Scientology Effervescence: Commenters of the Week!

PhoenixAlienInvasion.jpg
Here in the underground bunker, this was something of a strange week. While enduring a middling but annoying cold, we tried to get back in the swing of things after a week out of town. And while things started a bit slow, by Friday this had turned into one slammin' sevenday.

Things kicked off on Tuesday, when we found that Lori Hodgson had talked to Mark Bunker for his upcoming documentary. There's more to Lori's story, and we hope to have something about it soon.

Then on Wednesday, we turned up the heat with the first part of our story on a stunning case of Scientology "Fair Game," a harassment campaign against an inventor who has come up with a machine that produces bacteria-free ice.

On Thursday, we continued our regular series, Thursday 2pm Stats!, with a look at several items, including my friend Ray Stern's eye-opening expose of the Phoenix "Ideal Org," which was the cover story this week for Phoenix New Times.

Later that afternoon, we revealed the surprising news that Scientology's Freedom propaganda magazine has assigned its ace reporter, Jim Lynch, to probe us! Ouch!

And yesterday, we doubled down on the "clean ice" story with even more infuriating detail about how Scientology appears determined to ruin a business bringing life-saving technology to market.

So let's get on to the awards...

Readers were sympathetic to Lori Hodgson, whose two children "disconnected" from her after she left the church but their father stayed in. But then we read an equally gut-punching story from regular reader Kate Bornstein:

My daughter is 38 years old. The last time I saw her, she was 9. That was the day I left the Sea Org and became a Suppressive Person. I've sent her letters and birthday cards -- they've all come back to me "addressee unknown." Scientologists will say it's her choice that she's disconnected from me, and that's true. They've bullied her and others into the impossible choice of either disconnect -- or be labelled a Potential Trouble Source [sic] and thus lose any trust or love that anyone in Scientology may have in her. Damn. Bullying is built in to Hubbard's system of "ethics."

We're always glad when pro-church commenters arrive on the scene, so we'll give Keep on Learning a nod for chiming in and questioning Lori's story:

Is it at all possible there are two sides to this story? I've learned that people playing the poor, sad victim card are usually not telling the whole truth. It's sad to see anyone so sad, but I *suspect* -- do not *know* of course -- that Ms. Hodgson has more *causation* in this matter than she admits here. For instance, when did Lori start her *public* disavowals and condemnations? Before or after the disconnection?

Well, some of us wince at this argument, that when a church takes away your child, it's always somehow your fault. Anyway, we also enjoyed CJM's approach to a church that wants to split up families:

OSA turned up on our front porch and demanded that we stop communicating with Jeff Hawkins (my husband's brother).  We laughed and laughed, told her she picked the wrong family to fuck with.

In our story about Robert Almblad and his ice machine, many readers seemed infuriated to see a harassment campaign with so much at stake -- the health of hospital patients trying to stay free of infection. But if there was anger, sometimes the best way to deal with it is humor. And HGC really made us smile:

All those people in the hospital are bigots and haters, and they pull in their infections. And another thing -- not smoking enough causes cancer.

And then, just a little later, HGC did that even better with this howler:

If you're a Scientologist, when you drive by an ice machine full of dirty ice, you know you have to stop, because you know you're the only one who can help.

To our utter delight, pro-church gadfly tildacity finally graced us with his or her presence after wreaking some havoc over at WWP:

With today's article, Mr. Tony Ortega of The Village Voice has rendered himself down to a mere self parody. Granted he pens a blog representing gossip, opinion and commentary. Still, one would be forgiven for expecting a professional encumbered by the title editor in chief to hint at some whisper of journalism before spewing a one-sided conspiracy theory into cyberspace. Mr. Ortega's latest conspiracy tale features everything except Sasquatch and chemical contrails.

Sasquatch! Please, tildacity, stick around a while.

In our Thursday Stats roundup, we gushed about our friend Ray Stern's cover story at Phoenix New Times which took apart Scientology's new Ideal Org there. That elicited this enthusiastic response from CofS Exit Zone:

Ray Stern rocked my world this week! And a shoutout his way, if by chance he happens to lurk here...  DO WANT that killer "alien Invasion" cover that goes with your awesome coverage this week. And Anons are anxiously awaiting it to show up in the NT fb album with the other/older covers :)

Femanons. So fickle.

