he did something to prevent this. So he captured all the souls in electronic beams and dumped them all into a sort of intergalactic 3D cinema. For 37 days these thetans were pelted with confusing images that told them they were The Devil, Jesus, God and so on in a massive “implanting” by Xenu. You will recall that you must be in a state of diminished capacity for an engram to be created; well I think we can all agree that being a free floating dead spirit is a fairly diminished state. Therefore, Xenu was creating the granddaddy of all engramatic images in our minds that still haunt us to this day. Yet justice prevailed and Xenu was eventually overthrown and locked in a force-field protected cell in a mountain… somewhere.
That’s the core philosophy of Scientology. Believe it or not.
My Foray into Scientology
I decided to go to the church and see for myself what the initial introduction would be like. I was walking up and down the block looking for the entrance to the church, when I saw two people coming up the street with the tell-tale painted grins of those who have given themselves over to an all encompassing philosophy that answers all questions and solves all problems. I dutifully followed them, and they lead me right to the front door of the “church.”
I ascended the flight of stairs to an office that was swimming in the media of the faith – hundreds of books, audio tapes, videotapes, charts, graphs, calendars, mugs, E-Meters and an endless supply of pamphlets. I told the receptionist that I was interested in finding out about the church, and she immediately sat me down with the faith’s personality test. This is a tedious array of 200 questions with “yes”, “no” and “maybe” as the three possible replies. The test includes such penetrating questions such as “Do you speak slowly?” and “Are you logical and scientific in your thinking?[!]” It took me about 15 minutes to do (I did feel like I was entering a slightly trance-like state around question 175), and then, as a computer charted my results, I was treated to the Dianetics video I discussed earlier. After that 45 minutes of enlightenment, I was taken into a back room where my personality chart was given to me.
According to the “Scientometric Testing Manual” I scored quite high in some areas, such as Capable, and abysmally low in others, such as Lack of Accord.
My high point resulted in the following reading:
“You are irresponsible in your life and work. You blame others about you for what your are [sic] and will accept no idea that you had any responsibility for what has happened or will happen. The fact that you are quite capable and overt and yet so irresponsible shows that you are capable of doing things without regard for consequences. This is a very dangerous attitude and will, if it has not already, get you into trouble. That can be helped with Scientology.”
And that was my high point!
My low point was analyzed a bit more harshly.
“You are quite cold-blooded and heartless. Your complete inability to project yourself into another person’s place or situation and thus better understand that person causes a great deal of difficulty for you in your associations with people in your life. You place too much importance on yourself and opinions to be able to be considerate to others. Scientology can improve this.”
Well, thank goodness Scientology can cure both my high and low points!
Along with my chart and reading, I was also handed an evaluation script, which I soon suspected was a mistake on the part of the obvious novice who was testing me. The script openly betrays the goal of such introductory encounters – to hook the unsuspecting into taking Scientology courses. Here is an exerpt from the script:
This evaluation script is based on the Scientometric Testing Manual.
“Good Afternoon/Evening (give person’s name). My name is (give it). I am a Scientologist. Please sit down.”
“Now let’s look at your personality. This is what you’ve told us about yourself. Understand that this is not our opinion of you, but is a factual scientific analysis taken from your answers. It is your opinion of you.”
The idea is to impinge on the person. The more resistive or argumentative he is, the more the points should be slammed home. Look him straight in the eye and let him know, “That is the way it is.”
“Above this line is satisfactory but even these points can be raised higher. Also knowledge is necessary to make full use of the best points of one’s personality. That can be gained through Scientology.
“These middle points will get you by, so long as there is no crisis or difficulty in your life.”
“Now, this section shows that you are very much in need of help.”
Proceed with evaluation on the syndromes and low points, using the following points. Read each point to the person. If the subject agrees says, “That’s right“, or “That describes me all right“, or Similar leave it immediately. You have impinged. If he argues or protests, don’t insist. You simply are not talking on his reality level. Re-phrase your statement until it is real to him. Stop as soon as you get through. As soon as you get an impingement, look subject in the face and say, with intention, “Scientology can help you with that” or “That can be changed with Scientology,”…
NEVER say it half heartedly, or apologetically!
Don’t bother much with the high points. If he queries them tell him it is the low ones that are the cause of his troubles – and that these can be changed. If several are high you can add that because of these it will be easier for him than for most people, to use Scientology to improve with.
The Evaluator now leans back and says “That’s it.” Incomer is hanging on ropes. If incomer says anything like “What can I do about it?” Evaluator says “That is very commendable. A good point in your favour, wanting to do something about it. Look, I’m technical staff here. I don’t have anything to do with sales or courses, but if you’d like a confidential tip, there are all sorts of courses and services going on here all the time. Your best bet would be to take one of the beginning services and discover what Scientology can offer you. This will save you from getting involved. Go and see that lady over there and tell her you only want one of the beginning services so you can find out what Scientology is all about.”
It seems that regardless of your personality profile, Scientology can help you. Despite their attempts to gain respect as just another mainstream religion, Scientology continues to challenge the credulity of even the most gullible true-believer, and to paint itself as a cult with such childishly manipulative recruiting methods.
1) Singer, Margaret T. Cults in Our Midst. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995.