I haven’t done any editorializing or analysis of the series of recent posts on the aims of Scientology (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, OSA Statistics). I have simply posted the words of L. Ron Hubbard directing his Scientology troops at various times towards what he considered vital objectives. More books could be written on the hundreds of lives that were ruined (both targets and executors of the objectives) by execution of those directives – and the many more like them that were issued over the years. Most of the commentary on those posts has gravitated toward two poles. At one pole is denial, strained justification. At the other pole is condemnation, wholesale and definitive. What few have assayed to do is explain the behavior of those who adopted and carried out these aims. Those people who really believed the future of humanity was won or lost on whether those directives were thoroughly complied to. I have some views to share on that score which are derived from subjective experience and objective observation.
If you want to change out rotting upholstery you need to get down to the brass tacks. One piece of fundamental ‘scripture’ that most Scientologists – corporate, independent and otherwise – tend to agree upon wholeheartedly is L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘Code of Honor.’ It is so popular amongst them that it could be said to in some ways serve to define ‘Scientologist.’ There is no doubt that the Code contains some sensible and lofty principles that could serve someone well at certain life crossroads. Just as certainly, there are aspects of the code that could serve to suggest destructive, even sociopathic, behavior.
“2. Never withdraw allegiance once granted.”
I watched a documentary on Jonestown wherein the son of Jim Jones reflected on the single most powerful factor that led 900 people to follow his father’s directions to commit suicide – including some murdering their own children and authorities investigating the group. After decades of therapy and soul searching he concluded that the common denominator of this mass insanity was an overriding concern on the part of each individual, ‘what would the rest of the group think of me if I withdrew allegiance now?’ That rang consistent with the Scientology experience to me. It was the very moral question I grappled with for four years before deciding to expose the Jim Jones like behavior of David Miscavige at the international headquarters of Scientology.
I have investigated and studied organized crimes in several forms. One common means to organize crime – from street gangs to white collar – is to establish the agreement early on to ‘never withdraw allegiance once granted.’ Usually, initially the vow is taken because the group somehow serves to protect the individual taking the vow or serves to give the individual a sense of belonging and empowerment. Over time, the crimes of the group and any member of the group become the crimes of each individual member to justify, glorify, and protect from outside exposure and accountability. Ironically, but not surprisingly, throughout the history of Scientology that very cycle has repeatedly played itself out as it continues to today.
If folks feel the ‘Code of Honor’ is something too valuable to eschew wholesale, I think it would behoove them to replace item 2 with something along these lines:
“Only maintain allegiance as long as the recipient of it demonstrably remains true to those purposes and principles to which allegiance was granted in the first place.”
“12. Never fear to hurt another in a just cause.”
By Scientology’s own ‘technology’ nobody is ever hurt by another without just cause. A being automatically manufactures just cause when he harms, or fixes to harm, another being. If one credits Scientology ‘technology’ as infallible, as Scientology demands it be credited, then item 12 of the code encourages Scientologists to park their consciences at the thresholds of the homes they terrorize in the name of Scientology.
On death row of any prison you will find just about every cold-hearted murderer absolutely certain that the acts for which he was convicted and sentenced fit squarely within the advice of item 12 of the Code of Honor.
To fear to hurt another is not weakness, it is not unethical, it is not immoral. When that fear is real and consulted – most particularly when one feels he is carrying out a just cause – it has another name. It is called conscience. And so I see item 12 of L. Ron Hubbard’s Code of Honor as tantamount to an invitation to abandon or forfeit one’s conscience.
Again, to those wishing to continue following this code, they might be well served by replacing item 12 with something like this:
“Always give due consideration for the rights and well-being of another before doing something that might hurt that person, most particularly when you or another have pre-justified the act as being in pursuit of a just cause.”