Now that I’ve said it publicly, and judging by DM’s agent Doven’s reaction, I reckon my statement will be taken out of context and spread far and wide in order to “dead agent” me. I want you to know that I decided the church of Scientology was dead more than a year ago. I began to write a book in 2008 entitled “The church of Scientology is Dead”. When I spoke publicly – only in an effort to stop torture that I learned was ongoing at Int – in Feb 2009, the reaction required that there was no time left in any day to make significant progress on completing the book. The introduction to that version of my narrative may be getting stale. It represented a phase of my life where a lot of anger was blowing off. I listened to a lot of rap and hip hop to enhance the experience, intensify it, and expedite it. More has happened in the ressurrection of Scientology (the philosophy and subject) than I envisaged over the past year. I have flattened the 1.5 to 2.0 band personally as have several other close friends of mine. Not artificially, I lived it. Now, I’m living and approaching the problem in the Theta the solver zone of the tone scale. But, I know many still need to get through their anger. And they should. And there will be many more whom you educate who will need to do the same. Maybe I can help expedite the process. It is at 20.0 and above that we are going to solve this puppy. At 1.5 to 2.0 we will only become what we resist. But, the way to get up there is not to suppress our real and appropriate emotions – it is to have them, confront them, live them. That is the way we will keep movin’ on up a little higher. Since I am not going to finish my narrative in the immediate future, and since I framed the issue with my published conversation on the death of the church, I am going ahead and publishing here my year-old book introduction. Feel free to discuss it. Also feel free to hand it to the next bot who with righteous indignation says to you “that SP Marty Rathbun said ‘Scientology is dead!'”.
The church of Scientology is dead
The title of this book was inspired by the rapper Nas. A couple years back he produced an album entitled Hip Hop is Dead. A theme album, it communicated a profound frustration that the music genres of Rap and Hip Hop had been hijacked and converted from a socially conscious sort of street poetry into a vehicle to encourage degraded values. Rap, from which Hip Hop sprung, rose from ghetto streets in the late seventies as a rhythmic form of free expression during an era when the music culture was becoming increasingly more hedonistic and commercial.
Over a quarter century Hip Hop had been commercialized and degraded to the point where it was widely stigmatized as a vessel to glorify violence, misogyny, greed, cheap swagger and drugs. What once had promoted proud artistic expression and liberty now pimped sex, guns, bling and what the lust for such ultimately creates, slavery.
Intellectual debates about the whys and wherefores for the degradation were seldom given much currency and the downward spiral continued. Nas took another tack. He used the genre itself to pronounce once and for all that Hip Hop was dead.
Nas’s move was not met with hosannas from the industry. But, it certainly had an effect on music. His next album, Untitled, marked a resurrection of sorts for Hip Hop. It was a clarion call for people to wake up, think outside the box, and take responsibility for an American culture on the decline as a whole. It was as if the genre was so infected that it needed to be officially pronounced dead before it could regain any credible traction. Untitled was historically deep, intellectually challenging and musically advanced.
Predictably, it was passed up for honors by establishment institutions. Untitled nonetheless laid a cultural foundation for a new era for consciousness raising music.
Just as Hip Hop was misappropriated, stripped of its integrity and used to promote the precise opposite of what it originally delivered, so has gone the church of Scientology. It has been so thoroughly reversed from its original purpose that to engage in debate over individual issues of reform seems fruitless. In the seventies Scientology was publicly identified with the cultural shift toward more open communication and freedom of information. A quarter century later it has become publicly known as perhaps the greatest non-governmental enemy of open communication and freedom of information. Like Hip Hop, in a twenty five year span, it had become what it had originally resisted.
A resuscitation of Scientology appears impossible because of two major factors. First, the Church of Scientology has become such a ruthless and protective monopoly it takes extraordinary measures to suppress any criticism of itself, regardless of how warranted. Second, the Church’s inability to acknowledge a single one of its obvious shortcomings has stripped it of any ability to reform.
Many have attempted to initiate that discussion. All have failed, most of them resorting to broadside attacks, condemning everything about the subject, and themselves winding up as bitter, defeated people. That in no small part is due to the church of Scientology’s policy of seeking to destroy the source of criticism, no matter how valid or potentially cathartic it might be.
