OLD QUESTIONS…NEW ANSWERS? 02
Old Answers: First of three IVy Excerpts
In the introduction to this new series which I’m calling “Old Questions..New Answers?”, I undertook to look at some basic questions about how Scientology delivered on some of its basic promises. That post posed the questions and concluded by saying that I had already written on matters relevant to the questions and would follow that first post with a “reprint” of an article published back in the early 2000s, before adding some new material.
I have divided the old article into three excerpts for ease of reading. And I have left the text alone except for relatively unimportant changes. In the first excerpt I have added some brief notes and they are inserted in square brackets and printed in italics in a small font.
In the title of the old article, quoted below, the words “Inside Scientology” reference the name of the first part of the book under review, A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 edition; I was using that name as the jumping-off point for my article. I should probably also explain that “IVy on the Wall” was the name of the regular column I wrote for the journal. [I’d wanted to call it “IVy off the Wall” but another’s superior judgment prevailed, sad to say.] And in those years, I lived in the USA, although no longer.
IVy on the Wall
by Ken Urquhart, USA
Outside “Inside Scientology”, Chapter Five in a consideration of A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 book by Jon Atack
[First of three excerpts from the Chapter]
WE HAVE SO FAR [that is, in Chapters One to Four of KU’s response to Atack’s book] considered the externals, the Acknowledgments, the Preface, and the essay “What is Scientology?”, which introduce and begin Jon Atack’s book, A Piece of Blue Sky. We come now to Part One of the book, which bears the title: “Inside Scientology, 1974-1983”. It has four chapters headed, respectively: “My Beginnings;” “Saint Hill”; “On to OT”; “The Seeds of Dissent”.
These chapters outline Jon’s introduction to and involvement with the subject and his departure from it. They include fair summaries of Dianetic engram running, of the basic Training Routines (but here the summary betrays misunderstanding of their purpose), and of the OT Levels. In these chapters we also get some of Jon’s experiences with and observations of the people and practices. They are sharply drawn, interesting, and valuable.
In the early days of the organization (or movement, as it was more then), it had an energy and a hope one could personally and freely respond to. I first came into contact with Scientology through a family friend in 1956. Over time the energy and hope became force and franticness. One no longer responded freely and personally either as staff or public; the force and franticness pulled one in or spat one out. The Scientology world had changed completely over the years.
Jon’s Scientology world
The picture Jon paints of the Scientology world he became a loyal member of, starting in 1974, is mostly negative, of course. This is, after all, an exposé. And there is plenty to be negative about. The picture is entirely credible as well as pitiful. Just about everything that Jon says about the Scientology world he experienced rings very true:
- Jon went to an official Scientology organization in the North of England to buy training courses so he could get a job at the Birmingham Mission. The registrar at the org was “insistent and belligerent”. And, “he seemed to take an immediate dislike to me”. I have come across such org welcomes myself.
- A Saint Hill staff member who lived in the same house as Jon had done OT levels and claimed OT powers – such as being able to pick the winning horse (while living in poverty). Another ate only bananas because he had “heard” that L. Ron Hubbard was researching carbohydrate diets. These are behaviours characteristic of some Scientologists, as I have observed.
- Due to a mix-up in court paperwork, Jon received a summons for non-payment of a court fine, a matter apparently easily resolved. He needed the Ethics Officer’s permission to take time off his Saint Hill training course to go take care of it. The Ethics Officer, an “intense and overweight” woman, “wore knee-length boots with her dishevelled Sea Org uniform”. She told him she was removing him from the course because he was a “criminal” and explained that even for a parking ticket she would bar the offender from Scientology courses until it was paid. I remember the person as Jon describes her. I can hear her voice and its tones. I can accept his account of her reaction to his request as authentic.
- Quoting Jon: “At Saint Hill, the Ethics Officers were daunting, overworked, and unsmiling. Saint Hill registrars…were a little too sugary and it was obvious they wanted money. The constant and unavoidable discussions with Sea Org recruiters at SH were wearing. Virtually everyone there was too busy trying to save the world to create any genuine friendships.” All this is true.
