At almost the exact same time yesterday, about 2 pm Eastern, Scientology's "religious arbitration" was being litigated in both Los Angeles and Atlanta yesterday.
While we were watching the attorney for Danny Masterson's accusers answer questions from appellate justices on a live feed in Los Angeles, in Atlanta the federal Eleventh Circuit finally issued a ruling on the Garcia appeal that had been argued in July 2020.
In both cases, the prospects for former Scientologists suing the church have become pretty dim.
When we saw Mike Rinder announce that he and Leah Remini were talking to Lucas Catton for their podcast this week, we reached out to him for an update on how things have been going for him.
Our readers have heard less lately than we used to from Luke, who at one time was president of Scientology's flagship drug rehab facility, Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma. We first met him when he came to New York in 2013 to film an episode of Rock Center about Scientology's deceptive rehab racket. And he was a key source for us on a lot of Narconon stories over the years.
That same year he was on Rock Center he put out a book and later pulled it from circulation (and then put out another book), but we hadn't heard much from him recently. And we sure weren't prepared for this update from him...
2019-11-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This "Exciting new releases" announcement showed up.
First, there is absolutely NOTHING new in the realm of "Study Tech" — it is the same stuff Hubbard announced in the 6o's and 70's. Nothing has been added.
Someone has repackaged the same old same old and is now presenting it as "exciting" and "new"...
How do you get Scientologists to come to fundraising parties when they know they're going to be hounded for donations for new building projects? Themed costume parties continue to be a popular strategy, and we've seen them use everything from gangster and vampire films to Star Wars and yes, the Tom Cruise movie Top Gun for inspiration.
And now, add The Last Samurai to the list as this remarkable photo from Down Under shows.
Earlier this year, Brisbane Scientologists came together for an Ideal Org fundraising event themed on the Cruise movie set in 19th century Japan. This week they announced the purchase of their new building. It's in the Spring Hill district of the city, quite close to the downtown area.
Lloyd Evans wraps up his three-part series about what's in 'elder manuals' put out by the Jehovah's Witnesses organization that are not for the rank and file to see.
For this third part, he teams up with fellow ex-JW activist Sherrie D'Souza in Australia, and here's his description of the video...
In the third and final part of this no-holds-barred livestream series, friend and fellow activist Sherrie D'Souza joins me to share her perspective on the administrative chapters from the "Shepherd the Flock of God" elder's manual, which is off limits to rank-and-file Jehovah's Witnesses - and women in particular.
We were inspired last week when author Alec Nevala-Lee chose the date of his book release to make public for the first time a really amazing document from Scientology's early history. And since we had a book of our own come out this week, we thought we'd do the same.
In the summer of 1972, a really curious thing happened. The year before, journalist Paulette Cooper had written her harsh expose, The Scandal of Scientology, and she then helped her friend Robert Kaufman, a former Scientologist, publish his own tell-all about the church, Inside Scientology. They were both then stunned when someone came forward to help Kaufman promote his book — it was L. Ron Hubbard Jr., son of Scientology's founder.
At that point, Kaufman was hoping his publisher would put out a second edition, and he thought it would be a good idea for Ron Jr. — known as "Nibs" to the family — to write a foreword to it. And so, for several weeks in the late summer of 1972, Nibs worked with Paulette to produce a 63-page manuscript about the origin of Scientology.
Kaufman's second edition never happened, and the essay Nibs wrote with Paulette's help was never published.
2018-11-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Terra is with us once more...
Scientologists, Lies, and the ARC Triangle
A bedrock of L. Ron Hubbard philosophy is the ARC Triangle. "A" = Affinity. "R" = Reality. "C" = Communication. He wrote that together these three equal "U", Understanding. Anything that effects one point of this triangle, effects the others. For instance, the more one communicates with a person or subject, the greater his Affinity, Reality, and Understanding with them. Raising one corner of the triangle to a higher state, raises the other two—and vice versa. That which lowers one corner of the triangle, lowers the other two.
