2018-02-28, John P. Capitalist, John P. Capitalist
In an article published on Saturday, Tony Ortega reported that Scientology is pushing to open the new Ideal Org in Orlando soon. I decided to take a look at the numbers behind the building and behind Scientology in Orlando. This Ideal Org is doomed to failure because of the small number of members in Orlando and the location of the facility, even further off the beaten path than most new Scientology buildings.
Once we've gotten a handle on the numbers, we'll look at whether this particular Ideal Org might herald a change in the Ideal Org strategy.
6770 Lake Ellenor Dr., Orlando. Source: Orlando Sentinel
This week I had the honor of interviewing cult expert, author and academic Dr. Janja Lalich about the subject of destructive cults and her latest book, Escaping Utopia, about second generation survivors of many different destructive cults, from The Family to Exclusive Brethren to FLDS to Scientology.
Janja's website: http://cultresearch.org.
ICSA website: http://ICSAhome.org
The last time we told you about dapper Blackstone Medical Services CEO Vick Tipnes, the London-born Florida entrepreneur was being sued by an employee named David Bunting who complained that Tipnes had tried to force him into Scientology.
We're seeing these sorts of lawsuits pop up pretty regularly — a new one was filed in South Carolina just a few days ago (2nd item) when an employee sued a Columbia chiropractor, accusing him of trying to force Scientology on her.
In Florida, Bunting complained that Tipnes, whose company deals in equipment for testing sleep disorders, wanted Bunting to increase his productivity by taking Scientology courses. Bunting's lawsuit claimed religious discrimination.
2018-02-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This post was prompted by some back and forth with one of our commenters. It got me thinking, and though I may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, sometimes I cast a bit of light onto the shadowy world of scientology.
I recently posted about the ineffectiveness of the massive investment scientology made into TV advertising. It has resulted in no appreciable increase in interest, though it is somewhat debatable that this is what they even care about rather than providing the latest reason to collect money from their members to buy more ads.
But that poses the question: what WOULD get people interesting in scientology?
2017-02-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is right from the scientology.org website under their "Frequently Asked Questions" answer on "What Is Disconnection?"
There is no policy in Scientology that requires Church members to disconnect from anyone, let alone family and friends who simply have different beliefs. To the contrary, the moral code of Scientology mandates that Scientologists respect the religious beliefs of others. The Church encourages excellent family relationships, Scientologists or not, and family relations routinely improve with Scientology because the Scientologist learns how to increase communication and resolve any problems that may have previously existed.
Well, I beg to differ.
Our source in Scientology's HollywoodCelebrity Centre, who has been so helpful to us in the past, alerted us to something special coming that he thought we'd want to pay attention to.
"The first screenings for Nancy Cartwright's movie In Search of Fellini started this weekend," he told us. "And for Scientology, it's really a big deal."
How so? We asked.
2016-02-28, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer question from viewers that were 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 take up and answer are:
(1) I'm sure that you're familiar with this quote by Martin Niemoller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Wow, are we excited to launch this new venture with longtime Scientology watcher Rod Keller! Rod goes way back, having kept a meticulous eye on the church since 1992. He's well known for his indispensable "ARS Week in Review," which ran for nine years when ARS — the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology — was the most important daily source for Scientology news.
More recently, Rod has made a specialty of hunting down the odd and wonderful things Scientologists post to social media. If you've followed his work, you know he pays close attention to detail and avoids editorializing — Rod is a chronicler who piece by piece builds a highly detailed assessment of what Scientology is doing around the world. Now he's bringing his expertise to the Underground Bunker, and we're thrilled.
On February 20, the downtown Los Angeles nightclub Exchange LA was the site of a fundraiser for the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which is the Scientology group responsible for fighting all forms of psychiatry and mental health treatment. Erika Christensen (pictured above) attended. She is best known for her roles in the 2000 film Traffic and the TV show Parenthood.
2016-02-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
An interested reader sent this in after the recent posting on the subject of Alexa and Google trends.
I found it interesting to see the correlation between "interest" in scientology and interest in Tom Cruise. And I thank Why Bother for bringing the Google Trends data to my attention.
The graph shows the US trends and the following one shows the worldwide trends:
2015-02-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It's official. And what an amazing surprise it was.
But now we have it straight from the horse's mouth. Quinn the Eskimo has come out of retirement — everybody jump for joy.
