Jon encouraged me to post the introduction I wrote for this book, A Piece of Blue Sky in order to help frame the importance of Jon’s return to activism and the importance of his book which so many people have yet to read, or read it when it first came out.
Must read! This book is the definitive, factual, all-inclusive exposé on the real L. Ron Hubbard and the true story behind Scientology. If you read one book on Scientology, make it this one.
Jon Atack has an extraordinary, razor-like mind and indefatigable memory. In my opinion, he is by far the greatest expert on L. Ron Hubbard, having digested every idea Hubbard ever had and everything written about Hubbard, as well as his countless interviews of former officials. He is my “go-to” man when I have a factual question concerning anything Scientology.
Jon is truly a rare human being. Yes, he was in Scientology nine years and was OT-5. Unlike most former members, he went on to research in such extraordinary depth and detail that he became the resource for governments around the world wanting to understand what Hubbard and Scientology were all about.
He was mercilessly harassed for sixteen years harming his personal life tremendously to the point that he “retired” from speaking publicly about Scientology, and spent the next sixteen years developing his exceptional talents as an artist, drummer and novelist.
In 2012, I visited Jon and we talked in great depth about all of the positive developments around Scientology, the flood of top officials and other long-term operatives writing books and exposés, and I urged him to consider coming out of retirement.
I was delighted to find that he had reconstructed the unexpurgated, never before published original Piece of Blue Sky. We sat down and did a video interview together in the hope that he might re-release A Piece of Blue Sky.
Scientology did everything within its power to stop the publication of A Piece of Blue Sky the first time, making it only the second book to be banned in the US. The manuscript was published without alteration, because it was factually accurate.
This new release includes 60 direct Hubbard quotations that are the essential heart of Scientology. These statements from Hubbard’s journals and letters, and his secret orders to his intelligence agency, the Guardian’s Office reveal Hubbard’s true intentions and his insane delusions.
Scientology is the quintessential destructive mind-control cult. It’s an authoritarian, pyramid-structured group that uses deception and mind control to make its followers dependent and obedient.
I define mind control as four overlapping components known as the BITE model which stands for control of behavior, information, thoughts and emotions. Hubbard was a master manipulator who employed all four components to reduce followers to an almost childlike devotion.
Hubbard was a stage hypnotist, and in my professional opinion, Hubbard’s “technology” is a series of hypnotic methods. Hubbard openly called his system “indoctrination”. Even though Scientologists are taught to believe that the technology de-hypnotizes people, the opposite is true.
Critical faculties are dismantled, thought-stopping techniques taught, phobias installed. Indeed, the whole “study technology” is designed to install the Scientology belief system of Hubbard, the self-styled “commodore” of this paramilitary organization.
Since leaving the Moonies in 1976, I have worked with numerous people from hundreds of different cults. I can confidently say that Scientology ranks as one of the worst of the worst. I remember talking with Paulette Cooper who wrote the book, The Scandal of Scientology.
Paulette was harassed herself, falsely accused of a terrorist bomb plot and spied on by a scientologist “best friend”. She was indicted by a grand jury. Then the largest FBI raid in history revealed internal documents, vindicating Paulette completely and sending eleven senior scientology officials, including Hubbard’s wife, to prison.
I have frequently been subjected to scientology harassment. For expressing my considered opinion of the group, I have become “fair game”, to use Hubbard’s expression. Under this doctrine, scientologists are encouraged to harass opponents.
I have been followed. I have been threatened. I have been sued. I have had complaints against my license filed by Scientology. They have gone through my trash. They have told neighbors that I am a criminal. They have picketed my office in Nazi uniforms inviting people to “Join Steve Hassan’s crusade against religions”.
In all of these decades, it is so heartening to read book after book and exposé after exposé of former officials who either ordered these dirty tricks or have performed them and who now wish to expose the organization.
Douglas Frantz wrote a two-part story in the New York Times about how Scientology hired private investigators to dig up dirt on IRS Commissioners and through back-door legal wranglings was able to end a 25-year fight with the IRS to gain tax exemption, which they have used ever since to claim that they are now a religion.
Scientology even lobbied the U.S. Government to censure Germany for not recognizing it as a religion but labeling it as a dangerous “psycho-sect”. Scientologists cannot work in government organizations in Germany, because they have many times infiltrated governments for the purpose of spying.
There are many who leave the Church of Scientology who continue to believe in Hubbard and the “technology.” There is a whole independent Scientology movement with tens of thousands of former Scientologists who continue, in my opinion, to be detrimentally affected by their indoctrination.
Many believe they have benefited greatly, but I would strongly advise them to read this book and break the taboo on discussing Hubbard’s ideas. Because close scrutiny reveals fatal contradictions, the common denominator of dangerous cultic ideologies.
Be honest about any benefit you received, but understand Hubbard’s intentions. Jon Atack’s papers are very useful for this purpose. No one can continue to believe in Hubbard after reading Never Believe a Hypnotist!
The recent movie The Master, attempted to give insight into Hubbard during the early days. I thought it was way too kind, even with its portrayal of Hubbard as a grandiose, narcissistic sociopath. In “Let’s Sell these People A Piece of Blue Sky: Hubbard, Dianetics and Scientology”, Atack has captured the true essence of Scientology, using Hubbard’s real words.
Every good book about Scientology starts with this as its foundation. None have yet equaled this exacting examination of the history of Scientology and its creator, because it leaves little to say.
This is the first objective history of the group, because Jon’s own previous membership never gets in the way of his objectivity. As I said at the beginning: a must read!
—Steven Hassan, January 2013