Introuduction

Hello , I am an ex Scientologist , this blog is primarily about that but I may address other topics as the mood hits me to . I was in Scientology for 25 years and spent about 10,000 hours using the indoctrination and thought reform method "study tech " . I also spent time on staff and met hundreds of Scientologists and did hundreds of the cult practices . Many were the "ethics cycles and OW writeups " that really are an attempt to suppress or remove a person's identity and replace it with a mental pseudo clone of Ron Hubbard . To make a fanatical slave for the cult .

I looked outside the cult for answers in about January 2014 and left the cult in about March of 2014 . While in about 99% of members have no idea of the truth .

We are told we are in a mental therapy or spiritual enhancement or religion or science for helping people unlock potential . Or any of several other fronts that all pretend kind and humanitarian goals .

The truth is Scientology is a terrorist mind control cult and this blog is my attempt to understand and expose that . And try to state as clearly as possible the tools that I have found helpful in dealing with this .

Friday, September 23, 2016

Chris Shelton and Marty Rathbun - Critical Thinkers ?

Marty Rathbun has continued his service to David Miscavige in attacking his opponents. One in particular is interesting.

Marty Rathbun recently posted at his blog the post How Gullible Can One Get ?

At the blog entitled Moving On Up A Little Higher.

The name of the blog is meant to say Marty Rathbun is moving up spiritually or beyond Scientology. It implies Scientology got you to somewhere and he can go past that.

So it is intended to establish Marty Rathbun as a guru.

And to answer how gullible can one get my answer is simple: you could be a Scientologist. That is believing in something absurd and to most people obviously false. Now mind you - I was a Scientologist for twenty five years as an adult, so I place myself in that extremely gullible camp. And there's a spot right next to me for you Marty. In this regard we are equal. Both extremely gullible and capable of being completely fooled and utterly wrong. We are brothers in this way.

But the reason I am addressing this particular post by Marty Rathbun is because he brings up an attack on someone else.

He said:"I saw a man calling himself Chris Shelton ‘critical thinker at large.’ It would be difficult to imagine more inflated airs of self-absorbed arrogance than this fellow manages to put on; nor a mind as infected with hive-mentality."

Well, Marty Rathbun wrote an intentionally confusing phrase to confuse his audience. He says he saw a man calling himself Chris Shelton critical thinker at large. If you know he is Chris Shelton then say Chris Shelton, the way Marty Rathbun wrote it he seems to be unsure if Chris Shelton is his name or critical thinker or at large. 

I think it's safe to say he is Chris Shelton and at large. 

Now as to critical thinker. Look at the definition. Wikipedia has the following quotes among many others on Critical Thinking:


Critical thinking is variously defined as:
  • "the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion"
  • "disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence"
  • "reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do"
  • "purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based"
  • "includes a commitment to using reason in the formulation of our beliefs"

The ability to reason logically is a fundamental skill of rational agents, hence the study of the form of correct argumentation is relevant to the study of critical thinking.

In addition to possessing strong critical-thinking skills, one must be disposed to engage problems and decisions using those skills. Critical thinking employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility,accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, and fairness.

ProcedureEdit

Critical thinking calls for the ability to:
  • Recognize problems, to find workable means for meeting those problems
  • Understand the importance of prioritization and order of precedence in problem solving
  • Gather and marshal pertinent (relevant) information
  • Recognize unstated assumptions and values
  • Comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discernment
  • Interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments
  • Recognize the existence (or non-existence) of logical relationships between propositions
  • Draw warranted conclusions and generalizations
  • Put to test the conclusions and generalizations at which one arrives
  • Reconstruct one's patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience
  • Render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life
In sum:
"A persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports or refutes it and the further conclusions to which it tends." End quotes from Wikipedia

Okay, there are books and courses that get way more in depth on critical thinking and detail theories and procedures. Some of the most basic ideas support things like Socratic debate and Socratic instruction. 

Some teachers question students to bring out their potential to use reason. They encourage good and clear arguments for or against claims and discourage poor arguments. Lots of poor arguments have been identified and described as logical fallacies. 

Critical thinking involves learning to recognize logical fallacies in thinking and persuasion. You can think in them to persuade yourself or use them on others to persuade them but honestly we all use them on both ourselves and others routinely. It's human nature.

