Scientology Sunday Funnies: Use Kids to Solicit Donations? Why Not!

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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 a few of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...


We have a special issue of Sunday Funnies this weekend. As my tipster who forwarded these three mailers from the San Fernando Valley org put it, "Hide the piggy banks..."

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Hey, here's something pretty useful -- a calendar of upcoming OT events!

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The tipster who sent us this next mailer says, "I have been to one of these seminars before, the people just tell you to do Dianetics and Ethics Conditions and that will help your acting career."

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So now it's your turn -- let us know what you think about these revealing Scientology come-ons, or about anything at all. Sundays are so fun around here...


**********
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 tortega@villagevoice.com, 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, a Tumblr, 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.

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Rolotomasii
Rolotomasii

Those Valley Half Million Ads are only slightly less creepy than a NAMBLA poster.

Robert Robinson
Robert Robinson

Wonderful comments from the children.  Please!  I just put my hip-waders away for the season.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Erika Christensen thought she was a Clear when she wasn't. Must have been upsetting to realize one has been disillusioned. Too bad she didn't have time to read the internet before she went back into session.  Fact: Erika Christensen is shown on the net as completing Solo I & II. Then she is shown in one of the recent mags mailed out as having completed OT Preps. Then she is shown as having completed R6EW.

From my understanding, it appears she thought she was Clear but was found out to not be Clear and was then put on R5EW to help her find the implants she is dramatizing, which made her think she was Clear when she wasn't. What a cult. I looked up Grad VI R6EW on the net.  Xenu-Directory reference:

Routine 6 - End Words (Grade VI). The first solo audited level done by PCs who did not go Clear on New Era Dianetics. This level is directed at R6 (reactive mind) implant material by finding the ideas (endwords) which the PC is dramatizing. Available at Advanced Organizations and higher. - Jonathon Barbera. I also found this, which is what she apparently had to endure: Secret Grade VI [..] R6EW & the Power Processes are rarely used anymore as most people attest to Dianetic clear, and don't get their power processing or R6EW. [..][..] I remember in R6EW is you start this secret level by asking:  What am I dramatizing? You start with one end word, like "survive" and you write it down and then find it's opposition word, and then you do this for many words like that until all the words in between suddenly kinda reel off in front you into an awesome release.  [..]

sketto
sketto

From the looks of his picture, it looks as if Bugsy is currently on the RPF - "voluntarily" assigned to removing asbestos until his ethics are back in.

sketto
sketto

Daisy says: I want people to get auditing and be happy like I do.!

Looks like Daisy is well on her way to a Hubbardian-worthy mangling of grammar and punctuation.

Remy
Remy

What was Hubbard's obsession with games all about?

I mean, he gave "games" a 22 on his tone scale!

That's far above Exhilaration 8, Enthusiasm 4, Cheerfulness 3.5 and laughably the 0.9 he assigns Sympathy.

What a freak.

 

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

Finally able to reach the last on my MIA friends' list from the multiple state tornado disasters.  All are okay, but some just missed by a few houses.  Whew.

I know there is usually more danger in the aftermath of a disaster and we all know what the worst is in any type. So I was thinking we should help protect any victims from the inevitable swarm of yellow shirted scientology volunteer ministers who will do what it takes, by god, to get those PR poses with victims any moment now.

Usually in disasters like this, victims spray paint the name of their insurance company on their property or near it.  I would suggest they also  spray paint "Xenu Lives Here"  or "No Yellow Touch Assists" or something of this sort.   If that's not possible, and one of them thoughtfully harrasses you in your darkest hour,  order them to give you their shirt immediately, saying it's for an emergency and you don't have time to explain.  Do this tone 40 (or scream and cry and look crazed) until they hand it over.   This way they won't have PR photos of yellow shirts to use in their scientology promotional prevarications, also their publications.  Then tell them Scientology Sucks and you're a lawyer and you'll sue.  That should do it.

