('The Kominsky Method': Michael Douglas, Chuck Lorre, and Alan Arkin)
One of the questions we heard from a lot of people after we posted a rundown Monday of the Scientology scenes in a remarkable episode of the Netflix series 'The Kominsky Method' was how the show had gotten the church's lingo down so cold.
Had they run the script by Leah Remini or Mike Rinder? No one was listed in the credits as a consultant. Had the writers of the episode, Chuck Lorre and Al Higgins, simply done their homework really well?
Lloyd Evans takes another look at Jehovah's Witnesses TV, which is always fun. Here's his description of this new video...
Jehovah's Witnesses are at risk of being devoured by Satan and the demons, so Governing Body helper Joel Dellinger is here to offer helpful advice on how they can cling to their holiness.
Devoured by demons! Now that's worrying. Here's the vid...
The August death of Jeffrey Epstein in a New York City jail has been subject to all manner of conspiracy-minded speculation. The October 30 opinion of Michael Baden, the forensic pathologist hired by Epstein's brother, that the manner of death "points to homicide rather than suicide," contradicting the conclusion of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, will almost certainly stoke further speculation that Epstein, awaiting trial on federal child-pornography charges, met with foul play.
Whether that speculation is warranted interested me far less than the 85-year-old man giving this dissenting opinion. Michael Baden has spent decades as the go-to freelance medical examiner on the media and lecture circuit. He testified at the trials of O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector (who had hired Baden's second wife, Linda Kenney Baden, as his defense attorney). He has conducted private autopsies in the deaths of Michael Brown, Aaron Hernandez, Shannan Gilbert, and John Belushi. He's been so frequent a guest on Fox News shows — including Fox and Friends, where he gave his Epstein opinion — that he was identified as "Death Correspondent" on the long-running late-night show RedEye.
Hold Dr. Baden's credentials up to the light, though, and a more checkered history emerges from his demi-celebrity status. I first sensed the disconnect between Baden's fame (which he loved to discuss) and his accomplishments (which paled in comparison to his fame-chasing) when he gave a guest lecture at John Jay College's forensic-science program while I was in graduate school there in the early 2000s. Self-aggrandizement, however irritating, is not necessarily an indication of professional unreliability. The circumstances of his dismissal as chief medical examiner for the New York City office in 1979, and again from running the Suffolk County office in 1982, are bigger — and more worrying — red flags.
The Church of Scientology on Guadalupe Street has been a familiar sight for students walking past ever since its purchase in 1979. But with new construction efforts, the building looks a bit different.
So, when one of our readers asked us, "Is the Church of Scientology just under construction, or is something else going to be there?" we looked into it as part of Curious Campus, our series where we answer reader-submitted questions every week.
While services have been moved to another location, the church isn't leaving the Drag. Cathy Norman, director of special affairs at the Church of Scientology, said they're simply adding one floor to the building. Norman also said they're hoping for a summer 2019 completion.
Some time ago, Paulette Cooper came to us with an idea for a book. Not everyone keeps up with the Underground Bunker on a daily basis, she pointed out, and others are arriving here for the first time every day. Wouldn't it be useful if some of the best stories from our years of Scientology coverage were gathered in one volume?
We told her that we'd been thinking the same thing for some time, but the idea of putting together a book like that with Paulette made us especially interested. In fact, we cut a deal with Miss Lovely: If she wanted to publish such a book, we'd go along with it only if she produced some original material for it. And she agreed!
And you can now purchase a copy of Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard's dangerous 'religion' at Amazon starting today. (And the Kindle version is also now live.) For Underground Bunker readers new and not so new, it should be a useful tome to have handy — and it has a bunch of introductions written by Paulette! It's her first new writing about Scientology in decades.
Scientology had long been a target of mockery on the Internet, but it grew exponentially after an episode of South Park exposed more people to its inner workings. After they sent a legal threat to YTMND to take down a number of the sites that were made mocking them, YTMND's owner, Max Goldberg upted the ante by creating a new section on the front page dedicated solely to making sites at Scientology's expense. Among the jokes was a site called "The Unfunny Truth About Scientology," which exposed a large audience to more serious scandals that Church had, including the Lisa Mcpherson case.
