We want to thank the tipster who took the time to send us some scans from the new issue of Scientology's Source magazine, which features the "Perceptics" area on the fifth floor of the Flag Building in Clearwater, Florida, better known as the Super Power Building.
Way back in 2012, we published a massive set of blueprints of this building as it was being completed (part 1, part 2, part 3), and the most interest was always generated by the Star Trek coolness of the fifth floor and its Super Power gadgets. The building was finally opened in November 2013, some 20 years after construction first started, and now wealthy Scientologists pay tens of thousands of dollars to go through the various "rundowns" that make up the Super Power experience.
The futuristic fifth floor is set up to test and improve a Scientologist's "perceptics." These are 57 senses that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard proposed were abilities that the immortal thetan — your true inner self or soul — had once possessed but need to be regained as part of a Scientologist's exploration of his or her past lives. As you go back millions of years to find out what happened to you on other planets in the galaxy, you should re-experience it with superhuman sense abilities, which the Super Power fifth floor can help you hone.
In this video series, I'm taking on Scientology academic apologists by deconstructing the book Scientology by James R. Lewis, chapter by chapter. In this video, I look at Chapter 1, written by J. Gordon Melton and titled "The Birth of a Religion."
2016-08-04, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
This video continues my critical analysis of the book Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis with chapters contributed by various religious scholars, psychologists, sociologists and the like. If you haven't yet watched my first video in this series, I recommend you do, so you get the context of what this is all about. There is a link in the notes section below to that first part. I am not making any claims in this video to be unbiased or objective in my views on Scientology.
Here we will be taking up Chapter One of this book, written by J. Gordon Melton, currently a researcher with the Department of Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara. He's also an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and the Church of Scientology has recommended him as an excellent source for information on religions and cults through their Cult Awareness Network website.
He founded and is chairman of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and is the chairman of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) which is an organization famous as the world's foremost cult apologist organization. Melton has been doing cult apologetic work since the 1970s for many other groups besides Scientology.
You may have seen the short clip put out yesterday by the Associated Press which features voice actress Nancy Cartwright — who plays Bart on The Simpsons — talking about her unhappiness with Lawrence Wright's 2013 book Going Clear and the 2015 documentary that filmmaker Alex Gibney made from it.
We looked around, but we couldn't find any evidence of whether this was just an advance look at a larger piece by the AP about her, or about Scientology. It's just a short thing, and it's not clear why Cartwright is being asked now about a film that's been out for more than a year and that garnered three Emmy awards, including the year's best television feature documentary.
And as for her specific complaints about the book and film, well, they really aren't very specific. Here's the entirety of what she says in the clip...
Not everyone gets so close up to Big Ben you get this perspective.
But we had a special tour of the United Kingdom's Houses of Parliament yesterday, thanks to a member of the government who happens to be an ardent Underground Bunker reader. Our new friend gave us a special tour, and we got to stand in some locations where most public don't go — like slam up against Big Ben. But also in the more touristy sections, like in Westminster Hall, where you can see this plaque in the floor...
Or as in this hallway connecting the House of Commons with the House of Lords...
Rumors about the Smiths and the church first surfaced in 2007, when Will told Access Hollywood that super-Scientologist Tom Cruise had introduced him to the religion. Then in 2008, he and his wife donated $70,000 to Scientology causes, according to tax documents for their Will Smith Foundation, and dumped a whopping $1.2 million into the Scientology-centered New Village Leadership Academy in 2011.
Tax documents obtained by Radar show that in 2010, the Smiths' WJS Trust donated $1,235,000 to the NVLA. Though not a strictly Scientologist project, the school used Scientology teachings in its curriculum and was run by individuals with ties to the church.
The school closed in 2013, but according to tax records obtained by Radar, the Smiths weren't left hanging. NVLA's 2013 tax return shows that the full $1,235,000 was refunded to the WJS trust.
2015-08-04, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
These ideal org promotional pieces are getting crazier and crazier.
I wasnt sure there was anywhere to descend to, but this one really goes beyond bizarre.
1.2 million miles flown in honor of ideal orgs? WTF does that mean? Flown by whom? Why?
Once it was obvious he wasn't coming back, Lee says he was visited by a couple of Scientology masters-at-arms who demanded he turn over his E-meter. Later, he received notice that he's been declared a "suppressive person" - Scientology's version of excommunication. Now that Lee's an SP, other Scientologists have to cut off all ties with him.
Apparently, Lee's status didn't get communicated to the folks at the International Association of Scientologists, who recently sent Lee a letter asking him to pay a "balance" he owed of $12,293.
Ah, it's Sunday, time to go through our mailbag and see what items our great tipsters have sent us during the week. We love to post the wacky mailers and fliers that Scientology sends out to its members, and we have a nice collection this time. But we wanted to start with this photo sent to us by Amber, the young woman who posed for this shot in front of the "Ideal Org" in Florence, Kentucky. Nice T-shirt!
This next one is yet another mailer from the San Fernando Valley folks who are working so feverishly to raise money for their "Ideal Org."
One of our tipsters tells us he recently received nineteen e-mailed appeals for the Valley Org in a single day.
2013-08-04, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is the report from last night's "graduation"....
He is turning these into mini "Int events" where He covers every possible piece of information that will keep the local sheeple convinced that all is well inside the sandcastle. He knows that this public, through the PR and goodwill of "Flag" and the "OT Committee" spreads the word far and wide about how spectacular everything is in the world of Scientology under His leadership "following in the footsteps of our Founder, L. Ron Hubbard."
