Scientology in Crisis: Debbie Cook's Transformation from Enforcer to Whistleblower

DebbieWayne.jpg
Debbie Cook and her husband Wayne Baumgarten, Christmas 2010
Most of the press reporting on Debbie Cook so far has focused on her past as a high-ranking executive in the Church of Scientology and her sudden transformation this week into a whistleblower trying to rally her fellow church members against the management of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

But several years passed between Cook's role as "Captain FSO" in Clearwater, Florida and where she finds herself today, criticizing Miscavige from San Antonio, Texas, but no longer an employee of the church.

Cook still isn't willing to give us an interview, but we're not waiting to hear from her: the years after she left her nearly legendary role at "Flag" in Clearwater and then went through a humiliating punishment at Scientology's secretive desert headquarters in California in 2007 is a documented part of her story, and helps us understand how she became the lightning rod she is today.

Which makes us ask: has Scientology's homophobia finally brought it to the edge of collapse?

Scientology's homophobia is such a well-known part of its makeup, it's the stuff of celebrity roasts and award shows. At last year's Golden Globes, comedian Ricky Gervais quipped, "Also not nominated was I Love You Philip Morris, Jim Carrey, and Ewan McGregor -- two heterosexual characters pretending to be gay. So the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then."

Director Paul Haggis made news for leaving Scientology in part over what he considered its homophobia. And like Debbie Cook, we'll go straight to "Source" -- L. Ron Hubbard -- who called homosexuality a perversion in Dianetics, the founding document of the religion.

And if you believe Marty Rathbun, formerly the second-highest ranking executive in Scientology, it was a homophobic hazing that ended Debbie Cook's illustrious career as a Sea Org official, and was a crucial step on her journey from "the face of Flag" to the potential leader of a church-splitting revolt.

As we've written previously, Cook's e-mail complaining about church leader David Miscavige is so potentially devastating because for so many years she had come to symbolize, for many, what was right about Scientology.

"She was like the mother of Scientology, really," says former Sea Org member Mat Pesch. "She was the smart woman who was supposed to be everything Scientology is supposed to be."

For the 17 years that she was the "captain" of "Flag Service Organization," Cook's smiling face graced magazine articles and videos beckoning church members to Clearwater, where they could check in for extended (and expensive) stays. "Even if somebody hadn't been to Flag, they knew her and looked up to her. She represented everything that was supposed to be good about Scientology," Pesch says.

Mike Rinder still remembers the first time he saw that smiling face.

"I was her first boss in the Sea Org. She arrived in about 1978," the former top spokesman of the church told me yesterday by phone from Florida. "Debbie was in the Commodore Messenger's Organization to begin with. I was the head of CMO Clearwater. She came from North Carolina and she was like Daisy Duke. It was like she was arriving in the big city for the first time. I mean, she was from Raleigh -- it wasn't like she was coming from a farm or something. But she was a fish out of water. Her accent was far more pronounced than it is now. She was only 18 or 20 or something, but she was a very smart girl and she did very well."

She did so well, she eventually ran Scientology's spiritual mecca. "I have to tell you, her staying on as the head of the FSO for as long as she did is virtually unheard of," Rinder says.

Cook wasn't only known for smiling in videos and magazine articles. Like any Sea Org member, she was under intense pressure to meet productivity quotas, and at Flag Land Base that meant attracting a steady stream of high-paying public Scientologists to complete courses while staying there. In the Sea Org, it's a commonplace that executives harangue their underlings about meeting quotas, and Cook was said to be no different, screaming at rooms of employees if numbers were down.

She is also named in a 2001 declaration by Maria Pia Gardini, a former Sea Org member who said that ten years earlier she was put under intense pressure by Debbie Cook to donate more than a million dollars to Scientology after Cook learned that Pia Gardini's mother had just died and she stood to inherit money. Pia Gardini writes in painful detail how Cook and others pressured her repeatedly to turn over the money, supposedly to help pay for a program that would bring Italians to Clearwater for auditor training, but the money never was spent for that purpose. Instead, Pia Gardini claimed, Cook was paid a large bonus for getting the money out of her, and with the bonus bought an expensive car.

