From International Viewpoints (IVy) Issue 1 - May 1991
Home Page: http://ivymag.org/IVy.html
CAN and a "Success Story" (Revised Feb. 1997)
By Antony A Phillips, Denmark
(Note: Much has happened since this article was written in 1991,
notably CAN has been taken over by the Church of Scientology, or one
of its connections. Therefore one is unlikely to get unbiased data
or advice on the church of Scientology from them. Those interested
could look at the following site: http:\www.csj.org)
[[footnote]]This is a rewritten version of an article which first
appeard in the Danish magazine "Uafhængige Synspunkter " no. 15 in
"Something very peculiar about being a Scientologist was that I never
was able to talk about Scientology! As a member I was warned against
'giving verbal data', which was punishable. My only source of my ideas
of Scientology should come from Hubbard himself. And to discuss with a
non-member was just as impossible, as they did not understand our
terminology and jargon. It was only when I left Scientology, that
after a while I felt free to break that tabu. With some years delay I
was able to exchange ideas with other ex-members. Such a relief, such
"As Scientologist I felt I had the answers -- the key to the universe,
the real meaning to existence. Now I know the the reason for life --
if indeed there is one -- is not such a simple affair. But
nevertheless I can wake in the morning, go to work, meet other people,
have thoughts and opinions and altogether have a rich and fruitful
life -- something which suprised me greatly. And nevertheless I do not
have all the deep insight into life which I once thought I had.
Perhaps the purpose of life is not nearly so important as life
The above is taken from a brochure from CAN, Cult Awareness Network.
It is a fact that Scientology is classified by CAN as a 'destructive
cult'. And what is that? CAN says: "A destructive cult can be defined
as a closed system or group, whose members have been recruited by
false methods and held in the group with the help of manipulative
techniques which alter the pattern of thought or control the mind.
"The system is brought down over the head of the individual with the
purpose of altering his personality and behaviour. The leaders are all
powerfull, the ideology is totalitarian, and the individuals will is
junior to the groups. The destructive cult sets itself over society by
making its own values with little or no respect for the surrounding
societys laws, ethics and morals."
CAN classifies Scientology as a destructive cult.
But is it true that scientology is a destructive cult?
The decision is yours!
The question is easier to ask than answer, but if you have had
connection with the Church of Scientology, or know others who have , I
think it would be well worth your while to have a good look at the
question. A book which can be very helpful is "Combatting Mind
Control" by Steven Hassan.
My answer is that Scientology as I experienced it at the end of the
70's and beginning of the 80's was a destructive cult. I do not think
it was when I came in in 1954, and I have spend much time puzzling
over when it became destructive. (By the way, see what LRH says on
Basically there are two methods to get someone into a trap -- the
carrot and the whip. Perhaps you could call the bait cheese.
If that which attracted one into the C of $s trap was cheese, then my
idea is that it was the finest and most nutritious Gorganzola cheese.
If you have decided that C of $s is a destructive cult, I'd say you
have two little tasks, which it would be well worth your while to do.
The first is common to all (former) members of destructive cults (CAN
estimates that there are more than 2,000 destructive cults in the USA
alone; total membership about 2,000,000). The task consists of freeing
yourself of the oppressive mental effects (possibly also physical)
which the group has had on you. The result of this can be enormous,
because one has almost certainly learned a lot about life by being
churned up in the Mill of a destructive cult. One may have to use time
and effort to get oneself in a state to use that knowledge.
But former members of C of $ have one more task, which will also be
extremely rewarding. That is to retrieve the wonderful Gorganzola
cheese they have enjoyed, so they can use it for the benefit of
themselves and others in a free environment. For LRH has passed on to
us an enourmous amount of very useful knowledge of life (certain bits
of which have been used backwards, that is to say destructively, by
the church). We have spent time and money with Scn. Lets make sure we
get all we can out of it.
Scientology does not stand alone with regard to knowledge of the mind.
Much new knowledge of the mind has appeared in recent years. Actually
most of it is probably not 'new', but it certainly, with modern
communication means is much more widely known. Some of the destructive
cults on CANs list are old -- but the majority are new, and this is
just because knowledge of the mind is so much more easily available,
regardless of whether it be used for good or bad.
In scientology we know both how to creat a super-destructive cult, and
how we can help others to avoid bad groups and how we can help them
who have been through the mill of a destructive cult. Exit counselling
is the name given to such work, done, note carefully, with the
recipients free will, and not enforced. It is up to you how deep you
go into the question, but all who have had connection with the C of $
should (I believe) understand the situation, and consider whether it
would not be a good idea to work a bit in that area.
I believe that the whole question of destructive cults is just one of
many which indicates that this planet has come to a decisive point,
with two ways ahead of it. One route leads to a heavily technically
oriented ineffective and boring slave planet (where the majority are
in fact slaves -- wage slaves, if you will). The other brings us much
nearer heaven than we are today. It is not just Gorbajovs and Stalin's
that influence the way the planet goes. It is also you.
