Free Zone (Scientology)
The Free Zone, also called independent Scientologists or Scientology Freezone, comprises a variety of groups and individuals who practice Scientology beliefs and techniques independently of the Church of Scientology (CoS). Such practitioners range from those who closely adhere to the original teachings of Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard, to those who have so far adapted their practices to be almost unrecognizable as Scientology.
The term Free Zone was originally only used by a single organization, but the term is now commonly applied to all non-CoS Scientologists, although many dispute the application of the term to themselves. However, the group whose name became adopted as a generic term for independent Scientology was not the first independent Scientologist group; the California Association of Dianetic Auditors, the oldest breakaway group still in existence, claims a founding date of December 1950, predating the Church of Scientology itself.
A November 2004 press release published by the International Freezone Association cited what it says was a command written by L. Ron Hubbard himself: "... before you go, whisper this to your sons and their sons: 'THE WORK WAS FREE. KEEP IT SO.'"
Skeptic Magazine described the Free Zone as: "a group founded by ex-Scientologists to promote L. Ron Hubbard's ideas independent of the Church of Scientology." A Miami Herald article wrote that ex-Scientologists joined the Free Zone because they felt that Church of Scientology leadership had "strayed from Hubbard's original teachings."
Origin of the term Free Zone
The first group to use the term Free Zone was the organization founded by "Captain" Bill Robertson in 1982, now known as Ron's Org. The name came from the "space opera" beliefs Robertson expressed in the "Free Zone Decree", which he said was an Official Decree of the "Galactic Grand Council" which was "relayed from Mainship, Sector 9":
- The planet known as Teegeeack - local dialect "Earth" or Terra - Sun 12, Sector 9, is hereby declared a Free Zone.
- No political interference in its affairs from any other part of the Sector or Galaxy will be tolerated.
- No economic interference in its affairs will be tolerated from any non-planetary agency or power.
- All of its inhabitants are hereby declared Free Zone Citizens and free of external political or economic interference.
Free Zone - an area not controlled by evil organizations or implanters, but free to expand spiritually (Sector 9 by Astar )
Scientology Commissioner Ursula Caberta in Hamburg said that the Free Zone is a type of "methadone program for Scientologists," and, in any case, "the lesser evil". The Free Zone group RON's Org says that the Verfassungsschutz Baden-Württemberg (State Office for the Protection of the Constitution) has stated that there is no need to keep RON's Org under observation "as the RON’s Org has no anti-constitutional goals." RON's Org says that some of its members have in fact cooperated in the efforts of state authorities to observe and investigate the Church of Scientology.
The Church of Scientology and the Free Zone
The Church labels all practitioners of and believers in Scientology without its sanction "squirrels"—a term Hubbard coined to describe those who alter Scientology technology or practice it in a nonstandard fashion. Among Scientologists, the term is pejorative, and comparable in meaning to "heretic". In practice, the hierarchy of the Church of Scientology uses it to describe all of those who practice Scientology outside the Church.
The Church of Scientology has used copyright and trademark laws against various Free Zone groups. Accordingly, most of the Free Zone avoids the use of officially trademarked Scientology words, including Scientology itself. In 2000, the Religious Technology Center unsuccessfully attempted to gain the Web domain www.scientologie.org from the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization; one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations), in a legal action against the Free Zone.
Many Free Zone advocates say that everyone has the right to freely practice the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, whether sanctioned by the Church or not. In support of this they cite Hubbard himself:
Dianetics is not in any way covered by legislation anywhere, for no law can prevent one man sitting down and telling another man his troubles, and if anyone wants a monopoly on dianetics, be assured that he wants it for reasons which have to do not with dianetics but with profit.—L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (1950)
If I have fought for a quarter of a century, most of it alone, to keep this work from serving to uphold the enslavers of Man, to keep it free from some destructive "pitch" or slant, then you certainly can carry that motif a little further. [...] But before you go, whisper this to your sons, and their sons – "The work was free. Keep it so."—L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology: Clear Procedure - Issue One (1957)
Other Free Zoners assert basic human rights protections in order to freely follow their chosen religion.
One Free Zone Scientologist identified as "Safe", was quoted in Salon as saying: "The Church of Scientology does not want its control over its members to be found out by the public and it doesn't want its members to know that they can get scientology outside of the Church of Scientology".
A 2006 Channel 4 documentary, The Beginner's Guide to L Ron Hubbard, presented by Sikh comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli explored Scientology with a Free Zone group after the Church of Scientology declined to take part.
Alternative auditing practices
Several alternatives to Dianetics were developed in the early years of the Free Zone.
