Scientology's public image has taken a beating in recent years with revelations of abuse at every level of the organization. It's not the first time, however, that it's had to deal with a shattered image. Thirty years ago this month in May 1991, its efforts to rebuild its reputation were derailed by the publication of Richard Behar's classic exposé of Scientology, "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power".
By the mid-1980s, the church's image was in ruins due to the exposure of the Guardian's Office in 1977, and the subsequent jailing of 11 top Scientology officials — including L. Ron Hubbard's wife. It suffered further damage from the years of internal turmoil that accompanied the rise of David Miscavige.
The church had relied for decades on Hubbard's own 'PR tech,' which he claimed was superior to any 'wog' alternatives. The disastrous coverage that had accompanied the trials of the indicted GO officials led Hubbard to admit privately that 'wog' assistance was needed after all. He secretly advised the new leadership around Miscavige that a small and "hungry" PR company should be brought in to assist Scientology.
2020-05-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a bit old. I had overlooked it and then noticed "No Reging"(sic).
This is a very interesting development. John Alex Wood is still alive and kicking? Who knew?
But more importantly, I think this is an indicator the pandemic is going to have a significant long-term effect on scientology. Not only because people are not coming in and paying for services right now and are instead hiding out at home doing a $20 Extension Course, sending in a chapter every few weeks. But because this break is changing the mindset of the sheeple.
In 1996, I received a hilarious 11-page hand-written letter from Eddie Stratton detailing his experiences in Scientology. I responded and received a 20-page letter by return of post. It was marked 'Beware! Contains live wildebeest', which set the tone for our continuing conversation and our enduring friendship.
Eddie was hurled to fame as the drummer with rap-metal band One Minute Silence in the late nineties (well, they had a hit in New Zealand).
I went to five gigs over the years, and have signed copies of their three albums (and Ed stuck me in the dedication sections of all three). They were a fine live act and produced driving and lyrically stimulating music, much of which suggested that we should think for ourselves. Holy Man is a very good example.
When the quarantined cruise ship in St. Lucia turned out to be Scientology's floating cathedral, we got a lot of people asking the same question: Is the Church of Scientology anti-vaccination?
We answered that the church itself doesn't speak out against vaccines, but because of founder L. Ron Hubbard's deep-seated hatred for the American Medical Association and his disrespect for doctors in general, many Scientologists tend to be skeptical of western medicine, seek out alternative therapies, and yes, many of them are anti-vaccination.
But now, we think we might have to adjust our answer when that question comes up in the future, because increasingly it does look like the church itself is engaging in the anti-vaxx panic, and goading it along. Why? We're not sure.
2019-05-16, Sumeyya Ilanbey, Sydney Morning Herald
Australian Education City, the little-known group majority-owned and led by Scientologists Bill Dongbiao Zheng and Ross Martiensen, was awarded "preferred bidder" status by former Victorian finance minister Robin Scott in 2015 to develop a massive block of crown land in Werribee.
AEC outbid three of Australia's largest property development companies for the rights to build a 1.5 million-square-metre city on the site.
But the project has since stalled with authorities raising serious doubts about AEC's capability to deliver the massive infrastructure required, which includes residential towers, universities and research hubs.
2019-05-16, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
How does the Church of Scientology go about recruiting new members? In this video clip, I break down the basic process of "ruin finding" and how this hooks people who are otherwise intelligent and perceptive so that they want to join a destructive cult. Enjoy!
Dianne Lipson reached us between court sessions this afternoon, and we have her latest updates from the cross-examination and redirect testimony of filmmaker Mark Vicente at the Nxivm trial.
First, her report on yesterday's afternoon session, when Vicente was still being cross-examined by Keith Raniere's attorney Marc Agnifilo. Here are her impressions...
Vicente was asked questions about the departure of the Nxivm 9, a group of women who left in 2009. The women in the Nxivm 9 claimed they were owed money and wanted it back. This was characterized to Vicente as an extortion attempt.
For years, Scientology and its operatives have attacked former spokesman Mike Rinder with one particular accusation.
In 2007 Rinder left Scientology, literally running away from the Sea Org while he was in London. His wife at the time, Cathy Bernardini, and their children, Taryn Teutsch and Benjamin Rinder, stayed behind in the church. Three years later in Florida, Rinder was waiting while his then-girlfriend Christie Collbran was at a doctor's appointment when he was ambushed by members of his former family as well as other Scientology operatives.
