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Our Saturday 'Scientology Lit' series has been coming to this — still the best biography of Scientology's founder and perhaps the best book about Scientology of them all, Russell Miller's Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard. Difficult to find in this country for a long time, the book is back in print now. Russell himself is a delight, and we're fortunate to have spent time with him a few times. We're thrilled that he chose this chapter to share with us and our series.
Launching the Sea Org
'Hearing of L. Ron Hubbard's plans for further exploration and research into, among other things, past civilizations, many Scientologists wanted to join him and help. They adopted the name "Sea Organization" . . . Free of organizational duties and aided by the first Sea Org members, L. Ron Hubbard now had the time and facilities to confirm in the physical universe some of the events and places he had encountered in his journeys down the track of time . . .' (Mission Into Time)
Marauding Scientologists in San Francisco take to the streets with their pseudoscientific literature on drugs. Scientology's cure for drugs? $360,000 in Scientology auditing and courses.
A frequently asked question: How many members does the Church of Scientology have?
I suggest that the better question is this: How many Scientologists are left in the Church after what has been a continuing mass exodus since 2005?
Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg sat down with DailyMailTV on Friday and spoke about her 26-year-old daughter India, who she says has been 'brainwashed' by an 'insane' cult.
Last year, India moved to AlbanyNew York, where the self-help group NXIVM is based.
In previously interviews, Oxenberg detailed how she and her daughter got into the group, after the mother and daughter took one of their 'Executive Success' classes in 2011.
CLEARWATER — When voters in 2000 handily rejected a referendum to build along the depressed waterfront, developer Al Justice wondered if dreams of a vibrant downtown were gone forever.
He had spent decades bringing major projects — the Bank of America office tower in 1974, the now FrankCrum headquarters in 1998 — and wondered why more private investment wasn't following.
"It's always been a mystery to me," said Justice, now a consultant in North Carolina. "You've got one of the most beautiful waterfronts anybody has ever looked at, you've got all the beach activities just over the bridge. My God, what will it take to get somebody to wake up and take advantage of this?"
Like anything else in Scientology, how children are treated is governed by a huge number of policies and reports, and in this series we're looking documents that show how children were treated under the ideas of L. Ron Hubbard. We're fortunate that one man has done so much to collect huge numbers of such documents — Mark "Warrior" Plummer, who left Scientology in 1983, and is pretty legendary for the collection of church materials he's amassed. Also helping us is Sunny Pereira, who for several weeks has been working with Mark to pull out key documents for us to discuss.
The Bunker: Sunny, today's document dates from 1979, and it's about the setting up of a "Sea Org school" for children at the Los Angeles headquarters. Help us navigate it.
Sunny: This document explains how schooling of children was successful on the ship Apollo with L. Ron Hubbard, where the children were all together with stable nannies and tutors, from 1967 to 1975.
Just in case you thought Republican/independent/Democrat/governor/vice presidential finalist/washed-up former politician/now Congressman Charlie Crist's career couldn't get any weirder, there's a new development.
A singer and diehard Trump supporter appears to be looking at running against Crist for his Pinellas County U.S. House seat.
Joy Villa, best known for wearing a Make America Great Again dress at the Grammy's, told Fox & Friends on Friday that she is looking seriously at running as a Republican for Congress in Florida, California or New York -- "most likely" Florida.
2016-10-27, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
After a short break, we are back with my on-going series, deconstructing this book, Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis with contributions by a gaggle of sociologists, religious scholars and others who have something to say about the subject of Scientology, usually along an apologetics vein.
I was informed by one of my viewers that James R. Lewis has a new compendium coming out in the UK in November, this one called Handbook of Scientology, published by Brill AcademicPublishers. It features a variety of authors, only a couple of whom are featured in this current book I'm taking apart. The new book will only be sold in the UK for something like $200, so clearly Lewis is not interested in anyone actually reading it.
A week ago, Tom Cruise was in London for the opening of his newest film, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, when the rarest of occurrences happened on the red carpet: A reporter asked Cruise a real question.
If you know something about Tom Cruise, you know that his media appearances are highly controlled affairs. If you want Tom on your show, you have to abide by a strict set of rules, which include not asking him about what everyone wants to know. Like, why the hell doesn't he spend more time with his daughter, Suri? And why is he still involved in Scientology, even after the humiliating things about him that came out in Alex Gibney's 2015 documentary, Going Clear?
