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The Disappointment of Scientology

Nuisances which are caused by people in responsible positions will never be cleared up with force. They will only be made worse.
L. Ron Hubbard [1]

A Reason to Leave

As far back as anyone can remember, the mind of man has competed and fought over the contents of philosophy, psychology, and religion, and will probably continue to do so in the future. A content-based public discussion seldom leads to results, outside of causing the affronted group members to cling closer to each other. The convinced Christian will effortlessly bat away attacks against his teaching just as the convinced Freudian or Scientologist or adherent will do for their teachings.

Teachings which make an absolute claim appear constantly. Scientology also makes an absolute claim, even if they want to dispute it with outsiders. Because many people have achieved something positive with Scientology, they support this claim as a consequence of their own experience. [2]

Critical thoughts can enter the picture if someone, such as I was, is directly concerned, is not a conformist, and feels motivated to a more exact examination. On the inside of Scientology I had, as did many others, failures in my development which constantly led back to the single-mindedness or inexperience of individual staff members, or to "the Amis [Americans], who had no idea about Europe", never, however, to evil intentions or to deliberate actions. [3]

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All the experience in the five years before my official resignation revised this fundamental opinion. Systematic failures of the Scientology organization too numerous to count (at the cost of the individual, so that it has to do with the sum of millions and therefore with existence) led to the conclusion that thoughts and actions inherent to the system caused the failed developments. A lack of the ability for internal criticism shattered any attempt for correction. Scientology has always regarded itself as the religion of all religions. It sees itself as the "end point of the quest" for people. Lies, defamation, coerced experiments, the radical uprooting of business relations and similar experiences give rise to the suspicion that an elite group is occupying itself in a Machiavellian manner with the defense of its position and sinecure[4], while empty goals are set up only as magnets to attract the normal people (and source of income). What rationally thinking person would not support the goal of a civilization without criminality and without war?

Anyone may think what he wants to about the philosophical, psychological and esoteric contents of Scientology. The contents as such should not be the topic of discussion. Otherwise a favorite work in any esoteric book shop could be taken as a target. What needs to be discussed much more is the worldwide claim to power, as well as the internal measures which lead up to either the equally disregarded polite acceptance or the stanching of any thought, be it uncritical or critical. Just as objectionable is the reaction to external critics, which is marked not by any content-based discussion at all, but by personally attacking the critics. Hubbard himself gave clear instructions concerning psycho-terrorism and inventing threats against governments and courts.

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It is no wonder that the question has arisen in Germany as to whether the effects of Scientology are compatible with the Constitution.

Whenever Scientology must defend itself, it always appeals to its own understanding of itself as a religion, along with the associated freedom of religion. Therefore it must be evaluated in reference to how it treats itself. This chapter is the saddest one.

My Letter of Resignation

November 5, 1993
After a few days of precise wording, it's ready today - a four and one-half page letter to Scientology, written bilingually in German and English, which imparts and explains my withdrawal from the "church." It is the result of a process which took many years to complete.

November 8
Today my letter of resignation had to have been received by the Scientology Church. There was no reaction.

November 16
My company billed one of the Scientology organizations for services performed at $10,000. With taxes and exchange fees I send a bill for over $14,000. Almost two years have gone by since the service was performed, and I have not yet received any money from it. For this reason I permit myself to inform them that I will take legal proceedings against them if I do not receive the confirmation of payment within 24 hours. The fax went to Los Angeles, to the headquarters of Scientology. I sent one copy to the local Scientology organization in Zurich. They informed me that the Chief of the Zurich Office for Special Affairs, Juerg Stettler[5], had just returned from Los Angeles and would be getting in touch with me in the next few days.

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Deliberate Undermining of Friends

November 20
I detect a first reaction, for which Juerg Stettler is responsible - even if only indirectly. My wife and I were on our way home from a visit with friends. It was thirty minutes after midnight. During our drive I observed that a car was following us. Martin Weber [name changed], one of our business friends, is on his way to see us. At this hour?

We had informed him several days earlier of our official withdrawal. Now he had waited on us almost two hours, driving around, stopping at restaurants, and looking in on us to see when we would be on our way home.

With the suspicion that he had been treacherously and malevolently deceived, he sat across from us. He was totally upset as he observed us distrustfully. He had come from a meeting with Juerg Stettler. We learned what adventurous story about us had been told him, clever lies, and how it had been made clear to him that he need have no further contact with us.

