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Our Saturday 'Scientology Lit' series continues with a glimpse of Sands Hall's richly penned memoir, Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Lost Decade in Scientology. Sands, a veteran musician and writing instructor, may not have been a Sea Org member or high-ranking Scientology executive, but we found her book to be one of the best for explaining the "tech" that members encounter and the ways that Scientology affects the mind. She gave us this except to share with you.
Her lovely face revealing nothing about the purpose or mood of our meeting, Jessica ushered me into her office and closed the door. On her desk lay a large red book embossed with gold letters. I recognized it. It was one of a dozen volumes that contained, in chronological order, all the policy letters and bulletins that L. Ron Hubbard had written regarding auditing, Scientology's form of counseling. A bookcase behind Jessica's desk held the entire set, bound in red leather, with an inch-and-a-half gap where this one had been removed. Another bookcase held the equally large set of "admin" volumes, bound in green, which contained everything Hubbard had ever written about how to found and run an organization. Of course Jessica kept these books close to hand. As the mission holder of a Scientology Center, she would refer to them often.
Jessica emanated serenity. She wore simple, elegant clothes, black and tan and linen. Her long hair was straight and glossy. She had unswerving faith in L. Ron Hubbard's religious technology, yet even as she ensured that the mission (she called it a "Center," choosing, with purpose, a less religiously charged word) adhered to his policies, she was never dictatorial. This was generally true of the Scientologists I'd come to know in my five years in the Church. I found them reasonable, kind, ethical, straightforward, and sane. Through the Church's hermetic seal (especially hermetic in 1987, pre-Internet), whispers and speculation made their way: someone who'd done something wrong — "gone out-ethics" — had been chained for days to a toilet in a brig or forced to live in something like a gulag, eating rice and beans and doing menial labor, but these rumors had nothing to do with my own experience. Nevertheless, ever since the previous night — when, as I'd been finishing up my duties in the Center's course room, Jessica had stopped in to request this meeting — I'd been anxious.
2018-07-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A recent article by Joe Nolfi for Entertainment Weekly elicited a pretty unhinged response from scientology.
The article springboarded off Leah's appearance on Ron Miscavige's podcast Life After Scientology where she and Ron discussed the upcoming Season 3.
Scientology's crazy response is a study in "never defend, always attack" mentality (see my earlier blog post for a lengthier discussion of this topic Dealing With Critics of Scientology):
"There is clearly an effort here to use the peer pressure of the international community to urge respect for religious freedom," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council and a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. "The importance of this is to send a very strong message that America is once again concerned about religious freedom. They see it not as an American right, but as a human right."
The State Department staffer said that Russia and Turkey, whose religious-rights records have been increasingly problematic, were left off the invite list. The staffer added that administration officials hoped to highlight in particular the religious abuses by the government of Iran, an Islamist-led country that the Trump administration has singled out for pressure to the point where analysts say it is effectively aiming for regime change.
On the civil-society front, the administration is taking an inclusive approach: Invitees range from atheists to Scientologists, according to the State Department staffer. Representatives of more broad-based organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, are also on the list. Many are hosting side events.
You probably heard yesterday that A&E's remarkable series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, will return for season two on August 15 at 9 pm. We were just with Leah Remini and Mike Rinder a few days ago, and we can tell you that they are working at a furious rate to get episodes shot. These people are working very, very hard.
And you can see the effect that their show is having on Scientology and the public's perception of it. There was a time, not so long ago, when it was rare for someone who had spent time in the Church of Scientology to come out publicly about it. But these days, well, the floodgates are open.
Just as an example, we thought we'd mention something that happened the other day. We were looking through some posts at a closed Facebook group that discusses Leah's show, and a woman named Anne Renner Krzanowski spoke up. At first, she made sure that it was a closed group and she wasn't speaking for the general public. After she was assured that was the case, this is the account she posted…
2016-07-21, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
You know, people think I always run down Scientology and say that I never got anything out of it. That's just not true. I learned all kinds of things from my experience with L. Ron Hubbard and his amazing technology. In fact, I learned so much I thought I'd share some of those things with you today. Some of these may sound kind of cynical, but I don't mean them to be. It's just that some truths aren't always fit for Hallmark cards.
