Scientology is always hunting around for new themes to use in its fundraising, from Star Wars to The Last Samurai. And we didn't think it could get more on-the-nose than Caribbean pirates and 30's gangsters asking for your dough.
Hand over yer booty, me lovelies!
But the folks in Chicago have really come through, and with an Ideal Org grand opening only weeks away (we think). In their latest gambit, to get folks amped up for a big fundraising event this weekend, they've hit on some Windy City gold: Jake and Elwood Blues!
What are some differences between conventional and conspiratorial thinking?
You can start with healthy skepticism vs. overriding suspicion. As a scientist, I'm obviously skeptical. I'm questioning anything people say. I look at my own data and other people's data with a skeptical eye. But after skeptics have been skeptical, they are quite capable of accepting evidence. Once something has withstood scrutiny, you accept it. Otherwise you're in a state of complete nihilism and you can't believe anything.
That crucial second step of acceptance is absent in conspiracy theorists. That is where conspiracy theorists are different. Their skepticism is a bottomless, never-ending pit of skepticism about anything related to the official account. And that skepticism is accompanied by extreme gullibility to anything related to the conspiracy. It's an imbalance between skepticism for anything an official may say and complete gullibility for something some random dude on the internet will tweet out. It's that imbalance that differentiates conspiracy thinking from standard cognition.
We have an unusual leaked conference call from Scientology's private cruise ship the Freewinds. It was intended to be heard only by Scientologists in the ANZO continent (Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania).
The commanding officer of the ship is Sharron Weber, and the call was billed as an analysis of the state of the planet during the global pandemic.
Dense with the loaded language of Scientology, the call was a motivational rally to encourage Scientologists to become more active as Field Staff Members, or FSMs, who act as salespeople, getting a commission for convincing other Scientologists to further their expensive progress up the "Bridge to Total Freedom." Those they can bring to the org to start a course are called Selectees.
2020-05-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here's some news from Canada.
It's a pretty good snapshot of scientology across the planet.
The hype about Extension Courses is going to come back to bite them in the butt once the lockdown is over. "Intensive gains" from reading books. Who needs auditing?
The Church of Scientology and the Nation of Islam having effectively merged many years ago, it was inevitable that the forces of syncretism would manifest. Just as Nation of Islam members have become trained Scientology auditors, so too have Scientologists have embraced the Nation of Islam's dangerous and pseudoscientific anti-vaccination quackery.
The Nation of Islam is headquartered in Chicago. As reported by the New York times last month, Chicago is high on the list of American cities likely to be the epicenter of the next measles outbreak:
Having apparently learned nothing from the measles outbreak aboard its pocket cruise ship the MV Freewinds, Scientology has doubled down on its anti-vaxxer crusading. Using tax free dollars, Scientology sent its WashingtonDC lobbyist Greg Mitchell to an anti-vaccination rally held by the Hasidim Jewish community in the Brooklyn where a measles outbreak occurred as the haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jews) do not believe in vaccinations.
After nearly a decade, the Jett Travolta Foundation may be winding down.
Formed in 2008 after John Travolta and Kelly Preston's autistic 16 year old son Jett died in the Bahamas, the Foundation only has a fair market value of $42,783 according to the newest tax filing.
The Travoltas gave away about $48,000. Around $18,000 of that went to Scientolgy-related organizations. That's ironic since Scientology never allowed the Travoltas to admit Jett was autistic. They always said he had Kawasaki Syndrome, and was affected by household cleaners.
Our correspondent Dianne Lipson was again in court today, and gave us a riveting account of defendant-turned-witness Lauren Salzman as she described being Keith Raniere's slave — while Raniere never took his eyes off of her.
First, here's Dianne's account of Thursday's afternoon session…
When the afternoon started, we were still on re-direct of filmmaker Mark Vicente.
Scientology is very quick to label those of us who have exposed their controversies and abuses with the word "bigot." You've seen them call us that countless times. They throw it Leah Remini and Mike Rinder and so many others. So for that reason this flier for tonight's "graduation" celebration at the HollywoodCelebrity Centre is particularly soaked through with the stink of hypocrisy. We thought you'd get a kick out of it.
It's sad enough that the great artist Stanley Clarke lends his name to this, but David Miscavige just can't seem to get enough of Nation of Islam figure and Scientology Freedom Medal WinnerTony Muhammad, who has now adopted the name Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad.
More about him in a minute, but we want to dwell a moment on the title of this event, "Uplifting the Culture." Which culture is that, Dave?
2019-05-17, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
People all over the world have differing ideas and beliefs about the natural and supernatural worlds. How do we cope with all this? Where do we draw the lines? In this short clip, I try to address what is woo and how to be tolerant of differing ideas but not abusive behavior. Enjoy!
