In case you’d been wondering why Scientology is such a silly crock, you should know — it wasn’t. Before it was corrupted by the people running the show, Lafayette Ron Hubbard’s technology and philosophy actually worked. We just need to return to the primal purity of the original Scientology vision. And that’s why Freezone has split from the Church of Scientology™, and proudly displays a picture of a goofy fathead in a nautical cap on their web page.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the fascist goons of
the Church of Scientology™ deal with heresy. If it cuts into their profits, anticipate a religious war.


  1. says

    I’m more interested in how the lawsuit against 12 leading Scientology members in Belgium will affect the organization. It might lead to the organization getting declared an unlawful organization in Belgium, which almost certainly will have effects in the rest of the EU.

    And didn’t Scientology get started as a result of a schism in Dialetics? My guess is that there will be lawsuits involved – that seems like Scientology’s standard procedure.

  2. Tom says

    For what it’s worth, I consider L Ron Hubbard to be one of the greatest social experimenters and genius’s (‘scuse spelling) of the 20th century.

    He proved beyond a doubt that human beings are prepared to believe the most outrageous tosh, even after leaving lots and lots of clues that it was nonsense.

    I think old L was having a massive laugh to himself about the whole thing and probably had trouble believing his experiment had been so successful.

    We should praise the guy for uncovering the fact that there is no limit to human credulity and for being the all-time King of Irony!

  3. says

    Every time I see that picture of Hubbard a little voice in my head shouts, “Gill-i-gaaaaannnnnn!”

    But then I plug in the trusty e-meter and get myself back to Clear again.

  4. afterthought says

    I think old L was having a massive laugh to himself about the whole thing and probably had trouble believing his experiment had been so successful.

    Yes, he obviously knew he made the whole thing up and he wrote science fiction, right? Need a bigger clue? Space aliens and thetans? Like Mormons and golden tablets. What gullible dorks.
    That people believe stuff this obviously bogus, and in recent history when it is so easy to debunk, shows that there must be some primitive need to be conned in some people.
    Makes me want to have my own “alien experience”, create my own “church” and start taking money from idiots. Call it a tax on excess stupidity.

  5. chaos_engineer says

    Yay, the freezoners! I remember them from the Golden Age of Usenet. The regular Scientologists called them “squirrels”, which I understand is a terrible insult in Scientology-jargon.

    And didn’t Scientology get started as a result of a schism in Dialetics?

    No…Hubbard created both of them. “Dianetics” was the first draft, and then later on he added some religious stuff to it and called the religion “Scientology”.

  6. Davis says

    Many years ago I lost a friend to Scientology. We had taken some stupid test in NYC as a lark. The test of course showed that we were miserable and in dire need of Scientology. To my surprise, he later joined, giving up his career in architecture, moving to California and becoming a janitor in an apartment building owned by the “Church”. Just before he left, he hooked me up to the e meter, a riduculous contraption that looked like a bad jr. high science project. I hate them very much.

  7. viggen says

    Whoa, Luther pounded his proclamation into the door of scientology… and we now have protestant scientologists.

  8. noncarborundum says

    From the freezone home page:

    “The goal of Scientology is the making of the individual capable of living a better life in his own estimation and with his fellows and the playing of a better game
    The Fundamentals of Thought – L. Ron Hubbard

    I presume this quote is there because they find it illuminating or inspirational or something. This is the best they can do? From a professional writer of English? I’m not sure it’s even parsable.

  9. says

    No…Hubbard created both of them. “Dianetics” was the first draft, and then later on he added some religious stuff to it and called the religion “Scientology”.

    Actually, Hubbard and others in Dianetics fell out (over money of course).

  10. says

    Scientology has a long contentious history with the Freezone, beginning before Scientology even began really. When Dianetics came out and everyone was auditing their engrams at home, the threat to Hubbard’s bottom line quickly became apparent to him, and he instituted ‘Foundations’ where Dianetics could be properly applied under the right supervision. This took care of the immediate problem, but Hubbard soon became paranoid and went after Foundation heads, accusing them of stealing and disloyalty.

