There’s an absolute must-read book if you really want to understand Scientology: L. Ron Hubbard—Messiah or Madman? by Bent Corydon.
Corydon ran the New Zealand franchise of Dianetics and Scientology for many years, was a genuine believer and says he saw many improvements in people’s lives in the early days.
The fact that this exhaustively researched account ever got published, that Corydon lived to tell the tale, is truly miraculous.
My own copy (the only one I ever saw in a bookstore or anywhere else) proved crucial in my personal brush with Scientology. Good luck trying to find it, incidentally, it outlines the dirty tricks that were used to suppress its publication, promotion and distribution. It calls itself “the book that survived.”
A couple of decades ago, a very good friend of mine, a journalist specializing in health issues (she was quoted in Oprah’s magazine) got involved with a top Scientologist. He was a continental head of security for the Sea Org. I think my friend quite liked the uniforms – women can be funny that way.
I met this guy once, at a big Scientology event to commemorate Ron the Writer.
He seemed like a total dork to me, but I later heard that he was an absolutely brutal enforcer of discipline and total control at the Org. This information came from a brother and sister who, as teenagers, escaped from the Scientology cult into which they had been born—their parents had worked directly with Hubbard when he lived in the UK.
One dark night, these kids packed some clothes into pillowcases and fled the Org dormitory on foot, to be pursued for years by the Church of Scientology, alternately cajoling them to return to the fold and threatening them with dire consequences if they didn’t.
I knew them both as very good restaurant waiters. The brother had an astonishing ability to be functional, articulate and extremely well mannered while high on amazing cocktails of drugs, including LSD and heroin. They told me what an absolute shit the Sea Org’s head of security really was. Those uniforms can go to people’s heads.
Nonetheless—and this is a true story—simply for the heinous crime of getting romantically involved with a journalist, this major head of security was literally bust down to cleaning toilets at the Scientology center in Los Angeles. Scientologists have a morbid dread of journalists, almost as bad as their dread of psychiatrists and psychologists, and this fear is very revealing.
There’s no way that they will ever engage openly and transparently with Frank Report.
The funny thing was that my friend really tried to be a Scientologist—they wouldn’t let her in, simply because she was a journalist, and insisted that she subject herself to a three-year-long “security clearance” that she had to finance herself. This whole saga cost her in the region of $100,000 and included her being extensively audited on the E-meter, basically an extended lie detector grilling.
Even after all that, they refused to give her any clear ruling and still wouldn’t let her join the Church.
Anyway, after much hesitation, I lent her Corydon’s blockbuster, and it was enough to get her out of Scientology for good, and pretty damn smartly. So I’ve always been grateful for that book. I was getting really worried for my friend, not least at the drastic amount of money that was being wasted. She died a few weeks ago, after a short battle with cancer, so I’ve been thinking back over that whole crazy episode.
Even the Scientology renegades say that the very basic techniques, as described in Dianetics, can actually be very effective. Corydon’s book stresses that if there’s any good left in Scientology, it actually lies with the heretics. It’s when you start moving up the Bridge that things start becoming really bizarre and sick. There’s definitely some validity in the idea of an engram—an experience mediated by pain, in which your conscious mind shuts off and unconscious associations are forged.
Neither the word itself nor the concept of the engram originated from Hubbard, he stole his ideas from all over the place, but the formulation can still be useful, not least in deprogramming cult survivors.
Corydon’s book goes extensively into the history of the “fair game” policy, with the Church of Scientology destroying enemies by absolutely any means necessary, including criminal actions up to murder.
“There are men dead because they attacked us” is one LRH quote in the book. This sounds very similar to something Keith Raniere said.
The book details some of the massive early infiltration of the Internal Revenue Service’s offices in Los Angeles and London to steal documents, plant false evidence and blackmail enemies within the system, which led to the Church ultimately winning its vast war to avoid being taxed, saving it from instant bankruptcy. My edition of the book was published in 1992, so it doesn’t cover the more recent history.
“The law can be used very easily to harass … If possible of course, ruin him utterly”—L. Ron Hubbard, in the Level 0 Checksheet of the fair game directive.
Prolific use of malicious lawsuits is another trademark Scientology move that Keith Raniere appropriated for his playbook.
But perhaps the most disturbing part of the story is the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), the internal punishment regime in Scientology. If you were “off stat”, meaning you weren’t making enough money, or you offended the hierarchy, you would be confined to the bilge or the extremely dangerous anchor hold of a ship, or in dark tunnels under buildings, forced to scrape metal all day or do other menial tasks, fed waste scraps of food, and kept from ever seeing daylight.
