“If it’s not true for you, it’s not true.”
- Lafayette Ronald Hubbard
RICHMOND, VA. – By 11 a.m. on April 12, 2008, a variety of sunglasses-wearing characters had showed up, only nine in number perhaps, but persistent nonetheless. Their handheld signs disparaged the tax-exempt status of the Church of Scientology for various reasons, including its use of private investigators and what some have considered to be practices physiologically predatory in the purview of mainstream culture. Famously, as the result of a landmark “South Park” episode, the church has been the subject of all manner of ridicule, particularly for its myths about the origins of human strife.
In the words of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, in the Operating Thetan III technical bulletin:
“The head of the Galactic Confederation (76 planets around larger stars visible from here) (founded 95,000,000 yrs ago, very space opera) solved overpopulation (250 billion or so per planet — 178 billion on average) by mass implanting. He caused people to be brought to Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H Bomb on the principal volcanoes (Incident 2) and then the Pacific area ones were taken in boxes to Hawaii and the Atlantic area ones to Las Palmas and there ‘packaged’. His name was Xenu. He used renegades. Various misleading data by mean of circuits, etc. was placed in the implants. When through with his crime, Loyal Officers (to the people) captured him after 6 years of battle and put him in an electronic mountain trap where he still is. ‘They’ are gone. The place (Confed.) has since been a desert.”
Last month was my first official interview with church officials, and the whole rendezvous answered few questions and provoked insulting lies on behalf of both parties. “Sophia Alvarez” is not the real name of the woman who accompanied me into this interview at Manhattan’s Scientology center in Times Square.
CAROL: Through history man has been trying to solve his problems. He’ s done all sorts of things. And many men, including [Aristotle] , have found pieces to the puzzle. It’s not until Mr. Hubbard did the research and found Dianetics did he find all the pieces and aligned them. The only way you know that’s true is when you read it because it’s based on the physical laws of the universe. It’s not mystical. It’s not positive thinking. It’s not anything that’s mysterious. It’s based on physical laws. So when applied to a human being it works uniformly only if they have had drugs. When you were into therapy, did you have drugs?
SOPHIA ALVAREZ: No.
CAROL: Good. Absolutely good for you, or some kind of evasive treatment that psychiatrists do — lobotomies and shock t reatments, or things of that nature, is the time that Dianetics will not work for you because they have destroyed the parts of the mind to track what has occured to it .
TYLER BASS: Well, I definitely used a wide variety of pharmaceutical agents offered by psychiatry myself, when I was a c hi ld. A whole cocktail!
CAROL: What was the reason?
BASS: I suppose the intent was to treat depression, to say nothing of Scientology, but I wouldn’t say that they worked, the drugs. I was also given Adderall, about psychology, and I think they are well-advised. Oh, also Paxil, especially that one.
CAROL: All of them, sir. All of them.
I felt I had to concede to Scientology some rightful disdain for a pharmaceutical establishment that actually markets anti-depressants on television. If those medications were so essential, then why would they need to make glitz advertisements? For an interesting point of comparison, imagine if grocery stores started to run advertisements for fruits : “Come down to Kroger and try bananas, by Dole. Potassium: invaluable to brain function! ”
Carol communicated her frustration with how she perceived psychiatrists confusing matter with the mind. “The brain, ” she said, “ is like your left leg. It has no more to do with the source of your problems, than if you had a broken leg.”
Janet Reitman at Rolling Stone wrote an excellent article two years before in which she actually got an answer about Xenu, as someone uninitiated, from Scientologific. From that issue:
“[Sea Org member, Mike] Rinder has fielded questions on Scientology’ s beliefs for years. When I ask him whether there is any validity to the Xenu story, he gets red-f aced, almost going into a tirade. ‘It is not a story, it is an auditing level, ’ he says, neither confirming nor denying that this theology exists.”
However, as Alvarez and I would learn in New York City, apparently the church was not willing to keep its story straight on that point.
BASS: I was reading an article. Scientology allowed a PR person to interact with a reporter from Rolling Stone last year. They invited him [sic] to one of their centers in California, and he [sic] asked Scientology what was up with the Xenu story.
CAROL: Wha — what?
[This was the money shot the reporter had come for - ed]
Here, Carol’ s eyes narrowed in what was a halfway honorable but fatuous attempt, nonetheless, to deny having heard of the name of the former intergalactic ruler plastered count less times on the pages and blogs of news monkeys, particularly as then recently as February 2008, when a certain Internet-based group called “Anonymous ” orchestrated protests to increase Xenu awareness.
By that juncture in the interview, I knew that all forthrightness was about to shatter into a thousand pieces on both sides; that is apart from the fact that I had given phony names for myself and “Alvarez” on the way in. That blip from Mel Brook’s film “Robin Hood: Men In Tights” where all of Robin Hood’ s men are simultaneously “bullshit”-coughing, played on loop as Carol began a cat-and-mouse game for the rest of the interview where she lied, knew I knew she was lying, yet tried to give me an answer without giving me an answer.
