Books by ex-Scientologists keep arriving, and we received one this week that we didn't even know was coming at all, from an ex-Scientologist we hadn't spoken to before. So yes, forgive us if we were a little skeptical about whether we'd enjoy Chris Shugart's Fractured Journey: A Personal Account of 30 Outrageous Years in the Church of Scientology.
But right away, we liked how Chris presented his book, and the humble way he positioned it. No, he wasn't a celebrity in the church. He'd never been in the inner hardcore of the organization, the Sea Org. He didn't have any stories like you would find in Marc Headley's Blown for Good or Jefferson Hawkins's Counterfeit Dreams with outrageous stories about David Miscavige's treatment of people.
But on the other hand, what we often hear from the religious studies professors is that they want accounts not about the famous names in the church but from the rank and file, the average Joes and Janes who move up the "Bridge" of Scientology courses, go to church events, and keep the place going in their own way.
2018-04-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a glimpse behind the smoke and mirrors of ideal org openings from inside the bubble.
When Miscavige yanks his ribbon at the Gala Grand Opening of a new building, he expects to see enough staff present to occupy his new palace.
But the vast majority of these massively oversized new buildings are in cities where the scientology organization is a small, failing operation with a few staff. Or in the recent case of Dublin, with no staff at all.
The Church of Scientology went out of its way last week to disparage the good reputation and hard work of our popular Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Perhaps not coincidentally, this comes after the aquarium refused to break its written commitment and decided to sell a piece of property we owned in downtown Clearwater to the city instead of the church.
The Scientologists' attack on us was mean-spirited, vindictive and misleading to anyone not aware of the facts. We want to set the record straight by sharing the documented facts and truth about the aquarium and its track record of protecting and growing our mission as a venerable marine rescue and education center.
The decision to sell the downtown parcel to the city of Clearwater came after two years of discussions with the city. The parcel we sold is planned for use as part of a $55 million waterfront revitalization of downtown Clearwater, which includes redeveloping the land for a possible hotel as well as new downtown residences.
(Some ordinary Scientologists)
With all of the amazing news happening lately, Scientology's true nature is finally getting through to the larger public: The church has the knives out in Clearwater, Leah Remini is laying Scientology's abuses bare on television, and so many other things are exposed here at the Underground Bunker every day. So you'd be forgiven if you were unaware that there's a very different story about the church being told elsewhere.
It's pretty easy to ignore, but the religious studies academics continue to examine Scientology in their papers and conferences, few of which are worth mentioning. Except for Reza Aslan, few academics make much of an impact on Scientology media coverage.
2016-04-28, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
From all indications, it appears that the Church of Scientology will soon be opening their Scientology Media Production center in Los Angeles. I earlier stated they would delay the opening as long as possible in order to use the opportunity for as much fundraising as possible, similar to the way the Super Power building in ClearwaterFlorida was not opened for over a decade and generated over a hundred million dollars as a result. Recent circumstances have forced them to speed up their time table.
This new media center is a completely unnecessary addition to Scientology's already extensive real estate holdings and is being promoted as "the next emphatic advance in our global dissemination crusade and the future of Scientology dissemination planet wide: A Scientology television station. A Scientology radio station. Not to mention production facilities for every type of media from print publications to internet media. All located in one facility and all to be inaugurated as: Scientology Media Productions."
I said unnecessary for a few reasons, the first and most obvious being that Scientology already has massive facilities to do every one of these functions and has for decades. Despite this, Scientology appears to be the world's fastest shrinking religion, with empty service facilities in every Scientology organization around the world. One need only drive by or vist any of them to see what I'm talking about. Its own members know this is true because they have to suffer the cognitive dissonance of being told that Scientology is expanding at greater rates than ever in its history, while they go to their local churches and see empty classrooms and maybe a couple of people getting Scientology counselling on a regular basis. Over the last few years especially, the word has gotten out about how toxic Scientology is and how it specializes in making its own enemies and operates only to make money, not actually help people.
Two years ago, we told you about Tayler Tweed, a 27-year-old Scientologist who had been working on a career in music and acting under the name Tayler DeBari before she killed herself at the home of some friends in Fullerton, California on January 10, 2014.
We heard from people who knew Tayler that in the months before her death, she had been saying negative things about Scientology on Facebook and talked about leaving it, but she had later been convinced to take those postings down. Her mother, Cathy Tweed, assured us that her daughter's "upsets" with Scientology were minor...
Cathy, who is a Scientologist herself, denies that her daughter was turning away from the organization. "She had some upsets with the church," she acknowledges, but she puts it down to Tayler's anger when an ex-boyfriend began dating someone new. "She made one slight comment and then she retracted it," Cathy says.
