Open Sourcing Scientology

With my full time professional and ideologically involvement in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) during the last decade, this blog post was inevitable.

In case you haven’t, read “LRH4ALL” and “Monopoly on freedom” first. This blog post is an expansion on these previous posts.

My position on Free Scientology is currently:

  • All the public works of L. Ron Hubbard freely available on the Internet
  • This material should be published in its original, unaltered form
  • Given the current copyright law, the works should be released under a free license (like the GPL)
  • The owner of the Scientology trademark should ensure the works are published in unaltered form
  • The trademark owner should ensure free and easy access of the material
  • The materials should be fully indexed and easily searchable
  • Anyone should be free to use any part of the material for whatever they want within the limit of the license and the laws of the land
  • Anyone should be able to freely deliver paid services based the materials
  • The trademark owner should act as a certification body for those delivering such services
  • Certification should be optional but would give credibility to those delivering standard service
  • Anyone should be free to expand upon or alter any of the material as long as they are specific as to what parts are their creations
  • Altered or expanded material would have to be branded with a new name
  • Only the unaltered materials would be called Scientology
  • Only standard delivery with a certification could use the trademark
  • There should be no other restrictions to the materials or its usage

This would approximate many areas of business and organization in the world today. Area such as constructing, shipping, information technology, engineering all have certification bodies similar to the one outlined above.

The parallel to FOSS is obvious. I believe that if Scientology is to be available to all those who wants it, ensuring its free access is a must. Also, lowering the threshold for contributions increases its viability. When people can freely expand upon the works of others, the ant hill innovation occurs.

I mentioned the GPL license. It is a software license ensuring four freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish. Access to the source code is a precondition for this
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this

This we could translate to the materials of Scientology:

  • The freedom to use the materials, for any purpose
  • The freedom to study the materials and apply it to situations as you see fit
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
  • The freedom to improve the material and release your improvements to the public so that the whole community can benefit

Keeping with the GPL license, all further developments would have to retain those four freedoms.

With the provision of the trademarks and certification, authenticity of Scientology will be preserved. In fact Hubbard’s policy letter “Keeping Scientology Working” (KSW #1) will be preserved within the domain of Scientology, original, unaltered and trademarked.

An Open Source religion is not a new concept. Open Sourcing Scientology is however a drastic proposal – one that would forever free the materials of freedom. I am not a lawyer (IANAL), and the exact terms and conditions for such a release needs much work. The GPL may not be the right license – a Creative Commons license may be better. The use of trademarks and the role of the certification body needs to be specified and clearly defined.

This is a thought experiment. Your views are welcome (remember to adhere to the rules when adding your comments).

sketching a landscape

  1. RJ
    2009-10-11 at 21:32

    I agree with having internet access to SIR (Source Information Retrieval) or something similar but then you are going to have to take into account the cost of making this information available and maintaining access. The work involved in doing it, etc. To me releasing a whole body of knowledge is different from releasing code into open source.

    Though you could make it a lot cheaper than what it costs to buy a book or recording from the org. You could set it up like itunes or Rhapsody where the person pays a fee to download a whole book or lecture that would cover the cost of maintaining the website. As Robert A. Heinlein says “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

    You could set up an internet library as well like google books where a person can go for a specific reference as well. Things like that.

    However you are constantly going to be running into the situation where RTC will be protecting their turf and that of CSTs, even though Miscavige has neutralized them as any threat to his absolute hegemony they still exist as a legal fiction. So unless you change the dynamics within the organization you are going to be continually running into problems with releasing the materials.

    Ironic that the biggest block to promoting Scientology is the organization itself but that is the way it is.

    • 2009-10-11 at 21:40

      This thought experiment presupposes a radical change in the church (if indeed it survives at all).

      The cost of providing free access to the materials is less than you may think. And the cost can be recuperated by certification fees for the delivery units that would opt for a certification.

      • RJ
        2009-10-11 at 22:12

        Yes but my question is why should the materials be free?

        Ron left behind an estate that included his family as well. What about Arthur, Suzette and Diana?

