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.
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2018-05-06, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comment sections of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) Hubbard wrote: "If the Org slumps: Don't engage in 'fundraising' or 'selling postcards' or borrowing money. Just make more income with Scientology. It's a sign of very poor management to seek extraordinary solutions for finance outside Scientology. It has always failed. For Orgs as for pcs 'Solve it with Scientology'. Every time I myself have sought to solve finance or personnel in other ways than Scientology I have lost out. So I can tell you from experience that Org Solvency lies in more Scientology, not patented combs or fundraising barbecues. (HCO PL 24 February 1964, 'Urgent, Org Programming')."
Not only have there been too-numerous-to-count fundraisers (especially B-B-Q's!) over the past 20 years, there were 'The Basics' (used exclusively to raise money) and 'The Golden Age of Tech' which basically 'squirreled' the original tech (supposedly another absolute 'no-no') in an attempt to generate more revenue. (In fact, this precipitated a major exodus of long-termers who left in protest.) So, how is it that they continue their 'Fair Game' tactics because it's 'what Ron said to do, and the tech can't be changed'? This might have worked in the past, but has backfired stupendously since the advent of the internet/Anonymous. Is the Bionic Runt really so stupid?
Rod Keller keeps a close watch on Scientology's front groups like Narconon. Here's his latest report…
We previously reported that Scientology is opening a new Narconon drug and alcohol rehab facility in Osnago, Italy.
Yesterday was the grand opening, and they already have a success story. A patient has completed the detox portion of the program and is ready to begin the sauna, vitamins and Scientology training routines that comprise the program. As with all of Scientology, success stories are required in Narconon before moving on to new levels.
Due to an unforeseen circumstance, Dr. Jeff was unable to complete a column to appear today. It'll be ready to go at 7:00 am US Eastern time tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Incidentally, I should point out that this blog is intended to be a haven for any similarly inclined authors to express themselves. After all, we recently sprung for the princely sum of $1.99 ($48 in "Canadian" dollars) to register a new domain name to rename the blog to something about more than just my opinion, and we'd love to get our money's worth.
If you're interested in writing for us, consider getting in touch.
2018-05-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Blazer guy, his driver, Sean, Ryan, Roxy, and I sat lined up on the sidewalk outside Jupiter Donuts. The first rays of the sun flicked over the horizon as the street filled up with early morning commuters. Ryan had refused medical assistance for his fucked-up nose and the six cops had holstered their guns. Gray-haired stared down at me, his hands on his hips. His hair was the grayest and he wore an extra chevron on his sleeve. "Do you?" he asked.
I shook my head. "No, I don't want press charges, either. I just want to go home."
Tuesday will mark 67 years since L. Ron Hubbard published the book that would start a movement, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. For that reason, May 9 — Dianetics Day — is one of the most important dates on the Scientology calendar. Jeffrey Augustine is helping us mark this anniversary by looking back at how the book was treated in the press at the time with some clippings you don't see every day.
Let's start with a fun piece from October 1950...
Eleanor Dove writhes in a Dianetics reverie while a photographer from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographs her ecstatic swoon. Under the control of a Dianetics auditor, Eleanor is re-experiencing engrams lodged in her reactive mind during a public demonstration.
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.
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2017-05-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
L. Ron Hubbard wrote that all sickness, accidents and injuries, pretty much all non-optimum conditions in life, were the result of a connection to a suppressive person. A person so associated was said to be a "potential trouble source," or PTS.
"A suppressive person, SP for short, is a really, really bad person. Like Hitler bad. The worst of the worst." Terra Tech Dictionary, 28 Apr 17.
PTS, "means potential trouble source which itself means a person connected to a suppressive person. All sick persons are PTS. All pcs who roller-coaster (regularly lose gains) are PTS." LRH, HCOB 20 Apr 72.
Marc Vallieres and two of his employees have been charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment after their rehab clinic in Woodbury, Tennessee was raided by police
Police have shut down a rehabilitation facility being run by a Scientologist in Tennessee after two people were found being held there allegedly against their will.
