2019-01-27, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions based on what is left for me in the comment sections of my Q&A shows or by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) Watching the Aftermath show and all of the various podcasts, there is a cry for the government to step in and do something. Other than revoking the religious tax exemption, would a raid on Gold, for example, be helpful in your opinion? I remember Tom DeVocht saying that one reason the FBI didn't do it before is because he felt that all the sea org members, including those in the hole, would just say they were there voluntarily and would not choose to leave. Do you believe that this is still the case?
(2) What is Scientology's explanation of why do people have to pay to find out all the great knowledge. Couldn't someone get together with an auditor that would like to donate their services and go up the bridge the same?
2019-01-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another essay from our old friend Brian Lambert about the writings of L. Ron Hubbard.
"You are grandmaster of words and can do with them as you will. You know what they mean to others. You know how their meanings and melodies affect others"
- from L Ron Hubbard's Affirmations.
Rod Keller brings us more nuttiness from Scientology's rank and file...
Last week we reported on a new Scientology front group that is offering military veterans, as an alternative to mental health care, Scientology's unscientific "Purification Rundown," a regimen of sauna use and extreme vitamin intake.
Two new claims for the effectiveness of the Purif other than for detoxification came to us this week. The first is a promotion from the Auckland, New Zealand ideal org that the Purif helped cure a woman of bipolar disorder, and that she no longer needs or takes her medicine.
Former members we spoke to expressed shock that somebody who had been under psychiatric care would be allowed on the program at all. Encouraging members to stop taking prescription medicine is one of the most dangerous aspects of Scientology, both for the patient and in some cases, for the staff and publics at the org.
The subtitle of Tom Cruise's last "Mission: Impossible" movie, "Fallout," could also describe the current state of Scientology.
The church, which still maintains a flock of A-list adherents including Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, is at a crossroads. Hollywood members, who for decades brought in mega-star wattage as well as mega-bucks, are aging, and yet there's no new lifeblood coming through the ranks. When was the last time you heard of a famous Scientologist under 36 years old?
That's the age of "The Handmaid's Tale" star Elisabeth Moss, who grew up in the faith. As did Gen X actors Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi and Danny Masterson, and musician Beck. But, "The second generation celebrities tend to . . . have less to prove" and therefore aren't as active, according to Tony Ortega, author of "Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard's Dangerous Religion."
Katerina was eleven years old and living in poverty in Siberia, Russia when her mother joined the Church of Scientology. The Cult quickly exploited the mother and daughter and recruited them into it's notorious Sea Org. Katrina and her mother were shipped to Clearwater, Florida. Scientology used Katrina as child labor and she received no formal education.
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Ten years ago, at 2 in the morning on January 27, 2008, Mark Bunker uploaded a 9-minute video he'd made after a long day of work.
Two weeks before, on January 14, Bunker had made a little history by posting another 9-minute video, one featuring Tom Cruise talking about what it was like to be a Scientologist which had been leaked out of the church and ended up in Bunker's hands. That video (which had actually been recorded in 2004) went nuts on YouTube, and the church reacted by trying to get it yanked down with various legal threats.
Offended by what they perceived as Scientology's censorship of information on the Internet, the Anonymous movement then struck back with a video of its own on January 21 as DDOS attacks took down numerous Scientology websites.
In an article entitled The Photo That Never Saw The Light of Day: Obama With Farrakhan In 2005, Talking Points Memo wrote:
A journalist announced last week that he will publish a photograph of then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D) and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan that he took in 2005 at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting, but did not make public because he believed it would have "made a difference" to Obama's political future.
The photographer, Askia Muhammad, told the Trice Edney News Wire that he "gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy."
A human rights group linked to Scientologists lobbied the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney seeking to "represent the goals and objectives" of his Department.
