Mike Rinder is a former senior director at the Church of Scientology. Once a fierce defender of the Church's public image, Mike is now well known for exposing Scientology abuses in documentaries and TV shows, most notably Leah Remini's A&E series "Scientology and the Aftermath." I sat down with Mike to talk about his story and the many parallels between our former faiths.
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2018-01-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology is so desperate to get anything resembling good PR they are putting out paid press releases about an upcoming "attempt" to do a "record-setting" street clean up.
Scientology Volunteer Ministers Attempt Record-Breaking Cleanup to Help Reduce Crime
CLEARWATER, Fla., Jan. 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In continuation of their campaign for a safe Clearwater, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) of Florida will carry out a record-breaking 500-man community cleanup on February 10th 2018 in the Greenwood neighborhood. Neighbors are invited to participate and enjoy a BBQ after the cleanup.
2018-01-14, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left in the comments section of my Critical Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions we take up are:
(1) Ex-Scientologist here. I have a bit of a tin-foil hat theory that I would like to share. During my time as a Scientologist, I never made it to any advanced lectures like the Congresses, but from what I have studied it seems like there are dozens of examples of missing audio scattered throughout many of his lectures. Do you think that there might have been an intentional purge of what the Church believes to be unfavorable statements or opinions from these lectures? It feels like a stretch to be honest, since I'm sure in reality it was probably just cheap equipment. What do you think? Do you have any examples, perhaps even entire books and lectures that the Church is trying to make everyone forget about? Thanks for indulging me!
(2) Could you describe how it is in the Sea Org when you get older? Is there retirement? Or a pension plan? Or a reduced work program? Is there a Sea Org cemetery? Burial at sea? Are these expenses paid for? Perhaps these issues have changed over the decades since the start of the Sea Org. Can you comment on any changes with these topics over the years?
Rod Keller checks in with a look at how David Miscavige's plan for new Narconons around the world is increasingly running into obstacles.
Scientology is planning to open a new Narconon drug rehab facility in the small town of Ballivor, Ireland. They have purchased the building that once housed the Raspberry Wood Nursing Home, and the Narconon website has a placeholder for "Ireland" in preparation for the opening. Residents are opposed to the center and Noel French of the Meath County Council is finding that Scientology is secretive about its undertakings and does not welcome community comment or concern. He told the Irish Times, "We have tried to find out what the building is going to be used for but we've been stonewalled with secrecy. Why all the secrecy over a nursing home in the middle of a town with 1,700 residents?"
[Planned Narconon Ireland in Ballivor]
2017-01-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
One of L. Ron Hubbard's more intriguing —some would say revolutionary—concepts was compartmentalizing the mind into two separate units: the analytical; and the reactive.
He defined the reactive mind as, "a portion of a person's mind which works on a totally stimulus-response basis, which is not under his volitional control, and which exerts force and power of command over his awareness, purposes, thoughts, body and actions. Stored in the reactive mind are engrams, and here we find the single source of aberrations and psychosomatic ills." (Scientology 0-8)
Engrams are recorded incidents of pain and unconsciousness in a person's mind. The unconsciousness can be anything from losing a bit of awareness from stubbing a toe, to comas lasting months due to severe accidents. Birth and death are considered engramic experiences, too. And since LRH believed we'd lived for quadrillions of years, the number of accumulated engrams is staggering.
Jeffrey Augustine is back with another investigation of Scientology's essential concepts...
Following the sudden departure of Tommy Davis as the Church of Scientology's spokesman in 2011, the organization no longer has an actual Scientologist to represent it on television or in documentaries. Seemingly by default, Scientology leader David Miscavige's attorney Monique Yingling — a non-Scientologist – has found herself cast in the unlikely role as the international spokeswoman for the church.
