A sociological

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A Sociological

analysis of


The Road to Total

This book is a sociological study of a

new quasi-religious movement,

Scientology. Its author, Roy Wallis,

traces the emergence of this

movement as a lay psychotherapy -

"Dianetics" and its development into

an authoritarian sect. Drawing on

formulations in the sociology of

religion, he analyses the processes

involved and presents a theory to

account for the transformation of cult

into sect.

On the basis of over eighty interviews

with members and former members,

a typology of the motivations which

led individuals to affiliate with the

movements is derived, and the

processes by which members

become further committed to the

movement are explored. The

reasons which led a proportion of

members to defect from the

movement are also described.
Scientology has been notable for the

extent to which is has come into

conflict with the state, medical

agencies, and individuals critical of

its practices. The author turns to the

sociology of deviance to provide a

model to account for the development

of a 'moral crusade'against

Scientology and to explain the way in

which the movement reacted and

adapted to a hostile environment.
This study should find a place on

courses in Religious Studies, the

History of Religion, and the

Sociology of Religion. It will be

essential material for any attempt to

understand the form and place of the

new religions in advanced industrial

societies. It is also likely to be

appropriate material for courses on

the Sociology of Social Movements.

The controversial nature of the topic

of this work may, however, endow it

with a market appeal beyond the

confines of the academic community.

The Road to Total Freedom
*A Sociological Analysis of Scientology*

The Road to Total Freedom

*A Sociological Analysis of Scientology*
Roy Wallis

Copyright c 1976 Roy Wallis

All rights reserved.
Printed in Great Britain
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Wallis, Roy.

The Road to Total Freedom.

Bibiography: p.

Includes index.

I. Scientology. I. Title.

BP605.S2W34 1976 131'.35 76-27273

ISBN 0-231-04200-0

There is a sence in which sociology is inevitably a subversive

enterprise. The very act of refiecting on the behaviour of people

and organizations entails that these activities do not bear their

meaning and explanation on their face. The sociologist's pursuit of

further or different knowledge after he has already been informed

of the 'truth'of the matter by the individuals or organizations

concerned, displays the fact that he does not accept the 'self-

evident', and perhaps even that motivated by malice, he is prepared

to tell some entirely different story.

Hence, the sociologist poses a threat to the rhetorics and

legitimations employed by social groups and a potential challenge

to their definition of reality, and to the definitions of themselves

which they present for public consumption. He therefore risks

calling down upon himself the wrath and opprobrium of groups which

he studies. Generally, the groups examined by sociologists are

relatively powerless and their complaints may do little more than

prick his own conscience or the consciences of his more radical

colleagues. In other cases, however, the group examined may not be

without power and in such instances, depending on the nature of the

power and the society in which it is exercised, the sociologist may

risk more severe if not necessarily more serious, consequences,

I began my work on Scientology as a raw graduate student,

fascinated by the relationship between beliefs, social organisation

and society. While I had initially intended that Scientology be

considered as one among a range of unorthodox system of belief to

which I proposed to devote attention, I found myself increasingly

interested by the rich body of material I was uncovenng on this

multifaceted movement. I have recounted at length elsewhere (in my

contribution 'The moral career of a research project'to Colin Bell

and Howard Newby, editors, *Doing Sociological Research*, Allen and

Unwin, London, 1976) the history of my research on Scientology. It

remains, however, to summarize a few points salient to the final

production of this book.

As my opening remarks would suggest, the Church of Scientology

was suspicious of my research. Having suffered at the hands of

newspaper reporters, investigators for state and medical agencies,

and government enquiries in many countries, my own work was readily

placed by the leaders of the Church of Scientology into the category

of hostile or critical commentary. My protestations that I had no

axe to grind, and that I sought only to provide a coherent and
as-nearly-objecive account of Scientology as possible, were viewed

with commendable scepticism by the church leadership.

The Church of Scientology is not known for its willingness to take

what it construes as criticism without recourse. Indeed its record

of litigation must surely be without parallel in the modern world.

