At a recent City Council election debate, the first question pitched to the four candidates was: What is the biggest problem facing Clearwater right now?
Seat 5 incumbent Hoyt Hamilton answered in code.
"I'm willing to work with anybody, but they have to be open and honest in how they communicate and we haven't always had that, so I think one of the biggest problems trying to move Clearwater forward is getting people to communicate openly and honestly with what we're trying to do."
Wait. Who is "they"? Which people are not being honest?
Asked in a later interview if he was referring to the Church of Scientology, which cut communication with city officials last year over a property dispute, Hamilton confirmed he was. So why didn't he come out and say that?
One of the most-well known things about Scientology is that once you get on their mailing list, it's very difficult to get taken off of it.
On social media, you often see people speak of being tracked down by the church decades after they bought a single book or took a single course. We talked to a man who was still getting calls and mailers more than forty years after he'd left Scientology and had moved multiple times.
We're often asked by people how the church tracks them down when they've moved, or when they have an unlisted telephone number. We've told them that we have to believe Scientology has a fairly sophisticated database that is constantly being updated, and that it must use fairly sophisticated tools.
2018-02-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It seems there is an increased interest in date locating ?? in the shrinking world of scientology. Perhaps they are running out of prospects...
These two emails were forwarded to me recently, both pitching "scientology" dating sites/services. On the eve of Valentine's Day they seem oddly apropos.
Apparently, they have managed to scrape together 200 members (another interesting measure of the real size of scientology).
Today's story is about a court document. It's the latest filing from the Church of Scientology which is attempting to keep a stay on the federal fraud lawsuit filed four years ago by a California couple, Luis and Rocio Garcia. We've kept you up on all the twists and turns in that case, but that's not why we thought it was worth showing you what's in the document.
What the church submitted seemed particularly interesting to us for what it says about how obsessive Scientology is about who is and who isn't in "good standing" with the church.
You see, Scientology pretends that it's a giant organization consisting of millions of members in tens of thousands of "groups" and churches around the world. Instead, it's a tiny movement that, despite its shrinking numbers, is quick to kick people out for the slightest provocation, as you'll see.
Ron Miscavige is the father of the leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige. He is also an author, having penned the tell-all book "Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige and Me".
Ron appeared on ABC News' 20/20 to reveal the drastic measures he took to escape from their 'Gold Base' compound in California. He has also appeared on Leah Remini's new docuseries "Scientology and the Aftermath"
Ron Joined us live in the studio to discuss everything from his introduction to Scientology in 1970 to escaping the Gold Base compound in 2012. Ron will be speaking at the Mythinformation Conference IV on September 30, 2017 in Milwaukee, WI.
2017-02-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The latest edition of Freedom magazine has hit the interwebs and it is doozy.
The front cover features the scarehead SURVEILLANCE - SECRECY AND YOU. And a subhead reads: The scope of private information now being swept up from all Americans is daunting — and the vast majority are kept in the dark
Now, whether you believe this is something all citizens should be worried about, or whether you think it is an overblown scare tactic is not the point of this posting.
2016-02-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is a new invitation being circulated among the "humanitarians" of the world.
Wonder how this "Open Invitation" for "The Freedom of Expression" would work out if your expression was something not entirely fawning about David Miscavige? Or L. Ron Hubbard? Or scientology? Or what if you showed up bearing a cake iced with "Where's Shelly Miscavige?"
They are literally inviting everyone/anyone: this invitation accompanied a note inviting a declared SP to attend this event.
Yesterday, we began telling you about Paul Burkhart, the newest defector from Scientology's international management to go public with what he experienced after joining the church in 1980, joining the Sea Org in 1985, and then leaving a little over two years ago, in August 2013.
For ten of those years, from 1999 to 2009, Burkhart worked at Scientology's secretive International Base near Hemet, California. His job was to make space plans for the renovations that were constantly going on at Scientology facilities around the world. That put him at the center of what Scientology leader David Miscavige was doing, but at the same time gave him a measure of protection from the increasingly contentious atmosphere at Int Base. As former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder put it, Burkhart was both in the "center of the shitstorm" at the same time that he inhabited "his own bubble."
Burkhart was so insulated, for example, he didn't really know who Mark "Marty" Rathbun was, even though Rathbun, as Inspector General of Ethics for the Religious Technology Center, was essentially the second-highest ranking member of the church and Miscavige's right hand man and chief enforcer.
Federal Tampa district Judge James D. Whittemore has been preparing in a very methodical way ahead of a February 18 evidentiary hearing that could have a huge impact on the Church of Scientology.
He's already held one live hearing on this important preliminary matter, and in anticipation of next week's event, he ordered both sides in the Luis and Rocio Garcia fraud lawsuit against the church to conduct numerous depositions.
We published one deposition transcript, two video segments from another (one, two), and detailed some of the complications about scheduling a third. But there were several others which were scheduled that we haven't had a chance to discuss.
