VOICE EXCLUSIVE -- VH1'S Mimi Faust On Scientology: "At 13, They Told Me I Was a Freeloader"

Categories: Scientology

MimiFaust2.jpg
Mimi Faust gets emotional discussing her mother on the show

Oluremi "Mimi" Faust is one of the stars of VH1's popular show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, which runs on Monday nights. A week ago, Mimi stunned the show's largely African-American audience when she revealed that she had been abandoned at 13 by her mother, who was a Scientologist.

With the help of our commenting community, we soon identified her mother, and then tracked down some people who had worked with her in Scientology's hardcore "Sea Org."

But we still wanted to hear from Mimi herself. And yesterday, we did.

I talked to Mimi by telephone yesterday, and we had a detailed, frank discussion about her experiences. I had many questions, and she didn't hold back.

Faust has rocketed to celebrity after the June debut of the reality TV series, a sequel to VH1's surprise 2011 hit Love & Hip Hop. The show features a number of African-American couples and singles in Atlanta's music scene. Faust herself isn't an entertainer, but her rocky relationship with Steven Jordan -- a veteran hip hop producer known as Stevie J -- has become one of the show's central plot lines.

Each week, hundreds of urban culture websites compete to summarize the stormy triangle between Stevie J, a singer he's been sleeping with named Joseline, and the mother of his young child, Mimi Faust. As the show has developed, Faust has come off as the adult in the group, and she's attracted a large following who characterize her as a strong woman with smart entrepreneurial skills.

It was something of a shock, then, during the seventh episode, aired on July 30, when Mimi admitted during a therapy session that she's dealing with abandonment issues because of her mother's obsession with Scientology.

Twitter lit up with viewers asking, what the hell is Scientology? (An exceedingly white movement, Scientology has been trying to make inroads in the black community for years. One result of that effort is the bizarre involvement of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.)

As I began my interview with Mimi, I wanted first to clear up something about the complex names in her family. She explained that her mother's original name was Gloria Eva Simmons. Gloria added a "James" on the end after a marriage, and Mimi herself grew up as Mimi James. (Her brother, who appeared on this past Monday's show, is Kwesi James.)

Then, her mother changed her name completely, Mimi says.

"Before Scientology, she joined an African religion and changed her name to Olaiya Odufunke."

It was a man she was dating who introduced Olaiya to Scientology, Mimi remembers.

"When my mom joined Scientology, I was still living here in Atlanta. I think I was six or seven when she was introduced to Scientology. By the time I was 8 or 9 she just went balls to the wall and sold everything we owned. Our house, our car, everything."

As we explain in our handy introduction to Scientology, founder L. Ron Hubbard not only built a philosophy of the human mind from 1950 onward, but also a complex bureaucracy to go with it. While Scientologists claim to explore their past lives -- recovering memories of themselves millions of years ago on other planets -- they also find a role for themselves in Scientology's complex layers of involvement. For those who decide to dedicate their entire lives to supporting the enterprise, there is the "Sea Organization" -- a hardcore elite who sign billion-year contracts and promise to work for the church, lifetime after lifetime.

As Olaiya considered joining the Sea Org, she left behind her life in Atlanta. Mimi's two older siblings, a brother and sister, stayed behind. But Mimi was too young to be on her own. Mimi found herself being taken along with her mom to Scientology's administrative headquarters in Los Angeles.

GuessWhere1.jpg
"That's what she wanted to do. She didn't care what we thought about it," Mimi says. "We moved to Big Blue."

Scientology's LA headquarters on Fountain Avenue is housed in what was once the Cedars of Lebanon hospital. Formally known as PAC Base, for Pacific Area Command, the complex is more commonly known for its blue paint job.

Once Mimi and her mother arrived, Olaiya joined the Sea Org, signing its billion-year contract.

"Life was completely turned upside down," Mimi says. "We lived in a room with bunk beds. We went to the cafeteria for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And my mom was working all the time. I only got to see her during what they called 'Family Time,' from five to seven pm. Just two hours a day."

We wrote earlier that people who worked with Olaiya say she was working for the Sea Org's "Office of Special Affairs," its intelligence and legal affairs wing -- some have called OSA Scientology's secret service.

But Mimi says that her mother never told her about the work she was doing. "I still don't know, to be honest with you. I had no idea what she did from the day we got there until the day she died."

