If you've visited downtown Kansas City this week, you might have noticed a new addition to the city skyline.
New signs were placed on top of a former bank building owned by the Church of Scientology of Kansas City at 18th Street and Grand Boulevard.
The local Scientology church bought the property at 1801 Grand Blvd. more than 10 years ago.
Now, the religious organization says, renovations to the 65,751-square-foot building are underway.
We begin with an excerpt from the letter Scientology's bogus STAND League sent to The Walt Disney Company. Mike Rinder reported on this in his recent blog post:
The letter expresses Scientology's concern that Disney may not hire a job candidate if it is discovered that said candidate is a Scientologist. Aside from this being blatantly absurd, STAND League conveniently ignores the fact that an essential component of Scientology's Fair Game policy is to get people fired from their jobs and to destroy them utterly.
Look at the Scientology hypocrisy:
Is it already time for Leah Remini's second episode of 2019? For some reason we're still a little discombobulated after the holidays, and this episode came up on us awfully quick. Well, the tree is put away, the decorations are back in the boxes, and Leah is here to get us all enraged again!
In this special episode, Leah and Mike talk to a panel of people who have been ripped off, swindled, physically harmed — and who were also part of the extortion machine going on in Scientology.
You wanted Leah to follow the money? This week she's following the money.
Cory Duncan first contacted us several months ago when he saw our articles about his ex-girlfriend Joy Villa, and how the Scientology "celebrity" was skyrocketing to fame because she'd worn a "Trump" dress at the Grammy Awards last February.
He had some pretty interesting things to say about his relationship with Villa, which took place about ten years ago, and which resulted in the birth of a baby girl.
It was only recently, however, that Duncan got back in touch with us and gave us more solid information, which we were able to confirm through public records. And so, for the first time, we're getting a much more complete picture about Joy Villa and her past before she became a major Scientology donor and the poster woman for the "Make America Great Again" movement.
2018-01-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is the story of a spy paid to infiltrate our lives written by my wife Christie.
I originally wrote down the details of this story in 2012 when it happened. Some of the information was included in the book Fair Game, by Steve Cannane, as he played a part in it. Here is the full story:
If the ending seems obvious while reading it, try reading it with the frame of mind that it was not perfectly obvious while living it. Most of us go through life with friendship, love and kindness in our hearts, hoping to enjoy people, taking them first as genuine and only after they prove to be untrue marking them as such in our minds. It had also been some time since any funny business had come up in my direct life. Things had been relatively quiet though maybe I should have known better since I am "living with John Dillinger," as Mike likes to put it.
2017-01-08, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email to AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) Hi Chris, is there a singular moment that stands out in your COS time that has become particularly difficult and/or haunting to you after your exit where as it was not clear to you when you were ensconced in full COS practices? Keep up the good work & stay strong!
(2) I have a question coming from Leah Remini's show that you've also touched on in past videos. In the most recent episode someone brought up the freeloader bill. Of course I understand the concept of it, but as she said she signed when she was 16, why would she be worried that it would hold up as a legitimate contract and that she could be forced to pay it once she was outside Scientology. Surely that contract wouldn't hold up in any outside court to force her.
Rod Keller has the latest developments for us in a situation that flared up on Friday...
On Friday, Mike Rinder revealed that the FBI was planning to take part in an event held by a Scientology front group.
The Scientology front "United for Human Rights" had announced a "Voice for the Voiceless" seminar in Clearwater, Florida at Scientology's "spiritual mecca," the Flag Land Base, to be presented by an FBI agent from the Tampa office speaking about combating the crime of human trafficking.
2017-01-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
My purpose for writing this post is to connect the dots between L Ron Hubbard's writing called "The GE Is A Family Man" and the heartless disregard that Scientology exhibits when destroying the sacred bonds of family. Since Ron has always drummed into us that Scientology is an applied philosophy, I will take him at his word, that he wants us to actually apply, in the real world, his words, theories and instructions.
