A year ago, Jeffrey Augustine interviewed former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder for his predictions about Scientology’s 2015. It went so well, they’re back again this year. Jeff leads Rinder through the highlights of what happened to Scientology in the last year, with observations about what David Miscavige is likely to do in the future.
“It started an avalanche,” Rinder says about the media storm that came after Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear premiered, but he says Miscavige never really learns any lessons. Scientology fights back like the Black Knight in Holy Grail, he says. It doesn’t know when to stop its ineffective attacks.
Rinder describes the joy of working for David Miscavige. He describes trying to have a conversation with St. Petersburg Times reporters Joe Childs and Tom Tobin while Miscavige was trying to tell Rinder what to say, and even smacking him around during the phone call.
As for 2016, Rinder predicts “more pain” for Scientology, and he says Going Clear itself has created a “cottage industry” of media on the church, with at least three shows that he knows about in development coming this year.
Jeff and Mike cover a lot of ground, and we’re interested in hearing your thoughts on what they talk about. Let us know how you think 2016 is going to unfold for Scientology.
Professor Dave Touretzky on Reza Aslan
Our story yesterday about Reza Aslan’s upcoming CNN program on Scientology kicked up quite a response. We wanted to make sure that readers didn’t miss the really interesting comment left by Carnegie Mellon University professor Dave Touretzky, who has been studying Scientology and creating crucial web pages of information about it for many years. He’s reacting to the email that Aslan sent to Karen de la Carriere, explaining his project “Believer,” one episode of which will focus on Scientology, talking not to church members but to former members who still practice its precepts as independents. “I want to show the beauty and appeal of other religions because I honestly and truly believe these are all different paths to the same destination,” Aslan told Karen. Here’s what Touretzky said in response…
Two quick points about Reza Aslan’s project:
1. The Church of Scienotlogy can’t cooperate with Aslan because the Church doesn’t want to explain Scientology to the public. Their response when asked for an explanation has always been “read a book or sign up for a course.” In the old days they could get away with dishing out a few vague generalities (“man is a spiritual being,” “the ARC triangle”). They never even demonstrate real auditing to the public, just the stupid pinch test. But such vagueness won’t fly in an age when everyone has already heard of Xenu and body thetans. So the Church is gagged by its own prohibition against “verbal tech,” and that’s probably why Aslan has to go to the FreeZone.
2. The notion that religions offer different paths to the same ultimate understanding is probably worthy of philosophical debate, but Satanism and its Scientology offshoot are fundamental counterexamples. What conventional religions have in common is reverence for a higher power external to oneself. Remember that “Islam” means “submission.” Satanism — the Crowley kind, not the Hollywood devil-worshiping cartoon — is about attaining that power, becoming God-like. But it’s God-like in terms of asserting one’s will, not in terms of infinite compassion and wisdom. Scientology’s quest for OT Powers is just Crowley done with better props. See for yourself in their video success stories: The greatest spiritual virtue that Scientologists aspire to isn’t “wisdom” or “love” or “compassion,” it’s “certainty.” This focus on attaining power and certainty rather than on reverence for a higher power is what sets Satanism and Scientology apart from other religions. Someone should explain this to Aslan.
E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. 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
Other links: The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | 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