With Socratic debate by people educated in fallacies they can police each other for them and then by habit recognize them in their own thinking and claims. 

That's a part of critical thinking. Now I will try to examine and contrast two people as critical thinkers.

Marty Rathbun and Chris Shelton. Chris Shelton has recommended books by the likes of Carl Sagan on critical thinking. He recommends people look for evidence to support claims and to be willing to reexamine deeply held assumptions. He has admitted to making mistakes. 

Okay, in my opinion Chris Shelton is sincerely trying to use critical thinking and to recommend it. He isn't listing the components of the Paul-Elder model of critical thinking which includes intellectual traits, elements of thought or reasoning, and intellectual standards like accuracy, clarity, depth, precision, relevance, breadth, logic, significance and fairness. There are other standards but those are a great start.

Chris Shelton actually recommends experts in specialties to people. He recommends Lifton and Singer on harmful groups, like the Scientology cult.

He speaks clearly in plain English. He avoids loaded language and has good accuracy, precision and many other standards for his own communication.

Now to be clear I don't agree with him on everything or think he is always right. But judging him as a critical thinker isn't judging his agreement with me or absolute rightness. It's judging his use of the habits and tools of critical thinking.

In my opinion his use of those is certainly well above the level I expect from the average person or even many people with college degrees or who have studied skepticism and logic.

I would not say he is a professor or has displayed the expertise to write books specifically on critical thinking but he is not a fraud in saying he is a critical thinker. He is making a legitimate effort and successfully using many of the tools and habits of critical thinking. He also encourages pursuit of critical thinking in others with relevant references. That counts.

Chris Shelton recently interviewed Kevin deLaplante who has explored many aspects of critical thinking including rhetoric, philosophy, psychology and sociology that are used in critical thinking and related to why people are resistant to information on critical thinking. Chris Shelton admits the parts of the relevant subjects he doesn't know and advises going to experts on those for help.

Marty Rathbun on the other hand  lacks accuracy, clarity, depth, precision, relevance, breadth, logic, significance and fairness. 

He routinely makes claims lacking accuracy, uses confusing phrasing to not have clarity, makes vague insults and accusations that lack depth, uses generalities that have no precision, says things about people that have no relevance, utterly defies logic. 

The logic point can't be stressed enough with Marty Rathbun. He uses logical fallacies like ad hominem, the genetic fallacy, burden of proof, bandwagon, no true Scotsman, red herrings and a bucket of others over and over. You can literally take a list of the three dozen most common logical fallacies from the internet, put them on a cheat sheet with a sentence definition for each one and simply take a blog post by Marty Rathbun and circle and label each fallacy he uses with a description why it's poor reason and see for yourself how well Marty Rathbun uses reason. 

He gives things bizarre and arbitrary significance because he lacks fairness. He writes everything from a vested interest. 

He has no place mentioning critical thinking. Marty Rathbun critiquing critical thinking is like Helen Keller judging paintings and singing. 

He has never displayed the slightest ability to use critical thinking. He figured out a little bit about Scientology at a glacial pace and got lots of that wrong. He has never displayed above average aptitude at anything in my awareness. 

He has no history of embracing critical thinking in his own life or encouraging it. He can project his own irrationality onto others but it doesn't change that he isn't a scintilla of a critical thinker. He's like Hubbard - the opposite an irrational persuader that thinks in and uses fallacies on others routinely. 

Marty Rathbun has to use words like purport, profundity, pontificating etc.

He can't just say said, absurd, lecture or even lie or claim. Those words are too plain for Smarty Marty who has to pretend to be outraged and intellectual. 

If you strip it down to saying this person claimed or lied it's clear what you are claiming. But Marty Rathbun can't write without trying to hammer people with pretentious words. He just isn't capable of using normal words. 

Like Hubbard he lacks clarity. Hubbard in some references like The Way To Happiness uses simple words with odd qualifications. He clarifies those in Scientology doctrine to show Scientology has exceptions and portions where people don't get rights. But you have to look long and hard at the right references to get that. 

Marty Rathbun isn't at Hubbard's level as a propagandist so he uses the long loaded language and repetition. He uses repetition of insults with lots of emotion but no evidence. Just like Hubbard himself. 