But Tom rarely ever faces questions like that. Even Jon Stewart, in the last weeks of his show and with nothing to lose, couldn't bring himself to break the rules and ask Cruise a real question.
Chris Shelton spent two and half decades living and working as a Scientologist, climbing the ranks until he became a course leader for Scientology churches all over the Western United States.
Now he dedicates his time to speaking out against the Church. What happened?
Exhausted by the Church's demands on his time and curious about the protesters he kept encountering outside Scientology properties, Chris started listening to criticism of Scientology by people like Tony Ortega.
It triggered an all-out repudiation of his faith.
2015-10-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
My old friend, Andy Porter, sent me this article. It's an eerie look at scientology from a different perspective.
What I find especially interesting is the fact that this gave rise to an outraged piece in the New York Times, yet, as you will see, the conduct they deemed worthy of a lengthy article pales in comparison to scientology.
I would probably have added a parenthetical note to Andy's title — Amazon: The New Scientology? (Not even close...)
2015-10-27, Umberto Bacchi, International Business Times
Followers and former members of Scientology appeared before a Belgian court, as the church is facing a possible ban from the country on a series of charges including fraud, extortion and illegal practice of medicine. Judges in Brussels heard about the church's financing and rituals on the first two days of the trial that opened earlier in October at the end of an 18-year investigation.
A defendant said worshippers paid up to €2,000 (£1,440, $2,200) for a 10-day "purification programme" they believed helped them become a better person. "It involves sauna sessions, plenty of sleep, running, healthy eating and taking supplements," the man, who chaired the Scientology's Belgian branch in the early 2000s, told the court, La Libre newspaper reported.
The Belgian branch of the Church of Scientology went to trial in Brussels on Monday, facing charges of fraud and extortion in the wake of investigations into the church's fundraising and recruitment practices.
According to The Guardian, the country launched two investigations — one in 1997 and another in 2008 — looking into complaints about the church's inner workings, as well as allegedly bogus job offers manufactured by the church to recruit new members.
Eleven members of the Belgian branch and two affiliated bodies are facing the charges, which also include running a criminal organization and violating the right to privacy. A conviction, according to The Guardian, could lead to a ban on Scientology in Belgium. Scientology is reportedly not recognized as a faith in Belgium.
On Friday, Leah Remini will provide a glimpse of her explosive tell-all, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, with an hour-long interview on ABC's 20/20. The book itself comes out officially four days later, on November 3.
But today, the Underground Bunker has an exclusive that not even Remini's book reveals: In-depth looks at the "Knowledge Reports" (also known as "KRs") written by Scientologists who informed on Remini as The King of Queens star began her doubts about Scientology in 2006 and then left it for good in 2013.
In her book, Remini refers to the KRs but doesn't provide the detailed look at them we're going to show you today. And what they reveal is that Remini's trajectory out of Scientology occurred just as we told you back in 2013, when the Underground Bunker first broke the news that Remini had left Scientology behind, and we explained that the beginning of her disaffection came at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in a castle outside of Rome.
Our old friend and fellow Scientology aficionado Mark Ebner tells us that on Saturday he and his lovely wife, Michelle Scott, enjoyed a brief repast at HMS Bounty, an old-timey bar and restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in LA's Koreatown section.
Afterward, they walked west on Wilshire, when Ebner spotted something unusual. It was a collection of what appeared to be discarded items, like someone had hastily cleaned out an office and had piled a few things — including a drawer from a desk, and some other items — in a pile on the ground. But what caught his eye, Mark says, was the glint of metal on a couple of wall plaques.
He took a closer look, and was stunned by what he'd found. They were Scientology plaques, the kind that you receive when you donate large amounts of money to the International Association of Scientologists.
The highly obscene "R" word in the Church of Scientology is REFUND as in, "We hate to give anyone a refund!"
There are three types of refunds in the Church of Scientology:
1. Refunds of Advanced Payments (AP) which is often called "monies on account." The Church has always solicited and encouraged its members to make advanced payments for future services. The push for advanced payments surged dramatically in the late 1970's when financial inflation was rampant(1). The Church is said to have a large financial exposure on AP. Chaos could ensue on Church finance lines if there were a sudden mass demand for refunds by thousands of disaffected Scientologists.
