Scientology Watchers: A Message from Tony Ortega

Categories: Scientology

Tony O goes Clear!

To the readers of this blog...

Today, Paul Thomas Anderson's movie The Master opens in a few theaters here, and the media reaction has been electric. We've all watched as interest in Scientology has skyrocketed this summer, and it seems to have reached some kind of culmination this week with Anderson's movie in theaters and Maureen Orth's story on the cover of Vanity Fair.

I've decided to take advantage of this moment to change directions. Next week will be my last as editor of the Voice; I will be leaving to pursue a book proposal about Scientology in its time of crisis.

I could not even begin to contemplate that kind of move without the experience I've had with the loyal readers of this blog. I started writing about Scientology seventeen years ago, but in the last two years I tried a new experiment -- blogging about Scientology's many global controversies in a consistent, nearly daily frequency. In 2011 and 2012, I published 465 blog posts about Scientology -- and many of them contained multiple stories. (Recently, I posted a list of some of the most significant of those pieces.)

Many of those stories I could not have produced without the involvement and aid of our amazing commenting community. Your tips and knowledgeable analysis have made this blog live and breathe. I regret that at least for now, this show is going off the air. But perhaps soon, as I pursue my new goals, I'll be able to post a story here and there in another venue. I hope you'll look for me when that happens.

UPDATE: Some local journalists, who apparently don't know what a good time we've been having here at the blog, seem confused about why I'd write a farewell note to our amazing commenting community. They seem to be taking this post as my farewell to the people of the Voice itself, which is not the case.

To help them out, I'm posting here the e-mail that I sent to my staff this morning.

For some time now, I've been talking to Mike and Christine about a project I have in mind, and now seems like the right moment to pull the trigger. With Scientology on the cover of mainstream magazines and in theaters, I figure it's a sign that I should take my own chances at a book proposal about the church in crisis. For that reason, next week will be my last here at the Voice.

You all know how much I've enjoyed my tenure here. Arts editor Brian Parks and I were fortunate enough to celebrate with Michael Feingold when he was named a Pulitzer finalist for his brilliant theater criticism. Editing Graham Rayman's "NYPD Tapes" series was a highlight of my career. I am indebted to writers like Roy Edroso who helped us transform the Voice into a daily digital enterprise. And Nat Hentoff recently gave me too much credit for having a passionate interest in the early history of this newspaper, something I indulged in my three-year Clip Job project.

Thanks for helping me get back some of that early Voice spirit over the last five and a half years, even as we were dealing with the Print Apocalypse in general, and a building seemingly forever under construction in particular. I'm looking forward to visiting you when you get into the new digs in the spring -- maybe this time the elevator will be worth a damn.

Seriously, you've made working here the best job I've ever had, and over the next week I look forward to speaking to each of you about what it's meant to pull these oars together. Let's do it over some beers, preferably.


My Voice Nation Help

Has anyone seen the new $cientology commercial featuring L Ron Hubbard fabricated life story?


Ugh, the Master, we finally watched it. But it was so boring, we had to stop. Even with the naked ladies.  Normally my boyfriend wouldn't be bored with naked ladies in the picture, but.....

I haven't been back to this site in some time.  I became very interested last year in the stories of people breaking away from Scientology.  And, in fact, I felt great hope that so  many people were online writing in their own names about what happened to them, and standing publicly against bad behavior.  

At the same time, many of these people had been high in the organization--and they are real communicators, and seem to be good people who don't have problems discussing weighty matters in public spaces..something very unusual in this last decade of fear.  

 It's too bad the movie was nowhere near as fascinating as the conversations about life that popped up on this site, and the real stories Scientologists have published and spoken about.  I have thought about this for some time, and can't help coming to the conclusion that Scientology, like anything, is made up of individual people; and, if such fine people are breaking away from Scientology, but still spent years in it, there must be some good that it is doing.  I'm not sure if that makes sense, but the conversations here were so healing and kind, it almost seemed like it wasn't even really the Net.  It gave me the impression that within Scientology, whatever may be wrong (and it seems there's a lot) there must be something right.  Because so many organizations operate in similar fashions; Scientology is not unique in that way, it is just another place where people come for guidance and togetherness.  The people speaking out gave me so much hope for the world--that they could take these communication skills and speak up bravely, in their own names, in spite of fear, in spite of being shunned by their loved ones; in spite of it all.  Because to solve problems one must first speak.  Tony O has led some of the finest conversations here online that I've ever seen online.  A problem may be DM's reluctance to speak publicly, which I can understand.  It is a right scary thing to do, especially when people are down on you.  But you can't lead a religion without speaking publicly sometimes...can you?  

