This week, guest John Sweeney is on board. An active BBC journalist who took on the Church of Scientology in 2006 and faced off with the Church's senior executives, and who has since been in North Korea, Russia and almost every country in the Middle East, discusses what these places are like, what kind of experiences he had and how these relate back to cult mechanics and attitudes.
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Scientology TV on Twitter has 26,943 followers. The account was created on June 4, 2014 and has now had four years to build a base of followers. And yet, Scientology TV's Twitter following has plateaued at just under 27,000 followers.
We believe Scientology TV's Twitter followers are the strongest evidence ever seen for the actual global membership size of the Church of Scientology in 2018.
The reasons for our conclusion:
In 2015, our correspondent Rod Keller posted at his own website a photo from Scientology's South Coast mission in Orange County, California (see above). It featured a young woman named Kristi Bouck showing off a document indicating that she had attested to "Clear."
The state of Clear was the original goal of Dianetics when L. Ron Hubbard began his movement in 1950. It has been superseded since then, but it remains an important intermediate milestone for any Scientologist and can take years to obtain.
Kristi Bouck grew up in a Scientology family in Orange County, and going Clear meant that she was on her way to L. Ron Hubbard's promised superhuman powers. She had previously spent some time in Scientology's "Sea Organization," the most dedicated hardcore group in the church.
We first wrote about Derek Bloch at the Village Voice in 2012, and he's been a pretty constant presence here since then. You probably know his story — that he was kicked out of the Sea Org for being gay, and then his family disconnected from him in the Scientology way.
In 2015, Derek was chosen to take part in a television series about disconnection that featured a lot of people our readers are familiar with. And for a short time we too became involved in that production, serving as a consultant for Sirens Media for about a month as the series lineup was being finalized. By the middle of 2016, the show seemed to be ready for airing on the A&E network. But then we heard about another series being filmed for the network that would feature Leah Remini.
Leah's show was aired first, and it became a huge hit. As her show nears its second season, the Sirens Media program still hasn't been given an airdate. We don't know if it ever will.
2017-07-27, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Education is one of the most controversial subjects in the United States and perhaps in the world. The bulk of a child's life is spent in public or private schools or, for some, in home schooling. A great deal of money and time are spent not only in directly educating children, but also in figuring out how to best go about this job. In the fall of 2016, about 50.4 million students attended public elementary and secondary schools while an additional 5.2 million attended private elementary and secondary schools. The public school system alone employs about 3.1 million full-time teachers, so when one is talking education, we are talking about a lot of people and a big investment of money and time. Clearly, we place a premium on giving our children a good education so they are setup to succeed in life. Any society with even a modicum of common sense would do so because children are literally our future.
L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Dianetics and Scientology and supposedly the sole source of all of its researches and discoveries, made bold claims about his findings in regards to study. In fact, a whole subsection of the Church of Scientology is devoted to propagating Hubbard's methods, known collectively as Study Tech. In this video we are going to break down what Study Tech consists of, look at the Church's claims about it and then see if these claims have any merit. Let's get started.
On July 9, 1964, Hubbard gave a lecture on assimilating data or information and he stressed nomenclature and the meanings of words.
This video is a critical review of the development of Scientology's "Study Technology" and the claims made by L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology and Applied Scholastics International about the efficacy and use of Hubbard's study methods in the educational system and in Scientology training.
The Basics of Scientology Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZi5S...
On Sunday, The Spokesman-Review, a newspaper in Spokane, Washington, published a touching story about high school sweethearts who were forced apart and then finally, after more than 40 years, reunited and got married.
Rebecca McKee and Tom McCaffrey had met at Fountain Valley High School in Orange County, California in 1968. He was just a freshman. She was a sophomore, but she had skipped grades and was actually a year younger than Tom. They went steady, and they dated even after Tom moved to another school. But then, as the article by Cindy Hval explains, in 1970, Rebecca, a Scientologist, was forced by her father to drop high school and go to Los Angeles for Scientology courses. In order to stay together, Tom bussed up to LA and even enrolled in a class at the Celebrity Centre. But, as Tom explained, that ended the relationship.