Rumpelstiltskin
Rumpelstiltskin

The Admin dictionary definition of "children"

CHILDREN, 1. people who have not passed checksheets and have no paid posts in the Sea Org. (FO 760) 2. a child is one who cannot handle an org or ship post. He or she is not on payroll. (FO 1630)

What a family guy ol' lronny was, eh? He sure knew about 'living with children' (New Slant on Life)

"

[...]

They are, and let's not overlook the point, men and women. A child is not a special species of animal distinct from Man. A child is a man or a woman who has not attained full growth.Any law which applies to the behavior of men and women applies to children.

[...]

The child has a duty toward you. He has to be able to take care of you, not an illusion that he is, but actually. And you have to have the patience to allow yourself to be cared for sloppily until, by sheer experience itself, not by your directions he learns how to do it well.Care for the child?, nonsense! He has probably got a better grasp of immediate situations than you have."--L Ron Hubbard

Sasser
Sasser

It's bad enough when some naive, idealistic, searching person gets sucked into the Scientology world and preyed upon - but at least that person is making his/her own decision to get involved.  I feel so horrible for the children who are born into and raised in Hubbard's reality.  It's especially impressive when one of these lifers realize the sham and break free.

Also, does Erika Christensen not read the news?  These celebrities are either avoiding the entheta or they're OK with the church's behavior - or maybe they're so indoctrinated to buy into the "grand conspiracy against Miscavige" nonsense.  Whatever the case, each appearance at a Church of Scientology function by these VIP's is essentially an endorsement by that person of the ongoing abuses.

Scientia
Scientia

Why stop with Bugsy and Bo? Why not sneak into a delivery room and reg little Nellie the newborn. You could even auction off Freddy the fetus to local thetans in search of a new body. The possibilities are endless!

Bradley Greenwood
Bradley Greenwood

Thanks for the jaw-dropping adverts! You have provided my wife and I with a new inside joke: Me: "Because I'm a rock star"; She: "And so are you!". This is easily the most pitiful thing I have seen from the Scilons in all the years I have been following them.

Ivy Mapother
Ivy Mapother

"Making it in the Industry".. Hollywood...wait a second, this isn't an Amway pitch is it?

DamOTclese2
DamOTclese2

Where the bloody fuck is Child Protective Services when they're needed? 

Chocolate Velvet
Chocolate Velvet

Yeah, it's sick, using kids to squeeze a little more money out of their parents. I kind of doubt a 3 or 4 year old child is initiating this sort of thing. Bugsy's parents are obviously happy to offer up their lovely child as a shill, if it raises their standing. Then, the other craven striver parents have to get their precious big thetans in little bodies a poster too. You don't want to put your beloved child at a social disadvantage at their highly expensive Scilon school! And only $100? So cheap! But as a prelude to what?

It gives parents permission to raid the kiddies' piggy banks to make another donation. Oh, my child WANTS to support clearing the planet! Regs can pressure parents for suppressing their children's ability to give that support. Pretty soon, not emptying your child's college fund makes you a PTS. It is truly nauseating.

Nibbles42
Nibbles42

 College fund?  Sci kids don't need college in the Sea Org!

MarkStark
MarkStark

 They are always exploring new markets. I'm sure they teach that in their courses. What's next? Pets to Save the Planet? Have your kitty, dog or hamster donate now!

NoMoreVisitsPlease
NoMoreVisitsPlease

I wonder if the kids called in their donations or used the easy PayPal link?

Jean
Jean

Bugsy is definitely doing a Donny Darko film tribute.  That's why his room looks like it was hit by an airplane fragment. He is even pointing at the correct eye.  (Please, if you haven't seen the film, do!)

 Thetan-X
Thetan-X

More like  "Little Alex"..pointing to his droogies  "And here is where you shave the eyebrow"!!   

Quarkfire
Quarkfire

I've read a ton of these ads lately, and I'm *still* not able to suppress the chuckle that comes out when I see Scientologists hosting seminars on how to generate good PR. 