Marty Rathbun
was a high-ranking executive in Scientology during this time, and he acknowledged to me yesterday that Cook did, in fact, get a bonus as a commission for Pia Gardini's donations.

"You have to understand," he told me by telephone from Texas, "under Miscavige, the FSO executives have become glorified registrars."

He pointed me to a video of Cook's successor in the position, Harvey Jacques, that we posted here in November. Jacques, the current Captain FSO, is seen showing up to a New Year's Eve party, explaining to some Taiwanese Scientologists that he has only a few minutes to raise the last $8,000 of the $5 million he was tasked with raising in the last two weeks of 2010.

"That was her post. She spent a tremendous amount of time making money. It comes with the territory," Rathbun told me. "We all have laundry."

Rathbun then quoted US attorney Robert Perry, who said during his summation at the John DeLorean trial in 1984, "For a plot hatched in hell, don't expect angels for witnesses."

"I know that e-mail she sent is sincere about her disgust for what the church became," Rathbun says, "She was forced to turn the FSO into a giant fundraising machine. So yeah, I'd assume she has some regret over what she did."

Even with money flowing in, and keeping employees in line, it's still remarkable that Cook lasted as long as she did as Captain FSO, Mike Rinder tells me.

"David Miscavige is known for getting rid of people he perceives as a threat, either because of their apparent skill or their popularity," Rinder says. "Well, Debbie was enormously popular, and she was the public face for Flag forever. She was featured in all the videos, she did the graduations, and every Friday night she presented all the awards and certificates to anyone who completed anything. She was a very big deal.

"She didn't stay in such a prominent position by being a dummy. She was very competent and intelligent, and was very well versed in Scientology. She's not just a nice personality. She was a very skilled Scientology auditor and supervisor and was trained in the administrative policies of Scientology," Rinder says.

"When Miscavige had gotten rid of everyone around him who were his trusted lieutenants -- they all ended up in The Hole -- he then hand-selected Debbie to be his go-to person. He brought her to Int base, and he told her that she had to now reform the international Scientology structure," Rinder says, referring to an episode in recent Scientology history that has been documented in detail in books like Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology and Marc Headley's Blown for Good, and at the St. Petersburg Times. By 2006, so many of Scientology's high-level executives had been sent by Miscavige to "The Hole" at Int base -- a double-wide trailer at the secretive desert base that had become a kind of gulag for executives out of favor -- there was almost no one left to run things at the highest levels.

That's the environment Cook found herself in late that year as she carried out a direction from Miscavige. She directed the various members of the The Hole to march down to the lake on the compound on a chilly October or November day.

One person who did that march was Mike Rinder. He remembers very well jumping into the cold water on Cook's order.

"I was in The Hole for two years," Rinder says.

Why, I asked him.

"I can't remember. I'd fucked up on whatever Miscagive figured I had fucked up on. And then the BBC came around, and I was out of The Hole again."

In early 2007, the BBC's John Sweeney had approached the church about what would become "Scientology and Me," his program which included his infamous blow-up at Tommy Davis. Rinder, who had been the top church spokesman, was pulled out of the Hole so he could help Davis handle Sweeney.

Suddenly, it made sense to me why Rinder looked so gaunt during Sweeney's show -- he had just spent nearly two years on rice and beans at The Hole.

RinderSkinny.JPG
Rinder on the BBC show, just out of The Hole

RinderToday2.JPG
Rinder today, looking more healthy

"Exactly. I'd been in The Hole for over a year, eating most of the time rice and beans, and all of the time trays of food that were dropped off and everyone scrambled to get what they could, and you had 10 minutes to eat and that's it," Rinder says.

I asked him to describe The Hole. "It was the two double-wide trailers that were called the CMO Int building. It consisted of one main conference room with cubicles around it, and other office spaces, and a men's and a women's bathroom. That's all it was."

"Where did you sleep?"