The manager and two of his employees have now been charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment after a man called 911 in February to report that he had been locked in a cabin at a facility in Woodbury - a small rural town south-east of Nashville.
In this week's podcast, and by popular demand, Jeffrey Augustine and I finally got together to talk current events in Scientology, including much of what has been reported on Tony Ortega's blog recently, as well as how the contracts that Scientology makes its members sign actually work and what people are signing away when they join Scientology. I think anyone interested in the subject will find this interesting and informative. Enjoy!
Please comment away and let me know your feedback or if you have any questions or comments you'd like me to address on air.
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Where would we be without our wonderful network of tipsters? We are so fortunate that so many of our readers help us out by tracking down documents or giving us tips about where to find information. We have a few fun items for you today, but we first wanted to acknowledge how much we appreciate the help we get from our sources.
Especially someone like our first tipster today, who is an active member of the Church of Scientology. That's all we can tell you at this time, but we're very glad that this person recently sent us a small trove of documents that we're still poring through. For today, however, we thought we'd share with you a fun little item they gave us that should make our readers who were involved in the Anonymous movement especially nostalgic.
It was May 18, 2008, and the Church of Scientology was in a bit of a panic. The protests by Chanology, the Anonymous wing that had decided to teach Scientology a lesson after it tried to censor the infamous Tom Cruise interview video that had leaked to the Internet that January, had been going on for a few months, and they were taking their toll. The protests were not only happening all over the place, but the protesters themselves were very clever, looking for creative ways to disrupt Scientology's usual ways of doing things. And now, someone at the church had noticed a problem at a relatively new thing known as "Google Maps."
In October, we uncorked our big investigative story of 2014. It was the result of months of research and Skype calls to South Africa and lots and lots of lawyering.
We revealed that the richest Scientologists in the world, Bob and Trish Duggan, had a strange secret. We established that at the same time the California couple had been propping up Scientology in South Africa with huge donations, two of their adopted sons, one of whom was only 11, suddenly relocated there in the care of Scientology families.
At the time, Bob was worth a billion and a half dollars, and so we didn't really expect any of the news organizations that keep a tab on the Underground Bunker to pick up the story, and we were right. This was odd and unseemly stuff, and writing about billionaires carries a measure of risk. It would have been nice if Bob had answered our emails and explained what was going on. Why, we would have loved to ask him, did his adopted sons get sent to a country where he was also sending piles of cash?
Many faiths make space for doubt. Alex Gibney's Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief demonstrates that one belief system uses it as a weapon.
Gibney's highly anticipated documentary puts as much of Lawrence Wright's 2013 book as possible into two hours of screen time, exploring the history of L. Ron Hubbard's manufactured religion and the damage it's done to its followers thanks to a structure built around courting celebrity members and exploiting everyone else.
Going Clear makes its case through interviews with journalists, testimony from ex-members (including filmmaker Paul Haggis, actor Jason Beghe and former church lieutenants Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder) and footage from internal videos and promotional material featuring MVPs like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, whose tangled histories with Scientology are also dipped into here.
2015-05-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The latest video from scientology attempting to 'dead agent" me is quite amusing. Though, if I was David Miscavige I would be screaming bloody murder claiming I was the subject of terrorist threats and hate crimes because they frame me in "scope sights." This is especially concerning after David "Let Him Die" Miscavige hired PI's with an arsenal including assault rifles with silencers to tail his own father. If anyone put up this sort of video with David Miscavige framed in armament sights it would take about 3 minutes for the stuck pig squealing to begin.
Tony Ortega covered some aspects of this video in his blog post yesterday, but there were a few thoughts I wanted to have in one place, so that those looking for the "dead agent" of the 'dead agent" could find it easily.
The most striking thing about their video is that the collection of people they have snarking about me are almost exclusively NOT the people I worked most closely with during my 34 years in the Sea Org. Only Sue Wilhere and Mike Sutter could fit into that category for certain periods of time, though for the last 5 years or so I was at Int Mike Sutter was putting CD's into boxes. His post was "Box Stuffer IC Gold." Sue Wilhere had been kicked out of RTC and was in the Hole.