After YTMND had moved on without Scientology following up on its threats, 4Chan took up the mantle against Scientology with its Project Chanology campaign.
Leah Remini's Book: https://amzn.to/2yIebCe
It's been a while since I've given a general update briefing on what's going on in the world of Scientology, so this week that is what I'm doing including info about the RPF, staff pay for the outer orgs, and some horrible truths about the Sea Org.
Scn Organizational Madness: https://youtu.be/lrbp7L6r_WI
SHOP FOR CRITICAL MERCHANDISE
2018-10-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology are off and running with their "25 year unbroken record" of Winter Wonderland self-promotion.
Can you imagine putting out a press release in advance of "beginning construction" for few plywood elf-house facades? Only a scientology-mind could conceive of this. "Construction"? Makes it sound like they are building the Great Wall of China.
The desperation to get themselves in the news for something other than defrauding people of their life savings and destroying families is palpable.
2017-10-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This weekend, appropriate for the Halloween season, Captain Miscavige performed a ribbon yanking ceremony on his latest haunted house.
In a nation with just a small handful of active scientologists, he presided over an intimate gathering to officially open this 79,000 sq ft monster. Every scientologist in the country can have their own room in this place.
Even their official website photo only claims 1300 attendees and with wide angle lenses and every other trick they know they still cannot make it look even passingly impressive... And this is with 7 chartered planes worth of people flying in from all over according to the Flag OTC.
Thanks to Jeffrey Augustine, we received confirmation Monday night that Garry Scarff died on April 12 at the age of 60, apparently without notice in the Scientology critic community.
That's a shame, because for all of the bizarre — and questionable — chapters of his life, Scarff was, at least to us, one of the most dedicated researchers into Scientology that we ever met, and someone we always enjoyed talking with.
Garry Lynn Scarff was born on August 17, 1956. Known by his nom de guerre, "Happy Smurf," Scarff at one time was a constant presence on the Scientology online forums, and had a seemingly encyclopedic data collection about just about anyone who ever was anyone in Scientology or Scientology watching.
If you remember Leah Remini's reality show It's All Relative, you may remember one of the rare moments when she brought up the subject of Scientology. In one episode, she brought on three of her friends who were also former Scientologists, and we interviewed one of them, Chantal Dodson.
Now, in tonight's episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, Chantal and another of those friends, Sherry Ollins, are back for a more in-depth telling of their stories as children growing up in Scientology and how their lives intersected with Leah's own experience. It's an emotional journey, and Leah's insights about herself are stunning.
Sherry tells us that she was very young when her mother got into Scientology in WashingtonDC. Her mother became an auditor, and was so dedicated Sherry was often alone. And one time, when she was 7, that led to terrible incident we'll let her tell you about tonight.
2016-10-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The Cardone's - perfect poster children for the IAS. Too much money. Trying to look concerned but really just a fake concern for anyone else's well-being.
If the number below is anywhere near close to true, and they spent just half of it on hurricane relief in Haiti they would have hours of videos and press releases showing the schools they built, homes they constructed...
But of course, there is no such thing. The best they might come up with is a video of a few people in yellow T-shirts doing touch assists.
Leah Remini's A&E television series about the Church of Scientology premieres on November 29, but it's been filming for months. And in that time, Leah and her production crew have been subject to the usual reaction from the church itself including threatening letters, surveillance, and in Denver an encounter that was especially memorable.
We visited Leah this weekend in Los Angeles on the set of her show, and while she was cautious about the details of what's in the eight episodes of her series, she did want us to know about how her production has come under fire.
It was a familiar litany. Whether it's Alex Gibney making his documentary Going Clear, Louis Theroux making My Scientology Movie, or Ron Miscavige revealing secrets about his son Scientology leader David Miscavige in his memoir Ruthless, the church's reaction follows a familiar pattern: Lots of lawyer letters, and creepy stalking.
