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Blog: Critical Q&A 213 - 2019-05-26

F0.png Critical Q&A #213 May 26, 2019, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large

The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left for me in the comment sections of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at This week, the questions I answer are:

(1) One book which I have found to be a great resource is 'The New Believers' (subtitled 'Sects, 'cults' and alternative religions) by David V. Barrett. I wonder if you are familiar with it? He strives to be painstakingly fair-minded with all the organisations he writes about. Even so, the more wacky and dangerous ideas & practices of, for example, the Flying Saucer Cults, the Nation of Islam and, of course, Scientology, come across loud and clear. Having learned so much from you about what really goes on though, I do wonder about his use of a quote from Lorraine Bulger, who he says has reached OT 8. Have you heard of her? He seems to suggest that, because Hubbard's 'History of Man' does not have to be taken literally, then a more 'metaphorical' approach to the OT materials (notably OT 3) would also be perfectly acceptable. The quote from Bulger reads,"Many religions have legends and scriptures which, taken out of context, can appear strange and misrepresentative...." This puzzles me. I have detected no hint whatsoever of a move towards a move liberal reading of the core texts. In fact, top-level Scientologists aren't supposed to hint at their contents at all, right? Has the author perhaps got a little sidetracked here and managed to find some relatively easygoing Independent Scientologists as sources? Maybe he is being a little too fair-minded?! Your thoughts?

(2) My question is about the Communications Course as I have heard many ex-Scientologists saying that it is a great course and they are still grateful for it. So, what is the Communications Course about? And is it highlighting an emotional vulnerability that makes people fall for Scientology?ANDI have been reading about people who say the one thing they got something out of from Scientology is the Communication Course. It seems to be the course most people try out first. I found myself drawn to it for personal reasons but I would not venture in to a Scientology church to take the course. However I found that they offer the course online for free so I signed up with an e-mail address I only use if I expect someone to send me junk mail. I had a problem right away with the first page and that is what my question is about. The online course is in my own language so I hope I translate the terms correctly. It is about "duplication." According to the text it is a vital part of communication. The definition is to make an exact copy of something. This sounds like their idea of the Communication Course is basically about how to get others to duplicate or copy what you tell them. Is this a first step in to the indoctrination from their part to get people to accept duplicating or copying what they are told? Also I object to lots of stuff they say about communication like that it is a particle to move from one place to an other. Surely I can not be the only one objecting to stuff they are told so how are people that object to things said handled in courses? Are they just told to be quiet and accept what is being said? Is it open for discussion or are people in general just accepting things said in course?