This month, in the opening arguments for a major, lengthy trial which could send Thompson to death row, defense attorneys laid out a daytime-soap subplot of an argument for Thompson's detour: the Church of Scientology. Alongside the legalese of standard court documents, Thompson's defense includes the Scientology "tone scale," a diagram which purports to sketch the full spectrum of human emotion, multiple mentions of the phrase "eternal soul," and the name Tom Cruise.
The lawyers' thesis hinged on the fact that the female victim's son was receiving psychiatric treatment. Scientology, a religion the practice of which involves regular one-on-one meetings with a counselor to talk through emotional and mental problems (a ritual they call "auditing"), has a long, bitter opposition to psychiatry—a church spokesperson told The Daily Beast that the industry is "brutal" and rife with "human rights violations." Thompson's lawyers claim their client is a practicing member of the faith (the church denies any affiliation), whose opposition to mental health treatment led him to intervene on his nephew-in-law's behalf.
Leah Remini has accused two former members of the Church of Scientology of sabotaging an episode of her A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath, linking to their Twitter accounts, calling them "Scientology Operatives" and encouraging them to "get help."
She also linked to a YouTube video posted earlier in the evening by 'Aftermath' guest Aaron Smith-Levin, who accused the two former church members of not only sabotaging the episode (which didn't air), but also of filing a criminal complaint against him with the Clearwater Police Department.
We became aware of the criminal complaint last week while we were on a family vacation in Mexico. We managed to get one of the two former church members, Morgan Bradham, on the phone from our hotel there, but when we asked him if it was true, as Leah alleged, that he was working with the church to sabotage her show and the Aftermath Foundation, Bradham denied it.
2019-02-19, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Can you imagine the level of unethical loan activities that must be going on in this "ideal" org to elicit a Facebook posting like this? And can you imagine the trouble Jessica F S Brown has landed herself in by daring to quote L. Ron Hubbard to prove someone(s) in the "ideal org" in Auckland are acting improperly?
And there are people responding on FB — they had better be prepared to hand over some more cash in order to keep the Ethics Officer at bay...
United We Roll was called the Yellow Vest Convoy less than a month ago, and is directly linked to the movement whose members propagate fear-mongering, and hateful rhetoric about immigrants, particularly Muslims.
"There are racist elements within the movement. It is reflective of Canada as a whole and has some bad apples," said Mark Friesen, an administrator for Yellow Vests Canada's Facebook page, which has more than 110,000 members.
Friesen, who arrived in Ottawa Tuesday morning as part of the convoy, told HuffPost Canada he tries to keep the online community focused on the group's mission to educate Canadians about the need to quell immigration, not sign the United Nations' migration pact, and stop carbon taxes and a sustainable development agenda, but "you can't control all of it."
After we brought the news that prominent Scientology figure David Mayo had died last year in New Zealand, there was a pretty huge reaction from many former Scientologists, as well as a lot of discussion of his legacy. One person who had lengthy talks with Mayo after he left the church was historian Jon Atack, who tells us what he learned in those discussions.
David Mayo was an icon for many of us. His courage and resilience inspired us. He was a highly intelligent and kindly man. There is no doubt that he was once presented as Hubbard's successor, so the vicious attacks upon him from 1982 onward were the flash point for the departure of about half the membership of Scientology after his Suppressive Person declare and the bizarre publication "Story of a Squirrel," in which Hubbard alleged that David had been the "bird-dog in the control room" of Scientology.
My mum was on the Class II course when this propaganda piece arrived, and, as with many others, she could not fathom how Hubbard – the great expert – had been blind to David's "suppressive" nature for over two decades. I spent time with David in 1986 and 1988 interviewing him extensively. He was generous with his time, and candid in his responses. I particularly liked his apparent unease at the adulation of so many towards him.
2018-02-19, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is more of the scientology bubble crazy on display.
They have been convinced that handing out copies of the Way to Happiness "reduces crime" and "brings calm" to neighborhoods.
Why do they believe this?
2017-02-19, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) I know you've gone over what happens generally when someone walks into a Scientology org for the first time and that they believe psychiatry is simply out to hurt and take advantage of people but what would happen if I went there for my Asperger's or ADHD? What would they blame my symptoms on and what would they do to try and "help" me?
(Paul and Chelsea Wysong)
Rod Keller takes a look at a new legal fight over an employer allegedly forcing an employee to submit to Scientology courses...
The Underground Bunker has reported on numerous cases of employers getting into hot water over forcing Scientology on their employees, including dentists and chiropractors. But this week, we're taking a look at a dispute between an Ohio engineer and the owners of an Indiana consulting company.
I attended Phil & Willie Jones' billboard launch for their campaign, "To My Loved One in Scientology… Call Me." The billboard is in the Los Feliz/Silverlake area of Los Angeles, a mere block away from Scientology Media Productions. I filmed Phil's dedication speech to the billboard, which was very moving and touching. I vlogged the afternoon at the ceremony and shared my thoughts on the billboard and its significance in the area!