        They are all good people and are entitled to his royalties as well. Personally I don’t give a damn about the current organization that calls itself the “Church of Scientology” which as far as I’m concerned deserves as much support as the Former Soviet Union. However I do feel his heirs deserve the fruits of his labors.

        • 2009-10-12 at 05:25

          They should be free because the lower the threshold for use, the more people could use them. Also, policing “intellectual property” is far to expensive.

        • 2009-10-12 at 09:41

          “Why should the materials be free?”

          Because LRH said they were free in the first place. Because many freely contributed to them under the agreement they were free.

          About Arthur, Suzette and Diana, they aren’t getting anything now, right? I’ve read by Jesse Prince that DM paid them off.

          • 2009-10-12 at 09:54

            Also, why should someone keep benefiting from their fathers work?

            • 2009-10-12 at 10:54

              I like to think that my children will benefit from my work, nothing wrong with that. LRH childrens could benefit from from his SF works for example, but not from a religion that was presented as “free” from the beginning and on that basis got many contributions from others to.

              • 2009-10-12 at 11:03

                Children benefits from the money and physical assets they inherit. No need to let children go on policing the works of their fathers 😉

  2. Nomnom
    2009-10-11 at 23:06

    Spot on Geir!

  3. TRUTH
    2009-10-11 at 23:21

    I love the idea of having the complete unaltered tech available on the internet so people can use as it fits.

    Geir, do you have access to unaltered tech on all Scientology/Dianetics materials? It would be awesome to study the real LRH tech without Miscavology’s influence/alteration in the tech.

    • 2009-10-12 at 05:27

      Most people have access to the unaltered materials – most is already floating on the net.

  4. Chris
    2009-10-12 at 05:21

    I think Geir’s idea is a grand one.
    You may rightfully accuse me of being temporarily superficial,but think of ALL THE GOOD PR this would bring!!!
    The ONLY Spiritual Movement with THE GUTS TO BARE ALL.
    (start epic visuals and sound effects).
    Or we could just get some young,cute female celebrity Scientologists to appear naked in the ad PETA style.
    You know what?
    I say that’s a pretty good idea 😉
    It’s official,I’m a genius!!!
    Can I have my fawning crowds of adoration now,Geir? 🙂

    • Briana Volta
      2009-10-18 at 08:37

      Many spiritual movements “bare all”; most don’t have secret doctrines.

      And it *wouldn’t* be “baring all,” as confidential Grade Chart materials would be excluded. This, by itself, would create a false impression of Scientology’s teachings, and would – inevitably – be misleading.

      It’s so built-in to the Scientology mind-set that “upper level material” should be secret, that it’s not even given a second thought.

      Aside from “upper level material,” there are other confidential areas of Scientology teachings, from Sea Org materials, RPF and RPF’s materials, Commodore’s Messengers materials by LRH, etc., plus LRH’s even more confidential “Scientology Intelligence tech” with its spying and covert “dirty tricks” tech, plus other confidential LRH writings on such things as propaganda. And don’t forget those “LRH Advices.”

      If some of this LRH secret material – most notably the “upper level material” – is to be kept secret (in “Open Source Scientology,” or, more accurately, just “Open Scientology”), then at least it should be noted.

      • Chris
        2009-11-01 at 05:06

        “Many spiritual movements “bare all”; most don’t have secret doctrines.”
        I seriously doubt you even know what a secret doctrine IS.

        “And it *wouldn’t* be “baring all,” as confidential Grade Chart materials would be excluded. This, by itself, would create a false impression of Scientology’s teachings, and would – inevitably – be misleading.”

        “It’s so built-in to the Scientology mind-set that “upper level material” should be secret, that it’s not even given a second thought.”

        You know what?You’re absolutely right.It IS built into the Scientologist mindset to keep the Advanced levels secret.The same way it’s built into the Intelligence Community’s minds to keep the Nuclear Codes secret!!!

        “If some of this LRH secret material – most notably the “upper level material” – is to be kept secret (in “Open Source Scientology,” or, more accurately, just “Open Scientology”), then at least it should be noted.
        Who said this wouldn’t be noted?

