Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Margaret Singer

Clinical psychologist.

Willamette Week, 1985: "Scientology on trial"

Margaret Singer, a clinical psychologist from the University of California at Berkeley and one of the world's leading experts in the field of thought control, testified for the plaintiff and described what she referred to as the "5 Ds" used by groups that practice "the systematic manipulation of social and psychological influence." According to Singer, deceit is first practiced on individuals coming into such a group and later by such individuals.

Dependency on the group, she said, is the second characteristic fostered by such groups, and it is accomplished in a variety of ways, including forced isolation from outside contacts and later, financial need. Singer described debilitation of members, both physical and mental, as another common group feature, often accomplished and maintained by long hours of work, lack of sleep, and extremely harsh mental therapies or counseling.

Dread was the fourth of Singer's common denominators, and she said it is typified by the fostering of an "us versus them" attitude that permeates the group. The dread, added Singer, is two-fold in that the members also learn to fear and mistrust people in the group's hierarchy, and are kept -- through an ever-changing system of rewards and punishments -- in a position of not knowing what is expected of them.

Finally, Singer discussed the desensitization so common in thought control groups, noting how members lose the ability to think critically or to react to negative things they might see in the group, such as widespread deceit and callous treatment of other members and outsiders.

Singer said that Scientology displayed all the characteristics she described and should be considered a thought-control group. Much of the evidence that followed seemed to confirm her theory.

FACTnet: Margaret Singer

The "Samurai Grandmother" Margaret Singer has passed away…

I have known Margaret Singer for 23 years. First as a victim of Scientology where Margaret personally counseled me back to sanity. Second as my mentor where I studied everything she would give me to read on cults and mind control and thirdly as a co-creator of FACTNet where Margaret was always on our advisory board assisting and guiding us to wise, rational decisions and actions.

I can truthfully say I have not met another person so gifted in intelligence and strength and so guided by integrity and courage. Though her courageous educational work Margaret reflected the justice of the Divine at archetypal levels. She truly was her nickname in the movement of the Samurai Grandmother.

I could not have gotten my life back if was not for Margaret's wisdom. FACTNet would not exist now nor, would the good FACTNet has done have ever happened --- had it not been for Margaret.

I as an individual and FACTNet as an organization will honor her memory by doing the best we can to spread her wisdom and balance and, by continuing to help the victims of cults and mind control all over the world.

I was privileged to have had many meetings on her kitchen table and many meals with her. I fell in love with who Margaret was as a person. I will miss those conversations and meetings dearly.

Lawrence Wollersheim as an individual and as a Director for FACTNet

2004 Leipzig Human Rights Award: Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer

Margaret understood Scientology’s totalitarian nature and saw through the cult’s religious cloaking of its actual philosophy, policies and practices by which it pursued its antisocial goals and sought to destroy those human beings, those “wogs,” who countered or even questioned those goals. She was shocked and terribly disappointed by the US Federal Government’s grant in the 1990’s of “religion status” and tax exemption to the Scientology corporations, which she knew, not only from her professional research but from personal experience as a target, comprised a malevolent, autocratic cult.

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