2014-10-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The new LA Org Mag is being sent out. A special correspondent scanned and sent it to me. Portions of it appear below.
It is the hype mag for the new universe of scientology at LA Org — the org that "sets the standards for making planetary clearing a reality." Even though they haven't made a single clear.
Along with some other fine features, it provides a listing of the key execs and their experience.
2013-10-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This email is a bit dated now, but I have had so much other news to report it just didn't make it into the mix.
But I looked at it this morning and it is enlightening in its own way BECAUSE it is now 3 weeks on.
I am sure that 7 OT V starts in a week is the best they have done in a LONG time. But honestly, this is really pathetic. With an Ideal Org and SH size org in London and 6 other orgs in the UK, if this is the volume of "Bridge flow" that is occurring, it is sad that these people are SO excited about how they are taking the planet by storm because they had 7 starts in a week.
Narconon of Georgia's own insurance company is now trying to drop its coverage, accusing the program of fraud.
In a federal court filing, the Illinois-based Evanston Insurance Company says Narconon of Georgia "made the misrepresentations with the actual intent to deceive" and that the insurance company has "no obligation ... to defend or indemnify Narconon."
A federal judge has yet to rule on the status of the insurance policy. An attorney for Narconon of Georgia declined to comment because of pending litigation.
Scientology is being accused forced abortions for its members, as ex-member Laura Ann Decrescenzo has filed a suit against David Miscavige and Scientology. Gary Morehead, the former head of security at Scientology's desert compound, admitted to coercing women to get abortions on video, and we look at the recording and the many layers to the story with Scientology muckrakers Tony Ortega and Mark Ebner on this Media Mayhem clip.
Watch the full interview here:
A year ago, the Church of Scientology held a grand opening for its new "National Affairs Office" in WashingtonDC. And hey, why not? If only a few more world leaders could be exposed to L. Ron Hubbard's books and maybe get some past-life auditing, Scientology could take over the world that much faster!
Now that a year's gone by, it was time for the folks at the National Affairs Office to cut loose with some wild celebrations. They then put together a newsletter about all the fun they were having, and it was forwarded to us by one of our great tipsters, just in time for this week's installment of Scientology Sunday Funnies.
We've put the entire newsletter into our Scribd account so you can scroll through it at your leisure. Not only will you see that actress Jenna Elfman made the scene, but so did former IndianaCongressman Dan Burton, who has been a big friend to Scientology despite his staunchly pro-life views. (Something tells us Burton is not aware that for many years, Scientology forced young women in the Sea Org to have abortions if they became pregnant.) Anyway, we thought you'd enjoy scrolling through this celebration of Scientology's big push in the country's capital...
October 27, 2012 - - Great turn out for Scientology protest in Montreal. ORG staff were on top of the roof watching us and Police were called for frivilous CULT call. Most fun I've had since Dublin, Belfast, Arrowhead, and closing of Narconon Trois-Rivieres protests.
Tom Cruise was guest of honour at a lavish Scientology event in West Sussex – quashing rumours that he had left the controversial sect.
About 2,500 guests paid up to £2,000 each to be in the company of the Hollywood star who had reportedly been distancing himself from Scientology since his shock divorce in June from actress wife Katie Holmes, 33.
Cruise, 50, broke off from shooting his new movie, All You Need Is Kill, to attend the 28th Anniversary Patrons Ball for the International Association of Scientologists on October 20 at the church's UK headquarters at Saint Hill Manor near Gatwick.
Still one of our favorite photos: Louis Farrakhan at the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Hollywood for a gala several years ago, with Scientology's Alfreddie Johnson and former X-Factor contestant Stacy Francis For several years now some of us in the press have been bringing up the strange relationship that has grown up between Scientology and the Nation of Islam. Most recently, Eliza Gray did a wonderful job looking at Louis Farrakhan's embrace of L. Ron Hubbard in The New Republic.
It's been fascinating to watch Farrakhan explain in videotaped lectures how he's managed to fall under the spell of the whitest man who ever lived. And it's true that he's asked many of his followers to get trained in Dianetics and to get training as auditors. But on this Saturday, we'd like to open up the blog for discussion of a question we have about this strange relationship between such unusual groups.
