If you followed my marathon post yesterday about the opening of a new Scientology facility at Firhouse, in the republic of Ireland, you will have read some acerbic comments from the local press.
One of things they wondered is why Scientology was spending millions of Euros on a huge building in a country which only has 87 Scientologists (according to the 2016 census).
Part of the reason for these low numbers was the tenacity of one Mary Johnston. She was a Scientologist from for about two years (between 1992 and 1994). After leaving, disillusioned, she claimed damages in the Irish courts for conspiracy, misrepresentation, breach of constitutional rights and deliberate infliction of emotional harm.
She won an unspecified (but likely huge) out-of-court settlement, after presenting her case. Scientology had such little confidence in itself that it abandoned the litigation and offered an substantial sum of money just before they were due to present their evidence in rebuttal.
This victory must have had a chilling effect on Scientology’s activities in Ireland and, unable to be as ruthless in Ireland as they are elsewhere, suppressed their ability to recruit and retain members for years.
Now, they are spending millions in the country with the aim of… who knows what?
After the break there is an episode on Ireland’s “Late late show”, hosted by the legendary Gay Byrne. this was about Scientology, and featured Mary Johnston, the Irish woman who pushed back. Continue reading
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
Cold Case Files | Scientology: A Question of Faith| A & E Network (US) | View Online | Download as .mp4
“Cold Case Files” is a US television series which examines ‘unsolved’ crimes using forensic science and criminal psychology.
This episode deals with the case of Elli Perkins, who was stabbed to death by her 28-year-old son. The facts of the case are not at issue. The question is, where does the responsibility lie?
Elli was a committed Scientologist. L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, considered psychologists and psychiatrists to be member of an evil conspiracy who were responsible for (among other things) the Nazi Holocaust. To this day, Scientologists campaign against the psychiatric profession, and consider psychiatric medication to be dangerous and ineffective.
When Elli’s son Jeremy started to develop symptoms of schizophrenia, she insured that he did not receive psychiatric treatment – and especially not anti-psychotic medication. As a result, his mental condition deteriorated. She ‘treated’ him with doses of vitamins which are used in a Scientology practice called the purification rundown. When Jeremy stabbed his mother, it is doubtful whether he was responsible for his actions.
This audio recording of an part of psychiatrists interview with Jeremy Perkins, which was obtained by CBS news in 2009 (downoad as .wma) supports this. After his mother’s death, Jeremy exhibits the disorganised thinking and lack of emotion that is characteristic of Schizophrenia. Jeremy also describes delusions and visual hallucinations focussed on his mother (e.g. her face sometimes ‘became evil’). No fewer than eight doctors diagnosed him as suffering from Schizophrenia.
So who or what was responsible for the death of Elli Perkins? Could it be those doctrines and practices of the Church of Scientology that deprived him of appropriate treatment? View the programme in a video window after the break.
| Scientology vs The Internet | Excerpt from “The Net” | BB2 TV
View Online | Download as .mp4
On March the 29th a documentary film by Alex Gibney entitled “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” will be broadcast in the US by HBO. It promises to transform public perception of the Church of Scientology.
The Church has launched a furious propaganda war against this film. Among other things, they have written strange letters to film critics, created a website and published articles in their ‘in-house’ magazine “Freedom“. If you follow this link, please bear in mind that, when it was written, the Church of Scientology had not seen the film.
These attacks resemble North Korean propaganda, in that they are so unbalanced as to be totally unconvincing. This has proved counter-productive, because it has created considerable public interest – so much, that HBO recently moved the première to a prime timeslot.
This behaviour is nothing new. When faced with criticism the Church of Scientology has always worked to suppress its expression and persecute the critics by any means necessary. What’s more, this has almost always backfired on them. It is, in fact doctrine to (in the words or L Ron Hubbard) always “attack the attacker“.
After the break, there is a video which provides an early example of this. In the 1990’s the Church of Scientology took extraordinary measures to suppress discussion of its doctrines and behaviour on grounds of copyright (yes – Scientology’s ‘religious doctrine’ is subject to copyright). The law enabled Scientologists (with a police escort) to raid a private home and seize a US citizen’s computers and search and seize his possessions for information about the people he had been communication with online.
