Not a Rocket Scientist’s Guide to Insiders: Open letter to Chris Shelton


Dear Mr. Shelton:

I deeply disagree with a few of your claims in your book Scientology: A to Xenu An Insider’s Guide to What Scientology is Really All About. It is obvious that while presenting your book as a factual guide, you are propagandizing in key areas, and in a way that serves certain purposes of the Scientologists and their collaborators. I will try to communicate my criticisms in the next few days as time allows. Right now, I am writing and asking about your use of the identity or status of “insider” in the subtitle of your book.

As it is commonly used, especially these days in the media and legal arenas, an insider is someone who has special knowledge or access to confidential information. People with insider information about criminal or dishonest activities in a company or organization, and who divulge it publicly are often referred to as “whistleblowers.”1

Maybe you believe you were, or are, an insider, in relation to Scientology, just by being a Scientologist. You could be, or could have been, an insider in the way that I have for many years been an outsider.

In the Scientology scheme, however, and where it matters, those who participated in the criminal conspiracy against persons, ran the intelligence, legal, PR and finance networks, and dealt directly with L. Ron Hubbard or David Miscavige, were actual insiders. Mark Rathbun was an insider.

In Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior, Mr. Rathbun describes one of his earlier books, The Scientology Reformation, as “an insider’s account of the abuses at the top levels of Scientology management.” He does not actually provide an account of the abuses he knows about of good persons who did not support the abusers. “Wogs” the Scientologists call us. Nevertheless, you did not know about even the abuses Mr. Rathbun does describe while you were a Scientologist, because you were not an insider.

Abuse could be a useful determinant for insiderness. The abusers in Scientology who direct, finance and enforce the abusing of people (“wogs”) that do not support the abusing are the insiders. Certain wogs, of course, collaborate with the Scientologist insiders in the abusing of these wog victims. For 27 years, you supported these abusers, the insiders and their collaborators. Throughout all those years, I did not support the insiders or their collaborators, and I opposed these abusers abusing people like me who did not support them or their abusing.

It is true that the insiders also abuse their supporters. Their supporters also support the insiders’ abusing of supporters. Insider supporters also abuse each other. You have acknowledged abusing your fellow insider supporters. I also did not, and do not, support the insiders abusing their supporters, as you were. The insider supporters, however, sign on, or stay signed on, to be abused, and they have a right to do so to a significant extent. People, wogs, however, who do not support the Scientology insiders or their abusing of anyone, have never signed on to be abused.

There can be a “Church of Abuse,” definitely in the US, where the members all get lied to, tricked, cheated, stolen from, sued or destroyed as free religious exercise. The Scientologists have proven this, and the US Federal Government encourages it. When church members assemble to abuse their non-supporters, people who oppose them and their supporters, however, the church members form a criminal conspiracy. The knowing participants in that criminal conspiracy are insiders like Mr. Miscavige and Mr. Rathbun.

Mr. Rathbun uses the term “insider” elsewhere in Memoirs, which might help in understanding what he understood by it. E.g.,

Objectively speaking, even though I did not fully appreciate it then, in a little more than a year from the time the quest for All Clear had begun, the enemy’s hand had been strengthened beyond its wildest dreams. All compliments of the man L. Ron Hubbard had charged with ultimate responsibility for All Clear: David Miscavige.
To make matters worse, Miscavige had only a month earlier supplied yet another stable of high-level, former-insider witnesses for Flynn’s arsenal, and new lawsuits against Hubbard for the future. Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior, p. 194

Mr. Rathbun considered me one of those high-level, former-insider witnesses for Mr. Flynn’s arsenal. I suppose this was because of my insider knowledge of Mr. Hubbard’s personal archive, his personal staff, his history and a few other areas of Sea Org operations. I was not like Mr. Rathbun an insider in the criminal conspiracy that provided him the opportunity to do so much evil and destroy so many good people. Mr. Flynn was my attorney Michael Flynn who obtained the famous judgment you quoted from at the beginning of Chapter 6 “Who Was L. Ron Hubbard?”

