We've mentioned Allen Barton, proprietor of the Beverly Hills Playhouse, numerous times here at the Bunker and at the Village Voice. Most recently, for his play Disconnection, which we heard great things about from some of our readers who attended performances in Los Angeles.
Barton has now published a book about his experiences at the Playhouse, which he took over after the death of legendary acting coach Milton Katselas in 2008. Barton's book is titled The Oasis of Insanity: The Study and Pursuit of Acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.
Milton Katselas was a Scientologist, and he became known for the Scientology celebrities who studied under him at the Playhouse. Barton, a classical pianist, joined the Playhouse community in 1990, and he too fell into Scientology. But by 2000, Barton was becoming disillusioned with his involvement in Scientology — and Katselas soon was having doubts of his own.
Barton decided to include a chapter in his book about Scientology, and he's generously agreed to let us print an excerpt from it. If you like what you see, you can purchase his book at Amazon.
2017-07-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
More interesting factoids from the mouths of babes.
Today we are blessed with the magnificent news on Super Power.
The Super Power building opened, and delivery of Super Power began in Nov 2013. Nearly 4 years to rack up some significant accomplishments.
2016-07-17, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions 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 take up are:
(1) Thanks Chris, for your channel you were one of the first familiar faces I saw when I left Scientology and your channel is a big help on getting and keeping my head straight after years of indoctrination. It was amazing to see my old management senior talking with a real straightforward approach to leaving Scientology. For years before I left I proudly told my fellow Scientologists I was a Flag trained Class IV Co-audit Supervisor and Cramming Officer. I also would explain to "wogs" that I was a very knowledgeable Scientologist proudly. One of the biggest things I have had to deal with after leaving is the deflating of my ego. I still think it is my biggest weakness and struggle to keep it in check. I am sure you also have struggled with this. How do you deal with it? Also I suffered from depression shortly before leaving and a bit afterwards which of course at the time I didn't admit to myself. Have you dealt with this? I also would like to say to the non-ex-members that Scientologists are people and most are good people and for some of us this cult has ruined and destroyed our life and the lives of those closest to us.
(2) You state in your last video that religious claims, contra scientific ones, are fundamentally metaphysical and therefore unfalsifiable. More specifically, you say that because religious claims are unfalsifiable, a position stronger than agnostic atheism ("I don't know with absolute certainty, but have no positive evidence to accept the claim") is untenable. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on two objections to that line of reasoning:
2016-07-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It's awesome, awesome, awesome. The data is straight from LRH. It's now the LRH brand. It used to be filled with barriers and twists and windings. This is how we are going to handle this sector of the universe. Blah blah blah blah....
How many times can Miscavige sucker these idiots into buying the bs that "this is now how LRH intended." My God, are their memories REALLY this bad? Even the ones who have handled amnesia on the whole track?
I wonder how these dupes reconcile that Miscavige's reputed sole function is to maintain standard tech, and ESPECIALLY the "standard tech" of the OT levels as RTC is funded by Advance Courses VSD. He has had this job since 1987 when he assumed power in RTC. That is nearly 30 years. Don't they wonder that he has allowed all this out tech, off source, non-LRH twists and windings to continue to be sold for 29 years? And instead of rising up in horror that he has continued to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars selling squirrel stuff, they cheer him for "making it on source like LRH wanted". That has been HIS JOB since 1987. He is just getting around to it now? Every single thing that L. Ron Hubbard ever said or wrote about all OT Levels, from R6EW to OT VIII fits in a single file cabinet drawer. There is nothing more. Nothing new since he died (BEFORE Miscavige took over RTC). How could it take 30 years to sort out one filing cabinet? That is slower even than the Tampa CF. Why weren't the OT levels the FIRST thing he got "on source"?
On Sundays, Rod Keller stops by to bring us a collection of things Scientologists have shared during the week on social media. After avoiding the Internet for many years, Scientologists now share things freely online. And this week, Rod found something really special.
It's an hour long video from Russia, where Scientology has been going through a very tough time. The Moscow org has been raided multiple times by police forces in the last couple of years, and that's bad news for Scientology leader David Miscavige, who relies on Russia for cheap labor at his facilities like the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. So what does Miscavige do to counter what's going on in Russia? Rod, give us a description of what we see in this video.
Rod: This is a briefing given this week by Lynn Irons at the Moscow Ideal Org, with translation by Sea Org member Vladimir Kuropyatnik. Kuropyatnik has been quoted in Russian newspapers as the "founder" of the Moscow org, which may mean he is the HCO Exec Secretary. The briefing addresses public (i.e., non-staff) members at the org in the wake of the June raids by the Federal Security Service in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Russian officials seized documents that may indicate Scientology is violating a prohibition on their activities handed down by a Moscow City Court late last year.
In Part 2, Aaron Smith-Levin continue his fascinating and wide ranging excursion into the world of Scientology from the eyes of a Sea Org member. Aaron opens by describing how he realized that the highly dysfunctional operating conditions of the six Los Angeles Orgs are a reflection of the same dysfunctional conditions at Int Base. Aaron then shockingly describes how Flag "handled" the medical emergency that befell a long term Scientologist who was routing into Flag.
Take a look at the latest ~~
Former Sea Org member Aaron Smith-Levin discussed growing up and coming of age in the Church of Scientology. He was a staff member at 12 years old. (The Cult has no problem hiring and using children.)
Some highly inside factual information on the money extortion of the "International Association of Scientologists" (IAS) and for Scientology Watchers trying to understand the culture within, this is a good one.
Eventually the trial against her was postponed as more evidence came to light.
When the FBI raided the Church of Scientology in 1977 for stealing swathes of documents from the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service, the conspiracy to frame Cooper was uncovered.
"In the raid they found something that said along the line of, conspire to frame Miss Lovely, which was the code name that Hubbard gave to me," Cooper said.
In 1985, the Church of Scientology reached an out of court settlement with Cooper — the details of which are confidential.
After that, the whole saga lay dormant for nearly 30 years, until journalist Tony Ortega, who writes daily about Scientology for his blog the Underground Bunker, uncovered new information.
Jeffrey Augustine is back with another podcast. We asked him to provide a synopsis...
Aaron Smith-Levin is a second-generation Scientologist who grew up in the David Miscavige era. Aaron spent virtually all his time after school in the Philadelphia Org where his mother worked. By age 12, Aaron was an outer org trainee at Flag training for the original Golden Age of Tech. By age 15, Aaron returned to the Philadelphia Org to work as supervisor.
Aaron was an extremely dedicated Scientologist who signed a Sea Org contract with the CMO. However, he could not find anyone to replace himself at the Philadelphia Org. Eventually, the Church replaced him with someone from the Czech Republic. Aaron joined the Sea Org and was then sent to ASHO Day Los Angeles as the Tech Sec, Division 4. It was here that Aaron discovered just how brutally the six orgs in Los Angeles area competed with each other for preclears (customers). Flag and the IAS regges also compete for the preclear dollars. Aaron describes just exactly how the IAS regges create certain problems for Scientologists that essentially force them to donate to the IAS.
The Church of Scientology has been taking a series of body blows in recent years from journalists and former members, ranging from multi-city protests organized by the hacker collective Anonymous to Lawrence Wright's New Yorker expose to the searing HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which features interviews with several former top COS insiders, talking about how they lied to the media, tried to intimidate critics and bullied their own followers, all allegedly on the orders of church leader David Miscavige.
But anyone who speaks out about Xenu and the cost of auditing these days owes a tremendous debt to Scientology critics of an earlier generation, some of whom endured years of litigation and thuggery for daring to take on such a powerful (and highly publicity-conscious) organization. And no one endured a more vicious campaign of surveillance, harassment, and jaw-dropping dirty tricks than Paulette Cooper, the subject of Tony Ortega's new book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.
Several months ago, your proprietor was asked to take part in a television program about the 2003 death of Elli Perkins which will be airing for the first time next week.
Perkins was a Scientologist in the Buffalo area who was killed by her son, Jeremy, in a vicious knife attack. Jeremy was subsequently judged seriously mentally ill and was institutionalized. From the beginning, there were questions about Elli's involvement in Scientology playing a part in her decision not to seek psychiatric care for her son, a decision that proved fatal for her.
