Is Scientology Imploding? Watching the Panic After a Former Executive Dares to Question Church Management

DebbieCook2.JPG
A young Debbie Cook, back before the trouble started
UPDATE: We look back at Debbie Cook's career, from enforcer to whistleblower.

The world of Scientology watching is still reeling after Debbie Cook's New Year's Eve e-mail landed in the inboxes of thousands of church members Saturday night.

A few minutes after midnight, we began receiving copies of the broadside, written by one of Scientology's most important former executives. Citing the words of L. Ron Hubbard, Cook trashed the church's current management under leader David Miscavige, complaining about a "new age of continuous fundraising" and "extreme over-regging."

Over the next couple of days, it was remarkable to watch the reaction of church members who received the e-mail and variously praised it, condemned it, or simply freaked out.

Then, we noticed this statement by Larry Brennan, an ex-Scientologist who helped reorganize the corporate structure of the church in 1980s, and who knows perhaps as much as anyone else about the strength of Scientology to defend itself:

Organized Scientology was structured to withstand 'attacks' from the outside. But all its corporate veils and religious cloaking are powerless to prevent an implosion, emptying course rooms, and causing a mass exodus.

Implosion? A mass exodus? Can a single e-mail really cause such widespread panic? We asked someone who knew Debbie Cook and could explain to us what her salvo means for an organization on the edge.

But first, we wanted to give some indication that we here at the Voice aren't the only ones who jumped on this story New Year's Day and consider it an important one.

Joe Childs and Tom Tobin, the excellent journalists over at the formerly St. Petersburg Times reported the Cook e-mail Sunday afternoon, and it graced the top of page one yesterday, the second morning that their newspaper carried its new name, the Tampa Bay Times...

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That story contained a concise rundown on Cook's career...

Cook, 50, was the face of Scientology's worldwide spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, known as "Flag." As Flag's "captain" from 1989 to 2006, she acted as the church's local CEO but also was known and respected throughout Scientology. She was the top Clearwater officer in the Sea Org, Scientology's military-style religious order.

A fixture in Flag's magazine, Source, a smiling, confident Cook was always pictured in her formal blue uniform with an upbeat message for parishioners.

She later moved to the church's international management ranks in California, but left the staff in 2008. Cook and her husband, Wayne Baumgarten, also a former church staffer, run a San Antonio-based business consulting firm specializing in Internet marketing, web design, social media, financial planning and other areas.

As for Cook's e-mail itself, it's lengthy and filled with Scientology jargon. We noticed an outline of her message at WhyWeProtest.net, and thought it did a good job boiling down her message (with some edits)...

I've been a high-level member of Scientology for over 30 years and never stirred any trouble before, but now I will.

I hate the fundraising. Scientology already has over $1 billion that it is not spending.

I hate the expensive new empty buildings.

I hate that people who reached the magic level of "clear" are told they have to re-do it so the church can make money. They did this to me too and now I'm poor.

I hate that David Miscavige has taken total power over the church when it was supposed to be run by executive committees.

I hate that the executives supposed to be in charge are in a special Scientology jail just for them, where they also sent me for a while.

I want you to do something.

I want you to stop making donations (except for buying Scientology services).

I want you to forward this e-mail anonymously to every client of the Scientology corporation you know.

That summary is a bit flip, but it does capture generally the point that Cook was making. As I pointed out Sunday morning, one of the things that characterizes her tone is how much she emphasizes that she is not an outsider criticizing Scientology -- she is a member in good standing, cares that her church has become too much about "regging" (fundraising), and she cites the words of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, to make her point.

I reached Cook on Sunday afternoon, but she declined to be interviewed by me, and she asked that I take down her e-mail, which I had put up at this site. I complied, and she politely explained that she would rather try to reach her fellow church members directly than through the press.

I respected her choice, and honestly wished her good luck. But judging by the reactions she was getting at her Facebook page, she has an uphill battle ahead of her.

