2017-10-08, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left 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) Because of your previous involvement in Scientology, do you tend now to feel like all religions or faiths are damaging? Or do you think that they only have the potential to be? For example, we know there are several cults that seem to be based on Christianity, but in reality are very much in opposition to the actual teachings of Jesus. What are your thoughts?
(2) I was wondering outside of your channel, what do you do for fun? Any hobbies or interests like music, science, arts, etc?
Scientology has rented offices in the city of Guelph, Ontario and announced plans to open a Continental Liaison Office (CLO) there. "The Royal City" of Guelph holds about 120,000 residents and this would be the first Scientology presence there. Residents plan to protest against the site, and they worry about how this expansion will affect their community. Rumors abound that Scientologists have been seen distributing literature and have started recruiting. While it's always worrisome when Scientology comes to town, this is likely a temporary facility and not one designed for recruitment efforts.
Guelph Stands Against Scientology is a group of residents alarmed by Scientology's presence in their community. They are holding a protest on October 28th from 2:00-4:00 PM at the CLO building, 40 Baker Street. Estimating turnout is difficult, but organizers hope to attract 200-300 protesters. Reports in their Facebook group of Scientology recruiters on the streets of Guelph appear to be a case of mistaken identity. They were Jehovah's Witnesses. Unlike most Scientology facilities it would be very unusual for this group to recruit or distribute literature. A CLO is not that kind of Scientology org.
A Continental Liaison Office, or CLO, is a management org. Its purpose is to serve as a middleman for communications between international management and local orgs in one of Scientology's continents, and despite the geography Canada counts as a continent. The staff are all Sea Org members, having signed the billion-year commitment to Scientology and a CLO is known as a "Sea Org Org." The new CLO outside Copenhagen bears the laurel and star symbol of the Sea Org. There is no Scientology bookstore inside, there is no Testing Center or video booths, auditing rooms, course rooms, or any of the required parts of an org that serves public Scientologists or recruits. It is one of a series of Ideal CLOs that have been opened with great fanfare in recent years.
White nationalists have returned to Charlottesville, in an unannounced tiki-torch rally led by Richard Spencer at the foot of the shrouded Robert E. Lee statue whose impending removal has sparked tensions.
There were no reports of violence at the brief Saturday night event in the Virginia college town, in stark contrast to the August protest there that devolved into violent clashes and left one dead.
Dozens of men wearing white collared shirts and khakis chanted 'you will not replace us' and 'The South will rise again; Russia is our friend' at the base of the Confederate general's statue, which the city has covered in a black shroud.
2017-10-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Apparently, Seth Abramovitch of the Hollywood Reporter has caused some serious butthurt in the scientology world.
A couple of recent articles seem to have put him on the Enemies List and scientology has responded in their typically understated fashion.
On one of scientology's many Facebook smear pages, they repeatedly posted this:
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 three years he's been 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.
I never really considered Scientology a religion. I accept that if others want to, they can, but I agree with Professor Hugh Urban: "If anything, Scientology is a self-conscious attempt to make a religion, that is, a concerted effort to use explicitly religious sorts of discourse to describe, defend, define and redefine itself." (The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion, p.211).
Initially, religious status was a way of avoiding any further lawsuits from the American Medical Association for practicing medicine without a license: In the US you can claim to cure cancer (as Hubbard did), as long as it is a religious claim.
The Future of Haiti Organization (FOHO) worked on Tuesday to pack up donation boxes to send to the island nation.
"We have been collecting donated clothing, and as soon as we heard about the hurricane we started," Future of Haiti Organization Vice President Leslie Hobbs said. "We bought all these bins at Home Depot and started packing them up right away."
FOHO president Reggie Jean, who founded the nonprofit in 2000, moved to Clearwater from Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. His older brother still lives on the island.
2016-10-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A little light-hearted entertainment for the weekend.
