2018-07-26, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
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.
Paulette Cooper, the "Unbreakable Miss Lovely" herself, turns 76 today, and she has an amazing update for us. We are so in awe of this lady.
Here's my birthday update: It's been an incredible few months, all while you and I have been completing Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard's dangerous 'religion'.
A year ago, you told the story of how a woman in Brussels purchased a house last year and discovered it had been a major orphanage during the war. She found some early photos of me, and tracked me down indirectly through you. (Your story in the Village Voice led to a related story in Belgium and Holland that listed my birth name and adopted name, and she found a photo in her house with my birth name and traced me through that story.)
2018-07-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Interesting, there seem to b as many, if not more, pitches for people to join staff this week than give money.
A first ever.
They must be feeling the pinch. After all, there has not been a St Hill Size org made for decades, and the ones they announced previously have all shrunk...
The Church of Scientology sent this now widely-circulated photo of Tom Cruise and David Miscavige to the Los Angeles Times for its feature article on Scientology. Published December 5, 2004 both the photo and the Times caption are unintentionally hilarious:
A STAR AND HIS LEADER: Tom Cruise and David Miscavige after a brunch at Scientology's Celebrity Centre in Hollywood about a year ago.
Tom Cruise and David Miscavige send mixed signals in the photo. They want to present a sinister image of themselves as planetary-clearing, Psych-busting, bad-ass, leather-wearing Scientologists on their matching Ducati's. However, bad-ass bikers don't do brunch. The photo looks like a sultry urban bromance more than anything else.
At 56, he is a marvel of aging, a practical world wonder executing outrageous stunts of escalating danger, year after year (a flash of that dashing, confusingly youthful smile its own veritable human special effect).
He is the star of Mission: Impossible—Fallout, a film being gilded an action masterpiece, with critics straining their vocal chords cheering how it wows, thrills, and even "fucks." It comes out this weekend, and it is very good!
Cruise is also a Scientologist. Did we remember that? I mean, of course we remember that. It's arguably the first thing someone thinks of when they think about Cruise at this point: his longtime stature as a high-ranking member and proponent of the Church of Scientology and his close relationship with its leader, David Miscavige. But I'm just checking because, as Cruise takes his victory lap on this fawning press tour, the organization seems to be receiving nary a mention.
2017-07-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I have known Janis for more than 40 years. She is someone I will always hold dear. Janis was one of my first friends on the Apollo, a fellow Australian teenager like her sister Terri, we were a small contingent. In fact, it might well have been just the 3 of us in that exclusive club. Those are the sort of relationships that never die. Janis is truly a Sea Org historian. Someone with first-hand and unique experience and a desire to record the information for everyone else to share.
She graciously wrote this piece to explain a bit about her new book.
I finally did it! After three long years, I have published a book about growing up as a second generation Scientologist. Because I have so much to say about it and many stories to tell, this is the first of hopefully three books.
The history behind one of the most beloved websites of the early internet from its inception to the present day with a special guest appearance from video producer PetSimmerJulie.
PetSimmerJulie's channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf01...
We had dinner with Paulette Cooper in Manhattan a few weeks ago, and it felt once again like we could never keep up with her. The woman has so many things going on, we don't know how she keeps track of it all.
She was in town to celebrate her wedding anniversary with Paul Noble, and they only had a short time before they had to get to a Broadway show (of course). So we ordered in some haste from a bewildering Asian-fusion menu and tried to catch up to Paulette's various projects between dishes.
Paul is a supreme treat, as anyone will tell you who has spent time with him. And he has the most adorable anniversary tradition: Every year, he writes a humorous love poem for Paulette. He had us in stitches with his puns.
However, this seemingly noble purpose is misguided, and potentially reveals the true motivations behind the actions the group has taken in favour of free speech. Capobianco's statement is somewhat confusing, considering that you could very easily say the same of the Indigenous activists — they were also assembling peacefully, and were well within their right to do so. In the past, SSFS has even decried interruptions of their own proceedings, such as when the Toronto Action Forum, an event co-hosted on campus by SSFS and Generation Screwed on February 4, was interrupted and ultimately halted by protests. Why would they jump to defend the disruption posed by the Proud Boys, but condemn the protests in response to their own events?
