Scientology describes itself as the world's fastest-growing religion but the organisation's numbers in NSW are dwindling with the church reliant on overseas devotees, defectors claim.
The organisation has properties worth millions across the CBD, Chatswood and Dundas and in 2017, doubled its national revenue to nearly $40 million, the latest published financial records show. But it is struggling to find new recruits in Sydney, defector Paul Schofield said.
"Australian recruits have dwindled to virtually zero as media coverage and access to the Internet has ensured the truth about the cult is well-known here," Mr Schofield said.
2019-01-13, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left for me in the comment section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) If someone comes in to Scientology and says they are L. Ron Hubbard reborn, how does Scientology authenticate the claim? Or if someone young comes in to an Org and says they were in Scientology in a past life and have already signed a billion year contract, what would they do? If somehow proven true (yeah, right!), do they have to sign up for another billion years? Is there some written procedure to follow in either case?
(2) I was watching Ron Miscavige's podcast recently and he mentioned a policy document of Ron Hubbard's called "The Responsibility of Leaders" in which Hubbard cites examples of tactics a leader needs to master including violence, murder, rape, child abuse and so on. He apparently states that a leader should have subordinates under him who are willing to do illegal things and not tell the leader, so as not to compromise him. One example is murder, another blackmail, he says and then asserts that David Miscavige used this policy letter as his Bible, finding Hubbard stating that ruthlessness is an important trait for a leader to have. Firstly, this seems a very Hitleresque kind of view of leadership and what is also Hitleresque is the lack of reciprocity - the subordinate must be prepared to risk all for the leader but the leadership takes no responsibility for any personal trouble the subordinate may incur. If this is really so, it is a very destructive view of management and leadership and good for anyone interested in Scientology to be very clear about. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.
2019-01-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The saga of empty "ideal" orgs continues.
Miscavige shows up to yank his ribbon, they import people from out of town to make a "crowd" — always inflated by a factor of at least 5 — they take photos and video and then the circus leaves and things settle back into the normal void on nothingness it always was. Except the few footsteps echo in large, deserted marble halls now, instead of the moldy carpets of an old strip mall.
Desperate to get anyone to come into their empty palace, they start promoting for people to hold "events and functions" — because they don't know what else to do with all their empty rooms. And they cannot persuade people to come in the door to find out about scientology. They hope they might have a better shot if they can get them in the building for any reason.
Rod Keller takes us into the razzy world of Scientology classifieds. Sharpen up your resume!
Scientologists who are business owners are expected to manage them according to the writings of L. Ron Hubbard which are known as "Admin Tech." The policies were written for managing a Scientology org or mission, but through the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE) they have become the operating manual for any Scientologist in business. Like any other company WISE members recruit new employees, and we follow the help wanted ads to see what they reveal about Scientology.
The Razzline is one of the go-to places for Scientologists seeking work. Some ads are for Scientology itself, such as this ad for Narconon in Clearwater. As usual, there are no qualifications or experience in drug rehabilitation required to apply at Narconon.
2018-01-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This statement from Paul Haggis' ex-wife Deborah was published a few days ago.
Though I put it on Facebook and Twitter, I want to spread it as widely as possible as I feel what she has to say is important, and it matches what I know of Paul. He, like all of us, has his flaws. But what I do know is that he is a gentleman in every sense of the word, and a generous and kind man who spends more time caring about and trying to help others than anyone I know.
I also refer readers back to my earlier post Framing Whistleblowers — The Scientology Playbook
The show where I answer your questions. Please leave any comments or feedback in the comments section here below. I see everything and want to hear from you.
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Ten years ago tomorrow, a nine-minute video of Tom Cruise was leaked to the Internet, and the Church of Scientology would never be the same.
It's hard to believe so much time has passed since the infamous Cruise video showed up and then resulted in the Anonymous movement turning its sights on Scientology. For those of us who had already been watching Scientology for some time, it was really something to see Scientology have to deal with so many new critics, and all at the same time. Then, a few weeks later, Anonymous began its real-world protests at Scientology locations around the planet — well, let's not get ahead of the story.
We've told the tale of the Cruise video several times, and we went into a lot of detail about it to mark the demise of Gawker. Here's the meat of that chronology, to remind you of what an important event took place ten years ago. In many ways, Scientology watching has never recovered...
Phil and Willie Jones have done it again. In part through the generosity of the readers of this website, they've raised enough toward their overall goal that they have signed a contract for a new "Call Me" billboard, and they wanted us to announce it.
They also wanted us to reveal where the new billboard is going to be — right on Sunset Boulevard, and only blocks from Scientology's "Big Blue" headquarters on Fountain Avenue.
