We've written several stories about Brian Sheen, a Florida man who left Scientology many years ago, but who never had a problem with his daughter, Spring, continuing in the organization. But after Spring married into a wealthy Scientology donor family in 2014, she got the order from the church to cut off all contact with her father.
Sheen was devastated, and tried to fight back by complaining to the state government. He's also put out several interesting videos, and a website about his daughter.
Then, this week, he received bittersweet news. He's a grandfather.
Aaron Smith-Levin and I did a live stream today to talk about independent Scientology, black and white thinking and why discussing Scientology is never a matter of black and white.
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2017-09-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
One of the things LRH got right was emphasizing the importance of communication. The more we read and write, the more we understand what's going on. Writing is connecting with others. Writing is learning. Writing is being. Writing is all sorts of shit. Writing is fun.
Discussions on this blog have helped me understand the "stable data" I accepted while inside the bubble as something other than unquestionable truth.
Scientology Cut My Comm, Fuck You Very Much
For over thirty years Scientology cut my comm. Not only my communication with others, but my communication with myself. Listening to what outsiders said about the church was risky business. Expressing my true thoughts was a perilous endeavor. Thinking about anything that didn't align with church doctrine was a crime.
(Note: The following summary was written by Tony Ortega and is reprinted from his blog)
Kim Christensen, the L.A. Times reporter who broke the story last year about Scientology leader David Miscavige hiring private investigators Dwayne and Daniel Powell to follow his own father, Ron Miscavige, after Ron escaped from Scientology in 2012, has an important update today that is on the newspaper's front page.
The most striking thing in Christensen's story last year was that the Powells told West Allis, Wisconsin police that they had been told by David Miscavige personally simply to stand by and let Ron die when they observed him having what they thought was a heart attack. "If he dies, he dies," David reportedly told them.
Two weeks ago, we reported that a Scientologist named Clay Bock was running for a city council seat in Garden Grove, California. We pointed out that there's nothing keeping a Scientologist from running for office, but we figured voters might want to know that Bock had a long history helping out Scientology's most unhinged front group, which agitates against psychiatry.
Well, this week, Garden Grove's city council found out a lot more about Clay Bock when a woman named Paulien Lombard addressed the council in a live meeting with a stunning allegation: Clay Bock was also a Scientology spy.
Bock happened to be at the meeting, and he too addressed the council and admitted that he'd been with Lombard on a Scientology mission to confront a church protester at his home.
Lombard said she and Bock, who has not made a secret of his Scientologist views, went one Saturday morning in 2008 to Choquette's home, where they handed out fliers warning his neighbors about him and told police he was a terrorist after officers responded to a complaint.
"I was truly thinking that day that I was doing a good thing, because I believed everything my church told me," Lombard said. "Little did I know I was being lied to."
She said Choquette had gone to great lengths to keep his address and other aspects of his personal life private, but Scientologist spies under the direction of Clif Miller had spent months tracking the critic, who went by the name AnonOrange.
2015-09-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Nothing over the top here.
And yet people will tell you that L. Ron Hubbard DIDN'T make absolute claims about OT and scientology doesnt make promises to achieve unrealistic things and that scientology doesn't falsely represent itself...
Of course, there is always wiggle room - this statement means some "future" OT level is where it's going to be achieved — even though those future OT levels don't exist. It was all supposed to be "OT VIII" and the release was delayed from 1970 because it was so powerful...
This week's video discusses fundamentalist Scientology and its relationship to enforced familial disconnection. We examine which of Scientology's core beliefs are most responsible for driving fundamentalist Scientology and how these beliefs are leveraged to degrade the value of and break apart families.
Disconnection is, in my opinion, Scientology's Achilles Heel. People will put up with a lot of crap, but disconnection that splits parents and their children, husbands and their wives, or siblings is uniquely sickening not only to the public at large who watch Scientology, but also to the people who live it and experience it. Disconnection is destroying Scientology, yet the Church of Scientology keeps enforcing it harder and harder. Why?
We have a new video today from Aaron Smith-Levin in his series, "Growing up in Scientology." In order to help outsiders understand why Scientologists could dedicate themselves to chasing outlandish ideas about superhuman abilities, Aaron went all Matrix on us.