Watching what her fellow church members posted on her wall before she could take it down became something of a sport over the last couple of days. The sharp-eyed researchers at WhyWeProtest.net recorded every single one of those reactions, and clearly enjoyed discussing what they portended for Cook and for the church. Some examples...

There were those church members who were certain that Cook could not have authored such a message, and assumed that her e-mail account had been hacked...

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But once Cook confirmed the authenticity of her e-mail at her Facebook page and with e-mails and telephone calls to friends, some turned nasty...

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Others were just concerned that all of the hand-wringing and complaining was happening in a public place like Facebook...

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Multiple church members, meanwhile, indicated that they had reported Cook and her e-mail to Scientology authorities...

DCookFB4.JPG

Facebook, of course, is an imperfect lens into the church and its members. But from what we could see, many members were upset to see a formerly high-ranking executive challenge so directly the management of Scientology.

I wanted to know what kind of an impact her e-mail might have on the church, and I called Jason Beghe, an actor who famously left the church in 2008 and has criticized it vocally since then. When he was still in, Beghe was a popular celebrity member, spent considerable time at "Flag," and understood very well Debbie Cook's role in Scientology.

"This lady is as hardcore as anybody who ever picked up a can. This is hardcore. This is the commanding officer of the Flag Service Organization for 17 years," he told me by phone from Malibu. ("Can" is a reference to the sensors of an e-meter, the device Scientologists use during counseling sessions.)

"She had a lot of status. But she was always very warm and professional. She was extremely friendly, but she never crossed any boundaries," Beghe said, referring to the times he met Cook when he was receiving services in Clearwater. "When she had left, I thought she could really do something. And the way she did it, wow, it was perfect."

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Jason Beghe
Beghe has encouraged other people to leave the church since he defected, and he's worked with former executive Marty Rathbun, who has been especially effective at convincing longtime members to disavow the church because of the way Miscavige is running it.

"Let's face it, there's not a lot of new people getting into Scientology. And the target now is to get to the people who are abused who are inside. And she's reaching the people who need help," Beghe said. "I applaud the hell out of her." [Earlier: How many people are in Scientology?]

Beghe wanted me to understand just how important Cook's job was in Clearwater.

"She ran the entire Flag organization. She was the commanding officer. Like, if your egg was overcooked, that was her responsibility. She was responsible for every single person who worked at Flag," he said.

And as for the people she's trying to reach, he says, they simply won't respond to someone from the outside, or even from most other church members who might voice discontent. It takes someone with Cook's name to shake them up, Beghe said.

"I know it's hard to understand how someone can be so dense. But you're in a trance. When someone of this magnitude speaks up, it has an effect. And it's as 'standard' as you can get. All she's doing is complaining about 'non-standard' tech," he said, meaning that by quoting Hubbard, Cook was trying to appeal to church members in a way that would help them question Miscavige's leadership.

"Her intention is to help those 12,000 people and the people they decide to contact. Going to the press, on the other hand, would have had little effect. The name of this game is help those motherfuckers who are in that cult. And this, I think, will do a lot," Beghe said. "I'm sure there were maybe hundreds of people who just went, holy shit, and had a revelation."

But didn't the reaction at Facebook indicate that she's going to have a difficult time getting through to some members, who instinctively reacted by turning her into authorities for daring to criticize Miscavige?

"There's going to be a campaign against her, I'm sure. They're going to do their standard, retarded fucking routine. But that's great, because every time they do that, it makes the next one that less credible," Beghe said, referring to an effort already under way to "dead agent" Cook -- turn someone with an illustrious history in Scientology into an unperson, reminiscent of the way figures were erased from photos in old issues of Pravda.

"I'm sure they're going to come down very hard on her, however they do it," Beghe added. "The church is furiously coming up with ways to counteract the effects of her e-mail. So already, most of these people are being 'handled.' One reason you're not hearing anything from the church on this is that they're busy."

