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Going Clear - Chapter 1: The Convert 
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 Going Clear - Chapter 1: The Convert
Going Clear - by Lawrence Wright
Chapter 1: The Convert

This thread is the place to discuss Chapter 1: The Convert.



Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:37 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
It looks like early Scientology was latching onto these creative young people who were floundering emotionally as a lot of us do at that young age. It appears to me that this group basically interrupted this normal personal process with their bizarre propaganda. Pretty amazing that these poor people actually believe it when they are told that they have the control to believe only what they wish to. Then they pay to go through these classes, auditing, OT levels...effectively re-programming them along the way.


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"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”


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Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:11 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
CoolSummer wrote:
It looks like early Scientology was latching onto these creative young people who were floundering emotionally as a lot of us do at that young age. It appears to me that this group basically interrupted this normal personal process with their bizarre propaganda. Pretty amazing that these poor people actually believe it when they are told that they have the control to believe only what they wish to. Then they pay to go through these classes, auditing, OT levels...effectively re-programming them along the way.

That's true, CoolSummer, L. Ron Hubbard took advantage of the vulnerability of many young people during the turbulent 60s. He was an opportunist, of course.

The intro and this chapter are a good thumbnail of the religion. One peculiar thing about scientologists is that, unlike Baptists, Quakers, or Pentocostals, several of whom whom I've known, I have little chance of meeting a scientologist. The faith has an outsize influence and reach but is thought to have few adherents.

The chapter brings in what never can be ignored about the religious experience: is it, almost by definition, not a product of a sane mind? Okay, "sane" is a prejudicial word; others would stress an advanced state of mind or mystical apprehension of what eludes us in our normal waking state. But the question of madness is not far away, and indeed Paul Haggis says that even while becoming more and more inveigled by LRH, he had a suspicion that LRH was out of his mind. But would a prophetic leader who didn't have a strong streak of "divine madness" ever be seen as worth following? No, probably not. He or she has to be seen as onto to something that the rest of us can't grasp.



Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:34 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
I think that the connections they make as they are going through the process improved his life (Paul H) and career so he was willing to accept when he didn't have the same experience some of the others reported experiencing going through these levels. I am watching the documentary right now. I think the early days of Scientology were an entirely different animal than what we are seeing of the group now. I am happy for the people who started out in this early group who have known enough about real life in order to walk away. I find myself most dismayed by those born into this who have no reference about real life except that group.


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"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”


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Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:10 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
reminds me of when i was an impressionable and uncritical lad of 12 or so. (around '75)

a friend of the family was into scientology and had me doing some survey on that galvonometer thingy, two cans hooked up to a multimeter. (much to my Dad's (electronics technician) amusement)

it got me in though, being made the centre of attention hooked up to the meter and being asked questions, exciting stuff for the impressionable.

when you don't know yourself you tend to fall for this kinda stuff.



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Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:18 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
youkrst wrote:
reminds me of when i was an impressionable and uncritical lad of 12 or so. (around '75)

a friend of the family was into scientology and had me doing some survey on that galvonometer thingy, two cans hooked up to a multimeter. (much to my Dad's (electronics technician) amusement)

it got me in though, being made the centre of attention hooked up to the meter and being asked questions, exciting stuff for the impressionable.

when you don't know yourself you tend to fall for this kinda stuff.


I can imagine your Dad told you that weren't going back there, when you told him about it. With all those sci-fi show reruns and Star Trek on tv back then I'll bet that seemed cool at the time. I am sure they reel a person in a long while before they would have gotten hardcore with their propaganda especially with a kid thank goodness.


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"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”


Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:50 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
the "scientology guy" himself was charming, and seemed sincere, i suppose even your own sincerity can trap you.

Tom Cruise is such a "scientology guy" in that sense of "infinity and beyond" gung ho positiveness, even if he wasn't a scientologist he'd be something like it. But i suppose that is the trick, being yourself without the need for a group to "officialise" it.

it's one thing to step through these things on the way to a better understanding and another to get trapped in there and not realise it.

if you can be taken in there is usually someone more than happy to facillitate :)



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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
Yeah there is a little crazy in Tom Cruise's eyes and demeanor which have been there for years now. I am impressed that he has still been been able to function as an actor. But since he is Miscavages cash cow I am sure they will do whatever is necessary to keep him chugging. Truthfully even Travolta is showing some of those same signs of being crazy. Wonder what level they pick that up at?


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"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”


Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:01 am
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
Paul Haggis is great in that documentary, when he talks about how he first learns about all the alien mythology, he was like "What the fuck is this?"

You could definitely see how a struggling young man or woman could get caught up in something like that. As the book says, "The recruits were infused with a sense of mystery, purpose, and intrigue. Life inside Scientology was just so much more compelling than life outside."



Sun Apr 26, 2015 6:32 am
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
Yeah, and just as the subtitle of the book indicates, Hollywood is integral to the whole phenomenon. You have to imagine an environment like Hollywood (though I can't, really) to understand the almost voodoo-like power a "technology" like this could have on people trying to make it, trying to acquire that "it" factor that would propel them from nobody-hood to stardom or at least success, in that business. Remember "Rosemary's Baby'? Doesn't John Cassavetes begin to dabble in the black arts in order to get a part?



Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:25 am
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
youkrst wrote:
reminds me of when i was an impressionable and uncritical lad of 12 or so. (around '75)
a friend of the family was into scientology and had me doing some survey on that galvonometer thingy, two cans hooked up to a multimeter. (much to my Dad's (electronics technician) amusement)
it got me in though, being made the centre of attention hooked up to the meter and being asked questions, exciting stuff for the impressionable.
when you don't know yourself you tend to fall for this kinda stuff.

That time frame reminds me of a friend who almost got hooked into Scientology. At that time, they'd set up shop near a university and walk around handing out "intelligence tests". That got the attention of impressionable freshman, my friend included, who would then get "love bombed" (his phrase) once inside. Fortunately, a wiser older man was able to point out inconsistencies and talk him out of it in the nick of time. Later I saw them handing out "personality tests".

About 10 years ago saw them at a mall kiosk, talking to folks who looked like they were holding cans of beans, i.e. the E-meter. Haven't seen them since, don't know what their marketing approach is these days, perhaps it all starts (and ends) on line now... I expect they're getting desperate for new recruits.



Sat May 02, 2015 3:47 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
At the end of the introduction, Wright asks some questions we should raise during our discussions.

  • What is it that makes the religion alluring?
  • What do its adherents get out of it?
  • How can seemingly rational people subscribe to beliefs that others find incomprehensible?
  • Why do popular personalities associate themselves with a faith that is likely to create a kind of public relations martyrdom?
Quote:
These questions are not unique to Scientology, but they certainly underscore the conversation. In attempting to answer them in this book, I hope we can learn something about what might be called the process of belief. ...



Sun May 17, 2015 3:24 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 1: The Convert
LanDroid wrote:
At the end of the introduction, Wright asks some questions we should raise during our discussions.

  • What is it that makes the religion alluring?
  • What do its adherents get out of it?
  • How can seemingly rational people subscribe to beliefs that others find incomprehensible?
  • Why do popular personalities associate themselves with a faith that is likely to create a kind of public relations martyrdom?
Quote:
These questions are not unique to Scientology, but they certainly underscore the conversation. In attempting to answer them in this book, I hope we can learn something about what might be called the process of belief. ...


Good points for discussion. If I have a criticism of the book, it's that the analysis of these topics is fairly sparse, in my view. There is some of it along the way, mainly from Paul Haggis, and in the Epilogue Wright discusses Scientology in the context of the religious landscape. The reporting aspect tends to be somewhat overwhelming, and we can question how much more we learn the more the shenanigans of the two leaders are exposed.

Here is my impression of your first question. The really wacky stuff, the fantasy sci-fi history, isn't what draws people in. It's unclear to me just how much of this absurd material is given to initiates. What they're promised, in contrast to the more vague spiritual benefits of the older religions, are specific benefits that will improve their lives and make the planet better as everyone sheds their human weaknesses. The parallel with psychotherapy is close, but of course Hubbard went way beyond what therapy promised. Scientology adepts would become more powerful beings. This appears to play to selfish desires rather than spiritual ones, but selfish interest is also a general feature of religion.
Scientology provides a manual, so that there is no inefficient groping around for enlightenment, just a technology that is more attuned to the modern world. It's all done through taking courses.



Last edited by DWill on Mon May 18, 2015 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon May 18, 2015 7:47 am
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Post Re: Going Clear - Chapter 1: The Convert
I agree DW. The only link they have to religion seems to be their tax break. I finally broke down and bought the audio book, because I've found myself bogged down with LRH's strange life in the next chapter.

1. I think it's the sense of belonging they feel when joining (at least in the early church). They go there under the pretense that someone is going to solve their problems. Then get sucked into taking their classes, and giving their money then they are hooked. The more creative people seem to find connections here that further their careers too. It's the average Joe walking into that place, or those who are scammed into signing the million year SeaOrg contract, who become mistreated slave labor here I think.

2. ?

3. People are brought into this slowly through the auditing, classes and leveling. All of the time spent doing all of this separates them from mainstream life as they get sucked further down the rabbit hole. So not sure how many start by believing at first, until they've completed the full experience. By then they are trapped by own belief, and then after total control is achieved, threats can be made, including shunning by family and friends if they don't tow the line.

4. The Stars have the better end of this deal, i.e. royal treatment. They can afford all extra counseling and auditing, necessary for them to be used as mouthpieces by the organization. To me there is something a little "off" about all the Scientology stars. Tom C., John T, and Kirstie A for instance tend to look like they've had a little too much of this organization's kool aid at times. This is most notable in one on one interviews and such


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"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”


Mon May 18, 2015 7:19 pm
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Post Re: Going Clear - Chapter 1: The Convert
I am wondering about ethics and ethical behavior,

Hubbard says that to be Clear, ethical and moral standards are high, but then he goes on to say that to be Clear is to possess the capability of killing people. Killing people over the phone no less. Where does the ethical and moral standards come if you live in a very isolated bubble? Society as a whole is not considered, norms and lawful behavior and ethical behavior that is expected of our society doesn't seem to be a factor in Hubbards world.



Tue May 19, 2015 9:22 pm
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