    Much later, with Scientology somewhat more entrenched, Scientology turned on a man named David Mayo, who is often credited (plausibly, by most accounts) for writing some of “upper level” material that constitutes Scientology’s more insane crap. Mayo broke away from Scientology as Hubbard, in his waning years, lost control of the group to David Miscavige. Anyway, Mayo tried to continue practicing Scientology on the outside and was severely harassed by Scientology for it, both personally and legally. See here for more on Mayo:

  11. JOhn says

    ok, I watched a ton of videos this morning just because they seemed so freaking weird last night at 2am- and today they are just as odd…these people believe in the strangest things of which I have ever heard. they are like the oddest cult ever…

  12. Kseniya says

    Worst-case scenario:

    In 2,000 years, there will be people who doubt that Hubbard even existed. They will be called “atheists”.

  13. Snarly Old Fart says

    Funny how it all started when in the Pohl living room where Fred and Ron were drinking beer, thinking of how one would invent a religion. Fred Pohl was thinking of in terms of its science fiction story potential, and, as is now obvious, Ron Hubbard started taking the business potential seriously.

  14. frog says


    In 2,000 years, there will be people who doubt that Hubbard even existed. They will be called “atheists”.

    At least in Rome some decent art has survived and been funded. Scientology, on the other hand, has an awful aesthetic — pulp sci-fi covers (you know, the spaceman and the large-breasted alieness) are considered high-art.

    So, what will Clearwater FL look like in two-millenia, besides being on stilts? Cheesy spaceman statues? Bowdlerized but still bodacious space-babes? Really, really bad murals of the never-to-be-reached-space-future? And gigantic hotels imitating early 20th century modernism.

    At least crucification scenes have some passion, and cathedrals show some architectural ingenuity.

    Why is it that the American contributions to con-jobs/religion have such a terrible sense of art? Check out the Mormon meditation room in SLC. It’s a space montage painted by uncle Bob out of his garage, with a plastic looking statue of Jesus with a tape player inside (maybe CD now?)

  15. John Vreeland says

    The Freezone got it’s biggest boost when Hubbard liquidated (on the bad advice of their current dictator, David Miscavige) the “missions”–Scientology franchises–in the 1980’s. When the franchise holders were forced to abandon their properties, sometimes losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, many of them joined the Freezone. Many went bat-shit crazy, too, and some did both.

    Bent Corydon, a former franchise holder from California, wrote a book that details much of the madness called “L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman.” It is his own personal view of what went on from the inside, and an amazing read.

  16. Sonja says

    I prefer “uncle” Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters — but mostly for decorating my craftsman bungalow.

    (Elbert) Hubbard’s second wife, Alice Moore Hubbard, was a graduate of the New Thought-oriented Emerson College of Oratory in Boston and a noted suffragist, and the Roycroft Shops became a site for meetings and conventions of radicals, freethinkers, reformers and suffragists. Hubbard became a popular lecturer, and his homespun philosophy evolved from a loose William Morris-inspired socialism to an ardent defense of free enterprise and American know-how. Hubbard was much mocked in the press for “selling out.” The American science fiction writer and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, was a nephew of Elbert by the adoption of his father into the Hubbard family.

  17. Timcol says

    Fast forward 20 years and we will have a whole smorgasbord of scientology derivatives

    – The Reformed Church of Scientology
    – The Church of Latter Day Scientologists
    – Raelians and Scientologists United
    – The Scientologists Brethen
    – The Tom Cruise Center for Authentic Scientology and Good Teeth

    Well, they wanted to be a religion, and looks like they are behaving just like one too…

  18. JohnnieCanuck, FCD says

    A more accurate term than fascist goons is organised criminals.

    What gets me is that the US State department has swallowed the lie that Scientology is a religion and therefore criticises places like Germany and, potentially now Belgium, as not supporting freedom of expression.

    Sure, it has some of the tenets of mainstream religion, like brain washing and taking money from suckers. Even their ostracisism of people who try to leave is not unknown in some fairly acceptable flocks.

    What sets these cultists apart is their willingness to stalk, harass, sue and even frame people for crimes if they have been acting against the interests of the Org.

    In both Canada and the US, the organisation and its leaders have been convicted of interfering with government agencies, such as the IRS.

    This is not your average well meaning, slightly batty cult. These people are punching way above their weight and if they continue to expand, may prove to be more damaging to society than any suicide style delusionists that we have seen so far.