Before I enter the GE Is A Family Man writing on this page, I want to first show you that it IS applied in the church. On a post on Marty Rathbun's site Moving On Up A Little Higher dated October 11, 2013 named "Scientology and the Sea Org" I presented this writing,The GE Is A Family Man, and theorized that this denigrating doctrine is a basic basic doctrine that instructs the Scientologist to see family bonding and loving emotional connection as an aberration and weakness.
One of the respondents to my post was Laura DeCrescenzo. She is presently suing the church for enforced abortion. This was her response to my post:
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.
In the 1950s, before he decided that no one had contributed anything of significance to his subject, L. Ron Hubbard would list those from whom his ideas derived. Count Alfred Korzybski is among these luminaries. At the beginning of Science of Survival, Hubbard says "Acknowledgement is made to fifty-thousand years of thinking men without whose speculations and observations the creation and construction of Dianetics would not have been possible." Korzybski made the list (alongside psychiatrist William Alanson White). Korzybski is also celebrated in the foreword to Scientology 8-8008.
Korzybski was a remarkable polymath and the founder of General Semantics, a subject popular among American intellectuals in the late 1940s. Several of Hubbard's confederates during the formulation of Dianetics were avid supporters of Korzybski's work – including Robert Heinlein, A.E. van Vogt, and the woman who became Hubbard's second wife, Sara Northrup.
2016-01-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Regraded Being is taking a well deserved vacation with his family this week and next after more than a year of uninterrupted work.
I thought it would be a great opportunity to look back at some classic RB.
In fact, this is the very first RB cartoon. It appeared on this blog on October 9, 2014.
Ruth McLeod, the Southern Atheist and Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large, riff on news and hot-topic issues using common sense, skepticism and a healthy dose of critical thinking.
This week is the first of our two-part interview with Joe Szimhart, a cult intervention specialist. We talk about the history and nature of cults and get into what it takes to get people out of them.
Please comment away and let us know your feedback or if you have any questions or comments you'd like us to address on air.
There have been assertions of horror stories involving the Church of Scientology in a plethora of books, articles, documentaries, and interviews with ex-members. This new account focuses on Paulette Cooper, one of the first journalists to investigate what many see as the questionable moral practices of L. Ron Hubbard's religion—and one of the first people, he says, to become a target of its vengeance. In a 1969 article in Queen magazine and later in a 1971 book, The Scandal of Scientology, Cooper offered a damning exploration of the church and its practices. "More than previous writers," notes Ortega, "Paulette focused on the harassment of those who dared to speak up about Scientology, whether they'd been in the church or not." In response to her words, Ortega says, the church set out to destroy her life with an unprecedented yearslong campaign of litigation, defamation, intimidation, and harassment that pushed the journalist nearly to the point of suicide.
Like a grumpy neighbor, Scientology is there.
Perhaps it might be a good idea to remind the church's leadership over at its Fort Harrison Avenue bunker that it sits in the city of Clearwater, not L. Ron Hubbardberry.
There are many corporations and organizations around the country that dominate their hometown's social, political and economic life. That is certainly true of Clearwater, where since the 1970s the Church of Scientology has gobbled up real estate at a Pac-Man-like clip, to the point where today the E-meter ministers have accumulated about $184 million in property, with roughly 76 percent of the land enjoying tax exempt status.
"Tignous", illustrator and cartoonist Bernard Verlhac, was a veteran of the Scientology beat - and one of the 12 victims of the attack on the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
Back in 2009, during the first days of the original trial of Scientology for organised fraud, the press bench was packed.
There was some quiet, but tense, competition for the best seats but as the days went by, the media presence fell away and there was elbow room again.
Jefferson Hawkins is a man who is very well known to our readership. We're big fans of his terrific book about his experiences as a Scientologist, Counterfeit Dreams. We learn in that book how Jeff was Scientology's top marketing expert, and was responsible for the famous "volcano" television commercials of the 1980s that helped the organization reach its greatest extent.
Hawkins is also known for another book, Leaving Scientology, which has proved to be a valuable asset for people trying to adjust from life in Scientology (especially in its controlling "Sea Org") to the modern world.
We're fortunate that Jeff continues to think about these issues, and sent us the following item that has timeless advice not only for struggling former Scientologists, but for the rest of us as well. It's a small masterpiece.