In the end, Mariah Carey was not going to be a Scientologist. But her engagement to billionaire James Packer seems to have hinged on getting along with Packer's right hand man, Tommy Davis, whom he hired earlier this year.
Many people, including TMZ, think Davis, the son of actress Anne Archer, is out of Scientology. But that's inherently ridiculous. His mother and stepfather, Terry Jastrow, are embedded in the cult. His wife, Jessica Feshbach, comes from a family that's donated millions to the cause of L. Ron Hubbard.
A few years ago, Davis was demoted by Scientology's Napoleon, David Miscavige, and sent into the woods, so to speak. But this year, Davis re-emerged as Packer's lackey, indicating that Packer was still connected to the group of nuts depicted in "Going Clear." The conventional wisdom is that Miscavige sent Davis on a mission to make sure that Packer and his money wouldn't be lost to Scientology by marrying Carey.
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 a year on Saturdays he helped 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. He was kind enough to send us a new post.
The axioms! Thank you, Jon, for bringing them up. We have been derelict in taking a closer look at them. We're very interested in your thoughts on Hubbard's "self-evident truths."
JON: If you want a religion, conform to people's expectations about religion. Have a cross and some triangles wrapped around a snake, and make up some fancy dress up for preferably elaborate rituals.
2015-10-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
One year of production. It tells you how insulated these people are from the real world.
They put out these stats as if they are so monumentally, epically milestoney that they deserve their own poster.
Remember 200 SO Org members were imported into this org to take it over.
Leah Remini claims Scientology asked her to invite longtime friend Jennifer Lopez to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' 2006 wedding.
In her 20/20 interview on Friday night, the King of Queens star revealed that she was asked to bring Lopez and her then-husband, Marc Anthony, with her the to what she called "the wedding of the century."
"The Church was really the one who invited them," she said. "On Tom's behalf."
We hope you enjoy this momentous date on the calendar with lots of parties and costumes and treats.
We wanted to take this time to remind you about a person we admire greatly. Her name is Kate Bornstein, and we wrote a cover story at the Village Voice about her in 2012 when she published her masterful memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger.
If you aren't familiar with Kate, you owe it to yourself to read her book, and to see the new movie about her by filmmaker Sam Feder. It's playing the festival circuit right now, and we found it to be a compelling and accurate portrait.
Quietly trying to undermine a voter-approved plan for relocating the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to a prime downtown site is no way for the Church of Scientology to build more positive relationships with local government and the broader community. But once again Clearwater's largest downtown private landholder appears to be trying to circumvent the public process to get what it wants and ignore the city's larger needs. Whether Pinellas County bed taxes should support the aquarium's relocation should be decided on the merits, not the wishes of the Scientologists who already dominate downtown Clearwater.
As the Tampa Bay Times reported last week, Scientology representatives have been meeting with Pinellas County commissioners individually and delivering a clear message: They don't support the aquarium's relocation from Island Estates to the downtown bluff where City Hall sits, and they oppose the county spending bed taxes for that cause.
It's curious timing for an organization that has such a vested interest in downtown's evolution into a more vibrant area. The church sat silent last year as the City Council asked Clearwater voters to approve the plan, which involves the aquarium providing money to establish a replacement City Hall in exchange for a long-term lease on the property. The ballot language approved by nearly 55 percent of voters was conditional. The deal is off unless the aquarium can secure all its financing to begin construction by August 2016.
2014-10-31, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Hit & Run, Reason Magazine
The last page of the tract says that "millions of copies of booklets such as this have been distributed to people around the world in 22 languages." The publisher is the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, a Los Angeles–based nonprofit.
Naturally, I went to the Google to figure out what the heck was going on. Short answer: It looks like Scientology dressed up as a drug warrior this Halloween.
You can read a little more about the Foundation for a Drug-Free World in their own words on an official Scientology site here, or on Wikipedia here. But essentially the organization is a way to grab people with substance abuse problems and funnel them into Narconon, which promotes L. Ron Hubbard's rather unorthodox views about addiction.
