Mark Bunker was relieved yesterday to finally get the results back on his COVID-19 test — it was negative — because he had a big day of "orientation" as a new city councilman in Clearwater, Florida. He tells that he was pretty excited to be let into his new office, and to receive a city laptop and city iPhone.
And already, on his first day, he was dealing with a question about the Church of Scientology, the issue that had defined his historic campaign.
For several days, many observers had been pointing out that although the people of Clearwater had finally left the beaches and were generally observing a stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic, it appeared to be business as usual at the Flag Land Base, Scientology's "spiritual mecca," where Sea Org workers were still being transported in crowded buses from facility to facility, and without any personal protection such as masks or gloves.
2020-03-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I was forwarded this email from the EDs of Salt Lake City "ideal" org.
I reprint it here with spelling errors/typos exactly as it was received.
Another confirmation that this org is closed (public are not receiving services physically inside the org) — but they then go on in typical scientology style to say the answer to the question "Wait, does that mean the Org is closed?" is "Absolutely not, in fact, the org is more open than ever." Only in the deluded world of scientology would a shuttered org be more open than ever...
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We want to thank regular reader Jeb Burton for taking the photo you see here during his adventures yesterday in downtown Clearwater. He snapped this outside the infamous "Scientology Starbucks" at the corner of Fort Harrison Boulevard and Cleveland Street, the crossroads at the very center of Scientology's "spiritual Mecca," the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida.
This is actually a public Starbucks sitting on a public intersection, but it's smack dab in the heart of the Flag Land Base, surrounded by some of the most important buildings in the Scientology world. Scientology watchers know that they can see uniformed Sea Org workers passing by or in buses at this location all day, and some of them do stop in for a cup of coffee. (But how they can afford a $4 cup of java when they're making about 40 cents an hour is a bit of a mystery.)
Could there be any less promising place to set up a literature stand and offer people the good news about Jehovah? One of the most important things about Jehovah's Witnesses is that they are convinced of the idea that Armageddon is imminent. But we figured the ultimate battle of good and evil prophesied in the Bible would have some more fireworks than a showdown between JWs and Scientology Sea Org workers in the dead downtown of Clearwater, Florida. On the other hand, perhaps that is maybe the best ever comment on both of these groups, who knows?
"Ron Miscavige Life After Scientology" will explore Ron's time with the Church of Scientology and expose information that the Church does not want you to know.
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2019-03-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This morning at 11am EST, Ron and I are doing Part 3 of the interview that began a few weeks ago.
We plan to talk a bit about tax exemption and disconnection, but who knows, when Ron and I get together, anything can happen...
You can tune in here:
Rod Keller keeps an eye on the Ideal Org racket David Miscavige is running, and he notices something very interesting...
There are no Ideal Orgs in France. At over 67 million in population, it is the largest country in the world with a Scientology org, but no Ideal Orgs. If Scientology is planning to open Ideal Orgs around the world, France is a significant hole they should plug. Ireland at less than 5 million has an Ideal Org, why not France?
France has five non-ideal orgs in Paris, Angers, Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon, and Nice. Sources tell us the Paris Celebrity Center has closed. One would think Paris would be the obvious choice to go ideal like the other capital cities London, Madrid, Berlin, Rome, and Moscow. The current building is on a narrow street in the 12th arrondissement and it might be hard to find a suitable building to renovate as an ideal org. With enough money it should be possible.
Now "General Hospital" actress Michelle Stafford is leaving that show and returning to "The Young and the Restless" after a not so successful stint on the former show. She was on the latter for 16 years.
Stafford is an avowed member of the Cult of Scientology, which "General Hospital" knew when she joined them. (She isn't the only "Y&R" actress deep in Scientology. So is Sharon Case, who's been on the show for eons.)
But here's the soapy twist: a few months ago, "General Hospital" started a story about a cult called Dawn of Day. (Dawn of Day, not coincidentally, is a is an 1881 book by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that would drive Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard crazy.)
Brent Jones is back, and this time he's aiming high.
You might remember the name. He's a Scientologist who was elected to Nevada's Assembly and served from 2015 to 2016. We wrote about him at the time not only because it's pretty rare for Scientologists to hold elected office but also because of his involvement with the sale of snake oil and ostrich eggs.
