Dadoo ronronron dadoo ronron

How does Scientology get away with it, exactly?

It charges money – a lot of money – for everything it does, but it calls itself a religion (one made up by a writer of pulp science fiction) and get a religious tax exemption.

How does it manage that? Why did the IRS say “Ok, you get your tax exemption, what the hell, why not”?

You know what “auditing” does? It restores your beingness.


That’s what it says!

The goal of auditing is to restore beingness and ability. This is  accomplished by: (1) helping individuals rid themselves of any  spiritual disabilities; (2) increasing spiritual abilities.

Beingness. Does that have any connection to the ground of all being?

Through auditing one is able to look at one’s own existence and improve  one’s ability to confront what one is and where one is. There are vast  differences between the technology of auditing, a religious practice,  and other practices. There is no use of hypnosis, trance techniques or  drugs during auditing. The person being audited is completely aware of  everything that happens. Auditing is precise, thoroughly codified and  has exact procedures.

A person trained and qualified to better individuals through  auditing is called an auditor. Auditor is defined as “one  who listens,” from the Latin audire, meaning “to hear or listen.”  An auditor is a minister or minister-in-training of the Church of  Scientology.

A person receiving auditing is called a preclear—meaning  “a person not yet Clear.” A preclear is someone who, through auditing,  is finding out about themselves and life. The period of time during  which an auditor audits a preclear is called an auditing session.  A session is conducted at an agreed-upon time established by the  auditor and preclear.

And for an agreed-upon sum of money; a large sum of money.

An unlimited number of questions could, of course, be asked,  which might or might not help a person. The accomplishment of Dianetics  and Scientology is that L. Ron Hubbard isolated the exact questions and  directions to bring about spiritual freedom. The questions or directions  of the process guide the person to inspect a certain part of their  existence. What is found will naturally vary from person to person,  since everyone’s experiences are different.

Regardless of experience or background, however, the individual  is assisted in locating not only areas of spiritual upset or difficulty  in their life, but the source of the upset. By doing this, a person is  able to free themselves of unwanted barriers that inhibit, stop or blunt  their natural abilities and increase these abilities so that they  become brighter and more spiritually able.

Why do people believe this stuff? Why does it work?

Why do people take Ayn Rand seriously?

Did L Ron Hubbard and Ayn Rand ever meet?

Did anyone ever see them both at the same time? Are we completely sure they’re not the same person?

Is it something in the water in Los Angeles?

I have many questions. I’m not going to ask an auditor for help though.


  1. rowanvt says

    I have a lovely book that no one outside of the church heirarchy is given. Found in a recycling bin by friends of a friend and it keeps getting passed around.

    In it is a lovely page dealing with hats and it says that a person without a hat has no purpose or value. We’re fairly certain that “hat” means “job description” or “rank” or something along those lines.

    But taken at face value, that line is pure comedy nonsense. A person without a hat has no purpose or value.

    I’d be more than happy to scan pages of the monstrosity to share with others.

  2. says

    The scariest thing for me about Hubbard is that he was such a mess in so very many ways, and so obviously so full of it to some who knew him at least, but still he did succeed, in his fashion. Sure, he died in hiding, but still, his religion lives on, so far, and has made such a mess of so very many lives.

    I don’t know what it says, exactly, that we didn’t already know, but still, I think I’d like to make biographies of jerks like him and Smith required reading. Get it through people’s heads: it’s not actually that hard to create a religion, apparently. There’s an art and a craft and it’s probably partly luck and building lie upon lie step by step, so you draw people in a little at a time, but people can and do succeed, and they succeed with a certain regularity.

  3. Rawnaeris, FREEZE PEACHES says

    As an actual, real world auditor, I find myself greatly disturbed by this hijacking of my job.

  4. Randomfactor says

    The real fun Scieno book is called (alternately) “What to Audit” or “History of Man.” Lots of stuff in there about how you can restimulate clam engrams and cause jaw pain. And Neanderthal bit his wife.

  5. says

    How does it manage that? Why did the IRS say “Ok, you get your tax exemption, what the hell, why not”?

    Threat of legal force. Rather than fight scientology’s lawyers, they folded. Because they were threatened personally, not in their capacity as government citizens.

  6. says

    I grew up scientologist and believed it for most of my life, so I have a good idea of what it’s like for this to actually be your sincere religious belief, separate from the official church/cash cow. If ya want, AMA

  7. Randomfactor says

    Oh, silly me–it wasn’t Neanderthal, it was Piltdown Man–who El Ron didn’t know was a fake.