United for Human Rights contacted the Tanaiste in October to request a meeting, but did not disclose its connections to Scientology, a religion that critics liken to a cult. In an email to the Tanaiste, Ryan Ellory, the group's co-ordinator, also claimed to have "represented Ireland" at the United Nations.
"I recently took some of my volunteers to the United Nations in which we had the opportunity to represent Ireland in the UN and meet with Mr Gerry Kelly, the First Secretary of the Permanent Mission to the UN from Ireland. Mr Kelly advised us to reach out to your Department, I was of course aware of the great works you are doing for human rights," said the email, dated October 31.
2018-01-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I might ruffle a few hardcore tech-infused feathers with this one. Wouldn't be the first time. I know…many of you have had great auditors and tremendous wins in session. Many of you wouldn't be half the person you are now if not for the gains you achieved at the hands of those wonderful people sitting on the other side of the e-meter. Reality check #1: you were in the minority. For those of you who truly went Clear and ascended to the state of cause over all matter, energy, space, and time…you may now take umbrage.
Most auditors are good people. Most got into the business of Scientology to help people. Many believe they're actually clearing the planet. Good for them. Reality check #2: most auditors are…(reread title).
If L. Ron Hubbard wrote that Scientology was supposed to "key out" and extrovert people, much auditing does the opposite; it interiorizes people. From the get-go, this is due to LRH's faulty, unproven "technology," ridiculous auditor training methodology, the hoax that is the e-meter, and the founder's insistence that his form of therapy is "workable" and shouldn't be tampered with.
Shiva Ayyadurai, the man who says he invented e-mail, has already sued two different tech publications for writing about his controversial claims. Now he also wants posts that he believes are defamatory to be removed from at least one social media network.
Charles Harder, the attorney representing Ayyadurai, sent an e-mail on Tuesday to Diaspora, an open-source social network, demanding that three allegedly defamatory posts be removed. The posts were written by Roy Schestowitz, who also writes the blog Techrights.org.
"Schestowitz is engaged in harassment, character assassination and unlawful conduct against Dr. Ayyadurai, including falsely accusing him of being a 'liar' and a 'fraud,'" writes Harder. He continues:
The ten episode documentary series follows actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini as she travels the country collecting horrific stories from people who have also split with the Church. Remini is also joined by Mike Rinder, a former chief spokesperson and representative of the Church. Rinder and Remini's dynamic is incredible; Remini is the fiery Brooklyn celebrity ready to fight everyone's battles while Rinder is the level-headed Australian with the logistical insight. For something airing on A&E, the show is incredibly well done.
However I'm not writing this piece to recap the entire show or summarize the horrors experienced within the walls of the Church, as I feel like I could not do anybody justice if I tried. (If you're looking for an in-depth look at every aspect of the Church I would highly recommend the 2015 HBO documentary "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief"). I'm writing this piece because as somebody who went into this show purely to laugh, I came out of the other end with a completely changed perspective.
Bernie Headley sounded really good on the phone. And he says for now, he feels good. The lung cancer he was diagnosed with in 2004 went into remission after he had a partial lung removal. It came back in 2014, but radiation treatments seem to have made that dormant as well. But then lesions started showing up on his brain.
In 2014, he was told he had three to six months to live after his lung cancer came back. And when he found out he had brain cancer, he was again told he had three to six months to live. But he still has no symptoms, and the effects of his most recent radiation treatment are receding. Doctors are waiting for his body to recover from that, and then in March they'll do a new set of scans on his brain to see whether the lesions have grown.
"I joke about being the Energizer Bunny," he told us by phone this week. "But Marc hates when I do that. He actually takes it more seriously than I do."
(Pat Broeker gives a lip-smacking performance)
On Friday, January 24, 1986, L. Ron Hubbard, then 74 years old, went to his reward after suffering a stroke at the Creston, California ranch where he'd been hiding out for several years. Three days later, the top management of Scientology gathered Sea Org, staff, and public members of the organization at the Hollywood Palladium in order to announce the news of Hubbard's death, which up to that point they had successfully managed to keep from the press.
