Category Archives: celebrities

Australia’s 60 Minutes

Welcome to all the folks from Australia who have apparently been visiting this blog (visit counter just went off the charts) in the minutes since the 60 Minutes piece ran there.  If you are interested in learning more about Scientology you may want to visit the right hand column of the home page of this blog.  There are links to a number of books, sites, and other informative media pieces that have run in the past couple years.  There is also a search feature where you can explore the more than 1,100 articles published on this site.  For those not in Australia, I am informed that the show will appear at this link momentarily, 60 Minutes Australia.  Contrary to scientology’s published response to this show, like virtually all other media that have interviewed us Sixty Minutes approached us to ask for the interviews.

War on “Scientologists at War”

David Miscavige and his Scientology Inc picked yet another losing war against freedom of the press and of speech.  This one was an official complaint and proceeding launched against UK Channel Four and Roast Beef Productions for their documentary Scientologists at War.  Of course, only the finest and most expensive lawyers that could be bought in London took up the Scientology cudgel.  The results were published in the official publication of England’s official agency (Ofcom) tasked with upholding standards of fairness in media.   The Scientology case can be found at page 43 of OfComm’s latest journal.  It is an informative read.

Ministry of Hate

Many years ago a story about Scientology in a major publication was titled ‘Ministry of Hate.’  At the time I responded with righteous indignation.  Having had many encounters with high level Scientologists over the past couple years, including very recently, I am coming around to seeing how spot on that ‘Ministry of Hate’ sobriquet in fact was, and is.  Scientologists are trained and conditioned to hate.  They are trained and conditioned to lie, defame, and spread hate against anyone who does not toe their white line; all with an air of overblown righteous indignation.  I witnessed one in person earlier this week.  Another one performed a perfect example of that recently on the Howard Stern show.  Listen to Kirstie Alley’s treatment of Leah Remini, beginning about 33:50:

First, Alley outright lies that Scientology does not ‘shun’ people.  Then she lies again stating that she has personally shunned Leah not because of what she has said, but because what she has ‘done’ and because of her ‘deeds.’  Then she falsely accuses Leah Remini of calling Scientology ‘hideous and evil.’  She calls Leah a ‘bigot’ and likens her words to someone saying ‘Jews are evil’ and ‘Jews are a cult.’ All of these accusations are defamatory and, quite frankly, hysterical.

This performance of bigotry, defamation and hate by Kirstie is not her natural personality.  She was trained and conditioned in Scientology to act in this immature, hateful fashion.

This is shameful.  Leah is due an apology, not only by Kirstie, but by the ministry that taught her to hate.

Breaking Free

Breaking free from sophisticated mind control is not easy.  I don’t think I have seen anyone do so in as bold and spectacular a fashion as Leah Remini has.  Tony Ortega breaks it down at the Scientology Underground Bunker.  I hope folks who have been (or are) similarly situated appreciate what Leah is doing for them at considerable personal risk to herself.

That’s As Real As It Gets

It don’t get no realer than that.

The world is seeing the actual aftermath of Scientology real time, thanks to Leah Remini.

As Jason Beghe noted on Tony Ortega’s blog, overcoming intense, directed negativity is not an exception for stars, it is the rule for those who dare to leave Scientology.

Jason also talks plain truth as to the provenance of the vengeful nature of the Scientology cult.

In my view, the moral of the ongoing story is:

Regain your positivity and contribute to the resurrection of others who are similarly situated.  Help one another to gain your own definition.

Colbert Report on Scientology

Like it or not, justified or not, the following segment on the popular Colbert Report (see both segments, second the interview with Lawrence Wright) pretty well sums up the public image of Scientology.  Not the church of Scientology in the eyes of the world at large, but Scientology.   A whacky religious cult with bizarre beliefs, violent practices and a threatening way of dealing with criticism.

The Colbert Report on Scientology

Do you believe this public image can change?   How?  How long will it take to change significantly?

‘Going Clear’ Muddies the Water

To true-believer Scientologists, Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear will be an extreme test of faith.   To independent-minded Scientologists the book will be a test of how well they understand Scientology and correspondingly how well they differentiate the technology of Scientology from personage of its original author.

This is so because the majority of the book is little more than a compendium of greatest shots by L. Ron Hubbard’s many erstwhile enemies.   There is no balance, but for the occasional gratuitous, condescending nods to L. Ron Hubbard’s power of imagination.

