Scientology Sunday Funnies: Jake and Elwood Want Your Cash!
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...
Hey, Earth Day! Didn't L. Ron Hubbard invent that? Right after he put down that insurrection by Linus Pauling?
Now, if you're feeling woozy after looking at the cover of this book, that's apparently just what L. Ron intended! In what is some of his craziest stuff, you'll really get your money's worth in this two-for-one course, so get out your wallet!
What would happen if you gathered all the Scientologists in an entire continent in one room? Well, it might look like this "Blues Brothers" -themed shindig put on by the ANZO folks Down Under. We're showing you the entire newsletter that went out, which reveals how the pros get their money out of you -- by getting you all worked up by a stage show, and then starting the shakedown! Enjoy.
That must have been some party, yo. Looking forward to your thoughts about it in the comments!
Commenters of the Week!
We started off our week with the big Writers of the Future gala last Sunday, and our comments section really heated up that night as quite a few of us scribbled notes while watching the live netcast.
We've chosen some of our favorite observations about the show as it was happening -- if you missed it, you can probably get some sense of it from these biting remarks!
Isn't this supposed to be about how awesome the authors are that won the contest, not how awesome the contest itself is??
There are millions of Scilons but only 108 watching this gala event online?
Not only are they mentioning Ron right now but also flipping lovingly through the pages of the brand new Ron encyclopedia. They don't miss a cross-selling trick!
Bet no one can leave until they buy a set of encyclopedias.
Am I on the wrong site? This feels and tastes like "Accountants and Title Deed Clerks of the Future" Awards. Although, I have to say, this Hubbard fellow sure seems like a true humanitarian bloke.
Where's the voluptuous horror of Karen Black? bring on the Frightwig!
And finally, Ivy Mapother cracked the code of the speeches by the winners...
L. Ron Hubbard + Galaxy Press + Author Services = Bus fare home.
On Wednesday, we celebrated the one year anniversary of the Squirrel Busters showing up at Marty Rathbun's house for the first time, which feels like a pretty major turning point in the history of Scientology Watching.
John P. had some cogent thoughts while looking back at the Squirrel Busters fiasco...
It is remarkable that the Church has had to retreat in the face of exposure of the craziness, both in terms of attacks on Rathbun as well as dialing down stunts to harass on other critics. While Marty's tenacity is certainly impressive (I doubt I would have had the guts to stick it out if I were faced with these lunatics on my door), I think the media coverage was the deciding factor that caused them to abandon the effort. It seems eminently possible that the Squirrel Busters could still be on Marty's tail today without the media exposure.
It's a testament to the power of the Internet -- victims of Church harassment now have a way to band together and express their stories and make them known, and to leave footprints of those stories in place forever. While a story like a 60 Minutes profile on Paulette Cooper has major audience reach, without repetition, people might be horrified and will probably only remember "Scientology sure sounds weird" but won't necessarily be moved to demand aggressive action against the Church. But with a forum like this blog, even though the audience is smaller than 60 Minutes, multiple stories over years could easily end up having a larger impact.
The story of Bert Leahy, the Squirrel Buster videographer who turned whistleblower,
prompted this interesting question from RadioPaul1...
What does it say about Scientology that they did not have enough people in the area that they had to hire Bert to begin with? 8 million members and they had to hire help from the outside?
We also enjoyed this bit of perspective from Quarkfire...
I still can't get over the Squirrel Busters. I'm not arrogant enough to say that I could never be sucked into a cult. Even one that would end up draining my bank account and disconnecting me from my friends. I can't even say for certain I wouldn't put up with a fair bit of getting slapped around by my so-called spiritual leader before finally deciding I'd had enough. However, the moment someone asked me to strap a camera to my head and harass people while wearing a T-shirt with a crudely photoshopped rodent on it -- I would be so out of there.
On Friday, we finally got a chance to go long on the amazing story of David Edgar Love, who more or less single-handedly got a Narconon center in Quebec shut down.
Many, like Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack, were moved by Love's personal sacrifices...
I just want you to know David, there are tears in my eyes right now over what you have done. You were at it for years and put your body on the line. You worked with intelligence, courage and you persevered. You are a hero. It will be a while before Canadians understand what they owe you.Scientology is already on the edge. What you have done may ruin them utterly.
JustCallMeMary reminded us that Love did have help...
Hugs and Kudos to David Love, a man of exceptional perseverance, kindness and dedication. I would also like to acknowledge all his anonymous or not 'helpers' and resources, including other student victims of Narconon Trois-Rivières who also have pending complaints with different agencies there and the staff who spoke up to the media. Without all of their efforts, people would still be getting ill, perhaps dying in Quebec!
There was also this heartfelt salute from NoMoreVisitsPlease...
So many people say "someone should do something about [fill in the blank]." It is the rare person who says "I will do something about this." Bravo to you, David Love, rare bird.
And finally, we were struck by this warm welcome that Love appears headed for when he takes his operation to Narconon's flagship operation. From Smalltowngirl580....
Thank you David Love for all you've done to shut down this facility in Canada! I look forward to seeing and hearing more about you and your efforts, especially as you come here to Oklahoma. I wish you lots of success in shutting down Arrowhead Narcanon once and for all. I would be happy to help, even if in small ways, if I can.
What a great week. You may notice a lighter posting schedule for several days as we try to wrestle to the earth a big project we've been working on. But never fear, more fun stuff is on the way.
Remember to check our Facebook author page for the latest schedules and updates!
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. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, 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 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.