2014-10-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is a fabulous sounding quote the IAS is using to convince the sheeple "LRH wanted them to give their money to the IAS."
These people will stop at nothing to vacuum money from the gullible.
LRH knew NOTHING about the IAS. It was an accounting creation in 1984 to keep money away from the IRS. By the time of his death in 1986 it still wasn't really public. And he certainly didn't write anything about it.
What are your crimes?
Jefferson Hawkins was once the top marketing executive for the Church of Scientology and helped it reach its greatest extent with the famous "volcano" TV ads in the 1980s. He's told his tale of getting into and out of the church with his excellent books Counterfeit Dreams and Leaving Scientology, and he's helping us understand the upside-down world of Scientology "ethics."
Last week you eased us into the dynamics as we continued to read into Introduction to Scientology Ethics. What's next for us, Jefferson?
Scientology sign violates city code: The city of Clearwater and the Church of Scientology are at a standoff.
The city is ordering local Scientologists to remove a giant shrink-wrap sign printed with the gold letters "KSW" for Keep Scientology Working from a downtown facility that is five stories high.
The Church of Scientology recently found a new space in the Sherlock Building on the corner of Third Avenue and Oak Street in downtown Portland. Judging from the propaganda in their windows it appears as though they are attempting to "purify" Portland of its weirdness.
For the sake of responsible journalism it is also worth mentioning I have not found any connections between 2BWell.net and the Church of Scientology.
Jamie DeWolf, Great Grandson Of L. Ron Hubbard, Says Katie Holmes Probably 'Horrified' By Scientology:
City officials have decided that the wrap, embossed with an acronym for "Keeping Scientology Working" and the phrase "The Golden Age of Tech" in enormous lettering, violates the city sign code because it exceeds the 30-odd-square feet of lettering allowed for a structure that size.
Scientology has until next Tuesday or Wednesday to remove the wrap from the 150,000-square-foot tent, Delk said. If the church doesn't, it could be subject to a fine of up to $250 a day following a city Code Enforcement Board hearing Nov. 20.
2012-10-31, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
While we have been out of the Church of Scientology since about 1998, and have been on the Indy 500 list since just after its inception, we have not told our story until now.
Vic did the Comm Course in 1968 at ASHO, and his first event was the grand opening of the first Celebrity Center, hosted by Heber and Yvonne Jentzsch. We met in Chico in 1974 and Vicki was introduced to Scientology in 1976. Vic went on staff at the Chico Mission in 1977 and we were married later that year. We moved to Sacramento so Vic could work with the GO (Guardians Office) as a volunteer working on various social reform programs including Citizen's Commission on Human Rights, and American Citizens for Honesty in Government. Vicki worked as an RN supporting the family financially while Vic was working with these groups.
We moved off lines around the time that the Mission Network was crushed and de-dinging started and did not get back on lines until these activities had ceased.
The Vandergriend family and many others talking to the I-Team said nobody told them Narconon was connected to Scientology and said they have no doubts why Justin relapsed after attending Narconon.
"They don't even have a certified doctor, a certified nurse," said Justin Vandergriend's father, Dave. "They don't have anybody."
The I-Team checked state databases and found that none of the Narconon employees identified had any Nevada medical licenses or certification for drug counseling or rehab services.
Justin Vandergriend's mother, Camille, said she called a number of 800 numbers trying to find a drug rehab center for her son.
"I talked to one gal who I was very impressed with and she in turn had a representative call me back," Camille Vandergriend said. "Unbeknownst to me, he was a representative from Narconon."
A source currently employed at Narconon told the I-Team they buy up several of the top websites shown on Google for drug rehab, redirecting calls to a Narconon phone bank.
"It was all bull****," Anchondo said. "The whole thing was to get them into our centers. If they didn't have money, then we'd refer them out to some homeless -- but man, I was good.
This is an extended version of KWTV-Channel 9's report which aired last night about Scientology's drug rehab program in Oklahoma — Narconon Arrowhead — which is under investigation for three deaths that occurred there over a nine-month period.