- Jon writes that he had “serious reservations about the increasingly high prices and the incompetence of the organization. I [Jon] simply could not understand how Hubbard’s research into administration had created such a bumbling and autocratic bureaucracy. Although staff worked themselves to a frazzle, they seemed to achieve very little. Then there were the little Hitlers who used their positions to harass anyone who did not fit neatly into their picture of normality.” The monthly price increases were an insanity that LRH originated all by himself. I don’t think LRH had any idea of how bumbling and autocratic was the bureaucracy which infected the organizations; had he been on the site to experience it he would have exploded in fury and shaken everyone up very drastically. Yes, we did work ourselves to a frazzle and usually achieved very little. And Yes, “little Hitler” is a good name for such nuisances, of whom there were far too many. [And a few of them were far from puny.]
This concludes the first of the three excerpts of Chapter Five of the IVy series, “A Consideration of A Piece of Blue Sky”, reprinted here in 2018 on the urqbones blog. In the next excerpt, which begins with the subtitle “LRH Viewed as Source of All”, I attempt an analysis of some of LRH’s less successful modes of management.
* * * * *
Eleven chapters of this IVy series (there are twelve altogether, with the final chapter yet to be written) are available at:
and the IVy website is here: http://home8.inet.tele.dk/ivy/%20
The 2013 edition of A Piece of Blue Sky is offered on Amazon UK:
and the original of 1990:
For amazon.com, the respective links are:
N.B. These links are not ‘affiliate’ links and I will in no way profit from any purchase using them.
“Outside ‘Inside Scientology’” is reproduced by kind permission of the IVy publisher, Antony Phillips. Thank you, Antony.
© Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2001, 2018CATEGORIESOLD QUESTIONS…NEW ANSWERS?, UNCATEGORIZEDTAGSCHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY, KEN URQUHART, KENNETH G. URQUHART, L.RON HUBBARD, LRH, LRH PERS COMM, LRH PERSONAL COMMUNICATOR, SCIENTOLOGY, SCIENTOLOGY ORGANIZATIONS
2 Replies to “Old Questions…New Answers? 02”
- Vinay AgarwalaI remember purchasing the book “A Piece of Blue Sky” in the early 90s and reading it. I bought the book very surreptitiously and felt guilty about reading it. But I was undergoing a change of mind then. It was part of sorting mtself out after leaving the Sea Org. At that time I had not left Scientology yet. I was simply keeping my distance from it.Yes, the above quotes describe part of my experience as well of the autocratic managment by Hubbard that was full of arbitraries. The abritraries came from the heavy push by Hubbard. The staff resorted to arbitraries in order to “make it go right” in response to the heavy push.Hubbard was in a great hurry, indeed! I sometimes wonder wat that great hurry was. What was he trying to achieve?He was definitely trying to achieve the broad recognition of Scientology. He definitely achieved that.He was trying hard to make Scientology self-sufficient as an organization, finamcially, of course. He definitely achieved that too.But somewhere along the way, in this scramble of rush, Scientology lost its soul. Was Hubbard aware of this? Probably not. He was too interiorized in has case.That tells me about the toll that LRH took on his research on OT Levels because of his lack of OBNOSIS.
- chuckbeattyx75to03“….Over time the energy and hope became force and franticness….”Hope was a powerful factor that followers of any new group provide that fuel themselves, freely, and the new group they get into takes that energy from them.When the members have their hopes bashed up, it’s kind of a big start change stop of people’s hopes, for what that group was claiming to provide.Some people got into and out of Scientology in various times getting what they came for.The bureaucracy Hubbard created, and then the ethics rules and policies just kept adding to the difficulty of being staff and forcing this whole “positive” activity along.Makes me reflect that weren’t you, Ken, in the original David Mayo group, you’re in that video, and I remember in that video several of you Apollo vets (and older timers than that even) reflect on the Mayo group’s atmosphere intentionally dropping all the heavy bureaucracy and ethics.————-The Max Hauri Ron’s Org chapter in Switzerland, likewise, I note dropped that whole ethics bureaucracy crap.I today appreciate all the history of you oldest timers who lived Scientology important history.Everything you write Ken is good for those who try deeply understand their Scientology history.There will be future Scientologists, I think due to new persons who aren’t aware of all the details of life, who will become Scientologists in the future.IT’s good for old Scientologists like you Ken, to tell your important history.
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