Jon Atack: Are cult members - like those in Scientology - unduly influenced? - 2014-11-01
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 for more than a year on Saturdays he helped 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. He was kind enough to send us a new post.
We really have a treat for our readers today. It's a major new piece by Jon Atack that discusses undue influence in Scientology, a controversial topic in social science that, as Jon says, some scholars resist. With extremism on the rise around the planet, we think it's time for this idea to get more currency. And we're thrilled that Jon chose the Underground Bunker to reveal his hard work in this new article. Take it away, Jon...
Those of us who have counseled former cult members find it hard to understand the reluctance of some social scientists to accept the reality of exploitative persuasion. The point is regularly made that members join of their own free will and that nothing compels them to remain within the confines of the cult. But the point is made as if such a belief is factual and natural and beyond any slightest shadow of doubt.