Scientology had wanted to "help Tom", is how the talk began, in which course it was very cleverly presented that I was an enemy of Scientology and that I had exploited it in for my own personal reasons. Since I had been marked as a "suppressive person"[6], I was not surprised at this. In their discussion with him, the Scientology people had professionally interrogated Martin Weber in order to get all the information about me they could.[7]

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We conversed with Martin Weber until six o'clock the next morning, and showed him the extensive correspondence which had documented a part of our experiences with Scientology for the past three years. We showed him:

We were ready to show Martin Weber everything we had stored on computer, but he had had enough. The contradiction between claims and reality of the Scientology understanding of ethics was clear to him. In the meantime it was six thirty, and a new day had dawned.

My wife and I asked each other, "Is this what religious freedom is supposed to be?"

November 22

Telephone call from Christian Egli [name changed], also a member of Scientology. Juerg Stettler had talked with him about us over the telephone. His response was that in our position he would have also turned away from Scientology.

November 23

Another call from Christian Egli. At a meeting with Juerg Stettler in the Scientology organization he had made his intentions to him quite clear, and recommended that he get directly in touch with us himself.

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November 25
We had just eaten, and were expecting visitors when the bell rang at 9:30 p.m. At the door stood Juerg Stettler, the Chief of Scientology Zurich and the press representative of Swiss Scientology himself, as well as two higher officials from Scientology headquarters in Los Angeles. They just "happened" to be in the area[8], explained Juerg Stettler with a friendly smile. My wife answered that we were expecting visitors, but we could have them over on Saturday for a talk.


November 26
9:30 p.m., the three gentleman were here, all three from the "Office for Special Affairs". One -- he called himself Neil O'Reilly and did not want to clearly say which position he held in Scientology management -- was the discussion leader and acted very friendly. They were here to see if the difference of opinion could somehow be cleared up. I made it clear to them that the cause of my formal departure was in no way connected only with my personal differences, but included the standard of conduct by the Scientology staff which I had observed with normal members. This standard of conduct was not acceptable to me, and apparently it would be impossible to advance criticism within the confines of the organization and bring about true changes. They reacted with friendliness and understanding. Juerg Stettler said practically nothing.

The other man from headquarters, Alan Cartwright, interrupted briefly to ask if it was really clear to both of us that, by our withdrawal, we would lose our circle of friends[9], and also our personal future on the way to spiritual freedom. Because I had noted that he was not at all interested in an honest settlement, I casually responded as to whether or not his understanding of religious freedom included forbidding contact with us, either directly or indirectly. To this question Alan Cartwright had no answer. I did not get involved in the other part of his question as it is nonsense, and I will not comment on it.

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It struck me that I had looked at our village of about 6,000 inhabitants about three months ago, and that I had imagined that only Scientologists lived there, and they all knew I resigned. At the time I shuddered at the thought. That kind of situation would have forced us to leave town.

I know someone who also left Scientology, and since then he has been leaving his place of work at four in the afternoon so that he would not run into other Scientologists from his village, which had made for some very strange appearances.

Somehow it came to me that 60 years in the past the Jews must have felt exactly the same way in Germany.

The three gentlemen left us two hours later. It was a thorough yet amicable discussion. My wife and I entertained the hope that Scientology would try to reach a settlement with us directly as well as maintain their friendly relations. But not for long.


December 2
I called up Ulrich Berger [name changed], who had been my close business partner for over five years. He was a Scientologist. On the evening of December first he had been called in to the Scientology ethics office. There the Ethics Officer showed him our letter of resignation as well as various places in the book "Die Ethik der Scientology" [Scientology Ethics]. Ulrich Berger was completely demoralized and said, almost word for word, that he imagined he had committed the biggest crime in his life by not preventing our withdrawal from Scientology. I asked him to drop by to see us right away.

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Ulrich Berger came by around 11:30 p.m., and I also showed him the documentation of our experiences over the past years with Scientology. He thought, according to what we had told him, that Scientology had been amicable with us on November 26, and had appeared to try to solve the problem because they wanted to prevent us from hanging out their laundry for them. There may have been some truth in that.

After further incidents the friendliness of our Scientology visitor resumed. Calls were being made clear across Switzerland, and also into Germany, to determine which Scientologists I had been in contact with, so that those connections could be destroyed. But there were no signs of an honest interest in the resolution of the situation.[10]


Petra Schmidt, who had seen Scientology as a sensible alternative to the Christian church, explained why she had departed from Scientology a few years ago:

At the end of the Seventies more and more strange events were taking place. Hubbard's wife, Mary, was legally sentenced, deserving Scientologists went to the RPF [11], where they were all of a sudden not so deserving, and all at once the concept of "ethics" took on a new sense -- it was used for the punishment of rebellious members. Or maybe we had just begun to notice it for the first time, because we were model personnel who had been spoiled for years. With the appearance of the [Scientology] Finance Police, it was a different wind that blew. We observed how franchise owners, who had been serving Scientology for years, were declared to be suppressive.

