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SCIENTOLOGY’S PRIVATE DANCER: A Story of Seduction, Intervention, and Betrayal

AS SEEN ON TV: The title image for Bryan Seymour's report on Today Tonight

AS SEEN ON TV: The title image for Bryan Seymour’s report on Today Tonight

The Underground Bunker has teamed up with another Australian news organization for an exclusive story about Scientology. In this case, we are pleased to have worked with Bryan Seymour of the 7 News program Today Tonight.

We coordinated with Seymour to investigate the story of Manuela Oliveira, a woman who had been a rising dancer building a solid television choreography career, working on such shows as The Voice, and The X Factor, and for such stars as Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, and Paula Abdul. Three years ago, Manuela moved to Los Angeles from Australia with her boyfriend and fellow choreographer, Yannus Sufandi, as the two followed their dreams of breaking into Hollywood.

Two years later, their dreams were disrupted and Manuela had abandoned her relationship with Yannus. To her family’s utter surprise, she had given up everything to join the Church of Scientology’s strict inner corps, the Sea Organization.

In March, the Oliveira family sent Manuela’s brother, Mark, from Sydney to Los Angeles to meet with Yannus to investigate what had happened. The two of them conspired to lure Manuela out of Scientology’s Los Angeles headquarters and bring her to a meeting at a private home, where several well-known Ex-Scientologists were waiting for her. It was an intervention of a Sea Org member, a rare and emotional event that pitted a conditioned, robotic young woman against her brother, her boyfriend, and several people who were doing their best to talk sense into her.

And we were there.

In the last couple of years, we’ve been reporting non-stop on the numerous crises that grip Scientology: dwindling membership, internal splits, the meltdown of Narconon, the announcement of government investigations and the filing of dozens of new lawsuits from one end of the country to the other. But investigating the story of Manuela Oliveira — which contained some of the most unique experiences of our reporting career — made us realize that it would be a mistake to think that Scientology does not still have the power to lure in young people and convince them to give up their previous lives and their previous families. For some, the siren call of Scientology is as potent as ever, and that worries people like Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, who told us Manuela’s story concerned him greatly.

“It shows you the grip that Scientology can have on people,” Xenophon told us. “This is an organization that promises everything but in some cases delivers the opposite. It promises spiritual salvation, but instead puts people through a personal hell.”

 

—————–

 
Yannus Sufandi’s family moved to Australia from Indonesia when he was a child. Manuela Oliveira’s family had emigrated from Portugal. The two met for the first time in 2004.

At the time, she had just ended a seven-year relationship, and was looking for a new direction in her life. She took a dance class from Yannus, and before long they were dating.

 
Yannus_Manuela2

 
As a couple in Sydney, Yannus and Manuela began to have serious success with their dancing and choreography. They were getting work on Australia’s So You Think You Can Dance, and Manuela became a judge on the Malaysian version of the show.

In 2010, they decided it was time to try the big time, and they moved to Los Angeles and applied for green cards. Making a living had always been a struggle, and now, even more so.

“It’s a process. You don’t just move to LA and get famous. There are ups and downs,” Yannus says. “In the entertainment business, you get knocked back a lot. There are a lot of rejections. It’s a grind and it’s a hustle, and it’s about knowing the right people.”

Still, their careers continued to improve. They worked together choreographing segments on The Voice and The X Factor, and each of them tried to branch out — Yannus with acting, and Manuela with singing and producing music.

Then, early in 2012, at a dance class, Manuela seriously injured a knee. It left her bedridden for weeks, and Yannus says it left her depressed. “She had an eye infection too. She was feeling down. She wanted to work on her music, but she was also feeling beat down.”

Her injury wasn’t the only thing that had been bothering her, he says. “Every man she met to talk to about her dancing or her music wanted to sleep with her. She was tired of it.”

While she was still recovering, Manuela heard from an old friend, a woman in Florida she had known in Australia. The friend told her that she was in Florida doing courses at Scientology’s spiritual headquarters there. She encouraged Manuela to look into Hollywood’s Celebrity Centre, telling her they could do “touch assists” to help her knee heal.

(“Touch assists” are a sort of faith-healing technique that Scientologists are encouraged to use. John Travolta recently was quoted in a Scientology magazine saying that he had eliminated the severe pain a man was feeling in his ankle after a car crash simply by doing an assist.)

After her knee was well enough for her to walk again, Manuela began making visits to Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre.

She began telling Yannus about the place, and also that Scientology had its own recording studio, Mad Hatter, which had been founded by Chick Corea.

At her urging, Yannus went with her to see the studio. By that point, she’d been dabbling in Scientology for a few months.

“She said she felt better and was learning something,” Yannus says. So he didn’t give it much mind.

Then, in November 2012, she asked him to come to the Celebrity Centre with her.

“She wanted me to check out the Purification Rundown. She said Kelly Preston was going to be speaking. I hadn’t really checked it out in the six months that she’d been involved. But I was creeped out. I didn’t like the pressure they were putting on her. They were calling her constantly,” he says.

In January of this year, he says, she made several visits to Mad Hatter Studios, and the Scientologists there showed her videos of past events, telling her that they wanted her to choreograph upcoming shows.

In February, she told Yannus that she wanted to “join the team” at Mad Hatter.

“What does that mean, ‘join the team’?” He asked her.

Yannus remembers that she told him she was finished with the music world, where producers just wanted to sleep with her. The Scientologists wanted to improve the world, not have sex with her.

He asked her again — but what does it mean to join the team?

“It means moving in with them,” she told him.

Yannus remembers getting emotional. He asked her if there was something wrong with him that was driving her to Scientology.

 

[Manuela’s online choreography reel — she worked with Yannus on The Voice and The X Factor.]

 
No, she assured him. There was nothing wrong with their relationship.

“They’re going to have a television station. They need choreography,” she told him.

In 2011, Scientology had purchased the old KCET studios, home to LA’s public television station. Since then, the church has said it has plans to launch its own TV station, but hasn’t provided any details.

“Who’s going to watch this TV station?” Yannus asked her. “Nobody’s going to watch that.”

She told him that gradually, it would catch on. And besides, didn’t he want to help people?

She had put him on the defensive. He said that he’d given donations to causes and expected to start a foundation once he hit it big.

“What about me and you?” he asked.

“She said, ‘Don’t look at it like we’re not together. Look at it like I’m going ahead, and you should go to the Celebrity Centre to find out what it’s all about.’ But I don’t want to study Scientology, I told her. But they can help you, she said. I said I had my own role models. Spielberg isn’t there. Denzel isn’t there. And I don’t give a crap about Cruise and Travolta.”

Manuela told him she believed God had sent her to Scientology.

Over the next few weeks, she underwent security checks at the church to make sure she had no connections to police or reporters. She was asked about Yannus and his connections. She began to talk about signing the Sea Org’s billion-year contract.

Yannus asked her to wait. He knew she had a gig in Las Vegas as a judge in a big talent show at the end of April, and she’d already been paid half her fee up front.

“I think they pressured her more and more. And so, suddenly, at the end of February, she said, ‘I think it’s in me. I wake up every day thinking about it.’ And she said she had to do it,” Yannus says.

On Tuesday, February 26, Manuela packed up her things.

“I couldn’t watch her pack. I had to leave,” Yannus says.

“I came back home that night and checked the mail. Both of our green cards had arrived. It was crazy. Surreal. Fuck, our green cards had come out, and that was the day she left.”

Yannus gets emotional talking about it.

“I love her and I trusted her. I was so confused. We were chasing our dreams,” he says. But then, he got angry.

“I wanted to know, what is this Scientology thing?”

He spent days researching Scientology on the Internet. “I was going through such an emotional roller coaster,” he says.

For three weeks, he read and read, and one day stumbled across the YouTube channel of Tory Christman, a woman who had left Scientology more than a decade ago after spending 30 years in the church.

He called her, and they spoke several times about what he was going through. She in turn referred him to Tiziano Lugli, a former Scientologist who was also an artist and music producer. Tory told him that if any ex-Scientologist knew what he and Manuela were going through, it was Tiziano.

Yannus also contacted Manuela’s family in Sydney, and found out that Manuela had told them only that she had started a job with a production company.

“She hadn’t told them it was Scientology. So I told them what it was, a religion, a cult, and that she was living with them,” he says.

Manuela called him, angry that he’d told her family about the things he’d read about Scientology on the Internet.

“But it’s all true, isn’t it? It’s true that I can’t be with you because I’m not a Sea Org member, isn’t that right?” he asked her.

She admitted that it was so. She couldn’t date him anymore as long as she was living on the base as a Sea Org member and he wasn’t.

“Well, don’t tell me I can’t tell them that. It’s the truth,” he said.

He spoke to her brother, Mark, explaining that after nine years, Manuela had simply left him. He encouraged Mark to bring his parents to Los Angeles to confront Manuela. But Mark told him that their parents weren’t up for it.

So, in March, Mark Oliveira flew alone to Los Angeles to meet up with Yannus.

They made plans to get Manuela out of Scientology’s base.

 

—————–

 
On Monday, March 25, we happened to be in Los Angeles when we got a call from Tiziano Lugli. The previous fall, we had spent time at his home studio, and that had turned into a pretty big news story. So this time, when he called, we were all ears.

It didn’t take him very long to explain what was about to happen, and we told him we were on our way.

Lugli and his wife Jamie Sorrentini Lugli live in a well-appointed home in the Hollywood Hills. She’s an actress; he was a pop star in Italy and now produces music in LA. They left Scientology about three years ago, and endured intense harassment for it — there were so many private investigators outside their home, following them wherever they went, Tiziano put together videos of what it was like.

After Yannus had talked to Tiziano about his situation, they came up with a plan once Mark Oliveira flew in. The day before, on the 24th, Tiziano, Yannus, and Mark had gone to the home of Young and the Restless actor Michael Fairman and his wife, Joy Graysen — both former Scientologists — and were joined by Tom DeVocht, a former Scientology executive who had largely run the church’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida before his own defection in 2005.

They formulated a plan to get Manuela up to Tiziano’s house, where they would attempt an intervention.

On the 25th, Mark asked his sister to come out of the “Big Blue” complex on Fountain Avenue for lunch with him and Yannus. She agreed. And while he actually drove her up to the Lugli house, Mark let Tiziano know they were on the way.

We got there first. As we waited with Tiziano for them to arrive, we tried to think of a similar situation, and couldn’t really think of any. “Deprogramming” sessions had gone out with the 1980s, and we had no experience with an intervention with a Sea Org member — certainly not with an array of well-known former church members.

We held back, sitting in a corner after being introduced to Manuela — we wanted simply to watch, not to participate.

Meanwhile, around the dining room table in the Lugli house sat Tiziano and Jamie, Yannus, Mark, and his sister Manuela.

If she seemed confused, unsure of who we all were and what was happening, she didn’t really show it. She was dressed in her Sea Org outfit, with a blue polo shirt and navy pants, and a drab grey jacket. It was hard to reconcile her with the glamorous dancer we’d seen in videos. She looked more like she was going to be pumping gas.

And as Tiziano began to speak, she looked at him, expressionless, and began to utter a series of quick acknowledgements — yes, I see, I understand, right — just like Scientologists are trained to do.

DeVocht, Graysen, and Fairman had not yet arrived, and Tiziano had to keep things moving along until they did. He began a long dissertation about all the controversies that Scientology was involved in. And although she kept acknowledging everything he was saying with her yesses and I sees, it didn’t really seem to be going anywhere.

After a while, Manuela began interrupting, saying that she needed to get back to the base. She hadn’t signed out for a long conversation with people she didn’t really know.

The intervention seemed to be falling apart before it really had got going. Tiziano continued to talk about the things that someone like Manuela, still fairly new to the group, hadn’t been told yet about Scientology — that its increasingly expensive classes eventually had members learning about ancient galactic warlords and alien genocides and disembodied souls that Scientology charged up to a thousand dollars an hour to be exorcised.

What Tiziano was saying was true, but it didn’t seem to be the kind of thing that would get through to Manuela. After a while, it became clear that he was mostly stalling for time, and she was increasingly interrupting, saying that she needed to get back to the base.

Jamie Lugli then tried to get things back on track, and started to tell Manuela about some of the things that she and Tiziano had been through since they had left the church — following Scientology policy, their family members and friends still in the church rapidly “disconnected” from them. Her father, Jamie explained, had never seen the young daughter that she and Tiziano were raising, simply because Jamie had been “declared” a “suppressive person,” by the church — Scientology jargon for excommunication.

 

 
Mark Oliveira was taping the intervention with his smartphone. Later, he sent us segments from early in the conversation that he had taped. We’ve assembled some of it so you can get a sense of the feeling in the room. The first part is Tiziano talking about the things Manuela doesn’t know about Scientology; the middle section is Manuela saying that she could stay longer if she’d signed our for more than an hour; the final section is Jamie talking about disconnection in her family, and Mark can also briefly be heard.

Finally, the others arrived. DeVocht, Fairman, and Graysen took their seats, and Tiziano quickly brought them up to speed on what was going on.

 

Michael Fairman and Joy Graysen

Michael Fairman and Joy Graysen

 
Graysen and DeVocht immediately changed the tenor of the conversation. They engaged Manuela more, asked her about herself, tried to turn her responses into further questions. But again, Manuela said she hadn’t signed out from the base for something so long.

Then, Mark spoke.

Until this point, about an hour into the intervention, Mark and Yannus had said little. But now, Mark told his sister that she needed to stop talking about going back to the base and she needed to listen to these people, who had all spent 20 years or more in Scientology. Before she really dedicated herself to the Sea Org’s billion-year contract, she needed to know what she was getting into.

That’s when we noticed that tears were streaming down his cheeks.

The feeling in the room began to shift. Until now, Manuela and what she meant to her brother and to Yannus had been a somewhat abstract idea — now, it started to become clearer to everyone in the room what was really at stake.

And that’s when Yannus lost it.

For about the hundredth time, Manuela reacted to what someone had said by quickly, coolly, answering “I understand.”

Yannus pounded on the table, startling everyone.

Through tears, he shouted, “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. YOU KEEP SAYING THAT, ‘I UNDERSTAND,’ BUT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND AND I WANT YOU TO STOP SAYING THAT!”

“It was a remarkably emotional moment,” DeVocht told us this week as we discussed our memories of the event. “You could tell her brother was really worried about her. And then to see Yannus break down like that. It was horrifying.”

 

Tom DeVocht: "Here was this young couple, doing well, they're probably madly in love, pulled up stakes in Australia, and suddenly she's in a cult and disappeared."

Tom DeVocht: “Here was this young couple, doing well, they’re probably madly in love, pulled up stakes in Australia, and suddenly she’s in a cult and disappeared.”

 
“It was shocking when he did that. But I think it had been building up inside of him. Then he just sort of let it all rip,” Jamie Lugli tells us. “I was happy that he did that. It felt like it needed to be done. Somebody needed to crack her open, and it hadn’t been happening.”

But still, Manuela was unflappable.

She turned to her brother, and asked if he would go outside with her. The rest agreed it was time for a break. And they watched as Manuela, Mark, and Yannus made their way to the side of the Lugli house.

We soon noticed that there just happened to be a security camera aimed at the spot. We watched from Tiziano’s home studio as Manuela appeared very agitated, moving her arms rapidly as she talked to Mark and Yannus. Then, Tom DeVocht joined them, and her demeanor changed.

DeVocht has a very warm, comforting persona that seemed to reach Manuela. Before long, he had her talking at length about what she was experiencing at the base. And that’s when we noticed Manuela had begun embracing Yannus, and kissing him — she had not seen much of him after moving out of their apartment the month before.

With our smartphone, we captured some of the footage visible on the security cam. It gives an impression of how the talks outside the house were going.

 

 
“She seemed more comfortable in a one-on-one conversation,” DeVocht tells us. “I asked her, do you have your phone when you’re at the base? I turn it in every night, she said. Don’t you think that’s unusual? Do they go through your mail? I tried to point out the violations of privacy, that she was being watched all the time. I wanted her to take away that as she saw those things happening, she would think about what we’d told her.”

After a few minutes, Graysen joined them.

“When I got out there, we had broken her down a little bit,” Joy says. “She was more of a person, she wasn’t being as robotic. ‘I do want to know about this,’ she was saying. But she also kept going on and on about how she was going to be able to dance and sing in the Sea Org, and she was going to be part of a television show. We kept shaking our heads. But she said she had no problem with access to her cell phone. No problem getting time off if she asked for it. She could come back out and talk to us if she wanted to. But we kept saying, you’re never going to have this opportunity again.”

It was clear that Manuela was determined to get back to the base, and Mark and Yannus needed to take her there.

Tiziano admits that he felt defeated.

“I didn’t want to let her out of there,” he says. “I had wanted to convince her to leave the Sea Org, but we didn’t get there. She was like a robot. I was thinking, how do I break through this? How do I break through this Scientology insensitivity? She really did not understand what she was up against.”

As she prepared to leave, Manuela assured everyone that she actually had it very good at the base. The food was organic and good tasting, the work fulfilling. There was really nothing to complain about.

Mark and Yannus drove her back down the hill to the Big Blue complex.

 

—————–

 
A few weeks later, a Los Angeles woman named Beatriz Camarillo made a desperate phone call that rang through to a man in Pittsburgh named Chuck Beatty.

Beatty’s a familiar figure to the regular readers of this website — he is an ex-Scientologist who spent decades in the Sea Org, and endured its prison detail — the Rehabilitation Project Force — for seven years. Since leaving the church, he has made it his mission to help others leave the organization, and he runs a hotline, 866-XSEAORG.

After Beatty heard what Beatriz had to say, he contacted us.

Beatriz had called Beatty at her wit’s end. She told us that a couple of months earlier, she had taken in a new lodger in her house, which she shared with her two daughters, Iliana and Veronica Galvez, ages 20 and 21. Soon after the man moved in, he had begun telling the two young women about Scientology. He soon arranged to have them take some courses. And then, within just a few weeks after they had first heard about the church, Iliana and Veronica had signed billion-year contracts and had gone to live at the Big Blue complex.

Beatriz said her head was spinning, it had all happened so fast.

“They didn’t even give me the address. I went over there and said I want to see my daughters, they’re not answering their phones. They gave me a tour. And later, they took us to the place that looked like a temple and there were dorms in the back.”

Her daughters were brought out, wearing their Sea Org uniforms.

“They looked bad,” she says.

She had done some searching about Scientology on the Internet. “I tried to talk to them about this place, to tell them it was wrong. But they were against me. Every time I said something against the place they looked at me like they were mad. My God, I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” she says.

But by the time Beatriz spoke with Beatty, she knew that her younger daughter, Iliana, was having doubts. When she told Iliana about Beatty, her daughter said she wanted to talk to him.

When we called Beatriz for the first time a few days later, Iliana had come home. Veronica, the older daughter, still refused to leave the base, saying that she was happy where she was.

“They told us to lie to you,” Iliana told her mother after she came home.

We asked to speak to Iliana, who sounded relieved to talk about her experience. She said she understood that, in hindsight, it did seem surprising that she had joined the Sea Org so quickly. But after taking a course with her sister, their supervisor had asked if they wanted to come work for Scientology and help people. Her sister Veronica loved the idea. Iliana was more skeptical. But soon, they were at Big Blue working on the “Estates Project Force,” a sort of boot camp for the Sea Org.

They were housed with four other women in a dorm room.

And one of them was Manuela Oliveira.

“She was a dorm I/C [‘in charge’]. She was in charge of making sure the room was clean,” Iliana told us. “She told me that her brother came to visit to try to convince her to leave. I told her my mom was against us being there. ‘My family’s against it, too. But you need this. It’s the greatest thing,’ Manuela said. She was nice and very outgoing. Sometimes she was a little weird. She was very by-the-rules.”

Iliana said that Manuela talked a lot about dancing at Mad Hatter studios, that “she wanted to use her talent there.” But there was one thing she didn’t talk about.

“She didn’t mention a boyfriend,” Iliana said.

We told her what Manuela had said to us at the intervention, that she had free use of a cell phone, that she could take time off when she wanted to, and that the food was good.

“The food was terrible. They expected us to work all day long, and with that crappy food, I felt exhausted,” Iliana said.

“In the morning we got fried eggs. No vegetables. Or we got scrambled eggs, but no fruit. There was granola, but it was the junk food kind. Some milk,” she said. “We were in prison. We weren’t allowed to talk to Sea Org members. The EPF stayed with EPF. We were told to smile, call them sir, and stay out of their way.

“At lunch it was crappy hamburgers, the patties were dry. And bad hot dogs. There was very rarely any fruit. Or they gave us crappy tacos. I’d get the runs or I was constipated. It would give me a tummy ache,” she said.

“I usually went to the canteen” — where some items could be purchased — “and I was surviving on almond butter and fruit. For dinner it was beans and rice. Refried beans and brown rice. Almost every fucking day. On Wednesday, we’d get a pot roast or something.”

Iliana’s account was very different than Manuela’s.

Iliana said there were many other reasons to be concerned about conditions in the EPF and the Sea Org at the Los Angeles headquarters. The work schedule was brutal, and went from 7:40 in the morning until lights out at 11:30 pm. They lacked sleep and were dehydrated, and Iliana says one older woman fell and broke a knee during the hard work.

“We had no time to drink water. We didn’t have time to go to the bathroom. The food was not nutritional. We were outside in the sun, working in a yard, cleaning off bird shit. It wasn’t like the happy place they had told us about,” Iliana says. “They show you these videos of setting a good example, helping the homeless, and other things. And yet I didn’t see them doing that. They told me to lie to my mom. They told me, ‘Tell her that you’re having a good time here and that we’re feeding you well.'”

But after her mother visited, they were told to write up reports about everything their mother had said.

“I didn’t know it was going to be like that. They make all these promises and never accomplish it,” Iliana says. “I tried running away but got caught. They told me if I wanted to leave I needed to sign some forms and it would take about two weeks. I thought, oh my gosh.”

Eventually, she wrote a “CSW” — “completed staff work” — asking permission to go home and take care of some bills. (Sea Org members must not have debts, a rule that helps them cut themselves off from the outside world.) The ruse worked, and when she got home, Iliana followed her mother’s instructions and called Chuck Beatty. She decided not to go back.

Not long after we spoke with Beatriz and Iliana for the first time, Veronica made her own escape from the Scientology complex.

She credited her mother. “She kept coming. She came every Sunday, and they didn’t like that. My mom would tell me what she had read about Scientology, and, well I guess it was the truth,” Veronica says. “I was connecting all the dots with everything I was seeing that was wrong. I had been closing my eyes to them, why things were like that.

“I really wanted to help people. I was seeing without seeing. But when my mom gave me this information, I was connecting the dots.”

 

Iliana (left) and Veronica Galvez

Iliana (left) and Veronica Galvez

 
Iliana and Veronica are very young, and they had joined the Sea Org remarkably fast. But just as quickly, they had made their way back out again.

Each of them, however, said that Manuela Oliveira had seemed very determined.

 

—————–

 

Mark Oliveira says that when his sister Manuela went into dancing nine years ago, the family was actually against it.

“My parents were a little weird about it. But you know what, Manuela succeeded. That’s when my parents started to realize, well, congratulations.”

“And to them, this [Scientology] is like she’s taking another big step. So it’s hard to go against her, because the last time she took a big step, she made it.”

A day or two after the March intervention, Mark got to see Manuela again. She didn’t bring up the intervention itself.

“She only said there’s a lot of people against the church. But there are people who support it. And that’s like any other religion,” he said. “She actually believes in spirits and past lives, and that makes it difficult.”

She told him that she also liked the people she had been meeting in Scientology.

After the intervention, Mark stayed around for several more days, repeatedly extending his flight, but eventually he had to return to Australia.

“I don’t feel like I’m going away empty-handed. I felt that I did everything I had to do. I tried so much, and I met so many people.”

He began sobbing during our phone call.

“I feel like I’ve done everything I can. I lied to her and got her to Tiziano’s house.”

He’d been second-guessing the way things went, and he admitted that it had been a difficult experience.

“I can’t tie her down, man. She’ll have to experience it. Let her hit her head against the wall,” he said. “The way she did this was a slap in the face to us. But you know what, I want her to be slapped by reality a bit.”

Since returning to Australia, Mark has been less communicative. He did send over portions of the tapes he made the day of the intervention, but otherwise he has stopped talking about his sister.

Yannus has remained in touch with Manuela, usually through texts. He has tried to maintain hope that she will change her mind about the Sea Org, or that the attention being placed on her will convince Scientology that she’s too much of a liability.

Tom DeVocht told us that he thinks Manuela kept her mouth shut about the intervention.

“I really don’t think she told anyone anything. At the least she would have been put on lockdown” if Scientology had realized that she had met such arch-apostates as the Luglis, Joy Graysen and Michael Fairman, and DeVocht.

“There’s no way she would have been able to keep talking to Yannus,” he says.

But once it becomes known that she has stayed in touch with Yannus, who is connected to so many prominent ex-Scientologists, will it make a difference?

