Fifty years ago today on 25 July 1968, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to introduce nationwide restrictions on Scientology. Foreign Scientologists were banned from entering the country, and Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard was classified as an "undesirable alien". The British Health Minister, Kenneth Robinson, addressed the House of Commons to issue one of the strongest condemnations of Scientology ever made by a member of a government.
"The Government is satisfied," he said, "having reviewed all the available evidence, that Scientology is socially harmful. It alienates members of families from each other and attributes squalid and disgraceful motives to all who oppose it. Its authoritarian principles and practices are a potential menace to the personality and well-being of those so deluded as to become its followers; above all, its methods can be a serious danger to the health of those who submit to them." Robinson declared that Scientology was "so objectionable that it would be right to take all step … to curb its growth."
The ban lasted twelve years before it was repealed. Fifty years on, it's worth looking again at this episode to see how it came about, whether the British government did manage to curb Scientology's growth and what lessons can be drawn from the affair.
The Church of Scientology is wealthy because it knows how to separate people from their money with great speed — and this by using every trick in the book. David Sonenfild was an extremely successful Church of Scientology "Reg" for many years. A "Reg" is a highly trained high-pressure Scientology salesperson who will use every form of flattery, apparent concern, tricks, connivance, dissimulation, threats, promises, or whatever else is needed to part a person from their money as quickly as possible.
David did a "hat write up" of the techniques he used — scroll down to the bottom of this post for a PDF copy. In Scientology-speak a job is called a "hat." Instead of saying "do your job!" Scientology says, "wear your hat!" Strange talk, but Scientology's insular language is part of its core cultic construction.
This "hat write up" was intended for use in training new regges in the techniques of selling Scientology where the focus is on urgency. Scientology has always used extreme urgency, emergency, and time pressure to create a sense that some horrible disaster is lurking just around the corner unless people act right now! Time pressure is the essence of hard sales and Scientology constantly uses time pressure against its own membership.
2018-07-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
You might remember we earlier made mention of the Foothill MissionGoFundMe page (That's Some Ideal Mission) to raise money to replace their ceiling and thus become "ideal."
It seems that might have created a problem.
Publicly begging for money to replace your ceiling is not the hallmark of a flourishing and prospering mission.
Based on recent reports we've been hearing from inside the Church of Scientology, there are some superficial actions being taken to improve the lot of Sea Org members and Scientologists but none of these are very significant or require any sacrifices on the part of Church leadership. In other words, it's all about improving the optics instead of making substantial changes. In this video, I talk about some of these and lay out what measures the Church of Scientology would really need to take to not be such a destructive cult.
SHOP FOR CRITICAL MERCHANDISE
For some time, we've been following the hijinks at Nxivm, the upstate New York cult selling personal success seminars. We have published a few articles comparing Nxivm to Scientology. In March 2018, Nxivm cult founder Keith Raniere was arrested in Mexico and returned to the US to face charges of sex slavery and human trafficking.
Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere. Source: TimesUnion.com
In a June 12 court hearing, Raniere was denied bail, after offering an elaborate package of $10 million in cash plus offering to provide his own force of armed guards around the clock to keep him from violating any of the bail conditions. In the hearing, the prosecution remarked that a superseding indictment would be issued with additional charges against Raniere and with charges against additional defendants.
As the statistics on socialblade.com make clear, the Church of Scientology gained no new followers on Twitter in the period April 2018 — July 2018.
With the exception of adding about 1,800 followers in the period November 2017 — February 2018, Scientology on Twitter flatlined and has been dead since January 2017.
However, the ~1800 the Twitter followers Scientology added were all lost on July 17, 2018 when Twitter stripped Scientology of 1,882 fake followers.
July 24, 2017: As reported today by Tony Ortega, attorney Ray Jeffrey has filed a petition with the District Court of Bexar County, Texas to examine the financial records Mark & Monique Rathbun. This is a matter arising from Monique Rathbun's sudden and unexpected firing of her legal team and dropping her legal case against David Miscavige et. al.
The poster TX Lawyer commented on the Underground Bunker today:
Just to put this in context, this is what's known in Texas civil litigation as a Rule 202 petition, which allows a potential plaintiff to obtain a court order to take a deposition even where a lawsuit is not pending, so long as you are doing it to investigate a potential claim or suit (or to preserve the witness's testimony for use in an anticipated suit). They're a pretty common procedure here in Texas, and most judges routinely grant them when requested. I do note that those document requests are awfully broad, so I would not be surprised if the judge pares them back if the Rathbuns object.
2017-07-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another story from the early years of the Sea Org aboard the Apollo by Gary Reisdorf.
Stores Party Gone Wild - Sled breaking
One of the functions of being a deckhand is when the ship was at anchor, we had the privilege of running people and goods from the shore to the ship. Boat runs are normally quite fun and took us away from our usual mundane jobs of painting that bucket of rust, sanding and varnishing the railings or re-caulking the wooden decks.
