Scientology Sunday Funnies: Your Tax Dollars at Work

LRHSeaOrgThumb.jpg
Scientology doesn't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.

So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! And we have a particularly good lineup of goofy church mailers for you this week, starting with that reliable source, the San Diego org, which this week is rubbing its tax exempt status in our noses!

Ah, San Diego. These folks really outdid themselves this time. Boasting about how the government (read: you taxpayers, suckers!) will help church members move up the Bridge to Total Freedom!

SanDiegoTax.jpg

Not to be outdone, the Dallas org reminds everyone that things are bigger in Texas:

TexasBig.jpg

And finally, no one outdoes the Sea Org for inspirational posters. This one really is powerful, isn't it?

LRHSeaOrg.jpg

So that's our lineup this week. Naturally, we'd like to hear your thoughts about these images, or your thoughts on anything, really. It's Sunday, a time to relax!



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]

My Voice Nation Help
64 comments
lcmsmommy
lcmsmommy

Yeah, I wanna see a photo of him working down in the engine room. Member of SEA ORG my eye.

Old Timer
Old Timer

If Hubbard was in the Sea Org, he is overdue from his "between lives" LOA. In fact, by Sea Org standards he is "blown"!

Mo
Mo

Looking like all the grapic designers have blown... these are pretty lame.

BigGrizzlyBear
BigGrizzlyBear

Must resist lure of Star Trek like font on 'Sea Org' enrolement poster...but sci-fi loving mind is weakening...it's like a tractor beam pulling me in...can't fight it much...longer!! Dammit I give in!!! Beam me up Ron!!! BEAM ME UP!!!

barbara graham
barbara graham

I've talked to some ex-members from San Diego. They describe an atmosphere of intense pressure to donate; not to get your ass up the Bridge, but a plethora of other org interests like the library project (buy a set of books for your local liberry!) or they want you to buy a bunch of TWTH booklets (and they will print YOUR NAME on them!) or there's the Ideal Org scam where they've already bought and lost one property, and the Applied Scholastics Academy fiasco that left the school $50,000 in debt and OTVIII Jon Gerson vulnerable to lawsuits as he allegedly spent wedding event deposits (his side biz) to keep the school open.

San Diego org is circling the bowl, but not quite ready for the knackers thanks to some out of town donors who come through for them. Grant Cardone and the Duggans, for example.

Jgg
Jgg

  Type "fictionology" into a search engine.  It is now growing faster than Scientology, and costs nothing.  Also, its tech is quite easy to apply.

Jgg
Jgg

  "Not only did I start the satanic society, but I was Satan for many years."

NCSP
NCSP

GAH! One of the things that's always puzzled me about Scientology is: why is Hubbard's image so appealing to some people? Or rather, why is it not repellent? To me, it's like he wore his insincerity and condescension on his face, and it's so obvious he was a bad guy, but I guess some people don't see it. You can hear it in his voice, too.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Oh, now they're back to St. Hill Sizing the Dallas Org now that they've drained everyone of all their money for the Ideal Org there. Good luck with that one.

Anon A
Anon A

"I'm not just the president of the Megalomaniac Club for Men, I'm also a member!"

sketto
sketto

How about this for a poster:

Not only did LRH form the RPF, he should have been IN the RPF. Join LRH's prison camp today!

anti slime ballz
anti slime ballz

"Donations for most auditing and training services qualify for charitable contribution deductions..." They sell services, so what's with this donation gibberish? It's beyond oxymoronish that buying a registered trademark product qualifies its users to get a tax break. Can I claim my donation to Sony for my TV?Besides that, the toolbots couldn't even get their line spacing correct in the paragraph.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Sorry for the change of topic, I think this is pretty funny. Good for Michael Fairman.

“Young and the Restless” star Michael Fairman has filed a lawsuit against a Scientologist chiropractor — claiming she refused to see him and his family after he was excommunicated from the Church.

Fairman claims he was a prominent member of the Church, but became disenchanted with the way Church was running things. Fairman claims Church leaders got fed up with him earlier this year, branded him and his wife “suppressive persons” and blacklisted the family from all things Scientology.

After Fairman was ousted, the actor claims he received a letter from the family chiropractor — an active Scientologist — informing him she would no longer treat the Fairman family. Fairman also claims she refused to hand over a copy of the family’s medical records.

