2018-01-28, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left for me in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the question I answer are:
(1) You mentioned in a recent podcast that you first began to criticise the Church of Scientology online using a pseudonym but that the Church was nonetheless able to deduce your identity. You also said that they were quite sophisticated on the internet in tracking down their critics (or something to that effect). Could you tell us a bit about your personal story here and Scientology's online capabilities in this regard?
(2) A long-time Scientologist friend of mine and I were walking by this center for blind people and one of them needed help with directions, so I helped them. My Scientologist friend commented that he had no sympathy for "those people." I can't remember what explanation he gave, but how would a Scientologist explain disabled people?
The Church of Scientology is so heavily entrenched in Downtown Clearwater that it has become harmful to the community. Scientology does not pay taxes on its huge portfolio of tax-exempt properties in Clearwater and yet demands police and fire services, uses the roads, freeways, and other public infrastructure. Worse, Scientology has driven businesses, redevelopment, and tourism dollars out of Downtown Clearwater, thus further depressing the economy and tax base of Clearwater. In 2017, Scientology even announced its brazen plans for what amounted to a hostile corporate takeover of Downtown Clearwater. The details are quite alarming as can be seen in an excellent and highly detailed article by Tracy McManus of The Tampa Bay Times.
Compounding matters, John P. Capitalist recently noted that many public Scientologists are moving out of Clearwater, Florida to escape the never-ending onslaught of Scientology regges. In Scientology "registrars" are called "regges" and are actually salespeople. All across Scientology, the regges demand donations on a daily basis. It is very bad in Clearwater and Los Angeles where the largest concentrations of Scientologists live. John P. wrote of the public Scientologists in Clearwater:
...I've heard from several sources that a number of longtime members have moved out [of Clearwater] in order to avoid visits from desperate "regges" in the middle of the night ringing the doorbell and demanding cash. They're claiming to be moving for innocuous reasons like "to be closer to the grandkids," but apparently they're just tired of the stress and want to deal with the cult from a distance. It's not clear how many people are making the move, but even a few sure makes it sound like the rank-and-file (all those dentists, chiropractors and small business owners) are reaching a saturation point.
2018-01-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Well, according to this promo piece, the answer is 200.
And after being in business now for more than 50 years, Perth apparently has accumulated 40 staff (though I suspect the 10 pictured are "going to be" on staff and at least 15 of the 30 others are VERY part-time...)
But even that is only 1/5th of the complement to be ideal. And they are going to make it "this year." Scientology math at its best: we made it 20% of the way in 50 years. The remaining 80% is going to be done in the next few months. How? Pure intention salted heavily with bs and lies.
Uitzending van het RTL nieuws met het item over seksueel kindermisbruik binnen de Jehovah's getuigen. 26-1-2018
Item about child sexual abuse within community of Jehovah's Witnesses, RTL News (Netherlands), Jan. 26th, 2018
English subtitles included
2018-01-28, John P. Capitalist, John P. Capitalist
We take another look at how Scientology misuses R-1 religious worker visas as it attempts to fill slots in its operations. It's no longer able to bring on enough new domestic recruits or even US citizen children of current members to staff up Flag, Pac Base and its other major operations. We look at the line between accidental stretching of the bounds of the program and outright fraud. Several reports suggest that Scientology misuses the "guardianship" provisions of the law to mistreat younger R-1 visa holders, crossing the line into human trafficking.
It's Nothing New
Scientology continues its precipitous decline in the United States. Recruitment of both "publics" (those who purchase services) and its regimented religious order, the Sea Organization, ("Sea Org"), is flat-lining. The "church" has been forced to look elsewhere for staff and adherents, therefore it's the largest user of visas in the R-1/R-2 Religious Visa Program, despite the church's minuscule size, relatively to say, the Catholic church. Despite this glut of visas, its ongoing staffing needs are far from being met, to the point that the church must push the limits on all facets of the visa procurement process. While the public face of the church insists membership is "booming", a detailed analysis says otherwise. Rather than the millions the church claims, current membership currently is estimated at some 20,000 total, an estimated 3,600 of which consists of Sea Org staff, with the remainder public Scientologists, org staff, and other members.
