2017-07-16, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) How many people do you think join the Sea Org annually? With technology and info at our fingertips, how has the Sea Org changed their recruitment from 30 years ago? I did see your podcast on recruitment tactics. Based on all of that, would you say most of the recruits are youth raised in Scientology? I would think recruiting a young adult with no real-world background would be difficult unless they were down on their luck, no family, destitute, etc and they saw a place for food and shelter, then the brainwashing could easily take effect.
(2) Are you familiar with John Alex Wood, Scientology's official UKTwitter troll? Is he most likely being paid for his advocacy work? He's one of the very few people who publicly defend the CoS on Twitter.
The show where I answer your questions. Please leave any comments or feedback in the comments section here below. I see everything and want to hear from you.
My Critical Picture channel: https://goo.gl/zzKx7p
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2017-07-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
St Hill featuring the IAS crotchless man
This is a recent email to one of our long-term commenters. He also provided his response for your entertainment.
What is most interesting about this is the desperation it indicates.
Rod Keller keeps an eye on Scientology's front groups, and once again he's got the goods on the Drug-Free World group and its gladhanding of law enforcement in New York.
A tipster in the New York Scientology org sent us a list of events for the Foundation for a Drug Free World for August. They will be focusing efforts on the National Night Out, which started in 1984 and coordinates events where community members can meet law enforcement officials to increase understanding and reduce crime. Scientologists across the country have used the opportunity to distribute literature from the foundation for years, but usually fail to mention the connection with Scientology. That is the case again this year.
Scientology's hope is to attract the attention of "opinion leaders" in a practice known as "safepointing," such as this event last week with volunteer John Eurell and a Rockland County Sheriff's Deputy (above). Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard claimed this is essential to establishing new Scientology operations. This year's night out event is being held on August 1.
(Laura D, center, celebrating a previous victory in her lawsuit with Marc and Claire Headley)
Laura DeCrescenzo has won yet another victory in her seven-year legal odyssey to sue the Church of Scientology over abuse she claims she suffered during her childhood in the "Sea Organization," including being forced, she says, to have an abortion at 17 years old.
Twice, Laura has had to weather Scientology's motions for summary judgment. We were in the courtroom both times as, in 2013, Judge Ronald Sohigian denied Scientology's first motion which claimed that Laura didn't have enough evidence to go to trial, and earlier this year as Judge John P. Doyle turned down Scientology's argument that the lawsuit violated the church's First Amendment religious rights.
2016-07-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another in the continuing series of essays from Terra Cognita. See earlier posts: Respect, The Survival Rundown - The Latest Scam, Communication in Scientology... Or Not, Am I Still A Thetan?, To Be Or Not To Be, An Evaluation of Scientology, Fear: That Which Drives Scientology and Justification and Rationalization.
I ran across an old evaluation of the local Scientology scene in which the ED determined that seventy-five percent of all new people had come in off the FSM line back in the org's heyday—which was a good thirty-five years ago. Now? No one brings anyone into the org anymore. Except for a handful of old timers redoing old courses, the place is a morgue. For some reason, Scientologists aren't FSMing new people into orgs. OT's aren't FSMing. Hardcore lifers aren't FSMing. Staff aren't FSMing. Ron isn't FSMing. Nobody is FSMing.
FSM stands for Field Staff Member. Per LRH, an FSM's purpose is to help him "contact, handle, salvage and bring to understanding the individual and thus the peoples of earth." "FSM's get people into Scientology by disseminating to bring about an understanding of what Scientology can do thus creating a desire for service and selecting the person for that service." All Scientologists are automatically appointed FSM's and expected to bring new people into the church—or "to FSM." These new people are called "selectees."
2015-07-16, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
It's funny how, since I've left Scientology behind me, how I keep running into
certain principles and rules they have which are totally contrary to living a
rational and sane life. I just recently came across one of these instances and
Last year, when Leah Remini's reality show began, we criticized her for dealing with her defection from Scientology at a bare minimum — it was referred to only for a few minutes in the first episode and never mentioned again.
Last night, in the first episode of the show's second season, Remini made up for that in a big way. The episode's main storyline was about how Leah and her family are continuing to come to grips with leaving Scientology, and there were several moments — some which might have not been obvious to the viewer — which were a big middle finger to the church and its leader, David Miscavige.
It won't escape the attention of other former Scientologists, for example, that the theme of the show was about Leah getting therapy and then the entire family sitting for a group therapy session. That's a direct hit on Scientology's rabid hatred for psychotherapy of any kind (other than its own, which is a bastardized form of psychoanalysis).
The Church of Scientology is targeting people who bought a booklet more than a decade ago with handwritten letters in an attempt to recruit new members.
A Sydney man, who did not wish to be named, started receiving letters from the church last month along with brochures about Scientology's 'Purification Program' and other books.