Overall I was surprised at what I found: that people who had been in Scientology are real communicators, and if there is something in Scientology that made them who they are, then they will keep that good and bring it into the world.   Maybe there is a way for healing to happen between those who have broken away, and those who remain.  If there was a way for that to happen it would be a miraculous thing, but clearly things would have to change within the organization.  But I can't stress enough----those problems are not unique to Scientology. They exist throughout organizations of every kind.  Myself, I have lost a loved one, possibly because I could not believe in his cause, so I know the terrible heartbreak that comes when people part ways and refuse to communicate.  

Thank you, Tony O, and thank you all. Like I said I hadn't been back over here and am surprised to see the conversation ended. But I wanted you all to know it meant a lot to me just to hear there were others struggling with the same things, who were not afraid to speak.


Well Tony!


I'lll help whatever you need Scientooogy wise, for the rest of your and my life.


Love the Village Voice



Tony, you're young.  


this Stupid Scientology crap beat story is a long term thing, just only because Hubbard got that IRS win, so if you stay on the crazy Scientology story, for the decades to come, you'll be the man.


Tony, you got HUGE heart, and love you forever man.


Love you VIllage Voice boses for taking Tony on.   I might have swayed him in into the Scieno crazy story, sorry, Tony's a good man!


I wish the Voice and Tony, both, and all Voice staff and the journalists a LONG good future, 


The world needs good media!


Thankyou media, from the mind of an ex cult member, who has benefited by the BEST of the fucking EVER journalists in our "cult" history, THANKYOU  for all time, Village Voice and the US constituttion that let the Voice BE the Vouce.


PLEASE keep goiing, Voice!!!!!!!!


Chuck Beatty, US citizen, Pittsburgh, USA 

ex Scientologist cult bureaucrat 


Before singing the "Good Night" song from the Sound of Music and signing off, Mike Rinder has an interesting piece over at Marty's place.  For those who are curious about DM's next brilliant strategy about taking over the universe.


Mike is an excellent writer and speaks almost entirely in non-Sci English.  I always enjoy his posts and comments.   Tony's video interview with him about The Hole is incredibly powerful and quite insightful in its attempt to explain the warped culture of CO$/ RPF.


Love you all.  Learned from you all. Hope @JohnPCapitalist will contact me about helping Tony rise from the ashes of VV, tanned, rested and take it all the way.  


It ain't over 'till the Golden Era Musicians sing, Tony.  


(Choking up a  Until we meet again....




OK all, in anticipation of meeting up on a new blog in the future and bringing this team back together, I am going to give you the opportunity to give me your username/email address to put into a spreadsheet for future use.

That is all I need, Just username/e-mail address. No personal details required. In fact, you don't even need to give me your username if you prefer.

I will just create the list and hold onto it until I have some solid information to share with you.


Please put VV e-mail in the subject line so I don't miss it.


You can e-mail me at:


You are free to re-post this e-mail address for this purpose.



I'm still trying to figure out why the gawker post was so negative it's as if Tony pissed in their corn flakes at some point in the past.  Since the revamp the "journalists" and many of the commenters have gone to crap.


Mr. Otega,

Looking forward to reading your book as soon as published. Scientology is a fascinating yet insidious organization. Insidious in spite of the attempts of  decent people who seem to really believe they were/are helping themselves and others with Hubbards' Tech. From someone on the outside looking in and 3 months research ( I've been ill and confined to my home)  a religion/philosophy started as a lie will end as a lie. Perhaps when Miscavige is knocked off his platform  something  useful could be done with the millions regged out of the followers past and present. A charitable organization in the truest sense could emerge. People who feel they've been duped can get their money back then donations could be made to honorable charities.Wow, something to hope for.......