It should also be noted that while there was thankfully no violence as a result of the confrontation between the Halifax Five and the Indigenous activists, back in April, the Proud Boys announced the formation of a "military division" to be headed by Kyle Chapman, who had been released from jail the previous month on suspicion of a felony assault with a deadly weapon.
What makes things worse is the fact that much of the focus of this rally has been on the presence of white supremacist Paul Fromm and SSFS's ever-shifting explanations and apologies for his presence. Though SSFS's claim to fame is supporting free expression regardless of the content of the messages, in this case, they appeared to waver in their stance. First, they made a statement on Facebook claiming that they did not know what Fromm looked like and hadn't been aware that he was attending the rally. The statement was later deleted from their Facebook page, and replaced with a YouTube apology, after receiving numerous negative comments from skeptics.
We've heard from three of our Hungarian readers who each brought to our attention a rather astounding story that appeared in an online scandal sheet known as "RiPost" about this past weekend's Scientology "Ideal Org" opening in Budapest.
Each of them warned us that the publication is known for outrageous articles, and one of them told us she simply didn't believe the story. Peter Bonyai, our usual correspondent in Hungary, told us that he had read the piece but was still trying to confirm it independently.
So, for now, we want to emphasize that even from our sources there on the ground, there is considerable skepticism about RiPost's report. But the story is rapidly gaining attention there, and is being picked up on forums and other websites in Budapest, and so we decided to make you aware of it, even with the caution that it may turn out to be apocryphal.
2016-07-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Someone sent me a link to this video.
It's production values and the quality of the video itself are poor, but the information it contains is pretty interesting. It isn't long and there are no big words (which I appreciate).
I am sure anyone who has experience with scientology will find many parallels here.
The former church members that came forward talked about secret video cameras that Miscavige allegedly installed to tape members of the church. Presumably, this meant all members, including Cruise. According to iMediaEthics, that's what Miscavige took issue with, insisting anyone being recorded knows that he or she is being recorded.
He filed a formal complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which regulates the press in the UK. The only problem is that the Daily Mail published the story from a US journalist about US events, and US journalism isn't regulated by anyone. It shouldn't fall under the IPSO's purview, but that didn't stop them from issuing a kind of "ruling" on it anyway.
Mirrored from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2nP_...
Aaron Saxton (born 1974) is a former Scientologist and member of the organisation's elite group called the Sea Org.
2015-07-26, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The latest in my ongoing series where I answer questions left for me 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) I had good friends in the Sea Org. After I left, it was impossible to have any contact with them anymore. Many of them would be getting on in age now so my question is what do they do with Sea Org members who become an assisted care problem, or for some reason is too old to be of use? I know they off-load them, but surely they don't just kick them to the street, as that would be bad PR. What public assistance would these guys be able to get after a life of almost no wages nor Social Security? What happens to them?
(2) I became fascinated with Scientology about 8 years ago. My brother took a few courses in Orange County in the early 80's when he was about 20 years old and still living with my parents. Twenty years later, my brother and I grew up, married, had families, etc. Our dad was sick so I had his mail forwarded to my house. Next thing I knew, on a regular basis, mail, flyers, full color
On July 26, 1942, Ruchla Minkowski Bucholc gave birth to her second daughter, a girl she named Paula.
Today, the world knows little Paula Bucholc by another name and for her inspiring life story. We wish you a happy birthday, Paulette Cooper.
Paulette is on an annual vacation to celebrate her birthday, traveling in the Caribbean with her husband, Paul Noble. We're sure they'd love to hear your thoughts and wishes for them in our comments section.
2015-07-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
If it was a puzzle why Bogota Colombia "ideal" org was done before say Harlem or Auckland or Silicon Valley or Valley or any of the others we have been hearing about for some time as being "next" and "most important."