As we've reported before, the children of Scientologists can find themselves heavily recruited for the Sea Org at a very young age. And about four years after arriving at Big Blue, Mimi says she was confronted by church officials.

"At 13, they told me that I was a freeloader. I was eating their food and staying in their facility. They told me I either needed to sign a billion-year contract or I had to leave."

I asked Mimi what her mother had said about signing the contract. Did she encourage her daughter?

"My mother never outright said she wanted me to join the Sea Org," Mimi says. "She knew how I felt. I just knew that it was not what I wanted to do."

Even after four years, Mimi hadn't bought into Scientology's quasi-military culture.

"I was just a child. I wasn't going to run around calling people 'sir.' It wasn't what I wanted to do," she says. (In the Sea Org, even women are called "sir" and referred to as "he.")

So what did she do?

"I packed up my little bag and left," she says.

I told her that must have been terrifying.

"It was. I had no idea where to go. I figured my mom would try to stop me. But there was nothing. She didn't ask me where I was going, she didn't ask if I had bus fare. I think that's what hurt the most. That she just watched me walk away."

Mimi caught a bus to a friend's house. "She was a friend but I called her my cousin. I went to her place. I just had to figure it out. And this was the crazy part. I was still going to a Scientology school. It was the middle of the school year. After staying with my cousin over the weekend, I had to catch a bus back to the school on Monday."

She was a student at the Mace-Kingsley school in Silver Lake (named for its founders, two Scientologists; today the place is in Clearwater, Florida, and is an after-school center for kids to get Scientology auditing). For the rest of the school year, Mimi says, she had to scramble to find a place to stay each night.

"These weren't just Sea Org kids. There were children of rich Scientologists there too. So I'd ask if I could spend the night with a different schoolmate every day, and I'd go home with them. No one knew I didn't have a home of my own. I finished the school year that way."

Over the summer, she says, she ended up getting a job at her cousin's pharmacy.

"I've been working all my life. I was never on the street or homeless. It just always worked out."

Four years later, Mimi heard from her mother again for the first time.

"When I was 17, my mother called and said she wanted to see me. We hadn't seen each other in four years," Mimi says. "I caught the bus back down to the building. It was great to see her. I got a hug."

They were in Olaiya's office at Big Blue, catching up, Mimi says, when another Sea Org member came into the room. And then another. And then another. And then one more.

"I looked up, and there were four Sea Org officers standing there while my mom and I were trying to catch up. I thought it was really odd."

Then, the four officers began pressuring Mimi about joining the Sea Org.

OlaiyaOJoyceEarl.jpg
Mimi's mother, Olaiya Odufunke, left, with her Sea Org friend, Joyce Earl

"They started saying I needed Scientology to be a better human being. And I thought, 'Here we go with the bullshit.' Then they pulled out a contract, and a pen, and they told me to sign it," she says.

It was the Sea Org billion-year contract.

"They said over and over, 'Sign the paper. Sign the paper. Sign the paper.' They were chanting it. I thought I was in the Twilight Zone," she says.

"I look at my mom, and she's looking out the window. I felt like I was there on my own again," she says. "I didn't sign it. I told them sorry, I'm not going to sign the thing."

Mimi says she got up to leave. But the Sea Org officers shut the door and locked it.

"They taped the contract to the door. And they told me to sign it again."

She was told that she couldn't leave the room without signing the contract.

I asked her how she got out of that situation.

"I just acted like a complete fool," she says. "I cursed and screamed. I just lost it."

She laughs, but I can't help thinking it must have been a disturbing scene.

"They finally let me out, and I just hauled ass. I was so mad at my mom. It was years before I saw her again. And we never spoke about that moment until I was 27," she says. "She had the nerve to tell me that she didn't know I felt that way, and she didn't know why I was so upset."

In 1996, Mimi James changed her name to Mimi Faust.

"I found out who my biological father was. So I changed my last name to his."

But her mother, Mimi says, was owned completely by Scientology.

"They had her. They had every part of her. My mom literally died there," Mimi says. "When she got cancer, she got two surgeries. They paid for everything, I'll give them that."

By 2003, when she fell ill, Olaiya had been working for the Office of Special Affairs in Clearwater, Florida at Scientology's spiritual headquarters, known as "Flag Land Base." As we explained on Friday, it was Olaiya's job to go through the confidential files of parishioners to see if they were fit to receive pricey services at Flag.