  19. oxytocin says

    In a way, I’m almost happy that we have Mormons and Scientologists. We have the unique opportunity to observe the evolution of a memeplex; it’s almost like a cross sectional design. We have old religions like Christianity, we have newer religions like Mormonism, and we have newest religions like Scientology, all at different stages of evolutionary development. The amount of respect allocated to each faith appears correlated with the length they’ve been around. It also shows very definitively just how deluded humans can be. We know that Joseph Smith was a charlatan; his Book of Abraham [this is a fascinating story I would recommend everyone with an interest in religion examine], for example, has been entirely debunked, yet people persist in unwavering faith. Hubbard was a science fiction writer. How much more ludicrous does it have to get for the faithful to wake up and smell the kook-aid? It is therefore highly likely, then, that Christianity and Islam were also started by men like this. Of course, anytime you ask a Christian to compare their own faith with that of another, they fail to see ANY similarity. Sigh.

  20. Grumpy says

    Based on exactly no evidence, I believe that Freezone is actually cooperating with Scientology. As daenku32 quipped, above, “The validity of religion is defined by the number of its denominations.” Whatever Scientology loses from attacks against the credibility of its mainline branch, it gains more from the same gullible folks who are persuaded that its splinter sect must be truer.

    And all the money goes into the same pot.

  21. cm says

    Wow, the last time something this huge happened was the schism between the Worldwide Church of God and the splinter group, the Philadelphia Church of God. I’m sure we all remember the fallout from that!

  22. David Marjanović says

    Just wanted to repeat the mention of Morgan’s Law.

    Perhaps I should add that history repeats itself: once as a farce, and once as a farce. (That’s no typo.) Can someone give me correct forms and citations for the following Hubbard quotes?

    “If you want to make a few million dollars, the fastest way is with a religion of your own.”

    “Make money. Make more money.”

  23. David Marjanović says

    Just wanted to repeat the mention of Morgan’s Law.

    Perhaps I should add that history repeats itself: once as a farce, and once as a farce. (That’s no typo.) Can someone give me correct forms and citations for the following Hubbard quotes?

    “If you want to make a few million dollars, the fastest way is with a religion of your own.”

    “Make money. Make more money.”

  24. yoyo says

    Does anyone know the “theology” that makes squirrels an insult. I rather like them. We only have possums. Anyway, go the belgiums! Sic these opportunistic nasty creatures. In Aus recently we had an obscene disaster where a young woman (17ish) was denied psych medicine by scientologist parents and during a psychotic episode she slaughtered her father, little sister and nearly killed her mother. These f*wads have much to answer for.

  25. frog says


    I guess you answered my question (Re: bad aesthetics of Scientology and Mormonism). The American aesthetic is driven by money, as compared to power, longevity, expansiveness, and such. Money is simple – there’s more or less. Simple makes for bad art.

  26. Cretin says

    Quick, somebody legally incorporate The Church of Scientology, (Reformed).

    If it’s a real religion, then anyone coming down the pike has the right to form a startup knockoff. But if it’s a diabolical multinational corporation masquerading as a religion, then it deserves what Enron should have gotten, to the max.

    I expect actual church services to be a lot of blogging, fueled by many varieties of espresso (or the crisper teas), humorous-quip-writing contests, and homage to Cream with the volume way up.

  27. Cameron says


    I think Philip Dick wrote a story about a Scientological future, in which people look back on “Elron Hu (sp.?)”

  28. Kseniya says

    Yoyo: Yes, there was a blog entry right here approximately two months ago about that terrible event.

    Sheesh, what next? “L. Ron Hubbard: Liar, Lord, or Lunatic?”

  29. John C. Randolph says

    The freezoners have been around for a pretty long time, and the clambots are nearly as vicious towards them as they are to critics.


  30. says

    Several commenters have already reported on various aspects of the Free Zone, such as how it got kicked off from Scientology’s shutdown of its Missions (essentially private franchisee-owned Scientology Orgs; they decided to scrap that program and keep all the money to themselves) and the involvement of David Mayo. When I first came across the alt.religion.scientology Usenet group, shortly after its creation, it was populated almost entirely with Freezoners–I posted a few skeptical items and then didn’t start reading it again until the secret documents started showing up and the Church of Scientology started cracking down.