Stephen K. Bannon, the man considered the architect behind Donald Trump's electoral victory, had a Toronto audience laughing, chortling and exclaiming as if in disbelief as he sparred with ex-George W. Bush administration staffer David Frum in a Munk Debate at Roy Thomson Hall on Friday night.
Bannon and Frum stayed mostly civil during their debate, in which the ex-Trump strategist was interrupted early on by a protester who unfurled a banner reading, "No hate, no bigotry, no place for Bannon's white supremacy."
WATCH: Protesters yell at people entering Munk Debate in Toronto with Steve Bannon
The Underground Bunker has learned that A&E's Emmy-winning series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, filmed an episode featuring interviews with women who allege they were raped by Scientologist and That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson, but the episode hasn't been scheduled.
We're told that earlier this year, Remini and her co-star Mike Rinder met with the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, which expressed concerns about the episode airing while it is considering whether or not to file charges against Masterson. Remini, not wanting to jeopardize the investigation, asked A&E not to air the episode, and the network agreed.
Now, there are only three episodes left to air in the show's second season (full disclosure, we are featured in one of them), and the DA's office has still not made up its mind about filing charges against Masterson — so the episode might not air at all.
In this video series, I'm taking on Scientology academic apologists by deconstructing the book Scientology by James R. Lewis, chapter by chapter. In this video, I look at Chapter 10, written by Frank K. Flinn and titled "Scientology as Technological Buddhism"
2016-11-03, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everyone, we are continuing in my ongoing series deconstructing this book, Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis and featuring essays and writings by religious scholars, psychologists, sociologists and other academics about (surprise!) Scientology.
This week we get into Part IV of this book, called "Sources and Comparative Approaches" which begins with Chapter 10, titled "Scientology as Technological Buddhism" by Frank K. Flinn. Flinn was an adjunct professor of religious studies at Washington University in St Louis from 1990 until he died in July 2015.
According to his obituary, Flinn was a religious freedom advocate and a scholar of religious movements. While I'm sure he taught some great material about religious history to his classes, he was also a tireless cult apologist. He gave expert testimony in court and even in front of Congress to support destructive cults such as Scientology and the Branch Davidians in Waco. There are many very nice things said about him in his obituary, of course, and I have nothing against him personally because I'm sure he was a very nice person. However, I don't support what he dedicated a great deal of his life doing: offering support and defense for destructive cults, the kinds of groups which have ruined people's lives in the course of their routine, day-to-day activities.
CLEARWATER — Three years into construction on the 10-story SkyView condo tower in the heart of downtown, plans for the project have been revised to accommodate one tenant with luxurious taste.
The building was originally proposed as 51 two-bedroom units, but contractors filed paper work with the city on Sept. 9 to turn the top three floors into a lavish penthouse complete with a gym, theater, pool, garden, game room, four bedrooms and a loft. The permit application also includes plans for a private garage with a car elevator on the second floor with a corridor leading to a wing with a flight simulator, office space and sports storage area.
The $3 million penthouse addition is under review with city planners and would leave the long-vacant SkyView tower at 400 Cleveland St., across from the Capitol Theatre, with 42 units, according to the permit application.
On Monday, we told you that Leah Remini had been stalked while filming her upcoming A&E series on Scientology, which premieres on November 29. She'd also shared with us that her production company had received a lot of aggressive letters from the church, just as other recent shows and documentaries about Scientology have experienced.
Then, Tuesday night, Leah's team released the show's first trailer, and the media response has been huge. "Leah Remini's new series alleges sexual & physical abuse in Scientology," read one headline. "Leah Remini reveals explosive abuse allegations against Scientology," read another.
But Scientology isn't taking things lying down. In a completely characteristic move, the church is paying for ads on Google that pop up when you search on Leah's name...
2016-11-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Unfortunately, I have been out of town most of the week and as a result the Thursday Funnies are thin this week. Nevertheless, some tidbits to keep things interesting and everyone amused.
