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 .

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Second Lives Of Cult Critics

I realized something the other day while listening to an interview by Chris Shelton. He was interviewing a very knowledgeable cult critic (Joe Szimhart)  who gave a tremendous amount of information on the history of several cults. He said a few things that were significant. First the great depth and amount of information he shared showed that like many cult experts he has spent hundreds of hours studying many subjects to understand cults.

Most cult experts read many books on abuse, psychology, hypnotism, thought reform, narcissists, sociopaths, mass movements, cults and many other subjects. People like Margaret Singer, Jon Atack, Rick Ross, Janja Lalich, Robert Jay Lifton and many others often read hundreds of books and take on studying as a lifelong commitment. It's the normal operating basis for these folks. It's a mindset of taking on learning so much to take on so much because society is sadly lacking established professionals to address cults. If you have cancer you can find a doctor or if your car won't run you can find a mechanic but if you want to take on understanding cults or helping people to recover you almost have to make a curriculum of your own.

And that's been the way it was for a long time. Now careful examination of things like Rick Ross' book Cults Inside Out or the book Recovery From Cults can give a basis with their bibliographies, but a formal established program like that of an attorney or doctor is not yet established.

So, if you want to be a cult expert even if you become a psychologist or psychiatrist or get a degree in history or propaganda analysis or study how language affects thought the education required is far more than even a PhD would grant. I probably have hit just about thirty books read for this effort and in many areas have barely put a toe in the water. I probably have fifty or so books on my immediate short list and many books on some subjects invite further exploration of those subjects. Compared to many cult experts I am just getting started.

So, now I have painted the picture of the cult critic devoting thousands and thousands of hours into learning, whether they get a formal education or not. No problem.

Now here's the catch and part of the situation that makes it clear why very few critics pursue this. The guest that Chris Shelton was interviewing went on to mention that he has a full time job. Cult experts usually have a profession and life independent of cult criticism. Often it is entirely unrelated. Some writers, laborers, accountants, professors and many retired people take on cults and lead entire other lives simultaneously.

It often ends up being the equivalent of working two full-time jobs, or perhaps working a full-time job and being a full-time college student. But one who never graduates, or if he or she does it takes many years. Almost all cult critics rely on other sources of income and have to have a personal drive to get involved and maintain that drive to remain.

Lots of cult critics get burnt out and withdraw. They often have no support or encouragement from their family or profession. Often a critic is an ex cult member and their family is happy they left and denounced the cult and they wish the negative experience and all reminders of it would be left behind. They often don't understand the recovery of the ex cult member is an ongoing process that requires continuing education quite often. And that an ex member may feel a personal inclination or obligation to work against a cult or cults in general or to help people. But that drive may be sated or blunted. When you deal with many cult members and ex members it involves a lot of stress, frankly some accusations and smears and usually little thanks and less pay. Aside from a running joke that SMERSH pays me (the spy organization from James Bond novels) I have yet to make a cent as a cult critic.

So, cult critics end up as a very small number of people who are usually in a couple of types. Most are ex cult members or their immediate family who explore what cults are extensively as part of recovery or to help other people recover. This group includes Jon Atack ex Scientologist,  A second group is academics who study influence or another subject and end up discovering what cults are and do. This group includes Margaret Singer and Robert Jay Lifton. There is a combination type that includes ex Moonie Steve Hassan who got a degree as a licensed mental health counselor and Daniel Shaw who was in a yoga cult and became a psychotherapist. Both did a lot of research on cults as well.

These are the routes most often taken. The academic one sometimes has financial and social support, not always and the ex member or relative one often has little or no social support. In a few areas anti cult groups meet but in most places this never occurs.

Honestly the internet acts to provide support and coordination for cult critics. A critic in Buffalo New York can post an article about Scientology and have readers from all across America and Russia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, China, Colombia, Thailand, Australia, Kenya, India, Ireland. Canada and many other countries read the article. And once the post is up it can be viewed for years.

And feedback can help a cult critic to learn what messages are better received or understood, as well as which details best educate audiences. Not to mention what people actually are curious about or upset or concerned about.

So, when you deal with a cult critic who is organizing a conference or writing a post please keep in mind they are usually doing a full-time job to learn about cults, to write about cults, to help people leave and recover from cults, to find people who want help and information on cults and to engage them AND living a full life with a job in addition to their cult criticism. Now, this doesn't make critics into infallible saints or martyrs. They are flawed and imperfect people to be sure. But they are usually giving a lot to even enter the fray as a cult critic and leading a second life as well.

The second lives of critics are mixed blessings to be sure. They can provide meaning and purpose for themselves through researching cults and how to help people recover from cults. And to a degree a peer group, but being a critic comes with distinct liabilities.

For starters a critic can gain free enemies and critics of their own in response to any communication they put forth. And that warrants study on its own.

Another issue is the possible avoidance or neglect of other areas in the life of the critic. They can always act like learning or helping someone or exposing the crimes of cults is more important than other issues. They often have problems getting a good balance in their lives and being objective about both lives. Sometimes in ex Scientologists in particular they fall into a trap of thinking their own interpretation of Scientology is "the only true and accurate one". And the only way to help others correctly.

So this can unfortunately lead to a continuance of narcissism or other negative traits which cult members bring with them from the cult. Humility and compassion are paramount to recovery but can be impeded by feelings of superior competence or authority.

A critic needs to learn that even if they know a dozen or a hundred or a thousand ideas relevant to cults or a particular cult like Scientology or how to dissect Scientology or recover from it they are still just a person with at best a bit more information than they had before.

No matter how much you learn or recover from Scientology or even help others it doesn't change some facts. Now to be clear I don't want to discourage any of these things and in fact very strongly want to encourage them BUT they need to be kept in perspective.

Pride shouldn't reach arrogance, or justify disdain or narcissism to any degree. We all are imperfect, flawed, to some degree gullible and hold incorrect beliefs no matter what we do to overcome our nature. Or how much we learn about cults or anything else.

I want to encourage people far, far more to learn about subjects including cults and particularly for Scientologists for recovery and people who have a persistent passion for helping others to escape cultic influence. I feel the effort brings real help to people and can genuinely help them to greatly improve their lives.

But keep in perspective who you are, what you are doing and keep in mind that it's a lot to take on two lives,  I don't know anyone who's figured out how to perfectly handle one yet.

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