Yes, he weaves a fascinating analogy about how much the 1999 film by the Wachowskis can help us understand how Scientologists chase the dream of becoming Neo. "And not the shitty Neo," Aaron says, which has to be one of the more surprising comparisons made on this website lately. Aaron also has some fun reading fan mail to his series.
Here is some explanation from Aaron about how Scientologists can convince themselves that it's actually a good idea to rip apart families that disagree about Scientology's aims...
Multimillionaire Jean Kasem has allegedly failed to cough up $10,000 owed to registered nurse Susan Stromin.
According to court documents Mrs Stromin cared for radio legend Casey between May 8 and May 11 this year – just a month before he died on June 15.
Casey's family has confirmed to MailOnline that the star - who was suffering from Lewy body dementia, a progressive disease - was being cared for at home between those dates.
2014-09-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The Freewinds is hosting a seminar at AOLA conducted by a public person (that used to be enough to drop jaws, now it is routine), and from the heights of assumed authority, they are going to tell you how to use "LRH Tech" to succeed on the internet....
If there is one thing everyone knows, it is that scientology has conquered the internet. The leading expert on LRH Tech, COB himself, has announced their massive efforts "applying LRH tech" to reach people on the internet. Many times. Using completely made up stats or ones that are broken down so far, they sort of sound impressive, until you calculate what they really mean. As a measure of their astonishing success, a quick glance at Alexa tells the story. Scientology.org is ranked 149,255 in the world and 59,512 in the US. This is with their "massive IAS sponsored dissemination campaigns" (as a comparison, with lower numbers better, ie Google is ranked 1) my little blog on the fringes of the internet is ranked 103,937 in the world and 26,180 in the US. With no massive infusion of funds or site optimization and hundreds of links.
This so clearly displays the astonishing arrogance of the church. They truly believe they are the experts in everything and all they need say to "prove it" is the three magic words "applying LRH tech" — and hey presto, they suddenly know all.
At a $100 per person event held in the San Fernando Valley on September 6, about 500 Scientologists were told, among other things, that Google has approved advertising grants totaling $5.7 million for Scientology churches around the country.
Also, that the Chinese government has approved Scientology's website, scientology.org, as one of only a few religious websites Chinese citizens can access without restrictions.
And that by taking over YouTube's homepage in an advertising buy earlier this year, Scientology reached 46 million people with its "Spiritual Technology" ad.
City officials have given the Church of Scientology two deadlines to provide more details about the Oct. 6 dedication and grand opening of the church's massive Flag Building.
If the church doesn't comply this week, the city might not approve Scientology's request for street and sidewalk closures downtown for an event that the church says will draw up to 10,000 guests.
2013-09-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Tonight is the first show of the new season of Dancing With The Stars.
Of course, the biggest news of the new season is the inclusion of Leah Remini after her headline making break with the church over disconnection, the disappearance of Shelly Miscavige, and the lies that were told to her.
The most recent headlines have centered around her comment on the Ellen show that she "lost a lot of friends" as a result of her brave public departure.
2013-09-16, Miss Fortune, Glistening, Quivering Underbelly
In September 2011, Human Rights Watch released "The Rehab Archipelago", a 121-page report documenting the experiences of people confined to fourteen South Vietnam drug detention centers. In Vietnam, "labor therapy" is stipulated as part of drug treatment by law, and drug detention centers are little more than forced labor camps where tens of thousands of detainees work six days a week processing cashews, sewing garments, or manufacturing other items.
In an August 8 substance abuse facility licensing inspection report, the State of Michigan determined that A Forever Recovery (AFR) and Best Drug Rehabilitation (BDR) were conducting their own forms of "labor therapy". AFR and BDR were both cited for violating the human rights of clients paying upwards of $25,000 for drug rehabilitation by forcing them to clean the facilities—without payment for their labor.
In addition, the report revealed a critical lack of emergency care readiness, no discharge documentation for clients moved between facilities and "co-mingling within the same space with no physical separation whatsoever", a clear reference to the unlicensed Tranquility Detox.