"I asked a lot of questions," he said. "They didn't like my questions. I was told I wasn't welcome there and I should not see Rebecca anymore."
2016-07-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Another in the series of essays from Terra Cognita. See earlier posts: Why Scientologists Don't FSM, Respect, The Survival Rundown - The Latest Scam, Communication in Scientology... Or Not, Am I Still A Thetan?, To Be Or Not To Be, An Evaluation of Scientology, Fear: That Which Drives Scientology and Justification and Rationalization.
The Horrors of Word Clearing
Word clearing—defining words—is big in Scientology. Really, really big. LRH emphasized word clearing repeatedly. One small misunderstood word—commonly abbreviated as "MU"—could have disastrous results. Every word in an auditing session had to be cleared and fully understood before auditor and PC could continue. From the smallest preposition to the most obscure multi-syllable word, all had to be cleared.
(A Must Watch & Share) The origin of the so-called UFO, and their arsenal, & purpose is revealed in this inspiring speech by the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan at Saviours Day 2010. Get more DVD's and Books by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad today by calling toll free
This is what Nation of Islam actually believes.
We're traveling today, and we're grateful to our tipsters for keeping us supplied with good material while we look for some time to do some reporting on new stories.
We have contributions from two tipsters today that happened to hit on a similar theme — Scientology's super-secretive entity, the "Church of Spiritual Technology" (CST), and its Space Age underground vaults.
First, Underground Bunker regular "Observer" recently visited California's central coast, and she couldn't resist stopping by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's final spot on Earth before he moved on to Target 2.
2015-07-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
While they keep the pressure on Ideal Org begging to hand out humanitarianisms, the IAS vultures circle offering up patronisms and the Planetary Dissemination hyenas are trying to scrape together some crumbs in exchange for heroisms, the old reliable vampires at the Mecca of Technical Imperfection are reviving the heat on the L. Ron Hubbard Hall.
The old hands who sucked so much out of Flag's public for their SP building are patterning their new pitch on another superhero concept, but instead of the Legion of Doom they have the Legion of Honor. No longer will cornerstones suffice.
And rather than certifying the members as "Lex Luthor" or "Giganta" from the Legion of Doom they have taken their own path with a brand new title that is going to be coveted by the status junkies inside the scientology bubble: L. Ron Hubbard Envoy Extraordinaire.
Global Exclusive! Feast your eyes on almost three hours of the Church of Scientology's most infamous and historic event: The end of their 30 year war with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This grainy video is so secret and rare that the Church of Scientology fights to keep it off the Internet. You are advised to download this large video file to your computer and save it for posterity. You won't find it anywhere else because I am the only one the Church won't persecute for posting it.
Don't miss the huge opening number but the meat of the video begins here: 01:32:10 .
There is much interest in this historic video but the Church may try to have it deleted because they are seen gloating about their victory against the US taxation authorities. Google makes a lot of money off of the Church and usually does its evil bidding in such matters.
Hey, sailor Once again our great tipsters came through as we received a boatload of Scientology mailers and fliers this week. On Sundays, we enjoy sharing the best of them with you in order to get a snapshot of the church's desperate attempts to get more money out of fewer people.
There are a number of interesting revelations in these advertisements, not the least of which is, Her Royal Governess has finally finished OT Seven!
That's right — Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, has finally finished "the level" and now only has OT Eight left before she finally achieves godhood!
2014-07-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The FIRST auditor in the field has completed the GAG II Class 4 training.
Yes, these SUPER FAST EVERY SINGLE PERSON COMPLETES IN CHECKSHEET TIME COURSES have finally produced a Class IV auditor after only 8 MONTHS!
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He now has a new edition of the book out, and on Saturdays he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
We've been talking a lot lately about Scientology's policy of "disconnection," which church members can face when they leave the fold. But some ex-members can face another wave of retaliation from the church, known as Fair Game. Jon Atack reminded us this week of a particular harassment campaign that backfired badly against the church - the case of Bonnie Woods in England.