Rinder happened to be on the phone with BBC journalist John Sweeney, who had the foresight to record the call. In the audio, you can hear the chaotic scene as Rinder is surrounded by angry, screaming Scientologists. As Rinder and Collbran struggled to get away, according to a police report of the incident, there was "incidental contact" which resulted in an abrasion of Bernardini's arm.
2018-05-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Before the "Colombian Miracle" where, according to scientology, distribution of The Way to Happiness reduced crime in Colombia by 90%, there was the Venezuelan Phenomenon — the Way to Happiness literally "saved the nation." Two of the earliest IAS Freedom Medal winners were awarded their bauble for getting the WTH used by Government agencies that "saved the nation" blah blah. Then Ruddy Rodriguez and others followed, each having accomplished incredible feats of distributing TWTH to even more miraculous results. I would bet there have been more IAS medal winners from Venezuela than any other country.
Though they have repeatedly touted massive and monumental accomplishments for LRH tech, things are not looking good in Venezuela (and have not been for some time).
How can this be? It's got to be bad when a profit making business decides to abandon its capital investment.
Santa Monica High School has canceled a series of planned assemblies presented by The Foundation for a Drug-Free World after concerned parents learned of the non-profit's affiliation with the Church of Scientology.
The foundation had already conducted three assemblies for 9th and 10th grade students when the controversy reached a breaking point, causing the principal to cancel the next two assemblies in the series.
"Samohi principal Dr. Antonio Shelton fully vetted this organization and felt that it would be excellent for our students," Spokesperson Gail Pinsker told the Daily Press in a statement. "The presentations and materials do not have any reference or mention of Scientology, or else we would not be using this organization."
Four years ago, Jenna Miscavige Hill published Beyond Belief, her book about growing up in the Church of Scientology and then leaving it, and what it was like to be the niece of Scientology's dictatorial ruler, David Miscavige.
In that brave book, we were especially struck by Jenna's portrayal of her uncle, who spent so much energy plotting and destroying the lives around him, but always from a distance.
In Jenna's book, we wrote, David Miscavige "comes off as a meddling, tyrannical, but ultimately cowardly man who Jenna and other ex-Scientologists are determined to expose."
Brandon Reisdorf, a third generation, Scientologist talks about his experiences growing up in a Scientology family and his time on Staff at the San Diego Org. He also discusses the Church's ludicrous claims about the wild success Scientology Media Productions will achieve by bringing millions of people into Scientology. The interview ends with a great description of what Brandon can now do in life now that he is free of the 24/7/365 slavery of Scientology.
2017-05-16, Christina Schoellkopf, Hollywood Reporter
Despite the organization's financial scams and pressure to remove yourself from your wife, you say you hold "no hard feelings" today toward the Church of Scientology. Why is that?
Yep, no hard feelings. Because what's the use of hard feelings? In that chapter, I tried to be as fair as I could. It was me looking for love. I actually had a very good time. And I met a lot of very nice people. A magazine wanted to do a chapter on it as a stand-alone piece, and I said, "No." Because it could have sounded like I'm blaming. It's not about that. It's about me. That chapter is not so much about Scientology, as it is about Jeffrey. I meant that. Thanks for the memories. All experiences work, and they add to the paint. I don't think hard feelings help anything.
2016-05-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Once again, out of the mouths of babes...
No wonder the "command team" in PAC was replaced. And interestingly, in this era of unprecedented expansion, the "ideal" AO executives in AOSHUK and AOSHEU have also been "replaced." I guess these "ideal" AO's aren't doing too well.
And the proof of it is contained in this message from AOLA.
In 2011, an Ohio State University professor named Hugh Urban came out with a book he titled The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion. We wrote about the book when it came out and interviewed the man.
Urban's book was not on our recommended reading list that we provided the other day, but not because it lacks importance. Urban's book is significant because it's an academic's attempt to put together various court documents and other historical records to establish just what Scientology is. And even though Urban, like so many other academics, questions the value of testimony from Scientology defectors, he still provides a rather stark assessment of L. Ron Hubbard's creation. Hubbard was a collector of ideas from various movements before him, and had cobbled something together that had taken on a life of its own, Urban explained.
We mention this today because recently, someone at the ESMB forum noticed that a review of Urban's book by New Yorker writer Rachel Aviv showed up in the LondonReview of Books in 2012, and it contained a rather startling quote from Hubbard. We remember when Aviv's review appeared, but we can understand why, four years later, that quote caused a bit of a stir over at ESMB. Here's the relevant paragraph from Aviv's review...