We reminded Phil that in the past, when he first announced the location for his original Los Angeles billboard, two companies then caved under pressure from the Church of Scientology and tore up his contracts before he found a third company that was willing to stand by him.
In 2009, researcher Jeff Jacobsen wrote about Scientology's documented problems bringing foreigners to the United States to work in its "Sea Organization." Anecdotally, ex-Scientologists say that the church relies heavily on foreigners to accept jobs under the bizarre working conditions of the Sea Org, which requires signing a billion-year contract and working 16-hour days, seven days a week, often at menial labor jobs, and for just pennies an hour.
Scientology brings such workers to this country under a special visa — the Non-Immigrant Religious Worker or R-1 visa — under the idea that they're coming here to perform religious duties at a bona fide tax exempt religious organization, which are the requirements to qualify. Some of those applications had been denied by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and had been appealed, and those appeal documents were public. Based on them, Jacobsen found that Scientology had a hard time explaining how Sea Org employees, who often work in menial or clerk positions, should be considered "religious" workers. He also found cases where the workers themselves were bewildered by the entire process, and that they found themselves virtually indentured servants in the US, making next to nothing and pretending to be "religious" workers when often they were just doing janitorial work.
But how big was this issue? For years, we've heard stories of large numbers of immigrants being brought to the US to work in the Sea Org and staff Scientology facilities, particularly its "spiritual mecca," the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida.
2016-01-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
You sort of have to feel for the people that buy into the SuMP (Scientology Media Productions) pitches, and this woman has obviously jumped in with both feet.
Instead of getting her roof fixed, she gives money for SuMP. A completely useless activity that serves no purpose other than as a hook to get money.
And she actually believes that "we changed the whole dynamic in South America with WTH". And then the "media is all distorted" so you cannot rely on them to report about this massive success of changing Colombia, they never get it right. So, the ONLY source of "true information" is Dear Leader and his PR spokespuppets.
The Underground Bunker is very happy that we could play a small role in bringing together one of our favorite people - Claire Headley - with David Pakman, who is doing some very good work interviewing former Scientologists about their experiences.
Claire explains how she grew up in Scientology, what it meant to be a young member of the Sea Org - and signing a contract for a billion years at only eight years of age - and what it was like to dedicate your entire life to L. Ron Hubbard.
Her story should be pretty familiar to readers here, but it's always amazing to hear her explain just what she went through. A few years ago, we wrote about how she found herself working as the "examiner" when Tom Cruise had been audited by Marty Rathbun. It was Claire's job to sign off on that auditing, and Tom wasn't happy when Claire decided he didn't have a "floating needle."
–Claire Headley, who worked at Scientology headquarters as a sea organization member for 15 years, joins David to discuss working for the Church of Scientology, being involved in the auditing of Tom Cruise, being forced by the Church to have two abortions, and her eventual escape from the Church's remote compound in California
–On the Bonus Show: Men who post selfies are more psychopathic, the Connecticut cancer chemo case, Miss Bum Bum and injections gone wrong, more…
Back in the day, still infested with space cooties. When did Howard Stern become such a doormat?
Yesterday, once again, he had actress Kirstie Alley on his show, and once again he let her off easy regarding her involvement in Scientology and her rivalry with Leah Remini.
The last time Alley was on, she called Remini a "bigot" after Remini had left Scientology and then made public that her former friends in the organization had dropped her like a hot potato - a result of Scientology's "disconnection" policy.
2014-01-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Please see the recent post on the African Blog about the hoops Field Auditors are now being made to jump through for GAG II.
Now comes this from I (don't really) HELP UK. More expected hype about tremendous change and drinking glasses of milk.
And then, ruh-roh, plans change because there is ANOTHER "vital tool" for field auditors. GAG II is "old news" already?
A surprising new story out of France today has huge implications for Scientology in that country. Our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, has the lowdown for us. Take it away, Jonny...
Scientology, already convicted in France of organised fraud, is in trouble with the courts here again.
The Paris Court of Appeal is resurrecting a case dating back to 1998 in which a private school allegedly sneaked Scientology material onto its curriculum.
Our video sources came through again, and now, only a week after we brought you video of the November IAS gala, we have Scientology's full New Year's Eve party!
In a break from tradition, the event on December 27 was held in Clearwater, Florida — usually, Scientology celebrates the new year in Los Angeles. But as we've been pointing out, this year saw a big consolidation of events and staff in Scientology's Florida "mecca" at the expense of both Los Angeles and the headquarters in England.
