“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -Mahatma Gandhi
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
It recently came to light that in 1974 L. Ron Hubbard, the leader of Scientology, admitted in a memo to technical staff aboard the ship Apollo that he deliberately used confessional doctrine for control purposes to keep Scientologists in line. He revealed that he knew that
people left due to upsets, not their own overt acts. He felt that if he stated this publicly he would lose control of his sect and made David Mayo and Bill Franks swear that the contents of the memo would never be revealed. (See post: http://blog.scientologyrecovery.com/l-ronhubbardfor-real-personal-stories/). Using the confessions of members to control them against their will is nothing new in destructive cults.
The “cult of confession” is an integral part of mind control. Group members are bound to confess their transgressions to the group or in a session and driven to be “sinless.” It is impossible to be sinless, however it is a decent goal. But destructive cults use that admirable goal abusively to control their members’ thoughts, blackmail them and force adherence to the leader’s doctrines. A perverted sense of confession keeps the members in line while allowing the leader(s) to teach the member to self-monitor their thoughts and actions. In a destructive cult the most potent “evil” thoughts are those against the leader. This philosophy is imbedded so deeply that the mere idea of thinking a critical thought against the leader brings on a morality crisis and anxiety within the true believer. This is true even years after the person has left the organized religion. Some ex-cult members still somehow blindly believe the leader to be inerrant, or will mitigate documented abuse because they believe that the leader’s contribution to their own personal wellbeing is far more important than abuse and human rights violations on a multitude of others.
Historical Forgiveness and Confession Confession and forgiveness form a significant cornerstone in many religions. Untainted confession leads to purity, ability and power. Power in the sense that as an individual you do not deteriorate easily; it leads to feeling pure, clean and clear. Freedom comes from not having regrets and not being pinned in the past with retaliatory thoughts against oneself and others. Self-determination evolves from being able to change destructive patterns in your life.
The Buddha was once spit in the face by a stranger; he took it, and simply asked the offender, “What’s next?” The Buddha explained to his repulsed and vengeful minded disciples that the
man was only spitting on a notion of the Buddha, maybe something he heard about him; something in his own mind. Buddha’s question, “What’s next?” is reminiscent of Jesus’ suggestion, “Turn the other cheek.” (Matthew 5:39) Both Buddha and Jesus were basically saying, “What is your next communication, whatever it is I can face it?” Neither one ever responded to abuse the way that men normally do. Neither would flee, bribe, get angry or act revengeful. They both realized that to understand everything is to forgive everything.
Buddha and Jesus made the act of confessing very easy for anyone; especially if they saw repentance. When the spitting man came to the Buddha the next day he forgave him. The Buddha asked again, ”What’s next?” The man fell at the Buddha’s feet asking for forgiveness. He had not slept all night for he was deeply affected by the kindness he had been shown and was filled with remorse. Buddha said, “Forgive? But I am not the same man to whom you did it to. The Ganges (River) goes on flowing; it is never the same Ganges again. Every man is a river. The man you spit upon is no longer here. I look just like him, but I am not the same, much has happened in these twenty-four hours! The river has flowed so much. So I cannot forgive you because I have no grudge against you.” The next morning acting contrite he came again to the Buddha. “And you also are new. I can see you are not the same man who came yesterday because that man was angry and he spit, whereas you are bowing at my feet, touching my feet. How can you be the same man? You are not the same man, so let us forget about it. Those two people, the man who spit and the man on whom he spit, both are no more……”
Jesus did much the same thing to Peter, the leader of his disciples. Peter denied knowing him three times the night before his crucifixion. Peter was nearly suicidal by his own betrayal. Jesus did not abandon him, but did forgive and came to Peter after the resurrection. He simply asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him. The questions of love were not asked with any blame or shame; but the message was clear. I know what you did and all I ask is that you love me. He knew that if Peter could love again with all his heart he had overcome his transgressions and guilt. Love and forgiveness rehabilitated and healed the relationship immediately and with ease. Peter was fully restored as the leader of the group.
Forgiveness and confession are both acts of the will and require strength. Historically in the Judaic culture sin was confessed individually or corporately in conjunction with a profession of faith in God. Only God could forgive sin. Jesus stated that the Son of Man could forgive sins on earth. (Matthew 9:6) This made it possible for priests and pastors to forgive. Buddhism and other Eastern beliefs also honor confession as the cleansing of negativity. Certain sects realized that transgressions not confessed and repented make one weak. Confession and remedial actions lead to power. Power has four main opponents: regret, reliance (due to transgressions failing relationships), inability to repent and not remedying the error by good works. Feeling regret is obvious how it limits power; reliance is not as easy to see. Reliance occurs because the person is not there in the present as much having been weakened from overt acts; the communication is no longer pure so emotions become convoluted. Since one person is weakened reliance on the other’s strength is
imperative to keep the relationship working. The relationship is no longer empowered equally. Repentance is very important. Repeating the same transgressions over is one definition of insanity. Strength is needed to not commit the same acts again. Remedies such as amends, doing good works and charity can help restore goodwill.
Confessing and finding the motivation behind doing the transgression is very important, but as Jesus’ example proved, a lot can be accomplished and short circuited with love. It also takes courage to face those you have harmed and make it right. That is why the word power comes into play. It takes power to change and it also takes power to keep forgiving someone.
