Note: This is a companion piece to the question and answer article Tony Ortega and I had at the Underground Bunker.
What would it take to get the IRS to commence an investigation into the revocation of the Church of Scientology's 1993 tax exemption?
As the start of the second season of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath approaches on Tuesday, media and public interest is ramping way up. Leah has promised that the second season will focus on "the abusive practices of Scientology — sexual abuse and physical abuse," she told The Hollywood Reporter.
Leah also said her goal is not just to spread awareness of Scientology's mistreatment of its members but also to inspire a federal investigation. "I'm talking about the FBI, the police, the Department of Justice, the IRS," she said.
The FBI did investigate Scientology for allegations of human trafficking in 2009-2010, but that investigation didn't result in charges, and we think that probe ended for complex reasons.
2016-08-11, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everyone. 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. Thanks for joining me on this.
If you haven't yet watched my first couple videos in this series, I recommend you do although this video can stand alone. There is a link in the notes section below to the first part which gives the introduction and context of this series. I also want to reiterate just in case you didn't see those earlier videos that I am not making any claims to be unbiased or objective in my views on Scientology.
Here we will be taking up Chapter Two of this book, written by William Sims Bainbridge. According to Wikipedia, he is an American sociologist in Viriginia and is the co-director of Cyber-Human Systems at the National Science Foundation, which is the official government agency that issues grants for research and education in all non-medical fields of science and engineering. So he's kind of a big deal. He's got a Harvard Ph.D. in sociology and has written a number of books on religion including The Sociology of Religious Movements and The Secular Abyss as well as works on specific cult groups such as Satan's Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult in 1976 about a group called The Process and The Endtime Family: Children of God in 2002.
This has been a great week for tipsters here at the Underground Bunker. We're very fortunate that so many people think of us when they find interesting news and documents about Scientology. In today's case, however, it was something a photographer had been holding on to for more than 30 years.
He goes by the handle Ronnos, and he lives in the Netherlands. And it was at a Scientology event in Amsterdam on June 6, 1982, when he captured an image of Diana while she was sitting at a piano, preparing to perform. Ronnos tells us that he left Scientology in 1986, and it was only a few weeks ago when he was digging through some of his things that he found the photograph again. He wanted the readers of the Underground Bunker to see it, and we're grateful.
Diana Hubbard, 64, is the last member of founder L. Ron Hubbard's family who is still involved with the Church of Scientology. She's a member of the Sea Organization, and spends most of her time at Scientology's International Base, near Hemet, California. But our sources who know her tell us that she does have more freedom than a typical Sea Org member, and can come and go on occasion. When she would come into Los Angeles, she would sometimes stay at her mother's former house on Chislehurst Drive in Los Feliz, until it was sold in 2014.
2015-08-11, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The relationship between the Nation of Islam and scientology is becoming stranger and stranger.
Whether anyone likes it or not, scientology membership is disproportionately white. Massively so. And Louis Farrakhan is militantly anti-white.
So, what the hell are they doing in bed with one another?
Once again, Jonny Jacobsen is our man on the scene in Europe, where news of Scientology's infiltration of a Swiss national organization broke in the local press. Give us the details, Jonny...
A Scientology anti-drugs group is using a Swiss umbrella association presided over by a politician as cover for its own activities, the German-language daily Tages Anzeiger reported Monday.
Sag Nein Zu Drogen, the Swiss branch of Scientology's "The Truth About Drugs" campaign, is part of a Swiss anti-drugs alliance, the DDS, the paper reported. (DDS stands for Dachverband Drogenabstinenz Schweiz: which translates roughly as the Swiss Association for Abstinence from Drugs.)
2014-08-11, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Apparently these "ideal" orgs don't have anyone actually completing anything to give "success stories" so they resort to getting (and publishing) "successes" from people "in progress" on services.
This is the best they can come up with?
A further indictment of the complete failure of the "ideal org" program and GAG II.
We really like the question Jeff starts off with - he asks Rinder's opinion of the performance by another Scientology mouthpiece, Sylvia Stanard at this summer's Chautauqua, which we featured here.
As Rinder points out, Sylvia may be the best Scientology can do these days, and actually, she's not a terrible speaker. But she's really in an impossible situation when she's in front of a knowledgeable audience who knows when it's being bullshitted.
Mike Rinder discusses the Scientology PR flack Sylvia Stanard's recent speech about Scientology at the Chataqua religious conclave. Stanard lied about Xenu, Disconnection, and other matters of substance. Stanard was evasive and refused to honestly answer questions. Mike Rinder makes the point that no Church of Scientology spokesperson can tell the truth -- and Rinder knows as he was the International Spokesman for the Church of Scientology for over twenty years.
Mike Rinder makes the point that all the Church of Scientology can do is to evade, duck, and deflect the hard questions and does so by focusing on its real estate portfolio as proof of its expansion. "If Scientology were really that bad would we be purchasing and opening all of these new Ideal Orgs?"
News this evening that Robin Williams was found dead in his Marin home is reverberating around the world and we'll be dealing with the shock for some time. Early reports indicate he may have taken his own life after a long battle with depression.
Our readers began posting remembrances of him this afternoon, and we hope that continues. Tell us your favorite Robin Williams memories. Also, we can already see on social media that people are trying to use this moment to raise awareness about the debilitating effects of depression — and that it doesn't care about fame or success.
This blog is about Scientology, and Williams only touched on it briefly. But we want to remember those times. One of our more memorable experiences here was talking with Harlan Ellison about L. Ron Hubbard, and we noted that Ellison had previously told his tale about Hubbard to Robin Williams...
