Scientology Sunday Funnies: Neil Gaiman's Mum Builds a Civilization!
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...
In previous Sunday Funnies entries, we noted that Scientology has claimed credit for an Ideal State (California) and Ideal Continent (Western US), and here's another Ideal victory -- the UK is going Full OT!!! What a Jubilee bonus, as the people at this event just gave and gave, apparently.
Among the happy folk you'll see in this lengthy e-mailed flier is Sheila Gaiman -- Neil's mum -- who is listed as a "New Civilization Builder." Anyone know how much that title cost in donations? We have a feeling it's quite a lot.
Nothing gets your wallet loosened up like work-in-progress photos. Just look at your hard-earned dollars at work! This report comes from South Africa, where yet another empty building is being transformed into...an empty building.
This next message was sent to a former church member who forwarded it on to us. I can't help thinking of Debbie Cook's New Year's Eve e-mail, in which she complained that Scientology leader David Miscavige was spending none of the billion dollars or more that he'd amassed on advertising campaigns like in the old days. Since then, Scientology has become an advertising juggernaut, and this message suggests that more is on the way -- but not before a little market research. Our tipster felt pressured to get back on the Bridge, which may also be part of the point here...
I am interested in your viewpoint in how you want to see your religion
disseminated. We are producing more and more dissemination properties on a
regular basis, but your input is vital because these messages will be on
your TV screen, on the billboards in your city, on your radio, on your
internet screen and even on your iPad. Can you imagine a dissemination
campaign for just the Purification Rundown alone, going simultaneously in
every major city of the United States?
Now think, how would you market that to your city? How would you market it
to Tokyo? London? South Africa? The Middle East? There are 7 billion people
on this planet -- we are thinking big and there is no limit on the amount of
dissemination we are going to do. So I am curious to find out what your
answers are to the below questions:
What recent dissemination videos have impinged on you the most?
What would be a useful dissemination tool for you if you wanted to introduce
someone to Scientology?
Have you ever used www.scientology.org to introduce people to Scientology?
In your opinion what would be the most effective way Scientology would reach
you through dissemination?
What skills do you have?
What is your tech training level?
Where are you at on the processing side of the Bridge?
What, honestly, do you feel needs to be handled on the most immediate basis
as far as planetary problems?
What do you think will need to be done in order to handle this?
In your opinion, what do you feel would be the most valuable product you
could obtain or help bring about in this lifetime?
What do you think would be the most effective actions you can take in order
to achieve this?
The Sea Organization is behind all major dissemination of Dianetics and
Scientology. There are positions available currently that you may be
qualified for. For further inquires please email your contact data or
contact me directly.
Pro Prospects I/C PAC
The San Diego org just never seems to run out of work on its Central Files, does it? Yet another appeal to local members to come down and spend their days sifting through piles of information about former, perhaps fleeting, church members who want nothing to do with Scientology today. But it's for a good cause! Raising more money for another empty building!
We have even more great fliers that were sent to us this week, but we'll save them for another time. At this point, I'm just exhausted from all this fundraising, aren't you?
Commenters of the Week!
We started out the week with a salute to Jefferson Hawkins -- we like his new book, Leaving Scientology, and he showed up several other times in our Sunday post.
Scientia was one of many saluting Hawkins for his work...
Good news about Jeff's e-book. His blog articles are exceptionally well-written and cut right to the bone. As a former churchie who, contrary to "Scientology Logic", thought only in absolutes, [for me] Jeff's articles really helped to undo an insane pattern of thinking and start questioning -- not only the CoS and the tech itself, but also myself, other people and how I've treated friends and family in the past. I hope all Scientologists (both in the CoS and out) make the time to read this book. And to Jeff, sir, I salute you. Thank you.
JustCallMeMary chimed in with her own kudos...
Jeff Hawkin's book "Leaving Scientology" will resonate with many, as his blog has, because he has a way with saying what one already knows to be true and does so without causing those mental conflicts to rear their head. This book will be the voice of reason for those trying to make sense of why they feel so unhappy about Scientology but are afraid to even think on the issue for fear of retribution.