So for more than two hours, church leader David Miscavige presented the highlights of Scientology's 2013 to a few thousand of his followers in a giant tent across the street from the new Super Power Building in Clearwater. And now you can get the same experience!
The Headleys The second half of the series in the Tampa Bay Times about the 2010FBI investigation of Scientology landed on the Internet tonight, and we've given it a good look.
Joe Childs and Tom Tobin have done another fine job amassing new details about the FBI's probe of human trafficking allegations at Scientology's facilities, where workers, some of them children, toil long hours for little pay. As in our own story about the FBI giving up, the Times reporters found that at one point the federal investigators were taking seriously the idea of raiding Scientology's international base east of Los Angeles.
Childs and Tobin advance the story in a major way by consulting experts who explain how the FBI — and the prosecutors it would turn over its evidence to — were confronted with a difficult proposition. Even with evidence that some workers were treated appallingly, Scientology had strong protection in the First Amendment, which keeps courts from meddling in church affairs.
The Tampa Bay Times has published the first half of a two-part series on what happened to the 2010FBI investigation into Scientology.
We wrote our own story about that in March 2012. We found that despite talking to many ex-church members who alleged human trafficking abuses, the FBI lost steam and its investigation resulted in no charges being filed. (More recently, we broke the news that the Department of Homeland Security took up where the FBI left off, but also seems to be having issues with its investigation.)
The Times also put together this great 19-minute video about Scientology's bizarre office-prison for executives, called "The Hole," and it features interviews with former church spokesman Mike Rinder and former Sea Org worker John Brousseau.
Scientology defectors describe violence,abuse and humiliation in "the Hole". Isolated work sites. Limited communication with the outside. Psychological pressure to obey. Guards poised to chase after runaways.
The Cult of Scientology imposes a raft of restrictions and mental controls on its "religious" workers, who grind on, abiding 100-hour workweeks.
2013-01-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Despite millions of dollars of legal threats, propaganda and creepy investigations directed to shudder them in to silence, Joe Childs and Tom Tobin of the Tampa Bay Times are still at it. Their new series includes video interviews of Mike Rinder and John Brousseau as well as court footage of Debbie Cook. Not a lot of new revelations, however. Clearly, though, another validation of the truth of the axiom, 'if you lie it becomes part of your future, if you tell the truth it becomes part of your past.'
2012-01-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Tony Ortega at the Village Voice has just filed a very informative, accurate story on the extent of David Miscavige's ownership of Tom Cruise: How Scientology Spied on Tom Cruise.
The highlight comes towards the end where Mike Rinder describes the surrealistic scene of Miscavige bypassing Cruise to fire the latter's assistant into Creative Artists Agency like a missile. It gives insight into the depth of self-destruction Miscavige will initiate for the short-term satisfaction of silencing critics and truth. Quite in addition to demonstrating the cult-like control Miscavige wields over Cruise.
But, please read the whole thing. Don't miss Claire Headley's description of Tom's first six month check after I left the International Headquarters base. The very fellow, Miscavige, who has sent dozens of top notch auditors and examiners to gulags for allegedly calling floating needles that were not, goes "ape shit" on Claire Headley for not calling a floating needle that was not there. Miscavige's dishonest corruption of tech apparently knows no bounds. I find it interesting that all the sudden, after two years of flying, Tom can't fly anymore. Solution? Tell him he's flying when he's not. Read carefully. It gives great insight into how Miscavige has reversed the tech internationally. If he'll do it in a heartbeat to Tom Cruise, imagine what he is willing go do to all the lesser riff raff (i.e. Flag and other org public)?
2012-01-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Tom Cruise and David Miscavige in happy times Three former Church of Scientology officials tell the Voice that for years -- at least between 1991 and 2005 -- church leader David Miscavige kept a close watch on Tom Cruise with the use of a man named Michael Doven, who served as Cruise's personal assistant.
For much of that time, 1991 to 2001, Cruise, one of Scientology's most famous faces, was actually estranged from the church (a closely-held secret until just a few years ago). While Cruise kept his distance from Scientology during that period, Miscavige still received detailed, daily reports about the Cruise household through Doven, the former officials say.
Doven was reached on the telephone Wednesday, but he hung up when he learned that it was the Voice calling. An e-mail was subsequently sent to him with specific questions about the allegation that he spied on his employer, Cruise, on behalf of the church, but he did not respond.
2012-01-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
In November we started a new feature here on Fridays: the Voice has obtained hundreds of copies of L. Ron Hubbard's previously unpublished "Orders of the Day," which he gave to crew members as he sailed the Mediterranean. Our documents cover the period from late 1968 through 1971, and this time we're looking at what was happening the week of January 8 through 14 during those years.