  8. says

    What I am curious about is the title of this blog post. What does “Dadoo ronron” mean? All I know is that in many Indian languages, ‘Dadoo’ means grandfather… It is tempting to think of L Ron Hubbard as a benign grandfather, reading out deliciously scary, outlandish stories to children at bedtime, but it is important to remember that he originated the single greatest con in human history – by turning his science fiction, and particularly bad science fiction at that, into a religion.

  9. llewelly says

    It’s old, and I disagree with the authors on some important points, but my favorite book on scientology is still _A Piece of Blue Sky_ .

  10. says

    I went to a Scientology booth set up downtown once. It had big sighs saying things like “STRESSED? WE CAN HELP!!!” and such, so I went to see what was up. One of the people manning the booth offered me a free ‘stress test’ to see if they could help me with my needs. I’m pretty sure it was a polygraph of some sort that they use for these, a meter that’s connected to a couple of metal things you hold. So I sat down and let them calibrate the meter, holding onto the metal rods, and then they started asking me questions about work, relationships, etc, watching the needle like a hawk for signs of stress that they could attack to try to convert me. It turns out, those things they use are dead easy to fool. Some simple breathing exercises kept my vitals steady, and the needle didn’t’ even twitch the whole time. So after they were done asking questions, I smiled politely and said that clearly there was nothing they could help me with, so good bye. The ‘auditor’s’ expression was a thing of beauty to behold.

  11. latsot says

    I once went to an excellent Leeds Skeptics lecture about the discrepancies between the claims of L. Ron Hubbard and boring old reality.

    It seems as though virtually everything the man said about his life was purest fantasy. And this is *common knowledge*. His lying seemed pathological: he seemed to lie about entirely incongruous things (such as being the youngest ever Eagle Scout). It seems quite hard to believe that the people around him – including those enamoured of him – didn’t eventually realise that he spent pretty much all of his time making shit up. Did he act like that in everyday life or was it just cynical publicity?

    It makes me wonder what the attraction was. Are some people just attracted to crazed liars? Do they so desperately want some fantastic set of events to be true that they manage to overlook the fact that he was lying to them? Do they really not recognise lies?

    I know we could (and should and do) ask the same sort of questions about other religions, but there are several reasons why Scientology is crazier. One of these is that we know for a *fact* that L. Ron Hubbard was – in the most charitable interpretation – a fantasist. He was a demonstrably real person and we can just go right ahead and check the facts. Another is the so obviously self-serving nature of the whole enterprise. Money is such an obvious motive, whereas it’s easier to disguise more common ones such as power over people’s reproduction. Even many Catholics are concerned and suspicious about their church’s accumulation and misappropriation of wealth, but this is more obviously the *entire purpose* of Scientology.

  12. Timon for Tea says

    I’m not quite sure what Ayn Rand is doing in the company of L Ron. She was an outspoken atheist, pretty much a ‘New Atheist’ avant la lettre.

  13. says

    One of the downsides of the separation of church and state in the US is that the government is not allowed to define “church.” If an organization claims to be a church, and can provide even the thinnest of pretexts to justify that claim, the government has no choice but to accept them at face value.

    Under US tax law, religious organizations are classed as 501(c)(3) corporations. This classification is also given to groups like PETA, Underwriters Laboratories, Little League and your local [Nationality or Ethnicity] Community Center. Even here, there is no legal definition of “church” or “religious organization.”

  14. says

    I’m not quite sure what Ayn Rand is doing in the company of L Ron. She was an outspoken atheist, pretty much a ‘New Atheist’ avant la lettre.

    They’re both hack authors.

  15. says

    And apropos of nothing, the title actually makes me think of Mahjong. But me and my roommate are playing an animated one on the webbernetz now that even properly calls out “Ron!” when winning off someone else’s tiles.

  16. cheesynougats says


    You’re pretty much right. The e-meter is a Wheatstone bridge; it measures electrical resistance of skin. While I think Scientology is a load of crap, Wheatstone bridges are a neat way to figure out unknown resistances.

  17. says

    Hubbard and Rand? Are you kidding?

    Both cult leaders, both hack writers who elevated themselves into gurus, both pseudo-experts, both products of the entertainment industry, both teeming with batshit crazy ideas, both ruthless domineering exploiters, both the proud source of thousands of loyal fanatical cult-bots.

  18. smrnda says

    The connection I draw between Ron and Rand are that both were authors of badly written pulp fiction, both made claims that they had all the answers (Ayn Rand, for an atheist, sure believed in property rights as some sort of Platonic Form which exists IN AETERNUM rather than a historically fluid social construct) and both have created fanatical followers. Rand, perhaps, had a greater impact on the culture, but Hubbard cashed in better as a person.

    All said, it is too easy to call one’s self a ‘church’ and then just get a tax break.

  19. unity says

    You really need to take a few tips from our Charity Commission on this one.

    Under English common law, there is a two part test to determine what does and doesn’t count as a religion.

    Part one is ‘Is there a belief in a deity or deities?’ (Some wiggle room is permitted for Buddhists, I should add).

    Scientology passed that test.

    Part two requires that, in addition to a belief in a deity or deities, adherents must also engage in acts of worship of some description.

    Scientology failed that test because the Charity Commission, which has quasi-judicial powers, ruled that auditing and other related practices amounted to therapy, nor worship.

    They also tried to get charitable status by claiming general charitable benefit to the community, as a back up in case the religion angle failed. That got thrown out as well after the Charity Commission decided that charging for auditing, etc. meant that there weren’t an open charitable organisation but rather a non-charitable private members’ club.

  20. Sili says

    They’re both hack authors.

    Iono. Battlefield Earth isn’t quite as detached from reality as Atlas Shrugged.

  21. Timon for Tea says

    I think the similarities are pretty spurious. Rand was a thorough going ideological and very outspoken atheist. Hubbard less so. Randians may seem odd, but they are odd rationalists. Scientologists, not.

  22. Kes says

    “Why do people believe this stuff? Why does it work?”

    Because it’s flattering. Being audited is a flattering experience to the unwary. They want to know all *about* you! Who doesn’t like to talk about themselves? And then they discover there’s something wrong with you (and who doesn’t think there’s something wrong with them?) and guess what? They can *fix* it! For someone who doesn’t understand what an e-meter is, the whole set-up can be pretty impressive.

    And then the next time the questions get weirder. More personal. Still fun to talk about yourself, but also kind of wrong. Perverted. Why do they need to know if you’ve had sexual thoughts about your uncle/cousin/mother/best friend. And have you ever had those thoughts? If a person was unfamiliar with basic Cold Reading techniques, it could very well seem like magic (ahem, “tech”, ahem) when the e-reader spikes as they ask these uncomfortable questions. Surely they must know how to help you if they know to ask those kind of questions! The whole auditing system is designed to be one big, self-reenforcing spiral of self-doubt and dependency on the audits and the tech and the church, not the self-esteem “beingness”-building exercise Scientologists claim it to be.

    Time goes by, and you spend more money and are encouraged to spend all your time with Church people, and you feel its a little too clique-ish and unhealthy, but you’ve spent some much time and money, and all the other people you’ve met keep saying how much they’ve been helped, and how the next level of courses is the best one yet, and the sunk costs are too much to give it up. And it is still flattering, you are working on a vast project to save humanity! Rid everyone of their Thetans and achieve Clear status. You’ve heard about all the amazing things Clears can do, and you want to get there. Even if you’ve never seen a Clear do anything all that amazing yourself…

    And by the time it might dawn on you that this is wrong, and you’ve gotten too involved, and they have recordings of all the things you said in all those sessions, things you wouldn’t want anyone to know, and the Church is telling you where to live and what job to take, you’re in too far, you’ve spent all your savings and left behind all your “normal” friends, and you’re stuck.

    There’s are reason why narcissists thrive in these environments full of carefully cultivated self-doubt and group-think. And there’s a reason why all cults/religions claim to have “the answers you’re looking for!” Because all people (psychopaths, I guess) are susceptible to this kind of attack. Forewarned is for-armed.

  23. NitricAcid says

    I can’t hear that song without thinking of the Spitting Image bit about Ronald Reagan.

    “His name’s Ronald Reagan, and he’s quite a guy
    Da-doo-Ron-Ron-Ron, Da-doo-Ron-Ron
    He needs a third term, and he’ll tell you why
    Da-doo-Ron-Ron-Ron, Da-doo-Ron-Ron…”

  24. h. hanson says

    I remember that Spitting Image bit. I don’t watch much TV now but I did like that show then.

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