All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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In the last of a series on the Church of Scientology Bob McKee examines the aims and future [?] of the Church.
"Gungho groups are the first Scientology attempts to build a world government. They are a foothold in the community by which to get eventually to govern. What is done in the Gungho Group is going to influence what the community thinks about Scientology."
These were the opening remarks made by a former Scientologist called Ron McCann in a talk given to Calgary Scientologists on August 23, 1969. McCann, an OTI, was later expelled from the church when he insisted on getting a refund for the courses he had paid for. His confidential talk, however, outlining Scientology policies on community involvement, remains part and parcel of current church thinking.
Recently, the Calgary mission followed the example of other Scientology branches by launching a campaign of "crime prevention". At present the church is engaged in a survey to establish how best individuals and community groups can help reduce crime in their areas.
The Calgary centre also claims credit for having established a "Citizens Commission on Human Rights".
Both follow policies outlined in McCann's talk.
The "Citizens Commission on Human Rights" in particular could be regarded as an apt delegation for Scientology. Through it they can help "expose" any abuses within the mental health system, Scientology's favorite subject, but while no one could decry their objectives in this field, a question mark remains as to the purpose of such ventures. Why does the church throughout the world go to such lengths to attack and discredit mental health and psychiatric organizations in general?
"A lot of churches have very worthy programs like missionary work among the poor of other countries. We feel there are many abuses within our own communities and country," said a local Scientologist.
"Mental institutions are full of people who shouldn't be there. They have become a dumping ground for the poor, the old, the retarded, and those with drug and alcohol problems. We'd like to see amendments made where people could not be incarcerated against their will on the opinion of two psychiatrists.
"We'd like to see the end of electroshock and lobotomy treatments. We'd like to see mental hospital patients given the basic human and civil rights given to others," said an obviously sincere local member.
Does Scientology's campaign end there? Some think not.
"The psychiatrist and psychologist are portrayed as agents of fruitless government attempts to control and deny freedom to the public and violate their rights," said McCann in his talk.
"Scientology's image is that of the people who are cleaning up the field of mental healing and effectively handling mental health on the planet," said Hubbard.
Is it because of the profession's rejections of Hubbard's techniques? Is it because Scientology believes its methods are more advanced and effective as they would claim? Or is it, as McCann suggested, part of the overall campaign to establish a foothold in the community and then to eventually govern?
It sounds almost bizarre but then again there are so many bizarre aspects to the church and its claims to super powers that only the ignorant or less concerning could dismiss totally the last question.
What church asks its members to "confess" to past deeds or crimes and then tells them: "While we cannot guarantee you that the matters revealed in this check will be held forever secret, we can promise you faithfully that no part of it not any answer you make here will be given to the police or state"?
What church brands dissenters as SPs (Suppressive Persons) or PTSs (Potential Trouble Sources) and all the wrath of a woman scorned should they openly speak of their involvement or disillusionments with Scientology practices?
Part of the creed of the church is: "All men have inalienable rights to think freely, to talk freely, to write freely their own opinions and to counter or write upon the opinions of others".
Does the policy of "fair game", whereby an SP may be "deprived of property or injured by any means by an Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed", align to this creed? Or the policy of sueing critics for $100,000 "if possible ruin him utterly". Where exactly does this fit into the Scientology creed on human and civil rights?
What of those who have joined the church in their search for self-fulfillment, adopted Scientology's therapeutic practices and have subsequently broken the link? Is it as some would claim a major organization of unqualified persons in the practice of dangerous techniques masquerading as mental therapy?
Has the Church of Scientology capitalized on his claimed monopoly of spiritual or "total freedom" for the sake of money, power or both?
Does "The Commodore", as Hubbard likes to be known as he flits from port to port aboard the "Sea orgs" (vessels) that are registered as management and training companies, have visions of world power?
It sounds like the sort of plot Hubbard himself could have written in one of his earlier science fiction novels. A plot written for himself! Is Hubbard, with his claims of spiritual interplanetary travelling, heavenly visits, and knowledge of everlasting life, genius or crank?
In his book "In the Name of Science", Martin Gardner defines four characteristics of the common crank or pseudoscientists as: (1) The person who considers himself a genius years ahead of his time. (2) The person who considers his colleagues and fellow researchers ignorant blockheads largely because they fail to recognize his genius. (3) Someone who is paranoid and feels he is the victim of a vast conspiracy designed to suppress his brillant work. (4) The person who delights in focusing his attacks on scientists and their established theories.
"The crank also invents his own terminology; a jabberwocky understood only by him and his closest allies. So, we find the literature filled with confusing and complicated terms which are merely displays of pseudoerudition, or what psychiatrists call neologisms," he adds.
Does Hubbard, or his theories as taught through the church, fit Gardner's description of the pseudoscientist or crank?
These are questions which only the individual and on a longterm basis time, can answer.
Meantime, it might do no harm to reflect on a quote taken from one of Hubbard's political letters on the subject of those who disbelieve or oppose Scientology thinking:
"Do they think a society in this shape will approve Scientology into power? Hell no. And to hell with this society. We're making a new one, so let's skip the approval button for a lot of wogs".