I salute you Tony.

I want to thank you for our private communication today.

Who can blame you for becoming increasingly "involved"

in exposing the ABUSE and unbelievable stories?

But you have left an on-long legacy.

There are now 3 Film Production companies  moving into full swing who credit you

to their first spark of interest in telling the human interest stories.

These major productions were born because of you and Village Voice.

And the beat goes on......

This is not a farewell from us to Tony.

We so look forward to your future literary work

Tomorrow is another day .........



 Chuck, sweetie, have you been drinking???  Cause I swear I can read the sluring.  ;-)  It's okay if you are, I think we've all had a few belts today.  If you have though, don't drive.


 @PoisonIvy You are on the list, and you'll be among the first to be called if/when I hear back from The Big Cheese on what he wants to do.  I think he will be a little hung over tonight because of the wake they're holding for him.  


 @PoisonIvy  @JohnPCapitalist 

Yes, Mike does a good job communicating, like we can understand what he's saying. That flyer is the biggest laugh and complete Bullshi-t ever to hit. They surely should loose many members with that, the older ones anyway.


@BurytheNuts This is great-thanks!


 @Meelah Their film critics are just laughable.  (That is, as long as it's not your film being criticized.)  But they have some really great, fresh, daring stuff too.


 @KarendelaCarriere Karen, there are a community of never-in watchers here who care very much about your quest for answers about Alexander, and also about what is happening to your ex husband, his father.  Don't forget we're looking out for you.  I'll be checking in on you at Marty's and wherever else you post.  xo



 Amen Karen... I hope to see your comments around the other sites.. I have the upmost respect for you Karen... Keep fighting the good fight.


Much Love To You..




Yes, a luxury of any average citizen of the USA is alchohol, and that's been a staple of life for 100 years plus.


No honestly, Tony's done his stint and been in weekly media for  several decades, with now the Scientology subject/story warranting a publisher's giving him a well warranted book deal, I'm absolutely happy for Tony, and in general I'm happy for "media" getting a story.


As a member of the "subject" of that "story" I'm one of the hundreds of ex members of that subject, who's willing, as is the natural learning curve, to help those writers (journalizts, scholars, cultural 'hero" writers, the "lion" literary novelists and top of the pecking order smarties) I'm absoultely a "subject victim" specimen willing, I've long been such to help society's writing "literarary" class people to write the books, telling the subject's story, and really get it all laid out, all in full context of human history.


Scientology, is just the Hubbard "new" subject", and Tony's got so much understanding of the nuances and nooks and crannies, like no one, to date, he's humble, he's given so many nods to his brethren, well, it's time for Tony to download his throughs, and I, as ex cult member and pusher or raw Scientology history, I'm pretty sure Tony will get it as good as ANY writer wordsmith historian scholar journalist has gotten the Hubbard/Scientology story, to date.


So, yes, I'm a Tony Ortgega fan!


go tony!


I hope, and I know, he'll go where others have not yet gone, in books, into the details of the movement's history.


All I caution him, is to realize, he'll be alive in 30 years from now, when his predictions come true, or not, and thus my only caution, is to read the cautious snippets of writings of some of the "old school" apoligist new religions scholars, and I hope Tony meets with men like David Bromley, and at least read Bromley.


Chuck Beatty

exSea Org, wishful ex Scientology long term staffer who hopes, that someday, some future scholars appreciate my feeble efforts.  


 @JohnPCapitalist  @PoisonIvy 


John P.,


RE: Chuck's suggestion about Bromley.... yes, please do read his books and articles.... he helped set up ethical standards and guidelines for academics and others in terms of financial transactions with coercive groups being studies, etc.  I think you might find it interesting reading and even more interesting to read the back-ground of what was going on with all the "expert" and "not-so-expert" witnesses hired by both sides of the issue.


When Tony O sobers up and gets over his hang-over, I hope you guys work out something.... this blog is very valuable.


Now, does anyone have any pix from the party?


@JohnPCapitalist @PoisonIvy I'm a nobody, and happy to be one after the jet-set lifestyle, so please let us plebes know where to land. I'm happy to wait, but I truly believe the interaction is in the future.