There is a "ground-breaking development." Well, not literally ground breaking, but as Quinn puts it, there has been a "change in protocol."
Our tipsters have sent us several emails and fliers lately that suggest to us that there's something interesting going on with Scientology's celebrities.
If you recall, we suggested in recent months that we had noticed a marked increase of activity from some of the most reliable Scientology actor types. Kirstie Alley, Kelly Preston, and Nancy Cartwright all recently completed "Operating Thetan Level 7," one of the most difficult high-level courses on "The Bridge," and one that can take years to finish. Also, actress Marisa Nichols finished OT 8, the highest level of all, which is only delivered on board Scientology's private cruise ship the Freewinds. Cartrwight, Alley, and Michelle Stafford have also recently been spotted on the ship.
Now, there's another wrinkle. In emails and fliers we received this week, some of Scientology's celebrities are also making appearances at church events, and it's being used as a way of drumming up more involvement from existing church members. We'll show you what we mean.
On Sunday, Scientology will have a ceremony to celebrate the re-opening of the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (AOLA), where wealthy church members go to receive high-level "Operating Thetan" courses and auditing on their way up L. Ron Hubbard's "Bridge to Total Freedom." But this isn't the first time the church has had a grand re-opening of the facility. It also happened in 1998, and look who cut the ribbon!
Yes, that's none other than Mark 'Marty' Rathbun, when he was Inspector General of Ethics and the right hand man to Scientology leader David Miscvige.
Hey, and look behind him — people are holding umbrellas! Somehow, in Southern California, where it never rains, there were showers at the re-opening in 1998 and now the re-opening in 2014. Fun!
Actress Leah Remini famously left the Church of Scientology last year, and things have been less than amicable between both parties ever since.
The former King of Queens star recently said she decided to leave for her nine-year-old daughter Sofia.
But the next chapter in the war of words has only begun as a Scientology spokesperson has responded to her claims, saying she was on the verge of being 'expelled for her ethical lapses'
2014-02-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
CC Int has made their statement about the impending Papal Ceremonies, and if anyone who received it didn't roll their eyes and wonder about the sanity of Pamela Lancaster, I pity them.
Not only OT Weather Powers in evidence, but also Exclamation Tech(r) — which is part of the Golden Age of Grammar the RCS is experiencing.
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2014From: Pamela Lancaster-Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: OK!! GO FULL BLAST!!!
Jacob Joseph Heider, son of Lori Blum and James Heider, passed away Feb. 19, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA, due to a heroin overdose.
Upon completion of the program, Jacob completed an internship and became a recruiting specialist for Narconon. With Jacob's strength and Narconon, the last 7 months of his life were the hardest, yet the happiest.
"It's a little frustrating when you have a Church of Scientology," Cretekos nodded while he picked at a Panera Bread bagel, before quickly adding that his issues with the sect are not with the local members. "But for some reason, its leadership thinks it is above the community."
Over the years, Scientology has ignored local zoning codes, ran up a $435,000 fine for construction delays on its recently opened soup can E-meterFlag Building, and essentially regarded City Hall as a quaint nuisance.
The Church of Scientology has spoken out against Leah Remini's latest comments about her experience with the organization, calling the former member's account "absurd, insulting and motivated entirely by a desire to grab attention."
2014-02-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
David Miscavige, in typical form, responds to the fairly innocuous statements of Leah Remini reported in Buzzfeed and subsequently in a lot of other media.
A number of people who know some of the real story wondered why she was soft-peddling her comments and assumed it was simply that she is moving on with her life and has little interest in even talking about the subject, though reporters want to make it the focus of any interview.
Her comments about wanting to spend more time with her daughter and family and not be so slavishly devoted to the church have been widely picked up.
2014-02-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
These people have mastered the art of the footbullet.
And the IAS is desperate to try and demonstrate that some of the hundreds of millions of dollars they squeeze out of their marks is actually spent on things they tell them it is so urgently needed for.
But guys, really, the last place you want people being curious about Scientology is on YouTube.
Welcome to our ongoing project, where we blog a 1950 first edition of Scientology's bible, Dianetics, with the help of ex-Scientologist, Bay Area lawyer, blogger, and author Vance Woodward. Go here for the first post in the series.
Vance, we thought the demons chapter was something. This next one, on "Psycho-Somatic Illness," is really over the top.
Apparently feeling confident that he's sold the "reactive mind" as a great discovery, and that the biggest threat to human beings are the engrams stored up in their cells, Hubbard now goes for broke on just what those engrams are capable of and — even more importantly — what miracles his therapy can achieve by removing them.
Last August, a string of deaths and lawsuits at Narconon Arrowhead, Rep. Brian Renegar D-McAlester and Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Elk City, said they would work with officials at Oklahoma's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to author legislation aimed at "regulating questionable practices" at the facility.
Now Renegar has backed off his earlier statements and says he has a family member in the Narconon program.
The investigation of the Narconon Arrowhead organization was prompted by the July 19 death of Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, of Owasso, by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office and the mental health department.
2012-02-28, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
(Credit: L.E. Baskow, Portland Tribune) We've been hearing pretty regularly from librarians near and far who have had it with the aggressive tactics of Scientology.
You see, as we learned Sunday with a story about "study tech," Scientology is like an octopus that wants to get its tentacles into as many places as possible through front groups and supposedly "secular" entities. So Scientology pushes L. Ron Hubbard's study materials into unsuspecting school districts, recruits kids to stand up for uncontroversial "human rights," runs drug treatment centers with non-medical personnel and unscientific vitamins-and-sauna regimens, sends "volunteer ministers" to disaster sites to wave their hands over people claiming to heal them, and all of it with the real goal of burnishing the image of Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard, and, ultimately, Scientology itself.
But no one may be more fed up with Scientology's pushy Hubbard-PR than this country's librarians.
ALBANY -- — NXIVM critic Joseph J. O'Hara, who has sued the personal growth company, is facing legal challenges himself, including a federal indictment in Texas accusing him of conspiracy in a bribery and kickback scheme.
O'Hara also confronts a motion in federal court here to force him to repay more than $2 million to Sara and Clare Bronfman, the Seagram's heiresses who are major supporters of NXIVM. That $2 million sum had been the backdrop for O'Hara's indictment in Albany County in 2007, a charge that was dismissed for lack of evidence but that now figures in his claims against NXIVM.
The separate problems for the Colonie attorney stem from his business in the middle part of the last decade, when he was a paid consultant of NXIVM and ran his own national business selling services to public school districts.
2011-02-28, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
I'm always fascinated by the Church of Scientology's obsession with "external influences." At the Int Base, any "bad attitude," doubt or criticism was always blamed on some "eternal influence," whether a family member, friend, news story or whatever. One had to be constantly on guard against these insidious, evil external influences.
In a broad, non-Scientology sense, an "external influence" would be anything outside of yourself that could influence your opinions or attitudes. Family, friends, TV programs, newspapers, internet sites, political or social groups and, yes, religious groups, could all be considered to act as "external influences" on a person.
So what the Church is really saying is "we want to be your only external influence." "We want to be the only ones who influence your opinions or viewpoints."
ROSEMONT, Ill., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan says Moammar Gadhafi is still his friend and America is ripe for revolution.
In a speech to nearly 18,000 followers at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., Sunday, Farrakhan said if Gadhafi is to be prosecuted for war crimes, former President George W. Bush should be as well, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Farrakhan predicted the United States would see revolts like those in the Middle East.
2011-02-28, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
How does a guy who gives a whole new meaning to the term "religious leader" (per his own PR flak) keep up with the Cruises in his driven assault to hang in the ranks of the rich and famous? Easy, when he has a cash cow like the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization. About four years ago Dave decided that his custom Harley and other custom top-of-the-line street bikes didn't quite put him at par with his buddy Tom Cruise. Shortly after, his personal staff informed then-Captain Flag Service Organization Debbie Cook that the FSO crew were expected to foot the bill approaching $100,000 for a custom-hand-made, over-the-top motorcycle, called the Vyrus. Debbie protested the order recognizing that the forced collections of substantial portions of Flag staff's meager $50 per week pay over several weeks leading up to Miscavige's birthday and Chistmas each year to buy outlandish gifts from FSO to Miscavige was a morale breaker among the staff. Debbie was informed in no uncertain terms that Debbie did not have a say in the matter. And so for several weeks all FSO staff were required to cough up money from their $50 until the Vyrus ultimate motorcycle was paid for.
The David Miscavige Vyrus is simply one, relatively small symptom of the David Miscavige Virus. The David Miscavige Virus is the reverse Scientology justified think that the acquisition of ever lovelier forms of Matter, Energy, Space and Time is an honorable goal. Of course, those who are not infected understand that the Miscavige Virus leads toward death and states far below and far more ugly than death.
The David Miscavige Virus is pernicious and thus difficult to detect in oneself. It is exacerbated by continuing to support the source of turning the road to freedom into the road to entrapment. The remedy though is simplicity itself. Find Out Who You Really Are, at which point an individual will come into valence. A creepy synthetic identity will immediately blow, along with the impulses toward solidity that accompany it.
Citing numerous texts including the Quran, Bible and a book by Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard, Farrakhan expressed concern for President Barack Obama's life, called for the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former Haitian president now in exile, and described a spiritual experience in 1981 in which he ascended into a flying saucer and heard the voice of Elijah Muhammad predicting historical events that did come to pass.
July 2000: German government official Ursula Caberta visited Scientology stronghold Clearwater, Florida and was confronted by an angry mob of Scientologists.
More background on Ursula and her trip to Clearwater:
2010-02-28, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
"Rebel008" has always been somewhat of a composite voice. When I originally started this blog in July 2009 (has it only been seven months?), it was because I had been contacted by a group of OT VIIs and VIIIs who were fed up with the Church of Scientology. They contacted me after reading my online memoir of 35 years in the Church, Counterfeit Dreams. They wanted to expose the abuse, the tech and policy violations, the bullying tactics, but for one reason or another (family, business connections) were not free to speak out without retribution from the Church. Rebel 008 became their voice.
In the beginning, I kept my own involvement confidential, out of deference to the OTs who were speaking out. I didn't want to make it easy for the Church to track them down and harass them. But over the past months, this original group of OTs has gone public and found their own voices. And they have been replaced by dozens and dozens more, some of whom are free to speak publicly, some who are not, as they are still "in good standing" with the Church (whatever that means these days). My own identity is no longer an issue. My friends have known for some time that this is my blog and, through the grapevine, it has been common knowledge for several months. As I have been speaking out publicly since 2006, under my own name, anonymity is not a personal concern of mine.
Personally, I am an Ex-Scientologist. I no longer call myself a Scientologist. That does not mean, as some have intimated, that I hate everything about the subject or its practitioners. I have many close friends in the "Independent Scientologist" movement. They know that, even if we might not always agree on everything, I stand by them and defend their right to practice Scientology outside the Church. They are not abusing anyone. Personally I don't wish to be labeled, and have no desire to be associated in any way with the oppressive, extremist cult that the Church of Scientology has become.
COMING to a doctor's surgery near you: a sparky little DVD, saying "psychiatrists occupy the lowest rung of the medical profession", has been dispatched to GPs across Australia.
The DVD says that psychiatrists are money-grubbing quacks who invent diseases so that they can become rich by prescribing drugs. Those evil dudes also kill 3000 people a month by prescribing psychotropic drugs, it says.
So from Monday through Friday, the Germans met with members of Congress, officials at the State Department, scholars, religious leaders and opinion makers. The plan is for the commission to report back to parliament by early summer, recommending legislation to deal with what they call "so-called sects and psychological groups."
Schatzle said the commission's U.S. visit and its investigations in Germany had given it a much deeper understanding of what Scientology is about.
"We've seen the two faces of Scientology," she said. 'We've seen the sunny and open face presented by the celebrities, but we've also seen the dark face, the people who are victims of extortion and fraud."
A federal mediator is assessing whether the U.S. Department of Justice can help ease tensions involving the Church of Scientology and Clearwater police.
The mediator, Ernest Jones, works out of Atlanta with the Justice Department's Community Relations Service. Last week, he met separately in Clearwater with City Manager Mike Roberto, police Chief Sid Klein and Scientology officials.
Klein said Jones told him the church initiated the action with a complaint.
In a ruling that has both sides of a court case claiming victory, a judge will allow the Church of Scientology to examine some records from the autopsy of one of its members.
The records will be opened today to the church and the public. They concern Lisa McPherson, a 36-year-old Scientologist who entered the church's downtown Clearwater retreat a healthy woman and died 17 days later, on Dec. 5, 1995.
The church has objected to findings by Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Joan Wood, who says McPherson was unconscious when she died and suffered from severe dehydration and insect bites.
This month Scientology filed a lawsuit seeking Wood's confidential files in the case, including blood, fluid and tissue samples from McPherson's body.
A Kay County judge has taken under advisement the state Health Department's request for an order to shut down the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center.
The department already has refused to certify the controversial substance abuse treatment center near Newkirk.