Back in the days when Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder, and Karen De La Carriere were the Kings and Queens of Independent Scientology, I would get on Marty’s blog and write things that would question the perfection of Scientology technology, and the benevolent genius of L Ron Hubbard.
These were the days when Marty and Mike and Karen would brook no criticism of Scientology technology, nor of L Ron Hubbard. The only thing wrong with Scientology was David Miscavige. Marty Rathbun’s stated moderation policy at that time was that no one was ever to “besmirch the good name of L Ron Hubbard” on his blog.
Their thinking was so influential with some people within the Ex-Scientology community at that time that even Kevin Mackey, one of the behind the scenes co-founders of Ex-Scientologist Message Board, called me repeatedly and told me that I should stop criticizing L Ron Hubbard and the tech of Scientology directly. Some other prominent Ex-Scientologists tried to get me to stop doing this, as well.
I’m telling you, it was a weird time. These “former Scientology officials” were extremely cultic and controlling in their influence, and highly tribal in their thinking when they first got out of Scientology in 2009 and attempted to take over the discussion of Scientology on the Internet.
But even with Marty Rathbun’s then stated censorship policy, I was never banned from Marty’s blog, although there were many comments of mine that were not allowed through.
So even with Marty Rathbun, Scientology’s former Biggest Bad-ass Enforcer, the pattern would go like this: I would write a respectful post that had some kind of incendiary idea to the Scientology mindset packed into it, and which questioned the Indie Scientologist prevailing thinking at the time.
“If David Miscavige is an SP, and he has been running the Church of Scientology for over 30 years, then that is proof that Scientology’s SP detection technology does not work. They can’t tell who’s an SP and who is not”.
Marty would post my comment, then all of his indie Scientology followers would beat me senseless.
He would not let any of my posts through for a couple days after that – especially if my post was a defense of my earlier position.
I have to admit that this was hilarious fun for me. I wanted to get someone to think with one of my “thought grenades” just long enough to come up with a defense against it. Then, this would cause them to have to examine the faulty Scientological reasoning to this blasphemy on their own computer screens – rather than thinking this “defense” of their Scientology mindset from inside their own heads.
I still believe this is enough to plant a seed in the minds of those “with ears to hear”, however small that seed might be, and however few those people are. I still believe it’s a good way to plant seeds of doubt in a mental bed of cultic certitude – especially if you can come up with a thought grenade as good as the one above.
Open Environment vs. Cult Environment
Lots of people have said the above technique never works to get a cult member out of a cult mindset, but I disagree. There is a psychologist’s approach to getting an individual out of a cult, and then there is the social science view of cults and cult members.
These are different.
In social science, a person is not just himself, but he is also the environment he has to deal with every day. From a social science perspective, a personality is a set of solutions a person has acquired from dealing with the problems presented to him from his environment.
Thus, if you can create an environment of free inquiry, and a tolerance for blasphemous ideas, then you can create an environment very different from a cult environment. This new more open environment can help a Scientologist emerge from the artificial personality he created while having to run around in Hubbard’s environmental Skinner Box called Scientology.
As long as I have been deconstructing Scientology on the Internet (15 years as of this writing), I have personally seen hundreds of people leave Scientology behind forever – including the most staunch and fanatical Scientologists on the planet at the highest levels of the Church.
So you can’t tell me that people don’t change their minds.
They change their minds every single day.
No other person de-programs anyone else. A person gets himself into a cult, and he gets himself out of it, too. However, others can create an environment more tolerant of questioning. I believe this is the environment which is most likely to help a person start thinking for himself again after a cult.
And here’s the thing: That more tolerant, more questioning environment never would have happened if Marty himself did not allow it on his blog. With myself as Satan, Marty allowed me to continue to post to his blog that whole time. And Marty did allow more and more questioning of the tech, and of L Ron Hubbard, and especially of himself, over time on his blog.
Alanzo has never been banned from Marty Rathbun’s blog.
