On Thursday, we published an account by Derek Bloch describing part of his experience in 2015 filming a television series about Scientology 'disconnection' that has yet to receive an airdate. When he saw what Derek had written, Phil Jones contacted us, asking to post his own experience with the unaired 'Disconnection' series and how it eventually led to the famous billboards that Phil and Willie crowdfunded in Los Angeles and Florida. As we said last time, for a short period we too became involved in that television production, serving as a consultant for Sirens Media for about a month as the series lineup was being finalized. We hope that the series does get an airdate at some point, but in the meantime we believe Phil's account deserves to be heard.
"You're not welcome here."
Those were the words the security guard spat out at us when Willie and I stood outside Scientology's Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles when we tried to see our son Mike. We hadn't seen him in a few years.
2017-07-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology trying to inveigle itself with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department.
Though they also say this fundraiser is for Winter Wonderland? It's unclear how much they plan to give to the PAL and how much to Winter Wonderland. Scientology claims they provide Winter Wonderland as a "gift" to the community. Odd that an organization that takes in $2 million a week has to nab money from the PAL to pay for their Christmas decorations...
Hope the PCSD doesn't turn into the Hollywood PD who have been bought off over years with checks for their PAL.
2016-07-31, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer your questions based on what is 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 answer are:
(1) During my time in Scientology, I saw many "high level" public on the top of the bloody Bridge die of cancer or something like that. It gave me the idea that "cause over life" was just a fake promise. How did you justify or view those deaths as a Sea Org member when you were in?
(2) So much of the punishment that goes on at Int Base is classified as voluntary. I have heard you say that most of the people in the RPF are convinced they need the fixing that they can get only in an RPF setting. This visually makes me believe that Scientology is very good at breaking a human being down into a humiliated mass of guilt. I wonder if you could take us through the specific activities and psychological tropes that a new believer might experience in trying to achieve the respective disciplines of a pre-clear/clear/OT. I heard about the ashtray thing, and the staring at each other routine, but there has got to be some kind of magic bullet they are using to keep people on track. I simply cannot believe that the message is that convincing on its own. There have got to be little blackmails and some extortion going on. In some cases would the use of actual physical restraint be employed to keep someone at an org or public Scientology space? Do these restraint techniques intensify as we get closer to the Gold Base? Is there a hierarchy of abuse capacity respective to the increased atmosphere of Hubbardness? I guess what I mean is this: are the Scientologists more insane as we get closer to the Scientology sun? How much time did you yourself spend in the dreaded "Hole"?
It's time again for Rod Keller's Scientology Social Media Review. He's made a specialty of hunting down the odd and wonderful things Scientologists post to the 'net. He's a chronicler who piece by piece builds a highly detailed assessment of what Scientology is doing around the world, and this is what he found for us this week...
Today at 1 pm, Harlem will get its own Scientology Ideal Org when church leader David Miscavige presides over a ceremony at the twin buildings on 125th St. We say "twin" because Scientology is not only opening its Ideal Org but also a community center two doors down on 125th between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. This project is a long time coming — the buildings were purchased way back in 2007, and Scientology has been talking about opening them for years. If this event is like other Ideal Org events, Scientologists will be flown in from around the country, but curious local onlookers will be kept far away with the use of closed streets and sidewalks, barriers made up of potted plants, and other techniques.
We'll be interested to see which local figures Miscavige manages to convince to speak at the event. If you happen to be in the area, please send us a photo or two.
2016-07-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
You have all heard scientology spout repeatedly that Valley is the biggest and most important Class 5 org in the world. Of course, this is idiocy, they cannot gather together 50 people for an event and have less than a handful on services at any given time (though this DOES put them ahead of most orgs in the world).
What is probably true is that this org has the largest number of scientologists in its field - and the largest empty white elephant building in terms of square feet (and of course in scientology, square feet of empty space is the ultimate measure of accomplishment). There are more scientologists in the greater LA area than anywhere on planet earth. Next closest is Clearwater/Tampa Bay. After that it is anyone's guess. But nowhere is it even worth mentioning (except perhaps Taiwan — see recent article in The Atlantic). I would guess 40% of all people in the Greater LA area willing to identify themselves as scientologists live in the region that the Valley Org is supposed to serve. Pasadena, LA Org and Orange County probably have 20% each. Inglewood 0%.
