(2012's) Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, Nos. 14-16

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Last summer, we put together a little list that took on a life of its own.

We counted down the 25 people and groups who had been doing the most to get word out to the wider world about the Church of Scientology's many alleged abuses, and who have contributed to its steep recent decline.

A year later, we thought it was time to update our list. This time, we've put a premium on what's happened in the last twelve months, so you might see some of your old favorites drop off the roster. But never fear -- you can always revisit our choices from last year, or the choices of our readers.

So let's see who's next on the list!



The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology -- 2012 Edition


#16. Dave Touretzky

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We're moving Carnegie Mellon University professor Dave Touretzky up in our list this year. Touretzky is known for his many years of gathering and hosting information at his websites that describe Scientology's secret upper-level teachings and other detailed research. But it's Touretzky's dedication to getting out information about Scientology's drug treatment program, Narconon, which is making a big difference this year as the church's rehab centers have become the center of controversy. We've referred to Touretzky's pages often in our stories, and we hope readers use them to come to the understanding that Narconon's issues are longstanding and systemic.


#15. Mark Bunker

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The Wise Beard Man has had something of a quiet year, but don't let that fool you. He's been hard at work at his upcoming Scientology documentary, Knowledge Report, and we're hoping he's nearing something we can look at soon. Of course, we've seen bits and pieces of it all along, as he's released short but powerful interviews with seemingly all of the most intriguing former church members. Just a couple of days ago Bunker put out the latest of these, including an account by Steve Hall of what it was like to face Scientology leader David Miscavige's fury.


#14. Tory Christman

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Last year, we cited Tory Christman as the epitome of what we called "noisy ex-Scientologists" -- former church members who defy Scientology's reputation for retaliation and speak out about its secrets. In the past year, Tory has only worked even harder to get the word out, both in her regular video chats, but also with a recent trip to Ireland.

A lot of other noisy exes also had a big year. We're thinking of Denise Brennan, Chuck Beatty, Gary Morehead, Gerry Armstrong, Dan Garvin, Michael Fairman, Tiziano Lugli, Nancy Many, Margery Wakefield, Patty Moher, Jesse Prince, and especially Michelle Sterling, who put up with a lot of 'net nonsense this past year. Heck, even Jon Atack has resurfaced!

The new media interest in all things Scientology should give these folks even more chances to be heard, and in our opinion that's a very good thing.

See also: 25. Xenu, 24. Kate Bornstein, 23. Lisa Marie Presley, 22. John Brousseau, 21. Dani and Tami Lemberger, 20. Jamie DeWolf, 19. Jefferson Hawkins, 18. Amy Scobee, 17. Marc and Claire Headley

Look for the next installment of our Top 25 on Wednesday. We have things timed so that we'll reveal this year's number one just a few days before the opening of "The Master," Paul Thomas Anderson's new film that should explode interest in all things Scientology.

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Scientology Sunday Funnies!

Just about every day, we receive the latest wacky and tacky fundraising mailers put out by Scientology orgs around the world. Thank you, tipsters, for forwarding them to us! On Sundays, we love to reveal them to you.

Taking advice from Scientologists about parenting? Hm. I think our commenters can think of a few reasons why that might be risky...

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These Freewinds fliers are getting so disappointing. I mean, this is the spiritual supership that is supposed to rocket you into total freedom with OT 8, right? So why sully it with some half-assed pre-OT cruise to "havingness"? I am disappoint.

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Prosperity? Hmm. In regards to this next flier, I couldn't help but find this interesting.

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Bonus Item: Inspiring words from COB!

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Bonus Video: IAS 2012 Preview!

I, for one, can't wait for this year's October IAS gala. And here's a preview to whet your appetite...

That footage was shot at last year's gala, and if you want to experience what actually happened then, you can check out our coverage of it.



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
422 comments
nancytimyan
nancytimyan

no matter what we say...  it's wrong!  

nancytimyan
nancytimyan

I wasn't willing to join the COS either when I lived in Palo Alto...  

 

nancytimyan
nancytimyan

I know the voice of a scientologist.  Nasty folk!  They live their lives "getting even"...