And such a campaign by the church to 'handle' members who saw the e-mail will be effective on some, Beghe added. "These people cannot think for themselves, which is ironic, because they're told when they get into Scientology that they'll be trained to do exactly that," he said. Others, however, will begin to question seriously what is happening to their church after seeing Cook's criticisms.

"At some point they're going to wake up. Hopefully."


UPDATE: As Marty Rathbun points out over at his blog (and our commenters have been alerting us), the Debbie Cook story is getting picked up in a major way. Major newspaper in the UK have it -- the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail -- and this morning USA Today joined in. (And now the Dutch. And in Germany, Der Spiegel.)

Rathbun also noted that the church's response to the Cook e-mail -- put out by spokeswoman Karin Pouw -- sounded about as convincing as the proclamations by Baghdad Bob: "Ms Cook's opinions reflect a small, ignorant and unenlightened view of the world today."

Have to say, he's got a point.

Also, Jason Nark has a fun look at David Miscavige's South Jersey and Philadelphia roots today for Philly.com.


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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THE TOP 25 PEOPLE CRIPPLING SCIENTOLOGY

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SCIENTOLOGY VS. SOUTH PARK: INVESTIGATION AS RETALIATION

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[Scientology responds in typical fashion] | [Lloyd Kaufman confirms the probe]
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MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

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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]
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HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

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EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

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My Voice Nation Help
154 comments
Sevenplusone
Sevenplusone

Love it, the way Mr Beghe says it - is how I talk and think, he (in my humble opinion) is spot on. Jason is a wonderful voice for anti sci and I thank him greatly for his educated and experienced criticism's.

Nozeno
Nozeno

scientology works. LOL.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

Have the top ranked Scientology cult members stopped beating their fellow cult members yet?

Damian DeWitt
Damian DeWitt

"Debbie Cook's letter has put DM in a Catch-22 situation: once people read  it, every time Scientology pressures them for donations they'll be reminded yet again that Debbie was right. "

The Game. You just lost it.

Old OT7
Old OT7

Blockbuster of an article, Tony!  Now it's really getting serious.

There's a crack in the dike (scientology) that surely will become a flood soon.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

I'd like to thank the person (he/she?) for leaking this e-mail to Tony. This e-mail is now being viewed world wide. Nice!

Nexi Bello
Nexi Bello

I assume that Debbie Cook knew from the start that it would leak. But did she consider this effect as negligible compared to what she wanted to cause inside scientology or, consciously or unconsciously, to protect herself from some of the punitive and silencing measures that Miscavige would undertake against her?Nexibello-edit- should have been a reply to bobx'

Nexi Bello
Nexi Bello

Tony wrote on Jan 1 that Debbie Cook sent her e-mail to "reportedly [] 12,000 members". Where does this figure come from? I tried to find a reference in her e-mail, TO's and the other articles and in the comments, incl. WWP, ESMB and Rathbun's but couldn't find anything. Did I miss something? I dont' think that the answer is as simple as "Debbie Cook entered the recipients in the "to"-field instead of using "bcc" and Tony just counted from 1-12000"

Nexibello

P.S.: Yesterday, "Spiegel Online" (the online version of "Der Spiegel", one of the largest European weekly news magazines) published an article about Debbie Cook's e-mail. The article more or less quoted the Tampa article but I especially like the title of the "Spiegel Online" article which is "Insiderin schickt Brand-Mail an Scientology-Anhänger". I'd translate this to "Insider sends urgent impassionate e-mail to scientology adherents". Today, a "Brand-Mail" or a "Brandbrief" (same in letter form) is often used as an instrument to embarrass the present leadership or one's political opponents but historically it is a written incitement to rebellion, resistance, sedition...

bobx
bobx

One thing that I found funny was Debbie sending out her message to 12,000 and then asking that it not be reprinted in the papers (polite of Tony to comply, but of course it was going to get widely republished).  Martin Luther at least posted his protests on the outer door of the church, for anybody to look at; she seemed to want to post it only in the sacristy where only the truly faithful would see, as if that was going to work.

koki raki
koki raki

where is Marcotai or Marc ,when you need one....

