Skip to comments.No Laughing Matter (The Forbidden Side of Scientology)
Posted on 02/23/2005 5:52:36 PM PST by Murray Luther
The Forbidden Side of Scientology
By the Reverend Murray Luther, Feb 23, 2005
No Laughing Matter
One of the more curious paradoxes you'll find within Scientology organizations is how they deal with humor. L. Ron Hubbard must have had some degree of understanding on the subject, since as a writer of science fiction, he most certainly dealt with the elements of humor more than a few times. In his ten-volume sci-fi series Mission Earth he notes in the introduction, ". . . there is another aspect to science fiction: by its nature most of it has an element of satire." Hubbard also made a point of defining humor and its relationship to Scientology. In the Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary, you'll find this entry: ". . . humor is rejection. The ability to reject. The ability to throw something away." The word also appears in Hubbard's Modern Management Technology Defined: ". . . laughter is rejection, actually. And humor you will find usually deals with one or another out-point put in such a way that the reader or audience can reject it."
In 1977, Hubbard issued an odd bulletin titled "Jokers and Degraders," that limited the scope of what Scientologists could consider funny. Hubbard declared Scientology off limits to humorous expression. He wasn't opposed to joking in general, but in his view, those who made jokes within the Church environment were destructive people. He said, "In some cultural areas, wit and humor are looked upon as a healthy release. However, in the case of orgs, this was not found to be the case. Intentional destruction of the org or fellow staff members was the direct purpose."
American humorist Will Rogers once observed, "Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else." Maybe this was Hubbard's frame of mind when he determined that making jokes about Scientology was a suspect activity. There's a difference between being able to tell a joke and being able to take one.
Hubbard's take on humor is peculiarly inconsistent. On one hand, he acknowledged that humor could be a healthy release, even therapeutic. For example, laughter is considered a good indicator within the Scientology counseling environment. Yet when it comes to the organization, displays of humor are seen as a sure indication of trouble. Not only is the jokester displaying his own destructive impulses but, "He is also advertising an area of the org where there is enturbulation and down statistics as well as staff members being victimized."
In spite of Hubbard's dim view of laughter in the workplace, Scientologists aren't much different than anyone else when it comes to humor. While you might find some Scientologists who don't seem to laugh much, you'll also find those with an excellent sense of humor. Unfortunately, funny Scientologists are discouraged from displaying their talent. But it wasn't always that way.
During the Seventies, Scientology humor was frequently evident, especially in the Missions. Staff and public used to come up with all sorts of "Scientologist jokes." And around Christmas time you could always find someone who just wrote a Christmas carol parody using Scientology terms. I remember a high-ranking Scientology counselor who used to rewrite popular songs and turn them into songs about Scientology. I recall a Scientologist doing a hilarious impersonation of Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood doing a drill on the Communication Course. There was another Scientologist who liked to perform old TV shows as if the characters were all Scientologists. All of it was funny, and all of it was harmless.
L. Ron Hubbard considered himself a consummate expert on any subject he touched upon. The subject of humor was no exception. In his Policy Letter "Situation Finding," Hubbard claims that humorists really don't have any idea of what they're doing. He said, "Even humorists have no real idea of illogic. Reading their ideas of the theory of humor shows them to be off the mark. They really don't know what is 'funny.'" I guess Hubbard, in all of his in-depth research, never got around to reading the works of Shakespeare, Mark Twain, or Oscar Wilde. And somehow he must have missed the work of two of his contemporaries, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, whose classic humor dates back to Radio and the Golden Age of Television. Hubbard's absurd claim that humorists have no idea of illogic is as unfounded as it is ridiculous. Comedians like George Carlin and Steven Wright can masterfully pit logic and illogic against each other in countless hilarious combinations. Hubbard might have been better advised to leave comedy to the professionals.
L. Ron Hubbard may have displayed a sense of humor at times but it certainly had its limitations. He had no trouble poking fun at the traditional institutions of society which he saw as inferior to his own organization. But he never for a moment saw a speck of humor in anything that he ever did. Hubbard could dish it out, but he sure couldn't take it.
We all know a few people that just can't take a joke. Take Fidel Castro for instance. It's a crime in Cuba to exhibit satirical portrayals of their jocular Communist dictator. Totalitarian Marxist regimes just aren't very funny, apparently. Neither is Scientology, it would seem.
Hubbard and Castro aside, most of us can usually laugh at our own foibles. In a way it's how we maintain our dignity in awkward situations. How would Hubbard have responded to humor at his expense? Would he have fired back with a snappy one-liner, or would he have reacted indignantly? Groucho Marx or Margaret Dumont?
Believe it or not, Hubbard himself may have provided us with the answer. The "Introduction" in "Volume One" of Mission Earth is essentially an essay on the subject of humor and satire. In one passage, Hubbard might have revealed more about himself than he knew. It's L. Ron Hubbard in perhaps his most ironic moment: ". . . the targets of satire are always the last to laugh. Due to various personal reasons, they cannot see the joke. But satire is not written for them. It is written for others so that, like the fable, they can see that the "emperor has no clothes."
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
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Those people do not give up! In 1981, as a college freshman, a friend of mine put my name on one of their fliers around campus (as a joke).
For the next twenty years they hounded me with solicitations and junk mail. They absolutely creep me out!
Hey, if people are stupid enough to fall for L. Ron Hubbard's gag, then so be it.
It's like the idiots who keep sending money to the televangelists hoping for a miracle.
A fool and his money soon go separate ways.
Another excellent column. Thanks!
Wow. Good thing the Islam-o-nazi's don't get PO'd when someone dogs their...ummm...
religion...ummmm... beliefs, yea, that't the word.
Everybody is so touchy these days.
Welcome. I must have missed your arrival on FR. Please keep writing and talking. People need to understand the scope of the C of $ impact. Beslan, NYC over September 11th, are the tip of the iceberg, imho.
Sometimes I wonder if they put out the garbage about space aliens, thetans and electronic boxes simply to cloak their real plan to take over the world. / sadly only partially kidding.
How many scientologists does it take to change a light bulb?
what is enturbulation?
just want a context - such a different religion
Only one, but if you want a cleared bulb it'll take years and years and set you back a quarter million bucks.
We did that to a guy too, except it was one of those "Stop Bedwetting!" fliers. They called him once a week for six months.
Scientologists are straight up kooks.
It's a fake religion where they eat up all your money suckering you into trying to get to their higher levels (like "OT" or whatever else) and then you find out that some crazy "alien name Xenu(sp?) ruled the galaxie eons ago" and a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about some trapped souls.
I put them in the same category with the Raelians.
L. Ron Hubbard didn't write all those ten novels, unless you believe he wrote them from the Other Side. He was dead. The first couple of them may have been ghostwritten, too, I don't know.
I started reading SF back when Hubbard was still writing SF, and I have his first two novels, which I bought when they came out. He also wrote for the pulps, at the going rate of 2 cents a word.
I remember reading a letter to the editor from Hubbard in one of the pulps, announcing that he was quitting the SF writing business, because there wasn't any money in it. In that letter, he said that there was much more money in starting a new religion--which he then proceeded to do.
I'm not sure if I still have the magazine that letter appeared in. I tried to find it a few years back, among a stack of old pulps I had put in the attic, but unfortunately I couldn't locate it. But my memory of his basic point is clear enough. There's more money in starting a religion and milking the suckers than there is in writing SF for 2 cents a word. That's what he said, and that's what he did.
The irony is, Scientology itself is L. Ron's joke, and the joke's on the IRS.
[Hubbard declared Scientology off limits to humorous expression. ]
BWAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!
Raelians came and went. The Church of Scientology is here to stay and it's a very large extensive group already.
Several years ago I joined the Apliantologists, but after the death of Frank Zappa the group fizzled.
Forbidden clam, aaaaaaaaagh. </ homer>
Scientology is a joke.
I had a very casual friend join this POS "R-E-L-I-G-I-O-N" 11 years ago and she must have gone through the phone book and given names of all she knew as potential candidates.
After simply throwing away the first few pamphlets they mailed, I started to get ticked, and by that time I had a better idea about what they were, so I called their phone number and called them every name I learned in my entire Army career and said they had better just take me off their list. They agreed to and apologized, but the next month I got another one.
This time I made the rant and rave of the first call seem like a walk in the park, and I told them that if I got one more pamphlet mailed I was not going to call again. I would just show up at the desk and stick a size 10 boot in someones @$$, and a size 10 fist down someones throat.
It's amazing what the right incentive can do. I never received another pamphlet from them after that.
Do they do the Kwanzaa thing?
After reading the Time expose on them, I decided to just leave well enough alone.
You should see the neo-maxi zoom dweebies they have hanging out at their storefront in downtown Cincinnati. Too freakin' weird.