After the jump, LRH is grumpy about all his frisky crew members...
[Confused? Go here for our primer, "What is Scientology?" For recent controversies in the church, check out our stories on Debbie Cook, secrets of the Super Power Building, and spying on Tom Cruise. We know these 40-year-old ship's documents aren't for everyone, but they've been giving us some interesting insights into the mind of Hubbard as he ran Scientology from a yacht in the Mediterranean. Check back here often for more breaking news about the church.]
Police said the park slaying was drug-related. The motive in the Palmetto Street shooting was robbery, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.
"They approached (Lebedic) and tried to rob her of her backpack and she fought back, trying not to give it up, and they shot and killed her," Watts said.
So, it's with some delight that we turn to the interview given by John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston to Hello! in celebration of the birth of their son Benjamin. No underplaying the crackalackadingdong stuff with these operating thetans. The secret of their marriage? "The tools of Scientology," says Travolta.
"We had a beautiful quiet birth, based on L Ron Hubbard's philosophy," offers Preston, by which she means she and the birthing staff refrained from saying anything during labour, normal shouty childbirth being "a setup that the devil himself would not countenance" according to L Ron Hubbard.
2011-01-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The post that follows was submitted by Northwest Independent Coordinator Tony DePhillips. Tony coordinates an impressive network of prominent, smart OTs from Alaska to Oregon and from Washington to Wyoming - many of whom, for a variety of good reasons, are still flying missions under the radar. This little gem on the subject of statistics was written by one of them. An indvidual, by the way, who has accumulated considerable Scientology expansion statistics of his own over the years.
I am going to introduce his post with the answer to his implied question: why aren't statistics being shared and operated on by Miscavige and co? Well, it is one answer, straight from cob:
Sworn deposition testimony of David Miscavige taken in a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in April 1990, three years after having invented and then appropriated to himself the highest "ecclesiastical" position in the church, Chairman of the Board RTC:
2009-01-13, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
A Chicago dental practice will pay $462,500 to settle a class sexual and religious harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that James L. Orrington, D.M.D., Ltd. discriminated against 18 employees by subjecting them to sexual harassment, including sexual propositions, comments and touching; forcing them to engage in Scientology religious practices and learn about Scientology as conditions of their employment; and/or retaliating against employees who complained about the sexual or religious harassment. The lawsuit, which was filed September 20, 2007, was assigned to Judge Robert Dow of the Northern District of Illinois and captioned EEOC et al. v. James L. Orrington D.M.D., Ltd., 07 C 5317. The consent decree resolving the case was entered by the court this morning.
A Chicago dentist has agreed to pay $462,500 to settle federal allegations that he violated U.S. discrimination laws by sexually harassing workers and by forcing employees who wanted to keep their jobs to submit to indoctrination in the tenets of Scientology.
The Chicago office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had filed a civil lawsuit against James L. Orrington in September 2007, asserting he had discriminated against 18 employees by subjecting them to sexual propositions, comments and improper touching. The suit also alleged that Orrington violated federal law by requiring workers "to engage in Scientology religious practices and learn about Scientology as conditions of their employment."
2009-01-13, J. Hoberman, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Baldwin's fantastic but "not untrue saga" references a particular cabal that came together in mid-'40s Pasadena-and also fascinated avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger, who explicitly drew on it in his 1954 Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. Pioneer rocket scientist and would-be warlock Jack Parsons, a follower of the notorious magus Aleister Crowley, found his own protégé in the young science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, as well as a "scarlet" consort in the proto beatnik artist Marjorie Cameron. Initiated into Parsons's occult sex magic rites, Hubbard ran off with a chunk of his mentor's money as well as his mistress, and went on to found his own enormously successful religion. Parsons married Cameron; he suffered a spectacular death when his garage-laboratory exploded in 1952, while she became the godmother of New Age spiritualism.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today temporarily suspended an ordinance it passed last week to limit protests outside a large Church of Scientology compound near Hemet.
Protesters show up about once a month outside Golden Era Productions, home to 500 Scientologists, on Gilman Springs Road. In an incident last week, protesters were swarmed by sheriff's deputies trying to enforce the ordinance. After a vigorous debate among supervisors, the ordinance was suspended today.
The measure, which was requested by the church to keep demonstrators away from private homes and was rushed through last week as "urgent," is supposed to keep protesters 50 feet from the property line of any residence. Supervisors believed it still would allow protests outside the compound's front gate.