An excellent 2005 series by Buffalo News reporter Mark Sommer is essential reading for anyone who wants to learn about Elli's life and death.
2014-07-17, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
One of the most deadly things that a cult or mass movement does is convince its members to self-censor their thoughts and information. By this I mean they get an individual into a frame of mind where they feel that certain information is somehow dangerous to them. They must not think outside the box, so to speak.
From the outside, we can identify many problems with someone who is in this frame of mind, such as thinking that they must be insecure in their beliefs or live a life of fearful doubt, not wanting any small sliver of truth to wedge its way into their foundation of carefully constructed, cherry picked ideas which create their world view. While such value judgments may or may not be true, they don't particularly help in dealing with such a person, since unfortunately they are the last ones who are going to listen to such judgments.
No, they know they are right, and there is no certainty like the certainty of the fundamentalist.
The Texas Third Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court's order for Scientology leader David Miscavige to be deposed in one phase of Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit against the church.
The appeals panel decided that Comal CountyJudge Dib Waldrip had abused his discretion when he agreed with Monique's legal team that in order to prove that the Texas county court had jurisdiction over Miscavige, who is in California, he could be questioned to determine his connection to what she alleges were years of harassment by Scientology operatives. (Miscavige has never accepted service in the lawsuit, filing what's called a "special appearance" to try and get him removed from it on jurisdiction grounds.)
The appeals court held that as Scientology's leader, Miscavige enjoyed some protection from what is known in Texas law as an "apex deposition." The rule protects CEOs, for example, from being dragged into lawsuits that don't really have anything to do with them.
2014-07-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is like witnessing a massive, LA wide circle jerk. Not only are the Valleygirls and boys engaging in their usual self-pleasuring, they are getting it from all sides.
Jon Lundeen stroked them with this: "Valley is the most important Org in all of Scientology. It is the solution for the youth in Los Angeles. As an Ideal Org, it will deliver GAT2."
And he called them "Magical Beings" ? (I guess one's magical ability as a being is in direct proportion to the size of the check you write to the church).
What do Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Anonymous and copyright law have in common? The answer is they have all been influenced by the Church of Scientology International (CSI), as it took on ex-members and critics who took their protests on to the internet. As the Church successfully removes another website, just how big an influence has Scientology had on the internet we all use?
Last month digital rights activists at the influential Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) placed the Church of Scientology into their hall of shame over what it says were repeated acts against internet freedoms.
The last time Scientology denied forced disconnection — with Tommy Davis on CNN in 2008 — it backfired badly Scientology is spinning as madly as it can.
Today, in order to deal with an avalanche of bad news about Leah Remini's defection, the Church of Scientology put out a statement denying that it forces members to disconnect from each other when it excommunicates someone — or, in church parlance, declares them a suppressive person.
Here's the church's statement: "Contrary to myths spouted by...anti-Scientologists, the Church cannot and does not 'order' any parishioner to disconnect. Such a decision always has been and remains a deeply personal choice made entirely by the individual. This has been spelled out clearly on our website for years."
2013-07-17, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Tony Ortega continues on a roll of excellent reporting on the Leah Remini story, and again this morning has another very worthwhile piece. Whatever you may think of his personal views of Scientology (which after all, he IS entitled to), you have to admire his courage, his persistence and the network of sources he has built up over many years who feel he is a safe and reliable outlet for their information. He also writes clearly and well and takes the time to explain and include information to make understandable what can often be an impossibly arcane and confusing subject to the uninitiated.
His reporting this morning on Shelly Miscavige should be read by anyone interested in Scientology.
It is most fortunate that Tony has been providing such good reading as I have been otherwise occupied over the past couple of days, but should be back to normal tomorrow.
(Never before published photo of Shelly Miscavige courtesy of Claudio and Renata Lugli.)
One of the most intriguing mysteries of the Church of Scientology is the disappearance of Shelly Miscavige, wife of the church's leader, David Miscavige. A frequent refrain heard from critics of the church is "Where's Shelly?" — and that question is also central to the recent defection of Leah Remini, who began to break away from the church when she didn't get a satisfactory answer.
