To our American readers, Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you have a swell day with your loved ones. We plan to do the same. Now, on to today's story…
Two years ago this month, Leah Remini premiered her A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath. And before she did, knowing what a major impact it was going to have, we decided to give the Church of Scientology its chance to make its own case first.
We featured a documentary about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard that was narrated by Scientology's current leader, David Miscavige. Now, two years later, Leah is about to kick off her third season in earnest (after a special episode, anyway), and once again we thought it would be a good idea to let Scientology give its best shot at counterprogramming in the meantime.
2018-11-22, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everyone, so I thought this might be a useful and short lesson in critical thinking that may help you out with unruly relatives you may encounter at the Thanksgiving feast. I doubt this will help you win any arguments, but sometimes just knowing what's really going on can be a way to hold on to your sanity and calm. And as usual, this is something that applies to all of us and not just your evil relatives so maybe this can help make you a clearer and more rational thinker too.
Every day we see people do things and wonder what caused them to do it. We want to attribute their behavior to something that makes sense to us so we can feel like we understand why things are happening the way they are. In the field of psychology, our tendency to do this is called attribution.
However, almost all of the time, we don't actually have all the data to make valid and informed conclusions about other people's behavior and so we just make things up based on whatever we do know. And according to a lot of social science studies about attribution, we know that we have a tendency to overemphasize personal characteristics and ignore situational factors when we are judging other people's behavior. In other words, we ignore that circumstances can shape how people act. This tendency to make things personal is called the fundamental attribution error because it's so widespread and significant to our thinking. The shortest version of this I've seen is that we tend to believe that others do bad things because they are bad people but let's look at a couple of examples.
2018-11-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it today. We all have much to be thankful for. Including the fact that we don't have to treat anything we read here seriously. Remember most of those still inside the bubble today with compassion and understanding. Many of us have been in their shoes - pretending to be happy and thankful for the only thing that is truly important in this universe (LRH and the tech). Yikes.
Hey why not move back there then?
If LRH says this is where the next great civilization will spring from there, how come you're not there? You are giving money — but don't want to be part of it?
2017-11-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Michael Silverman was a much beloved figure at AOLA for many years spanning the 70's, 80's and into the 90's.
This is the only photo I could coax out of him, but for those who knew him back then, apart from being follicle challenged, this smiling face looks just the same as I remember it at AO.
Michael reached out to me and asked that I publish his thoughts about his life in the Sea Org and scientology. I am more than happy to do so.
We have an interesting video for you today, a segment from the International Association of Scientologists celebration in England that took place last month. Each year, the IAS holds a weekend of galas at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England, and a couple of thousand Scientologists get to listen to church leader David Miscavige speak for three hours or so.
One of the things Miscavige does during the IAS event is hand out Scientology's highest award, the Freedom Medal, to three or four people. And this time, one of those medals went to the Nation of Islam's Minister Tony Muhammad, 59.
A week or two after the event happens, video of it is shown in local Scientology orgs around the world. What you're going to see is a recording made by someone when the IAS video was shown, presumably at Muhammad's home org in Inglewood, California (a working-class suburb of Los Angeles). Muhammad then posted it to his Facebook account, and we thank @IndieScieNews for alerting us to it.
Since at least August, the Church of Scientology has been sending letters attacking Leah Remini to executives at the A&E network and its parent, ABC, in an attempt to head off her upcoming A&E series that premieres on November 29, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
On Saturday, we published one of those letters, a 7-page salvo from Church of Scientology International spokeswoman Karin Pouw addressed to the series executive producer, Alex Weresow, and A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc. The letter, dated September 9, referred to Remini as a "has-been actress" and "spoiled entitled diva" who is harassing Scientology leader David Miscavige and stalking his wife, Shelly.
Now, the Underground Bunker has obtained four more letters. Two are from Leah Remini's attorney, Douglas E. Mirell. The other two are replies from Scientology attorney Gary S. Soter.
