2018-06-03, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comment sections of my Critical Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) Some times it occurs to me as if the criticism of destructive cults was mainly introduced by "concerned parents" (especially in the 1970s and 80s). Do we have to consider the possibility that some points of cult criticism are, in reality, the maintenance of questionable societal norms and potentially the symptom of a new generation, becoming more and more independent, colliding with the traditions and values of the previous generation and which is frightened about changes in society and a subjective feeling of "alienation" to their children (maybe scapegoating cults, considering them as having a somehow "indecent" influence on the youth)? For instance, parents of young members of the Rajneesh/Bhagwan cult were often concerned because of the group's progressive mindset concerning sexuality. How is it possible to differ between appropriate cult criticism and undifferentiated maintenance of traditional family ideals and societal structures? Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely convicecd that there are destructive cults using dangerous and psychologically harmful techniques of control, manipulation, thought-stopping and hypnosis, but how can we tell the difference between a benign, socially progressive group and a destructive cult?
(2) In an interview with Jeff Augustine, Jon Atack talked about the theft of the OT materials packs from Copenhagen. How many copies of each OT materials packs would a class 5 / ideal org have? What are your recollections of the time when the materials were stolen? Did you hear about it or was it hushed up? Did you notice security tightened?
This week, we look at L. Ron Hubbard's laughable attempts to define "art" and to tell his followers how to create it. Some of what he says makes sense, when considered outside of Scientology, but when it's taken inside the cult, the definition of art takes on a more sinister meaning. Today, we look at how Hubbard's ideas of art are just another form of totalitarian control, sublimating the creative impulses many of us have in service to the cult and its leaders, just as many cults twist normal sexual behavior.
We also look at how Hubbard used the "Art Series" as just another dimension in trying to set himself up as the Smartest Guy Ever, an expert in everything. Of course, his theories of aesthetics are just as lame as his theories about physics (just how warm it is in the Van Allen belt, among many howlers), evolution (he believed in the Piltdown Man, long after it was widely suspected of being a hoax) and medicine (smoking cures cancer).
What is this trying to communicate? Source: TonyOrtega.org
Rod Keller has highlights for us today from the annual State Department report on how Scientology is being treated around the world. After his notes, we have our own comment about this law and its connection to the Clinton White House.
The U.S. State Department released the 2017 Report on International Religious Freedom this week, as required by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The report pulls together reports from embassy officials, religious groups, and NGOs from around the world to provide an overview of religious freedom. The Office of International Religious Freedom compiles the reports under the direction of the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, a post currently held by former Congressman, Senator, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.
Despite recent events regarding Scientology in Russia and Hungary, the report under Brownback contains less mentions of the church than under the previous Ambassador, David Saperstein. For example, the report on Germany contained three mentions of Scientology in 2016 and four in 2017. The 2011 report contained 14 mentions of Scientology. Let's take a look at how the State Department sees Scientology's situation around the world.
2018-06-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The twelfth and penultimate installment of the first draft of a novel written by our old friend Terra Cognita. Our Sunday Serial.
Terra welcomes all suggestions and feedback — this is draft — you can note them in the comments.
2017-06-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I was in San Diego last weekend and swung by the new "ideal org."
Here is what scientology displays on their website, presenting this as "California Dreaming Becomes Reality":
Here is the non-dreaming reality:
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The last time we checked in on the Garcia fraud lawsuit, Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore sounded like he'd lost all patience with the Church of Scientology. He restated, in no uncertain terms, that he was fed up with the bickering on both sides and was taking over the process of selecting a panel of arbitrators from a list of 500 Los Angeles-area Scientologists submitted by the church under seal.
But once again, the church is risking the judge's wrath. It filed a motion yesterday questioning the judge's intentions, and we're almost starting to feel sorry for church attorney Wally Pope, who no doubt must be submitting this stuff under the insistence of his diminutive client, Scientology leader David Miscavige.
If you remember, California couple Luis and Rocio Garcia filed their fraud lawsuit in 2013, claiming that the church had lied in order to get large donations from them. In 2015, however, Judge Whittemore sided with Scientology, saying that the Garcias were required by contracts they signed as church members to submit their grievances to internal Scientology arbitration, and he stayed the lawsuit. But in the two years since then, the two sides have been unable to seat a panel of arbitrators, who must be church members in good standing. So Whittemore stepped in and decided he would select the panel, and ordered the church to turn over the list of 500 names and phone numbers.
(Note: This was originally posted on Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker and is reposted here for archival purposes.)
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.
Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy wrapped up their podcast series on Scientology with a ninth and final episode, describing how ultimately they were found out as infiltrators and were shooed away from church events. But not before they had managed to take several courses, do some auditor training, and had attended both the New Year's Eve and LRH Birthday events, two of the biggest Scientology happenings of the year.
The two Los Angeles podcasters are associated with the Center for Inquiry, which exists to debunk pseudoscience. In their show, "Oh No, Ross & Carrie," the duo take on magical thinking by experiencing fringe beliefs for themselves. And over the course of their five year podcast, they say that they had constantly been asked, when are you going to take on Scientology?
They began their adventure in Scientology last year, and didn't broadcast their first episode in February until they had been outed and were no longer doing courses. But in this final episode, Ross reveals that even after their shows had begun airing, they were still getting invitations from Scientologists to attend events. And that's how he found himself at the LRH Birthday event in March at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
Kirstie Alley's controversial diet company, Organic Liaison, is under fire yet again! RadarOnline.com has learned that the actress and her company have been named as defendants in a lawsuit over an alleged Ponzi scheme spearheaded by prominent Scientologist, Michelle Seward.
According to court documents obtained exclusively by Radar, plaintiffs Jeffrey and Marguerite Stabile loaned approximately $500,000 of their life savings to Seward.
Seward is accused of financing her "separate existence as a Hollywood movie and Broadway play producer and executive, and as philanthropist to causes associated with the Church of Scientology."
(Councilman Jerry Donald, explaining why Trout Run is not really unique at all.)
Last week, a prominent local citizen of Frederick County, Maryland, assured one of our best sources that a majority on the county council had been convinced to vote no to putting a property known as Trout Run on the county's list of historic places, which would have allowed the property's owner, the Church of Scientology, to put a drug rehab clinic on it.
Weeks of negative press about the matter, as well as the efforts of many longtime opponents to Scientology's drug rehab network, Narconon, had had its effect, and our source was assured that at least four council members had decided to vote against adding the property to the county's historic list. "Maybe 5-2," the person said, and added that even a vote of 6-1 was possible.
2015-06-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
We don't know when, but it is going to be "released" at some point....
All those Briefing Course lectures are being gone through with a fine tooth comb to find everything that was ever said wrong by LRH and to add super new indexes using state-of-the-art golden age of indexing tech.
Chairman of the BoardReligious Technology Center and Ecclesiastical Leader of the Scientology(r) religion, Mr. David Miscavige is working day and night to go through and listen to every tape himself and personally create the index because he cannot trust anyone else to ensure this course is "100% standard tech" — not even L. Ron Hubbard.
Plans to turn the Trout Run retreat in Frederick County, Md. into a drug rehab center have been put on hold for now, but property owners have pledged to continue looking for ways to make it happen, while opponents said they will not stop fighting the Scientology-linked treatment center.
Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington Once again, Federal District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington has declined to intervene on behalf of Florida attorney Ken Dandar after he was hit by a $1 million judgment in state court awarded to the Church of Scientology.
Dandar had alleged that the $1 million judgment would not only ruin him, but that it was the result of a conspiracy by Scientology that had corrupted local courts in the Clearwater area, where one of Scientology's headquarters is located.
Covington previously had denied Dandar's request that the federal court intervene, but he had appealed, and an appellate court had asked Covington to reconsider his lawsuit in light of a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
2014-06-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I have just received my copy of the latest Source magazine, along with the most expensive and wasteful "promo piece" I have ever seen — but more on that in another post.
The Source mag is fodder for a series of posts highlighting some of the most outrageous statements, contradictions and lies.
Let's begin with the amazing statistics at the Sandcastle (the Flag AO) where the only boom would appear to be the sound of the waves of truth inexorably consuming it.
2014-06-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This speaks for itself — albeit in broken english.
A Facebook post following Graduation Friday from an over enthusiastic attendee.
This is more signs of the fundamentalism that is the norm within the church of scientology. There is a medical term for it — euphoria, "a feeling of well-being or elation; especially : one that is groundless, disproportionate to its cause, or inappropriate to one's life situation" though fundamentalist christians would probably equate this to rapture.
In its second 1993 submissions to the IRS, the Church of Scientology stated that, among other projects, the archival Church of Spiritual Technology, "also has firm plans to construct many large indestructible obelisks in different parts of the world with the express purpose of preserving for all future generations of man, the precepts from the book The Way to Happiness by L. Ron Hubbard."
The world has yet to see even one of the planned twelve indestructible Scientology obelisks.
What happened? There were firm plans in place.
Well, we had a very relaxing week-long vacation (what, you didn't notice?) and now we're hard at work on some big stories that should be rocking the Bunker in coming days.