For the first time...
How strange is that when she just got the Freedom Medal 2 weeks ago? Why would she have ever been in Denver before? But they've got her out fundraising lickety-split.
When Leah Remini made the momentous decision to leave the Church of Scientology in 2013, she knew it wasn't going to be easy.
The former King of Queens actress, 45, had been introduced to the religion by her mother at the age of 8, and had been a member for 35 years. As a teen, she even spent a year living - and doing manual labor, including cleaning hotel rooms - at the church's Sea Org headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, which is reserved for Scientology's most dedicated members.
"I've been given a second chance at life and so has my family," Remini says. "It's like a rebirth."
When Leah Remini decided to leave the church of Scientology after more than three decades and speak publicly about her experience, she knew there would be backlash from people still tied to the controversial church - including fellow celebrities.
But Remini, 45, said on Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show Tuesday she understands why Kristie Alley, a longtime Scientologist, lashed out at Remini and called her a "bigot" when she first left the church in 2013.
"I understood it," she told Stern. "I understood it because I know the policy. I understand that hiding behind, you know, religious bigotry is the route to go."
Janan Harb (pictured today) - who claims she was the secret wife of late Saudi King Fahd - will receive more than £15million after a judge found the king's son had promised her a payout
A woman who says she is the secret wife of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia has won her claim to a £15million payout to honour a promise that she would be 'looked after for the rest of her life'.
Janan Harb, now 68, said she secretly married the then-Prince Fahd in 1968, but was banished from the kingdom in 1970 because of objections from his family.
On November 16, it will be ten years since Comedy Central first aired the South Park episode titled "Trapped in the Closet." The episode brought to many people their first exposure to the wacky contents of Scientology's secret Operating Thetan Level Three material, in which founder L. Ron Hubbard explains that each of us is infested with invisible alien souls left over from a genocidal incident that happened 75 million years ago, courtesy of a galactic overlord named Xenu (pictured).
The OT 3 materials had been described publicly as early as 1972 in the book of a former Scientologist, Robert Kaufman. It had also been featured in some newspaper reports and online. But South Park famously put the OT 3 story into cartoon form and on cable television, and it became a huge hit. One of the people partly responsible for that episode was our old friend, journalist Mark Ebner. We asked Ebner to reminisce about that epic event for its big upcoming anniversary...
It has been a decade since Matt Stone and Trey Parker summoned me to South Park Studios to consult with them on what would become their Emmy Award-nominated "Trapped in the Closet" episode of South Park — one of the most effective pop culture blows against Scientology (and Tom Cruise's ego) to date, perhaps for all time. In one half-hour cartoon, the South Park geniuses managed to break down and fully expose the comically sinister upper-level Scientology cosmology for the next generation. I could not have been more proud of my contribution, which had me walking them through my undercover reporting experience, and contributing the key dialogue bit, "[Scientology] is a global scam."
We just spoke with Dani Lemberger, who let us know that he's filed suit against the Church of Scientology in Tel Aviv.
"We've been working hard at it the last two years," Dani told us by telephone from Haifa. "It wasn't easy. It took time to find the right lawyer."
Dani and his wife Tami are suing Scientology for 3 million shekels, about $820,000.
2014-11-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Been a bit busy and backlogged some of these reports.
If you read the first Mintzmeat report, you will observe the Super Power/Running Program completions have settled down to between 10 and 20 per week, in a long term Emergency trend. And OT VII completions are almost always under 10 per week.
The first two stats don't come close to justifying the massive SP building. This is lame as hell.
Just Saturday, Jon Atack was complaining about social scientists and their inability to understand how Scientology works. But there are academics who know their stuff, and at the top of that list is University of Alberta professor Stephen Kent.
Not only has Kent spent decades exposing Scientology's abuses, he has one of the best collections of Scientology material in the world — and he uses it to educate the next generation of scholars. Among them is Susan Raine, who studied under Kent and has done significant work of her own.
