2017-07-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
One of our regular readers stopped by the Austin Org yesterday, since he was town for the day. Here is his report:
There was an unstaffed table out front under their awning (their façade is back a few feet from the street), with some free movie tickets, free personality tickets, and brochures sitting under rocks so they wouldn't blow away. They looked like they had been there awhile, a bit wrinkled. There were a couple of older posters in the windows, one for OCA.
I spoke with Barbara McFadyen who has been in for decades. She is apparently an OT VIII who appears to be about 70 - 75. There was also a younger male staff member with her, but not another person for the entire 45 minutes I was there. Clearly they don't have a lot going on.
2017-07-02, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
(1) What are your thoughts on Australia's census showing Scientology has lost a third of its members in that country over the last decade? Is it faster than you expected? Is there anything David Miscavige can do to slow or even reverse this declining membership trend?
(2) If Marty Rathbun's new anti-anti-Scientology videos are meant for those who are still in Scientology, then those Scientology folks are finding out about what Lawrence Wright has written, what Leah Remini is saying, etc. Isn't this dangerous (either by exposing members to info that harms their efforts working up the Bridge OR by exposing them to info that might make them question their membership in Scientology)?
(3) I have a friend who is an avid Scientologist and who recently went Clear. It got me thinking about how people really feel or 'expect' they should feel after going Clear. Does their relationship with others change much or do they feel they should be able to 'read' others' tone levels, have the ability to fix flawed relationships, or that life in general is completely different from the moment they attest? It's hard for me to believe that the euphoria they feel initially really lasts, and if that's the case, do they feel a sense of let-down, or do they just ignore it and shrug it off, explaining it away to something else?
Rod Keller continues his series on the remarkable situation in Mexico City, where the Church of Scientology is facing government opposition to construction of its planned "Advanced Org" for Latin America there. Now, the church has made a telling move, and Rod has reactions to it...
The seals across the entrances of the Palmas Plaza are still up. Scientology continues "trabajo hormiga," or "ant work" in secret, using a very small crew working on a job that requires over 100. Neither the neighbors nor Scientology are happy with the stand off and each took steps this week to bring the situation regarding the planned Advanced Org for Latin America to an end.
The neighbors this week first organized, then canceled a protest at the obelisk, a landmark in the center of a roundabout near the site. The area already has traffic congestion, and they fear the hundreds of hotel rooms, the restaurant and the large auditorium will add to that. There are rumors that Scientology is preparing to bribe local officials to get their way, but history indicates they will use other methods to get their way.
It's not every day that we're in Haifa, Israel, so we decided we had better take advantage of the situation and drop by to see Dani and Tami Lemberger at their remarkable breakaway Scientology mission.
Back in 2012, we considered it one of the most sure signs that David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology were in a crisis. A mission that had been operating since 1992 and providing steady income for the church broke away en masse and has remained an independent Scientology mission since then.
Dani and Tami had been Scientologists since around 1980, and Tami had won multiple awards as one of the best auditors on the planet. Each of them had spent huge amounts of money going up Scientology's "Bridge to Total Freedom." And like so many other longtime, loyal church members, they had become disaffected by Miscavige's management style, and by changes he was making to the church, with an intense new focus on fundraising.
2016-07-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I posted about this on Facebook, but think it is important enough to reiterate here.
I just finished watching the last episode of season one of The Path on Hulu.
This is a very well scripted, acted, shot, edited and scored series. But more importantly, it is the best portrayal I have ever seen of the prison of the mind that entraps those in cults. It is extremely difficult to understand why people remain in a cult for anyone who has not experienced it themselves. This show portrays it accurately - the torment and anguish that those with doubts go through, the threat of losing loved ones, the deceit and false hope that everything will turn out to be true. It is difficult to explain, but when you experience it through the characters in this show it becomes much easier to grasp.
2015-07-02, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
I'm an ex-Scientologist who spent 27 years as an active member of that group, most
of that time working at its highest levels in the Sea Organization. Yes, that is a
long time and I did learn and experience almost everything Scientology has to offer.
Still recovering from the damning HBO documentary Going Clear, the Church of Scientology is about to be hit with yet another scandal.