As earlier mentioned in a comment — a contest was launched to commemorate the annual IAS event to see who could produce the best Shermanspeak on the topic of scientology and the world today.
Our winning entry is below.
A Pennsylvania native, he had been arrested on a drug charge there and then was charged with manslaughter for the overdose deaths of two people to whom he sold heroin in 2005. First he was sent to Narconon, a rehabilitation facility in Canadian, north of McAlester. Then he returned to Pennsylvania and served 2½ years in prison related to the heroin deaths.
He returned to McAlester in 2010 and began working as a Narconon spokesperson. He even started a program called "Take McAlester Back," with the goal of promoting the arts while discouraging drug use.
But in 2011, he began using again.
Scientology and the suicide of Jim Carrey's girlfriend Cathronia White, as well as her connection to the church is exposed by journalist Tony Ortega. How Scientology has struggled to maintain connections to Hollywood celebrities, the upcoming tell-all book by Leah Remini, and the recent Scientology wedding of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's daughter that may have had Kidman banned from the ceremony is revealed. We also examine the success of HBO's documentary exposé Going Clear, and if the film will get Oscars to accompany the Emmys that it has already collected -- all in this uncensored Media Mayhem with Allison Hope Weiner.
(Den Bradshaw, giving a talk about "empathic listening.")
We have just a minor update on the Cathriona White story today, but it's something we haven't seen anyone else report despite the feeding frenzy of news about the 30-year-old woman's suicide.
Sometime between Thursday, September 24 when actor Jim Carrey reportedly broke up with her, and Monday night September 28 when her body was found, Cat White reportedly ended her life with a drug overdose. There are some lingering questions, at least in our estimation, about how Cat's body was found, so we thought it made sense to at least identify the person who first found her that night. It was her friend Den Bradshaw, a corporate trainer.
Jim Carrey's girlfriend's suspected suicide has left the actor devastated and wondering what, if anything, he could have done to prevent it.
"No one from her family is putting any blame on Jim," a source close to Carrey tells PEOPLE in the magazine's new issue. But Carrey "keeps questioning if he could have prevented it. Jim has been at home surrounded by people 24/7."
Cathriona White and Carrey, who dated on and off for three years, were last seen enjoying dinner together on Sept. 19 at one of their favorite sushi restaurants in Malibu.
Tragic Cathriona White declared her love for Hollywood A-lister Jim Carrey in a suicide note found inside her Los Angeles home.
RadarOnline.com claimed to have spoken to someone who had seen the note which said: 'Jim, I love you. Please forgive me. I'm not for this world.'
The 30-year-old makeup artist will be buried next to her father Pat in her native Cappawhite, Co Tipperary in Ireland following a funeral Mass on Saturday.
Target: Director Alex Gibney said he was the subject of films an articles by the Church of Scientology seeking to discredit him
The Church of Scientology is reportedly stepping up a counter-attack on an explosive exposé about the cult, and is targeting Oscar voters to sink its chances of winning.
According to Alex Gibney, the director of documentary Going Clear, a smear campaign by Scientology officials has intensified in recent weeks - just as the Hollywood professionals who put forward Oscar nominees start to consider their decision.
The best friend of Jim Carrey's late girlfriend Cathriona White has opened up about the string of events that led to her discovering the late beauty's body.
"I've lost my best friend, my soul sister — I will never get over it," Jenny Burpee, a 32-year-old television producer, recalled to the The Irish Daily Star.
Burpee told the paper how she found White, a makeup artist originally from County Tipperary, Ireland, in her Sherman Oaks, Calif. home after her texts went unanswered for four days. She said that she went to the home with a niece, 8, and an adult couple named Lena and Den.
Church of Scientology Public Relations lies again.
Lies to the BBC that Hubbard never implemented punishments that were "too Gruesome"
HCO Policy Letter of 5 January 1968, "Overfilled In-Basket, Bad News." Hubbard said
Last week, we remarked on what a superb job San Francisco Chronicle reporter Nanette Asimov had done on her lengthy profile of Jamie DeWolf (right), the L. Ron Hubbard great-grandson and Scientology critic we've been keeping an eye on for several years.