Reporter Dana Hertneky interviews Robert Murphy, whose daughter Stacy Dawn Murphy died at the rehab center in July, and David Love, who worked at a Narconon facility in Quebec and then helped to get it shut down. But she also talked to Narconon Arrowhead CEO Gary Smith, who is suddenly talking to the CBS affiliate and other Oklahoma television stations after refusing to give interviews for months.
Smith is letting in cameras and trying his best to look calm and relaxed. But we can't help thinking this new strategy has "desperation" written all over it.
If you've been anywhere near the inside of an East London kebab shop or minicab office in the past few weeks (and have been sober enough to remember anything you saw), you may have noticed a small pile of free, anti-drugs pamphlets on the counter. A sight that may have instantly reminded you of the terrible decisions you may or may not have made with your evening, such as shovelling the remainder of your wrap up your nose just before you were about to go home.
The Truth About Drugs appears, at first glance, to be yet another desperately out-of-touch attempt to make young people who go out a lot at night feel guilty about their lives. Then you read it and spot – among pages of dubious stats and cautionary tales so laughably extreme they read like Pulitzer-worthy pieces of satire – that the pamphlet was put together by an organisation called Foundation For a Drug-Free World.
It turns out, after a little research, that the foundation in question is a front group run by the Church of Scientology. The link between the church and the foundation isn't made explicit anywhere in the pamphlet, their adverts or on the FFAD-FW website, though, because – duh – that would put literally everybody off straight away.
2011-10-31, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I once noted on this blog that I do not and will not "pull withholds" on or security check anyone. David Miscavige hollered "Eureka!" and had his Corporate Scientology propagandists spread the word far and wide that I allegedly audit over overts and withholds as an avowed practice. They ignored my explanation on the former that I don't need to "pull withholds" because my pc's are sufficiently in-session that they inevitably voluntarily, without coercion, freely vent them. When someone completes Grade II with me he/she is free from the hostilities and sufferings of life because the person understands the overt-motivator sequence in life. They don't walk around with withholds because when they commit an overt they pretty much always take responsibility for it. When they do have a withhold they readily share it, it doesn't need to be "pulled." As to "security checking", I explained my position on this in some detail in mid 2009 in a video taped interview available on the St Petersburg Times website, (go to segment entitled Abuse of Trust).
I often refer to Grade II as the make-break point in one's progression up the Bridge. People who treat the grade with a lick and a promise don't reach the abilities gained for the level and that makes the rest of the journey a potential rocky road.
When I take someone through Grade II, we complete it when a person is entirely satisfied without doubt or reservation that he or she has attained all four flows of the abilities gained for that grade, as abilities in life. Not as some ethereal theoretic postulate.
A new temple in Basel would form part of the sect's worldwide growth plans. The Church of Scientology recently announced at a fund-raising event in the United States that it planned to build 70 new churches, including the one in Basel.
But one expert on religious sects, Georg Otto Schmid, dismissed the move as a marketing ploy aimed at regaining some of the members lost in recent year. Even though the organisation claims to have 1,200 members in the region of Basel alone, Schmid instead believes the figure to be "around 200".
2011-10-31, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
An Australian gossip magazine is reporting something about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise which is probably about as reliable as most of the stuff written about Tom and Katie by similar tabloids here in the U.S.
So why would we care what a supermarket tab from the other side of the world is saying about Katie?
Well, the magazine's reporting appears to be based at least partly on our stories from last week, and says that Katie is steaming mad about Scientology's creepy South Park investigation, enough to walk out on her Scientologist hubby.
2010-10-31, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Over the past two years the corporate church has spent millions of dollars on the internet combatting the Truth Rundown. They have gone so far as to register dozens of domain names using my full name and created a number of sites and blogs with them attempting to divert traffic from this blog. They have bought huge amounts of internet advertising with CNN, St Pete Times, and a number of other major media. They have paid Google to place pop up ads for their childish propaganda when someone googles my name.