The cumulative effect of the church of Scientology’s twin evils practiced for so long have rotted the subject to the core in the general public’s mind. Having practiced Scientology for thirty two years (serving at the highest levels of its hierarchy for twenty-seven years, and studying it intensively from without for another four years), I have come to the same conclusion about the subject that Nas came to about Hip Hop. The church of Scientology must be pronounced dead in order for any sort of resurrection of Scientology to occur.
Scientology as a spiritual philosophy and methodology has a tremendous amount to offer. However, it’s late Founder L. Ron Hubbard once mused that the only way the subject could be lost was if practitioners allowed it to be monopolized, particularly by forces intent on enslaving the populace. Those words turned into prophecy in the fifty years that followed.
Not only did that monopoly materialize, it was perfected and controlled by a sociopath. David Miscavige is the undisputed leader of the Church of Scientology. Miscavige managed to convince Scientologists and the general public that he was anointed by Hubbard to carry on the latter’s legacy. In the name of Hubbard he has turned the basic principals, codes, and the very ethic of Scientology on their heads. He has also executed a campaign to slowly but surely write Hubbard out of Scientology and replace the Founder with himself.
In fact, Miscavige was never chosen by Hubbard. Through a series of coups Miscavige wrestled control of the Church to himself. In the course of securing that power and his own personal wealth and fame he did more to destroy Hubbard’s memory and harm Scientology from within than any enemy could ever have hoped to achieve from without. Now, his Church’s brand of Scientology bears little resemblance to Hubbard’s Scientology and in many ways stands for precisely the opposite of what it originally stood for.
Ironically, what was turned into a cult for the elite could have been saved by a man whose work served as an inspiration for Rap and Hip Hop. His soulful, talking blues treatments of popular songs about the honorable virtues of unconditional love and forgiveness resulted in his being bestowed with the fitting sobriquet Black Moses.
Around the turn of the Millennium the late Rhythm and Blues legend Isaac Hayes asked to meet Miscavige to discuss what he considered something of grave importance. Miscavige, as he did on numerous occasions when he didn’t want to mix with someone he considered beneath him yet needed to maintain public relations, sent me as his emissary.
Isaac and I met at a coffee shop for several hours. We immediately connected on the discovery that both of us had got into Scientology not so much for our own personal enhancement but more so in order to help others. On his own initiative Isaac had opened a number of small, store front learning centers in several American ghettos where Scientology methods of teaching people literacy and the art of learning were taught – for free. In his soothing baritone Isaac told me how he had grown up outside Memphis Tennessee in a scrap metal shack. He recounted his devotion to the Civil Rights movement, and how he had hoped that by his dedication to it he could help to prevent entire generations of his people from being dealt similar hands to what he’d been stuck with from birth. Isaac got choked up telling me how he felt on that fateful day in the summer of 1968 when he was scheduled to have a private meeting with the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King in his hometown. King never showed up, having been gunned down that morning by the personification of greed and hatred.
Isaac’s face lit up while he summarized the gains in ability and spiritual understanding he’d attained from Scientology. Then he suddenly went quiet, paused for a moment, looked directly at me with his sorrowful eyes, “Marty, it kills me that I can’t share it with my people. Of all those who deserve and need this technology it is Black folk. Scientology is priced so that only the wealthy can afford it. I understand the focus of ‘making the able more able’.
But, man who says you need lots of bread to be able? It is one thing to do the learning center thing, but what about the rest of Scientology? The courses, the counseling, going free spiritually?” Isaac espoused the view that Scientology could be the great equalizer – that which lifts up those classes born into poverty, underfunded school districts, and unwritten but tacitly enforced discrimination policies. To continue on its current course it would only serve to reinforce cultural inequities.
After a few hours of discussing the history of class and race warfare in America, I told Isaac I not only understood him, but I couldn’t be more in agreement. I told him there was hope because I was aware of Hubbard writings that directed Scientology be made affordable to the average working “Joe.”
Isaac then leaned forward and told me in a conspiratorial tone that if there were resistance at the top to making Scientology affordable in the ghettos because of financial considerations, “have them consider this. From where do trends come in this country and the world? Music, fashion, slang, all that is hip and cool comes from the Black ghetto. Man, you should let them know that they are shooting themselves in the foot by ignoring the ghetto. Just from a pure marketing perspective, if that’s how folks look at things, help Black America and you help yourself. In the long run it will pay big dividends when Scientology becomes cool.”