Last week, we asked the people on our "Scientology disconnection, a reminder" list — which appears at the end of each story here at the Bunker — about how they are coping with the church keeping them from their loved ones. The result was an emotional outpouring from the people on the list and from the readers of this website.
Two responses came in late, but we thought they were worth posting on their own. Again, as you read these, keep in mind what the victims of Scientology must endure every day of the week.
Claire Headley: No doubt, for any individual, experiencing disconnection from loved ones can be extremely tough. Earth shattering, heart breaking, just plain awful.
The story of alleged cult NXIVM has all the makings of a binge-worthy docuseries. A secretive leader who allegedly had women branded with his initials, wealthy heiresses who helped finance the organization, and a Hollywood actress accused of luring in fresh recruits.
But before all that was public, back in 2007, NXIVM, correctly predicting in advance the firestorm of press that lurked ahead, hired Frank Parlato to help with its public relations.
They hoped he might go after detractors of the group accusing it of being a cult. He ended up exposing the story that made the alleged cult famous: that it had a secret sorority that was branding female "slaves" with leader Keith Raniere's initials.
Emotions are said to cloud judgement and get in the way of critical thinking, but is that always true? Are emotions and logic natural enemies? In this video I talk about the elements of decision making and what part emotion plays in critical thinking.
CRITICAL MERCHANDISE AVAILABLE AT:
Rona Ambrose is leaving politics.
However you feel about the outgoing interim Conservative leader, you have to give her credit for one thing: denouncing the characters at Ezra Levant's Rebel Media as "idiots."
It's unclear if the next Conservative leader will take the same position on the alt-right website – after all, nearly every Conservative leadership candidate has degraded themselves courting Levant's approval.
They might want to rethink where they stand. Last time Rebel Media made headlines around the world, it was after one of their hosts released videos questioning the Holocaust and explaining why he hates Jews, earning praise from neo-Nazis and a former KKK Grand Wizard.
2017-05-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a blog post from 29 May 2013 that I am republishing today because I thought it interesting and still timely (And frankly was too busy to write a new post).
One of our Special Correspondents sent me an excerpt of Miscavige's only print media interview.
It is of interest for a number of reasons, but most significantly, it makes clear why he is scared of the press. He has no control over revising history with the media as he does with his internal public (try to find an event video in any org on the planet that has Heber Jentzsch or Ray Mithoff in it.... they have been written out of history). There is no mystery why the DVDs of his speeches are guarded like the Crown Jewels and extraordinary measures are taken to prevent anyone from recording what he says, even on a public street).
Hey, San Diego, the Scientologists are coming back!
Last November, a gang of Scientologists materialized in San Diego for a grand opening event presided over by church leader David Miscavige himself. It was the latest "Ideal Org" opening, held to much fanfare, and the church claimed that 3,500 Scientologists showed up.
We find in general with Scientology's crowd estimates that if you divide by about 7, you get a truer number of the folks who actually showed up at such events. But either way, that's a lot of Scientologists for a place like San Diego. Most of them were probably transported down from L.A., and we'd bet that on any given day of the week since that ceremony if you went by that new Ideal Org on Fourth Avenue you'd find it near empty, just like the rest.
A surprising new document showed up in the court file of Laura DeCrescenzo's forced-abortion lawsuit in Los Angeles. Superior Court Judge John P. Doyle has submitted a detailed disclosure about his ties to family members who are Scientologists. They are his cousins, and in the six-page document Doyle details his interaction with them, which has been sparse. But those interactions do include a visit to East Grinstead, England, where Doyle says he had a tour and lunch at Saint Hill Manor, Scientology's UK headquarters and the former home of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The disclosure comes just weeks after Doyle had denied the Church of Scientology's most recent attempt to get DeCrescenzo's seven-year lawsuit thrown out with a motion for summary judgment. Laura survived a previous motion for summary judgment in 2013, and this time Scientology had asked Doyle to kill the lawsuit as a violation of its religious rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. But Doyle sided with DeCrescenzo, saying that the church's motion had been a longshot to begin with. (We were present, reporting live from the courtroom that day.)
That decision paved the way for an actual trial, and Judge Doyle indicated that he might set a date for one about a year from now. In the meantime, Scientology's attorneys indicated that they would be seeking a writ of mandamus with an appeals court to try and have Doyle's decision overturned. DeCrescenzo's attorney, John Blumberg, told us after the hearing that he expected Scientology to petition all the way to US Supreme Court on the summary judgment decision, which could push things back further.
