Greetings all! This is Mark Patterson, aka “Grasshopper,” and I am hereby letting one and all know that I am declaring myself a free-thinking, Independent Scientologist.
I have been involved in Scientology since I was a child. I completed my comm course in 1972, forty years ago this month. My parents, of course, were Scientologists.
A brief version of my CV is that I trained through HSDC at Scientology Delaware Valley in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I trained through Class IV at ASHO D in 1976, and did my SHSBC at ASHO F on Foundation hours from 1980, completing in 1985. I did my OT levels at AOLA in between 1986 and 1992. I was on staff at Flag and Pac as NSO on the LRH Tape Archives Project, and again as NSO at Bridge Publications.
I won’t attempt to re-say all the things that have been so ably said by folks like Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder, Luis Garcia, Debbie Cook, Steve Hall, Karen de la Carriere, Mark Shreffler, and the wonderful team of folks to wear the mantle of “Independent.” I recommend that people read their books and posts. There are links over there on the side bar, and at Marty Rathbun’s and Steve Hall’s blogs. They document well what is wrong with the church – the false and misleading stats, the greed, corruption, and abuse of power of Mr. David Miscavige, and the out tech and off policy actions of the church.
Rather, I want to point out a few other reasons for my announcement:
1. The people who call themselves Independent, and the way the church is dealing with them
2. The policy of disconnection
3. The out ethics of the Sea Org
4. The church’s abandonment of Standard Tech, and the lie that the church is a monopoly on the tech
First, the Independent Scientologists themselves vs. what the church is doing.
The people who have declared independence are some of the most able Scientologists and beings I know. Many have been on staff at Class IV/V orgs or in the SO. They are smart, caring, and understand Scientology. They are, frankly, the epitome of what Scientologists should be: Able, insouciant, iconoclastic. Rebels and reprobates. Brave, honorable. Look at the “Indy 500” on Steve Hall’s blog for the list – look them up.
Read their works. Enjoy how well they write. Look at their passion for Scientology, for their knowledge of tech and admin. Look at their grasp of the Data Series. At their willingness to communicate.
And yet, the church considers them to be Suppressive Persons and treats many of them using Fair Game tactics that Ron cancelled nearly fifty years ago.
Now, we all know about the “hole” and the incredibly bad treatment of people by Mr. David Miscavige. But, because we have no pictures from the hole, only testimony from people the church calls “liars,” “apostates,” and “squirrels,” I will leave this out of the equation. Instead, let’s look at what the church is doing that is documented and undeniable. Look at what the church is actually doing, in public, in response to Scientologists who question the church’s policies and call themselves independent.
I give you “Freedom” magazine, the anti-Marty hate-sites, Tommy Davis, and Karin Pouw. I give you the idiots who parked at Marty Rathbun’s house last year, and the PIs and pseudo-“journalists.” I give you the publishing of PC and Ethics-folder data (both of which are privileged), and then doing even that out of context. This, my friends, is the PUBLIC face of the Church of Scientology, and this is what the church considers to be effective.
Look at how the church treated Debbie Cook. Three days after she sent her email to some friends, Karin Pouw is calling her a “squirrel” and “apostate” in USA Today. Three days! This is squirrel justice.
I encourage one and all to read through what the church publishes and condones and confront this and really really SEE what the tone level and intelligence level of the church really is. I urge you to look up the Chart of Human Evaluation and plot their comm against it. I will give you a hint – the tone level ain’t 4.0.
These writings and activities are reprehensible. It is inappropriate and wrong for the church to act in this manner, even if they were writing about and harassing the devil himself.
Frankly, I am tired of having to defend my religion in the face of this utter incompetence and hatred openly displayed by the church and some of its members. It is indefensible.
Second, the policy of disconnection.
Disconnection is the number 1 most destructive policy the church has. It is the most vilified by non-Scientologists. It is most destructive of families and friendships, and it is absolutely unnecessary. On top of the destruction caused by the policy, the church compounds the damage by lying and saying it is not a policy.