The man said he was approached by Scientology recruiters outside a Woolworths supermarket in 2004, when he had recently moved to Sydney from Japan and did not speak much English.
Camilla Andersson spent 29 years in Scientology's hardcore "Sea Organization" — many of those years at the secretive "Int Base" east of Los Angeles — and walked away to freedom only two years ago. Now, she's talking publicly for the first time about what she saw inside Scientology's most elite facilities, spending years in the church's prison detail, and working closely with Scientology leader David Miscavige.
And she tells us, he's not going to be very happy about it.
"He's going to be boiling. I've always been the quiet one. But you can only beat me up for so long. That's why I'm fuming," she told us by telephone from her home in Seattle.
2014-07-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is some interesting news from inside the bubble.
Read this first email and look at the graphs that follow.
You may recall Rona Bowles practically wetting herself back in June because Taiwan was beating them as the NUMBER ONE ORG IN THE WORLD for Purif/SRD starts?
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard may not have predicted Tom Cruise, per se, but he certainly anticipated the Tom Cruise effect. As Wright writes in "Going Clear":
When the Church of Scientology was officially founded in Los Angeles, in February 1954, by several of Hubbard's devoted followers, there was already a history of religious celebrities and celebrity religions. The cultivation of famous people - or people who aspired to be famous - was a feature of Hubbard's grand design. He foresaw that the best way of promoting Scientology as a ladder to enlightenment was to court celebrities.
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, with your help we've learned something about the courses that Scientologists go through on their journey up the Bridge to Total Freedom. We've learned about staring contests and study technology and shattering suppression and the Purification Rundown, to name a few. What's next?
CLAIRE: Next up is the Scientology Ethics Specialist course. While not officially a step on the Bridge, it's a step that every Scientologist does. Also, it has some connection to what we've been hearing this week about Leah Remini and Kirstie Alley.
2013-07-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Watching the saga of the church of Scientology deal with Leah Remini and her family unfold is like watching a clogged toilet overflow. The inevitable unfolds before your very eyes and you know nothing is going to stop it. You know exactly what's coming and hope by some miracle that it will stop before it overflows and the shit goes everywhere.
See the story this morning on Tony Ortega's site about the orchestrated campaign to turn Leah and her family into "unpersons".
The RCS in its typical style is not just overflowing, they are backwashing their entire septic system over the airwaves.
Commissioner Paul Donohue said the letter should also note that Narconon has a facility further done the road with a number of employees and clients who drive to and from the facility and have to go through the area where water is over the road, not to mention private residents who also live along the road. "It's a safety issue and a business issue," Phillips said. The road can be dangerous at that point in winter when the water freezes over.
The Underground Bunker has learned that Scientology celebrities have received their marching orders from the HollywoodCelebrity Centre: They cannot be "in comm" with Leah Remini after we broke the news last week that she has left the church.
Our inside church sources tell us that Scientology's leading lights have been calling in to the Celebrity Centre for instructions since the news of her defection began to spread. As we reported earlier, chief among them was an angry Kirstie Alley, who demanded a briefing on Wednesday for herself and for other church celebrities.
Members calling the Celebrity Centre are being told that Remini has not yet been "declared a Suppressive Person" — Scientology's equivalent of excommunication — but she is considered "not in good standing," and celebrities are told that they cannot communicate with her, and must also immediately defriend her and any of her family members on Facebook.
2012-07-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Between 2004 and 2007, Scientology experienced several defections by high-ranking executives who later wrote books about breaking away from what they characterized as a dangerous and pathological organization.
But for many of us who watch Scientology, it is one defector in particular whose story we've been waiting to read.
In 2004, Mark 'Marty' Rathbun left Scientology after being a member for 27 years. Until he left, he had reached the position of Inspector General-Ethics of the Religious Technology Center, which is a convoluted way of saying that he was for all practical purposes the second-highest ranking executive in the church, and one of its most intimidating.
Critics have alternately labeled Scientology a fake religion or sham. But Woodworth deflects the skepticism.
"I've been doing detoxification for 22 years. I had a facility in New York city where we treated over a thousand 9/11 police officers, firefighters, iron workers, people at ground zero that became sick from chemical exposure from the dust and the smoke," says Woodworth.
But there was much fallout over that clinic, Downtown Medical, when its ties to Scientology were revealed. Though the clinic served many New York City firefighters, the firefighter's union denies any endorsement.
The Church of Scientology has survived for 60 years by shape-shifting its way into the minds of followers and bullying anyone who dares dissent. That combination of malleability and ruthlessness has fortified Scientology with a fortune in real estate and a portfolio of celebrity defenders.
In the new book Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion, journalist Janet Reitman argues that the Church of Scientology's reign may be in jeopardy unless it finds a way to reform. The church's abusive tendencies appear to be cannibalizing it from within.