One of the worst cases was described in an affidavit by “Heidi Forester” (not her real name). She related how she was forced to sleep with Hubbard—he was basically impotent, so he just lay on top of her for an hour. Then a few months later, this process was repeated, this time by a senior officer, who said she had been chosen to conceive a child. This guy was also impotent and lay on top of her for an hour. He said: “If I postulate you will have a baby from the viewpoint of my home universe, then you will … I can make your body do what I want.”
When she got her period a month later, she was summoned: “Go to ethics!” She was assigned the condition “treason” by the “ethics officer” because she had “disobeyed command intention and was not pregnant.” She was fed a starvation diet and put on a running regime—sounds like Raniere again. She ended up guarding files stored in the former morgue of the Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, after Scientologists took the building over. Here she confronted the people on RPF, who lived down there permanently: “Filthy, tired skeletons appeared before me and started begging to see the OT folders…”
OT: Operating Thetan, someone who has “command intention” over their own and other people’s bodies.
Further notable evidence in the book comes from L. Ron Hubbard Jr., who revealed his father’s deep obsession with the occultist Aleister Crowley, as well as his esoteric collaborations with the rocket scientist Jack Parsons.
A notable quote from Hubbard appeared in the LA Times on 23 June 1990, “a quote that Scientology has tried desperately to suppress.” He said, in a letter to his first wife Polly: “I have high hopes of smashing my name into history with such violence that it will take a legendary form … That goal is the real goal as far as I’m concerned.”
Now, I’m a big fan of Rudolf Steiner and have taken a lot of flak on this forum for “believing in a cult.” However, if you take even a cursory look at Steiner’s teaching, you’ll see that at absolutely every point he can, he stresses that you NEVER impose your will on anyone. This is perhaps most clear in the lecture series that Steiner himself said started all the troubles and attacks he faced in his life and work. This was the series called “From Jesus to Christ,” available in full online, and it compares and contrasts the Jesuit path, the Manresa, with the Rosicrucian path to initiation, as taught and expanded by Steiner to become anthroposophy.
Steiner shows that the Jesuit method consists entirely of forcible intrusions directly into people’s domain of will, and is thus completely antithetical to any genuine spiritual path.
Of course, ever since these lectures, Rudolf Steiner has been #1 at the very top of the very, very long Jesuit hit list. You can go and read Douglas Gabriel’s insider account as to how the Jesuits have totally infiltrated and subverted the entire anthroposophical movement, I’ve referenced it before on Frank Report. The Jesuits know better than anyone else that “Steiner is the way,” as one of them proclaimed before quitting.
Much of Steiner’s material comes from his lectures, so his “Lectures on Lecturing” are particularly interesting. As a teacher, I’ve often found these lecturing guidelines to be invaluable. You are a threefold being: thinking, feeling, willing. And it as this threefold being that you have to project yourself when you lecture. But, as Steiner says: your thoughts interest no one. Your will repels everyone. What truly engages your audience is your feelings; only through your manifested feelings can they see that your words really mean something to you yourself.
Many, many people listened to Steiner’s lofty spiritual discourses and wondered why he didn’t whip up the masses, with a rousing call for the Threefold Social Order if nothing else.
Again and again he told his followers, you must NEVER impose your will on the crowd. Just keep telling them the truth, it will work in its own way. And you can clearly see his feelings coming through, especially with this Jesus to Christ material, it was very close to his heart. He must have known that putting out this particular knowledge would probably get him killed. There’s no doubt in my mind that Steiner was poisoned, not least in that a confession was extracted—in America, interestingly enough, the confession being delivered to Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, a very close associate of Steiner who pioneered biodynamic agriculture with him.
So I’m just saying—you can see how different “gurus” make their impact, and judge whether they are imposing their will on their followers or genuinely giving them liberating information. You can make a certain kind of mark on the world if you become a complete megalomaniac and egotist, for sure. Hubbard surrounded himself with “messengers,” teenage girls in boots who would bring his rum and Coke and light his Kools.
Despite all this, he was still impotent—shades again of Raniere.
One of his written affirmations, admitted in court evidence in 1984, was: “All men shall be my slaves! All women shall succumb to my charms! All mankind shall grovel at my feet and not know why!”
But perhaps the most insightful message from Ron was in a transcribed confidential taped briefing he gave the Scientology Missions International: “MONEY! REPEAT MONEY! REPEAT MONEY! REPEAT MONEY!” (page 207). The Church fought very hard to keep that briefing secret, especially when they were trying to gain tax exemption as a non-profit religious organization.
So, anyway, to any Scientologists listening: if you are ever actually prepared to engage with an honest journalist who will give you a fair hearing, Frank’s your man. If you want to “fair game” him for any reason, though, do remember his nickname, it contains some very good advice, to which I’m sure Keith Raniere would attest: he’s Frank “Don’t Fuck With Frank Parlato” Parlato.
