Scientology Chillaxin': Commenters of the Week!

LRonKisses.jpg
This disturbing image blatantly ripped off from WhyWeProtest.net
Was this a week for Scientology watchers, or what?

Things started off just after midnight on Sunday morning as we scrambled to alert our readers that what we've been waiting for had finally arrived: the launch of the new investigative series from Joe Childs and Tom Tobin at the St. Petersburg Times.

Later that morning, we opened up our regular Sunday morning service with our weekly open thread and your Sunday Funnies.

Monday morning we salivated over Part 2 of Tobin and Childs' series, which looked at how much pressure Scientologists are under to fork over every last dime to the church. (And now we're desperately waiting for part 3. Come on, guys!)

Tuesday afternoon, we told readers about our overseas Scientology adventure, when we looked into the wackiness surrounding the new, unopened Ideal Org in Jaffa, Israel. Yes, we really happened to be in the neighborhood! I know, it's crazy!

On Wednesday, we tipped readers that tonight there will be a fancy-dress protest at the 46th Street Scientology "org" here in New York City. Hope to see you there!

On Thursday, we did our usual STATurday roundup, and we were happy to include a great new video of Gerry Armstrong, supplied to us by Mark Bunker.

That night, we happily posted the wacky Scientology video of the week, this one a celebration of the IAS in Copenhagen, set to a fresh track from Chill EB, a hip hop artist who has to be wondering how he got to this point, singing about Narconon and Applied Scholastics, for heaven's sake.

And finally, yesterday afternoon, we unveiled a gem. We got our hands on daily dispatches that L. Ron Hubbard wrote while he was aboard the Apollo, his flagship, from 1968 to 1971. We started off what we hope to be a regular weekly feature with Hubbard's thoughts as he christened the Apollo while docked at Corfu.

How's that for some variety this week! And there's still plenty of Tobin and Childs and their "The Money Machine" to come, right guys?

OK, let's get to the awards...

For last week's Sunday Funnies, we included a San Diego mailer with fonts so bad, some of us suffered retina burn. We liked robinlandseadel's reaction:

Praise Xenu and pass the collection plate! The layout of that San Diego press release is so bad, I very fortunately could not read LRH's quote. Good thing, as it's probably pitched at a level over OT 3 and would have killed me outright had I actually been able to decipher its jewels of wisdom.

Monday's story about the new Tobin and Childs series really got a big response. And we were struck by this comment by MarcAbian:

The last time Tobin and Childs published a big story about how Miscavige is emotionally and physically abusive, it set off the whole independent movement. I can't wait to see what this new series will set off...

But we were really hit hard by this lengthy remembrance by fedup:

It really is sick to think of working 12 hour days for 16 years.. my mother did it for close to THIRTY... after all that time and NO commission.. whoever thinks that the 2% commission is in place they are mistaken..taking money from going uplines to DM??? Good luck! She didn't even get a severance, just you aren't making enough money anymore, goodbye! Now she gets to live off of her daughter while trying to re join the workforce when most at her age are retiring and going on Social Security. The church's response that they do not expect staff to solicit donations aggressively or go into debt is a complete lie and makes me sick. Almost as sick as Mark's letter.. have you ever been on staff or in the SO Mark? Ill family members, children, hell anything that takes you away from producing (making $$$) is considered a distraction with the amount of pressure people are placed under. I didn't even know my mother that well until I was in my late teens and was old enough to start courses at the local Org so i could see her... then I did my own 10 year stint on staff and trust me I regret plenty of "distractions" that I should have attended to. Hopefully these other installments get into the financial ruin and neglect of people after they have given all they can both monetarily and physically!

Hey, fedup, is your mother ready to tell her story? Have her contact me!

On Tuesday we finally fessed up to where we'd been for an overseas Scientology field trip, which we'd been hinting at for a while. Now we could reveal the tale of hanging around the new, unopened Ideal Org in Jaffa, Israel, after being told we could look around by a worker named Nadav. We couldn't help but chuckle to this comment by SFF:

I can imagine Nadav had a conversation with his superiors along the lines of, "You let _who_ look around the building?"

And we had to recognize the effort put into this bit of satire by OTVIIIisGrrr8!, who is becoming quite a notable commenter here:

Gur Finklestein is not a Scientologist and never was. We checked our IAS records and his name appears nowhere. What we did find is that Gur Finklestein is actually the Chief of all Israeli psychiatrists and that he had been posing as a Scientologist for a long time in order to give Scientology a bad name. When the deep cover psych spy Dr. Finklestein disovered that Scientology's natural integrity and honesty could not be besmirched in any way he became incensed.