It therefore seemed almost inevitable that my own final work would

be the subject of lengthy and expensive litigation. In such a

situation, the writer faces a dilemma. Does he 'tell the truth, and

damn the consequences'? Or does he, in the light of the extreme

severity of the British law of libel, reflect that in over a hundred

thousand words of text, anyone can make a mistake? There is a

powerful tension between the threat of censorship and the

possibility of enormous cost in time, effort and money for a single


But there is a further consideration. The sociologist has an

*obligation* to the subjects of his research. Even if his

relationship with them has sometimes approached open war, he owes

them a duty not to misrepresent their activities and beliefs, the

more so if they are in any respect a socially stigmatized or

politically threatened collectivity. In my decision to make my

manuscript available to the Church of Scientology, *both* of those

considerations weighed heavily. Informing them in advance of what

one intended to say had its dangers. Forewarned is, after all,

forearmed for any legal battle. But the risk, in this case, paid

off. It is my feeling that the church leadership appreciated the

gesture, and while they remained adamant over a period of months

that certain things should not be said, they were willing to

compromise and to negotiate.

These negotiations, covering several reams of typescript were

salutory. I came to appreciate that things which had initially

sounded innocuous to me could be read as pejorative or even

invective. In due course, I made various modifications to the text

in this light. As an example, I amended my argument that Hubbard

was 'obsessed'with communism, to read that he was 'preoccupied'by

it. I also deleted a comparison with the Nazi party and the Ss which

seemed on reflection *unnecessarily* offensive to members of the

Church of Scientology. I further incorporated into the text from

various commentaries sent to me by the Church of Scientology,

statements of their views on certain events on which we could not

find common ground.

As a final gesture to the Church I offered to include in the work,

as an appendix, a commentary commissioned by the Church, on my work

as a whole. This seemed to provide what they claimed had been denied

them in the past, i.e. an adequate right of reply, for which reason

they had been forced to seek recourse in the courts. Dr Jerry

Simmons was commissioned by the Church to write this reply. His

interesting paper 'On maintaining deviant belief systems', has often

been cited by sociologists working in the field of unorthodox

collectivities of believers.1

As a believer hmmself in this case, Dr Simmons inevitably rejects

my study.

1 *Social Problems*, II, Winter (1964), pp. 250-6.

His main argument is that my methods are not adequate in that they

do not fulfil the criteria of tradltional survey research, and that

I theretore violate "the scientific method'. Dr Simmons fails to

recognise that methods are tools and tools must be adapted to

circumstances. The 'scientific method'is no more than an injunction

to examine evidence dispassionately and critically. My study does

not intend to be a piece of survey research. Dr Simmons'strictures

are, therefore, at best, misplaced. There are no 'sampling errors'

since there is no 'sample'. My respondents are ethnographic

informants not randomly sampled survey respondents. That many of

them were not practising Scientologists and were openly hostile to

Scientology only tells us that my information *may* be biased and

not that it *is*. As it happens, information secured from

informants, whether devoted adherents or active opponents, could be

checked against other informants or against documentary sources. Dr

Simmons suggests that I was offered permission to interview over

4,000 believers for my study. This offer was not, I'm afraid, ever

as clear to me as it was to Dr Simmons. He accuses me again of bias

in sampling statements from documents rather than performing a

content analysis, but again his argument is misplaced. Had I wished

for an analysis of the content of the documents, I would have

conducted a content analysis. But something said only once in a

body of documentation may have as much influence on organizational

and individual behaviour as something said a thousand times. Hence

I utilized documentation as any historian would, seeking to locate

influential statements and to cite statements which information

from other sources had indicated were important for behaviour,

rather than to analyse as a whole the content of documents which,

in the case of Scientology as of many other organizations and social

movements, are often written for public relations purposes.

Ultimately, of course, which of us Dr Simmons or I is right on

the questtion of the degree of bias in this book, is open to

dispute. That is as it should be. I would be as foolish as Dr

Simmons thinks me, if I believed I have said the last word on

Scientology. It is right, and indeed exciting in its prospect, that

debate about this movement will continue. I am hopeful that new

information will continually come to light, and urge anyone with

documentation on Scientology to send it to me, or to the Librarian

of Stirling University, where an archive can be formed to preserve

such material for future scholars. In the meantime, anyone hoping

to resolve the matter can do no better than Dr Simmons suggests:

begin your own investigation. Read Hubbard's *Dianetics: The Modern

Science of Mental Health* and compare it, in terms of objectivity,

the 'scientific method', etc., with my book.