Like many Scientologists and ex Scientologists Marty Rathbun uses the fallacies of personal incredulity , black and white thinking , magical thinking, the Texas sharpshooter fallacy (aka apophenia), ad  hominem , no true Scotsman (Scientologist), Appeal to authority (their own or Hubbard), begging the question, genetic, burden of proof, ambiguity, bandwagon, anecdotal and of course tu quoque. He uses proof by verbosity and proof by repetition. He literally just uses terms and claims over and over without supporting evidence to get people to believe them . 

I certainly can challenge Marty Rathbun to write in plain English with the standards of critical thinking and without using fallacies. It would be interesting to see what he could say under those circumstances. 

I honestly don't think he can do it, certainly not over a sustained period of time. But he can surprise me and try to take on the challenge. I would be interested in seeing the results. 





Saturday, September 17, 2016

Cults and Cons re Scientology and Critics of Scientology

Recently Marty Rathbun in his submission and service to David Miscavige has taken to the propaganda tactic of projection. He calls Scientology critics of all kinds a cult.

That's fine. There are well established descriptions and criteria that can be used for critical analysis of any group to establish if it is or isn't a cult or to what degree it is a cult.

The best known lists  are probably the three by Robert Jay Lifton, Margaret Singer and Steven Hassan.

Lifton in his book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism created the eight criteria for thought reform. It's been used for many decades to examine and understand exactly how cults control and harm people.

I compared Scientology to the eight criteria for months when I left Scientology about two and a half years ago and found that it fully demonstrated all eight criteria.

I recently examined the Underground Bunker commenting community and the site itself against the eight criteria.

Here's a qoute describing the eight criteria:

Dr. Robert J. Lifton's Eight Criteria for Thought Reform


  1. Milieu Control This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.
  2. Mystical Manipulation.  There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes. 
  3. Demand for Purity The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection.  The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here. 
  4. Confession.  Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group.  There is no confidentiality; members' "sins," "attitudes," and "faults" are discussed and exploited by the leaders. 
  5. Sacred Science.  The group's doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute.  Truth is not to be found outside the group.  The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism. 
  6. Loading the Language.  The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand.  This jargon consists of thought-terminating clich�s, which serve to alter members' thought processes to conform to the group's way of thinking. 
  7. Doctrine over person.  Member's personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group. 
  8. Dispensing of existence.  The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not.  This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group's ideology.  If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the  members.  Thus, the outside world loses all credibility.  In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also.  (Lifton, 1989)
 

Okay. Let's look at each point one by one.

1. Milieu Control This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.

In the Underground Bunker people are free to communicate with anyone in the group or not and have unrestricted internet access. That's a no.

2.Mystical Manipulation.  There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes. 

No reinterpretation of alleged mystical experience occurs here. Another no. An individual Scientologist or Bunker commenter may have an anecdote but that is extremely rare and less than one percent of Bunker content. So another no. 

3.Demand for Purity The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection.  The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.

The world is seen from many different views and described as extraordinarily complex and not fully understood. Many different ideas and opinions on this are exchanged and explored, practically daily.  There's some banter but hardly the guilt induction in cults. 


Bunkeroos can be jokers or not, serious researchers or not, recovery pursuing ex Scientologists, or not. No striving for perfection required, no single uniform ideology exists. People accept that different opinions exist. I have different opinions from some Bunkeroos on some topics and they can disagree on virtually anything. 

Some of us see no good in Scientology, some see a little, some are undecided. Some hate all Scientologists, some have mixed feelings and some are not sure how to feel.

ALL are accepted here. None get banned for these opinions. None. This is another no. 

4.Confession.  Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group.  There is no confidentiality; members' "sins," "attitudes," and "faults" are discussed and exploited by the leaders. 

No confession required. Ever. No formal leader requires confessions. To my knowledge Tony Ortega doesn't betray confidences. He has always been professional and trustworthy in my experience. Another no. 

5.Sacred Science.  The group's doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute.  Truth is not to be found outside the group.  The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism. 

There's no formal doctrine or ideology. Most Bunkeroos share certain ideas and don't like David Miscavige and Ron Hubbard. Most don't like Scientology and wish it would end. 

