CLEARWATER — In October, the Church of Scientology's Freedom magazine published renderings of L. Ron Hubbard Hall, a long-planned 3,600-seat auditorium honoring the group's founder on the campus of its international spiritual headquarters downtown.
"As designs are finalized, permits acquired and land prepared, the buzz is speeding around the globe," the publication declared, adding that Scientologists were spreading the news "like wildfire."
Since then, Scientology has pushed social media ads calling the project "the largest architectural undertaking in Clearwater's history" and suggested it was ready to start.
A documentary film featuring blogger Frank Parlato, The Lost Women of NXIVM, will premiere on the Investigation Discovery channel tomorrow (Dec 8) at 9 pm.
In it, Parlato investigates the deaths of four women who were close to Keith Raniere: Gina Hutchinson, Kristin Snyder, Barbara Jeske, and Pam Cafritz.
Many NXIVM watchers are familiar with suspicions around the suicides of Gina Hutchinson and Kristin Snyder. Gina's sister Heidi alleges that Keith had sex with (raped) Gina when Gina was 15 years old. Keith convinced her to quit high school and told her she was the reincarnation of a Buddhist goddess. From FrankReport:
2019-12-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I don't often comment on these things on this blog, as it can come across as bragging. But there are a couple of noteworthy recognitions for The Aftermath in the past few weeks, and as Fast Eddie and scientology like to constantly assert the show was a failure that "nobody watched" (unlike the massive, unprecedented, epic success that is scientologyTV) I thought this was appropriate.
First, it was included in a list of the best TV shows of the decade: Entertainment Weekly Best TV Shows of the Decade
This is what their TV critic had to say:
For the fourth and final time this year, Scientology has published a celebration of its wealthiest donors, and this one is the biggest, splashiest shindig of the whole year — the "International Association of Scientologists" (IAS) annual gala and "Patron's Ball," which is held in October in East Grinstead, England.
On Saturday night of the weekend of festivities, Scientology leader recognizes donors who have reached new "status levels" in recent months. These are cumulative giving totals, and Scientologists are under intense pressure to fork over more cash so they can reach these new levels and take home a big shiny trophy.
Earlier this year, IAS donors were celebrated in Beverly Hills, California and Clearwater, Florida and aboard the cruise ship Freewinds in the Caribbean. We showed you those images and donation totals in posts with up-and-coming donors like skateboard hero Aaron Kyro, and the really big whales like Trish Duggan, and celebrity Nancy Cartwright.
Guardian investigation shows how cash, legal support and millions of tweets underpin anti-Islam activist - but Facebook removes his 'donate' button
The British far-right activist Tommy Robinson is receiving financial, political and moral support from a broad array of non-British groups and individuals, including US thinktanks, rightwing Australians and Russian trolls, a Guardian investigation has discovered.
Robinson, an anti-Islam campaigner who is leading a "Brexit betrayal" march in London on Sunday, has received funding from a US tech billionaire and a thinktank based in Philadelphia.
On Monday, we had a lot of fun bringing you the latest list of Scientology donors who were celebrated at the October IAS event in East Grinstead, England. But the richies and their big donations are not the only reason for celebration at the annual shindig held under a big tent at Saint Hill. Freedom Medals are also handed out, and in Scientology world, that's a big deal!
The most notable winner of all time, of course, was great thetan Tom Cruise, who not only got a Freedom Medal in 2004, he was awarded a special large Freedom Medal of Valor by his best bud, church leader David Miscavige. Sadly, we don't have any evidence that Tom and his medal showed up at the event this year. But we do have the new winners from Impact magazine, along with a blurb about each of them from Scientology's website...
[FILIPINO NATIVE JORGE PEREZ DE TAGLE introduced the Davao Police Chief to the 21 precepts of The Way to Happiness. He continued on, bringing his moral message to thousands of local police officers as well as the nation's military. All told, de Tagle engendered a movement reaching millions throughout his nation, helping achieve a 38 percent drop in crime in the Philippines. "Tonight is a lifelong honor. This is an honor for the Filipino people, The Way to Happiness volunteers, for the indomitable human spirit and the technology of L. Ron Hubbard!"]