MarkStark
MarkStark

 They probably even have a seminar on seminars.

Paul Jay Salerno
Paul Jay Salerno

Call that # and troll the @#%$ out of them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Artoo45
Artoo45

"Why I did it?"

"Because my dream is that my mommy will become a mid-level celebrity whose obsession with Scientology will limit her ability to get really great roles even though she's a credible actress. Then I'll grow up to be an awesome comm line terminal, just like my hero, Tommy Davis! Someday I'll be the official spokesbot for The Tiny Terror™! Of course, nothing I do will ever be good enough to cover for his craven, violent, borderline personality disorder-fueled behaviors, and I'll be forced to do every debasing, ruin-enhancing rundown LRH ever dreamed up on myself in order to find out why I'm no fucking good at anything, ever, and have to spend my days cleaning out spider-infested transformer vaults at Int. If I'm really lucky I'll even turn out to be gay and they'll try to get me uptone and marry me to some screechy, harridan, beard from a wealthy family who will abandon me once I'm in a really degraded condition, dressed in a torn boiler suit, down in a dark subterranean hole, with only a dessicated, singed ground squirrel, and the sad ghost of a crooked lawyer's daughter to keep me company. That's fucking why."

"Thanks Skippy! Who's next?"

John P.
John P.

The kiddie ads are understandably getting all the attention for major mockery. But let's not pass up a surprisingly fertile opportunity for snark: the Freewinds course schedule. 

Before we crunch some numbers, always good Sunday fun, let's see how the Freewinds competes with other unique cruise attractions. In particular, let's compare Freewinds against the newest "specialty tour operator" to jump into the game. The North Koreans started hosting tours on their first cruise ship last year. The 39-year-old flagship, the Man Gyong Bong, is similar in vintage (39 years versus 44 years) and in tonnage (9,700 grt) to the Freewinds (10,300 grt). Reports from the Man Gyong Bong's maiden cruise in September revealed many of the same conditions as on the Freewinds: rusty decks, dirty bilges, gummed up toilets, crappy food and hostile staff. 

But there are notable differences: The North Korean ship only carries 130 passengers within about the same tonnage versus the 250 to 360 the Freewinds hauls around, so it is probably a lot more spacious for guests trying to "get away from it all." And the North Koreans, despite running the biggest police state in the world, don't hit you up for additional donations after you paid the fare, nor do you have to spend five hours a day sitting in a chair holding a couple of soup cans and confess to your "crimes." 

On to the numbers. 

The Freewinds is listed in various ship databases as having a 360 passenger capacity. I checked and this is consistent with other cruise ships its size and vintage. However, the actual passenger capacity is probably less since they have probably converted several dozen staterooms into auditing rooms and also combined a bunch of them into palatial suites for LRH, and a honeymoon suite for Miscavige and BFF Tom Cruise. I seem to recall seeing somewhere that the actual capacity is about 250. 

I went back and looked at "Lieutennant" Commander Sharron's video to cross check the seating capacity against the crowd shots of the joyful Scientologists learning how to "put ethics in" on people. It was painful, but somebody's gotta do it. There weren't any pans across the entire training room that would enable me to get a clear idea of the seating capacity, but there were some tighter shots that I tried to use to estimate the overall room size, and from what I was able to see of the dimensions of the room, an estimate of 250 people seems about right. 

Incidentally, in most of the course room shots, if you look really carefully, the tables around the perimeter of the room are empty. So even on a cruise that they're using as a big promo for the Freewinds, the ship is sailing perhaps half full or a little more. You have to go frame by frame to pick up the empty areas, because the lights are off in those areas, but they are there. 

So let's map the passenger capacity and our estimates of the "load factor" (i.e., the percentage of berths that have paying passengers in them) against the fabulous opportunities they're selling. I'll focus in on the week of April 5-12. 

