Professor James R. Lewis on Heber Jentzsch and the Freezone

Discussion in 'Independent Scientology' started by The Wrong Guy, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Professor James R. Lewis at Dror Center, Haifa, Israel, May 23 2013

    Published by Free Scientologists Israel on Jun 8, 2013

    Professor Lewis is an internationally-renowned researcher of new religious movements, currently teaching at Tromsoe University, Norway.

    Professor Lewis has followed Scientology closely for the last 30 years. Lewis was a friend of ex-President of the Church of Scientology, Mr. Heber Jentzsch.

    For many years Lewis was considered an ally by Church management. He helped the Church in its efforts to gain religious recognition.

    Lewis is currently researching the Scientology independent movement, which Lewis also refers to as the Freezone.

    Lewis was in Israel to participate in a conference at Tel-Aviv University. He spent two days in Haifa at Dror Center.

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  2. DeathHamster Member

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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

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  4. Anonymous Member

    It sure took him long enough to get a damn clue about this cult. Just like brainwashed members it took a traumatic experience to wtfu and that was the incident with putting Heber in the hole. Good video.
  5. Anonymous Member

    Why shouldn't they pay him? The Aum Japanese poison gas cult payed him when they hired him to defend them, and he flew to Japan on their dime, with another paid "religious expert" J. Gordon Melton, to speak in their defense. Then they stopped paying him, and he stopped speaking in their defense.

    The so called Church of Scientology paid him, and he did what they wanted him to do, and then they appear to have stopped paying him, and now the "Independents" are paying him, although, I suspect, not very much.
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  6. Random guy Member

    He said the flight expenses where paid by the University of Tromsö.
  7. Anonymous Member

    Lewis looks kind of funny. He's either got a humongous head or a very small body.
  8. Random guy Member

    Very interesting development. One of the tricks the cult often use is playing the "there's no scientology outside of the mother cult"-card. Helping them is the fact that there is no scholarly work on the various indie groups. Now, if Lewis get his research program rolling, the cult can't play the "we're so a religion" and "there's no cult outside the cult" cards at the same time any more. I guess they'll start flip-flopping like they have done with Narconon. Now it's up to us I guess to tie them down to one or the other position.
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  9. Anonymous Member

    The "New Religions Movement" had its beginnings as a vehicle for destructive cults, who funded the NRM, to give themselves credibility, and to depict their critics as extremists and bigots, and even as "anti-cult cultists."

    It stinks.

    And Lewis still has that stink attached to him.

    I don't recommend trusting him, although some silly people, like these goofy Israeli Independent Scientologists, inevitably, will.
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  10. Look at the listing on the Bibliography from his Wikipedia page.

    He's edited and researched all sorts of subjects.

    I'm wondering what the subject of the conference was at Tel Aviv University.
  11. Anonymous Member

    Might be better off wondering who are the university is also an indie scilon.
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  12. DeathHamster Member

    Keep in mind that he's edited his own article, and cultie editor Jayen466 has spent some effort to put a shine on it.
  13. The Internet Member

    My memory is hazy. Didn't the Israeli Scientologists all become Independent Scientologists en mass? That would imply that "Independent Scientologist" is a re-branded front group for the mother church in that country.

    Not everyone who goes to Narconon is a Scientologist, only a small percentage. But as you ascend the ladder of control, there are more Scientologists at each level. That's how re-branded Scientology will probably look. "Wholistic Healing" or "Life Coaching," at the bottom, the Sea Org at the top.
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  14. DeathHamster Member

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  15. The Internet Member

    OK thanks for clarifying.
  16. Anonymous Member


    The following thread (which was actually somewhat therapeutic for some reason) has some excellent points about his dodgy ‘research’:
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  17. Anonymous Member

  18. Anonymous Member


    Anything I need to know? Cult apologists sicken me.
  19. Nope, not a thing.

    Does the R in his name stand for Rentagob, btw?
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  20. Random guy Member

    Cult apologists realize there is more to the story 5 years after all others have realized it.
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  21. DeathHamster Member

    More like they realize that they'll be shoved into the Irrelevant Corner by the rest of the world as long as they are PR hacks at odds with documented reality.

    I imagine that assistant professor Lewis would like to be a tenured full professor someday.
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  22. Random guy Member

    Well, Lewis has come a long way, considering he used to say Aum Shinrikyo was oh so innocent and altruistic, on their dime, mind you!
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  23. Anonymous Member

    IMHO, all these "new religions" scholars are full of shit. First of all, they're faux-academics. In order for their "scholarship" (about which they seem to remain eternally unsophisticated newbs) to be funded in the form of teaching positions at universities, they are committed to legitimizing as religions the crap cults they "investigate" -- for without their hard work to qualify these cults as religions, they'd have no jobs. (Note that there is no Department of Cults found in any university in the world.)

    I've talked with some of these dorks. They bend into pretzels explaining how any cult they know anything about qualifies as a religion. They have these little checklists they run through that tautologically compute: If someone insists their beliefs constitute a religion, it is a religion.

