2018-02-09, John P. Capitalist, John P. Capitalist
Scientology devotes an immense fraction of its staff to fixing substandard delivery of its services. It has more people devoted to detecting and deterring "thoughtcrime" from members whose loyalty may be wavering ... and even more toiling away in a complex organization designed to ferret out and punish staff incompetence and disloyalty.
To a never-in, this smacks of a poorly designed product from an incompetent organization. But more importantly, it suggests that Scientology "tech" may actually be deliberately and cynically designed to be impossible to succeed at, with the punishment of failure used as a retention mechanism to keep people in the cult.
Hana Whitfield, a prominent ex-Scientologist who worked personally for founder L. Ron Hubbard for many years, has contributed her perspective on whether Scientology is intentionally (and cynically) designed to fail, whether it was designed to help people but failed at that noble goal or whether Hubbard had a very different approach. The answer will surprise you.
We're continuing to mark the 10th anniversary of a stunning series of events that changed Scientology watching forever.
On January 14, it was ten years since Mark Bunker first posted a 9-minute Scientology video interview of Tom Cruise to YouTube which went viral. When Scientology's legal corps tried to get it yanked down, the Anonymous movement declared war on Scientology in an infamous 2-minute video of its own, posted on January 21. And six days later, Mark Bunker made a small bit of history again when he posted a video counseling Anonymous to drop its attacks on Scientology which were illegal or counterproductive. Bunker was dubbed "Wise Beard Man" for that wisdom, and Anonymous and its "Project Chanology" looked for more traditional ways to get its point across.
In fact, by the time Bunker posted his Wise Beard Man message, Project Chanology had announced on January 24 that it was declaring February 10 a day of protest.
2017-02-09, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everyone this is Chris Shelton, the Critical Thinker at Large, with our last chapter in our deconstruction of this book, Scientology, edited by academic and cult apologist James R. Lewis and featuring essays and articles from a number of like-minded sociologists, psychologists and religious scholars. We are finally wrapping this up.
Now for anyone who is paying more attention than they probably should, I am skipping chapter 21 called "Sources for the Study of Scientology: Presentations and Reflections" since this offers very little of substance and is mostly a summary of Hubbard's individual books and videos. Dorthe Christensen does make some decent points about how the Church has altered the original works of Hubbard over the years to fit the re-written historical record or hagiography of Hubbard's life and how he supposedly was always on a self-made collision course with destiny to bring freedom and salvation to Mankind through his works. Since we've really already covered that whole thing in some detail earlier in this series, though, it's only a footnote here.
So our final chapter is actually the Appendix, which is a very short article titled "Pastoral Care and September 11: Scientology's Nontraditional Religious Contribution" by Carole M. Cusack and Justine Digance. This was apparently a section in a longer article by these two authors published in Australian Religious Studies Review in the spring of 2003.
In this video series, I'm taking on Scientology academic apologists by deconstructing the book Scientology by James R. Lewis, chapter by chapter. In this video, we wrap it up by looking at the Appendix which is a short article about Scientology's involvement at Ground Zero on 9/11.
The introduction to this series is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3-lW...
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February 2017: Here are some notes and observations on how I watch and look at Scientology:
1. So many things constellate around The Underground Bunker that this place is mandatory daily reading. Tony Ortega understands context, story, and significance in a way that utterly eludes Scientology, David Miscavige, Freedom Rag, and the no-show-no-stats SMP.
2. Mike Rinder's blog is the Tiffany's of documenting Scientology's ongoing failures, deceits, and decline. Mike provides an outstanding daily journal of real-time Scientology decline. Mike's valuable insights into Scientology as an organization are possible due to his decades of managing the Office of Special Affairs on a daily basis. Mike understands Scientology and David Miscavige at a profound level. That Mike's jovial and robust sense of humor is mated to his ferocious intellect makes reading his analysis of the situation that much more enjoyable.
