Last year, the quarantining of Scientology's private cruise ship the Freewinds for a case of measles had reporters scrambling to find out how the organization felt about vaccinations. Was the outbreak on the ship a sign that Scientology was part of the dumb anti-vaxx hysteria becoming so depressingly epidemic in this country?
We wrote a story about that, pointing out that although Scientology itself had no prohibitions against vaccines, L. Ron Hubbard's withering criticisms of western medicine had produced a legacy of paranoia in the church and a membership that tended to embrace conspiracy theories about medicine and medical providers.
In other words, Scientologists tend to be Alex Jones-style conspiracy advocates and anti-vaxx promoters. And last year, we pointed out that the church itself was increasingly getting involved in anti-vaxx advocacy, and with strange results: Scientology's DC lobbyist, Greg Mitchell, was quoted in a New York Times story offering his help and support to Ultra-Orthodox Jews in upstate New York fighting vaccinations; OT 8Lucy Cole brought anti-vaxx propaganda to the Nation of Islam, which former Scientology executiveAmy Scobee told us would not be happening without Scientology leader David Miscavige's approval; and there was the slightly comical forming of the "Conscience Coalition," a political advocacy group made up largely of Scientologists, including Mitchell.
2020-05-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is some expert advice from WISE that scientology could use.
The first line is an eye-opener. Just think of this. Scientology CLAIMS they have a product NOBODY can do without. And they have an absolute monopoly on it. Everything in the business is copyrighted and trademarked to be sure there is no competition. It is not just the cure for all illness, mental AND physical, it is the answer to all problems on earth and in the universe and has the ability to restore you to native state as an "Operating Thetan" capable of creating the entire universe, being in complete control of all matter, energy, space and time.
Now, if that isn't a formula for unbridled success, I don't know what is.
2019-05-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The big push is on for an "Ideal California" — as if this is going to change anything...
The fundraising promotional pieces are coming hard and fast. Below are just a few from the last week.
What is so incredible is that these people think that the last ideal org in California is going to make any difference to anything or anyone.
2019-05-26, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left for me 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) One book which I have found to be a great resource is 'The New Believers' (subtitled 'Sects, 'cults' and alternative religions) by David V. Barrett. I wonder if you are familiar with it? He strives to be painstakingly fair-minded with all the organisations he writes about. Even so, the more wacky and dangerous ideas & practices of, for example, the Flying Saucer Cults, the Nation of Islam and, of course, Scientology, come across loud and clear. Having learned so much from you about what really goes on though, I do wonder about his use of a quote from Lorraine Bulger, who he says has reached OT 8. Have you heard of her? He seems to suggest that, because Hubbard's 'History of Man' does not have to be taken literally, then a more 'metaphorical' approach to the OT materials (notably OT 3) would also be perfectly acceptable. The quote from Bulger reads,"Many religions have legends and scriptures which, taken out of context, can appear strange and misrepresentative...." This puzzles me. I have detected no hint whatsoever of a move towards a move liberal reading of the core texts. In fact, top-level Scientologists aren't supposed to hint at their contents at all, right? Has the author perhaps got a little sidetracked here and managed to find some relatively easygoing Independent Scientologists as sources? Maybe he is being a little too fair-minded?! Your thoughts?
(2) My question is about the Communications Course as I have heard many ex-Scientologists saying that it is a great course and they are still grateful for it. So, what is the Communications Course about? And is it highlighting an emotional vulnerability that makes people fall for Scientology?ANDI have been reading about people who say the one thing they got something out of from Scientology is the Communication Course. It seems to be the course most people try out first. I found myself drawn to it for personal reasons but I would not venture in to a Scientology church to take the course. However I found that they offer the course online for free so I signed up with an e-mail address I only use if I expect someone to send me junk mail. I had a problem right away with the first page and that is what my question is about. The online course is in my own language so I hope I translate the terms correctly. It is about "duplication." According to the text it is a vital part of communication. The definition is to make an exact copy of something. This sounds like their idea of the Communication Course is basically about how to get others to duplicate or copy what you tell them. Is this a first step in to the indoctrination from their part to get people to accept duplicating or copying what they are told? Also I object to lots of stuff they say about communication like that it is a particle to move from one place to an other. Surely I can not be the only one objecting to stuff they are told so how are people that object to things said handled in courses? Are they just told to be quiet and accept what is being said? Is it open for discussion or are people in general just accepting things said in course?