But that's not required or rigidly enforced. Or portrayed as beyond question. It gets disputed almost every day. 

Another no. 

6.Loading the Language.  The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand.  This jargon consists of thought-terminating clich�s, which serve to alter members' thought processes to conform to the group's way of thinking. 

The Bunkeroos have a few phrases but mostly ridicule quotes from Scientology. The outside world can easily understand the entire thing with a pamphlet. It's not enough to restrict thought in the way Lifton describes. 

A few slang terms doesn't make cult indoctrination. I rate this another no. 

7.Doctrine over person.  Member's personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group. 


Our experiences are not described in extensive terms by Tony Ortega and occasionally others like Jon Atack share their opinion but it's not treated like sacred science. 

I also give my opinions but others can and do disagree. Like psychologists we are unlikely to ever agree completely. This in my opinion is because critical analysis requires interpretation through your own education, experience and language. We all have somewhat different experiences, education and even language.

We don't have a doctrine to make sacred. We have individual perspectives that are accepted and expressed. I for example believe a thorough examination of hypnosis and cognitive dissonance theory and psychological defense mechanisms and double binds and many other subjects is needed to accurately dissect Scientology. I include rhetoric, logical fallacies, the categories of psychological defense mechanisms and abusive relationships along with narcissism and sociopathic behavior. Trauma bonding and PTSD and CPTSD too. 

Some people just want to address Scientology as a criminal organization or a psychopolitical terrorist operation. Some just see it as a con for foolish dupes. Or narcissistic rich people and celebrities. 

No doctrine over person here. 

8.Dispensing of existence.  The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not.  This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group's ideology.  If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the  members.  Thus, the outside world loses all credibility.  In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also.  


Here's our final criterion. The outside world is our world. It's not perfect by any means. We can love it, hate it, be liberal or conservative. 

We have Bernie Sanders' supporters here, Hillary Clinton's supporters and even Donald Trump's supporters. We have people that are indifferent to politics and others that are passionate. 

The outside world is where we live. We can associate with people outside the Bunker and actually celebrate when people reconnect with family and friends. 

We have very different opinions on how to deal with Scientologists but don't advocate destroying them. A rare commenter might disagree but the vast majority don't want Scientologists destroyed or even arrested. 

I rate this another no. 

So, what does Marty Rathbun or his master David Miscavige have to justify their claims ? To support the statements in any way ? 

Nothing. Nothing now, Nothing yesterday and nothing tomorrow. But we are used to someone offering nothing of value. Scientology has been doing it for decades. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

An Inconvenient Truth

I don't know how Marty Rathbun sees himself. When someone told me that with everything I had been through in life before Scientology and then in Scientology and then in coming out of Scientology if my life was a movie they would be a supporting character it made me stop. I thought that isn't right.
I thought that person had a valid full life and being in Scientology or anything else doesn't give me any special status. I told them they deserve as much recognition as anybody.
I also said that with all the wrong ideas held and flat out evil acts done by me personally while in Scientology if I was in a hypothetical movie it would have to be as the villain. Or a villain protagonist.
You can't be a Nazi helping Hitler for twenty years then go "oops, my bad" and rewrite your past. People can debate redemption after the fact, but to me twenty plus years helping the bad guys doesn't a hero make.
The "I didn't know" only goes so far. I felt sick and disgusted when I came out and only then learned about the hole, forced abortions for young girls and women, the cadet org, the chain locker, the reality of the RPF and truth rundown brainwashing program, musical chairs, R2-45 and much more.
You can say I didn't have direct evidence or knowledge of those things but honestly I had red flags that mounted up to a red world years before the dam burst and denied the truth to hang onto whatever Scientology seemed to provide.
So ignorance is not a total excuse. Ignoring the suffering of others because it's easier to assume it doesn't exist is not total absolution. It's privilege. Maybe I can avoid criminal liability but that isn't the only measure of responsibility.
I have to accept that I was helping a criminal organization to hurt people, mentally enslave people and destroy families, among many, many other crimes and abuses. That's just reality. It can be denied but not changed.
When people act like something helps them from my efforts it's great to hear, but can't balance the ledger. What could ?
I certainly am glad whenever people get to recover from Scientology and escape Hubbard's influence. But don't expect to get to become a saint or hero or to "even" morally. It doesn't work that way. Not for me.
I have to accept being the person that did evil and harmful acts in the past and is trying to learn to do good and decent acts in the present and future. Both are there to face.
I recently saw an American veteran from Veterans For Peace get interviewed on Democracy Now. He said he realized at some point he had believed lies about why the US is in Iraq and Afghanistan and felt disgusted. He said he realized he killed people for no good reason. He described it as moral injury to be a soldier and discover you obediently killed people for immoral reasons and are just a murderer.
He was understandably upset. I have seen films from Japan like Jin Ro that discuss the moral implications of being allies to the Nazis. Some Japanese people are more disturbed by that then the defeat itself. Some are deeply ashamed of it.
I can't tell anyone else what feelings they should or shouldn't have.
But if someone knew about the crimes and abuses in Scientology for decades and even helped with those acts personally how can they see themselves as a hero ?

