Tag Archives | Scientology

The Crazy Dianetics & Scientology Holiday Catalog!

Girl blog Jezebel has come up with a great find! Make sure to click through the gallery to view “gotta see it to believe it” gifts such as a collection of 18 Nigerian goatskin-bound books of The Basics for $2,000 and a $4,650 E-Meter (in a wide range of colors, shown at right):

A million thank yous to the reader who mailed me the Dianetics & Scientology Holiday catalog! With so much crazytown inside, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

While Scientology has been going through tough times lately — a French court convicted the church of fraud and Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis resigned publicly — spokesperson Tommy Davis says the church is flourishing: assets and property holdings have doubled over the past five years. Is some of that cash from the catalog sales? Maybe!

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Mad Scientologists Caught in a Web of Their Own Making

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Draw near, infidels, for these are dark days for the Knights of Hubbard. Do not despair entirely – the Church of Scientology remains rich, has excellent lawyers and, according to the International Scientology News, ”every minute of every hour, someone reaches for L. Ron Hubbard technology … simply because they know Tom Cruise is a Scientologist”.

So unless the world’s supply of fools is melting away, they can hold off trying to lure disaffected Kabbalists into their cultish communion. And yet, it has not been the best of weeks for our operating thetans. In France, Scientology was found guilty of defrauding followers after a judge effectively debunked the idea of the church’s trusty E-meter, a crude polygraph used to encourage Scientologists to purchase everything from books to extreme sauna courses.

In Los Angeles, the Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis cut his ties with Scientology in protest at what he branded their tolerance of homophobia, adding that the church’s claim it does not tell people to ”disconnect” from unsupportive family members was untrue – his wife had been ordered to do so.

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Cult Busters: How Governments Decide Whether a Religion is Real or Not

From Slate:

A French court fined the Church of Scientology $888,000 on Tuesday after a couple claimed they’d been manipulated into buying between $30,000 and $73,000 worth of church products. The verdict is “a historical turning point for the fight against cult abuses,” said the leader of France’s “government cult-fighting unit.” How does this special cult-busting unit distinguish between cults and bona fide religions?

Vaguely. French law doesn’t define the term “cult.” Rather, it uses the expression “cultlike movements” to describe groups that demand unreasonable financial contributions, encourage nonparticipation in elections, promote anti-social behavior, or cut members off from their families. It’s easier to target bad behavior, the thinking goes, than to get into a semantic debate over what is and isn’t a cult. The French government has, however, tried to define the term in the past. In 1995, a special parliamentary commission compiled a list of 10 cultish characteristics, including the indoctrination of children, a mentally unstable membership, and the attempt to infiltrate public institutions.

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Open Season for Scientology Bashing

Now it’s Salon’s turn to whale on Scientology (more please mainstream media, you have a lot of catching up to do):

When Paul Haggis, the writer of “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” kicked his faith to the curb after 35 years, he did so as only an Oscar-winning scribe could: with a badass screed. His resignation letter, dated Aug. 19, emerged on ex-Scientologist Mark Rathburn’s blog yesterday and promptly went viral.

In his letter, Haggis explains, “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. Their public sponsorship of Proposition 8, a hate-filled legislation that succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California — rights that were granted them by the Supreme Court of our state — shames us.” Though the Church claims not to dictate personal sexual practices and has several openly gay members, it’s perhaps no coincidence that Scientology also has a reputation as Hollywood’s biggest closet, with gay rumors persistently dogging famous members like Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

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Church of Scientology Convicted of Fraud in France

The AP is reporting another example of the ‘Church’ of Scientology finally coming in for the critical attention it deserves but that the media has been afraid of for fear of costly litigation:

A Paris court convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud and fined it more than euro600,000 ($900,000) on Tuesday but stopped short of banning the group as prosecutors had demanded.

The group’s French branch immediately announced it would appeal the verdict.

The court convicted the Church of Scientology’s French office, its library and six of its leaders of organized fraud. Investigators said the group pressured members into paying large sums of money for questionable financial gain and used “commercial harassment” against recruits.

The group was fined euro400,000 ($600,000) and the library euro200,000. Four of the leaders were given suspended sentences of between 10 months and two years. The other two were given fines of euro1,000 and euro2,000.

However, the court did not order the Church of Scientology to shut down, ruling that it would be likely to continue its activities anyway “outside any legal framework.”

Prosecutors had urged that the group be dissolved in France and fined euro2 million ($3 million).

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The Mainstream Media Plucks Up Courage and Pulls Back the Veil From the ‘Church’ of Scientology

The mainstream media, led by the broadcast networks, have been notoriously reluctant to air any negative news or views regarding the 'Church' of Scientology, largely due to that organization's penchant for costly litigation intended to financially drain critics so thoroughly that any thought of following in their footsteps is squashed by network lawyers before any brave young producer or journalist can finish the idea. Perhaps the wind has changed, however, with an in depth investigation by ABC News' well-respected show Nightline, which has a variety of reports about Scientology here, as well as a lengthy 'Inside Scientology' video report from Martin Bashir (click that link to go to the full ABC News video site; the YouTube clips below are partial):
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Tom and Katie Celebrate with Travoltas at Secret Scientology Event

Gossip mag US reports on the continuing public support for Scientology from stalwarts Cruise and Travolta:

Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and daughter Suri reunited with John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston — plus over 4000 other Scientologists — at a massive party in England on Oct. 16, Usmagazine.com has confirmed.

The stars were surprise guests at the 25th anniversary of the International Association of Scientologists held at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinsted, West Sussex. During nearly two hours of speeches, Cruise, 47, briefly addressed the rapturous, fist-pumping crowd: “Because we never took our eyes off the ultimate prize, we stand where we are today,” he intoned, witnesses tells Us. “We are in this together!”

When a choir took to the stage, the Cruise-Holmes family stood up with the rest of the audience. “Tom was swaying and looked like he was in heaven,” an attendee tells Us. “He was really, really into it.

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