Why Anecdotes Are Not Proof of Anything. Especially not Scientology Auditing

How do you prove that something like Scientology auditing “works?” I’ve had many discussions with former Scientologists who say that their lives changed for the better because of Scientology auditing, and that I should not treat it with such contempt.

I believe the stories of people who have life-changing “wins” from auditing yet, at the same time, I remain resolute in saying that auditing is not proven to be useful.  How do you resolve the apparent paradox in my view?

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Strategic Activism 2: Applied Asymmetry and the Guardian’s Office

The first post in this series discussed the use of principles adapted from the military doctrine of asymmetric warfare as one possible strategy to combat Scientology. This weekend marks the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Anon’s version of asymmetrical warfare against Scientology, both in the virtual and physical spaces, and seems an appropriate place from which to assess Scientology’s use of similar asymmetrical or unconventional tactics.

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Evolution of Scientology Opposition, 1968-2018

Source: t52.org

Today marks the tenth anniversary of Anonymous’ epic protests at Scientology locations worldwide.  While headcount is hard to estimate precisely, the number of people who turned out, many in Guy Fawkes masks, was at the very least a significant fraction of cult membership globally, and may have actually exceeded the total membership of the cult, which we now estimate at around 22,000 globally. Numerous sources have covered the reasons for and the history of Anonymous’ protests far better than we could.

More importantly, the scale of Anonymous’ protests put the cult into a defensive posture from which it has never recovered. The idea that a large group could show up on Scientology’s doorstep without the cult’s OSA goon squad anticipating it and preventing it undoubtedly shook leader David Miscavige to the core. And the cult’s playbook for dealing with protestors was forever shattered.

In this post, we look at why Anonymous was such a landmark in the evolution of opposition to the cult, and we put it in the context of the evolution of cult opposition over the last 50 years. We connect the dots and take a stab at predicting the nature of cult opposition that may come next, particularly if existing opponents change strategic focus to make these next generations of opposition happen.

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Hana Whitfield Interview: Was Hubbard Really Sincere About Helping People?

Scientology devotes an immense fraction of its staff to fixing substandard delivery of its services. It has more people devoted to detecting and deterring “thoughtcrime” from members whose loyalty may be wavering … and even more toiling away in a complex organization designed to ferret out and punish staff incompetence and disloyalty.

To a never-in, this smacks of a poorly designed product from an incompetent organization.  But more importantly, it suggests that Scientology “tech” may actually be deliberately and cynically designed to be impossible to succeed at, with the punishment of failure used as a retention mechanism to keep people in the cult.

Hana Whitfield, a prominent ex-Scientologist who worked personally for founder L. Ron Hubbard for many years, has contributed her perspective on whether Scientology is intentionally (and cynically) designed to fail, whether it was designed to help people but failed at that noble goal or whether Hubbard had a very different approach.  The answer will surprise you.

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Analytical Techniques: Don’t Overreact to Single Data Points

Last Thursday, the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed piece by Scientology leader Miscavige’s consigliere, tax lawyer Monique (“Blinky”) Yingling.  In it, she rebuts a Times op-ed piece that ran back in November that made a case for revoking Scientology’s tax exemption.

We analyze this message — the content, the timing, the larger context of interest in the tax exemption, and we make an emotionally unsatisfying but intellectually honest decision in processing it. Continue reading “Analytical Techniques: Don’t Overreact to Single Data Points”

Strategic Activism: Fighting Scientology Asymmetrically, Part 1

In this, part one of a series on strategic activism, Dr. Jeff Wasel looks at the applicability of the theory of asymmetrical warfare in countering Scientology’s abuses. He revisits and revises some of his previous thoughts on the efficacy of OSA, as well as the current state of the church. Lastly, he looks at historical examples of the use of asymmetric warfare, as well as how the critic community at large can leverage its disruptive abilities.

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New Series: Adapting Military Strategy to Guide Scientology Activism

Unorthodox military theories can often provide alternative methods in opposing Scientology. Starting this Sunday, in a series of posts on johnpcapitalist.com, I’ll explain how just one of these theories can exponentially ratchet-up the heat on the church. This theory can also provide a lens in which to view the past actions of the church against the critic movement, as well as gauging the successes of groups such as Anonymous.  Continue reading “New Series: Adapting Military Strategy to Guide Scientology Activism”

Back of the Envelope: How Much Might Scientology Spend on Winter Olympics Ads?

Earlier today, Tony Ortega posted an article about Scientology’s plans to air advertising in the Tampa market during the 2018 Winter Olympics.  We do a quick back-of-the-envelope estimate of the amount that Scientology will spend and the size of the Scientologist audience that cult leader David Miscavige hopes to impress. Spoiler: unsurprisingly, it’s a costly boondoggle.

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Scientology’s Empty Boycott Threats

A few months ago, Scientology “targeted” a few national advertisers whose ads appeared on Leah Remini’s hit A&E show “Scientology and the Aftermath,” implying a boycott might be lurking.  Earlier in 2017, Scientology announced a boycott of Clearwater businesses to show their economic impact on the city after losing the land deal they wanted.

What kind of pressure could Scientology bring to bear on an advertiser, to bend them to its will?  How rapidly can their ire affect a big company and show Corporate America who’s boss?  We analyze the effectiveness of consumer boycotts in general and Scientology’s whine-fest in particular.

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Scientology’s Continuing Abuse of Religious Visas, Human Trafficking and the Farce of Guardianship

We take another look at how Scientology misuses R-1 religious worker visas as it attempts to fill slots in its operations.  It’s no longer able to bring on enough new domestic recruits or even US citizen children of current members to staff up Flag, Pac Base and its other major operations.  We look at the line between accidental stretching of the bounds of the program and outright fraud.  Several reports suggest that Scientology misuses the “guardianship” provisions of the law to mistreat younger R-1 visa holders, crossing the line into human trafficking. Continue reading “Scientology’s Continuing Abuse of Religious Visas, Human Trafficking and the Farce of Guardianship”