3. THE SCIENTOLOGY CHURCH 3.1 History of the Movement and its Founder 3.1.1 Hubbard before Scientology 3.1.2 The Formation of Dianetics 3.1.3 The Formation of Scientology 3.1.4 Scientology after Hubbard 3.2 Views and Practices of Scientology 3.2.1 Dianetics: becoming "clear" 3.2.2 Scientology: becoming an "Operating Thetan" 3.2.3 An Aggressive System of Sales 3.2.4 Numerical statistics on the movement 3.3 Presence of Scientology in Switzerland 3.3.1 Introduction 3.3.2 Initiatives inspired by Scientology 3.3.3 Reactions of the Authorities
NOT an official translation:
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3. The Scientology Church
3.1 History of the Movement and its Founder
3.1.1 Hubbard before Scientologie
Scientology regards the American, Lafayette Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) as its "Source." Since his biography cannot really be separated from the story of how the movement came about, it is necessary, in order to understand this form of the group, to summarize a brief life history of Hubbard. The narratives of his life's story are at variance with each other, depending on whether one reads the Scientology literature (which presents him from youth on as an extraordinary character), or if one reads the investigative results set forth by independent researchers.
We are not conducting a broad investigation of the real life history of Hubbard. Anyone who is familiar with his personality will determine that Hubbard was blessed with a rich fantasy. This may explain his rich literary career. Beginning in 1930, he published dozens of novels (partly under various pseudonyms). These texts, which appealed to the profane interests of his readers, were mass produced and sold cheaply (his repertoire went from westerns to crime novels and adventure stories to science fiction). He also wrote for various magazines (such as Astounding Science Fiction, Detective Star Magazine, Famous Western, Thrilling Adventures, etc.).
In 1942 Hubbard was drafted into the reserves of the American Navy. When the United States entered the war, he was dispatched to Australia, however, after several months he had to travel back to American because of disagreements with his superiors. As a consequence of further incidents in 1943, he was never assigned an unsupervised command function again, and apparently was never assigned to combat operations.
From that time on he had the tendency to see conspiracies everywhere; the expert of this work group has seen a photocopy of a letter Hubbard sent to the American intelligence agency charging someone he knew of being a "German spy." He is also familiar with copies of various charges Hubbard sent to the FBI in the 1950s to expose alleged communist agents (including his wife at the time); he accused her in particular of having attempted to infiltrate the organization founded by him. The FBI came to the conclusion that Hubbard's accusations were groundless. One document from the FBI dated April 27, 1952, contained the impression of the agent whom Hubbard had given his information to, "Agent conducting interview considered Hubbard to be a mental case." We mention this judgment of the personality of the founder of Scientology because this characteristic influenced the mental attitude which he gave his movement in areas which have a direct interest to questions being addressed.
3.1.2 The Formation of Dianetics
During a stay in a hospital at the end of the World War Hubbard tested "the healing techniques developed by him," and this permitted him "to again fully recover.". However, this did not hinder him from then applying to the Veterans Administration for an examination to receive partial disability.
In the second half of the 1940's, Hubbard developed a technique which he described as Dianetics, which was mentioned for the first time in December, 1949, in the "Astounding Science Fiction" magazine. Hubbard had succeeded in winning the leading editor of this widely distributed magazine over to his ideas. This was certainly an unusual platform for the publication of a psychotherapeutic method, but it proved to be an ideal one for Hubbard: in fact, he reached a group of readers in the science fiction aficionados who were open to unconventional ideas and were ready to experiment with new techniques. While the publisher preferred an optimistic outlook to a critical one, "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health", supported by the advertisement in the magazine, rapidly became a best-seller. Although dianetic therapy had never been subject to any serious scientific investigation, it made numerous promises and had the advantage of being a "do it yourself" technique.
Dianetics was the trend for a while, during which time psychologists and psychiatrists expressed serious reservations about it. "It is not so much the content of this book which deserves analysis as its effect on the average reader's mind," declared Dr. Martin Gumpert, who saw in the success of the work proof of a contemporary attitude "to fall prey to pseudo-scientific concepts." After a thorough shredding of "this dangerous book" he concluded that that type of psychotherapy presented a "serious menace to public health." Dr. Morris Fishbein, former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, could not understand for his part how one could take this "poor man's psychoanalysis" seriously. Although other criticisms were somewhat more moderate, and took the possibility of a useful effect into consideration, they nevertheless expressed perturbation as to the effect of the application of these techniques by inexperienced persons, and most of the criticism was relentless. Rejection by the experts was unanimous. Hubbard's unshakable hostility toward psychiatrists stems from this period.
Dianetics was not reinforced by a structured organization. Before the appearance of his book in April, 1950, the author had founded the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation with several of his first enthusiasts. However, it was possible to use Dianetics without ever having set foot in the Foundation. This fact presented Hubbard with his first problem: how could he retain control over that which he had created? Even in his own group the other members refused to give him the absolute power he desired, and this was not the only difficulty he was having at that time.
Over the course of the months the original enthusiasm ebbed. The number of people who were interested in supporting the offered courses declined. Hubbard's attempt to widely advertise the alleged effects of dianetic practices failed. A few of his allies began to question his intentions. In any case he had a dispute with his wife and their marriage hit the rocks. After the financial failure of the first [dianetic] foundation, a second foundation had more material problems and completely escaped Hubbard's control. More than one Dianetics adherent was of the opinion that the movement could be continued without its inventor.
3.1.3 The Formation of Scientologie
In this situation Hubbard worked out a new system, Scientologie, which had a built in control to gain back Dianetics. This time it was a structured attempt which was connected with a stipulation of maintaining leadership lines and practices as prescribed by Hubbard. The same Dianeticists who had deliberated upon their independence did not err when they viewed this new attempt as "an attempt by Hubbard to ensure a monopoly on Dianetics and Scientology in an authoritarian manner." Hardened by his experiences in the early fifties, Hubbard kept a tight control on the application of his teachings and mercilessly opposed anyone who tried to use them in his own fashion; today Scientology still battles any deviation. Making Dianetics a part of Scientology became an important organizational factor.