"I was the baddest-ass dude in Scientology," declares Marty Rathbun in My Scientology Movie, a surreal documentary in which British journalist Louis Theroux attempts to make a film about the most controversial religious organization of the 20th century only to find himself in the crosshairs when they send hostile surveillance crews out to film him right back.
Truer words have rarely been spoken about Rathbun, a devoted Scientologist for over a quarter century who served as its Inspector General and right-hand man to feared leader David Miscavige. That is, until he "blew" and left the church in 2004, thus becoming one of Scientology's most aggressively targeted enemies.
Leah Remini is defending Scientology leader David Miscavige's father and his decision to speak out against the church in a forthcoming memoir.
The King of Queens actress, who also penned a book about the controversial religion after she left, told ABC News that Ron Miscavige "has a right to tell his story."
Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me, Ron's book, details what Ron believes is David's "brutal approach to running the organization." In an interview with ABC's 20/20 ahead of the book's May 3 release, Ron said that his estranged son, now 55, "really decided at a very young age to make (Scientology) his career and his mission."
Monique Rathbun has asked the Texas Supreme Court to lift the stay in her harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology so she can dismiss the suit itself.
In a bizarre document, Monique makes accusations that her former attorneys Ray Jeffrey, Marc Wiegand, Elliott Cappuccio, and Leslie Hyman had made it "abundantly clear" that the lawsuit was "not worth it financially," and that the attorneys had filed defective paperwork that allowed Scientology's attorneys to file appeals that caused delay. Also, she says that these defects were put into the complaint of her lawsuit, originally filed in Comal County in August 2013, over her "strong objections."
"I do not have the resources, the time, nor the motivation to litigate in the Supreme Court of Texas against Scientology's army of lawyers in the defense of errors made by attorneys who subordinated my wishes in favor of interests inimical to my own," Monique writes.
The extraordinary lengths that Scientology leader David Miscavige went to to spy on his own father have been laid bare in blockbuster police documents obtained by Daily Mail Online.
Two heavily armed private investigators claim they were paid more than three-quarters of a million dollars to follow Ron Miscavige for 18 months and report back on his each and every move.
And police investigating whether the men had broken weapons laws actually named David Miscavige best man at two of Tom Cruise's weddings as a suspect in the case, the papers reveal.
"Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me," a book written by Ron Miscavige, the father of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, is examined with author and journalist Tony Ortega just days ahead of its publication. We break down the Church's response to the book, the latest developments in the Laura Decrescenzo forced abortion lawsuit and Lisa Marie Presley's underground war against Scientology. Finally, we look at how former Scientology members are fighting the Church's disconnection policy and explain the connection between cult leader Aleister Crowley and the Scientology cross, in this uncensored Media Mayhem interview hosted by Allison Hope Weiner. GUEST BIO: Tony Ortega is the former executive editor of The Raw Story and The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and is the author of THE UNBREAKABLE MISS LOVELY, detailing the harassment of Paulette Cooper. Ortega is also Executive Editor at TheLipTV.
Ron Miscavige claims that his son created 'The Hole' as a way to punish insubordinates, subjecting them to deprivation and violence while detained.
Ron Miscavige says he introduced his first wife and four children to Scientology in the 1970s as he was trying to find a cure for David's asthma.
The entire family left its home in Willingboro, New Jersey, to join Scientology. They initially went to England for training. They all stayed in the church for more than quarter of a century until Ron Jr. quit in 2000. David's twin Denise and younger sister Lori are still understood to be Scientologists.
Going Clear explores the dark heart of Scientology brilliantly and relentlessly, but it doesn't seem that the film will be broadcast in the UK any time soon. The church stays in business thanks to three critical factors: firstly, it constricts information about itself by generating fear of horrible libel bills and private investigators' probing; secondly, in the United States at least, it has the shield afforded by the word religion; thirdly, its celebrity adherents make it look good or at least less bad much of the time.
In its goal of preventing a broadcast of Going Clear in the UK, the church has an unlikely ally in Northern Ireland's libel laws. The 2013 Defamation Act set out a new defence for public-interest journalism on the British mainland: that the plaintiff has to show "serious harm" has been done to it. However, the act has not been made law in Northern Ireland, and Sky Atlantic which has the UK rights to broadcast the film cannot cut off the province from its satellite transmissions for this single show.
2015-04-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It would appear that the statements made in the wake of Going Clear by Alex Gibney have struck a nerve, especially his OpEd piece in the LA Times.
David Miscavige has trotted out his second favorite scientology spokespuppet (after Karin Pouw), non-scientologist lawyer Monique Yingling. She strangely appeared to defend the non-practice of "disconnection" on Anderson Cooper, and also came to visit me one time to discuss whether I wanted to speak to my children and other family members. She is sort of a Girl Friday who fills in as an Ethics Officer/IJC and spokesperson when needed.