  5. 2009-10-12 at 10:43

    I think this is somehow pertinent. I would like to make known this attempt to free Scientology from copyright restrictions done by Rolf Krause, a Class 8 auditor:


    Of couse I hope for the releasing of the originals into public domain or under a GPL/Creative Commons license. Nevertheless, under the current suppressive monopoly, the above is a huge very commendable work, IMHO.

  6. 2009-10-12 at 10:45

    What I like about the idea of “Open Source Scientology” is that everything goes out under the sunlight, for everyone to see. No more hidden data lines. Everything available to be used, evaluated or discarded as one sees fit. That way errors could be corrected, wrong policies could be dropped without the need to lie.

    Also in the Open Source Software, with every new release there is usually a list of new features, improvements, corrected bugs but also an open list of known bugs and an encouragement to report new discovered bugs or feature requests. No efforts by developers and users to misrepresent or hide anything.

    This will make it possible for Scientology to grow and evolve too.

    • 2009-10-12 at 10:56

      Yes, but it would grow under a different name as the trademark “Scientology” is tied to the works of LRH (or should be). Anyone care to offer a suggested name?

      • Cinnamon
        2009-10-12 at 13:42

        Let’s call it Scientology 2.0

        The church and the organization and everything.

      • Margaret
        2010-06-26 at 22:20

        How about “Scienetics” (the ongoing study of Scientology and Dianetics)?

  7. Soderqvist1
    2009-10-12 at 11:02

    Your Open Sourcing Scientology seems to me in the main a good idea!
    Because many has contributed to it anyway in example; David Mayo is the Source to NOT’ s and Solo-NOT’ s as my new topic “Hubbard’s Hidden Agenda” today at Operation Clambake can prove. Miscavige just didn’t only paid Hubbard’s children off; he paid David Mayo off too!

  8. Anon
    2009-10-12 at 15:50

    I can see only benefits from this idea for everyone (except those, who want to profit from having a monopoly on Scientology, of course).
    The CoS is hypocritical, if they don’t acknowledge that putting the books of L. Ron Hubbard online for free (or maybe with a little online donation button on the site) would be the most efficient way to disseminate Scientology on the internet. It already has spent much of parishioners donations in an effort to make the books available in libraries around the world. What’s the difference to putting them online instead? That would even be much less expensive!
    It has spent millions to produce commercials for their website. But most of these commercials don’t explain much about what Scientology is actually about. Commercials like “life” or “the search” are very vague and try to appeal mainly to emotions, without telling anything about the actual philosophy of Scientology.
    The actual source materials are currently only available from critics or freezoner sites on the internet. If CoS would upload them itself on its own website, it would regain credibility, redirect internet users to their own site and better its public image as it is known as a purely “money grabbing cult”.

  9. Hubbardianen
    2009-10-12 at 16:48

    This is a somewhat difficult question. Because of the current copyright laws, I would have nothing against putting up everything on the internet, if the family of Hubbard would okay it. Perhaps Hubbard has given all the rights over to RTC?

    Anyway, it’s good to have them on the internet, but I would personally prefer to have them in real books, easier to read for long hours.

    There are of course some risks with putting it up, squirreling for example, but I guess that could be taken care of. At least it would be better than the today approach where only a few seems to be able to look at the material.

    The hard part is the auditing and the C/S, how to deal with that since it takes some training and practising. In that mattter I’m all for a central organization that’s responsible for at least the certifying of auditors.

    Just releasing everything totally without a control organization is something I don’t believe in.

    I think LRH got some point with his PL:

    “It must be kept in mind and brought forward emphatically that Scientology does not work in the absence of official control and, no matter who sought to use it’s principles, has uniformly failed in the hands of non-scientologists and organizations not controlled by the Central Organizations of Scientology or myself.”
    — HCO PL 14 June 65 II, Politics, Freedom From

    • 2009-10-12 at 19:15

      Making the materials freely available is a first step. Helping those who would like to use the material in the most effective way is another. Then we get into service organizations, groups or individuals. And that step will have a much better chance of prospering given that we first get the materials out to everyone.

  10. Tom
    2009-10-12 at 17:03

    I for one support this idea. Let the able become more able, and we all win. And it won’t take ‘a billion years’ either.