Church leader David Miscavige's estranged 79-year-old father Ron has signed a deal to write a book about his son for St Martin's Press, according to Publishers Marketplace.
The tell-all is tentatively titled 'If He Dies, He Dies' - a quote based on a Los Angeles Times article published in April which revealed David Miscavige, 55, had his ex-Scientologist father monitored for more than a year.
Four years ago, we set out on this adventure to report about Scientology every day. And one of the results of that experiment is the amazing community that has built up around the Bunker. We set out to create a place where Scientology could be discussed, but without the wild rumors and mistaken myths that clog up so many other places. We wanted the facts, and we wanted them first.
But even with that facts-first approach we've cultivated here, it's understandable that there was some excitement yesterday when Star magazine put out a new issue with the headline "Tom Leaving Scientology!" on its cover. While some counseled caution, others were ready to have a parade for Tom Cruise getting out of the church.
But does Star actually have any facts to back up its cover headline? Let's take a closer look. First, let's review how tabloid publications tend to put together their stories on Scientology. They start with a tiny germ of an idea — a quote from someone, often someone they don't really want to check out very carefully or it would spoil the fun — and then ask that person to speculate about what it is they've heard. We've been on the other end of these conversations. We've had some small incremental piece of information, and the tabloid hacks on the other end of the line try to get us to say that what we've heard is actually indicative of something much bigger or even completely different. We don't play that game. But others are happy to go along.
A public hearing by the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council (LFNC) was postponed from last month to July regarding the Church of Scientology's plans to install their illuminated logo on an existing 15-story-tall antenna at its now-owned former KCET studios on Sunset Boulevard.
The LFNC had planned to take public comment on the issue June 16th, but the issue was delayed at the request of the church in order to have more preparation time. A hearing, including public comment, is now tentatively scheduled for the LFNC's July 21st meeting.
2015-07-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Birmingham, England's second largest city, has the second largest population of Muslim, Sikh and Buddhists, but is short on Hindus and positively pathetic when it comes to Jews (why even mention them?) Forgot to mention it also has the second largest population of Church of England and Catholics. Probably Methodists and Lutherans too. It also has the second largest population of women. AND men.
I am sure all these people really want an ideal org in Birmingham.
Earlier this year Scientologist Eric Roux gave a talk on his movement at a academic conference. How well do his claims stand up to scrutiny? Jon Atack marks his copy.
Jon Atack Since today Eric Roux is presenting Scientology's perspective on life to an audience of academics at SOCREL , organised by the British Sociological Association, now seems a good time to take a closer look at one of his previous talks.
Jon Atack, for those of you who don't know, is the author of the definitive history of Hubbard-era Scientology, Let's Sell these People a Piece of Blue Sky .
Squirrel BustersEd Bryan and Joanne Wheaton on a boat in a 2011 video we'd like to see again We're trying to stay on top of a lot of different litigation involving the Church of Scientology that's happening around the country. We're fortunate to have numerous tipsters and legal experts who help keep us up on what's going on.
Let's start with the federal fraud lawsuit in Tampa filed by Luis and Rocio Garcia. You'll remember that the Garcias survived a daunting challenge to their lawsuit and its "diversity jurisdiction." They dropped three defendants in order to get around an objection by Scientology, but then the church accused the Garcias of cutting corners in order to make that change.
Now, the Garcias have answered that accusation in a succinct filing — but did so a day late, and have asked Judge James D. Whittemore to excuse their tardiness. Yikes. We'll see what happens.
The article that was written against the Foundation for a Drug Free World is utterly biased, an attempt to undermine a positive non-profit and an attempt to gain publicity by creating false controversy.
2014-07-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I guess Quinn Taufer's brilliant "Affluence Analysis" didn't really pan out.
They went from a million dollars to $8,500. I would call that straight down and vertical.
But never fear, because Kathy Heard reported that COB remarked "just get Valley done." So, of course, this is the command they will all follow. They remind me of the robot from Lost In Space but without his ability to say "that does not compute."
Claire Headley is taking us on our journey to train as Scientologists. She and her husband Marc were Sea Org workers who escaped from Scientology's International Base in 2005. She spent years working with Scientology's "tech," and was trusted to oversee the auditing of Tom Cruise. Go here to see the first part in this series.
