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From:  Hartley Patterson <>
Newsgroups:  alt.religion.scientology, alt.answers, news.answers
Subject:  alt.religion.scientology critical FAQ 2.0.8
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Archive-name: scientology/skeptic/faq
URL: (Who's computer is this?)
Maintainer: Hartley Patterson <>
Posting-Frequency: monthly

An Alt.Religion.Scientology FAQ (2.0.8)

1. What's an FAQ?

FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. Newcomers to popular
newsgroups, forums and websites often have the same questions they want
answered, a FAQ is intended to be an aid to those who get bored of
repeating the same answers every week.
This FAQ expresses the author's views not those of any other ARS poster,
though on occasion he does state what he believes to be the majority view.
FAQs do not require unanimous approval of every word in them, just
sufficient truth not to get buried under a mountain of abuse. ARS has no
Charter so it does not have an 'Official' FAQ.
The author is not nor has ever been a scientologist and is a critic of the
Church of Scientology (CoS).
Internet URLs are signalled by ***. If you cannot use them as links
directly, cut and paste into your browser.

2. What is Scientology?

This is an FAQ for ARS not for Scientology so the answer will be very

American author L Ron Hubbard (1911-1986), founder of Scientology, first
presented his ideas in the bestselling book "Dianetics - the Modern
Science of Mental Health" (1950). Scientology, an expansion of Dianetics,
followed in 1952, the Church of Scientology appeared in 1953.
CoS headquarters are in Los Angeles and its main training facility is in
Clearwater, Florida. The CoS claims to have branches in 64 countries;
about half of CoS members are believed to be US citizens with another
third in Europe.
The CoS also claims to have over 10 million members, however its own data
and independent sources suggest an active membership of 50-100,000. In
addition there are scientologists who practise their faith outside the
Church. Some have set up their own organisations, though the CoS remains
the largest group. The CoS considers them all to be 'squirrels', the
scientology term for heretics.
There are a number of CoS enterprises that promote Hubbard's teachings
such as Narconon (anti-drugs), Criminon (anti-crime), CCHR (anti-
psychiatry), Applied Scholastics (schools) and WISE (business). When
convenient the CoS claims that it does not control these groups,
internally circulated documents show otherwise.

There is a wealth of information about Scientology on hundreds of Internet
websites, more than you will ever have time to read. Type 'Scientology'
into a Search Engine such as Google and you'll find them. Please try
Searching first for answers, only when you can't find something specific
should you post questions to ARS.
*** Wikipedia, the Internet encyclopaedia, has a wide range of referenced
articles about Scientology: (Who's computer is this?)
As an exercise you might like to open your web browser now and put any
words or phrases you don't understand in this FAQ into a Search Engine.

3. What do scientologists believe?

Scientology is an 'applied religious philosophy'. It is not directly
derived from Christianity or any other religion, being an original belief
set devised/researched by L Ron Hubbard. Concepts that are considered
important in some religions such as a personal relationship to God do not
exist in Scientology. The CoS sometimes claims that Scientology is
compatible with other religions. This is untrue.
A common mental block is assuming that the organisation and the beliefs
are the same. The Catholic Church and Christianity are not the same, and
neither are the CoS and Scientology.
These are important points that newcomers often take some time to grasp as
they try to fit Scientology into preconceptions of whose existence they
are not aware.

4. I have some questions for scientologists, are there any here?

Ordinary members of the CoS do not usually post to ARS and are discouraged
from doing so. It is also likely that they could not answer the questions
you want to ask for doctrinal reasons. Scientologists are not encouraged
to discuss Hubbard's teachings amongst themselves or to explain them to
outsiders but to read them and advise others to do so.

