Skip to comments.Religious Hard-Sell (The Forbidden Side of Scientology)
Posted on 01/28/2005 5:05:08 PM PST by Murray Luther
The Forbidden Side of Scientology
By the Reverend Murray Luther, Jan 28, 2005
A while back, I received a mailer from the Church of Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights. The mailer offered, "You are invited to a CONFIDENTIAL closed-door Briefing and Dinner." I've been a Scientologist long enough to know that what they were really saying. Essentially, the message was "Come to our dinner and give us the opportunity to brow-beat you into giving us thousands of dollars."
L. Ron Hubbard describes this approach as "come-on promotion." The words confidential and closed-door are meant to induce, allure and attract the prospect to find out more. In his "Marketing Series 6" Hubbard explains, "If we tell him there is something to know and don't tell him what it is we will zip people into the org." CCHR knows very well that "fund raiser" doesn't sound nearly as enticing as "confidential closed-door briefing." The latter implies that they're promoting a special exclusive get-together for an elite few. Church executives are well aware that "bring your checkbook and credit cards" will not pack the house with even the most loyal Scientologists.
L. Ron Hubbard was keenly aware of the importance of promotion and marketing. Consequently, the Church of Scientology operates nearly identical to any in-house advertising department when it comes to advertising themselves. Church executives operate from a number of Hubbard Policy Letters called the Marketing Series that contain titles like "The Basics of Marketing," "Copywriting," and "Ads and Copywriting," In these Policy Letter and more, Hubbard laid out an extensive scheme to promote Scientology.
In Marketing Series 3, Hubbard says, "The purpose of marketing is to create want and to sell something." To that end, the Church of Scientology deploys a thorough marketing and promotion campaign for every service and product they offer. This begins with surveying the public to find out, among other things, "Which public will buy it," and "What that public wants, needs or would demand." Any time the Church promotes anything, a great deal of time and attention has been put into finding the most effective way to get their message across. Their promotion is as comprehensive as any major ad agency.
Working hand in hand with marketing and promotion, is the Church of Scientology's sales department. They call it the Department of Registration, but every Scientologist knows that when they're asked to see the Registrar, they're going to be prodded into to paying for Scientology services. An experienced Church Registrar is as effective a sales person as anyone in any commercial establishment.
Registrars typically go through rigorous training that includes a series of "Registrar Drills" written by Hubbard. The drills are essentially sales closing techniques that would not be out of place if one were selling cars or home entertainment equipment. The Church Registrar learns how to "qualify a prospect," and "recognize the basic buyer types." Through repetitive drilling, the registrar acquires the skill to "control the conversation," "identify with the prospect," and "handle sales resistance." The Registrar is even encouraged to employ elaborate sales gimmicks such as the "tag team close," the "empathetic narrative close," and something Hubbard calls "the Buy Now gimmick."
When it comes to promoting Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard's philosophy has always been "hard sell." In his Marketing Series 12, Hubbard explains, "Hard sell means insistence that people buy." When promoting Scientology, he instructs, "You tell him that he is going to sign up right now and he is going to take it right now." According to Hubbard, the reason it's done this way is that, " people are in a more or less hypnotic daze in their aberrated state, and they respond to direct commands in literature and ads."
Hubbard apparently had such a low opinion of the public at large that he didn't believe they had the capacity to make up their own minds. Therefore they have to be told what to do by overbearing Church Registrars who are trained to never take no for an answer. L. Ron Hubbard lays out his attitude towards the public in the Policy Letter, Handling the Public Individual. He arrogantly declares, "We have learned the hard way that an individual from the public must never be asked to DECIDE or CHOOSE."
Rounding out Scientology's entrepreneurial activities is merchandising. Hubbard recognized the value of merchandising Dianetics and Scientology books and recorded lectures in an appropriately titled Policy Letter, Merchandising Expertise. Hubbard pointed out that Church organizations that specialize in the selling of course packs, books, and tapes are " a Goldmine. Effective promo mailed to the right Publics brings you this goldmine." Hubbard believed there was unrealized potential here. Specifically he said, "The Individual Market as yet has never been tapped. And remember, it's the Individual Sales which gives you your profit margin and your stocks." Although that may sound like something that could have come from some late-night TV real estate seminar, it's also Church policy.