At that time, Hubbard also began to present his movement as religion. One of the reasons for extending Dianetics into Scientologie was that dianetic therapy produced experiences which allegedly stemmed out of a past life. This was a topic in which, after initial hesitation, Hubbard became very interested. This opened horizons which went beyond any classical therapy and which advanced into spiritual areas. Scientologie affirmed the spiritual character of the being and was based upon a cosmology.
Hubbard founded the Hubbard Association of Scientologists in 1952. In April, 1953, Hubbard wrote to one of his assistants that it was, in his opinion, time to change over from a medical image to a religious image. In December, 1953, he founded the Scientology Church. One of the goals mentioned in the certificate of incorporation was "to instruct in spiritual healing acts". The redesignation as a religion not only brought about an apparent tax advantage (in the United States) and permitted the group to claim religious freedom, but it also offered the advantage of taking the psychotherapeutic teachings, to a certain degree, out of the area of criticism by the experts, since they presumably would not criticize the value of a spiritual technique. Despite this, one can observe a continuous schism between the scientific and the religious claims whereby the group makes use of one as much as it does the other.
The movement first expanded into the English-speaking countries; in 1959 the first Scientology Church outside of the English-speaking hemisphere was founded in Paris, and it was not until the late 1960's that the Scientology Churches got a foothold in other non-English-speaking countries (the first, in 1968, was Denmark, which today is the location of the European headquarters).
In 1959, during an expansion phase of the movement, Hubbard acquired an estate in Saint Hill, Sussex, and settled there in Great Britain. For several years, Saint Hill became the international headquarters of the movement. During this time, the structure of the organization was considerably strengthened, and turned into a well-oiled and impressive bureaucratic machine" at whose head Hubbard stood as the uncontested authority and ruled by means of innumerable policy letters which filled multiple voluminous tomes. These encompassed far-reaching themes, always regulated the operation of the movement, augmented Hubbard's books, lectures and other texts, and so created an environment which corresponded exactly to the fundamentals of Scientology.
The mechanisms of internal control were constantly reinforced, and so it was definitely no coincidence that politicians in several countries began to express their concern about Scientology at this time (a prohibition of Scientology in the state of Victoria, Australia in December, 1965, did not prevent Scientology from carrying on under a different name.
In 1966, Hubbard officially resigned as general director of Scientology, although he still kept actual control of the movement. Also in 1966, Hubbard discretely purchased a ship which was followed by others in the ensuing years. In 1967, he led his little flotilla with some loyal adherents out to sea. He appointed himself Commodore and wore a magnificent self-designed naval officer's uniform. The founding of the "Sea Organization," Sea Org for short, also occurred at this time. This group, which forms the elite corps of Scientology, consisted at the beginning of people who were chosen from Hubbard's acquaintances from the decks of his fleet; they wore naval uniforms and rank. Although the fleet was disestablished in 1975, and Hubbard resided once again on the mainland, the Sea Org still exists today, and its shore-stranded members of the Scientology centers still wear the same uniform; their activity is marked by heavier discipline and the members obligate themselves by signing a contract for one billion years! That is how one understands the their motto "Revenimus" (we come back) . . . According to official statements they total about 5,000 members; they have the leading internal management functions.
From 1976, the international headquarters of the movement was no longer on board ship, but on American soil. Hubbard desired that his life be shielded as much as possible from public view: the controversy surrounding the Scientology Church increased in several countries, and the "Commodore's" fear of plots from his alleged enemies grew. We will refer to some of Hubbard's efforts later. As a consequence he withdrew to various secret locations in California. From 1980 until his death in 1986, he lived in complete isolation and dealt with the rest of the movement only through two adherents of his closest acquaintance, who relayed his messages. The words with which the Scientology magazines announced his death clearly relate the status which he had gained:
"Thus, at 2000 hours, Friday 24 January 1986, L. Ron Hubbard discarded the body he had used in this lifetime for seventy-four years, ten months and eleven days. The body he had used to facilitate his existence in this universe had ceased to be useful and in fact had become an impediment to the work he now must do outside its confines. The being we knew as L. Ron Hubbard still exists. Although you may feel grief, understand that he did not, and does not now. He has simply moved on to his next step. LRH in fact used this lifetime and body we knew to accomplish what no man has ever accomplished -- he unlocked the mysteries of life and gave us the tools so we could free ourselves and our fellow men ..."
[Translator's note: The above is the English original. Because there are differences, the literal English translation from the official Scientology German cited in the Swiss report follows:]
"[Hubbard] has now ended all his research and has gone to the next level of research [...]. On this level, the body is nothing more than a hindrance and simply bars the way to further gain [...]. On January 24, 1986, L. Ron Hubbard rid himself of his body, which had served him for 74 years in this life. As Scientologists, we know better than all others that we are not bodies. We have bodies. Our present body is only one of many bodies. L. Ron Hubbard used in this life that body with which we are familiar to accomplish what no man has accomplished before. He solved the puzzle of life and gave us the tools which permit us to free ourselves and all other people."
3.1.4 Scientology after Hubbard
The last years of Hubbard's life, which he spent without any direct contact with the Scientologists, were marked inside of the organization by serious power struggles and widespread purges which led to the power takeover by today's management. Since 1982, all patented marks of Scientology - which had been until then in Hubbard's possession - have been under the control of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), which has been chaired since 1987 by David Miscavige (whose parents were Scientologists and who has spent practically his entire life in the service of the organization.).
The RTC does not formally belong to the administrative structure of the Church and does not take part in its day to day activities. Nevertheless, it controls the church completely since it has the power to deny the use of Scientology's name and technology to whomever does not obey its directives; the RTC is the watch guardian of the completely "orthodox" application of the Scientology technology. By this means, it is the highest church office and, in regard to the preservation and the standardized application of Hubbard's technology, it stands over the international hierarchy of the Church. It is probable that management will be split by further continuing rivalries. In the current time frame, much lies in Miscavige's holding the reins of Scientology tightly in hand, although he never misses an opportunity to emphasize that he has no function inside of the real church.
