Way back in 1999, we wrote a story for the Phoenix New Times about a local resident who was getting the full "Fair Game" treatment from the Church of Scientology. Jeff Jacobsen was a knowledgeable church critic who had alerted the world to the plight of a parishioner named Lisa McPherson who had died on the other side of the country. Jeff was also known for an excellent backgrounder on L. Ron Hubbard's "technology," and for being one of the members of the Lisa McPherson Trust in Clearwater, Florida. He made a trip back to Clearwater this week, and we asked him to send us his thoughts about it
I took a quick trip to Florida for the first time since 2001, when the Lisa McPherson Trust closed down. While I worked there Clearwater was trying hard to figure out how to revitalize their downtown. The main problem, however, was that Scientology also had big plans for the downtown area, and had by then already purchased millions of dollars in properties, and their staff were heading to and fro everywhere in their uniforms. The place truly did seem occupied by some huge corporation, or maybe cult.
Clearwater still hasn't figured out how to revitalize downtown. I spent a couple of hours on my own last week just walking around to see what differences 17 years might have brought. It is a bit tidier now. There seem to be more stores open, although it is still far from revitalized. Little shops like the Lucky Anchor Bar have tables and chairs out in front of their respective locations. This is good because the city has ONE bench in all of downtown that I could see. They even took benches out of the Gaslight Alley Park, which essentially defeats the purpose of the park as a quiet place to relax. If the city wants to attract people downtown, why not give them shade trees and places to sit? I even asked this question at the downtown development office. The woman there said yes, that's a good point. I'll pass that on. Sure.
Dr. Jeff Wasel and Jeffrey have designed a groundbreaking 37 question survey to collect data on just how much money the Church of Scientology has refused to return to Scientologists who have asked for refunds or repayments.
2017-04-13, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everyone. As a critical thinker and someone who is doing my best to be as factual, honest and open as I can, I know that not everyone is going to agree with me all the time. I have no problem with that. You do a blog or a YouTube channel and you put yourself out there and you never know what you're going to get back. I've been overwhelmed by mostly positive feedback from you guys and it's been really great. In fact, while going through my video comments, the ratio of good to bad is easily 99 to 1, if not more. I also often get emails with personal stories from people who want to keep their identity private. They tell me their stories, thank me for my help and they are simply amazing and really touching. So thank you to everyone out there for all your kind words. I see it all.
Now, on the other hand, the internet is what it is and people sometimes have some not-so-nice things to say too. It doesn't bother me so much anymore. For the most part, when people have a problem with me, I just let it go and move on, especially in the ex-Scientolgy world. It's not been my thing to start flame wars with other ex-Scientologists and this channel sure isn't about me being right and everyone else being wrong. There are lots of ideas and experiences with Scientology and other groups and while I think I bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the table, I am not the be-all-end-all on this stuff. But some people out there seem to think that's what I'm all about and I thought I'd finally respond to some of my meaner commenters and critics in the best way I know how. So here are some of the more choice comment and tweets that have come my way.
David Miscavige's Father Exposes Scientology (Or is he just trying to sell his book?)
For another defector of the church, Marty Rathbun watch my other video on Scientology
Jenna Elfman took part in a disastrous "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) on Reddit to promote her new show "Imaginary Mary" when the talk was taken over by trolls asking her about her past with Scientology.
Questions included: "Do you know where Shelly Miscavige is?" and "What is your opinion of Leah Remini?"
Some suspicious users also accused Elfman's handlers of creating fake accounts for the talk just to ask sycophantic questions.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Tracey McManus had another great piece yesterday, this time about Scientology leader David Miscavige holding a briefing Tuesday night at the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida for local business owners to wow them about his plans for revitalizing the city's dead downtown. But Tracey really buried the lead on her story. You had to read nearly to the end to find out just how serious Miscavige was about impressing the locals. He brought out the big guns John Travolta, Kelly Preston, and Kirstie Alley!
One of the people invited was Leif Oskarsson, who owns the Signworx store on Cleveland Street. Leif posted photos of the three big celebs and a shot of himself with Travolta to his Facebook page...
"Sitting there and watching this just stunned everybody," Oskarsson told McManus for her story. "It was so gorgeous. ... How can you not welcome the help financially to help the city of Clearwater come alive again?"