We've been leaked some exclusive footage of David Miscavige speaking at the opening this weekend of a new "Ideal Org" in Sydney.
The source who provided us the footage estimated the crowd size at 1,500 — and that included people who had arrived from Taiwan, New Zealand, and across Australia.
That's a pretty anemic turnout for such an important occasion, and more evidence that Miscavige is having a tougher time in recent months convincing Scientologists to show up for his events.
2014-05-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Imelda Marcos obsessively bought shoes, Miscavige obsessively buys buildings.
Despite having a film and audio studio at Golden Era that contains hundreds of millions of dollars of buildings and equipment, David Miscavige felt compelled to buy the KCET studios in Hollywood.
Gold operates at a tiny percentage of its capacity.
Jodie Fleischer of WSB-TV reported today that things just got a lot worse for Scientology's drug rehab program in the Atlanta area.
When state investigators and county police raided Narconon Georgia on April 26, we knew they were looking for evidence of insurance fraud. But now Gwinnett County DA Danny Porter tells Fleischer that he's also looking into multiple cases of credit card fraud at the facility that resulted from Narconon officials allegedly taking out cards in the names of patients without their permission — and then charging them to their maximum extent.
If that sounds familiar, you may remember our story from March 21, when attorney Gary Richardson filed five new lawsuits against Scientology's flagship rehab center in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead. In one of those lawsuits, former Narconon patient Sue Anne Newman alleged that two credit cards had been taken out in her name by Narconon officials, and she was charged $14,500 without her knowledge or permission.
In Salt Lake City, a retired schoolteacher and her son are suing a group of people they accuse of running a Ponzi scheme involving — and designed to benefit — the Church of Scientology in Utah.
Carol Bee and Brian Bagley are suing a group of investors in a state court action, but also have filed a complaint in the bankruptcy of Barry and Kimberly Hunter, two Scientologists who became insolvent when the financial services company they were trying to get off the ground, Portfolio Manager International, failed in 2011.
The Hunters have responded in detailed court filings denying that PMI was a Ponzi scheme, and they say that Bee and Bagley were harmed not by PMI but by a man named Christopher Hales, who is currently serving 7.5 years in federal prison for bank fraud. The Hunters say that they actually tried to help Bee and Bagley once they realized Hales was acting strangely about the investments that Bee and Bagley had given him.
2013-05-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a report of a very recent visit to Scientology Phoenix Org by someone I knew in the CMO and SO. Frankly, he gives them a lot more benefit of the doubt than I may have, but still, if this is an Ideal Org and this is how David Miscavige plans to "clear the planet" the proverbial snowball in hell is great odds by comparison. Mike Rinder
Personally wanting to see what an ideal org looks like, I decided to visit Phoenix org. I haven't been in an org since leaving the CMO and the SO in 1990, before the conception of the ideal org campaign. Back then, the push was St. Hill Size. Period. Having watched the evolution of defectors, along with the subsequent blogs and media coverage, I've been curious to see the expansion, or lack thereof, myself. Obviously, visiting one org may or may not be indicative of the whole, but, it is a start.
As for my visit to Phx org, let me start off by saying this: the ONLY thing I found to be close to ideal is the building itself. And, even there exists a departure from the ideal scene: HCO is in a different building from the rest of the org. Now, maybe that's not a huge deal, but my thought on this is: if you're going to spend a boatload of parishioner's money on what should be ideal, shouldn't you find a building that is truly ideal? It would be one thing if every other aspect of the building (location, visibility, etc) were ideal and that was the only departure, but that's not the case.
2012-05-06, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
There have been a lot of respectful, round-about comments on the blog over the years implying that my politics are from the left wing. The comments are sometimes overtly and sometimes covertly made by proud conservatives and proud liberals.
I think folks from both sides of the right/left spectrum misunderstand me. I am going to make a political (or apolitical) statement so that there isn't any mystery about where I stand on the subject of politricks.
