A data breach from Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo has revealed that millions of dollars have been raised on the site for far-right causes and groups, many of whom are banned from raising funds on other platforms.
It also identifies previously anonymous high-dollar donors to far-right actors, some of whom enjoy positions of wealth, power or public responsibility.
Some of the biggest beneficiaries have been members of groups such as the Proud Boys, designated as a terrorist group in Canada, many of whose fundraising efforts were directly related to the 6 January attack on the United States Capitol.
Last week we first revealed that Saturday Night Live's sophomore sensation Chloe Fineman is the child of Scientology Clears, she has her own record of taking Scientology courses, and halfway through her first SNL season she provided tickets for a taping to a hardcore Scientology celebrity, actress Denice Duff.
We pointed out how interesting this was because in 2015 SNL produced maybe the best parody of Scientology of all time, its brilliant music video "Neurotology." Not only did the video poke fun at Scientology's strange beliefs, but it also brought up the serious controversies surrounding the organization. SNL's skewering of Scientology was both hilarious and damning.
But that didn't stop the show from hiring Fineman in 2019, and she's on her second season now and gaining steam as one of the cast's better performers.
(Coming this July: The Garcias and the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta)
We haven't heard anything about the Garcias' appeal at the Eleventh Circuit in a long time, but now there's a significant development. The court has announced that it will hear oral arguments from both sides in Atlanta the week of July 27.
Luis and Rocio Garcia and their legal ordeal has been a case we've watched closely since they first filed their federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology in 2013. But it's especially important now because in subsequent litigation Scientology has pointed to it repeatedly as a precedent that it wants courts to pay attention to.
Efforts to undermine the Canadian political process are virtually unstoppable in the murky, borderless digital world, say experts who study the spread of disinformation.
The report warned the same "cyber interference" used by hackers to target countries like the United States are likely being mobilized in Canada.
The warning comes on the heels of a report this week from the federal government's Communication Security Establishment that showed Canadian political parties, candidates and staff have already been the target of at least one state-sponsored hacking campaign ahead of the federal election.
When Tarpley Hitt at the Daily Beast asked us about Scientology's front group Citizens Commission on Human Rights, we emphasized to her that what made CCHR Scientology's most unhinged front group was that its mission is not simply to criticize psychiatry but to destroy it.
She told us she would be visiting CCHR's wacky location on Sunset Boulevard, the infamous Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Museum, and we urged her to ask her guides, what are you suggesting should replace psychiatry?
We all know the answer to that question. But CCHR and Scientology can be a little shy about what they're trying to accomplish, which is to dismantle the modern mental health industry and replace it with L. Ron Hubbard's quack ideas about the human mind.
2019-04-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Yesterday's post about the fake scientology tours brought some other interesting things to light.
First, one of the scientology "fronts" that smears whistleblowers announced that the Ft Harrison is "for scientologists only".
When Aaron Smith-Levin pointed out that Lisa Mansell had lied to the Chamber of Commerce, the "Truth Newsroom" quickly "clarified" that it's "open" to Non-Scientologists if they "don't show up unannounced" and "where there are community events being held."
A few days ago we told you that among the Nxivm defendants, bookkeeper Kathy Russell had a novel argument in her attempt to get charges against her dismissed ahead of the April 29 trial start.
Namely, her attorneys told Judge Nicholas Garaufis that she had been sandbagged by prosecutors when she appeared before a grand jury last May. Even though, they admitted, their client was guilty of committing a "variety" of crimes, because she had been lied to by the government, charges against her should be dropped.
Specifically, Russell is arguing that when she was asked to appear before the grand jury she was told by prosecutors that she was not a target of the investigation, only a witness. But subsequent evidence releases in discovery show that the government had multiple documents showing that they knew Russell had committed crimes as Nxivm's bookkeeper.
It's one of those L. Ron Hubbard quotes that gets brought up a lot, especially by those who want to make the point that the "Church" of Scientology really isn't one at all.
Listen carefully to a 1952 lecture, and you'll hear him say it: "The only way you can control a people is to lie to them."
We've seen it raised many, many times in discussions about Scientology, but as with so much about Hubbard and his odd organization, we found that when we took a closer look at it, and put it in the context of the lecture it's a part of, Hubbard's quote is even worse than you imagined.
2018-04-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A non-staged shot. This is how the Freewinds ALWAYS looks in real life. A ghost ship.
The Freewinds is sinking, unable to stay afloat in a sea of red ink.
Despite the fact that scientology screams "massive international expansion" at every opportunity and how they are opening "new churches" at a massive rate, the truth is a very different picture.
2017-04-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is more insanity from the poor sheeple that are still struggling to keep the dream alive. Which is ALL they have.