Once upon a time (75 million years ago to be more precise) there was an alien galactic ruler named Xenu. Xenu was in charge of all the planets in this part of the galaxy including our own planet Earth, except in those days it was called Teegeeack.
Now Xenu had a problem. All of the 76 planets he controlled were overpopulated. Each planet had on average 178 billion people. He wanted to get rid of all the overpopulation so he had a plan.
Xenu took over complete control with the help of renegades to defeat the good people and the Loyal Officers. Then with the help of psychiatrists he called in billions of people for income tax inspections where they were instead given injections of alcohol and glycol mixed to paralyse them. Then they were put into space planes that looked exactly like DC8s (except they had rocket motors instead of propellers).
These DC8 space planes then flew to planet Earth where the paralysed people were stacked around the bases of volcanoes in their hundreds of billions. When they had finished stacking them around then H-bombs were lowered into the volcanoes. Xenu then detonated all the H-bombs at the same time and everyone was killed.
The story doesn't end there though. Since everyone has a soul (called a "thetan" in this story) then you have to trick souls into not coming back again. So while the hundreds of billions of souls were being blown around by the nuclear winds he had special electronic traps that caught all the souls in electronic beams (the electronic beams were sticky like fly-paper).
After he had captured all these souls he had them packed into boxes and taken to a few huge cinemas. There all the souls had to spend days watching special 3D motion pictures that told them what life should be like and many confusing things. In this film they were shown false pictures and told they were God, The Devil and Christ. In the story this process is called "implanting".
When the films ended and the souls left the cinema these souls started to stick together because since they had all seen the same film they thought they were the same people. They clustered in groups of a few thousand. Now because there were only a few living bodies left they stayed as clusters and inhabited these bodies.
As for Xenu, the Loyal Officers finally overthrew him and they locked him away in a mountain on one of the planets. He is kept in by a force-field powered by an eternal battery and Xenu is still alive today.
That, in a "nut"shell, is the Church of Scientology's religion. It's a religion for people who believe that space aliens are mutilating cows, that JFK was killed by a conspiracy of government officials, that the more diluted a drug the better it works, that Gore would have won Florida, that the Air Force flys a squadron of alien spaceships in Area 51, that we never went to the moon, that John Kerry is a war hero, and who hang out at Democraticunderground and DailyKos.
What is weird is that we just got a visit from one of our friends last night who actually knew our mutual friend since childhood who joined 11 years ago. I asked about her and our friend said she is living in one of their commune houses in Latonia, KY. Our friend ran into our lost scientology friends parents a few weeks ago and found this out.
She is apparently stuck and can't leave because she owes them too much money for classes (at least thats what the parents said). I stopped knowing, caring or trying 11 years ago when she wouldn't listen to reason and said all her friends wouldn't let her live her life.
Battlefield Earth was a *terrible* book.
Had it been 1/3 the size, maybe. It had a LOT of satire in it -- it basically was a satirical book.
But it kept ending, then restarting, then ending, then restarting.
What is sad is to imagine how stupid people must be who think L. Ron Hubbard, an average if amusing writer, and a huckster of slightly-above average talent, as a genius for the ages.
I remember the DC-8 spaceship story back in the 1980's although the DC-8 had jets not propellors although the DC-3's through 7's had piston power propeller engines. If you ask me, I think the DC-8 was a pirated Boeing 707 but that's just me. IIRC, the first passenger plane to fly supersonic was a DC-8, it made it to just above Mach 1 in 1961 or so.
To add insult to injury, he made no bones about the fact that it was all a grand joke. He was known to have bragged that the best way to get rich quick was tocreate a sham religion and get the IRS to grant it tax exempt status.
I'm still trying to figure out why the head honchos all dress like Dick Cavett with the double breasted blazers and captians caps.
I know, it really boggles my mind that anyone would be taken by any of it. I hear "sci fi" writer, and the fact that he bragged about starting a religion, and I'm gone. Maybe it's that I walk by the HQ every morning. All the staff there are freaks. Oh, and they have a perpetual "Help Wanted" sign up at the entrance. Sounds like a cult to me! Has anyone really persued taking away their tax incentives? It seems like the Scientologists are getting a little too close to Kool Aid status for comfort.
The Cincinnati HQ is staffed by flakes, homleless and Russian immigrants. A true freak-show.
"Raelians came and went. The Church of Scientology is here to stay and it's a very large extensive group already."
Yeah, but as far as being a "religion".. they are equally legit. (that is not at all, 0=0)
Scientology was just more successfull in luring in a lot of people who don't know any better.