5. Can someone please Email me a copy of the secret scriptures?

You are referring to those unpublished writings of L Ron Hubbard that
constitute advanced courses in Scientology such as the OT (Operating
Thetan) levels. Anyone considering trying out Scientology should be aware
that the CoS holds that these levels should be studied in order and that
premature contact with the secret scriptures could result in serious harm.
According to Hubbard, he almost died whilst researching them. The
copyright to all Hubbard's writings is owned by the CoS. If you know how
to use bittorrent searching for this file may allegedly be of interest:
*** Scientology-Dianetics-LRonHubbard-Complete
The esoteric language used in advanced courses is not comprehensible to
beginners. Really, honestly, you should search the Internet for summaries
rather than going for the original texts.
*** OT III Scholarship Page (Who's computer is this?)

6. What is a newsgroup?

Newsgroups (most of which form Usenet) are part of the Internet. They are
not forums or discussion boards, which use webpage based software.
Specialised newsreader programs include Agent and Gravity; Email programs
such as Microsoft's Outlook Express have integrated newsgroup readers, so
you don't need any new software to access them.
*** Wikipedia on Usenet (Who's computer is this?)
To access newsgroups with a newsreader you need to connect to a newsgroup
server. If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) does not provide one then
free access to scientology newsgroups is available from
*** Reviews of Newsgroup access providers (Who's computer is this?)
Portals such as Google offer newsgroup access on webpages but we don't
recommend them unless you have no alternative. Google Groups in particular
is unstable and difficult to read.
*** How to set up a newsreader (Who's computer is this?)
If you have technical problems accessing ARS then it is definitely On
Topic to ask for help. We have a team of geeks awaiting your call.

7. So who's in charge?

No one. A few newsgroups are Moderated: contributions are diverted to an
Email address where a human or robot moderator removes unwanted posts such
as spam. Most, including ARS, are not ? what you post is what everyone
will see. Think before you press Send! That's not to say anarchy rules:
normal laws such as libel and copyright apply and your ISP may well have a
clause in its Terms of Service (TOS) about causing offence on the

8. Can I delete or change my posts?

You cannot edit posts once sent, you can try to delete them but some news
servers ignore the Cancel command - another reason for thinking before
posting. There is a searchable Usenet archive currently hosted by Google.
If you posted something really embarrassing, you can delete it from the

9. Can I post anonymously?

Usenet doesn't check to see if you are using a real Email address so you
can post as if you like. Please try to pick a unique
nickname and address so you won't be confused with someone else.
There is a normally invisible Header (some newsreaders can display it,
there are two examples below) attached to posts that gives details of
where you posted from, if you want to hide that as well you can use
Anonymous Remailers, a system that is in practical terms untraceable.
A simpler way is to ask someone you trust to post your message for you.
By default, your ISP customer services department is staffed by idiots who
know nothing about the law or customer care. They will reveal your
identity to anyone sending them an Email full of legal phrases.

10. What are all these strange words?

Scientology has a lot of jargon that inevitably gets used here. We're not
going to apologise for this any more than posters should
apologise for talking about mathoms and ringwraiths.
There are several glossaries available on websites.

11. Wasn't ARS started as a joke by someone using a fake Email address?

The creator had serious intent, but here is his setup post:

* From Wed Jul 17 12:46:28 1991
* Path: rpi!!!!ai-
* lab!flag !miscaviage
* From: (David Miscaviage)
* Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology.ctl
* Subject: newgroup alt.religion.scientology
* Message-ID: 80235@flag
* Date: 17 Jul 91 08:06:31 GMT
* Control: newgroup alt.religion.scientology
* Sender:
* Lines: 0
* Approved:

ARS was little used for a while, but as the Internet spread ex-
scientologists discovered it and the CoS became increasingly concerned
about the 'false and derogatory' information being posted. When extracts
from its 'secret scriptures' were posted beginning around Christmas 1994
the CoS retaliated with lawsuits and raids against the suspected posters.
At the same time forged cancels began to hit ARS. The forger, nicknamed
'Cancelpoodle' after the legitimate spam canceller 'Cancelmoose',
attracted the attention of the wider Usenet and Internet community ? no
one had seriously tried to wipe out a newsgroup like this before.