“The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence additionally reflect his egoism, greed, avarice, lust for power, and vindictiveness and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him to be disloyal or hostile. At the same time it appears that his charismatic and highly capable of motivating, organizing, controlling, manipulating and inspiring his adherents. He has been referred to during the trial as a ‘genius,’ a ‘revered person,’ a man who was viewed by his followers in awe. Obviously, he is and has been a very complex person and that complexity is further reflected in his alter ego, the Church of Scientology.” Judge Paul G. Breckenridge, October 1984

To be correct, it was June 1984 when the judge signed his decision. I would cite it as Judge Paul G. Breckenridge, Jr., June 1984 in Church of Scientology of California and Mary Sue Hubbard v. Gerald Armstrong, Los Angeles, California Superior Court, No. C420153. For most purposes I would shorten the citation to Scientology v. Armstrong, or Armstrong 1.

There’s also a typo in your quote: “it appears that his charismatic” should be “it appears that he is charismatic.” 2

I believe that you have stated that you knew virtually nothing about the criminal conspiracy until after you were an Exscientologist and had read or heard about it from knowledgeable persons; i.e., not from Scientologists but persons of the “wog” race. Yet the criminal conspiracy went on, and good persons who were not members of your religion or cult, were criminally fair gamed through all the years you were a member. Mr. Rathbun knew that whole time he was running a criminal conspiracy because he was an insider. He withheld that from you, lied about what he and his coconspirators were doing, lied about the good people they were fair gaming, kept you ignorant, and kept you contributing, as you say elsewhere, your 27 years of dedicated, nose-to-the-grindstone work.

You were a Sea Org member, so you were inside the Sea Org. You were a Scientologist so you were inside Scientology. With that standard for “insider,” however, anyone who was ever added to the religion’s stats, e.g., a body in the shop, or a name to Central Files, would be an insider. No matter what such a person wrote about Scientology, it would be an insider’s guide.

I also have to reject the idea that you’re representing your book as a guide or primer for an insider. You see this concept in, e.g., The Birder’s Guide to Wren Nests, which is intended for birders; or in all the Idiots’ Guides, which are written for idiots. You have not written something here for Mr. Rathbun, Mr. Miscavige, or other actual insiders. Your book is not meant to be instructive or a guide for them.

You write in Ch.14 “Scientology’s Most Powerful Lie:”

It’s not overstating the case to say Scientology is a house of lies, built on one careful deception after another after another. Through this ongoing practice of duplicity, L. Ron Hubbard and his successor, David Miscavige, have been able to keep Scientology going all this time. The organization indoctrinates its members into an “end justifies the means” philosophy where anything is acceptable so long as it forwards Scientology’s existence. What none of those members realize is by buying into this, they are actually contributing to what amounts to an international criminal organization.

The organization, of course, does not indoctrinate anyone. Scientologists indoctrinate people. You indoctrinated people as a course supervisor, and recruiter, and on other posts. Insider Scientologists direct the indoctrination and duplicity scam and the criminal fair game machinery. Insiders do realize they are contributing to, indeed running, a criminal conspiracy. Insiders know they are committing crimes against persons when they commit them. If you are to be believed, they successfully kept you ignorant of the fact you have now realized that you were contributing to a criminal enterprise. The insiders kept their actual criminal intentions and actions secret from you just because they were criminal, and the insiders knew it. That is why Mr. Rathbun, while professing to have left Scientology and the criminal conspiracy in which he was a long time insider, does not tell the truth about his victims, but in his new life still victimizes them.

I believe there are instances in your book when you present as having knowledge you do not actually have, which you could actually have had if you were actually an insider. It is certainly obvious that a great amount of the information you communicate in the book you acquired not as an insider of any kind but only after you became an outsider.

I think therefore you should clarify that you are not really an insider or even an ex-insider. You could more accurately subtitle your book “An Exscientologist’s Guide to What Scientology is Really All About,” even if it really is not what Scientology is really all about, but what one person asserts it’s all about.