Now, Raine has put out a new piece that really knocked us out.
David Miscavige ordered a staffer to smack Debbie Cook, who did, knocking Debbie to the floor, and another to break her finger while she was at the Church's International Headquarters in 2007.
DEBBIE COOK: "We were made to do these confessions...one time in front of 100 people, yelling at you. I was put in a trash can, cold water poured over me, slapped. One time it went on for 12 hours...There were times I was accused of being a homosexual, a lesbian..."
Debbie was the "Commanding officer" (The Church uses fake navy uniforms and navy military titles) of the Flag Service Org for some 20 years.
After more than a year of fighting in court, Best Drug Rehabilitation Holdings of Nevada and Wright Township have reached an agreement that will allow Best Drug to open a in-patient drug and alcohol treatment center in the former Creek View Lodge retirement home, 15140 16th Ave.
The agreement details what types of addictions may be treated in and the rehabilitation center Best Drug intends to open in the former nursing home. It also requires Wright Township to pay Best Drug $50,000.
2013-11-03, Miss Fortune, Glistening, Quivering Underbelly
MUCH-HYPED BATTLE CREEK YOUTH BOXING PROGRAM APPEARS TO BE STALLED
THE FIRST RULE OF FIGHT CLUB: WE DON'T TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB...BUT MISS FORTUNE WILL!
Nearly a year after announcing in a press release the formation of a "boxing program to steer kids away from drugs and alcohol", it looks like Per Wickstrom's promised program might be on the ropes.
2013-11-03, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Could not resist the title.
Just a laugh on a Sunday morning to accompany Tony Ortega's now highly anticipated "Sunday Funnies".
This latest casting call would indicate they have not yet shot the needed footage for the release of the New (old) Mark Sooper 8 e-meter. Cannot imagine what else they would need a (hairless) hand model for. And as usual, at the last minute there is a frantic request for a shot the following day in Hemet. Typical RCS "planning."
Los Angeles actress Roslyn Cohn's sense of timing is impeccable. She's debuting her one-woman show about Scientology, "diffiCult to Leave," on November 25 in Los Angeles — right between the dates the church itself has set for events that seem like last-ditch efforts to stave off Scientology's steady decline.
Scientology has announced to its members that it's putting on a big product launch and building grand opening on November 15-17, and then its annual International Association of Scientologists gala on November 29-30, with events being held in a giant tent in Clearwater, Florida.
But in LA, Cohn will counter that church self-promotion with a show we've been looking forward to ever since a rough-cut version appeared online several months ago.
We've written about Lori Hodgson a few times previously. In the photo here at the right, you see her in happier times with her two children, Jessica and Jeremy Leake.
Since that photo was taken, however, Lori did the unforgivable in the eyes of her kids: she left the Church of Scientology and spoke publicly about it. Declared a "suppressive person" by the church (Scientology's equivalent of excommunication), Lori became someone her kids had to avoid at all costs or risk being declared "SP" themselves.
But Lori never gives up. She sent us an open letter she wants to get to her children, and asked us to post it. We agreed.
2012-11-03, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Chris Black is a Class VIII C/S and Class IX auditor in Toronto. I had a good friend from Canada who tried for months to free up sufficient time to make it to South Texas to get debugged on the Bridge. When work circumstances were making that trip difficult, I referred him to Chris whom I had been in comm with on and off for a couple years. Well, Chris did a heck of a job with my friend. His success story is below. As you can see from Chris's profile he can deliver just about anything Scientology; especially convenient for our Northern friends.