2016-04-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
You may have noted my mention yesterday that all the "ideal" PAC execs were replaced in one fell swoop.
I guess being "ideal" doesn't mean much after all. Of course it IS the brilliant COB strategy for clearing the planet, but any way you slice it, it's a shit sandwich. The public are bled dry. It is the subject of endless filler material for events and magazines showing empty rooms of CGI "buildings." But it is especially shitty if you are an executive in one of these "ideal" orgs. You can imagine the make-wrong "You have a $20 million building and your stats are down? What sort of thanks is that to COB for his brilliance? You are suppressing scientology."
The problem, at least from a staff perspective, is that the "ideal" org is now kryptonite for any reason for downstats. There is NO excuse before it's "well, we are not ideal, so we suck" but once they are ideal and things STILL suck, there is nowhere to hide. No reason, no matter how valid the finance system prevents staff from being paid, disconnection and fair game has destroyed any goodwill in our community, the golden age of squirrel tech keeps people away in droves, the price of books are too high to sell etc etc is acceptable in the face of operating in a marbled palace.
The last time we checked in with Indiana attorney Jonathan Little, we talked to him about how a class-action lawsuit against Scientology's Narconon system had hit a rough patch.
If you've been keeping up with our Narconon coverage over the last few years, you know that suing the rehab network turned into a cottage industry as a number of lawyers realized that Narconon's essentially deceptive business model made it ripe for accusations of fraud.
Scientology either claims credit for Narconon as its glorious attempt to rid the earth of drug addiction or, depending on the circumstances, pretends that it has almost no connection to the rehab centers. The truth is that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, as documents show, saw Narconon as a way to spread Scientology's influence as an organization interested in "social betterment." But Hubbard didn't want that goal to seem overt. Narconon was one of several stealthy front groups that pushed Scientology concepts while pretending to be "secular" and not a part of the Scientology empire.
The Church of Scientology of Chicago, also known as the Hubbard Dianetics Foundation, located at 3011 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lakeview, is relocating to a 50,000-square-foot, six-story building on Printer's Row at 650 S. Clark St.
2015-04-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Look up disaster capitalism in the dictionary and you will find an IAS logo and nothing else.
More IAS lying about the "largest private relief force on earth."
Funny how they can report down to the exact number how many people attended a ribbon cutting "2,763 gushing fools cheered as the ribbon was yanked" and 13,859 inches of wire was run to connect the covert video cameras in the auditing rooms in the new "ideal org" of Lower Slovobia and "a new person clicks on one of our internet sites every 6.47836 seconds" but when it comes to reporting on "what you donations buy" with the IAS there are NO NUMBERS.
Gibney, who recently made the controversial HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, has called for the organisation's definition as a religion to be revoked, so that it becomes liable for taxation.
While he does believe that Scientology can be defined as a religion, he claims it fails to act in the way that a religion should, in order to be exempt from paying taxes. One of his key arguments concerns "private interests", as a religion should not in any way serve the needs of just one individual.
NEW YORK (AP) If the Church of Scientology was hoping that HBO's withering documentary on the religion's practices would pass by with little notice, that turned out to be a miscalculation.
"Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" has been seen by more than 5.5 million people since its debut two weeks ago. It is likely to wind up being second only to a 2013 movie on Beyonce as the premium cable network's most-watched documentary of the past decade, HBO said Monday.
It has been an extraordinary two months for HBO's film unit. The six-part series on billionaire Robert Durst, "The Jinx," was a sensation with its climax reaching nearly 5 million viewers. Durst was arrested for murder on the eve of the series' last episode, in part due to evidence uncovered by the filmmakers.
Over the weekend, filmmaker Alex Gibney wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times arguing that the Church of Scientology deserves to have its tax exempt status taken away. And after the March 29 airing of his documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, a growing number of people seem to agree with him.
"It seems to me that our government has a 'fundamental, overriding interest' in protecting individual liberty by not subsidizing harassment or surveillance by gun-toting private eyes. The First Amendment should not be a smokescreen to hide human rights abuses and possible criminal activities," Gibney wrote, making an allusion to recent revelations about Scientology leader David Miscavige allegedly paying two private eyes $10,000 a week to follow his own father, Ron Miscavige Sr.
So if people are interested in motivating the IRS to revisit its 1993 decision to grant Scientology tax exempt status, what can they do?