Hey, Oblivion 's out on DVD! After Tom Cruise made a disastrous decision to be more public with his involvement in Scientology in 2005, he's been relatively low-key about the church, and he's not been seen at many of its major events. Now, we have evidence of Tom's presence at a surprsingly small-scale church event, and it's caught top former Scientologists by surprise. They tell us this is an important new development, and confirms not only Cruise's continuing loyalty to Scientology leader David Miscavige, but also that Miscavige is treating the next few months like it was the church's last stand.
Last month, we worked with Woman's Day magazine to bring you the story of Anette Iren Johansen, a Norwegian church member who was the first woman to speak publicly about being "auditioned" for a role as Tom Cruise's next girlfriend. Dozens of women in 2004 and 2005 were asked to try out for a role in a film that turned out to be an elaborate dating scheme after Cruise's relationship with actress Penelope Cruz fell apart. Johansen decided to come forward about her own 2005 audition after she left Scientology and has begun speaking out about its abuses.
But Anette is so fresh out of the church, she's still on some Scientology e-mail lists, and one she just received from Clearwater, Florida is a doozy.
2013-09-16, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
As many folks know by now David Miscavige paid a tremendous amount of money in order to attempt to deprive Monique Rathbun of her constitutional right to the counsel of her choice against Scientology's scorched earth assault upon her rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The courts in America have consistently found that the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to civil litigation, e.g. see this essay. Sixteen lawyers were dispatched by Scientology to Comal CountyTexas last week fighting like wounded steers to attack Monique's only possibility of legal assistance. They came from Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, and Dallas to join perhaps three of the priciest, most prestigious law firms in San Antonio to attack the integrity of the only three lawyers in Texas with the courage and determination to take on Scientology's war machine.
This is a fact. In the eight years we have lived in South Texas, I have come to learn a little something about the chances of retaining counsel. Some of the toughest litigators in this state have approached Monique and I about the outrage visited upon Monique on David Miscavige's orders. To a one, when they did a little homework on Scientology's scorched earth policies and history of attacking lawyers personally, they politely bowed out with comments such as, 'life is too short.'
We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of moral support for Monique that we have heard from folk from around the globe. We firmly believe in the power of wishes, intentions and prayers (see Lynne McTaggart's The Intention Experiment for scientific evidence that such can be effective). So, our deepest appreciation to you all for those.
2011-09-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Anonymous has found another nugget of pure gold. Yesterday, a remarkable song and set of photos were leaked to the Anonymous website WhyWeProtest.net that were apparently from the Scientology organization in Birmingham, England. Now, Anonymous has put together the photos and the song in this quite entertaining video.
As we've reported here many times before, Scientology is currently in a period of decline and it's getting increasingly desperate to find ways to get money out of its diminishing membership -- even as it pushes to purchase new buildings for "Ideal Orgs."
The Church of Scientology has violated Australian law by making its employees work up to 72 hours without a break for as little as $10 a week, the Fair Work Ombudsman stated Friday after an 18-month probe.
The ruling came despite the fact that the Scientologists attempted to label some workers as "volunteers" rather than "employees."
The industrial umpire has told the Church of Scientology to hire an external expert to review its work practices after an 18-month probe into whether church workers were paid properly.
The Fair Work Ombudsman investigation was sparked by an ABC Television Four Corners program in March 2010, which raised allegations about the mistreatment and exploitation of some of the church's members.
A class action is to be launched against the Church of Scientology after a leaked draft report by the Fair Work Ombudsman earlier this week raised claims of false imprisonment and forced labour.
It's understood the Ombudsman's final report into the Church of Scientology will be released to the complainants and to the church sometime today.
A new complainant has told AM when she was in the church she was expected to work thirteen hours a day, seven days a week.
2011-09-16, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Reliable sources have informed me that Miscavige has acknowledged to OSA (Office of Special Affairs, Corporate Scientology's espionage network) that the overt harassment campaign was an EPIC FAIL. Of course, he is blaming it on OSA's "imbecile" execution while writing out of history that he was the one that ordered it and micromanaged into headlines from North America to Europe.
Partly in order to divert attention from himself, he has been demanding that all potential covert intelligence sources be activated and re-activated, YESTERDAY.