For whatever reason, Farrakhan has decided to embrace the ideas in Hubbard's books, and to make sure a large number of his followers get trained in order to benefit the Nation of Islam. But we wonder, is there really all that much cross-pollination going on in the other direction? What we mean is, are these NOI members actually becoming active members of the Church of Scientology and gaining positions of authority in it under David Miscavige?
2011-10-27, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Ebner Update: a private investigator describes sifting trash for the Church of Scientology.
As we continue to investigate Scientology's retaliation campaign against South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and their friends and employees, we remembered that an old colleague of ours, journalist Mark Ebner, worked with the animator duo for their infamous 2005 episode "Trapped in the Closet."
Ebner is important to this investigation for a couple of reasons. Not only did he work with Parker and Stone on the very episode that raised Scientology's hackles, but Ebner has himself been the subject of a concerted Scientology harassment campaign through its "Office of Special Affairs" -- and he learned about that campaign through a document leaked by former Scientology executiveMarty Rathbun.
Lincoln County has a drug rehabilitation center at the Rainbow Canyon Retreat, also known as Narconon, a few miles south of Caliente.
County Commissioner Paul Donohue introduced Gerry Marshall, Narconon fresh start field control supervisor from the Los Angeles office, at the County Commission meeting Oct. 17. Marshall explained the vision and purpose of their program, and the work at the retreat center here, which has been in service since 2004.
Donohue said he along with Commissioners Mathews and Rowe, and their wives, were recently invited to dinner at the retreat center for a tour of the facility and to watch a graduation and awards ceremony.
2011-10-27, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Mike Rinder, the former Church of Scientology spokesman, appeared on Irish national television last night as he prepares to take part in a debate about Scientology today.
We'll look at Rinder's Dublin TV performance and more as we round up this week's high and low marks for the church.
Every Thursday at 2 pm, Scientology's "orgs" collect their weekly stats to judge how things are going -- and we do the same here every Thursday afternoon at Runnin' Scared. So join us as we examine the church's week here on "STATurday"!
2011-10-27, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Mike Rinder is in DublinIreland today. He was invited to Trinity College to speak on behalf of Scientology in a debate sponsored by the Philosophical Society. The question: should Scientology be considered a legitimate religion? Corporate Scientology chose not to participate. Mike represents Scientology (clearly of the Independent variety, as opposed to the Corporate version) as I post this.
Mike was greeted at the Dublin airport yesterday by seven Corporate Scientologists screaming in his face "YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IN IRELAND!" The rabble probably represented half the total die-hard Corporate Scientology field in Ireland. Irony or ironies, Mike Rinder came to Ireland for one purpose and one purpose alone, to defend their rights to believe and practice their religion; a chore that David Miscavige explicitly ran for cover from.
Here is Mike on national television broadcast last night in Ireland. Note, despite Corporate Scientology's best efforts to shut Mike up and prevent his appearance at Trinity College, you just can't stop the shinin'. My take: With Davis MIA and Miscavige AWOL, the applied religious philosophy of Scientology finally has a spokesperson Scientologists can be proud of. (note: the video goes up to about 17 minutes, then repeats itself without sound - no need to watch beyond the conclusion of Mike's interview)
2010-10-27, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
I'm reading an interesting book, Escape from Freedom by Erich Fromm. I love the title. He wrote the book in 1941, after the rise of Hitler, exploring why people give up their freedom to follow a totalitarian fascist like Hitler. I'm reading it because I'm interested in why people will give up their freedom to follow an authoritarian religion like Scientology, ironically in the name of attaining freedom.
In the book, Fromm traces the historic roots of our modern concepts of freedom. In the Middle Ages, he notes, there was not a lot of freedom. People were separated into castes and classes, and if one was born into a certain class, one stayed there. If your father was a farmer, likely you would be a farmer. Nobles were nobles, serfs were serfs. And as far as the broader questions of life, death and salvation, that was the province of the Church. God was in Heaven and if you were good and confessed your sins and went to Church, you would expect to go to Heaven.
