2019-05-30, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
People often ask me what made me leave Scientology altogether. The story is quite long and I've done whole lectures about it but this short clip encapsulates the basic outline of what went down in my escape to freedom of thought and life. Enjoy!
Dianne Lipson says the testimony from former Nxivm slave Daniela has turned gut-wrenching. Here's her latest report, starting with Wednesday's afternoon session…
Wednesday afternoon's testimony was the most harrowing I've heard yet in this case. But more on that later.
The afternoon started with discussion of Kristin Keeffe's pregnancy. Daniela noticed that Kristin's belly looked swollen. She asked Keith if Kristin was pregnant, and Keith said no. One day Kristin couldn't be found, and she was discovered in a pool of blood. She was brought to the hospital. Daniela took the call from the hospital, informing her that Kristin was pregnant. Kristin ended up having the baby. Only a small circle of people knew that it was Kristen and Keith's baby. A cover story was crafted about the baby's origins. This was to protect Keith's image as a celibate living a monk-like existence. Daniela had interaction with the little boy, Gaelen. She babysat, sometimes overnight if Kristen was out of town. Cami also had interaction with the boy as a nanny in Rainbow Cultural Garden. Very few times did Daniela see Keith interact with Gaelen.
A big thank you to our tipster for sending us the brand new issue of Freewinds, Scientology's publication that tries to convince Scientologists to fork out the big bucks to spend time on the church's floating cathedral of the same name.
Scientology's private cruise ship has, of course, taken on a new notoriety after its measles quarantine in St. Lucia and Curaçao became a worldwide story and made the ship a global laughingstock, which, come to think of it, has been Scientology's default condition for several decades now.
There was just something so perfect about the Scientology ship coming to represent anti-vaccination panic, which is leading to a resurgence of measles cases after it was declared eradicated in the year 2000.
(L. Ron Hubbard, Commodore of his own navy)
Chris Owen once again dives into Scientology history to bring us sparkling detail on a sordid episode in Sea Org history. Today, the first of two parts.
New Year, 1971. L. Ron Hubbard and his wife Mary Sue were aboard his flagship the Apollo, moored at Funchal on the Portuguese Atlantic island of Madeira. They received a 13-page memorandum from Bob Thomas, the US head of the Guardian's Office (GO), Scientology's intelligence and public relations organization, presenting an annual report of the US GO's activities during 1970. It listed no fewer than 168 separate "wins." Among the victories listed for the GO's intelligence branch were the following items:
2018-05-30, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
L. Ron Hubbard on his boat in Alaska
This promotional item was distributed some time ago, I am just getting around to publishing it.
Scientology continues to try to raise money for the "L. Ron Hubbard Hall" — another white elephant that will eventually be paid for by "Sea Org Reserves" as a means of using excess accumulation of funds. But it will be milked for everything possible until then.
We depart today from our usual excursions into Scientology financial and legal chicanery in order to explore a theological matter; specifically we examine the Church of Scientology's claim that people can be both Scientologists and Christians.
We explore this topic because of the recent efforts by Scientologist Joy Villa to gain access to American Evangelical GOP political circles. Villa did this in part by reassuring trusting Christians that Scientology is merely a set of self-help tools. This is hardly surprising as Scientologists have long attempted to minimize Scientology as nothing more than a set of self help tools when it served their purposes to do so.
However, this claim is demonstrably false. Each and every time a Scientology Org has been raided by the police — which is becoming more frequent these days -or Scientology has faced legal challenges, the Church of Scientology is very quick to protest that it is a religion and is entitled to full religious protections. The website scientologyreligion.org header clearly shows Scientology presenting itself as a religion:
I discuss unreported physical child abuse within the Scientology organization, illustrated by a personal experience I recently remembered. When I was 15 years old (1996), while I was a full-time staff member at the Church of Scientology in Philadelphia (Philly Org), an adult public Scientologist knocked me unconscious with a punch to the head in the reception area. Authorities never contacted. Charges never pressed. Details discussed.
The controversial Church of Scientology has been taking over the city of Clearwater in Florida. Other residents feel marginalized.
Approximately one million German tourists visit Clearwater Beach in Florida every year. But hardly anyone ventures across the bridge that connects the beach with the city. The city itself is dead, with empty shops, darkened windows and uniforms on the streets. The reason: it's run by the mighty Scientology sect.