"On the floor. Under a desk."

"For two years?"

"Yep."

"And Debbie Cook showed up one day and made you march down to the lake and jump in it?"

"It was October or November. Yeah, it was cold. She was on orders," Rinder says.

After Rinder left early in 2007 to handle the BBC, Cook later that year ended up in The Hole herself.

Marty Rathbun, at his blog, describes what happened to her there that summer.

He writes that part of the routine at The Hole was to compel its convicts to confess to transgressions, a classic form of group control. Miscavige, Rathbun writes, wanted in particular for two of his former high-ranking, male executives to admit that they were in a homosexual relationship. Miscavige "had been alleging this to the entire crew for ten years," Rathbun writes.

"Debbie [Cook] was there when DM [Miscavige] announced that Tom Cruise would come the next day to 'punch you guys out' if the one hundred [prisoners in The Hole] failed to get a confession" from the two male executives that they were having a relationship.

Rathbun claims that in order to get the confessions that Miscavige demanded, the prisoners were pressured into physically beating the two men until they made forced admissions. When those admissions were reported to Miscavige, however, Rathbun writes that Cook spoke up and said that the admissions were being exaggerated.

That brought Cook herself under the withering gaze of the other prisoners, who perceived that she was preventing them from giving Miscavige what he wanted. Now, Cook became the subject of their hazing.

"That included loud accusations," Rathbun writes, "that Debbie 'must be a lesbo'."

For the next twelve hours Debbie was made to stand in a large garbage can and face one hundred people screaming at her demanding a confession as to her "homosexual tendencies". While this was going on, water was poured over her head. Signs were put around Debbie's neck, one marked in magic marker "LESBO" while this torture proceeded. Debbie was repeatedly slapped across the face by other women in the room during the interrogation. Debbie never did break.

Cook may not have given in to the pressure that day, but she did eventually leave the Sea Org and employment in Scientology. She moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she runs a business consulting firm. For more than four years, she's apparently been biding her time before unleashing her e-mail Saturday night and causing a crisis in the church.

Rathbun tells me that Cook will continue to stay out of the press, not only because she wants to make her appeal directly to church members, but also because she has signed a confidentiality agreement with the church itself.

"She's going to be able to talk about this stuff, and then we're going to be able to break the extortion of these gag contracts," Rathbun says. As for what he wrote about Cook's experience at Int Base, Rathbun says he confirmed it with multiple people who were in The Hole with Cook and witnessed it.

"It's been up for there for two years, and the church hasn't said a goddamn thing about it," Rathbun says.

The church did, however, release a statement about Cook's e-mail yesterday. Karin Pouw told a couple of news organizations, "Ms. Cook's opinions reflect a small, ignorant and unenlightened view of the world of Scientology today. They are not shared by the thousands of Scientologists who are overjoyed by our 27 new Churches and what they mean to the communities they serve."

Then, late yesterday, Pouw added to that statement with something she told the USA Today. Here's how USA Today writer Douglas Stanglin reported it:

Spokesperson Karin Pouw adds that the "positioning" of Cook as a "prominent Scientology insider" is "inaccurate." She describes her as "'a disgruntled defector' who has not had any position in the Church for several years, having left in 2007 for medical reasons."

"The Church refers to individuals such as Ms. Cook as a squirrel. A squirrel is someone who alters the Scripture; a heretic," she writes, asking that "you correct this error in your headline and in the text of the article."

Cook, a squirrel and a heretic? That's the classic playbook from Pouw and Miscavige, but in this case, Cook went out of her way to refer only to L. Ron Hubbard's own policies in her e-mail.

Also last night, the Tampa Bay (formerly St. Petersburg) Times published an editorial about the Cook e-mail. It is the kind of thing we should see in more daily newspapers in this country:

[Cook] claimed the church is sitting on more than $1 billion in donations to the association and wrote that such hoarding of money violates policies established by the late church founder L. Ron Hubbard...

