Announcement and Background

The Year 2000 Literati contest was announced by Stacy Brooks on alt.religion.scientology on September 16. The following is from that announcement. The rules stated by her at that time were clarified slightly, e.g., to be clear about form of submission, second language, the use of HTML, etc. The rules can be found here.

Let the 2nd annual "Lisa McPherson Trust Literati Contest" commence!!!

In 1999, Bob Minton started a "Literati Contest" on the Internet newsgroup called alt.religion.scientology that resulted in the submission of 12 very insightful essays into the "dark side" or inner workings of the Scientology organization and the real intent of L. Ron Hubbard.

The top winning essays are reposted here as well as in several places on the Internet in English as well as French.

  The Grand Prize winner in October 1999 was Joe Cisar for his extraordinarily insightful essay entitled "Doing Hard Time on Planet Earth."

  Second place went to Scott Mayer for his excellent essay entitled "Making God Swallow His Laughter -- a New Perspective on the Goals of L. Ron Hubbard, the Man."

  Third place went to Arnie Lerma for his masterful work entitled "The Art of Deception."

We believe that a more comprehensive understanding of the abusive and deceptive nature of the Scientology organization is the best way to educate government officials and the public at large. Further, this understanding is also one of the most effective ways of helping victims of Scientology recover from prolonged abuse within the organization.

Therefore, in the spirit of a real quest for truth and better understanding of the Scientology organization, we are pleased to announce the following topic for the "2000 Lisa McPherson Trust Literati Contest" as well as the rules and regulations governing this event.

The topic is "Scientology: Control, Freedom & Responsibility."

The essay should analyze how control, freedom and responsibility operate together or clash within the organization and how these interface with the non-Scientology world. How that is done or presented is up to the essayist. The essayist is also free to chose their own title for the piece.

Here are some examples:

  The organization and many of its adherents claim that they have complete freedom. There is even a "Grade Zero" where members can attain the ability to communicate "with anyone on any subject." But rather than seeing greater communication with family members who are not Scientologists, we find "disconnection" and PTS handling. While this is certainly their right, what should non-members do in response and for what purpose?

  Are there other models, systems or techniques that can be used to understand and better interface and reach members? These are people who fervently believe that they have some "universal solvent"; yet they feel they must withdraw from interaction with those who disagree with them and even attack critics.

  What holds a person to such a system so that they think they have freedoms others do not? What is the "mind set" of such individuals, because they certainly are not evil. Do others have a responsibility to convince them otherwise? If so, how should it be done? If not, is there anything that should be done? Or do we just mark it off as "religious freedom" and let them do whatever they want?

  Scientologists claim that they are participating out of choice and should be allowed to practice their beliefs without interference. Critics say that the members are not aware of the actual activities or beliefs of the organization and the degree of control that is exerted, not unlike trying to speak to dedicated communists in the former Soviet Union. Thus, some critics say, the members aren't really exercising "free choice," and they (the critics) have a responsibility to point this out. Scientology members say they have a right to refuse to listen. How can this be resolved?

  Some say that tactics being used by critics only strengthens the resolve of Scientologists and proves to them that they shouldn't interact with those who disagree, thereby driving them deeper into the organization. If so, what should be done to reach individual members and for what purpose? What is effective?

  Others say Scientology is a reflection of Hubbard's mind. Some Scientologists are delighted to hear this. But what if the organization Hubbard built was really a "reactive mind," a mind that (as Hubbard said a reactive mind does) thinks in complete opposites? Would that explain why the organization responds the way it does when attacked, or how Scientologists can believe they are achieving "total freedom" when in fact they are under full control of the organization? And if it is a reactive mind, does that give a key to understanding and unlocking it? Where is responsibility with such a theory and system?

Essayists are not bound by these examples. They can draw on any parts or add others as long as they are within the given topic, "Scientology: Control, Freedom & Responsibility."