Brain-Washing (book)

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Cover of Brain-Washing, as published by the Church of Scientology in 1955.

Brain-Washing: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics, sometimes referred to as The Brainwashing Manual, is a book published in 1955. It purports to be a condensation of the work of Lavrentiy Beria, the Soviet secret police chief. The book states Kenneth Goff as author. Its true authorship is not clear, the three common hypotheses being: Scientology's founder L Ron Hubbard, Kenneth Goff (alias Oliver Kenneth Goff), or both L Ron Hubbard and Kenneth Goff based on an acquired US agency report.[1] The third hypothesis is questionable as there is not proof that the two men ever knew each other. Claims that L Ron Hubbard was the author are also dubious as the only source of this claim is his estranged son, L Ron Hubbard Jr.[2]

It is also sometimes referred to as The Communist Manual of Psycho-Political Warfare or the Communist Manual of Instructions of Psychopolitical Warfare.[3]

L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology[edit]

It says that it is a transcript of a speech on the use of psychiatry as a means of social control, given by Lavrenty Beria in the Soviet Union in 1950. However L. Ron Hubbard Jr., estranged son of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, stated:

"Dad wrote every word of it. Barbara Bryan and my wife typed the manuscript off his dictation."[2]

Although Hubbard Jr.'s broad criticisms against his father were later discredited Hubbard's former editor, John Sanborn, confirmed Hubbard Jr.'s testimony.[1]

The Hubbard Association of Scientologists International published the booklet in an emergency basis in 1955. Hubbard tried to present the Federal Bureau of Investigation with a copy, but the Bureau expressed skepticism about the document's authenticity.[4] CIA operative Edward Hunter called the book a hoax, while the evaluator at the Operations Coordinating Board of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s National Security Council thought the writer of the booklet seemed to have a superior expertise on the subject.[5] The book supposedly has Beria using obvious Hubbardisms such as "thinkingness" or "pain-drug-hypnosis", and making an unlikely mention of Dianetics side by side with Christian Science and Catholicism as major worldwide "healing groups". Modern versions of the book, make no mention of these so-called "Hubbardisms" thus refuting whether they in fact did appear in the original texts and thus the so-called authorship of Hubbard in the first place.[6][7]

In 1963, the Australian Board of Inquiry regarded the book as written by Hubbard, something that neither Hubbard nor the Church of Scientology's HASI Hubbard Association of Scientologists International refuted at the time.[citation needed]

According to Massimo Introvigne, critics of Scientology attribute the Brainwashing manual to Hubbard because of the claim that it was later used to practice actual brainwashing in the church. However, “Hubbard’s works denounced brainwashing as something that should not be practiced, both on moral grounds and because brainwashing represented the triumph of everything Scientology found reprehensible and harmful in modern psychiatry.” Critics say that the proof is that Hubbard said in a 1956 Dianetics and Scientology bulletin: “We can brainwash faster than the Russians.” Introvigne purports that it was not an endorsement of brainwashing. The same bulletin also told Scientology auditors to “avoid these techniques typical of psychiatry.”

There are two different meanings of brainwashing confused by critics of Scientology, says Introvigne. The first is drug-related, using psychotropic medication, violence and hypnosis, the second is “religious indoctrination,” which is generally used to attack not just the Church of Scientology but also other religions. The first is what Hubbard refers to as “pain-drug hypnosis,” which he declared ineffective and something to be “opposed and denounced” as a psychiatric practice.

Hubbard expressed on December 1955 that there was no political significance attached to the booklet. “We couldn’t be less interested, but brainwashing happens to be a facet of the human mind and it has been necessary to make available to our own people any and all texts which exist on the subject.” He emphasized his interest was purely professional.[8]

The Anderson Report

The final results of the Anderson Report in 1965 declared:

"The Board is not concerned to find that the scientology techniques are brainwashing techniques as practised, so it is understood, in some communist-controlled countries. Scientology techniques are, nevertheless, a kind of brainwashing... The astonishing feature of Scientology is that its techniques and propagation resemble very closely those set out in a book entitled Brain-washing, advertised and sold by the HASI." [9]

Kenneth Goff and the American far right[edit]

Morris Kominsky in his The Hoaxers: Plain Liars, Fancy Liars and Damned Liars (1970) attributes the authorship to a Rev. Kenneth Goff (alias Oliver Kenneth Goff) of Englewood, Colorado, an assistant of Gerald L. K. Smith. The entirety of chapter twelve is devoted to analysis of the text and the author's correspondence with others to determine the authenticity of the text or points within it, and other publications which make reference to it. All current copies of the book including Kominsky's copy have a preface by Goff, but he does not give the publication date. The introduction begins:

"From May 2, 1936, to October 10, 1939, I was a dues-paying member of the Communist Party, operating under my own name, Kenneth Goff, and also the alias John Keats. In 1939, I voluntarily appeared before the Un-American Activities Committee in Washington, D.C., which was chairmanned at that time by Martin Dies, and my testimony can be found in Volume 9 of that year's Congressional Report. During the period that I was a member of the Communist Party, I attended their school which was located at 113 E. Wells St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and operated under the name Eugene Debs Labor School. Here we were trained in all phases of warfare, both psychological and physical, for the destruction of the Capitalistic society and Christian civilization. In one portion of our studies we went thoroughly into the matter of psychopolitics. This was the art of capturing the minds of a nation through brainwashing and fake mental health -- the subjecting of whole nations of people to the rule of the Kremlin by capturing their minds. We were taught that the degradation of the populace is less inhuman than their destruction by bombs, for to an animal lives only once, any life is sweeter than death. The end of a war is the control of a conquered people. If a people can be conquered in the absence of war, the end of war will have been achieved without the destructions of war."

Kominsky owned another copy published by the "Ultra-Rightist women of the Burbank, California area who call themselves the American Public Relations Forum, Inc." That copy included an introduction by Charles Stickley and with additional items by Usher L. Burdick, claiming a publication date of 1955. Goff asserted Stickley plagiarized him, and that he had seen yet another publication which had done so. Nonetheless, the Goff version also makes no mention of so-called "Hubbardisms", which further disproves the alleged authorship by L. Ron Hubbard.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b Introvigne 2005.
  2. ^ a b L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? by Bent Corydon and L. Ron Hubbard, Jr.
  3. ^ Brainwashing Manual - Timeline.. Specifically see Ability magazine 1963, volume 148, page 9, and a Letter to the Editor from a Van Nuys, CA newspaper, by Jackson Adams, entitled Psycho-Analysis and Mental Health Propaganda Feb 23 1958
  4. ^ Bare-Faced Messiah by Russell Miller.
  5. ^ Introvigne, Massimo (2017). "Did L. Ron Hubbard Believe in Brainwashing? The Strange Story of the "Brain-Washing Manual" of 1955". Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions,. 20 (4): 62–79. doi:10.1525/nr.2017.20.4.62. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Introvigne, Massimo (2017). "Did L. Ron Hubbard Believe in Brainwashing? The Strange Story of the "Brain-Washing Manual" of 1955". Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions,. 20 (4): 62–79. doi:10.1525/nr.2017.20.4.62. 
  9. ^ Report of the Board of Enquiry into Scientology, by Kevin Victor Anderson, Q.C., Published 1965 by the State of Victoria, Australia.
  10. ^
  11. ^


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