2018-02-07, John P. Capitalist, John P. Capitalist
Last Thursday, the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed piece by Scientology leader Miscavige's consigliere, tax lawyer Monique ("Blinky") Yingling. In it, she rebuts a Times op-ed piece that ran back in November that made a case for revoking Scientology's tax exemption.
We analyze this message — the content, the timing, the larger context of interest in the tax exemption, and we make an emotionally unsatisfying but intellectually honest decision in processing it.
Step 1: Analyze the Content
2018-02-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Michael D splains the expasion which is the biggest in history (and yes, he spells it wrong twice in the opening para). He may be an IAS Freedom Medal Winner but it does not mean he can spell (he probably did the Student Hat too — that apparently was no help either).
Of course, it's ALWAYS the biggest in history...
But let me ask you something Michael. What measure of expasion are you using?
Is it really finally happening?
Last March, we told you that evidence had turned up of "SCNTV," a cable channel all about Scientology that was being prepared on Spectrum, the country's second-largest cable system (and formerly known as Time Warner Cable).
Pages at the Spectrum website showed that "SCNTV" was being prepared, as well as a number of Scientology-produced videos. And this was consistent with what Scientology leader David Miscavige was telling his followers at major events, that a Scientology TV channel would debut by the summer of 2017, and that it would be on a major cable system that matched the description of Spectrum.
The promised cable station was supposed to be the culmination of "Scientology Media Productions," the studio complex the church purchased from television station KCET in Los Angeles in 2011 and opened with much fanfare in May 2016.
Our helper who tracks down old newspaper clippings about Scientology sent us a real classic this week, something we haven't seen in a while. It's one of the most epic journalistic exposes in Scientology's history, and one that every serious Scientology watcher should have a copy of — Alex Mitchell's 1969 Times of London piece that revealed L. Ron Hubbard's involvement with rocket scientist Jack Parsons and their 1946 sex magick rituals which Parsons referred to as "The Babalon Working" experiments.
Today, it's one of those things we take for granted, that Hubbard and his Pasadena pal spent 1946 turning the ideas of English occultist Aleister Crowley into a series of odd rituals in pursuit of a "moonchild." But it was an Australian journalist, Mitchell, who first brought that information to the world in a piece that still holds up very well.
We had the pleasure of meeting Alex in Sydney on our book tour in 2015. Journalists Steve Cannane and Bryan Seymour included Mitchell in our appearance at the Giant Dwarf in a sold out show. Mitchell told a hilarious story about the time he was so determined to get an interview with Hubbard, he followed him into the toilet at a Moroccan restaurant and tried to question him while the Commmodore was at a urinal taking a whizz.
2016-02-07, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions left for me in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent by email to AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) Are there any other cults that are under the same scrutiny as Scientology?
Who or what decides that a person is ready to go the next step on the Bridge?
2016-02-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
"Fixed donations," "mandatory donations," "required donations" are scientology oxymorons. Once the exclusive provence of church services, the "bright idea" spread to IAS donations (you must be a Patron to be on OT VII) and ideal orgs (you must qualify for OT VIII by contributing to your ideal org) and now have reached out into the "social betterment" programs and even the scientology public.
And everyone is so conditioned to this that they don't even notice any more.
And BTW, an "open bar" at a scientology event? I guess there are a LOT of people that are NOT "on lines" despite what the Flag OT Committee says about getting every local scientologist onto service...
When news broke that Monique Rathbun had fired her legal team, we turned to commenter "TX Lawyer" for help understanding the ramifications of her decision. If you're a regular reader of the site, you know that for a couple of years TX Lawyer has helped us understand the arcane twists and turns of Monique's lawsuit, especially after it was held up by a couple of Scientology appeals that took quite a while to resolve.
It was obvious that TX Lawyer knew his stuff, but we were curious about his credentials. We did verify his real identity and confirmed that he is, in fact, a lawyer who specializes in Texas appellate law.
This week's news produced a lot of questions and speculation at this website and others about what's going on, and we wanted to clear up a few things with TX Lawyer about what's likely to happen next.
For the fourth year in a row, Scientology has aired one of its ads in some local markets during the Super Bowl. And, as usual, the ad has produced a lot of hilarity on Twitter as viewers around the country react in pretty much the same way: "Was that really a Scientology ad I just saw?" This year is no different, as you'll see in the Twitter reactions below. But first, let's review the ad itself first.
As in past years, Scientology saved money by only buying local-market spots in some areas, which we have been told adds up to about a $1 million cost, rather than airing a 30-second national ad, which this year ran about $5 million.
Which cities got the ad? We'll have to judge from the Twitter reactions. But in the past, Scientology leader David Miscavige has aired the ads in cities where his local members have put up the cash to open an "Ideal Org" as a way to punish those cities that haven't yet ponied up for a new church.