2012 | M6 Network (French TV) | Enquête exclusive (Exclusive Investigation)
Argent, mystères et polémiques: au coeur de la Scientologie
(Money, Mysteries, and Controversies: At the Heart of Scientology)
Part One: Watch Online | Download as .mp4
Part Two: Watch Online | Download as .mp4
This is a 90-minute French television programme with English subtitles which is remarkable for its comprehensive coverage of Scientology worldwide.
At first, the programme makers film individual Scientologists inside the Paris Org, at the invitation of the Church. Scientology tries hard to present themselves positively – but only succeed in providing more then enough rope to hang themselves with.
Then, they move into investigative mode – they travel to Clearwater and the London Org to cover the ‘purification rundown’, ‘volunteer’ ministers, Scientology’s anti-drug front groups and much more. Watch the programme in two video windows, after the ‘read more’ link. Continue reading
John Whiteside Parsons was a mass of contradictions. By day, he was a pioneering rocket scientist, who invented a formulation for solid rocket fuel which was developed into the booster rockets that modern space launch vehicles depend upon. By night, he was a secret occultist, who believed that he could influence the world with ritual magic.
He is of interest to Scientology watchers because, before L Ron Hubbard wrote “Dianetics”, the founder of Scientology participated with Parsons in black magic rituals. This relationship ended when Hubbard absconded not only with Parson’s girlfriend, but also a substantial amount of his money.
Yesterday, it was announced on the website ‘boing boing‘ that Ridley Scott was acting as executive producer for an upcoming TV miniseries about Parson’s life based on the book ,”Strange Angel” by George Pendle (the best biography of the man).
Will the series deal honestly with Hubbard’s involvement? How will the Church of Scientology react? The story of the production of this series is likely to be fascinating in its own right.
While we are waiting, I have some background for those who like to prepare by doing their research in depth.
After the break, you can view a documentary film about Jack Parson’s occult guru, the infamous (and ultimately pathetic) Aleister Crowley. To understand Parsons (and his influence on Hubbard) it certainly helps to understand Crowley. A TV docudrama about Parsons’ extraordinary live, which includes contributions from George Pendle
Also there are links to a number of books, magazine articles and websites which describe L Ron Hubbards curious career as a ‘master of the mystic arts” and an interview with Nieson Himmel, a resident at Jack Parson’s house when L Ron Hubbard was there. Continue reading
1997 | Jon Ronson | For The Love of… Scientology| Channel 4 Television| Watch Online | Download as .mp4
Jon Ronson is a journalist and writer, principally known as the author of books which explore weird beliefs and their social consequences.
- “The Men Who Stare at Goats”, which explores the curious cold war programme designed to create ‘psychic spies’ for the US military (Another book “Remote Viewers” by Jim Schnabel describes the involvement of practising Scientologists in this doomed effort).
- “Adventures With Extremists” which examines the extreme beliefs of characters such as David Icke (TV sports pundit turned extraterrestrial conspiracy theorist, Ian Paisley and others.
- The self-explanatory, “Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness” and “What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness”.
Between 1997 and 2000 he hosted a curious late night talk show on Channel 4 (at that time, the UK’s second commercial TV channel, after ITV). In it he talks to, and draws out, groups of ordinary people who have extraordinary hobbies and beliefs.
The very first programme brought together a group of UK Scientologists. We have become used to the modern Church of Scientology’s hostile and controlling attitude towards media interviews. In contrast, these people are unsupervised and relaxed. They genuinely appear to be speaking their minds . As a consequence, they come over far more sympathetically.
Some activists may criticise Ronson for not asking hard questions about the abuses of Scientology. Fair enough. However, I feel there is a place for this type of programme. It is the nearest that people like me (who have never been members of the Church) will get to observing how Scientologists interact with each other, and the operation of social influence, which normalises the most bizarre beliefs (as long as they keep them within the group).
Granted, on this occasion they are on their very best behaviour and anxious to make a good impression – but this is better than nothing.
You can view the 51 minute programme in a video window after the break. Continue reading