Dutch TV Programme “Rambam” Goes Undercover Inside a Scientology Org

dutch sci kirkRambam (Dutch TV) 2015 | View Online |

Rambam is a Dutch television programme which addresses consumer issues in an informal, irreverent and entertaining way.

To give you an idea of their style, they once investigated allegations that Dutch public honours were carelessly administered. They did this by packing out a stooge’s fake CV with three false references and accounts of volunteer work for non-existent charities (supposedly dedicated to the welfare of dachshunds and ecological gardens).

Not only did their stooge ‘win’ an honour in the King’s birthday list, but one of the programme’s presenters stood in for him, wearing a fake beard,  when he was publicly presented with his honour by the Major of Utrecht.

In this programme, they infiltrate a Dutch Scientology Org – and reveal abuses that they take more seriously.

Watch it a video window (and read my commentary) after the break

 

 

The programme proper opens at 00′ 38″ (after some very brief ‘teaser’ scenes and the opening titles) with a potted history of the The Church of Scientology. This includes  a video sequence which features prominent critics, mentions of the fees charged, ‘disconnection’ and the harassment of perceived enemies (including telling extracts from John Sweeney’s programmes). At 1′ 38″ they dismiss the idea that SweeeneyScientology is an exclusively US problem, and set out to investigate the influence of Scientology in their country.

At 1:55 the producers confer, and plan their strategy. They first decide to infiltrate an event at the new Scientology Org in Amsterdam. The plan is for someone to pose as a visiting South African Scientologist. At 2′ 40″ he is given his mission and sets off. He managed to sample the buffet, and watch a film before it become clear that he didn’t know enough about Scientology to sound convincing. He left before he was caught out. At 4’48”  another presenter tries to get in , this time posing as an ‘investor’ He is immediately spotted as an journalist and hustled out. The team conclude,”as an outsider, you aren’t welcome in Scientology”.

Free_personality_testingAt -5′ 41″, the introduce Rinke, a young woman who they hope will be able to infiltrate Scientology (with a hidden camera) via  a ‘free personality test’ . At 06′ 02″they examine an online version of this fake test, mocking the daft questions with ‘vox pop’ insets

At 7′ 16 Rinke is prepared for her mission with an appropriate wardrobe including a hidden camera and at 7′ 38″ uses it to record herself collecting the results of the online personality test (which was actually filled in by the team) at the Amsterdam Org.

It is impossible to get a positive result from these tests – they are designed to show you to be deficient in many areas – all of which can be improved by Scientology. Rinke’s results are no exception.

She is told that the she has, “quite a critical view of people”and  doesn’t always feel comfortable in social situations. She is then pressed to take a Scientology course starting with a “free introduction session”.

At 08′ 35″ the team reveal that submitted a total of different three online tests, and the results all indicate that they are in very bad shape. The technique seems to be worry people – then offer a sure-fire (paid for) solution in the form of Scientology. To be absolutely fair, at 9’22” the team consulted an expert, who pronounced the ‘Oxford Capacity Analysis’ to be worthless.

Hubb quillSt 10′ 00″ Rinke turns up for her first session. First off, she is shown Amsterdam’s ‘L Ron Hubbard Office’. There is one in every Scientology org. It is a 1950’s time capsule, equipped for the use of the founder of Scientology (who died in 1986) on the occasion of his promised  return.

At 10′ 24″ she is shown onto her first ‘session’. Rinke has proved reluctant to part with any money, however, so she has been offered a ‘free introduction’.

At 10′ 32″ cameras in the room are pointed out to her. Although the auditor claims they are all pointed at him, this is not true – Rinke is being recorded, too. At this point Rinke accidentally gives her real name – then covers up by claiming she prefers a pseudonym. This goes right over the auditor’s head who pitches in with ‘dianetic therapy‘. Rinke is told to “go back to a moment of pain of discomfort”. She comes up with an incident when she broke her leg at school.

Back in the studio (at 11’ 44″) the presenters are looking at Church of Scientology’s online description of ‘auditing’. This is not quite right. Strictly speaking, ‘auditing’ is a more ‘advanced’ practice which uses an e-meter. Rinke is being given ‘dianetic therapy’, which pre-dates Scientology.

At 12′ 12″, after an hour of ‘therapy’, Rinke visits the toilet, taking the opportunity to connect a fresh battery to her hidden camera – with the auditor standing outside.   They return to the session which finishes at 12′ 53″and Rinke is soon taken to another person. In the studio, the presenters note Rinke’s personal exchanges were filmed – and speculate that it is the reason Scientology ‘celebrities’ stay with the Church is that they are afraid sensitive information about them will be revealed if they leave.

At 13’42” Rinke returns to the org by invitation about “a possible solution to her problems” – a weekend ‘seminar’. They ask, “will you discuss this with your husband?” – and try to neutralise any objections he may have in advance. Pointing to the ‘test’ wit a pen, she is told that ‘problems like hers are, “[..] often something in your environment that makes you feel inferior.” Later, it is explicitly stated that this “something” is her husband – and he is actually compared to Hitler. At 15’ 03″ the presenters comment on this attempt to break up a relationship that may be inconvenient to Scientology.

At 15′ 27″ Rinke returns to the Org for her weekend ‘seminar’. She has a conversation with her new auditor, who modestly states,”I can see right through people” (although he does not spot the ‘journalist with a hidden camera right under his nose). He has an unsettling line in maniacal laughter.

gradechart

Click on image to see enlarged version in a new tab.

At 15′ 34″ the team back in the office examine the goal of ‘Clear’ and a huge chart of Scientology training entitled “The Bridge to Total Freedom”. They learn that it takes 300 hours of paid training and auditing to reach ‘Clear’, which is near the bottom of the chart.

Rinke paid 90 Euro for the ‘seminar’ but finds that, this time, she has to deliver the ‘therapy’ – to another beginner from a cheap stapled booklet. In the course of this, he reveals personal memories.

At 18′ 29″ the presenters are astonished to see that Scientology considers it acceptable to use children as auditors. Rinke has to tell an 11-year-old about her traumas. What’s more, another child is sitting next to Rinke’s auditor. A Scientologist tries to justify this at length and, at 19’24, the scene shift to the team listening to this on the recording. they are not impressed.

It is a basic premise of premise of Scientology that ‘the tech’ always works. All you have to do is follow programmed steps written down by L Ron Hubbard. It does not matter who does this as long as they follow the programme. They have no problem with using children.

At 19′ 54″ Rinke records conversations with other participants, which come over as a sales pitch for further Scientology services. The they turn to conspiracy theory. Someone states that the pharmaceutical industry are only interested in peddling anti-depressants and fear that Scientology will put them out of business. The conversation moves on to Scientology’s hostility to psychology, psychiatry and medication. One participant implausibly claims to have been prescribed Ritalin for ADHD, which she further claims is an invented condition. Another person blames shooting sprees on psychiatric medication.

At 21′ 19″ the team summarise and analyse what they have learned so far so far, in the office. They also examine the Scientology front group, “Applied Scholastics“which has ‘tutoring’ centres in several Dutch cities. At 22′ 20” they send another undercover reporter, Linda, to one of these. The “Hubbard Method” is described without any reference to Scientology and although the staff member interviewed admits being a scientologist, they state “that’s in my private life” and clearly states that there is no connection with the school.

Back in the office (at 23′ 11″) “the director of the tutoring centre turned out to be the head of a primary school in Amsterdam.” This is a Scientology school. At 23:25 Rinke visits, posing as an interested parent.  She is told that “we have only one Scientology child at this school”. However, at 24′ 08″ the staff member delivers a tirade against

[…] the bankers, the pharmaceutical industry, psychiatrists and media moguls”, all three of them connive with each other  in their little club to see how they can control the people of the world just so they can profit from it.

The reason we are a private school is because […] psychologists and psychiatrists in schools will interfere with you. If you test certain drugs and see how people react to them… that’ why they have infiltrated our education system because how do you know that one of these children won’t be on Ritalin, Seroxat or any of these other pills? Pills which affect your mind, influence how you think and after that you will never be audited again so we will never attain a ‘cleared planet; which is out ultimate goal.

In the war between Sarajevo and Kosovo, the people behind it were also psychiatrists snd of course psychiatry was also behind Hitler.

When Rinke says that she finds it hard to believe that psychiatrists were behind the holocaust, she is assured that the school has their own history books which teach this, as it that made it true.

The programme reveals that the rent of this strange school is subsidised by the Dutch taxpayer because it is classified as a social enterprise- but they pay 4% of their income to Applied Scholastics, which is wholly-owned subsidiary of the Church of Scientology.

At 26′ 51″ the team call it a day. Rinke will return to the Org one last time, with a colleague, to ask for her file and the recordings made of her sessions. The rest of the team wait outside, listening in on the situation. The Scientology staff member at first claims the file be found saying, “we have files going back to the 70’s”. This just makes matters worse. Rinke also raises the issue of being audited by an 11-year-old, and it told

He’s been doing this for so long its the most normal thing in the world for him. Let’s just say he was born like that. […] As soon as they can read a book they can do it.

Rinke does not get her file back. this is “not allowed”. She now reveals she is from Rambam. I will leave that sequence for you to enjoy.

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