While I believe America has become a corporatocracy (that has sometimes verged on fascism) I also believe it has socialized so much as to have created an incentive toward 'entitlement' that has become degenerative. I believe that those who capitalize (and many do as politicians and media) on these obvious problems and make a name for themselves by cleverly arguing that total elimination of either side of those competing evils is the only solution are perpetuating the problem. I don't waive any flag, right or left.
2012-05-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientologists don't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.
So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! Our sources regularly send us Scientology's wacky and tacky fundraising mailers, and each week we choose a few of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
Sometimes the church just makes this too easy. Ideal Org "bookie"? Um, sure. I guess at some point it just makes sense to come right out and admit what you're up to. Right, Birmingham?
2011-05-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
According to Yahoo's "Xtra Entertainment," the National Enquirer talked to John Travolta, who said he got a promise from train-wreck celebrity Lindsay Lohan that she would begin Scientology training.
[I tried to find the Enquirer piece to give them a link, but couldn't. Have you seen their website? What a nightmare.]
Travolta and Lohan have been cast in the upcoming movie "Gotti: Three Generations," but producers are wary of Lohan's myriad problems and yanked her from a role as John Gotti's daughter to a less important part.
An assault against a masked demonstrator protesting against the Church of Scientology has landed a Halifax woman in legal trouble.
Nicole Cassandra Andersen, a 40-year-old personal-care worker, pleaded guilty in Halifax on Tuesday to assault for punching the protester in the face near the Scientology Life Improvement Center on Dutch Village Road on Sept. 19.
A protest at the Church of Scientology in Nashville led to pushing, shoving, an arrest and the whole thing was caught on tape.
The tape, protesters said, proves they were assaulted and bullied by security guards for no reason.
A Middle Tennessee State University student doesn't want his name revealed after what happened on April 25 at Nashville's new Church of Scientology on Eighth Avenue. The man is in a group called Anonymous that protests Church of Scientology events.
South Australian Premier Mike Rann says he wants a full public apology from Opposition leader Martin Hamilton-Smith over Church of Scientology accusations.
Mr Hamilton-Smith wrongly accused the Premier and other members of the Labor Party of trying to solicit donations from an organisation linked to the Church of Scientology.
The documents he cited were later found to be fake.
Ask an active Scientologist about "Fair Game Policy" today and they will quickly tell you that this policy was cancelled by Hubbard himself in fact cancelled any such order and that it is no longer in practice today.
Is this true? Well, to answer that question we need only look at more of Hubbard's writings dating back to October of 1968 when Hubbard amended the policy again
"The practice of declaring people FAIR GAME will cease. FAIR GAME may not appear on any Ethics Order. It causes bad public relations. This P/L does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP."
The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is exemplified in the very last sentence of the above quote; "This P/L (Policy Letter) does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP (Suppressive Person)."
2008-05-06, Kelley Cox, Tiger Weekly, Louisiana State University
Westerman added that he was a Scientologist his "whole life, up until a few years ago."
Westerman said he became a Class 8 Auditor while involved in the Church of Scientology. He said he has spent between $400,000 and $500,000 on the Church of Scientology during the course of a decade.
Westerman does not think all Scientologists are evil people, merely ignorant to the corruption within the Church.
2008-05-06, John DeSio, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
When Queens resident Mike Vitale was outed as a member of Anonymous by the Church of Scientology last month, he specifically asked Church members if they planned to prove his criticisms correct by declaring him "fair game" and subjecting him to the threats and intimidation that are said to be inherent in that Church policy. Would they threaten him or show up at his house?
Well, they did-or, at least, their lawyers did.
Church officials won't discuss specifics of Super Power. But Feshbach and another prominent Clearwater Scientologist who, like Feshbach, is a major donor to Super Power's building fund, provided some details in interviews with the St. Petersburg Times. A group of former Scientologists who worked for the church on a campus in California where the program was in development also described elements of it.