2017-02-09, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Good luck with that
The only thing they seem to be promoting is how good the Orpheum is. Like it's an "ideal" venue or something — it is "recently renovated" and it has close parking, it's right downtown and is "stunningly beautiful." Even if the video they are going to show is a Rotten Tomatoes 0%er, the place looks good.
And just like every ideal org, you can bet it will be virtually empty.
Bunker readers! If you were never a member of Scientology but always wondered what it was like to get tracked down and sent invites to the next big church event, we have you covered!
Former church member Ronn Stacy says it's been five years since he was declared a "suppressive person" by Scientology, but he found that he's back on the church's call list.
"Desperate times? I haven't been on Scientology services since 2009, and I was declared SP in 2012. But I'm back on the invite list apparently," Ronn tell us.
2016-02-09, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
This is the third part of my interview with former Scientologist Shane Weightman.
I've commented on how being on staff in a Scientology organization can be a maddening experience and Shane only confirms that experience here. The lies that are told to Scientologists at their yearly gatherings are not just promotional puff pieces, but are outright fabrications, painting a picture of how great Scientology is doing when in fact, the organizations are unviable and failing. That's deception, not promotion.
Being sent to the Mecca of Scientology in Clearwater, Florida for training is a dream many staff never achieve. The Flag Service Organization is supposed to embody the very essence of Scientology in everything it does - the best of the best. There's an almost mystic status one achieves when he or she is "Flag trained" and it's mandatory for certain jobs in the lower organizations. But is this status really deserved and does it really mean so much? We talk about that in this interview and Shane describes what it's really like to be a trainee there.
2016-02-09, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Just some random thoughts.
Super Bowl ads:
What a colossal waste of money. IF scientology really had an interest in "humanitarian works" they would not spend a dime buying airtime to pat themselves on the back — because the money would be needed for their humanitarian works.
(Aaron Smith-Levin in 2005)
We have a great slice of Scientology Sea Org life to share with you today, courtesy of Aaron Smith-Levin. We've been featuring Aaron in stories for some time, and in his videos he's been telling you about what it was like to grow up in the church.
By 12 years old, Aaron had joined staff at the Philadelphia org, and then, in 2002 at 22 years old, he joined the Sea Org, Scientology's hardcore inner circle. He left the SO four years later, but he remained in the church until very recently. He was only "declared" a "suppressive person" last year, though he had been communicating with former members, like Mike Rinder, for a few years.
Fresh debate over a drug and rehabilitation centre linked to the Church of Scientology has emerged after the program lost a bid to operate in central Warburton in the face of more than a year of intense community opposition.
A Church of Scientology offshoot, the Association for Better Living and Education, appealed to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, after a unanimous Yarra Ranges Council decision to refuse it a permit to operate its drug treatment program from a central location in Warburton.
Law firms are beginning to take notice of Church of Scientology-licensed and owned Narconon:
As I have documented, The Church of Scientology had >$1.7 billion in 990-T 2012 book value. There is perhaps two billion dollars more that Scientology does not have to file 990's on.
US Narconons reported ~$60,000,000 in 2012 revenues. My guesstimate is that Narconon globally takes in $100,000,000 per ear.
Clark Carr, where'd you go? One of our better sources said it to us several months ago, and it was so startling, we really weren't sure what to make of it.
"Narconon International is being dismantled," he told us.
Hang on. Narconon International, the Scientology umbrella group that oversees and licenses all Narconon rehab centers around the world, which sits just under another Scientology umbrella group, the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), is going away? What made him think so?
In Milton, where Narconon is now trying to open a facility, it is staring down Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw 144-2003.
The document may not be as attention-grabbing as furious townsfolk terrified by what they've read on the Internet, but it is just as powerful. Milton's Committee of Adjustment and Consent denied a proposal last October from Social Betterment Properties International for a Narconon centre on a parcel of land it acquired on Milburough Line in an isolated, rural part of town. The committee found it did not fit the town's definition of a group home.
