The Lame Way Scientology Tried To Keep Their Members Off the Internet

scientology internet

People have written firsthand horror stories about what it was like inside Scientology.  It’s all on the internet.  And of course, Scientology doesn’t want anybody reading that stuff.  I had to work up to going online at all, after so many years of indoctrination that the internet was evil.

But they shot themselves in the foot when they came up with their “Scientologist Online” solution to the internet problem.  That was a project to counteract all the negative information that was piling up about them on the internet.  They wanted Scientologists to put up their profiles online, including biographical data that seemed to prove, “Hey, look at me.  I’m just like you.”

The Event where they released the news of this fantastic new project was L. Ron Hubbard’s Birthday Event (a high holy day for Scientology) in 1998.  I was there.  Everybody at the event got a “birthday gift from Ron” – their very own CD.  This would bring us all into the computer age and make it easy for us to put up our profiles.

In reality, these CDs resulted from an arrangement with Earthlink — who stood to make a lot of money from new subscribers.  Sky Dayton, a Scientologist graduate of the Delphi School in Oregon, had founded the company.  I’m sure he got brownie points for generously providing every Scientologist – free of charge (!!!) – with their very own software.  Oh, and by the way, the CD installed Earthlink as their internet service provider.

Scientology’s internet “Net Nanny”

Along with the internet service (unbeknownst to me at the time), you also got your very own Net Nanny programmed into the software.  This would automatically prevent you from going to certain websites, many of which contained data Scientology didn’t want you to know about.  One day, I found that out by accident, even though I wasn’t even looking for negative data about them – and as yet had no idea that kind of information existed.

One day at the shop, Hansuli Stahli (one of Scientology’s local high muckety-mucks) was in my chair talking about it and asking me if I was going to put up my profile.  I was still an active Scientologist at the time, so I asked him if I’d be able to update my bio after I finished subsequent courses.  He said that’s not the way it works, that the data becomes part of the site and property of the “church,” once it’s up there.

I thought that was odd.  My biographical data belongs to me – not to some website or to anybody else.  And if the website was going to show outdated information about me, I’d just as soon not have it up there.  And I told him I didn’t think I wanted to do that.  I wasn’t angry about it or anything.  Just stating facts.

Fast forward a few days, when I received my Earthlink magazine in the mail, which they used to send out to all their subscribers. I read an interesting article that said I could go to a university website for more information. But my computer wouldn’t take me there.  I didn’t know what was wrong, so I called Earthlink’s customer service to troubleshoot the problem.

No help from help desk

After I explained the problem, I waited on hold for an inordinately long time, before some help desk guy came on the line and told me it wasn’t possible for me to go to that site.  Of course, I wanted to know why, and he had no good reason.  Just that the software wasn’t designed for me to access that site.  He even seemed somewhat irate that I would want to go there.

Even though I don’t consider myself technically savvy (I’m a hairdresser, for pete’s sake), even I could smell a rat. Click To Tweet

Why would they have their magazine send me somewhere for more information, and then design their software to make it so I couldn’t go there?  It reflected badly on Earthlink.  And it stuck in my mind as an unresolved question.

Not that I was looking for negative data about Scientology, but I got curious about why they were saying the internet was so bad.  Before that, I was a comparatively docile little sheep, wanting nothing more than to continue my bogus journey to the top of their “Bridge to Total Freedom.”

I couldn’t go to a perfectly legitimate website.  That didn’t seem like “Total Freedom” to me.  And those Earthlink people were keeping me from it.  Bad, bad Earthlink people!  How incompetent!  Designing their software that made it impossible for me to go to a website their own magazine recommended.

I dodged a bullet

It’s only in retrospect that I finally realized Earthlink wasn’t the culprit at all.  I was blindly groping my way out of the cult and didn’t know it at the time.  So thank you, Earthlink help desk guy.  You did help me after all.

Since then, I’ve found out that the internet is a great resource.  I get over half my library books by way of internet apps.