"Scientology is very hostile to the outside world. Scientologists think they are superior, with superpowers and special privileges," says radio journalist Tom Smith. "This is irreconcilable with a democratic republic." Smith is frightened and angry about what is happening in his hometown. For example, it is practically impossible to move around the city center without being monitored by the Scientologists' security cameras.
A doctor and university lecturer who advocates for a controversial "spiritual healing" group touting unproven treatments including "esoteric breast massage" has been given a scathing reprimand by medical authorities.
The respiratory physician Samuel Tae-Kyu Kim failed to disclose his involvement in Universal Medicine when inappropriately referring a patient to other devotees of the group, including its founder, a former bankrupt tennis coach with no medical qualifications.
Kim, 46, who practises at a premises owned by the group at Lismore and a private medical centre in Brisbane, told the professional standards committee of the Medical Council of New South Wales that he first suspected the patient's complaint was part of a "conspiracy" to discredit Universal Medicine as a cult.
2017-05-30, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
As I did after each program in the first season, I am putting this here as a place for people to make comments about the show that has just aired.
The outpouring of support has been amazing already, just as it was in Season 1. As always, I am interested in your views - including criticisms and things you think might be better explained or covered.
For new readers here I thought you might find it instructive to be directed to some earlier postings that may help explain some things. You may have seen some of the over-the-top statements about Leah, me or anyone who has a differing opinion of scientology's infallibility and dares voice it. It is perhaps the hardest thing for someone new to this subject to grasp. If you operate on the "where there's smoke there must be fire" principle you can easily wonder whether there might be some truth to the smears they spread. It is a difficult concept to accept that people will simply LIE, even give false sworn testimony under penalty of perjury, because they believe they are protecting "man's only hope for salvation."
We've been documenting how the Church of Scientology's personal attacks on actress Leah Remini have been rolled out since word was announced that A&E had approved a second season of Leah's series, Scientology and the Aftermath.
For weeks, we've watched as Scientologists who knew Leah or were friends of her family dutifully sat for slickly filmed interviews, attacking Leah for being bossy or rude. Two things especially struck us about them: The complaints were so trivial they were comical, and as Scientologists, the subjects of the videos weren't really in a position to refuse becoming part of the church's smear campaign.
Then, yesterday, in the hours before A&E aired a two-hour special episode of Scientology and the Aftermath, we noticed that a new and very different kind of video had been added to Scientology's attack website. It was highlighted in a way that made it obvious that Scientology's operatives were very excited that they had landed such a big fish, and just in time.
Contributor Jeffrey Augustine has taken a close look at Scientology's over-the-top attacks on Ron Miscavige for this piece today. We think you're going to find that he unearthed some really eye-opening stuff!
On May 3, Ron Miscavige published a book about his son, Scientology leader David Miscavige. Titled Ruthless, the book is an unsparing account of how Ron watched his son take over Scientology and became a pitiless dictator.
David struck back with a typical Scientology "Fair Game" retaliation scheme. In this case, it was in the form of an anonymous smear website attacking his own father, as well as a concerted effort to market that website in online ads and in emails. Here at the Bunker, we've already looked at some of the claims being made on that website.
In the Westchester County suburb of Mamaroneck, a street-level office has reflective glass doors and windows that make it impossible to see inside. This is the headquarters of James O'Keefe III—the conservative activist who placed the phony phone call pretending to be Victor Kesh. As he showed me around, in late April, O'Keefe, who is thirty-one, told me that he is not a dirty trickster but an investigative journalist and a leading practitioner of modern political warfare. "We've got this guerrilla army, and it's coming to fruition soon," he said. "This is our base of operations." Waving his hand around seven thousand square feet of empty office space, he said, "This is our NORAD. It's our field operation."
The back wall of the office, he explained, would soon be hung with an enormous corkboard covered with maps. Affixed to each map would be a card with the location and the assumed name of every undercover political operative working for his nonprofit, Project Veritas. Created in 2010 as a charity that could accept tax-deductible contributions, Project Veritas says on its Web site that it is dedicated to exposing "corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct."
2016-05-30, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another thoughtful piece from our Special Correspondent who brought us An Evaluation of Scientology and Fear: That Which Drives Scientology.