12. Didn't a CoS lawyer try to delete ARS?

*** Here you go: (Who's computer is this?)

* Control: rmgroup alt.religion.scientology
* Newsgroups: alt.config,,
* Path: uunet!!!!
* From: hkk@netcom
* Subject: cmsg rmgroup alt.religion.scientology
* Message-ID:
* Followup-To: alt.config
* Sender: (Helena Kobrin)
* Organization: NETCOM On-line Communication Services (408 261-4700 guest)
* Date: Wed, 11 Jan 1995 22:52:23 GMT
* Lines: 17
* Xref: uunet control:1568915
* We request that you remove the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup from
* your site.
* The reasons for requesting its removal are: (1) It was started with a
* forged message; 2) not discussed on alt.config; (3) it has the name
* "scientology" in its title which is a trademark and is misleading, as
* a.r.s. is mainly used for flamers to attack the Scientology religion;
* (4) it has been and continues to be heavily abused with copyright
* and trade secret violations and serves no purpose other than condoning
* these illegal practices.
* Please confirm that you have removed this newsgroup from your system.
* Helena K. Kobrin Counsel for trademark and copyright owner

As mentioned earlier 'Path' above reveals that Helena was posting from
Netcom, as is also shown by her Email address.

*** Wendy M. Grossman's article 'alt.scientology.war' (1995) covers the
early days: (Who's computer is this?)
*** and on Wikipedia (Who's computer is this?)

13. And the CoS is still hostile to ARS?

ARS is nowadays just a minor front in a still expanding 'war' between the
CoS and its critics which includes pickets, media exposure, law suits and
other activities outside the scope of this FAQ. In 1998-9 another attack
on ARS was made, thousands of spam posts each day that forged the names of
real posters and were dubbed 'sporgeries'. Its only lasting effect was to
attract the attention of more Internet users, as regular readers quickly
learnt how to filter out the spam.

*** Google has some stats on ARS (most frequent posters, monthly number of
posts) at (Who's computer is this?)

14. This is a hate group trying to destroy the Scientology religion.

Was that a question? The CoS says so, yes. Naturally no one here is going
to admit to being a hatemonger or a religious bigot! You'll just have to
read ARS and make up your own mind on this.
Amongst critics, opinion differs about the 'destroy' bit. Some say they
are here to stop the alleged abuses committed by the CoS and are not
concerned with scientology as a set of beliefs. Others do not believe the
two can be separated ? any scientology based organisation is bound to end
up as bad as the CoS.
Critics presently have no formal organisation; such bodies have in the
past provided the CoS with targets to infiltrate, undermine and destroy as
was the fate of the Cult Awareness Network and the Lisa McPherson Trust.
The sometimes referred to 'ARS Central Committee' does not exist, being a
humorous reference to CoS paranoia about imagined plots against it.

15. I want to spread the bad news. Is there some simple information I can
pass on to others?

*** What Scientology Won't Tell You: An Information Pack (Who's computer is this?)

16. Will posting on ARS cause the CoS to make trouble for me?

If you are a CoS member, post without permission and disagree with CoS
policy or doctrine you will probably be Declared. If you are not a CoS
member or ex-member then simply expressing your opinion is safe enough,
the CoS has too many critics nowadays to pursue them all.
The CoS has however a documented history of attacking its perceived
enemies, sometimes in long term and carefully planned 'dirty tricks'
operations. Before doing anything other than posting you should find out
about these.

17. So what is On Topic for this newsgroup?

Anything connected with Scientology or the Church of Scientology; since
this is supposed to be a newsgroup, news and new information are
particularly on topic.
Posts that are just long reprints from webpages or books about scientology
are on topic but not encouraged, it's better to put in a hyperlink or a
Some people have been posting here for a long while, have become friends
and can wander off topic to discuss cats, cookery or life on Mars. This is
normal human behaviour.
You may see posts about psychiatry. Scientology beliefs include a strong
dislike of psychiatry; opinion differs on whether this makes psychiatry a
suitable topic for ARS. The posts seem to be intended as spam, as the
posters are not interested in actually discussing psychiatry.