2015-02-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The Razzline is doing an effective job of "spreading the flap" — letting everyone know about the HBO "hatchet job" that is coming...
Working in league with the church, they are demonstrating remarkable prowess in making this the most well promoted documentary ever to appear on HBO, perhaps on television.
From: Paul Clark [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Tuesday, we told you about new FDA documents which helped us fill in some gaps in Scientology history. The documents took us back to late 1957, when L. Ron Hubbard hatched a scheme to force the country's psychiatrists and psychologists to take a "loyalty oath" he'd dreamed up, with hopes of rooting out disloyal shrinks and then sending their names to Vice President Richard Nixon for persecution.
Nixon didn't like being named in Hubbard's plot, and he sicced the Secret Service on Scientology, which prompted Hubbard in 1960 to tell his followers not to vote for Nixon in that year's presidential election. And hey, Nixon lost in a squeaker! And you thought postulates weren't effective.
Anyway, Lauren Wolf, Lawrence Wright's research assistant on his book Going Clear, an associate producer on Alex Gibney's film version, and a friend to the Underground Bunker, thought we'd like to see some additional documents from that era that she had dug up and that have never been made public before. And wow, they are fun, and now we want to take another run at that period. We think you'll like the results.
Chris Shelton served on staff from the age of 17 to 43 years old. He departed 1 year ago.
This video is the first in an on going series.
Chris Shelton worked on and directly with the Ideal Org strategy so he knows whereof he speaks.
On the vasts sums of money extorted from one and all, there is no accountability, no transparency and Scientology Inc never reveals how much it has taken in and what it does with it. Big secrets. Lots of hidden goings on. Those leaving have to sign 1" thick docs promising never to reveal anything. Meaningless documents. Never hold up in a Court of Law. Chris Shelton signed all those documents..
Robert MacLean UPDATE: We've had a text message conversation Robert MacLean — see below.
A bombshell this morning from former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder: He claims that a man known nationally as a TSA whistleblower has told others that he was hired to be a security guard to keep Scientology leader David Miscavige's wife Shelly from escaping a remote mountain compound near Lake Arrowhead, California.
The vanishing of Shelly Miscavige in 2005 (with a brief reappearance in 2007) has been one of Scientology's most disturbing mysteries in recent years, and something we've been paying considerable attention to.
Two Scientology cult members tried to infiltrate a seminar for hareidi businessmen next week as lecturers, only to be exposed and replaced at the last minute. The seminars, led by the company "Hamigzar," aim to give hareidim the tools for success in business - not the gospel of a cult.
Yisrael Ben-Lulu, the hareidi businessmen who has organized the seminars for the past several years, was suspicious and sought clarification over the identify of the two lecturers. He turned to Yad L'achim, the organization fighting missionary activity in Israel, for help before the seminar in Jerusalem next Wednesday.
After thoroughly checking the names of the two lecturers, Yad L'achim discovered they lecture according to the method and ideology of Scientology. The two had hidden their true identities from Ben-Lulu. Further, it was revealed the two were involved in massive preaching sessions urging people to join the cult.
2014-02-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Vanity Fair just published an article about Shelly Miscavige. It presents part of the story of the Miscavige's to a wider audience — both David's violence and ruthlessness and Shelly's efforts to curtail him only to ultimately become another of his victims. Of course, it cannot cover everything and there are some details omitted or confused.
But there is a fascinating piece of the story Vanity Fair did NOT tell. And it confirms a great deal of what WAS written.
It was only discovered by a strange coincidence....
2013-02-07, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Like it or not, justified or not, the following segment on the popular Colbert Report (see both segments, second the interview with Lawrence Wright) pretty well sums up the public image of Scientology. Not the church of Scientology in the eyes of the world at large, but Scientology. A whacky religious cult with bizarre beliefs, violent practices and a threatening way of dealing with criticism.
The Colbert Report on Scientology
Do you believe this public image can change? How? How long will it take to change significantly?
Sure, she's done The View and Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan — but surely the media highlight of Jenna Miscavige Hill's whirlwind New York tour was sitting down with The Underground Bunker!
Well, at least her kids, Winnie (left) and Archie, seemed pretty thrilled to meet us, as you can see from this picture. And we had a great time talking with Jenna and her husband Dallas Hill about what they're going through now that her full story is finally getting to the outside world.
We also got to ask her the question that so many of our readers were puzzling over: what the hell is Jenna sitting in front of in the photograph on the cover of her book?
2012-02-07, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We keep seeing Twitter reactions as people are stunned to see a 2-minute ad for Scientology show up on network television. We've written earlier about the negative reactions the ad is getting as it appeared during NFL playoff games, the Miss America pageant, the Golden Globes, and during such weekly series as Glee and American Idol.