While the church has berated former staffers who have spoken out as disgruntled and disloyal, Cook cannot be so summarily discounted. She acted as the church's local CEO in Clearwater from 1989 to 2006 and only left the church staff in 2008. She says in her letter that she remains in good standing with the church, and she describes herself as a devoted Scientologist appealing to other church members to embrace Hubbard's teachings, stand up to the aggressive fundraising and force positive change.

Cook's credible critique of the Church of Scientology is further evidence of the need for the Internal Revenue Service to review the church's practices. It also should trigger more interest in Congress about requiring more openness about the finances of religious organizations. But Cook's account also offers an opportunity for reflection by Scientologists, who as church insiders may be more effective in bringing change than any outside forces.

We couldn't agree more.


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


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FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

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[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]
[Paulette Cooper, Scientology's original and worst nightmare: a Thanksgiving tribute]

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 | 12. Tommy Davis | 13. Janet Reitman | 14. Tory Christman | 15. Andreas Heldal-Lund | 16. Marc and Claire Headley | 17. Jefferson Hawkins | 18. Amy Scobee | 19. The Squirrel Busters | 20. Trey Parker and Matt Stone | 21. Kendrick Moxon | 22. Jamie DeWolf | 23. Ken Dandar | 24. Dave Touretzky | 25. Xenu

HELD ABOARD THE FREEWINDS: TALES OF THE SEA ORG

[Valeska Paris, held against her will from 1996 to 2007 on Scientology's cruise ship]
[Ramana Dienes-Browning, marriage at 16, sexual interrogation, life in the engine room]
[Melissa Paris, Valeska's sister: forced to marry at 16]

SCIENTOLOGY VS. SOUTH PARK: INVESTIGATION AS RETALIATION

[Scientology targeted South Park's Parker and Stone in an investigation]
[More documents in the South Park probe: instructions to send in a young mole]
[Scientology responds in typical fashion] | [Lloyd Kaufman confirms the probe]
[Mark Ebner also investigated after South Park involvement]
[Mark Chauppetta, private eye, explains what Scientology operatives look for]

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

[Hey, Scientology Celebrity, Here's Your Media Training Checksheet!]
[Tom Cruise and X Factor's Stacy Francis singing together on the Freewinds]
[X Factor's Stacy Francis: Her first husband, Michael Sandlofer, answers abuse claims]
[Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay]
["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

["The Money Machine": another blockbuster St. Pete Times investigation]
[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

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

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

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[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
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[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

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[Desperate Scientology fundraising caught on video]


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230 comments
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OttoZ
OttoZ

Debbie Cook has said that she has no money to hire a lawyer. Has she given the OK for fundraising on her behalf?

Is Debbie Cook doing any fundraising?, or accepting donations?

Liza
Liza

Debbie can surely get an attorney to represent her via contingency. 

Brandy
Brandy

That's strange. I've traversed past their headquarters for many years on my way to work and not only have I never had a pamphlet shoved in my face but in 16 years of walking with Scientologists in downtown Clearwater on a Monday through Friday basis twice a day, my presence was never acknowledged except for a single time when one physically bumped into me and apologized. Other than that, I've been invisible.

Brandy
Brandy

The Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) is a very slanted and biased publication owned by the Poynter Institute, and prone to practices of violating ethical journalism with acute regularity, in my personal opinion. Although I live in St. Petersburg, just a few miles from Scientology headquarters in Clearwater, I knew little of the COS until the St. Petersburg Times began going after the organization on a predictable basis. I'm not accusing the Times of complete fabrication but I have firsthand experience with this newspaper, its editors and several of its reporters and know how it operates with agendas. For example, on multiple occasions the paper was provided, on a proverbial silver platter, proof positive of local government waste, favoritism and outright fraud, but refused to publish any of the information or even bother to follow up multiple leads. The paper curtails to some very important people politically-wise, and cherry picks which public officials and entities it reports on. I can name several local politicians who of which the paper wouldn't dream of publishing anything on that could possibly cast a them in an unfavorable view. This works both ways. The paper also has its favorite and regular targets it goes after with malice ... like the COS. I've been privy to things local politicians have engaged in that would make Miscavige and crew look like candidates for canonization by comparison, but when the Times is provided this information, refuses to investigate. I had a (Times) reporter tell me (of the proof positive he was provided regarding a high ranking but local politician who was "caught" doing something he shouldn't have been doing and something of which the public should have been made aware) "That couldn't possibly be true, he's a good, family guy." So much for subjective journalism. While I don't necessarily doubt some of the ex-members' claims, I doubt the integrity of the Times and question its methodology. I believe the Times has waged a witch hunt against Scientology, being such an easy target. Problem is, there is no rival publication in Pinellas County to do what the Times should be doing: creating and delivering responsible journalism benefiting all the people (read: the PUBLIC), not just a small cabal of wannabe kingmakers who have taken it upon themselves to direct this campaign. There are much more important matters affecting the public here than a church or cult or whatever some call it.