“I think she stands a chance of getting kicked right out of there,” DeVocht adds.

Well, there’s no longer any secret that Manuela has drawn a great deal of attention. A few weeks ago, Bryan Seymour flew to Los Angeles and, with the help of Yannus, tried to interview Manuela. But she refused to cooperate, and even before Seymour’s story aired, she put together a “response” video to him just a few hours before this story was published…

 
ManuelaResponse

 
Within just a short time — maybe only an hour or two — the video was pulled down, but we managed to get this still from it. In her response, Manuela (now not wearing her drab Sea Org clothes), said she was happy in Scientology and was still dedicated to dancing.

We hope Manuela restores her response, and then goes into more detail after Seymour’s story airs and this story is published.

Her decision to remain in Scientology is her own, of course. But with so much information available today about the history of the organization, its many controversies, and the realities of the life in the Sea Org, we can’t help being surprised that such talented young people, with promising lives ahead of them, choose to sign billion-year contracts to serve Scientology, lifetime after lifetime.

We asked Yannus: Was the intervention at the Lugli house a waste of time?

“Definitely not,” he told us. “We might not see its effect now. But we will see it.”

He hasn’t given up hope.

 
 
Statement by Scientology

Bryan Seymour received this response to his story from the church…

The Church of Scientology objects to the participation of Channel 7 in staged incidents that seek to manipulate the truth. This entire story is a propaganda piece fabricated by a small handful of antireligious zealots on the fringes of the Internet. You are well aware that you attempted to stalk and harass a member of the Church and are publishing untruths about her.

Scientology is a recognized worldwide religious movement with millions of members in 184 countries. The Sea Organization is the Scientology religion’s religious order, much like religious orders in other faiths. Voluntary participation in the religious services of Scientology is a matter of personal choice and is a fundamental human right guaranteed throughout the free world.

People interested in the truth should visit our website at www.scientology.org.au.
Regards,
Karin Pouw

Church of Scientology

 
——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on September 2, 2013 at 05:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

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  • Eivol Ekdal

    Thanks for all the hard tireless work Tony and Co.!!!

  • EnthralledObserver

    Her partner is so heartbroken

    • Eivol Ekdal

      I would be too. What a lovely couple with such a bright future!!!

  • EnthralledObserver

    ‘Sea Org… the toughest, meanest organisation’… sounds about right.

  • DodoTheLaser

    Manuela Oliveira should totally join Leah Remini on upcoming Dancing With The Stars in US.

    I vote Tango.

    • EnthralledObserver

      Agree

      • DodoTheLaser

        I am going to watch season 17 “religiously”.

  • EnthralledObserver

    yay… Tony!

  • EnthralledObserver

    Jamie, Tiziano and Michael and his wife… Tom Devoht awesome

  • EnthralledObserver

    Brief written response from the church on their website… interview denied, as always.

  • Douglas D. Douglas

    Once again we see that Scientology preys on the most vulnerable people at the lowest point in their lives. What I still cannot understand, though, is why people stay. This is one of those cases. Of course, there is a special circumstance here– the promise of fame and recognition in some great, new TV production. That’s a pretty powerful inducement. Sad that this young woman would throw over family and friends for this. But then, isn’t that also the type of personality that is drawn to Scientology? One that favors personal advancement over other relationships.

    It’s too sad.

    • villagedianne

      They also attract people who want to help the world, and no doubt they used this on Manuela also. They have convinced her that this is the best way to help people.
      If anything, the entertainment business, as much as Scientology, favors personal advancement over other relationships. The “casting couch” is alive and well, and Manuela had been exposed it, and she could have gone along with it if she wanted to. Sadly, she chose a different kind of con, and one that has even less chance of delivering the results she wants.

      • Gerard Plourde

        “They also attract people who want to help the world”

        This can be a two-edged sword. They risk a quicker discovery of the exposure of their lie since helping involves doing for others expecting nothing in return which is inconsistent with Hubbard’s principal of exchange.

        • villagedianne

          Good point, Gerald. Very obvious, but something I have not seen said before.

    • Unex Skcus

      Note though, that Manuela is described as quite ‘spiritual’, and had some belief in past lives. It’s quite likely that the thought of ‘helping people’ was more of an influence, than career prospects.

  • DodoTheLaser

    Free Manuela Oliveira and Karin Pouw!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daLxgKUad-c

  • 0tessa

    Scientology is able to attract young talented people, unfortunately, because they very skilfully appeal to their ‘save the world’ illusion. Manuela is convinced that she is saving the world and is prepared to sacrifice almost anything for this ‘good cause’. She will feel heroic while eating beans and rice. Until she discovers the truth for herself. The sooner the better.
    But what a tragedy for her friend and family. I feel so sorry for them.

    • sugarplumfairy

      The big motivation for Manuela seems to be personal.. “…she was going to be able to dance and sing in the sea org. She was going to be part of a television show…” They’ll hold the carrot out for her until it’s no longer working for them.. She’ll help choreograph their stupid co$ productions until one of the big beings doesn’t like something she does or until they need her somewhere else.. She’ll sacrifice love, family, and her own bright future for cruise, miscavige, preston, travolta, the elfmans, the feshbachs, the cardones and their ilk to continue their crazy, vindictive, lucrative scam.. Unfrkingbelievable..

      • jonzot

        I had the same reaction. It’s interesting that liana and Veronica were drawn to the church because of a selfless desire to “help others.” Manuela appears to want to use Scientology as a springboard for her own personal/professional ambitions. I imagine that the church identifies what motivates each recruit on an individual basis and then plays to it.

        No matter, the church is obviously filling some void in Manuela’s life. The easy answer is that they’re allowing her to accomplish what she’s unable to in the real world (choreography), but I imagine there’s more to it than that. The fact that her parents didn’t fly in from Australia is very telling. The church must be giving her a (false) sense of familial love and support that she was previously lacking.

        • villagedianne

          It looks to me like the parents believe that if she was strong enough to pursue her dreams of dance, against their opposition, that she will be strong enough to leave COS if it does not turn out well for her. If so, they sadly underestimated the mental manipulation that Manuela is subject to from the cult.

          • jonzot

            But her brother and boyfriend are there to tell her parents exactly what she’s up against. They ought to be FAR more concerned.

            I have a friend in her late 20’s in town from California and her parents were ready to fly in (to NYC) after they couldn’t reach her on her cell phone for 3 days! Manuela’s parents could possibly lose their daughter for life.

            I really hope someone directs them to this blog…

        • sugarplumfairy

          In my own situation, the young man in question had a very strong and supportive family, but was in a really challenging and competitive med school program.. Sounds like Manuela was facing some insecurities too.. I’m thinking that has something to do with it..

          • jonzot

            I didn’t mean to imply that Manuela was a victim of poor parenting or that she couldn’t “cut it” as a choreographer. After years of studying cults I still can’t quite put my finger on what exactly attracts new recruits. Especially those with no prior ties to the group.

            It appears that some of the kindest and most loving people imaginable are the ones who get sucked into these groups. Whether it’s Scientology, the Mormon Church, People’s Temple, Branch Davidians, etc, the members are usually TRULY wonderful people.

            I don’t think it’s as simple as cults preying upon people at their most vulnerable (although that obviously does happen). But it seems that some people – often those we’d least expect – are desperately seeking some kind of “higher purpose” in their lives.

            Manuela is in some way unfulfilled. Maybe she simply needed some discipline in her life. Maybe she’s especially susceptible to the “love-bombing” or promises of steady choreography work. But it strikes me that if she is so suspicious of Hollywood sleaze and those with impure motives, she is so easily duped by Scientology – even with her brother, boyfriend, and experienced ex-members showing her the “datum.”
            I just don’t get it.

      • loulai

        Don’t forget Kirstie Alley.

        • Robert Eckert

          We have been trying hard to do that, but have not managed.

        • sugarplumfairy

          yep.. kirstie and her health food.. As if she knows anything about eating healthy..

      • WhereIsSHE

        Right on, Sista.
        Could not agree more.

  • WildaBeast

    It’s so sad that this is still happening, and it’s the same damn story every time – how they get sucked in, I mean. This poor woman – I can see all the signs of someone who is convincing themselves; the thing is, this kind of convincing yourself can go on for years before you realize you’re doing it. In that still, she looks like hell compared to how she did before; she’s pasty-faced and spacy. I just hope she wakes up and gets out before she’s lost too much time. Dancing is a time-sensitive career, and you kind of have to keep in practice.

  • DodoTheLaser

    Why in a world a beautiful, talented, amazing dancer/choreographer and a businesswoman like Manuela would fall for the scam of scientology?! Perhaps we don’t have the full picture, but I’m pretty sure “middle life” crisis is a big part of it, even though she seems to be pretty young, but heck, I had mine when I was 15. Except there were no Internet back then. Praying to the Universe for Manuela to discover Google and join Leah Remini in Dancing With The Stars.

    • Missionary Kid

      I believe the strong factors are that she was far from her home and Australian culture, and was being preyed upon by rapacious producers in a way that she hadn’t been at home.

      • Casabeca

        Well said MK.

        • Missionary Kid

          Thank you. I’m very familiar with this, because cults prey on the disoriented.

    • Casabeca

      I hope she red circles on her calendar all of her days spent dancing for Scientology gigs. I have a feeling the lid will never come off of that marker. Maybe that could be a sign.

  • And I’m Cute, Too

    Amazing story. So many people worked so hard on this: Tony and Bryan’s investigative work, Mark and Yannus’ tireless love and care, and all those ex-Scientologists coming together at the drop of a hat to try to rescue one woman.

    And then — there’s the Co$. Still creepy after all these years. Still the gift that keeps on taking.

    So grateful that the Galvez sisters got out. God speed the day when all this sinks in, and Manuela breaks free, too.

  • Sherbet

    What an extraordinary story! The woman may make herself deaf to the wide truth about scientology, but maybe her turning point will be when she realizes her own career has become extremely narrow and unfulfilling.

    • DodoTheLaser

      You nailed it.

      • Sherbet

        I hope so, Dodo.

        • DodoTheLaser

          You did.

    • villagedianne

      I hope this happens soon. Later it wil be harder to leave because presumably she will be cut off from outside family and friends.

  • tetloj

    Props to Yannus. You’ve done all the right things, and continuing to txt is fantastic. You are touch with some fantastic people and you are doing everything you can. One Aussie to another, you’re a legend mate.

    • EnthralledObserver

      I’ll add my sentiments to that… and kudos to the brother, Mark too. Well done fellas, great try… and hopefully some success will come of this.

      • tetloj

        Just anecdotally it seems like people like Manuela no longer stay in the decades they might have drone previously. Also,making a big fuss can lead to the Sea org offloading people because of too’ much base PR. Manuela…meet sec check. Not exactly using your art to save the world. Tony and Bryan….you done good!

        • mirele

          Yeah, I’m thinking…hoping…that making lots of noise will cause Scn to offload Manuela, who is a lovely, talented woman wasting her time dancing for Little Napoleon.

      • Unit G-Xenu’s Other Fist

        Third-ed

  • DodoTheLaser

    Even Juliette Lewis wonders WTF?!

    • tetloj

      about what Dodo?

  • Eivol Ekdal

    Iliana and Veronica welcome to the fringes!!!
    You can join us in the fight for justice! Thanks for your stories!

    • tetloj

      Yup. Mothers make wonderful PITAs when needed. Great work Mrs Galvez.

  • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

    Reads like a thriller. My heart rate increased as I read. Sadly, this does not have a satisfying ending. Of course, this is not fiction. Horribly too real. But with the upcoming events this month, at least a bit of satisfaction, i.e., justice, may be in the offing. I hope that Manuela, and all the other prisoners of their coerced beliefs, are able to transition out and reconnect with their families and communities, without too much grief.

  • Eivol Ekdal
  • Graham

    What a dispiriting story. That someone could be sucked in that quickly. At some point in the future when the doubts start nagging at the edges of her mind it may by then be too late. I’m guessing that the longer you are in the more reluctant you become to admit you’ve made a fool of yourself and wasted years of your life… But to be this committed after only a month is shocking.

    • sugarplumfairy

      I know this story.. I lived it.. It happens right in front of you.. They’re smart and talented.. You assume they’re smart and talented enough to see it, since it’s so glaringly obvious to you that co$ is a big creepy scam.. You never imagine it’s possible they’ll get sucked in.. And then you don’t see them again for 14 years..

      Back to bed for me.. hopefully to a lovely dream of co$ dying once and for all, and the happy, happy day when thousands of little beings are magically freed of their prisons of belief..

    • And I’m Cute, Too

      I wonder if Manuela’s story is a case study of the cult’s recruitment efforts these days. For her to commit to the Sea Org after just a few months of courses, they must have been leaning on her pretty hard, with flattery, false promises, the whole shebang.

      What if this is how the Co$ is operating now — with the super-concentrated hard sell? Those highest-up in the cult must realize that recruitment and membership are at an all-time low (whatever Miscavige or Pouw have to say in public). So maybe the pressure is on to reel in the “raw meat” as soon as they seem hooked. Someone has a positive experience with auditing or whatever, and everyone on staff has their sights set on her. Because the top brass know they just can’t take years to draw her in. They have to get the job done before she’s exposed to all that entheta.

      • Gerard Plourde

        It seems to indicate a change in strategy and a tacit admission that new cash-paying publics aren’t showing up. But it raises the question: How long can the cult survive without new income?

      • WildaBeast

        If you’re right, it might actually be a good-in-the-large-sense-and-long-run type of thing. With public members leaving in droves, and new members being given the hard sell into the SO, soon there will be very little public left. If they keep trying to recruit every new member they can into the SO, the cult begins to LOOK much more like what it is. Instead of keeping your family connections, job, etc., and just spending all your money on courses (though that’s bad enough), all new members being pushed to sign billion-year contracts, drop all their previous connections, and move to Big Blue or some other ‘barracks’…well, that tactic is a lot more along the lines of what past cults have done. It makes the cultiness of the cult much more obvious. It’s awful for the people who get stuck in the SO, but in the long run it looks like another big ol’ footbullet for the {church}.

  • sugarplumfairy

    This story needs a happy ending.. Here’s hoping that once the big beans get wind of this, Manuela gets the usual co$ treatment and it wakes her up..

    • Eivol Ekdal

      Lets hope we don’t have to wait 20 years. I am going to start tweeting the story to all the stars..
      Pink – Paula Abdul – JayLo – etc…
      Who the hell was this ‘friend’ that recommended the touch assist?

      • tetloj

        Leah too!

      • Interested

        I heard last night from one of my closest friends, who lives way outside of London in Hertford, that there is a centre there where she lives. She tells the story about someone who had the touch assist, got pulled into the cult, was great whilst in, then left and committed suicide. She felt the Cof$ helped him whilst he was in The thought that she had had the impression that he had been helped has me so scared I have told her to read Tony’s blog. She is a kind amazing person always wanting to help others.

        • phronsie

          It would scare me too! Ugh!!!

  • Nevermore

    Stupid, stupid girl. I hope she comes here some day, having blown, I really do. But I’m not hopeful. And hve to go back into the hospital now – I sneaked out!

    • WildaBeast

      Now that’s dedication!

  • Exterrier

    It is unfortunate that the sleaze factor that she encountered in Hollywood in her dance ventures contrasted so starkly with the cover story of Scientology, and particularly the Sea Organization, whose job it is to “put ethics in on the planet”. And I am sure that the love bombing and also the genuine dedication to “helping people” that she sees for now on the level she is at also contrasted with the insincerity and coldness the tough ole world can offer, particularly in Hollywood. The Sea Org recruiters, who are actually quite coldly manipulative and insincere, seem to have gotten two her on two points they tested her for; Her idealism about helping people, and second, her ambitions about becoming their choreographer for their “big” new studio and channel. It sounds like that notion of achieving something prominent as a dancer or choreographer exceeds her obligations and loyalty to her partner. But I am sure just one of those points alone would not have been enough….they knew they needed the “greatest good” argument to help overcome the loyalty issue with her boyfriend. And soon PTS tech will be applied, and she will disconnect completely from him and family if she stays in.
    The irony about the career aspect is that she will become an unknown within those walls, and get out of touch with her peers and her arts field, and thus will have no resume for later use. Now, they could actually make use or her talents, perhaps, but it is very likely that the Cable network and building are simply another Potemkin shell operation, like the Ideal Morgues are, designed to lure in the suckers, and the funding.
    She is attractive, and will probably become a Div Six registrar at the Celebrity Center or elsewhere, while she waits and waits for the studio to open. They probably told her she would be in charge of it.
    Why do I know this? I got the same bum’s rush from the Sea Org at Celebrity Center. I would have been important there, they said, and in charge of lots of stuff in their theaters, etc. I almost went for it, really, because of the idealism aspect: I was new enough to have had some wins, and lots of appreciation and love bombing, but not yet to have seen the degradation and humiliation and just plain deception around the whole thing…..And THAT is why they very agressively recruit you for the Sea Org when you are brand new, and have not had the chance to observe much, or research a little.
    She has been foolish by not giving herself the opportunity to look up what she is getting into, to read Jon Atack or watch Tory Christman, or anything else available on the net. But her brother is correct: She will have to take those lost years now upon herself, and run through the scam til she either wises up and escapes, or it simply goes down with the arrest of DM, and raids on the complex and locks on the doors, or simple bankruptcy. They could keep her busy, and her head filled with visions of stardom or achievement, for quite a while, I suppose. Maybe the disconnections they will soon demand will bother her. That is likely. I wish her luck.

    • tetloj

      How long did it take you too see beyond the window dressing if you don’t mind my asking, Exterrier?

      • Exterrier

        Well, Tetloj, I guess my gut sense had more judgement than my mind, because after I signed the silly contract, under extreme duress and pleading, I was sick to my stomach the next day….just deep inside realized that I was destined for more in life than being swallowed up by a big organization, however well intended, and cut off from the world. And also, the friends I had in Scn., who had been around longer, sort of whispered in my ear that what I was told by them might not actually be the post they would put me on, by the history they knew of others.
        I sensed that something was wrong, or that the regulated life was not for me, and so kept stalling on my “project prepare” that one must do before entering the order…. It really helped that I was a lot older than Manuela, and so had some rather large debt and tax obligations to discharge, which bought me time for the second thoughts I had to be examined. My endless hemming and hawing for over a year finally drove them into boredom or apathy with me, and they gave up on bringing me in, and went after more younger and raw meat like Manuela.
        At that time there were a lot of staffers my age and older…..but five years later there seemed to be an infusion from all the scientology schools in the area….. Must have been an order to go after the real young kids. There was a youth boom, and course sups and even org execs got younger and younger. There was a supervisor at A.O. that was fifteen, supervising much older pc’s.
        But after I signed that contract, and bought myself some think time, I was able to observe the drone like life that began when they got off the bus to the org at seven thirty, and stayed often til midnight. And how they all had to beg you to buy books from them, or the new issues for the events, so that they could keeptheir stats up. Man o man is there stress and invalidation and negative reinforcement in the sea Org. And I heard how they were spoken to and degraded by their superiors, and had to take everything dished out, and say ‘sir”. I realized that my gut instinct was right. I would have punched someone and been out quicker than a blink, I think.
        But sadly, it took years after that for me as a public to examine the church and its true background, so I hung around as public for way too long.
        I am concerned that once one is in the Sea Org, every minute of what you do is acccounted for by them, and controlled, and you are kept tired and tremendously busy doing one “hill ten” emergency task after another, until your original purpose for joining, and original identity, get lost in the shuffle.
        It is important in Manuela’s case that some contact be maintained from some source, or all the psychological ploys could swallow her up for a while.

        • GlibWog

          Thanks for sharing EX…

        • tetloj

          Glad you’re out and glad you’re here

    • aquaclara

      You’ve painted the exact picture of what Manuela will see, from your own experience. Thanks, Ex, for putting this out there for others to see and learn from. It had to be incredibly painful to realize that the promises and dreams were only a shell-game.

      I truly hope things are good for you now. Congratulations on your own escape. You never know when someone “in” will see stories like yours, and begin to see the possibilities ahead on the outside. Thanks.

    • loulai

      She might be willing to put up with all the rest if she could fulfill her artistic aspirations. The denial of those aspirations-even more than separation from loved ones- may make her angry enough to perceive the rest of the lies.

      • Interested

        She might be too tired and brainwashed to realise she has been played.

      • Exterrier

        I think, and hope that is true. She seems to have fire in the belly about the dancing, an achievement she reached proudly.
        I think the only line to take with her is to keep pointing out that they will take away her youth doing all their tasking, and she will be denied the career she has prepared for. She might soon see they lied to her, as they always, always do. The sooner the better. They put stars in her eyes about catapulting to a responsible creative position in a powerful organization with great prestige and many famous celebs. The ole Hollywood dazzle dazzle. I bet it felt like the rush of destiny sweeping her up.
        Gently keep up the message that she pay attention to what actually happens, as opposed to what is promised. And maybe find the right person for her to speak to who escaped the same trap.

    • cicely neville

      Dancers have to practice every day, get rest, eat right. If they keep her busy doing their scut work, she’s going to lose her edge if she hasn’t already – what a waste!

      • USA MRIID

        Exactly, that’s why I posted a comment about how her career is ruined, even if she were to walk away today, she’s lost her career because of Scientology. One does not walk away from dance, do hard physical slave labor on building maintenance, no sleep, poor food, systematic dehydration and then just walk away and return to the dance, that is just not physically possible.

        • cicely neville

          That will teach me to jump in before reading all the posts. Craftlass had a fine comment too.

  • Krew13

    I read this with a combination of fascination, suspense, horror and sadness. The Sciloons are truly an utterly evil outfit who prey on people and sap them of all personality, independence and freewill and turn them into unthinking brainwashed robots who are programmed to believe in insane drivel made up by a demented sociopath.

    The most tragic aspects of this story were the parts about her waking up every day just thinking about Scientology and saying god had sent her to them. Heartbreaking. But at least the two sisters managed to escape. One story with a happy ending.

    Great work, Tony.

  • sugarplumfairy

    I love it.. The co$ response pretty much says ‘you’re liars, you hate religion and you stalk and harrass nice women who may as well be nuns, you hang out with creepy Internet fringe-dwellers, and on top of that you’re a slanderer.. but, hey.. Regards anyway..”

  • Unit G-Xenu’s Other Fist

    I deplore violence, but this just makes me want to break my own hands with anger against a wall. No disrespect to walls.

  • kickingit101

    This story breaks my heart. The most important part about performing an intervention is at first you have to establish and reaffirm that you love and care about the person dearly. You have to remind them of happy times together. That way they start to think about those memories. You can not open up with the hard sell right out the gate. This type of intervention is not the same as an intervention from someone who is on drugs. The first mistake was having strangers she did not know be the ones to talk to her at the beginning of the intervention. Also you have to show them towards the middle another avenue, it sounds more like they went in telling her how horrible the church was, how horrible people have been treated instead of personalizing it to her experiences and then building from there. Sorry I do not mean to go into a tutorial on how to do an intervention. These are just a few of the things that came to mind as I was reading the story and watching the video from the news story.

    • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

      You make excellent points. Much more thought, indeed professional consultation with real authorities on the mind, should go into the next such intervention. Hopefully, there will be many interventions to come.

      • kickingit101

        I am a counselor. I hold 3 Bachelor of Science Degrees, and I am a nurse. I have performed interventions for substance abuse as well as from cults. I have participated in the deprogramming that must be done. You have to understand the mind and how these cults get into it in order to be able to counter it and defend against it.

        • Sidney18511

          I wish that they would of had you there kickingit.

          • kickingit101

            I would have gladly went and would gladly go if asked. They needed a whole day of working together and going over how things should go step by step before they even performed the intervention.

            • Unit G-Xenu’s Other Fist

              But she was only allowed an hour out of the base…….. What kind of “religion” demands that of any parishioner?

            • kickingit101

              She had only signed out for an hour, she was at the house much longer than that. She was probably worried about what trouble she was going to get into when she got back. That would increase an already very stressful situation.

            • Mary_McConnell

              Exactly!

            • 1subgenius

              That is of course a rhetorical question. You and most people here know the answer.
              The issue of effective intervention was the point kickingit101 was making, not how “religion” is defined.

            • Unit G-Xenu’s Other Fist

              Indeed it is rhetorical 1sub. I just wish it weren’t so easy for the culties to manipulate people and their dreams………………

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              These types of details, take understanding the Sea Org world, and Steve Hassan’s books lay out that if the family are going to really dig in, then understanding the details of the lives of those inside, and listening to ex members is so helpful to get family up to speed.

              Manuela only submitted for 1 hour off, she says she could have submitted for more time off, had she known.

              The Sea Org superiors want to know hourly, what their members are doing, etc, etc, especially when they go “off campus” so to speak.

              There is so much details, which is why to me, today, after 27 years in the Sea Org, 10 years out, being in pretty extensive touch with hundreds of ex members, having read the Hassan books, I think it takes a lot of patience, understanding, warmly asking questions that build up trust and credibility with the member inside.