With the Reformation, the rise of the middle class, the appearance of modern capitalism, the Industrial Revolution, everything changed. Man gained a lot of freedoms. He could rise from poverty and become rich. He could travel. He could change his profession. He could even change his religion. But with these modern freedoms came insecurity, aloneness and doubt. Fromm says:
2010-10-27, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
My name is Joanna Cook, I am 25 years old. I grew up in Scientology, claimed it as my own when I was 16, joined the Sea Org shortly thereafter, found out I was unqualified, and worked from 16-24 trying to find my identity now that I could not be in the Sea Org. I volunteered with The Way To Happiness, the Volunteer Ministers, Criminon, a few OT Committees (OTCs), and finally worked for three years as a volunteer for Latin America or LATAM (defined as Mexico, Central America and South America) side-by-side with my mom, Mary Jo Leavitt [the LATAM IC], as her co-Stats IC, PR IC and, for one and a half years as the Compliance Reports IC, whereupon we (and the 9 OTCs across LATAM) worked in tandem to achieve the first – and as I understand it, only – "continent" in the world to complete the entire program! Because we didn't make the OTCs fit the program, but rather validated what they were already doing right that fulfilled the purpose of the program, we obtained awesome, magical expansion and joy across the entire zone. It was the most beautiful experience I had ever had; I loved every person I worked with, and this ideal world promised in events seemed actually possible. But right at that high point, everything changed, and I went from being the most gung-ho person I knew (and one of the most gung-ho public as recognized by a huge stack of commendations) to a public utterly disaffected with Management.
So what the heck happened? Apparently, the OSA line to others is that my mom suddenly sprung a weird something-something and turned into a Suppressive Person (an "SP", in the same class as Hitler) and corrupted me, too, which is so ridiculous that I was grateful for the people that disconnected from us, because they proved to have never been friends in the first place. Never mind that the Cont. Justice Chief told me my mother was not declared when I asked about it, yet I've been rumor-declared for failing to disconnect from my mom on a rumor. (That's another story for another time.)
2009-10-27, Nicolas Vaux-Montagny, Associated Press, Globe and Mail
The court convicted the Church of Scientology's French office, its library and six of its leaders of organized fraud. Investigators said the group pressured members into paying large sums of money for questionable financial gain and used "commercial harassment" against recruits. The group was fined $600,000 and the library $200,000. Four of the leaders were given suspended sentences of between 10 months and two years. The other two were given fines.
The court did not order the Church of Scientology to shut down, ruling it would be likely to continue its activities anyway "outside any legal framework."
A three-judge panel at the Correctional Court in Paris convicted the church and six of its members of organized fraud, but stopped short of banning the church, as prosecutors had asked.
The court also fined the members as much as 400,000 euros ($595,000) each and sentenced them to as much as two years in prison, though the sentences were suspended.
The decision follows a three-week trial in May and June, during which two plaintiffs said they were defrauded by the organization, which is classified as a sect in France.
2009-10-27, Nicolas Vaux-Montagny, Associated Press, Toronto Star
A Paris court on Tuesday convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud and fined it more than half a million euros – but stopped short of banning the group as requested by prosecutors.
The group's French branch immediately announced it would appeal the verdict.
Two branches of Scientology's French operations - the Celebrity Center and a book store - were ordered to pay fines of 400,000 euros and 200,000 euros respectively after being found guilty of preying financially on vulnerable followers in what the court's verdict said was the "commercial harassment" of recruits.
Scientology's leader in France, Alain Rosenberg, was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence and fined 30,000 euros.
When the hearing opened, there were expectations that the court could order the group to be banned in France but due to a mixup over a law that passed in parliament just before the start of the trial in May, that option was ruled out.
The legislation has since been changed back to allow the dissolution of an organisation found guilty of fraud but because of the timing of the case, there was no question of forcing the Church of Scientology to be wound up.
2009-10-27, Patrick Goldstein, The Big Picture, Los Angeles Times
Everybody has his or her own take on Paul Haggis' dramatic letter, announcing his break with Scientology after 35 years of membership in the church. But what especially fascinated me was how much his letter, full of passion and moral outrage, resembled large portions of his film and TV work, especially his scripts for "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Crash," the latter of which won him an Oscar.
If you missed the news, the Church of Scientology was a public sponsor of Proposition 8, which Haggis describes in his letter as "a hate-filled legislation that succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California."
And the Oscar for most public resignation from a church goes to ... Paul Haggis.
In a stinging letter to Church of Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis, the Canadian screenwriter and director quit the controversial group over the weekend, citing "tacit" church support for banning same-sex marriage.
But just 45 minutes before the segment was to air on Thursday, Davis showed up at ABC headquarters on West 67th Street and asked to speak to Bashir and the show's executive producer about the interview.
