Brainwashing in Scientology: Security Checking & OW Write Ups

scientology's maoist tech of brainwashing
Chairman Mao – Hubbard’s Mentor for the Sea Org and Brainwashing in Scientology

Bill Franks, the former Executive Director International of the Church of Scientology, emerged a few years ago and told a story about brainwashing in Scientology and how it is embedded into its technology of auditing and training..

There is a reason he used the term “brainwashing” which most Scientologists don’t know: there is actually a technology to brainwashing, and it is not the one Hubbard told you it was.

Mr. Franks tells a story about an incident which occurred in the mid-70’s on the Apollo. He was Director of Training over the FEBC with Hubbard aboard, trying to recover a student who had escaped the ship while docked in Morocco. Hubbard was irate. Mr.  Franks and David Mayo, the Senior C/S International, wrote up all the “standard” Scientology actions they had done to recover the escaped student and submitted them to Hubbard. The standard actions included lots of confessionals and misunderstood word clearing, as Hubbard has always taught Scientologists to do.

But none of it worked.

Mr. Franks said that, through a messenger, Hubbard informed them that he was about to tell them something that must never get out. It was labeled extremely confidential. Hubbard told Mayo and Franks that the real reason people leave was not because of overts and “missed withholds”. It was because of ARC Breaks.

Hubbard told these two men this and said that the reason this could never get out was because Hubbard feared he would “lose control of orgs” if it did.

Now that’s interesting isn’t it?

Aside from direct evidence that L Ron Hubbard did not himself believe in the technology he taught Scientologists about “overts” and their effects, he still hounded Scientologists on the benefits of confessing their “Overts and Witholds”s and even inserted mandatory confessionals almost everywhere throughout tech and policy, all sold with the spiritual benefits it is supposed to supply to thetans.

Hubbard even goes so far as to teach Scientologists that getting people to confess keeps people from leaving Scientology, establishing the religious belief in their minds that, being basically good, a being leaves so that he can protect others if he does not confess and “release the charge” through confession.

Scientologists throughout the world believe this teaching and dutifully confess their “overts” in session, in writing, whenever anything goes wrong, after going on vacation, etc etc. The Scientology environment is a culture filled with confession for a Scientologist.

scientology's int base "the hole"
Aerial Shot of Scientology’s Bizarre Int Base Office Prison Where Sea Org Members Were Held For Years and Made to “Confess Their Crimes” Daily

But if Hubbard did not actually believe that OWs were the cause of “blowing” Scientology, that ARC Breaks were, as he told Franks and Mayo that night, what was the real reason Hubbard used OW technology and confessionals on Scientologists almost everywhere in Scientology?

It was because L Ron Hubbard inserted the technology of brainwashing into Scientology, as applied by Stalin and Mao, to break the individual will of dissidents and to “purify” them of their rebellion against the ideology. 

Confession is a standard practice in all totalitarian states, and serves many uses, from political control in quashing dissent and disobedience, to mental and emotional breakdown and torture.

From the website

“In 1936, Stalin brought his old comrades Zinoviev and Kamenev to a staged public trial. An international press corps was invited to lend a sense of legitimacy to the proceedings. When their trial had ended Zinoviev, Kamenev and fourteen other old Bolsheviks either admitted involvement in the Kirov Affair or signed confessions that had been fabricated for them. These men had not been conspirators but they did satisfy Stalin’s paranoia. As to be expected, they were all executed. The confessional process was helped by the black jack, continuous interrogation and the swan dive, where towelling was put between the jaws and the feet and tightened, arching and breaking the back. But often, the confession was voluntary because the Party demanded it. As one survivor recalled, ‘serving the party was not just a goal in life but an inner need.’”

(emphasis mine)

In a book by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday called “Mao The Unknown Story”, Mao’s use of confession was widespread in his re-education camps. This passage tells the story of one camp in a place called Yenan.