Way back in the year 2000, our colleague Ron Russell at New Times Los Angeles wrote about Jones' involvement in the sad case of Raul Lopez, a Southern California man who received $1.7 million in a settlement after suffering brain damage in a car accident. Scientology pounced on the suddenly wealthy young man, finding creative ways to get him to part with his money, including investing in ostrich eggs, which Jones, his attorney, helped facilitate.
2018-03-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
In the spirit of play, and trying to support the Cult Shopping Network with some ideas for programming that might actually get an audience, my old friend Jefferson Hawkins (author of the wonderful Counterfeit Dreams that I highly recommend you read if you have not done so already and mastermind of SkyHawk studios graphic design) put together some promotional pieces.
I thought you might enjoy them.
Hard to imagine anyone topping the Duggan's, though I think her Royal Governess of the Vast and Entirely Empty Valley Ideal Org might give them a run for their money (so to speak...)
"The basic doctrine of Avatar is: what you believe has consequences in your life," he says.
"The course does not promote a specific philosophy beyond this. We have people from all religions. What Avatar does teach are tools, techniques, processes for taking control of one's own mind, of connecting beliefs and actions to their consequence."
He shared a link, suggesting we get a feel for Avatar by exploring the free mini-courses.
Trainees typically pay for courses, which generate money for Mr Palmer's company Star's Edge. Prices vary from $500 (£350) for a five-day "Integrity Course" to $7,500 for a 13-day "Wizards Course".
Shepherd, the infamous Wilfrid Laurier University teaching assistant who vaulted into the national imagination thanks to Canada's right-wing National Post, managed to shoot herself in the foot this weekend after releasing a video complaining "white nationalism" gets a bum rap from "the Left" these days.
Last week, Shepherd organized an event at Laurier giving ex-Rebel Media host Faith Goldy a platform to ramble about immigrants and the collapse of the white race.
Goldy was fired from Rebel Media after she attended a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, praised a manifesto demanding an "ethno-state" for the "Aryan" race and later appeared on a neo-Nazi podcast.
CLEARWATER — The Church of Scientology's proposal to bring retail and entertainment downtown is a novel new development, but the recent rollout of its plans has a tone that goes back decades.
Scientology's long-standing zeal for expansion and penchant for secrecy have manifested in several ways: the scale of its plans for Cleveland Street, its private meetings with elected officials and its hushed effort to snap up millions of dollars worth of property after promising the city it wouldn't.
It's an assertive approach that comes up time and again in teachings by founder L. Ron Hubbard and other writings. When it comes to handling governments and widening its influence, the church's strategy is a matter of scripture.
If Aslan's narrowed approach to Hinduism results in negative misconceptions of the religion, the opposite is true of Aslan's portrayal of Scientology. In the episode titled "The Scientology Reformation," Aslan spends time with a tiny group of defectors from the Church of Scientology, who practice a benign version of the faith. This focus on what scientology journalist Tony Ortega calls "indie scientology" lacks engagement with the far larger, and more problematic, church—thereby flattening out the aspects of Scientology as a whole that are distinctive and compelling.
Our man in Paris, British journalist Jonny Jacobsen, has a report out of South America for us today…
The shockwaves from Alex Gibney's 2015 documentary Going Clear are causing a few ripples in Argentina.
A senior Scientologist there has lodged a complaint with the anti-discrimination body INADI against actress and comedian Malena Pichot after she described Scientology as a "cult."
2016-03-31, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
In this new 4-part series, my mother and I discuss our mutual history in Scientology, how our family became involved in it and how we stayed connected despite Scientology's efforts over the years to get me to disconnect from her. In this first part, we discuss her getting into Scientology, joining staff in Pasadena and how she eventually left Scientology for good.
"[Starting] Sunday, the facility will be open to the public seven days a week and all are welcome," said church official Tracie Parker in an email. "We have an information center where anyone can come to take a tour and find out for themselves about Scientology and the many humanitarian programs we support."
The church, a mansion-like former real estate office, had a long struggle to open that involved a freedom-of-religion lawsuit against the city.