Rod Keller is on assignment this week, so we're going to have some fun this Sunday by once again bringing you some of that sweet, original Source.
On occasion, we like to bring you L. Ron Hubbard in his own words so you can get a better idea just what Scientology is really about, something that other media outlets almost never do. We find that it helps the new Scientology Watchers get a grounding in the material, but even if you've been around a while, it can be instructive to hear the man describe his ideas in his own voice.
Today we're having a bit of fun based on something we saw being talked about recently on a Facebook group. A former Scientologist was remembering Hubbard crack a joke, and so we went looking for it and found it for you today. It is pretty fun.
There are so many avenues you can go down when you fall into Scientology's rabbit hole. Today we're going to touch on a period we really haven't gone into with much rigor: The early 1980s, and Scientology's ideas about computerization.
If you know Scientology's early history, you know that much of what lies behind "Dianetics" was Hubbard's superficial understanding of computers at the time, the late 1940s. He had read about "memory banks" and data input and imagined that the human mind worked much the same way.
Despite that early interest in computers, Scientology remained famously old fashioned in many ways, valuing paper records over digital ones. Even telephones, Hubbard said, were "psychotic" and should be avoided. But by the early 1980s, it was pretty plain how useful computers really were, and Hubbard finally decided that Scientology should begin catching up.
2017-01-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Finally had a few minutes to peruse the latest International Scientology News recounting the epic, milestone New Years event.
As usual, it is filled with hype, smoke, mirrors and lies.
Just a few of the most glaring:
2016-01-28, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
This is the 4th of a 5-part interview series with former Scientologist Tim DeWall. We've covered how he got into Scientology, joined staff and even ran the Tampa Church of Scientology for many years. Now we are going to cover what happened after he left staff and what life is like for a public Scientologist in one of the most in-your-face Scientology communities in the world, Clearwater, Florida.
Scientology moved in to Clearwater in 1975 when L. Ron Hubbard decided that would be the ideal place to setup Scientology operations in the United States. They moved in covertly under assumed names and using fake companies in order to get a foothold before any of the local residents knew what was happening. Since that time, and despite a lot of public protest, the Church has made Clearwater a stronghold of Scientology activity, spending a lot of money to secure themselves as a permanent resident there and get in good with the local politicians, community leaders and police.
As a result, many high-level Scientologists view Clearwater as the ultimate destination spot to live and work and it has the second highest concentration of Scientologists in the world next to Los Angeles. Scientologists have referred to the Flag Service Organization in Clearwater as the Mecca of Scientology.
A FORMER member of the Church of Scientology was warned by a judge today that he would face serious consequences if he interfered with any member or did not stay away from the church or mission.
Embalmer John McGhee was given the warning by Judge James O'Donohoe in the Circuit Civil Court after being told by barrister Frank Beatty, counsel for two church members, that Mr McGhee had breached an existing court injunction.
McGhee, of Armstrong Grove, Clara, Co Offaly, told Mr Beatty that he had sent leading Scientology Church member Zabrina Collins a text "connected with the death of Jim Carrey's girlfriend" in which he had stated: 'Now you must see why your cult must be stopped.'
Zabina Collins, a leading member of the church of Scientology in Ireland, has told a judge she "could have been a little more temperate" about what she had to say in an e-mail to a school principal complaining about a former Church member's talk to schoolboys on cults.
Collins, who admitted in court to having had a teenage drugs and heavy drinking problem, is being sued for defamation by Peter Griffiths, Cual Gara, Teeling Street, Ballina, Co Mayo, for what his counsel Seamus O Tuathail SC described as "a vicious character attack."
"I could have dealt with it in a more temperate way," Collins said of her complaint to the headmaster of St David's CBS in Artane, Dublin, following a posting on the internet by Griffiths of what he had said to the school's leaving cert boys in a talk on cults.
(Seagoing monks, apparently)
Yet again, Scientology is defending itself in court by claiming that it treats people no worse than the Roman Catholic Church does. We wonder when, if ever, the Catholic Church is going to take notice of this.
