PrologueThe Tragi-Farce of Scientology
This article, captioned "Paulette Cooper reports from America," was published in the December 1969 issue of the British magazine Queen (page 109).
If you think you have problems with Scientology in England, you should see what's happening in theStates. Here, they pass out their leaflets on the street corners of some of the most pukkaneighbourhoods, urging innocent bystanders to try out Scientology. Those who have accepted theinvitation have found themselves in one of their many dingy headquarters, listening to a dull lectureon Scientology, followed by a film of equal merit on its leader, L. Ron Hubbard. Those who didn'twalk out then may have submitted to the American Personality Test (in England, it's the OxfordCapacity Analysis), probably not realising that the B.Scn, D.Scn, DD, and BA degrees of the girl whowrote the test stood for Bachelor of Scientology, Doctor of Scientology, and Doctor of Divinity in the"Church" of Scientology only. And who knows what that BA stood for? Maybe in her case it waslegitimate, although one Scientologist in Australia admitted that her "BA" stood for "BasicAdministrator" and "Book Auditor" -- the latter meaning she had bought a book on how to applyScientology to others.But people come to the headquarters anyway, take the test, accept the results, and sign up for Scientology. At least 150,000 people in the United States have taken that final irrevocable step, andthe Scientologists claim that at least 100,000 British people are also members of the cult inEngland.But it's true that we in America are to blame for starting it all. Scientology sprang like a phoenix fromthe dirt of "Dianetics", one of the typical crazy fads that sweeps our country periodically. Dianetics hitlike a hurricane in 1950, attracting thousands of people, mostly on the West Coast, by promising tocure them of their mental and physical problems without all those tedious hours required bypsycho-analysis. Dianetics even had some attraction for those people who had always secretlywanted to play doctor, because it allowed them to
others without all those tedious yearsrequired to train for it. But a few critics had to come along and spoil the fun. Dianetics, and itsfounder, L. Ron Hubbard, were discredited by the real doctors, and the country deserted Dianeticsto search for Bridey Murphy (an Irish woman who believed she had been reincarnated).But Dianetics was also quietly undergoing a rebirth, changing its name -- to Scientology -- andadding a new element -- "religion" -- which enabled it to avoid paying American income taxes.Today, this "Church of Scientology", as it is called, says it is people's "spiritual" problems that it isconcerned with now.The method, which resembles a combination of psychotherapy and the Catholic confession, is stillbasically the same: the Scientology "patient", or "preclear", as a newcomer is called, revealsintimate details of his past to a "reverend" in the Church of Scientology. Unfortunately, thesimilarities seem to end there. First, the confessional material is not kept completely confidential,since a preclear's records are available to all of his reverends, or "auditors" as they are called --who may eventually number as many as five or six -- and unbeknown to the preclear, intimateportions of his records have sometimes been sent to the main Scientology headquarters, whichare now in Saint Hill, East Grinstead, Sussex. (This can be compared to a priest's sending copiesof the confession -- with names -- to the Vatican.)Second, these auditors, some only in their teens or early twenties, who listen to problems that are