The young managers of Scientology wanted that news to come from them, and not "on other lines."
2016-01-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This org, under the wing of the mighty Flag OT Committee, has been going nowhere for years. They somehow managed to buy a building and hey presto, they are now nearly "ideal." Except for at least one very large problem. They have no staff.
Their ribbon is supposed to be yanked BEFORE March 13 so Dear Leader Miscavige can proudly trumpet the massive international expansion they evidence at his birthday event.
But that's turning out to be quite a problem.
After the Sundance Film Festival premiere of Alex Gibney's HBO Church of Scientology documentary, "Going Clear" - which claimed Nicole Kidman's phones were tapped at the suggestion of Tom Cruise and church head David Miscavige - the church has set up an official Twitter account to hit back.
The Scientologists' Twitter account is titled Freedom Media Ethics, with the handle @FreedomEthics, and says it is "taking a resolute stand against the broadcasting and the publishing of false information."
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" premiered Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival to a packed house — not with a star-studded red carpet, but with police protection.
A week before the premiere, the Church of Scientology took out full-page ads in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times claiming the documentary is filled with falsehoods.
Based on Lawrence Wright's 2013 book of the same name, Oscar winner Alex Gibney's film claims that the church routinely intimidates, manipulates and even tortures its members, tracing the rise of the religion and its founder, former science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, and his successor as head of the church, David Miscavige. Gibney also interviewed several former Scientology believers, including past executives.
Alexy Gibney and Lawrence Wright's documentary 'Going Clear' exposes the inner workings of The Church of Scientology.
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2015-01-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a cheat, partly because I am traveling today, but more because I think Tony Ortega has literally said almosgt everything I wanted to say about the second showing of the film at his blog.
He recounts my thoughts after last night as we sat together and I felt able to watch it more objectively than the first time.
The art of this film is how it is woven together into a cohesive picture. The problem with this film from scientology's perspective is that they will NOT be able to convince people that everyone in it is just lying (audiences will make their own value judgments about the credibility of those who are interviewed) when what they say is confirmed and reinforced by the church's OWN words, footage and documents.
Hell hath no fury like the Church of Scientology scorned. Following the premiere of an HBO documentary that depicts the church as a secretive, vindictive cult, the embattled institution responded with what amounts to more than 15,000 words of potentially defamatory mudslinging.
No sooner had HBO's Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief come to a close at the Sundance Film Festival Sunday night than a torrent of ad hominem attacks against the eight ex-members who appeared in the film (as well as a handful of other vocal critics) began to appear in Freedom, a magazine published by the church. Assigning each target a crude nickname, the publication attempted to undercut their credibility through a series of character assassinations, which we've excerpted below. The outburst comes less than two weeks after the church took out a more level-headed full-page ad in The New York Times to denounce the film, which was adapted by filmmaker Alex Gibney from Lawrence Wright's 2013 book.
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — The Associated Press is all over the Sundance Film Festival, from its premieres to the Hollywood glitz. Here's what they've seen and heard:
FIRST LOOK: 'KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK'
AG: By now there is a well-documented record of abuses in the Church of Scientology, yet Cruise and Travolta have never spoken out about them. By not speaking out, it's a kind of an endorsement and I think that's why we're right and properly critical.
LW: They're selling a product and the product they're selling is oppressing some of the people inside the church, especially the clergy, which is called the Sea Org, and Cruise has spent countless hours out on the Sea Org base where - on that same base where he has a special chateau - there's these double wide trailers called the hole, which is a kind of re-education camp where people have been incarcerated for years. Sleeping on the floor on bedrolls with ants crawling around, abused physically, made to lick the floor or the toilet with their tongue. It's just unbelievable degradation.