Her former co-workers describe her as tough Sea Org material.

"Yes, she was a tough lady," Mimi says. "She was hardcore."

But then Olaiya was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and she was sent to the City of Hope National Medical Center in Los Angeles County for treatment.

"When she was dying, I flew out to see her. But I was not allowed to be alone with her. Even when she was dying, they had a chaperone in the room," Mimi says.

On this past Monday's show, Mimi and her brother Kwesi James fulfilled their mother's final wish, to have her ashes spread on a body of water. I noticed that Kwesi referred to his mother's previous name -- Gloria Eva Simmons James -- and Mimi talked about holding her mother's hand at the hospital as Gloria took her last breath. I told Mimi the scene gave the impression that she had wanted to hear her mother express some regret about how things had gone.

"She never did. She wouldn't say she was sorry for anything, but she did recite a poem called 'If.' It took her about an hour and a half to get it out. Her body was breaking down, her breathing was bad. It was awful. But she was determined to get this poem out. It was about forgiveness. She couldn't have just said that she was sorry," Mimi says.

"My mom was always searching for that something in her life. For whatever reason she found it in Scientology. But she gave up her kids for it."

I asked Mimi what she thinks of Scientology today. She didn't want to badmouth it, and assumed that some people find something positive in it. But she pointed out that it was her understanding Scientology wants to unite people. "Well, how are you going to keep the world together if you can't keep your family together?"

To this day, Mimi says, the church always tracks her down and calls to send her new literature or encourage her to take a course.

"They always find my new number. It's so insane. No matter where I move or what I do, they call me and say they want to send some new literature."

Knowing Scientology's skills for tracking her down, I asked Mimi how she felt about speaking so freely about it on national television.

"I was just telling my story. I didn't even think twice about the effect of it. But it's the truth," she says. "It's what happened to me."


See also:
"Tom Cruise worships David Miscavige like a god"
Scientology's president and the death of his son: our complete coverage
What Katie is saving Suri from: Scientology interrogation of kids
Scientology's new defections: Hubbard's granddaughter and Miscavige's dad
Scientology's disgrace: our open letter to Tom Cruise
Scientology crumbling: An entire mission defects as a group
Scientology leader David Miscavige's vanished wife: Where's Shelly?
Neil Gaiman, 7, Interviewed About Scientology by the BBC in 1968
The Master Screenplay: Scientology History from Several Different Eras
And a post that pulls together the best of our Scientology reporting

Please check out our Facebook author page for updates and schedules.


**********
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. 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.

My Voice Nation Help
396 comments
DodoTheLaser
DodoTheLaser

L. Ron Hubbard's greatest mistake was bubbling about wog's vs. OT's.

The con is out now. The morale of the story - never promise, unless you can deliver.

media_lush
media_lush

ho hum, conspiracy theory No 25 re scientology celebs and their children...... a lot of columnists remarked on how quickly Kelly Preston became pregnant after the tragic death of Jett Travolta [remember the crazy crap that surrounded that - the people in the ambulance and blackmail stuff} They hinted it was to help stop him going off the rails and so on....... anyway I googled John Travolta children pics and they showed both his son and daughter had jet black hair..... which makes this conspiracy worthy.... 

 

http://grab.by/fheM

ziontologist
ziontologist like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @media_lush 

It's terrible how they neglected he medical condition of their son based on the writings of a madman. Shame on them.

all.clear
all.clear like.author.displayName 1 Like

@media_lush Ok...is it just me or does Suri look just like Tommy Davis and Ben Travolta look just DM? Moonchild anyone?

ThatClose
ThatClose like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

 @all.clear  @media_lush I just finished reading the whole Aleister Crowley/Satanic ritual/Moonchild portion of LRon's life in A Piece of Blue Sky.  Had no idea CO$ sickness ran so deep.

tetloj
tetloj

 @ziontologist Is there any evidence of  what you are saying about inner circles and magick. I've read all of the early stuff about Hubbard and can see the occult origins in Scientology but haven't heard or read anything to support this.

ziontologist
ziontologist like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Is Suri a moonchild?

The more "Satanic" "sex-magick" stuff is reserved for the inner circle of Scientology.