Dissecting Scientology - Shadows and Light

Jon Atack pointed out the correct definition of Scientology is the study of shadows, meaning things that aren't actually there. Fans of Plato and the allegory of the cave will quickly get the point. Scientology uses a language of lies to cast fiction as truth and truth as fiction. It portrays Hubbard's postulates or wishes as the truth, his agreements his followers submit to as reality.
John Stuart Mill described language as the light of the mind. Hubbard uses his language of lies, darkness and shadows to darken minds, as he described doing to his own children in his affirmations. Hubbard perverted the potential of language to illuminate ideas and used it to hide them so their false and harmful nature couldn't be seen.
It has taken an extraordinary effort on the part of Jon Atack to undo the shadows Hubbard cast with his web of lies. It has after all thousands and thousands of lies and uses of loaded language with double speak to overcome. The sheer size of the work gets most people to give up far before getting into it deeply. I am glad Jon put in all the time and effort.

I think it's very important to uncover and strip away the lies Hubbard placed all through Dianetics and Scientology. He did such a thorough job it's a huge challenge to take them apart.
Many exes have the unfortunate habit of still saying and following ideas he wrote decades after leaving Scientology. It's striking to see a person in one sentence acknowledge Hubbard lied and was a fraud then in the next use phrases and terms from Hubbard to explain "their own" ideas.
How can they be your ideas if Hubbard taught them to you and you know he lied to you and presented false ideas with no proof ?
Some areas of Scientology tend to stick with people. They can hold tremendous importance or emotional strength and often this is in the mind below conscious awareness. By bringing out these ideas and looking at them it can bring forward the associated emotions and make examining them with the conscious mind possible.
It's not always pleasant but can provide relief. Some of the issues from Scientology easily present themselves for an ex. They may worry about thetans, overts, past lives or other Scientology concepts.
They may feel conflicted and believe a part or parts of Scientology really felt like a mystical or special experience but know cult experts and all scientific examination don't agree.
Plainly they might want to know why auditing seemed real or study technology indoctrination seemed to make them feel brighter or even why the tone scale or ethics formulas or factors seemed logical when they were in Scientology.
But sometimes other little bits of Hubbard's doctrine remain as influence too. They can be on topics that are not always coming up or a primary focus for a person.
The false information Hubbard provided on drugs is one thing that often doesn't have the strong emotional bond his ideas on immortality and auditing and education do. Those ideas often get tied to feelings of value and guilt. 

Ideas on drugs are very important too. An ex Scientologist has to decide if they will take a prescription or have their child take aspirin or medicine.
The reluctance to use conventional medical technology can lead to a delay in going to the doctor which leads to deadly consequences.
It's a frightening possibility but some exes could have thousands and thousands of ideas from Scientology. They could be so thoroughly indoctrinated that each idea is a deeply held belief that has to individually be brought forward for examination by the conscious mind. It may require the person using the language they have the idea in to successfully free it for consideration. A different phrasing may be ineffective, such is the nature of the mind. 
If they look at each idea one by one they may reevaluate them and choose to reject them if they want.
I think a person should be free to have the beliefs they choose, not the ones Hubbard wanted them to have.

The Light of the Mind - Scientology Casts A Dark Shadow

At this point I don't even approach it like I would have before Scientology. I accept no one is completely right. I look at the limits of language. John Stuart Mill said "language is the light of the mind."