2014-01-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Someone recently sent me an audio recording of the New Year's event which I am making my way through. Some of it is a bit hard to hear, but there is enough in there to make for some interesting posts which will be forthcoming when I have the time to put them together.
But in the meantime, I came across an issue of the "High Winds" magazine celebrating the first 25 years of the Sea Org in 1992.
You can see Captain Miscavige here addressing the audience at the International Base (this is before the advent of the Hole):
For years, there have been allegations by those who left Scientology that they faced orchestrated campaigns of blackmail and harassment by the church. Reps for the controversial group have always denied the charges, most recently saying that they "could care less" about former member Leah Remini. But new court documents exposing a never-before-seen conversation between church leader David Miscavige and his subordinates suggests that the church has in fact created the notorious "dead agent" files on departed Scientologists in the past, and that they have been used against those defectors.
As Monique Rathbun sees it, the Church of Scientology and its operatives tried to intimidate her for years - following, spying, aggressively confronting her and her husband, and playing tricks at her workplace to make colleagues think less of her.
That's why she sued.
But Scientology lawyers on Wednesday offered a different take. They said the church's actions were justified and legal - all part of a religious dispute with Rathbun's husband, Marty. He worked as a church executive for decades before leaving in 2004. In 2009, he began speaking out against church management.
Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit against Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, resumes today at the Comal County courthouse in New Braunfels, Texas, and we have someone on the scene.
Local reporter Nick Rogers, who has done fine work for the Texas Citizen, will be sending us updates as today's events unfold.
At issue this time is Scientology's anti-SLAPP motion, which is trying to portray Monique's lawsuit as a cynical and groundless effort that is actually intended to shut down the church's free speech rights. Monique's attorneys have filed for a continuance, and hope to get Judge Dib Waldrip to delay Scientology's motion so she can gather more evidence in discovery.
Scientology attorneys watch other Scientology attorneys in the courtroom As we reported earlier today, local journalist Nick Rogers and photographer Mike Bennitt were in the Comal County courthouse in New Braunfels, Texas today to help us cover the latest hearing in Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige.
Today, Scientology's attorneys presented their argument supporting an anti-SLAPP motion, which they hoped would convince Judge Dib Waldrip to throw the case out of court. That didn't happen. Instead, Waldrip has asked Monique's attorneys to submit a detailed request for evidence tomorrow, giving Scientology until noon Friday to respond to it. That afternoon, he will decide whether to dismiss the case or grant Monique more time to gather the evidence she's requesting.
We've now talked with Monique's attorney, Ray Jeffrey, and he's provided us more detail about today's brutally long day of argument and testimony in court.
Discovery Channel's true-crime sister network, Investigation Discovery, is airing a 1-hour dramatization of Nancy Many's amazing life in Scientology next week, at 10 pm on Wednesday, January 16.
Many has been very effective at keeping this a secret, but recently she let us in on it and now that she's seen the final edit, she's very happy with how the production turned out.
"Out of the blue I got a request last spring from two separate production companies wanting to put my book in a docudrama format," Many says, referring to her harrowing account of surviving Scientology's notorious "Rehabilitation Project Force" and many other experiences in My Billion-Year Contract. She chose a British production company whose executives had some previous experience working on Scientology stories.
2013-01-08, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I would appreciate your participation in the following two question survey. Please provide answers by consulting your own current understanding, without reference to other published materials or views or doctrines of anyone else.
Where were you between 75 million years ago and two hundred thousand years ago?
a.On Earth, in and out of pre homo-sapiens forms, evolving animal bodies into human bodies.
2012-01-08, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientology doesn't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.
So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! Our sources regularly send us Scientology's wacky and tacky fundraising mailers, and each week we choose three of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
Up first, a plea to get more copies of Ron's little book of bland propaganda into every library in the country! [I've cut out some stuff in the middle to have it fit here.]
2010-01-08, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
1. Try not to notice policy and tech alterations or violations, If you should notice them, try not to think about them.
2. If you're told to redo a course or a level, or get more Sec Checking, at your own expense, just do it. Don't ask questions, and never object.