Please watch, share & subscribe :)?
For more information: http://www.stopscientologydisconnecti...
For more than a year now we've been bringing you previously unseen and often startling documents that our friend and researcher R.M. Seibert managed, with the help of the MuckRock website, to pry out of the hands of the Food and Drug Administration in a Freedom of Information Act request.
The FDA investigated L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology from about 1958 to 1971, and raided the WashingtonDC church in 1963. The documents we've recovered have ranged from Hubbard's high school grades to interviews with family members, former church members, and even some major science fiction figures.
Last January, we told you about a really odd little nugget that turned up in the pile. FDA inspectors became interested in a man named Joseph Ettelmann who had a business dispute with Hubbard. According to the FDA files, Ettelmann and Hubbard had become "close friends" and had gone into business together, becoming partners in a jewelry plant that manufactured Zodiac pendants for use in Hubbard's church. Then they had a falling out, leading to a lawsuit and a wild scene when Ettelmann tried to serve the suit on Hubbard.
A thief stole $2,000 worth of copper wire from the Church of Scientology on East 125th Street.
A construction crew working on the multi-million dollar facility noticed that the door of the site was open when they showed up to work on Feb. 7, according to the NYPD.
Once inside they found more than $1,000 worth of construction tools - including a $300 chop saw, a $400 grinder and a $200 drill set - gone. They also saw that copper wire was missing from the basement.
The crew had last been at the future site of the Church of Scientology the previous Saturday, police said.
A federal judge on Thursday urged both sides in a lawsuit over the Church of Scientology's fundraising tactics to settle matters on their own before he is forced to make "a difficult decision" after two days of hearings.
If they don't come to an agreement - and there was no indication they would - U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore said he will focus on whether the church has a valid procedure in place to arbitrate money disputes with former parishioners.
The plaintiffs, Luis and Rocio Garcia, spent $1.3 million on church services and causes over 28 years, and are seeking a refund.
In a move that signals how much HBO thinks of Alex Gibney's new documentary 'Going Clear' after its Sundance Film Festival premiere, the network has moved its airing from March 16 to March 29.
HBO is under heavy pressure from the Church of Scientology, which has tried to spoil the film's arrival with full-page newspaper ads, attacks on the credibility of its sources at one of Scientology's websites, a Twitter campaign that's drawn derision, and even caustic letters to critics who have reviewed the film.
But we're told that's not why HBO has moved the airing back. The network is so fully behind the documentary, it has made the schedule change so 'Going Clear' can get the most coveted spot on television: Sunday night in prime time.
A member of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, Vitaly Milonov, sent a letter to Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov requesting an in-depth inspection of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg and other Russian regions, the deputy's press services reports.
According to the press statement, the request followed numerous inquiries from St. Petersburg residents concerned over the opening of the Scientology Church branch in St. Petersburg. The church followers are said to be aggressively promoting their pseudo-religious movement among the youth and students of nearby schools and universities.
The first trailer for HBO's documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief reveals the disillusionment people feel after leaving the L. Ron Hubbard's church. Men and women offer quotes like, "I was deeply convinced that we were going to save the world," and, "They sell it all in the beginning as something quite logical." Imagery of paperwork, graphs and the church's opulent headquarters complement the ominous assertions. "There is no logical explanation other than faith," the final voice says.
The trailer for Alex Gibney's Scientology documentary has debuted online.
In the one-minute clip, a chorus of voices are heard describing their experiences with Scientology. "There is no logical explanation other than faith," a voice finally concludes.
The film, which had its premiere at Sundance in January, is based on the book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, by New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright.
2014-02-19, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
From the Truth In Advertising file. For once.
Well, except for the fact that there is an "OT Org" (AOSHANZO, no doubt about to "go Ideal" soon) that is really the "OT Org" if there is such a thing.
Funny, all the hype about Sydney opening by the 1st of March has vanished like money given to the IAS....
In December, Comal CountyJudge Dib Waldrip decided that Monique Rathbun has the right to depose the leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, in her harassment lawsuit against the church. The judge then reasserted that decision after he was asked to reconsider. But now, Scientology is so determined to keep Miscavige out of a witness chair, it is taking a step that experts are telling us is somewhat extreme.
On Friday, Wallace Jefferson — the former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court (pictured at right) — filed on behalf of Miscavige an 89-page petition with the Texas Third Court of Appeals in Austin, asking it to grant a writ of mandamus and counteract Waldrip's order.
We have the petition now, and we'd like your thoughts on it.
On February 3, Monique Rathbun's attorneys produced surprise evidence in her harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige.
That was the first day of a crucial hearing regarding Scientology's "anti-SLAPP" motion. A week earlier, Scientology had been ordered to turn over any evidence it had in the form of video or photographs produced in the church's years-long surveillance of Monique and her husband Mark 'Marty' Rathbun. As a result of that order, the church turned over a terabyte of video on an external drive, with hours and hours of surveillance footage.
Despite the volume of that evidence, Monique's attorneys came to court on February 3 with a surprise. One of the segments of video that the church turned over was about a minute and a half long, had no audio track, and showed Monique Rathbun being filmed pulling into her driveway.
A year ago, we made public hundreds of schematics showing plans for Scientology's "Flag Mecca," known colloquially as the "Super Power" building. The city-block-sized, 300,000-square-foot monstrosity across the street from the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida first broke ground in 1998, and even after the church was forced to pay $413,500 in penalties to the City of Clearwater in 2011 because of delays in its construction, there's still no indication when it will open.
One of our tipsters noticed that this video featuring the Super Power building was posted Saturday on the church's official YouTube channel. Hidden near the end of the segment — about 50 seconds from the finish — there's news of yet another major project to be built next door to the Super Power building, one that looks like it could take several more years and millions more in construction
All hail "L. Ron Hubbard Hall," David Miscavige's newest excuse to delay opening his major fundraising boondoggle!
A controversial Church of Scientology drug-awareness programme has received government funding to spread its unorthodox views through schools and community groups.
In the past six months, drug-free ambassadors linked to the church have circulated 130,000 drug education booklets around New Zealand, paid for in part by the Department of Internal Affairs' Community Organisations Grant Scheme.
Advice offered in the pamphlets is based on research by Scientology's controversial founder, LRon Hubbard, who did not believe in medical drugs or psychiatry but instead in purging oneself of painful experiences to gain immortality.
Ross Bell, executive director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, warned that the group's information was flawed pseudo-science and could prove harmful to youth.
2012-02-19, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
You know who! Scientologists don't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.
So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! Our sources regularly send us Scientology's wacky and tacky fundraising mailers, and each week we choose three of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
Hey, this was last night! We'd like to hear just how hip-hop-tastic it was!
2011-02-19, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The following interview may be of interest. It ran on CBC this morning throughout Canada. The interview begins at minute TWO and runs up to just past minute ELEVEN. You may want to hang onto this link. It might be the most accurate, brief sum up of life at the International Headquarters of the Church of Scientology Inc to date. It also gives perhaps the most fair treatment of Scientology Inc's actual response to my statements of facts. Could serve as a good educational piece if you can pursuade someone to take ten minutes to learn what really goes in the world of Miscavge.
Wright mentions just once the story that high-level Scientologists avoid getting colds but he describes at length Scientology's intense secrecy and its anger over frank discussion by outsiders. Just like the journalist described by my colleague long ago, every critic is denounced by official Scientology for sinister motives.
Shawn Lonsdale, a vocal Scientology critic who both directed his own anti-church documentary and appeared in a BBC Panorama documentary titled Scientology And Me, was found dead in his home over the weekend in an apparent suicide, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
A federal appeals court is being asked to tell the Internal Revenue Service to open up a secret deal with the Church of Scientology that reportedly allows members to deduct certain educational, or "auditing," expenses, a benefit denied members of other faiths in the United States.
Pierrefonds-Dollard MP Bernard Patry added his name to a banner declaring he promised to live a life without drugs, a symbolic gesture aimed to help non-profit organization Narconon Trois-Rivières preach prevention to grade school students across Quebec.
Case #3 - Offense # 95-29158
Victim Lisa McPherson, a white female, date of birth 2/10/59, died while being transported by several associates to a hospital in New Port Richey, Florida on December 6, 1995. Ms. McPherson's manner of death has been undetermined. The Clearwater Police Department has attempted to contact three of these associates for interviews. Thus far, all attempts to locate these individuals have been unsuccessful. The last known address of Ms. McPherson and these associates was 210 S. Fort Harrison Avenue in Clearwater. The three associates are:
1. Suzanne Schnuremberger. Due in part to the overwhelming response to this page, no further information is required for Ms. Schnuremberger.
2. Ildiko Cannovas. Information indicates that Ms. Cannovas may now be living in Hungary.
3. Laura Arrunada. Information indicates that Ms. Arrunada may now be working in the medical field in Mexico.
DENVER -- L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, broke a 15-year silence to assure his followers he is alive and to restate his opposition to nuclear proliferation, the Rocky Mountain News reported.
In its Sunday editions, the newspaper published a copyright article giving Hubbard's written answers to questions submitted by reporter Sue Lindsay through his attorneys. Hubbard wrote a cover letter in his own hand to assure Lindsay she had 'an exclusive' and 'to alleviate any concern others may have' about the interview's authenticity.
Ms. Lindsay began seeking an interview with Hubbard in 1980, when she wrote a five-part series on Scientology. Last fall, associates of Hubbard said he might agree to a written interview in conjunction with publication of his latest science fiction novel, 'Battlefield Earth,' which is set in Denver.