But despite this fact, they cannot complete the fundraising for their idiotic building. So, the pressure has on people from all over the US (and the world) to "step up" and give money for Valley. It's been going on for years now — predating the now common "ideal org alliances" that are used to try to encourage suckers to give to small and failing orgs that will never make it alone. All the orgs in LA, including ASHO, AOLA and CC hound their public to give money to Valley. So too the "Valley Project" (Quinn the Eskimo and Co.) who hit up anyone they can lay their hands on anywhere in the world.
The long, strange dance between the Church of Scientology and the media just took another awkward step. The Wrap recently broke the news that actor Tom Cruise had "forbidden news outlets from asking questions about his personal life and Scientology during his worldwide promotional tour for 'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation'… The ban included any mention of HBO's explosive Scientology documentary 'Going Clear,' as well as tabloid reports that Cruise was dating his assistant."
For a while, Cruise was open about his commitment to Scientology, but he — or his team – seem to be clamping down again.
We spoke to journalist Tony Ortega, a longtime Scientology watcher and author of the book "The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology Tried to Destroy Paulette Cooper." Ortega is now executive editor of TheLip.TV. The interview had bee edited slightly for clarity.
2015-07-31, 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 want to thank you for your videos! I also have a question for you. I was raised Christian, however, more and more I am seeing the hypocritical nature of most dedicated Christians that go to church for bible study and services on Sunday. I do not attend any church as I feel that a "group think" dynamic is dangerous. I don't like being told what to believe. I have a "faith" but it is a personal faith. My question is why do so many Christians judge others so readily when they claim to be "saved by grace?"
(2) Nice video with Tony. Love your Q&A Videos. Some questions: Can you give us a history of where you were on staff and what were your posts? Have you apologized to anyone you wronged while on staff? How did that go?
Tom Cruise may not have talked about Scientology in his Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation press tour, but the studio behind this weekend's specialty release The End of the Tour, A24, doesn't mind using Cruise's controversial religion to promote their movie, and maybe the new Mission: Impossible film as well.
A24 Instagrammed a gif of Cruise laughing maniacally when he talks about someone asking him "Have you ever met an SP [Suppressive Person]?" It was taken from a pro-Scientology video featuring Cruise talking about the privileges and virtues of his religion as well as his intense dedication to carrying out Scientology's goals. The video is soundtracked with the Mission: Impossible theme.
Last year, Tom Cruise starred in Edge of Tomorrow as a smarmy US Army deserter caught in a time loop that keeps bringing him back to the previous morning after he is repeatedly killed by alien invaders. A cross between War of the Worlds and Groundhog Day, Doug Liman's futuristic fantasy featured one of the 53-year-old's smartest, most layered performances in a filmography spanning more than three decades.
Many critics could not resist drawing parallels with Cruise's own bumpy career, which time and time again has seemed to be on the verge of crashing, yet keeps bouncing back stronger than before. After some bizarre public outbursts and spats, two dramatic divorces and increasingly unsettling rumors and revelations about his Scientology connections, Brand Cruise is depleted but clearly not defeated: His new film, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, may push the actor's box-office total north of $8 billion, making him one of the most consistently bankable stars in movie history.
Of course, charm, charisma and smart choices are part of the package. He built his career with flashy Reagan-era vehicles like Risky Business and Top Gun, delivering performances that were all Ray-Ban shades, toothy grin and cocksure swagger. And for his first two decades in the spotlight, Cruise maintained an iron control on his image — banning toys made in his likeness, employing heavy-duty publicists and litigation-happy lawyers, doing appearances that were salesman-slick and politician-smooth, carefully choreographed for maximum public exposure and minimum personal risk.
Recently, members of the Underground Bunker community helped our friend and researcher extraordinaire R.M. Seibert get her hands on some documents regarding a Narconon facility in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The facility, which cleverly calls itself "A Life Worth Living" so it doesn't carry the (tainted) Narconon brand, is one of many that is being sued by attorney Ryan Hamilton for operating in a deceptive manner.
Seibert thought it might be worth making a request for records of all police calls to the facility in the last few years. She found out that in order to fulfill that request, the Fort Collins police wanted a pretty hefty fee. But thanks to your generosity, that money was raised quickly, and the documents were then delivered.
Gilbert points out the strangeness of "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, a master at calling out hypocrisy, interviewing Cruise this week and completely gliding over the topic, instead bantering about workout routines. That puzzle, of course, is quickly solved by the fact that Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures (which produces "Mission Impossible") are both owned by Viacom. It's the same reason why embattled NBC Universal stars want to stick to the NBC's "Today" show — shared corporate overlords make these situations much easier.