3.2. Views and Practices of Scientologie
We will predominantly rely on the works of others for the description of the basic characteristics of the outlooks and practices of Scientologie. Others have occupied themselves over the long term with observation of the movement, and a few have tried to form their own synthesis, which would require a complete overview of the entire enormous Scientology complex. As it has turned out from our historic overview, Dianetics formed the first stage, therefore it will serve our purpose to begin with that.
According to the dianetic theory, man is good by nature, and the problems he has come from "aberrations" which cause irregularities in spiritual abilities. Dianetics describes the "analytical mind" as a wonderful machine which records all perceptions of a person in the course of his lifetime, from his birth to his death. Supposedly, everything he records permits him to make the most intelligent of all possible decisions for his survival.
3.2.1 Dianetics: becoming "clear"
According to the dianetic interpretation, the life of the soul does not consist of only the analytical mind: it also encompasses the reactive mind in which engrams are embedded. Engrams are complete recordings down to the tiniest detail of the collective perceptions of an individual during a time of total or partial unconsciousness (in a faint or on narcotics, for example). As soon as they are stimulated, these engrams behave fully autonomously of the analytical mind. Therefore they cause the person to make decisions and behave in a manner which does not unconditionally promote his survival.
Through this means the person is the result of various determinisms which influence his existence, instead of being at cause over his own life. In dianetic terminology the individual who is subject to the instructions of engrams is described as an "aberee." Dianetic therapy strives to free the individual from engrams thereby making it possible for him to achieve "cleared" status, i.e., a person who no longer suffers from aberration and therefore has the best chance for survival. A person of this sort is also said to gain a higher intelligence quotient and have less of a risk of illness.
In order to free the reactive mind from the engrams it contains, the dianetic practitioner, the "auditor," invites "the patient" to assume a state of relaxed concentration, and he asks him to travel back into his past life. In this situation, the circumstance which caused the engram enters into the person's consciousness. The re-experiencing of the experience is said to weaken its effects or, in the best case, to remove them altogether in that they are now reduced to a circumstance of common recall and therefore are no longer reactive, but have been stored in the analytical mind. As already has been mentioned by several authors, the human mind in Hubbard's theory resembles a computer in which errors in storage lead to functional upsets. The goal of dianetic therapy would be to make it once against completely functional. Dianetics (which version we are presenting here is very simplified) identifies engrams as the source of all upset. According to the description in the Scientology literature:
<"The cleared state is a state which has never before been attained in the history of man. The clear possesses inherent basic abilities which, before he is freed of his reactive mind, he did not always have under his control. The existence of the clear's abilities have been neither suspected nor mentioned in the numerous considerations which are made in connection with the explanations of the abilities and the behavior of people [ . . . ] A clear enjoys life in its entirety. He can manage situations which he had previously judged to be hopeless. Enjoyment of life and happiness are the results of a cleared state.. >
3.2.2 Scientology: becoming an "Operating Thetan"
The prospect of developing personal capabilities to get the most out of life was the initial motivation people had for being interested in Scientology. In this stage, Scientology apparently has to do with a psychotherapeutic therapy (whose quality we will not judge here), although not a word is lost when it comes to religion, or a so-called religion. Dianetic auditing does not, however, limit itself to identifying and removing engrams which originate in the prenatal development stages. It soon became apparent that, in certain cases, a solution could be found in which one went back to past lives which were not only hundreds, but billions of years from our physical universe. A person was therefore neither a body nor a mind. Hubbard was intruding into an area which traditionally was dealt with by religion: into an area of the soul. A person does not have a soul; he is a spiritual being. In Scientology, this being is called a "Thetan". The Thetan is an immortal spirit, the creator of things. While Dianetics concerns itself with the mind, Scientologie addresses the Thetan. A "cleared" state is therefore only one stage in a much lengthier process.
The promise of attaining a higher status is the path which Scientologie has adopted. The goals consists of becoming an "Operating Thetan" (OT), that is, an individual who is capable of operating completely independently of his body and is no longer dependent upon the universe which surrounds us. One of the abilities of an OT is the ability to dematerialize, leave the body without dying, and then be able to return back to it.
Hubbard began to build a big enough backdrop for his stage to direct a cosmic play: it is the aim of an OT, in the course of his life, to escape the prison of MEST (matter, energy, space, time) and to discover his identity as a spirit who has lived through the course of billions of years in various bodies and various lives. [ . . . ] The categories of OT have given Scientologie a means of multiplying the number of statuses which an individual can obtain. The OT steps increase consecutively, each brings a new ability - certain capabilities of the higher steps have not yet been discovered. In order to reach these higher steps, further auditing sessions must be completed and special courses must be taken.>
The auditing continues. In the OT steps the member audits himself. Both Scientologie and Dianetics use a device for auditing known as an electrometer or electropsychometer (e-meter) which allegedly feels the lack of "the spiritual state or a change of condition of a person," thereby helping the auditor "to measure the zones which he should address." The audited person holds onto electrodes through which electric energy (1.5 volts) flow. The needle registers perceptible reactions which, according to the Scientology theory, permit the localization of engrams. The electrometer functions similar to a lie detector and lends the procedure a "scientific" and modern aura. Last but not least, this practice provided by the movement is extolled as "technology."
With the introduction of the OT steps, Scientologie goes in the direction of a "spiritual alpinism". The "bridge to total freedom," to use the vocabulary of the movement, consists of a number of possible statuses and a number of meaningful and, in the eyes of the members, promising, developmental stages, since they reflect for them status which has never before been achieved by mankind. These advancements require a concurrent "training" (that is, the study of Hubbard's teaching in regard to the application of the technology) and auditing (that is, the presumed improvement of his abilities). Scientologie does not, therefore, only deal in practices, but also entrusts unto those who get involved with it a doctrine of which they absorb more and more.
After the introductory course (in general, a communications course which helps the participant to better express himself), the newly indoctrinated person is faced with a series of steps which begins with the "Purification Rundown" (consists of physical exercises, sessions in the sauna, intake of vitamin and nutriments in order to to free him from the "restimulative effect of the residues of drugs and other poisons.") Some courses of training can be taken in the Scientology center of choice; others can only be taken in "advanced organizations (and the highest OT steps at only one place in the world).
After a series of levels which leads to the "cleared" condition (and which takes each person a long time depending on availability and the means he has at hand), he begins the climb up the OT steps. The current classification list goes up to OT XV. Today it is only possible to get up to OT VIII; the further steps are not attainable. Various people confirm that they have given a cumulative sum of hundreds of thousands of franks to reach OT VIII (1 Swiss frank = about $.75). One has the impression that Hubbard continually deferred the last stages: the system has always contained steps which which no member has ever reached.
What happens on the different OT steps? Scientology considers this material to be confidential and mercilessly sues anyone who exposes it and accuses them of the betrayal of trade secrets or of the violation of the religious convictions of the Scientologists, who regard this material as not being meant for public consumption. However, there have been enough dissidents who have published the contents of the OT steps so that one knows rather exactly what it is they deal with. In 1995, the texts of OT I through OT VII were even published on the internet. This led to violent reactions and to infliction of punishment and threats of suit by the movement in order to achieve the withdrawal of the documents. The OT steps consist of a mixture of the practice of auditing with the help of the electrometer, various exercises to be completed, and information regarding the history of the universe.
3.2.3 An Aggressive System of Sales
It is apparently not the perceptions of Scientology which have caused the long-term controversy, but the fact that all these practices emanate from a strongly structured and hierarchical group. In his first contact with the group, a person is invited to take the 200 question "personality test" ("Oxford Capacity Analysis:" it has nothing to do with the University at Oxford). The test has been used since the 1950's as a recruitment tool. Whatever the results of the test (whose actual worth has been viewed with skepticism by psychologists) are, the conclusion is made that the person who has taken the test is doing OK, but could only improve his abilities with Scientology. When the person is brought into the Scientology center in order to take the "free personality test," the recruiter already knows that he will suggest to the person that he take courses. The Scientology Church is in fact and in truth a finely tuned sales organization whose "missionaries" are trained in clear principles which have been defined by Hubbard: in order to "handle" the "public," one must never ask him to decide or choose, but must provide him certainty in a "didactic yet pleasant manner.".
<The art of hard sell consists of telling the people that they should do something. The art of hard sell relies upon sincere knowledge and encouragement, and not upon being "reasonable" with people who want "something else" or "other practices." There is nothing which is comparable to Dianetics or Scientology. Their value is beyond measure, and they will exist for all of time.>
The salespeople are encouraged all the more to make a sale to a customer in that Scientology operates on a system established on its statistical results; every Thursday afternoon in every Scientology organization around the world, statistics are turned in. It has to do with, explained Hubbard, aiming for a constantly rising statistic. Those whose statistics "rise" get all the rights, while those whose statistics "sink" have to be supervised.
"We reward production and up statistics and penalize non-production and down statistics. Always. Also we do it all by statistics - not rumor or personality or who knows who. And we make sure everyone has a statistic of some sort. We promote by statistic only. We penalize down statistics only."
These sales practices cause Scientology numerous conflicts and can bring about problems for its members. Many people have been urged to buy courses and material from Scientology, and not only to the point of their financial limits, but beyond (encouraged to take out loans).
In the cantons where people have complained about Scientology, this kind of business has occurred on numerous occasions. Scientology even plans for refunds to unsatisfied people or those who want to give it up. It consists of instructions from Hubbard in which he directed that refunds be given down to the last cent. People can get their contributions refunded, but first they have to go to various Scientology departments and answer embarrassing questions of a deterring nature; as a result of this they do not always succeed.
3.2.4 Numerical statistics on the movement
How many members does Scientology have worldwide? The movement itself names a figure of 8 million, of which nearly 13,000 are staff. Whether the second number corresponds to reality is hard to judge; in contrast the first number is without doubt exaggerated. The number of "clears" today, according to the regularly published statistics in the Scientology newspaper, which prints the names of the new "clears", comes to about 50,000. When one deducts the number of the deceased and those who have turned away from Scientology, it is apparent that the number of people who have made progress in the movement remains relatively moderate. This leads to the conclusion that the actual membership must lie significantly under the alleged 8 million. Exact numbers are not available, but concurring statements from former members lead to the assumption that the actual number of active Scientologists worldwide lies somewhere under 300,000.
The movement has created a myth of incessant expansion in accordance with the fixed idea of their verification by statistical results, even if these results refute reality. In several countries the number of members appears to have more or less stagnated, since the new arrivals are apparently not able to keep up with those departing. Many local Scientology groups, instead of expanding, have disappeared.
3.3. Presence of Scientology in Switzerland
There have undoubtedly been readers in Switzerland since the 1950's of Hubbard's works (some of which were published in German at the time). It was still sometime between 1968 and 1969 before the first "auditor" began practicing Scientology in Zurich. It had to do with a Swiss man who had gotten to know the technique in South Africa. The first group was founded in 1970 in Effretikon. In the course of the following years Scientology gained ground in several large cities in the nation. Today centers exist in the cantons of St. Gallen, Zürich, Basel, Berne, Lucerne, Waadt, Geneva and Ticino. The movement has also shown up in less significant or smaller localities; their existence in the large cities remains somewhat stable.
The headquarters in German-speaking Switzerland is in Zurich, in western Switzerland it is Lausanne, and most members live in these cantons. In contrast to that, activity in regions such as St. Gallen appears to be somewhat weak. The majority of sources place the number of active Scientologists in our country at under 4,000, because it is not possible to state a precise number, as has already mentioned. However, one can easily determine that Scientology in the Switzerland of today does not find itself in an upswing, although an official claimed in the second half of the 1980's that Switzerland was one of the countries in which the movement had the highest rate of growth. The small center in Freiburg which had existed since 1976 closed in 1996. Also, the expansion in Basel does not appear to meet the expectations of Scientology.
3.3.2 Initiatives Inspired by Scientology
In Switzerland the activities of Scientology are not restricted to its "churches" and "missions." As it has everywhere else it has gained a foothold, it endeavors to spread initiatives inspired by Hubbard throughout various areas of society. In this regard one can point out Scientology drives in the educational area to open schools or introduce training techniques approved by Scientology. In February 1989, in Aargau Canton, provisional approval was given to the ZIEL foundation (Zentrum für individuelles und effektives Lernen, ["ABLE" in English (Association for Better Living and Education ... translator]) for the opening of a private school for three years, however it was withdrawn when the connection with Scientology was discovered during an interpellation in the Great Council. This decision was reaffirmed in December, 1994, by the Federal Court.
At the end of 1988 the opening of a private tutoring center in Freiburg which applied Hubbardian pedagogy created controversy and led to the incumbent officials prohibiting a state-employed teacher from working at the center, so as to avoid any confusion which would have resulted from the appearance that the pedagogy taught there was even indirectly recognized [by the state].
In the early 1990's the opening in Lausanne of a Kindergarten by the name of "Ecole de l'Eveil", in which the Scientology-inspired methods of instruction were to be used met resistance from the Office for Youth Care, whereupon the School Board refused to grant its approval. At the time there appeared to be a certain number of children who were being trained in Scientology fundamentals in Zurich as well as Lausanne.
Scientology also seeks to raise its profile with its Narconon program in the fight against drugs. In particular the drug rehabilitation center established in Plans-sur-Bex in Waadt canton under the name of Narconon comes to mind. There is another center in Appenzell. Scientology also uses other labels in its anti-drug program, such as the "Sag NEIN zu Drogen" group in German-speaking Switzerland or "Vita migliore" in Ticino ["Say NO to Drugs"].
Various business consultants apply Hubbard's techniques in commerce, licensed by WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises). It has to do with transferring the principles developed by Hubbard for the management of the Scientology Churches to that of businesses. This intrusion by Scientology into commerce arouses suspicion and vigilance as well as the fear that the movement would want to infiltrate the business. Journalists have repeatedly tried to produce a list of Swiss business consultants and companies connected with WISE.
Also worth mentioning is the operation to distribute Hubbard's booklet, "The Way to Happiness" (which contains a set of moral instructions), and also the drives which target groups which Scientology classifies as enemies. The Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) concerns itself with "the public exposure of criminality and tyranny by psychiatry", and in various regions of the country testimony is already being gathered regarding possible psychiatric abuse (even by placing ads in the classifieds), and information against the use of sedatives has been distributed. In 1987, based on publications by the CCHR, a member of the Great Council of Berne Canton requested in an interpellation "more visibility in psychiatry."
In order to be able to understand the controversy about "sects," Scientologists, apparently in conjunction with members of several new religious movements, founded a "Self-help Action against Inquisition Today" (SAIH), which has been publishing a quarterly bulletin entitled "Inquisition Today." The alliance intends, in the broader sense, to fight any appearance of intolerance of religion, and to expose the "machinations of anti-religious organizations and inquisitional activities" (by which is meant people or groups who are critical of sects). The publication of "Inquisition Today" concerns itself with this same theme. The press release of October 24, 1996 which announced the founding of the west Swiss offshoot of the SAIH (in French "Stop à l'intolérance et à la haine") in Waadt Canton was unmistakable in expressing the intention of the group: to give testimonial evidence to expose the past of people who oppose the new religions.
3.3.3 Reactions of the Authorities
What reactions have the Swiss authorities taken against Scientology up to this point? It has already been mentioned that the Federal Council has only seldom involved itself with issues associated with sects. In connection with a parliamentary motion concerning the influence of this movement in Switzerland, the Federal Council specifically mentioned Scientology. In its answer to the Borer interpellation of October 3, 1996 the Federal Council recalled that "fundamental guarantees" also go for religious sects, and since no tangible proof of a threat to the security of the state or its citizens was at hand, the state security organ was not permitted to take preventive action with sects in Switzerland.
In the guidelines of its answer to the Petitpierre simple inquiry of December 14, 1988 concerning membership in religious sects and personal freedom, the Federal Council emphasized that the containment of possible harmful activity which could arise as a result of the activity of sects could be achieved not merely by means of repression, but also by "active information." As concerns Scientology, "at the time there is no evidence of criminal dealing which would justify intervention by the Federal Attorney as federal criminal prosecutor" (offenses such as they have recently been punished for in France would be the responsibility of the Cantonal criminal prosecutors in Switzerland).
We have already alluded to several interventions by Cantonal authorities. An interesting case is that of the Canton of St. Gallen, where Scientology has, since 1990, been prohibited from conducting its recruitment activities on the street, after it had been permitted to do so for some years. This limitation of the Scientology "mission" was not based on a specific piece of legislature, but resulted from a strict interpretation of the existing legal code. According to the authorities of St. Gallen, experience has shown that the distribution of "personality tests" by Scientology missionaries in the city's center repeatedly bothered pedestrians and that this overstepped the bounds of tolerance, and could no longer be said to be an orderly use of public ground by an individual group. The Cantonal officials do not believe that Scientology has proved its religious status, and therefore conclude that the groups primarily pursues commercial goals.
Actually, the recruitment activities of Scientology on the street are not concerned with familiarizing people with their philosophy, but with convincing them to take a free personality test. Experience in several Swiss regions has shown that the consequent financial obligations are not insignificant, and have put several people deep into debt. The St. Gallen authorities did not intend to decide the issue of what constitutes missionary activity on public land, since that was not the basis for the dismissal of the Scientology [counter] complaint. The officials determined that it was not a religious message that was being offered, but a personality test whose contents are non- religious in nature, and that the leaflets being distributed were not extolling a religious belief, but rather the improvement of personal abilities (a purification program, etc.) The goal did not consist of familiarizing passers-by with a religious belief (if the person was addressed on a philosophical point of view, it was occurring in the confines of the building, not on the street), therefore Scientology would not be permitted to invoke freedom of religion for the purpose of advertising their principles on public land.
Measures to limit the activities of Scientology on public land have also been undertaken in several other cantons. In particular, they have expressed their dissatisfaction with recruitment of people under the pretext of the "personality test" in order to sell them books and courses. As a result, Scientology proselytization has been banned from the streets of Winterthur. The legal ordinances in various cities are, even today, at variance with each other. In 1994, the district court in Zurich decided - thereby suspending a fine imposed upon two Scientologists - that the group was covered by the guarantee of religious freedom, and could therefore distribute the personality test on the streets without a permit, and that the possible sale of books or services was not taking place on public ground, but later on in the movement's building. The city administration had also been of the same opinion when they had responded to a petition one year earlier. However, they have recently altered their stance by putting a process in motion which would forbid Scientologists from recruiting pedestrians on the street since the group's activity appears to be commercial. This will undoubtedly lead to a lengthy judicial dispute.
An interesting development is underway in Basel, where the Great Council of the Basel City Canton forwarded a motion by Susanne Haller on June 12, 1996, and which had been signed by 71 Members of Parliament from all factions, to the Administrative Council; it proposed that a legal basis be worked out and presented to Parliament and that this basis would forbid groups and individuals with proven, obvious association with sects from recruiting new adherents on public land "by aggressive, suggestive or reckless methods". Although the application is general in nature, there is no doubt that it is Scientology which serves as the basis for the motion.
In their opinion of September 10, 1996, the Administrative Council pointed out the danger that the interests of a much wider palette of groups could be affected when it was predominantly only one group which was being addressed by this measure; on the other hand, a law which would address that one group was not even mentioned. The issue centered on working out a simple legal standard entailing no undesired side-effects and which would precede a widely laid out promulgation with implications on all groups (churches, consumer protection organizations, business organizations, unions, political parties, etc.) For this reason the Basel administration chose not to accept the application as a motion. In spite of that, on December 11, 1996, the Great Council decided to give the text the character of a motion, which obligated the Basel administration to present it as proposed legislation to Parliament within a year .
In several Cantons the authorities were forced to deal in general with Scientology. For instance, in 1995 the Zurich city officials answered an interpellation by a broad-minded District Council which had been warning about the machinations of Scientology for years. The city's answer mentioned that no "special security concept for the prevention of Scientology" existed in the Zurich administration.
In May, 1989, an interpellation was deposited at a Great Council in Waadt Canton "concerning the activities of certain sects in our canton, in particular those of the Scientology Church," which "because of its financial power and its ramifications" was to be regarded as "characteristic and exemplary." In its answer on September 21, 1990, the State Council recalled the existing ordinances, and decided that commercial activities on the street had thus far not been restricted as existing regulations had been obeyed and public order had not been harmed, and it recommended certain controls (for example, ensuring that any organization which described itself as "religious" and which brought in more than 100,000 Swiss franks annually be actually entered into the corporate register). The State Council further determined that it was aware of the "negative public image" that Scientology has, and that it realized that the critical attitude of the youth must be advanced. Nevertheless it held the opinion that "it would not appear rational that the state use extraordinary means at any price to discipline movements of debatable worth. Means of that sort could have unwished for consequences and endanger freedom of expression, or even freedom in general".
On March 18, 1994, in Geneva Canton, the GPFI (Groupement pour la protection de la famille et des individus) submitted an anti-Scientology petition to the Great Council. In the following months the petition commission heard from various people, and the Great Council decided to refer the petition to the State Council. In September 1996, the State Council expressed in their answer that it "recognized inherent problems connected with Scientology." In the meantime the discussion had spread to include "sect problems" in general, and the Justice, Police and Commerce Departments were assigned to form a study group in January, 1996, to get a complete overview of the legal principles involved in order to be able to come to grips with problems connected with sects.
The cases mentioned give a small look into the controversy caused by the activities of Scientology in Switzerland.
Certain cases with which the movement was involved were called before the Federal Court. In his judgment of December 14, 1994 concerning a complaint by "ZIEL" ["ABLE" in English] against a decision by the Aargau officials not to approve the opening of a private school, the Federal Court decided that the Aargau authorities were following the letter of the law when they decided that an organization closely associated with Scientology was to be regarded as untrustworthy:
"As the Cantonal officials have correctly decided, there is a considerable public interest that children living in the Canton not be instructed in a school which is dominated by an untrustworthy organization. The complainant can not help that the activities of the Scientology Church in Switzerland, as such, are not prohibited. An organization which has not been prohibited is not necessarily trusted to run a private school."
"The Administrative Court has not accused the complainant, her group, nor her teachings of any criminal dealings, but she does not have the trustworthiness necessary to run a private school because she is dominated by an organization which uses reprehensible, and even criminal methods in its activity.".
No new religious movement in Switzerland has brought about so much reaction over such a long period of time in all regions of the country where it is represented. A complete list of cumulated polemics since the 1970's will be avoided here, as will be a list of all legal processes in connection with Scientology which have been initiated by either the movement itself or its critics.
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- 27. We occasionally use the term "church" because this is the official designation of the movement. By using this designation, we maintain that no qualitative value or opinion as to the "religious" nature of the organization is being imparted; for the most part we will use "Scientology" or "Scientologie." return
- 28. See in particular Russell Miller, Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard, London, Michael Joseph, 1987; Jon Atack, A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed, New York, Lyle Stuart Book (Carol Publishing Group), 1990. return
- 29. L'Eglise de Scientologie - 40e anniversaire, s.l., Church of Scientology International, 1995, S. 50. return
- 30. Hubbard's wish to excel in the area of authorship of cheap novels was nothing new. Apparently he had already written a work entitled "Excalibur" in 1938 in which he, according to those who had read the manuscript, had developed a philosophy about the instinct of people to survive; however, he found no publisher for it, on which account the work was never published (Miller, op. cit., pg. 79-81). return
- 31. In which Hubbard had been a contributor since 1938. return
- 32. Mutually reciprocal effect between Hubbard and this environment, since his Scientology is also indelibly stamped with the world of science fiction in which he found himself - it is not an accident that certain writers have described Scientologie as "science fiction religion." The sub-culture of science fiction gave Hubbard "a large reservoir [...], upon which he could draw in the creation of his new scientific and technological religion. Scientology can make many ideas of science fiction in regards to the spiritual meaning of science and the mystical implications of progressive technology its own." (William Sims Bainbridge, "Science and Religion: The Case of Scientology", in David G. Bromley and Philipp E. Hammond, The Future of New Religious Movements, Macon, Georgia, Mercer University Press, 1987, pp. 59-79 [pg. 67]). return
- 33. Martin Gumpert, "The Dianetics Craze", in New Republic, 14. August 1950, pp. 20-21. return
- 34. "Poor Man's Psychoanalysis", in Newsweek, October 16, 1950. return
- 35. Roy Wallis, The Road to Total Freedom: A Sociological Analysis of Scientology, New York, Columbia University Press, 1977, p. 92. return
- 36. Those who apply Scientologie or Dianetics outside the control of the organization are designated, in the movement's jargon, as "squirrels." return
- 37. Atack, op. cit., p. 138. return
- 38. "To instruct in spiritual healing acts." return
- 39. Wallis, op. cit., p. 132. return
- 40. In the mid 1980's, Scientology acquired another ship, the "Freewinds," which is meant for the training of Scientologists who have reached the highest level on their spiritual path. return
- 41. According to the official statement of the movement, "In contrast to other posts of the church, members of the Sea Organization obligate themselves to perpetually serve Scientology and its goals - the members of this religious order for the effective core of the religion." (L'Eglise de Scientologie - 40e anniversaire, S. 28). return
- 42. The Auditor, Nr. 214, 1986. return
- 43. This then led to the formation of an independent Scientology movement, which has splintered into various groups, and which is known in general as the "freie Zone" [Free Zone]. Many people from the "Free Zone" were rather vigorously interested in other techniques which were not conducive to the formation of a structured movement; after departure from a rigidly controlled organization, many oppose founding anything of the sort again. return
- 44. Qu'est-ce que la Scientologie?, Kopenhagen, New Era Publications International, 1993, S. 359. return
- 45. A good presentation and a short analysis of Dianetics can be obtained from, for example, Hansjörg Hemminger, "Das Buch Nr. 1 - Dianetik", in Friederike Valentin und Horand Knaup, Scientology - der Griff nach Macht und Geld, Freiburg / Basel / Wien, Herder, 1992, S. 32-52. return
- 46. Roland Chagnon, La Scientologie: une nouvelle religion de la puissance, Ville de LaSalle (Quebec), Ed. Hurtubise HMH, 1985, S. 21. return
- 47. Régis Dericquebourg, Religions de guérison, Paris / Montreal, Cerf / Fides, 1988, S. 81. return
- 48. R. Chagnon, op. cit., S. 22. return
- 49. R. Dericquebourg, op. cit., S. 83. return
- 50. Qu'est-ce que la Scientologie?, p. 146. [What is Scientology?] Editor's note: text which is enclosed by "<" and ">" has been translated from a foreign quote. return
- 51. Ibid., S. 147. return
- 52. "The Thetan (the spirit) is described in Scientology as being without mass, without wavelength, without energy, timeless, and without a position in space except on the basis of consideration or request. The spirit is therefore not an object. It is the creator of all things. The Thetan usually lives in the brain or in the vicinity of the body. It can find itself in one of the following four situations. In the first it finds itself completely detached from a body or from bodies or even from the entire universe. In the second it is near a body and controls it quite consciously. In the third it is situated in a body (in the skull). In the fourth a reverse situation takes place in which the Thetan is forced to remove itself from a body and can no longer approach it. There are various steps inside each of these four situations. As far as people are concerned, the second situation is most optimal." [translated back into English] (L. Ron Hubbard, Scientologie: les fondements de la pensée, Kopenhagen, Scientology Publications Organization, 1977, S. 54-55). return
- 53. Mary Farrell Bednarowski, "The Church of Scientology: Lightning Rod for Cultural Boundary Conflicts", in Timothy Miller (Hrsg.), America's Alternative Religions, Albany (New York), State University of New York Press, 1995, pp. 385-392 (p. 387). return
- 54. About a statement by R. Chagnon, op. cit., p. 46 return
- 55. Rodney Stark und William Sims Bainbridge, The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival and Cult Formation, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1985 (Chap. 12: "Scientology: To Be Perfectly Clear"), p. 276. That is the problem of a movement which promises that results can be achieved in this life; both authors suggest a solution for Scientology to get out of this dilemma and recommend applying the teaching of soul migration in which the promises of reaching the final status are fulfilled in a future life. (p. 281). return
- 56. No critical publication fails to mention the contents of the Scientology OT III step ("The Wall of Fire"), particularly the story of the "Galactic Federation" which consisted of 76 planets 75 million years ago, and which lost the majority of its inhabitants in an attempt by a tyrant to destroy the federation. This dramatic event, even today, is said to have effects which must be removed from each individual with auditing; but it would take too much time to explain everything in detail here. return
- 57. Appendix 6.8 contains the list of 200 questions which include "Do you page through schedules or telephone books for fun?", "Would you accept a strenuous discipline?", "Do you often think about sickness, death, pain or worries?", "Do you disapprove of people who want to borrow money?", "Do you laugh or smile easily?", "Are you generally forthright to others?", "Do you think you have many friends?" One cannot help but ask whether the recruiter from Scientology gets some interesting hints about his respondent by [looking at the answers to] some of these questions (which are mixed with many harmless questions). return
- 58. HCO PL of April 16, 1965. "HCO PL" is the abbreviation for "Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter". These documents have unlimited, perpetual validity. return
- 59. HCO PL of September 19, 1979. return
- 60. "Ethics Protection", HCO PL of September 1, 1965. return
- 61. "We award production and up statistics and penalize non-production and down statistics. Always. Also we do it all by statistics - not rumour or personality or who knows who. And we make sure every one has a statistic of some sort. We promote by statistics only. We penalize down statistics only." ("Rewards and Penalties. How to Handle Personnel and Ethics Matters", HCO PL of March 6, 1966) [If we quote internal texts of the movement and do not have an official translation, then we will give the original English text in the footnote.] return
- 62. "Refund Policy", HCO PL of October 23, 1963. return
- 63. In the following few excerpts of the report concerning a case which was pursued by the West Swiss Consumer Association and which involved a sum of 18,000 Swiss franks [about $13,000] (because of one of the numerous small loans concluded by Scientology): "After long negotiations, the Church acknowledged the departure of Mrs. X and asked her to get in touch with them to complete the formalities for the return of the prepaid and unused contributions (13,000 Swiss franks). [ . . . ] During all these negotiations, Ron Hubbard's adherents attempted to animate and win back their future ex-member with telephone calls and visits to her residence and place of work. It has been an extremely tiresome war of nerves for the young lady [ . . . ] The Scientologists [ . . . ] first suggested paying back the prepaid contribution in a series of payments, but finally accepted, after many weeks, the entire repayment of the 13,000 franks at one time." (J'achète mieux, Nr. 208, Dezember 1992-Januar 1993, S. 35). return
- 64. L'Eglise de Scientologie - 40e anniversaire, p. 2. return
- 65. See Tom Voltz, Scientology und (k)ein Ende, Solothurn / Düsseldorf, Walter-Verlag, 1995, S. 238-243.
(available in English at http://cisar.org/trn2000.htm) return
- 66. "There are now 49,764 Clears", (The Auditor, Nr. 275, 1996, p. 4). return
- 67. See Materialdienst der Evangelischen Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen, 57/10, Oktober 1994, p. 295. return
- 68. On the internet, we found the attempt made at a census of the number of local Scientology organizations in the United States between 1954 and 1994, which was broken down by State. According to this, half of these organizations did not survive. return
- 69. The press release which announced the opening of the new center in Zurich presented it as "the largest Scientology Church in Europe" (source: "Neue Zürcher Zeitung," May 9/10 1992). return
- 70. The Zurich journalist, Hugo Stamm, a long-term Scientology critic, assessed the number of 4,000 members in Switzerland at the beginning of the 1980's as "realistic" (Hugo Stamm, Scientology: Seele im Würgegriff, s.l., Gegen Verlag, 1982, S. 11). This shows that the group is not growing in our country, and has been stagnant for approximately the last 15 years. During this time many people joined the movement but later left, so that the number of people who have had something to do with the movement (if one counts the families and relatives) is much higher. return
- 71. See J.-F. Mayer, Les Nouvelles Voies spirituelles, p. 367. return
- 72. A ZIEL Switzerland (ABLE) was established in Lucerne by 1977. return
- 73. La Liberté, 15. Dezember 1988. return
- 74. See 24 heures, 29. Januar 1991. return
- 75. "[ . . . ] when Hubbard's organizational principles are able to give a Scientology Church stability, growth, and foundation, then it is able to do the same in the application of these regulations to any other organism." (Qu'est-ce que la Scientologie?, S. 443). return
- 76. There are even books whose purpose it is to support businesses in safeguarding them against the alleged threat from Scientology. See Angelika Christ und Steven Goldner, Scientology im Management, Düsseldorf, Econ, 1996. return
- 77. See Bilan, Juni 1994, S. 72-84; Der schweizerische Beobachter, 26. Mai 1995, S. 24-31. return
- 78. Qu'est-ce que la Scientologie?, [What is Scientology?] p. 384. A document of CCHR Switzerland reads, "CCHR is an association which has the goal of maintaining human rights in the area of spiritual salvation and to bring about reforms which serve the purpose of spiritual health. [ . . . ] CCHR is to be the point of contact for patients [ . . . ], who have seen or experienced abuses or violations. CCHR arranges contact, where possible, with doctors, clinics and legal aid offices who support human rights [ . . . ]. CCHR organizes investigations of methods of treatment, clinics and practices [ . . . ]. CCHR takes upon itself the revision of existing laws [ . . . ]." return
- 79. Naturally, this combative stance brings difficulty to the Scientologists: "Revelations about the Presidents of the GPFI (Groupement pour la protection de la famille et des individus) in April, 1997, in Geneva, led to the conviction of two members. See "Westschweizer Presse" of April 23, 1997). return
- 80. Interpellation Borer (96.3505) Amtl. Bull. NR 1996 2426 return
- 81. Simple inquiry of Petitpierre (88.1068) Amtl. Bull. NR 1989 660 return
- 82. It is worthy of note that similar considerations killed a decision of October 1996 by the Administrative Court of Baden-Wurttemberg in a situation between the Stuttgart Scientology Church and the city authorities: "In view of the presented principles the Administrative Court has not vouchsafed the below-mentioned activities by law as a community-use utilization of the public right of way. The recruitment of pedestrians for the sale of books and services by the offering on public right of way, through invitation to an information or sales meeting or personality test, which only serves as the introduction of sales talks, presents a profit-oriented commercial activity. The street recruiters of the proponent are using the public right of way not to express an opinion or to exchange information with others, but similar to a showroom for the preparation and development of business, are trying to systematically arouse an interest in their offerings by pedestrians in attaining meetings of longer duration." Further: "The Senate also shares the position of the Administrative Court that the proponent's convocation of Article 4 of Basic Law [religious freedom] does not apply, because the established activities of the members and staff of the proponent do not sufficiently express the claimed intent of recruitment for religious or philosophical ideas according to actual criteria." return
- 83. See, for example the case in which the State Police of Freiburg intervened to restrict commercial touting at a major traffic hub "La Suisse," November 20, 1985. return
- 84. "Neue Zürcher Zeitung," 8. Dezember 1994. return
- 85. "Tages-Anzeiger," 5. Mai 1993. return
- 86. "Tages-Anzeiger," 27. Januar 1997. return
- 87. The motion also requires measures for the prevention of the recruitment of young people as well as information about sects in the course of class instruction. return
- 88. See "Basler Zeitung," 13. Dezember 1996; "Tages-Anzeiger," 6. Januar 1997. return
- 89. On January 21, 1998, Susanne Halle submitted an interpellation concerning consumer protection in the area of commercial psycho-market. On July 9, 1998, the Administrative Council of the Basel City Canton, in response to the motion of 1986 made a proposal to the Great Council for an addition to the code concerning "recruitment on public ground." The Administrative Council refused to pass a custom tailored law directed at the controversial advertising and sales methods of Scientology. See "Basler Zeitung," 10.7.1998. return
- 90. See his booklet: Hans-Ulrich Helfer, Dianetik? Narconon? Scientology?, Zürich, FDP Zürich 11, 1989. return
- 91. "Neue Zürcher Zeitung," 22. Dezember 1995. return
- 92. "Perspectives" (Education and Church management magazine of Waadt Canton), February, 1991, p. 17-21. return
- 93. Unpublished decision of the Federal Court of December 14, 1994; the Federal Court also took up this line of argument in a later decision on June 27, 1997. return