    To add to what chaos_engineer said about Dianetics and Scientology both being founded by Hubbard, rather than the latter being a result of an earlier schism–Hubbard lost the rights to Dianetics to his Kansas-based partner, Don Purcell, so he created Scientology here in Phoenix, Arizona. (Hubbard’s Scottsdale home was recently turned into a museum by Scientology.) The story is told in chapters 11-12 of Russell Miller’s biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah.

  31. Antaeus Feldspar says

    Actually, the Freezoners tend to be far different and frankly far better human beings than the orthodox Scientologists. I think that Hubbard fit that old maxim of “his work is good, and original, but never at the same time” and frankly it was pretty rare that it was either. However, most Scientologists are drawn into the cult thinking that they’re joining the most ethical group on the planet, the group that’s doing the most to make the world a better place. Those who splinter off often do so because they think that any of the practices of the Church of Scientology which contradict the grand Polonius-like pronouncements of Hubbard about freedom and dignity and honesty must be the work of traitors to Hubbard’s lofty ideals — so they go off to a splinter group which stays “true” to Hubbard’s ideals.

    Is there any point or benefit in pointing out to them that Hubbard frequently betrayed Hubbard’s lofty ideals, giving lots of lip service to concepts like “freedom” and “dignity” and “compassion” and then issuing orders that made a mockery of those ideals? Why? Why not just let them salvage whatever good there is to be salvaged out of Scientology (hey, I’m not saying it’s much, but Hubbard did pick some decent people to steal from…)? Why not commend and admire them for doing their best to live up to high ideals? It wouldn’t be the first time that someone tried to live up to the reputation of an idealized figure, and managed to actually do better than that idealized figure had ever truly done.

  32. Xenu says

    Once I get my fleet back together, these guys are Reaaaally gonna get it.

    I’ll have to shoot them into the sun this time… Is there nothing for which The Simpsons cannot give guidance?!?

  33. Brandon Pilcher says

    Few things crack me up more than observing religions continually break up into mutually hostile sects over trivial and meaningless details. I wonder whether any of these people have ever asked themselves why their deities don’t step in to clarify themselves and resolve these conflicts.

    Come to think of it, how do you distinguish a sect from a complete religion? Many so-called “religions” existing today are really descended from older faiths, and can thus be considered mere denominations. In that light, you could call Islam a Christian sect, Christianity a Jewish sect, Buddhism a Hindu sect, etc. Perhaps our descendents in a few centuries will call Catholicism, Protestantism, and Mormonism separate religions, and we’ll apply the term “denomination” to whatever little cults they will have inevitably spawned.

    Ironically, this process of religions descending from older ones and producing newer ones reminds me of evolution. You could almost construct a phylogenetic tree with it.

    Ironically, the

  34. baryogenesis says

    Hubbard certainly stole much, but I wouldn’t credit him at all except for the entertainment value received for almost 40 years of cult-watching. Even the term Dianetics was borrowed from Dianism, though changed in meaning. It was originally used in the Calif-based GBG (Crowley-derived) occult group via C.F.Russell in the 30’s to define a level of sex magic practice (sex without orgasm). Do you think the schism will create competing recruitment booths with different colored shirts?

  35. says

    I do wonder why the author Theodore Sturgeon, an amazingly compassionate human being, got involved with them even for as long as he did.

  36. says

    Where are trolls when you need them? I really feel like poking fun at a scientology troll now. Come on now, show your faces you cowards!

    I always think the sheer variety of religious splinter groups is the best evidence we need that what they are saying is not true. If religion is not the result of the struggle our brains have in making sense of reality, why are there so damn many of them.

  37. BaldApe says

    Trouble is, competition between two sects of Scientology may cause them to intensify their recruitment efforts. Some have claimed that state churches remove such competition, and our lack of a state religion in the US is the reason for so much evangelism.

    But the idea of Fundamentalist Scientology vs. Reformed Scientology is pretty amusing.

  38. Steve_C says

    I walked by the Dianetics tables in the Union Square subway station and called out “Freezone!”, just for fun.

    I don’t understand why they get to do religious recruitment there. Maybe they pretend it’s marketing for the book and they pay a fee to have the tables there.

    It’s weird.

  39. NonyNony says

    I think old L was having a massive laugh to himself about the whole thing and probably had trouble believing his experiment had been so successful.

    I don’t.