Much more interesting for me than the Scientologists, however, have been the recent appearances on Frank Report of Roger Stone and General Michael Flynn. These were both charitable appeals, but it’s worth noting that Gen. Flynn held another such charitable appeal for his legal defense fund at the Ramtha ranch, this is a fact. As far as I can work out, this was in March 2019 with a musical performance by J.T. Wilde, a gung-ho Q supporter and close friend of the Flynns, with Flynn family photos being provided for a slideshow during the performance by the general’s brother Joe Flynn.
Some of this was reported by Chelsea Clinton’s outlet, The Daily Beast:
Seriously, I know J.Z. Knight has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Democrat party, but even if she/it has now switched to praising Trump, this is not the best community in which to go fundraising. All their money goes to Ramtha courses and branded merchandise, like Q T-shirts, not to mention hoarding food and guns. But then they are also encouraged to hoard gold …
And sorry to say, but Frank Report is not the first place I would think of, either, for fundraising. I don’t get the feeling that many overly rich folk hang out around here looking to give money away. Please correct me if I’m wrong, I can direct you to a Patreon page where you are welcome to do so. If I ever come into some funds myself, I’ll be more than happy to send a contribution to Sidney Powell, Gen. Flynn’s lawyer. She’s the single best thing that’s happened in this whole shit show. In my opinion.
Roger Stone is just my all-time favorite shady political operator ever, in the long history of the U.S. swamp. As far as I understand it, he single-handedly created Pi**agate out of the Wikileaks drops in an afternoon’s work in 2016. Gen. Flynn is the very “I” of The Storm, the one top U.S. military man to openly associate himself with the Q psy-op. These are not lightweight characters and they are right here among us. Why has no one on Frank Report asked General Mike Flynn: exactly why are you hanging out with Ramtha in her/its vomit-drenched seat of wine ceremonials, blasphemy and debauchery? What is going to happen when the Ramtha School of Enlightenment implodes, like when people realize that according to the DNA tests they published, both J.Z. Knight and Ramtha have Y chromosomes, i.e. are both dudes? Or do you really think Ramtha is going to arrive in a UFO wearing a Q kaftan and reinstate Donald Trump as President?
Ron will arrive in his spaceship first, I fear.
Wow. The take on Powell aged like milk.
You are spot on about Steiner though. He not only didn’t support imposing your will on another, he encouraged independent research. He did not expect his Folkers to separate from the families or careers. He didn’t expect that people be recruited. It’s why the movement is currently a ghost town and is under funded.
Corydon ran what was reportedly the largest organization in Scientology at the time, the Riverside (CA) mission franchise.
And he did so in part by pioneering the abusive and even borderline illegal tactics for which Scientology orgs are now known, such as high-pressure tactics and interrogations, and pushing and enabling excessive and fraudulent use of credit and debt – they even set up an illicit credit union where employees sometimes had to take out loans in lieu of pay, in spite of the fact that Corydon was prospering. As we’ve seen is typical of those involved in running these groups (such as those who owned NXIVM’s local centers), their later accounts are usually self-serving, sanitized, and lacking in self-reflection and confession, though that’s par for the course.
Also, I checked, and Messiah or Madman is readily available if not currently in print.
And Steiner had his own ways of imposing his will on followers. Children in his educational system are indoctrinated in his beliefs and theories rooted in mysticism and the occult, down to how they are supposed to move (“eurythmy”).
Adults end up devoting themselves to trying to make his esoteric-based ideas work, like “biodynamic” agriculture based on various disproven pseudo-scientific theories including moon cycles and magical rituals involving animal parts. It’s no coincidence that Raniere was brought up in steinerian Waldorf schools.
That’s a distorted perception of Waldorf education and Waldorf teachers.
I can promise you that nothing about Raniere is remotely in alignment with Steiner or Waldorf Education.
Well written and informative. This is what ‘journalism’ should be about. Thanks, Frank, for being host to interesting, thought-provoking articles such as this one.
Really appreciated that Fred, lots of information. I once left a link for you to Bruce Charlton’s work. I wonder if you had a look and if so. what you thought?
This was gooooood. I need some process time before commenting further.
I agree, Fred. “Messiah or Madman” is one of the best exposés ever written on L Ron Hubbard and Scientology, written by a real Ex-Scientologist while Mike Rinder, David Miscavige and other psychopaths were applying very deadly fair game to Scientology’s “enemies”.
You can get a hold of a copy on the internet, by the way.
There’s a text version of it via xenu.net.
And there is a pdf version at ExScientologistsIreland.org.
There have been a lot of very brave people who’ve risked their lives to get the truth out about Scientology.
Bent Corydon is one of the bravest.
Landmark Forum and Find Our True North are no different. But if Lauren, Michelle, and Nancy get no jail time, these places will actually get stronger because they won’t have any fear…no one goes to jail except for 1 person. everyone else gets off easy.