Tag Archives | Scientology

Speculative Fictions: Scientology’s Tin-Pot Real Estate Empire and the Real Owners of the World

Photo: Scientology Media (CC)

Yippee! We'll never have to pay tax on this building! Photo: Scientology Media (CC)

Business Insider pulls the veil aside a little on the vast global real estate portfolio of The Church Of Scientology, with 10 examples from the over 8,500 Scientology Churches, Missions and affiliated groups buildings in 165 countries around the world.

Still, Scientology is way behind the top five largest landowners in the world: Queen Elizabeth II (legal owner of about 6,600 million acres of land, one sixth of the earth’s non ocean surface, valued at £17,600,000,000,000); the Russian state (4,219 million acres); the Chinese state (about 2,365 million acres); the Federal Government of the United States, which owns about one third of the land of the USA (760 million acres); and the King of Saudi Arabia (553 million acres).

And not even in the same class as the more venerable Catholic Church, but of course Scientology hasn’t been able to take advantage of tax exemption for as many centuries …

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Strange Rooms And Devices Inside Scientology’s Super Power Building

Via the Village Voice, unbelievable renderings of the chambers to be used for testing, training, and sensory enhancement of Scientology adherents:

The Voice has obtained hundreds of new renderings of Scientology’s Super Power Building in Clearwater, Florida. L. Ron Hubbard devised the “Super Power Rundown” in 1978. He envisioned it as a series of counseling routines with the use of elaborate and futuristic platforms and machines. In 1998, Hubbard’s successor broke ground on a massive new building project, “Flag Mecca,” known commonly as the Super Power Building, where the new rundown would be housed. Thirteen years and $145 million in fundraising later, the building is thought to be largely completed, but it is still not open for business.

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Leaked Emails Fuel Scientology Scandal

David Miscavage. Photo: Scientology Media (CC)

David Miscavige. Photo: Scientology Media (CC)

Guy Adams provides details on a senior Scientology member’s letter to 12,000 followers attacking their leader’s “obsession” with money, in the LA Times:

A simmering conflict at the Church of Scientology has been made spectacularly public after a former member of the organisation’s clergy circulated a letter raising severe criticisms of both the management style and financial policies of its current leader, David Miscavige.

Debbie Cook’s email, which was sent to 12,000 fellow Scientologists shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day, alleges that Mr Miscavige has adopted a dictatorial leadership style which is at odds with the doctrines laid down by the church’s founder, the science fiction author, L Ron Hubbard.

She further claims that, since succeeding Hubbard after his death in 1986, Mr Miscavige has become obsessed with fundraising. His regime is now “hoarding” a cash reserve of more than a billion dollars, she claims, and has spent tens of millions more on a portfolio of large, “posh” buildings which largely sit empty.

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Scientology’s Plan To Infiltrate And Spy On ‘South Park’

The Village Voice‘s Tony Ortega reveals the extent to which the “church” of Scientology will go to try to protect its (not too solid) reputation:

Yesterday, we reported that former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun had revealed at his blog that in 2006, Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs — the church’s intelligence and covert operations wing — was actively investigating creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone by looking for vulnerabilities among their close friends.

South_Park_Xenu
Screen shot of the South Park “scientology” episode, “Trapped in the Closet” (2005)

Today, we have more leaked OSA documents which give some idea of the extent of the spying operation on the  offices and the people who worked there.

They suggest that after traditional approaches with private investigators had stalled, OSA turned to film consultant Eric Sherman, a Scientologist, to help them find a young filmmaker who would make an effective mole at the South Park offices.