This is when his mad dog crimes began. Finklestien made attacks in, I believe it is alleged, Alhambra, Calfornia near a theater. Alhambra is a beautiful city as is nearby Arcadia and, to be clear, Scientology believes in the civic betterment of Alhambra and Aracida which is why we are asking for $50,000 in order to donate copies of The Way to Happiness to the many beauty colleges, bowling alleys, dive bars, and fast food restaurants for which these cities are famous.

When he pulled in his own arrest, Finklestein screamed "Scientology" in public as a way to deflect blame from off himself.

Scientology is foreclosing on its Jaffa Ideal Org not because of any problems. The case is rather that Scientology needs 5X more square footage in Jaffa than previously planned. On any given day we receive at least 1,000 calls from people in the local area who are searching for the answers to life in the pages of Scientology books. To date, we have given out over 100,000,000 copies of The Way to Happiness in the Jewish language which I believe is Aramaic or something like that. Over 9000 Jewish rabbis in Jerusalem now include Scientology materials in their religious services in Israel and neighboring countries such as Guam, Japan, and Canada.

Please donate to your local Basics campaign today.

Please do not support Tony Ortega or the Village Voice as both are grossly out ethics.

Heh. After our Thursday Stats Roundup, Anon A brought us a pretty remarkable tale in regards to the ongoing Tobin and Childs series:

Just to show how the latest St Pete Times articles hit squarely on an issue that even faithful Scientologists have a hard time with, here's a recent YouTube post from long-time Scientologist poster "vaLLarrr":

"I have ALWAYS said they [Scientology registrars] are too money hungry, right here in fact.
And furthermore, I don't think it began with Miscavige but predates him. Nor in fact do I blame anyone for being upset about it, and protesting."

As anyone who watches the Scientology video comment wars on YouTube can attest, getting vaLLarrr to admit anything negative about Hubbard or Scientology is extremely difficult. So maybe these articles will hit a nerve with other knee-jerk defenders of Scientology as well.

Thursday night's treat was the cringeworthy hip hop video out of Europe's IAS. But as funny as it was for us wogs, It was really moving to get this perspective from Synthia Elizabeth Fagen:

This is sad. Really, only a short time ago I was singing along to Scientology music and thinking we were this great force out there helping the world. Oh my god do I feel like a complete dork!

I feel for these people. I know, I know, people think they are fools and they are being fooled, for sure, but most of these people are really good people being taken advantage of by an evil cult.

I also see that I should have caught on faster and that with the sheer avalanche of data available on the Internet now, these people really have no excuse. Still, tonight, my heart bleeds for them.

Our friend Marcotai showed up to defend his fellow Scientologists, and he stuck a fork in us, for good measure:

LOL at the USUAL hate mongers "reviewing" Scientologists" performances in music. Jeezzz...can you guys stick at reviewing what you have more expertise on? I heard that the newest porn movies and the latest prostitution classified ads on Village Voice are worth to be reviewed by you all experts. Please leave ARTS alone, stick to what you guys are best at. :)

Yesterday, after we revealed the first of our "Orders of the Day" by L. Ron Hubbard, it got this reaction out of MarkStark, who was generally on fire all week:

The poop deck hits the fan. "They are a small group with international ambitions, founded by a madman..." Hmmm, that sounds like...You can see what they mean by Sciloontology being a hall of mirrors.

And so it came to pass, all of Corfu loved them, if only they spoke English and could figure out who the f they were, not that it would help much. Just watching them overboard their miscreants showed the locals that the Scilons were superior beings, here to save the planet.

Have to say, this was an exhausting week, but the ferociously good work by our commenters makes it all worth it. And things are only going to get better. Just wait until you see what we have planned for your Thanksgiving!



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!] | [Scientology vs. South Park]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
[Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach]
[Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]

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]
[Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

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!]


My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
Pete Griffiths, SP
Pete Griffiths, SP

Ah Marcotai, he needs to learn the difference between art and shite.

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mjm
mjm

FYI: Stacy Francis performed on 3 of Janet Jackson's tours as a backup singer (the Janet World Tour from '93-95, the Velvet Rope World Tour from '98-'99 and the All for You Tour from '01-'02) under the name 'Stacy Campbell'.

Old OT7
Old OT7

As with MarkStark, the Brian Culkin video was the highlight of last week.  We all know that scientology routinely paints every single former Sea Org or staff member as compulsive liars.  We are told that they never left, but in fact, were all fired!  All of them. And now they are disgruntled and looking for payouts.