Model Lana Brooke's photos are the most widely used by African Romance Scammers — and now the Church of Scientology
The website romancescamsnow.com warns people of Romance Scams used by African scammers. One of the scammers favorite fakes is a model named Lana Brooke:
Lana Brooke is one of a handful of Models and Porn stars that is the favorite of the Dating Scammer community in Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Benin, and other Western and Central African countries. We think this is because she looks like a corn-fed down-home Mid-Western Beauty – All American...
We've heard from a number of readers who were curious about how a controversial new bill working its way through the California legislature might affect the Church of Scientology.
California Senate Bill 360 would require Catholic priests to report other priests who admit to child sexual assault in confession. The bill's sponsors say this is a direct result of years of controversy over child rape in the Catholic church, and that priests should have to report to authorities just as doctors or school employees when they learn that a child is being harmed.
But the bill, which passed a Senate vote of 30-2 and now goes to California's Assembly, is generating loud opposition from Catholic officials who say it would destroy the sanctity of the confession, something priests have been willing to go to prison to protect. (Violating the new law would only be a misdemeanor.)
2018-05-26, Katherine Stewart, Opinion, New York Times
America's Christian nationalists have a new plan for advancing their legislative goals in state capitols across the country. Its stated aim is to promote "religious freedom." Not shy, they call it "Project Blitz."
"Blitz" accurately describes the spirit of the enterprise, but the mission has little to do with what most Americans would call religious freedom. This is just the latest attempt by religious extremists to use the coercive powers of government to secure a privileged position in society for their version of Christianity.
The idea behind Project Blitz is to overwhelm state legislatures with bills based on centrally manufactured legislation. "It's kind of like whack-a-mole for the other side; it'll drive 'em crazy that they'll have to divide their resources out in opposing this," David Barton, the Christian nationalist historian and one of four members of Project Blitz's "steering team," said in a conference call with state legislators from around the country that was later made public.
Hey, this is becoming a cool series. We recently asked Marc Headley and Jefferson Hawkins for excerpts from their books about their experiences in the Sea Org, and today we have an outtake from Karen Pressley's book, Escaping Scientology: My Journey with the Cult of Celebrity Spirituality, Greed & Power.
Like Headley and Hawkins, Pressley wants us to understand the Orwellian world of Int Base, and what it was like to live at the whims of a madman like Scientology leader David Miscavige. We think she did a bang-up job.
David Miscavige micromanaged the work of Gold crew, down to watching the daily rushes of Cine's film shoots, and even sat in the editing bay to tell Gary Weise how to edit the shots. In his early Sea Org days as a teen, Miscavige had worked in Hubbard's film crew, so he considered himself the expert on filmmaking. I noted that the Cine crew were re-making all earlier films produced by Hubbard's team because they were unprofessional quality, an embarrassment to watch. Nevertheless, Cine crew were subject to Miscavige's criticisms about how bad we were at our jobs, subject to his verbal abuses and harsh discipline through deprivation of sleep.
2018-05-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a direct quote from a policy by L. Ron Hubbard of 15 Aug 1960 DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
The bold-face is mine to highlight some of the most disturbing passages.
The object of the Department is to broaden the impact of Scientology upon governments and other organizations and is to conduct itself so as to make the name and repute of Scientology better and more forceful. Therefore defensive tactics are frowned upon in the department. We are not trying to make the Central Orgs and HCOs "be good". We are trying to make their reach more secure and effective. Only attacks resolve threats.