Old Timer
Old Timer

Brandy wrote, "The paper curtails to some very important people..." and "I can name several local politicians who of which..." 

Appears mental.

Brandy
Brandy

Classic Scion obfuscation technique. Attack the messenger, change the subject, try and change the focus of the topic or issue to that of the person discussing the situation instead of the actual situation. Opinions do not change facts but that doesn't appear to register or matter to a select group of people.

VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

Another restaurant cliaimed to use freshmozz arella cheese,where it's dishes were actually made with economycheddar.the "fresh pasta"advertieshed on another meau tumed out to befrozen.--Agedate. ℃⊙M--a nice and free placefor younger women and older men,or older women and younger men,to interact witheach other. 

Peter
Peter

GLAAD is aware of this and continues to do nothing about it and harrass comedians.

Peter
Peter

Second Dynamic Rules is a policy letter relating to sex rules in Scientology administration which states nobody may be punished for sex related issues. The church administration from the top down willfully ignores and violates this policy by remaining homophobic and mistreating homosexual members.

Peter
Peter

Writing up your homosexual experiences in a "police report" style.

The person in charge of your "therapy" informing you it's the result of attempted abortions on you prenatally.

Telling a homosexual he was a woman in a previous life and is now "confused."

The International Justice Chief, Mike Ellis, responding to your query by asking, "Have you ever considered that you were harming yourself by being a homosexual?"

These are things a Scientologist does.

"modern" religion. HA!

please explain
please explain

debbie was CO TOURS - a registrar - before she ousted John Danelovich and Ron Norton from the top job. A reg made money - she did... one of the best. she and pilar sat and strategized how to lift money out of people, oscar, pia, etdc etc etc. To say it was forced on her is not exactly the truth. She was doing it for over 30 years... sounds like she loved it - as a Tours CO she had the ability to get out and about and live it up, unlike the tech staff on the bottom of the org board and locked in an auditing room or the elks... so don't turn atround and say 'poor me' when you stayed and watched the massive overblown buildings and reggiung going on and were in there with your boots on at the top of it all, marty and debbie and mike

ShellyMiscavige
ShellyMiscavige

She's as guilty of perpetuating Miscavige's scam as any of them, more so than most.

But she either destroys Miscavige or she destroys herself.

AnonMomAnon
AnonMomAnon

Let us hope that both are destroyed. 

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

Has anyone seen this damage control clip by Tom Cruise?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Oprah asks him: "So Scientologists don't believe their way is the only way?"

Tom: "No"

He also says he can understand the interest in Scientology... "because it's a minority religion"... No Tom, we don't give a rat's ass what you believe, the only interest in Scientology is it's human rights violations.

One of the toughest lessons lays ahead for Tom. As Paul Haggis has said "silence in consent".

The only word of truth out of Tom's mouth was "minority". Was he always such a spineless, feeble half-wit? He repulses me.

obbop
obbop

Sometimes you feel like a cult, sometimes you don't.

I am convinced that some mentalities/personalities/etc. are more accessible to cults while other personality-types NO cult can convince to join or be persuaded, etc.