In Scientology your mind is limited to thinking things that don't exist are real and things that do exist aren't real. The language twists, distorts and often reverses truth. Just by thinking in Scientology terms and making decisions with them and interpreting emotions with them one gets put in Hubbard's hypnotic delusional reality. And often never comes out.

In trying to come out of that I found that I didn't just need to stop using Hubbard's terms, phrases and concepts. I needed to learn entirely different subjects to have the capability to think of things in different ways and examine ideas. Without that ability I can't even understand the possibility of other ideas.

In taking parallel tracks you can see how an idea may reappear or have a cousin in another subject or by a different source within a subject. By looking at cognitive dissonance theory you get Festinger's language which is thousands of times simpler than Hubbard's. By looking at Cialdini's book Influence you get a different model that overlaps with Festinger.

And hypnosis has it's own complexity and challenges but also overlaps in places with the social psychology language. A student of hypnosis could take the time to find hundreds of ideas and studies in psychology that support individual claims and ideas in hypnosis. Propaganda analysis has terms for ideas from Socratic debate and rhetoric. Information on attachments, boundaries and personality disorders all illuminate different aspects of Scientology and Hubbard himself.

Parts of rhetoric and studies on relationships between people and mass movements all play a part. A psychologist, hypnotist, linguist and student of critical thinking could all look at Scientology indoctrination and auditing and see things in the terms from their disciplines. They would be foolish to argue. They all have wisdom to share.

The hypnotist could even without using Hubbard's quotes describe how the students are being covertly hypnotized as well as the cult members in auditing. The psychologist could describe how the cult members use influence in terms from Cialdini's studies or Festinger's books if he understands that, the critical thinker could describe the fallacies being used or the rhetoric as classic pathos, ethos, logos and sublime writing. And how they are intertwined to bolster each other.

The linguist alone could describe the loaded language itself and how it uses definitions within definitions within definitions to confuse and overwhelm a mind along with redefinition of terms for propaganda and Orwellian reversals with words used to describe their exact opposites to utterly confuse people with double speak and alterations of parts of speech to create terms like beingness, doingness, and havingness. Every one of these methods is described by Orwell in his essays and the afterword to 1984.

So a book or subject isn't just a validation of my own ideas or a way to support them through association. It's a possible route to the tools to even think in the subject presented. For most subjects several books with different perspectives are needed to even get my bearings on the most basic ideas in a subject.

Another possible difference between Marty Rathbun and myself is his approach to the authority other people hold. I usually accept the greater knowledge an author has than me off the bat. I try to find experienced authorities with high staning in their field or speciality. I never want to be the smartest guy in the room relative to the author, particularly in their area of expertise.
As an example of an expert I chose to learn from I have Margaret Singer.

Margaret Singer spent decades studying cults, interviewed over four thousand ex cult members and could very smoothly discuss in very simple terms or very complex academic terms anything about cults. I easily accept her far greater knowledge about them than mine. Obviously she isn't perfect and could be wrong even with her experience.

She is just one example of many, many experts I seek out because they offer relevant information in books that are accessible to an uneducated person such as myself and in terms that are the most basic for the subjects. They present the basic ideas in clear descriptions that make thinking in their terms easy.
I really think Marty Rathbun has an entirely different opinion of himself and the authors he reads. And sometimes that makes all the difference.

Turning Scientologese and Turning Back

One of the things that helped me get out of the Scientology trance was getting a new job. I had to communicate with people rapidly and understand their subtle and not so subtle intentions and thoughts.
I realized ALWAYS thinking in Scientology doctrine impaired my communication with others. I thought switching to English words would make rapid communication with others easier.
I didn't see it as rejecting Scientology. I thought it was like a person that knows French and Spanish moving from France to Spain and just thinking in Spanish.
I didn't realize how Scientology limits thought to Hubbard's doctrine and away from any disagreements with that reality ( meaning agreement in Scientology).
I started to be able to consider ideas I previously had automatically shut out for decades. I started to think thoughts that Scientology automatically labels wrong.
I realized after several months in thinking in English that there is more gradation to people and behavior than Scientology recognizes. And that being unsure is more accurate often than false certainty. And that a person regardless of their beliefs is ultimately responsible for their own choices. That's certainly outside Scientology.
It was like a seismic shift, but I didn't realize that it was changing my entire relationship with all the information I held. I shifted to seeing myself as responsible for my actions and not Hubbard.
It loosened everything. Without that cancellation of critical and independent thinking regarding Hubbard's authority my entire perspective started opening up.
I would get feelings, doubts and long buried thoughts that are forbidden in Scientology bubbling up to be in my conscious mind over the next few months. The automatic assumptions about Hubbard's infallibility and Scientology's transcendent nature would move from uninspected assumptions that framed all my thoughts and filtered all my perceptions to glaring contradictions to the evidence before my eyes.