If one is a leader the harm is exponential. What the leader orders can affect multitudes. Professional liars like the current and past Scientology spokesmen plus people who work(ed) in the Office of Special Affairs who persuade members to spy and commit crimes have an impact on thousands of people. More significant leaders than a small group like Scientology create an even greater blow. There is no way to actually do enough remedial actions to make up the damage to all those affected. That’s why biblically speaking confessing to God was the most important confession. It is believed in Judeo/Christian teachings that God can clean the slate and reverse the exponential factors. I don’t want to get into a religious debate here; but good works alone cannot undo the far reaching affects done by a psychopathic political, religious or spiritual leader. It is obvious why confessing to God helps and can be preferred. Dishonest and perverted
men often abuse and taint the confession.
The subject of confession has been abused in all of society; however, none worse than in Scientology and other destructive cults. In Scientology, confession has become perverted andabusive plus ultimately forgiveness in non-existent. It is used in a multi-faceted way; a mind control threat system to keep members in line, a greedy money maker where advanced students must pay tens of thousands of dollars to continue courses, black ops to gain data on other members, and the absolute worst, to blackmail. Confession abuse goes on in other destructive cults, but not to the same degree or sophistication. In some instances, Scientology has used confession as inquisition to destroy the will of the individual. This often results in
nervous breakdowns and irreparable psychic damage.
In 1982 top Scientology executive and original LRH messengers were often dragged out of bed in the middle of the night for gang security checks. An inquisitor and other cohorts would scream and curse for
overt acts and “crimes.” The purpose of these interrogations had nothing to do with confession; it had to do with breaking the spirit and will of the individual. Some were broken and stayed but most of them left the Sea Org; it was better to leave than to accept repeated beatings of the mind and soul.
In the Miscavige era, security checking has become more destructive, if that is possible. Nancy Many outlined it in her book, “My Billion Year Contract.” The OSA directed confessional by one
of two Miscavige approved security checkers landed Nancy in the hospital with a severe nervous breakdown. Many others that I have worked with have received similar treatment; locked in a room, screamed at for crimes until they break. People treated this way have recurring nightmares, are dissociative with post traumatic stress, and are devastated with phobias like, “I won’t ever pick up the cans again!”
Confessional abuse has carried over to the independent field where some practitioners are still very legalistic and rigid. I have found auditors, solo auditors, and preclears afraid to talk; they don’t write down everything for the case supervisor. It may well be that the ability to trust is lost due to a carryover from corporate church abuse. However, if the field organization is robotic to Hubbard’s purpose of confession rather than what it should be the client will perceive it and will withhold.
In its intended form confession and forgiveness are freeing, purifying and empowering to the soul. As the title of the post suggests, in Scientology terms, it is a way to stay clear. In secular terms, whatever abilities and gifts you have can remain intact. Personal degradation does not have to occur. If you do something that violates another and it is not confessed, the incident is carried forward in your mind forever. On the other hand, if something is done to you and you do not forgive, the same mental phenomenon occurs. When the incidents are triggered either transgression can be played back as a recording in your mind over and over. Furthermore, the ideas, justification and reasoning that one concludes about the incidents hold it tightly in place, especially revenge. That is the genus of how to create a reactive or aberrant mind.
When I took a hiatus from counseling for about ten years I studied and was involved with different groups. During a particularly bad period of my life I was befriended and helped by a Christian group. The esprit de corps were men who followed Jesus’example the best they could and had a giving, loving, and forgiving spirit. Scientology does not believe that clears can be made outside of its own technology, however by practicing forgiveness and leading moral lives, in essence, these men were not actively creating a reactive mind. By confessing their sins to one another or to the pastor in safety and by practicing forgiveness no new recordings were made. Yes “clean hands make a happy life,”but more important than that forgiveness in love to one another creates a “clear” life. That is essential to staying clean, clear, and able. For ex-Scientologists or former members of cults it is imperative that they do not forsake the rites of confession and forgiveness in their lives. It is important that you get any past confessional errors or abuse cleaned up. You can do this yourself by simply writing it in a journal or by getting a session with a qualified counselor. If you are a Scientologist, you can write it up as a reverse Overt/Withhold write up; the zero step or the difficulty would be something like “bad confessional” or “my overt acts were confessed to others out of session.” Then write up the errors under that heading until you get relief. There could be a number of such difficulties including confessionals, security checks, ethics interviews, justice actions, OW write ups, interrogations, six month checkups for advanced students, and so on. I know thatfalse purpose rundown techniques are mixed with simple confessionals creating an absolute mess on advanced cases*. If you were not in Scientology simply journaling the times when you were not believed, accused, withheld because it was not safe, forced to confess, etc. should be written up. The purpose of these actions is to feel safe about confessing again. Once that occurs you should be able to feel freer to forgive others as well. By imparting compassion and freeing others of their burdens you will create a more loving environment. A bonus will be that you will receive the personal benefit of maintaining your case state and not deteriorate as a spirit. This can be considered another step of how to Return to Freedom.
(*It is imperative that if you had security checking mixed with the false purpose rundown that disregard advanced level techniques that you get cleaned up immediately. It has caused forgetfulness and illness.)–GS