After we announced on Thursday that Scientology's ace reporter, Jim Lynch, was probing us, we asked our creative commenters to write the opening to his article about the Voice for him, and it turned into a wickedly funny mini-contest. It was tough to choose a winner, but we liked this portion from OTVIIIisGrrrr8!:

Long known for his weak-minded debauchery, the postmodern fabulist criminal Tony Ortega is celebrated in the insane asylums of America as a 72 hour frequent flyer following his wild excursions into the most vile, illegal, and dangerous behaviors -- all of which take place in public and often in view of innocent families and the elderly. Tony Ortega does not care who gets hurt or whom he offends when he goes on his sexually disturbing drug-fueled rampages. So quite naturally the filth purveyor Village Voice was only too pleased to hire Ortega to write and edit the toxic swill it serves up daily to its audience of deviants and registered sex offenders. All of which explains why Ortega and the Village Voice repeatedly attack the Scientology religion.

Lynch can only hope his piece is half as gonzo.

After we posted yesterday's part 2 of the Clean Ice story, we enjoyed these thoughtful musings by regular reader Mark Stark:

I'm trying to figure out what this is really about. First, an ex-member is potentially on the verge of billion dollar deal. Because he's an ex, Scientology will not be cut in. Worse, if the machine is successful, Rinder might end up a millionaire himself. Scientology does not like that combination. A wealthy ex-member entrepreneur and a disgruntled ex cult executive. Why else would they go to such great lengths? Another odd element though, is that no matter how beneficial and worthy this machine is, Almblad's past association with Scientology works against him. To the health care industry, Scientology reeks of fraud. To McDonald's it probably wouldn't matter.

In fact, Mark, in part 1 I think Almblad expressed this very idea himself. He thinks firing Rinder wouldn't really solve anything: at this point, he believes, Scientology knows so much about his technology, it wants, for whatever reason, to prevent it from coming to market.

And finally, we thought H. Jentzsch put a fine point on this saga about such a heinous campaign of intimidation and harassment:

It amazes me how ordinary scientologist don't see that this type of story does Way more damage than the people they harassing could ever do. These people are destroying their own church for the pleasures of thier sociopathic leader and his lust for revenge.

Well, that's it for another eventful week. News has reached me of Jim Lynch contacting a couple of other people in our company since I posted our story on Thursday. A pattern is emerging which gives me a pretty good idea of what he's going to write. But I'm going to wait a little longer to see what else he tries before sharing my guesses. For now, your vile, sadistic Freedom magazine-like denunciations of the Voice will have to serve. (And they really made my week. So thanks.)



The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] | [Commenters of the Week] [Thursday 2pm Stats!]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
[Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine]
[Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]
[Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]
[Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]
[Scientology High School, Dating and Super Powers!]


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24 comments
dodobird
dodobird

H. Jentzsch said that?  When?  I'd love it if he ever said that, but I'm sure he did not.  Unless there is more than one H. Jentzsch--known to most Scientologists as "Heber."There is an ongoing effort to "freeheber".  Google it.  He was former G.O. and knows all their secrets, is nearly 76 years old and is somewhere in the hands of the Church of Scientology.

Be sure to sign the Petition--only eight more days to go!http://tinyurl.com/62eqyyl

Endscientologynow
Endscientologynow

Tony, why haven't you touched the Rathbun claim about FBI/Justice Dept cover-up of a seekrit FBI investigation into the cult?  Rathbun set us up the bomb and that Miscabbage-head said that the cult had no time to survive, make your time.

No....seriously....you said earlier that you were working on that story but no follow-up????

Jgg
Jgg

  Once Jay Leno quoted Dan Quayle, only to be interrupted by laughter, at which point he said "that's what I like about Quayle--you don't need a punch line."

  Co$ doesn't need haters, wogs or evil conspirators.  Their own shenanigans make them a joke (ice cubes, empty orgs, smoking is good for you, what disconnection?)

  It will get better--the OT VIII secrets will be leaked on the web, and the "we're a religion, but unlike a real religion, we DON'T want our beliefs to be known, read or studied" panic will be unleashed--and it won't need a punch line.

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

Heh, I dont think anybody has ever called me "fickle" before. :)

What is the student but a lover courting a fickle mistress who ever eludes his grasp? - Sir William Osler

mjm
mjm

in Scientology celebrity news:-Catherine Bell and her husband have divorced-Jason Lee's TNT show 'Memphis Beat' has been canceled after two seasons-i'm starting to think that Johnny Depp's Scientology barb in Vanity Fair Mag was directed at his 'Rum Diaries' costar Giovanni Ribisi.

juliusstahl
juliusstahl

I am thrilled you mentioned the debut of Tildacity at Running Scared. She/he has been warming up at Why We Protest and is apparently now ready for the Big Leagues. It as always good to have scilon trolls to provide the lulz.