(1) There isn't any one thing that is going to save the world.
(2) Some people will believe anything you tell them, as long as you tell them in the right way.
(Rapper The Game (a/k/a Jayceon Terrell Taylor) and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck)
We're on the road today, and so we're thankful that frequent contributors Jeffrey Augustine and Chris Shelton have pitched in with a couple of interesting items. First, Jeffrey had some thoughts about this past weekend's noted gang summit in south Los Angeles, and what it means for Scientology...
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck attended a gang summit organized by Rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game and hosted by the Church of Scientology and the Nation of Islam on July 17, 2016 at the Scientology Community Center in the Vermont Knolls district of Los Angeles. Snoop didn't make the scene, but The Game did, and he posed for photos with Beck in a show of unity, calling for peace among LA's violent gangs. The event was run by Nation of Islam minister and long-time Scientologist Tony Mohammed, and its theme was "Time To Unite: United Hoods + Gangs Nation."
2015-07-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Pat Gualtieri is one man who every year for the last 15 years has been able to stop all traffic on 5 th Ave in Manhattan, a man known to be able to pull off miracles for the parade he puts on each year to honor American Veterans.
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of a wonderful friend.
Pat passed away at the Veterans Hospital in Brooklyn 10 am, July 21 2015 at the age of 70. An infection resulting from the fight against cancer is what caused his death.
One of the benefits of our book tour is that we're getting to meet people around the country who we've only known through the Internet or on the telephone. In Denver we finally met Claire Headley for the first time. In DC, it was the amazing researcher Mary McConnell. In Toronto, it's a list so long we were left stunned.
And then, this week, we made our first ever trip to Dallas and got to know Steve Hall.
Steve is a well-known name in Scientology watching. A former Sea Org member, Steve was largely responsible for starting the surge in Independent Scientology's public challenge to the official church that took place in the late 2000s and that was more popularly associated with Mark "Marty" Rathbun.
Please forgive the very poor quality of the video. Unfortunately we did not know the camcorder was recording in 480p. By the time we learned the video was fuzzy Nick had already left on a trip out of state. Kind of embarrassing as the video would look 10x better if it were recorded on any smartphone. We're learning our lessons as we go here. We decided better to put out the fuzzy video than not put out the story at all.
2015-07-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
David Miscavige made an appearance in the UK over the weekend to help usher in the monumental new era of expansion that is about to begin with the "ideal" CLO UK. You can bet those managers who have raised the UK to such heights will be managing ever so much better from new desks with some fresh carpet. Nothing like some fresh carpet to make someone into a more competent manager.
Apparently obsessed with ribbon yanking, the Chairman of the Pompadour (the hair is a straight up and vertical VO5 masterpiece) flitted over to the UK to bask in the glory of all he has accomplished with his "ideal org" (not really "org" any more, it is truly ideal buildings, and literally ANYTHING will do, even Disneyworld storefront sets) program.
Below is a section of the breathless Shermanspeak that was quickly put up on the scientology.org site.
Mat Pesch was a Sea Org member for almost thirty years. After routing out ijn 2005, Mat and his wife Amy Scobee went "under the radar" and wrote the now famous "Little Dickie Bedtime Stories." Link:
These stories helped to expose David Miscavige and the greed and violence inside the Church of Scientology.
Mat Pesch was the Treasury Secretary of the Flag Service Organization (FSO) in Clearwater, Florida. In this interview with Jeffrey Augustine, Mat recounts his experiences as Treasury Secretary in the 1990's. Mat corroborates the fact that Alexander Jentzsch was sexually molested at twelve years of age at Flag Land Base by Marie Warren, a 40 year old Sea Org member. After the sexual molestation was discovered by Church officials, the police were not called. Instead, Mat was ordered to find money for the airline tickets needed to fly Alexander and the Sea Org rapist out of the jurisdiction of local and state law enforcement. Mat offers his opinion that the Ideal Orgs were an "unusual solution" to Flag's enormous Advanced Payments liability.
