Video from the Memorial of Alexander Jentzsch; Also: Scientology Commenters of the Week

Filmmaker Mark Bunker put together this video of Friday's memorial held for Alexander Jentzsch aboard the ship Spirit out of Long Beach Harbor in California.

It's a simple event with a few people on a boat. But don't underestimate its significance. Since she sent out a message to thousands of Scientologists about the death of her son, Karen de la Carriere tells me that she's hearing from many people inside the church who are appalled at how she's been treated. And here at the Voice, since Karen sent her mass mailing, we've also experienced a big increase in the number of church members contacting us under the radar.

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Scientology Sunday Funnies: Jake and Elwood Want Your Cash!

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Scientologists don't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.

So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! Our sources regularly send us Scientology's wacky and tacky fundraising mailers, and each week we choose a few of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...

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Writers of the Future, Today! Scientology Gets Its Party On

Oh my, do we have a treat for you today. For several weeks now, we've been reporting on the "L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future" contest. For several years, certain writers have questioned the connection between the contest and Scientology, which owns and operates it. And recently, we dug up surprising links between the contest and shocking abuse allegedly happening at Scientology's international headquarters.

Tonight, the contest will celebrate its big annual gala. All week, Scientology has been treating a new set of winners to workshops and dinners. And it all culminates with the big party this evening. Get a load of last year's dance number (above), which we're told dramatizes the winning stories of 2011. Interpretive dance! This party is off the hook!

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Marty Rathbun is Big in the U.K., Still Waiting for Major U.S. Treatment

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Michael Zamora/The Independent
This weekend's lengthy profile of Marty Rathbun by The Independent's Guy Adams really brought back a lot of memories for us.

Last year, we brought you frequent coverage of the bizarre "Squirrel Busters" siege at Rathbun's house near Corpus Christi, Texas. For some five months, a strange spiritual showdown took place in little Ingleside on the Bay, and as it escalated, we kept waiting for major U.S. media to jump on the story.

Well, we're still waiting. But at least readers in the UK have now been treated to a thorough and entertaining telling of the tale.

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Sunday Funnies: LRH Gets an Answer from Tricky Dick!

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We've shuffled up our schedule a bit here in the underground bunker -- it was either that, or the cats would be dining on our corpse with the klaxons going off for weeks before we were discovered. Now that things are a bit more relaxed, we can take in the past week with a Sunday morning warm beverage and only a hint of tying one on last night.

The most fun we had this past week, of course, was sharing with you a few key segments from this year's big L. Ron Hubbard Birthday Event. There were so many great moments. But clearly, the most stunning utterance of the night came from LRH official biographer Dan Sherman, who said that in late 1945, Hubbard personally stopped Richard Nixon and a gang of atomic scientists from overthrowing the U.S. government with nuclear weapons.

So taken aback were we by that claim, we contacted the Richard Nixon Foundation, and yes, we got a reply!

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Scientology 451: Commenters of the Week!

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"I hear you have a copy of Dianetics."
We used the news from Russia this week as an excuse to mix up a shaker of vodka martinis. After quite a few glasses garnished with olives, we got a bit lightheaded, but we never felt the desire to ban L. Ron Hubbard's books.

This was a strange week of Scientology news around the world, but we kept plodding along getting it all down into the blog and watched your reactions with wonder and glee.

On Saturday afternoon -- which happened to be St. Patrick's Day -- we had a report from Ireland, the only country in the world that forces Scientology to open its books. We also had an interview with Pete Griffiths, a former Scientologist who helps others leave the church in Dublin.

Then, the next day, one of the best Sunday Funnies ever: we broke the news of the latest book scam -- er, fundraising opportunity -- no, that's not it -- an unparalleled achievement in the history of publishing, RON the Biographical Encyclopedia!

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Scientology Intervention: Commenters of the Week!

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It's not often that things are calm and soothing here inside the underground bunker. But after Judge Stryker gave the order yesterday for everyone just to chill out, we took it to heart. Even the cats are taking a break from tearing up the furniture.

There was plenty of activity this week, though, and let's take a look at what transpired. Things started early for us as, last Saturday afternoon, we scrambled to post copies of the motion for summary judgment filed by Scientology's attorneys in its lawsuit against Debbie Cook. We know that the church's lawyers aren't thrilled that we're posting their filings for our readers to take apart, but maybe they're just shy.

We got back to our regular schedule the next morning with another installment of Sunday Funnies, and this time things weren't so funny: we posted examples of the San Fernando Valley org using their children in fundraising fliers. Icky.


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Scientology Counterattack: Commenters of the Week!

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Spake the hobbit-sized monarch: "No living man may hinder me!" And then, to everyone's surprise in the courtroom...
There's been so much enturbulation in the underground bunker lately, it's been hell on the cats, who just want to catch up on their sleep. So we installed one of those kitty hi-rises this week and it was an instant hit. The little carnivores are remaining more calm in their tiny carpeted condos while the circuits and monitors and klaxons are going off like gunfire as all hell breaks loose in the Scientology watching world.

The mayhem started early this week, and we had to scramble to post a notice in our usual Sunday Funnies that the Tampa Bay Times had uncorked another major investigation -- in this case, a devastating piece by Drew Harwell that showed how a Scientology front group had teamed up with the Nation of Islam to suck dry an ailing Florida charter school.

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Scientology Thaumaturgy: Commenters of the Week!

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This was some spooky week here in the underground bunker where we keep an eye on all things Scientology related. Some downright eerie things showed up in our stories this week: Surfers who can see the future. Beings living in clouds. Egyptian gods showing up in some lady's kitchen. And The Great Beast himself, of course. Freaky!

Looking for a little protection, we had a tough time corralling everyone into the magic circle we drew on the middle of the floor. But then all we had to use was catnip, so the felines kept messing it up.

Anyway, things started out with a special edition of Sunday Funnies -- we loved the mailer announcing that Chill EB was coming to the Melbourne Org! There's something about Melbourne these days, and we're big Chill fans going way back. (Well, to November at least.)

Then, Monday, things started to get strange with the fun and wild stories we found in an old copy of Advance! magazine. Nothing like Scientologists telling tales about using their superpowers to get your spidey sense tingling!

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Scientology Campout: Commenters of the Week!

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Somehow we're thinking Scientology's idea of "camp" isn't this fun
It never seems to be a quiet week here in the underground bunker where we keep an eye on all things Scientology related. The cats had barely settled down from our brief trip to Texas when the bat signal on the Antipodean circuits went off, alerting us to an imminent bombshell.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The week started out calmly enough, with our usual roundup of hilarious Scientology mailers, Sunday Funnies.

And on Monday morning, we noted the weekend's worldwide celebrations of Project Chanology's 4th anniversary, as Anonymous once again raided orgs with their signs and masks and irreverent dance moves.

But then, Monday morning in the wee hours, that warhead from Down Under landed with full force...

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