Scientology Inc has been reduced to a money extortion racket which it is permitted to do with IRS 501C 3 Tax exemption. Chris Shelton continues to share his journey of the Truman Show. Chris flew in from Minnesota to record this video and highlights the waste that is the GIANT Twin Cities ideal org. 90,000 square feet of empty buildings nobody needs. But the "Church" now owns it and can do with it whatever it wants.
Cat Doss: Tell me about your experience growing up in the Church of Scientology.
Jason Barclay: ?Well, to say the least, it was interesting. I always believed in aliens and was glad it seemed to provide some answers. I didn't really get involved with Scientology until I was 13. Up 'till then it was nice that people would remain quiet when I got hurt, and I'd get basic 'Touch Assists' that would help me feel better.
But then I went to 'Flag' (Scientology headquarters in Florida) at 13 years old. I've always had a big heart and always wanted to help save the world since I could remember. Well, I was there with my mom. She had paid $20,000 to do a '6 Month Check' for her 'OT 7' service. And while she was locked away in session some recruiters asked me to help save the world and I agreed…
It was tough. I began working 14-hour days. I had to do mostly physical labor work like moving cement, painting, cleaning toilets - you name it.
Last week, we had a breaking story on Sunday and our weekly Funnies got shorted. So this week we're making up for it with a cornucopia of goodness.
Our loyal tipsters have forwarded us many examples of Scientology's wacky fundraising fliers. But first, we have an e-mail that went out this week about the church's latest TV ad, "Spiritual Technology," which ran during the Super Bowl. (Once again, Scientology saved money by running the ad only in certain cities rather than nationally.)
The church will continue running it during the Sochi Winter Olympics, and during the Academy Awards....
2014-02-09, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Some news about the latest "Ideal Org" to blow smoke up the remaining butts that will occupy a seat at an event.
I didnt post this email from a few weeks ago — sort of got lost in other activities. And it was just a single email.
Following is what I wrote about it on 15 January....
In 1990, author Jon Atack published what is still one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, A Piece of Blue Sky. Atack now has a new edition of the book out, and it reminded us what an encyclopedic resource he is. So we had an idea. In the world of Scientology watching, we noticed that there seem to be some legends, myths, and contested facts that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. With Atack's help, we're going to tackle these issues one by one, drawing on Jon's deep knowledge.
This week, we try to clear up Scientology's origin, which journalists sometimes disagree on.
Jon, there was a fascinating story in Newsweek/The Daily Beast recently about a trove of L. Ron Hubbard documents at New York's Explorers Club. The article had some new information that tended to corroborate what you and other Hubbard historians have written over the years.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Scientology executiveDebbie Cook was on the phone with church leader David Miscavige when she heard someone pounding at her office door at a church compound in California.
Not wanting to hang up on her angry boss, who was complaining about her performance, she didn't answer the knocks. The pounding stopped, but someone was prying open her office window. Two male church employees crawled in.
"Are they there?" Miscavige asked.
2012-02-09, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Here is the latest justification for a multi-million dollar shakedown of Scientology Public called the Idle Morgue scam.
Twin Cities - Think Big
Tens of millions of dollars for two new people a day? Making it a total of five people of day to be avoided like the plague, denied a live comm cycle, and made to look blankly at Miscavige's gaudy videos, and finally be blown off with a creepy impression of Scientology?
2012-02-09, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
What an amazing time we had reporting from the Bexar County Courthouse today as Debbie Cook testified in the lawsuit filed against her by her former employer, the Church of Scientology.
We got back to our hotel room and saw for the first time the amazing comments left by our loyal readers. (Our Internet connection in the courtroom was very limited.) Good to see that this day seemed to have as much impact for so many of you as it did for us.
I won't go over everything that happened today. Please revisit our live updates from the hearing, or read excellent stories by the Tampa Bay Times and the San Antonio Express News.
2012-02-09, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Update: For a wrap-up of today's hearing and some analysis of the day's performances, we now have this new piece.
Today, former Scientology executiveDebbie Cook will try to convince a Bexar County, Texas district judge to lift the strict terms of a temporary injunction as she defends herself against a lawsuit filed by her former employer. The Church of Scientology is seeking a minimum of $300,000 in damages against Cook and her husband, Wayne Baumgarten, after Cook sent out an e-mail on New Year's Eve to thousands of her fellow church members, criticizing church leader David Miscavige for Scientology's focus on "extreme fundraising."
After 17 years as Scientology's top executive running its spiritual mecca in Clearwater, Florida and then some time in California, Cook left Scientology's "Sea Org" in 2007. She and her husband, who also left the Sea Org, signed non-disclosure agreements (for which they were paid $50,000 each), and moved to San Antonio. Cook left staff, but didn't leave the church, and bided her time until her New Year's Eve salvo proved a major crisis for the organization.
2011-02-09, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
One of the most telling comments by Paul Haggis in the recent New Yorker article was this one: "Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't."
It's a question a lot of us have asked once we leave Scientology. "Why didn't I see what was going on?"
In an interview today with NPR's Terry Gross, Larry Wright was asked what impact he thought his article would have on Scientologists. His reply was very perceptive:
There was, however, some new information that Wright brings out. We had heard rumors and unofficial reports of federal interest concerning Scientology's dealings, particularly regarding the area of human trafficking. "The Apostate" brings this investigation to greater light.
Wright's article states, "At the time Haggis was doing his research, the F.B.I. was conducting its own investigation. In December, 2009, Tricia Whitehill, a special agent from the Los Angeles office, flew to Florida to interview former members of the church in the F.B.I.'s office in downtown Clearwater, which happens to be directly across the street from Scientology's spiritual headquarters. Tom De Vocht, who spoke with Whitehill, told me, 'I understood that the investigation had been going on for quite a while.' He says Whitehill confided that she hadn't told the local agents what the investigation was about, in case the office had been infiltrated. Amy Scobee spoke to the F.B.I. for two days. 'They wanted a full download about the abuse,' she told me.
The church's former Inspector General, Mark Rathbun claims to be in possession of secret mails written by Yvonne Gonzalves, the Director of Vehicles of the Sea Org branch, the top-secret organization within the Church.
This organization is said to be responsible for building the trailer-style bus, called the "Silver Screen", for which staffers put in nearly 9,000 man hours to produce. Two shifts worked steadily for a total of 17 hour each day, Gonzalves wrote in the email.
It has almost been a month since Haiti was rocked with a 7.0 scale earthquake that devastated the capital of Port au Prince and much of the country.
Since that time, support and volunteers have streamed into the Caribbean nation to render rescue and rebuilding support as well as medical assistance. Among the groups arriving to help, Church of Scientology Volunteer Ministers came and with them, a great deal of controversy.
Recent allegations about Scientology rely less on the organization's belief system, which represents a strange amalgam of pseudo-psychology; a Gnostic claim to reach a stage above the possibility of human sin or frailty; reliance on a pseudo-scientific machine that is supposed to detect human lies or negative blockages and, a long process of auditing to remove blockages toward achieving the desired stage of being "clear." The process can cost anywhere from $25,000 to the neighborhood of $1 million. The recent attacks on Scientology focus mainly on its behaviors, many of which are distasteful but may be legal; some of which are, arguably, criminal.
Despite its short history, the center already has a small but vocal group of critics. Last August, about 15 members of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, clad in T-shirts bearing the message "Psychiatry Kills," protested the clinic at a meeting of health professionals.
"I personally don't think this is a way to treat human beings," says Arthur Krowitz, director of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Scientology-associated group. "Maybe rats or dogs."
"Behavioral modification is treating people as if they were trainable animals," says Arthur Krowitz of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group affiliated with the Church of Scientology. "It totally goes against the spiritual nature of human beings."
The Gainesville inmates don't see it that way.
"I'm the one locked up, so I must be wrong," says Ben, the child molester.