To better express your humility, which is described in your book’s foreword as so distinctive that it marks you out from most former members, you could subtitle your book “An Idiot’s Guide to What Scientology is Really All About.” You could explain that you were not writing for idiots but that you were acknowledging yourself as being an idiot by contributing all those years of youth and potential to all those lying, bullying criminal insiders like Mr. Rathbun.

Since Scientology, as you acknowledge, is an international criminal organization, an insider’s guide would be something like an insider’s guide to the mafia, or an insider’s guide to what the mafia is really all about. Here’s “An Insider’s Guide To Getting Into The Mafia.” The author claims, I believe, to be a made man. Analogously, you were not a made man. Analogously too, Rathbun was a made man. Extending the analogy, you would have been lower management in the human resources and distribution departments at the olive oil company. You did your job as if your life depended on it, but you really thought the business was olives. Although you went to staff Christmas parties, you weren’t in on closed-door meetings, and you accepted that condition. You thought the whole organization was a big happy family, because you weren’t an insider. You knew a lot of employees came and went, and some when they went spread tales about criminality, but you kept nose-to-the-grindstone, hated these traitors, and granted them no credence. You took a lot of abuse on the job, because the bosses acted like thugs. You saw a lot of employees abused, and dished out some abuse yourself. You put in 27 years, saw you had a dead end job, had an affair, or realized the oil you were selling was rancid, and you left the company. You then began to read the reports from all the Exemployees, whom you’d hated all those years and never granted any credence, that you had actually been working for a criminal enterprise. You had been contributing to making the insiders rich so they could be criminals and run the enterprise.

Jesse Prince describes insider, closed-door meetings this way from the period when he was an insider:

There were years of board room meeting at ASI to figure out how to get rid of Gerry Armstrong, L Ron junior, David Mayo and a few other people who had devoted their lives in servitude to L Ron and his grand ideas. …

We would be sitting in the board room at L Ron’s Author Services organization reading advices from L Ron calling for the heads of staff he felt offended him somehow. Listening to Miscavige and other staff figuring out ever clever ways to get rid of the people who were aggravating poor L Ron. As we sat there making up plans to attack the very same people who were at L Ron’s side doing everything in their power to do his will. L Ron never wavered when it came to annihilating the oldest and closest devoted adherents he had. There is no retirement in the business of Scientology. Ron taught his prodigy to quickly and quietly get rid of the most loyal staff members without remorse.

There were banker boxes full of “advices” from L Ron spewing hate filled vitriol about Gerry.
[Misspellings corrected out of care.]3

It is my understanding that unlike Mr. Rathbun, you never attended such meetings. You never read the banker boxes of LRH orders spewing hate-filled vitriol about me, but Mr. Rathbun had to have. You were never involved in figuring out how to get rid of me, but Mr. Rathbun was for years, because he was an insider.

Your book title Scientology: A to Xenu conveys the idea that as an “insider” you knew about Xenu, his incident, his implant, and the “upper level materials” associated with him. Elsewhere, however, you acknowledge that all the information you acquired about Xenu, the OT levels, etc. was from completely outsider sources.

Similarly with Mr. Hubbard’s “Admissions,” which you republish apparently in full in your book, you only heard of and read them from outsider sources, and not while you were in any sense an insider.

Perhaps you have some good, honest reason for calling yourself an insider that I haven’t thought of and you haven’t made clear. Maybe, e.g., you were joking (an inside joke?) or it’s simple marketing and you’re just plugging into the fairly recent but obviously continuing titling rage of Insider’s Guides.

I do acknowledge that before reading yours I had never read any other book in the Insider’s Guide lineup. I did not purchase your book for that reason, however, and as I’ve been saying, your use of the label perplexed me, rather than enticed me to buy the book. I did not really expect to be told by an insider what Scientology is really all about.