Andrew Morton's biography of Tom Cruise, though it's brought threats of a $100m lawsuit, has emboldened other critics of the increasingly rabid Hollywood star. Mark Ebner, the investigative reporter, just emailed us links to some Scientology promotional videos. Morton's central claim is that Cruise, star of movies from Risky Business to Mission Impossible, is the effective number two of the Church of Scientology, the cultish religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard, and subscribed to by other eccentric Hollywood actors such as John Travolta. The videos bear out, at the very least, that Cruise is central to the organization's marketing efforts. In this amazing clip, to a background track of theme from Mission Impossible, Cruise explains how Scientologists are "the authorities on the mind", the only people who can bring peace and unite cultures. Watch it, after the jump, before the scary Scientologists silence us all.
AUSTRALIA'S major book retailers have bowed to pressure from the Church of Scientology and will not stock the controversial biography on Tom Cruise by British writer Andrew Morton. Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography will hit American shelves on January 15 and has already generated its fair share of controversy.
The secretary general of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, Ronald Pofalla, said the left-leaning government in Berlin had made a serious mistake by allowing the new center to open.
"It is intolerable that Scientology can throw its weight around in the capital of Germany," he said.
The chairman of the Lutheran Church in Germany, Wolfgang Huber, said Scientology had nothing to do with religion "and certainly nothing to do with Christianity," and should not enjoy the protection of the state. "They want to pressure people and do business under the cloak of religion," he told the Berlin daily B.Z., adding that Scientology aimed to make its followers into "perfect machines."
The fact that the new Scientology Centre is now in the German capital has prompted a heated debate in the media.
Critics accuse the organisation of cult-type practices and exploiting followers for financial gain and they argue that the centre may become a meeting point for Scientologists across Europe.
But Scientologists reject this and they claim that they want to help people, and carry on their "community work".
Nye County SheriffTony DeMeo explained that soon after taking office, he met with Front Sight's founder, Ignatius Piazza. At that meeting, the sheriff found that if the county wanted to continue qualifying and training deputies at Front Sight, DeMeo had to give Piazza "special consideration."
Instead the newly-elected sheriff did just the opposite. DeMeo took away what Piazza wanted most - his special deputy status.
2005-01-13, Lindsay Murdoch, Sydney Morning Herald
Among the scores of camera-wielding foreigners who came yesterday to see fishing boats hanging precariously from the bridge where the bodies were thick on Boxing Day was a cheerful 23-year-old Sydney woman, Carly Crutchfield, wearing her yellow Scientology Assist Team T-shirt.
"We're doing trauma counselling ... we are here to help the people in a real way," she said as a member of her team climbed on the scuttled fishing boat Putrakennedy for a better photo opportunity.
But Ms Crutchfield ("I'm an investment specialist, property and finance") and her team failed to notice grief-stricken 45-year-old Jauhari squatting under the bow of the boat.
Tom Cruise played the role of parental expert this weekend. While in New Zealand to shoot a new movie, he advised parents to work with their children and, if the kids are having problems at school, not to rush to put them on medication. "Today in America I know they are so quick to put children on drugs because they are not learning well," Cruise told reporters before beginning production on the $100 million "The Last Samurai" outside the North Island city of New Plymouth. In early interviews -- at the time he starred in 1983's "Risky Business" -- Cruise, now 40, admitted to being dyslexic himself. This weekend, reports the Associated Press, he told reporters that he attended 15 different schools while growing up and had a "very difficult time" with formal education. He eventually conquered his learning disabilities thanks to the "study tools" from the Scientology religion "that have helped me to be able to educate myself," he said. Cruise faced the press after a ceremonial New Zealand greeting from local indigenous Maori, which included the traditional pressing of noses with local tribesmen and women, reports AP. The star also said his girlfriend, Penelope Cruz, and his two children would be visiting him Down Under while he shoots the movie.
Those of you out there who remember the 70s will be happy to know that Mike Argue, former Scientologist and head of the band Chester, recently received a SOCAN classic award for the 100,000th airplay of his ditty You Make My Life A Little Bit Brighter.
It all got Argue reminiscing about his days in Scientology, when the church's "celebrity centre" attracted a boatload of notables, including a number of performing artists who went on to fame and fortune.
Echoing a letter to the New York Times in October, more than 30 industry luminaries, including John Calley, Dustin Hoffman, Sherry Lansing and Oliver Stone, signed the letter, which compares anti-Scientology attitudes with the early persecution of Jews by the Nazis.
The letter notes that Scientologists are banned from political life in Germany and that, "like the book burning" of the Nazi era, extremists in Kohl's CDU party have sought to ban performances by prominent Scientologists like Tom Cruise, whose "Mission: Impossible" sparked demonstrations over the summer.