SvenBoogie
SvenBoogie

No new stories since Sunday, the exteriorized LRH must be using his incredible OT powers on Mr Ortega's mind again...

sketto
sketto

Havingness. 

 

To paraphrase the great Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word, but I don't think you know that it's not a word."

AndrewRobertson
AndrewRobertson

 

'Scientology is always expanding somewhere else', is a well-known Org PR belief.

 

This priceless piece of hilarity from Perth reported in the 'West Australian' should not be read whilst drinking a mug of coffee:

 

'Millions for scientology super church'

 

http://tinyurl.com/ccl4xow

 

[...]

 

Ms Clarke said the number of Scientologists in Perth was rising, but she was unable to say how many people visited the city's church. She said there were 250,000 Scientologists in Australia.

 

In last year's census, 2163 people said they were Scientologists, a 13.7 per cent drop from the 2006 census.

 

[...]

 

Ms Clarke doesn't know the membership numbers in Perth yet she knows how many Scientologists there are in elsewhere in Australia?

 

AussieCase
AussieCase

I was watching this, and I noticed the young woman scraping paint was wearing a "clear bracelet." It is an over priced Scientology status symbol.

 

"Look at me I'm clear, yeah I'm scraping paint of an old cattle barge, but hey I'm clear." The crazy thing is some Indies would likely kill for the opportunity to scrape paint on that old cattle barge.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-PYK1oWtXM#t=18m14m

 

And if the women here do not have one, and if you would like tell people you are "clear and cool" than look nor further than ebay.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DIANETICS-SCIENTOLOGY-14K-Yellow-Gold-Clear-Bracelet-L-Ron-Hubbard-/160872053095?pt=US_Fine_Bracelets&hash=item2574b8b967

dbloch7986
dbloch7986

I saw some discussion about the "Study Tech" on here.

 

The way that Hubbard taught his students to study puts undue influence on the meanings of individual words and ignores the contextual meaning as a whole. It was designed for one purpose which is to wrap the person in a cloud of confusion by over-complicating the process of reading. This makes the person more likely to accept the material because he is so absorbed by the words it is written with he fails to look at the subject in relation to the rest of his life or the world at large.

 

It is also a way to get a person stuck in the circular logic of Scientology by saying that if he doesn't understand the material, it isn't because the material doesn't make sense rather it is his fault for not understanding the words. It is all designed to remove a person's critical thinking abilities.

 

In reality the "Study Tech" has no potential worth at all. If misunderstood words were so important, then it would be impossible for a child to learn a language, or an individual to learn a new language.

AussieCase
AussieCase

A couple of weeks ago we were discussing the e-meter.

 

The following is from "The Shrinking World of L. Ron Hubbard" in 1968 the transcript is from Mark Bunker's site.

 

American courts have condemned the E-meter of being totally unscientific; it measures only emotion. It can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality. If you feel ashamed because you believe that, in a previous incarnation, you hammered the nails into Christ’s feet, the Scientologists think that proves that you lived before as a Roman centurion. Unburdened, the student feels free at last. It’s this area that is a deepest concern to the medical world, although discussing the deepest problems naturally makes many people feel better, the Scientologists also applied this technique to people in no fit mental state to stand it. Sometimes, digging with the best will in the world into a student’s problems they can reduce him into a state of collapse well known to psychiatrists. The Scientologists gayly call it the sad effect [sic]. The only mystery about the e-meter is its price. In a recent US income tax trial, it was stated that it cost about 4 £ (GBP) and 9 shillings to make while Hubbard was selling it for between 44 and 51  £ (GBP). As the court commissioners said, such profitability, while not at all conclusive, is indicative of a commercial operation.

 

I've found a reference to a galvanometer and emotions in the  British Medical Journal Sept. 28, 1907. The authors actually discuss controlling for skin surface area and pressure unlike Matheson's device, and note the a similar device was studied briefly in France in 1888, and in Russia in 1890.

AussieCase
AussieCase

A brief look at Hubbard's "clear" con.

 

In 1950, Hubbard showed of his first clear, Sonia Bianca, at the Shrine auditorium. After failing various memory tests, Hubbard turned his back and she could not even remember the colour of his tie.