    • 2009-10-12 at 19:17

      And releasing it all on the internet should take no more than 6 months – including getting it fully indexed with a good search back-end as well.

  11. All the young dudes
    2009-10-12 at 20:28

    I dig this concept in full!

  12. Mark A. Baker
    2009-10-12 at 21:06

    AWESOME post, Geir! 😀

    • 2009-10-12 at 21:10

      Thanks. Glad you like it.

  13. remeber nothing
    2009-10-13 at 02:17

    brilliant idea, I support it in full, we join you, Marty and all others in this journey. Thanks for paving the way

  14. Soderqvist1
    2009-10-13 at 12:33

    A new name that naturally comes to my mind is Meta-Scientology!

  15. Overdriver
    2009-10-13 at 14:45

    Dear Gear, I highly appreciate your effort and the work you are doing. I find the points you mentioned great, however some thoughts came into my mind. Especially on this:
    “Anyone should be free to expand upon or alter any of the material as long as they are specific as to what parts are their creations.”
    Although it sounds good, alteration would kill Scientology right there. I do not think you think it seriously that it would be a good idea for example for a person on Grade 0 to change something in the tech of Grade 0. However, further clarifications on the material would be absolute necessity. I do not think we can compare information technology with the technology of the mind in this regards. We do not want to play or fool around but want to go free as spiritual beings, don’t we? Let me admit, hearing you mentioning alteration of the tech is really weird… Or did I misunderstood something?

    • 2009-10-13 at 17:57

      I do not advocate alteration of Scientology. I advocate freedom to use, alter, expand and enhance the material under a different name. Anyone can in fact do so today – and it is done many times. I want OSA to stop going after people because they use the tech in ways LRH did not envision. Ant hill innovation is a Good Thing®.

      • Overdriver
        2009-10-13 at 18:12

        That’s good. On the other hand, if services would be on a lower price and so available for more people, and orgs would be friendly places, people would not want to go elsewhere for fake Scientology 🙂 Also, more people would have case gains that would certainly bring more close to a Clear planet.

        • 2009-10-13 at 18:20

          And given a certification organization validating service units, public could better navigate.

  16. Overdriver
    2009-10-13 at 14:46

    Sorry Geir, I mispelled your name.

    • 2009-10-13 at 17:58

      It happens quite often 🙂
      Hearing americans say/butcher my name is even less rare.

  17. madmerris
    2009-10-14 at 14:14

    This is the best idea ANYone has come up with. Try it, (like I did) if you like it, jump in and we will help you! The big question is, how do you deal with the church? Does the tech from 1975 still have their copy write on it? I am currently going up that version of the bridge and it works well for me.

    • 2009-10-14 at 14:58

      The copyright still holds. And that is partly why it is important to support software that could effectively corrode the practice of copyright – like the Internet, like Wikileaks, like TPB, etc.

  18. Maria
    2009-10-14 at 19:21

    I often wonder if where most of this went off the rails was because of governmental threats / interventions / regulations. Religious status to protect the sanctity of confession comes to mind immediately. Drop that status and confession becomes the subject of legal subpoena. There’s goes the safe environment for auditing to occur in. Set up the organizational structure incorrectly and problems ensue. I realize that there are those that do not consider it a religion, but for many, many people it truly is (I am one of those people), especially per the last definition of the Supreme Court of the U.S., which is: “The proper test of religious belief should be whether a given belief that is sincere and meaningful occupies a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by the orthodox beliefs in God.” I just wonder how would this works with releasing the materials into the public domain and letting people set up little profit-making businesses. It is just such a can of worms!

    • 2009-10-14 at 20:35

      Let the parishioners and customers decide. It’s their freedom. And, as LRH himself said, “The work was free, keep it so”.

  19. StarsAwait
    2009-10-17 at 07:58

    My issue with allowing people to alter the tech under another name is:

    1. The effect of the church fighting changes to the tech in the field and the effect of openly and overtly allowing tech changes, might be two different effects.
    But on the other side, it would be interesting to know if EST, for all the bad it does, actually gets a lot of people into Scientology.