              It can be done, and I mainly help family members do all that hard legwork, that’s basically the Hassan years of experience, and the latest cult member handlers try to help family become the ‘exit counselors”.

              us ex members help the family, in getting their family inside, to make it out.

              Affection and empathy and deep detailed understanding of the members’ lives inside, and lightly and realistically, and jokingly (make sure you can get away with it), I find is long range the best.

            • WhereIsSHE

              I get what you are saying for those who have been steeped– literally STEEPED–in the hot mess of a cult for YEARS.

              But for someone who is THIS NEW…
              and is so into HER OWN CAREER, more than caring about the TEARS of HER OWN BROTHER…and after just a few MONTHS???
              I don’t have nearly the empathy, especially now that the INTERNET is here and all she had to do was GOOGLE them.

              On the other hand, my heart is BREAKING for her brother and her former best friend/lover.
              They might not appreciate my anger toward her–and that is their right.
              But I am being honest here, because otherwise… what’s the point.

            • jonzot

              Honestly, I think the whole “pursuing her choreography dreams” angle was a little overplayed in this report. Manuela signed the billion-year sea org contract. She knows that she’s now in this for the long haul, and she must know that her sea org contract effectively ends any real chance for successful career in Hollywood. (Is it still $50 a week?). Manuela is obviously getting “something” out of this. She chooses to stay and she has the right to be there.

              The reason you should be sympathetic is because YOU know the fate that awaits her.
              And she apparently got sucked into this so quickly that she was a “believer” and pledging her loyalty before she learned enough about it. (Not everybody reads up on cults and collectivism and mind-control, etc. Many are still clueless about Scientology).

              Look, Manuela may have made some foolish choices, but she hardly deserves an unhappy, unhealthy and unsatisfying life because of it.

            • jonzot

              I’m glad someone said this. I don’t mean to criticize, but this particular intervention seemed VERY ill-advised. At least from Tony’s reporting, it sounds like there was no strategy and no one really knew what they were doing (i.e. people showing up late, stalling for time, etc). I’m sure they did the best they could under the circumstances but I fear that the session may have caused more harm than good.

        • 1subgenius

          Then you know that even with expertise, it doesn’t always work.
          Without it, its pissing into the wind, and the person is lost, unless they hit bottom and save themselves, by themselves.

          • kickingit101

            Yes I do know this. The same way that I know and have seen first hand people who have not found their bottom that are hell bent to keep partying to go back out and use. There is not one thing that is 100 percent, except the fact that if you are born you will eventually die.

        • Mary_McConnell

          Hi Kickingit101, thanks for your input. Much appreciated. Please do visit Reaching For The Tipping Point forum http://reaching4.info — the short link —where we assist people who have had loved ones in the Narconon and related programs or are considering the program. Many people relapse after doing the Narconon program.

          We also started a new site called Narconon Reviews to help educate the public on Narconon and provide information what to know in order to get appropriate care http://narcononreviews.net

          • kickingit101

            Will do Mary. Thank you for the information.

    • 1subgenius

      Yes.
      Deprogramming from mind control cults is not a job for amateurs (no offense to the good people involved).
      This cult has an automated system of hypnotic, coercive brainwashing. It would take an expert and a systematic approach to successfully break the hold of mental slavery.
      I have said for 30 years that until there is a scientific method for determining when someone is truly operating under free will, mind control cults will continue to be allowed to operate legally.
      In the meantime, without an expert, loved ones trying to help, even those who have been through it, are no match for this truly evil thing that Hubbard unleashed on the world, in a form that he knew would continue after his death to truly “smash his name into history.”

      • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

        Unfortunately, mind control cults will always be around, and making them illegal would be mind control of another kind. To wit: “…has a sizable minatory of the world’s population had their brain hijacked by parasitic ideas? It’s worse than that. Most people have.”

        See: http://youtu.be/KzGjEkp772s

        • 1subgenius

          There are laws against coercion, over-reaching, extortion, harassment, intimidation, human trafficking, and unlicensed hypnotism, for example.

          Having the tools to enforce them is what I’m talking about. That is, determining when these acts have occurred.
          Your youtube cite is interesting, and will explore further in more detail.
          Information, itself, has a self-perpetuating, self-preserving aspect. (See James Gleich’s “The Information”). DNA is a vehicle for information.
          And the automated brainwashing system created by Hubbard has a life of its own. The people who are doing the brainwashing have been brainwashed into doing it without even knowing that they are doing it.
          Although it is often said that it is all about the money (and for those at the top of the pyramid it is), Hubbard’s system has a life of its own, and the money is just part of its drive to perpetuate itself, and expand.
          We agree on more than we differ.

          • phronsie

            This is a good point; using the existing laws to address the abuses of this cult. We just need people who are tireless and cunning enough to utilize them. Wish the forces working to uncover and oppose the cult’s abuses had as deep pockets as the forces supporting the cult! But then, the age old story is that David ultimately beats Goliath, right?

          • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

            Full agreement regarding the enforcement tools. One of those tools is simply calling bullshit on stupid beliefs. Sounds as simple as calling bullshit on belief in Xenu. But the blow back has always been quite intense, indeed risky, when calling bullshit on the three monotheistic deities.

            Hubbard’s brainwashing system indeed has a life of its own, but Hubbard did not invent it, he just he implemented and perpetuated it. Ruthlessly.

            If you are familiar with Gleick, then you’ll enjoy Dennett. They are cut from the same cloth and espouse very similar ideas. Both graduated from Harvard, Dennett about 10 years prior to Gleick. Gleick references Dennett throughout much of his work.

            • 1subgenius

              Noted, and thanks.

            • Robert Eckert

              “Consciousness Explained” does not live up to its title (how could it?) but is an excellently thought-provoking book.

            • 1subgenius

              Googling Dennett now. Must get his stuff.
              His definition of religion, alone, is extremely useful, especially with respect to the subject matter of this blog.
              This is going to be fun.
              Thanks again.

          • Poison Ivy

            “The people who are doing the brainwashing have been brainwashed into doing it without even knowing that they are doing it.”

            This is an excellent point, Subgenius and one that bears repeating. It’s important not to paint every member of the recruiting team as evil – they aren’t. They are the agents for an evil organization who have been manipulated into believing its a good organization.

        • phronsie

          Exactly; this is kind of what I was trying to say above. My outrage at the abuses of the cult demands laws to prevent them, but then I think about how the seeds of such laws grow in ways that we don’t predict and ultimately don’t want. So I guess the better goal is to work to instill a love of freedom, self-expression, objective truth, and unflinching pursuit of knowledge in our culture and those we interact with and in ourselves. Hmmm…but then again, from what people have said above about helping people escape a cult, and from Tory Christman’s story, and from my own still somewhat dim realization that I’m moving more toward judgment than toward embracing diversity (the opposite of my professed self-image), I think probably more important and more effective than any other thing in this whole world is compassion, which should partly manifest in protecting as much as possible the dignity of others who come into our circle, which would, I guess, include refuting those practices and entities that promote the harm and the abuse of the dignity (sense of self?) of others. So outrage at abuse is not divorced from compassion, maybe?

          • WildaBeast

            Absolutely not! Outrage at abuse grows out of the same place as compassion – it’s just that they can diverge from one another if you aren’t mindful.

            • phronsie

              Oh yeah; I often find myself hating the sight of head scarves and burkas because they seem to represent a compliance with abuses against women, such as FGM and honor killings and just a general culture that promotes the subjugation of women, but where does that leave me room to honor cultural diversity, freedom and personal choice? It’s not good. I think I am growing crusty as I get older, and while I like some crust, too much is not good for anyone!

            • WildaBeast

              I know what you mean. I have no real issue with head scarves; they seem to be worn by members of fairly moderate sects, and I’ve known many competent, confident women with well-paying, highly educated professional jobs who are practicing Muslims and thus wear the scarves (and some who practice, but don’t wear them). The burkas, however, bother me, and I can’t stop myself from being bothered. Any sect of any religion that holds that women are so dangerous that they have to be covered head to toe in shapeless cloth, sometimes even with a SCREEN over the eye-slit, is too much for me. I don’t say anything about it. It just bothers me. But there are Christian sects that do pretty much the same thing, only instead of making the women wear burkas, they just don’t let them out of the house/compound. And that bothers me just as much.

            • Robert Eckert

              A cartoon that I have no hope of finding right now shows a woman in bikini and sunglasses and a woman in full face-veil looking at each other, the one thinking “Everything covered but her eyes! What a sad testimony to the way her society demeans women” while the other is thinking “Nothing covered but her eyes! What a sad testimony to the way her society demeans women”.

            • Poison Ivy

              I remember that one. Powerful. In our society, the Miley Cyrus/Madonna model of femininity is in some ways as demeaning and repressive as the Burkah. Difference is – at least we have freedom of choice. You may not be considered “hot” or “cool” or “desirable” if you’re not beautiful, thin and flaunting your sexuality in our culture, but you won’t get stoned if you prefer to wear more modest clothes and act with dignity.

            • Robert Eckert

              Depends where you hang out. In Humboldt County if you won’t put out some of the guys will try getting you stoned!

          • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

            Phronsie, you are on the right track. Outrage at abuse should not be divorced from compassion for those abused, or even from a compassionate understanding of the abusers. But judged they should be. Embracing diversity should not be the equivalent of simply accepting all ideas and belief systems. Some ideas are better than others. Some belief systems are better than others. Belief systems that promote the subjugation of women are an excellent case in point. You are not getting crusty, you are becoming wise. It is possible to criticize and even ridicule someone’s stupid beliefs, but to also be accepting of that person. Possible, but not always easy. The main thing is to keep people with stupid beliefs out of power position. Which is why the separation of church and state is so important.

      • KNMF

        These folks not only lack expertise in deprogramming, but I fear they may still subscribe to certain aspects of Hubbard’s program. Am I wrong about this?

        The TRs and auditing, and everything woven together by Hubbard, are designed to produced compliance and long-term obedience. These facts need to be understood and acknowledged by the “de-programmers.”

    • villagedianne

      Yes it certainly appears that this intervention could have used the services of a real professional. But it’s possible that the publicity from it will make the cult uncomfortable. If they feel her presence in the Sea Org is more of a liability than an asset PR-wise, they may let her go. I hope someone will keep the pressure on.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I hope you’re right for Manuela’s sake and that of her family and friends.

      • BananaSplits8

        The problem I see is if she’s kicked out, she may resent those she feels are responsible. She may be out of scientology but scientology wouldn’t out of her. She’d by no means be out of the woods yet. To break free, she needs to do it on her terms.

        For her sake, I hope it happens soon else she can kiss her hopes and dreams goodbye.

        • WildaBeast

          If they boot her from the Sea Org, she’ll be just another clam in LA. Then she’ll learn fairly quickly how little Scientology helps further a budding career in entertainment these days. The career angle seems to have been a good deal of the appeal for her. She might very easily grow quickly disenchanted with the cult in such a scenario, and come join us on the fringes of the internet. I could see this as a not impossibly happy ending. /fingers crossed

        • villagedianne

          Still she has a better chance out than in. Away from the heavy indoctrination, she may gradually free herself.

  • tetloj

    I saw Manuela’s video when Smurf posted the link on ESMB.

    While addressing her comments to the second person (Bryan? Yannus?) she was looking as if being interviewed (i.e. not looking at the camera or operator but at a third party). She was standing outside a dance studio Millenium where she says she takes dance classes. I was not aware when watching that she had joined the Sea Org so now this seems dishonest…dance classes for Sea Ogres…really?

    In addressing comments to Bryan she explains her pulling away at the petrol station because she had nothing to say. She explains she got into Scientology because a leg injury had her aid up for 3 months and a friend gave her a touch assist which helped (got quite a different sense of these events than what is described above e.g. she gave the impression that the touch assists cured her whereas it appears she was already on the mend).

    The rest was the usual blather about lessons in life making her successful , happy, ding what I want . She didn’t look too robotic, but I haven’t seen her pre cult…maybe a bit subdued.

    I didn’t twig to the clothes not realising she was Sea Org at the time, but now looks like a definite handling. (All right Mr Miscavige, I’m ready for my close up)

  • Snake Plissken

    I just read the cult’s response,

    So let me get this straight, if you don’t stalk people with a camera strapped to your head while wearing a Squirrel Busters tee shirt, you’re on the fringes of the internet.

    Scientology: The Jerry Springer Show meets North Korea

    • J. Swift

      Esoterically speaking, the Church of Scientology is High Strangeness manifest in order to make a complete mockery of religion and laws designed to protect religion. In doing so, High Strangeness makes a mockery of many people who enter into the Church of Scientology.

  • dwayners13 .

    One of the worst things you can do to a young person is to take away their dreams, their passions, their gifts. This is exactly what the church has done to Manuela & countless others. Even worse, they use deception & give them “false hope” that the Sea Org. will not only allow them to follow their dreams, develop their talents & pursue their passion, they will even facilitate the pursuit of their dreams. These recruiters knowingly lie by making promises that the church has absolutely no intentions of honouring. Just like the recruiters that recruited them, they are brainwashed to truly believe that this deception & the promises they make, yet have no intention of honouring are not only justified, they are noble & ‘for the greater good’. An individual’s dreams, their talents/gifts & their passions are their identity, it’s what makes them unique, it makes them “who they are” & for decades the church of Scientology has been defrauding young people of their dreams, of their passions, of their gifts & of the essence of who they truly are.

  • Xique

    The kissing of Yannus got me. Manuela needs love, but there will be no such thing in the Sea Org.

  • tetloj

    Re the people involved in the indoctrination (male lodger and friend from Florida)…are these people identified in the programme…or can they be as a community service (especially the bloke)

    • Eivol Ekdal

      They need a Dollar Sign tattooed on their forehead.

  • tetloj

    ” The Sea Organization is the Scientology religion’s religious order, much like religious orders in other faiths” by the way, did we mention we are religious…only 3 times in one sentence and in every sentence of that paragraph did you mention your religion’s religious religiosity.

    The only trifecta of terms that define Scientology….Lying liars that lie

    • Cheryl

      It’s that old joke, how can you tell when Danger Mouse is lying, his lips are moving!

    • WildaBeast

      I went back up and read their statement again. In the entire thing, there is ONE sentence that does not use the words “church” or “religion” at least once. It is the last sentence, “People interested in the truth should visit our website…”etc. I was always taught that it was very bad writing to use the same words over and over again in the same sentence or paragraph. All that repetition just grates on me.

      • Poison Ivy

        It’s bad writing, but it’s good hypnotism.

    • As long as the courts give them a do-not-get-tried-in-court, do-no-go-to-jail card, can you blame them?

      While it isn’t new that the willingness of criminals to make victims is ahead of the courts’ awareness of the criminality, the results of the Headley and the Sklar cases should make a lot more people angry than they appear to be doing, IMHO.

    • Robert Eckert

      And their religion’s religious religiosity is a matter of faith!

    • WildaBeast

      “Relgion’s religious religiosity” is making me LOL, but I have to do it really quietly because my poor insomniac wife is finally asleep.
      snickersnort (I’m pretty sure that code isn’t really code and hence won’t work, but you get the point…)

    • Interested

      I think they have a basic response that repeats repartition repeatedly (sic) the same crap.. They don’t seem to come out with anything new… Always the same. … Fringes… Apostates, etc someone give them a thesaurus !
      I feel so sorry for all these kids who one day will, hopefully, wake up and find that the best years of their lives have gone. I only fear that Manuella s dream fades with every day she is in the SO. How sad that she was more worried about getting back to base than seeing her brother and boyfriend
      Perhaps she has already experienced punishment and was scared. Who knows. Thank you again Tony.

  • Krew13

    Miscmidget is an evil fucking cunt and I hope that megalomaniacal sack of shit stained vomit gets what he deserves.

    • Eclipse-girl

      Krew13, don’t hold back. Please tell how how you really feel about David Miscavige.

      • marti

        His comment is rather toxic. Especially the first part..

      • loulai

        Or as they say in Scientology: “I understand”

  • richelieu jr

    Wow Tony, this is amazing!
    Just top notch stuff, and I cant congratulate you enough on this collaboration!

  • Best wishes to Manuela and to those that actually care about her best interests – unlike the criminal organisation known as the “church” of $cientology.
    Of course people are free to make their own choices, but the Co$ is fully responsible for institutionally misrepresenting themselves and for coercing its victims – the basis for the French verdict of organised criminal fraud.

    In spite of their legal setbacks, I believe that the Headleys and their case against the Co$ for human traficking addressed the core issues – undue influence leading to victims being coerced to accept violations of their human rights. The legal system does not yet appear to be equipped to handle these cases, for all that this is not very novel. (For some jurisdictions to have qualms about putting religious organisations through due process is not making the task simpler.)

    • GSioux

      Agreed – ‘the core issues – undue influence leading to victims being coerced to accept violations of their human rights’. Now that some lawyers and judges are more savvy about how to deal justly with cases involving Scientology, hopefully they will see the huge need to tackle the difficult area of ‘undue influence’. Incidentally, on October 13th, the International Cultic Studies Association is sponsoring a special event in Philadelphia – Mental-Health Issues in Cult-Related Interventions (Exit Counseling). Some of the leading ‘exit counselors’ and mental-health professionals in the field will be presenting. A great opportunity to become more educated about effective exit counseling. My hunch is that one difficulty in Manuela’s situation is that her brother is the only family member willing to participate – sounds like the parents want to ‘believe’ in her – whatever is behind that is part of the complexity involved in establishing effective interventions.

  • WildaBeast

    I keep getting stuck on that still of her in front of Millennium (the dance studio, apparently)…maybe it’s just the one shot, but she looks genuinely frightened. That’s making me really damn angry.

    • BananaSplits8

      No doubt her “response” to Seymour was orchestrated by cos.

      • WildaBeast

        I’m sure it was. She just looks as though she was threatened with something awful to get her to do it. I don’t know if that’s true, but I hate to see that look on a human face.

  • Bob

    For young adults just out of the teen years their is a strong urge to find oneself away from their parents and to seek a new peer group. Their are many young people now in the SO to replace all the experienced and disenchanted staff who got fed up and left.

    So the organization seems youthful and hip and with the new buildings it appears that the church is growing. This makes an attractive scenario for these young adults. Couple that with the difficulty in making it on your own, the prevalence of vulture type people in the industry and you have a formula for attracting young idealistic people.

    I see so many of these young staff. The church no longer attracts older professional types. In the Mouse kings domaine young and gullible is a plus. And like begets like. I am always angered when promising young artists are seduced and exploited. IMHO this type of crime will come back to tear down the church’s walls. Very bad karma.

    • loulai

      Also in a time of high, and rising, unemployment people may very well be tempted to join a group that is “saving the world” and providing the member with room and board.

  • Krew13

    Even satanists look at the Sciloons and say “Damn! They’re fucking evil!”

    • WildaBeast

      Branched out from the same root…Hubbard was pretty into Aleister Crowley for a while there.

  • richelieu jr

    Well, I’ll be: A response from ‘Pouw” that doesn’t mention ‘bitter apostates’!

    (“antireligious zealots on the fringes of the Internet” is just as good though!)

    • Sidney18511

      Anti religious zealots on the fringes of the Internet is their new jingle………bitter apostates is so LAST year.

      • BosonStark

        They probably hired a consultant who told them the “apostate” word was making them seem too nutz. Instead, make people really suspicious of the Internet — that’ll work.

    • TheLurkingHorror

      All of their responses read like a parody! It is so hilarious you almost forget what an evil bunch of bastards they are. Almost.

  • pronoia

    I could barely read this all the way through- it made me so sad.

    I know this is nothing bit speculation but I can’t help wondering what happened to Manuela in LA? Was she raped? Of almost even? It most seems like something must’ve really traumatized her – enough go that she thought she could hide from the evil world and find meaning in scientology. No one agrees to be. Abused or treated like crap unless on some level they think they deserve it. And scientology is excellent at finding that place in.a person where they feel Ike shit and exploiting it for years.

    One clue that she may e been hear boring a secret when she went in is Tom deVochts intuition that she was hiding the true nature of the meaning from the sea Borg.

    I hope that her friends and family can find a way to communicate to her that it doesn’t matter what has been do e to her, or what she honks she has done, NOBODY deserves to be treated the way scientolgy treats people.

  • Sidney18511

    It’s people that are good, loving and caring that get sucked into cults like this. In all their goodness they can’t IMAGINE SUCH EVIL EXISTS…..even when they are surrounded by it.

    • phronsie

      Need to remember that old bible verse; be innocent as doves but wise as serpents. Good heart shouldn’t mean empty brain!

      • WildaBeast

        It hurts so damn much to realize how evil other people can be, when you’re a good person, that for some people it becomes a choice between going insane from the realization (or really thinking you will), or blinding yourself to it. The only way I stood it was another realization: other people’s evil doesn’t affect the person I choose to be. But that one took longer to kick in.

  • BosonStark

    It seems like Manuela’s connection to her boyfriend/partner Yannus is pretty strong and maybe will help bring her out, especially if she ever gets stuck at Gold Base. I mean she doesn’t have the family stuck in the cult like many stuck for decades did.

    I think Scientology has convinced her that they are going to be this huge force in the world of performing arts, and that they will be a super galactic network that will swallow conventional network and performing acts and be the only way to save the world through dance.

    Before listening to part of the intervention there, I thought it was going to be a mistake and that they might be better off with a deprogramming professional involved like Rick Ross. However, I think it was Jamie Lugli there, I thought sounded pretty good to me.

    Manuela’s “acceptable truth” about the wonderful “organic” Sea Org food is shattered by the telling by the other two girls about the reality of it. If I were her brother I would ask her, “If Scientology is so great, why do you have to lie about things like that?”

    Scientology is going to be going further in the direction of fashioning itself into a celebrity-filled drug-free performing arts organization. They’ve got a really ripe market for that in LA. If it weren’t for the Internet, Yannus would have probably been stuck too and it’s quite phenomenal that friends and family members have that as a resource, as well as the testimonies of all the ex-Scientologists.

    Nice to see Bryan Seymour back and collaborating with Tony.

  • jonzot

    Manuella was disillusioned because the producers in Hollywood wanted her for sex. As opposed to the CoS who wants her money, time, labor, money, choreography skills, money, personal secrets, money, labor, time, money – and ALL of it.

    • Casabeca

      Yes, her choices were bad and worse, much worse!

    • loulai

      But at this point she believes Scientology wants to help her realize her truest/best self-unlike the Hollywood sleaze buckets who displayed their degeneracy immediately.

  • Krew13

    Only the Sciloons could make christian fundamentalists look sane in comparison.

    • Eclipse-girl

      Only the Sciloons have as creative a story of existence

      • Robert Eckert

        Feh. Dianetics and the Xenu story don’t even belong on the same bookshelf with the Book of Mormon, let alone the Bible.

  • Krew13

    It’s so fucking disturbing the way all Sciloon members are brainwashed to robotically say “I understand” to everything someone says.

  • phronsie

    The bit that keeps blowing my mind on several of these stories is people say, finally I tried to escape or run away and was caught; weeks or months later I finally suceeded. And I wanna say, how is that coercion not a prosecutable crime?? But then I realize that, while their choice of words make it clear they feel they are being held against their will, the coercion is not a matter of physical coercion but a working on their will. Those who track them down when they escape convince them to return, not against their will but against their preference and against their understanding of their own best interest. It’s emotional battery and abuse, but how far can or should the law go in making such things actionable, and what unintended doors would such a law open?

  • 1subgenius

    To be sure, with the publicity, this cult has circled the wagons around Manuela, and it will be harder and harder for her to escape, mentally and physically.
    There may have been a chance that they would boot her out, but that chance is slimmer. They will now do a full court press on her brain.

  • Truthiwant

    This story shows how sad it is to enter in to Scientology but it also exposes the brainwashing that Scientologists receive in very little time that they are ‘in’.

    When I was ‘in’, I always tried to think how I could use the techniques of Scientology (for exapmle the TR’s or Ethics, etc.) in the real world. This, however, is one of the reasons that I began to have serious doubts and eventually left because there is really no way you can use Scientology outside of Scientology.

    It is quite obvious that Manuela has been through lots of TR training but for sure she has also been told to not look at the internet and not to listen to any ‘entheta’ comments by any person that has a single bad word for LRH. This is typical and always happens right at the beginning. She has become indoctrinated (robotic) and gives the standard ‘I understand’ answer to any entheta. I have seen it literally dozens of times.

    ALL teachings in Scientology have just one end- to make you believe in Scientology and nothing else. This is one of the single biggest reasons that they are able to continually extract money from you for all their ‘good causes’.

    TR’s don’t make you a better communicator. They simply make you better at denying anything said against Scientology. The whole teachings are like this, whether it is ethics or auditing. The individual is told that the teachings will improve one’s life in all aspects but unfortunately this is not true and the only thing that ‘improves’ is the robotic dedication to LRH’s writings. The individual however just does not realize this until he or she wakes up. It is frightening.

    When you are ‘in’, you think you are saving the world but instead you are only fattening the pockets of Scientology and are ruining yourself at the same time. I hope Manuela gets out quickly.

    • sugarplumfairy

      relentless self delusion plays a part as well.. it struck me that Manuela felt that “God” wanted her in scientology.. Fortunately, truth is even more relentless than self delusion..

      Btw, it may be my catholic self delusion showing, but I’m pretty sure God AND St. Michael AND all the angels in heaven want Tony to continue fighting scientology..

      • WildaBeast

        As a non-Catholic, I assure you that if you’re deluding yourself, it isn’t a Catholic thing. I am dead certain that any higher power worth its salt wants Scientology blown sky-high, just so the whole damn thing can be thrown back down, like Lucifer getting the boot from heaven.

        • Poison Ivy

          I agree. I believe whatever force for good there is in the universe – God, higher power, the universal intelligence, the Flying Spaghetti Monster – wants human nature to be at its best, richest, most fulfilled, most productive. Scientology pretends to want this from its recruits, then turns them into slaves.

          Thomas Jefferson said about slavery, “I tremble for my country when I reflect God is just.”

          Scientology should friggin’ well be trembling right now.

  • Roger Larsson

    The ones not applying Ron Hubbards tech to 100 percent are no good. Scientology wants you the BEST and gives you the WORST. “The BEST” is the technology of LRH. “The worst” is a technology not applied to 100 percent.

    • tetloj

      Does your definition of 100% include fair game and disconnection, very much part of Hubbard’s tech?

    • aboutandout

      Anything LHR is the WORST…there is no BEST when it comes to that man and his teachings

    • Espiando

      Roger, the big secret is this: there is no such thing as Standard Tech. Hubbard was constantly changing things up to his death. Even KSW didn’t fix everything in stone, because what KSW boils down to is, “Do what I say”. When you’re saying contradictory things all the time, how do you know what to do? And since Hubbard died, there have been two major squirrelings (GAT I and GAT II) and countless minor ones.

      The Hubbard corpus is inconsistent and its effects cannot be objectively proven. Those two things alone make it violate the definition of “science”. Dianetics, in the title of its own book, proclaims it to be a science. If it isn’t by definition (as I’ve just shown), then all of Scientology is built on, at best, an M/U, and at worst a blatant lie.

      Steve Hall and Dan Koon and their peers are searching quixotically for something that doesn’t exist and has never existed. Red On White and Green On White might as well be White On White.

  • Verve

    I don’t know if I feel more sorry or contempt for people that fall into $ci as adults. I understand that kids being raised into it have little chance, but to be an adult with a supposedly functional brain and fall for all this baloney?

    • Graham

      Wanting to save the planet, wanting to be part of a like-minded group, wanting to be part of the in-crowd, wanting to further your own goals, wanting to find The Meaning of Life, wanting to make a difference, wanting the inside track on arcane secrets; those things aren’t necessarily baloney. Having almost been suckered in to a cult myself, but never making the leap because of loving friends and family providing a saner option, I can only say “There but for the grace of God go I”.

    • villagedianne

      Have you never been fooled, bamboozled, or exploited by anyone for any length of time? By a friend, a romantic partner, a relative, a boss, a politician, anyone? Think about it before you cast stones.
      Most of us have been fooled sometime or other. COS has very powerful mental manipulation techniques that make it much harder to get out of the trap.

    • Eclipse-girl

      You are being harsh and appear to have little empathy. Most people who are sucked into cults are preyed upon. They are love bombed and made to feel important and desired by their new set of friends. The loss of critical thinking happens over time. I would suggest that you read through the stuff Claire Headley has done with Tony Ortega on going up the bridge. There is a repetitive element that is very similar to hypnosis that sets you up as something who will take orders with question

  • Krew13

    It’s horrific stories like this that make me hope Cruise’s career will crash and burn before long.

    • phronsie

      I agree with this so much, I wish I could give you 2 arrows up!

  • GlibWog

    Thank You Chuck Beatty.. From a face in the Bunker..

    Riveting story Tony. .. Wow..

  • phronsie

    It’s a shame people fall through the growing safety net of truth being created through the internet, books, TV interviews and exposes, and people’s heartfelt testimonials about the evils of this cult. Here’s hoping the safety net continues to grow wider and more dense in coverage and fewer gullible uninformed people fall through into the cult’s insidious clutches! All you people who have spoken out and gone on record about the cult’s abuses, you are saving people’s lives, and there will continue to be fewer and fewer people like this poor gullible desperate Manuela.

  • aquaclara

    For Beatriz, I am so happy that you have your two daughters back. Iliana and Veronica, you were both so brave to make it through the mind-control of the cult, to remember your family and to take those steps to escape. Wow. You are both smart, and lovely, and HAPPY-all that you deserve to be. Chuck, you helped make this family reunion possible. The ex-sea org line is so very important, and just one way of trying to keep the lines of communication going. This is love.

    My heart simply breaks for Yannus. How hard that drive back to Big Blue had to be, for both Yannus and Mark, returning Manuela to the cult. It sucked her in so quickly and completely. And yet, they let her go, honoring her false hopes and cracked dreams of “helping the planet.” This is love.

    I hope Manuela hears every single word that Tiziano, Jamie, Michael, Joy and Tom were saying. She was seriously worried about getting back late, the rope of Scientology already relentlessly tugging her back. Yet she had a chance to see and hear all that Scientology didn’t want her to know about. There will be a day when Manuela might see that this new life of hers is destructive and suppressive. And she will want out. She will know that a bunch of strangers, connected through their own raw experiences, cared enough about her to come together and try to reach out to her. And this is love, too, that doesn’t come in the Packaged BS that Scientology tries to sell.

  • Gerard Plourde

    The heartbreaking story of Manuela is a reminder of the evil that lies at the root of Hubbard’s technology and the organization he founded. Sadly, the organization has armed itself well against intervention-type techniques by teaching the “I understand” response designed to block all thought. The story of Iliana and Veronica’s escape (like that of Tory Christman’s ten years ago) shows that the way to reach members is to gently allow them to recognize and explore their doubts. Scientology’s lies and inconsistencies cannot survive once the individual allows him or herself to think. The sad truth is this depends totally upon the initiative of the individual.

  • Mary_McConnell

    That intervention had all the best of intentions but the onslaught of critical information in one meeting could but only backfire. Way too much information, unreal information, all at once. These sincere people should take a cue from people experienced in helping loved ones not only get out but become free of the mindset. Apparently no one bothered to ask her if she saw anything wrong ( when we know she had to! )
    See step 1, below, from Arnie Lerma’s 8 Steps out of Scientology Now renamed TEN Steps out of Scientology

    “I was in the cult and on staff for 10 years… here are the stages I have seen… as one exits the ‘Hubbardian’ mind control program….

    1) There is something wrong here, if this is so great, then why is (______) going on? [ insert whatever atrocity you have recently witnessed ]
    Visit http://www.lermanet.com/cos/8steps.html

    • 1subgenius

      This. You need a system to fight a system.
      This has been done before. There’s no reason to re-invent the wheel, or wing it.
      Good intentions are not enough.

    • WildaBeast

      Is there, somewhere on the internet, something like a self-help guide for cult interventions? The description Tony gives of the one they tried to run on Manuela is just…painful. So much trouble went into getting it together, people flew across the dateline for it, and then the intervention itself reads like a list of what not to do (no offense! I really don’t mean to sound judgmental, and I know these folks tried and I honor them for doing it and not just abandoning their loved one. I just wish they’d chosen a method that was more likely to have worked).

      From the fringes of the internet, a short self-help guide for potential cult intervenors:

      Step 1: Find a professional counselor with experience in such cases. Listen to them. Step 2: Get therapy (or at the very least spend a number of hours talking to a sympathetic, intelligent, sane friend) before the intervention. You need it. Step 3: Read kickingit’s posts below and follow all advice. In fact, re: Step 1, just engage kickingit it her (I think her) professional capacity. Step 4: Remember that NOTHING you feel matters worth a single shabby damn during the intervention. ALL that matters is turning yourself, for the duration, into the person who is able to coax your loved one into, at the very least, ‘giving it some sober second thought’. Only when they’re well and truly out can you explain to them just how much you wanted to throttle them when they went in.

      • Mary_McConnell

        Steve Hassan, author and counselor, is one I also espouse when it comes to helping people get out or get out of the mindset:

        Releasing the Bonds – a talk by Steve Hassan
        October 20, 2010
        tags: Cult, Leaving Scientology, Scientology, Steven Hassan
        By Leaving Scientology
        “Here’s a fascinating talk by Steve Hassan, given two days ago at the New York Ethical Culture Society. It’s about 40 minutes, well worth the time. He mentions Scientology a few times. Especially interesting for us is his advice on how to talk to someone who is in a cultic situation. He advises against directly attacking them or making them wrong, but instead offering them love and friendship and understanding, listening to them, asking them questions. He repeatedly refers to his BITE model, which is on his website here. He offers this as a way to see if a group is a cult, and it makes for interesting reading and analysis…….
        http://vimeo.com/15963095
        http://leavingscientology.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/releasing-the-bonds-a-talk-by-steve-hassan

        I know there are other things people have done to successfully get people to think and open their eyes.. we probably have 10 or more threads on ex-scientologist message board on the subject with suggestions for others tryng to get loved ones out. I asked just now over there ‘Can someone point out some of the more successful tips?’
        http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?32982-Bryan-Seymour-strikes-again&p=841092&viewfull=1#post841092

        • WildaBeast

          Yes! Getting, compiling, organizing and putting up on one webpage the more successful ways of coaxing someone out of the cult is a BRILLIANT idea. It could be such a potentially useful resource for those who are trying to help their loved ones get out before it’s too late. Get a couple of professionals to put in their two cents’ worth, plus contact info, and then see if a bunch of us at the Bunker, whyweprotest, and the ex boards can’t go and click on the webpage zillions of times until it’s the first thing to come up for a Google search on “cult interventions”. I don’t know how much I can do to help it happen, but if there’s anything, let me know.

      • kickingit101

        Untrained people trying to perform an intervention is the same as performing a medical procedure you have never been trained how to do. There is a great amount of techniques that need to take place, there needs to be a clear path as well as a plan for what to do if they leave and also if they choose to stay. Much of this preparation needs to be done with the family and friends before the person is brought to a meeting place. Doing an intervention without proper training and research of the individual you are doing the intervention on although well meaning. Can be disastrous, harmful, and depending on how far a person is indoctrinated, deadly.

        • WildaBeast

          Good Lord, yes! I wouldn’t dream of suggesting otherwise. Not only do you need a trained professional to help you plan, and to be present during the intervention itself and keep it from jumping the tracks when (not if) emotions run high for the intervenors, but you need them there afterward too, no matter if it works or not. I never meant my suggestion that advice for those planning interventions be put up online to be any kind of substitute for the presence of someone trained and emotionally removed from the situation. I thought I’d made it fairly clear that was the route I supported, but my flippancy may have made it seem otherwise.

    • Eclipse-girl

      Deprogramming takes a delicate touch. Few people realize that. I think it was more effective for Manuela to visit with Yannus and her brother and reconnect on an emotional level, than to try and reason with her. Hopefully this young woman will realize she was duped and blow soon.

      • WildaBeast

        I hope I don’t sound like a horrible condescending bitch here, but it baffles me how people can not understand how delicate deprogramming has to be. You’re working with someone in an altered mental state, trying to alter it further in order to arrive at one very specific end result. Combine that with the complexity of the human mind – all the ways a person can react to one simple sentence. Combine that with the complexity of the relationships involved. It’s like walking through a minefield that’s a mile long and wide, aiming for a gate that’s 8 feet across. How can it not be a delicate proposition?

        • Eclipse-girl

          When I was young, I remembered CAN being out there with information. I know other posts are mentioning meetings / seminars in “cultic networks.”

          I think unless you knew of CAN or had an obsessive interest in cults, you don’t realize that deprogramming was delicate and took lots of time to earn trust, to allow the the victim to regain health, and question them in a way that allowed them to think for themselves.

          I like Chuck’s post up above on how he counsels families. One of the worst things for families of new SO recruits is to be labeled an SP. Then the new recruit has no contact. That contact that families might have HAS to be maintained, no matter how painful it is for the family to see a loved one become a robot.

          • Mary_McConnell

            FYI, a Scientology cult member obtained the rights and assets of CAN after they bankrupted the group. When people contact CAN, they get a CoS member on the phone. This orchestrated attack on a good organization was done to stop something that was working. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_Awareness_Network

            • Eclipse-girl

              Yes, I am well aware of that sad part of CANs demise.

            • aquaclara

              CAN helped parents and loved ones try something. It gave families some bit of hope to hang on to. Heartless cult couldn’t even let that alone….

      • Spackle Motion

        I suspect that the only good thing to come from this whole episode is that she will probably be put on the RPF for the bad publicity. Hopefully the conditions are so bad that she blows.

        • WildaBeast

          Oh yeah, cause that TOTALLY makes sense…putting her on RPF because some people did some things she knew nothing about until she was in the middle of the situation. I know they’ll tell her she ‘pulled it in’. They’ll make her feel like it’s her fault. It’s just so evil and senseless that every time I run into an example of it I can’t help but go “WTF!!!” inside my head at top volume.

          • Spackle Motion

            I don’t know how long you’ve been lurking or reading on the subject, or if you are an ex, but people have been put on the RPF for MUCH LESS THAN THIS.

            • Interested

              But would they be so stupid with the spotlight on this case?

            • Spackle Motion

              Yes, they would be that stupid. Chances are very high that she’s already gotten into trouble over this flap and/or she’s already being punished for being associated with SPs.

              The cult will most likely tell her to disconnect from her boyfriend.

            • Interested

              You are probably right

            • WildaBeast

              I know they have. It just breaks my brain every time I come smack up against that realization, because it is SO far from rational. There are some other things like that for me here: I know them intellectually, but every time I have to confront them emotionally, I still get a jolt of rage and incredulity that I sometimes can’t keep my mouth shut on.

    • GlibWog

      YEs! Yes! Yes!

    • Still_On_Your_Side

      I always find it interesting when cults demand young members drop out of school because non-cult schools and college degrees are worthless. These same cults then defend the lies about the college education their founders have had (both Hubbard and LaRouche were/are college drop outs that failed courses and then lied about it).

  • phronsie

    For people who haven’t spoken out about their horrible experiences with and the evil abuses by the cult because of fear, could there be a better time time than now to speak out? The cult is on the back foot, their veil of lies and menace is becoming more and more thin and tattered. Afraid of disconnection? That policy is now under very public scrutiny, and so is the fair game policy; take heart and use this to your advantage! There may be a period of unpleasantness, but its span will only hasten the soon approaching collapse of this diseased and bloated bully.

    • aboutandout

      I couldn’t agree with you more. The more exposure, the weaker they become. My wish and dream
      would be to counter their “we have millions of members” with “we have millions of ex’s telling their stories”.

      • WildaBeast

        I would guess that the number of exes at this point is exponentially larger than the number of current members. And many of them ARE telling their stories. It’s just a matter of getting those stories out to potential new members before the indoctrination is firmly fixed.

        • Eclipse-girl

          I find it humorous that the same phrases are used by Co$. All of the exes are “bitter apostates.”

        • Interested

          I want Tommy Davis and his charming! Wife to speak out. What stories of causing personal destruction and pain they could tell!

  • Kim O’Brien

    What a sad ,sad story on so many levels. I feel bad for her lover and her family ..she is just being blind on purpose. Life got a little hard and she just was not up for it …it’s wanting someone to make you feel important and that things are , somehow, with your control to change and if not…blame it on some one else ( like the people who love you or brought you into the world in the first place ) What a selfish young woman .

    • 1subgenius

      No. It’s the power of brainwashing.

    • villagedianne

      I agree with 1subgenius about the power of mental manipulation.
      Selfish, possibly that too. But if you’ve spent any amount of time around performers, you will see that most of them are incredibly self-involved. It’s all about them. Nothing new there, and perhaps that is part of what makes some people successful. Scientology plays on a common personality trait that many entertainers have.

      • Semper Phi

        That’s right, but in addition to self-involvement, they are also professional performers because they just can’t imagine doing anything else. Unless you have a trust fund, you don’t go into any of the arts on a lark. And if you can’t imagine doing anything else but are having a hard time making it, you are easy prey for someone who tells you that you can practice your art within the security of a group working for the Good of Humanity. Artists get tired of the struggle to advance in such a cutthroat business. The beautiful world painted by Sea Org recruiters could be very compelling to someone who is tired enough.

        • CraftLass

          So true. Even people who find success almost inevitably went through a period of intense frustration and self-doubt. I don’t care how strong you are, every performer has had deep moments of hopelessness. Being ripped apart on the regular by critics, industry wonks, and the like is very difficult even for those who appear to thrive on it.

          I also think that many performers are driven by a desire to make the world a better, happier place. I know I am, a major reason I play music is that it’s utterly thrilling to make people smile and dance and just be happy for awhile. It’s not about me. That mindset seems to dovetail perfectly with what Scn claims is their aim. I also play to support causes I care about, again, that fits with the stated goals of Scn. The trouble is that they don’t actually stand for a single thing they claim to stand for, but if you get sucked in before being exposed to that truth… 🙁

          • Semper Phi

            Another stated reason for Celebrity Centres is to catch artists who have had some success but are on the downswing and get them into Scn to give them the tools to rekindle their careers (as if…). It’s pretty easy to see how those folks could be seduced into the SO with tales of how they can keep their careers going from within the “security” of the group. AND save the planet at the same time. Win win!

            • CraftLass

              Absolutely. Far harder to be on a downswing once you’ve tasted success than to be chasing your first success (which is already tough). A perfect moment to be taken advantage of. Makes absolute sense that it works.

              Brilliantly disgusting.

    • Victoria Pandora

      I don’t think selfishness is her motivation at all.
      And I understand how disillusioned she must have become breaking through in the entertainment industry.
      The apparent good intentions of the Scientologists, compared to the dog eat dog and greed of show business is a huge lure. Of course we know it is all a lie, but the Sea Org members themselves do not.

      It’s a terrible trap.

      We know she will find her way out, the question is when and how much damage will have been done.

      They’d better fitness board her out of there, and of course they will in a heartbeat if the liability outweighs her use to them.

      • Kim O’Brien

        I just fail to see any good intention in bailing on your family and someone with whom you have an intimate relationship . I do not think that is noble in any way . I think it is mean and self centered. Telling someone , and believing someone…who tells you ~that the only way to “help” is to bail on everything that has woven your life together …is not only a reflection on the person or organization saying it ….but a reflection on the person who believes it. I am sorry …but i will bet you $$ that is she were studying dance under someone …she would check references , do a google search , talk to people they had taught before …i PROMISE you she would have done that . But poof …along comes an outfit that tells her that failure is not her fault , at this point she believes that she got hurt because of an SP or whatthefuckever . She was being blind on purpose …her brother flew in from the other side of the planet and pore his heart our for crying out loud . She was making a flat out choice . Now …who know how much choice in really left in her ….but her main focus at this point , is to never feel that sense of failure ever again …and it is disguised as “saving the planet”…or “good intentions” . I just think it’s cowardly and mean

        • phronsie

          Well, it may buy into that old Catholic mentality that nuns and monks are more “holier” than regular parishioners, that by withdrawing from the world, one can focus on God and holy works. To be honest, I rather think that is a crock; who is more holy, the person who sets himself apart or the person who displays their goodness while working in and dealing with the world? I don’t seem to recall reading of Jesus setting up a separate society; He may have withdrawn for brief times to pray and meditate, but he didn’t live apart.

    • Eclipse-girl

      I think Manuela was love bombed and made to feel important. SHE was the only one who could do the choreography, She was the only one who could help. How could SHE not want to save the planet? If the planet isn’t saved, it must her fault.

      • Kim O’Brien

        how does one save the planet through “the dance”? i wonder ? This woman was a big fish in a little pond before. She got to LA and found out she was one of a bajillion just like her . Some with more talent , most probably with less ..but that does not matter in LA . She had a relationship with someone who loved her , a family who supported her dream, and enough under her belt to wade through …in a partnership …to be able to make a living doing what she loved. She has no kids …no house payment , no ” i only have a year to live” illness . She should be living the dream ..and guess what …part of the dream is flat out failure. Get the fuck used to it …it is a part of life and a great one sometimes. A theme i have noticed with scientologists …the concept of failure is just so NOT a part of their life program. They can’t deal with it ..they prey on others who can’t deal with it …and LA is the PERFECT town for that

        • Eclipse-girl

          She may have been told she will dance or do choreography. But we know that $cientology lies.

        • George Layton

          She may have seen it as an opportunity of a lifetime.

  • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

    I would bet that there will eventually be a happy ending to this story but it may take a while. Most eventually leave or do things that get them kicked out. Being kicked out is the shock that makes them realize that what they did on the inside was foolish, or worse. I am aware that there are those who spend their lives in there, those who die of illnesses that should have been treated earlier, and those who once out pay dearly for the unconscionable acts they committed while on the inside. Still, even the leaders and those who benefit most from the sadness of the others eventually leave.

    People are writing about those who enter Scientology for the good of others and those who enter for their own personal benefit. It is my experience that most enter for their own personal benefit while talking about the good they are going to be doing for others.

    Scientology tries to find people’s ruins. I also heard this process described as finding a background neurosis and playing on it until it becomes an active psychosis at which point, they present themselves as the only alternative. Dianetics was initially fashioned, after all, as a self-help system.

    The people I know who entered wanted to become artists though they didn’t have the chops, have an alternative to the bad times they were having in university, connect with women (the complete opposite of Manuela’s problem), cure their homosexuality and/or use Scientology to relieve the pain of the past.

    I have seen people work tirelessly against the cult once out, as we all have. I can believe that these people really did want to help mankind when they were inside. I have also seen people walk away and rarely mention the years they spent with Scientology. Some of them, I am sure, merely want to get on with their lives and make up for the wasted time. Embarrassment over their mistake becomes a factor as well. Still, I would think that anyone who once wanted to help people so much that they devoted almost every waking moment for years would at least join a picket, comment at a message board, write a letter to a newspaper or put handbills on lampposts. It doesn’t have to become their life’s work but without it, I see their former cry of “I am there to help people” as being rather hollow.

  • Cheryl

    It’s so easy for cults to entice people, there are times in all our lives when we can feel low, lack direction or feel we haven’t any friends. It’s at these times that an organisation like Scientology steps in and pretends to fill that void being a support , a friend, the answer to questions. They tell people what they want to hear. In the 80s in the UK in many university towns you couldn’t walk down the street without being accosted by Moonies they knew there were lots of ripe pickings, young people away from home for the first time, maybe home sick, not made many friends, vulnerable.
    I don’t know too much about brain washing or Stockholm syndrome and the like but I guess this is what happens fairly quickly once you are in.
    I feel very sorry for her family and boyfriend but particularly for her, she obviously thought this was the right choice for her and now is either unwilling or unable to see anything wrong. Sometimes we have to do things in our own time, hopefully for her that will be soon.
    I am a soon to be empty nester, even someone of my age can be vulnerable, we lose our sense of purpose, need something to latch onto , that’s when they get you. I was approached in the park the other day by a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses , normally they wouldn’t get the time of day but I was a little low and they managed to engage me in conversation for about 10 minutes before I thought what the hell! I can see how it might happen.
    Rambled on too much just meant to say I can understand how someone could get dragged in.

    • villagedianne

      After a divorce or painful break-up seems to be another vulnerable time when people can be reeled in.

    • WildaBeast

      I remember once being alone somewhere, probably around 13, and was approached by a Mormon ‘elder’. At the age of 13 I was living in a pretty much permanent panic attack, combined with severe depression. I was chatted up for 30 minutes and finally handed “a book that has been very important to me”. It was, of course, a Book of Mormon. I walked away from the encounter feeling as though someone had actually listened to me for once. Then I cracked the book. I’m pretty sure what saved me was a) my agnostic upbringing, and b) my budding sense of literary criticism. I read about 5 pages, thought, “Oh my God this is awful!” and have ignored (while being reasonably polite to most of them) all JWs, Mormons, and other proselytizers ever since.

      • Cheryl

        That’s my usual approach, I’m an atheist, but i had gone out with the dog feeling a bit sad about my daughter going off to uni. I must have had some sort of sign above my head for them to stop me!

        • WildaBeast

          Mmhmm. There’s a kind of…thing…that people exude when they’re feeling like crap. The body language of it is really plain: looking down, small, often shuffling steps, not really seeming to notice things around you, blank or sad expression, hunched shoulders, etc. It also seems to be the body language people look for when they want to mug you, and for the same reason: you won’t see them coming, and you won’t have the self-confidence to fend them off.

          • Casabeca

            So true, so creepy!

