Here is a video of a talk I gave at Paganicon 2018 in Minneapolis regarding the subject of Scientology, my history in it and why it is a destructive cult, and how to specifically make sure that you don't fall into any group with cult characteristics.
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Kirstie Alley has finally gone OT 8!
Wow, this is big news. We learned about it from a tipster who sent us pages from the newest issue of Scientology's "Freewinds" magazine, about its private cruise ship of the same name.
In the magazine, there's an article about Kirstie making her first-ever trip on the vessel, which the church has been operating since 1988. The Freewinds sails the Caribbean, and it's the only place where wealthy Scientologists can reach the ultimate step on the "Bridge to Total Freedom," an auditing level known as Operating Thetan Level Eight or OT 8.
A man has revealed what he learned about Scientology after watching Scientology TV for 24 hours straight.
Detailing his experience for Vice, writer Jamie Lee Curtis Taete explained that he wanted to learn more about the controversial religion as all his information had previously come from the documentary Going Clear, South Park and Leah Rimini's show Scientology and the Aftermath.
'And a lot of what you hear about Scientology is mockery, or criticism for the many, many f*cked up things the church has done,' he wrote.
2018-03-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Oh no, they've done it again.
In their proud tradition of crowing about their amazing accomplishments, they have once again shown to the world how small they really are.
Super Power was released in November 2013. Four and a half years ago.
This post is a request for help. I'm trying to understand the link, if any, between Scientology and conspiracy theory thinking. I was struck by how well-known old guard critic Arnie Lerma, who recently attacked his wife and then killed himself, had degenerated into the conspiracy mindset. The story is more complex, involving significant medical challenges that affected his mental health, which may have been primarily responsible for his increasing paranoia. (Lerma's tragic saga merely sparked my interest in the general mechanism; I'm not trying to understand the particulars of his journey or to diagnose him retroactively.) The news about Lerma's death came only a day after another post from Tony Ortega about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's "SMERSH" conspiracy, a ludicrous tale of opposition to Scientology, and the juxtaposition led me to start thinking about the connection.
I've heard stories about other former Scientologists who have similarly crossed into the conspiracist world. I'm trying to understand the relationship between Scientology and conspiracy theory obsession, and I can't get it right without a lot of different perspectives. I'll set out my thinking so far, which is indeed incomplete, and then set out particular questions I'm struggling with. I welcome the thoughts of ex-Scientologists, never-ins and people who are familiar with the mindset of conspiracy theorists. Thanks in advance for helping me (and hopefully, the reader base) understand the conspiracy mindset and how it relates to Scientology.
Conspiracy Theories in Scientology
Religious scholar and Scientology supporter Reza Aslan, for reasons of trite sensationalism on television, ate a piece of human brain on his CNN show Believer with Reza Aslan. This act of cannibalism on the banks of the Ganges with India's Aghori monks was followed by an Aghori cleric eating his own feces and hurling them at the fleeing Reza Aslan. This was both cowardice and contradiction on Aslan's part; for if Aslan can eat human brain then why can't he consume feces as well? After all, he seems intent on proving that he can transcend the boundaries of convention in order to find the truth. Like Jesus, Reza Aslan wants to associate with the outcasts. And yet he has limits and places he will stop. For this reason he could not eat feces or spend the night in a sacred cave in Hawaii due to something as inconsequential as his fear of drowning.
Aslan, a wannabe Anthony Bourdain, is no Bourdain. Not even close. Aslan lacks Bourdain's subtlety, intellect, sophistication, and screen presence. What Reza Aslan is doing on his CNN show is not sophisticated. Rather, what Aslan is doing is engaging in a weekly freak show during which, at the end of each episode, he affirms the intrinsic holiness of every religious path no matter how strange it is.
Thus, one can see the lazy formulaic mediocrity of Aslan's television show without much work: Reza Aslan espouses Universalism, the view that all paths lead to God — even if these paths involve cannibalism, hurling feces, or believing that a self-admitted narcissist in Hawaii named Jezus, a man who appears to be mentally ill, is the Messiah and prophet of the coming apocalypse. By embracing Universalism, Aslan can stage his televised freak show and reconcile demented cultic behavior to God at the conclusion of each episode. In doing so, Reza Aslan ultimately affirms nothing but his own inability to deal with serious criticisms of cults. Reza Aslan is a dilettante doing eminently forgettable throwaway television.
2017-03-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The OT VIII success stories circulated by the Freewinds are really lame. No wonder it's a ghost ship.
Two of them were sent to me recently. And they are notable for what they DON'T say.