Remember, this was one of the hugely hyped "ideal org buildings" — a derelict old building that was part of the Kellogg empire. It was purchased MORE THAN 15 YEARS AGO.
And now they have "new and exciting news"? (A clue — that new and exciting news is that you need to hand over more money, a LOT more money.... that is not really "new" and not really "exciting").
(Christensen, baptized in The Case for Christ)
We're starting to get questions from readers about Erika Christensen playing a Christian convert in the movie The Case for Christ, which opened in theaters Friday.
Our friend and former colleague, Luke Y. Thompson, wrote a really interesting review of the film for Forbes, giving the movie props for its strong casting (not just Christensen but also Faye Dunaway and Robert Forster) and for the way it develops the story of a newspaper reporter, Lee Strobel (played by Mike Vogel), who investigates Christianity while trying to solve a cop murder.
2016-04-10, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The show where I answer your questions. Please leave any comments or feedback in the comments section here below. I see everything and want to hear from you.
Link to CFI booksigning event: http://goo.gl/CRav7r
The questions I answer this week are:
Time again for Rod Keller's Scientology Social Media Review! Rod's well known for his indispensable "ARS Week in Review," which ran for nine years when ARS — the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology — was the most important daily source for Scientology news. More recently, Rod has made a specialty of hunting down the odd and wonderful things Scientologists post to social media. Rod is a chronicler who piece by piece builds a highly detailed assessment of what Scientology is doing around the world, and this is what he found for us this week…
Freedom Medal winner and Scientology attorney Tim Bowles has been traveling in Liberia this week with Youth For Human Rights activist Joseph Yarsiah. The pair raised over $25,000 on Gofundme to pay for the trip, which is promoting L. Ron Hubbard's study tech methods to fight illiteracy in that country.
Scientologists Gracia Bennish, Paula Gutiererz and Gladys Jourdain met with representatives from the Miami Hispanic community this week to deliver literature from the front group United for Human Rights. Below, with Erika Marcano and Gianfranco Napolitano from Doral News.
Senator Nick Xenophon has called on Australia's charity regulators to investigate Scientology in the wake allegations set out in Alex Gibney's bombshell documentary on the movement.
The shockwaves created by Alex Gibney's documentary on Scientology, Going Clear, have reached Down Under.
More than five years after first denouncing Scientology's activities in Australia, independent Senator Nick Xenophon has returned to the fray, calling on the authorities to investigate Scientology's charitable status.
2015-04-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Caught with his appendage in a wringer, David Miscavige has done what he has always done. Shouted "THEY'RE LIARS, THEY'RE LIARS."
But this time he is truly the boy who cried wolf.
He had his lawyer, Michael Hertzberg say this to the LA Times:
One of the great results of Lawrence Wright's New Yorker article on Paul Haggis and Scientology, which grew into his book Going Clear, was that he got the Church of Scientology to turn over a huge amount of documentation of L. Ron Hubbard's life.
In that trove turned out to be a number of records concerning Hubbard's career in the US Navy and the 21 medals Hubbard had supposedly been awarded, including two Purple Hearts for being injured in combat. But Wright had his own set of records that he'd acquired directly from the Navy, and they differed from the church's documents in a number of ways, including a lack of any Purple Hearts or any other medals having to do with combat — since Hubbard hadn't seen any. The implication seemed clear: Scientology wasn't above doctoring things to make Hubbard's World War II career appear more valorous than it was.
On Tuesday, Business Insider decided to take a look at the discrepancies in those sets of war records in what appeared to be a very detailed and rigorous article. Our readers noted that it made the front page of Yahoo News, so that tells us it was seen by a lot of people.
HBO's bombshell documentary Going Clear has sent the Church of Scientology scrambling for cover, according to a former member. One-time high-ranking Scientologist Tom DeVocht tells RadarOnline.com exclusively that church leader David Miscavige has put members on "lockdown" mode in an attempt to stem the fall-out from recent explosive allegations.
DeVocht told Radar exclusively, "I have spoken with someone within the Church. This person is one of the higher-ups, and David Miscavige has ordered the Church to go on lockdown in response to Going Clear."
"The order told members to not watch any television, read newspapers, or go online because the Church is under attack," DeVocht claimed.
French deputy Rudy Salles is under fire for his report on protecting children from "sects", to be debated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) today. And some of his critics are aiming low.
Is Rudy Salles fair game? He is certainly in the firing line.
Proposals he has submitted to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on how to protect children from the excesses of "sects" have provoked the wrath of a small army of lobby groups.
2014-04-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Now that the Garcia's have forced the opening of the SP Building, they are moving on to new false promises of what will accomplish planetary clearing.
This time, it is the "LRH Hall."