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How uneducated and arrogant young people took over their posts and how auditors of tenure left the church. When someone wanted to force an "ethics procedure" on me because I had noticed and said something about these absurdities, I left the Church of Scientology. That was no longer the group that I had joined a few years ago, and with a stroke of the pen had indebted myself to supporting the machinations of a mafia-like organization.

This opinion leaves nothing to the imagination. This woman has hit upon the beginning of the radical re-organization of Scientology.

The membership with Scientology apparently left a stronger impression upon Michael Muller [name changed]:

I needed one year, just to get a little bit of distance, and to regain my senses. [...] Scientology is an extremely well thought-out, finely geared, and far-reaching network of power, which is comprised of many teachings. Of the many teachings, only those which are used by the power of Scientology are selected. Essential parts are left out and replaced by others, in particular the black-white theory, in which people are forced into one of two camps. Into the good, productive people (recognized in that they are acknowledged by Scientology) and into the rest (recognized through their rejection by Scientology). This is established as the basis of great evil. And during membership in Scientology, it is impossible to escape. One is always in this perfidious, finely-meshed conceptual estate through continuous involvement with the teachings of Hubbard; it is forbidden to be involved with other teachings because one does not want to compromise the progress of Scientology. In this way, access to other teachings are completely shut off, as is the chance to gain continuing understanding.

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The prison is perfectly constructed. Through this egotistical exclusion of the rest of the intellectual world and the imprisonment in the power and consciousness machinery, Scientology forges the personal, spiritual aura of a person into complete dependence and blindness. It needs several repairs and a huge cash tax. One can only see the effects of Scientology if he is successful in separating himself from it. [...] In this matter, we are not protected by the state, either.




The Disappointment of Scientology

  1. L. Ron Hubbard (HCO PL May 11, 1991, Opinion Leaders [Return]
  2. I could learn and experience a positive attitude with Scientology; their absolute claim was almost always suspect with me, although occasionally I let myself be dragged into such thoughts by the momentum of the group. [Return]
  3. Such opinions and doubts were only "selectively" exchanged in the closest circle of friends, because we have neither time nor inclination for annoying and naive ethics interrogations induced through some fanatics who scented defeat of the world by Scientology and authored a written announcement. [Return]
  4. For example, WISE, the Commerce Department of Scientology has as a definite goal (agreement of 1991) the dissemination of Hubbard's written writings. For this reason, so-called "Dissemination games" are part of the contract with an advisor. He, the contractor, "may" take part in delivering people in his circle of customers to the Scientology Church. So do not be surprised that WISE business advisors are publicly designated as religious missionaries.
    Here is a concrete example of the internal WISE practice: in an "ethics court" a business advisor not only lost his license (legitimate claim by publication violation) to WISE, but he, as the senior partner of the company, also was relieved of his function as business leader! Thrown out of his own company! Scientology punished him further with 500 hours reparation. Besides that the serious charge was levied that the company library for the employees contained two books from psychologists; he induced the dilution of the pure teaching of Scientology. In other respects he was to have interspersed Hubbard's teachings with his own opinions .. And such a "court sentence", together with its motivation was blessed by the highest posts of Scientology. [Return]
  5. Earlier he was the speaker of Scientology Germany. [Return]
  6. In Scientology the designation of "suppressive person" is the worst that you can say about a person. Scientology means, with this term, a deeply malevolent person who harms humanity. [Return]
  7. Former residents of East Germany can easily complete such discussion techniques "thanks" to their experiences with Stasi (secret police). [Return]
  8. Each locality knows that someone who looks in on us does not "just happen to be in the vicinity." [Return]
  9. He does not know that we have only a small circle of friends among the Scientologists, but I can well imagine how it would be for someone at such a moment, who has friends only among the members of the Scientology church. The damage to the circle of friends often means the collapse of the entire social network. [Return]
  10. The tactic of creating and destroying the relationship of friends has the advantage for Scientology that they prevent other members from independently informing themselves of both sides.
    Of course the other tactics of Scientology are also known to me from my own experience. They collect as much information about a person as they possibly can in order to be able to agitate in the directions of credit damage and slander. [Return]
  11. RPF, Rehabilitation Project Force: a type of penal camp for members of the Sea Organization, if one may believe former participants, and officially declared as a rehabilitation project. The highlights (the RPF's RPF) are, amongst others, no pay, work only in the bilges, where dirty water, machine oil and grease collect, and at most six hours of sleep. [Return]