The show where I answer your questions. Please leave any comments or feedback in the comments section here below. I see everything and want to hear from you.
SHOP FOR CRITICAL MERCHANDISE
2017-11-12, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left on my Critical Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) What was your day to day life like as a Scientologist? Not just when you were in the Sea Org, but before that. How often throughout the day would your beliefs impact how you related to a situation, or the choices you made (even down to which films you watched), and how did you feel when you interacted with people not in the church? Was it always in the front of your mind what would happen to them because they weren't? And even if you weren't thinking of these things consciously do you think subconsciously they had an impact? Can you feel a difference now you are out?
(2) In a recent podcast you denigrated the subject of spirituality as being unquantifiable and not open to the scientific method. Please consider the following analysis: Epistemology is the study of knowledge, how it is acquired and validated. Implicit in the concept is a consciousness that is doing the knowing. It is logical to observe that the subject of knowledge—the "things" about which the consciousness knows–is different from the consciousness itself. Thus, there are two distinct concepts: subject and object.
2017-11-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Tonight at 8pm there is a special episode of The Aftermath touching upon the subject of scientology's front groups.
Of course, the most well-know of them is Narconon, which is why it was so ironic that I was sent this a couple of days ago.
Scientology says the "social betterment" organizations are NOT recruitment arms for scientology.
This is a Martin Luther Inspired Proclamation To The "Church" of Scientology posted on the doors of The Church Of Scientology in Miami To Restore Truth, Justice and The Constitutional and Human Rights of All Members and Non-Members. This has been inspired by the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's world changing event of posting of his 95 These on the doors of the All Saints Church in Wittenberg Germany to begin the Protestant Reformation.
Brian Sheen, is a former member and declared Suppressive Person (SP) of the "church." Currently he is a best selling author, alternative therapist and researcher. He is asking the Church of Scientology to open discussion of their disconnection, fair game and indulgences practices that rip families apart as well as other immoral practices they engage in such as childhood labor and fraudulent misrepresentations of abilities which can be gained.
Brian Sheen has been prevented from speaking to his daughter Springsong Sheen Atkinson-Baker for the past two and half years. He has also been prevented from seeing his newborn grandson, Leo, since his birth two months ago. Publicly the "church" represents the opposite of what they actually do to prevent their members questioning, discussing or investigating ANY of its representations or principles.
Hey, it's Sunday, not Tuesday. Why is there a new episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath running tonight at 8 pm, and why is it running several days after the series finale?
These are questions only A&E can answer. For two seasons now, the network has seemingly done everything it can to confuse its viewers. But all we know is, we're glad you'll get a chance to see Quailynn McDaniel and Fred Oxaal talk to Mike and Leah tonight.
Mike starts off the episode with a great definition of the purpose of Scientology's "propaganda arms" — what we also refer to as "front groups." Mike says they serve three purposes.
The BBC News published an article this week about a wholly uncharacteristic act of Scientology generosity. Written by John Sweeney, the article discussed Scientology UK's £50,000 donation to The East Grinstead National Health Service Trust, specifically to the Queen VictoriaHospital. This donation is about $65,650 USD at current rates.
There article described the debate about the propriety of a National Health Service (NHS) Trust accepting a donation from the controversial Church of Scientology:
Mr Lamb said his "particular concern" was about the impact of the [Scientology] church's "activities on people's mental health".
Last month, we found ourselves having dinner in some pretty special company. We had flown out to Los Angeles and sat down for a meal with BBC journalist John Sweeney, longtime Scientology critic Mark Bunker, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder, and the person who had brought us all together, actress, producer, and Troublemaker author Leah Remini.
We were there to talk about her upcoming series for A&E, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and it was a real treat to discuss it with these figures we admire so much.
We can't go into too much detail about what we talked about, but there was one moment we wanted to describe for you. We had fallen onto the subject of Scientology's snitching culture, that everyone in the church is constantly watching everyone else and looking for any reason to turn people in for breaking the rules. Children are expected to turn in their own parents if they catch them watching television programs critical of Scientology or looking at websites like the one you're looking at now. Husbands turn in wives, brothers turn in sisters, and once they've been snitched on Scientologists undergo abusive interrogations that can literally take weeks to complete — and at the end of it, they're billed for it!