3. If you're told to buy new editions of books or lectures you already own, and trash your old copies, don't ask questions. In particular, don't ask why LRH's words are being changed.
2010-01-08, Matt Sedensky, Associated Press, San Diego Union-Tribune
Though sure to be derided by the church's many critics, its followers say the materials amount to an opportunity to deepen understanding of the religion and to release the last known unpublished Hubbard works dealing with Scientology and Dianetics.
"It would be like discovering that Buddha, unbeknownst to anybody, had sat down and wrote down the entirety of his discoveries and it could be verified that he wrote it," said Tommy Davis, the church's top spokesman.
Scientology leader David Miscavige has been targetted in a lawsuit from a former member who says he and fellow workers were subjected to " assault, threat and menace."
Scientology's leader David Miscavige - a close friend of Tom Cruise - has been accused of violence and intimidation in a lawsuit filed by a former member.
And former member Marc Headley has also alleged that the regime at the movement's base in Hemet, California resembled "a prison camp" in which workers were subjected to sometimes "severe" punishment.
On The Early Show Thursday, co-anchor Julie Chen asked Scientologist spokesman Tommy Davis to comment on many of the notions about the church that have been raised by its critics in the days since Jett passed away, and to explain some of the church's basic beliefs.
"His book is a rehash of tired old lies about Tom and his religion, some new grotesque lies, like the sick comparison of his child to 'Rosemary's Baby' and the nutty assertion that he's the No. 2 head of the Church of Scientology," said Cruise's longtime lawyer, Bert Fields.
Scary Hollywood Lawyer and Designated Protector of the Cruise Brand Bert Fields was already hurling himself upon the grenades Morton had lobbed in the direction of his prized client (whom the author says has ascended to the position of the vice-pope of Scientology), especially a headline-grabbing, "sick and bizarre" section that claims some Scientologists believe that Suri is L. Ron Hubbard's baster-baby, according to the Mail:
If I am to follow convention, I should dismiss Andrew Morton as a tabloid vulgarian and a northern oik inclined to pomposity. I should also point out that, following the pattern of most of his biographies, he hasn't spoken to his latest cash cow, who happens to be Tom Cruise. Journalists, you will note, are jealous of hacks who bounce out of daily toil and into bestselling authorship, especially when their success reels in millions.
THERE are no tapes of Nicole Kidman talking about her sex life with Tom Cruise - despite blackmail claims in a new book, the Church of Scientology said yesterday.
"It's all lies and it's completely gross to even suggest it," said the Australian head of the church, Vicki Dunstan, in defending Scientology's highest-profile recruit.
Morton also claims Cruise's relationship with actress Penelope Cruz fell apart when her father became suspicious of Scientology and emailed an anti-church organization, and that his subsequent relationship with Sofia Vergara ended when she "realized Tom was never alone. Everywhere he went, he was surrounded by Scientologists. They were at his home, they were in his car, they were at the restaurant. They were never short of smiles, but she found them 'powerful and authoritarian.' "
The denials from Camp Cruise are coming fast and furious, even though the book isn't set to hit North American shelves until Jan. 15.
The controversial Church of Scientiology, founded by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard is known to be 'quick with a writ,' ready to sue anyone who dares criticize the movement. In 'L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?' (Lyle Stuart, 402 pp., $20) former Scientologist Brent Corydon and Hubbard's son, L. Ron Jr., have written an expose of the movement that challenges the benign face Scientology seeks to place on its lucrative method of promising peace of mind. Publisher Lyle Stuart says the church has been true to its reputation and he faces multiple suits that are trying to repress the work.
Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of the founder of the Church of Scientology, was sentenced in federal court here yesterday to four years in prison for her role in a conspiracy to plant church spies in government agencies, steal government documents and bug at least one government meeting.
Hubbard, whose husband, L. Ron Hubbard, founded the controversial organization about 30 years ago, sobbed as she told U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson that she "sincerely and publicly apologized" for her actions.
Johnson ordered Hubbard, who has been free pending appeal of her 1979 conviction in the case, to turn herself in to federal officials in three weeks to begin serving her sentence.