          • CraftLass

            That’s exactly it. Growing up around NYC back when it was pretty darn scary, I was specifically taught to never, ever let myself look like that, even if I felt like crap, because that is an invitation to criminals. I can be crying my eyes out as I walk down the street yet still walk with confident purpose and an air of, “Don’t mess with me.” I’ve never been mugged or accosted by a cult recruiter. Didn’t occurr to me that the same techniques would be effective for both!

            That said, it’s really easy to imagine being at such a low and vulnerable even if you aren’t usually in that state. We all have those moments. Also, humans crave humans, it’s part of our biological nature. If you feel like you are particularly alone, any human will do.

            Interesting that {religions} that claim to “rid the world of crime” use the exact same techniques as muggers, even train their members in them. What does that tell us? :-/

            • WildaBeast

              Re: being able to walk down the street while crying and yet exuding confidence.
              First, I hope you don’t have to do it very often!

              Second, I have a terrible habit. I read books while I walk. I started doing it when I was 11 and I still do. Once I figured out about the body language, I began moving confidently while I was walking and reading. Despite the fact that it seems like I ought to be a prime target (totally zoned out), nobody bothers me (touch wood). I almost think it helps, because nobody can see my eyes, and it’s very hard to control the message your eyes send to the world.

            • CraftLass

              Hahahaha! I do that too!!! And now, with smartphones, I also do a whole lot of typing while walking. Terrible habits, but still, yes, it’s the confidence and purpose that matters most. Also, looking right at home in any environment helps immensely. I suspect that reading while walking makes it look like you surely know your way around and must belong there. lol That’s a great point about eyes, too, never considered that before.

              Thanks, I haven’t cried my way down the street in awhile, but my teens and 20s were pretty miserable (and a good chunk of that time was spent living in some not-so-great neighborhoods where a tiny girl living alone probably shouldn’t have been in the first place lol). My favorite thing to do when upset is walk until I feel better, so crying and walking kind of go together for me. Oddly, it was usually the local homeless people and drug dealers who showed me the most kindness in those times, which shaped a lot of my opinions about the goodness of people. That’s been true in cities in at least 3 different countries, no less! Made me a whole lot less judgmental. 🙂

            • Cheryl

              Very true!

        • villagedianne

          I think cult recruiters learn to instinctively identify vulnerable people. Maybe they spot body language, or facial expressions. Just like a salesman might know who is just looking, and who is going to buy.

          • Semper Phi

            Exactly right. In Scientology, they do “Tone Scale” drills to be able to spot the emotional state of anyone and therefore know how to handle them.

      • marti

        Yes, those gold plates. the seer stone, the hat over Smith’s face to view the words written within the stone.

        • WildaBeast

          I know what you’re talking about (thanks, wikipedia!) but that wasn’t the chunk of it I read. It was the writing style that got me. It was appalling. Even crappy updates of the Bible have moments of beauty in the prose; hell, I’ve read chunks of the Koran in an appalling English translation that were better than the original of the Book of Mormon!

    • Still_On_Your_Side

      You are so right, baby boomers, empty nesters, newly divorced individuals, any one going though a rough and lonely time, is vulnerable to a cult or any other con-job. The elderly with money are probably the most vulnerable, especially if they have a distant family or no family left at all. Even though the cult kicks the elderly out, I am sure it is not adverse to robbing them blind beforehand.

  • Sunny Sands

    Love the pic of the Galvez sisters.

    What is Manuela doing right now in the Sea Org? Is she dancing and singing or washing dishes and cleaning toilets? This question may help her decide.

    • villagedianne

      The rewards are farther down the road. A billion years away.

  • Marc Headley

    Yannus is right. When Manuela stops doing her dancing she will soon realize that she is not there because she can dance. The question is how long will that take?

    When I was at Int there were several girls that showed up to be “choreographers.” The first one went on to become the Mix Team Admin for a video mix team. She wrote down the positions of the knobs on the mix board and put the Video Mixer’s CSW’s into file folders and got the mix proposals that went up to David Miscavige ready. Pretty sure that is about as far as you can get to dancing. It appears the last girl has been replaced by Manuela.

    The hard truth is that Manuela is going to have to find out the hard way that she was lied to. She might even know that she was lied to already, but more and more it will sink in. She will lose touch with Yannus. She will start to speak with her family less and less. And then one day, maybe next year, maybe 10 years from now, she will show up at their door scared and upset. She will have experienced the final blow that made her leave. It will probably have something to do with how she was going to get in big trouble for something that had zero to do with dancing…

    • WildaBeast

      I just want it to happen in one year, not ten. If she loses a year or two she may well be able to get her career and her life back. In ten years… 🙁

      • CraftLass

        Seriously. So many of these sad stories seem to be about people who want careers that you need to develop young. There is a window of time where you have the energy to pursue them as hard as you have to. So many dancers, gymnasts, etc. – all kinds of physical artistry and athletics that require a youthful body – get sucked in and even just a few years away from pursuing such dreams will irrevocably destroy any chances of having such a career, especially with the harsh diet and lack of quality exercise and the toll those take on your body. I would imagine that even a year of that life could really screw with a dancer’s body, they need every muscle to be in terrific and cooperative shape. Manual labor is not conducive to that kind of shape, not at all.

        Of course, nothing is worse than losing family and other loved ones, but it seems like a pretty harsh reality to go through all the struggles of getting out of the SO only to discover it is too late to even attempt what you always wanted to do, especially when you realize that it is your own choices that created the situation. Failure through trying hard is bad enough, failure through not trying is much, much worse.

        My blood is boiling as I type this. Boiling.

        • Semper Phi

          The only bodies they care about are the Bodies in the Shop, which is one of the key org stats.

        • Exterrier

          Me too. Boiling. That they hide as a righteous ecclesiastical institution and are really one man’s greedy con machine. Grrrrrr…..

        • Moonshot

          Of course, you are totally correct. But her career had hit a wall. To break through hollywood, she would have had to “give some sugar.” She didnt want to do that, and she didnt do that. What an amazing girl. How many do it without giving it a thought, only to despise themselves later?

          But this made her a sitting duck for the SO recruiter. They got me in a similar way. There is no stronger way to snag someone than with their own basic purpose and goals in life. When they see that burning with such glorious intensity, then “show” them how they can pursue that purpose without the degradation they may face (especially for woman in the arts, for me that wasnt an issue) in the “wog” world being any factor at all, boy they have an easy recruit cycle in hand.

          From what has been described so far in this article and some of the info in the comments section, I am not hopeful for a quick exit for Manuela.

          First, they have her hooked on her purpose as an artist. Contratry to what some seem to be saying (perhaps because of wishful thinking) there will be opportunities for her to utilize her artistic talents. Maybe not always in dance, but certainly in acting and voice overs. The church puts on numerous events and shows internally. They produce many training and promotional videos. She may have another admin post, perhaps in Golden Era Productions, where she is still connected to artistic production. Then as dancing gigs arise, she can be involved. It wont be high volume, true, but perhaps enouph to keep her hooked. If she’s at Celebrity Center, then she may have numerous posts where she is connected to artists and celebrities. Just having a feeling of supporting and helping other artists may satisfy this area for her.

          Second, Veronica who dormed with her on the EPF mentioned Manuela was and “in-charge” and was “very by the book.” This tells me she is rapidly aculturating to their way of thought and perhaps even liking it. The fact is, that people who are good at and love or like telling other people what to do, VERY MUCH LIKE the ass-kicking nature of the Sea Org. If this is an aspect of her personality, then she will very quicky recieve both alot of responisbility and alot of validation from those above her. This does not make her a bad person, thats not my point. My point is that this is another very powerful hook. The world needs people who can get other to get things done. I personally met Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder back when they were big high level execs when i was a lowly SO staffer. (i’ve also met DM on three occasions). I really liked both those guys when i was in and even more so now that we are all out. They were very competant and hard driving guys, and also wonderful human beings. But look how long they stayed in before they finally “saw the light” and got out.

          On the positive side, most new recruits dont get any contrary information when they first go in. Though it may take years to see positive result, that “intervention” that her brother and boyfriend executed is a sitting time-bomb in the back of her mind.

          The third and final thing or Hook i want to mention, and one that i never really see talked about in the blogs, is the “2D” or marriage factor. Sexual contact outside of marriage is a HUGE no no in the SO. So, if someone wants human intimacy and contact, they need to get married. Secondly, if you are not married you are housed in a dorm. These dorms uniformly suck to live in. True, you dont get much opportunity to sleep in the SO, but in the dorm u dont get much opportunity to sleep either. People are constantly coming and going all nite from the dorms and if you are a light sleeper, or need some quiet to get to sleep, you will never get good rest.

          Also, whever “stats are down” which the case at least half the time (week by week) then Security will do a “Berthing Inspection” and if everything isnt “white glove” perfect, the occupants will be denied even the half day they get off every saturday to attend to personal matters. In a communal berthing situation, there is always at lease one jerk that doesnt keep their area and stuff in order. So either you clean up for them, or you are kept in lock down. It fucking sucks.

          But if you get married, you at least get your own room with your partner. It may be small, but its your own. And you having someone to talk to and hold, even if its only for a few minutes before you both collapse in exhaustion is a great comfort. For this reason alone, the need for personal space and some intimacy, most new recruits get married within WEEKS if not months of completing their EPF. This is especially so if they are good looking. Chances are, Manuela will find herself courted by someone she finds higly attractive (all the umarried males will be interested, some few of these will look good to her). If this connection is strong for her, it will easily add a decade to her sojourn through the Sea Org life.

          After i first got in and i saw the difference between the hype and reality of the Sea Org, i pretty quickly got the inkling i would be leaving soon. After my EPF, i recieved INTENSE female intrest from ALL the unmarried girls and woman in the org. I’m an OK looking guy, but no adonis, so that was a new experience for me. Several incredibly beautiful girls pretty much came out and told me we should get married. WOW, crazy. It was VERY tempting. But i knew already i was not long for that world, so i didnt marry. But most do.

          Looking back at it, i’m now pretty sure the SO makes the dorms so bad on purpose. It would take very little effort and expense to make these spaces more livable for everybody. But then people would stay single longer and most would probably blow within the first year (more than already do). Getting them married fast, makes blowing much less likely as they have someone to give them some comfort and make life more bearable and its hard for most people to just abandon such a connection. Also, as they are guided into disconnection with Antago family members, their new spouse can replace what they lose.

          Manuela has made her own choices. Family and friends who love her should at this point just stay in communication with her and not overtly try and get her to leave. This will only lead to rapid disconnection. Now that this stuff is all public, another family members who where not involved in the “intervention” should maintain this communication.

          Eventually the girl will want to blow. If she has nobody on the outside, she will be afraid to leave as it will be all she knows and has at that point. but if she has at least ONE person she knows loves her and will help her on the outside when that Blow Day eventually happens, it will happen as soon as it can happen.

          • DodoTheLaser

            Thank you for sharing your experience, observations and conclusions Moonshot.
            They definitely match my own.

            My guess is Manuela will be out before the end of this year.

          • CraftLass

            The sad thing is, her career was actually going rather well, her knee took her out for a bit, but she was on a stellar trajectory. I just watched the Today Tonight segment and she was doing things that are right at the top in the dance world. Working with major U.S. stars, working on very popular TV shows here… That’s astoundingly successful, especially for such a recent arrival working in such a tough business.

            You can’t dance occasionally. Just a few months of Sea Org life would make doing any dance very difficult, even the random opportunity that might come up. Dance requires many hours of near-daily training. She’s very, very talented. She might never get that back even if she was to leave fairly soon.

            But, you’re right, it’s her choice. All we can do is hope for her, and for all those with her.

            However, none of that is as scary as the prospect of the scenario you outlined! I knew a lot of SO married very young for the reasons you mentioned, but had no idea that it might happen so quickly after the EPF. Wow. Thanks for sharing all of that info! You really struck me with your comment about having beautiful woman talk to you about marriage right off, that must be such an overwhelming experience!

            Also, “The fact is, that people who are good at and love or like telling other people what to do, VERY MUCH LIKE the ass-kicking nature of the Sea Org,” very much reminded me of dance class. I mostly know the ballet world, but most teachers I encountered were pretty much dictators and choreographers could be pretty harsh, too. They demand obedience and perfection at all times. Perhaps the SO life is particularly compatible with dancers/choreographers backgrounds?

            Thank you so much for your insights, you’ve really got me thinking!

            • cicely neville

              Interesting insight. Was never a dancer but have friends who were professional (SF Ballet). Horror stories of demands placed on them, rampant anorexia etc. Horrible thought, that dancers would not find the SO very unusual.

            • Moonshot

              Well, she may or not be able to dance in their productions, but she can choreograph. And before the event, if she was slotted to dance, she would be alotted time to practice. I had seen this kind of thing go on with both a Chick Corea performance and an Issic Hayes one, so SO members do dance in these things.
              Yes, all the matter of fact and aggressive female attention was a bit overwhelming. It was both creepy and heady at the same time. Not that any of these girls were creepy themselves, i speak more to the overall situation.
              I hadnt thought about it, but given what you say about the culture within Dance, yes, these types of folk may already of a cultural orientation that fits well with the SO.
              I think this is generally true of young people as well. There is a reason every broadscale societal movement relies on young people to swell their ranks and fight their battles. The young often posses a unique combination of traits: a willingness to throw themselves headlong into an idealistic crusade with a complete disregard for their own personal well being, while at the same time having a complete lack of life experience to tell them when they are being conned or taken advantage of.
              I also think that, contrary to current thought, the natural human condition may well to live life ensconsed in a cult. In modern times we seem to think that cults are a new phenomenon and that because it is new, somehow some of us are vulnerable to it as we havent developed societal antibodies for it.
              I think the opposite. I think that for most of human history people lived within one cult or another as a way to build small scale societies that enabled survival. If people found themselves in polar regions, they may way have had the cult of the Polar Bear, or Sow Melt Water, or the Seal, or whatever. If they lived near the equator, maybe it was the Sun God, or the God of Rain, the Abundant Herd or whatever. They developed bodies of skill and knowledge and spiritual practice that enabled to survival in the environs they found themselves in, along with ways to both transmit this way of living to future generations while at this time enforcing discipine with current members: the cult.
              So, personally, i think its useless to rail againts “cults” or revile or dismiss those who join them as this trait is a fully developed aspect of being human. A better approach is to try to inform them and give them love and emotional support. The Scientology and Sea Org world is a highly arbitrary one. The upper management lives and operates in complete contradiction to the very tenets and policies codified by their Founder, LRH. This leads to constant conflict, both within the orgs, and within the people themselves. They are trained to both follow LRH Scientology Policy 100% and to follow the orders of their superiors 100%, and very very often these directives are in complete opposition to each other.
              This creates mental and spiritual anguish, a predictable loss of personal integrity, and situation after situation where the staff member suffers a big loss. The Ethics Dept is always there to hammer into their head how it is their own fault for whatever bad results obtain, but eventually a person just cant take it anymore. Some do just become inurred to it and become life long staff members. But most eventually blow.

            • CraftLass

              I guess the thing is, whatever dance-related chances she has in Scn, they’re going to be pale imitations of what she was doing. I think that’s part of why her story resonates with people so deeply, she’s a particularly bright light that has been dimmed and that’s a story as old as Scientology, just taking place again now.

              I get what you mean by the creepy nature of such female attention and that it wasn’t that the women were creepy. It’s a creepy situation overall, the subtle encouragement towards marriage that gets less and less subtle if you actually start becoming particularly friendly with any one of them. Frankly, as someone generally opposed to marriage and utterly opposed to quick and/or young marriage, it freaks me the hell out. One of the greatest markers of a cult is a control of sex life and marriage choices for a reason, and you outlined that reason perfectly above.

              Cults absolutely are not new. People attribute a lot of stuff to these times that are actually pretty consistent through history. There was a major increase in cults in the U.S. in the 60s, when New Age philosophies (already a misleading term, since “New Age” tends to mean using very old philosophies and practices) shook a lot of people out of seeking that proverbial white picket fence, making the pickings much riper for scam artists. This leads many to the impression that they are a new phenomenon. In reality, we’re just more aware now. We can talk to people, like you and I are talking, across all boundaries. The mainstream news is more likely to mention a news story about a cult because they have oodles of time to fill. It’s a bit like child abduction, which is far rarer now than ever but considered incorrectly on the upswing by people who see more stories than ever about abducted children. Cults have existed for thousands of years and will continue to regardless of what anyone does to stop or prevent them. Education specifically on avoiding a con, which is a basic lesson we all need for many other reasons, is the best defense, but it will never be a complete solution.

              I disagree with you about the normal human condition being to live in a cult, however. A tribe, sure. Cults prey on our natural tribal instincts. There is a distinct difference between the two, though. A tribe influences you through the society that exists within it, a cult essentially tells you who to be. A tribe will often wind up revering a rebel, since rebels are often the people who create beauty and advance their society (for example, Steve Jobs). A cult will kill the rebel’s spirit, break him or her down. The irony is that people who are naturally rebellious are frequently the easiest to pull into a cult, because they usually offer an alternative to the society around them, and that attracts rebels.

              That is why I do try to fight cults by educating everyone I encounter. It’s a little thing, but if thousands of people do that little thing, it might just save a young person or a few from falling into such traps. We need our rebels! Whole and intact and with all the flaws and qualities they contribute to larger society. But, you are right, simply railing against cults is like trying to hold back a flood with a Dixie cup.

              Your last paragraph makes so much sense and that’s probably why a lot of us find this particular cult so intriguing. It’s hard enough to imagine any part of being in if you never were, but the cognitive dissonance of your superiors being off-policy seems particularly frustrating. Jenna’s book gave some excellent examples of that. Of course, how can you apply anything 100% when the actual writings all of it is based on are so full of contradictions? It seems like the more LRH one gets exposed to, the more one has to reconcile contradictions. Toss in the schizophrenic behavior of the superiors and it seems like a very frustrating way to live even if you are enjoying your post and the people directly around you day-to-day. How can you live by the rules if the rules are constantly changing?

              I also think that in cults like this, where you can’t trust anyone because they will report everything you say, there is a deeper break from natural humanity. Without trust there can be no real love. Love is a basic human need. We ARE tribal/pack/herd creatures. We evolved needing each other to survive and that’s why we are capable of love. Of course, this is also why knowing someone on the outside still loves you has helped propel members into the decision to leave, I think it goes deeper than just having a safety net or a lack of judgment about your choices. Being starved of real love, even within the bounds of marriage, will get to you. Conversely, though, that’s also why love-bombing works, the victim can’t see that there is no actual love in that until it is too late. A lot of people who are deeply loved go through times where they feel like they aren’t. Been there myself. Easy to see why it works so well. I’m just lucky no one ever came after me at a low point.

              My takeaway from this conversation and the larger one around it is that we all need to be as compassionate as we can be towards each other, because being human is not simple and feeling alone is a dangerous condition. Modern times have hurt the old tribal systems and loneliness is growing. We’re never going back, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all make more of an effort to make sure the people around us know they’re appreciated and cared for. Education and compassion just might be the greatest tools in our arsenal against cults and scams, and far more powerful when used together.

              BTW, keep meaning to mention that I really love your Disqus name! 🙂

            • Moonshot

              Hehehe, thank you, I’m glad you like my Disqus name. You are a both a deeply feeling person, and deeply thinking person. That is a rather rare and wonderful combination.
              I actually think we are pretty much in complete agreement, we just failed to define the term “cult.” The traditional meaning of this word is simply any system of belief or veneration, mainly religious or spiritual, but could be other things such as a person or activiity (such as “masons”). Only very recently has it come to also mean a “spurious” belief system, and i havent found any dictionary that defines it as an overly controlling or destructive group, though, perhaps one does. So, under the most common and traditional defintions of the word, my statement is 100% correct. So, any Christian church or Bhuddist Temple is a “cult.” So is the Democratic or Republican parties. I’m sure we both agree that Destructive Cults are worthy of targeting for elimination.
              On another topic u raised, Scientology doesnt just “grab” people when they are at a low point. What really hooks most people that i have known, and what got me, is that the beginning level stuff can be pretty damn cool, and really help a person in their life. It certainly did me. And because of this, when you first start encountering all the control bullshit, you tend to think its an isolated incident or the person doing it to you is just a single bad apple. It can take years of the crap before you get the proper perspective, and realise the general situation with the church is bad. Thats for a public or “lay” scientologist. If someone joins staff or the SO, its a completely different matter. The bullshit hits fast and furious in that scenerio, but you are also under constant control and conditioning.
              Regarding the “love bombing,” to be honest i dont really know what that is, cuz i never experienced that in Scientology. I’m not saying it doesnt happen, but i never saw it or experienced it. Rather the opposite. As a beginning “public” scientologist, i was very busy with my business. I read alot of SCN books on my own and i enjoyed then and felt i had a better handle on my emotions and what i was seeing in life. Then i did some cheap basic courses at my local org. There were 4 of them, each costing $60 a peice. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that my personal relationships with friends, family, and business associates improved dramatically from these. Because of this it become very easy for me to manage my business and deal with customers, so my income went up very fast. I was amazed and happy about this. So, then i did some more expensive stuff like the Purif, and some more “major” courses.
              At this point i was so excited and wanted to help others have this kind of thing happen in their life, that i joined the Sea Org. They didnt “get me.” I called to volunteer without ever having met an SO recruiter. I think this is why you see so many “newbies” joint staff or the SO. Its cuz the beginning and basic stuff really does help and work. Later, more advanced, and much more expensive stuff that i did never even came close to the benefits and “wins” that i got from the beginning stuff. Of the $50,000 or so i spent on Scientology (and thats a drop in the bucket compared to what many drop over time), i would say that the first $600 gave me 99.9% of all the “gains” i got from the activity and is what motivated me to endure all i went thru after. That first $600 was an excellent value.
              Anyway, as a beginning “public” my study and advancement was pretty solitary, though beneficial and fun. No “love bombing.” When i went in the Sea Org, it was just pure hell from beginning to end. There is ZERO love bombing in the SO. Lots of conditioning and control, but very much the opposite of love boming. “Shit Bombing” would be a more apt term.
              For a new public at Celebrity Center, though, that may be different. The church has a particular love and fascination to celebrities and the hollywood set. They certainly allow celebrity “public” to get away with things they would never allow a regular public any other place. So, maybe its a bit different there, i really cant say.

            • CraftLass

              Wow. That is an astounding compliment, thank you very much! I try to be both those things and usually feel like it’s never enough.

              Remember, as I was never in, I get my info from other people’s stories of how they got in. A lot of them have said they were at low points and looking to fix it and that was taken advantage of, especially while being recruited for the SO, which many certainly were rather pressured into. It’s very interesting to hear a different perspective, as I’m sure there are many, many very different reasons and stories. I would have had to be at a low point myself, because I’m just not the sort that easily joins anything at all. I played mostly solo sports rather than team, you know? And I was raised to research things like crazy before giving anyone money, my father made me read reviews from multiple sources before I could have a new toy and read the manual before I could play with it. lol I read peer-reviewed academic papers for fun and am an atheist who adores serious amateur theology. Commitment to anything makes me want to run, too. Religion and self-help programs have almost always scared me and turned me off. I wouldn’t be a natural fit under my normal condition. I’m not better or smarter or wiser than anyone, just not a good fit.

              If you don’t mind my asking, what time period did you join during?

              Ahhh, yes, the strange and living creature that is the English language. I think you are correct, we were using different definitions. I was going more with the modern usage, you were going with the strict traditional 1st-line definition. This is the OED’s take:

              – a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object:the cult of St. Olaf

              – a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister:a network of Satan-worshiping cults

              – a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing:a cult of personality surrounding the leaders

              – [usually as modifier] a person or thing that is popular or fashionable, especially among a particular section of society:a cult film

              I’d still say, though, that our nature is mainly geared towards the social aspects and we fill the gaps in our knowledge with various forms of belief over time. So, I’m sticking with tribal for that reason. While there is evidence that we are neurologically “wired” for belief, I just can’t reconcile that yet with the amount of atheist thought written even in times and places where that was punishable by death. So, you could say all religions are cults under the top definition, but not all communities are, because they are often not homogeneous in philosophy or faith. Community is the part that is a basic human need for sure.

              At least everywhere I’ve been in America, though, cult generally implies something sinister in everyday conversation, a shorthand for “destructive cult” and that matches the second definition in the OED. It’s a useful definition for those who try to figure out the difference between a benign new religion and something that takes control over members. There’s a reason anything that would like to be regarded as religion freaks out when called a cult. If most people saw it as meaning a group that worship the same thing it wouldn’t have that effect, because that would make most people in this country cult members. But most people can leave their religion without fear or losing their family, can worship and get guidance all they want for free (tithes are encouraged, not demanded, at least in this country), and can probably count on their religious congregation for help in times of need, among a million other examples that help define the line between benign and malignant, or to use the terms most people would use, between religion and cult.