Woods was an American living in England who had left Scientology in 1982 and then, ten years later, was running a hotline to help other people who defected. Agents from the church retaliated against her by picketing her house and spreading leaflets with misinformation about her. She sued for libel, and the church hit back with three libel suits of its own. Eventually, however, the church was defeated when it had to apologize for spreading lies about Bonnie and her husband Richard.
2013-07-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The hype seems to be slowing down, the gushing praise for Him seems to be subsiding and the insanity of what is "news" seems to be reaching lower levels as each week goes by...
Here is last night's report:
IAS Event at Flag: The preparations for the IAS event are well underway. The mega tent is on the way to the US by ship, and due to arrive in 3 weeks to Miami. It will be transported to CW, and then placed between the parking garage and Fort Harrison Avenue. Dave noted that it will be visible to all tourists who are going to the beach, so they will notice the presence of Scientology in the city (if they haven't already). [ Wow, "tent stats" are headlining the graduation! There are 17,431 grommet holes in the canvas which weighs 11,273.1 lbs and is coming on a ship averaging 13.617 knots per hour making this trip a HIGHEST EVER of grommets per pound per mile. And just remember folks, this is because there are no tents in the United States that meet our exacting specifications. And because we have not yet built the hall we have been taking money from you for over the past 20 years. We have even shown you fly-throughs — remember about 10 years ago? And BIG NEWS, we want the people of Clearwater to see our TENT because they are sick and tired of seeing the 300,000 square foot empty building that blots out the sun in downtown Clearwater. These "hurrah" moments get more absurd each week....]
The director at Narconon Arrowhead confirms two employees were fired this week after the body of a young woman was found dead at the facility.
"To answer the question two staff was fired this week for poor job performance which were completely unrelated to the recent matter," said Gary Smith director of Narconon Arrowhead.
In an interview with CBS, Jamie DeWolf calls Scientology a "well-funded psychotic beast" and describes Hubbard as nothing more than a "lying con-man" who peddled "pseudoscience".
DeWolf said Scientology destroyed his own family and undoubtedly led to Holmes's divorce from Cruise.
To even begin to explain why it's significant that a Texas man named Bert Leahy and a Montreal man named David Edgar Love are going to meet up in the godforsaken town of Canadian, Oklahoma on August 25 would probably strain most news organizations.
But we have an advantage: Bert Leahy and David Love are both stars of this blog, and our readers will know exactly why their meeting should send shivers down the spines of the executives who run Scientology's embattled drug treatment program, Narconon.
First, the reason why people concerned about Narconon will be gathering to protest its flagship facility in Oklahoma: people are dropping dead there.
2011-07-27, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Whatever Mark Bunker's views, and whatever I may think of them, Mark Bunker is a decent, honest guy. I thought so when I saw him in Clearwater in 2000 when he was the video guy for the Lisa McPherson trust. I thought so when I saw his famous video beseeching Anyonymous to tone it down a few years back (garnering him the handle Wise Beard Man - or Wisebeardman). I thought so when he volunteered to convert my original trashy one page webpage into a WordPress blog format. And I think so today. Bunker has kind of taken on the role of Little Switzerland, or Big Switzerland depending on your point of view, in the ecclectic community of ex-Radical Corporate Scientologists and never-Scientologists protesting corrupt cultic practices carried out in the name of Scientology.
by Mark Bunker, aka Wisebeardman
2010-07-27, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Just listened to a bit of David Miscavige's speech at the Seattle Idle Morgue opening (I can only take so much). It relates to the recent post on thought-stopping. It occurs to me that one of the Church's thought-stopping techniques is these event speeches. They go on and on, full of cliche after cliche, saying absolutely nothing, and all delivered in a rhythmic, almost hypnotic cadence. Here are Miscavige's opening remarks:
"I am genuinely honored to join you on this day when Scientology comes of age in Seattle; not that you haven't long maintained a presence in this town, not that you haven't long ago sunk roots into this city, and not that you haven't long carried the torch of this great Northwest, but only now is all the majesty and subtlety of booming this Church made manifest, because only now can we appreciate the deeper meaning of those campaign slogans which drove your new civilization builders to this moment: leading the way; delivering the future; taking Seattle to greater heights, only now is it clear those weren't slogans at all, they were a prophecy, so while we've long marveled at your unbridled creativity and elaborate events, the many parts you've played, the many stages you've trod, and the myriad costumes you've donned, only now is it obvious when you were told giving your best, you took it to mean the best of the best."