We can now say that we have received new confirmation that Shelly Miscavige is living and working at Scientology's super-secret CST headquarters near Lake Arrowhead in the mountains above Los Angeles, where she has been the entire time since she was sent there in late 2005 or early 2006.
The Sandy Springs City Council voted Tuesday night to allow the Church of Scientology's request to expand its building near Roswell Road and Glenridge Drive.
It's a battle that has dragged on since 2009.
2012-07-17, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
David Miscavige has no doubt by now convinced Tom Cruise that yours truly ought to be the target of his ire for Katie Holmes' splendidly executed split and consequent historic media coverage. After all, he's already got Cruise's attorney, the august Bert Fields, alerting the media far and wide claiming to be victim of me.
And just as certainly, as per usual, the real target is David Miscavige himself.
I have learned from very credible sources that David Miscavige quite in addition to infiltrating the household of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise and interjecting his insanity directly into Katie's life through his undue and unnatural influence over Tom, Miscavige also directly and intentionally saw to it that Katie received squirrel, reverse Scientology as explicitly covered in my book What Is Wrong With Scientology?
The document, obtained by RadarOnline, says that during the time Ms DeCrescenzo lived and worked at the church's facilities in Los Angeles, she was forced to work seven days a week, at a total of 100 hours for less than minimum wage.
She was forced to marry at 16 and when she was 17, the documents claim, she fell pregnant and was told to have an abortion. If she did not, the church threatened she would lose her job, her house and her husband.
If she did lose her job, the church were then going to charge Ms DeCrescenzo a 'Freeloader Debt' to the tune of $120,000, according to the documents.
A 'Freeloader Debt' is money owed for on-the-job training and services which members are said to owe the church if they leave before their 'billion-year contract' expires.
Ms DeCrescenzo signed hers when she was just 12 years old.
According to the court documents, Laura Ann claims that she was recruited by the church "at the tender age of nine while living in New Mexcio and moved away from her family to live and work in Defendants' facilities in California when she was a mere twelve years old." However, when she began working for the church several years later, the documents allege, "once Plaintiff began living at Defendants' facilities, Defendants severely restricted Plaintiff's access to the outside world. Plaintiff had limited and restricted access to email, telephone, the internet, or uncensored television. Defendants also opened, read, and censored all mail."
Journey to the Land of the New Gurus ~ France 3 documentary: "Voyage Au Pays Des Nouveaux Gourous".
This is a French documentary with English sub-titles.
This French documentary goes inside the Landmark Education Forum in Paris to film it first hand with hidden cameras. After this documentary was broadcast nationally in France Landmark left the country.
What is most intriguing is how the war ended. There were two major issues. One was whether Scientology organizations qualified for exempt status. The other was whether the "donations" that members made for "auditing" sessions, where they were attached to "E-meters" could be deducted. Circuit courts split on the donation issue and it was ultimately resolved by the Supreme Court in favor of the IRS.
In studying Scientology, I have never been required to believe anything, and I appreciate that. Mr. Hubbard states this in his writings on personal integrity: "What is true for you is what you have observed yourself and when you lose that you have lost everything . Nothing in Dianetics and Scientology is true for you unless you have observed it and it is true according to your observation. That is all."
2011-07-17, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
A few more L-Rundowns, and this planet could be yours! Yet another week has gone by, and this one did not disappoint. Just a few hours after we posted last week's best comments, we were caught up in the exciting story of Placido Domingo Jr., who talked to us Saturday night about Scientology's "scary and pathetic" retaliation against him.
On Monday, we unleashed a movie that immortalizes "Captain Bill" Robertson singing his ode to the "Galactic Patrol." That night, Janet Reitman read from her book Inside Scientology at Half King in Chelsea, and we had a report the next day. On Wednesday, we updated our story about the spying operation that targeted Marc Headley with additional Scientology intelligence documents from former OSA operative Frank Oliver.
On Thursday, we had a double treat: first, an interview with former Scientology spy Nancy Many (who had some intriguing tidbits about Jerry Seinfeld's stint in the church), and then we posted an inspiring fundraising video from Scientology's Phoenix "org." (Unfortunately, it looks like the church decided to take down the video rather than share its awesome money-making secrets.) On Friday, we brought an interesting update to the Squirrel Busters' "I'm on a boat" video -- a response from the Squirrel Busters themselves! And finally, earlier today we posted another intimidation video from South Texas and also helped Scientology get the word out that it doesn't appreciate Reitman's book.