2016-11-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
As you may have suspected, this is not about the families scientology has destroyed with its toxic disconnection policy. Parents and children forced to separate. Or children abandoned by their parents who are in the Sea Org.
No, this is another scientology effort to gain positive publicity for itself by sending out a paid press release in the hope that some news starved media outlet will pick it up, check no facts, and simply reproduce it.
World Orphans Day Celebrated at Scientology Volunteer Ministers' Open House
In the many lawsuits filed against Scientology's drug rehab network Narconon in recent years, the allegation is often made that the facilities are not as safe as advertised. Not only have sexual assaults been reported, but some lawsuits have alleged that Narconon staff — who are often just recent "graduates" of the program themselves — offer drugs for sex in the supposedly drug-free facilities.
Way back in 1991, when Scientology was trying to get its new flagship operation going in Chilocco, Oklahoma (later moved to another part of the state and renamed Narconon Arrowhead, pictured above), the state's Board of Mental Health could see the danger of recent graduates being hired right after they themselves were drying out, and then giving each other unsupervised "touch assists," which essentially amounted to faith healing in the form of massage.
The practice of touch assists between male and female patients who are recovering drug addicts or alcoholics in private rooms renders the program unsafe in this respect.
2015-11-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I originally published this in August 2014. I was trying to find something a couple of days ago and came across this and thought to myself that much of what is covered on this blog each day is a repeat of what has already been said previously. So, rather than writing it again, I thought it might be useful, especially in the event of new readers (and also as a reminder to the veterans) of some of the background about the infamous Ideal Orgs program.
Any time there is a post about ideal org failures, there is a lot of speculation about "Why?"
I have written various posts and comments about this from time to time, but realized I had never put it all in one place.
2014-11-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
More of the church documents that describe how they go about parting the pocketbooks from their parishioners. (Part 1 here, Part 2 here)
This one is from Craig Jensen and it describes in detail the lengths to which these events go to squeeze every last dollar they can out of the attendees....
Nothing really new here, but Jensen manipulating the crowd by doling out his $100,000 ("strategically") at various times to goad others into giving money is a "shame game" that is pretty repulsive.
Scientology under fire.. Interviews with people connected to Scientology including David Miscavige, Ron DeWolf, Jenna Miscavige and Tony Ortega. This is a trailer for Full episode of cults, religions and Scientology part 1 which can be found here: Truth Sentinel Episode 32 with Scott
At 7:16 PM Eastern time on Sunday, an eBay auction will end and someone will become the new owner of the trophy you see pictured at the right.
With its custom-made carrying case, the trophy weighs 115 pounds, and the winner will have to spend $249.99 to have it shipped. Bidding for the item started on November 13 at $299.99, and as of this morning there have been two bids on it, taking the current price to $312.79.
Longtime Scientology watchers were stunned when they noticed last week that the trophy was for sale. They knew that normally you have to give the Church of Scientology's International Association of Scientologists (IAS) donations that total $10 million in order to earn a trophy just like it.
2013-11-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is the story of what happened to someone who went into the New York "Ideal Org" this week.
Not only was the place empty, he found out where they are getting "Sea Org recruits" from these days....
Captain Miscavige should be mighty proud of this, one of his most important "Ideal Orgs" (most important because Tom Cruise has an apartment in NY City, so might need to come in for something someday....)
On Sunday, while we were scrambling to keep up with dispatches coming from Mike Rinder and Mike Bennitt during their amazing strategem with a helicopter above Scientology's Super Power Building grand opening in Clearwater, Florida, we got a surprising phone call.
It was Mark Bunker. We had plum forgot that he'd told us he was relocating to Clearwater and was on the scene.
Now that the dust has settled, we asked Bunker to send us his thoughts on Sunday's big event as well as explain what he's up to. He sent us this message.