THE VCAT process with Narconon appealing against Yarra Rances Council's decision to refuse a planning application has begun with a 'practice hearing' on 18 July.
Narcon is appealing the council's decision to refuse a permit for the organisation to establish a drug rehabilitation centre at Green Gables in Warburton.
Representatives of objector group 'Say No To Narconon' were represented at the hearing, along with Narconon and Yarra Ranges Council representatives.
The Oregon Coast Project is an ongoing research project and expedition to solve a WWII mystery of a sunken submarine off the Oregon Coast. Veterans who were there in 1943 continue to insist that two enemy submarines were sunk, even though government officials denied the incident occurred.
This 16 minute video timeline was created as part of a solicitation packet and will be forwarded to interested documentary production companies. Not for Public Release.
Pesch then came forward and gave us corroborating information: He was the treasury secretary of the Flag Service Organization (FSO), and said he watched $20 million drained from that Scientology entity in order to fuel the campaign Rathbun was talking about.
Pesch was in the right place to witness a lot of Scientology's more nefarious activities. And that really comes through in a new interview he did with Jeffrey Augustine. Give it a listen when you have time to hear the full hour…
2014-07-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is an indicator of the desperation to convince people to dip their bloody toe in the shark tank. Sort of on the otder of: "It's OK, they are vegetarian sharks..."
It must be becoming incredibly difficult to get people to show up for events. A few by now have probably even answer somewhat honestly to the after event surveys and the word is making it back to "international management" (David Miscavige) that people don't enjoy being endlessly regged and recruited at every event. Thus, they are trying this new approach to get people to come in for any reason. They cannot promote no regging at the normal "Int" (Miscavige) events as there is ALWAYS a sales quota with EVERY event. But if they could just get them in for SOMETHING they might come in again for the next real event....
But this email is a bit of a mystery. What would be the reason to show up? To hear something unimportant from someone way down the command chain? It HAS to be unimportant or old news- they have just completed 4 weeks of Miscavige MV events where evedry soingle tiniest piece of anything was scraped together for his use.
We've been getting a lot of mail from readers about an interesting legal case happening in London. We first mentioned it last December, and now it's reached a fascinating stage: The UK's highest court is having a hard time deciding whether or not Scientology's churches are "places of worship."
Before you assume that this is a major legal showdown which will affect the very existence of Scientology in England, put down the cans, step away from the e-meter, and take a deep breath.
Actually, the case is a bit of a stunt, it may hand the church in England something of a PR coup but will hardly stem the tide of its poor numbers there, and it will certainly have no effect on Scientology here in its home country of the United States, where this case would never happen.
2013-07-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This was submitted by one of our Special Correspondents — Roy McGregor. I felt it worthy of its own post rather than just being a comment.
I do believe there is another element not really covered here that is going to make this fail. People are conditioned how to think in the church. They KNOW what they can and cannot say. Even in session. It is why you do not find people coming up with David Miscavige or Julian Schwartz or Charmaine Roger as their PTS Items.
Factually, being "in session" within the church of Scientology is impossible these days. There are too many taboos. And thus communication is withheld and to the extent any pc or pre-OT has things they are unwilling to say to their auditor is the exact measure of how "out of session" they are. Unless and until it is safe for every pc or pre-OT to talk openly and without restraint to their auditor, there is no real auditing happening in the RCS. Yes, people "complete" actions and write "success stories" — but they are on the same order of magnitude as the gushing superlatives they spout when they "complete" graduation and hurry to Facebook to tell about the enormous "case gain" they got from listening to Voldemort speak.
On Friday morning, Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, was found dead at Narconon Arrowhead in Candian and her father said he wants answers.
Robert "Murphy" Murphy of Owasso said he needs to know her death won't go unnoticed.
2012-07-21, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
As we've been reporting, Heber, although he's been the president of the church since 1982, had so fallen from favor in the eyes of Scientology leader David Miscavige, he had been seen in public only rarely since around 2004 -- and multiple former church executives say that from at least 2006 to 2010, he was being held in Scientology's hellish office-prison at its International Base, known as "The Hole."
David said that not only has he been told by Scientology workers at the base that he could not talk to his brother, but that if he attempted to come see Heber, he would be turned away.
