2017-10-22, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comment sections of my Critical Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) Hi Chris, I just finished watching Q&A 129 and heard you say how much you loved movies. I recently watched one of my favorites - V For Vendetta - and I noticed a direct correlation between the movie and what people like you, Leah, Mike, Aaron and everyone else that tells their stories to whoever will listen. It is the point in the movie where Evie finds the letter in the rathole of her cell and it turns out to be the life story of another prisoner she has never met but it gives her the strength to carry on and do what is necessary. I would love to hear your thoughts on this as it is a very powerful bit of cinema to me personally, but I also think that it portrays the love and hope that you and all the others that put their stories out there have for those still trapped by the cult. In essence, you are pushing letters into the crack in the cell wall where they are waiting to be found by that next person desperate to break free.
(2) I often wonder how could L. Ron Hubbard think that he knew what had happened trillions of years ago? And how could somebody believe this so-obvious-nonsense? This teaching seems to be an indicator that Hubbard was delusional, don't you think?
Wally Hanks, the employee at the 1990s Scientologist-run Mace-Kingsley Ranch in New Mexico who was heard terrorizing a child on an audio tape played back for an episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath that aired on October 10, died Friday night at a hospital in Southern California. He was 70 years old.
"We were expecting it for a while," says Brian Hanks, 34, whose father, Michael, was Wally's older brother. "He had a stroke a few months ago, and kidney failure. The past ten years have been hell for him."
Wallace Earl Hanks was born in August 1947 and grew up in a Dallas orphanage with his brother and a sister. "They had it rough," Brian tells us. But even though he knew about his uncle's reputation at the ranch, he knew a man most others didn't get to see. "He was a Vietnam vet. He had his issues, but I loved him. He always treated me right."
2016-10-22, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show 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 answer are:
(1) Chris, one element of LRH's space opera mythos that is still vague to me involves Farsec, the supposed origin planet for the Psychs. What is its role in the greater Galactic Confederation? How and why did the Psychs end up working for Xenu? What is their interest in Earth? Can you please sum up, briefly, what you know about all this? Thanks, and keep up the good work!
(2) You've mentioned a few times in your Q&As that errors in preclears' case files are constantly found, and of course, correcting the errors are at the pre-clears' expense; unquestionably an opportunity to siphon more money. My question is has the Church ever internally acknowledged problematic auditors by demoting or removing them because of obvious incompetence and who clearly had no business auditing other people?
2016-10-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This article is written by Lois (Jory) Reisdorf. She was one of the original Commodore's Messengers aboard the Apollo, and I have known her and her husband Gary since being shipmates together back in the 70's. They left the Sea Org in the 80's, raised 3 boys and were off anyone's radar screen. Scientology managed, as it so often does, to poke the sleeping lioness and steal one of her cubs. More on that story will be forthcoming, along with some fascinating insights into the early days of the Sea Org and L. Ron Hubbard and on up through the rise of David Miscavige. For now, this will serve as an introduction to Lowie (as she has always been affectionately known), who with her South African heritage (and still the slightest of accents), red hair and fierce protectiveness has always evoked images of a lioness in my mind.
FLEECING THE SHEEPLE
This is a story of how the Church fleeces it's sheeple into donating towards buildings. There are many stories I have to tell about my life and what has happened to us and they will come out slowly, but due to the recent post of the Valley OTC Minutes, I just had to get this story out as it is so apropos.
(Ford Greene, Lawrence Wollersheim, and Jon Atack)
On some Saturdays (and on other days), we're fortunate here at the Underground Bunker to publish an occasional item by Jon Atack. His 1990 book, A Piece of Blue Sky, was one of the first that we read for a history of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, and it remains one of the very best books on the subject. That's partly because Atack speaks from experience, having spent years in Scientology and rising into its "OT" levels, but also because of his many years of dogged research. Few people have the breadth of knowledge about Scientology's first 40 years as Jon Atack.