2016-11-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
See Part 1 here.
MY LIFE WITH LRH (1973-1980)
Most people perceive things differently. If there is a car accident and there are 3 witnesses, sometimes all 3 could see a different color car etc. My stories with LRH are from my perspective and I am very sure other messengers may perceive things differently. These are also stories from the best I can recollect them as a very young, naïve person and from my perspective at the time. Obviously now being middle aged and WAY wiser, I can look back and see how I acted or perceived things through rose colored glasses.
2015-11-12, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
By request, I am creating a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about important concepts in critical thinking. These will all be short, about a minute or so, and will cover one topic each. This third one is about absolute truths and the importance of keeping an open mind.
Here is the transcript for this PSA:
We all have a threshold of acceptance, a certain point where we accept that an idea is true. Maybe it only takes someone we trust to tell us or we read it in a newspaper or we see it on Dr. Oz.
Right around this day twenty years ago, Dallas resident Fannie McPherson, who was then 70 years old, had her last telephone conversation with her 36-year-old daughter Lisa.
Two years earlier, Lisa had moved from Dallas to Clearwater, Florida when the company she worked for, AMC Publishing, moved there with all of its employees. AMC catered to the insurance industry and was a WISE company — owned by Scientologists and run on Scientology principles — and the move brought the company to Scientology's spiritual "mecca" on Florida's Gulf Cost. Lisa had been a Scientologist since 1982 and had done very well with AMC, making $136,000 in 1993. But after the move to Florida, she began to struggle, not only at her job, but also in her attempts to move up Scientology's "Bridge to Total Freedom."
By the middle of 1995 Lisa was so frustrated she began telling friends that she was through with Scientology. But then she gamely made another attempt to make progress on her case. As the holidays neared, she again talked to a friend in a way that made it sound like she was leaving Scientology. She said she was planning to be back in Dallas in time for Thanksgiving.
2015-11-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The funny as hell SNL spoof of "We Stand Tall" - see it here for a good laugh again https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOpapeX6Vzs
So the trained ones are the smart ones? Guess that doesn't include learning how to spell "gotten."
2014-11-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Bob Keenan MC of the LondonIdeal Org Opening
Bob Keenan was formerly posted as the LRH PPRO UK, but was David Miscavige's "go to guy" in the UK. He had a relatively short career as one of Dear Leader's pets.
When Miscavige was in the UK for the IAS event or any other activities, Keenan was "the man". He picked up Miscavige from Farnborough Business Jet Airport when he arrived in Cruise's Gulfstream with a little convoy of rented Range Rovers and BMWs. He arranged special food. He oversaw "security" and acted as a personal "bodyguard."
Here in Tampa Bay we have our own religious group that has been so tight-lipped over the decades it makes the LDS look more accessible than a Costco membership.
The Church of Scientology has been operating in Clearwater for decades, rarely explaining itself and going after its detractors with an unrelenting vengeance.
Two controversial religious organizations. One has used the tools of public relations to rebrand its image in a positive, candid manner. The other, also burdened with a reputation for strangeness, continues to rely on propaganda fueled by secrecy and intimidation. Who is likelier to draw more converts? Or at least a better understanding?
We have a real treat for you today, and it comes courtesy of someone we are honored to have helping us out.
We met Lauren Wolf when she was helping Lawrence Wright as the research assistant on his epic 2013 book on Scientology, Going Clear, and she's been a friend to the Underground Bunker ever since.
Recently, she emailed us with a hot tip, and we are so glad that she did.
–Mark Rathbun, the highest ranking whistleblower from the Church of Scientology and former Senior Executive of the Church, joins David to discuss being ambushed by Scientologists at LAX airport, his secret recording of Scientology sessions with Tom Cruise, and how he left the Church
–On the Bonus Show: Joseph Smith had up to 40 wives, Glenn Beck's mystery illness, SpaceX is building satellites, more…
Bruce HinesClaire Headley is taking us on our journey to train as Scientologists. She and her husband Marc were Sea Org workers who escaped from Scientology's International Base in 2005. She spent years working with Scientology's "tech," and was trusted to oversee the auditing of Tom Cruise. Go here to see the first part in this series.