One of the big revelations about "Going Clear," Alex Gibney's documentary about Scientology: the cult ended Nicole Kidman's marriage to Tom Cruise. This will all come out when "Going Clear" airs in March on HBO. Gibney has former Scientologists on the record talking about how Cruise, persuaded by Scientology's David Miscavige, authorized the wire tapping of Kidman's phone. This was in 2000-2001. You may recall that just a couple of years earlier, Cruise and Kidman's phones were tapped by a photographer who ultimately went to jail.
But I digress.
Author Lawrence Wright and director Alex Gibney
Alex Gibney's HBO documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, had its second public showing last night at the Sundance Film Festival, and we got another chance to think about what's in it and what makes it so compelling.
As you've probably noticed, the world's press has seized on a segment of the film that takes only a minute or two in the two-hour feature documentary: Marty Rathbun's explosive wiretapping allegations. Rathbun says that it was his job to drive a wedge between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and that when Cruise said in a counseling session that he wanted to have Nicole's phone tapped to find out who she was talking to, Scientology leader David Miscavige instructed Rathbun to make it happen.
2014-01-27, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The following is a list of personality characteristics of authoritarian personalities (which according to the article in which the list appears, most cult leaders display) from the book "Captive Hearts, Captive Minds" by Madeleine Landau Tobias and Janja Lalich.
Traditional elements of authoritarian personalities include the following:
-the tendency to hierarchy
Scientology protests its prosecution by France, February 2012 Our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, has another update for us related to France's prosecution of Scientology for fraud.
A Scientologist convicted in France's landmark fraud case against the movement has failed in a bid to get counter-cult group UNADFI and its lawyer fined for their role in the case.
In what amounts to a legal rap on the fingers, the Paris court that heard her complaint decided instead to award damages and legal costs against her.
A Scientologist who tried to get France's counter-cult group UNADFI sanctioned over its role in a major court case against the movement got a taste of her own medicine.
A Scientologist convicted in France's landmark fraud case against the movement has failed in a bid to get counter-cult group UNADFI and its lawyer fined for its role in the case.
Instead the Paris court that heard her complaint decided to award damages and legal costs against her. And with similar cases launched by Scientologists in the pipeline, this could be the first of a number of such reverses for the movement.
2014-01-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The PAC Bridge is getting the big push.
No reason really, other than another way of the vultures trying to squeeze money out of the nearly-dead.
Apparently they are soon to have "Ideal Sea Org Orgs" — ASHO and AOLA. But ASHO and AOLA have both had TWO "Grand Openings" already? Both times they were announced as the "perfect organizations, just as LRH intended." So,they are going to do ANOTHER photo op for Dear Leader to spout some Shermanspeak, yank a ribbon and soak in the applause.
2013-01-27, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
This began as my promised response to Tom Martiniano's Op Ed that was posted on this blog on January 22. It expanded into a mission statement of sorts given intervening events.
Before I take up particulars of the Op Ed, I want to establish a foundation.
First, I believe that L Ron Hubbard developed a workable spiritual-based psychotherapy that when applied as prescribed – according to its axioms and fundamental laws – routinely produces a well and happy, self-determined, unrepressed being. Since leaving the church of Scientology I have applied that exact path to three individuals – from knowing little to nothing of Hubbard or Scientology to the state of Clear (quite in addition to hundreds of hours of auditing at all levels of the Bridge). Doing so outside structured, policy-controlled Scientology is far less complicated. There is little need for listing and nulling, extensive correction lists and the like because there is none of the sundry evaluation (under the justification of 'ethics', 'pts/sp handling', 'justice', or other organizational concerns) that inevitably enters when the process is complicated by later policies, and even tech, that stray from and contradict the laws and axioms which make auditing, and the Bridge, work. I have objective and subjective reality on the workability of Hubbard's technology.
Cenk Uygur talks with Jamie DeWolf, the great-grandson of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, about his grievances with the religion and how it has affected his own family. "I think it's one of the most brilliant and devious, systematic brainwashing systems that's ever been invented," DeWolf says. "No one's ever accused my great-grandfather of being an idiot. ... The fact is, these are smart people - they've just been completely destroyed."
