FEAR: Jon Atack on Scientology's Essential Ingredient - 2013-09-21
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and on Saturdays he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
Jon, we've seen some amazing bravery on the part of people speaking out about the abuses in Scientology. Just yesterday, Jenna Miscavige Hill's response to Barbara Walters really took guts, and we've seen many other examples of people like Lori Hodgson and Monique Rathbun daring to speak out or take on the church in litigation. But you know as well as we do that the vast majority of people who leave Scientology with similar experiences never speak out about them. We've talked to people who were shockingly mistreated, but years later they still can't talk about it publicly. You said you had something to tell us that might help explain that situation.
JON: Some years ago, I came to know a former British Army torturer very well. After his time in the army, he had overcome heroin addiction, spent years in the Sea Org and to all and sundry seemed to be a cheerful, outgoing man. After knowing him for years, I was shocked when he eventually told me he had tortured people. He wept and held his head in his hands as he spoke. He had killed people in battle, but felt no compunction about that — they would have killed him, given the chance — but to inflict pain on a helpless victim had changed something inside him that no amount of auditing had ever got near.