The New Birmingham ‘Church’ of Scientology
Every October, Scientologists come to Saint Hill Manor in England (just outside London) from all over the world to attend a formal event celebrating the International Association of Scientologists (IAS).
This organisation started life as a legal defence fund for Scientologists, and gradually morphed into a general-purpose fund for the leadership to spend at a whim.
David Miscavige, the current leader of the Church of Scientology is always the centre of attention at IAS events, and makes marathon speeches.
IAS funds were likely used to finance an expensive effort to complete new Scientology facilities in Dublin, Ireland and Birmingham, England so that Miscavige could open them while he was relatively nearby.
When I went to Ireland, to observe the opening there, I wondered if the trip would be worthwhile. After all, people like me, and the locals, would be utterly excluded. When I got there, I realised that showing the remarkable ‘security’ operation mounted by Scientology in order to do this was actually and excellent illustration of its paranoid and controlling nature.
An organisation which presents itself as a religion behaved as if their new Church was a military base. Measures taken included closing sidewalks, surrounding it with private security guards and using outward-facing loudspeakers to mask the sound of the speech.
I’ve given an eye-witness report from Dublin in a previous post. This one is from Birmingham, concerning the opening of Pitmaston house as a Church of Scientology on the 22nd of October.
Scientology remained true to form, and repeated the incredible behaviour they had exhibited in Ireland.
This was the public’s view of Scientology’s new facility (in the Republic of Ireland at Firhouse, which is just outside Dublin). The picture to the left was taken on the day of its opening – the 15th of October 2017.
The white area all around the perimeter isn’t a wall. It is exterior quality board, painted white and firmly fastened onto the outside of railings. It’s only purpose is to stop local people seeing what is going on inside and must have cost a few thousand Euro in materials alone.
Just in case someone might have brought a stepladder and looked over the wall, the pavement and cycle track that run around the building were surrounded by crowd-control barriers (incidentally closing the bus stop, too). Private security guards, retained by the Church of Scientology excluded local people from the area for the entire day – but admitted Scientologists.
The council may have given permission for the closure because they were told it was necessary for building works. They may not have authorised this if they has known that the real purpose was to stop outsiders looking over the wall and seeing the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige, performing the opening ceremony.
Approximately 14 private security guards were retained. Most gathered at the main gate (at the opposite end to the guard in this picture) . However one man always ‘patrolled’ the fenced-off area, admitting Scientologists to the pavement and trying to turn away locals, forcing them to cross a fast road instead of using a public path.
This high-handed attitude has provoked a strong response from the people and the press of Ireland.
Read on for an eye-witness account, with pictures and video.
Leah 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
International 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
In 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.
It 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.