They repeat, mantra-like, that OT VIII is "the first actual OT level" (funny, all those other ones used to be "actual" OT levels too) and the supposed remedy for amnesia on the Whole Track. That is a very bold claim. Sort of like "exterior at will with full perceptions" which the L's are supposed to provide.
We asked the producer of Believer, CNN's series featuring University of CaliforniaRiverside creative writing professor Reza Aslan, for the chance to view the episode on Scientology that's airing this Sunday, but we haven't been given that chance.
We knew how to contact the producer because she reached out to us a couple of years ago when they were putting the series together. At that time we had a lengthy talk with her about the current states of the Church of Scientology and independent Scientology. It was pretty clear to us then that Aslan's own producer understood the tricky situation they had. She said she was well aware of the many controversies and alleged abuses in Scientology and she was interested in our help in getting those into the show, but she admitted that no matter what we could tell her Aslan was pretty well determined that his program would present Scientology in a positive light.
We told her that didn't surprise us in the least. We had already seen Aslan in action, and for years he's tried to convince people that Scientology gets a bad rap. Now, he's getting a chance to bring his "all religions are really the same and they're all good" message to CNN, a year after his show was actually ready to air. (CNN delayed Believer when it dawned on them just how much cash they were raking in putting candidate Trump on the air day and night.)
In this video I examine the hate website that the Church of Scientology put up about me the day after I was featured in episode 5 (Season 1) of Leah Remini's Scientology & the Aftermath. I separate fact from fiction to demonstrate how Scientology attempts to smear its critics with maliciously false information.
Once it became official that Ray Jeffrey and his colleagues — Marc Wiegand, Elliott Cappuccio, and Leslie Hyman — were no longer working for Monique Rathbun in her harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, we called up Ray to see if he'd be interested in an interview. We're glad to say he accepted. And while he can't talk specifically about some things regarding his work for Monique and why that relationship ended, we were happy that he opened up as much as he did. Here we go...
Number one I'd like to say about my co-counsel that we were devoted to pushing Monique's case forward. I can't talk about the ins and outs of our attorney-client relationship. But we still feel like we achieved some good. If this stops the church from harassing one other person there would be some value in it. We were all very dedicated to representing Monique and I don't want anyone to think we dumped her in the dirt.
What was it like in Judge Waldrip's court with so many Scientology attorneys on the other side?
A former top female Scientologist, who worked with the Church's biggest names including John Travolta and Tom Cruise's children, claims that she was forced to spend three years in Scientology 'prison' because she kissed a girl, Daily Mail Online can reveal exclusively.
Nora Crest, Nora Sova at the time, was a friend of the stars and worked at Los AngelesCelebrity Centre, building up a close rapport with Cruise's kids and Travolta. She helped work through their Scientology courses and acted as a 'life counselor' to the stars.
But she says that all changed when she kissed another girl - and liked it. Even though it never went any further than kissing, Nora was put into the Rehabilitation Project Force [RPF].
Former members refer to this as the equivalent of a 'Scientology prison'.
The now 39-year-old claims that she was ordered to work for a pittance and endured horrific injuries, including three broken ribs, while working and living in squalid conditions.
2015-03-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Next chapter in the footbullet parade.
I guess he doesn't realize it, but this will give an accurate count of how many dedicated scientologists there are in the United States. HBO will be able to tally up how many cancellations they receive.
If it tops a couple of dozen I would be stunned.
We have another screenshot from Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear, which airs on Sunday, March 29 at 8pm. Pictured here is one of the eight former Scientologists interviewed for the movie, former Sea Org executive Tom DeVocht. We recently gave you a little background on Tom and explained how he's been dealing with an increase in private investigator harassment as the movie's airing nears.
And now, for the first time, he's giving us new information about what he saw up close as one of Scientology leader David Miscavige's most trusted lieutenants at a time when one of Miscavige's top priorities was actor Tom Cruise. We'll let DeVocht explain.
In Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear, I was glad to see how much Tom Cruise is put on the spot about his behavior in the church. I've seen others portray Tom as a kind of "victim" of Scientology. It simply isn't true.
Sainte-Feyre, France We've got a breaking story from Jonny Jacobsen, our man in Paris...
Councillors in a French town have pulled out of a deal to sell land for development after revelations that investors behind the project were Scientologists.
The announcement came just weeks after they had approved the sale of land in the town of Sainte-Feyre, Limousin, in central France — and just days ahead of Sunday's local elections.
On a recent trip, I met with a number of ex-Scientologists as well as some familiar faces in our community. One question in my discussions always came up:
What is the endgame for Scientology, where the cult closes its doors for good and becomes a minor footnote in the pages of history?