The Church of Scientology bought the property around 2005, but first sought rezoning for use as a place of worship in 2009. The Sandy Springs City Council approved the rezoning, but without a parking reduction the church sought as part of a building expansion. The church then sued the city for violating its First Amendment rights, leading to a 2012 settlement allowing the building expansion in exchange for sharing parking with the adjacent post office.
("Repent heretics or be devoured by Almighty Cthulhu" — from Reason Rally2012)
We had so much fun at the Reason Rally in 2012 we had already planned on going again this year. But then, the organizers were kind enough to ask us if we'd give the event a plug. Why sure!
If you have Saturday, June 4 free and can be in WashingtonDC, you should come to the Lincoln Memorial and hear speakers like Johnny Depp, Bill Nye, Carolyn Porco, Penn Jillette, and James Randi.
2016-03-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I will train for the rest of my life...
Of course you will. Recycling through the Student Hat and on up as GAT III, then GAT IV and on and on are "released" with "epic breakthroughs to speed your progress up the Bridge." Wonder if you will EVER wake up?
Our man in Paris, journalist Jonny Jacobsen, has a fascinating piece for us today. We'll let him explain...
A judge investigating the 2006 suicide of a Scientologist in France may finally close the case because police have not been able to track down key witnesses. Officers have been looking into the death of 47-year-old Gloria Lopez (pictured), who in December 2006 stepped in front of a speeding train at Colombes station just outside Paris.
But they have been unable to find three Scientologists the judge considers key to the affair, all of whom had dealings with Lopez in the months leading up to her death. Scientology executives in France have insisted they have no idea where they are.
2015-03-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I was talking with some friends after watching Going Clear, musing about what Miscavige would do now.
One of the participants remarked that I should put this on the blog, as people may find it interesting. These thoughts are not based on some "leak," they are merely speculation based on experience.
I believe there are two things Miscavige will be concerned about following the deluge on Sunday night that was the leading edge of a category 4 shitstorm making a direct hit on his gilded beachhouse.
The anti-Scientology documentary Going Clear is shocking the world with its devastating insight into the inner workings of this most secret of religions.
The lives of Scientologists, especially hardcore Sea Org members - the top of the Scientology food chain - seems like another strange universe.
But for one area of Florida, Scientology's impact has been devastating. It's where it has built its headquarters and rules the place with an iron fist. The beautiful resort of Clearwater has millions of tourists every single year - but few ever set foot in the downtown area.
Radio host Ryan 'Fitzy' Fitzgerald says he had a chance encounter with the Church Of Scientology, the secretive faith that counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its celebrity devotees.
Co-hosting Australia talk show The Project on Tuesday night, the Nova FM personality, 38, revealed a meeting with actress Jenna Elfman 13 years ago in Los Angeles led him to the religion's rarefied circle.
Recovering from his third knee construction, the former AFL player was holidaying in the US when he bumped into the Dharma and Greg actress who told him she could 'fix' his on-going knee problems, through a 'purification process'.
Scientology cult leader David Miscavige speaking to Scientologists from one of his Nuremberg Rally themed stage sets.
Led by violent narcissist David Miscavige, the psycho-terrorist organization known as the Church of Scientology has spent the past month hysterically attacking, defaming, and lashing out at everyone involved in HBO's documentary Going Clear. Millions of tax exempt dollars were spent by Scientology to create and promote hate websites; purchase Google ads; pay for twitter campaigns; and finance Facebook attacks. There were also Scientology-paid PI's seeking to intimidate people, threat letters sent out from Scientology's attorneys, and other forms of Scientology intimidation.
Having failed to stop Going Clear, the cosmically insane Church of Scientology is now taking its usual fallback position: It is screaming that Scientologists are exactly like the Jews in the Holocaust. This is an outrageous and highly offensive propaganda card Scientology has played for decades. Scientologist Bodhi Elfman tweeted this obscenity today:
Two parties named in the case against a drug rehabilitation center in Albion have filed a motion to be removed from the lawsuit over a jurisdiction issue.
The motion was filed Friday, March 30 to dismiss the case against Association for Better Living and Education International and Narconon International. The two organizations were included in a recent lawsuit against the Albion-based Narconon Freedom Center.