In the lawsuit, Fairman claims he MUST have been discriminated against because he’s no longer with the Church — noting that he’s been a good, paying customer since 2003.

Yeppir
Yeppir

I just want to know why all of their media has to be so "baroque-vs.-Sears-Portrait-Studio. Yecchh.

StabbyMcStoo
StabbyMcStoo

"This used to be $.50 on the dollar"

This is a nice play on words.  A US taxpayer can deduct up to 50% of their entire income, not get a 50% tax credit on every dollar donated.  This type of fuckery would be enough of a warning sign to me if I never knew anything about this cult.  

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

Apropos of the Freewinds and Cold Sores, check the comments section of the Gawker reposting of this week's hot story:

http://gawker.com/5864342/tom-...

All I gotta say is Katie better stay away from his husband's boyfriend, otherwise she'll find herself cleaning asbestos for the next billion years.

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

That Dallas layout looks like something a frat house drank and threw up, spewing forth wingnut cocktails with loads of different fonts.

As for the SeaOrg poster—does a layout ever get more Dickish than this?  "The Organization of Expansion, now with our patented hand pump."

mrgreebly
mrgreebly

If you want to know some thoughts or more detail, contact me today right now!, don't delay!

Make sure you are IN the IN crowd and don't miss out on any super sekrit information only I know and that can only be told to you over the phone or in person after 5 hours of "discussion".

aa
aa

Ever since the Top 25 countdown, I've been checking in here regularly to get my Scientology fix, and I just noticed that this is the 23rd straight day of Scientology stories here at The Voice. And to top it off, on many days there's been two or three stories posted, and lots of hard-hitting, in-depth reporting. That's quite a Herculean feat for someone already loaded down with all the responsibilities that come with running a newspaper (not to mention traveling overseas in the middle of this marathon and never skipping a beat). 

My hats off to Tony Ortega - the most dedicated, hardest-working SP in the news media!

O. Lallieberry
O. Lallieberry

To people who believe that Scientology is just a harmless and wacky celebrity "religion," I always point out the following: If Scientology didn't have its tax deduction, it wouldn't have its 440-foot luxury ocean liner, endlessly island-hopping in the Caribbean. Nor would Scientology customers be taking tax-deductible holiday cruises on that ocean liner.

Most people in the United States don't get to have tax-deductible holidays.

Robert Robinson
Robert Robinson

I am thinking that a certain television show could sue the Dallas org over the logo.  I would also like to see LRH's signature on that billion year contract.  As for the San Diego Org, this might be a real great foot bullet if it gets out to a very broad public.  Especially now when the American public is feeling shafted by the government. 

MarkStark
MarkStark

I always thought maybe the ascot meant he wasn't actually IN the Sea Org.

Good to know. Even so, I don't wanna be a Sea Ogre!

Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville

Like most Sunday services, Catholic, Protestant, Scientological, I have had to attend during my life, these are/were boring affairs.  The attendance to the service at Flag was so bad with respect to the public showing up for it, despite the free group auditing session, that the tech trainees were forced out of the courserooms every Sunday morning and bused the 180 feet over to the ballroom (nobody could walk anywhere for awhile, a decade or so ago) for an hour.  As an  aside, no one among the tech trainees could get a day off, even if one completed something major, or so much as watch DVD in the motel canteeen, all by verbal edict by the then captain, no doubt toeing the line for Dave or something thinking like Dave, but we could schlepp over to Sunday service and kill an hour of "production" there filling seats.

There was a high point to it, however. Every now and again the late Richard Reiss, then Senior C/S FSO would do Sunday service. It was something that as you waited for service to begin, you would hope that he would step out to take the podium. He imbued fun, care and life into something that was just the opposite.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

"....there's the Ideal Org scam where they've already bought and lost one property...."

I thought they still owned Coleman College; did they finally sell it?

Speaking of members, I've always been curious as to how many people are in Scientology in San Diego. I would guess 200, with around 70-80 active members.

I completely agree with you that Scientology is on the way out in San Diego - there is nothing left of the various missions (Chula Vista, Encinitas, La Jolla, etc.); it's just the downtown church and a Dianetics Institute in Tijuana (and I would bet they are on a banana peel as well.)

Guest
Guest

I agree he looks creepy (the whole commodore/ militaristic styling is stupid in terms of religion).  

But what always got me was his lying voice.  You can tell the second he starts talking that it's all lies.  There isn't a minute element of sincerity.  His lecturing really seems to be an identical process to his science fiction writing. With a sickening touch of malevolence, leading the weak-minded wherever he pleases. 