One of the main goals on this blog, as outlined in the original post back in November, is to try to develop and maintain a full scenario for the collapse of the cult. A full scenario would have several different alternatives along with an assessment of the relative likelihood of each of those alternatives actually coming to pass. This is not that document. Over time, I would hope to be able to assemble from different individual scenarios such as this one, the complete assessment of the likely futures that may befall the church, and a series of guideposts that would help us tell which one of those scenarios is coming true.
The threat to Scientology that the Internet poses was brought into vivid relief days ago, when the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Childs detailed the experience of one of the sect's highest ranking parishioners, Sara Goldberg, of Clearwater, who had risen so high in the organization she probably knew John Travolta's ecclesiastical nickname, Mr. Baldy.
2014-03-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
These are all sent by hushmail, I promise.
The first one, from Flag, contains this classic quote: This is still "LRH Birthday Week" through Thursday March 20, so we are still raising funds for the IAS and for Ideal Orgs. Of course, the thing to celebrate LRH's birthday is to give money for the IAS and Ideal Orgs, neither of which LRH ever heard of or contemplated or wrote about anywhere (of course there IS a policy about Ideal Orgs that we have seen plenty of times and the name has been stolen from it, not the concept).
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2014From: Flag OT Committee <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: Message of the Week & 17 March 2014 Meeting Minutes
2014-03-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
LET US KNOW IF YOU CAN MAKE IT. YOU MAY ATTEND EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT CURRENTLY ON COURSE, OR ARE ON COURSE AT ANOTHER ORG.
If I had seen this 10 years ago I would have taken it for a joke.
This is not an "interfaith meeting". This is GRADUATION where people are supposed to "give wins from all levels of the Bridge". The "western leader" of the Nation of Islam is the "guest speaker" and this is supposed to be good news? If there was a "guest speaker" at "graduation" one would imagine perhaps a Senior C/S or a Senior Course Supervisor or maybe even the President of the scientology church. After all, this is the IDEAL Pacifica Bridge — the "model" for everywhere else in the world.
L. Ron Hubbard is at his campiest in a 1960 lecture that is featured in this week's "quote video" supplied by our secret source. Hubbard was born in Nebraska, grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and spent a lot of time in places like New York and Los Angeles for his writing career. But where he picked up his odd way of speaking is really a mystery. He was a product of his time, for sure, but that doesn't really explain all of his verbal tics. Get a load of how he says "autoMOEbeel" for example. Once you notice it, you can't shake it.
The excerpt you're going to hear is from the State of Man Congress, specifically about "overts" — transgressions that we've committed against another person. Here's how Bridge Publications describes the Congress, which you can pick up for $125.00...
"Beginning with Book One in 1950, and continuing through each successive year, it was a decade of monumental discoveries and milestone technology towards the goal of Clear. Here, then, is the Congress that launched the next decade, and set the whole of Scientology towards Operating Thetan. It all followed from the very definition of OT as 'knowing and willing cause over all dynamics.' For while all earlier efforts were aimed at clearing people on the First Dynamic, L. Ron Hubbard opened this one with the startling announcement: "What I've arrived at this Congress with was how to clear them on the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Dynamics." While even more startling was the breakthrough that made it possible: Responsibility and the watershed technology of Overts and Withholds. Here, then, is technology spanning every dynamic from the individual, to marriage, to entire governments."
2013-03-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a good story to begin the new postings on this blog.
Though long, this write up by Jason is worth reading because it illustrates with specifics and detail a lot of what is wrong with the RCS (Radical Corporate Scientology). His experiences — and he would serve perfectly as the "typical staff member" — demonstrate all of the following. Disdain for the well being of the individual. Insane stat pushing. Mistreatment of children. An utter inability to think or apply reason to even the most mundane task, but instead substituting the "winning valence" (mad orders and "cover your ass" actions). Insane regging and efforts to sell "the Basics." Treating staff like slaves. And a culture of violence accompanied by idol worship of Miscavige (Jason's bathroom sign incident is the perfect microcosm of "COB"). And you just know that everything is not only true, it is probably understated. What a waste of a dedicated, willing and hard working staff member. Mike
My name is Jason Barclay and below is my Sea Org story. It is more important to focus on what can be done now or just simply remain modern day philosophers. I'm letting this story go out into the world because it's very therapeutic to finally send it out there. Also, I hope current Sea Org members come across it, as it may wake them up.
Who wouldn't want a beautiful place to take friends and family to learn about the church of scientology in their VERY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD? I know I wouldn't be able to keep away from such a place.
