We're still just settling in here at our new blog that will be watching the Nxivm trial unfold in the coming months. Some of our readers are asking us what this Nxivm thing is all about, not having been caught up in the fascinating coverage that's appeared in places like Vanity Fair and the New York Times.
So, OK, let's ease into this thing. You wouldn't want to try to understand something like Scientology, for example, without getting some basic understanding of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. So let's get to know Nxivm founder Keith Raniere a little bit by watching him discuss ideas in his own words.
In 2017, Raniere sat down with Smallville actress Allison Mack for a lengthy "interview," with Mack asking questions and then essentially basking in the glow of Raniere's brilliance. Claiming to have an IQ of 240, Raniere billed himself as the smartest human being on the planet, and asked his followers to refer to him as "Vanguard."
We find it interesting to write about the controversies of certain unusual groups. We investigate allegations of abuse by groups like Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses.
But that doesn't mean we want to see any Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses mistreated for their beliefs. That's just right out.
And that's why we have been highly critical of the way Vladimir Putin has messed with Scientologists in recent years, and the same goes for his treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses.
2019-03-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology files kept on people
No Thursday Funnies this week due to Tom Cruise the cruise.
But someone sent this to me as a follow up to the earlier post I had done about the use of priest/penitent files: Scientology Violates Priest-Penitent Confidences — When It Suits Them.
As we have been reporting, Scientologist David Gentile — CEO of GPB Capital Holdings — is suing his former partner Patrick DiBre for fraud, embezzlement and conversion. Gentile alleges that DiBre kept the $42 million he was paid for his car dealerships and refused to transfer the dealerships to GPB Capital. DiBre filed a counter suit in which he called GPB Capital Holdings a Ponzi scheme.
Over against this vicious legal battle, GPB Capital is being investigated by the SEC, FINRA and the BIC. Last week the FBI executed search warrants on both GPB's corporate office in New York City and the GPB-owned Five Star Carting, a waste management firm in New York.
Patrick DiBre's allegation that GPB is a Ponzi scheme raises the specter of Scientologist Reed Slatkin's $593 million Ponzi scheme. At the time, Slatkin's Ponzi scheme was one of the largest in US history.
Caleb and Sophia are back with these 4 cringey cartoons mean to make us all into Jehovah's Witnesses... and the cartoons are awful!
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Earlier this week, Scientology TV began broadcasting on the DirecTV network. Tony Ortega's story the day before the launch, explaining the apps and channels involved is here, and Tony's review of the first slug of programming the day after the premiere is here.
Here, we'll look at the strategic imperative driving Scientology leader David Miscavige to begin to broadcast to generally accessible public, which we think is a case of doing the best job he can in playing a terrible hand. We suspect that some percentage of top donors are starting to wonder about the efficacy of the expensive Ideal Org strategy. In particular, they might be starting to wonder why there are so few new members in these opulent facilities, which was the justification for building them in the first place.
We predicted a few months ago that Scientology Media Productions would not begin broadcasting anytime soon, because of the potential for blowback and further tarnishing of the already toxic Scientology brand. We still believe all the reasons we cited in that post arguing against broadcast operations are still valid, and we now look at why Scientology management might have felt it necessary to go forward with a broadcast plan even though it will likely backfire.
Scientology's 'disconnection' policy is an abomination. It's a form of political extortion, pitting family member against family member in order to further Scientology's tight control of its followers' lives.
Every disconnection story is heartbreaking, but Lori Hodgson's saga is particularly cruel and baffling.
As revealed in her forthcoming self-published memoir, A Mother's Heartbreak: How Scientology Destroyed My Family, her two adult children have somehow been convinced by the church to cut her out of their lives in the most heartless ways possible. (Pre-orders can be made at Amazon. The book comes out May 1.)
2018-03-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
There have been some marvelous takes on scientology tv, and I have included just a few of my favorites here.
But there is a HUGE missing piece.
If this is the most important and monumental thing in the history of scientology and Miscavige himself "emerged from witness protection" to introduce it, where are the other big names?
Scientology's new television network has launched with a schedule full of absolutely must-watch programs.
Watch ABC COMEDY on iview: http://iview.abc.net.au/channel/abc2
2017-03-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Do you think Marisol Nichols has a clue about human trafficking? I don't.
If she did she would be briefing them on the changes the IAS has enforced at Gold to reduce human trafficking there. After all, why not start at home? You don't need to go to Africa to find real human trafficking.
To help Marisol identify human trafficking victims, here are some indicia that might be used:
Last week, we caused a bit of an uproar in the Scientology Watching community when we reported evidence that Mark "Marty" Rathbun gave a Church of Scientology attorney in Israel a copy of an email that independent Scientologist Dani Lemberger sent to Rathbun in 2013, and which contained private information about Lemberger's Scientology auditing.
The church used the contents of that email during a cross-examination of Lemberger in a court hearing last month, including the detail that Lemberger had said during auditing he thought about putting a bullet in the head of Scientology leader David Miscavige. Lemberger tells us the email's use had little effect on the trial, which ended with a settlement last week. But he wrote to Rathbun that it was upsetting to him that Rathbun would turn over an email to the church, and he received no reply. When we asked Rathbun about it, he denigrated us without answering our question or denying that he, in fact, gave Lemberger's private email to the church for its use in court. While some readers are still arguing whether the email proves that Rathbun is actually cooperating with Scientology under some kind of agreement with church leader David Miscavige, and whether or not that agreement involves some kind of secret financial settlement, there's one thing that seems pretty certain: Marty Rathbun's career as one of Miscavige's most effective critics is over.
At one time, "Moving On Up a Little Higher," the blog that Rathbun started in 2009 to criticize his former boss, was, with no exaggeration, a serious threat to Miscavige's very control of the church itself.
Ron Miscavige is father of David Miscavige, leader of the Church of Scientology. Ron tells the story of his son, Scientology, and his escape from the church's controlling grasp.
Ron's book, "Ruthless:" https://www.amazon.com/Ruthless-Scien...
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CLEARWATER — Scientology leader David Miscavige on Tuesday revealed to a City Council member the church's redevelopment plan for recruiting businesses to Cleveland Street and funding a facade overhaul for the main thoroughfare rather than controlling the entire downtown footprint.
Beyond the $260 million of Clearwater real estate the church owns in its name, and more than $26 million in property it bought through anonymous shell companies over the last two months, Scientology does not intend to buy more downtown property, Miscavige told Vice Mayor Bill Jonson in a private meeting at the Fort Harrison Hotel. Other council members were scheduled to meet with Miscavige later in the day.
Actor and noted Scientologist Tom Cruise is also helping the church develop an entertainment complex on two blocks of vacant lots the church purchased last month along Myrtle Avenue between Cleveland and Drew streets, Jonson said.
The WISE logo In December, we told you about a lawsuit filed by a woman named Annie R. Lee against a Pasadena company, Lusida Rubber Products, after she claimed she was fired for refusing to take Scientology courses forced on her by her employer.
Last week, an L.A. website reported that Lusida had filed a motion hoping to end the lawsuit and force Lee into binding arbitration, which is a common tactic used by the Church of Scientology itself against its former members.
Now, we've learned that Lee's isn't the only lawsuit filed recently by former Lusida employees, and that Lusida successfully forced the others to drop their suit in favor of arbitration. And we also now have a copy of the employment contract that Lee signed when she went to work at the company, and we think you'll be surprised to read some of its terms.
But a spokeswoman for the Church Of Scientology revealed on Thursday that the group plans to open a book shop there.
Stuart Scholes, chief executive of East Grinstead Business Association, welcomed both bits of news and revealed some "big retailers" have turned down the Blockbuster site because of the amount of rent which would have to be paid.
He said: "Subway have been looking for a while and have looked at one or two places which have been too small.
2015-03-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
While the "church" of scientology has kindly nicknamed me "Lady Killer," the strange reason for this deserves some context.
This post also serves to demonstrate the twisted and false nature of the statements, videos, tweets, ads and emails that scientology is sending out to try and "dead agent" everyone involved in the Going Clear film. I am no special case — all participants are getting the same treatment. I happen to have details and specifics concerning the things they say about me. You can be certain the statements about the others are no less false. It is of course interesting that the actual "tech" Miscavige is supposedly following says to DISPROVE the statements made — not to try to discredit the source and ignore the statements made. In that regard, the latest scientology "response" to Going Clear reported in THR yesterday is instructive.
"[scientology] attempts to rip apart Gibney's sources in the film with ad hominem attacks,.. but fails to tackle any major revelation in the film."
On March 10, GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF director Alex Gibney and author Lawrence Wright joined us for a special screening of the new HBO documentary. The film premieres on March 29 on HBO. This screening was presented in partnership with HBO, AFS, The Paramount Theatre and The Texas Tribune.
L. Ron Hubbard: Stolen Valor
The Church of Scientology has long claimed that founder L. Ron Hubbard won two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and 19 other combat medals in WWII. The fact is that L. Ron Hubbard never served one day in combat, never fought in combat, and was most certainly never wounded in combat.
Fact: L. Ron Hubbard worked as a self-employed typewriter jockey cranking out pulp fiction for a penny a word until he went active duty US Navy on 22 Sept 1941. Then 32 years of age, Hubbard received a commission as a lieutenant jg and did not go through Officer's Training School or any type of combat or weapons training. In particular, Hubbard had no amphibious warfare or jungle survival training. Hubbard's first job on active duty was to review and annotate the hydrographic surveys of Puget Sound he had sent to the US Navy ten years earlier. Hubbard was not a combat soldier and had no special background training, no special skills, and only spoke English.
Our video source has come through again, and we have another internal Scientology "quote video" for your enjoyment. As we've explained before, these short videos feature excerpts from L. Ron Hubbard lectures — this one took place in January 1959 — which is intended to sell the full package. Bridge Publications, Scientology's printing arm, lists this item at $125.00, and it comes in a slew of foreign languages!
So what's the significance of the lecture? Here's part of the description from the Bridge Publications website...
"L. Ron Hubbard reveals the single reactive postulate at the core of planetary apathy, 'there is nothing I can do about it.' Yet that postulate doesn't stand a chance — not with what he next discovered. Stemming from the pervasive datum, 'the confusions aren't and order is,' came the discovery of the senior ability of a thetan. In fact, once a being reaches the top of the scale, it's the only thing they can do. It's a datum that provides the answer of how an individual can consecutively and continuously bring wider order that spreads like a wave over the world."
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.
2014-03-14, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Attached is a 2006 publication of the church of Scientology International. It details the statistics of the Invest (Investigations) Bureau (the espionage and intelligence branch of Scientology's dirty tricks and propaganda arm, Office of Special Affairs). It carefully measures Scientology Inc's accomplishment of the aims of Scientology as explored recently in several posts. The quality of the lives of the dozens of staff of OSA Invest are determined by whether these statistics are uptrending week to week or whether they are downtrending. If the statistics are uptrending the staff member is not punished and is sometimes rewarded. If the statistics go downward, the staff members responsible can lose pay, lose eating or sleeping privileges, and be made to perform hard manual labor (in addition to a full work schedule) in order to make good with the group. All of these statistics are carefully designed to add up to the 'valuable final products' of the Investigations Bureau, one of which is: ENEMIES OF SCIENTOLOGY DEPOPULARIZED TO THE POINT OF TOTAL OBLITERATION.
Note well that one of the first Hubbard references that these statistics are based upon per the publication itself is ADVICE 27 Mar 1972 COUNTER ATTACKS TACTICS. We have explored the implications of that publication before, e.g. 'Standing one's ground', and no doubt will do so again in the future. It explicitly states that when you cannot shut up a whistleblower by costing him or her their job you then effectively attack that which he or she most values (in most cases, that means spouses, children and other family members of the target). If there was any doubt that it is currently enforced, you see it here prominently highlighted in modern OSA context.
Investigations Statistics Issue
The Church of Scientology pressured Sara Goldberg for months to kick her son out of her life. She wouldn't do it. So the church put her on trial one night in a Scientology building in Clearwater. It was scary. Goldberg cried. She had been a devoted Scientologist for 36 years. Now her church was accusing her of committing a crime against Scientology -- not "disconnecting" from her renegade son.
2014-03-14, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Sacramento "Ideal" org completed no more than 375 "Bridge steps" in a whole year. And that was "Highest Ever."
A Bridge step is defined as: "anything on the Bridge: Basics, Life Improvement Courses, Life Repair, Purification Rundown, Student Hat and on up, etc."
This is 7 completions per week. SEVEN. Including Life Improvement Courses. And this is an "ideal" org — an org that is "the best" and "dominated" in the "Ideal Org arena" (whatever that is...) with "massive upstats."
A former Scientologist who pioneered the Purification Rundown in France told a Senate committee there how one of his clients almost died during the procedure.
Ex-memberRoger Gonnet By his own account, Roger Gonnet was once one of Scientology's most dedicated followers in France before becoming its most effective critic there.
He became an active member in 1975, setting up the Lyon branch of its operations and running it until he was declared a Suppressive Person eight years later.1
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, in the last chapter, Hubbard's cryptic examples and use of passive voice led us to wonder if he wasn't describing his own mental instability and physical ailments, masked as examples of unnamed patients.
We couldn't shake that feeling as he took us into this next chapter, "Prenatal Experience and Birth," which has to be the most disturbing so far.
Hell if I can tell you from where Hubbard drummed the logic and sounds in his sentences. Sure, we assume he's nuts, not to mention a dickface who raked in money manufactured in god's name, but isn't that in some way what the majority of all authors in their secret dreams wish would come about for them? L. Ron Hubbard is pretty much just an even more vilified and mega-loaded Gordon Lish.
Here are some example sentences culled from Hubbard's Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (which he originally thought about calling The Dark Sword, Excalibur), pretty much the cornerstone of the whole religion, published in 1950, and all of which could serve as more effective teaching tools than…oh, I don't know, take your pick:
2012-03-14, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
One of the highlights of a full day here in Clearwater, Florida -- spiritual mecca for the Church of Scientology -- was meeting Darth Xander and watching him chase a Flag bus to inform Sea Org members that they can leave if they want to.
In town over the weekend to celebrate L. Ron Hubbard's 101st birthday, DX experienced some weirdness and I asked him to tell the story, which I included in the video above. Check it out, and then after the jump join us for some additional Flag Land Base enturbulation.
I jumped at the chance to meet Darth after seeing some footage that he'd put together a few days ago. Some of you have probably already seen it.
It was around noon Saturday and Hageli held signs and wore a Guy Fawkes mask (similar to the character in the movie V for Vendetta) in the shadows of the Fort Harrison and Flag building at Court Street and Ft. Harrison Avenue.
This is the second year he has come to Clearwater from Chicago to protest the Church of Scientology birthday celebration of founder L. Ron Hubbard. Hageli, a lawyer, said he made friends and had so much fun the year earlier protesting at the birthday party he wanted to come back.
2012-03-14, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
On March 13, 2012 Moving On Up A Little Higher received its sixth millionth (6,000,000) visit.
People from 107 countries have tuned in so far this year. I have included below a list of the top fifty countries in order of rank by number of visits.
Thanks for visiting. Thanks for participating in the conversations. And thanks for letting others know about the Scientology blog that never sleeps.
I disclosed last month how David Gaiman, the publicity director for L Ron Hubbard's controversial Church of Scientology, had bequeathed his old boss's collected works to the Oxford Union.
Gaiman's dying wish that this would lead to a spate of conversions amid the dreaming spires now looks deluded. I hear that the bequest – or at least some of the 10 boxes of the lovingly-collected books, CDs and papers – was unceremoniously burnt after a farewell dinner for James Langman, the former president of the Union, over the weekend. Langman tells me he was himself unaware of the book-burning.
One trusts Tom Cruise and John Travolta – the church's best-known disciples – will never get to hear of this outrage.
2011-03-14, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Laura Wilson exemplifies all that is good about Scientology. She exudes all that is good about Texas. She is giving up things that are irreplacable by performing this public act of integrity. You wouldn't know it from her declaration because Laura is not about Laura; Laura is about helping others. In my view, knowing her circumstances, her write up below is - like Laura - pure grace under fire.
With a Little Help from my Friends
With a little help from my friends, I am able to look a little more.
2010-03-14, John Przybyslas, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Brent Jones, 46, discovered Scientology about 17 years ago. He was living in Ventura County, Calif., then and working as a successful, but unhappy, attorney.
"I was in the parking lot outside Carl's Jr., eating my lunch in the car, and a lady came by and tapped on the window," he says. "I rolled the window down and talked to her, and she sold me a book, 'Dianetics.' "
Jones was born and raised in the Catholic church but had explored a variety of other faith traditions — Jehovah's Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pentecostalism, and "a little bit of Eastern philosophy" and "a little New Age" — throughout his life.
Crusading Senator Nick Xenophon has continued to pressure the Government to crack down on The Church of Scientology, addressing an anti-cult conference in Brisbane today.
Speaking at the the Cult Information and Family Support Group Queensland Conference, Senator Xenophon slammed the Government and the Opposition for their cowardice in not supporting his motion to launch an inquiry into The Church of Scientology and its tax free status.
2008-03-14, John DeSio, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Though masks have been a successful tactic in other cities they are useless in New York. On the "Anonymous" protest planning forums Enturbulation.org, the loose-knit collective of activists, hackers and pranksters have gone to great lengths to warn one another that masks are not tolerated in New York. Sure, two people standing together can wear whatever they want. Add a third, and this becomes a crime.
The law dates back to the 19th Century, said Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), and was originally put on the books to thwart highway bandits. In 1999 the NYCLU brought a lawsuit against the Giuliani administration after it denied a parade permit to the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, using the mask law as the excuse.
2008-03-14, Source LRonHu88ard's Enturbulation Cult of Scientology, YouTube
From the goons -- A VERY basic comparison of the screen-shot from the DVD CoS passed out tonight in Florida to the .flv file from the original YouTube video proclaiming a bomb threat from Anonymous to the CoS.
Again, this means little; A qualified expert is what is needed for this assessment.
I'm certian the FBI and ATF have those sorts of peoiple.
What i see is;
Horizontal lines (lacing)
quite a bit of color degradation
Loss of depth and detail.
In the DVD shot, colors are bright, sharp, smooth rounded gradiants.
no real indication the pixels were blurred to the extent it would take to remove sharp pixel angles.
So... there ya have what I see.
I added no effects or changed the images in anyway from they way I got them.... encoding ONLY .... its not my job to fabricate anything, I'll leave that to others.
The musical artist does not endorse or aknowledge any attachment to Anonymous in any way. He is great thoo.
Police were notified today about the threat and members of the Battle Creek Police Department Bomb Squad, using a Michigan State Police dog trained to detect explosives, inspected both buildings but did not find anything.
MacNevin said Wednesday afternoon the Federal Center would "continue some things during the time they are appropriate and that relates to the information we receive," but he would not be specific.
Several people who claimed to be either members of Anonymous or agree with their views told the Enquirer the group is non-violent and they believe the threats were made by the church.
"I think it is a fake threat by the Scientologists to discredit their critics," said Tony Meman, 27, of Lansing.
2008-03-14, Christopher Collette, Associated Press, WTSP 10
A judge has refused to order members of a loose-knit protest group to stay away from Church of Scientology buildings in Clearwater.
The church went to court earlier this week claiming that a group known as Anonymous was responsible for threatening Internet video clips, phone calls and other harassment aimed at the church and its members.
O HAI GUISE
Tom Krooz heer :D
I just wanted 2 show u my UbEr KeWl birtdhay video from my uBeR kEwwL birthday party!!!!!!! that my BFF Davy Miscavaige set me up 4 lol
U CAN C ME SIGNING ALONG WITH TEH SONG LOOLL!!!11
SCIENTOLOGISTS are trying to get a restraining order placed on an internet-based group planning to hold a second round of protests against the church.
An application for a temporary restraining order against members of "Anonymous" has been filed in a US court by a member of the Church of Scientology's "spiritual headquarters" in Florida, the St Petersburg Times reported.
The Church of Scientology strikes back! Online. Having grown tired of being hounded on the internet by the anonymous cyber-protest group "Anonymous," Scientology not only filed an injunction in court (which failed), but also posted its own counterattack videos to YouTube.
Scientologists are not against all psychiatry, only cases when people are involuntarily committed or forced to take medication, Klagenberg said.
During an auditing session, the subject is hooked up to an E-Meter, which sends a mild electrical current through the body and measures thoughts, Collins said.
The sensitive device is similar in function to a polygraph, she said. Becoming an auditor takes years of training, and the sessions can cost $500 to $2,000.
NEW YORK, March 14 (UPI) -- One of the creators of "South Park" is taking issue with the reason Isaac Hayes gave for quitting the voice of "Chef."
Hayes issued a sharply worded statement Monday condemning "South Park" for its religious parodies, saying: "Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored. As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices."
But creator Matt Stone told The New York Post Hayes' real reason for leaving the show after 10 years is because they finally got around to making fun of his religion, Scientology.
The home overlooks Clearwater Harbor and is situated several blocks north of the downtown headquarters of the Church of Scientology, where Presley is a parishioner. She is part of an influx of thousands of Scientologists who have moved to Clearwater in the 1990s to be closer to the church's spiritual headquarters.