Raised by Thetans in a Galactic Gulag | Aaron Smith-Levin | EP 413

Raised by Thetans in a Galactic Gulag | Aaron Smith-Levin | EP 413

Tour dates 2024

  • Jordan Peterson announces a new tour in 2024, covering 51 cities in the US, focusing on ideas from his forthcoming book.

Coming up

  • Aaron Smith-Levin discusses the objectionable practices in Scientology, such as coercing women to have abortions to keep serving the organization.


  • Jordan Peterson discusses the difficulty of distinguishing truth from falsehood, using Aaron's experiences in Scientology as an example.

Discerning truth from falsehood

  • Peterson elaborates on the challenge of distinguishing truth from falsehood, especially in the context of religious claims, using Scientology as a specific example.

Joining a religion that requires “no faith”

  • Aaron shares his background, being born and raised in Scientology, and discusses how Scientology attracted his mother due to its practical, self-help aspect and the claim of needing no belief or faith.

The E-Meter: what it is and how it works

  • Peterson explains the e-meter as a galvanometer measuring skin conductance changes, which has been used for emotional arousal analysis, adding a layer of scientific credibility to Scientology's practices.

How recruitment works, insecurity and financial incentive

  • There is a financial incentive for bringing people into Scientology, where one can earn a 10-15% commission on every dollar the new member pays to Scientology.
  • This system operates at one level deep, with no overrides on downlines, and individuals are expected to continue as a personal coach and mentor for the new recruits.
  • Scientology provides an explanation for personal insecurities by introducing the concept of the reactive mind, which they claim is the source of self-doubt and indecisiveness.
  • The promise is to resolve the reactive mind through Scientology's procedures, resulting in a perfectly computing and analyzing mind, ultimately achieving a state called "clearing."

The real psychology L. Ron Hubbard built his religion on

  • L. Ron Hubbard's ideas overlap with concepts from psychodynamic complex Theory, where dream analysis and associations are key elements in understanding individuals.
  • Exploring the structure of associated ideas in dreams or thoughts can reveal hidden, unsolved problems and invisible impediments to personal progress.
  • A case example illustrates how traumatic experiences can lead to deep distrust and paranoia towards institutions, shaping an individual's behavior and attitudes.
  • The notion of invisible impediments to progress nested in memory systems has roots in early psychoanalytic work, and the idea of reconfiguring these impediments is a credible explanation derived from psychology.

Bait and switch, from “scientific method” to sci-fi religion

  • Scientology initially presents problems as not being your fault, promoting secondary gains and placing the responsibility for suffering on someone or something else at introductory levels
  • As one progresses in Scientology, the focus shifts to individuals being the prime cause for everything that has happened, including things happening to them
  • Scientology shifts from being a mental science to including spiritual and religious elements, introducing the concept of getting rid of reactive mind and then of clearing entities from the body

How cults use archetypes

  • Cults attract followers by harnessing archetypal ideas and patterns of attention and action intrinsic to humanity
  • The idea of karmic-like consequences of past choices is introduced, emphasizing that individuals are responsible for everything that happens to them and others
  • Religious systems often transition individuals beyond local concerns and provide insights about ultimate responsibility

What are Thetans and Thetan Clusters?

  • Scientology distinguishes between thetans (individual spiritual beings) and body thetans or thetan clusters (other spiritual beings stuck to an individual)
  • At lower levels, everyone is considered a thetan, but upper levels introduce the concept of body thetans and the process of clearing them using Scientology procedures
  • Elron Hubbard's narrative overlay includes the idea that spiritual entities became bored with their power, created a physical Universe, got trapped within it, and are now affecting individuals

The Galactic Federation, Xenu, and the spiritual “Big Bang”

  • Scientology describes a Galactic Federation, where every planet or star system has intelligent, biological life
  • Hubbard concocted a story about an intergalactic politician named Xenu, who flew people to Earth, placed them in volcanoes, and blew them up, leaving spiritual beings in a half-dead, unconscious state for 76 million years
  • Humans on Earth are believed to be the troublemakers, rebels, or artists from other planets, banished to Earth, which is considered a prison planet

Aliens made humans make up religions

  • According to Hubbard, religious people have been pre-programmed by alien captors to invent major religions in order to keep the human population occupied and spiritually trapped
  • Religions are claimed to serve the purpose of preventing individuals from realizing Earth is a prison and hindering their search for a way to escape

Earth is a galactic gulag (00:37:58)