2015-04-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
If you have not done so already, head over to Tony Ortega's site and read his posting about Scientology's Tax Exempt status.
Prompted by the OpEd piece Alex Gibney wrote in the LA Times, and with some excellent advice from Jeffrey Augustine, it lays out what you can do that is most likely to be EFFECTIVE in changing the way the US Government is allowing its citizens to subsidize Miscavige paying PI's $10,000 a WEEK to follow and spy on his father.
The direction about complaining directly to the IRS supplements my recommendation to contact your elected representatives.
2014-04-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Here is a passage from the Tao that appears at a critical juncture in my in-progress book. I have also referred to it in previous posts.
Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises all by itself?
2014-04-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Some Sunday morning Rah-rah to brighten up your day.
I sometimes wonder how these people keep going. "Enthusing" the same old weary "donators" and trying to paint a good face on everything. And of course, in typical Vulture Culture style. after YEARS of fundraising and false promises about "gettin' 'er done" and endless planning as to how they are going to turn this building at the end of a cul de sac in an industrial park, they have now discovered they need MORE MONEY. The millions they have already raised (just look at the endless stream of promo from "iDeal SiliCon Valley" and their adjectival humanitarianuses and the net "donations" from all these people is probably closer to 10 million. But this is not enough. "We must have more marble," "the reception desk must be solid African zebra wood" etc etc "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" on those Sunday afternoon strollers who will drop in as they tour the warehouse wastelands of silicon valley.
Marliese, I salute you for your steadfast conviction to stay the given course in spite of EVERYTHING to the contrary. It takes a certain type of person to do this in the face of what must be crashing cognitive dissonance or complete delusion oblivion.
Is it that time of year again already? Tonight, Scientology puts on its annual celebration of SF and Fantasy, the Writers of the Future gala. The celebration will anoint this year's winners in writing and illustration, who are also featured in another year's anthology (see right).
Once again, leading lights of speculative fiction will pretend that this is not Scientology's attempt to burnish its image through the imprimatur of the likes of Orson Scott Card and Larry Niven. Over the years, some writers have wondered about the veracity of assurances they got from the Sea Org executives running the event that it was separate and independent of the church itself. And since so many stories about the dystopic world of Scientology workers came to light in the last several years, those questions were getting more pointed.
Then, two years ago, we proved a direct link between the contest and some of the most brutal behavior of Scientology. The Sea Org executive at Author Services Inc who oversaw the contest, Barbara Ruiz, was seen by eyewitnesses helping church leader David Miscavige run the hellish and strange office-prison for church executives, "The Hole," early in 2004. Both Ruiz and Miscavige were seen at the Writers of the Future gala later that year. But some time after that, Ruiz disappeared. She hasn't been seen since.
The Church of Scientology is not financially transparent with its own members or the public. Therefore, the goal of the Scientology Money Project is to make public the financial and legal structure of the Church of Scientology.
We will be publishing IRS 990-T filings on this blog that were made by the Church of Scientology and its related entities. When Tony Ortega broke the news of the "Shock Dox" on his blog, the news went viral.
Three exceptional internet websites are of interest for they contain older financial and legal information on the Church of Scientology. We salute the people who created these blogs:
2013-04-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Now, here is a new one.
A Buy Now based on doing the ON POLICY thing for a short time only! Your Scientology SERVICE donations will be used for renos so ASHO can AGAIN become an Ideal Org....
Wonder if ASHO also will have a FART Div 6? When LA Org is right next door?
2013-04-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
More utter bs from the Ideal Org Hype Machine.
It is interesting to see how they position things. Using a random LRH quote which either comes from RJ 28 or an SO #1 letter. Clearly some words of expressed support, like "I am counting on you to make Portland the first Scientology city." This is now turned into a declarative statement that THIS is what LRH wanted. (If so, why in 30 years hasn't anything been done to make it happen).
Portland is also, of course, the "home" of "our" Religious Freedom Crusade... Yes, it also the home of the Mission that "serviced" Julie Christofferson that resulted in the massive judgment that resulted in the Portland Crusade where people from around the world were asked to contribute to fishing them out of the soup. What a great idea. It ultimately morphed into give to the IAS, give to Ideal Orgs, give to Super Power, give for VM's to fly to India or Africa or wherever, give for books to libraries, give to send books to "OL's", give to "planetary dissemination", and on and on and on. It can all be traced to this "successful action" that everyone can thank Portland Msn for.