They're simultaneously hosting the following events: 

* "Idle Org" conventions for: Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Bratislava (capital of Slovakia). This one is just baffling. There are 17.9 million people in the LA "combined statistical area." And there are more Scientologists there than anywhere except Clearwater. For the record, there are 2.2 million people in the greater Salt Lake City area, and 0.7 million in the Bratislava metro area. Incidentally, I can only find a mission in Bratislava, not an Idle Org, so I'll leave it to you to guess why they're calling the Slovakian wingding an "Idle Org" convention. 

* "International Human Rights Convention," where I am sure Jan Eastgate, head of CCHR, will be the featured speaker. Fortunately, this is several weeks before her trial on child molestation charges in Australia is scheduled to begin, so you can be confident in booking your ticket that you'll get to meet this tireless crusader against oppression. 

* "OT Havingness & Expansion" convention, a "can't miss," program because, as several people pointed out the other day, "expansion" sure beats the hell out of the "shrinkage" problem that so many of us face in middle age, 

* "Dissemination & Closing" convention, where you can learn the secrets from all those reg people that took all your money at the top of the gangplank, then put it to use signing up your adorable little moppets for the Sea Org when you see ads featuring kiddies as we did today.  

Someone just off the turnip truck would look at all these events and think these guys are running "straight up and vertical" given the frenzied hub of activity that the Freewinds appears to be. But if you have an Idle Org convention for one of the largest concentration of Scientologists anywhere and one of the dozen or so largest cities in the world, you ought to be able to sell out 200 berths on the ship in minutes just to people in LA. Why on earth would you need to hedge your ability to sign up Californians by also hosting conventions for Salt Lake City? And if you don't think you can pull 200 people out of 22 million in those two cities to take a Cruise to Total Freedom, you then think that a special event for the Slovaks in and around Bratislava, population 0.7 million will tip the balance to get your stats up to "Affluence?" 

And then because you're afraid that promoting Bratislava from mission to Idle Org won't meet your quota, you then have to pad out the schedule with a global convention for one of your front groups, plus a couple classes on stuff every Scientologist ought to be dying to learn about (ripping off others, handling "shrinkage" and adding oiliness to your havingness). 

By the time you start to try to cut up the numbers, it appears that Scientology is able to fill perhaps 50-60 berths on the Freewinds once a year for the LA Idle Org convention, even after constantly hammering the lists of spouses and relatives of staff and Sea Org members. And the attempt to pull people from every other part of the organization including all the front groups to make up for the sinkhole of interest from LA reeks of desperation. The Freewinds has to go down as one of the better Epic Fails for Scientology expansion, even more dire than the 18.5% decline in "clears" minted by AOLA every single year for 31 straight years that somebody pointed out in a comment to the "Commenters of the Week" article yesterday which I then crunched the numbers on. 

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

You just don't understand scientology math.  The missing X factor:  BT's, silly.

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

 John, I think I <3 you! You tickle me like none other here lately :)

MarkStark
MarkStark

 You're much better at the stat thing than I am John, but one thing I know is if they hope to raise their stats on the Good Ship Kool-Aid Pop, they are going to have to hire professional actors to play the parts of Commander Sharron and her cult-stunned passengers for the promo video. That video is not going to cut it.

Even before Tom Cruise was healed of his dyslexia with "the tech," he was a better reader than Commander Sharron, and it doesn't say much about her perfect memory if she couldn't memorize one simple paragraph-length crazy convoluted sentence of Hubbard.

When Marty Rathbun needs a Hubbard quote, he just uses his his 12 volume set, GREAT L. RON HUBBARD QUOTES, Bridge Publications, all rights reserved. It is translated into 247 languages and is available in over...most widely read...like trying to put out the sun with a bucket of gasoline.