Jamie is a super-talented storyteller and performance artist who hasn't exploited his connection to Hubbard as much as he might. He has a solid career that has nothing to do with criticizing Scientology, but he knows that he's in demand because he has such colorful things to say about his grandfather — L. Ron Hubbard Jr., also known as Ron DeWolf — and his famous great-grandfather.
Nanette picked up on that, and revealed some startling material about Jamie that he only now decided to make public. In all, it was a great piece of writing and gave us an even deeper appreciation for both Nanette and Jamie.
2014-10-08, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
That phrase keeps coming to mind when I see the TNT ad "we know drama". TNT, you have nothing on scientology. Seems sort of oxymoronic, doesn't it? Scientology's entire mission purports to be to remove dramatization from the psyches of adherents, and ultimately from all of humankind's psyches. Yet, by observation there are no more drama obsessed people than scientologists.
I was not going to post this essay for the foreseeable future. However, I came across this item from FOX 411 recently, Lewis on Cruise. Most of this essay was drafted prior to me seeing this latest scientology, well, drama. When you get to the end of the post you will understand why this news prompted me to push the 'post' button.
One of the favorite sayings of scientologists to express disdain towards someone is 'he is just dramatizing.' It is used to label any behavior that is not upbeat, Stepford or Truman Show like, positivity. It has its source in the mind 'technology' presented by L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard teaches that we are all the unknowing effect of previous moments of pain and unconsciousness, called 'engrams.' To a scientologist, the poor, unknowing non-scientologist doesn't even realize that a great percentage of his behavior, his choices, and his actions are really to greater or lesser degree 'dramatizations' of the emotions and post-hypnotic commands buried in engrams.
2014-10-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Wow, there are seismic upheavals going on in LA on every front.
They have now downgraded the annual IAS event from the Shrine to the Bonaventure to L. Ron Hubbard Way?
Too cheap to pay for a hall at all now? Afraid there won't be enough people show up to even fill up the Bonaventure?
It was not the role of the Paris Court of Appeal to act as a chamber of inquisition, a Scientology lawyer told France's top court.
"Nobody expects..." Scientology had three lawyers at the Cour de Cassation in Paris, representing the individuals and the two organisations appealing their convictions.
The first two lawyers focussed not just on the legal issues surrounding the trial on appeal but on what they insisted was the broader political context . For even before the trial started, Scientologists were protesting at what they said was a political witch-hunt against their movement .
2013-10-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Christmas seems to start earlier every year.
But not for the staff. All they are getting is lumps of coal thrown at them by Miscavige and his unhappy, unsmiling, cold chrome steel RTC robotpersons.
Staff around the world, but ESPECIALLY at AOSHUK know they are going to be in BIG trouble if they don't get "Highest Ever" attendance for these, the most important (non) events in the history of mankind.
Leah Remini and Tommy Davis will give depositions in Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology after Monique's attorney, Ray Jeffrey, successfully convinced Comal CountyJudge Dib Waldrip this afternoon to allow their testimony.
Jeffrey had subpoenaed Tommy Davis more than a week ago, and had also announced his intention to depose Remini in this initial part of the lawsuit, which has to do with jurisdiction over Scientology leader David Miscavige.
Scientology had moved quickly to quash both subpoenas (Remini's has not even been served), but Judge Waldrip, in a court appearance today, worked out a new schedule in the lawsuit that will allow Jeffrey time to subpoena and depose both the King of Queens actress and the former Scientology spokesman.
NARCONON spokesperson Dr Nerida James has responded to concerns about community safety if the drug rehabilitation facility is moved to Warburton.
The Mail reported on 17 September that the 'SayNoNarcononWarburton' group had launched a campaign in opposition to the proposal.