For the Scientologist, slick promotion, aggressive salesmanship, hard sell advertising, and strategic merchandising are a means towards achieving an end--the expansion of Scientology. Scientologists blithely justify their zealous sales techniques because they firmly believe, "Scientology is the only workable system Man has it has no competitor." Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to attend the latest super-important confidential briefing where I've been promised the latest inside scoop from the Church's top officials. But somehow I get the feeling it's not going to live up to the hype. More likely there'll be nothing particularly confidential discussed, and worse, it's not going to be brief.
Murray Luther is the pen name of a Scientologist of over twenty-five years who remains in good standing with the Church. © Copyright Murray Luther 2005. All rights Reserved
Fascinating stuff, Murray. I had a couple of friends drawn into the Scientology web, so I'm very interested in your columns. Well done!
I`ll never understand why all these Holyweirds are into this, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kristie Alley..etc etc. Are they this gullible or is it they just live in this isolated bubble where the lines of reality are blurred? L.Ron was a freggin` nut job not to mention a con man, any jackass could see that, just read about him.
13 Mar 1911 Lafayette Ronald Hubbard born to Harry Ross Hubbard and Ledora May Hubbard, Tilden NE.
1 Apr 1924 13-year-old Boy Scout L. Ron Hubbard receives the rank of Eagle Scout in Washington, D.C. Hubbard later claims that he was the nation's youngest Eagle Scout, despite the fact that the national office has never recorded that factoid.
1928 During a trip to China, a teenaged L. Ron Hubbard records the following observations in his diary: "They smell of all the baths they didn't take. The trouble with China is, there are too many chinks here."
1 May 1930 LaFayette Ronald Hubbard joins a Marine Corps Reserve training unit. He is placed on inactive status the same day, and spends only five weeks of his 18-month stint actually doing anything.
Sep 1930 LaFayette Ronald Hubbard enrolls in the civil engineering program at George Washington University. He spends two years in the program, ultimately earning six D's (General Chemistry, Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus, Plane Analytic Geometry, Electricity and Magnetism) and four F's (First Year German, Differential Calculus, Molecular and Atomic Physics).
13 Jul 1931 L. Ronald Hubbard earns Commercial Glider Pilot Licence #385 after 116 flights.
23 Jun 1932 The Doris Hamlin sets sail for the Caribbean from Baltimore.
13 Apr 1933 Hubbard marries Polly (aka Margaret Louise) Grubb in Elkton, Maryland.
25 Jun 1941 L. Ron Hubbard receives his commission in the Naval Reserves, as a Lieutenant junior grade.
4 Feb 1942 The US Naval Attaché in Melbourne reports: "By assuming unauthorized authority and attempting to perform duties for which he has no qualifications, he became the source of much trouble. [...] This officer is not satisfactory for independent duty assignment. He is garrulous and tries to give impressions of his importance. He also seems to think he has unusual ability in most lines. These characteristics indicate that he will require close supervision for satisfactory performance of any intelligence duty."
25 Sep 1942 The Commandant of Boston Navy Yard notifies Washington that L. Ron Hubbard is ill-suited to run a ship: "Lt. L.R. Hubbard is in command of YP 422 completing conversion and fitting out at Boston, in the opinion of the Commandant he is not temperamentally fitted for independent command. It is therefore urgently requested that he be detached and that order for relief be expedited in view of the expected early departure of the vessel. Believe Hubbard capable of useful service if ordered to other duty under immediate supervision of a more senior officer."
1 Oct 1942 Hubbard summarily relieved of his command. He had been assigned to the USS YP-422.
18 May 1943 On the very first day of its maiden voyage, the USS PC-815 encounters one or two enemy submarines off the coast of Oregon. Its commanding officer reports to CINCPAC that he expended all depth charges on the suspicious sonar contact and also fired many rounds of ammunition at what might have a piece of driftwood. The next day, the chase is joined by four other ships and two blimps. No sign of any submarine is ever found.
