Scientology Campout: Commenters of the Week!
It never seems to be a quiet week here in the underground bunker where we keep an eye on all things Scientology related. The cats had barely settled down from our brief trip to Texas when the bat signal on the Antipodean circuits went off, alerting us to an imminent bombshell.
Somehow we're thinking Scientology's idea of "camp" isn't this fun
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The week started out calmly enough, with our usual roundup of hilarious Scientology mailers, Sunday Funnies.
And on Monday morning, we noted the weekend's worldwide celebrations of Project Chanology's 4th anniversary, as Anonymous once again raided orgs with their signs and masks and irreverent dance moves.
But then, Monday morning in the wee hours, that warhead from Down Under landed with full force...
TodayTonight journalist Bryan Seymour had let us know what was coming, so when we wrote about his 14-month investigation into a frightening child labor camp in suburban Sydney, we not only had details of his story, but some behind-the-scenes material from Bryan himself.
Wednesday morning, we revealed the week's big story: our open letter to Tom Cruise, putting him on notice that as the face of his religion, he can no longer remain silent as Scientology's abuses become better known. We're still waiting for a reply.
The next day, we lightened the mood with a follow-up to our story about Scientology's super-secret underground vaults, where L. Ron Hubbard's writings are archived to survive a nuclear holocaust. We revealed yet another secret Scientology facility where the reincarnated Hubbard is thought will appear. Wacky!
And yesterday, we returned to the yacht Apollo, circa 1971, for more L. Ron Hubbard wisdom on the high seas.
So let's get to the awards!
Once again, the San Diego org put out a mailer that was painful to the human eye to look at in our weekly Sunday Funnies. But DMSTCC braved the painful graphic design and truly awful fonts to spot something we missed...
If I wanted to learn about "POOCASTS" I'd visit the monkeys at the local zoo.
Another mailer was from the effusive Melbourne org, which included photos of its recent anniversary gala. Kate Bornstein had this observation about the festivities...
I was struck by Melbourne's hilarious fashion runway hosted by the "fabulous" blah blah blah. I wince when I see "fabulous" in quotes like that -- I bet my hard cold dollars that it was a rollicking skit just chock-full of homophobia. Damn. How would a reformed Church of Scientology reverse *that* along with cancelling fair game and disconnection?
And our resident satirist, OTVIIIisGrrr8!, really outdid himself with this salvo...
These events prove just how much darn fun Scientology can be when we or not suing or fair gaming bitter apostates. We in RTC invite VV readers to drop by an Ideal Org to see Scientology for themselves. We peradventure to say that fully 99% of people reading this blog have never actually stepped inside an Ideal Org to get their free personality test.
All we in RTC ask is that VV readers come in through a back door so that no one in your local community sees you entering; this because you are all known felons, fortune tellers, bookies, sex deviants and general layabouts in your towns. We don't want an upstat community member walking by and, upon seeing you enter the Org, say, "Hey! There is that guy I saw being arrested last week for shoplifting at the mall," or, "Say, isn't that fellow walking into the Scientology Ideal Org the same smelly derelict who bums change on First St. and Main?"
We also must kindly ask VV readers not to bring their crack cocaine, syringes, prostitutes, or dime bags into our Ideal Orgs, this to avoid tempting SO members that are recent Narconon completions.
On Monday, we looked at the weekend's anniversary celebrations around the world that marked four years of Project Chanology. Clearly, the numbers are lower these days, but Skydog put that in some perspective...
They may have less people than four years ago, but the number of people outside protesting still far exceeds the number inside worshiping Elron.
And once again, Mat Pesch helps us understand things from an ex-Scientologist's point of view...
My wife Amy Scobee and I were out of the Sea Org for a few years and hadn't publicly said anything, despite our families being broken up with disconnection. When we saw 5,000 Anons protest in cities around the world it really had an effect on us. Here were non-Scientologists who were making the effort and finding the courage to stand up to the "churches" bullshit. We felt a responsibility to do the same.
This led to Amy speaking out in the St. Petersburg Times article "The Truth Rundown" and then writing her book called "Scientology, Abuse At The Top".
IMHO, Anonymous pulled the plug on Scientology's sewage tank of crimes and abuse.
When Bryan Seymour's blockbuster expose of a suburban child labor camp in Sydney hit, the church rolled out its usual stuff about the Sea Org's prison detail -- the RPF -- being just a voluntary weenie roast for rounds of "Kumbaya." But Kate Bornstein set the record straight on that...
No one "joins" the RPF--not a single soul. Sea Org members are given a choice: RPF, or excommunication for all of our remaining lives. It's a bully's choice, along the lines of "Are you with us, or are you against us." L. Ron Hubbard wrote solely with either/or black-and-white language--there's never room for doubt or question. That's the mark of a bully, and we were bullied--it's built into the "canon." Scientology staff are bullies or they're bullied. As an individual, Miscavige is taking bullying to its outermost limits. It used to be bad, but it was never this bad--not before he took over.
Why did the bullying work? As Sea Org members, we *believed* we were serving humanity for a billion years--and a billion years is *nothing* to an immortal being. Give a kid--or a brainwashed adult--the choice of an eternity of saving the planet, or an eternity of misery-- that's when they "choose" the RPF. The fact remains--no one volunteers for the RPF with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. Gods, this story makes my stomach hurt.
Radio Paul chimed in with this bit of satirical church-speak...
Remember everyone that the people in these stories are all lying hate filled bigots and disgruntled ex members who will say anything to destroy the greatest religion the world has even seen. A religion that WORKS, makes people ETHICAL and it HELPS people. They are all liars, all the thousands of them!
And we're always glad to see Jefferson Hawkins weigh in with his wisdom...