Preface v
Contents ix
Acknowledgements xi
Abbreviations xiii
Introduction and Methodological Note 1
1 *Cult and Sect: A Typology and a Theory* 11
2 *The Cult Phase: Dianetics* 21

3 *Crisis and Transition* 77

4 *Theory and its Transmission* 103

5 *Social Organiation and Social Control* 127

6 *The Scientological Career: From Casual Client to

Deployable Agent* 157

7 *Relations with State and Society* 190

8 *Reality Maintenance in a Deviant Belief System* 225

*Conclusions* 245
I Special letter from Ron Howes 259

II HCO Ethics Order 261

III Executive Directive from L. Ron Hubbard 263

IV On Roy Wallis'Study J. L. Simmons, PhD 265



In a research enterprise of this kind innumerable debts are

inevitably accumulated. For the first two years of the research

I was fortunate to be a student at Nuffield College, Oxford. I

am grateful to the Warden and Fellows for providing me with a

home, facilities, and intellectual stimulation during this

period. The Social Science Research Council generously provided me

with a grant which enabled me to pursue this research. The Ofrex-

Drexler Foundation also kindly provided me with a small grant

at a crucial stage in my work. Professor Duncan Timms, Chairman of

the Department of Sociology of Stirling University, greatly

assisted my work by providing me with time, research funds and

secretarial assistance.

Without the aid of Cyril Vosper, the study would never have begun.

I am also grateful to him for many stimulating conversations and

useful leads in the course of the research. Mr P. Hetherington made

available to me material otherwise unavailable in Great Britain on

the early days of the movement. On a research visit to America, Mr

and Mrs Don Rodgers, Mr and Mrs Ross Lamoureaux, A. E. van Vogt and

his late wife, Mayne, Perry Chapdelaine, Beau Kitselman, and Waldo

Boyd kindly provided hospitality and much useful material. There I

benefited from conversations with Paulette Cooper and Robert

Kaufman. Among the interview and questionnaire respondents to all

of whom I am grateful, Miss Shelia Hoad, and Miss Carmen D'Allessio

provided much assistance. Mrs Nan Mclean and Dr Russell Barton

provided useful information and documentation.

The Editors of the *News of the World*, *Mayfair*, the *Denver

Post*, and of other newspapers and magazines too numerous to mention

individually, and the management of Reuters, all made freely

available copies of articles otherwise unobtainable, or provided me

with facilities to examine their clipping files. I have benefited

from discussions with Miss Mary Appleby, OBE, formerly secretary of

the National Association for Mental Health (now the Mind Associa-

tion); and with Mr David Gaiman, of the Guardian's Office of the

Church of Scicntology who also arranged for me to interview

students and staff at Saint Hill Manor. Dr Christopher Evans and Mr

C. H. Rolph kindly showed me their manuscripts prior to


Earlier drafts of Chapter I appeared as part of an article

therapeutic cult to religious sect'in *Sociology*, 9, I (January

1975); and aspects of the theory were presented in 'The cult

and its transformations'in *Sectarianism: Analyses of Religious

and Non-Religious Sects* Roy Wallis, (Peter Owen, London,

1975). This latter work also contained an early formulation of

sections of Chapter 7, under the title 'Societal reactions to

Scientology: a study in the sociology of deviant religion'. For

comments on earlier versions of Chapter 7, I am grateful to

Professor Stanley Cohen, Dr David Downes, Dr Shelia Mitchell, and

Dr Russell Dobash. The bulk of the manuscript has been read by

Robert Kaufman and Richard Bland, and all of it by Professor David

Martin and Dr Roderick Martin, whose comments and criticisms have

been most helpful. Dr Bryan Wilson supervised my research for the

doctoral thesis on which this book is based, and provided personal

encouragement, sociological insight, and incisive editorial

criticism. He has read many drafts of the manuscript and commented

carefully and patiently upon each. I owe him a particular debt of

gratitude. My wife and children have tolerated me throughout, a more

difficult task than can easily be imagined.

Parts of the manuscript have been typed by Pam Drysdale and Marion

Govan. To them and to Grace Smith who, with my wife, performed the

bulk of the secretarial tasks connected with the preparation of this

work, I wish to express my thanks.

Finally, I acknowledge a most profoumd debt to those who talked to

me, completed my questionnaires, wrote letters, sent me information

or otherwise assisted my research, but who must, for one reason or

another, remain anonymous. None of those acknowledged here bear any

responsibility for the final product.

This book is dedicated to the memory of my late father, John C.


