2018-05-13, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I take up are:
(1) I was recently offered a job - and was informed in one of the interviews that they used the Hubbard Management System. I then did some more research online and found out that the owners of the business are big Scientology donors. Needless to say, I was quite wary and declined the job. I would like to know how the Hubbard Management System is used in these organizations and does it differ significantly from how Scientology itself is run? What are the differences? Is there any real benefit or positives of the Hubbard Management System? What are the negatives?
(2) Have you ever found yourself wishing you had the years this organization took from you back or do you think that the strength you gained through this experience was worth that time and the possibility of a different life? Did this life experience justify the knowledge/strength you gained or not? I realize these answers may still be being formed but any insight into your personal thoughts would be quite interesting.
In Part 1 of this series, we were able to demonstrate that any claim of L. Ron Hubbard's having been a spy in Java were demonstrably false. Like much of the myths around Hubbard's life, his Java claims were really unnecessary in the grand scheme of things; it's as though his many legitimate accomplishments were never enough, and when it came to anything remotely connected to the military or intelligence matters, gold plating his exploits was a must. The record shows that he volunteered to serve his country in a time of war, was deployed to combat theatre, and once there, could have made a contribution. Yet this reality wasn't enough for Hubbard, and he would go on to exaggerate and lie about his Pacific service for many more years. In Part 2 of this series, I'll be looking at his time in Australia as reflected in the record and then compare the record, historical context and other data points to Hubbard's recollections.
As with Part 1, in addition to my own research, I will be also drawing on the work of Chris Owen, Jon Atack, and Jeffrey Augustine, as well as records drawn from the Scientology Myths website and other sources.
An Erratum: I inadvertently stated in Part 1 of this series that the USS Polk was part of the Pensacola convoy; she was not. She sailed on December 19th, 1941 from San Francisco, 20 days after the Pensacola convoy's departure on November 29th from Pearl Harbor. The Polk's original destination was Hawaii and not the Philippines as was the case with the Pensacola convoy. However, both convoys were rerouted to Brisbane as a result of Japanese action in the Java sea.
A Republican candidate for lieutenant governor included Scientology-themed videos and language in training material for employees of his Las Vegas bottled water company and forced a top executive to attend treatment centers sponsored by the controversial church that allegedly tried to "brainwash" him.
Brent Jones, a firebrand conservative former assemblyman who announced his bid for lieutenant governor earlier this year, has long touted his business success heading the company which produces Real Water, an "alkalized" bottled water that purports to be the only water on the market with a "stable negative ionization" (Medical experts have questioned the underlying science.)
But Jones and the parent company of Real Water, Affinitylifestyles.com, have been targeted in several discrimination lawsuits by former employees, including one centered on claims that the former lawmaker required her and other new employees to watch videos with Scientology undertones that promoted the controversial system of religious beliefs founded by writer L. Ron Hubbard.
"Ron Miscavige Life After Scientology" will explore Ron's time with the Church of Scientology and expose information that the Church does not want you to know.
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2018-05-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The ninth installment of the first draft of a novel written by our old friend Terra Cognita. Our Sunday Serial.
Terra welcomes all suggestions and feedback — this is draft — you can note them in the comments.
(Copenhagen's May 2017 grand opening)
Rod Keller has some new insights for us about how Scientology "Ideal Orgs" evolve, including a fascinating new ad posting from the church...
The new Ideal Org in Copenhagen is following a predictable path from boom to bust. That and other interesting revelations come from an online job posting currently available on Glassdoor.com. The job is entitled "Public Relationship Officer - Field Service" but former members tell us based on the duties that the real post is Director of Public Relations, or Dir PR, in Div 6C. It's a complicated job requiring extensive study of the policies of L. Ron Hubbard. Public Relations means something very different in Scientology than in any other organization. Through the use of a variety of front groups, Div 6C is responsible for manufacturing a favorable public opinion of Scientology.
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.
Mentioned in this week's video:
Scn Organizational Madness: https://youtu.be/lrbp7L6r_WI
An illustrated one-to-one with Chris Shelton, ex-Scientologist.
Chris Shelton grew up in a Scientology family, joining at age 15, and enlisting in the 'Sea Org' - the religion's elite management organization.
In 2013, having experienced serious doubts about the religion, he left and was subsequently declared a Suppressive Person for publicly speaking out against Scientology.
2017-05-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
"SANITY IS THE ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE DIFFERENCES, SIMILARITIES AND IDENTITIES," wrote L. Ron Hubbard in his policy letter of 26 Apr 1970, DataSeries 1R, The Anatomy of Thought. All subsequent italicized quotes are from this reference.