A free press
Something of what made scientology destructive was its monopoly and
press censorship. One of the means of making the true Gorganzola
cheese available to all would be to refuse to accept censorhip on
matters of the mind. International Viewpoints is just one of many free
scientology magazines, and there are of course others representing
other fields of knowledge on the mind. Supporting us also is a good,
The success story quoted talks about lifes purpose. I find this
adequately explained in sc. axiom 48, and when one understands that,
one does not waste much time speculating 'What is the purpose of
life?' Some of the time you save not speculating on that, might well
be used to make life more fun for a few of the many inhabitants of
this rather glum (but very beautiful) planet. In our scn enheritance
we have man tools for this..
I will close with some of the material published by CAN, The Cult
Awareness Network. There is a lot more, including a special pack on
scientology and a monthly magazine which sometimes gives news items
(often court cases) about scn. It might be worthwhile writing direct
The following is from "Packet on Mind Control" by CAN (Cult Awareness
Characteristics Of A Destructive Cult
Despite the great variation among destructive cults, certain
characteristics are common among them. WARNING: Not every destructive
cult has each of the characteristics listed below.
Deceit -- vagueness and secrecy about beliefs and goals of group,
belief that the group's ends justify any means; this deception is
sometimes called 'heavenly deception'.
Coercive Persuasion -- pressure for recruit to be involved in the
group and believe in the group's ideals; then coercive persuasion
through fear, guilt and dependence in order to keep the member in the
Lack of Privacy -- lack of privacy makes it difficult for the recruit
to contemplate the group's confusing tenets.
Reunciation of and Alienation from Family, Friends and Society --
recruit's family and friends and their value systems are renounced;
often those outside the group are said to interfere with the member's
spiritual path, and are referred to as "satanic". Group-arranged
marriages are frequent.
Absolute Obedience to Leaders -- it is more important to obey the
leaders than to question. Obedience must be total, whole-hearted.
Rejection of Previously Held Values - previously held values are
replaced by a new value system claiming that the cult is pure and
moral, and the rest of society is misguided or satanic.
Isolation from Society -- television, radio, newspapers, books are
often replaced by group meetings and readings prepared by the group.
Confession -- members are persuaded to share their inner-most feelings
and secrets; these secrets are employed by the leaders to humiliate
members and to dissuade the member from leaving the group.
Guilt -- corollary to confession, guilt is employed to force members
to work harder for the group and to be more dependent on the group.
Fear -- employed in order to instill group loyalty; the group predicts
tragic consequences to the member's family if the member were to
Emotional Highs and Lows -- making members have, alternately, highs
and lows produces confusion, disorientation, and added dependence on
the group. The group leaders are untrained and unprepared to deal with
psychological consequences of highs and lows.
Preoccupation with Fundraising and Recruiting -- two main objectives
of destructive cults are fundraising and recruiting; often members are
persuaded to donate earnings and savings and even inheritances. The
work day can be incredibly long.
Charismatic, Dogmatic Leader -- leader demands total devotion, and may
claim supernatural power and unique, simple solutions to world's
Retention Techniques -- members find it hard to leave the group
because the group renders them dependent on it through confession,
guilt, and fear and alienates them from family, friends, and society.
Outward Features of Destructive Cults
Warning: Not every destructive cult has each of the characteristics
Love Bombing -- new recruits are touched, hugged, flattered (e.g.,
"You are so spiritual" or "You are psychic!").
Chanting and Singing -- constant, repetitive chanting that is quasi-
Sleep Deprivation and Fatigue -- long hours of recruiting and
fundraising, inadequate sleep induce disorientation and stifle
Diet -- excessive starch and carbohydrates and lack of proteins also
inhibit critical thinking, making members increasingly dependent on
Games -- strenuous games with confusing rules build dependence on
leaders; children's games tend to make members act like children and
therefore dependent on leaders.
Loaded Language -- such terms and phrases make members feel in and
exclusive. Examples: forsythia disease (spring fever), cooking (love-
bombing), True Parent (leader of one group), food sharing (personal
sacrifice), heavenly deception (lying to achieve group's goals).
Isolation from Society -- isolation from family, friends and society
prevents contact with people of opposing views, and tends to inhibit
Hypnosis and Meditation -- to produce an altered state of
Potential Effects of Destructive Cults on its Members
De facto slavery.
Loss of free will and control of one's life.
Diminished intellectual ability; dramatic change of life goals
Reduced capacity to form human relationships
Childlike dependence on leaders
Hallucinations, nightmares, panic
Guilt, psychotic or suicidal tendencies
Questions to Ask Yourself About a Group
Does the group seem to have simplistic answers to complex world
Does the group allow or encourage questions and discussion about its
Does the group encourage members to study and understand other
religious and philosophical traditions?
Does the group require members to disavow their traditions and
Does the group encourage normal contact with member's family and
Does the group encourage members to continue studying as before?
Does the group allow new members to have quiet times alone?
What is the mechanism for a member disassociating from the group?