I just talked to David again, who says our story produced a very surprising result: this morning, Heber called him and angrily berated him for talking to the press.
The column goes on like this -- Whiting visits a "Purification Center" (a glorified gym), attends a service, and that's that. No mention of Josh's getting banned from the Ideal Org's grand opening. No mention of the many defectors and controversies over the years, many documented by my fellow wab, Village Voice editor Tony Ortega. Nope. Just a boring, meandering waste of time that, of course, was immediately praised by Scientologists in the Reg's comment section. A new generation of bootlickers for you to promote, Davy!
2012-07-21, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
South Park's rendition of Xenu For going on 17 years I've been writing about Scientology, and over that time there's one question that has come up again and again.
Why don't Scientologists, when they've been in the organization long enough to reach the legendary material in "Operating Thetan Level Three" -- the stuff about Xenu the galactic overlord which made for a great 2005 episode of South Park -- bust out laughing and walk away?
Tom Cruise and John Travolta and thousands of other Scientologists have moved on beyond the space opera stuff in OT 3 (Cruise, for example, has moved up to OT 7), and for some reason, they accepted the Xenu story and never looked back.
A young woman says she was held against her will at Narconon Arrowhead and had to be rescued by Pittsburg County Sheriffs officers late Thursday night.
Narconon Arrowhead is a non-profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Canadian with ties to the church of Scientology, according to Gary Smith director of the facility.
San Marcos businessman Arie de Jong is listed as the business owner on the license filed Oct. 25, 2010, with the city, but de Jong denied any involvement with the wedding coordination business during an interview Wednesday.
He said he didn't know how his name ended up on the license, and that he would look into correcting the error.
The Elliotts say Narconon charged them $34,000 for substandard treatment and Scientology propaganda.
"Plaintiffs were not informed that defendants are an off-shoot of the Church of Scientology and that the programs offered by defendants are used as a recruiting tool for the Church of Scientology," the complaint states. "In fact, plaintiffs were told that the program was non-denominational when, in fact, the program is used as both a recruiting tool as well as a funding source for the Church of Scientology.
2011-07-21, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
by Mike Rinder
This video excerpt is but the latest example of the degradation of Scientology at the hands of Pope on a Box. It is one section of the Opening Night of Maiden Voyage 2011, an event devoted almost exclusively to the surreal, off-policy "fundraising" circuses staged by the OT Asses in orgs around the world, even those that already have an "Ideal Org".
Watch it and weep for what was once an organization that had some dignity, compassion and offered genuine help to man.
In a lawsuit against Narconon Vista Bay, first reported by Courthouse News Service, Elliott claims that the alcohol rehab program doubles as a recruiting tool for the Church of Scientology as well as a way for the Church to make money. Elliott says she forked over $34,000 for treatment.
A Catholic, Elliott says that she was told the program was nondenominational and was offended by the proselytizing on behalf of the Church of Scientology and the dennunciation of mainstream religions. Elliott also accuses the facility of letting unlicensed addiction specialists provide treatment, which in some cases included reading the books of L. Ron Hubbard.
In total, the church owns seven historic Hollywood properties worth about $300 million, part of a Hollywood real estate empire of 26 properties, according to real estate experts. It is a portfolio that began to take shape in the early 1970s under the direction of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and continues to grow. These days, a small group of high-level church staffers based here comprises the organization's real estate team and oversees the assets while planning a global expansion.
2011-07-21, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
THR scribe Daniel Miller put together a terrific report about the various historic properties owned by Scientology. It was especially impressive that he was able to calculate how much money the church saves each year on the Hollywood buildings it owns because of Scientology's controversial tax-exempt status:
Brian Mandigo (also know as Anonsparrow1 on utube) assaulted, threatened and attempted intimidation by alleged Scientologist/s. Stand over tactics used by the Church of Scientology to suppress free speech. Gestures made toward Brian Mandigo symbolizing murdering him through assassination with a firearm.
Later in the video a police officer offers no support for this act of civil rights violation even though it is on video. Please distribute this video and the letter below to media outlets. This is very news worthy. Please help and support this cause.