"This is also intelligence. Two or more facts or things that are totally unlike are DIFFERENT. They are not the same fact or same object. Two or more facts or things that have something in common with one another are SIMILAR. Two or more facts or things that have all their characteristics in common with one another are IDENTICAL."
It never ceases to amaze me how profoundly Scientologists misapply their own policy. From the head of the church, all the way down to students delivering lines from Alice in Wonderland on a Comm Course, cognitive dissonance burrows its way into the psyche of all members. If sanity really is "the ability to recognize differences, similarities and identities," then insanity must be the inability to recognize these three classifications. The Church of Scientology is rife with examples.
From time to time, our tipsters send us casting notices for Scientology films and commercials, which never fail to make us chuckle.
Marc Headley has explained to us that in the past, it was more common for Scientology to use its own people to star in its many audiovisual presentations. Headley could look at a goofy instructional film produced in the 1990s and tell you the names and backgrounds of everyone you see on screen.
But then a mass exodus of church members included a lot of Sea Org employees, and that caused a problem for many of the films Scientology had on the shelf. What can you do when Larry Anderson, the star of "Orientation," walks out and then demands a refund? And what a pain it must have been to reshoot the "Book One" film after losing its narrator, Michael Fairman.
Magnolia has taken North America rights on Louis Theroux's "My Scientology Movie," ahead of its Cannes market screening. Altitude Film Distribution will distribute the film in the U.K.
Deals have also just been agreed for Australia (Madman), Belgium (Dalton) and Netherlands (Cinema Delicatessen). HanWay Select is handling sales on the pic, which premiered at the London Film Festival, and more recently had its international premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
John Dower's film is Theroux's first theatrical feature documentary, and sees him immersing himself in the religion's teachings and practices with one of its key defectors, Mark "Marty" Rathbun, and invoking the ire of the Church in the process.
We told you recently that a new source, a current member of the Church of Scientology, had sent us a small collection of documents (with promises that more are forthcoming). The first document we published was a really entertaining internal memo showing how, in 2008, the church was panicking about the way the Anonymous movement had figured out how to alter Google Maps so that orgs showed up labeled as "Cult of Scientology."
Now we have a document from 2010, and it provides a really interesting look inside another panicky situation: When two Scientologists had decided to turn their backs on the organization.
Those two people were Dee McMurdie and her daughter, Lori Hodgson.
John Sugg, Editor Freedom Magazine
In my previous post — John Sugg and the Internal Structural Collapse of the Church of Scientology — I characterized John Sugg as a non-Scientologist.
Several readers e-mailed me to say that John Sugg is listed as having completed the Scientology Student Hat course. This leads me to ask if John Sugg is a Scientologist for a few key reasons.
CLEARWATER — A pitch by a local advocate trying to interest City Hall in a fledgling transit technology took an atypical turn this month when one City Council member received what appeared to be a special briefing at the Church of Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel.
Four of the council members met individually on May 5 with SkyTran promoter Tom Nocera at City Hall, the standard venue for information meetings.
However, newly elected council member Bob Cundiff sat in on a private meeting May 4 held by Nocera at the Fort Harrison, along with representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation, the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, congressional candidate Mark Bircher, and others.
2016-05-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Regraded Being had another engagement. Will be back next week.
Scientology has a sick new tactic right out of the North Korea playbook. You have likely seen videos of POW's "confessing" and denouncing imperialist America. We saw Peter Schless paraded before the cameras calling Ron Miscavige a lousy musician.
Now they have taken it to an even lower level.
Local residents seeking information about Narconon's plans for a drug rehabilitation center near Thurmont got more than they asked for at a public meeting Tuesday.
A Facebook group, "No Narconon at Trout Run," had 230 members as of Tuesday afternoon. Its local members organized a meeting Tuesday evening at Urbana's public library, attended by about 20 people.
Thurmont residents and group members Kai Hagen and Mark Long spoke about a drug rehab center planned for a 40-acre site named Trout Run, off Catoctin Hollow Road near Thurmont, that Narconon wants to open.
One of our tipsters forwarded to us a great discovery for the lovelorn, and we wanted to share it with you.
Are you lonely? Still looking for that special someone? Despite the fact that you're a quadrillion-year-old immortal being who has engaged in every kind of polyamorous arrangement known in the galaxy over your countless lifetimes of adventure, you may find yourself unable, in PT (present time), to find that perfect thetan to shack up with.
What to do?
2015-05-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Well, subtract one from the 2 billion people Tom Cruise has "disseminated" Scientology to.