AD After Dianetics

Anaten Analytical Attenuation

AOLA Advanced Organization Los Angeles

A-R-C Affinity, Reality and Communication

BA Book Auditor

BDA British Dianetic Association

B. Scn. Batchelor of Scientology

C.C.H. Communication, Control and Havingness

Comm. Communication

Dev T Developed and Unnecessary Traffic

DFGB Dianetic Federation of Great Britain

D of T Director of Training

D Scn Doctor of Scientology

E-meter Electropsychometer

E/O Ethics Office

*ES* L. Ron Hubbard, *Dianetics: Evolution of a Science*

FSM Field Staff Member

HAS Hubbard Association of Scientologists (also, Hubbard

Apprentice Scientologist)

HASI Hubbard Association of Scientologists International

HCA Hubbard Certified Auditor

HCO Hubbard Communication Office

HDA Hubbard Dianetic Auditor

HDRF Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation

HGC Hubbard Guidance Centre

HPA Hubbard Professional Auditor

MEST Matter, Energy, Space and Time

*MSMH* L. Ron Hubbard, *Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental


NAAP National Academy of American Psychology

*OEC* L. Ron Hubbard, *Organization Executive Course*

Org Organisation

OT Operating Thetan

OTC Operations and Transport Corporation

(OTS) (Operations and Transport Services Ltd)

PTS Potential Trouble Source

Q & A Question and Answer

Sec Secretary

Sec Check Security Check

S.P. Suppressive Person

Stats Statistics

T.R. Training Routine

WW World Wide
*AJS* *American Journal of Sociology*

AMA American Medical Association

*ASR* *American Sociological Review*

*BJS* *British Journal of Sociology*

FDA Food and Drug Administration

*JSSR* *Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion*

NAMH National Association for Mental Health


A number of notable nineteenth-century rationalists held the view

that the development of mankind resembled the development of the

human individual. In his early, primitive state man was childlike

in his mode of thought. His power of reason suffered severe

limitations. It was said to be 'prelogical'in character.1 Men

believed that things once associated with each other continued to

influence each other when apart; that words had the power to alter

the course of nature; and that objects similar in one major respect

were similar in others.2 Primitive man was said to possess a magical

world-view. Magic was held to have been born of man's ignorance of

natural causation and his desire to infiuence and control the

dangerous and threatening natural environment in which he found


On some accounts primitive man gradually learned that his magical

methods were inefficacious. The law-like generalizations hitherto

employed were discerned not to hold in all instances. Consequently,

this account runs, he began to predicate the existence of

supernatural beings, hke himself except for their superhuman

powers, which might be mobilized to the good or to the detriment of

mankind. Where formerly he had commanded events through the

incantation of a formula regarded as inevitable in its consequences

(other things being equal), he now propitiated these superior

beings, seekdng to cozen and cajole them into interfering in the

course of nature and human society.3 By this means the great world

religions were said to have been born.

Although this religious world-view was to prevail for many

centuries, the nineteenth-century rationalists believed that they

could perceive a change overtaking the intellect of civilized

western man. The prevailing view of the world was again being

challenged. As religion replaced magic, so science was coming to

replace religion. As Man 'came of age'in Victorian Britain, so he

cast off less mature modes of thought. A cosmos inhabited by

arbitrary and capricious spirits and deities was giving way to a

cosmos governed by natural laws,

1 Lucien Levy-Bruhl, *Primitive Mentality* (Allen & Unwin, London,


2 James, G. Frazer, *The Golden Bough* (Macmillan, New York, 1922).

3 Ibid.

mechanical in their functioning, operating upon objects rendered

visible by an advanced scientific technology.

This view was enshrined in the work of Sigmund Freud. Freud

maintained that religion was an infantile obsessional neurosis born

of anxiety and wish fulfilment. Science marked, and provided the

means to further, the maturation of man. Science broke through the

illusion and infantile projection. Scientific thought was therefore

not merely more mature than religious thought, it was on Freud's

account, psychologically healthier.1 Although both the logic and

the empirical detail of these evolutionist accounts of the

development of human thought have been challenged, a variant on

this view remains incorporated in much contemporary thinking on the

relationship between religion and social change. The spectacular

advance of science in the nineteenth century is seen as one central

feature of an account of the decline in the hold that religious

beliefs have on man's actions, and the declining commitment

displayed to religious institutions in most western societies.2 In

short, a prevalent view holds that with the development of science

and its increasingly evident ability both to explain the world in

which we live, and to modify that world in the direction of human

desire, secularization is an inevitable concomitant of the

development of industrial societies.

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