Of course, knowing the guy was in fact a known pathologic liar may lead me to be biased. 

MarkStark
MarkStark

No dreams of his liver lips sliding gently across your cheek?

It's not about his appearance. It is about what he represents. Power and promise. Women used to faint when they got close to Hitler. They thrilled to the sound of his voice. Hitler was uglier than Ron by miles. At least Hubbard looks friendly.

MarkStark
MarkStark

Winner!

Inside the brochure:

Imagine yourself spending one, five, ten years or more in a prison camp! Well, the only way to make that dream come true is if you join the Sea Org today, because only the Sea Org has the RPF. Remember, the sooner you join, the sooner you can begin your career at hard labor and practically no wages.

Karin Pouw endorses the RPF fully and speaks for all the RPF incarcerated when she says:

"It's a wonderful place!"

"The rice and beans are delicious and just as with all Sea Org members, the Freeloader Debt they are accumulating stays safe and is like money in the bank."

"The inmates love the humiliation and the chance to get right with LRH."

"In addition, besides free mail screening, they are learning important life skills such as dumpster and toilet cleaning, shoveling sewage, as well as scraping things and a whole range of other skills that would take an Encyclopedia Britannica on menial labor to cover."

StabbyMcStoo
StabbyMcStoo

Unfortunately, the IRS was bamboozled into agreeing that any money you give to Scientology (even for your kids' tuition at one of their schools) is tax deductible.  Scientology holds unique tax status that even the Catholic Church doesn't get.

anti slime ballz
anti slime ballz

Considering Michelle Stafford & Sharon Case, 2 of the main female leads on "Young & Restless" are Slimes, me thinks there will be more of a soap opera happening back stage than on the show itself.

MarkStark
MarkStark

But it still makes you think about joining the Sea Org, doesn't it? If only to help them with their graphic design. There's something you can do about it. And you'll come back to do more of it. The Sea Org motto is "We Come Back."

If you want to be like Ron, you have to join the Sea Org, because Ron was in the Sea Org. It is like Lotto. You gotta be in it to win.

If you don't want to be like Ron for some reason, that is just plain low-toned. A trillion years of darkness and a plague upon your family. Tom Cruise has some words for you, too.

barbsnow
barbsnow

Aha... I wondered where they got that number.  But I don't think they were trying to fool you with that logic.  It made sense to them.   You give us 50% of your income and you don't have to pay taxes on that half.  What a deal.  Aren't you glad you are a Scientologist -- who else could have such a super win. 

MarkStark
MarkStark

Now Robin, let's look for the good in this brochure. I love the way the word TEXAS doesn't fit on the line, don't you? That's LRH genius. You're missing the greater message. No taxes. Affordable housing. You can donate all your money to the Org, take out loans for courses, and still be on top, living big.

bobx
bobx

If CoS ever does fold, a lot of reporters are going to miss them as badly as Leno, Conan, and SNL are missing Herman Cain and Sarah Palin.  Such an endless stream of great material!

barbara graham
barbara graham

Gawker and Radar used to be the recipients of our tips, but that was before Tony figured out it could be a full-time gig! (I always knew it had that potential!)

TheGuestt
TheGuestt

Ah, I know Ron was superb at coverups, and liked to play dressup, but that always ascot thing...did anyone ever find out what that was all about?  Always wondered what it was hiding.

Cherylandrillie
Cherylandrillie

Last time I was there, 2007-2009, you still couldn't walk anywhere. It started after the first Anonymous raids. Mind you I very rarely took the bus if I could help it, I was one of the lucky ones that never got caught. At one point they had security out taking photos of people walking between buildings, they were then routed to ethics.

Ron
Ron

"nobody could walk anywhere for awhile, a decade or so ago"

That was probably when the Lisa McPherson Trust was in town. Xenu forbid you should be exposed to such Suppressive Persons!

TheGuestt
TheGuestt

While you were slaving away on courses that you believed would transform the world into a freer civilization, while you were "spotting" spots on a wall, touching chairs  in that Sunday "Service" room as part of a "religious" experience, while you were kicking your out ethics self  for secretly dreaming of wasting an hour at a beach family picnic,  wasn't there a single moment during any of the above you went "Oh, wait..."

And when you were forced to jump on a bus to travel 180 feet, was this not a "maybe I'm in a cult" moment for you?