Simon Pegg revealed in an interview yesterday that Tom Cruise has never spoken to him about Scientology. And this stretches back to around the time Mr. Cruise was presented the Freedom Medal of Valor for being the greatest disseminator in the history of history.
Except he doesn't do one on one apparently. Or perhaps Simon Pegg wasn't a big enough being to deserve it? After all, it is a privilege to call yourself a scientologist.
Tony Ortega wants people to attend his book signing this Sunday at the Neighborhood Community Center in Costa Mesa. It's a homecoming for the editor of progressive website the Raw Story -- he's a graduate of Savanna High School in Anaheim, lived in Fullerton and Buena Park, and got his bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Cal State Fullerton. His book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology Tried to Destroy Paulette Cooper, is already receiving rave reviews for its well-written, wonderfully reported narrative about one of the first journalists to take on the controversial religion. Still riding a wave of publicity based on his insightful commentary for the HBO Scientology documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Ortega expects the local appearance (sponsored by the Center for Inquiry Orange County) to be a great one, especially since Paulette Cooper herself will join him.
2014-05-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A Special Correspondent alerted me to a couple of recently published articles about Dear Leader.
I personally do not believe they are accurate as I think he is smarter than accumulating this sort of personal wealth. Why get the money and leave yourself open to attack, when you can control the money and be completely protected?
If he whispers the word that money need be spent on something, it IS spent.
Jeff Harris We've been telling you about numerous lawsuits aimed at Narconon, Scientology's drug rehab network, in various parts of the country. In Oklahoma, former prosecutor Gary Richardson is handling more than ten lawsuits against Narconon Arrowhead, the network's flagship facility. In Michigan, an attorney named Jeff Ray is suing rehab centers there that are owned or run by a man named Per Wickstrom. In Nevada, California, and Oregon, seven federal lawsuits have been filed in a short amount of time by Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton.
But one of the most intriguing legal salvos against Narconon came from an attorney in Georgia named Jeff Harris. After he handled a wrongful death lawsuit regarding the overdose of a patient at an Atlanta-area facility (that suit was settled) Harris then went looking for other people who said they were harmed by Narconon Georgia (which has since been closed in a deal with a county prosecutor).
The lawsuit appeared to be one of the most far-reaching, which was reflected in a lengthy, detailed complaint. But Judge Steve C. Jones disagreed that Harris had followed the proper guidelines for the lawsuit, and granted Scientology's motion to dismiss.
I received an e-mail from someone who asked me where I obtained the Church of Scientology 990-T's. The person asking wanted to know because, as they claimed, anyone "still in the Church" would dismiss the IRS 990-T's posted on this blog as "Black PR." In other words, if a "still-in" came here they would believe the IRS 990-T's posted here were not real, that the forms were somehow manufactured to attack the Church of Scientology.
I can assure my readers that the 990-T's posted on this site are genuine and were made available by the IRS. Moreover, I fail to see how showing anyone that the Church has $1.5+ billion dollars in book value is Black PR, but the mindset is clear to see: "Still ins" may only consider that which they are spoon-fed in OSA handlings or Church PR.
The person writing to me argued that the 990-T's should be available on a neutral website; the apparent logic being that special steps need to be taken to satisfy the distrust and paranoia of people still in the Church of Scientology.
Newcomers and those with short, suppressive memories may not remember that Portland is something akin to a holy city for Scientologists. That's thanks to a two-month protest in 1985 of a Multnomah County circuit court jury finding the church guilty of defrauding a defector named Julie Christofferson Titchbourne. Scientologists from across the country turned the verdict into a referendum on religious freedom, and the court declared a mistrial.
The posters advertising last weekend's party make that connection clear—calling Portland "the first Scientology city" and showing a photo of 1985-vintage protesters attaching theses to the Multnomah County Courthouse, Martin Luther-style.
"Church members who had been in Portland would always feel an ecstatic sense of kinship," writes Lawrence Wright in his new book on the religion, Going Clear. And little wonder. As Wright explains:
The Church of Scientology held an event for the opening of a new facility in Portland over the weekend. The crowd was around 450-750 people. But the church claims it was more like 2,500, and it Photoshopped in the proof.
Except the proof is about as convincing as your thetan's origin story. In reality, there were no people in the right-hand side of the photo. There was actually a line of rented trees set up to block the view of people not so friendly to Scientology (see the photo below), as well as police blocking off a four-block radius for the event. And it's not just that the picture was doctored, it's that it was done quite poorly.