The European Union's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) suite took effect yesterday, May 25, 2018. We look at what it might mean to Scientology, and how activists might use it as an avenue to bring about positive change in the organization, or, if Scientology is not serious about complying with the rules, how they might be hamstrung (but not shut down) by the GDPR.
I did extensive work on the potential impact of the GDPR on US-based companies in 2016 and early 2017, and this discussion is based on that work as well as other research about earlier investigations by European regulators into Scientology's privacy practices.
Scientology's antiquated paper-based recordkeeping practices, mandated by founder L. Ron Hubbard's holy writ, cannot ever hope to comply with the GDPR. The cult's belief that it's inherently above "wog" law means that it probably won't make a meaningful attempt to comply. That exposes Scientology to the highest level of penalties, a minimum fine of €20 million, reserved for chronic violation of the rules and for not taking them seriously. But while Scientology is exposed, we think regulators will have much larger fish to fry in the early days following GDPR enactment to pay attention to the cult. We discuss the specifics of what will happen when the regulators do turn their eyes onto Scientology's privacy practices in the future.
Our tipster who pores through old newspaper clippings sent a message this week, barely concealing his glee. He said that scans of The University Hatchet were added online last year going back to its founding in 1904.
The Hatchet is the student newspaper at George Washington University in the District of Columbia, a school that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard attended from 1930 to 1932. He left after his sophomore year, and never got a college degree. But while he was at GW as an engineering student, he got up to numerous extracurricular activities, including flying gliders and writing for the Hatchet.
In an earlier story, we found an assessment of Hubbard's final year at GW in an investigation by the FDA:
Galaxy Press, the publishing company for the Church of Scientology, advertising L. Ron Hubbard's SciFi works in audio book form. Heard regularly during CSC Talk Radio. Recorded April 10 at 2346 UTC on Sony ICF-SW7600GR
Happy Memorial Day Wk-end! This is the beginning of a series I am going to do about Scientology Front groups and introductory traps they use to suck people in. Thank you to you ALL :) Stay safe and have FUN! :)
2016-05-26, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
One of the talents of any good leader or visionary is their ability to create new and better realities which we want to strive to achieve. A lot of good work is done trying to re-mold the world into a better place based on the ideas of very smart or innovative personalities.
In order for someone to be taken in by and stay with any destructive cult, whether that is Scientology or ISIS or something else entirely, requires that they buy into a new world view. Where this goes wrong, and one of the main reasons we call destructive cults destructive is because cult leaders alter the ways their members perceive the world. They create whole new artificial constructs and convince their followers that this new vision is the world they are living in now. In other words, they re-define what is normal and real.
Scientology has been compared to living in The Matrix and the analogy is fitting, especially for those second and third generation Scientologists who were born and raised in it. These poor souls often have it much harder than regular first-time members who made a conscious, even if uninformed, decision to be part of the group. Children are hardly ever given such a choice and never know any other reality than the one created by the cult environment.
Why has Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel spent upwards of $10 million funding third-party lawsuits against Gawker? If you believe his interview with the New York Times, Thiel's willingness to bankroll litigation brought by Hulk Hogan and other plaintiffs stems from several posts, including a 2007 item about Thiel dating men, that have, in his words, "ruined people's lives for no reason." But the record of Thiel's past comments paints a much more complicated picture of his motivation to end Gawker for good.
It is true, as Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton wrote in an infamous comment nine years ago, that Thiel was so anxious about Gawker's coverage of his dating life that he tried everything in his power to have it suppressed: "I got a series of messages relaying the destruction that would rain down on me, and various innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, if a story ever ran." At the time, the billionaire was a regular reader of Valleywag. "If I'm honest, I check it often, even when it's somewhat embarrassing to me," he told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in July 2007.
Two years later, though, Thiel had apparently come to terms with being in the spotlight. In a May 2009 interview, he called Gawker "purely destructive" and compared its staffers to Islamist terrorists, but acknowledged that the site wasn't out to get him or treat him harshly. "I don't feel that I'm being unequally targeted," he explained. His criticism of Gawker hinged, instead, on the site's built-in skepticism—bordering on disdain—for the burgeoning technology sector:
2016-05-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is REALLY important. And absolutely everyone is doing it! Even the Captain FSO (OMG) is involved!