2013-11-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Captain Miscavige seems to have steered His sinking ship head on into another iceberg. In his clamor to get everyone to pay again to redo everything they have already done, He has blockaded the routes up the Bridge AND finally euthanized any remaining Field Auditors who survived GAT.
A Special Correspondent has just sent in this report from a tech terminal in CMO LATAM. Apparently the price changes on training in Mexico are overwhelming. They only discussed training data and all figures here are in US Dollars.
The Student Hat currently costs about $200. After the event on Friday, the cost will be $1,300.
View my aerial photos on of this ribbon cutting on Flickr http://flic.kr/s/aHsjMCr4fA
On 17 November 2013 Scientology Supreme Leader David Miscavige cut the ribbon to open Scientology's Superpower building in Clearwater, Florida.
Hundreds of Scientologists cheered him on.
2012-11-22, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Thanksgiving apparently means a lot of different things to different people. What it represents to me is a day of peace where one may reflect on the positives one considers blessed to have experienced. It seems to me that how much one has to be thankful for is influenced largely by one's viewpoint and outlook on life. L. Ron Hubbard noted in the Ability Congress lectures that when one focuses on the negative (disability) one gets more negatives and conversely when one focuses on the positive (ability) one gets more positives. Viktor Frankl bestowed a little gift along the same line of reasoning in Man's Search for Meaning:
...Can life retain its potential meaning in spite of its tragic aspects? After all, 'saying yes to life in spite of everything', to use the phrase in which the title of a German book of mine is couched, presupposes that life is potentially meaningful under any conditions, even those which are most miserable. And this in turn presupposes the human capacity to creatively turn life's negative aspects into something positive or constructive. In other words, what matters is to make the best of any given situation. "The best", however, is that which in Latin is called optimum - hence the reason I speak of a tragic optimism, that is, an optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which at is best always allows for: (1) turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment, (2) deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better; and (3) deriving from life's transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action.
I am very fortunate to be spending this Thanksgiving, as I have the past seven of them, with someone who demonstates these virtues like no one else I know:
Breaking news! One of our tipsters forwarded to us an internal Scientology video urging church members to take part in a big push to sell copies of Dianetics around the world!
We've taken some stills from the video to give you some idea of just how persuasive it is. It's so infectious, we suspect it may be difficult in the coming days to go anywhere without running into pushy Scientologists demanding that we buy a copy of L. Ron Hubbard's masterpiece!
And speaking of Hubbard, what would a marketing video be without a few words from the Commodore himself. The video contains this classic quote, for example, which contains Scientology's romantic notion that selling copies of a 1950 self-help book is going to make them slave masters of the world!
2011-11-22, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Thursday night, we were quick to jump on the leak of a video that was only meant for internal Scientology consumption. It featured pallid European Scientologists breakdancing and pantomiming to a hip hop track that extolled the virtues of the International Association Scientologists -- the IAS.
2011-11-22, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The following article by Luis Garcia is a follow- up to the several part series in St Petersburg Times, Inside Scientology: The Money Machine. We are going to be doing a bit of Paul Harvey here. A number of articles will follow that expand upon themes covered by the Times, but with the rest of the story filled in. In this case, here is the rest of the story on the Orange County Idle Org fraud that was touched on by the Times.
The Orange County Ideal Org Project; a tale of lies and deception.
by Luis Garcia
While Scientology's executives lived the good life, ordinary staff were over-worked, underfed and subject to arbitrary punishment, wrote Aaron Saxton in his letter to Senator Xenophon.
Aaron Saxton arrived at Clearwater in Florida towards the end of 1991, to take up a new post at what Scientologists called the Flag Land Base.
He was only 17 and the guardian he had been assigned to meet the legal requirements fulfilled the role on paper only.
A businessman is suing the Church of Scientology for hundreds of thousands of pounds, claiming that he lost his girlfriend and business after she became indoctrinated by the controversial self-styled church.