18. Are there do's and don'ts for posting?

*** A page of Netiquette (Who's computer is this?)
Crossposting (posting to several newsgroups at once) is not encouraged; we
have enough traffic without sharing off topic threads with other
newsgroups. Please trim or do not reply to crossposts unless they serve a
genuine purpose.
The more readable your post, the more people will read it. This means
doing simple things like not reposting the full text of a long article
just to put a short comment at the end of it (or worse, in the middle),
quoting at least a few lines so it is clear to what you are replying,
separating your text into paragraphs, etc.
If you repost from elsewhere please give full attribution ? author, URL,
date ? preferably at the top. This is polite and saves others from
replying to a quoted writer who doesn't actually read ARS.
Please don't post anything but plain text at less than 75 characters
width. No pictures, no binaries, no HTML, no Word files.
Researchers appreciate easily located Subject lines. Ideal examples for
Picket and Media reports:
Picket report: London, UK 4 December 2007
[UK Media] The Guardian 4 February 2008 Hackers declare war
Please make allowances for posters who are not native English typists.
Offering fallacious or fraudulent arguments attracts abuse and flaming on
*** Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit: (Who's computer is this?)

19. There's a lot of rubbish on ARS, how can I get rid of it?

Newsreaders have a facility for blocking posts from people or about
subjects; this is called killfiling. Google Groups does not. Most ARS
readers have a carefully maintained killfile, this is an unfortunate by-
product of the popularity of the Internet, along with spam filters, virus
checkers and firewalls.
ARS has its share of trolls, the Usenet equivalent of children who throw
stones at windows and then run away. They are best ignored unless in
answering them you have something of interest to say. Some trolls
crosspost as well.
*** A special killfile minibrowser for Google Groups: (Who's computer is this?)
*** A Google Groups killfile addon for the Firefox browser: (Who's computer is this?)
OSA (Office of Special Affairs in the CoS) remains interested in ARS,
maintaining one or more 'OSAbots' here whose posts are intended to confuse
and deter casual readers. Some pretend to be critics and accuse real
critics of being fake. When a 'flap' is on (some event upsetting to the
CoS) these posts increase for a few days in the hope that they will swamp
normal traffic.
*** A list of suspected OSAbots: (Who's computer is this?)
As above, they thrive on attention. Please only reply to them if you have
something new to say ("Scientology sucks!" is not an original concept to
this newsgroup); often they are not actually reading ARS anyway, only
posting to it.

20. What is Anonymous?
*** Anonymous is an Internet based community with no leaders or structure: (Who's computer is this?)
Its interest in Scientology surfaced in a January 2008 YouTube video which
set off another wave of Internet activism against the CoS that entered the
Real World the following month with worldwide monthly protests.

21. Are there other Scientology newsgroups? (ACT) discusses the beliefs and their application.
It is little used at present.
de.soc.weltanschauung.scientology discusses scientology in German. is in Italian.
alt.binaries.scientology (ABS) is for pictures and such, the others being
plain text only newsgroups. A post to ARS saying 'new picture of Saint
Hill Manor on ABS' is OK. It has poor distribution but you can access it
free through (Who's computer is this?)
There are also a number of web based discussion boards about Scientology,
you may find these more to your liking than ARS as they are moderated to
remove rubbish: (Who's computer is this?) the oldest board, closed to new members (Who's computer is this?) mostly ex-members (Who's computer is this?) Anonymous activism (Who's computer is this?) ex-Sea Org members only (Who's computer is this?) (Who's computer is this?) for younger members/ex-members (Who's computer is this?) Spanish language forum (Who's computer is this?) discussion of the tech and beliefs

22. Is this the only Usenet Scientology FAQ?

No, there have been a number of them in the past; (Who's computer is this?) archives thirteen of them! Most date
from the mid-1990s and the information in them is nowadays to be found on
web pages or is out of date. There is also a fake unarchived FAQ posted by

Special thanks to Homer Smith for lightlink and the secret masters of
Usenet for keeping ARS alive and kicking the cult since 1991. Reprinting
this FAQ is permitted, encouraged even, provided nothing is omitted
including the header which points to the latest version.

Where you can get the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology