Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

sci-and-the-aftermathLeah Remini is an US actress, known to the public for various roles, principally as one of the leads in the TV series, “King of Queens.”

She was ‘born into’ Scientology and participated for many years. Recently, however, she left the organisation.

The details of ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ are bizarre. A decade ago, after a dispute with her husband, the wife of the current leader of Scientology disappeared. In 2013 Leah Remini wanted to know where her friend had gone – and was aggressively blocked. The fact that she did so during a celebrity wedding which Miscavige was attending made matters worse.

Eventually, Remini filed a missing persons report with the Los Angeles police. Informed sources place Shelley in an isolated Scientology facility, which includes an underground bunker. This place is dedicated to preserving he writings of the founder of Scientology L Ron Hubbard.  The police cast no light on Shelley’s whereabouts. They  claimed to have determined that she was not under duress, and therefore her location was confidential.

After leaving Scientology shortly after these events (with her family, who refused to ‘disconnect’ from her, as per Scientology policy) Leah Remini produced a eight-part critical TV series about Scientology, which is now being broadcast. This is different from previous examinations (e.g. “Going Clear”) . It does not take a documentary approach, but is based upon first hand experience and interviews with ex-Scientologists. It promises to bring the abusive behaviour of the Church of Scientology to a new, wider audience, and add a human dimension.

Click ‘Continue Reading’ for links enabling you to watch the first seven episodes (so far) a bonus episode (which includes some incredible interviews) entitled “Ask me Anything” and coverage by the ABC New programme 20/20. Continue reading

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Tom Cruise and His “Freedom Medal of Valour”

hqdefaultInternational Scientology News| Issue 29| Extract | Download as .pdf (Click the grey ‘download through your browser’ button in new tab)

I’ve been busy lately, and have got behind with my latest series of posts. To fill in, I thought I’d publish this, without much comment.

It’s an article  from issue 19 of  “International Scientology News”. It describes the presentation of Tom Cruise with “The”Freedom Medal of Valour” – the highest award given to Scientologists by Scientology, and especially created for Cruise alone.

The person who scanned the magazine did not seem to have the means to quite image the pages in one go, so theymade two, overlapping, images of each. I’ve combined them again, using the excellent (and free) “Gnu Image Manipulation Program.” See if you can spot the join.

The rampant sycophancy of this ‘event’ and its coverage was designed to draw Cruise back into Scientology, and seems to have succeeded. It was at a price, however.

The announcement by David Miscavige, the present leader of the Church of Scientology that rich, pampered, Tom Cruise was ” the most dedicated Scientology I know” did not play with many members of the audience – members of the Sea Org who work all hours for subsistence wages, giving up a career and a family to dedicate their lives to serving Scientology. Continue reading

Battlefield Plymouth – Why L Ron Hubbard’s Newly Republished Fiction Is Not Going to Make an Impact in the UK

Battlefield EarthBookIn 1982, a work of fiction by L Ron Hubbard called “Battlefield Earth” was published. It was a long rambling story in which a hero inspires humanity to rise up and expel an alien occupation.

Recently a new edition was released by “Galaxy Press,” a publishing house that is wholly owned by the Church of Scientology. They also produced a long ‘dramatised’ audio book, based on the story, featuring a small cast of voice actors.

The promotional campaign has now made its way to the Scientology Org in Plymouth, in the UK. Both the book and its audio version are on display to staff there.

Strangely, these products are presented so that the covers can only be seen by the people inside. They have their backs turned to the window display and the buying public. (images below).

Subsequently, I went to all of the bookshops in the nearby shopping centre. Not a single copy of “Battlefield Earth” was on sale in any of them, and assistants had never heard of it. In fact, no Plymouth bookshop stocks it.

Continue reading

“It Works” by RHJ – Wishful Thinking in Fringe Ideas and its Influence on Scientology

CoverIt Works | RH Jarret | Download as .pdf (Click on ‘Download in Browser’ button)

In my previous post, I discussed a book by Ron Miscavige, entitled “Ruthless”. Ron, the father of David Miscavige, the present ‘leader’ of Scientology, wrote about his son’s rise to power and his own career in Scientology, which culminated in an escape from a guarded compound.

Despite this experience the text reveals that Ron:

  • Still believes that the practice of Scientology itself has some value.
  • Committed himself and his family to the organisation almost on a whim – his understanding of  his own ‘philosophy’ seems to me to be extremely superficial

Some reviewers have blamed Dan Koon, his ghost writer, for Miscavige Sr’s apparently sympathetic attitude toward the teachings of L Ron Hubbard.  Koon is an ‘Independent Scientologist’, who rejects the ‘official’ Church, but continues to practice his conception of Scientology, so he might have influenced the text.

I think it more likely that Ron is simply the kind of person who accepts such fringe ideas uncritically, especially if they are persuasively presented.

The ‘further reading’ list at the back of Ron’s book provides support for this view. It recommends a pamphlet called “It Works” (which you can download from the link a the top of the page). This text has no connection with Scientology, but shares many of its basic ideas and promotional tricks.

Continue reading

“Ruthless”, a Book by the Father of Scientology’s Leader and “20/20 -A Father’s Story”

RuthlessUS_UK

US edition (left) & UK edition (right)

Ruthless: My Son David Miscavige and Me (UK Edition) | Ron Miscavige with Dan Koon | Silvertail Books | 2016

This book is based upon the experiences of Ron Miscavige, the father of David who is presently the ‘leader’ of Scientology. In it he discusses how he took his family into Scientology, how his son rose to power, and how he eventually escaped from a guarded Scientology compound.

From an outsider’s point of view this is an essential text for the things which Ron Miscavige reveals but, overall, a frustrating read.

The problem is with Ron himself. He is what people who study literature call an ‘unreliable narrator’ – he’s telling the truth as he sees it. Unfortunately, in his version of reality, Scientology should be taken seriously, and there are valuable insights in its early teachings.

Also, he is still impressed by writers who were big names in the (now largely forgotten) ‘New Thought‘ movement (AVA “Higher Thought). A list of recommended books appears at the end of his volume and recommends early works by Hubbard and some antique fringe writers of the ‘New Thought’ movements.

I happen to have one of the ‘New Thought’ texts he recommends (and will be putting it online in my next post). It’s a crude wish-fulfilment fantasy which depends on magical thinking. It claims that, if you follow the author’s instructions, you will be able to acquire anything you want, as long as you wish for it hard enough.

I’m not being sarcastic here. That’s literally the argument presented. If you are looking for a book with philosophical depth, or for a critical analysis of Scientology itself, you won’t get much out of this one.

Continue reading

Scientology’s ‘Super Power Briefing Pack’ – And This Blog is 2yrs Old Today

SP BuildingScientology’s ‘Super Power’ Briefing Pack| Download as .pdf

L Ron Hubbard’s behaviour towards his followers alternated between ‘stick’ and ‘carrot’. Repressive periods were occasionally relived by ‘amnesties’ and the announcement of ‘new breakthroughs’.

The “Super Power Rundowns” were one of the ‘breakthroughs,’ supposedly invented by L Ron Hubbard to reinvigorate his exhausted staff. Scientologists present this as an act of charity, overlooking the fact that it was Hubbard who had overworked them in the first place.

This material was not made available to rank and file Scientologists and was almost forgotten until many years after Hubbard died in 1986. Then, the Church of Scientology’s new leader, David Miscavige, repackaged and ‘enhanced’ it as a residential course that would require purpose built premises and special equipment to complete.

The renovation of a building bought for this purpose began in 1988, in Clearwater, Florida (the international HQ of the Church).  Although donations were continuously solicited the facilities were not completed until November 2013. Critics suggest that not all the money raised for the “Super Power Building” (now know as the “Flag Building”) went to the purpose intended.

This document is a ‘briefing pack’ for the people who were tasked with raising money for the realisation of  ‘Super Power.’  It’s a revealing insight into the bizarre beliefs and practices that circulate among the most ‘advanced’ Scientologists – and the induced paranoia that motivates their actions. Continue reading

Ruth Minshull Channels L Ron Hubbard’s Child-Rearing Advice – The Church of Scientology Bans Its Own books (Pt 2)

cover selfish destructive child1980 | “How to Cure the Selfish, Destructive Child” | Ruth Minshull Read Online | Download as .pdf  (link will open in a new tab. Select ‘download in browser’).

In the previous post in this series I described how the Church of Scientology (in the name of L Ron Hubbard) banned a number of texts about Scientology in 1983. These were written by Scientologists with official approval and sold in orgs. They included themed ‘easy introductions’ to the longer books of L Ron Hubbard. I suggested that there were two reasons for this:

  1. To prevent  embarrassment when  authors break with the Church of Scientology, leaving their books to serve as a public reminder that Scientologists rarely remain committed to the Church for life (and are sometimes purged)
  2. To prevent any individual Scientologists acquiring prestige among their comrades for their own achievements. In the paranoid world of Scientology’s ‘leadership’ anyone who builds a following represents a potential threat to their absolute power

“How to Cure The Selfish Destructive Child” was one of these banned texts. I will examine this short pamphlet here to demonstrate that there are no other reasons for banning it (and to describe the terrible advice it gives).

Minshull’s text  is based on the writings of L Ron Hubbard and quotes him extensively. It acknowledges his copyrights, which implies that these quotes were used with the blessing of the copyright holder, the Church of Scientology. There is not a single idea in it that is original to the author – it is all taken from Hubbard. In short, it is as orthodox a text as it possible to be. Continue reading