"He demanded to a security guard that he be let in," a network insider told Page Six. "The guard called 'Nightline' staffers down to come deal with him. He was told as politely as possible that the piece was cut and in the can and could not be changed and that Martin would be unable to see him. He was then asked to leave." Adds our source, "He was not happy."
Here is a summary of the verdict and sentences in the Paris trial of Scientology. I have laid it out in the same style I used for What the Prosecution Wants to give you an idea of how far the court followed their recommendations.
Perhaps the most important feature of the judgment is what the court did not do: it made no direct ruling that would restrict the activities of either the Celebrity Centre or the SEL bookshop.
But the following individuals and organisations were convicted of organised fraud against some, but not all the alleged victims (of which more below):
Tommy Davis, the latest chief spokesman and outraged-interview-cutter-offer for the Church of Scientology, is a callow Hollywood brat, Tom Cruise hanger-on, and "drug revert" who thinks "L. Ron Hubbard is the coolest guy ever."
The on again - off again campaign to sell the Church of Scientology Melbourne headquarters at 42 Russell Street is on again, and it's public.
Colliers International's Matthew Stagg and Pat Burke will auction the Church's outgoing headquarters, on the north-east corner of Flinders Lane next month.
The unmistakable conclusion is that the burden for her murder (Jeremy stabbed his mom 77 times!) lies with Scientology and its belief that - as one Scientology former bigwig put it - "psychology and psychiatrists are the rats and vermin of our society."
The Perkins family refused to have Jeremy treated with anti-psychotic medications despite the fact that he"d been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic after an arrest for jumping the wall at a nearby college and a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation.
About two-thousand members of the Scientology movement have protested in the German capital, Berlin, against what they described as discrimination against religious minorities in Germany.
Correspondents say the protest drew far fewer people than had been expected.
The state Health Department licensed the Narconon substance-abuse center in northern Oklahoma on Monday, closing a more than two-year fight in which the state repeatedly tried to shut the center.
"Receiving this license from the Department of Health signifies a milestone in our desire and original intention to supply drug and alcohol rehabilitation services to those in need," said Gary Smith, the president of Narconon Chilocco. "We are just very excited."
The state Health Department license issued Monday certified only that the state found fire, health and safety standards at the center satisfactory.
1988-10-27, Tom Paulson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Carl Hager, director of the Seattle branch of a national group called the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, said the problem is that psychiatrists need to find reasons for prescribing drugs to support their livelihood.
People wearing T-shirts emblazoned with "psychiatry kills" unfurled banners around town denouncing psychiatry. Many of them handed out brochures claiming psychiatrists are "making drug addicts out of America's school children."
Hager said the practitioners of Scientology adhere to the idea that there is no such thing as mental illness.
For roughly three decades Hubbard ran the notorious Church of Scientology, a "religion" he formed to "clear" mankind of misery. It came complete with finance dictators, "gang-bang sec[urity] checks," lie detectors, "committees of evidence" and detention camps. In 1977 the FBI sent 134 agents, armed with warrants and sledgehammers, storming into Scientology centers in Los Angeles and Washington. Eleven top church officials, including Hubbard's third wife, went to jail for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping over 100 government agencies, including the IRS, FBI and CIA. Hubbard could hold his own with any of his science fiction novels.
Amid all the melodrama, at least $200 million in cash produced by his strange creation was gathered in Hubbard's name, and there is believed to be much more in organization assets: The Church of Scientology has proved to be one of the most lucrative businesses around. If Forbes had known as much as it knows now, after interviewing dozens of eyewitnesses and examining sworn testimony and court records in both criminal and civil cases, Hubbard would have been included high on The Forbes Four Hundred.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey yesterday found nine members of the Church of Scientology guilty of various roles in a massive criminal conspiracy to plant church spies in government agencies, break into government offices and electronically "bug" at least one Internal Revenue Service meeting.
Richey, whose ruling came after the federal government submitted nearly 300 pages of evidence against the church, did not set a sentencing date pending a presentence investigation that usually takes about one month. Eight of the defendantss could receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one could be sentenced to a maximum of one year.
Richey's pronouncement of guilt came after a three-hour hearing marked by bitter squabbling among attorneys for both sides over suggested last-minute changes in the wording of the evidence presented.