I post almost daily on this thread on Operation Clambake

In this same forum Alexander updates are posted at

My user ID there is karen#1


If you Google

Karen#1 Scientology ABUSE

you will find me in easily !

Operation Clambake message board is probably the easiest (less clutter)

See you there !

I hope deElizathan, lala104 and  others come and join as well.

all good wishes,



 @chuckbeatty77  @PeggyToo

chuck said; "I hope, and I know, he'll go where others have not yet gone, in books, into the details of the movement's history."


Agreed! Tony has a unique and refreshing approach.



 @California  @PeggyToo 


Dear California,


Bromley, is problamatic, in that he in the 1980s went into the anti "apoostate ex member is unreliable as a source of new religion history" camp, for a period.


Bromeley's since, in private, and in his writings  realized his earlier failings.


The "new religion" category of academia is a funny one, a combination of people who landed in that zone, and who still are academia, and smart enough to know and realize their slots in life, in the bigger academia life.


I personally like Bromley, since he reached out to me, in 2005, and that I feel is huge, in the "apologist" critics history.


He pointed me to his efforts to try to mend (I'm sorry this is not the right word, I'm not super literate and not a scholar and not an academic, not a writer, etc, etc, so I am at best an imperfect college crop rout, sorry, that's the truth of me), Bromley struck me as on who willingly, as much as academic life allows, a person could come to realizing that some of his 1980s implied or actually written statements, were  flawed, and today he feels differently.


I myself, when I came out, in and started reading the internet, in 2003-2004, I sensed Bromely was a "good guy", and was willing to see the "truth" where he might have earlier not been willing to even to listen to me, since I fell into the typical "bitter apoostate" category, a category that Bromlkey, back in the 1980s, he felt was reason to not even listen to me.


But Bromley is the academic who invited me to meet in 2005, down in DC, unofficially, with Melton (giant in the NRM field and American Religion field, and just scan his Encyclopedia of 3,000 pages plus of his research, albeit, into defintion and somehow superficial coverage, but at least Melton put thousands and thousands of American Religions in one voolume (I"m an apologist, thus for the "aologist" scholars), anyways, Bromley introduced and let me speak to other "top" new religions scholars.


Bromley, to me, my imperfect understanding and literacy, he came across as humble enough to be willing to "update" and correct and of his past "biter apostate" labels, for ex Scientology long term staffers, like myself.


Thus, we live though a transition period, mainly of countering the Scientology wordsmith propaganda tactics, which have backed off the somewhat longer term cautious and timid "new religoins scholars, and honestly, factually, in Bromley's very accurate chapter in the 2008 "Scientology" anthology, Oxford Univ Press, editior James Lewis, there's been a slow change.


The more that ex Scientologists learn the real world's viewppoint and the real world's language, and the more that ex Scientologists learn how to speak and write accurately, the more that the "apologist scholars" will respond and appreciate the ex members' views.


Anyways, thanks again to Village Voice, and myself, I'm a fan of people who write, and speak publicly, and put things in historical context.




@PeggyToo @LaLa104 @chuckbeatty77 The salt helps the slur ;)


 @PoisonIvy  @deElizabethan 

I can create an email list in excel.

Nothing in it but the usernames/emails.

Then as things boil up (hopefully John P can pull off something)

I can send out an email blast to everyone?


And in the meantime, I go with the mojo rising somewhere in a post on other blogs as an Identifier.



 @deElizabethan  @PoisonIvy

 So how will that work exactly?  Just start quoting Mojo Rising on a thread and see if one of us gets it.. LOL.. man, if any of you do do this please spell it in CAPS...


 @deElizabethan  @PoisonIvy

 We probably should exchange email addy's so we can all keep up with each other and find out what sites we end up at...


 @PoisonIvy  Yes we will, and miss you too. You'll figure me out on other sites. Hope to see you and others too. Mojo rising! That could be our signal, just hope to remember. You know we seniors get moments (sometimes minutes, days etc.....)


(((HUGS))) to all.


 @deElizabethan I'll miss you (& your cat!) deElizabethan, but I'm pretty certain we're all going to meet up elsewhere soon...and keep the mojo rising.

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