    And if you didn't know this, you should: Lewis was one of the guys hired by the Aum Shinrikyo crowd to legitimize their criminal cult as a religion (The AS crowd are the ones who sarin gassed the Tokyo subway system, killing 13 people and injuring a thousand others).

    Lewis and his friends are the not-quite-bright fringe of the academic religious world. I have no respect for any of them.
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  24. Random guy Member

    There's always Kent, he seems to know his stuff.
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  25. DeathHamster Member

    Yes, but the NRM crowd squat in their very small pond, circle-jerk, and yammer that Kent is a discredited fringe scholar. (And so are all the other scholars who call them on their BS.)
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  26. Anonymous Member

    Some enlighten social commentaries on new religious movements:

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  27. Anonymous Member

    Oh FFS. His hypothesis that the Church of Scientology is shrinking while Independent Scientology is growing, and that more Scientology services will be provided outside the official church is bunk.

    Publish the results of your survey Lewis. Anons launched their own shortly after yours, we ran it for two years and released our results long ago.


    Where is your survey stats Jimmy? Awaiting a grant proposal for your work to be published you say? Yeah good luck with that after ICSA determined your Scientology anthology had NO educational value whatsoever: Review: Scientology
    But you're probably used to that by now, since your books are typically found to be lacking by your peers: Review: Peculiar Prophets

    I hate to bust your bubble Lewis, but our stats say that most of your case study candidates from the Indie/FZ camp will have moved on by the time you get a grant proposal for exploring your blindly crafted hypothesis (if that ever happens):


    And the basis for that hypothesis, that the excommunication policies keep members from returning, is a joke and merely shows how badly you underestimate the mindfk members are subjected to:


    That's right Lewis... 61% left the Church of Scientology once and done, 39% left and returned only to leave again. But no surprise you're clueless on that point in light of the fact your survey completely failed to question whether or not former members felt they were harmed. But never fear, Anonymous delivers:



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  28. Anonymous Member

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  29. Anonymous Member

    Hey Anonymous, you should publish your results!
  30. Anonymous Member

    For an informal study done by some nameless faggot on the interwebz, that was the best we could do. Hopefully, someday somebody with a real name and credentials will quote it or reuse some of the graphics/reports that are readily available in public domain under a CC0 license.
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  31. Anonymous Member

    Anon, thank you for your survey work. You did real good. :)

    You said: " ... hate to bust your bubble Lewis, but our stats say that most of your case study candidates from the Indie/FZ camp will have moved on by the time you get a grant proposal for exploring your blindly crafted hypothesis (if that ever happens)...."

    I haven't done my own quantitative work on this, but as an ex who knows hundreds of exes and is familiar with their post-Church trajectory, I see that your point above is quite accurate. Most who leave the Church eventually leave Scientology behind, in their own ways and at their own speeds. Obviously, the ones who remain closest to the beliefs and Scientology auditing are those who continue to make a livelihood from it.

    One mistake many social scientists make (if you could go so far as to call these alternative religion scholars "scientists") is that they are so focused on capturing a moment in time (via surveys) so they can publish (survive professionally), but they seldom do any long-term, follow-up work to assess behavioral and attitudinal changes.
    Again, good work.
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  32. Anonymous Member

    While I agree with that for the most part, it should be pointed out that sociology of religion majors (like Wallis, Kent. Barrett, etc.) fall under that "social scientist" classification but are not the same as the religious studies majors (like Urban, Melton, Lewis, etc.). The academic study of sociology and cultural norms/anomalies is not the same as academic study of philosophical beliefs, practices, rituals and customs. Plus there is a third camp of social workers and counselors from the psychiatry and psychology genre of academia that are not the same as the others.

    So the way I see it, the problem with surveys is this: Roy Wallis nailed Scientology in the sociology vein quite effectively in the 1970s and his body of work included extensive interviews with former members that served the same purpose as surveys do to today. Areas that he didn't hit, have been hit by others like Kent & Barrett. But nobody has really picked up where he left off to prove his findings are still relevant in the modern day and/or identify what has changed. So a modern day sociological survey of former members that explores the same issues Wallis did, or what the cult claims in their moral codes & creeds vs. what they actually enforce via policies could go a long way for debunking Scientology's altruistic claims by proving the inherent contradictions that they don't practice what they preach.

    On the religious studies front, Hugh Urban reportedly claimed that his research was moving on to first hand testimonial accounts from former members after his last book was published. That seemed like a good thing in light of his past works that highlighted the controversial aspects of Scientology's history quite well. However, after the way he fumbled several key points in his "The Occult Roots of Scientology?" article, then bitch-slapped Lawrence Wright's book plus the fact that he has never bothered to review any of the self-published first hand account books - I don't expect much good to come from Urban's future body of works. Imo we need a new religious studies scholar to step up to the plate to debunk Scientology on this front, preferably one who is not afraid of the "destructive cult/sect" moniker and who earned their academic credentials in Europe where religious studies aren't crippled with wishy-washy hippy-dippy era idealism like US/Canada scholars are.