              Most old established religions have roots in traditional cults, some were even pretty destructive. The largest religion in the world rather famously had some pretty dark periods of abusing members and heretics alike and was bent on controlling as much of the world as possible at all costs. It’s still got its problems, but it would never have survived if it had stayed so rigid. Is it possible that any modern cults can learn from history and adapt as the tide of change ebbs and flows? I’m not sure. Many aren’t designed to adapt at all because they tend to involve worshiping a very flawed human being. There is also the major problems that some modern religions and cults share of having things in their teachings that are undeniably incorrect. The Book of Mormon is particularly riddled with things that are provably untrue, for example. Just a basic elementary school history curriculum can teach you that if you compare the two.

              Okay, I have really fallen down the tangent-hole here. And I must sleep. But this stuff fascinates me.

              “Shit bombing” seems to be an awfully polite way to describe the SO experience. 😉

          • Poison Ivy

            Fascinating to read about how Scientology manipulates the 2-D’s to hook people into the Sea Org for longer. Just reading Marc Headley and Jenna’s book, you can see the wrenching pain it takes for someone to leave without their spouse – probably the only warm, loving, trusting connection they have on the inside.

            Another interesting point in your post above:

            “The fact is, that people who are good at and love or like telling other people what to do, VERY MUCH LIKE the ass-kicking nature of the Sea Org. If this is an aspect of her personality, then she will very quicky recieve both alot of responisbility and alot of validation from those above her. This does not make her a bad person, thats not my point. My point is that this is another very powerful hook. The world needs people who can get other to get things done.”

            It’s important to remember that Maneula is a choreographer, not just a dancer, and choreographers are natural leaders. They are the directors of the dance world – they’re artistic, but they’re also responsible for organizing large groups of people into complex coordinated action. Dancing takes discipline but being a choreographer involves both being exceedingly disciplined but also enforcing discipline in the company. Someone very close to me is a successful, always working and up-and-coming choreographer in NYC and she is a natural leader. I can see such a person rising fast in the Sea Org, because that’s what Manuela has been doing all along in choreographing these large-scale shows and videos – managing the troops.

            But as far as needing to sleep with people to get to the top – yeah, every good looking woman (and man) in Hollywood is going to come across those people. The truth is, you have to ride it out. You have to be able to say “No” and walk away and go back to square one if necessary. Perseverance is the enemy of doubt – and of sleazes. She actually had an advantage in her boyfriend being in the same business – they could watch each other’s backs. (I’m sure her boyfriend got a lot of propositions as well, from both sexes.) My friend the successful NY choreographer is gorgeous, is in her late 30’s (with zillions of injuries) and her career has gone more slowly than it might have given her startling talent, because she hasn’t done the sleeping her way to jobs thing, ever. Instead, she’s kept up teaching master classes and doing other things to have as fallbacks so she always had work and an income. But she’s survived, done better and better, and slowly is building up the kind of reputation that someone who takes what look like easy shortcuts will never have.

            The thing about Hollywood, is, the “shortcuts” appear to be all around you and it looks like everyone else is getting a piece and you aren;t. Especially since the rise of reality TV, there’s an “instant gratification” vibe everywhere, and everyone is looking for their overnight success. Especially people whose youth is an element of their dream – dancers, singers, actors. Things move very, very fast in the business, and when Manuela was laid up for so many weeks with an injury, it must have shaken her to the core, to see just how fragile the life she had chosen could be. Things were passing by without her. She must have been terrified of losing everything she’d worked for so far.

            What Scientology did with her was, offer her what appeared to be a short cut that didn’t involve sleaze. She’d working with celebs like Tom Cruise and Kelly Preston (?!!!) but wouldn’t have to compromise to do it. She didn’t see it, as Tony put it in the Today Tonight piece, as “dancing for a few thousand Scientologists.” She saw it as a way to her dreams without compromising her values, and without the fear of something like an injury potentially stopping her down again…because of course Scientology has the “tech” to prevent/cure any of that.

            What they did with this girl is just evil. It’s no accident that Scientology trolls Hollywood for its recruits.

    • Mark

      I’ve just been reading your hilarious account of Cruise’s awful birthday bash in Blown For Good (if only the sadly deluded Manuela had read it, or met you and Claire!) – typical of how Shortarse Miscavige “does” showbusiness – spendthrift, slipshod, terminally amateurish. Hope Manuela’s realising she’s been sold a pup, but fear that she’s still caught up in the Co$ pipedream

    • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

      One thing Steve Hassan says is someone has to keep a communication line with the member inside.

      Yannus, I’d help him with that.

      And the hardest part will be the “waiting” for the member inside to finally jump ship.

      Calmly and affectionately, and warmly sort of joke about what really happens, and leave pauses for the member inside to let what you said sink in.

      Mark, were I to talk with Manuela, your info, the details of the dozens of Gold staff who had dreams of doing their art on Gold staff, and instead ended up doing other jobs, that’s exactly the type of details you lay out to the member inside, but affectionately, in a way that sinks in, not so the member just ridges up and won’t be really hearing the details of those that came before them and failed and instead were caught up in the mess.

      Also, people know of failed dreams that people have had, all through human history, and some might even not be so stuck on their “art” dreams, they might even be suckered into the “help” dream that Sea Org sells it’s recruits.

      The person asking the questions, and has the continued communication line with the member inside has to do some homework, and get lots of details to help them, and do it in a way that doesn’t just trigger all the hidden trap doors that the cult member has been trained to lower and block the info they need to hear and think about.

      It takes more time, and I go for the longer range, normal family member communication line.

      I tell family to go to LA, go to wherever the Sea Org member is living, and meet them there.

      Study the Hassan books, read the other cult member handling books.

      But in most cases, it takes a lot of listening of the member inside, and it’s hours and hours and hours, and there are lots of signs and information to look for and see what will be the likely breaking points that you can tell the family to look for, and once you see those signs, then leap ahead with offering the member inside help getting out, either “standardly” or “blowing”, I urge them to just blow, and NOT go back, and walk them through blowing most efficiently, since “standard” routing out, they will guilt the hell out of you.

      Most short term sudden joining beginner Scientologists quit within months or 2 years, the statistics are just horrendous for the quit rate of Sea Org recruits. Even the EPF graduation percentages are dismal.

      Having ex member’s excellent history details is vital, to walk the inside members through what their lives will be like, but I do it warmly and affectionately, looking for moments to joke about it that are safe, and try to get the person to ridge up. It takes time.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Chuck, thanks again for being out there as a key resource for friends and family of those trapped. Your observations on the strategy for extricating a cult member are correct. As you point out, there is no “quick fix” – just patient and constant support to keep the line of communication open for the time when the member’s doubts finally ripen to a point where he or she has to address them.

      • Spackle Motion

        Great advice, Chuck. I really wish that anyone wanting to get a family member/friend out of the cult would read Hassan’s books before they try an intervention like this.

        Compassionate discourse is more effective than broadsiding someone.

      • Still_On_Your_Side

        Please tell them the “freeloader debt” is not legitimate. It angers me every time I read about some ex-Sea Org member paying any of it.

    • Still_On_Your_Side

      A dancer is “retired” by her mid-thirties, and a choreographer must stay up to the minute with dancing trends and skills. Every day that passes where Manuela is not honing her skills, brings her that much closer to the end of her dream. This is one more reason why Manuela’s story is so heartbreaking-she has been conned to being a player in destroying her own dream, the very dream that was used by the cult to draw her in.

      • Poison Ivy

        That’s a good point, Still on Your Side. Manuela’s long-term future would be in choreography, not dance…and choreographers have to be teaching, studying, watching, observing – constantly immersed in the world of dance. Manuela’s being cut off from the outside world inside the Sea Org – even if she gets to dance and choreograph – will effectively kill her career. Look at the Golden Era productions – they’re slick, they’re expensive – and they all look like they peaked in early 1990. When you aren’t constantly exposed to what’s new and what’s in, you are left behind.

        As CraftLass pointed out, dancers have to dance regularly to stay viable. Manuela is cutting off her future as a dancer as well, even if she only lasts a year in the Sea Org. She’ll be a year older and a year behind in skills, trends and fitness.

    • GlibWog

      THE NEW CASTING COUCH…

    • monkeyknickers

      And what if they’ve hooked someone without the bait? Do you think they could leave? I ask because I have a sister in.

  • Sunny Sands

    Manuela is an Australian citizen, who’s got her passport?

    • marti

      Good question. Marc, still there?

    • pronoia

      And her brand new green card. Which likely played a large role In why the cult wanted her so badly. Long way away from home and family and legal immigration status.

  • Krew13

    This robot also exhibits the conditioned “I understand” response.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOd__GJLeCs

    • pronoia

      She is not a robot. She is a person who has been indoctrinated in how to think, feel, speak and behave in an extremely constrained manner.

    • Phil McKraken

      I love that video. It shows, in no uncertain terms, that Scientology trains people how to be unremitting assholes. It’s surreal. If I was in that engagement I would be constantly asking, in response to every “I understand” or “I get it,” to explain it back to me so that I am sure she gets it. That’s a sure fire way to short-circuit that particular childish, annoying tactic.

      • phronsie

        Oh, that is great advice, a very good tactic! This is one of the first videos I stumbled across on youtube when I was looking into scientology; I was actually looking for more info on the Anonymous protests. What really affected me listening to this video was the voice of the woman filming (I didn’t know who she was); there’s fear and stress in her voice. You can hear her trying to be strong, but she obviously feels threatened by this woman being at her door and the other woman has to pick up on it, but she remains bland and on purpose. Any normal, non-confrontational person would respond with either concern or reassurance instinctually to such obvious distress signals.

      • Krew13

        I’m amazed Mosey tolerated that fuckwit robot for that length of time. She should’ve just called the cops straightaway.

  • media_lush

    The thing that I think the media should be a making a story of is how they won’t or are unable to put a human face to address any of these issues…. make THAT the story…. pressurise them into getting an actual vox pop. To all intents and purposes scientology could be run by a robot as far as their side of the story goes. Just like they were forced to totally mismanage Shelly’s very dubious appearance the media commentators should be trying to embarrass them into a real person statement. …. I mean here’s the opening line:

    “Scientology profess to be the masters of communication…. yet they seem unable to have anyone from the church appear on camera…. what do they have to hide?….”

    oh, and if you feel like releasing a bit of anger and angst at todays story I think I have they perfect little story to comment on…. http://www.bexleytimes.co.uk/what-s-on/theatre/interview_britain_s_got_talent_stars_the_jive_aces_say_scientology_helps_them_perform_1_2362230

    • Observer

      Yeah, and I see how they’re burning up the global music charts. Look out, Beatles, they’re hot on your heels!

    • Mark

      From all its {{millions}} of {talented} members worldwide, the ‘Jive Aces’ – an amateurish
      Showaddywaddy ripoff dressed in pus-yellow zoot-suits – is the best Co$ can come up with? Puh-leeze!

      • dagobarbz

        Pus? Well, I thought Mustard, but come to think of it. Pustard works on several levels.

    • villagedianne

      Re the article about the Jive Aces. I wonder if any of them have been sec-checked. Not a particularly happy or uplifting experience. As Leah Remini found out.

  • Observer

    Ms. Camarillo, good for you! You saved your beautiful daughters from horrors neither you nor they can imagine.

    Too heartbroken and outraged to even string together a meaningful thought about Manuela Oliveira.

    P.S. Screw you, Disqus!

    • George Layton

      Observer your post are always worth repeating.

      • GlibWog

        Oh Good Answer George.. and yes I concur!
        Fabulous as usual Obs. so freakin true

    • Robert Eckert

      What I love about this blog (OK, one of many things I love about this blog) is that it is the type of place where posters know words like “chelicerae”

  • Krew13

    “a small handful of antireligious zealots”

    Does Karen Krapouw realize how hilarious she sounds every time she wheels out this line? Bitter defrocked apostate/antireligious zealots etc etc. Bitch has become a parody of herself.

    • villagedianne

      Who knows if she is even writing this stuff. After Tommy “My religion is not a lie” Davis, the COS no longer has had their spokesmen speak in public.

      • Eclipse-girl

        Wouldn’t it be funny if Karen were DM?

        • villagedianne

          Some ex’s think she is DM.

          • Eclipse-girl

            Does that mean he has an issue with his gender identity?

            • WildaBeast

              He has a *lot* of issues. But, since we’ve established that he’s a skirt-chaser, wouldn’t that make his alternate incarnation as Karin KaPouw a lesbian? And wouldn’t that be out-ethics and 1.1 on the tone scale and all kinds of {awfulness}?

              Signed,
              The Girl With Her Finger In The Dyke 😀

  • Chocolate Velvet

    Wow. This is a heartbreaking story. It reminds me again why I care so much about stopping this crazy cult. It’s not just the abuse and spiritual exploitation of their members, it is also the tears and heartbreak of the the families, watching their loved ones fall into an obvious trap. This cult known as scientology is predatory, that is quite clear from the story of Iliana and Veronica. Can you imagine? The audacity of being a boarder in someone’s house, and using that as an opportunity to lure your landlord’s daughters into what you know is a bad situation where they could be damaged irreparably. It would not have been any worse if he had sexually assaulted them. It is mental and spiritual rape.

    This is why this cult has to be stopped. We do have a lot of fun here at Tony’s blog, but I don’t see anything funny about families pulled apart and young people so quickly brainwashed into lying to those who love them, and to themselves. The people in this cult are really quite skilled at preying on young people. It’s horrible to see. This blog, the stories told here, and the insights and details shared by the commenters, clearly serves a purpose. It is like a warning beacon or a focused spotlight, to give out a warning to those who might be pulled in by their predatory recruiting.

    Thanks for this story, Tony O. It must have been an emotional experience watching these folks try so hard to reach their beloved sister and girlfriend. I imagine you knew quite well how hard it would be for them to get through to Manuela. Nicely done.

    • BananaSplits8

      As a never-in, understanding the extent of the effect of cult pressure and coersion is often difficult to understand. Since reading today’s story, I’ve been an emotional pinball bouncing between empathy, frustration, fury, outrage fatigue and the occasional wonder why I should care if she’s stews in a pool of sh*t she’s so determined to convince herself smells like roses.

      But your post is the proper perspective. I think I’l be reading it and re-reading it throughout the day.

    • Free Minds, Free Hearts

      This makes me cry, what you say is so true.

  • Mark

    If there’s one bright spot in this poignant story, it’s the effect that yet more unwelcome publicity must be having on Squatbottom Miscavige’s never very even temper. And his blood-pressure. And the possibility that he will soon explode in a cloud of crimson steam.

    • aquaclara

      DM, outlining his plans for August and September: “Hmmm. I think we can have some fun putting up a tent, and then we will do that clappy-clappy thing on Friday nights. Oh, and maybe it’s time to open the SuperPower building, since there isn’t anything else going on….
      All in all, it should be a great time for me to showcase my greatness, with ZERO interruptions. I mean, that SP Ortega has to take a vacation sometime….”

      • Mark

      • Espiando

        He had a miserable Thermidor indeed, culminating in Mosey’s lawsuit. And in Fructidor, the fruits are starting to ripen with a sickly-sweet odor that overwhelms his {Sooper-Dooper OT perceptics}. Vendémiaire will show that some things that are vintage really, really stink.

        I love having a ringside seat for this mess.

  • aquaclara

    The music from this underscores the heartbreak in today’s story so well. Love this rap song by Tiziano and company….http://tonyortega.org/2012/12/10/nazanin-boniadi-speaks/

    We cannot give up. CANNOT.

    • Eclipse-girl

      I love the rap. Lets make it the Underground bunker’s theme song. Ot have it played at every SP party.

  • aquaclara

    I asked Chuck Beatty a few days ago about what propelled him to leave, and what was the hardest part of his adjustment back afterward. I didn’t want his response to be missed, so I have copied it here.
    Thank you, Chuck, so much for your candor and all that you do. Today’s a good day for your response.

    Here’s Chuck’s response:
    “Short answer, the tipping point was my immediate superior lunging at my throat with her letter opener, she being freshly apprenticed on how to be an effective executive!

    These moments of total tipping I believe happen when one sees something so irrational, it confounds and makes one lose any hope of continuing in that group.

    The letter opener jab/lunge did it for me.

    Since my superior only had two people above her, that she had to say “Sir” to, that meant that the top of the pyramid scheme was likely just as irrational up at the pinnacle.

    No “hardest” aspect of reajustmemnt. There is nothing at all bad about regular life compared to Sea Org (which is the false fake irreligious “religious order” that Hubbard concocted).

    No matter what, life outside the Sea Org is good, no matter how you stack it.

    I love the internet, the fact that the Clambake and ARS chat sites existed and ex Sea Org vets like Armstrong, Erlich, Lerma and many others were talking freely.

    I think job hunting was slightly “stressful” at first, but the Sea Org trains cult members.

    Cult members are kinda like ultra overdrive “team players” so the work ethic of a long term cult member is like a person who’s ingrained to do way more than is asked for by one’s employer as a rule. That’s for Sea Org ex cult members in general, I’d say.

    I didn’t have the dread and fear since I always lowballed and took jobs I knew I would excel at.

    I took the “vow of poverty” path in life, so middle class and upper middle class aspirations never were on my horizon to nag or disappoint me!

    I’m quite happy to do simple manual labor entry level jobs the rest of my life, and continue my education on the internet.”

    “me, two weeks after finally getting free of the Sea Org:”
    http://www.freewebs.com/chuckbeatty77/444.jpg

    • Anon!

      Chuck. thank you for sharing your story.

      All my best to you. <3

  • Ruby Grapefruit

    Amazing story and thanks Tony for devoting so much space to it. This post describes to a “T” the spell that Scientology casts on some poor unsuspecting people and its druglike pull that makes them throw away the life they’ve been building. For nothing. Which they won’t “cognite” on til later, sometimes much, much later.

    • aurora50

      Is there a chance they are actually being drugged, in the food maybe?

      • Ruby Grapefruit

        Not likely … the brainwashing thing is powerful and LIKE a drug… plus the subsequent hypnosis built into the subsequent auditing she will receive, etc.

      • WildaBeast

        I’m pretty sure that the only drugs that can produce the effects noted in Scientologists are a) produced by the evil psychs and b) no longer easily, if at all, available, even with a doctor’s prescription. I’ve done, and observed the effects on others of, all the easily available illegal ones, and I can guarantee they don’t have this kind of effect, or side-effect. Plus they’d be too damn expensive.

      • Eclipse-girl

        Didn’t Scott Campbell complain of drugs in his food? He was in isolation.

        • WildaBeast

          Ugh, if they were doping him, that’s awful. I can see them doing it to one person, or a few held in isolation; it would be easy to put it in the food. You eat this and end up drugged, or you can starve. What I can’t see (maybe I should have been more clear above) is a situation where they were mixing stuff into everyone’s food, every day. It’s just too much money to spend. But, as someone else said today, the effects of sleep deprivation, malnutrition, overwork and emotional abuse should not be underestimated. Lack of food and sleep alone can make you hallucinate and think irrationally in just a few days.

          • Eclipse-girl

            Check out Karen De La Carriere’s vids (made with AGP and J Swift). She had multi- part series with Scott Campbell.

            Check out Karen’s (and others) stuff on youtube, Surviving Scientology. It helped me get a little bit up to speed.

  • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

    Great material Tony, thankyou for giving these women’s stories such coverage.

    One has to burst people’s bubbles very warmly, and it takes a lot of talking.

    Steve Hassan’s books are a must for family to read and get the big point that loving empathy, and establishing trust in those that try to reach the cult members are sincere.

    That’s why some people are natural good “exit counselors”, Steve Hassan’s a natural, Tom Devocht, and too bad Michael Fairman didn’t have more time with Manuela, since Michael is about the warmest and well spoken person I’ve heard.

    Well, this article Tony has so many points to go over, but people doing exit counseling ought to read Steve Hassan and the other cult groups that use the great same points Steve advises in his books.

    Thanks Tony! Beatrix’s daughters, I could see, on their own, based on the info Beatix was relaying to me, that the daughters would not last more than a few weeks.

    Manuela’s journey out, will take maybe a year or two, then she’ll be out, my estimate.

    A lot of love and family affection is so important. Understanding in detail their daily lives, and asking safe questions related to their daily lives, and slowly get their trust, eventually there will appear some gray area where the family member outside will see some spots of potential doubt in the mind of the member inside.

    So much to understand.

    What I do mainly on the 866-XSEAORG callers, is give family prediction on when their kids or family members will get out, and sometimes that is not happy news, and takes years, for the Sea Org members to finally have their bubbles burst by the Sea Org’s downsides, before they wise up on their own and get out.

    I help family weed through the communication channels, get them informed about the exact things their Scientology family members are doing, so the family outside have an excellent grasp of the lives of their family members inside the movement, and all the day to day details, so they can empathize and understand how to overcome the Sea Org’s little daily routines and barriers, so the family outside see that they always have a way to get through.

    Tolerance, loving affection, is very important. You have to let them decide, and tearing down their dreams, has to be done with affection and great understanding of the nuts and bolts of those dreams.

    The members inside will have accumulated gripes, and asking them to detail their gripes, starts the process, once you get in rapport talking with them.

    You need some hours, patience, and understanding, and not blunder huge towering negative judgments on the members inside. Let the members talk about the big glaring oddnesses. Once that happens, they’ll get out, it’s only a matter of time.

    I myself, when I get to the talking part with the people inside, I ask them for details of what their life was like, I ask for names of their Sea Org superiors, ask about the spaces, all to build and run the members through what they are expeirencing daily, like “what course are you on”, “How’s it going on the checksheet?”, “Who’s your course sup?” “Does both elevators in the main building work now, or just the one closest the horseshoe”. “Do EPFers work mornings still?” “How’s Mr. Bryne (James Bryne)?” “Does Mr. Bryne tell lots of exciting Sea Org stories?” “How’d you like Mr Bryne?” “What’s your TM for completing the EPF:?” “What course of the EPF lineup are you on?” “Do you get canteen time after meals?” “How’s the canteen, still got Starbucks coffee and Illy’s coffee machines?” “Do any of the other EPF members have phones and complain about not being allowed to use their phone.?”

    I walk my family through a whole long list of gentle questions, to get a good picture of the new Sea Org member on the EPF’s life, and just spend time getting the scene, and developing understading.

    If parents really get what the daily life is like, then the kids inside will see that their parents really understand, and empathize.

    I could talk for hours but asking realistic questions in a non threatening way, about the actual details, and being genuinely interested,and eventually little gripes will surface, it is safe to discuss how some bonehead Sea Org internal mess is still going unhandled, or how some EPF members are having a hard time. There will be some entry back into the cult member’s past way of thinking.

    The Sea Org and Scientology shuts off a person’s old way of thinking, and boxes them into the Sea Org no questioning mindset. Walking them back out into their old normal thinking is covered in Hassan’s books and the other cult member handling books.

    Ex Sea Org members with reality on the inside member’s actual day to day life, and asking lots of safe questions about that daily life, is the start though, and getting the family who have access to the Sea Org members this reality of info, so the family can do the asking, if you have only the family member to act as the relay, is mainly what I do.

    Chuck

    • Eclipse-girl

      TY for what you do. I am sure you have helped more people than we know about.

    • WildaBeast

      This is a wonderful thing you’re doing. Really. I do not have words to describe the awesome fantabulous excellence of it. The advice you give just in this post, and the examples, are so helpful and thoughtful, it makes my heart swell. I’m new here, so maybe I had missed something, but I had no idea until today that you ran this hotline. It is such a great thing, though I’m sure you don’t need to be told that. Much respect.

    • Spackle Motion

      Thanks, Chuck. You said exactly what I was thinking.

      • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

        I like T shirts and Protest Signs, I’m obsessed with the cleverest short statements which might act like Zen koans and pierce the Minds of those inside and crack their brainwashing!

        The combination of loving understanding but joking poking (“don’t worry you cult idiots, we still love you!!: attitude) is what it takes!

        • Orglodyte

          “Millions for Buildings and Nothing for Staff” has been going through my head lately. I fantasize about stealth ways to get pithy sayings through. Leafletting with a quadcopter? An intermittent video projector on a wall across from an org? Restroom graffiti near the Complex? Skywriting? Radio Free PAC Base?

          Amazing how much I think about this stuff.

          • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

            Yes! Absolutely, any LA people wish to do public service and spread memes to Sea Org members, like Brian Seymor intercepted Manuela and spoke with her, interceptions and quick conversations can be done with Sea Org members who ‘get out’ and are momentarily waking on sidewalks and riding in their buses to and fro the buildings they work in!

            When I visited Karen Delacarierre, I sought out the places that Sea Org members inevitably have to walk in public, and tried a quick hello to several of them.

            One can even intercept the hardest core most downtrodden RPF members, who will sporadically, but like clockwork will be out in the public, so messages can always be gotten to them, just like Brian Seymor was able to talk with Manuela, even for just 30 seconds. And if you can’t talk, then flashing a well worded sign with a message from a person’s mom, etc, would work. it’s heartbreaking and a lot of patience is needed to say the least.