Like anything else in Scientology, how children are treated is governed by a huge number of policies and reports, and in this series we're looking at documents that show how children were treated under the ideas of L. Ron Hubbard. We're fortunate that one man has done so much to collect huge numbers of such documents — Mark "Warrior" Plummer, who left Scientology in 1983, and is pretty legendary for the collection of church materials he's amassed. Also helping us is Sunny Pereira, who spent several weeks working with Mark to pull out key documents for us to discuss.
The Bunker: Sunny, this week we're looking at a pretty well-known document, issued in 1989, cancelling "Family Time" in the Sea Org. Give us a little background on what Family Time was about.
Sunny: During my years as a child in the Sea Org, family time was scheduled between 5 and 6 pm daily, and was only to spend time with your parents or your kids. Dinner was from 6 to 6:45, and then there was a muster and everyone was back on post. If you did not take that exact hour, it was not something you would be allowed to take at a different time, or double on another day. If you were not able to make it that hour, it was lost. Some posts made it an impossible situation because they could not get out at 5 pm of something they were in the middle of. Also, it was a common experience for me personally that my mom hardly slept at night. She worked long hours all the time. So that one hour of family time usually ended up with her taking a nap for the entire time, with me trying to talk to her or play with her. She was so exhausted she could not spend the time with me and my siblings.
In this talk, I go over the current state of Scientology worldwide, why some critics and Scientology watchers might be a little over-optimistic about the Church's eventual downfall and what my goals as a Scientology critic actually are.
CHECK OUT MY SENSIBLY SPEAKING PODCAST:
2017-12-07, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
In this talk, I go over the current state of Scientology worldwide, why some critics and Scientology watchers might be a little over-optimistic about the Church's eventual downfall and what my goals as a Scientology critic actually are.
2017-12-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
"We are 10Xing"
From NY Org... They have been o.5Xing for the last 13 years it seems. One of the "original" ideal orgs, it has been a complete bust.
But NOW they are going to "10X" — right. It's because of all the people flooding in based on the positive media they keep generating.
A desperate father who handed over $15,000 for his son's drug rehabilitation claims the bizarre treatment facility almost killed him because it was nothing more than a money-making front for Scientology.
Melbourne father Colin Harold paid for his son Brad's treatment at the Narconon Drug Treatment Centre in the state's north-east, not knowing it was linked to the controversial church of Scientology.
'I asked them straight out, I said 'do you make your students in any way shape or form, conform to Scientology, and they said no,' Mr Harold told A Current Affair on Thursday.
The second episode of Scientology and the Aftermath, Leah Remini's A&E documentary series about the Church of Scientology (which she left in 2013), focused largely on the story of Mike Rinder, the organization's former spokesperson. Rinder was a Scientologist for 46 years and worked alongside current Church leader David Miscavige for 25 years before "blowing" — the Scientology equivalent of "see ya!" — in 2007. He no longer has contact with his children, who remain devout Scientologists. As a former high-level executive, Rinder claims that he was both party to and victim of what he says is an authoritarian organization from which he had to eventually "escape." Here's what we learned from his story last night.
1. The concept of "fair game"Anyone who is an enemy of the Church of Scientology, Rinder explains, is considered "fair game" – a policy that he translates as meaning they "may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." While the Church maintains that this policy was canceled in 1968, Rinder claims that it's very much still in play. As Remini alleges, "If you are attacking or criticizing Scientology, you are evil. Period. No gray area."
If someone is deemed "fair game," Rinder claims that Scientologists have a free pass to go after them in any way they choose and can use Church policy to justify it. "If the Church decided someone was an enemy and needed to be silenced or destroyed, it was my job and I did it," Rinder alleges. "Everything from following them 24 hours a day to having people camped outside their door, to being vilified on the internet, to following them wherever they traveled, I was the guy [that did it]."
The second episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath aired this evening on A&E. This episode featured Scientology's former international spokesman Mike Rinder and his wife Christie Collbran.
This episode exposed the sadistic ways in which the Church of Scientology — using tax exempt dollars — stalked, harassed, spied on, and Fair Gamed Mike and Christie. It was shocking to watch. The Church of Scientology is always worse than you think; it really is a malicious organization whose 501(c)3 tax exemption needs to be revoked for cause by the IRS.
To say that tonight's episode was powerful is an understatement. Leah's show is tremendous television that reaches deeply and existentially into the Scientology experience and its aftermath.
2016-12-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The show has aired, my laundry has been hung out for all to see, and now it's on to Episode 3.
As always, I am interested in your views - including criticisms and things you think might be better explained or covered (and I will try not to respond to everything with "it's in a later episode.")
I also suspect there are quite a number of new people who are coming to this blog for the first time. To all of you, welcome.
We interrupt Leah Remini's dismantling of the Church of Scientology to remind you that you have only 18 days left to finish your Christmas shopping. And as ever, you'll need some extra help when it comes to that perennial conundrum facing us all — what to get the Scientologist on your list.
You see, Scientologists tend to make a big deal about Christmas. Even their celebrities, who can't be bothered to show up for the grand opening of a new church, will put on funny costumes and take part in the skits and tributes that are performed at the Winter Wonderland exhibit on Hollywood Boulevard.
But here's the thing that no Scientology celebrity will tell you: L. Ron Hubbard, in the organization's secretive upper-level teachings, reveals that Jesus Christ, and Christianity, is just a mental implant, cruelly foisted upon the human race by Xenu the galactic overlord some 75 million years ago. "The man on the cross, there was no Christ," Hubbard says quite clearly in a 1968 lecture.
L Ron Hubbard never involved David Miscavige in anything technical or to do with counselling, Jesse discusses, yet Miscavige would up supervising "Tech delivery" to Lisa who then died in Church Custody, Jesse tells of how Scientology killed her in 17 days whereas not even Aids and Cancer patients don't die in 17 days.
Jesse's purpose for speaking out for the last 15 years is to prevent another Lisa Mcpherson gruesome death.
Tony Ortega, world class journalist tells the story in daily segments.
2015-12-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Seriously, do they really buy this bunk?
"The mock up now is to make Albuquerque the fastest org in the world to go Ideal."
WTF are you talking about Quinn? They have been being hammered to be "ideal" just like all the other orgs around the world since 2003. Well over a decade.
We're still recovering from our big series on Lisa McPherson. In the meantime, Jeffrey Augustine sent over a copy of his latest podcast, a continuation of his conversation with Jesse Prince.
Jesse wasn't in Clearwater when Lisa McPherson died, but he does offer up some observations about that incident — at one point, he was prepared to testify as an expert witness in the civil litigation about her death.
Looking forward to your thoughts, as always...
Spoofing SNL style, Office of Special Affairs ordering Dirty tricks, spying and harassment on HBO and BBC's Louis Theroux with an unlimited budget.
Rolling back the flap of the HBO documentary, Larry Wright acknowledged the "Church"s binders gave him the material for the book "Going Clear and the Prison of Belief".
Note: all their threat letters to Alfred Knopf (the illustrious publisher in NY) were hot air.
2014-12-07, Donald Westbrook, Cosmologics Magazine
This use of mass media should alone raise questions regarding the role of technology as a tool in disseminating Scientology—and indeed religion at large—in the twenty-first century. But if we examine the most recent Super Bowl ad closely, it becomes clear that it represents more than Scientology's use of savvy modern marketing. Rather, it suggests that, for Scientologists, the categories of science and technology themselves occupy vastly different spaces than they do in more "mainstream" faiths. As this video illustrates, Scientology is a modern religion whose central theological claim is that it combines technology and spirituality, and as such challenges the notion that the categories of science and religion are incompatible or mutually exclusive.
2014-12-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
After months of publishing his "Good News" briefings in inverted commas, Jeff Mintz has now changed the title to "Late Breaking" news.
Whatever he wants to call it — it's a really poor show. He might as well take the same figures every week and just change the date. This is LOOOONG term flat (Emergency condition). Month after month. And if there was any international expansion happening in scientology, it would have shown up at Flag by now. After all, it's nearly twenty years since the "Golden Age Of Tech" and more than a decade since the "Ideal Orgs Strategy" and more than a year since the opening of the SP Building.
Flag is the measure of ALL things happening in scientology, as with the old Roman Empire — all scientology roads lead to Flag. So, while they continue to pressure and squeeze the lower levels to send everyone they possibly can to Flag, the continue to dribble along with an empty building and the same stat levels for a year. And these numbers they are so proud of are the number a SINGLE CLASS V Org should be producing. 20 Purif Comps and 10 Clears a week? IF London was doing that, they wouldn't be scratching the surface of the population of Queen Victoria St, let alone the whole of London. These numbers are only impressive to the seals because they are used to an org producing ONE Purif Completion, NO Clears and a few "basic book" comps a week.
The Church of Scientology has had many days of infamy, but one thing's for sure - leader David Miscavige and his organization sure keep up the pretense that they're going full speed ahead.
This week, our great tipsters sent us another collection of new fundraising fliers smuggled out of the church. And among them was a fancy new multi-part campaign of rah-rah about the Ideal Org program.
Miscavige is still trying to get more and more money out of fewer and fewer people so ordinary "orgs" can be replaced with very expensive Ideal Orgs, often in historic buildings that require millions in renovations. And the result? We've seen evidence around the country that Ideal Orgs sit empty. But Miscavige has to keep the remaining folks believing that an Ideal Org is a miraculous magnet that brings in new people and rapidly moves them up the "Bridge to Total Freedom."
WHAT DOES "RELIGIOUS TAX EXEMPTION" MEAN IN AMERICA?
Thanks to free speech, any group in America can call itself a religion. However, only the IRS is allowed to make a determination on behalf of the US Government that a particular group is organized for religious purposes, operates for the public benefit, and therefore qualifies for religious tax exempt status. Under the IRS code, qualifying religious and charitable groups receive 501(c)(3) status.
Not all religious groups in America have tax exemption — and not all religious groups want tax exemption. Some religious groups want nothing whatsoever to do with the US Government and so refuse to file the required application for 501(c)(3) status. The application is called a Form 1023.
2013-12-07, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Once upon a time, Drew and Dede Johnston were respected Scientology field auditors.
But they gave up that gig for the far more lucrative business of earning commissions from money squeezed out of their fellow kool aid drinkers.
Of course, they are going to promote the astonishing wonders of Super Power, just like they promoted the wonders of Objectives and Purif and reading the Basics and the Purif or whatever the latest blanket "why" is. So, here they go, superlatives, generalities and exclamation points cocked and loaded, giving their newest reg pitches in the guise of "success stories."
Yesterday, Lori Hodgson was seen on Inside Edition making a surprise visit to her son, Jeremy Leake, in Austin.
This isn't the first time Lori has attempted to see her son in Texas after Jeremy and his sister Jessica both "disconnected" from their mother following her defection from the Church of Scientology.
In May, she also traveled from California to Jeremy's workplace to confront him, as we reported then. This time, she brought along a camera crew and flagged down her son in the parking lot of the motorcycle shop where Jeremy works, Woods Fun Center.
I have been experiencing site problems. I am reinstalling WordPress from scratch and will get things back up as soon as possible.
Updated 15:44 ET to add: The core reinstallation appears to be working, with all posts and embedded images back up and running, and Disqus reintegrated into the site. It will take me a while to recover the formatting in the themes, which I may leave undone anyway because it could have been a theme problem that was causing me all this grief. In the meantime, I think it's safe to stick your toes back in the water!
2013-12-07, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Every single day, each one of us are assaulted with information. Facts and figures are thrown at us by the news media, advertisers, our boss, our subordinates, friends and family. Data comes in all different forms and varieties, from commercials claiming 4 out of 5 dentists recommend a particular toothpaste, to rumors about celebrities, to "facts" being taught to our children in schools. Just about every single person you run into or see or hear is feeding you information and claiming it is true.
It's been said we are living in the Information Age. And that is because with computers, cell phones and other technology, vast amounts of data are spread rapidly around the world each minute of the day. The volume is unprecedented in history. Never before have we had this kind of free flow of data. It used to take months or even years for news of events to pass from area to area, from country to country. It used to take days or weeks for rumors to spread between friends and family in different cities. Now all of this takes just seconds.
Information comes at you for lots of reasons. Some people are trying to sell you something, some are just trying to be helpful or give you advice, while others are knowingly attempting to fool or deceive you. In the end, it is you who has to come to some conclusion or decision about whether a particular piece of information is valid and whether you are going to act on it or use it. People who lack critical thinking skills can easily be sold products that don't work, take horrible advice because it comes from "someone they trust" and even lose their jobs, their family or their lives. The decisions you make are only as good as the information you are operating with. If you have bad data, you will make bad decisions or come to wrong conclusions.
UPDATE: JUDGE COVINGTON AGAIN DECLINES TO STEP IN ON KEN DANDAR'S BEHALF. More on our afternoon update below
Ken Dandar gets his second chance today to convince federal Judge Virginia Covington in Tampa, Florida that his civil rights are being violated by a conspiracy between Florida's state courts and the Church of Scientology.
Dandar is asking Covington to stop a proceeding in a Florida state court, where Scientology is asking retired Judge Crockett Farnell to award the church $1.1 million in sanctions against Dandar. At a hearing on November 19, Covington told Dandar she had no standing to stop what was happening in Farnell's court. Dandar then filed an amended complaint which included new details about what he alleges is a years-long conspiracy by Scientology to corrupt the state courts.
The Scientologists have already moved out of their Yonge St. location and have set up temporarilly at 77 Peter. The renovations certainly plan to bring the colour contrast to what can often be a a drab area. Below is the rendering for the completed project. Moderism purists will not likely be happy with the new encrustations thoroughly replacing the existing building's admittedly tired facade.
2011-12-07, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. Narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to egocentrism. - Wikipedia
As Mike Rinder, Dan Koon, Raul, and others will attest, not a single word of a single Corporate Scientology event is not directed and/or finally authorized by David Miscavige. He lives for Corporate Scientology events. The latest IAS Freedom Medal winner - the Columbian military man in the following video excerpt - is being honored for distributing The Way To Happiness booklets (a moral code written by L Ron Hubbard) in his country.
Mike Rinder, Dan Koon, Raul, and many other former International Corporate Scientology base staff will attest that David Miscavige would never lift a single finger to advance any such campaign.
2011-12-07, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Valeska Paris and Declan Last week, we wrote about Valeska Paris, the Swiss-born Australian woman who says that from 1996 to 2007, she was held against her will on Scientology's private cruise ship, the Freewinds.
She says that Scientology leader David Miscavige moved her to the ship in 1996 when she was 18 in order to keep her away from her own mother, who had sued Scientology and denounced it on French television. For the first six years of her time on the ship, Valeska says she was unable to leave it without an escort.
Scientology denies that Valeska was held against her will, and now it has had its attorneys in Sydney send her a threatening letter.
The city is immediately ending an anti-drug program aimed at third-graders after it was revealed it was created and bankrolled by the Church of Scientology.
The "Drug-Free Marshal" program, started in late November, had only been presented to five schools but was intended to be promoted eventually among all third-graders in the Las Cruces Public Schools.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima apologized Saturday and said it was not his intention to promote the religion. The mayor said he was approached this summer by Richard Henley, of Foundation for a Drug-Free World, who showed him a pamphlet adorned with the seals of El Paso, Española, the Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Department and the Horizon City, Texas, and Socorro, Texas, Police Departments and asked if the city would "support eradicating drug use in the community."
Will Smith's new private school, on which he has spent over a million dollars, will have at least six Scientologists on staff and will teach "study technology" - developed by L.R. Hubbard.
Smith's New Village Academy of Calabasas will have a curriculum featuring elements from ten different strands of educational theory, including Montessori and constructivism, as well as Scientology's "study technology."
2007-12-07, Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, Washington Post
German federal and state interior ministers declared the Church of Scientology unconstitutional on Friday, opening the door for a possible ban on the organization.
Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and 16 state interior chiefs agreed "that we do not consider Scientology an organization that is compatible with the constitution," Ehrhart Koerting, Berlin's interior minister and chairman of a ministers' conference in Berlin, told reporters.
Top German officials announced Friday that they will seek to outlaw the U.S.-based Church of Scientology.
The announcement came after a two-day conference of interior ministers of Germany's 16 states well as federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
Berlin Interior Minister Erhart Koerting, who presided over the two-day conference, told reporters that Scientology is an organization that is not compatible with the German constitution.
Germany's top security officials said Friday they consider the goals of the Church of Scientology to be in conflict with the principles of the nation's constitution and will seek to ban the organization.
German interior ministers said Friday they would step up police surveillance of Scientology, the US creed which was established by a science-fiction writer and is accused by German officials of extracting money from its adherents.
The interior ministers of the nation's 16 states as well as federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble "consider Scientology to be an organization that is not compatible with the constitution," Berlin Interior Minister Erhart Körting told reporters after a two-day meeting of the officials, on Friday, Dec. 7.
Körting said Germany's domestic intelligence agencies would collect material that could possibly serve as the basis for a ban of the sect. Federal Interior Minister Schäuble said there was not yet enough information to justify a ban.
The oath asks new citizens to swear to God and a promise to bear arms. Kaenzig is a Raelian and doesn't believe in God. He's also a pacifist.
Federal officials agreed to change the oath to accommodate his beliefs. Kaenzig knows his decision will tick off a lot of people but he thinks it shouldn't.
Since purchasing the property in 2001 for $2.9 million, Applied Scholastics has paid just one year's worth of property taxes. Now, the organization owes St. Louis County nearly $350,000 and has until next August to make good on at least some of that debt.
The organization has been fighting to obtain a tax break for more than a year, saying its educational mission led the federal government to grant it a charitable status back in 1972.
Dr. Margaret Singer, a leading expert on brainwashing who testified in several high-profile cases contending that various groups inappropriately manipulated their members to control their behavior, died on Nov. 23 in Berkeley, Calif. She was 82.
"Her testimony would help people understand the clinical impact of a cult's manipulation and exploitation," said Dr. Richard Ofshe, a sociology professor at the University of California at Berkeley who worked with Dr. Singer for 20 years. "There was a constant stream of people who would go into these organizations and end up in psychiatric emergency rooms."
Dr. Singer's battles made her a target for harassment and death threats. At times, she found dead animals on her doorstep.
In addition to constitutional arguments, the document filed Monday was rife with new details about the case.
It accused high-ranking church staffers in Clearwater of misleading and lying to police investigators and later to the public through statements that sanitized the "nightmarish" details of McPherson's demise at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel. She was held there for 17 days while experiencing a severe mental breakdown. She died Dec. 5, 1995, of a blood clot in her left lung.
One staffer, according to the document, later acknowledged lying to police to protect himself and the church.
From around the world, they come to Clearwater, looking for answers.
Week after week, they are drawn to the Church of Scientology, seeking to improve or rebuild their lives.
But for a few of these pilgrims, the search has ended in death.
Five of the ranking leaders of the Church of Scientology, including the wife of the group's founder, were sentenced yesterday to prison terms of up to five years each for their roles in a massive criminal conspiracy to plant church spies in government agencies, steal government documents and bug at least one government meeting.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey imposed the sentences in a day-long proceeding at the U.S. Courthouse here in which the defendants admitted their wrongdoing, but attempted to justify their act by contending they overreacted in response to what they perceived as government harassment of their religion.
Four other defendants will be sentenced today.