 

"I’ve met several hundred of these clears and several OTs, which are the advanced students, and they just didn’t have the abilities Hubbard said they had."

Nick Robinson (1968)

 

"There is no fucking clear. There is no clear. There is no clear. It's a con."

Jason Baghe (2008)

 

"The more things change the more they stay the same."

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1849)

 

 

StillKeyedOut
StillKeyedOut

L Ron Hubbard fooled a lot of people for a long time. For a lot of of bread.

Talk about "long con!"

But he didn't send you to ethics for having a minor disagreement with the church. That would have driven people away in droves. Instead, you were offered free auditing to help you get over whatever it was the church did to piss you off. It was called an "ARC break session".

sugarplumfairy32
sugarplumfairy32

kevin burke of wiseman and burke.. bruce douglas wiseman a.k.a. john truman wolfe.. who gets financial advice from a company run by a man with two names??

speakerguy
speakerguy

Any further news on the Arrowhead protest?

PreferToBeAnon
PreferToBeAnon

There was a bit of discussion yesterday at Marty's about how they aren't even keeping stats on the number of auditors, clears, new starts, etc. anymore.  Someone who was recently inside an org also mentioned that the real estate in the building was largely devoted to the front businesses (WISE, etc.,) rather than areas used for training. Obviously the focus is shifting  to the front organizations where they perceive the real $ to be.  It's good the vise is clamping on NarCONon, but the other front stuff is still hanging out there.  As well, I see they have other drug rehabs without the sauna (but still using the tech) under other names.

$ci has billions in cash and solid real estate holdings worldwide.  They aren't folding so quickly.  Even if MissCabbage is dethroned, there will be someone next.  This is why they are dangerous.  Unlike other cults that will eventually fade, $ci has resources unlike any other with a corporate structure that looks like an octopus.  I suppose the first step would be to get the tax exemption revoked--does anyone know if that is in the works?  Even if that happens in the US, they still have significant holdings worldwide.  Is this even surmountable?

PreferToBeAnon
PreferToBeAnon

 @SvenBoogie Well, we are hanging in there!  In his absence I fell into an existential, cigarette-smoking, ice-cream-eating despair about the enormity of it all. Thankfully, a healthy discussion of study tech, one or two solid analyses by JohnP, and a posted youtube clip or two pulled me out of it.  I think we are all carrying on admirably. No guilt, of course, Tony.

Delling
Delling

 @SvenBoogie Yep, or Tony's getting some well-deserved rest after a few hectic weeks. :)

BurytheNuts
BurytheNuts

 @AussieCase I just can't believe that this person has been selling so much LRH propaganda and bad romance novels since late 2006.

and you gotta love that ebay screename:  fsm4lrh

media_lush
media_lush

 @AussieCase I checked out the other items this person has for sale.... mainly books and a cribbage game.... it struck as the last things that one could possibly sell to make money.  I wonder if this person has left, been ordered to reg more money, or has lost a loved one ..... I find it kind of sad and desperate.

AussieCase
AussieCase

 @AussieCase Imagine scraping paint on an old cattle barge all day long thinking this is what you really need, thinking this labour punishment regime will somehow free you. Yet you are completely trapped, you have essentially signed your life, and eternity, away. Ron's brutal prescription is really what you need; it is really what you deserve. Others likely need it too, but they, unlike you, haven't realized it is their only hope.

 

I reckon it is very similar to running around an orange pole in Miscavige's hole, or doing an RPF. You deserve to be in the hole, this is the only thing that will save your screwed up soul. Your have been told that without this mindless punishment here is only emptiness.

 

It seems like an abusive relationship that people fall into, accept, or even depend on. It's weird. At some point I wondered what extreme solution Ron needed for me.

 

I stepped on a skate at the Clearwater beach. I didn't see it, as it was half buried in the sand. Luckily, it managed to swim away,

 

That is Scientology, you bury your head in the sand, and if you are lucky a tourist will step on you, and you can limp away.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnNSe5XYp6E#t=9m29s

 

FLUNK
FLUNK

 @AussieCase 

A NYC Scn / musician friend had his apartment broken into in the '80's.