I think Ethan Hunt accidentally spilled the beans at the world premiere of MI5 as he explained to the The Hollywood Reporter.
Of course, there is a long history of ideal org planning being done so "Mr. Cruise" would not have to be ashamed by the state of the local small and failing scientology outpost — all the way back to the very first "ideal orgs" in New York (where he had an apartment) and Madrid (where his girlfriend at the time, Penelope Cruz) was from. He has also shot plenty of movies in London. And of course, Berlin.
Now, we've learned that in seven of those lawsuits, Narconon International and ABLE have been removed after quietly settling with the plaintiffs. The lawsuits remain active, meanwhile, because the local facilities have not settled.
Considering Scientology's reputation for scorched-earth legal tactics and delaying maneuvers, it may come as quite a shock to some observers that two Scientology organizations, staffed with elite "Sea Org" workers, are cutting checks to quietly get out of these lawsuits.
2013-07-26, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Some folks have found my repeated reference to the Tao Te Ching to be puzzling. Some Scientologists have simply used it to write me off as being lost. The Tao is such a radical departure from the 'philosophy' Scientologists learn and abide by – even while denying to themselves such adherence exists – that some dismiss it as philosophical gobbledygook. I have commented on the polar nature of those philosophies (Scientology and the Tao) and noted it as an important reason to become acquainted with the Tao, e.g. The Tao of Scientology.
The fact of the matter is that a consistent construct in Scientology requires the adherent to mock up and act out the identity of conquerer. For example, a Scientologist is taught to view the universe as an epic struggle of the spirit's sole mission as the conquest of the physical universe. Such a view can and often does, if not mitigated by deeper understandings, result in destruction of that which one programs oneself to conquest; not to mention the weakening or destruction of the 'conquerer' himself.
Many have recognized this on some level and have departed the church because of the dangerous environment such a philosophy ultimately creates. Many of them spend years then applying an harmonic of this same warlike philosophy toward the church, 'it is the church or current management that needs to be conquered.' Others facilely write off the 'conquest' attitude as an attribute of church management and go off to apply what they call 'real Scientology' independently. Inevitably, to the degree they avow to remain loyal to Scientology 'philosophy', those independents wind up playing the conquest game against one another. It happened with the first independent movement in the eighties and the second one more recently.
2013-07-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A short commentary from a local Correspondent. The bubble world is becoming more fundamentalist:
Mike, There I was minding my own business, driving up a street in Clearwater today when I noticed a sticker on a van window two cars ahead.
At first, I thought "uh?", then it hit me - WTF?!?!?! I have never liked the stickers of a little s%^&head micturating on some other symbol (i.e., a Ford pick up will have a sticker of this character voiding on the Chevy symbol, etc.); I find it offensive actually. It remains me of high school punks who compulsively tried to create effects - very pubescent. More like idiots parading around saying "Oh, I special because you noticed me!" Or "pooh! I am soooo overt!" WTFE!!! In HCO PL 2 Sept 1970 II, LRH wrote that the first policy on Scientology Organizations was: MAINTAIN FRIENDLY RELATIONS WITH THE ENVIRONMENT. This sticker does anything, but that. Further, it serves to create a wider gap in the HUGE chasm that is the church's PR within the Clearwater community. Not last month the mayor of Clearwater was on TV saying he thinks the CofS needed to come forth and explain to the public and the government what it is doing and what its intentions for residing in Clearwater are. But I digress: Take the First Policy along with the LRH lecture "R-factor and Letter Registers" and it gives one a basic point from which to view. Couple these two LRH sources together and one needs to take into account that MU's and Study Tech must be applied to dissemination - particularly raw public dissemination. In fact, the attached photos, are a demonstration of the abuse of the following:
It's self-promotion day here on the fringes of the Internet!
We're trying to get some big stories finished up here in the Bunker (as well as another chapter of the book, which is coming along nicely), so this morning we're going to plague you with some examples of our recent appearances on local media.
Allison Hope Weiner has had us on her show "Media Mayhem" before, and we always enjoy her interest in the subject of Scientology. Our old Los Angeles friend Mark Ebner has also been a regular on the program.