People can believe what they want to believe, but the issue behind scientology is charging for their texts and teachings. It's like the catholic church charging thousands of dollars for the book of genesis.
Narconon Arrowhead Scientology's troubled flagship drug rehab facility in Oklahoma — Narconon Arrowhead — was hit with five additional lawsuits today, all filed by Gary Richardson, the attorney who is handling four other wrongful death and fraud suits against the center.
Three deaths at the facility in nine months (the last in July 2012) has resulted in local and state investigations, the Oklahoma legislature is this week considering a new bill to tighten regulation of the facility, and earlier this month Narconon Arrowhead's CEO, Gary Smith, had his drug counselor certification permanently revoked.
And today, Gary Richardson filed five additional lawsuits against the facility, each of which is alleging that Narconon is a fraudulent business that advertises bogus success rates. Each of the suits names Narconon Arrowhead, Narconon International, and Scientology's "good works" umbrella non-profit, the Association for Better Living and Education.
2013-03-21, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
by Mike Rinder
For 4 years, Marty Rathbun's Blog – Moving On Up A Little Higher – has provided an invaluable service. It has been the best source of news on the current goings-on in the world of Scientology, exposed truths about what has happened in the past, provided a venue for those newly emerging from the bubble of the Church to announce themselves to the world, given insight into squirreling of the tech, offered helpful advice on sources of wisdom and became a place to find new friends or reconnect with old ones.
Marty has always said that it was his desire to help raise spiritual awareness, to move on up a little higher. If you are a regular reader you have probably noticed his blog evolving away from the daily news into higher concepts and discussions. This is something that is important. And it is a message directed to those who have well and truly left the church behind and are moving onward and upward.
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.
We're finally getting near the middle of this book, Vance, and L. Ron Hubbard is pretty well unhinged at this point.
Did you notice how, as we move into the chapter "Contagion of Aberration" that the word "unconscious" is suddenly showing up in quote marks?
In Russia, current legislation makes a unified verdict on Scientology unlikely.
"The Russian law on extremism means that court cases are held where the literature or a branch of an organization is found, but not where it originated from," Pavel Chikov, a human rights lawyer, told TV Rain "which means that different courts come to different verdicts and there is no clear legal status for Scientology and its literature that applies throughout the country."
A Moscow regional court upheld a lower court's ruling to ban books on Scientology by the group's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, on grounds of inciting extremism, the tvrain internet channel said on Wednesday.
Scientology, founded by Hubbard in the U.S. in the early 1950s, is one of the most controversial religious movements of the past century and is often described as a cult. A court in Shchyolkovo in Moscow region first banned Hubbard's books last June.
2011-03-21, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Richard Reiss, long-time Senior C/S Flag Service Organization has recently left his physical body. He reportedly lost a bout with cancer. Richard died at the age of 66 on March 4, 2011. He died at the Brookside Hospice House in Palm HarborFlorida. Seventeen days after his death, less than a quarter of Flag staff, and handful of public gathered for a church of Scientology memorial service.
I believe Richard deserves to have the world know about some extraordinary things about his life. Things that David Miscavige will not only not ever let be known, but as you shall see below he will likely spend more pretty pennies trying to silence.
Richard was a giant intellectually.
Avortements forcés, voies de fait, emprisonnement, torture, abus sexuels, malversations, chantage: l'Église de scientologie a été accusée d'avoir commis tous ces crimes ces derniers mois, alors que les dénonciations d'ex-scientologues se multipliaient dans le monde.
Depuis qu'il est sorti de Narconon, David Edgar Love dort à peine. Il a des flash-backs des expériences traumatisantes qu'il dit avoir vécues dans ce centre de désintoxication scientologue de Trois-Rivières et, parfois, il devient tellement angoissé qu'il en perd le souffle.
En novembre, un médecin de la Cité-de-la-Santé de Laval lui a diagnostiqué un syndrome de stress post-traumatique. M. Love consulte maintenant un psychiatre dans un hôpital montréalais qui lui a été recommandé par Mike Kropveld, le directeur d'Info-Secte, et il essaie de ne pas avoir l'air trop somnolent à son nouveau travail.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon is confident there will be a parliamentary inquiry into the Church of Scientology.
The Senate has twice rejected his calls to launch an inquiry into the organisation, which has been the subject of claims of abuse, including coerced abortions and workplace law breaches.
The Church of Scientology is expanding in Nashville, opening what the religion calls a "celebrity centre" at the historic Fall School Business Center on Eighth Avenue South and Chestnut Street.