Good on Bryan Seymour for having the guts to pursue this story and reveal the abusive culture that exists at the heart of Scientology. Maybe this will inspire Los Angeles media - and police - to deal with a similar "re-education camp" right in the heart of LA, at Scientology's "Big Blue" complex on Sunset Blvd near Vermont Ave. Here, hundreds of "Sea Org" members are kept in degraded basement quarters and not allowed outside the building, sometimes for six or eight years. They are not allowed access to the internet, or newspapers, TV, magazines or radio. They run everywhere. When they are not studying Hubbard's texts or engaging in confessional sessions, they work in a huge carpentry shop making furniture for Scientology organizations. They are paid a few dollars a week so they can buy a few toiletries.
There are similar facilities in Clearwater, Johannesburg, East Grinstead in England, and Copenhagen.
And how about the "Int Base" in San Jacinto, California where Sea Org Members are imprisoned behind razor wire, motion sensors and security guards and subjected not only to grueling work schedules and shocking conditions, but are also physical violence, degradation and torture (see Debbie Cook's statements - and many others).
Scientology says that these people are there "voluntarily." Imagine the state of mind of someone who would "voluntarily" submit himself or herself to such degraded conditions - sometimes for years - to "atone for their sins against Scientology" and you get a glimpse of the pernicious effect Scientology has, particularly on the young. Sure, they could walk out - and, they are told, lose their family, friends, and their "eternal salvation" to go out into a "dangerous" world where they have no friends, no family and no job. It takes extraordinary courage to walk out anyway.
Those of us who have been there know what exists behind the curtain, and no amount of Scientology denials can erase that memory. It is past time to shut down Scientology's gulags.
On Wednesday, we published our open letter to Tom Cruise, and of the hundreds of comments, we have to admit that we enjoyed the simulated responses from the actor best of all. Here's a good one from skydog...
Thank you for your open letter. Unfortunately, you don't have all the facts. We, and by we, I mean David Miscavige and me, are the authorities on everything, including the history that will be written on the church and emblazoned on titanium tablets buried deep in the desert. One hundred million years from now, when Davie and I are sitting in our hot tub, you and all the apostates that huddle together and make up slanderous stories, will be long forgotten and loyal sea org members (with 900 million years remaining on their contracts) will still be preparing gourmet seven course meals, and catering to our every whim. Please re-read and word clear if necessary, Karen Pouw's written denials concerning Debbie Cook's recent tirade. These are the true facts; these are the facts that I believe; these are the facts that only an ignoramus would deny.
Outside of LRH, I know of no man with more intelligence or compassion than my good friend and companion, COB. Hip, hip, hooray for David.
Very truly yours,
Tom Mathoper Cruise
And one from ProbablyNotTomCruise...
My latest movie alone made over $200 million dollars. Over my career so far I've probably made more than a billion dollars and I'm only 50, maybe I can make another billion in the next 20 years. How much money did your ever make?
Hundreds of millions of people love me and pay money to see my work. How many people love you and are willing to pay to see your work?
I live in a palace, you live in a bunker?
My wife is a famous actress in her own right, and we have a lovely family. You?
Why should I pay any attention to a bunch of lies you make up about me and about my best friend? Anyone as successful as I am is bound to have a long list of jealous losers wanting to take me down to prove to themselves that they are better than me. Well, get to the back of that line buddy, 'cause it's a long one.
And there was this one from Tom Cruise....
Stop being so GLIB Tony. If I need to come down to the VV and ruthlessly put some ethics in you I will. Scientology edpleh me with my dyslexia as they are the only ones who can help. Making fun of my status as a deity in Scientology is offensive as no one saw fit to attack me for being a god to teenage girls in the 1980's. Yes Tony you need to be taught a lesson, perhaps quietly and without sorrow. That lesson will be that no one says bad things about my church to my face. If only you knew the history of the world like I do, you would not be attacking me or my beloved church. Oh sure, right now you are writing lies about me but Tony one day they will be writing about you in the history books!
On Thursday, we got back to the story of CST and its "LRH Houses" where a reincarnated L. Ron Hubbard is expected to grow up. Hilarity ensued. We couldn't help enjoying this zinger from InTheNameOfXenu...
Tony, sorry but Hubbard hasn't returned yet. He has joined a cluster of body thetans that is currently stuck on my left ass cheek. I will send him your sincere regards.
We also pointed out that by at least one way of reckoning, Hubbard's reincarnation would be a five-year-old, and we joked about keeping an eye out for little redheads smoking Kools by the carton. That elicited this clever rib-tickler from Ivy Mapother...
What brand does Suri smoke?
And finally, we had more fun yesterday with L. Ron Hubbard's funny at-sea dispatches to the crew of the Apollo. Which led Skip Press to wax nostalgic...
Ah, the good old days, when Scientology was just a nut on a ship with a bunch of young chuckleheads, out of the U.S. and not sucking the financial life out of so many worldwide...
It was another fine week of commenting -- there were many more great observations and intelligent questions, and great back-and-forths going on. Let's keep up the momentum! Tomorrow morning, stop by for a helping of Sunday Funnies, and then for the Monday holiday, we'll have a special little treat I hope you enjoy.
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.
Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared
SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE
[All recent stories] | [What is Scientology?] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology]
[Commenters of the Week] | [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park]
[This Week Aboard the Apollo] | [Sunday Funnies]
[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
[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
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]
[Scientology in Israel: Arson, attempted murder, paranoia -- and a visit by the Voice!]
[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 chillin' with hip hop!] | [The curious career of Scientology rapper Chill EB]
[Chill EB and me: the Voice interviews Scientology's in-house rapper]
[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]
[Desperate Scientology fundraising caught on video]