    2. Anyone who’s gone up the bridge, to my knowledge, hasn’t run “offbeat whole track incidences”. And so maybe it’s dangerous to stray from the thin tape that is the bridge. When LRH talks about the effects of offbeat wholetrack auditing in KSW, he’s talking about people dying. I don’t have reality on it but I want to just stick with what he says.

    • 2009-10-17 at 12:37

      And you should stick with what you believe in. But your belief should not be used stop another from practicing Buddhism or Yoga or EST or another off-shot of Scientology.

  20. Briana Volta
    2009-10-18 at 08:04

    Soderqvist1 :Your Open Sourcing Scientology seems to me in the main a good idea!Because many has contributed to it anyway in example; David Mayo is the Source to NOT’ s and Solo-NOT’ s as my new topic “Hubbard’s Hidden Agenda” today at Operation Clambake can prove. Miscavige just didn’t only paid Hubbard’s children off; he paid David Mayo off too!

    To be fair to David Mayo, after a many years-long legal battle, he had accumulated enormous legal bills. Along the way, it became necessary to borrow money, and people lending money – even cheerfully for a good cause – eventually want their money returned. And, of course, lawyers want to be paid. The pressure to “settle” can become enormous.

    From LRH’s 2nd wife Sara Northrup (who, under duress, signed the fist retraction/promise of silence in 1951), to Pat Broeker (who disappeared into silence and invisibility twenty years ago), to former staff and Sea Org members who have signed “confessions”/gag orders of one kind or another when leaving, the Scientology cult has been encouraging the practice of “Silence-tology’ for a long time.

    Along the way, before falling prey to “silence-tology,” David Mayo did an interview with author Russell Miller (1986), which can be located on the Net, and then contributed an article (1992, I think) to ‘IVy’ magazine (and also to the now gone ‘Free Spirit’ magazine), re. the topic of “Clear.” Both are worth reading and presented information that some (non C of S Scientologists) most definitely did not want to know. It was, nonetheless, valuable information.

  21. 2009-10-18 at 08:53

    The materials here (link removed due to possible reference to confidential material – to much to check) have been up for ages and is as far as I can see all standard LRH-tech. – And on this site all audio ( and some video ) is available: (link removed due to reference to confidential material) All standard LRH-Tech

    What Geir suggests however is organizing / centralizing the freezone. From the start of the freezone ( about when LRH dropped his body ) this idea has been around and tried. ( Welcome to the freezone, Geir! ) – The dilemma is however that there may be excellent auditors around in the freezone offering their services but true Scientology is a 3D-game which requires ORG’s.

    The #1 question is who is running DM’s body? Imho this is a rhetoric question. The COS is the best vehicle to continue our mission to clear the planet. The COS must be liberated first.

    So far.

  22. Briana Volta
    2009-10-18 at 09:39

    Here are links to the above mentioned David Mayo interview with Russell Miller, and to the ‘IVy’ magazine/’Free Spirit’ magazine article of “Clear.”

    • Soderqvist1
      2009-10-19 at 07:50

      Soderqvist1: Dave Tops Debrief on Free zone home site is talking about a hidden third party, even a “Hidden Who” which is responsible for a lot of problem, and is seen to be money-greed, from 1965 onward up to present time. It is a hidden data line which HCOB, and Policy Letters are totally ignorant about. Dave Top doesn’t know who this third party is, but has said that John Mac master and David Mayo, has been wronged by this third party. But the point is that both of them know whom this “Who” is. It is in the Davy Mayo’s Tapes as linked here, and much more comprehensively documented in my topic at Operation Clambake, Opinions and Debate; Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:46 am. Did Hubbard Has a Hidden Agenda?

      • Briana Volta
        2009-10-19 at 13:59

        IMO, yes, LRH did have a hidden agenda, one that corrupted his work.

        This is problematic for Scientologists, who have a very difficult time confronting the possibility, yet, unless, it is confronted, it’s unlikely that the positives of the subject can be salvaged in a meaningful way.

        Simply going into denial about this area is not the answer.

        However, this may not be the proper forum for this discussion at this time.

      • Briana Volta
        2009-10-19 at 20:48

        Well, I just had time to read that Dave Tops debrief link you posted, and it starts out alright, then descends into silliness. It’s very dated and very naive, and in exactly the kind of *denial* that I noted.