Just as some will fight to the death if ANY type of "slave chains" are forced upon them mental "slave chains" can also be fought to the death.

perhaps cults of all types actually perform a useful societal function.

DeckardCain
DeckardCain

Stanford Prison Experiment.  

A good number of personality types are susceptible to the development of a cult personality, but there are a few that are not.   

Bob
Bob

A thoroughly pointless and unpleasant article. It's not nice to laugh at the mentally retarded. Let's just leave them all alone and hope that they don't breed.

koki raki
koki raki

does this mean that my LRHs Bulgravia is going to tear apart.....??

Big hello from LRHs Bulgravia...

The Scientologist
The Scientologist

"Brainwashing" isn't a scientifically valid or proven concept. It's just a Cold War era theory that originated from a Chinese process literally meaning "wash brain" which was applied to American GIs captured during the Korean War. It's a form of "re-education" or thought control, similar to what happens to Winston Smith in "1984". Otherwise known as "suspension of disbelief".

But the popular concept of brainwashing, that you can erase someone's personality and replace it with sincere groupthink, this has never been proven. You can search all over the Internet - scientists consider the concept of "brainwashing" to be pseudoscience, just like they consider the polygraph machine and the Scientology E-meter to be pseudoscience.

It's not a question of brainwashing. People in Scientology, in any religion or political system, allow themselves to become indoctrinated. You voluntarily accept what is given to you as true, even if it has not been scientifically proven. Nobody puts a gun to your head in Scientology or is "forced" to hand over their money and put themselves into hopeless debt.

Regging is about applying psychological pressure to get someone to sign up for services or to make a donation or to join the Sea Org and so on. But the person being regged has to make the choice to agree. For every person who gets regged to donate thousands of dollars to the IAS, for example, there are dozens of others who will refuse. The average person being regged to join the Sea Org will also refuse. Being a Sea Org recruiter or an IAS reg is not an easy job - they have quotas and targets to meet and they will easily spend most of their days on the phone calling every possible number they can dig up, every day, all day. When things get really bad, they will drive out on "missions" to the homes of people who have contributed a great deal in the past and will apply a lot of psychological pressure to get them to donate (or to join the Sea Org, in the case of a recruiter.)

With IAS regges, if the people they are applying pressure to still refuse, they will literally beg. They will get down on their hands and knees and literally start crying and begging you like you've never seen anyone beg before. At some point, they will give up and leave.

If people in the Church were so "brainwashed" as critics claim, you would never see regges stooping so low. Anytime the Church begins some massive push for donations (as they did in the 1980s when the IAS was first launched), there is always a big drop off in active membership. I personally know dozens and dozens of people who have stopped being active in Scientology because of this. And they've done that before.

I can't tell you how many unactive Scientologists there are - we're talking thousands of people who are in good standing with the Church, who desire to "go up the Bridge," but they stay away because of the high pressure sales and push for donations. The Church spends a huge amount of resources to get these people "back on the Bridge".

So, if the Church is "brainwashing" people, they're doing a horrible job of it. Because most Scientologists sure as hell aren't "brainwashed". Otherwise, the Church would have a 100 billion dollar war chest by now. And that's never going to happen due to the high turnover rate.

Barbara Snow
Barbara Snow

I've often wondered why people won't just say ... " no, no, no, no... " and finally, " you have to leave my house now. I'll open the door for you.  "    I don't believe that it is necessarily brainwashing that causes them to allow themselves to be victimized by this mob-like pressure, but there is certainly something off kilter.  

MarthaWiggins
MarthaWiggins

Well, I don't know what you would call it, but when otherwise intelligent people refuse to look at evidence of clearly criminal behavior, it seems that they've somehow been controlled.  It's scary to have that conversation with a scnist.  The ability to re-arrange the real world into their version of it, based on what scn tells them, is truly frightening.  I'm thinking of the folks who received Debbie's email and immediately missed the point, labeled her an enemy, and went on about their scientology life.  What is that?

scnethics
scnethics

Brainwashing, as you define it, isn't proven, but cults don't do that or have to do that to control people.  There are many ways to gain control of people, using human weaknesses validated experimentally again and again. 