Thank you for that last part, Carol. I hope, wherever you are, you’re not in some cold locker in the bottom of a Sea Org vessel, wallowing cold and alone in rat excrement.
BASS: The Xenu story.
CAROL: I don’t [sic] know [sic] what [sic] that [sic] is [sic].
BASS: The person replied that it is not a story; it is an auditing level.
BASS: Xenu. Yeah, this was a PR person for Scientology. I am not making this up.
A few moments later, after she had extrapolated for a while on the nature of Scientology’s organized, therapeutic hierarchy, Carol laid down a true gem of a quote that should in all rightness serve as an eternal landmark to the bleach- strong brand of cognitive dissonance available to all inside the walls of Manhattan’s Scientology church.
CAROL: I am going to tell you: Anybody who would reveal — or, “reveal” is the wrong word — say things such as that, it’s kind of like, my trying to verbally explain what LRH was taking some 4 or 500 pages to deliver to you people. It would be like my trying to explain it to you. There are such falsehoods. None of it is true. The only way to know what is on this OT III level is by doing it . Then, he knows what’s on there.
So, in a way, my question was answered, as she referred to OT III, which I had not previously associated with church-ordained knowledge of Xenu (although it certainly is). The kind of semantic runaround regarding the name of Xenu, however, was below mockery at that point. L. Ron Hubbard had no ability to predict the effect of the Internet.
BASS: Here’s what I know: It could be just a complete forgery, and I could be just a fool, but I mean, the point is this. You know, the people who reach that level are told not to disclose any of it .
CAROL: Well, I want to say something to you. Here’s the truth of it: Unless you have done these gradient levels, and I could communicate to you what I have gotten out of [the auditing level] Clear, it might not be real to you. So for me to tell you what I am experiencing that isn’t real, or isn’t real for you but real for me, would be like a distortion of what it is to be Clear. I can communicate to you that I have bursts of personal freedom, that — I can describe it in certain ways in which you have some reality on it, but if I were to tell you that I contacted a past life — now that may be true or that may not be true – but what are you going to think? ‘Is she a nut?’ Every person should seek it out for themselves.
At this point, I figured, aw, shucks, and admitted to having read the highly illicit OT III technical manual. She acted like she was completely surprised, even though it is available at countless destination spots across the Internet’s torrent underground. It is difficult to describe the immensity of the temptation at the time to pull out my laptop and show her all of the copyrighted files, but these Scientologists were famous for their copyright law voodoo. I had neither the means nor the willingness to deal with the fact that she might have had some rapport with the police at the door to deal with researchers such as myself. I held off the temptation of watching her reaction to Hubbard’s own handwriting spelling “Xenu” on a monitor in the interest of avoiding a tangle with the Church.
CAROL: You have read untruths. Total bullshit. It’s distorted. It’s meant to make us look like imbeciles because of one reason alone, one reason only, and I am going to tell you this: There are forces out there — drugs, bikers, oil mongers; there are a couple of others, the media — who try to enslave our society by their lies. This organization is the most ethical, the most sane, the most supportive; has the tools that can allow people to have some personal freedom.
ALVAREZ: So many people don’t go that way.
CAROL: I’m telling you because, if somebody puts, he says, confidential material from upper levels and puts it on the Internet – first of all, anybody who would attain this state of awareness wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t do it . He just wouldn’t because he has compassion to reach the state where he would include mankind rather than individualize himself.
While I was too often a fan of flattering myself as an influential member of the news media , my agenda to ens lave my readers was no t been working out so well at the time. I have been researching Scientology for years and have regarded Operating Thetan documents from a variety of sources. Someone, somebody within the church has not only released these documents, but in all serious likelihood this has happened repeatedly. In this respect, Carol was either sincerely duping herself or lying very hard. Essentially, she posits that someone would take the time to forge what are thousands of pages of documents.
What I leave open for all of you Scientology haters out there is this: Would Carol’ s insistence that the documents I saw were fake on the basis of that “fact ” that no Scientologist would ever disclose them provide in court the legal framework to endlessly distribute Scientology’s copyrighted internal documents on the World Wide Web? If Carol were right, then there would be no harm because the documents could not conceivably belong to the church.
The interview with Carol had numerous other brilliant moments of misdirection, prevarication and avoidance on her part. (Our overlords and slave masters, psychiatrists, sometimes refer to this as “blocking.”) These included her denying having heard of the term “Freezoner” to describe the church’ s debased Hubbard-ite relatives practicing in the Eastern Bloc and Germany outside of the financial triangle of Church President David Miscavige .
Of course Carol would trash the German government, which has criminalized Scientology as “oppressive” (thus driving underground the “Freezone” movement). So in a supreme instance of irony, she expressed resentment of the persecutor and the persecuted, who when pressed, in contradiction to her earlier denial of their very existence, she would acknowledge merely as “not practicing Scientology.”