Sure, the Catholic Church has deservedly been pilloried in the press and the courts for its horrendous sexual scandals. But that's not the point here. In this case, Scientology is arguing that it can treat children essentially as slaves in its "Sea Organization" because it's just like the way the Catholic Church treats its nuns and monks and priests.
2016-01-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another week of fun in the bubble.
Eight Orgs-One Cause
Get your money any way we can. Charging $75 for a "convention" featuring a singer, dancer, actor nobody has heard of is a good start. About the same as the Ellie Goulding tickets we bought recently. I know which show I would prefer.
Los creadores del documental Going clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (Para aclarar: la cienciología y la prisión de la creencia), donde se investiga la actividad de uno de los cultos religiosos más controvertidos de la actualidad, la Cienciología, despertó polémica en el Festival de Cine de Sundance.
El filme, dirigido por Alex Gibney, fue tachado como un medio para "glorificar apóstatas vengativos y amargados" que "históricamente han inventado mentiras sobre la Iglesia para sacar dinero", expresó un comunicado esta iglesia.
"Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief", the new HBO documentary based on Lawrence Wright's book about the Church of Scientology, is the latest salvo aimed at the religion founded decades ago by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.
USA Today called the documentary "the most hotly anticipated" documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The documentary premiered there on Sunday.
The Foundation for a Drug-Free World, a group backed by the Scientology church, announced on its Facebook page that it's offering 'free drug education events' in city schools. The group's honcho said they don't push religion on the kids. But some parents were still outraged. The group has also invited the NYPD to events to talk about drug prevention.
Wow, it's been fun to hang out at the Sundance Film Festival and be a part of the Going Clear screenings. We're certain there will be plenty more to come about the movie and Scientology's hamfisted attempts to smear it.
But for now we need to get back to the regular work of this website, reporting on all aspects of Scientology with the help of our great tipsters. We have some really big stories coming that we can't wait to land. And we're getting a back up on all the stuff we've been sent by our sources.
Today, we'd like to get back to those really fascinating revelations about Scientology's early days which were dug up recently in a Freedom of Information Act request by a researcher who is a friend to the Underground Bunker and a regular presence at WhyWeProtest.net.
Jerry Otero, Youth Policy Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance and drug prevention programmer at the New York City Department of Education, said the Foundation's materials use misinformation and scare tactics.
"I know it parades around as an evidence-based prevention program and not everyone really knows its genesis or its roots," he said. "They found a gap where they can insert themselves."
He said better materials are available.
What groovy substances was Raquel dosing herself with a million years ago? Claire 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.
Bruce and Claire, last time we reached Operating Thetan Level Four on our trip up the Bridge to Total Freedom, but it was an early version that was later superseded by "New OT 4." So let's see what New OT 4 has in store for us.
It's interesting to see the date on the materials for OT 4: January 29, 1980, which is just two weeks before Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard went permanently into hiding until his death in 1986. So this material was issued when he was at 'X,' an apartment complex in Hemet.
This is cleaned up audio version of video shot inside of a Scientology Sea Org meeting. In this video you can hear the speaker talking about how to get more money out of people. She basically is saying when people tell you they don't have more money, they do and how you can get it out of them. The cult has lied about this tactic for years and here you can not only see it is true but the Sea Org members are excited about it. This is the elite of Scientology who is headed by David Miscavige
2014-01-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is the Miami Org tax bill on their "ideal org" building that awaits renovation.
Last year they paid upwards of $200,000 and were refunded $70,000 due to reevaluation of the appraisal.
The current tax bill for 2013 is $140,000.
Jon Atack is issuing an unexpurgated version of A Piece of Blue Sky, his seminal work on the movement - a book that was almost strangled at birth in the US courts.
Just as several major new books on Scientology, are being published, the movement is about to be confronted with a ghost from its past. Jon Atack is releasing a new edition of his ground-breaking 1990 work, A Piece of Blue Sky.
Update: click here to order book "It will be available as print-on-demand and as an e-book," Atack told Infinite Complacency. "Firstly on Amazon.com and then throughout the known universe."
Well, not everyone loves Lawrence Wright's book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief. The Church of Scientology isn't very happy about it, but neither is Steven Hassan, who writes about cults and mind control. He wishes Larry had said more about undue influence in Scientology, and we'd like to hear what you think about that in the comments.