Only certain things were taken ... but they took the "clear bracelet!" 

What did the burglar think the "S" stood for? Supa-mutha-f--king Man? 

jensting
jensting

 @dbloch7986 agreed completely. "Study tech" is just one of the tools used by the criminal organisation known as the "church" of $cientology to fuck with the mind of its members.

 

To be against "study tech" is not to be against looking up words in dictionaries, it is to be against mind control.

California
California

 @dbloch7986 This has been and is a continuing robust discussion.  Please check through the former postings for the threads.  Input is valued.

AussieCase
AussieCase

 @dbloch7986 What you don't agree with KSW? You simply have misunderstood words, don't worry we can help you find them.

PreferToBeAnon
PreferToBeAnon

 @StillKeyedOut Was that before or after he overboarded you with your hands tied? Or locked you in chain storage container (oh sorry...that's only for the 8-year-olds)?

AussieCase
AussieCase

 @StillKeyedOut Hubbard invented the brand of hardcore (heavy ethics) that Scientology uses. The purpose of his sea project, which became the sea org, was to "get ethics in."  How did  he do that?

 

People were thrown overboard into the harbour at out at sea, and if some thought that was amusing, he had them bound first. Children were locked in the chain locker and allowed to soil themselves. People wore grey rags when in the Scientology lower ethics condition of liability, black marks on their faces if assigned the Scientology lower ethics condition of treason, and both were filthy and ate lefovers.

 

He had some charisma, he knew how to manipulate people, and perhaps his techniques were hypnotic. Perhaps his extreme brutality was really exposed only to people who have really bought it. Likewise we do not see wealthy public in the hole.

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @sugarplumfairy32 Actually, what's more scary is the fine print on the web site:  "We are not a law firm, registered investment advisors or insurance agency."  

 

In other words, "we can tell you to do all kinds of crazy stuff with your money and if something goes wrong, there is no regulatory body that you can go to for redress other than the courts, and our standard engagement letter is so utterly airtight that we don't have anything to worry about if you should decide to sue us."  

AnonymousMeg
AnonymousMeg

Your post was actually one of the most logical ones I've ever read. It gave a good picture of Scientology today, and it ain't good.

ashura
ashura

 @PreferToBeAnon And the WISE front groups scare me just as much.

 

Nearly two years later and I still regularly think about how that Florida dentist Rene Piedra got roped by a WISE front group and then went buck wild in roping in his patients to the tune of tens of millions.

 

Seems the WISE biz model is just more the same no holes barred raping and pillaging people of every last penny.

SvenBoogie
SvenBoogie

 @Delling Well sure, I guess, if you want to be all SANE about it... =P

AussieCase
AussieCase

 @media_lush Yeah these books are the sort one would take to a local used book store in a box in attempt to reduce waste.

 

There is also a gold studded OT pendant. Maybe someone declared bankruptcy after paying for and doing OT levels. There were two people who declared personal bankruptcy at my small org 20 years ago.

 

If you are going to go bankrupt with Scientology, it is best to do it before you get too far up the bridge to totally screwed up--it may save your ass.

ziontologist
ziontologist

 @AussieCase 

From MARTY"S BLOG:

"Miscavige’s perversion knows no boundaries: like a new born Caligula, that became famous because he appointed his horse as Senator, so Miscavige decided “to put the rank bars” to his dog and appointed the dog Captain. And if the dog barks at you that’s a sign that you “are out ethics” and so you will be punished. -Renata Lugli

dbloch7986
dbloch7986

 @CaliforniaTo be frank, it's just too much work to try and find it. This entire comments' section is so long.

 

I saw some comments related to No Child Left Behind and I am not familiar enough with it to contribute. Scientology's study technology has no value in the real world whatsoever. 

 

We can reduce it to uselessness simply by saying that I have never read the unabridged dictionary of the English language, therefore with regards to the study technology it should be impossible for me to speak English. As would be the case for everyone on this board.

 

You do not need to "clear" words by reading all definitions, idioms, derivation and making sentences. Contextual clues are usually more than enough. Where those don't suffice going to Google and typing "define:[word]" and taking a casual glance at the definition is entirely workable.

