Counterfeit Dreams, One man’s journey into and out of the world of Scientology. Hardback, 336 pages, index, glossary and photo section, Hawkeye Publishing Co, 2010.
Whenever I read a story by a former Scientologist, and I have read a good many, I always prepare myself for the worst because I know some of the things that I will encounter. All of these accounts will speak of lies told and lies believed; of betrayal and hardship, of time irretrievably lost and financial ruin. Of forced disconnection from friends and family and violations of human rights so gross as to make a mockery of the phrase, “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.”
Yet there are rewards for reading such material. If nothing else it shows the resilience of the human spirit and the innate desire to be truly free. It is also a call to action against the predators who exist in all ages in many guises. History teaches us the evil cannot be sustained by itself; no, it must be first carefully packaged in order to be presented as doing good. Whether it is “ethnic cleaning,” or the “final solution,” or guarding the true faith from the attacks of the devil or heretics, people must believe that they are working towards a better world and other such lofty sentiments. I think that this is something that L. Ron Hubbard fully understood.
The author as a young man took up Scientology to create a better world and also to advance his own abilities via the upper level course that were held out as little less than miraculous. He was not alone in his quest for the remarkable OT powers; it was a hook that caught many. Once inside the shared delusions of the group led him to think that this was the only way that he could advance his spiritual quest. Once on staff the process speeded up due to sleep deprivation and overwork.
Often in the writings of former Scientologists we see them working themselves into a frazzle but with no discernible end product in view. They work hour after hour on reports and reports on reports. Not with Jeff Hawkins though. He accomplished a great deal of solid, tangible work which is little less than amazing considering the obstacles placed in front of him. His books selling campaigns and ads really worked. Yet he was hounded out of Scientology with contempt and derision.
There are a couple of other things that I think Jeff made very clear. You cannot expect long term projects to prosper if you are focused on weekly stats. There are a great many things that simply do not lend themselves to such a short-sighted time frame. To add to this the “make-things-go-right” mentality leads to absurd deadlines for projects that should be carefully crafted which of course takes time. And it seems time is what nobody has in the SO.
Another thing which struck me is how hard they work to get people in the SO but then they are treated worse than dogs. Some get “off-loaded” (given the boot) for obscure or even trivial reasons. Sometimes against the wishes of the staffer who wants to stay! What a waste of resources.
On June 29, 2009 a series of articles appeared in the St. Petersburg Times entitled, “The Truth Rundown,” in which high level defectors spoke of violence at the very top of the Sea Org. http://www.tampabay.com/news/article1012148.ece Jeff Hawkins corroborates these accusations. He saw, and personally was the victim of, personal assaults by David Miscavige, the undisputed dictator of Scientology, on his underlings. He also advised Scientology executives to “get physical” with their own subordinates. This article, and the subsequent fallout it entailed, has caused some Scientologists to quit.
Out of five stars I give this book five plus. I had a hard time putting it down.
For more information on how to order this book go here: http://counterfeitdreams.com/