It's time for another look at the fundraising fliers and other come-ons that Scientologists received this week. On Sundays, we like to post the items that our tipsters have forwarded to us, so we can get a snapshot of what church members are getting hit up for at the moment.
This week, there are so many fun things to spend money on. A table at a CCHR awards banquet? A campaign of terror against psychiatry? Or more books for libraries around the world? Get that checkbook out and let's start saving the world!
Scientologists sure do love awards ceremonies. Anyone want to take a guess the name of the 15-term member of Congress who will be taking home a plaque at this shindig for the church's wacky anti-psychiatry front group?
2012-01-27, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Tony Ortega at the Village Voice just published an interesting piece, Scientology vs Marty Rathbun: An Unfair Fight?
He opens with David Miscavige's epic film on a guy he calls Kingpin Rathbone. It took millions of dollars in production costs to mock up this character that is so bad ass he apparently has David Miscavige shivering in fear in his high desert compound.
As Tony astutely points out Miscavige is so obsessed with fighting long-ago settled issues, he apparently has no cognizance of the tide lapping at the threshold of his bunker.
2012-01-27, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Remember the Religious Freedom Crusade in PortlandOregon in May 1985? When a 39 Million dollar hit for having the temerity to try to help a woman out with a Comm Course got Scientologists' backs up and they did something about it? Back when Scientology men were men and not mice, and Scientology women weren't walking down the street dragging their knuckles on the pavement? After a lot of good folks sacrificed valuable time, energy and resources over several decades, Scientology finally was recognized as a religion and has been provided relative immunity from attacks intended to destroy the right to peaceably practice it.
Well, compare those days to today. Some may recall that David Miscavige sent down teams of 4 to 6 people at a time to overtly harass my wife and me in our driveway, at restaurants, on the beach, virtually every where we went for 199 days, see His Town by Jason Sheeler. The publicly stated intent was to prevent me from practicing Scientology. It was doomed from the outset; sheer lunacy to attempt to strip me of a right I fought my entire adult life successfully to exercise, which not so incidentally allowed every Kool Aid drinking Corporate Scientologist the same right.
Well, let us take a look at how David Miscavige is spending that hard fought, religious freedom capital these days. The letter below, in the name of Norman James Moore III but clearly written by the late William C Drescher III (long time in-house counsel for Corporate Scientology), illustrates just how low the Corporate Scientology machine has come. Aside from taking on the patented Miscavige characteristic of playing the perpetual victim, take a look at the charges of religious discrimination. Does it get any sillier or more pathetic than this?
2012-01-27, 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 22 through 28 during those years.
After the jump, overboarding, OT VII and VIII, and sales, sales, sales!...
[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.]
2012-01-27, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last summer, we brought you extensive coverage of Scientology's bizarre siege of a South Texas home. A goon squad calling itself the "Squirrel Busters" claimed to be a documentary crew making a film about former high-ranking church executive Marty Rathbun. The intimidation squad even managed to get Rathbun arrested.
Well, here's yet another collection of their footage, as Scientology continues to try to convince someone (who, we're not sure), that a series of 2009 stories revealing the violent nature of Scientology leader David Miscavige got things wrong and that Rathbun is the violent one, not DM.
After the jump: while Scientology still argues over allegations that are nearly three years old, Rathbun keeps hitting the church where it hurts.
Say what you will about the Church of Scientology. But business for the "fastest growing religion on earth" appears to be booming in a way that should be the envy of any and all executives trying to figure out how to salvage a waning traditional print media model.