The movies must be a popular thing! Wonder how many things are misfiled as people are distracted by JT or Steve Martin?
In December, while filming the second season of I Am Cait, Caitlyn Jenner and show regular Kate Bornstein made a visit to the Church of Scientology "org" that is part of its worldwide administrative headquarters in Los Angeles.
You didn't hear about it because what happened that day never made it into the show, which aired its season finale more than a month ago.
But now we can tell you that the visit to Scientology was a daring move by Jenner, who was there to support her friend Bornstein on an emotional journey. The two of them were there asking to see Bornstein's daughter, Jessica Baxter, who Kate has not seen in more than 30 years.
Flowers insists that she isn't a Scientologist, that she is Catholic, but acknowledges she has been contacted by adherents who share her concerns about psychotropic drugs. "I don't know anything about Scientologists. I'm going to put a period right there," says Flowers. She credits them, though, with introducing her to the DSM-V, which she says has "made it easier for people to be diagnosed with some form of mental illness."
The House defeated two similar resolutions Flowers drafted in 2013. The first time, the resolution lost 46–67. Then the second time, the House crushed the identically worded resolution with a 22–92 vote after Rep. Ed Sullivan linked it to Scientology. Sullivan's personal experience involves a male relative, a Scientologist, who lost a successful business and whose marriage ended in divorce.
2015-05-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
For some time I have been commenting on ASHO being an org without a role. With the cancellation of the Briefing Course they have resorted to pushing "debugs" and "Basics."
But now they have a new title "The Clearing Org of the Americas"
This says an enormous amount about the abject failure of the "ideal" org program.
2015-05-26, Matthew Estes, Harvard Political Review
Gibney advances a very different position from the typical argument that Scientology's tax-exempt status should be revoked on the grounds that it is not a real religion. In a recent op-ed, Gibney argues that even if the Church is a religion, it is using its status to hide behind the First Amendment while committing human rights abuses and possibly criminal activity. As Gibney writes, even recognized religions "may not 'serve the private interests of any individual' and/or 'the organization's purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.'"
Gibney and others have noted that the leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, and other notable celebrity members have used Church assets for personal gain and exploited low-wage labor. The use of Church assets for private gain is strictly prohibited by the IRS for tax-exempt status, and these accusations alone merit another look and IRS investigation in light of the growing number of complaints by ex-members that Gibney interviewed.
Karen de la Carriere has been keeping us updated on a situation she's been facing with the Church of Scientology, and now that she's resolved it, she's ready to go public.
Some time ago, she received notices from Scientology attorney Gary Soter that she was in some kind of violation of some sort because of videos she had posted at her YouTube. She says that she receives threat letters from Soter about once a year, and so she passed it on to her attorney without even reading it this time.
But Soter was apparently serious, and complained to YouTube, which initially took down some videos at Karen's "SurvivingScientology" page. But as she explains, she didn't take it lying down.
We've been reporting on so many problems for Scientology's drug rehab network, Narconon, and they just seem to be getting worse and worse.
For decades, when Scientology itself came under fire for its alleged abuses, odd beliefs, and bullying tactics, it reflexively pointed to its Narconon network as proof that it did good works. "But we get people off drugs!" was the rallying cry that the controversial church could always fall back on.
But increasingly, in the past few years, it's the Narconon network that is getting Scientology more unwanted attention. The deceptions inherent in the rehab model are coming in for exposure in national media (last year's excellent Rock Center episode, for example), as well as in a deluge of lawsuits and government investigations.
On Sundays, we love to turn over things to our worldwide network of tipsters, who send us the latest wacky mailers and fliers from the Church of Scientology.
This week, we have a fun variety of things, with an emphasis on getting your kids involved in some summertime fun that comes with a side helping of indoctrination!
Also, we raise a question about our friends across the pond. So let's dive in.
She said Hubbard's "study technology" would enlighten children and help save the school. But grades from Florida's standardized FCAT test released Thursday show that, in one year under Islam's management, Life Force students' education suffered.
Life Force's third- and fourth-graders scored the lowest or second-lowest passing rates in math, reading and writing of more than 300 elementary schools across Tampa Bay.
Two days before the Church of Scientology was presented with an award for preserving the 115-year-old Braley Building on South Raymond Avenue, church officials filed a claim against the city for damages incurred after the historic structure was flooded with raw sewage in November.
"In the early morning of Nov. 23, water backed up through the toilets and sinks [in] the basement," the claim states. "When personnel came in, they found four inches of raw sewage covering the entire basement area."
2011-05-26, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Corporate Scientology has gone bat shit crazy in Texas. So much so that the Independents of Texas have firmly established the state of Texas as Indie country. Radical Corporate Scientology is a nonentity, it has become at most the creator of material for sad jokes. Here are the most recent evidences of Corporate Scientology's meltdown in Texas:
Here is what the central Idle Org of Austin Texas is up to:
The church of Scientology is not going to do anything about putting ethics in on the sleezy investment class that has single-handedly crashed the world economy. Note: this is no criticism of capitalism and investment but read Adam Smith - source on Capitalism - investment should reward the servicing of a salutary cultural purpose, not be a casino for the idle to cash in on the labors of others. In fact, rather than play the role of the mighty reform organization LRH gave it, the church is going to make as many sleezy investment class members as it possibly can - that way, goes DM's reasoning, someday "I can own it all."
2010-05-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Thirty-One Factors For Scientologists to Consider
Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard discovered methodologies that can enhance self-determinism, increase freedom of choice, and bring about higher states of awareness and beingness to those who practice them. Hubbard developed a method of confession that includes unconditional forgiveness and results in more able, happy and peaceful beings. Hubbard developed an ethics system that an individual can apply to himself to improve his worth to himself and to his fellows. Hubbard established a form of organizational policy that is predicated on rewarding accomplishment rather than punishing failure. Hubbard set forth many of the fundamental values of Scientology and its organizations in the Creed of the Church of Scientology, The Code of a Scientologist, and the Credo of a True Group Member. Thirty-one factors have been discovered that threaten the continued viability of this vital subject.
Though she never presented a bill, Angle did attempt to organize a legislative trip to see the inmate treatment program at a Mexican jail. She made the proposal after visiting the facility with a former corrections department director. The legislative trip would have been arranged and paid for by a member of the Church of Scientology, and critics say the program is modeled on the faith's teachings.
Angle lobbied Gov. Kenny Guinn to support the program, Guinn confirmed Monday.
Surging Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle has had to defend her support of a prison program that her opponents linked to Scientology. Trying to head off that theme, Angle has eliminated from her campaign website mention of prominent members of the church, whom she worked with on other legislative efforts.
Angle has removed the claim that she, along with actresses Kelly Preston and Jenna Elfman, approached Sen. John Ensign to sponsor legislation prohibiting school employees from requiring students to take psychotropic drugs, such as anti-depressants.
2010-05-26, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Another courageous former member of the Church of Scientology takes a stand. The following writeup gives a chilling picture of the corruption, criminality, harassment and pressure that exists in today's Church of Scientology.
Standing Up to Be Counted
David Boothroyd - councillor for Westminster's Westbourne ward - was elected to Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee in December 2007 under the name Sam Blacketer and has edited the overly-egalitarian online encyclopedia under at least three other names.
2008-05-26, Marni Soupcoff, Editorial, National Post
If protest materials can be confiscated, then not much is left of the right to protest against Scientology. It read "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult." The lad was, by his account, warned "within five minutes of arriving" by police on the scene that his sign was unlikely to be permitted because it contained the word "cult." Shortly thereafter, a policewoman read him a section (introduced in 1994) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act:
She did research that included traveling to Hollywood to visit a museum called "Psychiatry, An Industry of Death" on Sunset Boulevard, run by the Commission on Human Rights. She had hoped to film there. Although that didn't work out, she did get the organization's Western region Executive Director Jeff Griffin to give her an interview.
The Kentucky attorney general has joined the legal fight to put the makers of the little green pill out of business.
Earlier this month, the WESH 2 I-Team first exposed how this pill doesn't work and that it's toxic, despite maker BioPerformance's claims.
Ranjith Soysa, spokesperson for the Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights (SPUR), when asked to comment on the role of the Scientologists, said that so far no one has denied that Scientologists had approached Sri Lankan widows to marry them, which is a known tactic of theirs to get a foothold in the country. It seems to me that Mr. Eckert's report is fairly balanced and he has reported what he had seen.
"Whether his observations about the "Bible Readings" by the Scientologists are right or wrong it is for Mr. Eckert to comment," he said. "However, it is a fact that missionaries of a variety of Churches have parachuted into Sri Lanka to exploit the suffering the victims of the tsunami for their own ends.
TALLAHASSEE - A $500,000 program that uses some teachings of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to help prison inmates likely will be vetoed by the governor today, the bill's sponsor says.
The program, known as Criminon, was quietly added to the state budget by one powerful legislator: Rep. Gus Barreiro, a Miami Beach Republican. He heads the House subcommittee overseeing billions of dollars in criminal justice spending.
Name any major cult or near-cult in America in the last half of the 20th century, and this teacher and author of "Cults in Our Midst" has probably researched it, debriefed its victims, or helped the cops nail its leaders.
The Symbionese Liberation Army, Charles Manson's freakish "Family," Jim Jones' Jonestown followers, the Heaven's Gate UFO wackos, David Koresh's Waco cluster, the paramilitary Synanon, even "The Family" arrested in Marin in February after a rickets-riddled baby allegedly starved to death - the list of those who have drawn her incisive gaze stretches on. And on - into cults nobody has ever heard of, bizarre little numbers centered around horses, flying saucers, giant reptiles, weight lifting, music camps, get-rich schemes. You name it.
She's also given expert testimony to help jail dozens of bunko artists who bilked oldsters of their money, done ground-breaking research on the brainwashing of Korean and Vietnam war prisoners, counseled more than 4,000 current and former cult members, and advised the military and FBI on everything from the Oklahoma City bombing to how to pick fighters who best withstand pressure. Along the way she has been hassled or fought by cults, nontraditional religions and even academics who simply disagree with her.
But again and again, stories surface that set Scientology apart. Not only does it have a penchant for secrecy, it will spend virtually unlimited time and money on pursuing, setting up and bringing down its critics.
That's not like any church we know.
CLEARWATER -- When the two-day misdemeanor trial of Scientology critic Jesse Prince ended Thursday, jurors had little doubt he had possessed marijuana as the state charged.
What bothered some of them, according to two jurors, was the possibility that Prince had been set up by the Church of Scientology.
They heard testimony about how Prince, once a high-ranking church member, was watched, videotaped and trailed for months by private investigators hired by Scientology lawyers.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Oklahoma will have its annual meeting and awards banquet Tuesday at Great Plains Vo-Tech in Lawton. Guest speaker will be U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill. There will be a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the dinner at 7. The event is open to the public. Reservations may be made by calling (405) 355-2163. Narconon Chilocco New Life Center north of Newkirk will host a three-day powwow Friday through Sunday. This year's event is expected to be the largest in northern Oklahoma. More than 3,000 visitors representing more than 50 Indian tribes participated last year.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. claims the Church of Scientology is perpretrating a 'great hoax' in its attack on Lilly's anti-depressant drug Prozac.
Lilly, whose sale of the drug last year totaled $750 million, said more than 3 million people have been treated with Prozac since it was introduced in 1988.
But sales have declined this year following a publicity campaign by the Scientologists and about 60 civil lawsuits claiming the drug causes people to commit suicide and to be a threat to others.