During ABC20/20's recent episode, "Scientology: A War Without Guns," Yingling appeared to speak on behalf of Miscavige at the last minute. Like her previous appearance in April in an episode about Ron Miscavige's book Ruthless, Yingling was given a lot of airtime to present the church's side of things. And this time, at one point ABC's Dan Harris asked her a very straightforward question, and her reply was stunning:
2016-01-14, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Last week I posted the first of a multi-part interview with former Scientologist Tim DeWall. In our first interview we discussed how Tim got involved and this week we continue to the next stage of his experience, working at the Church of Scientology of Tampa.
This and the other interviews I do on this channel are all being done in an effort to provide a more well rounded look at the subject of Scientology and how it is practiced in the real world versus what you are told or read about in L. Ron Hubbard's books. There is a huge difference between Hubbard's utopian vision of a world free of insanity, criminality and war, and how Scientology is actually used inside its own organization. I also discuss this in detail in my recently published book, Scientology: A to Xenu - An Insider's Guide to What Scientology is Really All About.
Tim and his wife Sylvia got out of Scientology just last year after decades of involvement. Let's pick up now with Part 2 of our interview and see what it's like to be a staff member for Scientology.
A day after Alex Gibney learned that he'd been nominated for an award by the Director's Guild of America for his documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, his movie was left out of the nominations for Documentary Feature which were announced this morning for the 88th Academy Awards, to be presented in Los Angeles on February 28.
Besides the DGA nomination, Going Clear had been racking up an impressive list of other awards and nominations, and it had been HBO's most-watched documentary in a decade. It had also enjoyed two separate theatrical runs, making it eligible for an Oscar nomination. But ultimately it was left out of the nominees, depriving Gibney of a chance for a second statuette. Previously, he had won for his 2007 film, Taxi to the Dark Side. He was also nominated for 2005's Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.
This year's nominees for Documentary Feature are: What Happened to Miss Simone?, directed by Liz Garbus; Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman; Amy, Asif Kapadia; The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer; and Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom, Evgeny Afineevsky.
2016-01-14, Danielle E. Gaines, Frederick News-Post
The case over the historic designation of Trout Run — a Catoctin Mountain parcel where the Church of Scientology wants to open a Narconon drug treatment center — will head back to the Frederick County Council.
A Frederick County Circuit Court judge ruled this week that the council did not properly outline the basis for its decision when it voted against historic designation of the 40-acre camp south of Thurmont.
2015-01-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another in the series where an interested "wog" communicates to a staff member of an "ideal" org, inquiring about a service they offer on the internet.
These conversations provide some fascinating insight into the bubble world of scientology....
My snarky comments are in red.
We've been curious about what Scientology was going to do with the old KCET studios in Los Angeles since they bought the complex back in 2011. It's now under renovation, and we're getting more and more information about what Scientology leader David Miscavige thinks he's going to do with it.
Now, Scientology has put out a website with a lot more detail about the new plans, and we thought we'd excerpt some of the more relevant parts of it, for informational purposes.
Of course, there's no surprise that the main reason for this new "global" media center is to, naturally, spread L. Ron Hubbard's holy scripture, Dianetics and Scientology...
Bruce HinesClaire Headley and Bruce Hines are taking us on our journey to train as Scientologists. Claire spent years working with Scientology's "tech," and was trusted to oversee the auditing of Tom Cruise. Bruce was in Scientology for 31 years and spent about half that time as a senior case supervisor. Go here to see the first part in this series.
After our holiday break, it's time to get back to moving up the Bridge to Total Freedom! When we left off in December, Claire and Bruce had taken us all the way through Operating Thetan Level Three and L. Ron Hubbard's epic handwritten tale about the galactic genocidal warlord, Xenu. This week, it's on to OT 4, but initially we're going to look at "old" OT 4, which Claire tells us she didn't experience.
BRUCE: like Claire I never did the old version of OT 4, nor did I study it. After the release of Dianetic Clear and NOTs in September, 1978, very few people did this older version of OT 4. And after about 1982, no one did it at all. In fact, these days, of the OT levels, only OT 2 and OT 3 are the same as their original versions.