"A lone protester stands out side of the WashingtonDC Scientology Organization in the USA. He is protesting the atrocities of The Church of Scientology management.
John Dixon, a Cardiff councillor, is being investigated for allegedly breaching the code of conduct for local authority members which demands they "show respect and consideration for others".
A complaint was made to the Welsh ombudsman by a member of the Church of Scientology in December last year about comments Mr Dixon made on his Twitter page that June.
A scandal has arisen at Scientology's NYC offices. When the local "org" dedicated a new building in 2004, a Scientologist named Stephan Hittman presented Scientology management with the Fire Department of New York's (FDNY) "Medal of Valor."
Hittman, who falsely claimed to be an "Honorary Commissioner" of FDNY, had briefly held an administrative position at FDNY. Prior to that, he had spent more than 15 years as a "special education" administrator for the New York public school system.
FDNY's "Medal of Valor" is only ever presented posthumously to firemen who have died in the line of duty. Numerous Scientology websites boast of receiving this "Medal of Valor" in recognition of the activities of Scientologists on 9/11.
Buddhism is the largest religion apart from Christianity and Hinduism (nearly 64,000), and outsizes all the religions that attract more attention, such as Islam (approximately 36,000), Brethren (18,000) and Scientology (357).
2005-07-21, Jon Griffin, Evening Mail, Birmingham Mail
Former diocesan spokesman Arun Arora said at the time that the Church, founded by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, was "as much a religion as a dog is a vegetable".
He said Scientology was regarded by many as "little more than a cult" and had been refused recognition as a religion by the UK Charity Commissioners.
Graduating high school in 1980, "I was a functional illiterate," says Tom Cruise, who hid his problem for years. Cruise, who showed signs of a learning disability beginning in grade school, says he finally learned to read as an adult through Study Technology, a learning method developed by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the controversial Church of Scientology. Last month Cruise was honored by MENTOR/ The National Mentoring Partnership for his work with the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project (H.E.L.P.), a nonprofit organization whose volunteers offer free tutoring, using Hubbard's system, in 26 communities around the world. Though H.E.L.P. has its detractors (see box), Cruise, a Scientologist, has provided financial and public-relations support for the program. "I don't want people to go through what I went through," says Cruise, who sat down with senior editor Jess Cagle to talk about his painful, private struggle as a child and his fight for literacy.
PARIS (AP) _ Prosecutors opened an investigation Friday into the disappearance of hundreds of documents that were to be used as evidence in a case against Church of Scientology members, judicial officials said.
Authorities were expected in the coming days to name a special magistrate to carry out the investigation, the officials said, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity.
The dossiers, which disappeared in 1998 from the Justice Ministry, were part of a case opened in 1990 against 16 regional Scientology leaders for alleged fraud, illegal practice of medicine and premeditated violence.
In 1996, the Church of Scientology sued Tom Klemesrud, the systems operator of a bulletin board, and Netcom, his Internet service provider, for copyright infringement. Both cases eventually were settled. Mr. Klemesrud agreed to pay the church $50,000 to go away, but admitted no liability. Netcom agreed to establish new protocol for handling disputes in which copyright holders claimed infringement, but were unwilling to display the originals for comparison with posted material.
OTTAWA (AP) _ The Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed Canada's largest libel award, rejecting calls for U.S.-style defamation laws that would provide greater protection from libel suits.
The court dismissed an appeal by the Church of Scientology and its lawyer, Morris Manning, of the 1991 award of $1.6 million to Casey Hill, then an Ontario government attorney.
At issue was whether public officials can sue for libel over remarks about the performance of their duties.
PORTLAND, ORE. PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ A 27-year-old woman who saw her $39 million judgment against the Church of Scientology erased by a Portland judge's ruling said she intends to pursue another trial on her fraud claim against the group.
"I'm really confused, dismayed and saddened about everything," Julie C. Titchbourne, 27, of Seattle, said in an interview with The Oregonian newspaper Saturday.
Multnomah Circuit Judge Donald H. Londer on Tuesday declared a mistrial after a jury had awarded Ms. Titchbourne the $39 million award. Her first case also ended in a mistrial.