Yes, that's really what he said. Can you believe it? It's one sentence, one hundred and sixty-four words. And all saying absolutely nothing. How many cliches can you count? "Comes of age." "Sunk roots." "Carried the torch." "taking Seattle to greater heights." On and on. And what does it mean? Beats me. What does "the majesty and subtlety of booming this Church" mean? And what does it mean when you take that meaningless phrase and "make it manifest"? And all that talk about how the PR slogans were really prophecies. What?
2009-07-27, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
In the Middle Ages, families would often give a child to the church, to become a priest or a nun. It was considered a mark of piety.
Many Scientologists have given sons and daughters to their Church – their children have joined the Sea Org. They are proud of their Sea Org children and, yes, it doesn't hurt the parents' Eligibility.
But there's a darker side of Sea Org recruitment, recently the subject of a thread on Ex-Scientologist Message Board. Here are some of the stories that were posted.
For me, the story began May 2, 1978. My crew and I were filming the Synanon cult's property from a deserted public road in Marshall, California, when armed men, women and children with shaved heads held us captive for three hours. The story flashed across the AP wire, phoned in by Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Mitchell, owner of the Point Reyes Light weekly. My employer, NBC News, ignored the story. I didn't understand why, but it was a foreshadowing of what would happen when my far more dangerous story about Peoples Temple was ready for air in October, 1978.
You've got to hand it to Attorney General John Ashcroft and D.C. Mayor Tony Williams. Ashcroft is a rock-ribbed social conservative and religious fundamentalist, and Williams is correctly described as an uptight brainiac in whose mouth butter would not be inclined to melt. But when it comes to implementation of George Bush's faith-based initiative in the District, Ashcroft and Williams seem capable of really thinking outside the box . . . or maybe of not being engaged at all.
I mean, who would have expected that in an effort to help the District of Columbia cope with droves of violent offenders returning from jail -- 2,000 last year, 2,500 this year, 3,000 in 2003 -- that the spirit-filled Ashcroft and holier-than-thou Tony Williams would seek the assistance of the Church of Scientology.
Well not directly. But without the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA), the budding relationship between the District's ex-offender community and the Church of Scientology wouldn't be, ah, well, budding.
1997-07-27, Duke Helfand, Special Report, Los Angeles Times
As the Los Angeles Board of Education grapples with whether to approve a new charter school that would feature the teaching methods of L. Ron Hubbard, the late founder of the Church of Scientology, a handful of district teachers say they have been using those techniques for years and keep copies of Hubbard's works in their classrooms.
The controversy over the use of Hubbard's methods - known as Applied Scholastics - has prompted district officials to undertake a review of policies on religion in public schools and to seek an opinion from the state Department of Education on the legality of using the materials.
Lawrence Levy, an attorney for Freedom For All in Religion, had charged in the 1987 suit that church officials tried to divert $100-million to foreign bank accounts. Levy's clients, six former Scientologists who said they represented as many as 400 others, said the church used personal information given in confidence for blackmail and extortion.
But on Friday Judge Cooperman dismissed the suit, ruling that the former church members failed to back up their allegations of money laundering and fraud, and "failed to identify the alleged communicators of confidential information."
As the Church of Scientology has increased its presence in downtown Clearwater, the business community has become less vocal in its criticism of the group.
Once the focus of fear and scorn, the subject of FBI investigations and criminal trials, the Scientologists now are welcomed by some merchants as a steady source of shoppers for downtown businesses, especially during slow summer months.
But others question whether the Scientologists are keeping other shoppers out of downtown and turning off potential tenants for downtown office space.