In the meantime, we thought we'd serve up a rare treat — a 50-year-old example of what it was actually like to be audited by the Great Man himself.
On May 22, 1963, L. Ron Hubbard recorded an auditing session he did with his third wife, Mary Sue, in order to demonstrate what it was like to remove the "Helatrobus Implant." As he had explained in a lecture the day previously, the Helatrobus civilization was a relatively weak galactic organization which had managed to use electrified interstellar gases to insert some particularly resilient mental implants in thetans some 43 trillion years ago.
2013-06-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This email was just sent out broadly.
Apparently there is a new type of Reg now being installed in orgs. "Planetary Dissem" regges have been at Flag for years, the infamous Dick Story sort of created this niche for rip-offs, getting people to donate for distribution of WTH (paying exorbitant prices) or selling special limited edition leatherbound books that theoretically financed "broad dissemination campaigns" (but never did).
Now, in another classic "propaganda by redefinition of words" routine, "planetary dissemination" includes FURNITURE for "Ideal Orgs", UNIFORMS for staff, FART TV systems and anything else that doesnt seem to fit — and its all "EXACTLY" per the LRH PL!!! Even the quote that is pulled out of the PL doesn't match what she is talking about. The rest of the PL hurtles around an even wider orbit, in fact its in a different solar system.
2012-06-03, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last June, we told you about how proudly Scientology crowed in its press releases that it had won "Telly Awards" for some of its DVDs.
We went on to explain that it's kind of difficult not to win a Telly, which gives away thousands of awards to up to about a quarter of the businesses that bother to enter.
Well, now Scientology is crowing again, this time about its latest Writers of the Future anthology (about which we've been writing an awful lot lately), which has won the coveted 2012 International Book Award! Praise the skies!
2011-06-03, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Jan Eastgate is president of one of Scientology's more annoying front groups, the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights. The CCHR occasionally fools local politicians into thinking it really cares about something besides proliferating Scientology. It does so by telling people that its primary interest is the human rights of everyone.
Well, the CCHR may have a harder time with that line now that its leader has been arrested for trampling all over the civil rights of a little girl who was the victim of sexual abuse.
Here's the background. Angle joined other members of the National Federation of Women Legislators on a tour of a prison in Ensenada, Mexico to see a drug rehabilitation program called Second Chance.
The program did include saunas and massages as part of a detoxification regimen along with mega doses of vitamins, counseling and life skills. In a video produced by the Second Chance organization Angle and others say they came away impressed.
Angle made a return visit with then prison director Jackie Crawford and prior to the 2003 session submitted a bill draft request for a pilot program back here.
Destin can't stop Narconon Gulf Coast from opening a "community residential home" for recovering addicts as long as the home abides by Florida law, the city's land-use attorney says.
"The state has made a decision to encourage the treatment of individuals - in a community homelike setting." Land Use Attorney Scott Shirley told the City Council Monday, and that pre-empts the city's zoning and even homeowner association covenants.
It wasn't what the council wanted to hear.
"If I put myself in the place of a homeowner," Councilor Jim Wood said, "it would bug me a lot that neither my local elected officials or homeowners association could do anything about this."
In 2007, the Rosses twice tried to buy houses in Miramar Beach as a 28- or 30-bed "educational center" for patients who have already completed a 30-day stay in treatment. Some residents objected to having a rehab center in their neighborhood, while others were concerned about Narconon's ties to Scientology.
Ross said the Destin home they want to open would be much smaller. It would have about six adults who have been in Narconon's program for at least two months.
A young former Scientologist testifies in court about how he was told to give this propaganda tape to his non-Scientologist parents to convince them of the evils and dangers of the public school system and to allow him to drop out of school to commit himself fully to Scientology. The audio tape played into evidence is absolutely chilling.
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Priscilla Presley plans to speak at the opening of a drug rehabilitation center in Michigan on Saturday.
Presley will help inaugurate the 120-bed Narconon Stone Hawk East residential center in Albion, Mich., spokesman Greg LaClaire told The Associated Press on Friday.
Narconon is based on principles developed by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Presley is a Scientologist.
Raising new issues about anonymity on the Net, the Church of Scientology is invoking a law passed last year to force AT&T to disclose the identity of an Internet service subscriber who allegedly infringed the church's copyrights online.
The Guardian's Office violated the teachings of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and thereby became "something different and distinct," Rinder told Mr. Justice James Southey, of Ontario Court, general division.
By 1973, when Rinder joined the Sea Organization - the elite group that runs the church - the Guardian's Office did not answer to any part of the church, he said.