It's not really "Scientology." That's for the masses. The Satanic inspiration behind it is the "real power," as LRH explained to his son , Ron DeWolf.  

Did you read in Messiah Or Madman the rare account of an L Ron Hubbard sex ritual with a staff member?

 

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 @Llama  @ThatClose People need to know these things...to put the malevolent nature of the cult in perspective.  It's not all Xenu and clam evolution.  

SvenBoogie
SvenBoogie like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @ThatClose I'm sure you already know, but it's over at xenu.net when you're ready... =)

 

It starts off a little slow, he goes into a lot of detail about Hubbard's very early years and his family history, but it gets going pretty quickly. 

ThatClose
ThatClose like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @SvenBoogie Bare Faced is next on my reading list!  So much research. :)

SvenBoogie
SvenBoogie like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @ThatClose Piece Of Blue Sky is definitely a good book. However, as I like impersonating a broken record (a broken expression since a 'broken' record doesn't play...) I'll say again, personally, I like 'Bare Faced Messiah' far better. To each their own though. 

all.clear
all.clear like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@ThatClose @media_lush The Holmes/Cruise story is like a new era Rosemary's Baby.

Llama
Llama like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

 @ThatClose 

 

Indeed for me, as a religious person, learning about Hubbard's occult practices really made me interested in the subject of $cientology.

 

The whole topic of COS is so complex that reporter after reporter fails to represent it in a digestible manner (with some notable exceptions, like Tony O, and SPT, etc) so it seems to linger at the edge of public consciousness.

 

But to read about LRH and how he thought he was the anti-Christ, and wanted to prevent the second coming of Christ... that really got me interested.  Nobody who thinks like LRH has any interest in the well being of anyone else but himself.

Llama
Llama like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @ThatClose 

 

Indeed!  Very twisted!  Hubbard wanted to make humanity his slaves.

StillKeyedOut
StillKeyedOut

 @media_lush 

It might have been in the 80's or 90's, but I remember Travolta saying no one loves you more than your mother, or your parents ... something like that ... I interpreted it as a veiled message to Scientologists about disconnection. 

PeggyToo
PeggyToo like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

OT

 

"He's amazing!" Cruise's Oblivion costar Olga Kurylenko told us at last night's InStyle Summer Soiree at the London West Hollywood hotel. "I was impressed...when he comes on set, he gives you so much energy, you don't even need to drink coffee."

 

"He lights everyone up," Kurylenko gushed. "He's like a sparkle. He's a very generous partner. He gives a lot."

 

BAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

ClamOnAHalfshell
ClamOnAHalfshell like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @PeggyToo Poor Ukrainian girl, crazy Tom Cruise's got his mitts on her now...I wouldn't wish that on anybody.

StillKeyedOut
StillKeyedOut like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @PeggyToo 

Tom Cruise.

Always "on."

Can you imagine what goes into his always being "on?"

As if he's so keyed-out ! Talk about high maintenance! Does he have flag auditors standing by in case poor Tom has an ARC break?

 

(ARC break= bad mood over a disagreement , insult, or miscommunication. A funk which can easily be reversed into a Scientology euphoria! )

 

Sherbet
Sherbet like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 @PeggyToo Actually, she sounds like wife #3, because KH's favorite word about TC seemed to be "amazing."  Both she and TC used it.  A lot.

PeggyToo
PeggyToo like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @Sherbet

 Probably from the script she was handed by DM. ;-)  "Talk nice about my boy and there could be a marriage contract in it for you."

PeggyToo
PeggyToo like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sounds like wife #4

PeggyToo
PeggyToo like.author.displayName 1 Like

another quote;

 

Kurylenko even got to meet Cruise and Holmes' daughter Suri when she visited her dad on set (pre-split). "She's so sweet!" she smiled. "She's so adorable."

 

Oh no.....definitly wife #4

MariannaP.
MariannaP. like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @PeggyToo Oh no! We have the same doctor (I believe she lives or at least used to live in Paris) and he is a good friend of mine, he says that she's an extremely nice person...I'm so sorry for her....

Capt._Howdy
Capt._Howdy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 11 Like

Courtesy of AngryGayPope " Stupid Things Scientologists Say" :

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=QeJn_qeTw30&NR=1

ashura
ashura like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 @Capt._Howdy Great vid, Capn. I think that was AGP's best.

