Someone (identifiable) wrote me some courteous questions that I decided to respond to here on ARS.
> Thank you for your posts on ars which have given me insight
> into the dark parts of Co$.
> I am curious--are Scientolgoist banned from reading certain
> books, seeing certain movies, watching certain tv programs
> (and what about Sea Org vs non-Sea Org Scientologists)?
There is no "ban" per se. There have been times when staff/public were alerted to certain books and warned that they contained "upper level material" or were very anti-Scientology and staff should avoid them. Generally staff/public then avoid them but there was always someone who didn't and they ended up doing "ethics" for it. Re movies and TV, pretty much the same.
> If certain titles are banned, which?
Robert Kaufman's "Inside Scientology" was perhaps the first. But any critical book is put on the "alert" list.
> Does reading/watching something you didnt know you
> shouldn't have create enturbulation and whatever else and
> show up on e-meter becuase (oh no, you are THINKING?)?
Depends on the person but many Scientologists have been warned for years about the "danger" in reading certain things, e.g., upper levels. And so one begins to avoid the media, that is, until RTC President McShane testified with a straight face that there never had been any secret OT3, which came as a great relief to all of us (and I know LRH would have shared this) to learn that we (and LRH) had been wrong all those years.
> In otherwords, what types of censorship does
> scientology exert over its followers re: media.
There is a very subtle (and sometimes not too subtle) anti-media attitude that is created, that the media distorts and lies etc. You can find this throughout LRH's works. So one comes to distrust them in general and one is urged to read only LRH or Scientology-issued news, which is how one's world begins to be controlled, much like the old Soviet Union - that there is an official Party line and the rest of it is "capitalistic war-mongering."
> on AOL boards, Scientologists claimed they knew
> nothing about Lisa McPhersons death despite national
> media coverage in Newsweek on on newsmagazine programs.
> This lead me to wonder if Ss are told NOT to read/watch
> anything that looks from title to be critical?
Often yes, but staff in general do not read media. They are incredibly ignorant of everyday events. This is not true of Scientologists who are business people, for example, who must keep up on the news. So it really doesn't surprise me that Scientologists didn't know of her death. The RTC/OSA likes that as it gives them control of what is known and how it is interpreted.
> What about Keirkgaard, Marx, Plato, Derrida,
> CS Lewis, WmBlake?
Zero. Zilch. Hubbard gave lip-service to writers like Plato in the front of an early book but don't YOU try studying them! It is called "other practices" and is verboten.
> Are their lists of "approved materials" aside
> from the stuff written by Hubbards?
Other than the predigested pap that is issued by RTC/OSA or some piece of gruel one is spoon-fed from the PRs, there is only Hubbard or Hubbard-OK books. Examples of some texts that are used are "Effective Public Relations" or that PR positioning book or a book on crush-selling, when Hubbard liked them. Then they were added to checklists for study. The point is that one is not free to merely study and supplement one's knowledge without the expressed approvedl of Hubbard and/or RTC/OSA. It is - like the old USSR, and for the same reason - very strictly controlled.
After all, we don't want anyone to come up with a different idea, do we?
But this is where the "ethics officer" comes in. If a book or a magazine or a TV show is starting to show up as a problem, then RTC/OSA might take some action to alert staff as to the "danger" that it presents. What is amazing is the amount of actual control they can exert, that staff/public will follow them. But then, you have to know the role of "control" to begin with in Scientology. It is an important concept. From Day 1, you are put under some form of control, from the time you start the reistration process and especially when you hit the first course. It is called "8C" in Scientologese, Hubbard's slang for control, and you are being told you are learning control when really you are giving into it, day by day. If you balk or flinch or protest, you are in "ethics" and the pressure is more. But this is how they manage the information control and sometimes it is a bitch, when they just can't do it. Then they have to have a rally or some other thing to blanket the information and reinterpret it heavily. (That was what was done with Hubbard's death. They couldn't stop the information from coming out so it had to be controlled/interpreted and the Scientologists bought it!)
There are other reasons why material might be "restricted" from staff/public. A story from the 1970s might serve as an example. Back then, the location of the ship Apollo was secret. But in a story in (I think) Time magazine, there was a map showing where the Apollo had been sailing. Because it was part of a story about Scientology and these are sent "up lines" (to worldwide and to Flag itself) it was put into an envelope and marked "Secret" and sent, and I was thinking how amusing it was that a Time magazine was now "secret." But that is how totalitarian structures work. The must control the information the citizens get, either directly or by interpretation. That was why the USSR fought Radio Free Europe and why RTC/OSA hates the Internet: it transmits information they cannot control/destroy.
Robert Vaughn Young