 

I realized when I started working that I didn't need to "clear" words to understand my work. I just did it and picked up the lingo of the industry I was working in as time went on. I have worked in the airline, software, PR, staffing, security and insurance industries (maybe more) and have done just fine thus far.

 

This is the way language is learned as well.

 

Study technology is demonstrably useless.

Jgg2012
Jgg2012

  Yes, it's illegal to conduct business as an investment adviser in this state unless the investment adviser has first applied for and secured from the Commissioner a certificate authorizing the investment adviser to do so, and they have been ordered by the state AG to stop.

Sherbet
Sherbet

 @JohnPCapitalist  @sugarplumfairy32 It's a shame narconon doesn't have any such fine print:  "We are not a rehab in any medical sense of the word, and we can tell you to do all kinds of crazy scientology stuff with your money, your mind, and your body.  At best, you will stay sober until you leave the premises, and, at worst, well, you'll leave the premises all right, but we don't want to tell you about that part."

AndrewRobertson
AndrewRobertson

 @JohnPCapitalist  

 

I noticed an advertizement recently on the back page of the British journal 'The Spectator' from IG Group, "A world leader in financial derivatives trading", in other words, a betting shop.

 

It was slightly confusing to attempt to equate their twin boasts:

 

 - "With IG Index, you have the peace of mind that your money is safe."

 

 - "Losses can exceed your initial deposit."

 

At least with the Church of Scientology there's no equivocation about obtaining advanced spiritual powers transcending matter, energy, space and time and securing one's eternity.

 

But if none of these wonderful things happen then it's your fault for harbouring doubts, having false purposes and insisting on remaining too low on the tone level.

 

This conclusion is ineluctable when one carefully reads the wisdom of 'Source'.

 

100% Standard Tech, 100% Standardly Applied always works!

 

Also, a large bank account and a generous attitude towards Church Registrars works too.

 

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy

 @ashura  @PreferToBeAnon This could also mean that they just aren't getting any new publics in the doors the ordinary way, so they are resorting to the subterfuge of the front groups which (as @PreferToBeAnon  says) are more of a surefire way to bring in fast cash.  If this is true, then their new business model is: drain the coffers of every current Scientologist, especially the really wealthy ones; bring in more direct cash via WISE, Narconon, APS, etc; convert new people via the front groups.  If so they are going underground and getting even more sneaky.

sugarplumfairy32
sugarplumfairy32

 @ziontologist  @AussieCase haha.. i watched history channel 2 nights ago.. about caligula.. they mentioned the horse-senator thing.. believe it or not, i too, thought of miscavige and his pup.. i bet renata is a history channel fan..

Delling
Delling

Gaah, making smartass comments about learning languages and writing 'to' instead of 'through'.... :)

Delling
Delling

 @dbloch7986  @California I've learned English mostly from tv and reading novels. Well, we had English in school from 5th grade up but it was so boring to study grammar and specific words when I could read books and learn through context instead.

I've later tried to learn new languages through courses, and it's impossible for me. Expose me to it however and I can pick up phrases really fast. If I had been forced to 'learn' language the Scilon way I'd be poor in my native tongue, let alone English. (There's one downside of learning 'my' way, when I start to understand a language I also start to misunderstand in serious ways since so much can depend on single sentences or words at times.)

Point is, there are different ways of learning, and as has been said, the Scilon way might be one of the worst while also removing critical thinking. I recently re-read '1984' and there is a great long passage in it about Newspeak and how you can control thoughts to controlling language. A cynical view on Scilon schooling might be that the conman himself was inspired in part by Orwell.

AussieCase
AussieCase

 @dbloch7986  @California I agree.

 

The concern is that study tech is being pushed into schools where non-Scientology children are. I am politely pitching the idea to Tony to write about study tech, it's results and how it is being pushed at some point.

 

The following article by Drew Harwell points out that **in the last school year** (2011-2012) a charter school in Pinellas county implemented Hubbard's so-called study tech. The unsuspecting third and forth graders scored lowest and second lowest on standardized testing in math, reading and writing of the 300 schools in the Tampa Bay area. Harwell is the reporter covering this issue in Tampa bay.