2014-01-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is why David Miscavige is so terrified of his "International Events" being seen by anyone outside the bubble. (You would think He would want all that good news disseminated far and wide?)
But the problem is that when what he says gets out into the real world, there are people who actually check the Shermanspeak(r) bs he spouts against FACTS. Pesky things them facts....
The New Years video went onto the internet yesterday and already it has hit the media in Ireland, because one of the "featured" videos concerned the DublinMission (which was a very sad little place when I went to visit it 2 years ago).
Ocean FM - based in County Sligo - are insisting that the clip from the video which is presented as an 'interview' being conducted with a Scientologist in the Ocean FM studios is bogus, that the studio is NOT that of Ocean FM, and the 'presenter' conducting the interview is not known to anyone at the station.
2014-01-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Tony Ortega put up the video of the New Year's event today.
Unlikely many could stand the torture of watching the whole thing. If you have a choice, it's a good idea to avoid the avalanche of Shermanspeak like the bubonic plague. It can make your ears bleed and brain turn to mush.
I mentioned last week that I had been going through the event and making some notes. I never got around to publishing them. I didnt make it through the whole event, and don't plan on doing so as now anyone who is interested can watch it for themselves if they have a masochistic streak.
UPDATE 11:45 PM: THE ATLANTIC JUST REMOVED THE SCIENTOLOGY ADVERTORIAL IN THE FACE OF MOUNTING RIDICULE. THEY POSTED THIS NOTICE:
"We have temporarily suspended this advertising campaign pending a review of our policies that govern sponsor content and subsequent comment threads."
ALSO, The Atlantic took down all 25 comments on its Scientology advertorial, but we nabbed them before they disappeared. We're reproducing them for posterity below.
2012 was a milestone year for the Dark Cult, with the dread message spreading to more than 10,000 conclaves and covens in 167 nations -- figures that represent a growth rate 20 times that of a decade ago.
2013-01-14, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The purported import of the headline story in Monday's Tampa Bay Times is that it tells how the FBI investigation into David Miscavige went belly up. While the story pretty accurately chronicles parts of the FBI's human trafficking investigation into David Miscavige and the church of Scientology, inexplicably the Times chose to ignore many facts on how the investigation went south. That is despite the fact that Tony Ortega (then of the Village Voice) reported on many of those facts nearly a year ago, FBI Investigation of Scientology: Already Over Before We Even Heard of It. The Times also highlights a bizarre, discredited explanation for FBI inaction revolving around Larry Wright's February 2011New Yorker story.
Ortega has detailed the inaccuracy/omissions in the Times story tonight on his blog, FBI/Scientology story at the Underground Bunker. That is a must-read for anyone interested in the truth of the matter.
Nonetheless, you will probably find the Times story interesting as it details a bizarre cops and robbers tale only Scientology Inc. could generate in this day and age.
2013-01-14, Kevin Koeninger, Courthouse News Service
Jeffrey Peacock, owner of the Crossroads Animal Hospital, sued Clear Advantage Business Solutions, in Cuyahoga County Court.
Clear Advantage is the only defendant.
Peacock claims Clear Advantage and its representative Roger Harrison offered consulting services for his animal hospital and presented a contract, which stated "that defendant 'uses some secular administrative technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard,' but that defendant is 'a privately owned company, separate from and not a part of any Church of Scientology,'" according to the complaint.
2012-01-14, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Ann Marie Tidman Broeker Logan passed away on June 14, 2011. Annie was L Ron Hubbard's closest friend and his exclusive direct personal and business aide during the last several years of his life.
Annie with L Ron Hubbard
Shortly before John Brousseau (JB) left the corporate church in April 2010 he was told that Annie had contracted lung cancer. Since then a network of friends on the outside has sought to assist her knowing full well the suppression she was under that would cause such a scourge to invade her body.
2012-01-14, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
"Ready for your Super Power Rundown, Tom?" And we thought it was going to be tough to follow Debbie Cook.