 

At minute 4:50 , the who AGP replayed laughing while saying he's "stable" looks to be Luis Colon, CEO of a management group called MGE, which claims to not be connected to scientology yet was connected to the dentist Rene Piedra's scandalous dentistry detailed in the SP Times The Truth Rundown.

PreferToBeAnon
PreferToBeAnon like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

Very interesting take on $ci--likening it to role-playing games (the first part of a series): 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/daily-dot-how-scientology_n_1760524.html

 

This read is good for the folk who nursed on the net:  They may not know about the past history (such as Snow White) or obscure references (such as Crowley), but they sure know their games!

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @PreferToBeAnon This RPG comparison is really interesting.   I look forward to other installments. Never read the OTIII rundown before...that's wild.  I had no idea they actually had to role-play the whole damn charade.   

Capt._Howdy
Capt._Howdy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @PoisonIvy  @PreferToBeAnon  OT 3 is solo audited like most of the OT levels. They take you in a secured room and you sit at a secured desk and read the folder which is chained to the desk and you solo audit yourself. Someone stands guard outside.

all.clear
all.clear like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@PreferToBeAnon wow, how bizarre is that? It makes me sad that so many people feel the need to connect to something bigger and more fantastic than their own lives to feel good about themselves. What's wrong with being a plain ole mortal human?

AussieCase
AussieCase like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 6 Like

I think this is what Tom Cruise looks like when he is flat-lining his mind--making his needle float. He is telling a story that is a bit mean [what Scientologists would call a missed withold].

 

At one point he is laughing so hard he is spits, and it looks like he is used to holding e-meter cans. He asks for tissue for his face, but then wipes his hands instead of his face (at 5:20).

 

Asking for a tissue and then wiping your hands is quite odd in general, but is is fairly common behaviour if you have sweaty hands while receiving auditing. 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HND7hoBUAaQ

 

I admit the story is amusing. Very Well Done David Letterman.

 

My hands used to sweat a lot holding the damn cans.

 

I have no idea how appropriate it is to deprive a passenger of oxygen? There must be flight regulations on such things?

 

So, do you agree with me, or am I taking greys and pinks?

ashura
ashura like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 @AussieCase 

I don't think it's appropriate, but I do think this video makes TC look a little more human. Though he certainly seemed to be air-gripping the tin cans.

 

What though do you mean by greys and pinks?

AussieCase
AussieCase like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @ashura

 

This is a cut and paste from the link below.

 

>Armstrong, told me, (Bent Corydon) among other things, of a letter to his >third wife, Mary Sue when Hubbard was in Las Palmas during 1967 at the >inception of the Sea Org. This letter is now in custody of the court. In >it Hubbard tells his wife: >"I'm drinking lots of rum and popping pinks and greys."

 

I would like other ex-scientologists to give an opinion of if it looks auditing like. It does to me.

 

Is it appropriate? There may actually be separate regulations/guidelines for above which altitude pilots and passengers require oxygen, but I do not know.

 

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/OTIII/bts-or-dts.txt

 

 

 

Sherbet
Sherbet like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 7 Like

Let me throw out a question, while we all await a new TO topic:  Some of us who were never "in" agree that our friends and families don't understand our fascination with scn, in particular, our (my?) obsession with the exposure and demise of scn and deposing of DM.  Spouses and friends still think scn is just some nutty religion and "aren't they all nutty in their own way..."  There are so many videos on YouTube and websites that illustrate the true character of scn that it's hard to choose which is the most revealing, or the most damaging to scn's credibility.   Many first-timers don't have the attention span to sit still for the long documentaries.  When I want to sit someone down in front of the computer for a lesson in Not Just A Nutty Religion 101, what's a good place to start? What videos or sites will make the most initial impact in revealing the true horror that is scn?  Any favorites?

tetloj
tetloj

 @Sherbet My friends are quite worried about my obsession with this - no matter what I say they think I am either getting sucked into a cult. The feeling around me is 'we know it's crap, so what?'

Sherbet
Sherbet

 @tetloj  That's what I've been getting from my family -- "who cares about this nonsense?" --  which is why I wanted to illustrate to them WHY we should care and WHY it isn't all nonsense.   Some of it is lethal.