Hassan has produced a second edition of his book on helping people leave cults, and its title is Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs. You can learn more about it at Steve's website.
And if you watch the short video above, Steve has another announcement that we thought you should hear about.
2012-01-28, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
by Christie Collbran
Plans for the 3rd Annual Indie 4th of July Party are well underway. This year we will gather in a State with more miles of waterfront than Hawaii, California and Florida combined, location of the largest Mall in the United States, state where waterskiing was invented – the land of 10,000 lakes: Minnesota!!
It will take place over the weekend following the 4th of July (July 7th & 8th). The weather in Minnesota in July is party perfect!
2012-01-28, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
It's been another blast of a week here at the underground bunker, where we keep an eye on all things Scientology related.
We started off the week by marveling at the "thrill" of Scientology fundraising in our regular weekend feature, Sunday Funnies.
On Monday, we collected a few dozen of the best Twitter reactions to Sunday night's 2-minute Scientology commercial during the broadcast of American Idol. As you can imagine, most of them could be boiled down to, "WTF?"
2010-01-28, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
"If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid. But you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice."
Those are the chilling and deadly serious words spoken at the end of the Orientation film, which is shown to brand new people in Churches of Scientology all over the world. Or at least it was, up to last Sunday, January 24th, when the film's star, actor Larry Anderson, very publicly departed from the Church of Scientology.
The Orientation film, and particularly that closing monologue, exemplify for me the solid, deathly seriousness that pervades the current Church of Scientology these days. In earlier times, when someone wanted to find out about Scientology, they usually went to a live lecture – given by someone actually interested and enthusiastic about the subject. There used to be something called "Spirit of Play." These days, new people are ushered in to a dark room where they sit, usually alone (with a staff member to monitor them), and watch a very earnest and didactic film, which ends with a chilling warning which equates turning one's back on Scientology with suicide.
Interview with ex-Scientologist John Duignan, author of "The Complex". John was in the Church of Scientology for 22 years, and rose to become a respected member of the highly secretive Sea Org. Here, he tells his shocking story in person for the first time.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is analyzing the hard drive of a state-owned laptop computer used by Gus Barreiro, a former high-ranking official in the Department of Juvenile Justice who was fired Jan. 16.
The author of a controversial new biography on celebrity Scientologist Tom Cruise has found an unexpected new ally: the niece of Scientology's current leader, David Miscavige.
In an open letter to a senior Scientology official that has been widely posted on the Internet, Jenna Miscavige Hill described how her own family was broken apart by the movement's policies.
2005-01-28, Peter S. Goodman, Washington Post, MSNBC
Meyers is healing the survivors, he says, employing the techniques he has learned from Scientology. More precisely, he is helping them heal themselves, eradicating pain waves and allowing energy waves to flow, clearing pathways for nerves to run errands of anatomical necessity, liberating the spirit to align with the body as described in the confident prose of the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology and the applied practices known as Dianetics.
The ads in question were placed by a group called Former Scientologists Speaking Out, whose goal was to cause existing church members to question Scientology. The messages included: "Doubt is not a crime," "Think for Yourself. Quit Scientology" and "Why does Scientology lie to its members?"
Sweeney said he pulled the buses out of service after he was contacted by Scientology attorney Paul B. Johnson, a former prosecutor who said the ads violated a 1945 state law regarding published material that "tends to expose any individual or any religious group to hatred, contempt, ridicule or (abusive language)."
1998-01-28, Lucy Morgan, Special Report, St. Petersburg Times
In a 14-month, worldwide survey, the St. Petersburg Times has documented a consistent pattern of church officials relentlessly pursuing its critics in legal actions that some charge are designed as much to harass as to achieve legal victory. In one year alone, the Times has found, Scientology spent more than $30-million on legal and professional fees.
From critics outside the church to former members who sue for fraud and abuse, when Scientology goes to court, most often it is with lawyers and legal papers that can overwhelm less wealthy opponents. In France, England, Sweden and Germany, the pattern is similar: sue the critics, sue the government and sometimes overwhelm the judges. Whenever necessary, use private investigators to probe your opponents' weaknesses and exploit them.