But we haven't written yet about what's actually in the ad, which appears to be the latest slick production from Scientology's Golden Era Productions that makes use of swooshing text. (For a previous example, look for the "Define Better" video in this story about Scientology's in-house rapper, Chill EB).
Golden Era knows how to put out a slick ad. But how much of it is true? Turns out, not a lot. We've selected the ad's five biggest whoppers, taking them in the order that they appear...
International President of the Scientology front group CCHR, Jan Eastgate (aka Janice Meyer) is to face an additional charge in relation to her allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of a child in the Scientology Church. Eastgate has yet to plead to the charges and is due to appear in an Australian court in May 2012.
2012-02-07, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The Internet grows feet: Feb. 10, 2008 on 46th St. (Photo by tacosdelaluna) There's so much happening in the world of Scientology watching right now, we can hardly keep up with it all. Most of our attention is being taken up with the Debbie Cook lawsuit and its big hearing on Thursday -- we're going to have more on that tomorrow morning. But for now, more big developments happening around the world, and a Saturday event happening right here in New York City.
This morning, we heard from Bryan Seymour, an Australian television journalist who wanted us to know that a second felony count has been added in the criminal case against Jan Eastgate.
Janice Wendy Eastgate Meyer lives in Los Angeles and is the worldwide leader of one of Scientology's more annoying front groups, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which exists solely to advocate for the destruction of psychiatry.
Two lawsuits filed by former Scientologists go to appeal on Thursday after being dismissed by a district court: ministerial exception will be at the heart of the debate.
If there was ever any doubt, the appeal court has settled the question: the principle of ministerial exception is central to arguments over two lawsuits brought by former Scientologists against the movement.
Summoning attorneys to argue separate lawsuits brought by Marc Headley and his wife Claire, a court document spelled it out.
2011-02-07, Joe Coscarelli, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The anarchic and amorphous hacker group Anonymous unleashed its online fury Sunday on Aaron Barr, a computer security expert with plans to tell the FBI everything he's gathered about the group. They took over his Twitter, covered it with racial slurs, published his social security number and proceeded to expose 50,000 of his company emails, available for download in one convenient file. Anonymous also messed with his company website, which is now down. All because he told the Financial Times that "he had collected information on the core leaders, including many of their real names, and that they could be arrested if law enforcement had the same data." So they took him to online war.
More on Barr's research:
Mr Barr said he penetrated Anonymous as part of a project to demonstrate the security risks to organisations from social media and networking. He is presenting his research later this month at a conference in San Francisco.
The FBI is investigating the Church of Scientology over allegations of human trafficking, it is claimed.
Federal investigators have been interviewing former members of the controversial organisation, which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its followers, over allegations of enslavement and violent treatment.
According to the New Yorker magazine, the FBI is also investigating allegations surrounding David Miscavige - the group's leader and the best man at Cruise's wedding - who has been accused of repeatedly hitting youngsters.
FBI agents investigating human trafficking have interviewed several high-ranking defectors from the Church of Scientology who spoke out to the St. Petersburg Times over the past two years about abusive and coercive practices within the church.
Five former church staffers confirmed Monday that the FBI interviewed them individually over the past 15 months about their experiences in the church's religious order, the Sea Org.
They said agents asked detailed questions primarily about working and living conditions at Scientology's remote international management base in the desert east of Los Angeles. The defectors — Amy Scobee, Mike Rinder, Tom DeVocht, Jeff Hawkins and Gary Morehead — said they described to agents how Sea Org staffers were restricted to the compound, intimidated, degraded and coerced to work long hours for little pay.
2011-02-07, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The New Yorker has just published a rather lengthy piece on Scientology, focusing in detail on the matter of Paul Haggis' departure from the church. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/14/110214fa_fact_wright
Here is a current PBS interview with the author of the piece, Larry Wright:
2011-02-07, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Now online here.
The story is getting a lot of traction: Today Show coverage here.
I'll continue to post links. Big story. The Church, of course, is continuing it's strategy of "deny everything." I also love their suggestion that "anyone who wants to find out what Scientology is really all about should come in to a Church of Scientology." Um...no thanks.
More than 2000 people attended the launch of the church's multi-million dollar home on Mt Alexander Rd on January 29, breaching its permit capacity by more than 1400 at the invite-only event. Among the attendees were Scientology leader David Miscavige, Melbourne singer Kate Ceberano, Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle, Essendon MP Justin Madden and Moonee Valley councillor Paul Giuliano.
2011-02-07, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Wright not only masterfully sums up the recent controversies, he reaches back in Scientology history to neatly trace where the troubled organization has been, and through Haggis is able to describe the complete arc of a longtime member who eventually comes to the conclusion that Scientology is one fucked-up racket.
