Masters of Deceit

Some more of the same

L. Ron Hubbard using the E-Meter on a tomato in 1968 to test whether it experiences pain
Scott Lauder, Evening Standard / Hulton Archive / Getty Images: 3.2
Wright, Lawrence (2013-01-17). Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief . Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

What goes around comes around, apparently. We have seen the Church of Scientology previously:

I have some previous acquaintance with the Church of Scientology, so the term “Going Clear” wasn’t strange. “Going clear” is a term used in Scientology to mean going through their auditing process and clearing yourself of whatever Scientology means for you to clear yourself of. Something like twenty years ago a friend in Dallas told of his encounter with a Scientology recruiter. I contacted him to confirm my recollections. He did not recall the telling, but back then he said the recruiter told him he could go clear for only $16,000. My friend now reminds me people are paying much more.

Lawrence Wright’s book touts the history of the church, from a plot hatched by a prolific science fiction writer to a repressive cult to a 21st century financial enterprise. Cult aspects are highlighted by the church’s practice of “rehabilitation,” a scheme worked to keep members in line. Wright recounts the experience of member Hana Eltringham:

When she returned to the Apollo, she was shocked by the hellish changes that had taken place. In January 1974, Hubbard issued Flag Order 3434RB, creating the Rehabilitation Project Force. The stated goal was to rehabilitate Sea Org members whose statistics were down or who might be harboring subversive thoughts against Hubbard or his technology. Because the RPF provided a second chance for those who might otherwise be fired, Hubbard saw it as an enlightened management technique, the sole purpose of which was “redemption.” When Eltringham came aboard, she found dozens of crew members housed in the old cattle hold belowdecks, illuminated by a single lightbulb, sleeping on stained mattresses on the floor. They were dressed in black overalls, called boiler suits, and forbidden to speak to anyone outside their group. They ate using their hands from a bucket of table scraps, shoveling the food into their mouths as if they were starving.

Wright, Lawrence. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (pp. 154-155). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Episodes related in  the book appeared to stop short of involuntary confinement, at least to the extent that would stand up in court. All that seems to be in the rear view mirror now. The church may at last be meeting some harsh reality:

Scientology Rehab Facilities Shutdown After Holding Patients Against Their Will

Scientology facilities in Tennessee are closed down after police find patients are being held against their will.

The Cannon Courier reports three suspects have been charged and multiple rehabilitation facilities have been permanently closed in Cannon County after local police found patients being held against their will at psychiatric facilities owned and run by the Church of Scientology.

A statement from the Cannon County Sheriff’s office said:

The Cannon County Sheriff’s Department would like to make the general public of this county aware that the Scientology facilities are closed and not operating in Cannon County.

A number of Hollywood notables lend their shine to the cult, including:

Documentary film maker Alex Gibney has produced Going Clear, based on Wright’s book. I hope to obtain a copy and do a review.

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