2013-08-11, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I wanted to give you an update on the Bay Area Scientology scene. As you know there are San Fransisco, Stevens Creek, Los Gatos and Mountain View orgs in this fifty mile area. Recently included to the grouping of the Bay Area orgs is Sacramento — about one hundred miles from most of the Bay Area. All Bay Area orgs sit empty. Just to be clear, there are probably half a dozen veteran public that appear for course once a week to keep their PR in.
It's a sad state of affairs that while each org sits empty of public, some of the most well-intended (and misguided) staff you ever care to meet continue to hope for a better day when the miracle program from uplines will flood the orgs with public. It's a hurry up and wait mentality. All faith based.
Friday afternoon, we shared with you the comedy stylings of The Good Liars, who handed out fliers in Times Square asking people please to stop searching for Shelly Miscavige, who is not missing.
In a similar spirit, we wanted to jump on that theme with both feet, and offer David Miscavige's outfit even more succor. After all, not everyone is thrilled that the Church of Scientology perennially finds itself the subject of government investigations, complex lawsuits, denunciations by defectors, and constant pestering by nattering nabobs of negativism (i.e., reporters).
Well, it's time to atone. And boy, do we have some righteous payback!
2012-08-11, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
For those unfamiliar with how the IAS was hijacked by Miscavige and converted into a crush regging machine that overshadowed all previous corporate Scientology regging abuses in a matter of a few short years, please see this discussion between Mike Rinder and me:
The Hijacking of the International Association of Scientologists
Since that very accurate report on the depowering and imprisoning of Janet (Light) and Colm Mclaughlin, I have learned that they are alive and well and outside of Miscavige's physical prison system. They are living relatively free in Southern California. Proof of life:
2012-08-11, Tony Ortega, Runnin Scared, Village Voice
"All these Narconon centers are run on the same principles. They use deception to get people in, they make false claims about their effectiveness, and the person sending patients there is actually a salesman working on commission," says Carnegie Mellon professor Dave Touretzky, who has been studying Narconon for years and maintains an extensive online archive of information about the drug treatment program's many controversies.
Now, with unprecedented attention drawn to it, Narconon's vulnerability comes into sharp focus: If Scientology itself often gets a pass because it calls itself a church, Narconon cannot claim that privilege. If Scientology is made up of people who have voluntarily joined to explore their past lives, Narconon patients -- and the parents or court officers who send them there -- often have no idea of the program's connection to the controversial church. Although it is endorsed by celebrities, Narconon's less glamorous reality puts very vulnerable people in risky settings. And, increasingly, public officials are beginning to question how such an unusual program could be licensed to do business in their jurisdictions.
2011-08-11, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last Friday, we started a countdown that will give credit -- or blame -- to the people who have contributed most to the sad current state of Scientology. From its greatest expansion in the 1980s, the church is a shell of what it once was and is mired in countless controversies around the world. Some of that was self-inflicted, and some of it has come from outside. Join us now as we continue on our investigation of those people most responsible...
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
2008-08-11, Roger Friedman, Celebrity Gossip, Fox News
But there are a lot of questions still to be raised about Isaac Hayes' death. Why, for example, was a stroke survivor on a treadmill by himself? What was his condition? What kind of treatment had he had since the stroke? Members of Scientology are required to sign a form promising they will never seek psychiatric or mental assistance. But stroke rehabilitation involves the help of neurologists and often psychiatrists, not to mention psychotropic drugs - exactly the kind Scientology proselytizes against.
Singer Isaac Hayes died on Sunday at the age of 65. Besides being a sex symbol, a soul-music legend, and a beloved voice-over artist, Hayes was also a dedicated Scientologist. According to his religious beliefs, what happens to Hayes now that he's passed away?
Scientology was also integrated into the firm's work, when an organizational consultant who draws on the doctrine was hired to work with the staff, and job candidates were given tests based on Scientology. "Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, wrote many courses on advertising, public relations and marketing, and when I read them I saw they matched what I had learned in practice, my beliefs," Morell relates. Tzur finds this the appropriate time to leave the conference room we are sitting in so he can attend to prior commitments.
State District Judge Kenneth Martinez agreed to let Tapia leave Friday after he completed his stay at the Second Chance treatment project, an inpatient program with roots in Scientology. The judge placed Tapia in the community custody program, which requires him to wear an ankle monitor.
2007-08-11, Matt Sedensky, Associated Press, Florida Times-Union
Scientologists say their interfaith partnerships show people of all faiths clamor for solutions to real-world problems. Detractors say it amounts to a cloaked effort to burnish the oft-maligned church's image and attract new members by appearing less clandestine and more diverse. And the clergy that have adopted aspects of the Scientologists' outreach say they're simply making use of programs that work.
For the past decade the Church of Scientology has battled with the Charities Commission to gain charitable status. In 1999 the commission ruled that it was not a religion and that there was no "public benefit arising out of the practice of Scientology" and turned down its application.
Undeterred, it waged a separate struggle with the tax authorities to be granted tax-exempt status. In 2000 Revenue & Customs finally agreed that it was a not-for-profit body and was exempt from paying VAT. It had arrived in the UK in 1977.
In the UK it operates as the Church of Scientology Religious Education Incorporated, with assets of £18.9m, including donations, according to the latest accounts filed at Companies House. Its members pay for the church's courses, fuelling an annual income of £9.82m.
2005-08-11, Anderson Cooper, Anderson Cooper 360°, CNN
COOPER: It's no secret that Tom Cruise is a devoted, outspoken member of the Church of Scientology. That has not always been the case. There was a time when the subject of his religion was off limits to reporters and to interviewers. Not so now. Just ask Matt Lauer who got lectured by Cruise weeks ago on what the actors says are the evils of psychiatry.
Now, while some are surprised by the chance in Cruise, former Scientologists insist it's really no mystery, they think it's related to his rise in the ranks of the church. [Transcript]