Renovations are under way at the 36,000 square-foot building, with an opening expected before summer, said Gaetane Asselin and Wendy Beccaccini, who are overseeing the project. The current location at 1204 16th Ave. South will close when the new one opens.
Many people are desperate for affordable housing in Los Angeles, so much so that there is often a long waiting list for government-issued Section 8 vouchers that help lower the rent for low-income tenants. Since they are so difficult to obtain, more than 250 people jumped at the chance to buy a voucher through a Compton nonprofit despite being charged as much as $1,500 apiece.
Turns out those vouchers were fraudulent and those renters are out of luck, the Wave Newspapers report.
A strange standoff between the Church of Scientology and a group calling itself "Anonymous" played out during a downtown demonstration Saturday morning.
About 20 members of Anonymous, most wearing masks and carrying signs with anti-Scientology slogans, stood for about an hour across the street from the Dianetics center at 391 Castro.
At least three kindergartens spread out through Israeli urban sprawl offer children educational teachings of controversial cultist movement. Only one institute received municipal approval, but failed to note its religious leanings
Charles L. Stafford, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the St. Petersburg Times and its national correspondent for two decades, died at 83.
The 1980 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting was awarded to him and fellow reporter Bette Orsini for their investigation of the Church of Scientology.
Dutch Attorney-General DWF Verkade has now published an 82 page opinion to the Dutch Supreme Court, in which he upholds the decision that free speech can trump copyright. "Although copyright resides under Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights and can therefore be regarded as a human right, this does not exempt copyright from being balanced against the right to freedom of information," Verkade concludes. It is expected that the Supreme Court will adhere to his advice.
Google was accused Wednesday of effectively removing from the Internet a Web site that is critical of the Church of Scientology after it deleted links to some of the site's pages from its search engine.
The Church of Scientology has managed to yank references to anti-Scientology websites from the Google search engine.
Citing the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Scientology lawyers are claiming that Google may no longer include anti-Scientology sites that allegedly infringe upon the Church of Scientology's intellectual property.
A letter from Google to the Xenu.net Scientology-protest site says: "We removed certain specific URLs in response to a notification.... Had we not removed these URLs, we would be subject to a claim for copyright infringement, regardless of its merits."
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ A man who shot four people at a Church of Scientology office and then set the building on fire could spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.
A judge on Friday found Jairus Chegero Godeka, 39, guilty except for insanity for the rampage on Sept. 25, 1996. The judge sentenced him to 120 years in custody, and state psychiatrists will have to determine whether Godeka is ever sane enough to be released.
Godeka entered the Scientology Celebrity Centre during a busy lunch hour and shot a pregnant woman who sat at a lobby desk, paralyzing her from the waist down. He also wounded three men.
There is a peculiar response coming from Washington regarding new questions about the Internal Revenue Service's decision to give the Church of Scientology the tax exemption granted to churches.
In a city where every politician searches for publicity and demands for investigations are commonplace, no one has heard a peep from Congress. It has been more than a week since the New York Times raised serious concerns about the circumstances surrounding the IRS' decision to reverse course in 1993 and give the Church of Scientology its long-sought tax exemption.
PONCA CITY - The state of Oklahoma is asking a Kay County district judge to shut down Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, claiming the drug and alcohol treatment center is unregulated and dangerous.
Guy Hurst, an assistant state attorney general, said the state wants to stop Narconon's "outrageous conduct and stop it now. " Narconon's lawyers argue the state lacks jurisdiction because the center, north of Newkirk, is on Indian land.
Harry Woods Jr. of Oklahoma City said Indian tribes sorely need alcohol treatment centers, citing studies that showed a 70 percent addiction rate among Indians, and that afflicted tribal members are dying for lack of available programs.
1990-03-21, Don Carter, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
IRS officials didn't come downstairs to chat. "But the security people came out and told us some people were threatening to jump out the windows on top of us if we didn't stop blowing our whistles," said member Sara Griggs.
Griggs and several other members of the group said they were members of the Church of Scientology. That church has had a long-running feud with the IRS about whether certain church activities are tax-exempt.
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard failed to appear in court Wednesday in his church's defamation suit, prompting defense attorneys to say they will seek dismissal.
"We will ask that the lawsuit be dismissed because Mr. Hubbard did not show," said Jeffrey A. Tidus, attorney for Michael J. Flynn, a Boston lawyer being sued by the church.
The suit contends Flynn, a longtime litigant against the church, defamed the organization in June 1983 by allegedly accusing Scientology members of putting water in the gas tank of an airplane he was flying in 1979.