2009-11-22, Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop, ABC News (Australia)
The New South Wales Government says the Church of Scientology is targeting Year 6 students using "marketing" material that claims to promote human rights.
Education Minister Verity Firth has ordered principals not to distribute DVDs and booklets funded by the church and sent to schools by a group called Youth For Human Rights.
The Sunday Telegraph has learned an organisation called Youth for Human Rights, which is sponsored by the controversial group, sent an educational DVD about human rights to schools last month.
Titled Youth for Human Rights - 30 Rights, 30 Ads, it is a series of public service announcements concerning each article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
But the misleading cover letter does not acknowledge the relationship between the organisation and the church.
The German government announced Friday that it has ended its investigation into the practices of the Church of Scientology [church website]. The German Interior Ministry [official website] began a probe into Scientology [JURIST report] in 2007, calling it an "organization that is not compatible with the constitution," seeking to ban the organization.
2006-11-22, Sandra Laville, Special reports, The Guardian
The Church of Scientology appears to be involved in an effort to woo officers from the City of London police - an unlikely partnership perhaps, but one that seems to be blossoming. Details of how more than 20 officers, from constables to chief superintendents, have been invited to a series of engagements by the scientologists over the last 15 months have been revealed by a freedom of information inquiry by the Guardian.
LYON, FRANCE LYON, France (AP) _ A former Church of Scientology leader was convicted of involuntary homicide and sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday in the 1988 suicide of a church member.
Twelve other defendants facing lesser charges _ theft, complicity or abuse of confidence _ were given suspended sentences of eight to 15 months each. Charges were dropped against 10 others.
Jean-Jacques Mazier, the former head of the church in Lyon, France's second-largest city, was also fined $100,000, the Lyon court ruled. The prosecution had requested a three-year suspended sentence.
The state Health Department wants to know from Narconon Chilocco officials why startup costs for a substance abuse center were higher than projected.
Henry Hartsel, director of the certification of need division at the Health Department, said a public hearing might be required because the cost overrun exceeded the original dollar estimate by more than $500,000.
MADRID, SPAIN MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Police arrested 69 people in a raid on a hotel and accused 45 of them of fraud, illegal association and forgery for being members of the Church of Scientology.
Among those held was Heber Jentzsch, 53, of Utah, who is the president of the Church of Scientology International, and two other Americans, a judge told reporters at a news conference Sunday night, hours after the raid. The other two Americans were not identified.
A court spokesman said 24 of the original 69 people arrested were released when it was learned during questioning that they were not leaders of the group.
MADRID, SPAIN MADRID, Spain (AP) _ A judge ordered nine people jailed Tuesday as part of a fraud-and-forgery probe of the Church of Scientology. Three Americans, including the church's president, were among 71 people arrested.
Judge Jose Maria Vazquez Honrubia said he was still questioning people arrested during a police sweep of alleged Scientology members on Sunday. The raid capped a nine-month investigation into complaints by Spaniards who said they had been bilked by the church.
Questioning of suspects was delayed two hours Tuesday after a bomb threat forced the evacuation of Madrid's 21st District Court.
Scientology's top leader has been arrested in Spain and is being questioned on matters that could bring charges of fraud and forgery, officials said.
The Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, was among 50 people rounded up and detained Sunday by police in Madrid after a nine-month investigation of the group, said Helga Soto, a press official at the Spanish Embassy in Washington.
LOS ANGELES -- The wife of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard believes her husband is alive and is contesting her stepson's effort to have him declared dead or mentally incompetent to handle his estate, her attorney said Monday.
Mary Sue Hubbard, who faces a prison sentence next month for charges in a church plot to steal government documents, has not seen her 71-year-old husband since 1979 but has no reason to believe he is dead, attorney Barrett Litt said.
Ronald DeWolf, who changed his name from L. Ron Hubbard Jr., filed a petition in Riverside County Superior Court declaring that his father is either dead or mentally incompetent and asking to be appointed trustee of the multi-million dollar estate.