Members of the group told the Mail they were not opposed to Narconon, which is run by The Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) at O'Shannassy Lodge in East Warburton, but were against it being relocated next to Warburton Primary School.
A new date for the dedication of the massive Flag Building downtown, which the church had originally tentatively planned for Sunday, will be made public "very shortly," said church spokeswoman Pat Harney.
"It's going to happen soon. It's something we're all looking forward to. I assure you that it's a bright future, not just for Scientology, but for all of us here," Harney said.
We recently reached out to David Wills, author of a book on William S. Burroughs titled Scientologist!, telling him that we hadn't noticed when it first hit bookshelves earlier this year, but it sounded like the kind of thing our readers might find fascinating.
He said he was interested in what we thought of the book, and after we read it, we had a conversation, which we've included below.
In Scientologist!, Wills is very clear about his mission. Burroughs (1914-1997) is best known for his involvement in Scientology because of his denunciation of it in the early 1970s. By then, he was fed up with L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology's layers of control. But Wills says that although Burroughs' disaffection with Scientology is well known, there's been a real misunderstanding of just how deeply into Hubbard's ideas Burroughs had become, and how much it was reflected in some of his best-known work.
Just time this morning for a quick question we wanted to put to our excellent commenting community: as we've established in the past, Paul Thomas Anderson researched Scientology's history deeply before writing the script for his film The Master. There's just no question that his characters Lancaster, Peggy, and Val Dodd are based on their real-life counterparts: L. Ron, Mary Sue, and L. Ron Hubbard Jr.
But what about the star of the movie? It's Joaquin Phoenix's character Freddie Quell who is the main focus of The Master, and we have to wonder, is he based on a real-life counterpart as well?
We've heard several different theories on this. Some of our ex-Scientologist sources tell us they see a man named Bruce Welch in Freddie Quell. Welch was a member of the Apollo crew who went a bit crazy in 1973. Hubbard insisted on treating him, and eventually claimed to have done so with a new process he called the "Introspection Rundown." (That infamous treatment is also what Lisa McPherson was put through in 1995 when she ended up dead at the Fort Harrison Hotel.)
The church has accused an author who tried to lift the lid on a US$42,000-a-year ($55,000) boarding school it runs in rural Oregon of making false claims about the institution and its teaching methods.
Benjamin Carlson's two-part series on the 250-student Delphian School, which was founded in the 1970s, made headlines last week when it described the school's curriculum designed around "Study Technology", a controversial teaching method designed by Hubbard in the 1960s.
2011-10-08, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The leak of e-mails at the Birmingham org included stunning messages pulled out by readers at Anonymous. There was the fellow who is told to stop spending so much time caring for his dying wife and get in for some expensive auditing, for example. Readers generally were horrified by what they read. We liked this summation by Ron:
As the Scientology organism continues to starve for cash nourishment, its great hunger drives it to eat its own edges, starting with individual Scientologists.
St Hill, East Grinstead, UK
The Church of Scientology shows a callous disregard for the environment by not disposing of waste materials properly. Rubbish, including plastic, tyres and potentially explosive gas canisters are strewn about their grounds. Over time, the plastics will break down into smaller pieces and pollute the nearby countryside. Also, the gas canisters represent a serious danger of explosion if a fire were to break out at this site.
I have made this video in order to shame the Church of Scientology into disposing of their waste properly.
2011-10-08, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Over the past three decades David Miscavige has done his best to reverse the practice of Scientology. That is, the further one moves up the Bridge in the church of Scientology the more zealous, tractable, solid, narrow-minded, and in most cases miserable one becomes. That is not to say that people cannot attain higher Grades and Levels of spiritual state and understanding. It means that those gains are manipulated by deceit and conditioning and stress toward molding a person into a conscienceless, deployable agent for an ill-intentioned cult leader. Being the consummate covertly hostile suppressive person, Miscavige has managed to do so while stage managing a false identity to his public that he is L Ron Hubbard's guy.