2016-05-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
If they consider THIS to be the Golden Age of Narconon, it pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the "Golden Age" moniker...
Never in its history has Narconon been confronted with so many lawsuits resulting from deaths and abuses at its facilities.
At no time has there been the volume of negative media coverage Narconon boasts today.
L. Ron Hubbard's Stolen Valor: Fake WWII Combat Medals
Literary Forgery & Stolen Valor: L. Ron Hubbard falsely claimed that he had won two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and 19 other combat medals in WWII. The fact is that L. Ron Hubbard never served one day in combat, never fought in combat, and was most certainly never wounded in combat.
The truth: Hubbard's US Navy service record shows that he never received Purple Hearts or a Bronze Star. L. Ron Hubbard worked as a self-employed typewriter jockey cranking out pulp fiction for a penny a word until he went active duty US Navy on 22 Sept 1941. Then 32 years of age, Hubbard received a commission as a lieutenant jg and did not go through Officer's Training School or any type of combat or weapons training. In particular, Hubbard had no amphibious warfare or jungle survival training. Hubbard's first job on active duty was to review and annotate the hydrographic surveys of Puget Sound he had sent to the US Navy ten years earlier. Hubbard was not a combat soldier and had no special background training, no special skills, and only spoke English.
A Kiwi says he was brainwashed from birth after he was born into a secretive religious sect.
Rama das Ranson, 35, was brought up in the Science of Identity faith, and says he was instructed by his parents Robin and Allan Ranson to worship its reclusive leader Chris Butler 'like a God'.
Ranson, who has spoken for the first time, said he rejected the group's teachings, which he labels as a cult.
2015-05-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is a dose of reality about an actual "ideal org." Rather than the pretense presented in the events and PR publications.
This org was opened in April 2009 by David Miscavige hisself with one of his usual grandiloquent speeches. All about how this "new org" was going to bring spiritual freedom to Texas and more blah blah about the massive expansion it org represents.
Here is the "technical team" of Dallas "ideal" org:
We drove all over the world Saturday and back, and only have energy to post some cool pictures for y'all today. Like this great one of 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely' in front of Scientology's Los Angeles headquarters, variously known as PAC Base, "Big Blue," and "we want Berendo Street back."
The book also showed up in London (which is where our publisher is, by the way)...
...and in Bath, at the Parade Gardens. What a lovely spot.
Our source has really come through for us this week with one of the best "quote videos" that we've seen so far. This is another clip that you aren't supposed to see until you're actually a member of Scientology, and after viewing it we can certainly see why.
This is L. Ron Hubbard at his best, spinning a series of tall tales about how, while he was a patient at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in 1947 for his war "wounds" (an ulcer and conjunctivitis), he infiltrated the hospital's medical library and then showed up the scientists there with his amazing discoveries about the thinkingness of thought on the way to publishing Dianetics three years later.
He told this version of the tale in 1958 at what is now known as the LondonClearing Congress, and Scientologists are encouraged to buy copies of the lectures at $125. Here's how Bridge Publications describes the package...
Mark Headley continues his discussion of Life at INT Base, the pinnacle of Scientology Inc.
He describes the actual incident of "Int BaseMusical Chairs" the most read thread of all time on Xenu.net capturing the *Scientology* world's attention.
At least 350,000 read the story, counting the cross posts.
2014-05-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Oh boy, where to begin?
No comment on this guy's literacy level. But it still amazes me when I see it.
9 YEARS they have been doing "the fundraise" OMG that is a LOOOOONG time. No wonder the poor Valley are all wore out...
Publicly available IRS 990-T's and recent legal cases have given us the names of twelve trusted Church of Scientology functionaries:
1. Arthur Bolstad - CST books are in his possession as of 2011
2. Lynn Farny — CSI books are in his possession as of 2012, former GO
On Sunday, we reported that the Church of Scientology had put on its main website a photograph of last Saturday's Portland "Ideal Org" grand opening.
The photo was posted along with a church press release which claimed that 2,500 people had attended the event. Our own eyewitnesses on the scene, counting people in images they had taken, estimated the crowd at more like 450 to 750.
Scientology's image was disorienting — in photos our correspondents had taken, there was a row of potted trees that contained the crowd to an area in front of the Sherlock Building on SW 3rd Avenue. But in Scientology's photo, the trees cannot be seen, and the audience seems to swell onto SW Oak Street.
You just have to hand it to the folks in the San Fernando Valley. They've tried raising money for an Ideal Org with bowling nights and by selling doorknobs. And now, well, apparently it's time for a little old-fashioned show biz.
For those just joining us, the Church of Scientology is in the grips of crisis, and is losing members in part from the endless rounds of fundraising to purchase new buildings dubbed "Ideal Orgs." Church leader David Miscavige has made these projects a priority even though they're replacing facilities that weren't full to begin with. So local members, like the trio in this video, have to come up with creative new ways to convince wary parishioners to come on down for another round of heavy fundraising pressure.
In the Valley, that means trotting out reliable Nancy Cartwright and Jim Meskimen for a night of hilarity!
2013-05-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Read this NOW!!!
It is URGENT!! The world is coming to an end SOON!!! Act NOW!!
Boston is taking the lead in the Nutball Stakes — zooming past the Valley Comic Doorknobs with this follow up to their fridge magnet email.
An unlikely coalition of gun rights advocates, Scientologists and physician-skeptics is using post-Newtown outrage over gun violence to promote the view that psychiatric drugs fuel mass shooters. Republican activist Bob Price said in a radio interview at a gun rights rally in Austin, Texas, that mass-casualty shooters "are on psychotropic drugs or under some sort of psychiatric care, and that's really where the discussion needs to be." The Citizens Commission on Human Rights was founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology, a longtime opponent of psychiatry and psychiatric drugs.
2013-05-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is the first in a series of investigations into the status of highly publicized churches and missions.
Thanks to Special Correspondent Ronn Stacy who took this shot of the Mountain View "Ideal Org" Test Center today.
If you cannot see clearly — those are "For Lease" signs in the window. Ronn tells us that he doesn't know if they relocated but that would seem odd since this was a prime downtown location they have had for a decade or more. At one time they ran most of Div6 here, OCA testing, basics bookstore, pinch tests, Div6 Crs Room, Book 1 auditing.
2013-05-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This analysis provided by J. Swift. Interesting....
Thanks for all your support
1. Scientology.org is down 30.83% in the past one month. There was a seven day blip up 20% coincident with PortlandIdeal Org grand opening and the attendant controversy over the photoshopped image.
According to police sources, the case dates back to several 2010 arson cases, which caused over a million dollars in damages.
The police believe the suspects targeted the new scientology center in Jaffa and planned to bring the building down via a gas explosion. To that aim, the loaded a truck they had stolen with fuel tanks and gas containers – while dressed as in traditional haredi garb. The move was meant to stir the future investigation towards a Jewish terror attack against the controversial cult.
A passenger on the plane that crashed into a Clearwater home Sunday remained in the hospital with multiple injuries Monday but is showing signs of improvement.
Charles Uslander, 54, of 2076 Sunset Point Road, was rushed to Bayfront Medical Center on Sunday in critical condition after the single-engine Piper crashed at 305 Patricia Ave. shortly after takeoff from Clearwater Airpark. The plane also struck two trees and a utility pole.
No, this is not about the dispute between the Falun Gong and the Canadian Tulip Festival. It's about an incident at Seattle's Fremont Market. As the U.S. journalist Dan Savage tells it, shoppers at the popular outdoor market were surprised to discover a booth sponsored by the Church of Scientology. The Scientologists obtained the booth "under the pretense of being ordinary 'booksellers'," according to a market spokesman.
High Quality Download: http://tinyurl.com/4lj74h (Get and spread it!)
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. hubbard dianetics cchr racism
Sparks, a veteran narcotics officer, is in the Utah Meth Cops Project, a four-week program whose techniques were created by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. The project aims to rid officers' bodies of poisonous chemicals they believe were absorbed during their investigations of countless meth labs.
Supporters say it is simply a miracle. Some critics question its effectiveness and say there is no scientific evidence it works, or even that the officers' ailments are caused by their lab work.
PARIS, May 17 (UPI) -- The Paris chapter of the Church of Scientology was fined for a data-protection violation Friday, but escaped more serious fraud charges that might have ended in its dissolution. The church said it would appeal the ruling by a Paris criminal court, in which the church was fined $7,300 and its president $1,800.
Saunas are coming to Arrowhead Lodge, but not the kind some area residents would prefer. An international group with ties to the Church of Scientology is buying the 256-acre resort property and plans to lease it to a Narconon drug and alcohol abuse treatment center, officials said Tuesday. The nonprofit Association for Better Living and Education will pay the Choctaw Nation about $1.9 million for the resort, said Gary Smith, executive director of the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center in Newkirk. Arrowhead State Park and the Arrowhead Golf Course will remain under the control of the state Tourism Department, spokesman Ron Stahl said.
Let stand rulings that denied the Church of Scientology of California federal tax-exempt status for three years. The court turned away arguments that, among other things, stripping the church of its tax exemption for the years 1970-72, "threatens the rights of all churches to proselytize through the sale of religious literature."