Continually citing the 1993IRS decision to grant the church tax-exempt status, they compared their operations with mainline church denominations, including the Catholic Church, and compared their litigation history with that of the St. Petersburg Times.
They contend that Scientology, for an operation its size, does not litigate frequently. The tax exemption ended the need for so many courtroom battles, they insist. Before gaining the exemption, Scientology was forced to file numerous suits against the IRS, its agents and critics who were helping the IRS.
BONN, GERMANY BONN, Germany (AP) _ Germany rejected U.S. criticism of its treatment of Scientologists, saying Tuesday it still considers church members a threat to the nation.
The U.S. State Department's annual report on human rights around the world, due this week, says Germany discriminates against Scientologists.
The German government says the church _ which has 30,000 members in Germany _ is largely a money-making organization with some organized crime traits that seeks world domination and threatens democracy. Scientologists deny the claims.
The investigator, a former Los Angeles police officer named Eugene Martin Ingram, is accused of impersonating a Hillsborough County sheriff's detective. Tampa police say Ingram was quizzing a woman about an alleged prostitution ring that he said involved Pasco County Sheriff Lee Cannon.
Police also have investigated Matt Bratschi, a reporter for the church publication Freedom magazine. Bratschi, who has not been charged, is believed by police to have accompanied Ingram on the interview.
Inside the truck were more than 2 million church documents seized from Scientology's Toronto offices on March 3, 1983, in the largest police raid in Ontario history.
"This is just a real celebration," Al Buttnor, a church spokesperson, said as members from across Canada jumped up on the truck and formed a human chain to pass the boxes into the chapel.
[Buttnor] said the seized documents included books, religious artefacts, management files and "confessional folders" - the latter being of particular concern to church officials because they contain intimate details about members that had been shared in counselling sessions known as "auditing."
The court will decide to what extent tax-return information must be made available to the public. The case pits the Church of Scientology of California against the Internal Revenue Service.
The controversy began in May 1979 when the church filed a Freedom of Information request with the Internal Revenue Service seeking records relating to the church, the religion of Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The church wanted to use the tax data in an unrelated tax court case. The IRS refused to turn over most of the files.
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer whose often-embattled Church of Scientology has grown to at least 2 million members in three decades, has died at age 74, Scientology officials say.
Hubbard, who had not been seen in public since 1980, died of a stroke Friday at his ranch near San Luis Obispo, Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, said Monday night.
His ashes were scattered at sea Sunday, after the body was examined by the San Luis Obispo County coroner's office, Scientology officials said.
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer who founded the often-embattled Church of Scientology three decades ago, has died of a stroke, the church said Monday night. He was 74.
Hubbard, who had not been seen in public since 1980, died Friday at his ranch near San Luis Obispo, 150 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, said Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International.
Hubbard and his third and surviving wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, founded the church in 1954. He laid out the Scientology doctrine in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, a book that has sold millions of copies.
Hubbard said Xemu trapped people in a compound of frozen alcohol and glycol and deposited them in 10 volcanoes. According to Hubbard, Xemu then dropped nuclear bombs on the volcanoes, destroying the people but freeing their spirits.
L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer who founded the controversial Church of Scientology three decades ago, has died of a stroke, the church announced last night. He was 74.
Hubbard, who had not been seen in public since 1980, died Friday at his ranch near San Luis Obispo, 150 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, said the Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International.
L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the controversial and secretive Church of Scientology, was a little-known science fiction writer until his book 'Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health' appeared in 1950. It landed on American best-seller lists and Dianetics -- a kind of amateur psychotherapy -- became a national fad.
The medical profession called Dianetics hokum. Hubbard called it 'a milestone for man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his inventions of the wheel and the arch.'
After interest in Dianetics faded, Hubbard in 1952 founded the Church of Scientology, described as an 'applied religious philosophy.'
One morning in the spring of 1982, two young men walked into the New York branch of the Middle East Bank and presented a check for $2 million. The check was signed by L. Ron Hubbard, the reclusive founder of the Church of Scientology, who has not been seen ...