This all makes perfect sense watching from the outside. Just prior to April 17, when the South Texas Siege began, we had just devined an 18 month operation by OSA to put an old associate into our home. I informed the operative that I had determined whom she was working for. Within days the Ass Busters showed up in full regalia and until recently showed up to our driveway daily. While they still drive by and leer from the distance the daily driveway performances have ceased.
Scientology in Australia, which is already fighting to retain its tax-exempt charitable status, faces new threats to its financial survival.
Australia 's Fair Work Ombudsman issued a damning report on the movement's employment practices Friday - the same day a leading law firm announced plans for a possible class action lawsuit against the movement.
In its report, the FWO rejected Scientology's claims that it was not subject to the country's employment laws because of its religious status.
2011-09-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientology watchers in Australia are still absorbing a stunning case of bait-and-switch Down Under.
Earlier this week, a "draft" report by that country's "Fair Work Ombudsman" was leaked which seemed to indicate that Scientology was on the verge of a world of hurt: after interviewing eight witnesses who complained of working long hours for little pay, the labor agency seemed convinced that Scientology is falsely calling employees "volunteers" and might actually be violating the country's anti-slavery laws.
Tonight, however, the "final" report of the Ombudsman was released, and it reads nothing like that earlier draft.
THE industrial umpire has told the Church of Scientology to hire an external expert to review its work practices after an 18-month probe into whether church workers were paid properly.
The Fair Work Ombudsman investigation was sparked by an ABC Four Corners program in March 2010, which raised allegations about the mistreatment and exploitation of some of the church's most loyal members.
2011-09-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
On August 5, 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
#7: Mark Bunker
What did she say? Are they talking gibberish? Do they really believe this? Of course they don't. But they are making money off people who did believe it. It's a pyramid scheme and the people at the top of the pyramid are willing to say the stupidest things to get you to sign up under them. Then they get a cut of whatever you spend.
Stupid things Scientologists say in promo videos is compared with the stupid things they say in real life. If your reaction is "WTF?" then you got the idea.
Homophobia is rampant in Scientology yet they continue to milk Gay and Bisexual members using guilt.
2010-09-16, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
A friend sent me a very interesting article describing something called the Sunk Cost Bias. It's a phenomenon that may help explain why it's so hard for some people to leave the Church of Scientology.
The article describes sunk cost bias as "throwing good money after bad." One persists with a bad decision due to an irrational attachment to the money or time already invested. One tends to persist on a given course just because one already has so much time of effort involved in it.
Let's say you buy a used car. After you've had it for a while, you discover it's a complete lemon. You spend weeks of your own time trying to fix it. You invest thousands replacing this and that, trying to get it to work properly. The smart thing would be to have the thing hauled away. But you've already invested so much time and money in it, you are reluctant to let it go, so you keep trying to fix it. You're throwing good money after bad. The money you've spent is gone. It will never be recovered. You could save the money you are continuing to spend, but sunk cost bias prevents you from doing the rational thing.
2009-09-16, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Well, there is a new program for all OT Ambassadors, issued at this year's Maiden Voyage Anniversary. If you didn't receive a copy, someone posted it to ESMB.
It's a blueprint of how to destroy a Class V Org.
Think I'm exaggerating? Let's have a look at it. Let's move past the lofty "Program Purpose" and generalized "Major Targets" and so on, and look at what the program actually tells the OTs to do.
2008-09-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Beghe says he spent five days in Germany, and was trailed by employees of Scientology, even in his flights to Europe. "Private eyes were watching us all the way," he says. Scientology also deployed several attorneys and high-level spokespeople, including Tommy Davis, a former close friend of Beghe and the son of actress Anne Archer. The attorneys, Beghe says, tried to shut down the symposium, unsuccesfully.
"I did a lot of interviews, all over Europe. We met with government officials. Belgium has a lawsuit against Scientology. France has a suit. It's getting shut down in Russia," he says.
The controversial disappearance of 3 tons of documentary evidence in the upcoming trial of several members of the Church of Scientology was due to a mistake by a court clerk, the French justice minister said Wednesday.
The revelation last week that the documents were missing from a Marseille court where the trial is to be held triggered an uproar, and speculation about who may have been responsible.
Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou said a report by inspectors turned into her Tuesday "confirmed that this disappearance is an error."