Scientology Sunday Funnies: The "Dwindling Spiral"?
Scientologists don't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.
So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! Our sources regularly send us Scientology's wacky and tacky fundraising mailers, and each week we choose three of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
LATE-BREAKING ENTHETA: Just a few hours ago, an amazing, in-depth investigative report from Tampa Bay Times reporter Drew Harwell hit the Internet this morning. Harwell has done a killer job exposing how an unholy alliance of Scientologists and Nation of Islam thugs is sucking dry a Clearwater, Florida charter school while pushing L. Ron Hubbard's "study tech" on mostly Black and underprivileged kids. This story has so many troubling elements, we're still absorbing the enormity of it. Congratulations to Harwell for pulling together so many different pieces to the puzzle in this hard-hitting report.
Just heard from Harwell -- This story is on the TB Times front page, but for some reason isn't appearing on the website yet. When it does, we'll link to it. (Now fixed. The link should take you to Tampabay.com)
Now, back to our previously scheduled Sunday Funnies...
I did a double-take when I received this mailer from Saint Hill. Has any Scientology come-on ever admitted, in the church's history, that Scientology is nosediving in a "dwindling spiral"?
Of course, they'll say that the reference is to us wogs out here in wogworld, and we're the ones crashing and in dire need of their help. But still. That's some choice of words for an advertisement, don't you think?
I'm presently looking into stories from Sydney to Brussels, from Clearwater to Los Angeles, and even a few right here in NYC. I just haven't had time to look into South America -- can any of our readers down there do some checking on this Colonel Prado, who has supposedly single handedly turned Colombia into a bright shining civilization through the use of his OT powers?
That Melbourne Org just does not quit. And now teaming up with Sydney? I don't even know what the hell this event is supposed to be about, I just know that I want to be there!
And here's your bonus mailer: get to the Hollywood Celebrity Center tonight for its Oscar Party!
I want to thank my mailer sources, who are expanding rapidly around the world. We love these mailers, and we want more of them!
Now, let's hear your thoughts about these advertisements or about anything else this Sunday morning. It's our day to relax and have some fun.
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories, which tend to come out each and every morning at 8 am, but can suddenly appear at any time of the day. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.
New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories. As for our regular features, on Thursdays we do a roundup of world press, on Fridays we visit L. Ron Hubbard on the yacht Apollo circa 1969-1971, on Saturdays we celebrate the week's best comments, and on Sundays we publish Scientology's wacky and tacky advertising mailers that people send us.
As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and is now being sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.
Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.