2013-07-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another in the series of "Life Is Good." I have known Terry since I worked with him in OSA in the 80's and 90's. Terry is one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to call friend. He is a talented stained glass artist, photographer and also runs guided kayak tours out of Venice, Florida. It makes me very happy to see him doing so well. Mike
My history with Dianetics goes back to 1951 in Wichita. I started reading Scn. books in late 1968 in the Ozarks, and moved to Florida to join staff in early 1969. I did the usual...volunteered, did basic courses, and when old enough, joined HCO staff in Miami in 1970. Later, ran a City Office for Miami Org, and (finally) arrived in the Sea Org at Flag in 1981.
I left a much different Sea Org in 2001, after working at New World Corps Int., OSA Int. and Flag Liaison Office, and after completing about 30-40 missions/projects around the world. Fortunately, I have worked with a fair number of Scientology Orgs, Missions, Dianetic groups during that time, met thousands of Scientologists, and made a lot of friends. I still think of most of that time as very positive, with a few exceptions....
A US appeal court has thrown out lawsuits brought by former Sea Org members over the abuse they suffered inside Scientology. But the ruling suggests that another legal approach might have been more fruitful.
Claire and Marc Headley, two former members of Scientology's Sea Organization, have lost their lawsuits over the violence and abuse they suffered inside the movement.
Marc Headley had argued that he and fellow workers were subjected to "assault, threat and menace" to make them work more than a hundred hours a week, for far less than the minimum wage.
'Scientology is basically a pyramid scheme that sells secrets and they sell them under the guise of self-help,' Mr DeWolf said to CBS.
'Tom Cruise is another victim of the mirage that my great-grandfather created around himself.'
He says that the church is so demanding, so unforgiving, that he is putting himself in danger just by agreeing to speak on camera.
'Scientology is toxic; it's a poison and it's destroyed everyone that it's come into contact with it.'
MCALESTER — Pittsburg County authorities said Wednesday they are expanding the scope of their investigation into the death of a 20-year-old Owasso woman at Narconon Arrowhead drug rehabilitation center.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation turned over its investigation into the July 19 death of Stacy Murphy to county authorities.
"After looking at the OSBI report and additional witness statements, the district attorney's office has requested the sheriff's office to further investigate," Assistant District Attorney Richard Hull said.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation turned over its investigation in connection with the July 19 death of Stacy Murphy to the Pittsburg County authorities. Murphy died at Narconon Arrowhead, a nonprofit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located on Lake Eufaula near Canadian.
"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.
2012-07-26, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
At chapter ten in What Is Wrong With Scientology?, I discuss the thought stopping process that Scientologists are conditioned to engage in. I have subsequently recognized a couple more insidious by-products of that thought stopping process. They might in fact explain the substantial 'decompression' process period corporate Scientologists seem to need to feel human again. I got to thinking about this after viewing an extraordinary talk that a friend sent me the link to. It was given by Dr. Brene Brown, research professor of Sociology at the University of Houston. I highly recommend you watch and listen to this in full when you have got 21 minutes to spare:
In order to acceptably thought-stop in corporate Scientology, don't we also stop (or numb) our emotions? I think Brown is right that people cannot selectively numb emotion. Instead, they numb themselves so as to wall off, or not-is, emotion. After engaging in the process enough we make ourselves incapable of experiencing spontaneous - and appropriate - emotion. Perhaps the same mechanism occurs with thought.
In either event, I think - irony or ironies - that Scientology communication training routines (including mood drills) do wonders in rehabilitating the damage done by years of thought-stopping and emotion-numbing within corporate Scientology. That is, when they are done as they were originally designed to be practiced. And that is, as a fun, decidedly unserious, activity.
Dr. Joan Wood once enjoyed prominence and prestige as a medical sleuth like the heroes of the mystery books she read.
As the Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner for 18 years, she conducted more than 5,600 autopsies and testified in hundreds of murder trials.
But the case she will be remembered for most is the one she botched: the 1995 death of Lisa McPherson.
2011-07-26, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Wise Beard Man makes a wild move For Scientology watchers, a stunning development tonight that, not so long ago, we can hardly imagine happening.
Mark Bunker, dean of the old time Scientology critics, has written a guest post on Marty Rathbun's blog this evening -- well, I would be hardly more surprised if a Michael Wolff editorial appeared in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal with a glowing preface by Rupert Murdoch.
Rathbun, who not so many years ago was charged with keeping tabs on critics like Bunker in his role as one of the highest executives in Scientology, is well aware what a surprising turn this is:
2011-07-26, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
A Volunteer Minister's work is never done Greetings, fellow Scientology watchers! How good and snug it feels to be back in our underground bunker, where we keep a vigilant eye on all things L. Ron Hubbard-related. After a week away, we're back with a new set of supplies, lots of reading material, and plenty of food for the cats. We should be set for several weeks without interruption.
We have several really major stories cooking for the next couple of weeks, but for now we thought we might pick up where we left off -- with the intriguing Tad Reeves, DC-area Scientologist.
As I reported last week, I stumbled across a smart and diverting blog post by the young father and ardent Scientologist, who pondered big questions about the nature of church founders and how their words are preserved.
Toxins are stored in the body's fatty tissue, where they are excreted by sweating, explained Dr. George Yu, a surgeon and professor at George Washington University who champions detoxification.
But the treatment has critics who contend it is unproven and lacks necessary medical research. Dr. Frank Fraunfelter, medical director for city and county fire departments, has many reservations.
Cruise has subsequently gone out of his way to atone for each of these undignified episodes. He went back on Oprah's couch and stayed calm; he apologised to Lauer for his 'arrogance'; he mended fences with Shields to the extent that she attended his wedding to Holmes in 2006.
But building bridges with his disaffected fan base - especially his female audience - has not been so easy. According to the E-poll Market Research agency, his favourability percentage has dropped among the American public to 37 per cent from 64 per cent in 2004.
MOSCOW, July 26 (UPI) -- A Scientology center near Moscow is the target of a criminal case and charges of inciting hatred, punishable by up to five years in prison, authorities said.
Russian investigators say documents and literature confiscated at the center in Shchyolkovo, northeast of Moscow, promote extremism, The Moscow Times reported Monday.
In April, a Siberian court added works by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to a federal list of extremist materials, making all Scientology centers open to prosecution, the newspaper said.
Some German officials believe Scientology's ideology is rooted in a kind of political extremism -- a bit of a sensitive area for Germany since World War II. They also argue that Scientology is not a religion but a business, since local churches operate like franchises of the main organization.
Last Sunday, the German Protestant Church's religious cult specialist called Tom Cruise the "Goebbels of Scientology." This comparison of the War of the Worlds actor and the head of the Nazi propaganda machine is only the most recent example of a German official having harsh words for the Church of Scientology. Last month, a German Defense Ministry spokesman said Cruise couldn't film his movie at military sites because the actor had "publicly professed to being a member of the Scientology cult." (The ministry later reversed its position.) What's Germany's beef with Scientology, anyway?
"It's not uncommon to take someone down a dress size or two in two weeks," said Victoria Morton, who founded Suddenly Slender and says she has 1,300 franchises worldwide. But experts say the wraps can cause severe dehydration and circulatory problems.
"It's all pseudoscientific gobbledygook," said Dr. Victor Herbert, a doctor at Mt. Sinai Veterans Research Center who is also on the board of Quackwatch, an organization that debunks false medical claims. He says any weight loss that results from getting a body wrap is temporary, because it is water loss.
Ursula Caberta, who heads a government office in Hamburg that works to curb Scientology in Germany, said Tuesday at a downtown news conference that Scientology is viewed in her country as "a new kind of political extremism." She also alleged that church officials have exaggerated hardships of Scientologists caused by her office and used fraud in an orchestrated effort to persuade U.S. lawmakers to impose sanctions against Germany.