Miscavige is very well described in the Science of Survival and in PTS/SP technical bulletins, policy letters and lectures. In fact, the reason why Miscavige could manage his complete reversal of the subject of Scientology with the willing help of thousands of staff members and thousands of once-well-heeled public Scientologists is all explained rather neatly in these Hubbard materials.
Becoming disaffected with the "church" and Miscavige, leaving one's life works in the "church" behind, some people have tended to leave behind some of what they learned too. Most commonly, first and foremost they leave behind PTS/SP technology. It makes sense. After all, it is the technology that protects good people against people who intend harm to others. And so many good people's experience within the church proved to them that PTS/SP technology is faulty, does not work, or in many cases is the cause of their own travails.
A strange and twisted tale emerged from blogland this week -- the story of a Scientology refugee who was reportedly talked into returning to the organization, grilled by a church lawyer and subsequently arrested.
Nineteen-year-old Daniel Montalvo, a lifelong member of the church's core group, Sea Org, was released from jail Thursday in lieu of $20,000 bail. What did he do? That's a question we haven't been able to answer. Update: It's been answered, after the jump.
2010-10-08, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
An amazing story is hitting the Internet today of 19-year-old Daniel Montalvo, a lifelong Scientologist who decided to leave the wacky cabal, only to find himself arrested by LA sheriff's deputies and facing prison time for it.
2010-10-08, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Daniel Montalvo, photo from Rathbun's blog An amazing story is hitting the Internet today of 19-year-old Daniel Montalvo, a lifelong Scientologist who decided to leave the wacky cabal, only to find himself arrested by LA sheriff's deputies and facing prison time for it.
The tale comes courtesy of Marty Rathbun, formerly one of the highest officials in Scientology who defected and has kept up a withering takedown of the "church" on his blog.
Rathbun writes for fellow ex-Scientologists, so there's a lot of jargon and coded references in his writing. But here are the basics of what Rathbun reported.
2010-10-08, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Daniel Montalvo's first taste of freedom
About two weeks ago while I was taking a brief respite in the form of a wonderful evening at the home of Mary Jo Leavitt, I received an urgent phone call from Tom Devocht.
Tom told me that he needed help with the escape of a 19-year-old staff member of Bridge Publications. Daniel Montalvo never knew the outside world - having been in the Sea Org most of his life. Several months ago Daniel and the rest of Bridge Publications staff were forced to read Miscavige's Freedom magazine attacking myself, Mike Rinder, Amy Scobee, and Tom Devocht. Daniel knew it was garbage because of what the rag had to say about Tom. He knew Tom (when Tom was CO CMO CW) when Daniel was a young child and remembered him fondly for being so generous to and tolerant of children, including Daniel himself.
June 15: Unscrupulous organisations can gain a psychological hold on people, argued the lawyer for the plaintiffs -- and Scientology is a past master at the art.
Maître Olivier Morice, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, was next to put his case.
And in a detailed summing up he drew on hitherto undisclosed details of the investigation, as well as Scientology's own internal documents, to paint a damning picture of the organisation.
Barnaul industrial district court satisfied a complaint of the regional prosecutor with the request to ban the Dianetics Center city organization.
The complaint was formulated after regional administration of the Federal Registration Service and Prosecutor's Office checked work of the Barnaul Scientologist Center.
In the latest move against a foreign religious group, a court today revoked the license of the Moscow center of the Church of Scientology because of problems with its registration papers.
Prosecutors said they began investigating the Humanitarian Hubbard Center after receiving dozens of complaints from parents about attempts to influence their children.
MOSCOW (AP) _ In the latest move against a foreign religious group, a court today revoked the license of the Moscow center of the Church of Scientology because of problems with its registration papers.
Prosecutors said they began investigating the Humanitarian Hubbard Center after receiving dozens of complaints from parents about attempts to influence their children.
The license was revoked because names that appeared on the registration documents were found to have no connection to the center, officials said.