Tibby is a charismatic holy man, who claims to be privy to a secret knowledge that has been handed down through thousands of years of oral history. Known as Acharya Das, Tibby is secretary general of the World Vaishnava Association. He also appears in eight videos on the YouTube channel of the Science of Identity, a branch of Vaishnava Hinduism - more commonly referred to as Hare Krishna. Tibby denies he is or has ever been a member of the group.
Allan Tibby appears as the face of the group on its official YouTube channel, appearing in dozens of clips chanting and singing.
Tibby is also the main shareholder of Pukaki Tourism Holdings, a company which wants to transform a large swathe on the banks of the stupidly pretty Lake Pukaki into an 'eco-tourism and wellness' village, along with 40 residential homes.
2015-05-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
And they are coming in force, because Flag is empty.
I guess they don't have anyone to keep them busy AT Flag, so they are sending TWENTY TWO people to LA to be the "Flag World Tour."
Twenty two people in addition to the 20 or so that are in the FSC WUS Office.
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped 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. He was kind enough to send us a new post.
Jon, we want to thank for another lengthy and thoughtful piece which once again gets at the most fundamental effects of Scientology on its members. This one really blew us away, and considering the things you've already written for us, that's saying a lot, we think. Lay it on us.
JON: I have been away from the Bunker for a while. In part, this is because I've said most of what I came back to say. My concern is solely for the recovery of those afflicted by Scientology, so I am ready to leave the fray, once more. I hope to contribute the occasional squib to the Bunker, because, for the most part, the response to my blogs has been encouraging. Indeed, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that an eminent psychologist approved of my piece about paralleling. Fame at last!
We had some difficulty hearing former Scientologist Micheal Leonard Tilse speak at last week's Flag Down conference over its live feed. But he's loud and clear in a new clip that Mark Bunker is making public from his upcoming documentary, 'Knowledge Report.'
In the clip, Tilse tells us about a remarkable moment in church history when, he says, he was ordered by a young, rising church executive named David Miscavige to alter documents to hide the ongoing control exerted by L. Ron Hubbard, even though Hubbard had gone into hiding.
Miscavige went on to exert total control over Scientology after Hubbard's 1986 death, a position he still enjoys today. But he won't be happy to see a former fellow church member accusing him of altering documents that might have become court evidence. Give it a look...
2014-05-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A Special Correspondent sent this to me and it is an interesting study for a couple of reasons.
First — you can see the contempt LRH had for The Auditor being "damagingly commercial" and "putting emphasis on speed through courses."
How do you think he would view the current scene in scientology?
Welcome to our ongoing project, where we blog a 1950 first edition of Scientology's bible, Dianetics, with the help of ex-Scientologist, lawyer, and author Vance Woodward. Go here for the first post in the series.
Vance, we've now reached the longest chapter so far in this book, "Emotion and the Life Force." We have to admit to being rather disappointed that L. Ron Hubbard, after finally tantalizing us with some specifics about dianetic therapy in the previous two chapters, chooses at this point to go back into theory with such a long digression.
And especially about something as vague as "life force." Not only is life force unquantifiable ("Let us assume that the entire being is possessed of 1000 arbitrary units of life force"), but at least three times in this chapter, Hubbard once again admits that he's really just guessing about how things work: "recall it is just a theory and dianetics can stand without it."
2013-05-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Just a bit of lighthearted amusement among the real news being generated by Corporate Scientology, but it illustrates an important point about the state of Scientology.
This email is being sent out by Boston Org with no message, just the subject heading "Freedom Alliance Mystery Magnet."
What are they thinking?
Hubbard's casual approach to epilepsy and the use of medication to limit seizures reflects his broader contempt for conventional medicine.
The Medical Officer in the Sea Org may discontinue a drug at any point regardless of medical prescriptions as he is in a position to observe assist and processing results the medical doctor may not be aware are occurring.
L. Ron Hubbard, "The role of the Medical Officer" October 3, 1970.
With its California Supreme Court petition shot down, Scientology learned in Los Angeles Superior Court today that it has a little more than six more weeks before it has to turn over thousands of pages of evidence that Laura DeCrescenzo (right) believes will bolster her lawsuit against the church. In her lawsuit, DeCrescenzo alleges that she experienced brutal treatment after starting to work for the church at only 9 years old and then joined the Sea Organization at 12. At 17, she alleges, she was forced to have an abortion in order to continue working 100-hour weeks.