2013-05-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
In imparting advice on how to find one's meaning in life in Man's Search For Meaning Viktor Frankl shares a lot of other gems of wisdom. I came across the following passage when reviewing the book this weekend. Having recently discussed the cathartic nature of witnessing one might want to consider the need for balance in that regard.
By declaring that man is responsible and must actualize the potential meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system. I have termed this constitutive characteristic "the self-transcendence of human existence." It denotes the fact that being human always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself. What is called self-actualization is not an attainable aim at all, for the simple reason that the more one would strive for it, the more he would miss it. In other words, self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transendence.
Brian Culkin, from his website
On Friday, Scientology filed a motion to disqualify the attorneys for Luis and Rocio Garcia in their federal fraud lawsuit against the church. We very rapidly posted the motion and several supporting declarations with only a brief description of their contents.
We've had some time now to digest the church's motion, and we thought we'd take a closer look at its argument and whether it has a chance to disqualify attorney Ted Babbitt from this case, which would seem to be a devastating blow to the Garcias.
2012-05-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last month, we noted that Lisa Marie Presley's single "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," which she released ahead of her new album, Storm and Grace, came with lyrics that read like a kiss-off to the Church of Scientology, even using some of Scientology's jargon -- like the very telling word suppressive. (For several years there have been rumors that Presley was disillusioned with the church.)
This week, the rest of the album comes out, and we got our hands on the lyrics to the rest of the tracks. After you read the words to the song "So Long" we have a feeling you'll agree with us that there's no longer any doubt how Presley, 44, feels about Scientology.
We managed to find a partial video of the song, which you can see above, but it doesn't contain the crucial opening verse. Here are the lyrics of the song in their entirety, as they were supplied to the Voice by Presley's label (Presley has previously indicated that she wrote the lyrics to all songs on the album, with some help from others)...
2011-05-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Please fasten your seatbelts. Enturbulation ahead. What a fun week it's been for Scientology watchers! With just a few hours before the weekend starts, let's take a look at who impressed us the most with their comments, both for and against L. Ron Hubbard's wacky cabal!
First, on the anti side, we have this gem from Claireswazey, who reacted to Paulette Cooper making a statement about Tom Cruise winning a humanitarian award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center last week. Cooper is not only a Holocaust survivor, but also a survivor of probably the most frightening, coordinated campaigns of "fair game" ever perpetrated by Scientology on anyone. Nevertheless, defenders of Scientology were attacking Cooper for telling us she was outraged that Tom Cruise would be given an award by a pro-justice organization like the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Said Claireswazey:
And as for the best pro-Scientology comment...
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has moved a step forward in his campaign for a review of Scientology's tax status in Australia: an inquiry into the feasibility of a public benefit test for charities and religions.
Independent Australian senator Nick Xenophon, who has been campaigning since last November for a parliamentary inquiry into Scientology's tax-exempt status, will get to put his case to a parliamentary committee.
The Senate's economics committee has been instructed to carry out an inquiry into his bill proposing a public interest test for charities and religions claiming tax breaks, and to report back by August 31.
Ever since I penned Hollywood Undercover, going undercover as a gay actor in Scientology and Hollywood, Tom Cruise's house of confession has received a barrage of negative publicity. Former high-ranking Hubbard worshipper Mark Rathburn says Scientologists poked fun at Tom's confessions while getting hammered at late night parties.
INDEPENDENT senator Nick Xenophon has vowed not to give up on his quest to bring the controversial Church of Scientology to book.
He failed in a bid to have Parliament approve a public benefit test to assess the aims and activities of entities receiving tax exemptions.
The district attorney has dropped the citations against a man arrested during a scuffle outside the Church of Scientology.
Protesters were walking down the sidewalk last month when security guards hired by the church went after them. Those guards were off-duty Spring Hill police officers.
A college student said the officers attacked him. He received three citations, but the district attorney just dismissed them.
The Church of Scientology purchased a multi-million dollar estate in the La Quinta Cove. They reportedly plan to use it as a museum and spiritual retreat center.
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard once lived at that estate in the 1970s. Now, former Scientologists are coming forward to say they were abused there by the church and they fear it could happen to others.
Passengers aboard a Church of Scientology cruise ship, including actor Tom Cruise, could be forgiven for fearing such an eventuality after potentially coming into contact with blue asbestos earlier this month. The vessel, christened "Freewinds," was said to be under seal at Curacao after asbestos fibers were found. The ship, age forty years, was recently refurbished, and there is suspicion that passengers may have come in contact with asbestos fibers. The ship is used as a floating education center and for VIP parties. Besides Cruise, who is a senior Scientologist, jazz great Chick Corea and singer Lisa Marie Presley were among the celebrities on board.