NCSP
NCSP

But that's the thing, he *really, really* doesn't look friendly to me. Quite the opposite, in fact. Even when he's joking in his lectures, it's always so false. And I'm not some super-sensitive person when it comes to intuiting things about other people.

ETA: This was also true when I didn't know anything about Scientology. I think he gives a lot of people a super-creepy vibe, which is one of the reasons opposition to Scientology isn't a really tough sell. Most people can tell something's fishy about him just from looking at him or listening to him for a few seconds. I guess there's a just a very thin line between that quality, whatever it is, being really off-putting and really compelling.

DMSTCC
DMSTCC

Meet a Scientologist:  RPF member Joe (wanna) Blow.  'Rice and beans have been a perfect sustenance since I lost my sense of taste and smell while performing my religious duties in the bowels of the greatest theta ship on water. It's more efficient to grab a handful out of whatever our handlers present whether it be buckets or troughs while we work than to have to clean up and and travel to the dining room. After all, I'm creating a better world for all mankind. 

...Please help me'

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

It's hilarious, not a day goes by without some scilon drama. lol

bobx
bobx

No, you're not quite parsing it right.  You can deduct up to 50% of your entire income-- that is, donate your entire income to CoS, and you don't have to owe taxes on half of it!  Super win indeed!

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde—either those fonts go, or I do.

StabbyMcStoo
StabbyMcStoo

Gawker sucks now.  I suspect that there is something else going on behind the scenes at Gawker because they refuse to pick up Scilon tips (when they used to pick up most tips).  The Valeska story they covered failed to mention some pretty important details (like her being held against her will for 12 years), and made a dumb comment about Tony's story being 'messy'.

I suspect there's more to that story, but I prefer Tony and VV to their crap any day.

wannabeclear
wannabeclear

Here's the definitive answer about the ascot thing.  Ascot = pretentious ass putting on airs.  In "the Commodore's" deluded mind, that stupid ascot and captain's cap made him look debonair and worldly. In reality, he looks like a paunchy doofus playing dress up. And so it really is a great advertisement for the Sea Org.  If you ever have any doubts about whether it's a cool organization to join, that picture of Hubbard should immediately dissuade you.  Of course, if you are actually considering joining, you are likely already too far gone. 

MarkStark
MarkStark

It probably hid a large, oozing fistula, which was drained each night by an attentive hot-pants clad ecclesiastical messenger girl. Either that, or a 666 mark-of-the-beast birthmark or tattoo.

Also, what is the significance of the piece of twine on his right wrist? Is it something galactic? He probably wore this crap just to confound us, knowing we'd be pondering just these things after he'd smashed his name into history.

Sanddancer
Sanddancer

 Was there an official reason given, or was it more a case of, "nope, can't go here?"

Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville

Rhetorical question asked the express purpose of winnowing outand pointing up some failure or flaw, or sincerely asked?  If the latter, then you've answered yourown question, “…youbelieved would transform the world into a freer civilization.”  If it’s the former, there’s likely    no answeryou’d comprehend or understand. 

wannabeclear
wannabeclear

What could be goofier than a jackass in an ascot, a cardigan and a captain's cap?  He looks the opposite of distinguished.  He looks like a caricature of Robin Leach in the outtakes of a bad satire of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

All that Sea Org ad needs is a caption: "You wanted champagne wishes and caviar dreams, instead you get rice and beans."

MarkStark
MarkStark

Time has no doubt worked against people's perception of Hubbard, in videos especially. Russell Miller said that back in the 1950's, 9 out of 10 people who met Hubbard found him to be interesting if not a captivating/charismatic character. Only 1 in 10 could see right through him, to see that he was full of it.

His face is full of character and he was sort of handsome when he was young. A lot of people are pretty strange looking or eccentric. Einstein had the mad scientist look, with a hair thing going for a while. Didn't matter what he looked like. It was about his ideas. For most of his life, Hubbard looked avuncular rather than insane or repulsive.

I'm not sure if they still have a portrait of Hubbard in every course room. They might be toning down the Stalin thing.

I think the reason they may be using pictures of an older Hubbard, is they want to make him look like a distinguished, contemporary figure. By today's standards, he looks too goofy in some of his younger photos.

The big photos they drape over ships etc. It really looks totally nuts, but Scilons just love him. The bigger he is, the more alive he is to them I guess.

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