Scientology Sunday Funnies: Bowl With The Valley Girls!
And here we thought the Ideal Org caper was winding down.
An alert reader guided us to this video, which shows that the clever gals at the Operating Thetan Committee of Scientology's San Fernando Valley Celebrity Centre (CC OTC) know how to get the membership pumped up for some of that endless fundraising the church is known for.
How endless? Well, we looked around and found this enthusiastic pitch for a Valley Ideal Org dated seven years ago. Looks like they've been throwing gutter balls for a long time!
For those of our readers who may not be up on the Ideal Org push, it's a campaign for local Scientologists to raise millions of dollars for a new local building -- after they've already been "regged" (pressured) for expensive courses, donations to the church's war chest (the International Association of Scientologists), and donations for the Super Power project in Florida.
A new San Fernando Valley building would need to be "Ideal," so locals would be pushed to raise money for a big, historic structure that would need millions more in renovations (also pried out of local hands), and would also cost the locals additional money to maintain. All this, and yet the ownership of the edifice would go to the international church, a neat trick that keeps the mother church wealthy and the locals struggling to pay their bills.
Why does Scientology leader David Miscavige push his members to pay for fancy new buildings, when there's no indication that the locals really need them? We made a cheeky guess that actually points to the true answer: Miscavige knows that if he can fly in for a quick opening ceremony, he can convince some of the more credulous local press, politicians, and public that Scientology is actually expanding.
Anyway, these ladies at the San Fernando Valley org certainly make a valiant effort in this video, and we'd love to know who they are. So commenters, help us out!
More Sunday fun
Thank you to the reader who passed along this fun offer of a badge you can put on your car. Because nothing says "I can manipulate car accidents with my mind" like a Scientology emblem on your auto!
Cynics will say that with membership dwindling, and fewer people than ever getting to the higher levels of the Bridge, there just isn't much demand for OT 8 completions on Scientology's private cruise ship, the Freewinds, and that's why the church is advertising so many other, less-important conventions on the boat instead. On the other hand, imagine how good your golf game, driving skills, and ghost-hunting abilities are going to be after you tune up your OT abilities on this excursion!
So much OT, so little time.
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Neil Gaiman, 7, Interviewed About Scientology by the BBC in 1968
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And a post that pulls together the best of our Scientology reporting
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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.