Two weeks ago, Jon submitted a piece to us that recounted a specific period of Scientology history, and about how his research had helped Lawrence Wollersheim finally collect a judgment from the church after more than two decades of suing Scientology.
2015-10-22, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions posed in the comment section of my YouTube channel or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I take up are:
(1) I have heard of the horrible way Sea Org members are treated: the 16 hour days, yelled at by superiors, menial labor, etc. It seems those who blow out of Scientology are most often Sea Org members who are burnt out or tired of being mistreated. Why does the organization treat people this way? It seems that its not advantageous to the Church to create an atmosphere that makes people want to run away. Much of the Church's bad publicity has been from Sea Org stories. If they wanted to alleviate this press issue, they'd treat the Sea Org members well so as to prevent people from wanting to leave. Is it just a desire to get free labor that spurs the Church's top leadership to overwork the Sea Org members?
(2) Hi Chris! With all the violence that David Miscavige seems to inflict with impunity, can't a few strong fellows who have had enough, just physically carry him off and declare a new regime…assign him to some RPF duties, locked up in his own "hole"?
2015-10-22, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
My talk on how Scientology lures unsuspecting and otherwise intelligent people into its scam using appeals to emotion and authority to prey on their emotional troubles. This talk was given on October 17 at the Wichita State University during the Skeptics of Oz 2015 conference.
Find out more about the Skeptics of Oz and the Wichita Coalition of Reason here: https://www.facebook.com/skepticsofoz?fref=ts
Here is the text of the speech I gave:
Aaron Smith-Levin has sent us the latest video in the Growing Up In Scientology series. He started out the YouTube channel with a series of interview segments with Nick Lister. Now, Aaron puts himself in the interviewee chair along with former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder.
Rinder was 6 years old when his parents got into Scientology in Adelaide, Australia in 1961 before the Sea Organization even existed. Aaron Smith-Levin was 5 years old when his mother Gayle Smith got into Scientology in Philadelphia in 1985, right around the time David Miscavige was maneuvering to take full control of the Church while L. Ron Hubbard was in hiding.
In this segment Aaron and Mike take turns discussing their earliest memories of Scientology, the first course they did, what it was like to receive auditing for the first time, and how Scientology became something they once fully embraced. Let us know what you think.
The Dutch branch of the Church of Scientology has lost its tax status as "public welfare institution", and the tax benefits that go along with it, in a ruling made by the court in The Hague on Wednesday.
The court decided that the sales of the Church's expensive courses and therapy sessions are clearly aimed at making a profit, and thus it does not belong on the tax authorities' charity list.
The court ruled that these courses cost significantly more than commercial educational institutions' average school fees. "If providers on the secular education market had similar prices, prospective students would experience it as prices for top education by top teachers in prime locations." The court finds the prices to be very commercial. According to the court, Scientology consciously seeks profits to fill its purse and was able to build "substantial wealth" like this.
2015-10-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It's hard to top a letter from a scientology lawyer, but here we go...
It's Epic. World-Changing. Powering Up The Planet.
Every event has to be more over the top than the last one. Where can they go next? They already sound like they are writing copy for Marvel Superhero comics. Mad magazine?
Tony Ortega, who is currently in Sydney to launch his latest book, said a new $50m Super Centre on the north shore will become the key base for Scientologists in the Southern Hemisphere.
However, he has claimed it's just an expensive front for dwindling numbers.
For 20 years, New York journalist Ortega has been revealing abuses inside Scientology.
"They have a lot of money.. It's the combination of millionaires donating money, paying their workers pennies an hour and not having to pay taxes," he said.
2014-10-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Given the enormous interest in the video posted on Marty Rathbun's blog, I am reprinting an article that he published on October 13, 2010 on Moving On Up A Little Higher .
It features Jenny Linson and Dave Bloomberg (along with a number of others), carrying out an earlier, but very similar version of their LAX attack on Mark Rathbun. (My added comments are italicized in red)
Miscavige Meltdown – the Proof
On Saturday afternoon Bascaran posted the photo of Ruddy and Tom Cruise, and Bascaran indicated that the location was London, and that the actors were there for a "spectacular celebration." But what really caught our eye was the large medal around Tom's neck - we recognized it immediately.
As we explained in our story, this was the first time that we had seen Tom photographed with his "Freedom Medal of Valor" since he had received it exactly ten years earlier from Scientology leader David Miscavige. Two years ago, there was a British press report that Tom had been spotted wearing the medal at the Patron's Ball held on the annual International Association of Scientologists gala weekend, but this was the first time that Tom had actually been photographed wearing the thing since he received it a decade ago. The day this photograph was posted was the same day as this year's IAS Patron's Ball, and we feel pretty confident that's where he was going (in nearby East Grinstead, England, about 30 miles away) after snapping this photo.
The reported resignation of Suzan Johnson Cook as U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom is an chance for the Obama administration to address the issue, but some are dubious that real changes will be made.
Cook's retirement was first reported by Religion News Service on Oct. 16 when Joseph Grieboski, founder of The Institute on Religion and Public Policy, tweeted a picture with her saying that it was taken "on her last day." Rob Schenck of Faith and Action posted pictures to Instagram "celebrating the legacy" of the ambassador.
In an earlier interview with CNA, Farr pointed out that Obama allowed the ambassador position to remain vacant for more than two years before finally appointing Cook; she was sworn-in in June, 2011. Once she started her job, Farr said, she was buried "deep in the bureaucracy, without authority or resources."
In August, the Church of Scientology set some very important dates on its calendar. The church told the City of Clearwater that it would be holding a grand opening for its Super Power Building on October 6, and its annual IAS gala in a large tent near the Super Power Building on the weekend of November 8-9.
Scientology claimed that 10,000 people would show up for the Super Power event, implying that it would require permits for plenty of street and sidewalk closures, perhaps for Fort Harrison Avenue that separates the new building from the Fort Harrison Hotel itself. But as a deadline for such a permit application neared, the church stunned everyone by putting off its Super Power opening indefinitely.
Now we've learned from the city of Clearwater that Scientology also has no permit for the November IAS event — and it's too late to ask for one. That's odd, because we're hearing rumors that Scientology still intends to hold its big lineup of huge openings soon — a new product rollout (Golden Age of Tech II), a new building (Super Power), its annual IAS gala, and then its big annual New Year's Eve party.
2013-10-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This report and promo piece was sent in by a Special Correspondent. Remember, Stevens Creek is not just an "Ideal Org" it is a "St Hill Size Org" and they cannot muster enough people to even get 10 real graduates in a photo? That fact alone tells you everything you could need to know about the state of "Ideal Orgs." (Not to mention NOT ONE Academy Level Completion and NOT ONE Grade completion).
Stevens Creek Org put out their magazine and this picture is included.
The guy in the back row holding up the cert is the one and only John Allender. (Photo right) (your left)
Friday afternoon, we heard from the local Anonymous folks that the theatrical debut of a documentary featuring several of them was showing in town.
We attended, and had a great time watching We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists. Director Brian Knappenberger was on hand to answer questions afterwards, as were some of the New York Anons featured in it: Vendetta, SethDood, and PokeAnon, who we have frequently seen at protests on 46th Street across from the Scientology org.
Poke announced that night that there would be a "raid" on Scientology the following night, Saturday. But we had other plans and couldn't go. Someone who did appreciate Saturday's demonstration turned out to be comedian Lewis Black, who announced on his Facebook that it was the "Best. Protest. Ever."
One of our tipsters briefly considered joining Scientology's Sea Organization — the hardcore group of workers who toil for almost no pay and often do menial labor from dawn to midnight, day after day.
This person had second thoughts and didn't join, but they still had a copy of the Sea Org's application form and thought we might like to see it.
Boy howdy, were we glad they sent it over.