Using Scientology's very own words against them.
This unauthorized video was made using re-edited footage from Scientology's own PSA for their front-group "Youth for Human Rights" -- one of the many front-groups the cult uses to recruit members into Scientology. The video is juxtaposed alongside footage from numerous interviews and news stories detailing Scientology's long history of abuses.
Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), puts coerced participants through regimes of harsh physical punishment, forced self-confessions, social isolation, hard labour, and intense doctrinal study, all as part of leadership-designed efforts to regain members' ideological commitment. The confinement that participants experience, combined with forms of physical maltreatment, intensive ideological study, and forced confessions, allows social scientists to speak of the RPF as a "brainwashing" program.
This unauthorized video was made using re-edited footage from Scientology's own PSA for their front-group "Youth for Human Rights" -- one of the many front-groups the cult uses to recruit members into Scientology. The video is juxtaposed alongside footage from numerous interviews and news stories detailing Scientology's long history of abuses.(slavery)
The Scientologists have a long history of aggression towards critics. The church was accused 17 years ago of paying £100,000 to organise a worldwide "dirty tricks" campaign against Russell Miller, a Sunday Times journalist. A former church employee described how the cult had spied on Miller, harassed his friends and tried to discredit him by giving false information to the police.
The Panorama team, which denies the claims made in the DVD, spent six months investigating whether Scientology is a legitimate religion. As the investigation progressed, team members became increasingly concerned that they were being spied upon. They noted 13 occasions when they were trailed by unknown men, including one who turned up at Sweeney's wedding. The Church of Scientology denied it had hired private detectives.
While making our BBC Panorama film "Scientology and Me" I have been shouted at, spied on, had my hotel invaded at midnight, denounced as a "bigot" by star Scientologists and been chased round the streets of Los Angeles by sinister strangers.
Back in Britain strangers have called on my neighbours, my mother-in-law's house and someone spied on my wedding and fled the moment he was challenged.
I have met mothers who say they have suffered Scientology "disconnects" - meaning that their children have cut them completely out of their life so that they can spend more time with an organisation which a judge in 1984 characterised as "corrupt, sinister and dangerous".
The journalist has been disciplined after an internal investigation. 'I've been arse-kicked but I haven't been fired,' he added. 'I feel mortified. There is no one on this planet more irritated then me. Fool, Sweeney, fool. It was like an animal reaction to a series of images and pressures. I felt they were trying to control my mind. I can't wait to get back to Zimbabwe: hiding in the backs of cars from Robert Mugabe's goons is a damn sight easier.'
It is not the first time the Church of Scientology has been accused of riling opponents by 'bull baiting', a technique in which members are taught to remain calm even under extreme provocation. Mike Rinder, a spokesman for the Church, said: 'I guess you could say we John Sweeneyed John Sweeney. The licence fee payers in Britain are entitled to see what goes on behind the scenes. It's about time documentary makers are held accountable.'
But not only did he coin the catchphrase "sci-fi" - much to the chagrin of serious authors like Harlan Ellison, who called it "a hideous neologism" that "sounds like crickets f -- -king" - he pretty much popularized the entire genre as literary agent to such (then) young aspiring authors as Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, A.E. van Vogt, Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and noted schlock film auteur Edward D. Wood Jr.
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Church of Scientology didn't defraud a former member, a judge has ruled, but the member will be allowed to pursue a lawsuit claiming that church practices caused him emotional harm.
Superior Court Judge Ronald Swearinger on Monday dismissed part of a lawsuit against the church by Larry Wollersheim, ruling that Wollersheim couldn't claim that Scientologists intentionally defrauded him. The balance of the suit will be decided by a jury, Swearinger ruled.
Wollersheim's attorney, Leta Schlosser, said the judge agreed with the church's argument that there was no proof the people named in the lawsuit believed the practices they used on Wollersheim were fraudulent.
A federal jury in Alexandria found yesterday that a Florida-based drug rehabilitation agency held a 19-year-old Fairfax County man against his will, but that he had not suffered undue physical or emotional damage while in the agency's program.
After deliberating about 90 minutes, the six-member civil jury reported to U.S. District Court Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. that they agreed with Fred Collins' assertion that Straight Inc. had falsely imprisoned him in its St. Petersburg facility and, briefly, in its new Northern Virginia facility in Springfield.
The jury dismissed additional contentions by Collins that he was assaulted and made to suffer emotional distress while in the drug program.