So, its a hodge-podge of random stuff that makes it sound like everything is hunky dory.
2011-08-04, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The liar is inevitably a coward and the coward inevitably a liar.
- L Ron Hubbard
A tremendous amount of International Association of Scientologists fees are being expended daily to run a black PR operation against me personally as well as a 110 day operation designed to impede me directly and make the lives of Mosey and I a living hell. Miscavige is enforcing the OSA bible Public Relations Series 18 to the tee. Except, as in all things Miscavige touches, he is doing so in the reverse. Hubbard explains the intention of the Black Propagandist in PR Series 18 as follows:
Yvonne Jentzsch was not so lucky. Hubbard sacked her as head of the Celebrity Centre she had founded, even though the organization literally put Scientology on the map with the Hollywood community. She'd gotten people like John Travolta involved, and John adored her. The problem was, Yvonne had lived for years on two to three hours sleep a night and had developed a brain tumor. Hubbard probably didn't want to foot the medical bills. He announced he was "promoting" her to create and run the "Public Relations Organization" which would promote Scientology all over the world. What he didn't announce was that he didn't fund her, and Yvonne was put in the embarrassing position of literally begging for donations to survive.
Scientology calls itself a religion and claims to offer purpose and meaning to its members. Yet for some who worked in the church's militaristic Sea Organization, Scientology provided something different: physical punishment, humiliation, beatings, sleep deprivation, and long and ruinous separation from loved ones.
The stories of 11 former staffers, reported in a St. Petersburg Times special report Sunday, are told with such detail and emotional heft that the church's official denials of abuse ring hollow
2009-08-04, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
If you want to see the perfect representation of David Miscavige's Brave New World of Scientology, then have a look at the full color, glossy, 80-page Freedom Magazine that was just produced and mailed out to every household in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillborough Counties, at a likely cost of over a million dollars – paid for, of course, by Scientologists' donations.
Apparently the last three weeks have been a scramble, with reges squeezing every penny they could out of wealthy Scientologists "to defend the Church" and PR and Marketing staff up day and night to write and lay out this massive PR piece.
And what did you get for all that money and effort? A huge vanity piece for David Miscavige. That's right. Article after article about Miscavige. Fifteen glossy color photos of David Miscavige. And how many pictures of LRH? None. That's right, zip.
The Anonymous group is calling for disillusioned former members to return to the fold ahead of a new phase in its battle against the Church of Scientology.
A video posted on YouTube on Friday said it was time for the original founders of the protest movement to return in time for a "shift to more subtle and shocking tactics".
A particular standout is the essay crafted by Mike Pride, a well-regarded, recently-retired editor of the Concord Monitor, who worked at the Sun through the '60s and '70s. He writes that the newspaper didn't learn for years that the reason Scientologists seemed to know so much about their efforts to investigate them, is because a clerk at the paper was a spy for the church.
Jodi Bettis of New Bern is one of tens of thousand of people who were exposed to the toxic air of lower Manhattan after the attack on the World Trade Center.
She was a volunteer for many days at the site and lived near one of the fallen towers.
She became very sick, her sweat was blue and so was she.
She got her breath back from the treatment from the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, now she wants others to have a chance to change their lives.
The source, who until recently worked at the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification program on Fulton Street, said he witnessed "strange practices" at the tax-funded center, which was co-founded by Tom Cruise.
These include: treating ill World Trade Center rescue workers without doctors present, strictly following Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's medical techniques even when patients were in distress, and a reluctance to call 911 for help.
"Somebody's going to get hurt from this," the former employee said. "There was no responsibility on the medical side of the project."
Florida's Board of Medicine has sternly sanctioned Clearwater physician David I. Minkoff, finding he improperly prescribed medicine for a patient he had never seen -- Scientologist Lisa McPherson.
Minkoff, also a Scientologist, prescribed Valium and the muscle relaxant chloral hydrate at the behest of unlicensed Church of Scientology staffers who were trying to nurse McPherson, 36, through a severe mental breakdown.
When they failed after 17 days of isolating her, Minkoff was recruited again. This time, he pronounced McPherson dead.
William S Burroughs, who has died aged 83, was the hard man of Hip. His aims as a writer were traditional, to entertain and instruct, but the means he chose to express them were unclassifiable, sometimes indescribable, occasionally unspeakable.
The case involves claims by the Church of Scientology that a former church official turned critic used a bulletin board service and Netcom to post material on the Internet that infringed its copyrights.
Specifically, Religious Technology Center and Bridge Publications hold copyrights in the unpublished and published works of L. Ron Hubbard, the late founder of the Church of Scientology.
Co-defendant Dennis Erlich is a former minister of Scientology who became a vocal critic, with a Usenet newsgroup as his pulpit. Erlich's posting were made through a BBS, which was connected to the Internet through Netcom.
Lisa Marie Presley, the King's only daughter and heir, has been a Scientologist since childhood; her mother, Priscilla, is said to have joined the church about a year after Elvis' death. Lisa Marie was married to a prominent Scientologist, Danny Keough, but quickly and quietly dissolved that union to marry Jackson in the Dominican Republic in May. Keough's younger brother, Thomas - also a Scientologist - was an official witness of the Jackson-Presley nuptials. The Church of Scientology International issued a statement this week wishing the newlyweds "the very best for a joyful future."