She is however, more qualified to speak on the subject of tax exemption than on disconnection, but it does beg the question, "Where IS David Miscavige?" After all, he is featured in the film positively giddy about "his" accomplishment of getting IRS tax exemption. Who can forget his salute? "Done Sir" he says to LRH. HE pulled it off and HE "reported the done."
On Sunday we revealed that we'd obtained a secretly-recorded audiotape, more than an hour in length, that captures one of Scientology's executives giving a briefing to an audience of "public" members at an org somewhere in the US.
Today we have the second portion of that recording, along with more help from former Sea Org worker Chris Shelton as he helps us understand what we're hearing. As he explained last time, Chris worked personally with the person you'll hear, Andres Rodriguez, who is the Senior Case Supervisor for the Western United States.
Last time, Rodriguez talked to his audience of publics by discussing how the Purification Rundown should be delivered. In this segment, he's talking about something called the Survival Rundown, which has become a big part of Scientology leader David Miscavige's current push with his dwindling membership.
2014-04-28, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
There's Nothing Fair About This Game
There is something very unique to the Church of Scientology that sets it apart from other religions. Like the other policies I've been talking about in this series, this is part of the very fabric of the organization. Many Scientologists have no idea that this goes on and would categorically deny that their church does anything like this. However, there is ample proof of it and the church even admits to this. What I'm talking about, of course, is the policy of Fair Game.
Hubbard had things to say about the subject of justice before Scientology even existed, after publishing Dianetics in 1950. But his first real codification of how to go about administering justice was in a now-obscure reference called the HCO Manual of Justice. It was published in 1959 but you won't find it in any Church policy volumes because it's a confidential reference.
We have Chris Shelton's next video, and we really like the way he traces the origins of Scientology's notorious retaliation policy of "Fair Game" back to L. Ron Hubbard's 1959 "Manual of Justice."
As usual, Chris does an excellent job connecting the dots to illuminate a subject we thought we already knew well. And he's right, Hubbard's paranoia of the late 1950s can be seen clearly in the way current Scientology leader David Miscavige subjected his former lieutenant, Marty Rathbun, to years of bizarre surveillance and harassment in the last several years more than 50 years after Hubbard first began to put these ideas into practice.
Also, we're glad he brought up Scientology's master spies Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold who followed Pat Broeker for 24 years before they were fired and then sued the church. For just one 24-hour period, Marrick and Arnold told their story, and we were fortunate to be with them in Texas at the time. If you haven't yet read our story about that experience, we highly recommend it.
2014-04-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Seems the massive international boom being generated by the Golden Age of Tech, the Basics, the Golden Age of OT, the Golden Age of Knowledge, the Div 6 phase, Ideal Orgs, Golden Age of Tech II, the power of the IAS, Super Power, Cause Resurgence Rundown, Ideal SO Orgs, Ideal Pacifica Bridge, the International Dissemination Center, the International Media Center, the largest relief force on earth, 10+ million Scientologists and 11,000 Scientology orgs and missions are not resulting in anyone showing up at the Freewinds.
With all this expansion happening, there should be a steady flow of people moving up the Bridge. The Freewinds only holds about 200 public total.
Surely, with 10 million scientologists and all these magnificent advanced, there would be a couple of hundred people on OT VIII at any given time? After all, if only 1 in 1,000 made it to the top, there would be 10,000 OT VIIIs and at 200 people a month (assuming the trip to the Freewinds for OT VIII takes a month) that would keep the Freewinds totally full for more than 4 years.
2014-04-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
We have some interesting information from the Pubs Sector about Mission booksales, and by extrapolation about the Mission network itself.
More substantiation of the non-existent "massive international boom."
Sorry about the formatting, they sent this out as a password encoded document and I could not figure out how to get it copied over in its original format, so this is a just the text. There are two columns, all the way down the left is "Materials Sales" (Gross Booksales in dollars) and the right column is "Raw booksales."
There's Nothing Fair About This Game
The fifth in my series detailing how the Church of Scientology is destroying itself through its toxic policies and the way it enforces those policies. In this video, I discuss the policy of "Fair Game" which Scientology uses to stalk, harass and otherwise personally ruin ex-member, critics and anyone connected with them, as a sort of revenge for criticizing the Church. Not able to just let people have their own opinions or move on peacefully, Hubbard wrote "justice "policies which call for getting even and 'settling the score' with anyone who dares to speak out against Scientology.
See my blog for more details of my history in Scientology and my written articles describing specific problems with the Church and how I got out of it. http://mncriticalthinking.com.
2013-04-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Though this document is from 2012, it is worth sharing. I have never seen it before and I doubt many others have either. It was attached to a comment by Rick Mycroft but I felt it too important to simply be a comment. Thanks for providing this Rick.
This Nation Of Islam Singles Retreat was held at Applied Scholastics International Campus in Spanish Lake, Missouri.