We're glad that we got those improvements to the underground bunker in place before the new year; we don't know if the old setup could have handled the hurricane-force enturbulation that hit with the coming of 2012. While we were still recovering from the Debbie Cook cyclone, this week's stories really took us by surprise.
After starting our week with another installment of Sunday Funnies, we unwrapped a big present for our loyal readers Monday morning: previously unpublished renderings and schematics of Scientology's "Flag Mecca" -- the Super Power Building.
For five months, the Squirrel Busters flitted around in their golf cart and popped up with cameras everywhere Marty Rathbun went, even filming him from a paddleboat in the canal behind his house. They engaged in what the sheriff's chief deputy and the county attorney called provocation until Rathbun snatched a pair of sunglasses from one of the Squirrel Busters, leaving a scratch on his forehead. They filed charges to have Rathbun arrested for assault; the county attorney dropped the case.
2011-01-14, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Let us not ever lose sight of what sets an Independent Scientologist apart from a Radical Scientologist. Independent Scientologists represent the hope that the workability of Scientology can and will be salvaged from the reversal of the subject that is practiced and enforced by Radical (Corporate) Scientology. That will be achieved by recognizing where Scientology has been and is being reversed by RS, and as-ising the reversal by practice of STANDARD TECHNOLOGY. Standard Technology can only be realized by recognizing and validating the fundamental principles and purposes of the subject – and never losing sight of them in practice. The following passage by LRH from Creation of Human Ability (in an introduction to the Axioms) describes some of those fundamentals, while at the same time describing the Radical Scientology reversal process quite well.
Scientology concludes and demonstrates certain truths. These truths might be considered to be the highest common denominator of existence itself.
The following summary of these truths has the aspect of precision observations rather that philosophic hazardings. When treated as precision observations, many results occur. When regarded as philosophic opinions, only more philosophy results.
Wikinews interviewed author Nancy Many about her book My Billion Year Contract, and asked her about life working in the elite Scientology group known as the "Sea Org". Many joined Scientology in the early 1970s, and after leaving in 1996 she later testified against the organization. Published in October, Many's book has gone on to become one of the top selling new books on Scientology at Amazon.com.
In Italy, the pre-Christmas release of the book "The Courage to Speak Out - Stories of ex-Scientologists" was met with a promise from the National Church of Scientology of Italy to bring legal action against the author and "whomever has assisted her." A spokeswoman for the book's publisher told CNA that, as of yet, no such action has been taken against them.
"The Courage to Speak Out" includes stories from 14 ex-members of the Church of Scientology. It is the second volume from Maria Pia Gardini that relates first-hand perspectives from inside this church. The first edition, titled "My Years in Scientology," was based on her own time as a member.
The Chicago office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a civil lawsuit against James L. Orrington in September 2007, asserting he had discriminated against 18 female employees by subjecting them to sexual propositions and comments, and by requiring workers "to engage in Scientology religious practices and learn about Scientology as conditions of their employment."
Does Xenu know no shame? The Church of Scientology, which is neither church or science, have obtained the medical records of protesters who have demonstrated against the cult and, after finding out that two of the regular protesters are HIV positive, are seeking a public ordinance that would prevent further protests because they would pose a health risk to cult members.
Because it's a well established fact that HIV is transmissible only through loud chanting and speeches given on bullhorns.
In lieu of Golden Globes awards speeches, our East Coasted sibling site posted a memorable video package, via Hollywood Interrupted, fêting messianic Scientology mouthpiece Tom Cruise as he accepted their 2005 Freedom Medal of Valor. Like most of Scientology's sacred babblings, the text was never meant to reach outside eyes; the video quickly disappeared from YouTube, soon to shake off from the temporary effects of the tranquilizing serum plunged into its neck and find itself buried alive beneath a patch of carefully attended petunias on the grounds of Gilman Hot Springs HQ.