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Scientology’s ‘Touch-Healing’ Global Disaster Response Squad: ‘Serving’ Haiti, Burma and Japan

Scientology Touch HealersPatrick Winn writes on GlobalPost:
BANGKOK, Thailand — After Cyclone Nargis left a trail of corpses along Burma’s coast in May 2008, foreign aid workers clamored to enter the military-controlled backwater. Despite the world’s pleading, Burma’s paranoid generals forbade most foreign relief workers from entering the disaster zone. A frustrated U.K. threatened unauthorized air drops. The U.S. Navy was forced to float vessels loaded with life-saving supplies offshore. But among the few who managed to access Burma’s worst-hit areas included adherents of the California-based Church of Scientology. According to the church, miracles ensued after Scientologists touched down. Their team sought out traumatized Burmese for Scientology’s touch-healing techniques, professed to revive the spirit...
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Inside Scientology: Brainwashing, Violence, And Slave Labor

scientologycommonsNo, the above isn’t hyperbole. The New Yorker has a fascinating and authoritative exposé on Scientology. The experiences of Hollywood director and ex-Scientologist Paul Haggis are the starting point, but the piece hits upon everything from the cult’s origins to its use of violence and child labor to John Travolta magically healing Marlon Brando’s leg via touch:

In December, 2009, Tricia Whitehill, a special agent from the Los Angeles office, flew to Florida to interview former members of the church in the F.B.I.’s office in downtown Clearwater, which happens to be directly across the street from Scientology’s spiritual headquarters.

Whitehill and Valerie Venegas, the lead agent on the case, also interviewed former Sea Org members in California. One of them was Gary Morehead, who had been the head of security at the Gold Base; he left the church in 1996. In February, 2010, he spoke to Whitehill and told her that he had developed a “blow drill” to track down Sea Org members who left Gold Base.

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Lawrence Wright’s Amazing ‘New Yorker’ Feature On Scientology

Paul Haggis. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Paul Haggis. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Lawrence Wright’s forthcoming tell-all book about the Hollywood uber-cult Scientology (The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs.The Church of Scientology) has been in the news often the past few weeks, mostly concerning speculation about whether or not award-winning scribe Paul Haggis “officially” collaborated with Wright.

The book still hasn’t been scheduled for publication and considering the cult’s propensity for litigation it might face considerable delays. For those who can’t wait, Wright has contributed a fascinating and lengthy essay on the topic to the current issue of the New Yorker.

It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the cult of Scientology. Here’s the beginning:

On August 19, 2009, Tommy Davis, the chief spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International, received a letter from the film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis. “For ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego,” Haggis wrote.

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Paul Haggis And The Scientology Tell-All Book

Paul Haggis. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Paul Haggis. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

It’s been tagged as “the Scientology expose we’ve been waiting for” (Gawker), but some serious questions have been raised about just how much Paul Haggis has cooperated with New Yorker staff writer and Looming Tower author Lawrence Wright’s new book, The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs.The Church of Scientology. The LA Times suggests it’s time for conspiracy theorists to ponder whether or not Haggis has been nobbled by the Scientology “Church”:

Paul Haggis has severed ties with the Church of Scientology. But maybe he’s not quite willing to tell all.

Last week, a number of reports said Haggis was collaborating on a Scientology-themed book with New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright, who was also writing an as-yet-unpublished magazine article on the subject. The book was to explore the director’s involvement with, and disassociation from, the Church of Scientology.

The next day, a representative for the filmmaker messaged to clarify that while Haggis was cooperating with the book, he was not an author and would not benefit financially from it.

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Another Ex-Scientologist Publishes Damning Tell-All

From the Village Voice:
Adding to Scientology's woes, some of the people who have been making defections in recent years are turning around and writing damning tell-alls. Regular publishers won't touch these books -- even though some of them are actually very well written -- so the authors have had to go the self-published route. Last year's killer I-escaped-from-Scientology narrative was put out by Marc Headley. His Blown for Good made for a gripping read, about a low-level grunt who spent years at Scientology's secret HQ in the California desert until he finally made a mad dash for freedom. This year, we can report that Headley's book has been equaled. In Counterfeit Dreams: One Man's Journey Into and Out of the World of Scientology, ex-Scientologist Jefferson Hawkins not only provides his own dramatic tale of getting sucked into and ultimately escaping from Scientology, but Hawkins was no low-level scrub. He, maybe more than any other single person, may be the reason Scientology ever became as popular as it did...
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