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He now has a new edition of the book out, and on Saturdays he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
Jon, there's a large and active "independent" movement that has split away from the church and gets a lot of news coverage. But throughout its history Scientology has experienced schisms and breakaway groups. In particular, David Mayo's "Advanced Ability Center" in Santa Barbara comes to mind. What are the basics that we should know about Mayo, his involvement in the upper level materials, and why church leader David Miscavige considered him such a threat?
JON: By 1982, David Mayo was regarded as Hubbard's successor. Scientologists thought of him as the greatest of experts on the "technology" or counseling procedures. Members were told that in 1978 Mayo had saved L. Ron Hubbard's life by repairing mistakes and errors in his auditing, largely made while Hubbard had been auditing himself. Out of that work Mayo also helped develop New Era Dianetics for OTs or NOTs, which became New OT V a few years later.
2012-04-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
When Adams approached Pouw for the church's side of things, she made a stunning admission, which Adams was good enough to share with us.
Karin Pouw has confirmed that a video attacking Rathbun -- made up of footage taken by the "Squirrel Busters" -- was a product of the Church of Scientology, and she also appears to confirm that the vicious attack website where the video appears is also connected to Scientology itself.
For weeks now, we've been looking at these anonymous attack websites, examining them for evidence that connects them to the church, and now, suddenly, Pouw has made that connection for us.
2011-04-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I didn't anticipate as much worship for David Mayo as appeared in the thread on the last post, Deconstructing the Mayo Myth. Of course, quite a bit of it was from the very squirrels I was trying to warn people about. So, it did serve a purpose. I did not set out to discredit David Mayo. I steered clear of that route pretty carefully - simply detailing proof of one whopper he told that resulted in people being confused (the comments at issue proving the confusion proposition true). If one studied much Scientology and applied it, it would take a rather low IQ to be confused enough to put David Mayo on the same level as L Ron Hubbard - whether Mayo's original lie were a lie or not.
I did not even think of the following facts before last night's posting; because I never intended to bury Mayo. I only thought of them while scratching my head at comments seeking to raise Mayo to sainthood. They are clearly relevant - at least to those still apt to be lead down some dead end canyon.
David Mayo did not do a single thing to make the Upper Level HCOBs available for people outside of the church of Scientology. In fact, he swore under oath on numerous occasions he never received the Robin Scott materials. He never wavered from that position from 1983 to this day. Rather than take on David Miscavige, David Mayo countersued and made the focus of his attack L Ron Hubbard. He actively joined forces with a formidable government and private consortium that was dead set on harassing, jailing and forever discrediting L Ron Hubbard. The day before L Ron Hubbard died in January 1986 the Federal Disctrict Court judge on the case denied Mayo's motion to force LRH into the litigation and appear for deposition. Mayo's team ruthlessly pursued L Ron Hubbard literally to the day he died.
Local hikers need not worry about how plans for a national Scientology retreat in Mono will impact the Bruce Trail, a church representative told town council this week.
There is no intention to alter the trail or limit access as it passes through the former Hockley Highlands Inn & Conference Centre.
2010-04-13, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
When we were on the Flagship Apollo in the early 1970's, we were told what we could and could not say about ship activities when ashore. It was called a "shore story." We were not to mention Scientology. If asked, we were the Operation and Transport Company (OTC), an "executive training firm" that brought people in from all over the world for "advanced management training."
In PR Series 2, LRH said, "never use lies in PR." But he also modified this, saying, "Handling truth is a touchy business also. You don't have to tell everything you know that would jam the comm line too. Tell an acceptable truth. So PR becomes the technique of communicating an acceptable truth and which will attain the desirable result."
When we landed in Clearwater, we had a "shore story" too. We were "United Churches of Florida," a pan-denominational religious group. We were not to mention Scientology. That was our "acceptable truth."
The Pasco facility, known as the Novus Medical Detox Center, opened in spring 2007. It described its approach in a November 2006 newsletter: "Because prescription drug use is so pervasive in this country, many people who want Scientology auditing services are on these drugs and now there are few, if any, sane medical facilities that can withdraw them."
