Former Scientology Marketing Staffer Speaks Out After Leaving 'Cult'

Last Updated Jan 22, 2010 2:56 PM EST

A former senior writer in the Church of Scientology's "Central Marketing Unit" has left the organization to join a dissident group of independent Scientologists. A rambling account of Steve Hall's life inside Scientology's headquarters can be found on Rediscover Scientology, the dissident group's web site.

The church disputes his account and says Hall was kicked out of the organization after he claimed to be Jesus and Bhudda, and sent a fellow parishioner a 12-page letter claiming he was channelling the man's deceased wife.

Hall (pictured) claims he wrote Scientology's current advertising tagline, "Know Yourself; Know Life," as part of an effort in the mid 1990s to make Scientology more useful to potential recruits and less like a cult. He left the church because its leader, David Miscavige, disagreed with his efforts, he says:

Starting in 1995, Steve began to use his position as Senior Writer to overhaul Scientology marketing and make [L. Ron Hubbard] products and services relevant. Ads that robotically parroted survey buttons were replaced with marketing that was more sophisticated, fresh and humorous.
And readers began to notice. For Dianetics he teamed up with Caroline Mustard and wrote, "When life becomes a battleground, your mind is the best weapon." In 1997, he coined the tag line for Scientology still in use today, "Know Yourself; Know Life." Scientologists who were there in the 1990s may remember the shift when Scientology's marketing took on on new life.
As Steve recalls, "The ads demonstrated it was possible for Scientology to be useful and valuable in solving life problems, instead of being a cult.
Miscavige hated it, Hall claims:
Steve's consequent attempts to "de-cultify" Scientology's image and create a positive future put him on a violent collision course with David Miscavige.
Miscavige screams obscenities and assaults people and instead of observing the obvious, staff become specialists in justified thought, afraid to rock the boat.
The few remaining staff who continue to defend Miscavige are classic cases of the 'battered person syndrome'...
Hall claims that when he finally left the church in 2004 he was presented with a bill for $82,181 for the church's services, which included a $3500 "life orientation course."

Tommy Davis, pr chief for Scientology, dismissed Hall's story. "This guy's a lunatic," Davis said. "He's a sick guy." Davis told BNET that Hall was merely a copywriter at the Church and was "dismissed" after behaving erratically. Hall's exit from the church came after he sent a letter to another Scientologist in which Hall said the man's dead wife was speaking through him, Davis said. Davis also said the $82,181 bill was cancelled and not pursued. "He has no credibility."

Rediscover Scientology is run by "rebel Scientologists" who believe "the Church has drifted from its original humanitarian purpose laid down by LRH."

Correction: The original headline on this story incorrectly referred to Hall as a marketing "chief." Apologies for the error.