Antonina Maga: Meeting with a former personal secretary to the founder of Scientology

Translation of a Russian article posted on May 19, 2011 on the Russian Orthodox website

“Scientologists collect the most intimate information about people to turn them into obedient slaves”

Meeting with a former personal secretary to the founder of Scientology

by Antonina Maga
May 19, 2011

The activities of destructive sects are one of the most dangerous phenomena of present times, but not many are aware of this danger, because they consider sects as numerically insignificant groups of fanatics with an intense gaze handing out flyers on the streets.  This subject has become less popular today, though for a time the media overfed us with stories about various frauds, charlatans, and even sorcerers, and all sorts of pseudoscientists have traditionally enjoyed the respect of multitudes.

The word “spirituality” for us today has lost a vivid practical sense, so everyone can assign their own meaning to it.  To the man in the street, sect members appear “religious” in the same way as those who represent traditional religions.

A meeting with Gerry Armstrong at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University provided an opportunity to learn about the real dangers of one of the most powerful sects in the world, a sect that has over the past 20 years made inroads even in Russia.  Armstrong was a former personal secretary to the founder of the Scientology sect, L. Ron Hubbard.  He became a defector after, having earned the trust of the sect’s creator and gained access to key documents of the organization, he began to understand what he had fallen into.

The meeting was chaired by the president of the St. Irenaeus of Lyon Center of Religious Studies and head of sectarian studies at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University, Alexander Dvorkin, who helped translate Armstrong’s words from English to Russian.

The former sect member related the story of his life. Today as he travels the world bringing the truth about Scientology to the people of various countries, he is actively tracked, as he has been for the past 30 years already, by the organization’s adherents because, for them, he is now a “suppressive person” and “fair game”.  This is what people who think differently are called in Scientology.  They are people who prevent Scientology from achieving “world domination” and their destruction is allowed and encouraged with the promise of impunity by Scientology doctrine.

“Any Scientologist fighting a suppressive person may lie to him, sue him, deprive him of property and physically destroy him.  Hubbard developed a special technique to destroy a person’s good name, wreck a person’s family and take away property through black PR.  There have been repeated attempts on my life.  Six lawsuits were launched against me and, as a result, I was bankrupted.  The art of waging war by black PR is one of the cult’s fundamental teachings,” says Gerry Armstrong.

According to a U.S. court ruling, Armstrong is prohibited from uttering the word “Scientology”; for each use of this term, he must pay a fine of 50 thousand dollars.  People who communicate with Armstrong likewise have to pay the same amount.

The mere fact that, in America, whose highly organized and developed legal system is an example for many countries, such an unprecedented and absurd court decision was handed down is testimony to the might of the Scientologists.

“In Hubbard’s teaching, I was very attracted by the fact that he presented himself as a civil engineer and physicist, and all of Scientology as built on scientific rather than religious principles.  But the more I became acquainted with the doctrine, the more I found that these ideas are occult in nature and have no relation to science.

“I was told that my IQ would increase by one point after each hour of auditing – special training similar to confession.  I had over a thousand hours of auditing.  This evidently means I must now be very smart.  Of course, I’m kidding – my IQ did not rise one iota.  However, I did have enough sense to run away from there.

“Each auditing session is recorded and the persons who conduct the training are not required to respect the secrecy of the ‘confession’.  On the contrary, they collect the most intimate information about people to turn them into obedient slaves,” says Gerry Armstrong.

However, America is not the only place where the sect’s followers have ample opportunities.  Not very long ago, in the 1990s, their activity spread throughout Russia.

One only has to recall that, at every turn, there are research institutes bearing “Dianetics” signs and that the Faculty of Journalism library at Moscow State University pompously opened a reading room named after L. Ron Hubbard, touting him as a prominent science fiction writer and nuclear physicist.

Answering a question from the correspondent about how much Scientology has expanded in Russia today, Armstrong replies that, unlike Americans, people in our country are less attracted to such “pseudoscientific” theory, but cult members are actively developing different ways of recruiting members in accordance with the mentality of the people with whom they work.  Armstrong says, “In Russia, there are enough educated people who won’t fall for the promise to raise their IQ and won’t consider that all the evil in the world is due to suppressive persons against whom a war has to be waged.  But in third world countries today, Scientology has a great number of followers, and this is a very dangerous trend.  Our opposition to Scientology can be described as a state of balance: the cultists have not won, but they have not lost.  The danger is that, at any time, this balance can be broken.”

“Scientologists themselves consider that there are about 500,000 followers in Russia today and 125,000 in Moscow.  I think this is a lie, just self-PR, the cult’s favorite technology,” he adds.

But the essence of Scientology’s teachings is very close to the modern world view. They offer an applied art of making money, instead of answering the eternal questions.  Sect members insist they make people rich and happy.  No need to think about the distant afterlife; everything is here and now.

The work of Scientologists is likened to the operations of intelligence services.  Their penetration is aimed at enterprises in the military-industrial complex and at secure facilities.  For “religious dissemination”, the cult has always chosen strategically important targets.  “Scientology itself is an intelligence agency.  I think that, in 1993, when the U.S. government stopped prosecuting adherents of the sect, government agencies in the U.S. may have reached an agreement with them to use espionage information gathered by Scientologists,” says Armstrong. “One of the main goals of Scientology is to collect and store a large volume of information so that it can be used to discredit anyone and gain control: from the rank and file sect member who strays from the fold to the high and mighty over whom control opens up unlimited possibilities,” asserts Armstrong.

In the late 1990s, Russian authorities waged war on Scientology: offices were scrutinized by intelligence agents and the tax police.  The State Duma declared Scientology a totalitarian sect and called for a ban on its activities in Russia.  This ended when the European Court of Human Rights decided to register Scientology as a religious organization.  Today, the 1997 law “On Freedom of Conscience” is in force and Scientology cannot be registered as a religion, so Scientologists are not entitled to receive tax benefits from the state (as, for example, they managed to do in America). However, the law allowed them to register as a non-profit partnership, which can freely exercise its activities in Russia, like any other non-profit organization.