    Hubbard was pretty clearly a sociopath, given his autobiography. He was also pretty clearly a con-artist of the lowest degree (had he been better at it, he might have ended up in politics). He hated taxes in all their forms and one of his driving ambitions was to find a vehicle for avoiding them – hence the conversion of his crackpot “psychology” Dianetics into the crackpot “religion” of Scientology. If the US didn’t have tax exemption for religions, the world might have been spared Scientology. (Or not – there are other bennies to being a “cult leader” after all – and you don’t have to learn to play the bass guitar to get them if you found a religion instead of a band).

    But I doubt he was laughing – especially at the end. He became so divorced from reality and so paranoid that I doubt he even enjoyed his ill gotten lucre in the end. The sad part was that he left his undying immortal spawn – the corporation/religion that is Scientology International – for us to deal with, probably forever, because religions don’t seem to truly ever die – just morph into something different.

  40. Loren Petrich says

    When L. Ron Hubbard started out, he had the support of the editor of Astounding Science Fiction (now Analog), John W. Campbell. Isaac Asimov remembered JWC enthusiastically describing Dianetics to him, and getting annoyed that IA has a “built-in doubter”.

    Eventually, the two went their separate ways, because it is hard for two Messiahs to coexist in one movement.

    Scientology itself seems like some science-fictional version of Gnosticism, an early Xian sect that was declared heretical and squashed by the Xian faction that got official favor.

    According to Gnosticism, the material world was created by a powerful demon named Yaldabaoth (or Ialdabaoth); we are imprisoned in it, and Gnosticism teaches us how to escape it.

    Scientology’s counterpart of Yaldabaoth is Xenu, an evil space tyrant who imprisoned our souls or “thetans” in our bodies, along with numerous demons or “body thetans” (yes, Scientologists have also reinvented the idea of demonic possession).

  41. dzd says

    Personally, I’m not concerned. It seems like the Free Zone is entirely parasitic on the main body of the CoS. The CoS recruits people, milks them for all they’re worth, and tosses them aside; this forms the pool of potential free zoners.

    Once the CoS is dead, the steady flow of human wreckage that the Free Zone depends on will cease and within a couple decades they’ll all have splintered off into even tinier and more ineffectual groups, rather like what happened to Theosophy.

  42. Sastra says

    I like religions like Scientology and Mormonism because they are not only clearly false, but many of the people in them are reasonable, intelligent, generous, and more or less perfectly ordinary. When mainstream theists make the argument that there must be “something to” their religion because there are so many sharp, good people who believe — and this just couldn’t happen if the church wasn’t true — I can point to Scientology and Mormonism (or Wicca or any other religion they consider clearly fringe and false.)

    Wise, compassionate, thoughtful people can believe sincerely in the most amazing tripe, or the most brutal theologies. When it comes to religion, something else is happening other than people carefully and cautiously weighing the facts, and then drawing a rational conclusion.

  43. Julian says

    Good point Sastra; I particularly like the neo-pagan Nordic pantheists. Nothing shows how completely devoid of meaning religion is than a software engineer who worships Odin. You have to burn the bones of your enemies, fool; he can’t hear you otherwise!

    Well, I guess seeing murderous sociopath dictators pontificate on the Religion of Love is just as effective.

  44. Julian says

    I’m not too worried about Scientology (or any other religion for that matter) in the future; another century or two and my descendants will be off on some sensible planet populated by sensible people, while folks like this are stuck on Earth busy killing each other over the correct grammar of paragraph 5 on page 342 in whatever manual they prescribe to.

  45. says

    PZ —

    I was scared for a minute, until I realized you were not being serious in your praise of Elron.

    What’s scarier is the Scientomologists’ worship of Elron, as if he were some kind of messiah. Give it several decades, and there just may be little plastic Elron figures to hang on your rear-view mirrors, right along the plastic Jesus and the St. Christopher medal.

    Eventually, there will be an anti-Elron, or the equivalent of a Brigham Young/Joseph Smith split, as some charismatic Scientomologist leads the brethren down a different path from the founder’s intent.

    Like Paul did.

  46. says

    What I have always found incredible about Scientology is that despite all their ludicrous explicit psychology, they seem to have discovered tacitly a great number of ridiculously effective brainwashing techniques, if the stories about ex-members and so on is to be believed.