After four years of complex fighting over whether DeCrescenzo had filed her lawsuit in time, Superior Court Judge Ronald M. Sohigian recently ordered the church to turn over thousands of pages of evidence that was contained in her "pc folders" — confessional material that DeCrescenzo believed would help prove her case. In recent weeks, the church petitioned California's appeals and supreme courts in an attempt to fight Sohigian's order, but as of this morning they had run out of appeals.
Judge Sohigian also today set a date of October 3 for hearing Scientology's motion for summary judgment.
Although the pamphlets didn't carry the name Scientology on them, they advertised the Foundation For a Drug-Free World, which is sponsored by Scientology. When I called the number and asked where one should go to get help for drug abuse, I was directed to Narconon Arrowhead on Oklahoma's Lake Eufaula.
2012-05-16, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
In November 2002David Miscavige unveiled his first showcase Idle Org in Buffalo, New York. Appended below is Miscavige's order issued just prior to Buffalo's grand opening to ensure the place would be crawling with public and expanding for the whole world to see.
Did anybody from Int ever notice the 'hey-you' character of most of Miscavige's orders? Notice the recipient (Int Landlord) of this order. He might as well have issued the order to the groundskeeper at Celebrity Center. See after the Miscavige order evidence of the result. Nearly ten years later, a photo of the Buffalo Idle org taken just last week by an indie who happened to be visiting that city and stopped by to check out the original showcase.
25 OCT 2002
2012-05-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Derek Bloch just wanted to share his story.
He wanted to tell other people what he'd been through, growing up in Scientology, getting kicked out of its hardcore "Sea Org" when it turned out that he was gay, and then increasingly becoming disaffected with his parents' religion as he became more educated and learned something about human psychology.
He wanted to say all that, but he didn't want to harm anyone, particularly his parents, who were still convinced Scientologists.
(Definitions at end) Want to know the real story of L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics and Scientology? Go to http://www.Scientology.org
This channel has been created to let you hear, for yourself, what Mr. Hubbard actually taught so that YOU can make up your own mind. After all, there's no one who can decide what's best for you...but you.
This lecture is "The Deterioration of Liberty".
2011-05-16, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
My man Rod Serling gives the perfect one minute introduction to the latest from the South Bay area (South San Francisco Bay). Documents from the local orgs all the way up to OSA. Please watch Mr. Serling's introduction so you are prepared, then enter the Twilight Zone as set forth in the documents which follow concerning the earlier beginning of the strange case of Ms Lewis:
Public and org reports:
"Exactly what it was that caused Pte McBride to act or react in the extreme way he did when he had been happy positive and looking forward to the future just days before his death remains a mystery," he said.
But what is known is that Pte McBride had been deeply involved in the Church of Scientology, undertaking many of its courses in the two years before his death.
Queensland Coroner John Lock was critical of the Church, finding there was a clear inference that it deliberately dispatched its file on Pte McBride to the United States to ensure that it could not be produced to the inquest,
The night ended in Tintagel, a part of Cornwall, England, in a hotel called Camelot Castle. It also, however, seemed to be an unofficial haven for Scientologists. Throughout the night we gazed around at an overabundance of art on the walls as well as various photos of celebrity Scientologists such as Tom Cruise. After browsing every strange nook, the class had its own reading session, where students and professors alike shared stories, poems and raps before collapsing into bed for the night.
According to Clearwater police, the plane, just gassed up with 600 pounds of fuel, struck two trees and a telephone pole in the suburban neighborhood a block north of Drew Street. The plane then ripped across the home of the Cetrolis and came to rest minus its wings and front end in the family's back yard.
2008-05-16, Tom O'Connell, New Mexico Business Weekly
Church members have had to contend with a barrage of harassing phone calls, at least one bomb threat and monthly protests across the street from the church's northeast Albuquerque headquarters, said Block. This comes at a time when the group is preparing a zoning appeal for its proposed purchase and renovation of Downtown's Gizmo building for a new headquarters and church.
The money to buy the building is in an escrow account. It had been listed for $2.2 million, but the sale price was not disclosed. An updated rendering of the proposed remodel (on page 7) shows an exterior with a more contemporary Southwestern design that features natural materials like stone and earthtone colors.