2011-07-17, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I recognized a remarkable development recently that I believe warrants discussion.
When I began to speak out about two year ago, I walked onto what appeared to be a very black and white playing field. It appeared to be occupied by two opposing forces, the church of Scientology vs. the anti-Scientologists. In fact, after observing a while I noted that there was not a vast difference between the two exteme sides of that spectrum. That in fact the two extreme sides (Miscavige Radicals) and those who vehemently professed anti-Scientology views (the whole subject should be retired, not merely the organization reformed or de-fanged) were reduced in some ways to creating one another, and resisting one another so strenuously as to perhaps even be flirting with becoming one another. See, https://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/the-great-middle-path-redux/
In late 09 and well into 2010 my wife and I were subjected to a number of intelligence operations and juvenile pranks - from being egged in London, to having our blog taken down, to having a locksmith attempt to re-key our home (on our alleged order that never occurred). Some were followed or preceeded by ominous sounding phone calls (altered electronically to sound techno-Anonymous) about how terror would continue to rain down upon us. Clearly, in the light of Anonymous pranks of that period, it was made to appear as if we were the targets of Anonymous.
Local news story about the 7/12/08 Scientology protest; Scientology members bullbait and practically assault the few brave protesters who attended. Signs were shredded, Anonymous kept cool.
Video aired on 7/17/08 on WWMT Channel 3 News at 6PM.
Full video of the actual assault is here:
Two men protesting the Church of Scientology got more than they bargained for when a man and a woman from the church came out and confronted them last week. Even though they had the right to stand on the sidewalk in front of the Church of Scientology, the two protesters set up across the street for safety and visability, but Scientology members came across the street to engage them in a physical confrontation.
A federal judge today dismissed a libel suit brought by the Church of Scientology International against Time magazine over a 1991 article that described Scientology as "a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner."
U.S. District Judge Peter Leisure threw out the suit, which sought $416 million in damages for a cover story titled "Scientology: The Cult of Greed." Last year the court dismissed most of the case but heard new arguments on a remaining issue.
The article charged that Scientology, rather than being a bona fide religion, is organized for the purpose of making money by both legitimate and illegitimate means. It was written by then-Time staffer Richard Behar, who now works for Time Inc.'s Fortune magazine.
A federal judge has thrown out the remaining part of a $415 million lawsuit brought by the Church of Scientology against Time Warner Inc. The suit charged that Time magazine maliciously libeled the church in a 1992 article that called it a "cult of greed."
Townspeople say the California group, Narconon International, has not been honest about its affiliation with the Church of Scientology, its financing, its medical credentials and its plans for the project, which is to attract mostly out-of-state clients.
Narconon officials denied that the project had anything to do with Scientology, the townspeople say, until Newkirk officials produced a Scientology magazine with a article titled, "Trained Scientologists to Staff Huge Oklahoma Facility."
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The whereabouts of L. Ron Hubbard remain a mystery with a judge's mistrial ruling that removed a $20 million judgment against the reclusive founder of the Church of Scientology.
Hubbard was last seen publicly when he resided in Hemet, Calif., in 1980.
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Donald H. Londer's ruling came a day after attorneys submitted two motions to dismiss the case against Hubbard or to set aside a default order and stay entry of judgment. The latter motion was designed to allow Hubbard, who was declared in default on April 30 for failing to have legal representation in court during the 11-week trial, to enter the case so he could defend himself.
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Jubilant Church of Scientology members called a judge's rejection of a $39 million fraud award a victory for freedom of religion, but the attorney for the ex-member who brought suit vowed to continue the fight.
Multnomah County Circuit Judge Donald Londer voided a $39 million fraud verdict against the church Tuesday, declaring a mistrial in the suit by former member Julie Christofferson Titchbourne, 27, who was not in the courtroom.
In a ruling frequently critical of his own conduct during the 11-week trial, Londer said the case had gone astray from the fraud accusations leveled by Titchbourne and had become an attack on the Church of Scientology itself.