And on top of all that, Wright, better than perhaps anyone, eviscerates the abomination that is Tommy Davis.
2008-02-07, RUTH MARVIN WEBSTER, North Country Times
First there was the controversy in Germany, which in December declared Scientology unconstitutional and banned it. Then there was the release of Andrew Morton's unauthorized biography of actor Tom Cruise, which coincided with the broadcast of a nine-minute video of Cruise extolling the virtues of the faith, viewed by millions of people around the world before it was pulled from YouTube.
Repost of the famous Scientology production "I Love Scientology" by Ruthie Heyerdahl.
Originally posted to YouTube on February 5, epic lulz ensued as the video captured Most Viewed and Most Discussed honors for the day, despite a solid one-star rating. After garnering over 10 times the views and comments of ALL her previous vids combined, Ruthie highlighted her affinity for $cientology by censoring this video after just 24 hours - taking with it literally thousands of carefully-crafted comments that Anonymous had kindly tried to share with her. (Anyone who would like to steal their comments back - or who has any other feelings they'd like to share with Ruthie - should feel free to post here.) This video should be downloaded and archived as many places as possible, to keep information free from the censorship of Ruthie and other Scifags. Known mirrors so far are at:
Ruthie called out and slandered Anonymous and so incurs the wrath of the internet hate machine and rightfully gets owned by the Power of the Internetz. She stands convicted of working for scientologists, being a scientologist, lying about being a scientologist, and general fucktardery. This four-minute video features over twenty-five cuts, and so - like the Tom Cruise video - testifies to the debilitating effects of years of exposure to cult-inspired brainwashing upon one's ability to express a coherent thought.
UPDATE 2/7/2008: Under a withering attack from anonymous, Ruthie wisely implemented The Final Solution here on YouTube and deleted all her videos, thereby unfucking herself from the internetz 'for great justice' - and while her ongoing contribution to the lulz will be missed, the memory of what she gave while she was with us will be kept alive here forever...
PERSONAL EFFICIENCY COURSE 2002-12-01
PERSONAL VALUES & INTEGRITY COURSE 2003-04-01
PURIFICATION RUNDOWN 2003-06-01
HOW TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS IN LIFE COURSE 2004-07-01
"the only thing that could cause a person to hate scientology is the fear of the unknown."
"I am not a Scientologist"
The nine-minute clip features a wide-eyed Cruise trumpeting his Scientology beliefs with what many have described as messianic zeal. Soon after the video surfaced on the Web, the Church of Scientology International demanded it be removed -- claiming the posting of the stolen video violated its copyright. Most of the sites have complied. One -- the New York-based Gawker -- has not, defiantly claiming a right to post the video under the copyright doctrine of fair use.
Was the real story lurking behind the two-foot-long bronze penis? If you haven't heard about the two-foot-long bronze penis, you were perhaps out of town just before Thanksgiving, when there were some tabloid guffaws over the erect male sex organ protruding from a 30-ton bronze elephant, unveiled Nov. 18 on the grassy lawn of the United Nations. The elephant, which was cast from a live, sleeping pachyderm in Kenya by Bulgarian sculptor Mihail, was a gift from Kenya, Namibia and Nepal. But while the 100-odd onlookers listened politely to Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and shot glances at the rough beast and its evident arousal, some in the crowd found something more provocative when they turned over their lavish program booklets and found, in large gold letters, a quote from L. Ron Hubbard, the late founder of the Church of Scientology. It read, "Man has reached the potential capacity to destroy the planet. He must be pushed on up to the capability and actions of saving it. It is, after all, what we're standing on."
On Wednesday, Oklahoma County District Judge Leamon Freeman wisely refused to grant Narconon a new hearing into whether it could remain open while appealing its license rejection and the closure order. Freeman also was right when he upheld Oklahoma County District Judge John Amick's decision setting Monday as the deadline for Narconon to stop treating patients and close down.
On the passing of Narconon, all that needs to be said is good riddance.
Baycon Industries Inc. sued the city in Circuit Court, claiming that St. Petersburg officials underestimated how much dredging was needed and then reneged on a promise to pay for the difference.
Baycon was doing the extra dredging when the cruise ship Boheme ran aground on Jan. 26, 1985, the lawsuit says.
BOSTON (AP) _ Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard left more than 99 percent of his personal estate, valued at "tens of millions of dollars," to the group, a Scientology leader said.
"After substantially taking care of family members, Mr. Hubbard has given his life's work to the church," Heber Jentzsch, head of the group for the past four years, said at a news conference here Thursday.
Hubbard, 74, died of a stroke Jan. 24 at his California ranch.