And the thousands of people you are talking about who don't seem to be so controlled are public scientologists.  These people have never been subjected to the heavier control that happens to staff members and worst of all, sea org members, and yet if you look more closely, you'll find public scientologists are heavily indoctrinated into the cult way of thinking.  You'll find that these people, who can think critically on other subjects, are oddly unable to think critically about scientology, and this keeps them under control.

If I lie to you and promise you something (like higher IQ) in order to get you to attend a seminar, I've controlled you.  BAIT

If due to placebo effect enhanced by peer pressure you experience something you think remarkable during that seminar, I might have you convinced right there.  Increase control.  SET THE HOOK

Now I can talk you into a commitment of time and money, and the more time and money you commit, the more your own cognitive dissonance will keep you committed.  You're keeping yourself under control at this point.  REEL 'EM IN

If I convince you to join staff and am then able to keep you busy all day long, keep you from getting proper rest and nutrition, and keep you in a military-style control environment 24/7, I can suppress the real you quite a bit, to the point where you'll act like "a good cult member should" instead of acting like yourself. 

Do you see anything unscientific about any of that?

Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson

I think it entirely unfair that Tony Ortega should be the focus of OSA's charm offensive.  "A third-rate porn advertiser desperate for copy and attention". He's just the messenger for goodness sake! There's no need to say nice things about him

If it was okay to hang a 'Lesbo' sign around Debbie's neck, make her stand on a barrel for hours screaming insults at her, tipping water over her and slapping her why don't they continue the lesbian theme in their current character references?

This might be effective: "'a disgruntled lesbian defector who has not had any position in the Church for several years, having left in 2007 for deviant sexual behavior which she refused to admit ."

Surely that would be the the 'ethical' way for the Church the whole world is reaching out for to handle this slight public relations débâcle based on their past record.

CharleneHux
CharleneHux

Interesting to see that the top donors to Scientology have nearly all been involved in scams themselves - Bryan Zwan, infamous for his Digital Lightwave scam is still going strong with donations of $10 mil plus to the Cult of Scientology from his newest company, Forge ABS. Do his investors know where the money really goes?  Then there's that slime, Michael Baybak, who has a PR firm that apparently has no ethical qualms over a hostile takeover of a company he was hired to promote - he donates millions to the Scientology scam.  And the list goes on....It is a scamming cult that teaches others to effectively scam the innocent to raise more funds to scam more people.  Its so hypocritical, that it has anti-psychiatry, anti-drug groups in its name while its biggest contributor, Bob Duggan, owns and runs a pharmaceutical company!  Investors beware - Bob donates 10s of millions of dollars of your money to Scientology rather than research.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Don't forget Carly Crutchfield...ugh

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

All I can say, is no money in the world can repair public opinion. For Hollywood stars to be associated with Scientology now is career destroying.

Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson

 You forgot Reed Slatkin - a Scientology 'Reverend' who swindled fellow 'Parishioners' out of 600 million dollars!

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

Scientology is offended by the Village Voice and other mad dog wog media calling us a cult because weare most definitely not a cult:

* Just because we have seances at Int Base does not make usa cult.

 

*  Just because wepublicly read confessions of masturbation at Int Base musters does not make usa cult. It is not that we are fixated on masturbation or sex; it is rather thatWDC Chairman and ED Int have been hiding their homosexual affair and only thekeen perception of COB RTC has seen through their lurid 1.1 activities aimed atdestroying the Scientology religion. COB does not engage in out 2D behaviorsand seriously deals with 1.1's and out 2D using, for example, his "trashcan humiliation/water torture" technique as was COB ordered used on formerCaptain Debbie Cook. We in RTC applaud COB's effective handling of all outethics situations. Musical chairs really impinged.

 

* Tom Cruise went to the US State Dept and said thatScientology is not a cult. John Travolta did the same thing, If these moviestar OT's say that Scientology is not a cult, then Scientology is not a cult.To this point, Tom Cruise stops at the scenes of accidents to help because heis the only one who can help. A "cult member" would not stop at thescene of an accident to help. 