Per the Church's latest press release, the organization has opened a 185,000 square foot International Dissemination and Distribution Center in Los Angeles (pictured). Think of it basically as the biggest Kinko's ever.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirms it is analyzing the computer hard drive of a state-owned laptop used by Gus Barreiro, a former high-ranking official in the Department of Juvenile Justice who was fired Jan. 16. FDLE spokeswoman Kristen Perezluha said the laptop arrived at the agency's offices Monday and is being reviewed by computer experts.
A PSYCHIATRIST known as a "hired gun" in court cases has been ordered into treatment by medical authorities after being accused of a dubious diagnosis.
Yolande Lucire has been reprimanded by the NSW Medical Board after its professional standards committee disagreed with a diagnosis she made in a medico-legal case and questioned her professionalism.
Orlando Protests are IN DANGER! To help keep police off our backs send a donation via paypal to email@example.com
Organizers can no longer afford the several hundred dollars a month the city demands if we intend to protest! Thank you so much in advance!
Honk if you hate Scientology. 3+ Hour Raid
In December 2003, Gov. Jeb Bush converted the medium-security Lawtey Correctional Institution into the nation's first entirely faith-based prison. At Lawtey, 28 different religions are represented -- Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, Wicca, Scientology.
There are some points where Enroth and Melton come close to agreement. One is that the cults and new movements display what Enroth calls "a craving for legitimization." They also recognize two factors that have made Europe fertile ground for such groups in recent years: the ever-increasing secularization of European culture, which has left a vacuum for non-traditional spiritual experimentation; and the demise of communism. According to Enroth, here cults have rushed in where established religions once feared to tread.
How harmless/dangerous this growth is has increasingly polarized their argument since 1985, when Enroth and Melton co-wrote Why Cults Succeed and Churches Fail. Recalls Melton, with a smile: "We hoped to sell the book both to those on his side and those on my side. Instead, those on my side didn't buy it because they didn't like him, and those on his side didn't buy it because they didn't like me."
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department in its annual worldwide survey of human rights violations, will criticize Germany for its restrictions on the Church of Scientology, the Washington Post reported Monday.
The newspaper said that the report, due out Wednesday, will chastise Germany for an administration official characterized as "a campaign of harassment and intimidation" against the controversial church.
The United States has expressed concern about Germany's policies toward the church and its members, but also has been told by the German government through diplomatic channels not to interfere.
The State Department's annual survey of human rights conditions around the world will contain expanded, toughened language criticizing Germany for restrictions on the Church of Scientology and its members, administration officials said.
The report, to be issued Wednesday, will chastise Germany for what a senior administration official called "a campaign of harassment and intimidation" against the controversial church. He said the United States, seeking to protect religious freedom, has urged Germany through diplomatic channels "not to prosecute people for wrong thinking" but has been rebuffed.
The German response is, "We won't change our policy, no matter what you say," a German diplomat here said. "You are a big country. You can afford to have militias and cults. We can't." He said Germany, with 80 million people in a Montana-size country and a unique sensitivity to the dangers of "extremism" because of its Nazi past, is obliged to limit activities of groups perceived as threats to national well-being.
When the U.S. State Department's annual survey of human rights abuses is released Wednesday, it is expected to list Germany for its treatment of members of the Church of Scientology.
The issue has bubbled to the surface in recent weeks because Scientologists have stepped up their criticism of Germany, and have likened their treatment to the Nazis' persecution of the Jews.
TO THE EDITOR: The state of Oklahoma spends about $40 million on drug and alcohol rehab services each year. There are currently only 1,311 beds available while the numbers of people needing rehabilitation services are many times higher. No one can deny there is a serious drug problem in this state. Drugs ruin lives, increase crime and destroy families.
Drugs are a deadly problem. Funding to solve the problem is a problem. Inadequate facilities are a problem.
Narconon Chilocco has invested more than $3 million in the local community, at no cost to the state, for renovating and operating its leased campus and employing, at peak times, more than 100 local residents. We are now forced to incur legal fees in excess of $500,000 for projected litigation regarding certification which may take years to resolve.