Today is the holiest day of the Scientology year, when the party-happy organization celebrates March 13, 1911, the date L. Ron Hubbard emerged into the known world to begin a life more adventurous than the lives of a dozen other men. He deigned to spend a little over 74 years in his Nebraska-sourced meat body before jettisoning it voluntarily on January 24, 1986. It was just one of countless lifetimes that the Great Thetan would spend in his eternity game. Can you handle the truth of your quadrillion years of existence? Dare any being contemplate the true nature of existence except for Ron?
Last night, the annual Birthday Event was held in Clearwater, Florida, and for several days Scientologists like John Travolta have been arriving, as this photo from a couple of days ago attests. On Sundays, Rod Keller gives us his weekly Scientology Social Media Review, and he has another fine collection for us again. Rod goes way back, having kept a meticulous eye on the church since 1992. He’s well known for his indispensable “ARS Week in Review,” which ran for nine years when ARS — the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology — was the most important daily source for Scientology news. More recently, Rod has made a specialty of hunting down the odd and wonderful things Scientologists post to social media, and this is what he found for us this week…
We’ll start with just a few photos that capture the scene last night in Clearwater…
OrgBoat is a new software package that helps you run your company according to the Hubbard Method of Business Management. It is web based, free for five or fewer employees, and includes features for running your HR department according to Scientology policy. The web site for OrgBoat doesn’t mention Scientology, but in social media posts the connection is clear.
Need an HCO in your company?
We have an HCO application you can try for FREE.
Stats, BPs, reminder tasks, commends, reports, hat packs, chat and more at your fingertips. Accessible from a phone, computer or tablet.
HCO is the Hubbard Communications Office, the Division that establishes a Scientology org, recruits new staff, and “hats,” or trains, recruits for a particular position. Stats refers to management by statistics, a system of rewarding the “upstat” individual and punishing the “downstat.” BPs refers to Battle Plans, defined by Hubbard as “A list of targets for the coming day or week which forward the strategic planning and handle the immediate actions and outnesses which impede it.” Commends are commendations, an integral part of Scientology, and reports refers to Knowledge Reports, the Scientology system of snitching on other members of the organization.
Turkish newspaper Hürriyet provided details on the charges against Narconon co-Executive Director Ismail Karakas. Google translation quality is poor, but the article appears to include allegations of selling heroin to Narconon patients, and treating female addicts using sexual intercourse.
The remaining ED, Dila Tezemir, insists that Narconon Turkey will continue operations, and reports that Selenay Hoca has joined as the first female staff member.
Scientologist Jety Sekiya and friends from the new Tokyo Ideal Org distributed copies of The Way to Happiness in the Kichijoji neighborhood of Western Tokyo this week. Scientology celebrity and Grammy Award winner Chick Corea paid for the booklets, and his face is featured on the cover of this vanity edition.
Scientologist Bernard Fialkoff spoke on behalf of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World to the Rockland, New York County Legislature on behalf of the Scientology affiliate.
The Foundation presented the Scientology anti-drug program this week at the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education in Bronx, New York. Assisting in the presentation was Jamie Lynn Macchia, Miss New York 2015.
Members of Carabineros de Chile, or the Chilean National Police, were trained by Scientology’s subsidiary Youth for Human Rights this week in the city of Manizales.
Florence Gumy and members of the Zurich, Switzerland branch of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World distributed flyers at the main train station there, and reported the reaction they received.
“From 18:00 – 20:00 at the Zurich hb distributed 400 ‘facts about drugs’ and 400 ‘facts about cannabis.’ There were 4 positive reactions.”
Scientology has purchased an Ideal Org building in Puerto Rico, and contributors in Clearwater celebrated the occasion in pastry form. The fundraising now starts to design and renovate the structure to Ideal standards.
Officials with the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights visited the Youth for Human Rights building on Fort Harrison Ave. in Clearwater, Florida this week, and were presented with Scientology’s human rights literature. Paul Valenti and Mark Espirza (left) for the county, and Gracia Bennish with Cristian Vargas (right) for Scientology.