Estimating the number of Scientologists is difficult. One 2008 survey by Trinity College put the number of Scientologists in the United States at 25,000. The International Association of Scientologists, Reitman writes, "to which virtually all dedicated Scientologists belong," has 40,000 members, according to reports. She writes, "At most, experts say, there are probably no more than a quarter of a million practicing Scientologists in the world today."
2011-07-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Two interesting developments for Scientology watchers on this Saturday. Above, an instructive video from Marty Rathbun's blog, which shows that Rathbun's wife, Monique, is also a target of the strange intimidation tactics her husband experiences.
And also, after the jump, Scientology responds officially to Janet Reitman's book, Inside Scientology, and we wanted to make sure the church gets its say on this blog.
2011-07-16, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The only Trademarks Miscavige has left are sneering, whining, and lying - the hallmarks of the Radical Corporate Scientologist. They are about the only sure signs that one is in a Radical Corporate "church" of Scientology or one is dealing with a lock-stepping, Miscavige cult member.
While I was in Los Angeles late May/early June, as has become David Miscavige's habit, he sent cult members to my home in an attempt to rattle my wife. After having publicly exposed Miscavige for sending two men each time, and his two year pattern of attempting to intimidate my wife and other independent women with teams of men, this time Miscavige sent a female cult member (with an unidentified man in a car nearby surveilling the scene).
In some ways the woman cult member was even creepier. She - as has become Miscavige's modus operandi - did not fully identify herself, she gave only her first name. But, we have since identified her as Anna Paddock from AustinTexas. Once known as Anna Stilo. In the early eighties she was a WDC member - notorious for being constantly downtone. Being a former SO member Ms Paddock has been going through hell for some time trying to get security eligibility to engage in upper level Scientology studies. Apparently, her program consisted of drilling for several days, then camping out around my home for several more till she got the call to come to my home and make an ass of herself in public by ambushing my wife.
There's not much activity visible these days at the downtown St. Paul building owned by the Church of Scientology.
Just a few months ago, the place was buzzing as construction crews got busy converting the former Science Museum of Minnesota into the church's new regional offices.
2009-07-16, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
I have this friend, let's call him Sam (I'll mix up names, genders and details a bit to protect the innocent). Sam is a dedicated Scientologist, an OT, and a major contributor to the IAS, the SuperPower building, etc., etc. He raised his children in Scientology and was proud when his son and daughter joined the Sea Org.
Over the years, their visits and phone calls became fewer and fewer. Still, they assured him they were "doing great," although they were vague about what they were actually doing.
Then one day he was shocked to hear that his daughter, let's call her Mary, had blown the Sea Organization and had been declared suppressive. Sam was devastated as it meant he would have to disconnect from Mary. He couldn't talk with her until she applied her A to E steps and got restored to good standing.
Church leaders understood to be from Birmingham set up a stall at Wolverhampton's Wulfrun Centre after making a booking under the name Dianetics, the church's main theory.
Bosses ordered preachers to pack up and leave after angry parents said their children had been invited to take part in "stress tests" and then lectured about the religion.
"We had complaints that kids had been invited to take part in a stress test and were then being asked questions about religion," said operations manager Colin Quinton.
What do Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), and The Church of Scientology have in question? They're among the dozens named as defendants in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in a Florida federal court.
The plaintiff, Peter Letterese, is alleging that The Church of Scientology runs a worldwide criminal network and has been assisted by Google, Yahoo, and the other defendants.
2008-07-16, Paul A. Zerzan, Opinion, Pacific Daily News
The Church of Scientology is actively targeting Guam as a potential base for expansion into East Asia and the Pacific.
The power of this group should not be underestimated. Ten years ago the Cult Awareness Network received more complaints about Scientology than about any other organization, so they put Scientology at the top of their cult list.
The Church of Scientology put the Cult Awareness Network into bankruptcy and then took it over. Scientology now operates the Cult Awareness Network as a promotional arm of their organization.
2005-07-16, D. Parvaz, gossip, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
I held off on writing about this. Lord knows I did. From the get-go, I lied to myself, saying that I wasn't going to pop off about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise (aka TomKat). Why would I? After all, who cares if a couple of phony-baloney Hollywood types are really in love or if they're just hooking up for the sake of publicity, right?
PORTLAND, ORE. PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ A woman's statements after she was awarded $39 million in a judgment against the Church of Scientology conflicted with her testimony in the case, attorneys said Monday in arguing for a mistrial.
Attorneys for the Church of Scientology said Julie Christofferson Titchbourne's statements in magazine and newspaper articles differed from her testimony about how she joined the group and how she was "deprogrammed " after she left it in 1976.
"She has misused and abused the judicial system," attorney Earle Cooley said. "... With the $39 million verdict, she's out there laughing at us all."