Also in retrospect, I’m appalled that it took me five more years to figure out that it was time for me to move on. Leaving Scientology is a process. For me, discovering the Net Nanny was a milestone on the road out. Click To Tweet



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  1. Hahahahaha!! Classic. Scientology doesn’t want you reading certain information and then puts out a link to something it wants you to read by has already banned users from accessing that site. Crazy.

    Great blog, btw. Thanks Lynn.

    • Glad you liked it, Andy. Yes, following their “logic” is challenging.

      Edited to add: By the way, now that I think about it, I suspect the reason I had to wait on hold so long was that they probably had to patch me through to Scientology for them to “handle” me on the Net Nanny situation. So maybe I wasn’t talking to an Earthlink help desk guy in the first place. No wonder I couldn’t get any help.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience Lynn.
    FYI, recently I had to call Spectrum about some strange issues with my internet reception. After talking to the Spectrum technical support department, the guy that was helping me and I, started til;kin g about the 5G upgrades that have been taking place. He pulled up a map to look at my location, and said “OH, you are next to Scientology!” I said yes, and asked why he responded in that way. He then told me about Scientology having some massive up grades to their compound, and said that was most surely effecting my service. He said that what they had done was really far and beyond even what Kaiser Hospital has, and really should not have been allowed, due to the interruptions it would cause the surrounding community.
    So, those morons that claim to NOT believe in the internet, turn out to be the ones that are using it the most. SHAMEFUL LYING HYPOCRITES its all they will ever be!!!
    BTW, I got a good laugh the other day, as I saw Janet Weiland having to park on the street and use the loading dock entrance. Not only is she now hav ing to share a 400square foot studio apartment with another member, she now doesn’t get to have her “special” parking that she once use to have. hahaha Couldn’t happen to a more deserving person than her.

  3. So glad I happened upon your Esmb post about this new article, Lynn. First hand written experiences like yours, explaining the lengths Scientology has gone to control it’s membership on use of the internet, are so important. I was already out but under the radar when all this started. Some years later I did read much about it on alt.religion.scientology newsgroup. Sadly, most of those posts have been lost from being indexed on google & other search engines. I hope you will add a link to it at the Internet Resources on Scientology For Newcomers thread. Best wishes

    • Thanks for the tip, Mary. Yes, people who are just beginning to explore this particular rabbit hole are the ones I’m writing for. I come into contact with them all the time in the real world.

  4. I was at that event too. I remember getting inside that CD and reading the list of banned keywords … Part of the filter.

    Clever but a long shot. There was no way to stop their members from eventually knowing all their crimes and that’s exactly why they are failing at the highest (evers) rate than the expansion they achieved in 40+ years. And in the last 5 years the snowball keeps getting bigger. in terms of PR -which is income to them,
    they can only cannabalize their existing diehards and whales to stay afloat.

    The only thing that baffles me is the couple people who wander in through their doors, given the amount of easily accessible and more importantly, easily provable facts about the evil of Scientology.

    • MW, those people don’t “wander in.” They have to be badgered to go in. There are people whose job it is to stand outside in high foot traffic areas and guide people back to the org (body routers). People go in to get the body routers to stop bothering them (because they’re too polite just to say “f**k off”), and then they leave at the earliest opportunity.

      On Hollywood Blvd., the people who go in are tourists, sightseeing in Hollywood. The Scientology center there is just another sight to see, that they can tell the folks back home about.

      One time my friends and I were protesting on L. Ron Hubbard Way, and a carload of people drove into the Scientology parking lot. We tried to warn them, but it turned out they didn’t need it. They were only there to pick up an item for a scavenger hunt. LOL!

      People are not stupid.

      Scientology claims to be “the fastest growing religion in the world.” The fact that they’re saying it is reason enough to believe it’s not true. They used to publish their course completions in their magazines. But after it became obvious that they were recycling the names over and over, they just stopped publishing the completion lists — which is a dead giveaway in itself.


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