Big hello from LRHs Bulgravia.

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

We in RTC are here to make the Church survive as this is the greatest good. All good people quite naturally know that the survival of the Church of Scientology is the greatest good. Therefore, if some anonymous person wholly unconnected to the Church decides to go in and take a look at some SP’s Facebook page – and perhaps even changes the password — and then e-mails us the data, then we are merely a receipt point with clean hands. We see this as the actions of a concerned citizen who wants to protect Scientology by helping we in RTC. This is no way “hacking” as the hostile media has reported. Look at it this way: No one in the Church “asked” to get Debbie Cook’s letter. In the same way, we in RTC did not “ask” to get information on all suppressive persons connected to Debbie. The information was rather forced on us just as Debbie’s letter was forced on 12,000 of our parishioners. An astonishing number of these people have not reported receiving Debbie’s e-mail and so it appears that they have withholds from RTC.We in RTC are enturbulated and must now handle this flagrant noncompliance the hard way, which is to say we will cave in our entire membership if necessary by gang bang sec checks and non mamby-pamby ethics cycles: We in RTC will get them to write KR’s one way or another for it is an order straight from COB. We in RTC have a “Knowledge Reporting” system in place for a perfectly good reason: We want knowledge reports about you and everyone connected to you. We in RTC want children to write KR’s on their parents. We want spouses to write KR’s on each other. We want business partners to write KR’s on each other. We need the vital knowledge contained in KR’s to put in ethics on this planet. We cannot Keep Scientology Working unless all good Scientologists write KR’s every few hours of each day. Think of KR’s as the Scientology version of prayer in which Scientologists unburden and cleanse themselves of entheta, crimes, suppression and O/W’s. Our juniors in OSA Int Intelligence — Linda Hamel, Kathy O’Gorman, Donatella, Charlie Earle, and others – need the data contained in KR’s for prediction and threat assessment. At present. KO is feverishly amassing the cross-indexes of all Scientologists who received Debbie Cook’s salacious e-mail. More importantly, KO will make an index of all Scientologists who did not report getting the letter!We in RTC lovingly remind our parishioners that noncompliance is a high crime, We further remind our parishioners that we in RTC may need to have our juniors in OSA read over the PC folders of those Scientologists whose loyalty is in doubt. By this we mean those who are not reporting receipt of the Debbie Cook e-mail. Furthermore, OSA Int may need to review the videotaped sessions of all PC’s suspected of mutual ruds with Debbie Cook. Happily for RTC, every session in recent has been videotaped for the greatest good. PC folders give OSA spiritually favorable negotiating power with PC’s during those times when they get banky and are uncooperative with Church officials. We find that our parishioners are humbled by our loving reminders of their past ruins and disgraces. These loving reminders serve Scientology parishioners by allowing them to compare then and now. Scientologists are allowed to see just how far they have progressed up their Bridge when reminded of past indiscretions they vouchsafed to the Church during religious confessional auditing. In closing, we in RTC remind our parishioners that Facebook — and really the whole internet — is no place for Scientologists to be. The place for Scientologists to be is in session at Flag rocketing their way up the Bridge to Total Freedom!

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

I hereby dub Debbie Cook "COB." She has more guts, dedication and respect than DM could ever muster. He should humbly bow in her presence...for he is nothingnesscompared to her.

BTW. Has anyone heard from her? Is she okay and not locked-up in room 714 at the Fort Harrison Hotel?

scnethics
scnethics

In the last two month period, Flag produced 13 clears.  This is according to Flag's "Source" magazine.  Back in 89, 90 and 91, Flag was sometimes creating around 300 clears in a two month period. 300!  Flag has not broken 100 clears in two months since 1995.  And let's not forget that some of the clears being made today had already been called clear once before.

This is a "clear" indicator that the church is failing.  No one makes it to the OT Levels without going clear first.  It's amazing that in the face of such an obvious drop-off in the stats, and a drop-off that is persisting, the Church manages to convince most of it's parishioners that things are going well.  They see that their local org is dead, but tell themselves that it's just their org.