Fool's Gold

Something humorous in the dark absurd tragicomic way Scientology is was brought to mind by today's comments. I remember while being indoctrinated in Dianetics and Scientology that I alternated between the pleasant trances of taking in Hubbard's doctrine and using his submissive authority based study technology cognitive restructuring with covert hypnosis and feeling despair.
It's a kind of trauma bond of feeling worry free as the trance peaks with cognitive dissonance and blankness being "solved" with the Scientology doctrine as Hubbard's definitions are used to resolve blankness and confusion. Of course the worry free state is trance with trance logic escaping conscious contradictions, and negative emotions by denying and dissociation from cognitive dissonance. It's a special kind of cognitive distortions that becomes habitual.
The indoctrination seemed pleasant because it strengthened the bond to Hubbard's authority and doctrine, making me feel more certain of my rightness in choosing Scientology and Scientology's rightness in that it made me feel "good."
But the good was fool's gold. It's like ignoring red flags to preserve a moment of happiness built on a foundation of lies.
It's using the cognitive distortions of blind faith with submission to authority to turn down critical and independent thinking which feels like momentary relief but brought unpleasant effects.
One of which was a growing certainty about the human mind as portrayed in Scientology. In Dianetics and Scientology Hubbard over and over portrayed the mind as harmful,irrational, evil and error prone.
It's repeated in thousands of statements in various ways. He brings home the theme that "a mind is a terrible thing."
It filled me with a deep despair. That's the thing about a narcissistic trauma bond. The narcissist tells you they are the only honest one, the only awake or aware one and especially the only one that loves you or is mankind's greatest friend.
You hang onto the denial filled delusions that the abuser really loves you because the alternative of a world without that love, wisdom and protection the abuser pretends to give is just absolutely empty, full of despair and utterly unbearable.
That would leave you empty, worthless and completely wrong. It's a long way down.
We usually grow up to have certain assumptions we rely on for feelings of safety, security, meaning and justice and even identity.
These assumptions often frame our entire outlook on life and are core values. They serve to be the foundation our other beliefs and experiences are judged by and against.
A quote from Wikipedia on the Theory Of Shattered Assumptions provides an excellent description of this:
"The Theory of Shattered Assumptions is a phenomenon in psychology that describes how trauma can change the understanding of the world of human individuals. Introduced by Ronnie Janoff-Bulman, this theory states that all people hold three main assumptions about the world and ourselves. In summation, the assumptions state that the world is benevolent and as members of this world, we are meaningful and worthy. However, in the face of trauma, the theory claims that these assumptions are shattered, and one can no longer identify with these views." End quote
We try so hard to hang onto these assumptions that there can be a great conflict within a cult member. The cult teaches that benevolence, meaning and worthiness only come from submission to cult doctrine but cult doctrine progressively creates greater repudiation and condemnation of the world outside the cult. The doctrine eventually requires dispensing with the existence or outsiders. Lifton coined the term and it includes devaluation of others that ultimately leads to total rejection. That can include removal of rights, character assassination, scapegoating and total repudiation.
Total repudiation can be genocide or rarely the rejection of outside society by entirely exiting it through mass suicide.
The three positive assumptions can't survive the extreme negative beliefs cult doctrine require. It's hard to believe in benevolence, meaning and worth in a world the cult increasingly labels evil and worthy of destruction. Cults require purification through destruction. They focus on the evil of the outside evil because they can't bring their promised miracles and perfection of self and group but they can deliver the hatred and destruction of scapegoats. That creates unity and actions that produce observable results.
So the contradictions mount, to be good a cult member must embrace evil. It's unavoidable.