All of the depositions have been completed now, and there was a status hearing held the other day to clear up some matters before next week's big showdown. And then, naturally, Scientology decided to throw a wrench into the works.
2014-02-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The ideally empty Cambridge Scientology building
Big win, the "Ideal Org" in Cambridge, Ontario that Dear Leader opened a year ago has just made an Objectives Course Supervisor!
With the heavy push to have EVERYONE from OT VIII down re-do their Objectives, one would have imagined that they might have had a trained Objectives Course Supervisor.
Our video source has a fun item for us this week. It's another "quote video" made to market another L. Ron Hubbard lecture — in this case, Scientology 8-8008 and the Philadelphia Doctorate Course.
The PDC came early in Scientology's history — December 1952 — but like everything else Hubbard did, this series of lectures was meant to be taken as gospel (which explains why it's still on sale and at premium prices).
But we like this video in particular because it features a passage by Hubbard which may be among the most nonsensical word salads he ever uttered on tape. Give it a look, and then take a look at our transcription of the second half of it...
2013-02-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I have added Buddha's Brain, (Hanson/Mendius - New Harbinger Publications, Inc, 2009) to the recommended reading list. The following is my review.
Buddha's Brain is authored by neuropsychologist Rick Hanson and neurologist Richard Mendius. Hanson is also a meditation teacher, and Mendius is also cofounder of Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. These fellows give a relatively easy to follow sum up of what developments in science have taught us about the function of the brain. They also, through work with Buddhist contemplative practice masters tested for neurological and hormonal/chemical patterns created by decisions of the being, detail how the brain – and thus the body – is affected by thought.
Buddha's Brain provides great food for thought and correlation to those trained in Dianetics and Scientology. The authors' description of science's 2009 understanding of the human brain is remarkably consistent with L. Ron Hubbard's 1950 description of the reactive mind in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. They describe the brain as being hardwired for avoiding danger, taking precedence over behavior/action patterns that seek pleasure or reward. They describe how transcendent states attained through contemplative practice – their main frame of reference being Buddhism – erase reactive neuron channels and create new, more analytical, intelligent and rational ones.
One of the world's most impressive collections of science fiction is now in the hands of the San Diego State University library. It's just part of the literary wealth of an SDSU graduate who's begun to donate his collection to his alma mater. Edward Marsh is also a follower of the Church of Scientology. KPBS culture reporter Angela Carone visited his Escondido home to find out what else he collected.
We're bursting with pride here in the Underground Bunker for Dee Findlay, a reader who first made contact with us about a year ago.
At that point, she had just decided to come out of Scientology, and had discovered the Voice blog almost right away. She became a frequent reader and commenter, and also communicated with us behind the scenes. We couldn't say it then, but she's been a great inspiration for us.
That was especially true last July, when Karen de la Carriere stood up to the church that didn't want her to see her own dead son, and several of our readers banded together with her in solidarity and dared to reveal their real identities in the comments section of our blog. One of them was Dee.
2012-02-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We got a little confused by the International Dateline and what not -- hey, you try converting Sydney time to New York and see if it doesn't leave you dizzy -- so that big story we were promising today won't be here for another 18 hours or so. In the meantime, we have this short video we pieced together from Saturday night's "raid" of the Scientology org on 46th Street near Times Square.
Four years after Anonymous launched Project Chanology and showed up outside Scientology orgs around the world, the local lunatics are still at it.
A note about that Guy Fawkes mask in the first segment -- there's a reason the other anons seem surprised to see it. Unlike other cities, where crowds of protesters in the masks became the iconic look of the movement, in New York an antiquated law prevents protesters in this city from covering their faces. So from the beginning, the raiders here were taking more of a chance, especially in early days when Scientology was more actively trying to identify individual activists and serve them with cease and desist letters (or worse).
After explosive trial testimony last week, the Church of Scientology abandoned its quest to silence a former church official it sued for breach of a confidentiality agreement, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
2012-02-13, Matt Reynolds, Courthouse News Service
Husband and wife Claire and Marc Headley each filed complaints against the Church of Scientology under the Trafficking Victims Act after leaving the Sea Organization, an order of Scientology in which members work long hours and perform hard labor without pay.
The Headleys worked at the church from the early 1990s until 2005. Claire Headley claimed that the church prohibited her from having children and was coerced into having two abortions. She also alleged that members who tried to leave the church were followed, brought back, and deprived of food and sleep, among other punishments.
2011-02-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Marc Headley will be on the popular late-night Coast to Coast radio show tonight. Marc will be discussing, among other things, the Scientology Inc intelligence operations that have been run on he, his wife, and his two young children. He will be discussing a number of internal Office of Special Affairs documents which demonstrate the unethical and illegal nature of those ops. So that you all can follow along as Marc connects the dots I am posting below the documents he will be referring to.
These documents include proof of what Mike Rinder and I have been saying all along about how OSA routinely bribes telephone company employees to criminally invade people's privacy by turning over their phone records to church thugs.
These documents also demonstrate the perverse mentality of Miscavige that has been forced upon the entire OSA network. I have met Marc and Claire's children. I like them and they like me. And I am some kind of hot right now about the "church's" regard for their first-born, an extremely intuitive, smart, and friendly fellow.
When I saw that the Church of Scientology, a religion started by a best-selling science fiction author, was having an open house, I seized the chance to hear their message.
My partner in crime, Katie, and I were greeted by a pair of Scientologists who asked us if we would like to take a free personality or IQ test. My first test of the semester administered by Scientologists? Why not?
2009-02-13, Caleb Hannan, Pith in the Wind, Nashville Scene
Nashville's version of Anonymous, the one-year-old Rick Rollin' Scientology haters, are planning an 11 AM VDay protest and (of course) they'd like you to join them. L. Ron's Plucky Gang of Misfits have had a relatively low-key* presence in Nashvegas for years now, but they'll soon be movin' on up, and out, of their Music Row digs.
Hollywood actor Tom Cruise was used as a profile for domestic violence at a NSW Police conference in Wollongong yesterday.
Internationally renowned social psychologist and author Dr Dina McMillan said Cruise demonstrated an "absolute exceptional case" of controlling behaviour which he was using on third wife Katie Holmes.
"His behaviour towards Katie Holmes, how they got together, everything has all the indicators of an abusive relationship," she told the Mercury.
"There are concrete indications that the plaintiff (Scientology), as well as its members, maintains ambitions against the free, democratic basic order," said a statement by the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court on Tuesday. It added, however, that the verdict "specifically left open whether Scientology is considered a religious organization" or a business.
I've always thought that having my own cult would be fantastic: all those beautiful women lining up to have my baby, because I'm the third son of Osiris. And if that's not enough, there's always the plump offshore bank account and the chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce to consider.
For an organization fighting to win mainstream acceptance in an atmosphere of suspicion, association with celebrities in the public mind can be very beneficial. "These groups are often crying out for legitimacy, and they seek it any way they can, especially if they are under duress in public," said James T. Richardson, a professor of sociology and law at the University of Nevada at Reno. "What's phenomenal is the success that Scientology has had with the entertainment industry."
An American Indian group supporting a Narconon substance-abuse center's fight to stay open is just a front for Narconon, the chairman of the tribal alliance that leased the property to the center says.
The five tribes represented by the Chilocco Development Authority, not the recently formed Native American Council on Chilocco, will decide whether sovereignty issues are involved, development authority Chairman Robert Chapman said.
KAW CITY One of five tribes that signed a lease with a substance abuse center to operate on the old Chilocco Indian school campus says the lease should be broken.
The lease with Narconon International should be terminated because of late lease payments and Narconon's failure to obtain state certification, according to a resolution passed by the Kaw tribal council.
The tribe also cited suspected fraud by Narconon in reporting the number of patients it has at the facility and explaining its relationship with the Church of Scientology.
If the Church of Scientology goes ahead with plans to hold a circus in Clearwater this Saturday, members are likely to find the police in the audience.
"If they proceed with the circus, we will in fact cite them," City Manager Tony Shoemaker said Thursday.
Shoemaker met Thursday afternoon with church attorney Paul Johnson to discuss the sect's plans to sponsor a circus without obtaining an occupational license.
The Scientologists are advertising a circus Saturday on their property across from Coachman Park. Pink fliers being circulated by the sect say the circus will include elephant rides, horses, big cats and clowns.
1987-02-13, Robert Henderson, St. Petersburg Times
Mrs. Calderbank is obviously going to be the anti-Scientology candidate, picking up the fight once waged by her son, former City Commissioner Jim Calderbank. She issued a "word of warning" about the Scientologists' continuing property acquisitions, telling the mobile home dwellers that the group could "buy your park - they've got the money."
"You need someone to be on the lookout when they buy property," she said. She is a candidate for incumbent Lee Regulski's Seat 2.
City Manager Tony Shoemaker met with Church of Scientology attorney Paul Johnson Thursday afternoon to discuss the church's plans to sponsor a circus Saturday without obtaining an occupational license. Pink fliers being circulated by the church say a circus on its property across from Coachman Park will include elephant rides, horses, big cats and clowns. City officials say the church needs an occupational license, signed by the City Commission, to hold such an event. Because the commission doesn't meet before Saturday, the church couldn't get a license even if it sought one. So far, it hasn't. "If they proceed with the circus, we will in fact cite them," Shoemaker said Thursday. The citation would require the group to go before the city's code enforcement board. If found in violation, the organizers could be fined up to $250. That's cheaper than the $375 the church would have to pay to get an occupational license.