This is what is so wonderful about this implosion, it really is the only way to get at these thoroughly entrenched members, who won't look at anything other than what they are told at events.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Oh this is rich, like anybody is gonna believe this crap:

The church, however, dismisses Debra Cook as a "disgruntled defector" who does not represent the majority of church followers.

Spokeswoman 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."

So, she's not in good standing because she left due to a medical condition. Damn, thats just plain evil to make a statement like that. Stupid scilons, there are laws that protect people's rights against discrimination because of a medical conditions..hahaha...the church of footbullets.

Here's more:

"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."

Karin Pouw the spokeshole is such a dumb fembot. Where is David Miscavige? Probably hiding in Tom Cruise's closet.

Radio Paul
Radio Paul

I have only seen a small number of responses on her FB page that have bashed her. That tells me a large number of people got it and are thinking on it.

Artoo45
Artoo45

When I think of what Ms. Cook has endured and read of the high regard in which she is held by the people that people who know her and it saddens and enrages me. What Hubbard has done to all these well intentioned, good people is a tragedy of institutional abuse across generations. You can see how important "LRH" is to her, what a source of good she imagines him to have been. I've seen it in other freezoners and Rathbun and Rinder as well. I imagine that they just can't psychologically cope with having done the things they've done and dedicated so much of their lives to what is basically a total con. What Cook can't seem to see is that the abuse that she and so many others have suffered at the hands of Miscavige was set in motion by the megalomaniac Hubbard back in 1950. The church may implode eventually, but the psychological damage done by "The Tech" will take generations to undo.

Joe Hone
Joe Hone

"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."Need to give you all a lesson in how to read - the "thousands" that you suggest points  to a downsizing of $CI claims for membership is not that at all, but is a direct reference to those scilons who are "overjoyed by our 27 new Churches." In other words, the local churches are alive and well as evidenced by the thousands served at the 27 new churches. I am confident that the next global missive from $CI that we see will claim of millions of members, and such a claim is not at odds with how this statement is worded. 

Remi
Remi

I hope that US Citizens take this point away from it all:

If you, at a local level, protest the Scientology real-estate bait-and-switch fraud that has ruined so many families, then you can protect families and children.   Scientology says they need millions to build luxurious buildings that sit empty, and the titles don't stay local. This ruins families financially.

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

We in RTC are watching Scientology's global expansion with great delight.

Why just today we opened Ideal Org Antarctica.

Heavily fortified against the elements, outsiders, and the prying eyes of suppressive wog reporters like Tony Ortega, Ideal Org Antarctica will be fully staffed by those RTC execs who have now been fully rehabilitated to spiritual vibrancy in the idyllic Int Base RPF.

These execs will be provisioned yearly via the Tierra del Fuego mission, which mission is responsible for paying for the C-130 cargo plane needed to provision Ideal Org Antarctica. Please donate today to the Tierra del Fuego mission via IAS.

This Debbie Cook business is just more natter from yet another bitter apostate. We in RTC keep a list of bitter former apostates and can assure you that they number less than seven people.

The Rockefeller-controlled media - which makes its real money through its ownership and control of ten major pharmaceutical manufacturing firms -- has whipped *one* Debbie Cook e-mail into a media frenzy for a reason: The Rockefeller-Media-Psych-Drug machine does not want Scientology's drug- free solutions to succeed.

We in RTC have assigned New OTVIII Larry Brynes to terminatedly handle the monstrous Rockefeller NWO cabal of psych-drug-chaos-merchants. He is doing a stellar job at Marty's blog of impinging on that crowd who number six people that post under many different sock puppets. 

The Church of Scientology is safe-pointed in the halls of power all over the world. You wogs can natter all you want in wog media, but none of you has the billions of dollars needed to purchase justice, influence, and friends in the corridors of power. 

This latest huffle ruffle will come and go and Scientology will remain unchanged, protected as it is by COB RTC, the ultimate guarantor of the purity of the Tech.