We spoke to Ray Jeffrey yesterday about the petition he filed on July 5 along with Elliott Cappuccio and Marc Wiegand, asking the Bexar County District Court to order that their former clients, Mark "Marty" Rathbun and Monique Rathbun, sit for depositions and turn over financial records.
In January 2016, Monique fired the three lawyers "without cause" and then dropped her 2013 harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. Since that time her husband Marty (who had also personally been represented by Jeffrey, Cappuccio, and Wiegand) has used his website to attack many of his former friends and supporters and has defended the church in a bewildering turnaround. According to the petition Jeffrey filed, he and his colleagues want to question the Rathbuns to investigate possible legal claims, suspecting that the Rathbuns may have entered some kind of secret agreement with the church.
In their petition, the attorneys asked for a hearing on July 25, but we noticed that it had been pushed back to August 29. We asked Jeffrey why the hearing had been postponed. "We were contacted by an attorney, Rich Reynolds, who said he was retained to represent the Rathbuns, and he said he had scheduling conflicts. August 29 was the first date that all of us had available on our calendars," he told us.
Alex sought treatment and was clean after going to Serenity Point Recovery in Michigan for 60 days. She came home Jan. 15. Alex had made previous attempts with occasional success.
During Alex's last time in rehab, Tammy and John said they prayed everything would be better. Alex took weekly drug tests her parents bought at a local store, which she passed. It was part of the ground rules for living at their home. She even had a job.
2016-07-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is the final report on the "week of events" to celebrate Maiden Voyage 2016.
Miscavige was feeling overworked for the week, having to deliver that opening night address and then the IAS pitch-a-thon, so he dished this one off to a bunch of nobodies. Anyone these days apparently qualifies as "International Church executives" - the headliner for this event was the CO PAC? Wow....
There is some fascinating information here.
We're in transit again, and so we're grateful that frequent contributor Jeffrey Augustine came through with another fun look at Scientology's underlying policies. This one really needs no more explanation than that...
L. Ron Hubbard had absolutely no sense of humor and hated what he called "Joking and Degrading." Hubbard formalized this into a policy outlawing Joking and Degrading (J&D'ing) in the Church of Scientology.
One of the first things Scientology does to a person is to outlaw and destroy their sense of humor. As Hubbard wrote in the Keeping Scientology Working (KSW) policy:
Things keep getting stranger and stranger here in the Underground Bunker — and we love it! A couple of days ago, we posted a video of Scientology celebrities Jenna and Bodhi Elfman which was the latest in their series of what they call "Kicking and Screaming," a series of short videos with the two of them talking about their lives.
Our readers were somewhat stunned by how open the two of them were about sex, and with how Jenna spoke about her husband and her kids. Obviously, the two of them were going for humor, but it came off strangely, and it was not hard to see a lot of animosity below the surface between the two of them, not only for each other but also for pretty much everyone else.
Was this really how Scientologists saw the world? Two former Scientologists who had an opinion about it were Mareka Brousseau and her sister Katrina James. They tell us that the Elfmans illustrated perfectly how celebrity Scientologists get away with things that would get non-celebrity Scientologists sent to ethics for interrogations. Like for talking publicly about how flaccid Bodhi's member was as he and Jenna attempted to have sex in the bathroom with their kids pounding on the door.
2015-07-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Well, there was more to it than just a "new, improved" CCRD launched by the splendidly uniformed Captain Miscavige ("don't call him Captain, it is insulting") at the recent secret briefing at Flag (See It's Epic, It's Monumental)
The Chairman of the Pompadour took it right over the top with this monumentally epic milestone briefing, releasing the new, standard tech OT Levels through OT III.
With the understated tag-line "This is the guarantee that every being will make it to OT — with unprecedented ease and speed" the latest edition of the International Scientology News trumpeted this revelation across 3 double page spreads. Though oddly, 4 of the 6 pages were pictures of the crowd in the auditorium, happy audience reaction shots and lights on the outside of the Ft Harrison.
French prosecutors are investigating a complaint filed by 12 employees of a building firm who say their employer forced them to take part in Scientology courses.
The case is only in its early stages and may never make it to court. But one of France's top lawyers, Olivier Morice - a veteran of court battles with the movement - is representing the workers who filed the complaint.
Luis and Rocio Garcia's federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology has survived another challenge as Judge James Whittemore denied the church's latest motion to dismiss.
The Garcias say they were defrauded by Scientology when it pressured them to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars in building projects, but since their lawsuit was first filed in January last year, it's run into numerous technical roadblocks.
The Garcias first had to win a mini-trial in Tampa when Scientology tried to disqualify their attorneys. They then had to deal with a jurisdictional challenge that put the case on hold for months and eventually resulted in the Garcias dismissing three of Scientology's entities from the lawsuit.