But Alanzo has been banned from Tony Ortega’s blog.
Here’s one of the comments I wrote in response to a post on his blog about a mother, who happened to be a Scientologist, who lost her daughter to suicide that Tony Ortega removed when he banned me:
The dissociative state of mind that Rachel Bernstein talked about seeing in Taylor’s mom’s responses was very clear in Tony’s article back in 2014. I had criticized Tony back then for interviewing the mother of a suicide victim just days after her daughter’s suicide. I told Tony directly at that time that her responses showed me that she was in a state of catastrophic loss, and to publish her comments to him about her daughter’s recent suicide, and then to subject Taylor’s mother to the ridicule of the commenters here was the height of cruelty.
I still think that’s the case.
Maybe if this was a newspaper where commenters could not instantly unleash their bile onto a grieving mother from anonymous accounts, then this kind of reporting would be fine.
But that’s not the case here. Here, this mother’s disastrous loss will be made into yet another reason to “take down Scientology”, even though this mother did not create Scientology, nor has run any part of it, and has been deceived just like every other Scientologist into a life that is no longer her own. And she will be dragged through the mud by people here who are completely disassociated themselves with the truth of who Taylor was, who this mother is, and who the real abusers are in Scientology.
Tony Ortega will buddy up to the worst, most criminal abusers in Scientology such as Mike Rinder and Mark Rathbun in order to have a steady stream of quotes from “former Scientology officials”, and only rarely ever press them publicly to tell what they know so that decades of their victims can be healed. And yet when he gets the chance to expose a mother of a suicide victim to public ridicule, just because they are powerless and available to him, he will dig deep on them and even follow up years later when he finally gets the dirt.
Scientology needs to be exposed, and no one has done it better in recent years than Tony Ortega. But targeting victims of Scientology such as Taylor Tweed’s mom and family, while giving the worst abusers a pass so he can continue to get quotes from them is, and always will be, disgusting to me.
Alanzo’s Top 5 Criticisms of Tony Ortega and His Underground Bunker
In keeping with the creation of an open environment where cult thinking can continue to evaporate, here are my Top 5 Criticisms of Tony Ortega and his Underground Bunker:
- Being a “never-in”, Tony Ortega has often displayed a problem in telling the “Vics” from the “Perps” in Scientology. And he continually demonstrates that he does not understand what it was really like to have been a Scientologist.
- Tony sometimes whips up intolerance and cruelty in his blog commenting community, and keeps it going for as long as it benefits himself personally – no matter who gets harmed.
- In addition, Tony Ortega often inserts his own views into his reporting, under his private rationalization that he is being a “reporting columnist”. He then pretends his opinions are facts because he knows better than anyone else. And where is his evidence so we can see it? That’s confidential..
- As an atheist, Tony Ortega has contempt for all religious and spiritual pursuits, and his overiding contempt works its way into the heads of Ex-Scientologists and makes them hate themselves for ever using Scientology on their own much larger spiritual path. For people who have lost their religion and are groping for their own next steps, this is extremely destructive and blatantly beating people when they are at their weakest.
- Personally, I think Tony Ortega is letting The Internet go to his head.
It’s always good to be tolerant of criticism within any tribe. That way, new ideas can be allowed to be tested and rise to the top if they are found worthy. And where expectations are not being met – corrections can be made so expectations can be met in the future.
In this way, criticism is NOT an attempt to destroy, as L Ron Hubbard taught Scientologists, but an attempt to help.
Criticism also breaks down cultic thinking and allows all kinds of ideas which are forbidden in cults. It can also break up the fervent militarism which can develop in tribes of human beings who believe they are fighting the righteous fight like the anti-Scientologist tribe which Tony Ortega belongs to, and in the militaristic tribes of high school cheerleading squads – which he secretly always wanted to be part of, as well.
Both of these very human tribes can benefit from criticism.
Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to a non-cult environment on the Post-Scientology Internet.