            • kkh

              Another thing I want to know; how on earth are people being held prisoner like this? I have been reading Going Clear, and also watching the show with Leah Remini and Mike Rinder. All these people talk about bars on the windows, guards at the doors, having to “escape” etc. Unless a person has been arrested, or is a convicted criminal doing time in a jail or prison, it’s not legal to hold someone captive against their will. That’s called “false imprisonment” and it’s a crime. So how is that alone not keeping these places from being shut down, or at LEAST investigated? If a SeaOeg member goes up to a staff member and says “I want to leave now, I’m getting my things and I’m going.” and they are NOT able to go, and are held AGAINST THEIR WILL, that is false imprisonment, plain and simple. So how is this even allowed to happen? Or if a SeaOrg member is able to get to a phone and call the police, and tell them they are being held prisoner at a Scientology base, they want to leave, and the people won’t let them leave, won’t the police come and get them out? And at the very least, check out what’s going on there? I’m sorry, but it is NOT LEGAL to hold someone captive like that. I fail to understand how this can go on, and people who want to leave having to “escape” as if they are making a prison break!! SO CONFUSED!!

        • RMycroft

          Groups like Scientology have their apologists in a row to say that there’s no such thing as brainwashing.

          Brainwashed! Scholars of cults accuse each other of bad faith December 1, 1998, Charlotte Allen, Lingua Franca
          http://web.archive.org/web/20001203192600/http://linguafranca.com/9812/allen.html

          • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

            “brainwashing” is still a very popular word in the culture, and people know implicitly what it means, as non scholarly and so forth that the word is.

            It’s still an effective word, in fact Tommy Davis used it repeatedly on the John Sweeney, and any hot button word Scientology PRs use, those are the words they are trying to re-equate with their “enemies.” But those very words they know the public hates.

            And layman “brainwashing” has it’s own meaning in lay people’s heads, and I say it’s the people’s right to think what a word means, to the people’s benefit.

            Scientology’s thinking indoctrination is coercive. “brainwshing” just means that when I agree with people who ask me “Is Scientology brainwashing?” I say yes, and explain it is just a unique form of coercive manipulative acceptance of Hubbard’s prejudiced and dogmatic beliefs which Hubbard ropes the Scientology followers into. Hubbard’s ideas contain definite penalties and consequences if one gets too deep into the movement, and then one wishes to buck the whole system, one’s roped oneself into a whole lot of expected behavior one supposedly has to follow, even on one’s way out of the Hubbard movement.

            I let the average public say “brainwashing” all they want, it’s the people’s word to mean what people wish it to mean.

            • Cat Daddy

              It’s actually brain reconstructing

            • DodoTheLaser

              Or reconstructing of thinking patterns, with the accent on self-monitoring,
              in terms of thought-stopping and mis-assigningment of causes and effects.

              All based on a gradual preconditioning and agreed upon installment of Hubbard’s prepackaged model of the world view in one’s mind.

            • DodoTheLaser

              Just read the epic relevant post of Michael Leonard Tilse:
              http://tonyortega.org/2013/09/02/manuela-oliveira-a-story-of-seduction-intervention-and-betrayal/#comment-1026683645

              Snip: “My point is a scientologist is running the ‘scientology operating system’, as J. Swift would say. It only really accepts properly formatted language as direct input. Anything else is interpreted through a translation process and checked for any non-conforming concepts before being passed on.”

              Please, read his entire post. Him and I are both Exes. He nailed it.

        • kkh

          Ok, so this story about Manuela was from 3 years ago…is she still in? Did she get out? You say “Oh don’t worry, she’ll get out..” Well, from what I’ve seen, all these people who have left the church got out after 10, 20 30 YEARS!! So I was wondering if any of you knew the status on Manuela.

    • Casabeca

      You came out with a clear mind, a logical plan of action for change and a generous heart. Thank you for helping so many. You really are a hero.

    • villagedianne

      Yes Yes Yes. Not talking at the person, but listening to them, making them feel heard and understood. Then as you say, gripes come to the surface, and they feel safe to discuss their own doubts.

    • Truthiwant

      Well done, Chuck.

      I only wish I had known about you and the other people you mention many years ago. I think I could have saved myself a lot of ill spent money and false hopes.

    • Free Minds, Free Hearts

      Chuck, thank you for all that you do to help families understand how to speak to their still-ins, and you are so right about Steven Hassan’s Freedom of Mind approach. It takes a lot of patience, a lot of love, and making a safe space filled with the authentic love of family to help them get to a point where they can feel safe with their own doubts.

      I am so glad for Beatriz’s daughters – I think it means a lot that Iliana was less sure than her sister even at the beginning, and they both got out after weekly visits from their mom.

      I pray that Manuela is able to recognize the love of Yannus and Mark and make a decision to leave.

    • KNMF

      You’re a great man, Chuck.

      Saving lives.

    • Orglodyte

      Thank you, Chuck.

      I left Scientology seventeen years ago after a similar period in it. My immediate family did not leave, which split us up. I have stayed in loving contact all this time, and after one immediate, spasmodic, futile attempt at penetrating the Kevlar bubble, have followed just your approach.

      My example was my father, who never joined, and stayed in normal father-son contact. He was endlessly supportive of me, never criticizing Scientology directly, but sometimes asking innocent, thought provoking questions. He was my lifeline to the outside world. Other non-Scientologist friends were not so safe.

      Then, one day, he said just the right, heartfelt blurt, one word … I told him about an opportunity I had for making some money, and a tear came to his eye, and he said, “I’m just afraid the damn Scientology will take it away from you.”

      I stayed in for a year or so after that, and would have left no matter what, but that one sad comment had more impact on me than anything anyone else ever said to me on the subject. I knew in that moment that I was on his side, and he was on mine.

      I consider myself to be the rope back up the cliff for my family members. I support them, never criticize the organization, and I ask non-threatening questions. Slowly I see the cracks developing. One dear one is grinding to a halt on the bridge. Another, on staff, is beginning to tell me how much the job sucks, I chuckle and commiserate and maybe share a similar story. “Oh yeah, staff paychecks have always been about that size” is new information, since recruits are uniformly lied to about staff pay, and then led to believe that the ridiculous paycheck is an anomaly and is their own fault.

      It is very likely that I am the only person in the world that my family member on staff can talk freely with.

      The price I pay for this approach is a bleeding tongue. Knowing what I know, and knowing that the only reason they are frittering their lives away is the fact that they do not know these things, makes me want to just slap ’em all silly. Wake the fuck up, for crissakes!

      And then I remember my father, and how grateful I am to him for having remained, in Scientologese, a “safe terminal.” Because of him, I always had a toe out, no matter what.

      I wish I could tell you that I’ve found the magic words, or that my family is out. Seventeen years of this is a long, long time. But then I remember that my father waited just as long. If he can do it, I can. There are still good ones in there. I will be there for my family when they stumble into the light. It takes extraordinary patience.

      • Illinoisian

        “I will be there for my family when they stumble into the light. It takes extraordinary patience.”
        —So many heart rending stories today, but these two statements, so simply expressed, brought me to tears.

        • Buttons72

          Me, too!

      • Conditioner

        What a beautifully written story. You are truly blessed. I am so with you every step of the way until you are happily rejoined and whole.

      • GlibWog

        Ohh Orglodyte.. What a wise father …Just a fabulous Role Model. So glad you are OUT.. with tears flowing down my face..

        So Glad that you are out!

      • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

        Wow, makes me almost cry.

        Your dad did classic Steve Hassan book stuff, and what is cutting edge cult member help.

        • Buttons72

          Gadzooks, though Chuck… It’s the social equivalent of watching a rock be created in nature. If my family was in, I’d constantly want to storm in with a riot team and shut the place down. Based upon what I’m reading, that kind of forcefulness never works. Gadzooks, how horrible! If I lost a kid to that place, I don’t trust that I’d handle it properly.

      • cicely neville

        Your family is so blessed to have you. However long it takes, remember that love wins. You are proof of that.

      • WildaBeast

        I read this just before I had to run out of the house for a couple of hours, so I didn’t respond when I read it, but it made me feel all tight in the chest. I’m so glad you had such a wise, loving and patient father. It must be so hard to play that role now for those of your family who are still in, especially when you aren’t seeing the quick results that you must long for. Keep plugging away at it – you’re doing everything right, and as Cicely says, your love for them will win in the end. I’m rooting for you, and for them, from the fringes of the internet – for whatever it’s worth.

        • Orglodyte

          Thank you WildaBeast and everyone for your sweet replies. The fringes of the internet is where all the cool kids hang out! Love to you all.

          • DodoTheLaser

            Also, love to you and all the wise fathers (including mine).

            • GlibWog

              Awww Dodo and mine.. sigh

            • DodoTheLaser

              Hugs

            • GlibWog

              Tackle hug… laughing with my buddy…

          • Poison Ivy

            Loved your story, Orglodyte. Wise and well-written. And moving.

      • Sid_Sn

        “frittering their lives away”
        This is for me the untold tragedy of Scientology – the thousands of idealistic young people who got involved with something because they were lied to and told they would be saving humanity, but all they have done is served a cruel master, and given him the best years of their lives – years where they could have followed their dreams, met their future wives and husbands, and given their children time and love.

        It’s untold because they sign up, sadly, of their own free will. Sure, they are being deceived, but it seems that nothing can be done from a legal perspective to stop it, and so it rarely gets airtime.
        Thank you Tony and co for bringing this subject briefly into the public’s mind.

        And thank you Orglodyte for telling your story – heartrending. Keep going.

      • wontons

        Bless you for your amazing strength and your story.

        I believe in connecting with that of the Divine in everyone. It’s similar to–maybe the same as–recognizing our common humanity. I think that’s what your father did. I’m so glad he helped get you out.

        I’m a “never-in.” I was reading a harrowing book about Jonestown earlier this evening; in it, someone quotes a survivor who wisely remarked “Nobody joins a cult.” We go into things with te best of intentions, and sometimes the walls around us alter until we’re trapped.

      • Mrs Libnish

        These are the best two posts I’ve ever seen in the Bunker. I’ve learned so much from both. Thank you.

      • Buttons72

        Wow. Orglodyte, your story brought tears to my eyes. I can’t even come up with anything intelligent to say, but thank you for sharing so eloquently.

    • Gib

      The recruit cycle into scientology, I was once a recruiter.

      1. To recruit, in scientology parlance, is to rejuvenate, and specifically a person’s purpose.
      2. find a ruin
      3. push the importance button.
      4. the person has had wins receiving auditing, doing courses.

      Manuela would have been an easy recruit cycle for a good recruiter. She had the purpose of dancing & producing which was being ruined by her connections into Hollywood & the men only wanting sex. The recruiter only had to push this hard and get her agreement that is what was ruining her life. The SO CC could help her to achieve her purpose with the upcoming scientology radio station..

      The SO and scientology in general pushes peoples button of “a feeling of importance”, straight out of Dale Carnegie 1936 book. Hubbard used that big time. It’s everywhere in his writings. IE, only the scientologists can help, star high goal, your help is needed, clearing the planet, etc.

      She had wins in scientology. It was just a matter of pushing all these things on her and getting her to agree, to agree. Once they got that agreement, done deal.

      If only to reverse that………..and rekindle a person’s purpose or goal outside of scientology. But, it’s the wins that also stick a person to the cult.

      • GlibWog

        Welcome Gib! Glad you could join us!

      • Eclipse-girl

        welcome to the bunker

      • Kelly

        Great post!

      • Observer

        Thanks and welcome, Gib. Insight from exes is so helpful to us never-ins’ understanding of cult machinations.

    • GSioux

      Steve Hassan will be presenting at the International Cultic Association presentation in Philadelphia on Sunday, October 13th. The theme is Mental-Health Issues in Cult-Related Interventions. I am not advertising – will be a participant since I have a family member in Scientology and I am a professional working with ex-cult members.

    • OTVIIIisGrrr8!

      We in the Church of Scientology are only trying to handle Wog Insanity and the Reactive Mind — especially when it is triggered by Mc Donald’s Chicken McNuggets: http://otviiiisgrrr8.com/2013/09/02/the-reactive-mind-and-chicken-mcnuggets/

      • DodoTheLaser

        You have to admit though – the lady was pretty Tone 40 about her request. Impressive.

        • MadMaxi

          I can’t help but wonder what is going through the mind of the person in the car behind hers.

          • DodoTheLaser

            “Are they out of Chicken McNuggets again?”

      • Jgg2012

        OT8, I think Scientology is more like Burger King.

  • Graham

    “millions of members in 184 countries.” Well we know with absolute certainty that there are a max of 2418 in the UK as that’s the number of people who admitted to being $camatologists in the recent census. So let’s assume that every single country in the world has similar numbers, with ten times as many in the USA. That would give 193 x 2 418 = 466 674 which is not even HALF a million. If you want to be taken seriously $camatology, you need to show some solid evidence to back up your figures, otherwise people might think you are just a small handful of pseudo-religious zealots on the fringes of the Internet.

    • Eclipse-girl

      They do not have to show you anything. Their data is only for the indoctrinated. They can lie to wogs. Having watched a number of Co$ vids recently, do all the graphs look the same?

      • WildaBeast

        {Straight up and vertical!}

        • Mooser

          I just can’t get my mind around it! If I went through all that trouble to get my psychological hooks into somebody, I’d be very reluctant to pass the money on up the line without taking a big chunk for myself, for one thing. And how do they pay? Cash? Credit card? Check?
          And what on earth is the attraction?

          • Eclipse-girl

            I thought people did get a small cut of new monies brought in. It helps makes it worth your while to recruit.

      • Semper Phi

        Yes, they all look the same, and they look the same as they have for years.

  • Lark Smith

    Arghhh. So, to escape the sexual predatory piranhas of Hollyweird this beautiful young lady jumped into a shark tank with the Siloons. It makes you want to cry, rant, and rage all at the same time. I hope she finds her way sooner rather later. At least Iliana and Veronica Galvez were able to find their way home. What a great Mom they have!
    Great story Tony and Brian

  • Krew13

    Cruise would say: “But I know, OK? I know! And I know that I know! And the orgs know too. They know that I know that they know I know they know. These are the times, people. These are the times that I just go poof! And uh, I’d love to romp, I really would. But there’s too much to do. I want to help the people in Syria. But there are too many people with guns there and I’d rather stay in my mansion in Hollywood.”

    • Eclipse-girl

      I know

  • scnethics

    Everyone I’ve spoken to about their Sea Org recruitment was lied to about what they would be doing in the Sea Org. None of them left when they realized they were lied to.

    • BananaSplits8

      I suspect that if they left when they realized they were lied to, the average employment span of a Sea Oger would be less than two months.

    • DMSTCC

      Any good stories about the realizations(ness)?

    • phronsie

      I almost instinctively down arrowed this before I remembered that doesn’t mean I hate the substance of what you are saying, but that I disagree with it! But, man, I do hate the substance of what you are saying because it rings so true and makes me so damn sad.

    • Still_On_Your_Side

      I keep thinking about Leah Remini’s sister who also was promised she could continue dancing, and continue with her gymnastics. Once she arrived in Floida, she was told in no uncertain terms that wasn’t going to happen.

  • 0tessa

    Private Dancer is now Private Benjamin. But, I can’t laugh.

  • Spackle Motion

    Tony, did anyone consult Steve Hassan before staging this intervention? The confrontational strategy sometimes drives people further into the cult. I really hope the failed intervention didn’t make her more determined to stay.

    • WhereIsSHE

      Sort of shocking if he wasn’t involved or consulted.

      It would be interesting to hear/read his thoughts about the Oliveira intervention.

      Does the pleading of a loved one get through?
      Many parents, siblings, significant others have attempted that route with unsuccessful results.

      There she was… outside… hugging and kissing Yannus…
      And then… *poof* (or as Mister Romp-less might say, “Whoooosh!!! Zzzzzzzzzzzz!hahaha)….
      She was GONE. AGAIN.

      Here is an essay written by a cult member who claims his parents brought Steve Hassan in to help “deprogram” him. http://twelvetribes.com/controversies/james-cases-account-his-de-programming

      (or, I should say, allegedly written, since I have no way of independently confirming who actually wrote it)

      Here is a portion (just to show the example of how this person claims Steve interacted with him, etc):

      “So they brought in a man that they had paid to come down from Boston to counsel me. His name is Steve Hassan. Twenty years ago he left the Unification Church and became what he called an “exit counselor.” He’s written a book or two, at least, and has a lot to say about mind control, specifically about the mind control used by the Moonies (the Unification Church) on him, and also about other groups that he considers himself knowledgeable about, including the Community. So, presenting himself as an expert, he sat down to explain to me what he had gone through twenty or so years ago as a college student being approached by the Unification Church. He painfully labored to explain to me how they deceived him and led him astray through the doctrine and information he was given and by not giving him the whole story about what they were doing, gradually bringing him into more and more knowledge about the Unification Church, using fear and making him feel like if he didn’t listen to what they had to say, or if he went elsewhere looking for information, that it would mean he was going to be influenced by Satan. So they convinced him that he needed to believe what they said, and do what they said, eventually even to the point of believing that Sun Myung Moon was the Messiah incarnate, and that his word was the word of God, and that what he said to do was what God was telling him to do, and it was indisputable and infallible, and if anyone spoke out against it they were of the devil.

      So his implication in this was that it wasn’t really his fault, but that he had been led astray – not that he had given himself to the deception, but that he had been tricked. So having been tricked as he implied, he later found his way out of the Unification Church. He was in a car accident after having been one of the main leaders of the group. While he was in the hospital from the car accident, apparently his sister contacted him. He agreed to stay with her while he recovered, because of his inability to function, which would have caused other members of the Unification Church to have to take care of him. So instead of taking them away from the Unification Church he saw it as an opportunity to let her take care of him, and let these other members go about doing the business of the church — “God’s will,” as he said.

      While he was living with his sister, his father found out that he was there and within five days his father had woken him up to the reality of what he was doing, and he was able to then recover from this mind control that he claimed to be under, this fear that he claims to have been under at the time.

      Then he went on to describe the ways mind control works, and how it was used by the Communist Chinese, how it was used by other groups including the Brethren (a group who’ve been around some 20-plus years, following a man named Jim Robertson). He even showed me a video about the Brethren and what it was like. Apparently they believe they’re the chosen people of God, and are doing His will, and they ride around on bicycles, live in abandoned houses, gather all their food out of dumpsters, and cut off all ties with their families permanently, never communicating again with them. He described how people can be led into something like that, tricked and fooled into giving away their own conscience and their own free will, and how it wasn’t their fault that they had done this, but they were under a fear tactic used by these so-called mind-controlling people. Then he went back to the topic my parents had started with.

      He talked about how I couldn’t have made a rational choice about the Community apart from hearing both sides of the story, specifically critics of the Community and former members of the Community. Then he went on to say, “So we’d like you to talk to a former member of the Community. Have you ever talked to a former member of the Community?”

  • WhereIsSHE

    Why don’t the Luglis file a lawsuit against the same corporate defendants (as in Monique Rathbun’s suit) and David Miscavige in CALIFORNIA. Miscavige and RTC can’t escape the California courts’ jurisdiction.

    • Eclipse-girl

      A key aspect of Mosey’s suit was that she had never been involved with $cientology.

      • WhereIsSHE

        I understand that.
        But the two are not mutually exclusive, legally speaking.
        They don’t have a right to harass former “church” members either.
        They could still be found liable for the same types of torts.

        • Eclipse-girl

          I understand what you mean about harassment but I thought others have tried to fight and not been successful or that it took 20 yrs and a lot of up front money to keep the case(s) going.

        • Spackle Motion

          Yes, they are not mutually exclusive but remember that Marty signed countless NDAs and striking the cult directly by initiating litigation and/or a TRO may open pandoras box for him to get sued like Debbie Cook. Marty is not a popular figure (i.e. would struggle for donations) and probably would have a very tough time paying for prolonged litigation using his NDAs as causes of action.

          Mosey is a sympathetic figure, who has specific damages through no fault of her own except for her marriage to Marty. She is in a better position to get her desired outcome, which is to be left alone. She signed nothing, has no claim other than being abused and harassed for no reason, which will take her further than if Marty filed this lawsuit.

          tl; dr – Mosey will less likely be slapped with counter suits, which would bog down this entire action and push off her desired outcome further.

  • Ivan Mapother

    About four years ago, a young, up and coming actress named Rhea Lando walked away from a promising career and joined to Sea Org. Does anyone have any more info on her?

  • Watergate

    “What’s your RUIN? Scientology will solve that.” GOTCHA!

    • Illinoisian

      “”What’s your RUIN?”

      The sickening irony: when a person is being asked this question they are, at that moment, looking into the eyes of their “ruin”, don’t know it, and may not realize it until they’ve lived through years of manipulation, financial exploitation, physical and mental pain. I hope that the info that is spreading through books (‘coming in paperback’) and the internet (where the ‘fringes’ now might as well be the ‘center’) can inoculate people against the danger in this moment, when they are on the threshold of being infected.

  • villagedianne

    A sad and frustrating story. She feels that God led her to Scientology. It’s hard to penetrate such a mindset, especially when combined with COS mental manipulation. The most hopeful part was seeing her kiss her boyfriend. That may be more powerful than all the verbal arguments.
    If God has a reason, maybe it is to shine an even brighter light on the abuses of COS. It’s a pretty big synchronicity that those two young women were freshly out, knew Manuela, and were able to directly refute the lies Manuela told about conditions in the Sea Org.
    I just hope there will be more to this story, and things will turn out well for Manuela.

    • Gerard Plourde

      If her view of God is as a caring, personal deity (“God is love”) the dissonance between that and the day to day reality of the Sea Org may bring her around. But if she sees God as a distant rule maker her escape may be a long time coming.

      • BananaSplits8

        “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

        Susan B. Anthony

        • WildaBeast

          ^^^^^^ That’s so awesome I’d damn near get it tattooed onto me.

        • 1subgenius

          A keeper, for sure.

  • Cheryl

    Looking at their recruitment tactics, they’re almost like the press gangs who roamed the streets of towns in the England of the 18th century hitting young men over the head. When they woke up they found that they’d signed up to the King’s navy with no prospect of seeing their families for years.

  • KNMF

    A lot of times, people who’s lives are in flux, just want a simple road. They want to be told what to do. They are ready-made for a cult like Scientology. Then they have “spiritual experience” while under the hypnosis (auditing) or during Hubbard’s drills. And that sets the hook.

  • monkeyknickers

    I wish they all would’ve asked Manuela where my sister, and if she’s okay. I wish they knew to ask. God knows I’ve spent endless hours trying to teach these people her name.

    • Free Minds, Free Hearts

      Monkey, I so hope that your sister is okay. You have no idea where she is stationed?

      • monkeyknickers

        I’m almost positive she’s in Florida now.

        • Casabeca

          If your sister has any of your intelligence and sass, I am very hopeful for her awakening.

    • q-bird

      hugging you now monkey sister – You & Howdy… others too dammit…

    • Eclipse-girl

      Give Chuck a call. Maybe he has contacts?

    • Casabeca

      Maybe Tony could share an email from you with them? It would be so reassuring to know something.

  • Mooser

    Hey! Hi there, all you small handful of antireligious zealots on the fringes of the Internet. And don’t think I don’t detect a hint of anti-Semitism in that “zealots” and “fringes”, too. But be that as it may, and it may well be, maybe, there’s one thing you can count on in this crazy-mixed-up flushuggana world, and that’s this: Damita Jo Freeman was no Scilontologist or whatever its called.

    • Joy to the World

      Super Bad!

    • sugarplumfairy

      But I bet they tried to snag her.. Probably James Brown too..

      • Mooser

        Damita Jo had her eye on being something more than James Brown’s private dancer. And she became a noted and much sought after choreographer.

        • sugarplumfairy

          I meant that I bet co$ tried to recruit her and they prob tried to recruit James Brown too.. I guess I didn’t dangle my modifiers properly..

    • 1subgenius

      Someone stole the show from James Brown!
      And he let her!

      • Mooser

        Someone stole the show from James Brown!
        And he let her!”

        There was no damn stealin’! (“The Big Payback”) Don Cornelius and James Brown asked Damita Jo Freeman, Soul Train’s most creative dancer, to dance with the James Brown performance of “Super Bad”.

        And wow, she explicated the song through movement perfectly. You might remember she turned up in “Private Benjamin”. She’s still working, choreographing, today.

        • 1subgenius

          To communicate is to be misunderstood.
          What I meant was she was good, and that he was gracious enough to let her grab the attention.
          The expression “steal the show” …..oh, I give up.

          • Mooser

            “To communicate is to be misunderstood.”

            Or, more likely, to communicate with me is to get an earful about Ms. Freeman, who I much admire.

    • Mark

      “Flushuggana?” Ikh bin tzermisht. Like maybe life is one long trip to the toilet?

      • Mooser

        “Like maybe life is one long trip to the toilet?”

        You’ll have to forgive me, I enjoy using MAD-magazine inflected Yiddish. A pupick should grow in my bellybutton, but I can’t stop.