Coincidentally Google refuses to list my blog in it is news updates under the subject of Scientology. They list a number of blogs and sites that have a small fraction of the traffic Moving On Up A Little Higher has. Sites that do not post news, unrefuted, unchallenged and in many cases news that despite the corporate church's best efforts goes viral, as routinely occurs here.
I didn't intend to make an issue out of this because despite these monied interests' efforts to quiet us, visitor stats just keep climbing. But I decided to take a broader issue up after Geir Isene wrote to me recently. Geir informed me how he was exiled from Facebook by the intelligence and PR efforts of the corporate church. You can read Geir's account at the following link:
2010-10-31, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Meshell Little (Powers) - Jim Little - Heather Powers - Edie Fields
Are Publicly Leaving the Church of Scientology
This is the story of Jim Little, Meshell Little (Powers), Heather Powers and grandmother, Edie Fields of St. Louis, Missouri. This is the real story of how we went from being 22-year veteran scientologists to quietly resigning from the structure known as the Church of Scientology on June 29, 2010. This action quickly culminated with the St. Louis Org declaring us SP's on October 21, 2010. This declare, as I will go over, consisted of generalities, complete lies, assumptions stated as facts, situations twisted up neatly to appear as one, dropped out time (fully handled 13 years ago) all mixed with one percent truth – and completely written with the intention of discrediting to make us look evil. This is the thanks we got for all our years of supporting this organization. That's not all though. They got my son!
Mike Rinder, the church's former intelligence chief, said his department sometimes tracked runaways by getting into their credit card or bank accounts.
The account numbers came from Morehead, whose guards opened every piece of mail at the base, logging staff financial information as they went. Morehead said Sea Org members were told their personal correspondence was examined for security reasons. He said they were not told this included financial information.
"Except for the upper, upper executives, there wasn't a base staff member who I didn't have a bank account number on, a credit card number, social security number and date of birth, phone numbers, you name it, I had it all," Morehead said.
The church said the Times is relying on sources who, before they left Scientology, admitted in sworn declarations, affidavits and confessions that all responsibility was theirs and they held the church blameless. For every person but one (Sinar Parman), Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis provided documents from church files, including confessions, ethics orders and Suppressive Person declarations.
Why'd Scientology unveil their new Washington D.C. "Ideal Org" on Halloween, of all days? 'Guess the wide public perception of Scientology being spooky-sketchy hasn't taken. Whatever the incentive: it's pissing off commuters, being protested, and-naturally-has Anonymous spies inside.
HARLINGEN - The grand opening of the new center for the Narconon South Texas Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation and Education Program was held Thursday.
The center is at 17697 ABD Road off of Rangerville Road.
Gail Thomason, spokesperson for the center, said it has gone from a mobile home to a 17-acre facility.
Scientology devotee Jenna Elfman has slammed critics of the controversial faith that combines ideas of Scientology's spiritual rehabilitation philosophy and techniques created by writer L. Ron Hubbard, who grew the organization from his Dianetics book.
The largest drug rehabilitation home in town, a longtime magnet for community anger, has agreed to shut down, officials said Friday.
The 27-bed beachfront triplex operated by Narconon will close after its state license expires in February 2010, said Dan Carlton, a company attorney.
A former Scientologist named Peter Letterese is suing Tom Cruise and his favorite religion for $265 million. According to Fishbowl LA, Letterese's charges include allegations that "Cruise and Scientology bribed and improperly influenced a federal judge, a Florida state judge and a federal bankruptcy trustee to tie up his original law suit in bankruptcy court." Those are serious charges, and there's no word of proof, so you might be excused for thinking Letterese is a wacko.
Today, as the church tries to rebut assertions that it caused her sudden death, it also credits Scientology for her successes in life.
But McPherson's turnaround came at a financial price.
From 1991 until she died in December 1995, McPherson spent more than $175,000 on Scientology courses, counseling and causes, according to financial records. In three of those years, her donations to the church ranged from 29 percent to 55 percent of her income.