Justification and Rationalization in Scientology
Rationalization of doctrine occurs in all religions. From the moment one is introduced to the creeds and canons of a church, he's forced to make sense out of the illogical and absurd if he has any chance at salvation. Scientology is no exception.
Gushy cult propaganda about the wonderfulness of their new Hollywood Media Center, the oldest still operating movie studio in Tinseltown. They also have a giant movie studio in Riverside County that they don't even fully use. Why do they need another? The Riverside studio has a reputation as a prison camp and stars and actors won't go there.
The Church hopes having a studio in Hollywood will make it easier for stars to come to "church." But none even showed up for the opening. Not Tom Cruise, not anybody. He did not even make a congratulatory video for them to show. And the outside media stayed away in droves as if they were warned. This was strange since KABC TV is right around the corner and could see the festivities from their roof!
Interestingly, most of this video is ultra-high quality computer animation: an architectural walk through. The actual site does not necessarily look like this.
With the recent grand opening of Scientology's media production studio in Hollywood, ideas abound on how to create public friendly media that will bring unprecedented expansion to the fastest growing religion in the world. More info at http://regimereport.comli.com
(Authored by Jeffrey Augustine, this essay was originally published by Tony Ortega at the Underground Bunker and is reprinted here for archival purposes)
1: What is the Church of Scientology?
Technically speaking, there is no single entity known as the "Church of Scientology." As the organization told the IRS, the term "Church of Scientology" is one of convenience referring to all of the churches in the Scientology hierarchy:
The vote is about whether the 40-acre Trout Run campus in the forest of the Catoctin Mountains, with its rustic lodges and cottages, is so historically significant that it should be listed on the Frederick County Register of Historic Places.
If the council votes to add the property to the register, Narconon will be able to move forward with its plan to open a substance abuse treatment center on the site, off Catoctin Hollow Road near Thurmont. This would upset many members of the community who have been clear that they do not want that to happen, given Narconon's connection to Scientology.
But the council members say that's not what this is about.
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 surprised us with yet another piece, and once again we are so glad he did. One of the things about Scientology that's rarely discussed (because Scientologists are under strict instructions not to talk about it) are their "memories" of past life events.
Even former Scientologists, we've found, have been somewhat reluctant to discuss what they "remembered" under Scientology auditing. Jon dives into this, discussing what he thinks is really going on. We think you'll find his thoughts fascinating.
The ramps beside the stone steps were not built for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's wheelchair.
No president ever slept in the retreat's stone-walled cabins.
The name "Trout Run" was not its first name and likely won't be its last.
The 40-acre site at 12929 Catoctin Hollow Road near Thurmont has been shrouded in more fiction than fact during the past few months it's spent in the spotlight.
2014-05-30, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
OK, so here are some recent OT Committee Meeting Minutes from the last month or so that the storks dropped down the chimney.
I didnt keep everything, but just tossed these into a folder and now, with virtually no comment I am putting them here so they are recorded for posterity.
I will note a couple of interesting lines from the latest Valley OTC Minutes that caught my eye:
2014-05-30, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This story is worth republishing. Obviously the reporter was not intending to write a puff piece — but regardless of his snide tone, his PHOTOS are amazing. A COMPLETELY EMPTY course room. Nobody visible on the ground floor except a receptionist. And he says there was only ONE person in the org that was not a staff member — someone who he found dozing off in the course room.
Compare this to the hype the church puts out to induce the sheeple into a coma of warm and fuzzy good feelings that their $14 million actually bought something other than MEST. (See recent article Sydney Is Smoking...)
INSIDE THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY'S NEW $14 MILLION COMPOUND
Our video sources came through again this Friday, and we have a collection of fun things to watch.
First up, we have another "quote video" that you normally can't see outside of a Scientology 'org.' It dramatizes a segment from L. Ron Hubbard's 1957 "Freedom Congress," and the video's intention is to get you to shell out for the full set of lectures, at $200.00
Here's how Bridge Publications describes the Freedom Congress...
2013-05-30, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Just a bit of silly entertainment before addressing a serious subject in my next posting.
Order now and they will be delivered by horse and buggy...
This illustrates how absurd Pubs Orgs pricing policies are. Anyone in their right mind would not even TRY to sell these, but if they did they would be 10 CENTS. Like the rest of the vulture culture their motto is "Money for nothing."
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 another marathon chapter, "Mechanisms and Aspects of Therapy." It reviews various techniques of dianetic therapy that L. Ron Hubbard has already described.
Generally, Hubbard is giving an auditor tips for how to deal with various issues that come up in therapy, always with the goal of eventually returning a patient to his or her very first engram, whatever first traumatized the little zygote soon after conception.
2012-05-30, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Windhorse mentioned the infamous Scientology Inc Net Nanny software in a comment to the last post. The software was presented as a template to set Scientologists up on the goofy, retro 'Scientologist' networking site. But, it was embedded too with a program that would block those Scientologists from finding out anything about David Miscavige or church of Scientology from the internet at large. In the event anyone had any doubts about whose brilliant idea that was, I present David Miscavige's order to Commanding Officer CMO INT (Marc Yager - roughly equivalent to CEO of church of Scientology International).
NET NANNY ORDER:
29 Dec 2000
Under the Act and common law, an organization established for a political purpose cannot be a charity. The courts have determined political purposes to be those that seek to:
Oddly, the CRA says almost the exact opposite on its charity tax forms themselves, but the above is, in fact, the law; a law being used by the Tories to attempt to suppress legitimate charities that they do not like.
But what about "charities" that, for one reason or another, the Tories do not mind so much?
When Natalie and I wrote the previous article, we were puzzled as to the fact that Charles McVety, the virulently political Christian Right activist who has made it his recent mission to oppose attempts to introduce anti-LGBT bullying legislation for schools in Ontario, somehow seemed to be able to claim that donations to one-or-another of his initiatives listed on the website of his Institute for Canadian Values were tax-deductible.
2011-05-30, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The following is an excerpt from one of the nearly three dozen anti-Independent sites operated by the "church" of Scientology (aka Radical Scientology or Corporate Scientology). It constitutes evidence of mafia-like tactics currently being employed by Radical Corporate Scientology under the direction of its leader David Miscavige.
By way of background Mike Rinder and I have been scheduled through airline reservation for some time to visit Los Angeles this week. The only reason we are going is to meet with targets of Radical Scientology's mafia-like tactics and their lawyers. The only purpose of the visit - which is an uncompensated week of our time- is to assist targets of Radical Scientology to receive JUSTICE in the forums for such constitutionally established in our democratic Republic.
Here first are some explanatory notes of the excerpt: Where it notes that at the end of May I am going to Los Angeles with Mike Rinder, that is in reference to 31 May when Mike Rinder I are scheduled to fly to Los Angeles. That information would be obtained by the cult by their access to airline reservation computers; and no where else. The reference to a "friend" in New Jersey is a thinly veiled message that Radical Scientology knows that Mosey and I met with Hy Levy (New Jersey resident) in NY City just over a week ago. It also serves as a cover for Radical Scientology's continued illicit use of airline reservation computers. Hy had no idea Mike and I were going to Los Angeles.
CHICAGO, May 30 (UPI) -- The White House media, trying to cover the president at a Chicago barbecue, had a standoff during the weekend with Louis Farrakhan's followers, reporters say.
President Barack Obama and his family were in Chicago for the Memorial Day, and were attending a barbecue Saturday not far from their home. Meanwhile, the White House press corps and their van were out on the street.
Apparently, they were standing outside the home of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, reporters said.
The online encyclopedia's arbitration committee has voted to block contributions from computers owned by Scientologists, following complaints that many were using the website to push propaganda.
Feuds between pro- and anti-Scientology users had already forced the site, written entirely by members of the public, to lock entries about the church, which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its celebrity members.
The dispute offers a glimpse at a hidden online war that's been raging on the country's seventh-most-popular Web site.
Wikipedia says the church and some of its vocal critics are engaged in "edit wars" -- aggressively adding or removing complimentary or disparaging material from articles related to Scientology. The Web site also banned a handful of church critics from changing articles.
"This long-standing dispute is a struggle between two rival factions: admirers of Scientology and critics of Scientology," the site's administrators concluded in a memo posted on the Web site. "Each side wishes the articles within this topic to reflect their point of view and have resorted to battlefield editing tactics."
2008-05-30, Jana Winter, Celebrity Gossip, Fox News
Here's what the parents of the school's pupils aren't being told:
The New Village Academy plans to use some teaching methods developed within the Church of Scientology and has hired a team of Scientologists to put them into action.
Amidon disputes the notion that any significant amount of money is paid by Downtown Medical to either ABLE or FASE, writing off the payments as the cost of doing business. "The Project has outsourced work from time to time as a more efficient means of accomplishing its goals. This work has included fundraising campaigns, writing grant proposals, or establishing outcome monitoring guidelines, and other administrative support services. These services were outsourced, at a fraction of what they would otherwise cost," wrote Amidon.
Downtown Medical, though doing business in NYC, is officially registered as the International Academy of Detoxification Specialists, based in Los Angeles. According to information supplied to the non-profit clearinghouse, GuideStar, the group's mission is to conduct and support research into Hubbard's detoxification method "to address the effects of environmental chemical contamination, occupational exposures and drug abuse." Its address is almost identical to that of FASE, which occupies an adjoining suite in the same Wilshire Boulevard office building.
Though its corporation papers were later amended to remove references to the Scientology founder, when FASE was founded in California in 1981 its paperwork explicitly stated that the group's mission was to "promote the works of L. Ron Hubbard."
The Church of Scientology can be hostile when you publish their text. In 1995, the Church sued the Washington Post and two of its reporters after they published excerpts of the Church's "operating thetan" manuals. Despite the potential threat of lawsuits, a direct quote from Clear Body, Clear Mind is probably the best way to sum up exactly why the purification rundown should not be considered medicine. "The Purification program cannot be construed as a recommendation of medical treatment or medication. It is not professed to be physical or medical treatment nor is any such claim made. There are no medical recommendations or claims for the Purification program or for any of the vitamin or mineral regimens described in this book." That quote appears on the book's copyright page. The book that serves as the bible of the Hubbard method, the book that Downtown Medical is basing medical treatments on, admits right upfront that the purification rundown is not medicine, nor should anyone think it is.
The debate on unethical conversions in Sri Lanka is hotting up with Christian Eckert replying to the Church of Scientology's response from Lind Simmons Hights, the Media Affairs Director of the Scientologists. Scientologist Church replies to Christian Eckert's report on unethical conversions in Sri Lanka.
The Church of Scientology has settled a lawsuit that accused staff members of allowing a member of the church to become severely dehydrated and die.
Lisa McPherson, 36, died in 1995 after 17 days of care by Scientology staffers. The lawsuit, filed by her family, spawned a number of related legal actions as McPherson's death became a rallying point for an anti-Scientology movement.
However, Schmitz claims that he alone might be the only former member who has ever gotten his money back from the church. "When I said [Scientology] didn't do any good for me, I told them I wanted my $23,000 back," Schmitz says. "They're so sneaky, but I tricked them. I told them I went to a book auction and bought a book by [Ernest] Hemingway and that L. Ron Hubbard was a pre-owner. I told them I found a note inside the book that said, 'Ron, if you want to make a lot of money, start your own religion.' I told them, 'If you want it, give me my money back.'
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A federal judge in Arlington, Va., on Friday dismissed a $20 million libel lawsuit the Church of Scientology had filed against an executive with Eli Lilly & Co., the maker of Prozac.
The lawsuit accused Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., a vice president of the Indianapolis-based pharmaceuticals company, of maligning the church in comments published in USA Today. The Arlington-based newspaper was not named as a defendant.
The church believes Prozac, an antidepressant, is unsafe and can lead to suicidal tendencies. Many members testified against the drug during hearings held last year by the Food and Drug Administration, which ruled Prozac safe.
A top Church of Scientology executive once married to founder L. Ron Hubbard's daughter says he had no idea about an espionage and dirty tricks campaign conducted by the church.
At the trial of the Church of Scientology of Toronto and five of its members yesterday, Jonathan Horwich, 47, of Los Angeles testified he was "very upset" and "shocked" when first informed of the church's campaign.
The Toronto defendants face criminal breach of trust charges in connection with agents infiltrating the RCMP, the OPP, Metro police and the provincial attorney-general's office between April, 1974, and November, 1976.
PORTLAND, ORE. PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ The lawyer for a woman who won a $39 million fraud judgment against the Church of Scientology has denied an accusation that he misled jurors to elicit a verdict based on religious bigotry.
Rather than being an attack on religion, the jury's verdict strengthens freedom of religion and speech "and draws a clear line between religious thought and action that is not," Garry McMurry said Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
McMurry's comments came during a hearing on a mistrial request by lawyers for the Church of Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.