But note the admission about the "success" of the SP Building and the people "pouring in" from "all over the world" for GAG II ...comparatively, this is still a trickle that will soon reach epic flood proportions.
Jonny Jacobsen Our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, has a detailed report for us about one of the groups making noise about a European effort to crack down on "sects" that harm children. It's a timely report, as a debate will be broadcast live about the issue today from Strasbourg — and Jonny's provided us with a live link to listen in.
Campaigners are fighting a European initiative to protect children from the excesses of "sects," arguing that it attacks religious freedom.
But not all of them have been clear about who they are — and what stake they have in the issues up for debate.
RJ Ellory (Photo: E. Garault) We have a very special treat for you today. We noticed recently that French publications were suddenly making a big deal about a British crime writer and his long association with the Church of Scientology. Naturally, we turned to our man in Paris for help understanding why.
Jonny Jacobsen is a Brit who lives in Paris and writes one of the best blogs on Scientology, Infinite Complacency. He was good enough to provide us with this explainer — tomorrow, a longer version will show up at his site.
[ALSO TODAY: A report from Nathan Baca about Narconon in Nevada.]
2013-04-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Someone had better clamp down on Buffalo and their "NonE Campaign" before they blow everything into public view....
Following yesterday's 10 year old reg selling overpriced "leatherbounds" for the "Non Existence" campaign, here is today's confession of insanity from the original "Ideal Org" and source of the infamous "Buffalo Pattern."
They announce loud and proud the Fully Automated Robot TV (FART) Div 6 "strategy" of David Miscavige. All you have to do is push a button and they will cognite. OMG! For anyone who has read even the first few policies from Volume 6 this is tantamount to taking out full page ads in the local newspaper and banner ads across the internet "WE ARE SQUIRREL ADMINISTRATORS AND WE ARE PROUD OF IT".
2013-04-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
One of the few Scientology orgs in the world that does not need a NEW building to be purchased for the Great Ideal Org Boondoggle is Toronto. This org was purchased in the late 70's pursuant to the LRH BIC (Building Investment Committee) program.
Yes, more than 10 years AFTER the launch of David Miscavige's "Ideal Org Strategy" for Planetary Clearing, Toronto, the CONTINENTAL Org for Canada remains unrenovated. Not only not much Planetary Clearing, but it seems not much Canadian Clearing. Or even Toronto Clearing....
So, in desperation, the org with the largest field in Canada (it used to be one of the largest orgs in the world) has come up with a new fundraising technique. Because after 10 years they could not even scrape together the cash to install the FART Div 6 and renovate their building (in the face of MASSIVE, STRAIGHT UP AND VERTICAL EXPANSION??? How can this be?)
2013-04-10, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Some people have inferred that I am implying that people ought to become expert in quantum mechanics as some sort of alternate route to enlightenment. Not so. I am studying it – and suggest people involved with Scientology get some familiarity with it – so that they can fully appreciate and enhance what they attained or learned from Scientology.
First, if you've been involved with Scientology, and know much about it, you know through most of his presentation of it that L. Ron Hubbard claimed it was a scientifically precise route to spiritual freedom. He claimed to have married Western scientific rigor with Eastern wisdom. In the light of that, it would seem that a person calling himself a 'Scientologist' ought to have at least a little curiosity about science, particularly since it has surged forward in quantum leaps since Hubbard lived and wrote.
Second, Scientology has become so laden with doctrine, dogma, values, morality, morality disguised as ethics, opinion, politics, and prejudices, that as many fanatics and close-minded religionists seem to emerge from it as do enlightened beings. Learning a bit about what Scientology says and does that aligns with what can be demonstrated can help to cut through that fog.
2013-04-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Unfortunately, this is not a joke.
Is there no limit to the depths of depravity to which they will sink?
They are actually PROMOTING this - KIDS selling bs leatherbound books for the Non Existence campaign for the oldest Ideal Org of all!! How's that Ideal Org strategy working out for you David Miscavige? After 10 years they are just getting around to getting out of Non Existence? Providing of course enough kids sell books.
2012-04-10, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
For a couple of days now, our excellent tipsters have been alerting us to this new song from Lisa Marie Presley.
It's not that they're big Lisa Marie fans -- although this song really isn't bad, I must say. No, the reason Scientology Watchers are fascinated by Lisa Marie's new single, "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," released ahead of her new album Storm and Grace, is that the lyrics of this song sure read like a big middle finger to the Church of Scientology.
Give it a listen, and then let's go over the lyrics together.
2012-04-10, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Well, that may be an over-statement. But, a column in the Sunday edition of the New York Times by Nicholas D. Kristof may also be a good sign of how the times are changing, Learning to Respect Religion. Kristof notes that atheists and scientists seem to be increasingly recognizing the good that religion has done in the evolution of humanity across the centuries.