“For month after month, life in Yenan centered on interrogations – and terrifying mass rallies, at which some young volunteers were forced to confess to being spies and to name others in front of large crowds…The only moments alone afforded no peace either, consumed as they were in writing ”thought examinations” – a practice hitherto known only in fascist Japan. “Get everybody to write their thought examinations, “Mao ordered, and write three times, five times, again and again…Tell everyone to spill out every single thing they have ever harbored that is not good for the Party.’…

“Two years of this type of indoctrination turned the lively young volunteers from compassionate exponents of justice and equality into robots. When outside journalists were allowed into Yenan for the first time after many years in June of 1944, a correspondent observed an eerie uniformity: “if you ask the same question of twenty or thirty people, from intellectuals to workers on any topic, their replies are always more or less the same… Even on questions about love, there seems to be a point of view that has been decided by meetings. And not surprisingly, they unanimously and firmly deny the Party had any direct control over their thoughts.”

confession and humiliation in mao's cultural revolution
Confession and Humiliation in Mao’s Cultural Revolution

It is very difficult to get this across to Scientologists because of the “wins” they have had by confessing their misdeeds to the Church. Wins, related to the relief Scientologists feel from confession, are generated because people are basically social, meaning that they see themselves from the viewpoint of their group and their standing in it. Seeing your self as the group sees you, your misdeeds are one of your greatest vulnerabilities, and cause you much worry, shame, guilt, regret and suffering. So confession can be good for the soul![/ezcol_2third_end]

But L Ron Hubbard takes confession to a level that makes it obvious what he is doing to anyone who is not a Scientologist. Hubbard exploits the vulnerabilities of Scientologists in a totalitarian onslaught of social manipulation and coercive techniques. He even goes so far as to lie about the importance of confession in the “scriptures” of Scientology in order to keep in control of Scientologists’ thoughts and inner secrets, as Bill Franks points out above.

In Robert Jay Lifton’s “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism”, he identifies a culture of confession as one of the foundations of thought reform and brainwashing.

“The Cult of Confession’
“Closely related to the demand for absolute purity is an obsession with personal confession. Confession is carried beyond its ordinary religious, legal, and therapeutic expressions to the point of becoming a cult in itself. There is the demand that one confess to crimes one has not committed, to sinfulness that is artificially induced, in the name of a cure that is arbitrarily imposed. Such demands are made possible not only by the ubiquitous human tendencies toward guilt and shame but also by the need to give expression to these tendencies. In totalist hands, confession becomes a means of exploiting, rather than offering solace for, these vulnerabilities.’

“The totalist confession takes on a number of special meanings. It is first a vehicle for the kind of personal purification which we have just discussed, a means of maintaining a perpetual inner emptying or psychological purge of impurity; this purging milieu enhances the totalists’ hold upon existential guilt. Second, it is an act of symbolic self-surrender, the expression of the merging of individual and environment. Third, it is a means of maintaining an ethos of total exposure – a policy of making public (or at least known to the Organization) everything possible about the life experiences, thoughts, and passions of each individual, and especially those elements which might be regarded as derogatory.’

“The assumption underlying total exposure (besides those which relate to the demand for purity) is the environment’s claim to total ownership of each individual self within it. Private ownership of the mind and its products – of imagination or of memory – becomes highly immoral. The accompanying rationale (or rationalization) is familiar, the milieu has attained such a perfect state of enlightenment that any individual retention of ideas or emotions has become anachronistic”. …


Read More From Robert Jay Lifton Here: Chapter 22: Ideological Totalism

Bill Franks’ story provides a platform upon which this technology of brainwashing, as used by L Ron Hubbard, can be revealed to Scientologists, and to free them of the chains placed upon them by Scientology.

I am very grateful to Bill Franks for finally emerging and telling his story on the Internet. Maybe he can tell more. And maybe more people like him can find a way to start speaking up, as well.

David Mayo, perhaps?

For More on Brainwashing in Scientology, read BBC Reporter John Sweeney’s book: The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology

2 thoughts on “Brainwashing in Scientology: Security Checking & OW Write Ups”

  1. Interesting insight from Mr Franks and almost certainly true, I left when scn broke the final straw, not because of anything I  did wrong.

    I know many still ins who claim to have benefited from sec checks and ow write ups, it is very unreal to me though as I never experienced any relief from the process, quite the opposite, letting people I didn’t necessarily trust in on my very personal “misdeeds” seems like a recipe for future trouble, indeed there are many accounts online of confessional data being used to smear critics.

    It occurred to me that until you leave you will never acknowledge that scn engages in brain washing, because that is the beauty of the subject – you don’t even realize it is happening to you – in your mind you are still having your own thoughts – “make it your own” as hubbard used to say. Only when you walk away can you afford to apply critical thinking and say to yourself “hey I was an idiot who parroted everything hubbard told me to”.

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