 

Scientologists are very aggressive and they **believe** this crap works. It needs to be made clear that it does not, as they will try to push it wherever they can.

 

http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/testing/fcat-scores-at-pinellas-charter-school-that-used-scientology-study-tech/1232114

deElizabethan
deElizabethan

 @dbloch7986  @California 

so true, hard to go through comments.

Study tech - At first I would go through it and then saw how sticky that game could get and decided not to play it and did just fine too.

media_lush
media_lush

 @JohnPCapitalist  @Jgg2012 I posted this ages ago:

 

Wiseman and Burke.... the same Wiseman and Burke who received a DESIST AND REFRAIN Corporate Order from the state of California.... lulz. You just can't make this shit up http://www.corp.ca.gov/ENF/pdf/2011/WisemanB_dr.pdf And I think his partner is one of the parents of the children who set-up ex-scientologykids.com. (just google Wiseman and Burke and its the 3rd link down about Jenna Miscavige..... Incidentally the article there also has a new scion word for me: 'anti-thetical'. You gotta love the Internet.

 

and

 

Hmmm, not mentioned on any Wiseman and Burke sites is the other person listed as owner of the company.... Bodhi Elfman. "Bodhi Elfman is the son of Richard Elfman, and he is also the nephew of composer Danny Elfman.[11] In February 1995, he married actress Jenna Elfman.[12] The Elfmans are both Scientologists.[13] Jenna Elfman was raised Catholic, and Bodhi introduced her to Scientology; she became a Scientologist after they were married.[14] The couple met while auditioning for a Sprite commercial.[11][15] Jenna Elfman credits Scientology with sustaining their marriage". The companies income is listed as $2.5 to $5m

 

.... I mentioned that it was rather strange for a scientologist to be the (secret-ish as he's not mentioned on the site) president of an "investment company" that seems to be a front for scion real-estate investments that don't seem to be associated with the Church.... it was like he knew that scientology was a good way to make easy money, like he's in on the con.

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @Jgg2012 Investment advisers have to register in any state, not just California.  But more importantly, it's also a federal crime to fail to register as an investment adviser when you are supposed to.  I thought anybody needed to register but apparently, the SEC relaxed the rules a couple years back and you now have to register only if you have a client "book" of over $100 million (or if you work for an investment company, as I do) -- this does not make me feel warm and fuzzy about investor protection... I can't imagine taking investment advice from someone who's not registered.  That doesn't mean they're any good, it just means you can complain to the SEC if they screw you, and the SEC has jurisdiction.  

 

Do you have any dox on their being ordered to stop functioning as an investment adviser?  I'm interested...

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @AndrewRobertson Yes, the IG advert is amusing in those apparently contradictory disclaimers.  But they are talking about two different things. 

 

"You have the peace of mind that your money is safe."  = "We promise not to steal a billion or two from our customers to cover bad bets we made trading for our own account like our former rival MF Global."  

 

"Losses can exceed your initial deposit" = "If you somehow evaded our risk controls by writing uncovered put options on something that heads for the sky, you will lose every nickel you own because we will not be shy about coming after you to get it." 

 

In the case of IG Global, there is a good chance you will lose all your money and get nothing of provable, tangible value in return, but it will all be nice and legal because they merely let you make bad decisions and lose all your money; they won't actually steal anything.  

 

In Scientology, you will absolutely positively lose all your money, and if you have any money deposited on account for future services, they will almost certainly steal that.

 

Personally, I'll stick with the options trades.  At least there is some chance that I'll make money off the deal.  

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @PreferToBeAnon  @PoisonIvy  @ashura Not 100% certain on the property tax issue, but I do know that the building purchased to be the New Haven CT "Idle Org" has been slapped with a tax lien.  It may be the case that the building does not become tax exempt until it gets a certificate of occupancy by a nonprofit organization.  

 

A comment that may have appeared here in the last couple days suggested that they're trying to move front groups into vacant space in the Idle Orgs, which could lift at least part of any tax exemptions that they may now receive.  I don't know if that is actually happening; that would certainly bring pressure to bear on the tax exemption if true. 

