Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.
Actually, Jon, it’s not a new post you’ve sent us but an announcement and an invitation?
JON: That’s right. From June 22 through 26th, Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto will host a course and conference on Scientology, planned and directed by Professor James Beverley and me. Jim and I have been friends for four years and have worked toward this event for some time. Our course and conference promises to be the most in-depth and wide-ranging course or conference ever held on Scientology. I intend to withdraw from Scientology related work after this event.
We will cover all aspects of the cult with the help of some of the leading experts — former members, academics and investigative journalists. It will be the first time that the global influence of the cult has been properly scrutinised. Sessions will consist of presentations by the various participants, interviews with luminaries, videos, question and answer sessions and panel discussions. We will bring together activists from around the globe.
The following stars of the counter-Scientology firmament have already confirmed that they will be available in person, by Skype or on video:
Paulette Cooper, author of The Scandal of Scientology and target of the infamous Operation Freakout.
Steven Hassan, the best known cult expert in the world, author of three books, including the best-selling Combating Cult Mind Control.
Tony Ortega, proprietor of the Underground Bunker, to speak about his remarkable new book The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.
Russell Miller, eminent biographer of L. Ron Hubbard and author of Bare-Faced Messiah.
Jesse Prince, former senior Sea Org member and David Miscavige’s auditor, with revelations from his forthcoming book.
Hana Whitfield, founding member of the Sea Org, captain of the Mission Into Time and former leading exit counsellor.
Ursula Caberta, former Hamburg Minister and driving force behind German legislation concerning Scientology.
Nancy Many, author of My Billion Year Contract, and subject of an episode of Dangerous Persuasions (which will be shown at the seminar).
Arnaud Pallison, criminologist, author and advisor to the French courts.
Tory Christman, former OSA agent (and brilliant speaker).
Professor Alexander Dvorkin, for 21 years head of a counter-cult group in eastern Europe, and the main target for Scientology harassment in Russia.
Karin Spaink, journalist and long term Scientology critic, who won a long legal battle against the cult’s attempt to take down her website.
David Pike, head of FACTNet.
Lawrence Wollersheim, who was paid a nine million dollar judgement by Scientology.
Chuck Beatty, former Sea Org member, privy to Hubbard ‘advices.’
David Barrett, PhD, sociologist and author of several books about ‘new religious movements.’
John Duignan, author of The Complex.
Jonny Jacobsen, journalist, who has reported on Scientology for over two decades. Host of Infinite Complacency.
Chris Shelton, former member and advocate of critical thinking.
Nora Crest, second generation member and Celebrity Center staffer.
Pete Griffiths, leading activist from Ireland and organizer of Flag Down.
Marta Gorna, Polish activist.
Professor Martin Poulter, expert on belief systems.
Steve Cannane, ABC TV presenter, author of a forthcoming history of Scientology in Australia.
The entire conference will be professionally filmed and edited, and made available to schools and universities around the world. Several companies are interested in creating a TV documentary at the conference, because of the availability of so many luminaries in one place.
The conference will cover Hubbard’s true biography, the beliefs and practices of Scientology, fair game and the intelligence agency (GO and OSA), the RPF, Narconon, finance and the IRS, the celebrity connection, Scientology under Miscavige, violence inside the cult and the exploitative techniques of hard-selling and auditing.
Other noteworthy participants have yet to confirm.
Tickets for the five day seminar and conference are priced at $120 per day or $500 for the five days. There will be concessions for those unable to afford this price. Please apply to the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: Register this week for $75 per day or $350 for the five days.
Be there, or be square!
— Jon Atack
Bonus photos from our tipsters
David Miscavige is in the house — in Basel, Switzerland for today’s ‘Ideal Org’ opening…
And here’s some video footage from the big party!
Our Twitter feed is under assault…
Scientologists are using social media more than ever. Drop us a line if you spot them posting images to Instagram or Facebook!
On May 14, you will be able to purchase ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ from Amazon in either electronic or print format, and simultaneously in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
The book will not be available for pre-order before that date. It is going live for sale on Thursday, May 14, and not a moment earlier. And hey, that’s just a few weeks away, so you won’t have to wait long.
May 16: Santa Barbara Humanist Society (with Paulette Cooper), 3:00 pm
May 17: Center for Inquiry-West Los Angeles, 4773 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, 11 am; ALSO: CFI Orange County (Costa Mesa), 4:30 pm (with Paulette Cooper)
May 20, San Diego Hey, folks, we could use some help. The San Diego Association for Rational Inquiry (SDARI) wants to put on an event for us, but it’s not their regular night for meetings and they need to find an alternate venue. Can any of our San Diego readers help us find a space?
May 22: San Francisco (with Jamie DeWolf and Paulette Cooper)
(Finalizing a New York City event in early June)
June 20: Chicago
June 22/23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper)
July 12: Washington DC, Center for Inquiry
Posted by Tony Ortega on April 25, 2015 at 07:00
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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield