2018-12-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Once upon a time, there was a rather large and fairly prosperous network of scientology franchises (this is what Hubbard originally called them, until like his use of the word "fees" which was changed "donations", the word was replaced by "missions" in order to sound less commercial).
The Franchise network was pretty much decimated during the infamous Mission Holder Convention of 1982 where Miscavige first burst into public view as the new Capo of scientology.
Franchises were always supposed to be the "front lines" of scientology. The spearhead both into new areas of the world and to new public in areas around existing organizations. The idea was that there were supposed to be people who wanted to make a living out of scientology who would get a franchise and hang out their shingle. Franchises and "pioneer" scientologists opened many countries to scientology.
We're just a few hours away from the end of this crazy year of 2018, and we want to get through a lot of material before tonight's big party, when we reveal Observer's new HowdyCon poster at midnight.
To help get you in the mood for this shindig, we'll start out with a hot new number from the creator of the official Underground Bunker theme song, Moxie Magee (A/K/A TheHoleDoesNotExist). Here's her new tune for us, "Bunker Town"...
One of our biggest highlights this year was that Sunny Pereira really stepped up her participation, and wrote a number of important pieces for us this year. We asked her for some thoughts on 2018…
2017-12-31, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions from the comments of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) You've said this channel is about your recovery process and changes since leaving Scientology. What would you say was your best or biggest change in 2017?
(2) In authoritarian/hierarchical organizations, people below have a tendency to say only things they think people above want to hear. This is also known as the SNAFU principle. It leads to situations where the organization is rapidly disintegrating while its leaders think everything is just hunky dory. Does Scientology's leadership, i.e. David Miscavige, realize just how dysfunctional the Church has become under his leadership?
2017-12-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is totally wacky.
Susan Freilich is certainly entitled to express her "wins" any way she wishes. She can be cray-cray and as long as she doesn't hurt anyone, who really cares other than those who have to deal with her directly in the real world. Something like this has got to make you wonder — hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands and thousands of hours to become (or remain - she might have been this way all along) so out of touch with reality.
But the organization is another thing.
Just a few hours remain in this wild year of 2017, and we have a lot to get through today before we welcome in 2018 tonight with the help of Observer and our HowdyCon poster for 2018.
Let's quickly get through the highlights of November and December to wrap up our annual Scientology year-in-review. We have to say, the Bunker really finished off the year strong in these last two months, so there's a lot to remember.
We started off November by reporting that major Scientology donors Matt and Kathy Feshbach got their asses handed to them by a bankruptcy judge who did not appreciate these two richies pleading poverty while they were spending money like Croesus on the finer things in life. In fact, their behavior was downright Scientological.
2016-12-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology likes to tell the world that you can be a scientologist and also be a Christian, Jew, Buddhist or anything else. This is an "acceptable truth" (defined by Hubbard this way: Handling truth is a touchy business also. You don't have to tell everything you know-that would jam the comm line too. Tell an acceptable truth. Agreement with one's message is what PR is seeking to achieve. Thus the message must compare to the personal experience of the audience) intended to deceive the public until they become scientologists and can be properly indoctrinated to continue the lie "for PR purposes."
Scientologists, Celebrities and PR spokespeople dish up this line routinely to make themselves sound benign and unthreatening. They talk about "respecting the religious beliefs of others" (as long as they are not former scientologists) and other pablum that sounds sort of "religious" as makes them seem more "acceptable."
This is a recent tweet that was sent to me (I cannot see Erika's tweets because I am blocked, even though I have never tried to tweet to her, friend her or even mention her):
(David Miscavige presides over the 2008 New Year's event — now we have audio of tonight's event)
Once again, our tipsters have come through. The Underground Bunker has obtained a secretly recorded audiotape of the New Year's event that Scientologists around the world will be watching tonight to bring in 2017.
Scientology leader David Miscavige presides over several big events each year — L. Ron Hubbard's March 13 birthday in Florida, the anniversary of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) each October at Saint Hill Manor in England, and "Maiden Voyage," held on the ship Freewinds in the Caribbean in the summer. But New Year's is perhaps Scientology's biggest annual bash, held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Usually, the event is taped a few days early. This year, it was held on December 17, for some reason. But the result is the same. At various times, and particularly tonight, video of David Miscavige's three-hour speech will be shown at Scientology "orgs" around the world.
2015-12-31, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everyone. I have very good news. For regular watchers of my weekly Critical Q&A show and my Patreon supporters, they already heard about this but I want everyone to know. What I'm announcing here is the culmination of two years of work on my part to expose Scientology and give you the actual facts about what really goes on behind its closed doors.
I have completed and published what I believe to be the definitive guide to Dianetics and Scientology, titled Scientology: A to Xenu, An Insider's Guide to What Scientology is All About.
Why should you get this and read it? Well, if you want to understand how people are lured in to destructive cults like this and why they stay, this book gives you those answers.
What a year it's been. As 2015 slips away, we hope you celebrate another revolution around the Sun with good friends and good cheer. And as much fun as we hope to have, our celebrations will also be tinged with some regret: Somewhere, a youngster in the Sea Org's RPF barely knows that tonight is special at all.
It's pretty amazing that the Sea Org and the RPF and the toxic policy of disconnection still exist as 2016 begins, but this past year at least moved us closer to making the public much more aware of Scientology's controversies. It's easily been the most remarkable year of Scientology watching that we've ever experienced.
What will 2016 bring? We'll worry about that tomorrow. Today, we celebrate.
2015-12-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The wonderful SNL parody of "We Stand Tall" worth watching once a week
Best gift ever...
Pay for them to attend one of our fundraising dinners where they will be hounded and harassed until they have turned over anything they have...
2014-12-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Of course, it's time to reflect on the year that was and look forward to the new year.
And this that follows is the message from the church of scientology.
Does anyone actually read the drivel they send out?
We hope you have something fun planned for tonight as we welcome in 2015. Whether it's a wild party or just staying home with loved ones, enjoy yourselves and be safe.
We'll always be a little on edge as the clock strikes midnight after what happened three years ago - we had put a lot of work into a story we timed to appear right as the new year began, a primer we titled "What is Scientology?" We thought it would be a good way to start 2012 as our coverage at the Village Voice continued to gain steam.
But then, just some twenty minutes later or so, we started getting peppered with emails from readers all over the country. Had we seen this remarkable message that had been sent out by former church official Debbie Cook? Well, you may know the rest. Cook struck a blow that was the biggest salvo since the 2009 "Truth Rundown" series in the Tampa Bay Times, and Scientology is still feeling its effects.
2013-12-31, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Given recent vicissitudes in these parts it is not practicable for me to be hosting visitors and engaging in lengthy, uninterruptible sessions. Yet, the desire for guided tours out of the Scientology philosophical labyrinth continues to be expressed. I have come up with a solution that may be workable given current conditions and apropos given the evolution of what we do. As noted recently, in essence my coaching or counselling has focused more on connecting dots to get people out of the 'why trap' Scientology has so effectively ensnared them into.
I am offering a Graduating from Scientology correspondence course. It is designed for:
-Those who are Clear or higher on the Scientology grade chart and are not planning on doing any more Scientology OT levels.
2013-12-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A couple of recent OTC emails from the PAC area.
PAC OTC is focused on fundraising (big surprise) for the "PAC Auditorium" and "Ideal PAC Base" (whatever that is — "Ideal" has morphed into a new term in the bubble not even trying to pretend it has anything to do with the policy letter on "The Ideal Org" any longer).
But this email also includes some stats that are pretty revealing. This is the PAC OTC — the biggest concentration of Scientologists on earth (they claim in their stats to have 126 active members). And remember, "PAC" consists of "all" the Missions including the winners of the last two international mission birthday games, 5 Ideal Orgs (LA D, LA F, Pasadena, OC, Inglewood) 2 other Class V orgs (Valley, Santa Barbara) and 3 SO delivery Orgs.
We're finishing up our look back at 2013 as we prepare for tonight's festivities.
November began with a fun reveal: We unmasked the master satirist behind OTVIIIisGrrr8!
The next day, we broke the news on the dates for Scientology's big events: The Golden Age of Tech II and Super Power Building opening would be the weekend of Nov 15-17, the IAS gala would go off Thanksgiving weekend, and New Year's Eve would happen on December 27.
Scientology has hijacked Cri-Cri the singing cricket, a character known and loved by generations of Mexican children.
Among the nonentities wheeled out by Scientology for this year's Christmas parade down Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles was at least one true star - or rather the character that made him immortal.
Somebody dressed up as Mexico's Cri-Cri, the singing cricket, made an appearance at the event promoting The Way to Happiness Foundation. And according to this press release, Cri-Cri also appears on copies of The Way to Happiness booklet distributed in Southern California.1
2011-12-31, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Debbie Cook was the Captain of the FSO for 17 years and was a Sea Org member for 30 years. She sent this email to her Scientologist friends on 31 Dec 2011.
"I am emailing you as a friend and fellow Scientologist. As we enter a new year, it is hoped that 2012 can be a year of great dissemination and a year of real progress up The Bridge for all Scientologists.
Although I am not in the Sea Org right now, I served in the Sea Org at Flag for 29 years. 17 of those years were as Captain FSO.
2011-12-31, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
"M-A-R-C-O-T-A-I. They'll never figure out it's me with this fake Italian accent!" Here on this final day of 2011, we're replacing our usual Saturday morning celebration of the week's best comments with a special announcement.
Our IT department has done the math, we've run those numbers through our analyzers here in the underground bunker, and now we're ready to hand out awards for our Commenters of the Year!
To briefly recap our week of end-of-year celebrations, here's what we've done so far.
2010-12-31, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
To learn all about Jimmy Rebel's (John Aaron Williams - but, he'll always be Jimmy Rebel to me) Training Center please click on this link:
Feel free to share your New Year's resolutions with some folks who are apt to share agreement with pro-survival ones.
People practice Scientology by moving up the "Grade Chart," officially known as the "Classification Gradation and Awareness Chart of Levels and Certificates." It outlines a series of steps one must take in sequence to reach the highest levels of awareness. The progression also is referred to as "the Bridge," short for "the Bridge to Total Freedom."
Your biased approach to stories regarding my religion is by now well documented. You, Joe Childs in particular, actively seek out only those individuals who have something negative to say about the Church; if they do not fit your agenda then you attempt to coach them and coax them into doing so by "educating" them about Scientology until you have "adjusted" their viewpoint accordingly and when that does not work you simply put words in their mouth. This is your pattern, which was unknown to the Church until recently, and has been your modus operandi for the better part of two decades.
They advanced to the Church of Scientology's highest spiritual level, to "Operating Thetan VIII," a vaunted realm said to endow extraordinary powers of perception and force of will.
But Geir Isene of Norway and Americans Mary Jo Leavitt and Sherry Katz recently announced they were leaving the church, citing strong disagreements with its management practices.
Former members of Scientology's Sea Organization remember the movement's harsh punishment programme, the Rehabilitation Project Force with particular horror.
Life in the Sea Organization, which was set up by Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1967, was meant to be tough.
Former members have described a harsh regime, in which senior officers were trained to bawl out their subordinates like drill sergeants on a parade ground, and where a culture of bullying was rife.
In the mid-1990s Scientology tried to shut down its Internet-based critics using law suits and court-authorised raids. They have been paying the price ever since.
The Internet has been a nightmare for Scientology since at least the 1995, when the movement tried to shut down some of its more vocal critics there. Their mistake was to do it by getting court orders to raid their homes and confiscate their computer equipment.
The critics had been posting Scientology's secret levels to expose what they said was the true nature of the movement. Scientology simply argued that it was protecting its copyrighted trade secrets from those it called the "copyright terrorists".
For Scientologists who grew up in the movement walking away from it and adjusting to the outside world can be a traumatic experience. John Peeler tells his story.
John Peeler, now 37, did not actually choose to be a Scientologist: he grew up in the movement.
His mother was Scientologist and they sent him to a Scientology-approved school where the teachers used the techniques set down by the movement's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. "There was even an Ethics Officer ," he recalled - a kind of moral policeman who ensured they followed Scientology policies to the letter.
Oh what a year it was! We had some big, boffo posts, primarily about monsters (Cruise, Palin, O'Reilly and Montauk). Yay for riches. Enjoy!
#1 - The Tom Cruise Indoctrination Video Scientology Tried to Suppress
What is Avatar?
It is the brainchild of Harry Palmer, a former Scientologist who developed the course for people who desire a less expensive and shorter path to self-enlightenment than is offered by the Church of Scientology.
Scientology, founded by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, seeks to help people improve their lives through a counseling process called "auditing" which seeks to free people from past negative experiences. It has thousands of adherents worldwide, and a spiritual headquarters in Clearwater. Critics call it a cult, but members insist it is a bona fide religion.
In an interview from his Orlando-area home that serves as Avatar's worldwide headquarters, Palmer said 55,000 people in 65 countries have gone through the program since 1988.
In addition to the $12.5 million payment, the agreement required the church to create an internal oversight committee of high-level church officials to monitor its compliance with tax laws and report annually to the tax agency for three years, according to a copy of the 76-page settlement agreement.
As part of the settlement, the church agreed to drop its lawsuits against the Internal Revenue Service and its officials and to stop helping church members who, along with the church itself, had brought 2,200 lawsuits against the agency and its officials over the years. In exchange, the tax agency stopped its audits of 13 major Scientology organizations, dismissed tax penalties and liens against some church organizations and granted tax-exempt status to 114 Scientology-related entities in the United States.
The settlement ended a struggle that began in 1967, when the IRS argued that the main Scientology church should lose its tax-exempt status because it was a for-profit business that enriched church officials. The church replied with more than 2,000 lawsuits against the IRS.
IRS spokesman Frank Keith said the decision to grant tax-exempt status was "based upon voluminous information provided by the church to the IRS regarding its financial and other operations."
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Church of Scientology paid the Internal Revenue Service $12.5 million in a 1993 settlement that established its tax-exempt status, a church official said Tuesday.
Mark Rathbun, director of the church's Religious Technology Center, confirmed some previously undisclosed details of the 1993 settlement reported in Tuesday's edition of The Wall Street Journal.
"Bottom line is, the document is a peace treaty. The war is over," Rathbun said.
The Church of Scientology paid the Internal Revenue Service $12.5 million in a 1993 settlement that established its tax-exempt status, a church official said. Mark Rathbun, director of the church's Religious Technology Center, confirmed some previously undisclosed details of the 1993 settlement reported in The Wall Street Journal. The settlement, known as a closure agreement, ended a struggle that began in 1967, when the IRS argued that the main Scientology church should lose its tax-exempt status because it was a business.