Please donate today to COB's campaign to put a copy of TWTH into the hands of every child in Monaco and Lichtenstein where IAS is sewing the seeds of Scientology amongst future bankers. That these children can write KR's on their parents in banking has not escaped our attention either.

please explain
please explain

Scientology is - IS - the hope that something will happen in the future - if you go clear, if you go ot, if you build an ideal org, if you do big league sales, if you look beautiful, if you - if you - 'cargo cult' anyone. When debbie says she has seen many mniracles - let her specify them, otherwise it is a generality. She herself says she is out because of a medical condition. Is that a miracle of dianetics. When I got in there was NO DISCLAIMER on dianetics. It said what it still says and with faith I waited... still waiting... audited by class 8 trained by ron on the apollo... oh that's right, i am no case gain, or PTS - loses gains...

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

I'm still baffled by the number 12,000. Is there only 12,000 scilons in good standing?

Tony, thanks for covering this, its like watching a game of chess. The Queen (Debbie Cook) is the most powerful piece in the game, able to move in any direction. The King (DM) and the Knights (OSA) are f'ked! Debbie's e-mail will wake- up a lot of pawns in this game. Hey, tiny terror you dick, Checkmate!

Myth Buster
Myth Buster

" . . . former executive Marty Rathbun who has been especially effective at convincing longtime members to disavow the church because of the way Miscavige is running it .. . "

^^^ DOX PLOX

Sid
Sid

as of a few minutes ago you can no longer see the comment trail on Debbie's FB page.

MarkStark
MarkStark

About Debbie's idea of the cult being ruled by committee....I honestly think $cientology would have ended within ten years after Hubbard croaked, if it were ruled by committees of executives. There would have been a lot of power struggles and argument over what Ron meant or wanted done, and how to do it. Too many conflicting policies, including abusive ones.

When Ron dropped the bod, cult members desperately needed a Keeper of the Source, a despotic ruler who was in total control, much as Hubbard was. That is, someone who can do anything he wants and call it "command intention" and never be wrong, because he can always blame it on someone under him, as well as the evil psychs, big pharma or the 12 bankers. Miscavige doesn't blame as much on the latter group, because he's too busy claiming grand victories over them.

Now, in 2012, I think it might do better under committee -- a little at least -- than under Miscavige although the shakeup would be a mess and could potentially lead to a collapse. $cientology still faces the Internet /exposure as their main problem, and that has no solution.

touretzky
touretzky

Debbie Cook's letter has put DM in a Catch-22 situation: once people read  it, every time Scientology pressures them for donations they'll be reminded yet again that Debbie was right. So much for this year's big New Year's video message from COB; she's ruined it. So suppose DM backs off the heavy fundraising and just pushes people to pay for their bridge? Well, in that case people are going to want  services -- and DM can't provide them. They'll discover that the number of competent auditors is way down. That the quality of "service" at FLAG is far from the level of perfection they expect. And that, more than 15 years after Scientology started raising funds for the Super Power building, they still aren't able to offer the rundown. If you can't get decent services from CoS at any price, what's the point of remaining a member in good standing? Maybe it's time to close the checkbook and wait for LRH to return.

Robert Peterson
Robert Peterson

I wouldn't look for any change at the top in Scientology any time soon. DM and his lawyers have long ago made him safe from any palace coup. With all the money he has on tap he can do without executives to run Scientology; he can close Gold Base if he wants.  All he really needs are a few monkeys to hand out press releases from time to time. 

Schockenawd
Schockenawd

A billion dollars.  A billion dollars sucked out of people in this economy.  Those are some very cushy coffers.

Come on, IRS.  The blinders must come off.  Now.  Finally.  Tax Scientology. 

Sid
Sid

I look forward to one day hearing Debbie's story about this whole thing, but here is my own personal guess at what's happened:-

If you read earlier blog entries by Marty Rathbun on what happened to Debbie Cook, he says she was hugely mistreated by Miscavige in 1997. "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 tendancies”.  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."