DuckBenway
DuckBenway

Very nice picks, Tony! And as always, thank you for all you do! Your courage is an inspiration to so many.

So far, it has been wonderful to have all this sunlight directed at the dark, vile and evil cult. I take comfort in knowing that the very best is yet to come and that you will continue to play a major role with delivering all that!

Vivat!

Joe_Lynn
Joe_Lynn

I think it's a safe bet that *anything* Marty Rathbun says about the FBI, whether his 'insider knowledge' of their actions/operations or the truck-loads of information he (and his friends) have provided them with, is about as 'solid' as Ron's travelogues from Venus.

I do find it amusing that he's reversed course and begun bragging about how much he's told them.  Now, if only they'd *confirm* that :)

dennis l erlich
dennis l erlich

Perhaps "flighty" fits better.  The website you link to seems quite substantial and well thot out.  You on the other hand ...  :)

ps. Please don't sic the nonys on me.

Shorne
Shorne

Duck, bend, away we go. Are you for real? Did you get teased too much at school? Is the world a horrifying place for you? No matter, at least you contribute something to the world: humor. I shake my head and chuckle quietly when I read your comments. I dont understand why your not in the ku Klux Klan, You could realy inspire them with your small minded ignorant hatred. Keep up the good work cause I wanna keep laughing at ya!!

Jgg
Jgg

  The FBI does not advertise its ongoing activity, and, even if they stopped an investigation, they can start a new one tomorrow.   Look for the FBI, the FDA (which is investigating the emeter) and the IRS (whose agreement has been violated by Davey's lavish lifestyle) to sue Co$ at the same time.  Think they can handle 3 lawsuits at once?

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

Awww c'mon Dennis, us anons aren't as bad as we seem, for the most part. We're just diverse.

And although "doing it for the lulz" involves an entirely different playbook, that doesn't mean that we don't know our shi- when it comes to the more important issues.

DuckBenway
DuckBenway

So nice of you to join with so many of us, taking the ride to the extinction of the cult of $cientology.

With fellow passengers like you, Mark Miglio and Marcotai onboard, there is never any shortage of lulz and I'm just doing it for the lulz. The cult is doomed. It's already three feet behind your head! Expect it!

Scientia
Scientia

"To see and acknowledge the existence of someone is a granting of their importance." -- LRH, HCO PL 30 May 1971, MANNERS.

Woooo, Duck! You should feel honoured. No one else got a second look. ;o)

Oh and Shorne, I really recommend you read that policy. See also HCO PL 2 September 1970 Issue II FIRST POLICY whilst you're at it.

hgc
hgc

"Did you get teased too much at school? Is the world a horrifying place for you?"

Aren't those necessary conditions for wanting to be cleared of an infestation of invisible souls and their accompanying memory implants? I think you have a prospective recruit there, so try to be nice.

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

Duck is one of our most loyal readers and commenters here. Not really sure why he comes in for this kind of treatment, Shorne. You want to attack something, I'd prefer you attack my article instead of other commenters.

Old OT7
Old OT7

LOL!

And the KKK?  Really???  Now it couldn't be "attack the attacker" could it?  Your cults reputation is just a shade above Jonestown.  Toxic comes to mind.  And DuckBenway?  A scholar and a gentleman with an incredible wit and a way with words.  You're just upset because you never made it out of high school.

BTW, auditing is supposed to raise your IQ by one point for every hour of processing.  Are they running REVERSE auditing on you Shorne?  Pretty soon you won't be able to find the door knob and live the rest of your life in a bathroom.   Pound on the walls.  Someone's bound to hear you.  They may not help, but they're bound to hear you...

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

Good enuff (and good2know) your with us in spirit then! <3

and btw - flighty works, i have been called that before. sorta comes with the territory when you enjoy walking on the edge rather than taking up too much space.

But personally, i think "capriciously adorable" is much more fitting ;)

dennis l erlich
dennis l erlich

Don't get me rong, CoS.  I love the nonys and all their various hi-jinks.  Especially their anti-cult work.  What a load off my (always named and in the directory) shoulders.  I just wish I could be one.

Old OT7
Old OT7

Right on, Tony!  And, of course, many thanks!

Jgg
Jgg

  Yes, the nicest, most ethical people on the planet!

Miscavige
Miscavige

That's $cientology - keepin it classy!!

LOL

Jgg
Jgg

  I don't think that is his real name.  "Duck" is probably a reference to quackery, and yes, we would like to see it bend away. 

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