Jefferson Hawkins
Jefferson Hawkins

I wonder what this "Valley Half Million Game" is. Didn't they already have their Ideal Org building? Didn't they announce it was all paid for in 2009? Yet still they are not moved in three years later? So what is this half million supposed to be for? You notice, they don't say. They don't say specifically "we need this money for renovations" or "we need this money to pay our bills." Or "we need this money to send to Miscavige." No, it's just "look how all these cute kids gave us money - you need to give us money too." Pretty sick. It's "money for nothing."

Artoo45
Artoo45

money for nothing, and your checks for fees

CharlieWaters
CharlieWaters

It appears Co$ is trying to create a 4th org in the Valley.  Or at least that's their story.  If you look closely at the #4 in the lower right-hand corner, they have Los Angeles, Pasadena, Ingelwood, and Valley (with the word Valley in a larger font size and bolder than the other three) listed.

I wonder how many people are going to get duped into donating for this one.  

Jonathon Barbera
Jonathon Barbera

When I was kid attending Christian churches, I was often given money in advance to put into the donation plate as it went around. (Money is what churches of all types use to pay their utilities and other bills.)

MarkStark
MarkStark

Did they have a special kid's collection, or $100/kid drive to raise a half a million dollars for the utilities/bills on your church? No! Only the $ciloontologists can think up crass stuff like this. Plus, they charge so much for the courses and training to begin with.

Jonathon Barbera
Jonathon Barbera

"Scilons"

Bigot.

sketto
sketto

If you really want to separate yourself from the name-calling bigots, you should use friendly, happy, Scientology words like: wog, squirrel, and SP.

Ximhb
Ximhb

Wog is a term of endearment?

Jean
Jean

Much like a nondisclosure agreement can't be used to hide criminal activity, it is not bigoted to speak out against human rights abuses.  Would you prefer we use the term "child abusers?"  

deanfox
deanfox

Getting kids to donate money or their parents on the kids' behalf is freaky.  Thinking of alternative "Why I did its":

"Because the ideal org is more important than my college fund."

"A puppy is just for life an ideal org is for a billion years."

"I'm doing my amends for pooping my pants."

NoMoreVisitsPlease
NoMoreVisitsPlease

I don't think these flyers from the Valley are evidence that the kids OR their parents donated any money whatsoever...the freaky thing is that the cult pressures people into donating by humiliating them into it; "Look, a 3-year-old donated $100 dollars to us...what's your excuse?"  It also highlights the willingness of people in the cult to concoct the most outrageous lies in order to achieve their goal of raising money, and the willingness of the members to believe absolutely the most ridiculous nonsense!

DeckardCain
DeckardCain

Looks like Bugsy got a head start on forced child labor and living in ramshackle conditions.  Those privileges are usually reserved for kids twice his age.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

Well if someone really wanted to learn a lesson from Hubbard, one would summarize all his pluspoints in how he started his own religion, and sell a do-it-yourself book, "How to Start and Keep Your Own New Religion Going In America!"

Hubbard's found all the cracks in how to do it here in the US, at least.

Claude
Claude

(a) Seems there is no way to avoid a cash flow management course on the Freewinds(b) The Hard Sell & Closing Seminar is positively repugnant (c) It's creep that there are so many "Leadership" courses-  is that code for "Infiltration?" 

Guest
Guest

Erika Christensen is more commonly known as "That girl who looks like Julia Stiles."

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

Ugg. The slime runs deep on the coercive kiddie ads. I think I need another shower.

TheHoleDoesNotExist
TheHoleDoesNotExist

1.  Convention Speaker for Fail Grammar and Writing skills:  Alfreddie Johnson

2.  Convention Speakers for Finances, "Hard Sell", Ethics:   Reed Slatkin and Rex Fowler

3.  Convention Speakers for Successful Parenting:  Ken Moxon, Tom Brennan & Jan Eastgate

4.  Convention Speakers for Public Relations:  Tommy Davis (in a class of his own)

5.  Convention Speaker for Acting and Ethics:  Cancelled.  No one showed up

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