But with Brian Culkin, you have a public scientologist reveling  what former employees having be saying for years.  Brian's testimony is sure to further the exodus from the cult.  And I dare say, we will probably be hearing form more ex-public scientologists in Tony's blog.

Once again, another brick is taken out of their house of cards.  Thanks Tony!

MarkStark
MarkStark

I want to write more about the Brian Culkin video. It shook my reality. I assumed that people who got drawn into spending tens of thousands of dollars, did so because they did long training sessions and it left them reeling with euphoria. I read of one person who did TRs for 12 hours a day, for two or three weeks.

I also assumed people who got drawn in that deeply did so because they felt pressure and encouragement by friends or family members, and that even the rich would spend only $20,000 or less in their initial plunge.

I knew the cult is expert at finding the ruin of people, but I thought the people were either young, inexperienced in the real world, distraught, or in a very closed society of wealthy people, like Hollywood celebrities. People like Will Smith only trust other rich, successful people, to know what is helpful for the rich and successful.

I'm very glad Brian spoke up and is trying to get his money back. Many people, who probably still have millions after being taken by the cult and waking up, are embarrassed and they just slink off.

MarkStark
MarkStark

For me, this week, the Brian Culkin video was significant and shocking. As critics, we needed something that embodies the greed of the cult, in a simple, brief and recent story, that would be easily accessible to members of the public. That video proves the focus on money grab in this cult, quite like NOTHING I've heard or seen before.

Just picture yourself plunking down $80,000 for anything (training courses, condo, mineral rights) and having the people who sold you on it, pick you up at the airport (a nice gesture) and then try to sell you on buying or donating $35,000 more, in the car!

The reason they give for this extraordinary pressure, is that they have to get their "stats" in for the week. All this, before you've even seen what you bought for your initial $80,000.

Through the decades, the cult learned that the more pressure they put on people, especially the richer they were, the bigger odds it would work. There's a flaw in that formula though, as those same people have web access and a way to reach out and speak out like never before.

That single video should answer questions for anyone considering Sciloontology, what it is REALLY about. It should be the sobering antidote for the truck load of vacuous exuberance shown in the Scilon PR videos.

For the people in the cult, the Hy Levy video should be revealing -- if only they could see it -- in details of which they surely aren't aware. Anyone who got squeezed to a point they ended up in bad financial circumstances, if they aren't preoccupied with killing themselves, should have a friend who can lead them to see that video. It should take pressure off themselves, that they "pulled it in."

bobx
bobx

Even more than the Hy Levy video, Rinder's piece "More on the Vulture Culture" over on Marty's blog is an eye-opener about the long history of escalating money-grabs.  But of course, the people who most need to read it, won't.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

And to break down that wall, that exact point ought be a chapter alone, in a book about Scientology.

The mechanics of how to get them to doubt what is genuinely wrong about their religious movement's behavior, and to change that behavior, the media, is ultimately, the window that let us who used to be on the inside, the opportunity to see the valid complaints, which we on the inside had to tacitly agree with, and were powerless to change without losing ALL of our built up status inside.

It's a very challenging predicament, and it needs MORE study and it's sort of a fallen between chairs predicament of these groups that are just so tenaciously totalitarian and controlling of those caught up inside.

"How I Dodged the  Thoughts Which In Effect Are Thought-Crimes, While I "Survived" Inside the Scientology Movement's Upper Echelons"    by fill in the blank

The encyclopedia, and the Oxford Univ reference books allowed in the RPF's RPF course room, were ultimately my window to the saner world outside the Sea Org's closed off RPF world.  

Now that tons of ex members are free to speak current details, scholars have to somehow get past all their academic brick-a-brack BS considerations and please study for real  the Hubbard dull full layout of intricately self-supporting detailed policies that make up the totalitarian world that shuts itself off from facing valid criticism.

O. Lallieberry
O. Lallieberry

I figured out what the Scilons are doing with their sekrit underground bases (northern California coast, Sierra Nevada range, and New Mexico). Karen Pouw sez they're producing "up to 500,000 books per week and 925,000 CDs per week."

Have to put them somewhere.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

You laugh now, but remember the Scientologists will be thanking Ron's forsight, 20,000 years from now, when future humanoids come back to billiard-ball nucleur wasteland earth to dig up Ron's treasure "tech" legacy on those stainless steel plates!     Good old Ron.

Leak ALL of Ron's private final years despatch traffic, I say!   The Duke of Chug traffic are some of the most enlightening!

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Somehow during this very newsworthy week I managed to miss OTVIIIisGrrr8's hilarious comment.LOL  Thanks for highlighting it!

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