All people reading this blog -- except for we in RTC - are grossly out ethics and are under investigation by OSA. 

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

In other words, you're saying that CO$ is not a cult, just a passel of really sick fucks? Just askin' . . .

Radio Paul
Radio Paul

Am I the only one that caught the Freudian Slip of Karin Pouw?

In response, a spokesman dismissed cook as a "disgruntled defector."

"Ms. Cook's opinions reflect a small, ignorant and unenlightened view of the world of Scientology today," spokeswoman Karin Pouw wrote to On Deadline. "They are not shared by the thousands of Scientologists who are overjoyed by our 27 new Churches and what they mean to the communities they serve."

Pouw also added that calling Cook a "prominent Scientology insider" is "inaccurate," as she is merely "'a disgruntled defector' who has not had any position in the Church for several years, having left in 2007 for medical reasons." 

She said thousands???? Not 10's of thousands or millions. This rare slip of truth also reveals the truth about what is important to those few thousand Scientologists left, CHURCHES???? It is all about the big shiny buildings. 

Thetan-X
Thetan-X

Hey RP, .yep this was brought up earlier, and the question was asked : is it thousands of  overjoyed Scientologists, OR thousands of Scientologists overjoyed with the 27 New Churches ?? I was under the impression the tiny little tyrant had to personally review ANY  and ALL statements and comments going out to the mainstream press. I can't see the 9th grade drop-out letting something that important ( deflated church statistics) slide through......did I just answer my own question?? 

JJ
JJ

What the f**k kind of stupid organization is this? Morons.

dogsniff
dogsniff

Yes lets require churches to have more financial transparency and of course it is logical to assume our government should have the same requirement!  Is there actually gold in Fort Knox?  It is our gold why shouldn't we know?.  While America was debating the 700000 billion in bailouts the Fed was quietly behind our backs giving Trillions with a T to foreign bankers to bail them out.  It is high time the transparency promised by Obama that didn't happen finally occurs.  Doesn't that actually impact us more then what one church or another is doing with their money?  And while churches are being all transparent how about we get some 411 on the Catholics churches shenanigans regarding their vast stores of wealth? 

Veritas
Veritas

and yeah um, one time at band camp...............................

MissCabbage
MissCabbage

The latest Scientology tactic is attempt to change the subject.

FAIL!

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

WE IN RTC ARE NOT TRYING TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT!

WE HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR DECADES THAT PSYCHIATRY IS A MURDEROUS MONSTROUS INSANITY THAT NEEDS TO BE OBLITERATED!

WE ARE ON TOPIC; ARE YOU?

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

im not sure let me ask my therapist......

John P.
John P.

Was there an actual rhetorical point to this or is a cry for help, perhaps necessitating medication dosages adjusted?  

If you're a Church of Scientology stooge trying to distract attention from the issue at hand onto a raft of paranoid criminal conspiracies, you'll have to do better than that not only to change anyone's mind but to avoid being seen as almost as much of a laughingstock as the Church of Scientology is.  You forgot to mention the Rockefellers, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission and the New World Order.  

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

dont forget the Illuminati and the Free Masons

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

We in RTC are not homophobic. If people want to be 1.1 and engage in deviant sex acts, then we certainly are are not stopping them. If these people come to us for a cure, however, we can handle homosexuality for about 2 or 3 million dollars using very precise techniques.

We have dozens of members in CC Int who have been cured of gayness. They are no longer "closet cases" ashamed of their "secret sin." They are all now robustly heterosexual and no longer have lurid 1.1 thoughts about locker room romps or seedy trysts in the cheap hotel rooms along Ventura Blvd.

Can your religion do that?

We in RTC think not.

Come to Scientology to audit the gay away today!

Radio Paul
Radio Paul

And the ones who don't get cured will be dealt with quietly and without sorrow. 

MissCabbage
MissCabbage

... after you run out of CA$H, of course!

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