ABLE and Narconon International are arguing that the inclusion in the lawsuit is out of the court's jurisdiction. The two organizations are based in California.
La Commission des affaires municipales de l'Ontario doit décider si elle donne le feu vert à la construction d'un centre de désintoxication de l'Église de scientologie à Milton, dans l'ouest de Toronto.
L'établissement d'un tel centre nécessiterait un changement de zonage, sur lequel la Commission des affaires municipales de l'Ontario se penche cette semaine.
Une société liée à l'Église de scientologie tente de convertir une résidence dans un secteur rural de la municipalité en centre de désintoxication.
Le bâtiment de près de 2000 mètres carrés accueillerait jusqu'à dix clients à la fois, et de cinq à neuf membres du personnel selon le moment de la journée, d'après la présentation du projet de Narconon obtenue par Radio-Canada.
Watch the full AJ+ segment here https://goo.gl/bmNn1W
"In Scientology, "going clear" means reaching a state of happiness and freedom. To get there, you've got to go through "audits." Years of them. AJ+'s Francesca Fiorentini visited the Church of Scientology in San Francisco for her very first dip into the religion, or, as some would call it, cult."
Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks discuss.
Yesterday, Paris elected its first woman mayor, Anne Hidalgo. But as our man in FranceJonny Jacobsen explains, she has a lot more interest for us here in the Underground Bunker than the fact that she's female and from Spain...
Paris has, not surprisingly, elected another socialist mayor.
Anne Hidalgo succeeds her colleague Bernard Delanoë, having served as his lieutenant through his two-term tenure since 2001.
2014-03-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Well, the hushmail stork keeps dropping OTC reports down the chimney. I am having a hard time keeping up with them all.
And I dont have a lot of time this morning to sift through and comment on each of them. But I am sure there are plenty of readers who will highlight the strangenesses from inside the bubble.
I made a couple of brief notes from glancing at these.
By January 2013, Anne and Caleb had left San Francisco and returned to China. They were living in Beijing, and Caleb was working as a translator. Like other former members I interviewed, they saw the Community as being in decline.
But when news came, in August, of IBT's purchase of Newsweek, that perception changed. Community members saw the deal as a potent sign of Jang's power, and some former members I spoke to wondered if it meant his teachings might have merit after all. Suddenly, people who had agreed to speak to me on the record changed their mind.
Their concern was not unreasonable. The Community is litigious. "We have to punish them," Jang said of his critics, according to the transcript of an August 2008 sermon in Korea. "We have many organizations so if they compensate, they should compensate a lot. After one is over, another organization will sue them again so all their lives they will be sued." He has been true to his word: Community ministries have legally threatened or sued at least five people who have written about or come out against the group. And after Ted Olsen and Ken Smith (who provided me with some documents and introduced me to Susan Chua) wrote about Jang in Christianity Today, the Jang-founded Christian Post published a story headlined "Christianity Today Writer Ken Smith Is Founder of a Company Fined for Deceptive Business Practices; With Child Porn Ties." The Post didn't address Olsen and Smith's claims about Jang in that story, and didn't disclose the Post's association with the pastor. Instead, it targeted Smith, outlining how Zango, a company Smith cofounded, had produced software that some users later used to distribute pornography. Smith wrote that he took the article to imply that he was "all but a purveyor of child pornography."
2013-03-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
There is a constant stream of demands for funds from Scientologists to finance David Miscagive's follies. From his PI's and rented Peeping Tom outposts (spying on detractors) to the waste of useless printed promotion and massive numbers of useless books sent to libraries.
But that sort of insanity should be fairly easy to see. There is a more covert but perhaps more pervasive side of the story of financial crimes. One that is highlighted by a widely circulated email from the relentless "fundraisers" for "Ideal Orgs."
Just as with the LRH Birthday Game, they are foisting off apparent LRH quotes to justify their off-policy activities. They have not merely taken a quote out of context, but quoted from the VERY reference that explains how fees for SERVICES pays for buildings and everything else (including all activities of the IAS…) to apparently bless the idea that everyone should ALSO give money for "Idle Orgs."
On Sundays, we love to bring you the latest mailers and fliers that Scientology is sending to its members. It's our way of keeping up on what's happening in the church at any given moment.