28 Jun 1943 In an attempt to get in some impromptu target practice, the crew of the U.S.S. PC 815 fires four 50-caliber artillery rounds at a floating object. Unfortunately, this object is right in front of the inhabited island of South Coronados, and at least two shells strike land.
7 Jul 1943 "Consider this officer lacking in the essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation. He acts without forethought as to probable results. He is believed to have been sincere in his efforts to make his ship efficient and ready. Not considered qualified for command or promotion at this time. Recommend duty on a large vessel where he can be properly supervised."
15 Jul 1943 Lieutenant Lafayette Ron Hubbard is relieved of his command for conducting an unauthorized gunnery practice and violating the territorial waters of the nation of Mexico.
27 Sep 1944 Navigation Officer Lt. Hubbard just so happens to be inspecting a load of cargo being brought aboard the SS Algol when he notices a molotov cocktail made out of a Coke bottle. Hubbard is detached from the ship a few hours later.
Aug 1945 Hubbard is introduced to the Agape Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis in Pasadena.
5 Sep 1945 Hubbard is admitted at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California for "epigastric distress."
10 Aug 1946 Without bothering to get a divorce from Polly, Hubbard marries Sara Elizabeth Northrup in Chestertown, Maryland. Sara is the former girlfriend of Jack Parsons who went by the name of Betty.
24 Dec 1947 L. Ron Hubbard divorces his first wife, 16 months after marrying his second.
17 Aug 1948 L. Ron Hubbard is arrested for bad checks in San Luis Obispo, California. In court a fortnight later, Hubbard pays the $25 fine.
spring 1949 Addressing a sci-fi group in Newark, New Jersey: "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be to start his own religion."
9 May 1950 Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health is published.
23 Feb 1951 "I was in my apartment on February 23rd, about two or three o'clock in the morning when the apartment was entered, I was knocked out, had a needle thrust into my heart to give it a jet of air to produce 'coronary thrombosis' and was given an electric shock with a 110 volt current. This is all very blurred to me. I had no witnesses. But only one person had another key to that apartment and that was Sara."
17 Apr 1951 FBI headquarters receives a communique regarding self-help author L. Ron Hubbard:
LAFAYETTE RONALD HUBBARD, FOREIGN MISCELLANEOUS. SUBJECT PRESENTLY IN CUBA AND HAS APPEALED TO MILITARY ATTACHE' HERE FOR PROTECTION FROM COMMUNISTS. SUBJECT CLAIMS HE OWNS HUBBARD PUBLICATIONS ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY AND IS AUTHOR OF BOOK QUOTE DIANETICS UNQUOTE. PLEASE ADVISE BY AIRGRAM OF ANY PERTINENT INFORMATION RE SUBJECT.
12 Jun 1951 Hubbard granted a divorce from Sara, on the basis of her "gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty."
1952 Hubbard marries Mary Sue Whipp.
10 Apr 1953 L. Ron Hubbard writes a letter to Helen O'Brien, revealing his newest idea for revitalizing his Dianetics business. He proposes that they apply for a church charter in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and convert their existing storefronts into "Spiritual Guidance Centers" -- although he asks her for help in thinking up a better name for the ersatz chapels. In closing, Hubbard asks for O'Brien's input on the idea, saying "I await your reaction on the religion angle." And thus, Scientology is conceived.
18 Apr 1973 L. Ron Hubbard orders the Church of Scientology to launch Operation Snow White.
28 May 1974 L. Ron Hubbard writes to the Navy asking for the 17 medals he often claimed to have won in World War II. Three weeks later, the Navy sends back the four medals he actually won, and none of the 13 imaginary ones.