Claire has brought us all the way to the "OT" levels, and last week she introduced us to "Operating Thetan Level One," consisting of L. Ron Hubbard's handwritten 1968 notes. We had all sorts of fun with Hubbard's instructions to go outside and "count bodies," at hundreds of dollars an hour!
Some time in the 1980s, we believe, those handwritten notes were replaced with another set of instructions known as "New OT I," and we wanted to take a look at them as well as welcome a new member of our team as we continue up the Bridge to Total Freedom. Bruce Hines, thanks for joining us! How about a little background for our readers.
2013-11-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Register Now. Or Be Shot. Or Something....
The schizoid ballet being danced by Big Brother over attendance at the Single Most Important Event In The History Of The Universe(tm) is rather amusing to watch.
While many Special Persons have reported being contacted to attend (clearly ALL stops are off on the call-in for this — people who have heard nothing for years are suddenly being told to come on down), the other side of the coin is the paranoia that an "unacceptable person" may get in. Many reports that people trying to attend have been told to "report to your local HCO" when applying for a permit to get in. Most of these people have no idea why they have suddenly become lepers — way to go guys, making a whole pile of NEW enemies!
A special events permit is expected to be issued Wednesday if city officials sign off.
The church did ask that the city close portions of a sidewalk near the Flag Building and temporarily disable a traffic signal near the building. The city had denied a church request to briefly remove the signal.
City officials have said they probably wouldn't approve any tweaks to their conditions. But late Tuesday, officials were still reviewing the church's request, said spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.
Tom Cruise is embroiled in a $50 million lawsuit against Bauer Publishing Company, the publisher of In Touch and Life & Style magazines, over claims that he "abandoned" his daughter Suri after his June 2012 divorce from Katie Holmes.
2012-11-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Here is some interesting food for thought from Thomas Campbell's My Big TOE (Theory of Everything):
If you have read Flatland, it will be clear that the ordinary residents of a given reality can only observe and understand interactions within their own reality and the interactions of residents of realities that are more highly constrained than their own. Residents of a more constrained reality cannot comprehend a less constrained reality because it lies beyond the limits of their normal perception.
Each dimension of reality has its own rules that define its objective science. Additionally, each dimension of reality experiences the next higher (less limited) dimension as subjective and mystical. Consequently, your mysticism may be another's science: It depends on how big a picture you live and work in, and the degree to which restraints limit your perception. The perspective from the next higher dimension provides a bigger picture with a more complete understanding. This more comprehensive, complete, and less restrictive knowledge is only accessible to lower dimensional beings (those with a more constrained awareness) through the experience of their individual locally-subjective mind.
One of our tipsters forwarded to us an e-mail the Church of Scientology has sent out asking its members to consider sending their kids to a convention on the church's private cruise ship, the Freewinds.
We immediately thought of the Freewinds experience of Ramana Dienes-Browning. Last year, we told her story of the hard sell she got as a 15-year-old when her mother took her for a visit to the ship. Ramana was hounded by Sea Org members until they broke down her objections and pressured her to sign the Sea Org's billion-year contract.
With that in mind, take a look at this friendly come-on that members received this week.
Hy Levy lived in terror of what would happen if he didn't make his number, a weekly sales target of $200,000. The money was due every Thursday by 2 p.m.
Often when he failed, his bosses exiled him to the kitchen to scrub pots. Sometimes they made him eat only beans and rice for a week. They publicly humiliated him, calling him a loser, a saboteur. They got in his face, screaming, swearing. You soulless bastard!
Culkin trusted his new friends at Scientology's Flag Land Base in Clearwater, so he gave in and told them.
The six-figure sum got the attention of Flag's "registrars," the religious workers who collect payments for church services and solicit donations for Scientology causes. No matter how much he gave, Culkin said they pestered him almost every day to give more. He ended up spending $330,000 on church services and donations during the year he spent in Scientology.
Large groups of registrars for the IAS repeatedly approached him, pressing him to give. Another registrar hounded him to spend thousands on counseling. One day, two church staffers from different departments tugged at his arms in a hallway, competing for a donation.