She left her post in 98, and has since set up her own consulting business (which includes advice on how to improve your Internet presence). I find it hard to believe that she has not been trawling through the Internet since then to try and make sense of the abuse she received.

I think she came to a decision to do something about it, to speak out - but how? I think she's looked at how the church dismisses "disgruntled apostates", I think she understands that anything in the media can be dismissed as "journalist SPs", and many current members won't read critical media articles anyway.

I think she had a realization that the most effective blow she could strike would be to communicate directly with the internal membership while she was still a respected member herself.

Her email is extremely carefully worded, and probably took her many days to compose and perfect. It is cool, calculated and just about the most perfect internal strike possible at David Miscavige, and presumably also timed to match the New Years Eve annual nonsense from Miscavige.

I think her comments about keeping it out of the media are simply designed to give her comments maximum effect. I can't imagine she's serious about that statement at all. I think she will continue to shun media outlets for the time being in order to continue to have credibility with the Scientology community, and in order to allow Scientologists who want to speak to her and ask her questions about her data to do so.

It might be months or even years before she speaks out publicly - then I would expect her to have the most amazing story to tell.

Nexi Bello
Nexi Bello

I assume that Debbie Cook knew from the start that it would leak. But did she consider this effect as negligible compared to what she wanted to cause inside scientology or, consciously or unconsciously, to protect herself from some of the punitive and silencing measures that Miscavige would undertake against her?Nexibello

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

It's pretty strange they're not posting comments. Louanne OSAbot from Los Angeles has been real busy dead agenting Debbie at various media sites.

Stat
Stat

They are on "all hands project" to handle the flap internally.

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

Seriously—the language of the Scientology "Insiders" will be a massive factor in the Cult's downfall. To start with,  LRH is the Source of so much laughable albeit Orwellian language abuse. Sorry, "Heretic Squirrel" might make for a good video game or "Tiny Toons" mini-series for five-year olds, but to call someone a "Heretic" indicates faulty awareness of the world as it now is. Demonizing of the "Other" is a red flag for absolutist dogma, the sort of process that the Taliban and the G.O.P. favor, the sort of tactic that bullies deploy. But then to call these "Heretics" Squirrels just makes the CO$ look really, really stupid. 

Karin Pouw is tearing down the Clearwater Clambake as much as any of the Sciloon spokesholes of the past. Her official announcements make the entire operation sound psychotic. What the evil dwarf does not and never will understand is Tone, ironically enough. Before too long, David Miscavige will be abandoned by his Pretorian Guard, exposing a small, soft, easily crushed creature. No OTs here, no Superpowerz. Little Davy proves to be just another 1%er with a bloated ego and no conscience whatsoever. The evil dwarf may not the least ethical person on the planet—lots of 1%er's these days, many with more clout than the dwarf. But give Slappy credit, he's giving it his all.

Arthur
Arthur

Actually, the OSA-bots and Ron-droids were there in numbers, but Debbie deleted them -- leaving only the approving ones, which I think is just right.

scnethics
scnethics

You are so right.  Being in any cult is intoxicating.  You believe you are part of an elite group that has the solution to all the problems facing the world, and that you are going to become more and more special the more you devote yourself to the group.  It's intoxicating.  I can say that even knowing the truth about the founder, and seeing beyond any shadow of a doubt that my idealism and my desire to help were used to entrap me (as is done in all cults), and knowing full-well that this is all bullshit, I still find myself drawn to it.  I'm sure people who have beaten a drug addiction know what I'm talking about.

