Tag Archives | Scientology

HBO’s Bombshell Scientology Documentary

Alex Gibney has an excellent portfolio of hard-hitting documentary films including Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013). Now he’s turning the lens on the “church” of Scientology, with backing from HBO, reports the Hollywood Reporter:

THR has learned that Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) is putting the finishing touches on a film that tackles the Church of Scientology and its Tinseltown tentacles. HBO, no stranger to controversy, having ushered such hot-button docs as The Case Against 8 and the Paradise Lost trilogy to the screen, is eyeing a 2015 airdate for Going Clear, which is based on Lawrence Wright’s controversial book that was also exclusively excerpted in THR.

HBO long has championed documentary filmmaking. It commissioned the Scientology project nearly two years ago, right after the book’s January 2013 publication, when frequent collaborator Gibney brought it to the network.

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How To Escape From Scientology’s Sea Org

2008 06 Sea Arrrgh - I Joined the Sea OrgIt’s supposed to be near-impossible to leave the “church” of Scientology’s elite paramilitary offshoot Sea Org, but Vocativ reports that Jillian Schlesinger found a way:

On the morning that 29-year-old Jillian Schlesinger finally decided to leave the Church of Scientology, she awoke early and wondered whether she was losing her mind. Was she about to do something she’d always regret? A native Californian, she’d spent most of her life in the church. Her parents were Scientologists, as were her friends—basically everyone she knew. If she left, they’d disown her. On the other hand, if she stayed, her misery would continue. Either way, Schlesinger knew her escape attempt would change her life forever.

She was not just a member of the church, she was part of its elite, the Sea Organization, Scientology’s management body of members who sign contracts promising to serve the group for a billion years. She lived at Scientology’s big blue West Coast headquarters on Sunset Boulevard, known as the Pacific Area Command, or PAC Base.

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Scientology’s “Super Power” Training Compound Opens In Florida

quadrantThink of it as an expensive, snobby private gym for training your abilities of extrasensory perception. As reported by the New York Daily News:

The stunning 377,000-square-foot center in Clearwater, Fla., will reserve its top floors for ‘super power’ counseling services to its members. A similar program in Los Angeles utilized an anti-gravity simulator, various exercise machines, and a gyroscope-like apparatus that spins blindfolded riders around, according to one Scientologist.

The Church of Scientology plans to dedicate its stunning 377,000-square-foot center in Clearwater, Fla., on Sunday. According to the new-age religion’s website, “The top floors of the new building are reserved for ‘Super Power,’ a series of Scientology counseling services offered nowhere else.”

“Super Power,” first unveiled by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, is one’s ability to hone in on 57 senses called “perceptics” [beyond] the original five senses. “Perceptics” the programs aim to help members master are personal size, blood circulation, fields/magnetic, sound direction, and emotional state of groups.

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SCIENTOLOGY’S WORST YEAR EVER

cn_image.size.cover_vanityfair_500This story made me look back on the halcyon days of 2012, which for a number of reasons–which I will shortly go into–can be called “Scientology’s Worst Year Ever”.  I know Scientology is sort of an easy target, but since I’m posting feel-good topics these days, I felt it ought to be presented.

Friends, 2012 was a rough year for the Church of Scientology.  It took so many hits it started telling people it ran into a door.  It started falling apart so fast Syria is worried about it.  Really, trying to find the worst moment for Scientology in 2012 is like trying to find the worst case of herpes: they’re all pretty terrible, they taint whoever they touch, and a lot of people in Hollywood go to great lengths to hide the sores they cause.  Luckily, the treatment for both is the same (pointing and laughing).

WHERE TO BEGIN?

Attempting to find the best place to delve into the weirdness is next to impossible.  The story is too long, too detailed.  It is a mosaic, not a tale told in a linear fashion.  I suppose, though, that January 1st, 2012, is as good a place to start as any.… Read the rest

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DisinfoCast: 70: “Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the ‘Weird Cult'” – David S. Wills

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David S. Wills is the author of “Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the ‘Weird Cult'”, a book that explores the mostly lost history of Burroughs’ involvement with the Church of Scientology. Wills is also the founder of “Beatdom” (www.beatdom.com), a magazine devoted to Beat history and culture. Note: David called in from Cambodia and didn’t have a strong enough connection for a video interview.

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The Time William S. Burroughs Became a Scientologist (And His Subsequent Dismissal of the Religion)

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 11.16.25 AMWilliam Burroughs first became attracted to the Church of Scientology because of its claimed ability to extinguish the wounds of bad memories. For nearly a decade (also what most consider his least artistic years), Burroughs followed the churches teachings in much the same way he sought out other “mind-expanding” techniques such as hallucinogens.

It would be L. Ron Hubbard’s “fascist tendencies” which led Burroughs to finally denounce Scientology via the Los Angeles Free Press.

You can read his collection of criticisms of the church in a free PDF: Ali’s Smile/Naked Scientology.

Excerpt:

Scientology is a model control system, a state in fact with its own courts, police, rewards and penalties. It is based on a tight ingroup like the CIA, Islam, the Mormons, etc. Inside are the Rights with the Truth. Outside are the Commies, the Infidels, the Unfaithful, the Suppressives. Rarely has this formula been expressed with such consummate effrontery, like you go into a store to buy a suit the clerk puts you in a Condition of Doubt, you work all night in the stock room and go around with a gray rag around your arm and petition the entire store to let you back in so you can buy something.

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How Scientology Changed The Internet

Entrance of the Church of Scientology Madid, SpainThe Scientology cult is at war with the Internet reports Dave Lee at BBC News:

What do Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Anonymous and copyright law have in common? The answer is they have all been influenced by the Church of Scientology International (CSI), as it took on ex-members and critics who took their protests on to the internet. As the Church successfully removes another website, just how big an influence has Scientology had on the internet we all use?

Last month digital rights activists at the influential Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) placed the Church of Scientology into their hall of shame over what it says were repeated acts against internet freedoms.

It was just the latest twist in the Church’s long-running feud with “negative” Scientology content online, one that has lasted almost two decades.

Back in May 1994, at a time when most major organisations were yet to figure out how exactly to deal with the relatively unknown power of the internet, the Church’s Elaine Siegel had a few ideas, outlined in a leaked email to “all Scientologists on the internet”.

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Pilots Report UFOs Over UK Scientology HQ

UK Scientology HQ. Photo: Martyn Davies (CC)

UK Scientology HQ. Photo: Martyn Davies (CC)

Like something out of one of L. Ron Hubbard’s science fiction novels… From the Daily News:

Close encounters of the Scientology kind:

Pilots aboard three passenger planes in the vicinity of London’s Gatwick Airport late last year reported seeing a pair of “flat, silver discs” hovering near the UK headquarters of the Church of Scientology.

Air traffic controllers also said that they saw six UFOs on radar screens before the objects disappeared, according to a report issued last week by the UK’s Airprox Board.

The board examines reports of air traffic safety violations in UK airspace and recommends safety measures. Last week’s report failed to find an explanation for the pilot sightings from last Dec. 30 at about 9 a.m. It did describe how a Boeing 777 pilot raised the alarm at 8:53 a.m. after spotting “two flat silver discs”over the Scientology headquarters in East Grinstead minutes from touchdown at Gatwick.

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