2014-07-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I often put up postings that are tongue in cheek and poke fun at Miscavige and his Merry Band of Minions.
This however is NOT one of those.
It highlights a systemic problem in Scientology, in some ways similar to the Catholic Church. The comparison is both apt (as the interest is in society's right to protect children and the well being of the children themselves) and somewhat strained (because child molesting is not generally widespread in scientology organizations and certainly not among its "priesthood"). But what is completely parallel is the desire of the church to keep these incidents secret at all costs. To hide the perpetrators and facts from authorities and to "deal with it internally" which usually results in NOTHING being done.
Mat Pesch, 30 year veteran discusses working conditions at Scientology's Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. Topics include hard sales tactics used by the sales people to Scientology public,
Listen to the Intelligence gathering done on a target to extort maximum money. What are his buttons ? How much is his net worth ? Does he have a boat ? What investments ? The "FSMs" are the feeders that make 10% of money they extorts.
The Church with frenzied shark feeding at the smell of blood.
Operators of a drug rehabilitation center in Hernando County, which uses Scientology-affiliated Narconon treatments under intense scrutiny in several states, plan to open a 60-bed halfway house in Clearwater.
And they won't say why.
Jeff Harris Last week, we reported that Scientology's drug rehab network, Narconon, had removed a class-action lawsuit filed against it in Georgia to federal court, and had filed multiple motions to dismiss it.
Now, the plaintiffs in that suit, led by their attorney, Jeff Harris, have hit back with a detailed briefing explaining why they're suing not only Narconon, but the Religious Technology Center — Scientology's controlling entity, which is led by the church's top official, David Miscavige.
Harris attached 31 exhibits of Scientology's own publications and internal documents in an attempt to show that Miscavige wields total control of the Scientology empire, down to local drug rehab centers like the one in the Atlanta area, Narconon Georgia, that is the focus of this suit.
Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner—has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for "a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation," according to documents obtained by Mother Jones.
Dubbed Groundswell, this coalition convenes weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog group. During these hush-hush sessions and through a Google group, the members of Groundswell—including aides to congressional Republicans—cook up battle plans for their ongoing fights against the Obama administration, congressional Democrats, progressive outfits, and the Republican establishment and "clueless" GOP congressional leaders. They devise strategies for killing immigration reform, hyping the Benghazi controversy, and countering the impression that the GOP exploits racism. And the Groundswell gang is mounting a behind-the-scenes organized effort to eradicate the outsize influence of GOP über-strategist/pundit Karl Rove within Republican and conservative ranks. (For more on Groundswell's "two front war" against Rove—a major clash on the right—click here.)
One of the influential conservatives guiding the group is Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller and a tea party consultant and lobbyist. Other Groundswell members include John Bolton, the former UN ambassador; Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy; Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council; Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch; Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women's Forum; Catherine Engelbrecht and Anita MonCrief of True the Vote; Allen West, the former GOP House member; Sue Myrick, also a former House GOPer; Diana Banister of the influential Shirley and Banister PR firm; and Max Pappas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Run away! Leah Remini's in your Facebook! Oh, this is rich. One of our tipsters forwarded to us a message that has been sent to Scientologists about how to avoid all the "entheta" — negative press — that has enveloped Scientology, especially since the departure of Leah Remini.
Since the news of Remini's defection broke on July 8, Scientologists — who are obsessed with rules and regulations and can hardly put on their shoes in the morning without instructions from the church — have been asking for help understanding what's going on.
The problem is, how do you warn your fellow church members about being exposed to online entheta without running into it yourself? And how do you find out which of your so-called friends is actually in contact with evil "Suppressive Persons" that you've now been ordered to cut out of your lives? These are the kinds of questions that haunt the members of Tom Cruise's congregation.
Scientology has lost famous member Leah Remini, and we look at what went into her decision to leave, along with the downward spiral of the church and David Miscavige's reign of terror with writer Tony Ortega. From the aggressive psychology of "sec checks," to the way celebrities are treated, and how Jennifer Lopez sparked Remini's exodus from the church, we go in
Tony Ortega is a former editor of The Village Voice who is working on a book on Scientology and blogs at tonyortega.org. He lives in New York.
When Heribert Pfaff died in 1988 of an epileptic seizure in ClearwaterFlorida, he was using Scientology processing to try to wean himself off his medication.
"Victim face down" Heribert Pfaff had suffered major epileptic seizures for 10 years after being injured in a serious car accident. In normal circumstances, the right medication would have helped him manage his condition.
But Pfaff was a Scientologist, and so was his doctor.
"After looking at the OSBI report and additional witness statements, the District Attorney's Office has requested the Sheriff's Office to further investigate," said Richard Hull, assistant district attorney.
"The District Attorney's Office requested all reports on all three victims," said Sheriff Joel Kerns, referring to two other deaths that also occurred at the Narconon facility in the past nine months.
Hillary Holten, 21, of Carrollton, Texas, died April 11, and Gabriel Graves, 32, of Owasso, died Oct. 26.
2012-07-25, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
(dailypicksandflicks.com) Southampton, England-based P&O Cruises put this advertisement in a newspaper somewhere, and it was naturally posted to the web.
We can't decide, however, if P&O understood just how brilliant its advertisement is, as it not only riffs on Tom Cruise's name, but it also recalls one of Scientology's biggest controversies of 2011, and a big favorite here at our blog -- the Scientology cruise that would never end!
We're talking, of course, of Valeska Paris, whose shocking story of being kept against her will from 1996 to 2007 on Scientology's private cruise ship the Freewinds was voted the best of 2011 by our readers.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — After three deaths in nine months at an eastern Oklahoma drug rehab center with ties to the Church of Scientology, the local sheriff confirmed Wednesday that he has launched an investigation.
Pittsburg County SheriffJoel Kerns said his office is looking into three deaths at Narconon Arrowhead. The most recent occurred Thursday, when the center's staff found 20-year-old Stacy Dawn Murphy dead in her room.
"She was found with no apparent abrasions or anything of that sort," Kerns said. "No apparent medical conditions."
2011-07-25, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
We've been a bit distracted of late dealing with David Miscavige's robots carrying out his orders to run us out of our home and town. Part of the program includes defaming us with lies both on his 28 anti-Marty sites and individually to officials and citizens of our home town and region. I have been remiss lately in not keeping the vacuum filled on what goes on at Casablanca that causes the waves of cult members and PI's swirling about attempting our demise. I began the process yesterday and continue it today with the inimitable Samantha Domingo. Sam likes to joust with Minerva (handle for Miscavige's oracle of entheta – vicious lies). Sam wrote the following recently to put the lie to one of Minerva's oft-repeated propaganda lines. It tends to fill the vacuum of what goes on here while all the noise goes on in the streets.
The Nerve of Minerva
By Samantha Domingo
They speak in "lolcats" terminology. They use terms like "lulz" and "epic win." They claim that members who have been found out have had their pets killed. They wear "V for Vendetta" Guy Fawkes masks. They are Anonymous, and they're gathering in Millennium Park this weekend for a gathering that's one part protest, one part flash mob, two parts performance art. Who are they really? Who knows. That's the point.
The Church of Scientology says it is considering proposals to sell its headquarters in the central business district, in its move to the suburbs.
The controversial religious denomination can expect to make about $8 million in today's market for the historic four-level building, on the corner of Russell Street and Flinders Lane.
As previously reported by CNET News.com, the measure would dramatically rewrite federal law to permit nearly unchecked electronic disruptions if a copyright holder has a "reasonable basis" to believe that piracy is occurring.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. Howard Berman, D-Calif., and Howard Coble, R-N.C., would immunize groups such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) from all state and federal laws if they disable, block or otherwise impair a "publicly accessible peer-to-peer file-trading network."
State mental health board members have been asked to postpone a decision on whether to certify a drug treatment center that uses methods of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Lawyers with Narconon Chilocco New Life Center say they need the additional time to appeal a recent decision by an Oklahoma County judge that involves the state mental health department in the certification process. Narconon Chilocco lawyers successfully argued last year before another Oklahoma County judge that the mental health department's staff was prejudiced against the 75-bed facility located north of Newkirk.
1991-07-25, Bob Henderson, Editor's Note, St. Petersburg Times
They also are well-guarded and secretive. Overlooking the Petrolia vault, according to an electrical contractor quoted by Cempa, is an 8,000-square-foot bunker with "closed circuit TV cameras in almost every room and alarm systems all over."
The Petrolia vault is on 3,600 acres bought since 1984 by the Los Angeles-based Church of Spiritual Technology. Cempa says it is a Scientology splinter group set up to preserve the religious and philosophical writings of Hubbard.
Alain Priouzeau, who police said was in his mid-20s, was flown by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg and died an hour and a half later of head injuries, police said.
Police said Priouzeau lived at 210 S Fort Harrison Ave. in Clearwater, headquarters for the Church of Scientology.
Dawn Raid. Last week it appeared that Scientologist methods had aroused a half-sleeping giant: the U.S. Government. Federal prosecutors began parading Scientology officials before a Washington grand jury following a door-busting dawn raid by FBI agents on church offices in Hollywood and the District of Columbia. Cartons of documents were seized, including dossiers on the private lives of federal judges hearing the church's suits, data on agency personnel, and other material that originated in Government files. Authorities charged that the Scientologists had pilfered scores of confidential documents after infiltrating the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service.