Success Story (After repair program and Grade 1 auditing)
2011-11-03, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
We've discussed quite a bit on this blog how the West and East and all parts in between were destroyed for Scientology. Let's talk about how territory was won for helping people on a broad scale basis before it was lost. Bob Mongiello of the old RiversideMission fame has posted on You Tube a wonderful video in which he describes how the mission was started from scratch and evolved into a major, bustling center for delivering Scientology services. He mentions how he and Mission Holder Bent Corydon visited COSMOD (church of Scientology Mission of Davis) to learn first hand how to create such an activity. COSMOD expanded to several cities during the seventies opening a number of flourishing Missions. One was in PortlandOregon. That is where I first got into Scientology in 1977. Bob's descriptions of Riverside ring very true - the mission and its activity that he describes in Riverside fit the description of Portland circa mid seventies.
Those who got into Scientology after 1981 may not understand how relevant and widespread Scientology was back in the day; this video will give you the flavor.
Those who want to create your own flourishing activity, here is how it was done. Save yourself the 25k, 50k, or however many k it is now for a Scientology Missions International mission starter package - a package designed to fail. All you need to get started is HCOB TR's Re-Modernized and purpose. Bob Mongiello presents the Free Mission Starter Package:
PARIS, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- The Church of Scientology in France is appealing its 2009 organized fraud conviction, attorneys said.
The appeal, which opened Thursday in Paris, seeks dismissal of the conviction for allegedly manipulating others for financial gain, Radio France Internationale reported.
Prosecutors had alleged the church's bookshop and headquarters in Paris manipulated vulnerable people for profit. The 2009 legal case focused on a woman who said she spent her life savings of nearly $29,000 on Scientology products.
PARIS (AP) — Lawyers for the Church of Scientology asked a French court on Thursday to throw out the group's fraud conviction because they say the investigation and trial in the decades-old case had taken too long.
The defense submitted the argument to a Paris appeals court, which is reviewing the 2009 conviction of the church's French branch, its bookstore and six of its leaders. The group was accused of pressuring members into paying large sums for questionable remedies and using "commercial harassment" against recruits.
The group and bookstore were fined euro600,000 ($830,000). Four leaders were given suspended sentences of between 10 months and two years. Two others were fined.
2011-11-03, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Conan O'Brien staged a showdown for the ages this week -- all-out combat between New York City and Los Angeles -- and as Scientology watchers, we enjoyed every minute of it.
Take in Conan's inspired skit as we round up this week's news stories to determine Scientology's Thursday afternoon stats, when orgs around the country total up their wins and losses to determine how well the church is doing...
Conan had fun, as you can see, pitting NYC's Empire State Building against the biggest landmark in Los Angeles he could find -- "the Scientology bookstore on Pico."
2011-11-03, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Today, we have another leak of Scientology's internal documents which describe the church's efforts to dig up dirt not on a former high-ranking official, or a member of the Hollywood elite, or even a former parishioner. In this case, Scientology's own documents reveal, the church sicced its private eyes on a cancer victim, an older woman who lives not far from Scientology's own international headquarters, a woman whose only known transgression against the church was having a conversation in a Wal-Mart store.
2010-11-03, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
One of the hallmarks of a cult (or any fanatical, extremist group for that matter) is black and white thinking. Things are either black or they are white. They are good or they are evil. There are no shades of grey, no nuances.
In his book Overcoming Cult Mind Control, Steve Hassan says, "Even the most complex cult doctrines ultimately reduce reality into two basic poles: black versus white; good versus evil; spiritual world versus physical world; us versus them" (And for those who believe "all psychologists are bad"…read on).
To give a silly example that won't upset anyone, let's say that there is one group that is violently against plumbers. They hate them. All plumbers are bad. Opposing them is a group that is fanatically pro-plumber. Plumbers are always good. They can do no wrong. These two groups get on plumbing chat groups and argue and argue and argue.
2010-11-03, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Perhaps I spoke too soon about Fair Game having been cancelled. In either event, last night this blog received a coordinated Denial of Service Attack in the form of thousands of spam comments. It is continuing unabated. I apologize to those who posted legitimate comments to the post WORSE THAN FAIR GAME that have not appeared on the blog. I am quite busy at the moment and do not have the time to sort through thousands of spams to find the legitimate comments. I have queried Word Press for a more efficient means to deal with this. In the interim, if you wish to comment you can try my second blog, https://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/casablanca-tejas-population-4/. Chances are they'll target it too. But, what the hell, as a wise man once said "when in doubt, communicate", or when someone tries to unmock you the thing to do is just keep putting out more anchor points.