A little detour is in order to explain why I view Kristof's column so positively.
Philosopher Ken Wilber treats the differentiation of the fields of art, morals (religion), and science as the foundation that ushered in the age of enlightenment in his thought-provoking book A Brief History of Everything. He reminds us that until a few hundred years ago religion made advances in science and art a dangerous proposition. But, he brings the conversation up to the present and suggests a further positive step in our evolution. That is, a trend toward more integration of art, morals, and science. That is not to say regression back to the days where one got burned at the stake for looking through a telescope and reporting what he saw. Instead, Wilbur is talking about understanding and integrating the spirit into art and science, integrating advances in rational thought into art and study of the spirit, and integrating aesthetics in religion and science.
We learned last week that the Church of Scientology in Orange County may be struggling to build its Ideal Org center at Sycamore and Fifth streets at the former Santa Ana Performing Arts and Event Center.
Apparently, they also are short on staff.
A video posted on YouTube shows staffers (including koi fish and a kitty cat) getting zany while urging folks to "Join staff!" Peep the video after the jump.
2011-04-10, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
I'm changing the format of Leaving Scientology a bit to put more emphasis on information and less on discussion. The truth is, I have little time for a Scientology blog these days: my business is booming and requires a lot of my attention, and I have many other interests that I would rather be spending my time on.
Scientology, in my opinion, has many ways to trap you, and one of them is to mire you in endless blog discussions after you have left. The discussions on this blog have been good, even therapeutic, but more and more I feel like I am simply repeating myself, and listening to others repeat themselves. At one time I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions, but of late maintaining the blog has become a tedious chore, one that I do not enjoy and have no time for. I am not one to continue doing things I have lost interest in.
And I have little to no interest in Scientology these days. I have written extensive critiques, I have said what I want to say about it. Those essays are preserved here for anyone to read. As to further discussion, I have little interest in it. I have much more exciting things to do with my time than to continue to discuss Scientology.
2011-04-10, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
What follows are the official minutes of the Flag OT Committee (OTC) of 4 April, 2011. Mind you, this is the senior OT Committee of all OT Committees, being the OT Committee of the "Mecca of Technical Perfection", the OT base of Scientology Inc.
It should not require a lot of interpretation for those in the know in order to explain the title I've chosen for this post publishing the OTC minutes.
Nonetheless, I will raise a couple of questions to get the ball rolling.
As a teenager, Maureen Bolstad hoped Scientology would help her treat her sick mother: very soon though, she witnessed the disturbing effects of its therapy.
Maureen Bolstad was only 11 in 1977 when she was first introduced to Dianetics.
Her mentor was the man her mother was seeing, Bill Ward. "He moved in and he had a bunch of books," she recalled.
An unlicensed and nontraditional residential drug-treatment center in San Francisco's Mission District will be forced to close following a city Planning Commission vote Thursday.
The Alternative to Meds Center had been operating its residential facility in a large Victorian house at 827 Guerrero St. since August without the required city permits for group housing situations.
Representatives of several neighborhood groups filled the commission's hearing room to speak out against the center, which had between six and 10 residents at any given time.
Neighbors said the center's leaders had lied about contributing $5,000 to a neighborhood greening effort, failed to enforce rules that forbid residents from leaving the property alone and had repeatedly changed their story about what services were offered at the house.
At least one client has hurt himself. Neighbors said there were at least three attempted suicides at the center, but Murphy said there has been just one, when a man cut up his arms with a razor.
Murphy noted that this client had not yet been tapered off his medication and that the reaction had nothing to do with his nutritional regimen.
The WANGANUI Chronicle's investigation into a planned church-run drug and rehabilitation centre in Papaiti Rd has prompted the Wanganui District council to take another look at the application.
The council is asking for more information on the application to establish a residential centre at Holly Lodge, community development committee chair Ray Stevens said yesterday.
NARRATOR: The Citizens Commission on Human Rights, CCHR, the group founded by the Church of Scientology, was continuing to lobby for anti-medication statutes.
PATRICIA WEATHERS: I, as a parent, felt extremely pressured by the school staff to-
NARRATOR: In many of the state and federal hearings, they have sponsored key witnesses.
FRED BAUGHMAN Jr., M.D., Neurologist: None of these children have diseases of the brain. They are all entirely physically normal children until the moment they are given brain-altering medication.
SAN FRANCISCO - A $1.09 million damage award against an anti-cult organization for its role in trying to "deprogram" a Washington teenager at his mother's request was upheld Wednesday by a federal appeals court.
There was evidence to support a jury's finding that a volunteer was acting on behalf of the Cult Awareness Network when she referred the mother, Kathy Tonkin of Kirkland, to deprogrammer Rick Ross, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its 2-1 ruling.