The church’s feeble attempt to defend this policy goes along the line of “people have a right to not communicate to people if they don’t want to. Disconnection is voluntary.” This is a specious argument, because of course people can choose to not talk with people, but that does not mean that it is right.
It is wrong to disconnect from your son or daughter, or your mother or father, or sister or brother, or your best friend, just because you have a difference of opinion. It is weaselly. It is cult-like. It is mindless and cowardly.
It is suppressive for the church to “encourage” people to disconnect on the pain of being declared PTS or SP, or stalled on the bridge, or worse. It is destructive of families, long-term friendships, companies, and Scientology. It is wrong.
Third, the Sea Org is out ethics.
Sea Org members are not allowed to have a 2d of any magnitude. This is public knowledge. The church defends this by saying that the SO requires such commitment that members have foregone getting married and having children. This is insane.
In practice, SO members have been strongly encouraged to have abortions or get beached. SO members are told to divorce their spouses when they are sent to the RPF or to a different org. There is no more “family time” (which, when they had it, was insufficient). Children of SO members are neglected beyond belief. I know – I had the option of becoming a Sea Org cadet when I was a kid, and I took one look at the Cadet Org and told my mom to pound sand. The church’s answer to the neglect of children was NOT to correct the situation, but to just kill it – literally. Abort the kids before they become a hill ten and PR flap. Children are treated awfully by the SO. This is counter to our own religion.
There is no need to sacrifice all the other dynamics for the sake of the 3rd. There is no need to forego a family just to forward your religion. Examples abound of strongly religious people doing well (i.e. surviving well) across the dynamics while doing good. In just one example, Mormons are incredibly family oriented, they are incredibly supportive of their children, and yet they manage to run a rather large church without killing their other dynamics. There is absolutely NO NEED for people to sacrifice themselves to the SO or to the church, and it is unconscionable to break up families and abort children because the SO requires it. It is suppressive.
Fourth, and finally, it is a LIE that the church has a monopoly on the bridge.
It is a LIE that you “forfeit your eternity” by becoming independent. If you look at the actual stats of the church and look at their products and what passes for OT VIII (John Allender anyone?) you will find that you are putting your eternity in the hands of squirrels each time you walk into a corporate Scientology org. I know this is harsh, but it is factually true. How’s your clear cycle going? How many HCO sec checks have you had lately?
The truth is that Scientology is alive and very well outside the church, thank God. The best auditors are Independent. The best minds in Scientology are Independent. Minds are not free in the church – they have been straight-jacketed into rote procedures with NO room for actual delivery, and punished for questioning anything. If you look at the HCOB “Styles of Auditing” you will see that the church is stuck on “rote style” auditing. Anyone who tries to do “abridged style,” God forbid, will get their thetan revoked.
It is not an easy decision to do this. There is always the hope that some white knight will come in and wave the magic sword and all will become okay again. Sadly, this will not happen. Ron left 26 years ago. The demise as been a long and steady decline, rotting from the top down, with tentacles of sec checks and punishment to keep people from getting out of line.
Stepping away means casting off the life line – just in case the church pulls through somehow, you can always pull on that life line and carry on as if nothing happened. The problem is that something is happening, and that the Scientology we know and love is no longer represented in the church. No matter what happens, life as we know it as Scientologists has changed. We need to rehab our Grade III and understand that change happens, and that we need to handle the ARC Break and look at what is happening now.
Stepping away means other things, though, too, and better. It means taking responsibility for Scientology and your own soul rather than leaving it up to some other “Authority”. It means evaluating Scientology and its workability and actually doing what Ron tells you to do, which is to really apply it and see if it is true for you. It means owning the tech, yourself, and seeing how it applies to your life and the lives of others. It means being able to communicate intelligently, not rotely, on the meaning of life and livingness with your friends who follow other faiths, or no faith at all. It means communicating freely with other Scientologists without the Stasi taking notes (or at least, notes that matter).
It means becoming a Scientologist in full. More than that, it means becoming a being in full.
It has been fun blogging anonymously as Grasshopper for the last two years, but I am happy now to let my friends know who I am. Feel free to comment here and contact me! I will never disconnect from my friends.