16 Oct 1975 An outgoing cable from the CIA: REVIEW OF AVAILABLE INFO REGARDING OVERSEAS ACTIVITIES CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY REVEALS ONLY THAT ITS FOUNDER L. RON HUBBARD IS ECCENTRIC MILLIONAIRE WHO HAS BEEN EXPELLED FROM RESIDENCE IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES BECAUSE OF HIS ODD ACTIVITIES AND BEHAVIOUR. HE IS OWNER OF SEVERAL SHIPS WHOSE APPEARANCE IN PORTS IN VARIOUS PARTS OF WORLD HAVE STIMULATED QUERIES . . . FROM OTHER GOVERNMENTS ASKING INFO RE VESSELS MISSION AND CREW. RESPONSES INDICATE WE KNOW VERY LITTLE . . .
8 Jul 1977 FBI agents raid the offices of the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. In addition to burglar tools and surveillance equipment, agents seize approximately 90,000 pages of documents and files, the contents of which blow the lid off Operation Snow White.
17 Mar 1978 L. Ron Hubbard is convicted in absentia of fraud by a French court. He is sentenced to four years in prison and a $7,000 fine.
15 Aug 1978 A federal grand jury indicts nine Scientologists, including L. Ron Hubbard's wife Mary Sue, for criminal acts in furtherance of Operation Snow White. The charges include burglarizing government offices and stealing official documents, perjury, conspiracy, and obstructing justice.
Mar 1979 L. Ron Hubbard secretly moves to Hemet, California.
Feb 1980 L. Ron Hubbard secretly moves to Creston, California.
Jun 1983 "I believed in Satanism. There was no other religion in the house! Scientology and black magic. What a lot of people don't realize is that Scientology is black magic that is just spread out over a long time period. To perform black magic generally takes a few hours or, at most, a few weeks. But in Scientology it's stretched out over a lifetime, and so you don't see it. Black magic is the inner core of Scientology --- and it is probably the only part of Scientology that really works." Penthouse interview.
20 Jun 1984 The court issues its ruling in Scientology v. Armstrong: The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and the bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder LRH. The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background, and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence additionally reflect his egoism, greed, avarice, lust for power, and vindictiveness and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him to be disloyal or hostile. At the same time it appears that he is charismatic and highly capable of motivating, organizing, controlling, manipulating, and inspiring his adherents. He has been referred to during this trial as a "genius," a "revered person," a man who was "viewed by his followers with awe.
23 Jan 1986 L. Ron Hubbard drafts and signs his Last Will and Testament.
24 Jan 1986 L. Ron Hubbard dies in a motorhome near Creston, California, a few miles north of San Luis Obispo. He is cremated and his ashes dumped into the Pacific Ocean. The news is revealed three days later.
25 Jan 1986 The coroner's post mortem describes L. Ron Hubbard as having "long, unkempt" fingernails and toenails, and "10 recent needle marks" on the right buttock beneath a band-aid. The church did not permit an autopsy.
Maybe you can shed some light on something. I know a lady who put her meth-addict son into Narcanon, an in-house rehab program. Apparently Narcanon is a division of the church of scientology. After 30 days of in-house treatment, this lady insists her son got no indoctrination in regards to scientology. Does that come later? Or, just how do they do that?
Although I've known only one person who did the program (he asked for a refund, if that tells you anything) I don't think Narconon people are the target public of the Church. While I wouldn't go as far as saying that Narconon is bogus, it is indeed a front group for Scientology. The Church has a number of "social betterment groups" that I believe are not much more than PR ploys to offset their outlandish beliefs.
After reading your L. Ron Hubbard quotes on marketing strategies, I can see why people in need of drug rehab wouldn't be among their target public. I've been concerned that at some point this woman or her son would become targets for some kind of conversion or money grabbing scheme. But, so far, the connection with scientology has never been mentioned, nor has it been covertly apparent. At least in the instance of the young man I referenced, the treatment was effective in the short term. Long term results remain to be seen.
Thanks for the info!
Boy, I sure don't know. I've pinged the author of this thread who seems to know a great deal about scientology from the inside.
The Reverend Murray Luther? ?! That's quite a 'pen name'.
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