Scientology Crime Syndicate

From: Raphael Russell <aod1@home.com>
Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 03:19:12 GMT

Hello, you might remember me as Noah Body. However, I have no intention of using that pseudonym in the future. You see, there's no more need to do so.

Yesterday I took a little trip to Baton Rouge. I live in the New Orleans area, which surprisingly for a religion that has 8 million members worldwide, doesn't have any Scientology offices. The purpose for my visit was to see first hand what Scientology recruitment techniques and to attempt to maintain some semblance of impartiality when weighing what I think I know about Scientology.

First, a little background. I was first introduced to the concept of anti-scientology approximately 2 and a half weeks ago. My initial readings covered things like "Xenu" and "overboarding" and "thetans", not to mention "SP" and "Fair Game". I have to admit that I was hooked, it was like reading a (non existent) science fiction novel cowritten by Hubbard and Heinlein. I was at once titillated, disturbed, and fascinated by the things I read. At first, I accepted what I read as fact, but then I realized that I was falling into an intellectual trap. After all, the things I was reading were nothing short of fantastical. The things that were described to me were nothing short of insane.

So, I took it upon myself to be a bit more critical. After all, if things were really that bad, surely I'd be able to independantly verify their existence. So, with that decided, I decided to go to the Baton Rouge mission and see just what it was like there.

I arrived at the Hubbard Dianetics Center on Common street at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon. It was a fairly warm, sunny Southern spring day, which means after a few minutes being outside I was sweating. I knocked on the door of the mission, and in a halting manner introduced myself and "explained" why I was there. I said that a friend of mine was into Scientology and that they had spoken glowingly of it and that I was curious about it. They invited me in and gave me what looked vaguely like an application to fill out. On this application was the typical name, address, telephone number in addition to fields for things like "Do you suffer from any of the following:" and "What would you like to improve in your life?".

The area I was seated in while I filled out the form looked something like what you might expect a psychiatrist's office to look like. The furniture was upholstered, the interior very neat, and three of four walls were lined with bookshelves. The bookshelves were lined with many copies of books, each of them bearing L. Ron Hubbard's name. Titles such as "Problems of Work" stared back at me. Additionally, there was a table in the center of the room overflowing with oversized copies of Dianetics (By L. Ron Hubbard, don'cha know?).

After I'd filled out the application, I was taken into a small office in the back and I spoked to a reasonably pleasant woman about how I'd heard about scientology, why I was there, whom I heard it from, exactly where I lived, what my interest was in scientology, just whom I'd heard about scientology from, why I'd driven all the way from New Orleans to visit the scientology center, and who it was again that I'd heard about scientology from. In my opinion, the amount of questioning was a bit excessive for someone new who was coming in for the first time. In all my prior experience with buisnesses or religions, if they bothered to ask at all, the only asked if someone referred to you, and after that, proceeded to get down to business.

This woman was fairly pleasant about the process, but I couldn't help but notice how tired she seemed. Here eyes had a sunken look to them, and her makeup failed to conceal the very heavy shadows underneath her eyes. Additionally, there was some kind of rash or insect bites underneath her chin that weren't quite concealed by her make-up. She didn't exactly look ill, but she certainly seemed to not be in the best of health. Also, at several points during the time I talked about her, she commented on the "very long" hours that she worked.

After she was done doing that interview, she asked me what I'd heard about scientology since I had previously said that I'd heard some very strange things about their organization. She asked me what I'd heard about, and I'd mentioned "Something about a scientologist dying in California or Florida or something" which was a fairly obvious reference to Lisa McPherson, though I didn't actually say her name. The woman's response was something to the effect of "We just received a bulletin about that and I know all about it. You know how sometimes people have an embolism as a result of complications from surgery? Well, that's what happened in Florida. In fact, it just recently happened to an athlete." Just for the record, I have seen copies of the McPherson autopsy report and attendant photos before I went up there. My purpose in asking this question was to ensure that I'd have some bit of knowledge with which to ground myself as I went through this process.

After that initial interview, I was taken into a small room and given the "Oxford Personality Test" which is two hundred questions long and according to this woman was developed by Oxford University. I took this test, and for the most part, took it "straight", meaning that I gave the answers I felt I would give if I were a genuinely interested recruit.

After I finished the "personality test" (which is available word for word online), my results were fed into a computer and a page of explainations was spat out at me. There was, in addition, a chart that had a line that zigzagged all over the place which for some reason, this woman expected me to find personally meaningful. The meanings the printout gave to the graph that I was showed included a number of things, some of which were unrelated, others that were contradictory. If I didn't seem too enthusiastic about the explaination, I was encouraged to come up with my own explaination as to why the graph reflected a particular result. That struck me as kinda odd, since ostensibly, they were the ones who were supposed to know what those graphs and charts meant.

After the smoke and mirrors act with the graph, I was then informed that there was a course that would really help me out a lot. She called it the "Hubbard Dianetics Seminar" and said that since they were celebrating the 30th aniversary of Scientology that week that they'd throw in a free copy of _Dianetics if I signed up right away along with the 55 dollar cost of the 16-20 hour seminar. I balked at signing up right away, and said that I'd really like to "sleep on it" before I made a decision. I was then told that because of the way my personality was, I'd almost certainly back out of it if I didn't commit right away and that I'd find excuses to keep me from improving myself. This didn't get me to change my mind, so she offered a small discount on the seminar price, which was now 47 bucks.

Even with this "incentive" (it was still a 1 hour drive to get to baton rouge to attend this seminar), I still didn't sign up. That's when she *really* turned on the hard sell. She tried every trick in the book to convince me that signing up right now was URGENT. This went on for almost half an hour before I stopped it.

I told her why I was really there.

I explained to her who I was, and my reasons for visiting that scientology mission. I also explained to her some of the things I'd seen about scientology and what I'd experienced in the recruitment process. For the most part, her reaction was stony silence. She kept a fairly good poker face, but unlike before, when the conversation had been hers, I was doing the talking. Her attitude was now clipped where before it had been effusive, and she seemed a bit nervous. Additionally, her dialogue became a bit vulgar, though it was never directed at me.

I did my best to keep things non confrontational. I made no accusations, and kept my observations mostly in the third person. Furthermore, I didn't accuse her or her organization of anything more severe than the hard sell, though I did mention some of the more 'exotic' things I'd seen on the internet regarding scientology. I also asked her about her involvement in the church, and what scientology meant to her. She'd told me that she first became involved in '93, and 3 years ago she decided to become a full time participater in group activities. When I asked her about her work, she was reticent but did mention "very long hours". Also, I asked about her advancement up the bridge and was told that she was still pre-clear.

After I felt that the conversation had run its course, I thanked the woman for her time, and apologized for deceiving her into thinking that I was a genuine applicant. She was reasonably polite and even gave me a (free!) copy of Dianetics to take with me.

The result of my trip was that, though I didn't verify too many stories about Scientology's excesses, I did learn that they have a very real spin control mechanism in effect, and are willing to officially lie about the Lisa McPherson incident. I also learned that what were reported as official scientology recruiting methods are true, at least as far as the mission in Baton Rouge goes.

So now I'm at an impasse? Now that I'm convinced that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, what do I need to do to be certain that I should take some course of action, if indeed action is merited? I anxiously await any and all advice on this matter.



The views and opinions stated within this web page are those of the author or authors which wrote them and may not reflect the views and opinions of the ISP or account user which hosts the web page. The opinions may or may not be those of the Chairman of The Skeptic Tank.

Return to The Skeptic Tank's main Index page.

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank