Once again our great tipsters came through with a cool new document, and we're looking forward to our smart commenters digging through it for us.
What we're talking about is the newly available 2016 tax return from the Association for Better Living and Education. ABLE is a Scientology entity that runs many of the various sneaky front groups that try to forward L. Ron Hubbard's ideas in schools (Applied Scholastic), in drug rehab (Narconon), in prisons (Criminon), and for handing out anodyne little booklets to convince the public that Scientology has an actual moral code and isn't an unethical pack of narcissists who will say anything for the purpose of Keeping Scientology Working (The Way to Happiness Foundation).
ABLE is run entirely by Sea Org lifers who wouldn't tie their shoes unless David Miscavige told them to. But the front groups try to pretend that they have only a tenuous tie to the Church of Scientology itself.
Shocking news out of Sylvania, Georgia today. Ginger Sugerman, 57, tells us that on Friday night her husband, Arnaldo "Arnie" Lerma, shot her in the face with a 9mm handgun, and then later that night turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. He was 67.
When we talked to Ginger, she was back at their home after being released from a local hospital. We spoke to her and to Lerma's son, Joseph Fox, 24, who confirmed that Ginger had been injured and that his father had died.
Lerma was a former Scientologist who became one of the church's fiercest critics and was a central player in Scientology's struggles with the early Internet. It was Lerma who first posted the famous "Fishman papers," and also helped to propagate the "Xenu" story from "OT 3" through Usenet groups. For that he was sued by the church, and his house was raided.
2018-03-18, John P. Capitalist, John P. Capitalist
In last week's post, I provided an overview of The Responsibilities of Leaders, one of Hubbard's more iconic writings, along with some observations from former Scientologists Brian Lambert and Jefferson Hawkins on the importance of this policy in understanding Scientology's zeitgeist. Both gentlemen frame their observations of this policy as being perhaps a sort of "command legacy" from Hubbard to David Miscavige given that it's Miscavige's favorite LRH essay, which he uses to illustrate what he literally expects from his subordinates in terms of loyalty, ruthlessness, and Keeping Scientology Working. This week I begin by contrasting Hubbard's power-as-leadership model against more traditional concepts of leadership, and then examine the connection between Mary Sue Hubbard and The Four Seasons of Manuela, and lastly, how The Responsibilities of Leaders may account for David Miscavige's behavior and its subsequent impact on his relationship with wife Shelly Miscavige.
Leadership versus Hubbard's Concepts of Power and the Power Formulas
Leaders wield varying degrees of power depending on their circumstances think think of Machiavelli's observations on the traits of a prince (or leader) and the application of power in The Prince. Ideally, the positive connotations of leadership are comprised not only of the proper use of power, but also those tangible and intangible traits, behaviors, and norms that inspire, motivate, and ultimately allow a group to accomplish a desired goal or outcome. Whether on the battlefield, boardroom, or basketball court, certain fundamental traits are constant among leaders: vision, sacrifice, empathy, courage, and knowledge are but a few, along with ruthlessness within reason, painful objectivity, and uncompromising resolution in achieving a desired outcome. Conversely, Hubbard's ideal "leader" as described throughout The Responsibilities of Leaders, wields power rather capriciously, instead of leading by example and consensus; unquestioned obedience, indeed obsequiousness is the preferred norm among subordinates, while action is spurred-on in a manner that is harassing, intimidating, or malevolent, motivated by an amoral, antithetical, and utilitarian understanding as to what constitutes a desirable outcome.
2018-03-18, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is the first draft of a novel written by our old friend Terra Cognita.
I am serializing it each Sunday. Terra has ran out of topics to cover in Saturday essays... at least for now.
Terra welcomes all suggestions and feedback this is a draft you can note your thoughts in the comments.
We've noted in the past that when it came to Leah Remini, Scientology wasn't following its usual retaliation playbook. After Leah's defection from the church became public in July 2013, and then she filed a missing person report on Shelly Miscavige (the vanished wife of church leader David Miscavige), and then in 2015 came out with a best-selling book about leaving Scientology titled Troublemaker, frankly, we were pretty surprised that the church limited its response to a few dismissive and catty statements by church spokespeople.
Even after Leah developed a hit series about Scientology at the A&E network this past fall and Scientology finally put up a website dedicated to attacking the people who appeared on her show, the page aimed at Leah herself felt half-hearted, and Leah cooperated with us to take it on pretty effectively.
Meanwhile, at other pages on that same website, people like Mary Kahn and the Reisdorf family were attacked brutally with the usual treatment we're used to seeing from Scientology, with information dug up by private investigators and videos featuring robotic Scientologists denouncing their own family members.
CLEARWATER Scientology has long set its practices apart from other tax-exempt religions by charging members for auditing sessions and courses required to advance through the faith.
But the church's proposal to develop a retail and entertainment district in downtown Clearwater makes it more of an outlier.
The IRS permits tax-exempt churches to have for-profit business ventures unrelated to their religious missions, but it is rare in the United States.
The Church of Scientology's innermost and darkest secrets are revealed by Karen de la Carriere, former wife of Scientology president Heber Jentzsch, who has faced harassment from the Church since leaving in 2010. Carriere describes how the Church cut her off from her son and hid his death from her. She details the church's exploitation of children and explains why Scientology celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta turn a blind eye to the Church's inhuman treatment of its members. Finally, we look at the 2008Anonymous protest against the practices of the Church and the sadism of Scientology leader David Miscavige, in this uncensored Media Mayhem interview hosted by Allison Hope Weiner.
Monique Rathbun has waived her right to respond to the Church of Scientology's petition to the Texas Supreme Court just a couple of days before the initial deadline for her to respond had arrived.
On February 19, the Church of Scientology International and four of its co-defendants in Monique's harassment lawsuit filed a petition, asking the state high court to review an appellate decision that upheld the trial court's denial of Scientology's"anti-SLAPP" motion. Scientology argues that Monique's lawsuit should be dismissed because it infringes on the church's free speech rights. What Monique calls harassment years of Scientology operatives following her and her husband, former Scientology official Mark "Marty" Rathbun; daily demonstrations outside their south Texas home; and even making visits to her family members and co-workers with creepy suggestions about Marty was really just the church sticking up for itself in ways that should be protected by the First Amendment.
Comal CountyJudge Dib Waldrip disagreed, saying that Scientology was a business just trying to protect its turf against Marty Rathbun, who had been delivering Scientology auditing independently. (Monique was never a member of the church.) The Texas Third Court of Appeals, after taking more than a year, upheld Waldrip's decision. But in its petition to the state supreme court, Scientology says that the appellate court erred on some of the facts of the case, and that the state's appellate courts are in disagreement in general about Texas's anti-SLAPP statute, the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), which is relatively new.
2015-03-18, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
(A presentation on Scientology I gave at The Secular Hub in Denver, Colorado on the evening of March 14, 2015. This transcript is not exactly what I said but this is what I had on the podium when I was talking.)
Well, the Church of Scientology is taking a severe beating in the media right now and the first thing I want to tell you is that they deserve every bit of it. I flew down to Texas a few days ago and saw the new documentary about Scientology that is all over the media. It's called Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, based on the book by Pullitzer-prize winning author Lawrence Wright. I also got to meet the director, Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright at the movie screening.
Another day, another treat here at the Underground Bunker. We have another previously unseen interview that was recorded for Channel 4's excellent 1997 documentary, Secret Lives L. Ron Hubbard.
This time, we get a glimpse of a time period that rarely gets much treatment Hubbard's first marriage, to Margaret "Polly" Grubb, as witnessed by a neighbor who got to know the Hubbards pretty well.
Previous segments that we've released from the Secret Lives files have featured Hubbard's literary agent, Forrest Ackerman, his press assistant and lover, Barbara Klowden, one of Hubbard's fellow science fiction colleagues, Arthur Jean Cox, the former mayor of Clearwater, Florida, Gabe Cazares, Hubbard's former medical officer, Jim Dincalci, archivist Gerry Armstrong, and former Los Angeles Times reporter and postwar Hubbard roommate, Nieson Himmel.
2015-03-18, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Some hype to help get you started in the morning.
And just a taste of the understated, dignified words of Dear Leader before the clubbed seals on Saturday:
In testament to Mr. Hubbard's triumphant and eternal technological splendor, the anniversary of his birth (March 13) was marked with a raucous observance attended by a capacity crowd and presided over by Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board, Religious Technology Center and the religion's ecclesiastical leader. He opened the proceedings by placing the eternal power of LRH's creation into a palpable context.
2015-03-18, Miss Fortune, Glistening, Quivering Underbelly
HERMAN MOORE SHILLS FOR PER WICKSTROM! 'FAUX-PERATION'? NO INCORPORATION RECORDS FOUND FOR ANY "LIVE TO BE SOBER" NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION IN MICHIGAN, NEVADA...OR DELAWARE! DOES IT EXIST ANYWHERE ON PAPER?
Although he's currently working hard to reinvent himself, including opening a facility in South Bend, Indiana under the name "Choices Recovery", Michigan Scientologist and Narconon drug rehab honcho Per Wickstrom hasn't strayed from his promotional roots: his ongoing business partnership with former Detroit Lion Herman Moore.
Wickstrom's "Live To Be Sober: A Guide To Overcoming Addiction" presentation, featuring Herman Moore, runs tomorrow (March 19) from 11:00am-1:00pm at Detroit's Ford Field. In its press release, Live To Be Sober describes the event as an "invitational event" for Detroit area civic leaders, substance abuse treatment professionals, pastors and law enforcement officials who, in addition to receiving a "complimentary buffet and a tour of Ford Field hosted by Herman Moore" will be subjected to receive an "informational presentation on the problems of drug abuse and alcoholism, and the solutions offered through effective treatment."
2015-03-18, Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal
Scientologists view Phoenix as the birthplace for their religion. Hubbard authored other Scientology books and the religion was founded while he lived in Phoenix.
The modest Phoenix residence now has a historic designation marker from the Arizona Historical Society. It also is on the National Register of Historic Places. The church has the Hubbard home open for tours.
Church of Scientology Attorney Monique Yingling wrote a letter to Jay Ward Brown of Levine Sullivan Koch Shulz, LLP (scroll down).
The subject of the letter is Yingling's allegation that Alex Gibney made an internet post stating that the Church of Scientology "blackmailed" and "harassed" the IRS to obtain tax exemption. Yingling claims this characterization is false and misleading. Yingling then cynically attempts to paint Scientology's hateful smear campaign against the IRS as being meritorious.The smear campaign included using PI's to spy on IRS officials and a series of lawsuits. Scientology's attacks on HBO and Alex Gibney are just IRS Redux. Inasmuch as Yingling herself is a direct financial beneficiary of Scientology's human rights abuses, unconscionable contracts, and the financial rape of its members, no one should be surprised by Yingling's self-serving letter.
Here is one central problem with Yingling's letter: The IRS and Scientology reached a private settlement, and, Scientology refuses to make any of the details public. Given Scientology's withhold on the public, Yingling's letter and her claims are meaningless because they are not proven by internal documents.
THE Church of Scientology plans to spend $6 million converting a Perth warehouse into its new WA headquarters.
The church wants to relocate from Murray St in the CBD to a 200-person capacity HQ at the corner of Belmont Avenue and Cleaver Terrace in Rivervale.
Plans include a chapel, cafe, public information centre, classrooms, film and chaplain rooms and bookstore/library, as well as parking for 85 cars.
2014-03-18, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The increasingly nutball Edy Lundeen asks at the end of this email "so tell me what you think."
Edy, I think you need to sit and stare at a rock for a few months until you come back down to earth and stop acting like some sort of crazy bag lady.
Do you even vaguely comprehend that when Dear Leader releases one of his "new" services and requires all those who are already on it to now do the "new" one, you don't really have "highest ever." It would be like having 1000 people enter a 1000 seat arena through turnstiles and then telling them all they have to go out and come back in. You then announce that you had highest ever attendance 2000 people through the turnstiles at a 1000 seat arena.
Leslie Hyman, rock star
On Friday, we broke the big news that Comal CountyJudge Dib Waldrip had denied Scientology's convoluted 'anti-SLAPP' motion which had upended Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit against the church over the past few months.
What we failed to point out, however, is how central to Waldrip's 25-page order was an argument that had been forwarded by Monique's attorney Leslie Hyman. It was Hyman who argued to Waldrip that Scientology couldn't both want protection as a business (in a trademark dispute) and as a religion (in a free speech fight).
After five years tracking Scientology's excesses, time to look back on some of the highlights - and signal a change of direction.
Help yourself to caek Five years already?
I'd like to say there was a plan, but no: at the beginning it was mainly about publishing stories that the mainstream media wouldn't touch.
INFORMATION obtained under Freedom of Information legislation from Victoria Police has convinced Yarra Ranges councillors that Warburton township is not the place for a Narconon drug rehabilitation centre.
At its meeting on Tuesday 11 March councillors refused a planning permit to pave the way for Get Off Drugs Naturally (GODN) to move its Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in East Warburton to Green Gables in the heart of the town.
The council deferred a decision on the application at its December meeting asking the applicant to present a comprehensive risk strategy after the Say No to Narconon objectors group and Warburton police raised concerns about community safety.
It's been stunning to see the Narconon drug rehab network emerge in the past year as perhaps Scientology's single biggest crisis of the many that it faces.
And key to that growing problem for the church has been Lucas Catton, formerly president of Scientology's flagship rehab facility in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead.
Last year, Catton came forward to tell us about Narconon's questionable business practices in the wake of several patient deaths that have led to criminal investigations and civil lawsuits. Earlier this month, in part because of Catton's whistleblowing, the CEO of Narconon Arrowhead was stripped of his drug counselor certification.
2013-03-18, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Michael Moore, President of the International Freezone Association, posted an article on the iscientology blog apparently in protest of the message this blog, and my book What Is Wrong With Scientology?, have been proposing as a course to assure the future relevance of Scientology: integrate, evolve and transcend. In his article, What is RIGHT With Scientology, Mr. Moore asserts that the reason Scientology has a bad rap is because:
In today's western society man is cultured into believing that he is basically bad, cannot be changed for the better, and is a body only run by a brain and all efforts are in the direction of reducing man's level of responsibility through the encouragement of laziness and increased regulation. Through repetition such mores become the accepted norm and efforts to introduce a more causative approach for man, such as Scientology, hit this head on. Hence it takes time to assimilate a new and radical 'think'.
"All efforts" in "today's western society are in the direction of reducing man's level of responsibility through encouragement of laziness and increased regulation" and apparently to condition him into believing "he is basically bad, cannot be changed for the better, and is a body run by a brain"? This statement is so sweeping and absurd as to communicate to the world that Scientologists are uninformed, isolationist cultists. Perhaps, even fascist cultists, given the political slant he apparently felt compelled to toss in. At best, it is a complete effect point of view, rivalling the victimhood that Scientology Inc. instils in its members to be totally certain and right in the face of the most fantastic wrongnesses.
2012-03-18, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The International Freezone Association has apparently made a very interesting announcement. They are changing their name to Association of Professional Independent Scientologists.
For those who have not been following this blog for long, in its early days of late 2009 I initiated the idea of people standing up and announcing themselves as Independent Scientologists. Some of the benefits of doing so and some of where I saw this trend going was covered in the post titled Independent Scientologists Community 26 Sept 2009.
Since then I have taken some heat from various sectors for not embracing the "Freezone" or the "International Freezone Association". Rather than waste a lot of time in debate I kept carrying along with the "Independent" agenda. The idea was that given enough numbers and enough persistence three aims would ultimately be achieved:
2012-03-18, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
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 a few of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
Wow! It's been nearly five years since Scientology unleashed "The Basics" on its members, requiring them to fork over hundreds of dollars (and up to several thousand for deluxe packages) in order to buy new versions of books they probably already had and that were already gathering dust on their shelves. But that scam has long faded, and it was time to come up with something else that every church member has to have, apparently. And just in time for L. Ron Hubbard's 101st birthday, here's what it is...
A historic Washington Street building owned by the Church of Scientology is expected to be demolished next week after bricks fell from the structure last month, prompting the city to cordon off the area in the interest of public safety.
According to Attorney Marc LaCasse, the Church has hired a demolition contractor and is expecting work to begin within a week's time. A demolition permit application was pending with the city's Inspectional Services Department as of Wednesday, LaCasse said via email.
2011-03-18, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
A very interesting discussion has broken out at Leaving Scientology. It was prompted by Jeff Hawkins' provocative post OT Abilities, http://leavingscientology.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/ot-abilities/ . Steve "Thoughtful" Hall has weighed in on the subject too, http://www.scientology-cult.com/flying-teapots-and-parlor-tricks.html
It is a great topic for discussion, particularly in light of the fact that Miscavige's church, unlike LRH's, has effectively censored the subject of discussion of OT abilities. Compare current church publications to the ones Jeff recounts editing under LRH's watch in church publications of the 70's.
I don't approach the subject quite like Jeff does. I think he having not experienced or acknowledged or claimed any OT abilities approaches it "glass half empty." Having experienced, acknowledged or claimed otherwise, I approach it "glass half full."
She was intelligent, resourceful and talented - but beneath the surface, she was more troubled than any of us ever realised. Once I heard that she and Millie were dead, I sensed that Jude had probably had some kind of psychotic episode.
At the inquest, the coroner mentioned the history of depression in Jude's family, her dabblings with Scientology, and her irrational belief that Millie did not have cerebral palsy but was ill because of an allergy to metal objects.
My last three phone calls with Jude came back to haunt me. My conversations with her on the day before she went missing had been very odd, although in the ten years I'd known her, starting when we were neighbours in London, I'd witnessed this other side to her personality before.
His account of what goes on behind these fences is one of religious punishment and imprisonment.
"Within that Hemet compound, they work 100 hour weeks, seven days a week. They have no breaks. They have no vacations of any kind. They work around the clock. They have no private time. They're paid around 40 cents an hour and they're subjected to all kinds of punishments and abuse. If they do things that are wrong or if they don't toe the line, they have to run around the buildings, sometimes for miles in their street shoes, they get thrown in the lake out there which is pretty cold this time of year. And, if they refuse to come around and toe the line and be good members, they can go to these rehabilitation camps that they have in Los Angeles and in Clearwater which are virtual prisons and people have been there for years. They don't go outside. They don't see anybody. They are paid maybe 10 cents an hour for hard manual labor. They make furniture for the churches."
I beg to differ with Will Smith's claim that you don't have to be a Scientologist to be Tom's friend. In fact, I will go so far as to say that you DO have to be a Scientologist, or at least lend a friendly face and your official support to Scientology to be Tom's friend. This is just how Tom Cruise rolls, "either you're in or you're out. Phewwww!!"
Tom Cruise's entire existence on this planet not only revolves around Scientology, but is ultimately ruled by his faith. Tom is so utterly and completely consumed by Scientology he's proven himself willing to trash his entire Hollywood career for it. In Tom Cruise's world only one thing truly matters, the words of L. Ron Hubbard and his beloved and true love: Scientology.
NEW YORK (AP) _ "South Park" has declared war on Scientology. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the animated satire, are digging in against the celebrity-endorsed religion after a controversial episode mocking outspoken Scientologist Tom Cruise was yanked abruptly from the schedule Wednesday _ with an Internet report saying it was covert warfare by Cruise that led to its departure.
"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!" the "South Park" creators said in a statement Friday in Daily Variety. "Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies... You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!"
The Internet blogger hollywoodinterrupted.com said Thursday that Cruise threatened to not promote "Mission: Impossible 3," a surefire summer blockbuster, if the offending episode ran. Comedy Central is owned by Viacom, as is Paramount, which is putting out the film.
An Alderson man facing weapons and drugs charges was picked up at a drug treatment center after he failed to appear in court Thursday.
Johnny Michael Brown, 47, was due in Pittsburg County Special Judge James Bland's courtroom Thursday morning for a hearing to see whether he would be bound over for trial on one misdemeanor and six felony counts.
The charges stemmed from a January search warrant that was served at his property, where authorities said nearly 1,000 guns were seized and drugs were found.
2004-03-18, Alan McEwen, Edinburgh Evening News, The Scotsman
A DRUG counselling group linked to the controversial Church of Scientology has been banned from Edinburgh University's student union. The organisation called Narconon put up posters about its services on Edinburgh Student Association (EUSA) notice boards without permission. Now union officials have pulled the posters down and outlawed any further adverts being displayed.
1997-03-18, Monique E. Yingling, Letter to the Editor, New York Times
It is absurd to treat as suspicious the committee's direction to the I.R.S. tax analysts assigned to process the church's paperwork not to consider any substantive matters raised by the applications. Based on materials submitted to the committee contained in the public record, the seniormost officials responsible for exempt-organization matters had determined that the church and its constituent organizations satisfied all of the requirements for tax exemption. To have lower level employees substantively review the church's applications would have duplicated what the committee had been doing for two years.
In a separate case, the court ordered further study of a $2.5 million "emotional distress" award won against the Church of Scientology by a former member.
The Church of Scientology of California appealed an order to pay $500,000 in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages to former Scientologist Larry Wollersheim.
A trial jury had awarded Wollersheim $30 million in damages but that amount was reduced by the appeals court.
Wollersheim, a Scientologist from 1969 to 1979 who now lives in Aspen, Colo., said church members coerced and harassed him and tried to drive his novelty business into bankruptcy. Scientology officials denied the charges, but a jury in Los Angeles ruled for Wollersheim.