Having read a number of Wright’s previous works, I anticipated much more from the Pulitzer prize winning author.   I never wrote a review of Janet Reitman’s  Inside Scientology because I considered it a rather dry, overly academic history of Scientology.  While it was more comprehensive and balanced than any previous outsider look at the subject, I found it to be rather turgid, impersonal and careful.  It, like all books by outsiders who haven’t experienced that which they write about, lacked the vital subjective component that truth requires.  Note, some level of subjective experience is essence in covering a subject (religion/philosophy/spirituality) that is  by academic and scientific standards wholly subjective. Having seen how Wright made the entire Middle East vs. Western culture divide personal, and understandable in his The Looming Tower – from both the Middle Eastern and Western perspective – I believed he might do the same for the sorely misunderstood subjects of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology.

Instead Wright spent 2/3rd of his book regurgitating what several before him had already done: indicted, convicted and sentenced L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology to death.  It was sad to see a gifted author  with an advance allowing him two years to investigate squander it by essentially cutting and pasting from a twenty-seven year old biography penned by British Author Russell Miller (Bare-Faced Messiah).    About the only thing Wright added was to make it more salacious and one-sided by sprinkling it with the death bed accusations of a former Hubbard wife (which incidentally conflicted with her earlier shrill, divorce-court accounts given to Miller) and giving it a far less charitable and objective slant than even Miller – who did little to mask his hatred for Scientology – did in 1986.

The rest of the book is a disjointed account of the post-Hubbard years in Scientology, the bulk of which had been reported long ago on this blog and extensively by other media outlets.

Despite having a formidable team of researchers and fact checkers, next to no critical examination of credibility of sources was done.  If someone had something lurid to say about L. Ron Hubbard, regardless of how improbable, it was stated as authoritative fact.  By way of example, had the Wright team took me up on my pre-publication offer to review their facts ahead of time, they would not have published these inventions that I personally know to be manufactured or grossly inaccurate:

–          Tom Cruise was being audited by Marty Rathbun at the Gold base in 2002.

–          Marty Rathbun (or anyone for that matter) was serving as Nicole Kidman’s ethics officer in 2002.

–          Marty Rathbun was auditing Penelope Cruz.

–          There was no ‘convincing evidence proving the facts were wrong or the reporter was biased’ presented in the Scientology vs. Time magazine case.

–          Church funds were used to purchase assault rifles and explosive devices for the perimeter of international headquarters.

–          A campaign was run to blackmail attorney Charles O’Reilly.

–          O’Reilly’s house was bugged and his office was infiltrated.

–          Most Sea Org members at the Int Base did not know their own geographical location.

–          Miscavige attempted to get damning taped admissions from Mary Sue Hubbard so her husband could turn her in to the justice department.

–          L. Ron Hubbard demanded a divorce from Mary Sue Hubbard and she refused.

This is a partial list containing only items that Wright was either informed were false or reasonably should have known were false.   Granted, the verifiable allegations condemning Hubbard and Scientology in the book are legion.  And I recognize that the list of inaccuracies doesn’t put a dent on Wright’s conviction of both the founder and Scientology.  But, they highlight the velocity of the rush to judgment Wright was apparently engaged in.

Ultimately, Wright is guilty of what journalists  and critics have accused Hubbard and the church of Scientology of, not without justification, for decades.  To wit, rather than tackling the issues taken with the subject, Scientology policy calls for attacking the credibility of the one raising the issue.  Thus, we see over 400 pages of a book promising to answer the question ‘what makes Scientology so appealing to so many?’, never even attempting to explain what Scientology is and does.   Instead, Wright takes one esoteric teaching that Scientology asserts could not possibly be understood by someone not well-steeped in Scientology practice, and pretends that is all there is to a subject consisting of some 50 million other words.  With that straw dog firmly in place, Wright proceeds to burn hundreds of pages reciting the accusations of avowed enemies of L. Ron Hubbard.

By way of comparison, by the time one reads The Looming Tower (The book that Wright won the Pulitzer prize for) and Going Clear, there is little chance the reader will fear Osama Bin Laden more than he will fear L. Ron Hubbard.  While the former is journalism at its highest attainment, giving the reader an understanding of a figure made nearly impossible to understand by popular media culture, the latter can be characterized, at best in my opinion, as piling on.

While the church of Scientology can be partially credited with the result by its easily discreditable insistence on portraying L. Ron Hubbard as God, Wright had access to dozens of Scientologists unaffiliated with the church who gave far more measured, rational and credible accounts of what Scientology is capable of achieving in de-radicalized hands.

Wright chose to simply ignore the latter and shoot the sluggish, fat fish the former  placed in a barrel before him.   Good work if you can get it.   But, do not delude yourself that Going Clear is any insightful, definitive, and least of all, balanced look at either L. Ron Hubbard or Scientology.

Now that the big guns have issued, I can settle down to attempting to deliver something more along that line.