Jefferson Hawkins also arrived to comment on the photo we published of frantic Sea Org members filling boxes with copies of the new RON Encyclopedia for shipments to libraries...
That picture of the Bridge Publications warehouse is a haunting one, particularly to those of us who have been on the inside. It's amazing that the Church would publish it. What it shows is an "all-hands," where staff are pulled from all areas of the organization to handle a situation. Probably this was shot just after the release of the Ron "Encyclopedia" when all of the initial shipments went out to the orgs and to the advance orderers. Typically, these "all-hands" actions go long into the night, or even all night, without breaks. And of course lots of yelling and screaming at anyone seen to be slowing down or slacking off. Then after the initial flush of orders, the flow of new orders will slow to a trickle, and these same staff will move over to the phone lines for an "all-hands" on getting new orders, with sales quotas, threats, more screaming and so on. The people in the photo look young -- I sincerely hope that they wake up and leave before wasting any more of their lives on this kind of nonsense. Scientology survives financially because they have a willing slave labor force that they can throw at any situation. If they had to pay Sea Org members even minimum wage they could not do it.
On Wednesday we talked to Dave Fagen about his book-length blog entries about his decision to leave Scientology.
Sid Snakey was one of several who had sampled Dave's work for their own...
I've read Dave Fagen's blog and what impressed me about it was the absolute logic he uses to tear apart the Church's arguments. His reasoning and clarity of thinking is very hard to argue with. I would recommend people forward a link to his blog to anyone they know who is still in the Church.
Remy was glad to see both Synthia and Dave Fagen now out and speaking up...
It's refreshing to see scientologists who, through their own intrinsic decency and honor, see through the veil of lies by noticing the details of the organization. Here are two good hearts that made it out safely.
And anne hoped that Dave's writings will help out her own husband...
Today I find that I am agonizing over my husbands unwillingness to look at the truth. Funny thing is,he is equally disturbed with my expressions of concern, anger, and disgust. He wonders why I can't just leave it alone. I am glad this couple has remained intact, I 'd hoped the same for the two of us. We are together now for a lifetime and yet it's strange to say we cannot accept each other any longer.....it's brutal. I have tried for over a year now, perhaps I need to let go.
On Friday we pulled out yet another highlight from the Birthday Event video -- footage from January of Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson sucking up to Scientology at an Ideal Org grand opening.
BroekerBroekerBroeker was struck by the thought that Johnson is married to former DC chancellor of schools, Michelle Rhee...
OK. Now I'm obsessing over the idea that CoS is trying to get to Rhee via KJ. If Rhee and her acolytes embraced Applied Scholastics and the awesome power of study tech, that would make a lot more money for DM than KJ ever could.
John P. seized on Johnson's playful mention of the Birthday Game at the end of his speech...
The mention of the Birthday Game was extremely odd; that's not the sort of thing I would think Scientologists would care to have advertised publicly -- that a highlight of the "religious" year is a sales contest to see which organization can eke the most money out of its "parishioners" in a frantic rush once a year. Imagine if the Catholic church had a "birthday game" for Jesus' birthday. And of course, what happens if the Sacramento Org wins the prize at this year's Birthday Game? Somebody probably told him that the trickle-down effect of all those lucrative prizes going into the local economy would give it a major shot in the arm.
And Jefferson Hawkins, as usual, puts things in a useful perspective for us...
Scientology has a long history of love-bombing local politicians, feeding them all sorts of lies about how "big" Scientology is (lots of votes!), and elaborate stories about how Scientology is good for the community. They tried that "revitalize the downtown area" line in Clearwater. Kevin Johnson should take a tour of downtown Clearwater if he wants to see what Scientology "revitalization" looks like. Unfortunately there will always be a few politicians who go along with this. They are either too lazy to research Scientology's actual record, or choose to ignore it for imagined political gain.
We hear that Denver got the Ideal treatment this weekend. Which local politicians took part and sang Scientology's praises? Going by recent history, we'll predict that Miscavige uses video from Orange County and Denver in his IAS spectacular in October -- and a few weeks later we'll have the footage.
In the meantime, please check our Facebook author page for updates. We have several good stories working, it looks like an entertaining week is shaping up.
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 was 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.