California
California

 @JohnPCapitalist  @PreferToBeAnon  @PoisonIvy  @ashura  Remember, John P., SCN got much monies from public education for years.... and that door has been slammed shut.  Plus the collateral plusses that SCN received from being associated with public ed.  Poof!  It is gone.

PreferToBeAnon
PreferToBeAnon

 @JohnPCapitalist  @PoisonIvy  @ashura Indeed, there are parallels with North Korea.  I'm hoping that somewhere along the line they lose their tax exemption.  Also, do they have to pay property taxes--or is that included in the exemption?

I know... I sound like a little kid in the back seat screaming, "are we there yet?!"  Their demise just can't come fast enough.

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @PreferToBeAnon  @PoisonIvy  @ashura They're feeling a lot of pain right now, in terms of the dissonance between "Scientology tech works 100% of the time" and the dismal stats that they try so hard to ignore.  They're stretching to "polish the turd" (a marketing term) until it shines, but that gets progressively harder to do.  

 

But if you mean how long until they face severe economic hardship that causes them to start closing orgs and doing other things that look like going out of business, it will probably be many years, given the likely size of their reserves. They could easily go another 15-20 years if they have $1 billion in net cash before they run out. 

 

My scenario: the cult is already past the economic point of no return, in a financial "death spiral."  Attempts to prolong it may defer but not prevent the inevitable.  Litigation will not get at significant amounts of the spare cash in the main cult, but exposure of front groups like Narconon, WISE and Applied Scholastics will choke off the flow of bodies coming in the door, which is equally important.  Orgs will remain empty with increasingly small staffs but will attempt to remain open, even if maintenance is deferred.  Miscavige won't sell buildings to raise cash since he's sure that "expansion is right around the corner." Neglected maintenance will mean that they look increasingly tatty and decrepit; inability of local orgs to pay the bills means that most are likely to end up foreclosed for back taxes rather than being sold in trophy condition.  Miscavige is likely to remain the leader until he dies, since none are strong enough to overthrow him.  The parallels between Scientology and North Korea are striking.  

PreferToBeAnon
PreferToBeAnon

 @JohnPCapitalist  @PoisonIvy  @ashura Thanks JohnP--good thoughts on all of that!  So if:

(a) the front groups don't make it competition-wise in the long-term,

(b) they keep declining in new starts,

(c) their big donors are dying off or are tapped out,

(d) they keep steadily blowing a giant wad on lawyers, settlements, and PIs, and

(e) they are investing cash in giant Idle Orgs and more real estate and its upkeep

...do you have a gut feeling on how long before they feel any pain? I had heard that Hubbard had nearly a billion when he died.

PoisonIvy
PoisonIvy

 @JohnPCapitalist  @PreferToBeAnon  @ashura Thank you for that, JohnP.  I feel a little more relieved. Still, there are many potential dupes who aren't wise to WISE, or APS, or even Narconon (especially if CO$ just changes the brand name.)  The Scn's are reknowned for their relentless hard sell tactics ( you would sell hard, too, if the alternative to having upstats is a stint in RPF)

JohnPCapitalist
JohnPCapitalist

 @PreferToBeAnon  @PoisonIvy  @ashura I haven't done a lot of work on WISE.  However, I think there are some flaws in the business model of all the affiliate front groups that purport to offer a product or service.  

 

1.  Front groups have competition.  There is only one Cult of Scientology -- there is only one set of Scientology beliefs.  

 

1a.)  Without competition, they can charge whatever they want. If Scientology doesn't work for you, you can't get the same Super Duper Wisdom by the Smartest Guy Ever somewhere else with a different cult that is promising more auditing at cheaper prices. When your auditor screws up, they don't fix the mistake on the house; you get to pay for more auditing.  That won't happen if there's competition.  

 

1b.)  As a monopoly provider, the church of Scientology has no incentive to improve the quality of the services they offer. So they can charge high prices and offer crappy service and they can do this forever.  

 

2.)  Competition means accountability for results and lower prices for goods and services.  In the case of Narconon, there are many other drug rehab centers.  If rehab providers told the truth, people would be able to make rational choices of who offers the best chance of rehab at the lowest cost.  Naturally, this means a sleazy organization like Narconon will lie to the greatest extent possible.  

 

2a.)  The fact that a substandard provider like Narconon must lie to get any business at all makes them significantly vulnerable to sunlight being shone into the festering recesses of their misbehavior.  Once they are sufficiently exposed, there is a domino effect, which we may be seeing with the recent successes of David Love and other activists.  The odds are that once critical mass is achieved in exposure and negative perception, they will be forced to shutter the place. 

 

2b.)  This suggests that the key to combating Narconon is to pierce through the recruiting mechanism (all those anonymous web sites) on the front end, and to pursue regulatory avenues on the back end.  In other words, Narconon, because it has competition and thus must over the long term deliver real value, is far more vulnerable than the cult. 

 

3.)  The royalty burden imposed on front groups makes them commit grave strategic errors. This is inevitable.  

 

In the case of WISE, I seem to recall that the royalty rate is on average, about 10% of revenue for consulting firms delivering various Hubbard-derived "tech."  So if you are a consultant doing WISE stuff, you immediately have to grow your business 10% to 15% to bring home the same amount of money that you were making. That can happen by increasing prices or by cutting costs.  If you're a small consulting firm, it's hard to cut costs that fast.  

 

For the customers of these WISE consultants, imagine you're a dentist bringing in $500,000 per year to your practice. After all the bills are paid (3 staff, rent, insurance, supplies), you take home maybe $150,000.  Not a bad living. But then you sign up for WISE and pay maybe $50,000 for their "admin tech."  Now you have to grow your practice by 10% immediately or at the end of the year, your take-home pay, which used to be $150,000 now is $100,000, a drop of 1/3.  Ouch!  Either that or you have to fire one of your staff, which means longer waits in the waiting room, more screwed up billing, or something else that leads directly to pissed off patients, and increased patient churn.  

 

So when you get this major squeeze on your profits, you have to be very very aggressive about expanding your business quickly, taking significant risks such as trying to sell those expensive pre-paid treatment plans for lots of stuff that people don't really need. And when your customers get pissed off and tell other people (easier than ever to do in the Internet era), business tanks.  

 

A 10% to 15% tax on SALES is an abomination -- most companies are doing well if they make 15% of sales as profits. So WISE is basically helping themselves to the entire profit stream of your business.  So if you can't double your profits overnight, you're in a world of hurt.  And when there is a lot of pressure from WISE to prove that the "tech" is infallible, you'll do some pretty stupid stuff.  

 

3b.)  WISE branding is worse than useless.  There are a lot more "wog" customers in the world than there are Scientologist customers.  So while being listed in the WISE member directory may boost business from other Scientologists short-term, an easy way to make it unattractive to be a WISE business is for "wog" customers to "disconnect" from the Scientology business.  If there are enough easily discovered stories where people's businesses collapsed BECAUSE they were a WISE business, anybody who's not a die-hard cultie would drop any thought of using WISE "admin tech" immediately.  If a cadre of Anons were to take the current WISE member directory and factually note on various popular online info sources (Google Maps, etc.) that the business contributes between 6% and 15% of sales (i.e., of every dollar you spend) to a dangerous cult called Scientology, that would probably cost many small businesses a significant amount of sales, and would destroy the ability of the cult to "sell" WISE. 

 

3c.)  Barrier to entry for WISE "admin tech" consulting is extremely low.  You can get lots of cheap books on how to fix many different types of businesses at Barnes & Noble.  You don't need to spend $50,000 on WISE's bogus "admin tech" to grow your business.  

PreferToBeAnon
PreferToBeAnon

 @PoisonIvy  @ashura That's my thought. JohnP have you done one of your brilliant analyses on their business model and long-term viability?  If you have and it won't depress me, can you repost or point to it?

I am really feeling blue about the enormity of it all today. I watched a brief clip of SeaOrg alley and just looked at all of those faces... imagining the disconnections, the psychotic breaks, the financial loss, and the waste of good lives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bKvO1RlyYA

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