People get off drugs and then they have to face the same problems that pushed them into drugs.  It's just like that with this and other cults.  You get out, and for the most part, you still have the problems you had when you got in, plus you've wasted your life in a stupid cult!  If you are just getting out, find someone to talk to.  Support groups are good (even if the group is for ex-members of other cults like Jehovah's Witnesses, since all cults work the same way).  Self-help books, counseling, yoga, skydiving, whatever - it's all back on the table, baby!  Just don't join another group until you've fully educated yourself about how cults operate (check out freedomofmind.org and read the free chapters of Steve Hassan's book for that)

If you are reading this and are ready to quit this cult or have quit it, congratulations on achieving real freedom.  Stop speaking or thinking using the cult terminology.  The terminology keeps you from having to think - it keeps you sleeping, and it's time to wake the fuck up!!!

MarkStark
MarkStark

This is still uncharacteristic of $cientology propaganda, because ALL $cientologists should be overjoyed with their new Churches and expansion, not only those who will be attending. It's a downsizing of their rhetoric, that's all. You know, "Hubbard's pulp fiction spreading across the Arab world," "over a billion people Tom Cruise has introduced to LRH tech." Thousands is puny, in their overblown millions, billions, trillions world. We're just making fun of that. No one seriously thinks they are going to start admitting they have less than a million.

Jefferson Hawkins
Jefferson Hawkins

Could you link us to an address list or your organizations and indicate which are the 27 "new" ones?

Also, your event attendance is usually 20,000 to 25,000 internationally. Why do the "millions" you claim not go to your events?

Nice try.

Guest
Guest

Emma of ESMB stated this was a possibly mere estimate in number, but sent to "OT's". 

There's OT Committees, and OT Ambassadors and well, whatever.  It's one of those red flags most saw long ago and realized that not only did you not get a "get out of ethics" pass the further up you went up the OT levels,  the more you were scrutinized, labotimized and bankruptized.  

Sounds about right to me in numbers, though, based on ASHO, AO, Flag and Freewind magazine completion lists.  hahahahahha.  Come on!  60 years, 12 million scientologists, but only 12,000 OT's total, worldwide?   I have had more lost socks in my lifetime.

Jgg
Jgg

  I think they've squeezed their members to the max already.  I think what is left is a small group of celebrities who will give enough to keep the 4 celebrity centers open, and that's it.

Damian DeWitt
Damian DeWitt

"Debbie Cook's letter has put DM in a Catch-22 situation: once people read  it, every time Scientology pressures them for donations they'll be reminded yet again that Debbie was right. "

The Game. You just lost it.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

That is just one offshore account.

There is more.

DeckardCain
DeckardCain

The billion dollars is just IAS funds...one can only imagine how many billions were sucked from these poor saps in the buildings that sit empty.Every day the IRS and FBI do nothing makes them a co-conspirator in the fraud.

sketto
sketto

That's one dollar for every year of your lifetimes wasted in the Sea Org. 

scnethics
scnethics

If only I had talked to you 30 years ago.  I could have saved myself so much time and money!

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

This is strangely reminiscent of the Catholic church calling Galileo a heretic.

Maybe someone should notify Scientology that history's heretics are usually heroes, pioneers, original thinkers and status quo busters.

Radio Paul
Radio Paul

Oh I saw them but they are few. The vast majority in this case are being silent for their own good.

Joe Hone
Joe Hone

Mr. Hawkins, my utmost respect to you and your expose of Scientology, but I know nothing of new churches and even less about claimed attendance internationally. I was merely reading the church's official rebuttal to Ms. Cook as an attorney (which I am) and how an appellate court might interpret it (which is where I practice). I went to the quote with great hope that the official party line was suddenly showing a dramatic contraction of claimed church members, but sorry, I don't get that from the statement. My sum total knowledge of $CI comes from this website and the caliwog blog. Carry on!

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Thanks for clearing that up. I LOL'd about the socks! B-)

Synthia Elizabeth Fagen
Synthia Elizabeth Fagen

The people that have to do something about it, mainly, are the ones that continue to pay, and pay, and pay. If everyone just got up and walked it would be game over for Miscavige. Apparently these people like to play this stupid game they are playing.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Truly, that would be the simplest and most direct solution.

However, at this point, it seems that that level of "minds" remaining in the cult are too dim of perception and weak of courage to 'right their own ship'.

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