2008-01-14, Dana Goodyear, Letter from California, New Yorker
The dozens of local buildings owned by the Church, many of them historically significant and now prominently marked with posters advertising "Dianetics" or with the eight-pointed cross that serves as one of Scientology's symbols, have entered the landscape of iconic L.A. architecture as a visually stimulating mash of old Hollywood and seventies-style art direction and signage. At Celebrity Centre, where a large yellow sign affixed to a south-facing roof overlooking the 101 Freeway announces the building and its owner, this juxtaposition is especially acute. Diane Kanner, an architectural historian who specializes in twentieth-century Los Angeles, calls the building Château Scientology.
"Most people in Hollywood are scared of talking publicly and candidly about Tom Cruise," Morton says. "They know that he and the church (of Scientology) are extremely litigious and can be quite intimidating."
Still, Morton says, he conducted about 130 interviews -- off and on the record -- during the past two years. Most of those named in the book knew Cruise before he rose to stardom. Others have broken with the Church of Scientology.
But, Morton says, his other sources include people "who I would have to say didn't speak to me, but, of course, they have."
2007-01-14, Fides Middendorf, Associated Press, Seattle Times
The German government says it considers Scientology a commercial enterprise that takes advantage of vulnerable people. The conservative interior minister of the southern state of Bavaria called for increased surveillance of the group's activities in Berlin and across Europe.
Scientologists reject the government's accusations, saying they are a religion and calling surveillance an abuse of their right to religious freedom.
JAKARTA - The Church of Scientology is applying its mind-over-matter healing techniques to injured tsunami survivors in Aceh. Jews and Quakers are sending humanitarian aid. Radical Islamic groups are providing "spiritual guidance".
Ending months of speculation, a circuit judge ruled Monday that the wrongful death lawsuit against the Church of Scientology should continue.
Judge Susan Schaeffer also ruled that Tampa attorney Ken Dandar should remain the attorney for the estate of Lisa McPherson, which filed the lawsuit.
The cause and manner of McPherson's death, Schaeffer ruled, "is legitimately an issue that needs to be decided by a jury."
McPherson was pronounced dead Dec. 5, 1995, at Columbia New Port Richey Hospital after several fellow Scientologists drove her there from the Fort Harrison Hotel, the church's retreat in Clearwater.
McPherson had spent 17 days in the Scientology-owned hotel, resting and recuperating from unexplained anxiety, according to church officials.
They also say McPherson, 36, "suddenly took ill" at the hotel but distrusted doctors. They say she initially declined to be treated until Scientologist friends agreed to take her to a Scientologist doctor in New Port Richey, more than 20 miles away.
The church contends McPherson suffered from a severe staph infection. But an autopsy by the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office concluded she died from blood clotting "bed rest and severe dehydration."
The autopsy also showed "evidence of injury" and cited bruises, lesions, abrasions and marks resembling insect or animal bites on McPherson's body.
A vitriolic feud between German authorities and the Church of Scientology has escalated into a transatlantic conflict in the wake of accusations by American celebrities that the Bonn government is oppressing members of the group in the same way that the Nazi regime persecuted the Jews.
A controversial letter, signed by 34 prominent figures in the U.S. entertainment industry and published last week in the International Herald Tribune, was the latest salvo in an emotional publicity campaign waged by Scientologists and their supporters comparing the treatment of church members in contemporary Germany with that of Jews in Adolf Hitler's day.
The letter, including the names of actors Dustin Hoffman and Goldie Hawn, director Oliver Stone, novelists Mario Puzo and Gore Vidal, and TV talk show host Larry King, declared the signatories could not look the other way while Scientologists are marginalized and vilified in a manner reminiscent of the intolerance practiced by Hitler.
Bob Cetti, a technician in the production department at WTSP, Ch. 10, picked up papers Tuesday to run in the March 10 Clearwater elections. Cetti said he is a member of the Church of Scientology and would like to "get involved in trying to get government out of church affairs." He said he will decide soon whether to become an official candidate and what commission seat to run for. Cetti, who lives in downtown Clearwater, was the 26th person to pick up papers to run.