However, as weird as it is to see Stewart (of all people) avoid tough questions, or Cruise pretend that the Scientology stories aren't happening, none of this should be that shocking. This is frequent, common practice in every aspect of the entertainment industry. When it comes to big stars, some publicists are militant in keeping a list of banned subjects you absolutely cannot ask about. There's a tacit — and sometimes explicit — agreement between celebrities and infotainment programs not to upset the delicate balance of everyone needing publicity and viewers.
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped 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. He was kind enough to send us a new post.
Jon, we told you we'd be interested in your thoughts about a recent item by former Scientology executiveMarty Rathbun. At his blog, Rathbun pointed out that there are multiple accounts of the life of Jesus, not only within the books of the New Testament but also in alternative texts that were edited out of the Bible. But Scientology, he points out, doesn't allow alternative views. Its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, went to great lengths to make sure that only his take on things was considered "source" and couldn't be altered.
And Rathbun says that Hubbard enforced that fundamentalist view by suggesting that he had "descended to earth in human form in order to deliver its people from evil."
2014-07-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Groundhog Day — theme movie of corporate scientology
In keeping with the theme of do and redo that permeates the world of corporate scientology, LA Org ED's are shouting from the rooftops that they are "going St Hill Size"?
They have apparently (and conveniently) forgotten they did this already, back in the 90's, and with much ballyhoo. And that they sold people on joining to "get their OT levels" because they are St Hill Size and "per 339R we have a Universe Corps" (even though they never had one).
00:01 Welcome to Media Mayhem.
00:10 Introducing Tony Ortega.
00:40 Developments with Narconon, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley.
06:30 Criminal investigations on Narconon, and the mainstream media staying away from coverage.
12:00 Tom Cruise invites the media to talk about Scientology.
14:40 Laura Prepon. Scientology's homophobic attitude towards the LGBT community, and L. Ron Hubbard.
19:20 Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit and her attempt to subpoena David Miscavige.
24:50 Laura DeCrescenzo lawsuit update.
29:50 Are celebrities in the church aware of prison camps?
31:40 Thanks and goodbye.
More than a year ago - on May 19, 2012 - a 22-year-old woman from North Carolina named Amber Bullins died at Tranquility Detox, a Scientology-based drug rehab facility in Battle Creek, Michigan associated with a man named Per Wickstrom.
Former employees of Wickstrom tell us that it's only in the past few months, however, that the Battle Creek Police Department has begun to investigate the death in what is becoming a more general probe of Wickstrom's two rehab centers in the town. (He owns businesses - or the buildings they lease - in two more Michigan towns, and has plans for another in Michigan and one in Indiana.)
2013-07-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is the latest from the "FacebookPolice".
Clearly there is an effort to make themselves look "kinder and gentler" and couch the demand to disconnect as a "choice".... But anyone who receivers such a message knows what this means. Disconnect (unfriend) or you will be reported for consorting with the enemy and your name will be on the list for unfriending next.
"Dr. Bill," a sockpuppet KoolAid drinker of the first order, makes it known to his friends and associates that he reports to Kathy True, Donatella Kevenaar and Julian Swartz. He once proclaimed: "If you get information on anyone from me, it has come directly from OSA. I will not write and suggest that anyone disconnect unless that person is my specific target based on info from OSA."
The Hollywood Reporter has a nice scoop today: An open letter from Crash director Paul Haggis about his friend Leah Remini's defection from the Church of Scientology.
The world became aware of Haggis's own departure from Scientology in Lawrence Wright's epic February 2011New Yorker profile, "The Apostate." And as we reported when we broke the news of Remini's defection on July 8, one of the things that got Remini in some hot water with Scientology "ethics" officers was that she stood by Haggis when other Scientologists didn't.
Now, he's standing by her. But what also caught our eye was another stunning admission by Scientology's hapless spokeswoman, Karin Pouw, who has once again admitted that the church is involved with anonymous websites that smear the reputations of people who dare to speak out about Scientology's abuses.
2011-07-31, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
One bright spot in the otherwise oppressive International Headquarters Base of Radical Scientology experience for me was encounters with people like Michael "Misha" Priv. Despite long hours, sleepless nights, general suppression, and executing many times pointless work Misha always appeared to me to have a glass-half-full attitude. Recently Misha sent me the forward to a book he is writing on his Scientology experience. He granted me persmission to share it here on the blog. You can find it below this introduction. You gotta love the way this guy rolls.