I assured him that I would report his exact concerns directly to Miscavige. That I did, in detail. Admittedly, I was not able to communicate all of the meeting. That is because, in his inimitable style, Miscavige cut me off whenever I attempted to explain any of the emotion and deep-seated beliefs we had discussed. He focused like a laser beam on what he considered of utmost importance, Isaac’s afterthought on how to influence management: servicing the ghetto could make Scientology hip.
Once I debriefed to Miscavige, I was sent off on yet another string of missions to fulfill my role as Mr. Fix-it for Scientology. That included spending the better part of two years recovering Tom Cruise to Scientology and counseling him through his divorce with Nicole Kidman.
During those two years, Miscavige became increasingly more obsessed with image and power. He pestered me continually with demands to get him personally connected back up with Cruise.
It was at the March 2003 L. Ron Hubbard Annual Birthday Celebration (an event Miscavige uses to directly communicate to several thousand Scientologists live and via video feed from the stage of a theater in Clearwater, Florida) that Scientology was dealt a couple of significant blows.
While fine tuning his master of ceremonies speech, Miscavige asked me what I thought about the war the Neo Cons were ramping up for in Iraq. I told him I believed there was no credible evidence presented that warranted such a move, that it was a patent blood for oil campaign, and that the corporate media cheering section urging Bush on was obviously orchestrated and was a very bad vital sign for America’s spiritual health. Miscavige said he agreed with me. He said he would have to say something about it to the Scientologists since the bombing of Baghdad was imminent. He said that he would not come out against it though, “because, what if it turns out to be a quick one like Desert Storm? I don’t want to be on the wrong side of victory.”
Hours later Miscavige gave his speech, quoting Hubbard about the futility of war, but very carefully avoiding any statement that might be construed as coming out against the Iraq invasion. It dawned on just how skillful he had become at artfully positioning himself to always be “right”, regardless of the consequences to others. His tacit approval of what would result in the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people was a blow to the integrity of a subject that swore to a dedication to truth and what is ethical. What he said next, however, evidenced that Miscavige was single-handedly stripping the Church of its heart and soul.
Miscavige told the audience that Black America was considered hip, that ghetto Blacks were the trend setters in music, fashion and more. He said that made investment in the ghetto very much worth Scientology’s while. It would make Scientology hip. My stomach ached as I heard him cherry-pick Isaac’s secret pitch to a profit motivated management and have the arrogance to announce it to the “elite”, well-heeled followers he had carefully cultivated.
He had unilaterally decided to take on the situation in the most audacious possible manner. He announced that the Church was working on two new magnificent, “showcase” Churches: one in Harlem and the other in South Central Los Angeles. He showed the audience grandiose design plans for both. I uneasily imagined how Isaac felt about seeing Miscavige take his report, and have the temerity to talk about Black America like a thing that need be conquered for Scientology’s aggrandizement.
Miscavige withheld from the audience that he had spent the past five years personally blocking efforts by Scientology management to implement a Hubbard advised finance system that would make the subject affordable to common folk. He continues to do so to this day.
The handwriting was on the wall. Miscavige would use hundred of millions of dollars of Scientologists’ donations to build impressive cathedrals, churches with their doors figuratively welded shut by prohibitive prices preventing regular folk from coming in and using them. Rather than welcome African American people, or the less wealthy of any color for that matter, he would throw money at constructing soul-less monuments in hopes that some might gratefully acknowledge his largess, while giving Scientology an impressive, if gaudy corporate image.
Miscavige was corrupting Scientology from being wholly concerned with the spiritual to exclusively focused on the material.
What occurred over the next year drove me outside the Church as it became apparent no reform was possible from within. Miscavige put his claws into a blossoming Tom Cruise, personally converting him from one of the more sensitive and caring people I had ever known into a cruel zealot who apparently bought Miscavige’s confidence game that he was now among an elite few who could save the planet. As such he could “do what thou will”, and never be held to account ethically.
One evening in late 2003 Miscavige and I picked up Cruise at a small, private airport near Scientology’s international headquarters. On the drive back to headquarters, Cruise recounted his recent visits with Bush administration officials whom he had lobbied on behalf of the Church. Miscavige acknowledged Cruise approvingly, then stated, “I wouldn’t mind Bush becoming our Constantine” (the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity who then decreed it the official religion of the empire). He explained, “maybe he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but boy when he makes an unpopular decision he enforces it no matter how much people resist it.” The statement summed up Miscavige’s intentions perfectly: to enforce slavish, ignorant obedience rather than bring about understanding and acceptance through reason.