2010-11-03, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Winning can be a bitch. At least Miscavige attempts to make it that way.
For the time being, we have learned how to cope with the spamming and hopefully prevent an effective Denial of Service.
Coincident with the Denial of Service attack on this blog, a number of people alerted me to an email received from this address: email@example.com
The Church of Scientology hosted a "blessing and opening ceremony" of its new building at 1424 16th St. NW. over the weekend, causing traffic delays and scores of curious passers-by to stop and gawk. Many of those curious Georges may have been hoping for a glimpse of one of the church's many celebrity members, such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, but were deterred thanks to a large plastic barricade.
Backed by some of the most powerful members of the Senate, a little-noticed provision in the healthcare overhaul bill would require insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments as medical expenses.
The provision was inserted by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) with the support of Democratic Sens. John F. Kerry and the late Edward M. Kennedy, both of Massachusetts, home to the headquarters of the Church of Christ, Scientist.
The measure would put Christian Science prayer treatments -- which substitute for or supplement medical treatments -- on the same footing as clinical medicine. While not mentioning the church by name, it would prohibit discrimination against "religious and spiritual healthcare."
The ride was "pretty damned fast" but under control, and he could see two or three guards running for the dock as he descended. He scrambled around the rat guard, pulled himself to the dock and ran for the road, with a lead of about 30 feet on the guards.
They caught up as he got to a cab. One yelled in his face and held the door so he couldn't get in. Another told the cabbie not to give him a ride because he wasn't allowed to leave the ship.
Jason muscled his way into the front seat, closed the door on a guard's hand and screamed at the driver: "I'm being held against my will! Take me to a g -- d -- - airport!"
A boil advisory issued for Narconon-Arrowhead remained in effect this morning, but it is has nothing to do with the city of McAlester.
The state Department of Environmental Quality advised Narconon-Arrowhead on Friday that its water was unsafe for human consumption due to the presence of E. coli and should be boiled for one minute before using.
2009-11-03, Eric Gorski, Associated Press, USA Today
Over the course of two days last week, a French court convicted the church of fraud and Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis' resignation from the church over a litany of concerns was aired publicly. On one hand, it was just another bad press week for the embattled institution founded in 1953 by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.
But for former Scientologists and scholars of the movement, the setbacks pose a greater challenge coming on the heels of defections of top-level Scientologists who lifted a veil of secrecy on the organization and alleged a culture of violence and control under Hubbard's successor, David Miscavige.
2009-11-03, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
In contrast to the heartfelt stories of abuse by former staff members in the recent St. Petersberg Times articles, the Church of Scientology's response comes across as cold, arrogant and filled with utter contempt and hate. It's issued over Tommy Davis's name, but in all likelihood was written by Miscavige himself. It bears his imperious stamp.
The stories of the former staff are compelling. They are rich in detail. They tell their stories with emotion, and without guile. My heart went out to these people as they related their stories of abuse, criminality, pursuit and oppression.
And all the Church can say is "they are lying." Really? All of them?
Protests occur regularly against the human rights abuses of Scientology. Peaceful demonstrations are held in cities from New York to London and Sydney. However, on October 26, 2008, at the Scientology compound near Hemet, California, protesters were attacked by Scientology guards. Footage of the assault is now available online.
Narconon officials swore Friday they would not give up their drive to open a controversial drug and alcohol treatment center in Chilocco.
"It's a war (on drugs)," said center President Gary Smith. "We will fight wherever we have to."
When asked at a Friday afternoon press conference if he would open the center without state permission, Smith simply repeated, "We are going to continue to fight the war."