V4Vacation
V4Vacation like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@Sherbet You could also google video interviews with Astra Woodcraft and Jenna Miscavige Hill. They describe the child abuse, etc.

AussieCase
AussieCase like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 6 Like

 @Sherbet What separates a "nutty religion" from a cult? I don't think this is an easy question, but I'll give it a go.

 

I would say Lifton's 8 points on thought reform make a good guideline, see wikipedia.

 

But don't priests abuse children? And how is this different from abuses in Scientology.

 

Yes there are stories of priests, hockey coaches, and imams having there way with children, and this largely results from a position of power over children.

 

In the case of a cult there, there are key things that are done to separate adherents from society, and then use them in a bizarre fashion or to strip their bank accounts. Scientology does not raise money through tithing, it does not encourage donating to the poor, it demands taking out additional mortgages to **pay** for spiritual services that promise immortality, or signing your life over to do either clerical or menial work for almost no pay for the rest of your life and beyond.

 

Scientologists who join the sea org, to not mediate near a mountain, do yoga in forest, or live in a convent, they wear pseudo-military uniforms and do mostly clerical work for peanuts. There is no attempt at serenity, and they are giving their lives to a "greater good." But, it turns to be about money and power.

 

In Scientology, people are manipulated to believing that Ron's BS is the only solution available to mankind. All other solutions will not work, and must not be used, and all those who attack Ron's ideas must be destroyed. This creates a totalitarian absolutist culture which demands absolute obedience, which allows for common complete disconnection of family members who disagree, and which allows for the victimization of people who speak out.

 

This is different than thinking other people will not go to haven. Most religions recognize the scientific method, and I would consider a religion "nutty" if it does not. I would categorize creationists as nutty, but Scientology as destructive.

 

I recommend Carey Burtt's video on "How to be a cult leader," and part 1, of Hana's talk in Hamburg for which transcripts exist.

 

I'm not sure my answer is completely satisfactory. I see Scientology as a destructive cult within the context of western society. I am happy to know what you come up with.

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @AussieCase  @Sherbet I'd correct that bit about the SeaOrg.  Since reading here and the published accounts (memoirs) of the exes,  SeaOrg work isn't only clerical.  It's back breaking manual labor as well, and sometimes even highly skilled professional work that would be well-paid (see Jeff Hawkins memoir) outside of the church, which is done for free, with no medical, dental or retirement insurance.   Priests and nuns are cared for for life, with good medical care and housing etc. when they get old.  SeaOrg members are dumped once they are no longer useful as slaves.

Llama
Llama like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @PoisonIvy  @AussieCase  @Sherbet 

 

And the priests, monks, and nuns get to practice their spirituality through copious time for self inquiry and prayer.  SeaOrg gets none of that. 

 

Interesting point:  Monks often take vows of silence.  How could a Sea Org member ever take a vow of silence? They can't, because they need to be hooked up to a machine and be interrogated.

California
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 @AussieCase 

 

Robert Lifton's books and articles about thought reform groups (his term), coercive groups and/or cults are a great place to start.  Well and clearly written while also packed with theory and references enough to keep you up all night chasing them down.  I speak from experience.  

 

Margaret Singer, Ph.D.'s books and Janja Lalich's are excellent. So are Steven Kent's.  Remember not all cults are focused around "religion" at all but the determinants of the behavior of coercive groups are all fairly similar.

 

About Scientology in particular.... Gerry Armstrong's writing, Lawrence Wollerscheim, Paulette Cooper's 1971 book, Nancy Many's "My Billion Year Contract," Marc Headley's "Escape," "A Piece of Blue Sky,"  on and on.  I need to stop because I am so worried that I will inadvertently leave out some excellent book and/or writing and I do want to offend.

California
California

CORRECTION:  I do NOT want to offend by leaving someone off the list.

anonymookme
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 @AussieCase  @Sherbet

In the case of the Catholic church and it's scandal's, any member of the Catholic church can condemn, harrangue, and comment anywhere and everywhere with regard to the church coverup of the scandal & the scandal itself with no worry of being stalked, excommunicated, "fair gamed" or whatever.  They are free to comment on the lack of courage of the church leaders to do the right thing without fear of reprisal. In fact, I know some Catholics who have said outloud to their archbishop that they were disgusted and ashamed of their church's behavior in the scandal. The archbishop may not have liked what he heard, but tough shit. And then there are idiots like Bill Donahue who would defend the church if he walked in and caught the college of bishops gang raping an altar boy. All reliegions have their nutters and any religion in it's extreme version is dangerous.