Mitchell said the corporation that owns the Spring Hill center is Narconon Spring Hill Inc. Narconon is a secular, nonprofit group that has 145 units in 45 countries around the world.
While past demonstrations have painted the fight against Scientology in somewhat broad strokes, Saturday's rally was considerably more pointed in its focus. Subtly Rickrolling whatever Scientology faithful remained in the building, one placard in particular cleverly summed up Anonymous' theme of the day: Scientologists: your families are never gonna give you up.
A group that calls itself "Anonymous" and is dedicated to opposing the Church of Scientology demonstrated in Boston yesterday as part of what it said was a worldwide protest against the church.
Roughly 150 Anonymous members, many wearing Guy Fawkes masks, costumes and otherwise shielding their identities, gathered at the intersection of Beacon and Hereford streets, where the Boston church headquarters is located.
Anonymous, a loosely organized group that formed on the Internet, used the demonstration to target what it calls the church's "cruel and inhumane" policy. The group says that Scientology requires church members to disconnect from friends and relatives who have left the fold.
The group rented out the Royalty Theatre downtown and two former Scientologists -- Mike Henderson and Creed Pearson -- spoke about the pain they suffered from not being allowed to contact relatives still in the church.
"I can't speak to my brother or my four sisters," Henderson said in a tearful speech. "I have attempted to speak to my son and my daughter and my mother, to no avail."
They came, they shouted, they handed out cake. And then they played Rick Astley's Eighties hit 'Never Gonna Give You Up'. More than 300 members of the secret internet-based organisation Anonymous, which campaigns against the Church of Scientology, protested outside the latter's headquarters in the City of London yesterday.
AN AUSTRALIAN man who was a former high-ranking member of the Church of Scientology is calling for the religion to be "totally dismantled" because of the human rights abuses he says it inflicts on its followers.
David Graham has gone public after years of keeping quiet when he feared retribution from the church.
He says members are encouraged to cut ties with non-Scientologists. And they are threatened with being ostracised from members, including family and friends, if they try to leave the church - an act known as "disconnection".
So, I was watching some of my old VHS tapes to try and find some funny commercials. I never expected to find one like this. Seriously, this is a ridiculous ad for Scientology. It was recorded off of the Discovery Channel in 1998, for those wondering.
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Tom Cruise has been practically shouting from the rooftops about his love for his pregnant fiancee, Katie Holmes. But when their much-anticipated baby is born, the superstar dad probably won't say a word.
Cruise, a longtime Scientologist who introduced Holmes to the faith, is likely to follow Scientology's practice of quiet birth. Followers believe the absence of talk and other noise in the delivery room is more healthful for mother and baby.
No one's saying publicly where baby Cruise will enter the world, but if it is at the actor's Beverly Hills home then noise control might prove a challenge. Buzzing paparazzi are already camped aside the property.
Hollywood star Tom Cruise helped raise $1.2m (£657,000) to provide treatment for firefighters exposed to toxic gases during the 11 September attacks.
The cash raised will help treat around 400 emergency workers at a detox centre on New York's Long Island.
The alternative treatment, outlined in Hubbard's book Clear Body, Clear Mind, uses "exercise, sauna sweat-out, vitamins and minerals" to help rescue workers cleanse their bodies of toxic materials.
Cruise, 41, pitched in to help raise cash for the alternative treatment for rescuers suffering debilitating effects from toxic exposure in the recovery and clean-up effort following the 2001 attacks in New York.
Everyone seems to have a plan to assist the citizens of the former Soviet Union, and the CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY is no exception. For the past month, journalism students at the 237-year-old Moscow State University have been studying in the newly renovated L. Ron Hubbard Reading Room. Scientology propaganda in dozens of languages lines the walls, and video equipment is available. Pictures of Hubbard decorate the corridors, along with a bronze bust of "The Founder." Students, who have only the vaguest idea who Hubbard is, are impressed by the lavish appointments. But Western scholars in Moscow are outraged that the cult has gained such influence. With an outpost in an established university, Scientologists plan to launch a college of their own in Moscow this summer.
Actress Kirstie Alley, who overcame drug use through a Narconon drug treatment center, rebuts claims that the center is affiliated with the Church of Scientology.
And even if it were related to a religion, she says that wouldn't discount Narconon's success rate.