Another Scientology PSA remixed. How do Scientology leaders really feel about equality?
Features Jesse Prince, a former top-level Scientologist who was the assistant to current Scientology leader David Miscavige.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., May 13 (UPI) -- Officials in St. Petersburg, Fla., have closed an apartment building and are looking into alleged fire code violations at other buildings owned by a same man.
The buildings are owned by Scott W. Snow, of Oldsmar, Fla. He refused to comment to the St. Petersburg Times regarding the code allegations.
Renters were told to move from the Chinook Apartments after inspectors found that earlier alleged violations had not been addressed, the newspaper said.
2004-05-16, Jamie Doward, Special reports, The Observer
Now, however, the church has allowed The Observer access to its Celebrity Centre, although it didn't allow photographs. For the first time, a British newspaper could quiz its senior personnel about its finances, beliefs and influence on wider society.
The picture that emerges is of a sophisticated, well-organised church that is a bizarre marriage of Hollywood and hi-tech.
A 22-year legal battle came to an abrupt end last week when the Church of Scientology paid $8.67 million to one of its harshest critics: a former member who claimed the church had harassed him for years and driven him "to the brink of insanity."
MAINZ, GERMANY MAINZ, Germany (AP) _ The exchange was heated and quick, touched off by a denial that the Church of Scientology had compared the treatment of its members in Germany with the persecution of Jews by Hitler.
"Don't you read your own newspapers?" the leader of Germany's Jewish community, Ignatz Bubis, said angrily, looking in disbelief at Scientologist Barbara Lieser. Scientology has published both booklets and newspaper ads alluding to what they see as parallels.
Such public confrontation has been rare in the German debate on Scientology, easily the most controversial religious group in Germany, where officials claim it is an intrinsic threat to society.
MAINZ, GERMANY MAINZ, Germany (AP) _ It was a rare public meeting on Scientology, and the Church of Scientology representative was on the defensive.
It wasn't true, she said, that her church was comparing treatment of its German members with Hitler's persecution of Jews.
"Don't you read your own newspapers?" the leader of Germany's Jewish community, Ignatz Bubis, asked angrily, looking in disbelief at Scientologist Barbara Lieser.
In an extraordinary spectacle that riveted the nation's attention, thousands of police officers conducted raids this morning and arrested the guru of the Aum Shinri Kyo, or "Supreme Truth," religious sect on charges of organizing the nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.
The guru, Shoko Asahara, was discovered meditating, apparently in a lotus position, in a secret chamber in the sect's headquarters near Mount Fuji.
Kay County District Judge Neal Beekman issued the stay of his own order Wednesday requiring Narconon to shut down immediately.
Beekman said he was granting the 10-day stay to allow Narconon time to appeal the ruling.
Beekman also overruled Narconon's motion for a new trial.
Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, ordered by a district judge and state officials to close, won court protection Friday to remain open for 10 more days.
Meanwhile, an Oklahoma County district judge said it may take several weeks for him to review materials submitted in the ongoing controversy surrounding the center. And it was disclosed Friday that the center has been given a 90-day conditional license by the Tonkawa tribe's newly formed regulatory agency.
Kay County District Judge Neal Beekman, who earlier this week issued a permanent injunction to close Narconon Chilocco, on Friday issued a stay of his order for 10 days to give Narconon lawyers time to appeal.
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court refused Monday to review the federal government's decision to strip the controversial Church of Scientology of California of its tax-exempt status from 1970 through 1972.
The justices, without comment, rejected the church's appeal of a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court, however, will consider a similar issue next term in connection with another case it has agreed to hear involving whether Scientologists may deduct from their taxable income money spent on spiritual awareness courses.
The Church of Scientology, in its efforts to investigate and attack its "enemies," kept files on five Washington federal judges, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, other congressmen, Jacqueline Onassis, the Better Business Bureau and the American Medical Association, according to Scientology documents in the possession of federal investigators.
The Scientologists' files, summarized in a 525-page inventory filed in court by the federal government, were in many cases marked "Eyes Only," "Top Secret," "Enemy Names" and "Battle Plans." Their contents were coded with phrases like "Operation Cut Throat," "Espionage" and "Operation Big Mouth."
The documents, which were seized under subpoena by federal agents in raids of Scientology offices here and in Los Angeles last summer, include orders from top Scientology officials to investigate and attack certain government agencies, private businesses and individuals.