    Furthermore, on the social worker / counseling front - we are fortunate that we do have excellent studies and informative works to draw from. Lewis would be well served to read the 2nd edition of "Snapping" by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman to get a clue as to what he is blindly trying to quantifying in his survey. Their data has never been debunked and still rings true in the modern day. Eg:

    ^^Rehabilitation time is in regards to once former members enter cult exit counseling. Compare and contrast to the Anon Survey chart above that shows a large number of former members do not seek professional help and nearly 10% who did get help did not do so until 10+ years AFTER leaving.

    ^^The long term effects of what the authors dubbed "Information Disease" shows that the former members of Scientology take the longest amount of time to shake off the harm that the cult does to them (an average of 139 months! Or 11 years to fully recover.) By failing to question the harm done to adherents, Lewis' study is exploiting the detrimental long-term impact done to former members to justify their ongoing kool aid drinking in the FZ as a good thing.

    Conway & Siegelman's study leaves little room for doubt that Scientology practices are harmful. The Anon survey attempted to split the difference between what they didn't cover vs. what Wallis didn't cover vs. what trends were readily apparent in the recent first hand accounts on ESMB and Ex-kids websites. The hope was our efforts would inspire more formal study by proper academics to circumvent Lewis' failed attempt at a survey by pointing out where more research is needed. We wanted to plant a seed or two for others to say "Hey this is interesting, there is room to explore that point further." That hasn't happened yet, but Lewis' hasn't published his work on studying the Indie movement either so there is still hope.

    In an ideal world - Stephen Kent and Steven Hassan would join forces, and compile a joint survey that nailed Scientology in a double-fisted approach (Sociology and Counseling impact assessments). Then once published in proper peer review journals, those results might possibly inspire the more ballsy religious studies scholars to take their findings and explore what aspects of L. Ron Hubbard's teachings are the root cause of the harm being done to practitioners of his so-called Applied Religious Philosophy.

    ^^That would give us a platform for ripping off Scientology's religious cloaking and kicking their ass to the curb once and for all. But it is big ugly ball of yarn to unravel. And having the likes of Lewis' being the only one approaching it from a biased position of ignoring the harm done to former members is NOT a good thing.
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  33. Anonymous Member

    Different anon here.

    I would say this is one of the least of the ‘mistakes’ made.

    1) Over-generalising across groups. If you study benign group X and then apply those results to dangerous group Y then you get wrong results. Hell, using results from group X in the first place when you are making a pronouncement on group Y is pretty flawed to begin with.

    2) Misattribution of the reasons for ex-member views. There is meme that folks like Lewis repeats, and it goes something like this: “those ex-members have hostile views because they encountered ‘anti-cultists’”. The survey anonlover did (what the anon above was quoting from) provides hard empirical evidence that this meme is not true in the case of Scientology.

    3) Holding to the ‘apostates are unreliable’ line. Lewis’ “RECONSTRUCTING THE "CULT" EXPERIENCE: Post-Involvement Attitudes as a Function of Mode of Exit and Post-Involvement Socialization” own paper, which surveyed 154 people across a variety of different groups (only 2 of which were ex-CoS), is one of the foundational pieces of research the mantra is based on. His model is, to put it bluntly, completely incompatible with anonlover’s results – with anonlover’s survey having a larger sample size and being solely focused of Scientology.

    An old thread on this:
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  34. DeathHamster Member

    I wonder how he'll handle all the harm stories from Indy Scientologists?
    • Be sure to ask only questions that avoid the topic.
    • Sweep it under the rug.
    • Downplay it with the apostates are unreliable excuse.
    • Bias his sample by selecting the happy kool-aide drinkers who would return in a thetan second if DM was gone.
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  35. DeathHamster Member

    On the plus side:
    • If it's true that CoS has cut all ties with Lewis, then David Miscavige is going to be very unhappy about any academic coverage of the Indy/Freezone that doesn't read like a Freedom smear-job.
    • Hopefully the Indies will be unhappy with it too.
    • As a bonus, if he recognizes that the Indy/Freezone is a legitimate splinter group, will he continue to call them apostates?
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  36. Anonymous Member

    Thus the findings - which, at first glance, appear to be damning of the Scientology organization - are discounted as unreliable, as they come from "apostates."

    All it means to Lewis is that a certain category of people become involved with "New Religious Movements," remain members for a while, leave, then react in a certain way.

    The people who seek out someone such as Lewis, and are delighted when he listens to them and gives them the time of day, don't realize that he's studying them like a lab technician might study a frog in an aquarium.
  37. Anonymous Member

    Interesting question. Worth noting that, if he does recognise them as still holding roughly the same religious beliefs, then he will have shot his own model of apostasy in the foot since it relies on the apostate rejecting religion.

    Reminds me of the “Disaffiliation Among Scientologists; A Sociological Study of Post Apostasy Behaviour and Attitudes” study, and which I don’t remember a PDF of being linked….
  38. Anonymous Member

  39. Anonymous Member

    Nice point around 32:00-33:00
    Books bought by members, then donated to libraries to 'promote Scn'. But: In digital age, people don't go to libraries.

    This is a nice proof of the crap, Scn books contain. A digital book is bought when its really good. If you don't make it digital and also not promote it, you don't believe yourself Joe public should read it.
  40. Anonymous Member

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