2010-10-22, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Daniel expresses his gratitude
Since escaping unscathed at the Sunset Blvd cafe, see https://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/montalvo-update-the-wild-wild-west/, Daniel has been enjoying his stay with a family that has accepted him and treated him as their own. Realize that Daniel lived in the Sea Org from the age of four until the age of nineteen, never really experiencing what family is all about. In this time of crises, he is rapidly learning the true value and meaning of family.
Daniel was quite touched by your outpouring of concern, care, and genorsity. He asked me to try to convey that to you all. But, I don't know whether words can really do the trick. He is in awe of what you did.
June 16: The Scientologist and salesman accused of fraud has been tried in an atmosphere tainted by media hysteria and soured by a prosecution summing up that smacks of the Inquisition, his lawyer argued.
Didier Michaux, the Scientology bookshop's star salesman, faced a charge of organised fraud for his part in the alleged offences.
His lawyer, Maître Alexis Gublin, constructed a defence that was similar in many ways to Maître Virginie Benmayor's defence of fellow salesman Jean-François Valli, arguing that his client, a sincere Scientologist, had at all times acted in good faith.
I have to admit I didn't see this coming, but a Boston Municipal Court judge has continued without a finding the case against a man accused of disrupting proceedings at the Back Bay Church of Scientology earlier this year.
On Oct. 22, Judge Thomas C. Horgan imposed a one-year CWOF against Gregg Housh, who had been charged with disturbing an assembly of worship and disturbing the peace.
2006-10-22, Tony Ortega, Broward Palm Beach New Times
After publishing Kelly Cramer's remarkable story "Daddy's Girl" two weeks ago, the most frequent question I've been asked about the tale of a Wall Street millionaire who married his own daughter is: How could Linda Schutt, a grown woman with a PhD in psychology, succumb to the seduction attempts of her father, hedge-fund manager Bruce McMahan, and participate in a years-long incestuous relationship with him?
LONDON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Several thousand members Sunday helped to inaugurate the new London headquarters of the Church of Scientology.
The six-story Victorian office cost about $43.3 million to buy and refurbish, with some of the funds coming from the church's approximately 124,000 British members, The Sunday Times of London said. Members pay to take courses to achieve what the church calls "spiritual release and freedom," the Times said.
Scientology, based in Los Angeles, was founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s. Celebrities who are members include U.S. actors Tom Cruise, Ann Archer and John Travolta.
The building, a former bible centre, cost the church £23m to buy and millions of pounds more to refit and is a testament to the organisation's growing financial strength. From its marble floors to its towering stucco-clad arches, Scientology's latest centre - all 50,000 square foot of it - screams wealth.
A similar formula has prevailed in LA: don't give the production the oxygen of publicity. But behind the scenes the wheels of organised religion were spinning. As soon as the Church got wind of an LA Times piece on the production, several editors on the paper received calls from the guardians of L Ron's flame urging them to pull the article. Nothing unusual about that, as any entertainment PR will tell you. But things took a more sinister turn when the phone calls started.
"The parents of one of the kids in the cast were called by members of the entertainment industry that were Scientologists," says Timbers. "They were told that if they were to continue with the show that it might be bad for their future career."
2001-10-22, Stephen Bates, Special reports, The Guardian
While the churches have had no difficulty condemning the bombings of New York and Washington - they all did that except, briefly, the Church of Scientology which bizarrely put out a press release commending them until it spotted its mistake - moving on to the next step has been more problematic.
The Church of Scientology, the secretive and combative international organization that recently won a decades-long drive for Federal tax exemption, counts assets of about $400 million and appears to take in nearly $300 million a year from counseling lees, book sales, investments and other sources, according to documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
The financial disclosures are in documents the church was required to file with the I.R.S. In applying for tax-exempt status, conferred on .30 or more entities of the church early this month. The documents, 12 linear feet of them in eight cardboard boxes, formed the basis for the I.R.S.'s decision and became a matter of public record when tax exemption was granted.