Synergetics is a self-help system developed by Art Coulter in 1954. Don Purcell, founder of an early Dianetics organization which had a tentative claim on the Dianetics trademark, joined Synergetics and returned the trademark to Hubbard. In 1976, Coulter published Synergetics: An Adventure in Human Development; he later founded the Synergetic Society, which published a journal through 1996.
Idenics is a personal counseling method not affiliated with any religion that was developed by John Galusha beginning in 1987. Mr. Galusha researched for L. Ron Hubbard during the 1950s, and was one of the founders of the first Church of Scientology in 1953. Galusha claimed that all personal issues can be addressed by thoroughly looking over the problem at hand, without judgment. The counselor asks a series of questions until the solution is considered found, by the client. The counseling, per Mike Goldstein, owner of Idenics methodology and author of the book, "Idenics, an alternative to therapy", is claimed to be as effective over the telephone as in person.
The word "Scientology"
Controversy over the origins of the word Scientology has given Free Zone a way to contest Scientology's trademarks. They note a German book, entitled Scientologie, Wissenschaft von der Beschaffenheit und der Tauglichkeit des Wissens (1934), by Dr. Anastasius Nordenholz (as opposed to Hubbard's Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, 1956), which they use as the basis of their challenge to Scientology's trademark claims. Because Scientologie was not written by Hubbard, they argue, the Church is exerting unfair control over its practice, and attempting to enforce a monopoly.
- Grossman, Wendy M. (December 1995). "alt.scientology.war". Wired News. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
"One of the first steps toward open warfare was the emergence, in about 1990, of a group that wanted to separate the church and its scriptures. Calling itself the Free Zone, this group consists of people who have left the church but still want to practice its teachings - use the tech, as Free Zoners say. Ex Scientologist Homer Smith is one of these (ex meaning "former church adherent," not "former" Scientologist, says Smith). Wanting to encourage serious discussion of the tech away from the noisy brawl next door in alt.religion.scientology, Smith set up a second newsgroup, alt.clearing.technology, for this purpose."
- Sappell, Joel; Welkos, Robert W. (1990-06-29). "When the Doctrine Leaves the Church". Los Angeles Times. p. A49:1. Retrieved 2007-04-12. Additional convenience link at .
- "California Association of Dianetic Auditors -- Who We Are". Retrieved 2007-04-14.
- "The Truth Is Out Here! : The Scientology Free Zone could be described as the pioneer of truth in the tradition of the Great Western Pioneers of the US who carved out a place in history." (Press release). International Freezone Association. 2004-11-16. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
- Lippard, J.; J. Jacobsen (1995). "Scientology v. the Internet. Free Speech & Copyright Infringement on the Information Super-Highway". Skeptic Magazine. pp. Vol. 3, No. 3., Pg. 35–41.
- Staff (2005-07-02). "SCIENTOLOGY: What's Behind the Hollywood Hype?". Miami Herald.
- The Free Zone Decree
- Sappell, Joel; Welkos, Robert W. (1990-06-24). "Defining the Theology". Los Angeles Times. p. A36:1. Retrieved 2007-04-16. Additional convenience link at .
- Kintzinger, Axel (1998-12-11). "The sect is broke". Die Woche.
- "Maybe it makes you feel more confident, for example, if you learn that the office for safeguarding the constitution (Verfassungsschutz) of the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg has stated years ago that the RON’s Org is not a part of the Church of Scientology and that there is no need to observe them as the RON’s Org has no anti-constitutional goals. Indeed, there is some cooperation between members of the RON’s Org and state authorities who observe the Church of Scientology and investigate their activities. English FAQ on German Ron's Org site
- Meyer-Hauser, Bernard F. (2000-06-23). "Religious Technology Center v. Freie Zone E. V". Case No. D2000-0410.
- Brown, Janelle (1999-07-22). "Copyright -- or wrong? : The Church of Scientology takes up a new weapon -- the Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- in its ongoing battle with critics.". Salon.
- The Beginner's Guide to L Ron Hubbard
- A Piece of Blue Sky
- Successor Organization Is Religious Fellowship (continued) | The Compleat Aberree
- John Galusha | The Compleat Aberree
- John Galusha and the Book One Course
- FreeZone Earth
- Freezone AO International
- Ron's Org Committee
- Ron's Org Grenchen
- International Freezone Association
- Galactic Patrol
- Freezone Auditors
- Free Scientologists
- Friends of LRH
- Free Zone Alliance
- FreeZone Academy at Elma, WA
- DAVID MAYO - What Do We Know?
- Independent Scientology Community
- Spiritual Freedom Zone
- Dror center in Israel