To Cruise’s credit then, he seemed somewhat dumbfounded by the statement and lost for words. But, under intense courting from Miscavige, Cruise’s objectivity and powers of discernment would soon abandon him.
Miscavige began intensively working on Cruise, bestowing him with ‘inner circle’ status, and lavishing him with magnificent and bizarre gifts and favors. One was a several hundred thousand dollar birthday bash. Another was the deployment of several veteran Church staff to pimp and pander for Cruise. Over time Cruise became a willing Miscavige accomplice, to the detriment of his own image and career. Remarkably, in a span of two years Miscavige single-handedly converted Cruise from Scientology’s greatest PR asset into its biggest PR liability.
Miscavige became more irrational and violent. He created an Apocalypse Now like scenario at international headquarters. He resorted to imprisoning and torturing Church managers who did not enthusiastically support his increasingly insane behaviors. He de-personalized all veteran managers of the church, effectively dismantling management. He spent huge sums of church money and resources to create a jet-setting personal lifestyle befitting of his best pal Cruise. He systematically corrupted the methodologies of Scientology to not only make them unworkable, but also turn them into control and punishment mechanisms. His overly aggressive reactions to criticism have created a public image of Scientology that repels people from reaching to find out about it.
After nearly three decades on the inside I left the Church when Miscavige refused to meet with me to discuss his abusive conduct. Having been insulated for so long from day to day living as an American citizen, after my departure I experienced a rather strong jolt of cultural shock. It was at the height of the real estate bubble, the Bush administration’s popularity, the free press’ cloying endorsement of imperial invasions and scaled back Constitutional rights. I was surprised by how deeply the speculative, get-something-for-nothing mentality had pervaded American culture. I was also taken aback by what seemed to be a fear-enforced intolerance for open dialog on where the country was headed.
I undertook an intense study of American history in an attempt to make sense of things. I was trying to understand how an oligarchy could come to power forwarding such overtly greed based, militaristic and censorious policies in what is supposed to be the land of liberty. Were our leaders simply products of this country’s traditions of rewarding greed and glorifying attainment of wealth and authority at any cost? Were the war mongering Neo Cons of Miscavige’s potential Constantine the realization of the American Dream?
Interestingly some of the more educated and curious rappers (e.g. Nas, Ded Prez, Chuck D, Wyclef Jean, Common) explored similar thought, questioning the very ethical foundations of our nation. That is what first interested me in the genre. They paralleled a line of forbidden thought and inquiry I was undertaking.
Mine was also sort of a vicarious investigation of Miscavige’s tyrannical rise to power in an organization predicated on concepts diametrically opposed to his own operating basis.
I examined the question of whether Miscavige and the Neo Cons rose to prominence because of Scientology’s and America’s fundamental philosophies and policies, or instead in spite of them.
Did the fact that we had endured a several year reign in our country where the civil rights that make it what it is were severely eroded by vested interests, mean that the Constitution (as amended) does not set forth the most enlightened form of government yet devised?
Did the fact that a man bent on enslaving others psychologically and physically rose to prominence in an organization founded with the purpose of freeing people spiritually mean the core principles of the subject cannot contain magic?
Should one eschew everything about Scientology because an intolerant dictator managed to grab its reigns? Should one denounce one’s country because a group of totalitarians managed to seize the controls of the land of the free for a number of years?
Was Scientology under Miscavige’s tyrannical reign a natural conclusion to a movement that proudly calls itself the only purely American religion? Or was he simply aligning the Church with radical, fascist political forces because of his personal predilections?
Politically and socially conscious Hip Hop suggested to me that nothing could be more honest or patriotic than asking such questions and seeking the truth – regardless of the popularity of the inquiry. In a way it gave rhythm and soul, and a measure of vitality and current relevance, to a powerful guiding adage by Mahatma Gandhi that I had embraced: “You may be a minority of one, but the truth is still the truth.”
My search for the truth has lead to the conclusion that for all intents and purposes the church of Scientology is dead. Taking a page from Nas’s play book, perhaps the most effective first step in raising Scientology philosophy out of the church’s ashes is to recognize and pronounce the church’s passing.