In Scientology it seems to me that their #1 priority is making money that will go to the top tier "clergy".  Priority #2 in Scientology is to protect the "church" from Insiders and/or outsiders who figure out what Priority #1 is. It's really just an elaborate and complicated con with the intention of boosting the ego of it's potential members with tales of super powers and status, so that they don't pay so much attention to the fact that their pockets are being picked.

PoisonIvy
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 @anonymookme I don't belong to any organized religion, for a number of reasons.  But I have respect for people who do. My father (a lifelong Catholic) became enraged when he found out about the Church's sexual abuses. In his 70's, he quit his mainstream Catholic church and became a member of the Paulist Fathers' "Voice of the Faithful" - a very vocal group that signed petitions, wrote letters, picketed and protested until the church did something about the wrongdoers.  Paulist Fathers is the most liberal part of Catholicism - my Dad's church welcomed gay families (very OUT gay families); lobbied for women priests, and invited other religions in for congresses.  No one harassed him (or the hundreds of his fellow protesters), excommunicated him, etc.   They got results. And he took confession FOR FREE.  

Sherbet
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 @AussieCase Thank you so much for your comprehensive remarks.  I'll definitely watch and read all the recommendations you and other posters made.  I just wanted to make it clear that I don't put scn in the "all nutty religions" category, but there are people who still believe that, people who still think it's an unusual but harmless religion.  Maybe I thought that at one time, too, but no more!  Somebody asked the other day, "Is Scientology the same as Christian Science?"  Yikes!  My eyes are open, and I'm learning more every day through these posts.  I just have to wake up the people around me.  Maybe a big tidal wave will result from the little ripples we all make.

anonymookme
anonymookme

 @Sherbet

 All religions are "nutty" in the extreme version of their beliefs.

Scientology is nutty in the mainstream of scientology "belief". Which is not a "belief" at all. It is all strategies & techniques which are all cons and fraudulent. 

 

hgc10
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 @Sherbet Go to Youtube and find the vid of the OT8 nutjob screaming at his ex-scn protester/stalker that he's "stuck in an incident." Sure it doesn't have the informative narrative of so many others, but it really conveys the essence of the thing. Same with many of the bull-baiting vids. Listen to someone shout the question "what are your crimes" fifty times in a row, and anyone would understand how stupid it all is.

ashura
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 @hgc10  @Sherbet 

 

Just scroll down below, actually. A link is posted to the George Baillie video.

ashura
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 @Sherbet 

I can't say. All I know is that somehow, back in the day about a decade ago, I came across Operation Clambake, which led me to find some of the early protest videos with Minton et al. and to further reading.I have to admit, i started to seriously follow it when anon jumped on the scene. Watching that unfold was pretty awesome, until it was followed up by the SP (TB) Times

 

I think for me though, I remember even further back in finding John Travolta's affect during interviews (going back to at least the late 80s) struck me as oddly flat and straining. I didn't know much about scientology back then except the superficial belief that it was some weird quasi-religion of celebrities" but when I started to become a "watcher" I was hooked. So much more interesting than just the celebrity angle.

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy

 @ashura What happened to Bob Minton and Stacy?

ashura
ashura like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Capt._Howdy  @PoisonIvy

Though I didn't know him personally, after all I've read and watched, I believe Minton was a good man who literally put his money where his mouth was.

 

Supposedly Minton came to consider Rinder a friend (and it was Rinder who actually got between Miscaviage doing any more harm to Minton). Nevertheless, even though he might have been backed into a corner by cos, there's no denying he did a lot of good. How different it might have been had Anon been around 5 or 6 years earlier. 

PoisonIvy
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 @Capt._Howdy  @ashura Thank you for the link.  This is very upsetting.  I'm sure it prevented other like minded people from doing something for years.  Tragic.

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy

 @ashura Very sad.  But I hope she's living a good life in Ireland.

ashura
ashura

 @PoisonIvy Bob died a few years ago after basically being forced to leave the scene when scion got to him in the legal battle with the LMT (well documented over at xenu.tv and elsewhere). I read that he and Stacy had moved to Ireland where she still lives today.

Capt._Howdy
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 @Sherbet if you want to show someone how crazy scientology can make people, there are these classics:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f87Y1sq8KQs

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KySUCtdGrMM

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPol_m8wm8Y

PoisonIvy
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 @Capt._Howdy Wow on those video clips.  My stomach hurts.

 

ashura
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 @PoisonIvy  @Capt._Howdy 

Does anyone whether Mary Demoss (aka Mary Pantone, aka Mary VonBreck) actually blew completely? I know she's out in Colorado now working in PR for some enviro group but haven't heard if she's spoken up about any of this.

ThatClose
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 @Capt._Howdy  @Sherbet Wow!  that airport video is crazy.  Do they teach "chewing gum in a menacing way" in the Comm class?

Sherbet
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 @Capt._Howdy Thanks to everyone.  My family and friends won't thank you, because now they'll be asked to watch this stuff, but the story has to be told.

Lizalegless
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 @Sherbet This chilling slideshow reeled me in many years ago.  http://theunfunnytruth.ytmnd.com/  It is graphic and to the point, mainly focusing on Lisa McPherson.

PoisonIvy
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 @Lizalegless That is powerful, Lizalegless.  Thank you.  It's a good tool to educate people (though there are dozens of other examples of abuse, ruin & death they could've added!)

victoriapandora
victoriapandora

 @Lizalegless  @Sherbet

 Was LRH really convicted and sentenced to four years in 1978?

I haven't seen that anywhere else.

I thought he always managed to slip through the cracks and someone else took the hit for him?

 

MariannaP.
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 @victoriapandora I know that LRH really was convicted and sentenced for the organized fraud in France.

MariannaP.
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 @Lizalegless Yes! This one is very good. Otherwise use  your own words, it is always better, tell them what happened to Stacy Moxon, for example. If you  are talking tout a European, talk them about their closed secret bases, arms, slavery and torture. 

Lizalegless
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 @MariannaP. This is a fascinating topic- how everyone here got interested in scn gawking...definitely more than one Source, ha!

Lizalegless
Lizalegless

 @Sherbet I take that back, it really hits all the lowlights in scientology history.  But there are some grisly photos in there.

Lizalegless
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 @Sherbet The TC video is out of control, but for the uninitiated, it would probably be pretty perplexing.  Easy just to say the guy is a nut. Once you know about scn, you know this is standard material, and is supported by a lot of suffering.

Sherbet
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 @Lizalegless Thank you and thanks to all who replied.  I just rewatched the TC laugher video.  It has all the depth of a middle school graduation speech, all earnest  generalities about "doing," and "getting it done" and  "we are the ones who can do it."  So how's that world peace thing coming, TC?  Can you even uncrease a magazine cover yet?

Capt._Howdy
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When some "civilian" on youtube or elsewhere asks me what's so bad about $cn I usually refer them to the "Scientology Controversies" article on Wikipedia. It's a good short, sharp introduction to the sinister side of Co$.

dbloch7986
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 @Sherbet Well there are some Anderson Cooper videos on the internet out there. As well as the Four Corners videos. Those are designed to entertain an audience completely unfamiliar and who have no vested interest in Scientology.

 

There is the Tom Cruise video intended as an internal Scientology propaganda film of him laughing maniacally and calling EMTs useless during a car wreck which usually will start off making the person giggle but after two or three minutes in they will be shocked enough to open up to more things.

 

There are a lot of news segments out there on the internet which are designed for entertainment value and are not just boring documentaries that borrow music from Star Wars and flash pictures at you.

 

Four Corners: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBFw14uNQA0

 

Anderson Cooper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJN7eptXjY4

dbloch7986
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PoisonIvy
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 @Sherbet  @dbloch7986 Book-wise, I have to say, Bare Faced Messiah is a great "truth is WAYYYYY stranger than fiction" bio of Hubbard, revealing him for what he is.  It's a good read, too.  He begins by telling the story of Gerry Armstrong merrily collecting documents for the Glorious Official bio of Hubbard and then his realization that the man fabricated his entire life.  Not much on DM as I recall, however, since when it was written, DM hadn't morphed into his "FAR worse than the old boss" incarnation. 

Sherbet
Sherbet

 @dbloch7986 Thank you.  That's just what I needed to start some ripples.

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