The Social Construction of the Anti-Scientology/Anti-Cult Narrative

In an excellent paper written by Prof. David Bromley called “The Social Construction of Contested Exit Roles: Defectors, Whistleblowers and Apostates”, the author absolutely nails the socially-constructed elements of the anti-Scientololgist/Anti-cultist’s “Capture Stories, “Escape Stories” and “Atrocity Stories“.

In the section of this paper called “Apostate Narratives”, Bromley explains that because of the polarized situation and power imbalance that exists when leaving cults, there is considerable pressure on individuals who leave cults to negotiate a narrative with a group of Ex-members that offers an acceptable explanation for participation in the cult and for now once again reversing loyalties.


“The common story that is negotiated among Exes of many cults is a “captivity narrative” in which apostates assert that they were innocently or naively operating in what they had every reason to believe was a normal, secure social site; ‘

“They were then subjected to overpowering subversive techniques; ‘

“They endured a period of subjugation during which they experienced tribulation and humiliation; ‘

“They ultimately effected escape or rescue from the organization; ‘

“And they subsequently renounced their former loyalties and issued a public warning of the dangers of the former organization as a matter of civic responsibility. ‘

“Any expressions of ambivalence or residual attraction to their former cult or their association with it are vigorously resisted and are taken as evidence of untrustworthiness.’

“Emphasis on the irresistibility of subversive techniques is vital to apostates and their allies as a means of placing responsibility for participation on the organization rather than on the former member himself. This account avoids attribution of calculated choices that would call for invoking the label of traitor. ‘

“Further, the broad allegation of cult allows a diverse array of opponents to unite under a common banner and to formulate a variety of claims in terms that will mobilize or neutralize a broad spectrum of interests. ‘

“Upon the rendering of an acceptable narrative, the Ex-member coalition accepts pledges and tests of loyalty and professions of regret as the basis for reintegration into social networks to which it controls access.’

This is what I have been looking at every time I stepped outside the lines of this socially constructed Anti-Scientology/Anti-Cult narrative.

This explains a whole lot of my last 15 years being involved in Ex-Scientology.

From the book “The Politics of Religious Apostasy”


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Anson D. Shupe, Jr. (21 January 1948 – 6 May 2015) was an American sociologist noted for his studies of religious groups and their countermovements, family violence and clergy misconduct.[1] He was affiliated with the New Cult Awareness Network,[2] an organization operated by the Church of Scientology, and has had at least one article published in Freedom magazine.[3]

This is his main collaborator.

Doloras LaPicho
Doloras LaPicho

One amazing thing that Tony Ortega did was that he was always harping on how Mark Rathbun never took responsibility for his evil deeds as a Scientology Warrior. Then Marty said something about how his depiction of Miscavige for the Theroux film was, in retrospect, more about himself than Miscavige. Response? Ortega doesn’t congratulate Mark for fessing up, he uses it as proof that Mark is now doing Miscavige’s dirty work.

What drove Tony mad was that, even while he was fighting the Church of Scientology, Rathbun would never adhere to Anti-Scientology orthodoxy. Mike Rinder, on the other hand, does so and is beloved by Ortega and all others. Ron Miscavige had rape accusations used against him while he was still in – now they are forgotten. Tribal morality.


This stuff seems to me like getting into the details of the details of the details. In AA and other 12 step programs people tell their story which has a common thread and leave it at that.


Sociological descriptions of cultism help people who were never in a cult understand cultism. People who were in a cult understand it.


A female fertility rate (rate of reproduction) of 2.1 children per female produces a stable population. The current fertility rate in the US is 1.87. In 1960 the US population was 179 million. Census Bureau estimates say the current population is 325 million.* So it’s indeterminate how much of the increase of 146 million (almost a doubling of population in 57 years) is due to immigration, legal or otherwise. In a world of 8 billion people there are surely a billion people who would like to find safe harbor in America.

If the topic is cultism, then the media depicts opposite extremes of the political spectrum as cultish in nature. Ten, twenty or thirty thousand people take an interest in scn per se. The greater interest is in cultism in general.

* As far as I know, most Census Bureau statistics are based of forms being filled out and attested to. Some people believe they are not that accurate, but for now I suppose they are the best there is.