And this being a rather grand Sunday of Sundays, we have some fine items that should interest you, including some desperation at Golden Era Studios, a daring plunge into the digital future by the Celebrity Centre, and yet another ads-on-bus sighting. But this is also a special day because we've reached the SMERSH Championship after a full month of voting! You'll find that matchup at the end of this post.
But first, we'd like to take note of a story that appeared elsewhere yesterday, and then we'll get to our usual collection of fun stuff.
2013-03-31, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Scientology technology is powerful in lifting an individual from being effect up to being more at cause.
In accomplishing that Scientology focuses heavily on, and makes great use of, Newtonian classic physics principles. Unfortunately, ultimately that world view tends to lock a Scientologist under a glass ceiling of sorts to further transcendence of awareness and qualities of equanimity.
Evaluated against the very axioms (including The Factors and Logics) Scientology is predicated upon one could easily reckon that to be the case. Paradoxically, Scientology contains laws of interpretation that make one of its own Logics, critical to growth and transcendence, forbidden practice:
2011-03-31, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The following post is the complete article Vicki and Richard Palmer wished to post the night before last. Unfortunately, the only thing I received at that time was the declaration of Richard which was posted, The Palmers - Dignified Departure and Arrival. I did not republish that portion of the larger post below - but noted where Richard's declaration (the last post on this blog) fits in. I think you might find the last section "You've Got Mail" particularly interesting. It recounts a creative means by which Vicki and Richard permeated the Wall with some truth.
Restless in Seattle
by Vicki and Richard Palmer
2010-03-31, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
I'm sorry that the Church saw fit to drag my ex-wife, Catherine Fraser, into this and put her into the spotlight on national TV. It can't have been a pleasant experience for her.
Anderson Cooper asked me about Catherine. I told him that she was a wonderful woman with a heart of gold. I would never say anything against Cathy. I've posted the story of our unlikely courtship and marriage at the Int Base on my autobiographical blog, Counterfeit Dreams.
That we have ended up on opposite sides of this is unfortunate. She feels she has to defend the Church at all costs – well, as I told Anderson, I would have done the same when I was still in the Sea Org. I would have lied.
The Church of Scientology believes one woman, Maureen Bolstad, is one of the worst people in the world. She is one of a few to be declared a "suppressive person."
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard declared so-called "suppressive" people "cannot be granted the rights ordinarily accorded rational beings." Her crime? Talking to the media about the church.
Bolstad was recruited into the Church of Scientology at age 16. She was told she'd get an education, and the chance to see the world.
Twenty-six years later, Bolstad walks down Gilman Springs Road near Hemet where Scientology's world headquarters is located. She walks with a sense of fear.
Recent Scientology protests have brought us all joy and laughter, but it wasn't until today that we saw a photo of the church's security goons guarding the New York headquarters. They look, as an ANONYMOUS tipster pointed out, "like they are playing arms dealers in a shoestring-budget 1990s USA Network spy thriller." You'll be sorry when Dolph Lundgren shows up, Scientology!
For both sides, the relationship between the Church of Scientology and the nation's largest public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton, had been a good one.
But that relationship fell apart in 1991, just two days after a cover story in Time magazine blasted Scientology as a cult of greed. Hill & Knowlton dropped Scientology as a client.
The takeover bid by Fairness in Media, an ad hoc committee run by the political allies of Helms, was launched in January. Since then, CBS has hired a battery of top-dollar law firms with the goal of discrediting the North Carolina-based political machine in an attempt to uncover what it claims are improper political fund-raising and other activities that violate federal law.
As part of this effort, CBS already has linked officials of the Helms organization and its main lawyer in the takeover battle to a controversial tax-exempt foundation, The Pioneer Fund. The fund has financed research into "racial betterment" by scientists seeking to prove that blacks are genetically inferior to whites.
The decision by Helms to expand his activities beyond the arena of politics into the corporate takeover battleground grows out of a deep, long-standing animosity among conservatives toward major media outlets. Acquiring a large-circulation newspaper or a network "is something that has been a dream of conservatives for years," according to Howard Phillips, chairman of the Conservative Caucus and an ally to Fairness in Media.