Scientology’s dirty little secrets

April 14, 2014 • 1:12 pm

From MobileMedia, the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard washes the family laundry in public:

Jamie DeWolf seems like an ordinary man, except he has an extraordinary family tree. He’s the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. But he has a dirty little secret. At 1:47, I learn of the secret [JAC: It’s not so startling]. At 3:43, I’m shocked how his family was treated. And at 7:39, I feel the irony of the God and the man.

If you want a really good history of scientology, and a portrait of the bizarre character of L. Ron Hubbard (as well as the instability and violent temper of David Miscavage, the new head of the “church”), read Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright. What you’ll find is that although DeWolf comes across as a bit hyperbolic in his story, what he says is all true. Wright’s book is superb, reflecting an amazing amount of work and an ability to ferret out the well-hidden truths of the Church of Scientology.  And after you read it, you’ll be incensed that this “church” gets tax breaks, even if you’re already incensed that all churches get tax breaks.

h/t: Gregory

27 thoughts on “Scientology’s dirty little secrets

  1. Just think: this is the exact same way that pretty much every other religion started, too; this one is only different in that it’s in living memory.


    1. it’s in living memory.

      Living, written, and reported memory.
      What was the US literacy rate when Wossname Smith started his Mormonism con-trick? 20%, or 30%?
      Doesn’t sound too optimistic, does it?
      The general point that information is the most corrosive poison to faith stands. And explains why religion (in general) hates information (and it’s purveyors) … [no further elaboration necessary].

      1. It’s also why the Internet is being so corrosive to religious faith, and why one may reasonably hope to see an acceleration of the decline of faith (assuming we don’t off ourselves first) even if there are local flareups of radicalization assisted by the Internet’s power for enhancing collaboration.


        1. I’m very optimistic that religion will decline drastically, and that reason will rise to the challenges that emerge, without us offing ourselves. The Internet is a Good-send!

  2. Old, but really good. I forwarded that to many people the first time I saw it.

    Best part: “he accused me of having delusions of grandeur.”

      1. Sorry, I should have made that clear. Jaimie had said, “My great grandfather was a cult leader who enslaved the minds of millions” and the psychiatrist thought he was making it up.

        1. Interesting that he says L Ron Hubbard was “born a science fiction writer”. Nice to be able to start life with a talent like that. To illustrate how big his advantage in life was, I’m willing to admit that I was “born a drooling diaper pooper”. Big difference. I may never catch up.

  3. There is also the recent book by Jenna Miscavige Hill, “Beyond Belief”, chronicling her escape. She is the niece of David Miscavige. The most disturbing part of her story to me were her experiences in a sort of boarding school boot-camp, separated 95% of the time from her parents, from, iirc, ages 5 to 11. By age 12, she was sent from CA to Clearwater to become a SeaOrg minion.

  4. I own _Going Clear_, have read it, and concur completely with your assessment of the book. By the time I was finished, I was staggered by the fact that such a thing as Scientology could even exist! But on reflection, I concluded that if humans can buy into such a load of crap as that, it’s much easier to understand how they can follow any religion.

  5. It for ages has seemed self-evident to me that Scientology had a very damaging effect on the personality of Tom Cruise (although I have enjoyed several of his film performances).

    I only recently learned that actor Christian Bale modeled his performance as the psychotic Jason Bateman in the 2000 film “American Psycho” on….Tom Cruise, citing phoney empathy as the main trait he was going for!!

  6. At the time this crowd was pursuing their case with the IRS, was there any opposition from “mainstream” churches?

    Also, what are the estimates of membership? My sense is the heyday was early ’80s?, but that’s just a gut impression from when I used to see tables piled high with Dianetics here and there, something I haven’t seen since.

    1. Possibly 20,000 or 30,000 worldwide. On 3/25/13 Mike Rinder reported the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) concluded there were 25,000 Scientologists in the US. It has been dropping pretty steadily in the last decade or more. Probably about 5,000 of those left worldwide are staff in the “Sea Organization” who work 80-100 hours a week for $8-$50. Ironically, in 2011 in England and Wales, the second biggest area for them after the US, the census found that there were 2,418 scientologists, outnumbered by people who professed to be Jedi (176,632), Rastafarian (7,906), Heavy Metal (6,242), Druid (4,189), and Zoroastrian (4,105) – this from Tony Ortega’s “Underground Bunker” blog on 12/12/12.

      1. I like my Heavy Metal all right, but when did it become a religion?

        I mean, I guess the fact that Ozzie is still alive is more miraculous than any of the miracles the RCC has listed in decades, but still.

  7. Search using these key-words for some of the background to Scientology, how it ‘fair games’ its critics and anyone else it judges to be a ‘suppressive person’:

    Paulette Cooper
    Lisa McPherson
    The Cult Awareness Network.
    Monique Rathbun
    Laura DeCrescenzo.

  8. Jaimie deWolf is so funny and dead on. By the way, Scientology doesn’t actually belong in the “religion” category. They bullied the IRS into tax exemption status in 1993 after filing thousands of frivolous lawsuits against the IRS designed to intimidate and harass (that is official scientology policy) and investigating and possibly blackmailing IRS agents. In Belgium and France they are not considered a religion and are currently appealing convictions for fraud.

  9. Monique Rathbun’s case is particularly interesting, as she is married to the former General Inspector of the church. She is suing for damages after years of surveillance and harassment. The church counters that since their retaliation against Monique and her husband is based in theology (*and it is*), then they should be allowed to pursue that course as a clear instance of freedom of religious expression. The suit itself, by their lights, stifles religious freedom. Fox News style self pity, with a space opera twist.

  10. Scientology technology feels so stale and dated, like science fiction from the ’50s… it can’t possibly compete against a high tech young upstart religion, if one were to arise.

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