Scientology is building a Terl costume to be unveiled at the March 24-26 Salt Lake City Comic Con. Terl is the primary villain in L. Ron Hubbard’s 1982 novel Battlefield Earth. The costume is being modeled after the Frank Frazetta painting rather than the John Travolta film version.
Alexander Ofori-Muhammad and his friends in the Nation of Islam spent time this week learning how the Hubbard 7-division org board works at the London Ideal Org. At one time the NOI claimed that they would only be doing Dianetics, not Scientology.
Arthur Lefler has completed the Problems Of Work book course at Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida.
Scientologist Rob Meister gave a presentation at the Youth for Human Rights office in Clearwater, Florida this week. In attendance was former professional baseball player Carl Everett. Everett is known for his controversial statement that dinosaurs never existed because they are not mentioned in the bible.
Gracia Bennish, also of Youth for Human Rights, attended an event at the Mexican Consulate in Largo, Florida, where she distributed Scientology’s literature packets. She is seen here with Lourdes Bahr from the U.S. Department of Labor.
— Rod Keller
Bonus items from our tipsters
Mark Bunker was on hand at the festivities last night in Clearwater. Here’s video that he shot…
Oh, look. Galaxy Press has announced that its president, John Goodwin, and his wife, Emily Jones, are going to be out of town for much of the latter part of March, including March 22, when Emily’s parents, Phil and Willie Jones, will be unveiling a billboard on Hollywood Boulevard a block from the Galaxy Press headquarters asking her to call them.
Today’s Sunday Times in London contains an excerpt of Lawrence Wright’s epic book, Going Clear, but also this interview of its UK publisher, Humfrey Hunter…
The one-man publisher taking on Goliath
Over the years the Church of Scientology has become known as an enthusiastic and tenacious litigant with expensive lawyers on speed-dial.
That reputation seems to have delayed the publication of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright’s devastating exposé of the organisation, by three years in this country.
The book had originally been slated for publication here in 2013 by Transworld, an offshoot of the then publishing giant Random House, whose Knopf division had printed it in America the same year. But shortly before the text was due to be released in Britain, Transworld abruptly pulled it from its schedules after taking “legal advice”.
However, a change in the libel laws later that year saw the introduction of a “publication on a matter of public interest”, a reinvigorated defence against an accusation of defamation.
“That change emboldened me to publish,” says Humfrey Hunter, the owner (and sole employee) of Silvertail Books, who has brought Going Clear to the British market along with several other books prepared to criticise scientology.
“I reasoned that in PR terms it would be counterproductive for a multibillion-dollar organisation like the Church of Scientology to pursue a small publisher like us.”
At least a decade of critical media coverage and multiple allegations of human rights abuses at its premises have, it is claimed, severely reduced the church’s ability to attract new adherents. (The organisation strenuously denies the claims of abuse.)
Hunter believes that today the church is in a “parlous” state. “Its membership is down to, at most, 40,000 people worldwide. I probably sell more books about scientology than there are scientologists in Britain. The conveyer belt of defectors — the No 2, 3 and 4 in the organisation have all left in recent years — has done it serious damage,” he says.
Critics point out that the church has had only two leaders: its founder, L Ron Hubbard, and David Miscavige, who is said to have seized power from Hubbard’s anointed disciples in 1986. “The church is effectively his,” says Hunter. “It’s not democratic and he answers to no one.”
Some of scientology’s alleged disregard for human rights could still be occurring, he believes. “Scientologists believe that a baby possesses an adult soul, so no age is too young to separate children from their parents. That, to me, is inhuman and it is still going on today, including in Britain,” says Hunter.
However, the organisation’s colossal wealth — its property portfolio alone is estimated to be worth $1.5bn (£1bn) — gives it huge potential power. Those defectors wishing for its imminent collapse are likely to be disappointed.
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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: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | 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 | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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