Claire, last time we learned about how much Scientology learning is often repetitive. How about this week?
CLAIRE: More of the same, I'm afraid.
2013-07-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Marty recommended this movie to me which Christie and I just watched.
Get it from Netflix or Amazon or anywhere you can.
It is more than worth the effort. It is brilliant, thought provoking, uplifting and inspiring. It is not a comedy in spite of the credits of the director. It is a documentary about one man's search for the meaning of life and it touches upon many subjects that are of interest to those who frequent this blog.
After failing with multiple appeals to the California and U.S. Supreme Courts to prevent it, today the Church of Scientology complied with a lower court order and turned over 18,000 pages of documents to former church employee Laura DeCrescenzo.
She will now begin a process of reviewing the electronic files to see if they're complete. The church, meanwhile, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to review the court order, but that may take many months and odds are against the court even considering it.
DeCrescenzo first filed suit against Scientology in 2009 after working as a member of its "Sea Org" for twelve years. She's alleging that she suffered a number of abuses during that time, including a forced abortion when she was only 17. She has now been handed a huge trove of documents from her confessional "pc files" which may help bolster her case.
The "Church" of Scientology is obsessed with "Good PR" for itself. Office of Special Affairs has a division called "Public Relations. It has a bunch of Sea Org members that work 80 hour weeks working flat out on improving the Church's public relations. Bad entries in Wikipedia would be an important target.
2013-07-02, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The PR machine has lifted off, straight up and vertical, in a historic display of amazing adjectives and state-of-the-art hyperbole that is 5 times the level experienced since the Wake Up Call. Then again, and all things previously mentioned pulled together into a cohesive whole, if you thought that was impressive, it was just the launching pad for a planetary assault of verbiage that dwarfs all else that has come before and when I say you cannot imagine the glories of PR puffery that are about to be unleashed I am not talking metaphorically.
From: Clive Rabey - D/CO Flag AO <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sat, Jun 29 Subject: The Big Push - Your action needed To:
2012-07-02, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Tony Ortega at the Village Voice ran an interview with me wherein I advise Tom Cruise to keep David Miscavige's intentions out of his dispute with Katie Holmes, or he will regret it: Advice to Cruise at Village Voice.
Radaronline has reported on why this advice is wise, Holme's Family Knows the Score.
For those linking in for background, the following are key posts published here over the past three years on the unnatural level of control Miscavige has asserted over Cruise and Katie Holmes.
Tom's devotion to the shadowy church of Scientology is set to come under scrutiny as, according to New York legal sources, Cruise's religious beliefs will be central in the divorce battle.
'There is no way her advisers will not be putting Scientology at the very core of this divorce,' says Mike Paul, a prominent New York crisis manager who counsels celebrities on how to handle high-profile court cases.
The heart of the divorce is nothing less than the battle for the soul of Cruise and Holmes' daughter Suri.
2012-07-02, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
As we wait to see how nasty the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes divorce becomes, we asked Tom's former Scientology auditor and legal affairs adviser, Marty Rathbun, to speak to us about the last time Cruise was in this position.
In 2001, Cruise and Nicole Kidman ended their 10-year marriage, and it was Rathbun's job to bring the actor back into the church.
What the public didn't know at the time was that Kidman had been successful at keeping Tom almost entirely out of the church during their marriage, which is part of the reason that Scientology spied on his every move with the use of one of his employees. Once the couple split, however, Rathbun was tasked with luring Tom back into the fold. (He did such a good job, by 2004 Cruise was a rabid Scientologist.)
2011-07-02, Mark Collette, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Rathbun said the Squirrel Busters are targeting him and his wife, Monique Rathbun, because of his defection from the Church of Scientology in 2004. Rathbun said that since his defection, he has talked to the FBI about mental and physical abuse happening at the highest levels of the church. Rathbun, 54, was in the organization for 27 years. He joined when he was 21.
The surveillance began, he said, after he participated in a St. Petersburg Times investigation of the church in 2009. The newspaper's series of reports detailed, among other things, what church defectors described as "bizarre behavior and physical beatings inflicted by Scientology leader David Miscavige."