Apparently renamed for the NOI "Camp Kiswah," this promotional item makes NO mention of Scientology, let alone Applied Scholastics. The only way to be certain that it is in fact Spanish Lakes headquarters is from the bottom right photo.
We're still reeling here over Friday's news that Scientology's drug rehab center in Atlanta Narconon Georgia was raided by police in an insurance fraud investigation.
As we've been reporting in some depth over the last year, every step of Narconon's business plan is steeped in deceptions, all of which is designed to send money up the line and ultimately to Scientology itself. The raid may have been prompted by a single instance of allegedly fraudulent insurance billing, but we're salivating over the thought of so many documents being seized that a U-Haul trailer had to be brought in to carry it all away. If you're familiar with the backstory, you know that it took attorney Jeff Harris years to get extremely damaging information out of that facility. Now state investigators have a truckload of the stuff. As Mike Rinder pointed out on Friday evening, this is turning into Scientology leader David Miscavige's worst nightmare.
However, it may be quite a while before we learn what was in those documents. And in the meantime, we have another set of mailers and fliers that our tipsters sent to us for this week's Sunday Funnies. So let's dig in!
2012-04-28, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
In addition to our other follies, I do a lot of C/Sing from Casablanca. The most productive team of auditors I C/S for do far more than audit. Claudio and Renata Lugli audit, train, and recover auditors, all while also contributing to the cause of educating those still under the spell of Corporate Scientology.
Claudio has done a write up to give you an idea of how production has been accelerating down Italy way. Realize that only a year ago Claudio and Renata had just decided that they would not be denied Scientology by a ego-intoxicated dictator.
Claudio and Renata
2011-04-28, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
What a week it's been in the world of Scientology watching. After a bizarre goon squad tried to intimidate Marty Rathbun at his Corpus Christi home, and then character actor Michael Fairman made public his excommunication declaration, things seemed to be whipping up into something of a fervor.
And now, within a day of each other, both Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, the two most high-ranking and high-profile defectors in recent Scientology history, were each notified by T-Mobile that someone was using Social Security Numbers to get into their cellphone records.
2010-04-28, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Scientology styles itself as "the most ethical group on the planet." But when we see such things as a group of senior Scientology executives verbally and physically attacking someone on a city street, when we see Tommy Davis telling bald-faced lies on national TV, when we hear about David Miscavige threatening and beating his juniors, when we see PIs and dirty tricks, we have to ask what definition of ethics these people are following?
I am sure that they all consider they are "in-ethics," but what do they mean by that?
Hubbard describes ethics in terms of "the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics." This is almost a direct quote from a guy named Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832) an English philosopher known as an advocate of utilitarianism, which is a philosophy of ethics. Utilitarianism is often characterized by Bentham's phrase, "the greatest good for the greatest number of people." Utilitarianism holds that that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome. This view is often expressed by the phrase "The ends justify the means."
Rinder was standing near his car, chatting on his cell phone, he said, when he noticed all seven marching toward him, loudly chastising him and hurling profanities.
He said they took the keys from his ignition and tried to hold his car door closed as he struggled to get out. Three followed him into the office of Holly Johantgen, a doctor of oriental medicine who was treating Rinder's girlfriend with acupuncture.
Johantgen said the three pushed past her as she let Rinder into the office. She told them to leave and tried to close her office door but was ignored.
"You wouldn't have expected to hear these things coming out of their mouths," Johantgen said, noting that all seven were middle-aged and dressed in business attire. "It was just so aggressive, very much in-your-face, arms in the air, like 'F -- - you' It was surreal. Unbelievable."
Saarland's Higher Administrative Court ruled Wednesday that state intelligence services are no longer permitted to monitor the activities of the controversial Scientology organization.
Four years after Saarland's Higher Administrative Court decided to allow the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) to keep tabs on the activities of local scientologists, the court has now ruled in favor of the Church of Scientology's appeal on the grounds that seven years of intelligence surveillance failed to yield results justifying continued monitoring.
More than 50 people have been questioned in what police are calling an "expansive" investigation into the unexplained death of Lisa McPherson, a 36-year-old Scientologist.
Although more interviews are planned, police say they expect their work on the case to end "soon" but refuse to be more specific.
The investigation began more than 16 months ago, when McPherson died after spending 17 days at the Fort Harrison Hotel, a Church of Scientology retreat in downtown Clearwater. According to medical records, she entered the hotel after suffering an emotional breakdown but was physically fine.
"Within Scientology, we were completely indoctrinated and did believe that everything we did was 100 per cent right. Our minds were completely altered," Bryan Levman told an Ontario Court, general division, jury.
In the mid-1960s [L. Ron Hubbard], who died in 1986, said "enemies of Scientology are fair game and we can do anything we want to them," said Levman, who joined in 1968.