I have been having a significant personal experience with you, of course, since I first read your June 2014 Facebook black propaganda targeting me. I have read or listened to a number of your public communications on various subjects not immediately related to me since then. Over this time I naturally learned from you some things about your Scientology history. Before knowing your book’s title, I had certainly read or heard some of your statements of ignorance of the criminal conspiracy that organization insiders operated throughout your Scientology history. So your use of the term “insider” in the title surprised me. Then, as you can see, it interested me enough to write this open letter about it.

In your Facebook smears, you denigrate me, the information I have assembled, and what I have said about the IRS’s grant of undeserved tax exemption to the Scientologists. You supported these smears with the assertion that I “was nowhere near any of the IRS dealings.” I was near, actually, and in an important sense pivotal to both the Scientologists’ and the US Federal Government’s decisions and actions relating to the deal between them. Ignoring this, you conclude that, because of your false fact statement that I was nowhere near the IRS deal, my opinions or conjecture about it shouldn’t be listened to. On the other hand, you claim that Mr. Rathbun “was there on the front lines of the IRS handlings and was intimately involved with the whole deal worked out with the IRS and he gave a very detailed account in his book about that.” Based on this claim, you conclude that you “will absolutely give “reliable source” status to Rathbun way before [you] will give it to [me].” I explained in an open communication how illogical these conclusions are.

[Shelton] also proffers the corollary illogic to the one in which Rathbun should be believed because of his intimate involvement in the crime. The corollary is that I should not be believed, and my opinions or conjecture about the IRS deal should not be listened to because I was nowhere near any of the IRS dealings. This is like saying that the victim of a burglary shouldn’t be believed if he wasn’t home at the time. The victim of black propaganda should not be believed because he wasn’t there when the black propagandists were black PRing him. A person who assembled a mass of documentation about some evil should not be believed because he was nowhere near the evil dealings. The opinions and conjecture of an investigator who investigates a crime should not be listened to because he was nowhere near it when it went down. Lawyers would never be believed unless they defended themselves in their own crimes or torts.

Shelton’s message in his FB comments was a perfect duplication of Miscavige’s decades-long command intention: I should not be listened to, but the people who victimized me and others should be listened to and believed. Shelton is doing this despite the hurt it causes me and others, and to the cause of justice itself. He is doing it knowing, from the subject matter of the “IRS Deal,” from my communications, from everything easily available online, and from logic, that he was acting to prejudice every man, woman and child, etc. That is true, even if he only knew that he really didn’t know what he was doing, or saying. 4

You have never corrected your smears or black propaganda. You also have never acknowledged your illogic in your conclusion that Mr. Rathbun should be believed and deserved reliable source status because he was “intimately involved with the whole deal worked out with the IRS.” That is, he was an insider. Your reliance on him in your black PR for what went on in the IRS deal – a 30-year war – shows that you were not an insider. So that you should be believed, and deserve reliable source status, you would want to be, or have been, or be seen as, an insider too; and calling yourself one in your book title would be a step in that direction.

If you were to consider your book a “researcher’s guide,” since it is your Exscientologist research that the book is really all about, and not an insider’s guide, which the book really is not about, you could see yourself being held to a higher level or demand for factual support, citations, adultness of writing, crackerjack logic, etc. The accuracy and depth of your research is relevant, certainly, whereas your insiderness really is not. You are not just educating from solid, researched facts, but, as I said earlier, you are also propagandizing, and your research is weighted and skewed for that purpose.

The proximity to a dirty deal or a crime has no necessarily direct relationship to its witnesses’ or its investigators’ truthfulness in their testimony. In fact, it is clear that the makers of dirty deals, perpetrators of crimes, or insiders in criminal conspiracies, such as Mr. Miscavige and Mr. Rathbun, have a monstrous incentive to not tell the truth. And indeed they have not told the truth in this vital area in their lives and legacies.

If you do not really think of yourself as an insider, and would not really accept responsibility for what Scientology’s insiders knew, or did or didn’t do, you might consider relabeling yourself in your title to something a bit more accurately humble.

Yours fully,

Gerry Armstrong