Sappell loved reporting and editing, too. On one project, he and a partner took five years to reveal secrets of the Scientology empire. It paid off, but he says it took a toll.
"We had private detectives [follow us], we were sued four times along the way, my dog was poisoned, I was falsely accused of criminal assault," Sappell recalls. "There was a lot of stuff that went on during that period." (It should be noted that although Sappell's dog was poisoned on the same day he reported being threatened by a lawyer for the Scientologists, he acknowledges there was no proof they were involved.)
Local ABC radio hosts Matthew Abraham and David Bevan said yesterday they had been told of a phone call to Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith's media advisor, Kevin Naughton, the weekend before Mr Hamilton-Smith used question time to bring up the documents, which were soon proven to be forgeries.
But while Mr Hamilton-Smith confirmed there had been a phone call, he, and later Mr Naughton, denied the caller had cautioned them about the documents.
Founded by L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology is built on nonsense from whoa to go.
Hubbard lied about his university qualifications. Thrice married, he posed as an expert on marital success.
In 1964, an inquiry in Victoria found that Scientology presented a grave threat to family and home life.
"As well as causing financial hardship, it engenders dissension, suspicion and mistrust among members of the family," said the inquiry. "Scientology has caused many family estrangements."
As for Hubbard, the inquiry said he built a crazy and dangerous edifice based on a smattering of knowledge in various sciences.
Essentially, Scientology is big business masquerading as religion and we all have reason to question it.
Reporter Elodie Harper goes undercover to reveal the tactics used by Scientology followers in the immediate aftermath of traumatic events.
*[[BBC report on Scientologies Volunteer Ministers anti-psychiatry agenda (Part 1 of 4) - 2010-02-06]]
Cruise's hyping of his love life and religion on national television, including a couch-hopping appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show and an anti-psychiatry harangue on NBC's "Today Show," may only damage ticket sales to his latest movie - his career will likely survive. And so will Scientology. It is now 51 years old - young for a religion, but a testament to the organization's resilience. That's especially true in Utah where the Los Angeles-based church Scientology has a growing political presence.
"Bring it on," says Utah Scientologist Sandra Lucas about any negative publicity stirred by Cruise. Lucas is the Utah chapter president of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), the lobbying force behind a proposed ban on electroshock therapy, various measures aimed at carving out more rights for parents in the child welfare system and the anti-Ritalin legislation, which Lucas says will resurface during the next session.
Lucas says Cruise's public display represents growing awareness about the "national crisis" of children and adults being prescribed mind-altering drugs.
2004-07-02, Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle
State schools chief Jack O"Connell has asked a research group known for its rigorous reviews of health curriculum to spend three months evaluating the Narconon anti-drug program, whose classroom instruction has been linked to the Church of Scientology.
2000-07-02, Christina Headrick, St. Petersburg Times
At meetings over the past two months, people have complained continually about two issues: Confidence in city government and the presence of the spiritual headquarters of Scientology downtown.
The poll indicates people who dislike Scientology still are willing to vote for the downtown plan.
But people who distrust city leaders are definitely voting against the redevelopment proposal, the poll shows.
The body was discovered about 10 a.m. Thursday along the shore off Victoria Drive near Main Street and may have been in the water about eight hours, police said. Officials believe the man drowned, based on a medical examiner's preliminary test results.
The man is described as white, 35 to 45 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 144 pounds. He had graying and receding dark brown hair. He was wearing yellow, blue, white and black jams, with white socks and Reebok shoes.
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A federal appeals court has ruled that donations made by Church of Scientology members as part of their religious practices can be claimed as a federal income tax deduction.
The 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled set fees paid by Scientologists during their church's individualized religious practices are deductible charitable contributions.
The ruling is contrary to one reached recently by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, which decided the payments are not deductible.
FBI agents yesterday questioned a deputy U.S. marshal who allegedly made tape-recorded statements that are now being used by two members of the Church of Scientology to get U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey to disqualify himself from presiding over their criminal case.
The deputy, James Perry, who has been on leave without pay from his job since November, had been sought by the U.S. marshal's service since June 23 after the Scientologists filed court papers, contending that Perry's alleged statements supported their contention that Judge Richey is biased against them.
Perry was located at his Southeast Washington residence Monday afternoon.