    • Robert Eckert

      Thetan Train!

  • Victoria Pandora

    You said Yannus has gone quiet. I figure he has been threatened by now. That old holy scripture by Ron; “If possible ruin them utterly.”

    • BananaSplits8

      It’s Mark, Manuela’s brother who has gone quiet.

      I wondered about that myself, though. Meh, then again OSA’s skeletal crew is a little busy with other more important matters at the moment, like down-voting posts on fringe-of-the-internet-blogs-and-articles-that-nobody-reads.

      • loulai

        Or maybe it’s just “courage to accept the things I cannot change”. For the moment his sister has made her choice.

    • Krew13

      I wish the entire moviegoing public would join forces to ruin utterly the careers of Sciloon actors. The domestic grosses of Cruise’s recent flicks have been low anyway. A few more duds and Top Gun may start to question his membership of this evil cult. I’m boycotting his shit in the meantime.

      • Mooser

        “I’m boycotting his shit in the meantime.”

        I heard so much about that stupid “Top Gun” I actually watched it. It stunk. I’ve got to say, it wasn’t as bad as “Hercules”. Who on earth thought of making a movie where the hero has a bigger bust than the heroine?

  • Wow, what a powerful and truly heartbreaking account. It’s amazing to me that with all the information available online now that they can still lure people in. This is a stark reminder of how dangerous this toxic organization still is, even as it’s slowly dying.

    Much love and respect to everyone who intervened on this young woman’s behalf. These people are the true humanitarians in Scientology.

    • Free Minds, Free Hearts

      So true what you say. It is hard to believe that anyone will still be taken in by these false promises. Manuela really believes that Mad Hatter will help her dance career while she is working 12 hours a day as a Sea Org member? But with all the sec checks, I think that any doubts she have will quickly be pushed back to her as her own fault.

  • Kimberly Gooden Bumpas

    I’ve always wondered, where is the fringe of the Internet anyway? I’m obviously on it Lol. I worry for this young woman. I worry about the repercussions of this story on her. I hope she finds herself on the way out very soon.

    • marti

      I thought the fringe started at The Bunker.

    • BananaSplits8

      “I’ve always wondered, where is the fringe of the Internet anyway?”

      On top?

      • RMycroft
        • BananaSplits8

          You get me.

        • 1subgenius

          When I hear of fringe, I cringe.
          No, not really, but for some unholy reason I think of “I got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle.”

          • sugarplumfairy

            I think of my Italian grandmother’s decorating taste in lamps, curtains and sofas..

          • ze moo

            I got to the end of the internet once. They someone invented ‘twerking’. It took a while to cruise through that one. There will never be a ‘fringe’ of the internet as long as cat videos exist.

        • sugarplumfairy

          I always suspected the fringe was in OK..

    • tetloj

      here be dragons

  • Krew13

    This is how tough guy Cruise confronts and shatters suppression.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3IM2IG9-No

    • KJP in Portland

      Sorry friends. I’m too livid and hateful of this twirp to say anything constructive. Maybe someday he’ll get a good dose of real psychiatry, lol.

  • monkeyknickers

    Jesus I can’t read anymore of this. These are all people who “serve” or “served” with my sister. She left her baby to eat scrambled eggs in the commissary and to tell others to lie? I was at that building every day for two weeks before I wasn’t allowed on the property anymore. Not ONCE did they even BOTHER to lie to me. They just refused to let me see her. And I’m profoundly ashamed to say that I took Ash with me once. Using your own niece to leverage your way in to rescue your idiot sister . . . jesus christ.

    I hate Scientology. I hate it. I HATE it.

    • Kitz

      *Hugs* You do what you have to save the ones you love. Keep strong and hoping that some day she will wake up to the truth. Ash is lucky to have you!!

    • CraftLass

      I’ve been fighting tears since I started reading this article. You just broke the dam. My heart breaks for you and that wonderful little girl. Don’t be ashamed of trying anything and everything, desperate times DO call for desperate measures, it’s a cliche for a reason.

      Ash may have lost in the mother lottery, but she sure won in the aunt category. Your depth of caring is palpable even in the cold black & white text that is all we can see.

      Huge *hugs* to you and Ash! Thank goodness you’ve given her the opportunity to be a kid instead of stuck in that world with her mother. You are amazing! Don’t ever forget that.

      • monkeyknickers

        Oh sweetheart. If you were here I would give you enormous hugs, feed you something nice, and we could do shrinky dinks with Ash together.

        I really appreciate – really really – all the nice things people have said about me.

        But we ALL would do it, no? All of us would do it. All of us would fight for our children and our family. I’m nothing special. AT ALL. Unless you count being able to juggle. Then . . .ya . . . . .I’m special.

        I guess I got a little jealous that some people get celebrity star power and I can’t find her at all.

        I love my sister. She potty trained me. She took me to the park. She kept our half brother from kicking my ass. She is GOOD. I know she is good.

        I love her.

        In two days her beautiful, precious, whip smart daughter is going to be mine. Just as SHE became my grandma’s (she’s all native – we don’t share a mother). And her daughter doesn’t even miss her anymore.

        So . . . . yeah. I’m really not doing anything special, and I’m no fucking superhero. I’m a midlevel musician trying to hustle an income out of a nothing. We all would do this for our family. We all would do these things.

        • monkeyknickers

          DAMMIT I HATE DISQUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERY TIME I TRY TO RESPOND IT POSTS THE SAME THING.

          I AM AN ANGRY MONKEY.

        • CraftLass

          Heh. Pretty much the first paragraph was almost what I wrote to you! Of course, assuming that this reply was meant for me (looking at your next comment down, oh, Disqus!). We often think alike, eh? I also make some pretty mean cocktails when you’re able…

          Thing is, there are some really shitty families out there. So, what you are doing is a very, very good thing and maybe not very unusual, but also above many, many people, IME. To top it off, you are passionate about truth and knowledge, which is the best thing someone can pass on to the next generation. I maintain that Ash is lucky that she has you, not just to give her a home, but to be a positive influence. Sounds like she had a pretty rough early experience and you’re doing your best to keep her safe and moving ahead with her life. And you’ll be well-prepared when she starts asking hard questions about her mother someday, just by trying to keep on top of the people who stole her away.

          I absolutely can not imagine not knowing where my sister is. There are no words for how sorry I feel for you about the situation you are in with her, and for every single person disconnected or even just with any family or friends inside. I hope that she knows, somewhere beneath everything she is living, how much you will always love her. I hope that saves her someday and you get her back.

          Every single person fighting for someone they love, to me, is a hero. That’s exactly what all the old tales are about for a reason. 🙂

    • phronsie

      I’m so sorry you have had to deal with this, sweetheart. Biggest HUGS!!!

    • Lark Smith

      I can only imagine your frustration and loss, my deepest sympathies. Big hug sent your way.

    • Eclipse-girl

      I was thinking of your’s and Ash’s story when I read this article.

      I hope you are feeling well and the twins are giving you bladder a break. (((HUGS)))

    • Still_On_Your_Side

      I have to admit that I am one of those people who tear up watching videos of mother cats nursing puppies, and mother dogs nursing kittens; videos that show how universal the mother-instinct is. Only the most evil people try to destroy that instinct, though drugs like crack, and through serious psychological manipulation such the brainwashing of the Church of Scientology. While the CoS has destroyed the maternal side of your sister, it has made you tough as nails and your strength is amazing. Yes, it is a tragedy that her biological mother is not there, but your niece has you, and you sound like a magnificent mother.

      • monkeyknickers

        Oh sweetheart. If you were here I would give you enormous hugs, feed
        you something nice, and we could do shrinky dinks with Ash together.

        I really appreciate – really really – all the nice things people have said about me.

        But
        we ALL would do it, no? All of us would do it. All of us would fight
        for our children and our family. I’m nothing special. AT ALL. Unless you
        count being able to juggle. Then . . .ya . . . . .I’m special.

        I guess I got a little jealous that some people get celebrity star power and I can’t find her at all.

        I
        love my sister. She potty trained me. She took me to the park. She kept
        our half brother from kicking my ass. She is GOOD. I know she is good.

        I love her.

        In
        two days her beautiful, precious, whip smart daughter is going to be
        mine. Just as SHE became my grandma’s (she’s all native – we don’t share
        a mother). And her daughter doesn’t even miss her anymore.

        So
        . . . . yeah. I’m really not doing anything special, and I’m no fucking
        superhero. I’m a midlevel musician trying to hustle an income out of a
        nothing. We all would do this for our family. We all would do these
        things.

        Leave a message…

    • Interested

      Talked about you yesterday with an old and wonderful friend, told her your story… You are an inspiration in you way… You saved your neice

    • Sunny Sands

      I would have taken the child there to try to get through to the mother, too. It should have worked under most normal conditions.

    • Nevermore

      MK, take a deep breath, think of the good you’ve done for Ash, and tried to do for your sister. Nothing to be ashamed of.

    • Robert Eckert

      (((((((MK)))))))

  • RMycroft

    Off-topic: Narconon’s expansion plans in Ontario make the Toronto Star front page. Clark Carr outdoes himself in prevarication.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/09/02/narconon_meets_fierce_opposition_in_hockley_valley.html

    • WildaBeast

      Thanks, RMycroft. I went and commented, though of course the Star premoderates. Put in a plug for Tony’s site, told anyone reading to check out his Narconon series. Fucking fuckers, GTFO!

    • Artoo45

      After all these years, I still get apoplectic when the cult shills lie. The opposition up there needs to ratchet up the rhetoric and have http://www.tonyortega.com at the bottom of every sign and letter.

      • TonyOrtega

        Dot org, actually.

        • Artoo45

          D’oh! I’m only here every day . . . slinks off sheepishly.

          • Kelly

            You can change it with the edit function

            • Artoo45

              True, but my overt is already in my folder . . .

  • Artoo45

    A stunning, heartbreaking scoop to wake up to. I honestly can’t imagine a better group of people for her to be exposed to than the gathering at the Lugli’s home. I have to say that even though I am well versed in the life of the internet, I still am bothered by seeing and hearing conversations of people who don’t know they’re being recorded. That said, this article was the best thing to do to show the cult that they have swallowed a ticking time bomb. She is now a PTS/SP explosion waiting to happen. May she give them all terminal indigestion. And to the Galvez sisters, you go girls! Welcome to T. Ortega’s Great End Times Carnival of Enturbulation & Entheta . . .

    • villagedianne

      I have to say, the recording aspect bothered me as well.

  • villagedianne

    I wonder if Manuela has yet been exposed to the use of the word “wog” in Scientology. Will she be aware that this word, back in the day, would have been used as an epithet toward her Asian boyfriend?

    • WildaBeast

      What definition of ‘wog’ is given to new Scientologists when they have to word-clear it? If they’re just given a Merriam-Webster’s and told to look it up, she might find out real quick how racist Elron was. But I somehow don’t think that’s what happens…

    • music8r

      The word “wog” is introduced right away. It’s part of every Scilon’s vocabulary. The dictionary she will be handed will be the Scilon Tech Dictionary. The definitions read something like: “Homo Sapiens; an ordinary, garden-variety humanoid; someone who is not even trying; a non-Scientologist.” [Paraphrased]

  • music8r

    My family attempted a similar intervention when I was first getting involved. Sadly it only made me more determined to prove them wrong. The Scilons will make every effort now to help her prove them wrong. She is now receptive enough to buy into the Dead Agent tactics and she will be made to “realize” that she narrowly escaped being trapped by a bunch of SPs.

    I’m sorry to say, I believe this attempt may well have convinced her that she is doing the right thing rather than put any doubts in her head about the cult. God, I hope I am wrong.

    • aquaclara

      Glad you’re out, Music8r. What finally broke through for you?

      • music8r

        I was in my early 20s when I got involved in Scientology. I was a pretty naïve and trusting kid, rather immature, I would say. After I was in for awhile and on staff, I simply “felt” awful, and wanting to be a good kid, a good Scientologist, I took to blaming myself. I felt guilty about feeling guilty for pushing things like the 2:00pm Thursday game. There was a cognitive dissonance between what I thought was positive in Scientology and what I was actually observing among Scientologists.

        Scientology was supposed to be about becoming a better person, and helping others to better themselves. It really bothered me that staff members would talk behind people’s backs, especially public Scientologists. They would be kind and generous to someone’s face, and then talk trash behind their back the very next moment. Sure that kind of behavior exists everywhere, but this was extreme and prevalent, especially among higher ranking staff. This was the culture. Being a pretty insecure kid, I wondered what these people said about me behind my back. Part of the lesson I should have learned there was that priest-penitent confidentiality is an utter lie.

        I distanced myself slowly and quietly, even fooling myself that I was actually carefully sliding away. That was how I could escape the mind trap I set up. Once I was out and could safely have my own thoughts without editing them I wondered, “How can I be Clear, and still be so screwed up?” And, “How can people who are NOT Scientologists be so much better off than I am, if I am supposedly Clear?” Once I began allowing this line of inquiry, the flood gates opened.

        By this time I had pretty much forgotten all the arguments my family members had made about kids being put in the chain lockers aboard the ship, prison camp conditions, physical and emotional abuse, and Hubbard’s drug use. Even years after I was out, before I started doing research, I just assumed these were sensationalist exaggerations by extremists bent on destroying the church for their own reasons. At that point, I was simply content to get on with my life and hope that someday the church might reform itself. I thought that if it is true that we are immortal beings, the Church of Scientology might be a decent organization in a couple thousand years. LOL! (And if the immortality line is bogus, then it really doesn’t matter.)

        Then I started doing a little research. Story after story after story after story… of abuses I had not imagined. The bits and pieces my family had tried to tell me about were nothing in comparison. And thus, I learned the Truth of the Bunker motto – Scientology: It’s Always Worse Than You Think!

        Oddly enough, after having been out for many years and not even thinking about Scientology except for a passing thought, as soon as I started reading Jeff Hawkins’ book and made an attempt to email Chuck Beatty because his name seemed familiar, the phone calls from the church started. They NEVER let go.

        • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

          Don’t be paranoid honestly. The Scino’s have perfected ways of digging up “old” names and phone numbers.

          They are on a massive books push these last several years.

          To get them to stop calling, emailing, promo (I urge you to just ship the paper promo to me or others, we save the promo, index and file it, historically), but if you want it to stop, just say these magic words, over and over, and it will all stop:

          “Please respect my rights to not be a Scientologist! I am not supportive of official Scientology.

          “I don’t believe that Xenu existed. I don’t believe Xenu caused the Wall of Fire, and I do not believe that humans are infested with tens of thousands, or more, of “body thetans.”

          “I do not plan on ever doing Scientology services, I don’t plan on going Clear, and I don’t plan on doing the high volume exorcism of the dead space alien souls that Scientologists learn they need to exorcise OT levels 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.”

          “Scientology is not going to be my religion, please stop disseminating to me, respect my religious rights to change away from Scientology..”

          cut and paste this, and your calls, emails and promo letters will stop within a couple months, and if they start up again, just cut and past the above into future requests to be taken off their call=in and dissemination lists.

          • music8r

            Thanks, Chuck, I will try that. I have been reporting each call to the FCC and even called my local police and the FBI. Now I have started blocking their calls, but they just call from different numbers.

            I just cut and pasted that and am printing it out. I’ll give it a try! 🙂

            Thanks again!

          • Spackle Motion

            Chuck, I always thought that if you answered the phone by reciting some of the OT levels, the calls would stop sooner than a few months. Is this not a recommended approach?

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              Yes, that would be even more hilariously effective!

              But one thing, what Hubbard didn’t do, was simply explain how Xenu is just the bad guy who caused the ‘body thetan” surplus and problem, and how those body thetans infest us, and that simply, the OT levels are high volume exoricsm (as opposed to just handling one or two measly demons inhabiting one. And they don’t even know that OT levels 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are exrorcism to get rid of the body thetans! They don’t know that every one of those OT levels are exorcism, more and more body thetan handling. That’s a whole lot of exorcism, and the movement members don’t even know it.

              yea, any fun hilarious way, but the words Xenu and ‘body thetans” work miracles, that is until they let their members at the lower levels off the penalty hook for talking about those words publicly, which is a huge step if Scientology allows that.

              But Xenu and “body thetans” discussed simply and clearly, usually is effective by themselves.

              If you want to have fun with them, while getting them to cease sending you the promotion, then ask Scientology sales callers:

              “Hey, did you hear the LRH lecture on YouTube, where LRH tells how Xenu caused the Wall of Fire? I can play the section where LRH tells how Xenu caused the “body thetans” problem we all have today. LRH tells how Xenu implanted all the ‘body thetans” and it explains why OT levels 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 is all about handling our surplus “body thetans” that infest us! Do you want to hear LRH, it’s Class 8 lecture 11, and it’s on the internet!”

              Just telling staff that the Class 8 lecture that explains why Scientologists do OT levels 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and that this lecture pretty much explains, if you think about it, why today there is so much exorcism that has to be done. It’s totally new news to the vast bulk of Scientologists, most of whom quit, before even finding this out what their religion is about.

              So getting them to stop sending you promo can be fun and help those Scientology staff understand their religion too, since the people in the movement aren’t going to tell them the secrets for free!

        • MissCandle

          Thank you for sharing your personal story.
          Edit: I am glad you are out.

        • aquaclara

          What a remarkable journey. Be proud that you kept your sense of self throughout the bad days….this has to be so tough, given the complete and overwhelming doctrinal ion that is bent on taking over all of oneself.

          Your family must have been so happy to have you back. Congratulations on your escape and starting a new life. Keep sharing….please.

          (HUGS) to you….glad you’re here.

    • Artoo45

      Because of the very public nature of her meeting with family and friends, there is the possibility that the cult will see her as a PTS poison pill now and spit her out. It depends on how they treat her in the next 24 hours. Though it would be incredibly stupid, I think they well punish her for her transgressions/affiliations. Because they’re the Sea Org, I don’t think they’ll be able to help themselves. And punishing her would reinforce what she’s heard at the Lugli’s home. The cult in in a no-win situation with her.

      • music8r

        I do hope you are right. I am concerned that they are so desperate for recruits that they will lure her in even further by treating her humanely and sheltering her from what will surely be in store for her. Then, of course, it will be part of her Ethics handling to convince her family how wonderful her life is. Once they give up and quiet down in a year or so, then her rights will slowly deteriorate until she has given up all sense of self and only parrots the party line, thinking she is speaking on her own behalf.

        • Artoo45

          I certainly could be wrong, so your scenario is a possibility, but from what I’ve learned here, and in years of watching the cult, they just aren’t that sophisticated in their thinking. Look at how rudimentary and childish their harassment of the Rathbuns and Rinders have been. Nothing sophisticated or sinister, just stupid, ham-fisted cloddery. Now, maybe they’ve hired an outside PR firm to coach the Loyal Officers on how to keep recruits with honey instead of dogsh•t.

  • Anon!

    Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on the subject in the same way as Chuck Beatty, David Love, or Steven Hassan. However, $cn and its many cruel practices have touched my life in a way that is permanent and, sometimes, quite painful.

    In this piece of Tony’s growing body of written work, there are a few things *I* would like to emphasize, and do them in the order that works best for you. One, learn all you can about $cn, next, read as much as you can, and finally, take care of yourself, when your loved one is “ready” to leave this will make you better able to help the former $cn.

    First, learn about $cn from the outside, going in with the idea of helping someone is escape is dangerous!! to one’s: health, finances, family, career, education, etc. Talk to others, read this blog… whatever you can do. Search engines are helpful, terms like: fair game, disconnection, Operation Snow White, Operation Freakout, Arnaldo Lerma, and more will help you gain understanding of “the nature of the beast” that is $cn.

    Next, read… Steven Hassan’s books are very! good and well-respected in the field. **Warning, some of the content in these books can be rather intense. Some of the additional reading I have done and recommend are: “Blown for Good” Marc Headley; “My Billion Year Contract” Nancy Many; Abuse at the Top” Amy Scobee; Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Cult of Confusion, Lawrence Wright; Inside Scientology: the Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion, Janet Reitman; “The Scandal of Scientology” Paulette Cooper. PAulette, Janet and Lawrence’s books are written by professional journalists, the others I have suggested are by former $cn members. . For the record, I have read ALL the books whose titles I have listed and am now reading through Mr. Hassan’s several titles.

    Finally, take care of oneself. This is what I consider to be the keystone in one’s life,especially where $cientology is involved. Maintaining your health, in all aspects, IMO, is requisite, coping with $cientology it’s like running a marathon. Take care of your career and education, these could be invaluable tools as time goes on. Also, if you have spiritual practices, meditate or whatever works best for YOU, continue, as *I* find it to be part of the strength I need in such situations.

    Personally, in addition to these, I do what I can to stay close to my family, loved ones, friends, and reassure them that, to the best of my ability, I will do what I can to help. If I don’t know the next step, I have associates I can contact that offer assistance as well.

    Best wishes to all.

  • Michelle Barnes

    This will probably be an unpopular response, but…

    I got really angry as I read this–at Manuela. She wasn’t born into the cult. She’s not being held against her will. She knows now all the “entheta” that’s out there, because of the intervention. And all of her people are outside the cult, so that she loses nothing if she leaves. Furthermore, EVERYONE should be so lucky to have people who care about them like Yannus and Mark care for her. Yet she throws it all away, it seems, because she thinks it will further her career. Not everyone joins the cult because they think they are going to somehow help the world. Even if they do, it obviously becomes clear pretty quickly that it’s all a bunch of lies–like it did to Iliana and Veronica. Scientology appeals to certain celebrities and others because it strokes their egos somehow. She’s obviously getting something out of it. Someone like Yannus deserves better.

    • Eclipse-girl

      I would suggest that you read up on how people get sucked into the cult. They play mind games with you. LOTS of smart , caring people have been sucked in. Be grateful you were not preyed on when your were vulnerable. Having a small measure of empathy for others would help.

    • Missionary Kid

      What you’re not realizing is that she is a foreigner, and while she speaks English quite well, (probably better than I) she was dropped into a different culture. She probably felt isolated, and (this is my imagination) her natural Australian friendliness and directness was mistaken by the producers she met as an openness to sexual advances.

      It is not a good experience for anyone trying to break into Hollywood, but it is much harder for a person coming from another country.

      She was also probably frustrated at the lack of success and her injury. That made her vulnerable, and cults use that disorientation and frustration of people so suck them in.

      As the old saying goes, “Man wants a blue suit, turn on the blue light.” Co$ turns on the blue light by promising whatever the person wants to get them sucked in.

      • BananaSplits8

        “She was also probably frustrated at the lack of success and her injury. That made her vulnerable, and cults use that disorientation and frustration of people so suck them in.”

        Yet, for her time in LA, she had built a respectable resumé. It’s not like all she had to show for her stay was 12 months worth of bartending gigs.

        Neither the article or Yannus imply that Manuela’s injury was career ending, but whatever concerns Manuela had about it, it definitely seems like the cos’ point of entry. It’s like an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode: you get done in by yourself.

    • Free Minds, Free Hearts

      She deserves all the compassion we can muster. She is a victim of an evil mind control cult that preys on the weak. If you look at who gets sucked in, it is people at a vulnerable stage who respond to the cult’s promises. And LRH was a master of the hard sell – they are told what their ruin is, and that only the cult can fix it.

    • Artoo45

      There but for the fickle winds of chance go, well . . . all of us. Even Miscavige can be seen as just another of Hubbard’s victims, even though the apprentice has far exceeded the master in the dark arts. Think of all of our beloved exes here. Smart, warm, funny, compassionate people. All of them in for one reason or another. We oppose the cult because we care about the people trapped in it. You may want to rethink that post.

    • Still_On_Your_Side

      You are not alone in your lack of understanding of the loss of free will, our entire judicial structure has the same problem. Thirty years ago, police were told to walk a battering husband around the block until he “cools down” and they left the wife and kids, often bleeding, alone. Their orders were to stay out of the family’s “problems.” Now police go through domestic violence training, they offer help to battered families, and they arrest battering husbands and wives. Thirty years ago, a wife who stayed in a violent situation was considered to be accepting of it. Today, the courts and the law are beginning to understand the psychological “locked doors” that exist to keep a battered spouse locked in a relationship/house, even when the doors are open.

      The same transition in understanding, however, has not happened with the law and cults. We are at the same place today that we were in in 1976 when Patty Hearst was tried for being a bank robber. F. Lee Bailey tried to get the jury to recognize that she had lost her free will, but he failed and she went to jail. The law does not recognize that a cult can steal a person’s free will, and that a person can be locked in an unlocked prison by that cult. The loss of free will makes the effort of leaving a cult the same effort as escaping from a deep, deep dungeon. This means that people who have escaped have first gotten back their free will, which is an enormous, Herculean task that should never be minimized. For the same reason, people who have had their free will stolen from them by a psychotic organization should not be condemned as weak people. They should be afforded the same irate concern and sympathy as people who are unjustly locked behind steel doors against their will.

  • SandiCorrena

    This is a horror story; makes me so sad.