Michael "Misha" Priv
THE GOLDEN FLEECE
Church of Scientology UK doesn't pay corporations tax because it says it is a South Australian charity. Senator Nick Xenophon is asking why South Australian continues to all the organisation to be based there.
Adams, the Church of Scientology International spokesman, estimates there are millions of Scientologists worldwide, though he couldn't be more specific on the number, and about a million in the U.S.
He said total assets and property holdings of the Church of Scientology internationally have doubled since 2004.
About 1,600 people attended the grand opening of the Queen Anne headquarters, the church said, though not all were members and some were from out of state.
The Freewinds, a supposedly refurbished cruise ship, was once a dilapidated rust bucket Scientology bought to house their most special patrons for high level teachings. According to, Scientology, in order for someone to do the level of OT VIII, it "required a completely safe, aesthetic and distraction-free environment". Founder L. Ron Hubbard researched and ministered many of the first OT levels in the 1960's aboard ship, so Scientology thought if they purchased a cruise ship, that it would have a lot of meaning for Scientologists. According to Scientology it is the ONLY place on earth you can do this level. Uhhh ok.
OT VIII is the eighth level on Scientology's "Bridge To Total Freedom", which we here at Glosslip affectionately call, the "Bridge To Financial Ruin". You can also take other lower level courses and auditing on the Freewinds, and of course it is also used as a recreational vessel for OT Summits and other celebrations. Many celebrities have sailed on the Freewinds, including Tom Cruise SEVERAL times, (even celebrated his birthday on the Freewinds, as seen in this famous, er infamous, video ) John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Kirstie Allie, as well as, actor Jason Beghe who has left Scientology in recent years, and is now speaking out against them and the financial fraud they continue to perpetrate. Jason was also quoted as saying that the Freewinds a real "flea bag" and that it "shook like crazy."
Reacting to a DW-WORLD.DE report on German film projects about Scientology, the organization's press spokesperson in Berlin said she doesn't like the way Scientology is portrayed.
A DVD film for schools showing statements by Scientology leaders in the United States and drop-outs in Europe is anything but objective, said Sabine Weber, the spokeswoman of Scientology in Berlin.
Remember Anthony Pellicano, the thuggish Hollywood private eye recently convicted of racketeering and wiretapping? He worked frequently with attorney Bert Fields, Fields' celebrity clients and other lawyers at Fields' firm. And he reportedly worked for Tom Cruise. But now that Pellicano is lost to the justice system, Cruise, still represented by Fields, has a private investigator named Paul Barresi defending his interests. And Barresi just did a strange thing: He provided to the Daily News federal court papers accusing Cruise of helping lead misdeeds by the Church Of Scientology, including harassment of this lovely sort:
Some Americans may consider Scientology perhaps a cult, maybe a violent sect, and certainly very weird. And, like many, I find the Church of Scientology odd, to say the least. But Scientology is no more bizarre than other religions.
2005-07-31, Virginia Linn, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Leaders of the Church of Scientology have long had the reputation of being uncooperative with the media. Still, we were surprised at their tenaciousness in trying to control our stories.
Whenever reporters delve into a topic that is even the least bit controversial, we take extra care in making sure we've pulled together as balanced a report as possible.
Such was the case on a package of stories published last Sunday on the Church of Scientology, one of the most unusual new religious movements. But never in our years of experience have we faced so much pressure, resistance and manipulation from an organization as we prepared our reports.
NEWKIRK - Most of the subscribers to Newkirk's local newspaper recently found some additional reading material in their mail.
It was not sent by the newspaper, although the spellings of names and addresses are identical to an old newspaper mailing list that was thrown in the trash two weeks ago.
Bob Lobsinger, publisher of the Newkirk Herald-Journal, said Tuesday he finds it more than coincidence that the mailing came from Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, a nearby substance abuse center that he has taken to task for its ties with the Church of Scientology.
NEWKIRK Oklahoma officials filed papers Monday seeking to close a substance abuse center near here that has been operating for the past several months without state certification or licensing.
A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 14 in Kay County District Court on whether a temporary injunction should be granted to shut down the Narconon New Life Center, said Kay County District Attorney Joe Wideman.
Wideman said Narconon has been treating patients since February, but still has not sought certification from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health or licensing from the Oklahoma Department of Health.