        There’s a lot of information out there. I recommend looking at all of it, then taking a deep breath, then looking some more.

  23. Susan
    2009-11-12 at 14:48

    Hi. I’m an outsider here: agnostic protestant Christian to be specific. In fact I found my way to this sight via one of your critic’s web sites which I visit because free speech issues are important to me.
    Honestly, going public with what you believe is the only way anyone is ever going to take you seriously. Most religious people can’t wait to tell you what they believe. Sometimes they just can’t shut up about it.
    The nightline interview when the spokesman walked out because he was asked about scientologist’s beliefs makes me think that there is something dark and sinister about scientology that you don’t want known. This is why people call you a cult.
    Civilized people in general are either curious or apathetic about other’s beliefs. It’s only when you are sneeky and creepy that they feel fear or hate.

  24. Valkov
    2010-01-03 at 02:12

    Speaking of which, anyone can download up to 1,057 vintage (1950 to 1960) LRH lectures from here:

    My understanding is, these are free of confidential materials.

    A free account does not allow you to “bulk download” these, but you can upgrade your account for one month for $6.97 to get the bulk download feature activated, which should give you plenty of time to download them all.

    It appears a few of them are group processing sessions that are included in the new “Golden Dawn” release, supposedly not available elsewhere.

    Anyway, why pay $7,500.00 for 1,000 lectures, when you can get 1,057 for $6.95 ?

  25. Veritas
    2010-06-26 at 11:38

    Keep it free; charge for licensing and training, professional auditing and c/s-ing.
    Great idea!

    Add no regging donations for legal funds or fake “religious freedom.”

    No more OSA. Who ould they have left to fight? No more political agenda. No more fake PR. No more “orders” to “volunteer.” No more sp declares.

    I cannot see how that can happen because scientology has ingrained in its very fiber a greed, fear, paranoia and a goal to control that surpasses none. I cannot imagine that aspect of it ending. I wish it was so!

    Maybe the tech being freely available would slowly dispel these other characteristics over time…perhaps.

    The secretiveness and the status arewhat keep many going. What then will be the draw? Every religion has its mystery…”the upper levels of scientology” “what God has in store for you” etc…

    • 2010-06-26 at 15:24

      I believe Open Source Scientology will transform and shed the bad through the free market.

  26. splog
    2010-07-03 at 23:32

    A Linux sysadmin Scientologist checking in here 🙂

    GPL the tech? Wow, that’s radical. But it could work, it really could. The existing proprietary Unixes in the early 80s scoffed at the idea of a GPL’ed Unix when Stallman introduced the idea, but look at them now. Solaris went Open, HP-UX is nowhere to be found on new kit, AIX exists here and there.

    OTOH, Linux and the BSDs rule the server room, power the internet and can be found everywhere from Google to your cell phone to most of the Top500 list. And did I mention that gcc is available for just about anything that looks like a CPU?

    All this happened because the code was out there for people to do with as they wanted. By and large, they did good with it. Some truly atrocious distros started up and got some traction and PR inches (Xandros…) but they died as quick as they started and the market preferred something more pure like RHEL and Debian. What happened here? Easy, we have wheat and we have chaff. They got separated.

    The parallels with Scientology are striking. We have a big bad boogie man (complete with lawyers) jumping up and down and getting all excited because their cash cow is threatened, we have a potential market who are quite capable of looking and deciding for themselves, and we have knowledgeable experts happy to share what they know. All that is lacking is a “leader” – every project needs a Linus, a Larry or a Theo who has the guts to call stupid ideas and refuse to commit them to their repo, all the while recognizing the good and giving attribution for it. Talking of repos, the push-pull model in git is exactly what will work best.

    Apologies to those reading who have no idea what I’m talking about, I couldn’t resist discussing freedom withe Isene in terms both of us understand.

    An industry in-joke for Isene: Have you noticed that CoS and SCO are anagrams? And their tactics are eerily similar….

    • 2010-07-22 at 20:27

      Hehe. Cool on the anagram 🙂

      Mail me at

      There is common reality here.

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