Super Power uses machines, apparatus and specially designed rooms to exercise and enhance a person's so-called perceptics. Those machines include an antigravity simulator and a gyroscope-like apparatus that spins a person around while blindfolded to improve perception of compass direction, said the former Scientologists.
He is best known for rummaging through the dustbins of the rich and famous. But Benjamin Pell has betrayed an appetite for Hollywood glory in a bizarre legal action launched against John Mappin, an heir to the Mappin and Webb jewellery empire.
Sweden, one of only a few countries to recognize the Church of Scientology as a "religious community," has granted its ministers the right to perform marriages, the Los Angeles-based organization said Thursday.
One source of funds for the Los Angeles-based church is the notorious, self- regulated stock exchange in Vancouver, British Columbia, often called the scam capital of the world. The exchange's 2,300 penny-stock listings account for $4 billion in annual trading. Local journalists and insiders claim the vast majority range from total washouts to outright frauds.
For the TIME story, at least 10 attorneys and six private detectives were unleashed by Scientology and its followers in an effort to threaten, harass and discredit me. Last Oct. 12, not long after I began this assignment, I planned to lunch with Eugene Ingram, the church's leading private eye and a former cop. Ingram, who was tossed off the Los Angeles police force in 1981 for alleged ties to prostitutes and drug dealers, had told me that he might be able to arrange a meeting with church boss David Miscavige. Just hours before the lunch, the church's "national trial counsel," Earle Cooley, called to inform me that I would be eating alone.
1991-05-06, Richard Behar, Cover story, Time Magazine
The Church of Scientology, started by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to "clear" people of unhappiness, portrays itself as a religion. In reality the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner. At times during the past decade, prosecutions against Scientology seemed to be curbing its menace. Eleven top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were sent to prison in the early 1980s for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more than 100 private and government agencies in attempts to block their investigations. In recent years hundreds of longtime Scientology adherents -- many charging that they were mentally or physically abused -- have quit the church and criticized it at their own risk. Some have sued the church and won; others have settled for amounts in excess of $500,000. In various cases judges have labeled the church "schizophrenic and paranoid" and "corrupt, sinister and dangerous."
Yet the outrage and litigation have failed to squelch Scientology. The group, which boasts 700 centers in 65 countries, threatens to become more insidious and pervasive than ever. Scientology is trying to go mainstream, a strategy that has sparked a renewed law-enforcement campaign against the church. Many of the group's followers have been accused of committing financial scams, while the church is busy attracting the unwary through a wide array of front groups in such businesses as publishing, consulting, health care and even remedial education.
In Hollywood, Scientology has assembled a star-studded roster of followers by aggressively recruiting and regally pampering them at the church's "Celebrity Centers," a chain of clubhouses that offer expensive counseling and career guidance. Adherents include screen idols Tom Cruise and John Travolta, actresses Kirstie Alley, Mimi Rogers and Anne Archer, Palm Springs mayor and performer Sonny Bono, jazzman Chick Corea and even Nancy Cartwright, the voice of cartoon star Bart Simpson. Rank-and-file members, however, are dealt a less glamorous Scientology.
A group that follows some of the teachings of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard is setting up a national drug and alcohol rehabilitation program at the former Chilocco Indian School in northern Oklahoma, and that has some area residents worried. The Newkirk City Commission has scheduled a Monday night informational meeting about the Narconon International project, which over 25 years could bring as much as $16 million in lease payments to five Indian tribes in the Chilocco Development Authority. "There definitely appears to be a basis for concern," said Garry Bilger, mayor of Newkirk. "I think there are some questions that need to be answered here. ...
But John Duff, head of the Los Angeles-based group called Narconon, said there is nothing controversial about Narconon.
"We're not a religion," said Duff, who in 1982 was commended by President Reagan for his work against drug abuse.
Duff admitted Friday in a telephone interview from the organization's headquarters in California that the founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron. Hubbard, "developed this rehabilitation approach we use."
"The Church of Scientology is a friend of Narconon - they support us," Duff said, including financial help "at times." Duff said he is a member of the church as are "some of the staff" of Narconon.