  • Hubbard's explanation for the fallen state of man is to trap spirits on Earth as a prison planet
  • Earth is a dumping ground or prison for rebellious or potentially influential beings

L. Ron Hubbard claimed he was the Buddha (00:39:29)

  • Hubbard claimed to have been Buddha
  • He believed he initially attained a permanent state but later realized it was temporary, leading him to create Scientology

Mans proclivity to mythologize everything (00:40:00)

  • Hubbard, a science fiction writer, blended religious ideas with science fiction presumptions
  • Science fiction and fantasy are popular among atheistic materialist individuals, providing religious education and motivation
  • Mythologizing is part of a broader cultural proclivity, as seen in shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, and the Marvel Universe

What Scientologists are hoping to accomplish (00:41:28)

  • Scientologists aim to reach a spiritual state where they can be fully stably exterior at will with full perceptions
  • This ability signifies being free from the mortal flesh and the prison planet
  • Scientologists believe achieving this skill allows them to bypass the between lives implant station and retain Scientology knowledge for their next lifetime

Becoming skeptical, the myth of the “upper confidential levels”

  • Hubbard had a talent for tapping into the archetypal fantasy substrate
  • Belief in the upper confidential levels promising freedom from the prison of the Matrix
  • Myth of the upper unreleased OT levels, OT9 through OT15, believed to hold the real magic
  • People who had gone through the clearing process were still not sufficiently special due to the belief in more to be discovered

The secret “International Management Base” in California

  • Being a staff member in Scientology and the stressful experience at the secret international management base in Gilman Hot Springs, California
  • Belief that the international Scientology base would be a utopia if Scientology were true
  • Revelation of the unmitigated hellhole at the international Scientology management base by high-level Scientology executives

Scientology VP’s: “It was an unmitigated hellhole”

  • Testimonies from high-level Scientology executives revealing the dire working conditions under David Miscavige
  • Realization that the closer to David Miscavige, the worse the conditions, leading to a questioning of beliefs
  • Discovery that the higher echelons were contaminated, rather than pure as previously believed

Dan Koon proved L. Ron Hubbard was a fraud

  • Dan Koon's revelation that the upper unlevel OT levels were a myth and that there were no notes left behind by L. Ron Hubbard for those levels
  • Learning that Scientology's importance was based on a false belief in the existence of the upper OT levels
  • This revelation led to a decision to leave Scientology

Ethos versus actions, calibrating the truth

  • The speaker discusses his experiences working at Harvard and the University of Toronto, where the pursuit of excellence was the ethos at Harvard, but not at the University of Toronto.
  • He indicates that working with the Daily Wire has been a positive experience, as they are open to creative ideas and practice what they preach.
  • The speaker explains how he stayed committed to his role in Scientology, focusing on the importance of duty and dedication to doing the job well, even if doubts arose.

Working as a staff member in the church

  • The speaker found it rewarding to help people who were already convinced to pursue Scientology courses, seeing it as a valuable way to assist and appreciate others.

Tom Cruise is a true believer

  • Describes how Scientologists genuinely believe in the cause, with Tom Cruise being highlighted as a true believer in the organization.
  • The speaker also expresses his opinion on Tom Cruise's commitment to Scientology, noting that it has shielded him from certain criticism prevalent in society.

Becoming a double agent

  • Left Scientology's C organization in 2006 to have a child, continued believing in Scientology but wanted to leave sea organization
  • Moved from Los Angeles to Clearwater, Florida in 2009, started questioning Scientology's paradigm after reading public information
  • Secretly contacted former Scientology executives, risking being kicked out and losing connections within the Scientology ecosystem
  • Started doubting Scientology's beliefs but continued to exist within the community to maintain relationships

Snitching culture, being told to “disconnect” from his mother

  • Scientology has a strong snitching culture where members are expected to submit knowledge reports on each other
  • El Ron Hubbard enforced draconian rules and penalties for not submitting knowledge reports
  • Author experienced pressure to disconnect from his mother but chose not to, leading to conflicts and a mistrustful environment within Scientology

They tried to destroy my entire family, and we lost 95 percent of our community

  • Author and his wife were officially kicked out of Scientology, faced pressure to divorce and disconnect from family members
  • Wife's parents were forced to disconnect from their daughter and granddaughters, leading to family destruction and severed ties with Scientology community
  • The author considers the family destruction within Scientology as one of its most objectionable aspects

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