, November 13, 2011 - An ex-scientologist talks about his seven month experience taking scientology counseling services at Flag Land Base in ClearwaterFlorida. Spent $320,000 in less than one year in Scientology.
2011-11-12, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
It's been a light posting week, but our commenters did not let us down. We've had so much fun with singing on the Scientology ship Freewinds and other madcap adventures, even as we ventured outside the underground bunker.
2011-11-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I want to share a few thoughts concerning the debate raging over spriritual philosophies and practices.
First, I don't believe there is any substantive, divisive differences between Scientology philosophy and Eastern philosophies, including Buddhist, or even Judeo-Christian and Islamic philosophies. I agree with L Ron Hubbard when he said in the Phoenix Lectures that they are all best summed up - and perhaps were even divined from - the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.
What I think is most unique about Scientology is that it contains a practice, that does not require belief or faith (and thus does not conflict with any of these brethren philosophies), that can and does enhance understanding of that common set of truths best distilled in the Tao. Scientology is sometimes difficult to understand because it is a doingness, a practice that assists one to freely change his or her considerations. It is not an intellectual debate toward enlightenment. Instead it is a methodology that assists one in achieving enlightenments. Note, the plural form of enlightenment. The entire subject being based upon infinity logic (there are no absolutes) the quantity of potential enlightenments is unlimited and inestimable.
Oui, il arrive que la télévision fasse bouger les choses? quand l?enquête est percutante et trouve un écho dans les médias et chez les politiques. Durant cinq jours, nous vous proposons de voir ou de revoir ces films qui ont provoqué de gros remous au moment de leur diffusion. Quatrième exemple avec un reportage en caméra cachée signé Laurent Richard, diffusé dans ?Pièces à conviction? le 24 mai 2004 sur France 3. Ou comment dénoncer les pratiques de la secte Landmark Education au point de lui faire quitter la France?.
2009-11-12, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
In recent e-mails from the Church's FacebookPolice, Marc Headley was characterized as "doing everything possible to give good Scientologists bad news."
I guess the definition of a "good Scientologist" these days is someone who only reads what the Church permits them to read.
And that certainly does not include Marc Headley's new book, Blown For Good.
2009-11-12, Pat Harney, Letter to Editors, Tampa Bay Times
Once again, the Times turns a deaf ear to any voices save those of a handful of disaffected former Scientologists -- people who have admitted lying, suborning perjury and obstructing justice -- because their falsehoods support the Times' compulsive and unreasonable views about Scientology. Indeed, the Times' recent coverage, which is the basis for Sunday's editorial, merely regurgitates stale and unfounded allegations from as long as 20 years ago.
SCIENTOLOGISTS in Plymouth are planning to buy a £1million property in the city centre and convert it into a church.
They say the "bold" and "prominent" building is being planned as the popularity of the religion grows in Plymouth and the South West.
Two undisclosed buildings are currently being looked at in the centre of Plymouth.
CBS PUBLIC EYE
Broadcast Date: January 1998
In 1995, the Church of Scientology killed Lisa McPherson by locking her in a room for 17 days and denying her food, water and human interaction. It is an ignominy and disgrace that, justifiably, haunts them to this day.
In this footage, Mike Rinder, the then Head of Scientology International, cracked under probing interrogation from a PUBLIC EYE reporter. The final 10 seconds are particularly revealing.
Scientology's shameful past includes a 25-year legal and psychological campaign against the IRS to be recognized as a tax-exempt religion. Scientology tactics included a criminal conspiracy in the 1970s to bug IRS offices, which led to 11 convictions of church members including founder L. Ron Hubbard's wife. Scientology filed dozens of lawsuits against the IRS, hired private investigators to dig up dirt on IRS employees and financed other IRS critics.
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel unveiled plans today for an "information campaign" in the United States to explain Germany's refusal to accept Scientology as a religion.
Germany says the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology is, in Germany at least, more of a business than a religion and accuses it of exploiting the insecurities of its members for economic gain.
Kinkel said that though the U.S. Congress this week defeated a resolution accusing Germany of religious bias, there was "a huge lack of awareness" about the German position among U.S. politicians.