July 2012 was one of the craziest months in our 20-year history of watching and writing about the Church of Scientology. The media was in a frenzy because, at the end of June, Katie Holmes had amputated her ties to Tom Cruise in a highly calculated surgical strike. But so much else happened then. We broke the news that month that Ron Miscavige had escaped from his son’s organization. (He had actually left in March, but it had taken a few months for the news to get to us, and now his escape is the subject of Ron’s bestselling book, Ruthless.) We also reacted to the tragic death at 27 of Alexander Jentzsch, son to Karen de la Carriere, who had been cut out of her son’s life on orders from the church.
But with that all going on, perhaps our favorite story from July 2012 was the lengthy piece we wrote about the remarkable Dani Lemberger, his wife Tami, and their Scientology mission in Haifa, Israel that had dared to break away and become independent from David Miscavige and the official church.
Dani was one of the most forthcoming Scientologists we’ve ever interviewed, giving us insights into how a person could consider themselves a “skeptic” and still become totally invested in L. Ron Hubbard’s ideas about past lives.
Like many other people who were walking away from the Church of Scientology, Dani and Tami were still strong adherents of Hubbard’s ideas. Not only did they plan to continue practicing Scientology independently, but they were working to bring in new people to their Dror Center, people who had never experienced Scientology in any form.
They’re still at it today, but not without having to weather the kinds of retaliation that Scientology is well known for. Dani is suing Scientology, as well, and we’ll get you some updates on that lawsuit when we can.
For today, however, we have a treat for you that is becoming more rare. Time was, when Scientologists were kicked out of the organization, they could pretty routinely get their hands on the official document that recorded their excommunication.
Such a document is known in Scientology jargon as a “declare,” because it spells out the reasons why a member has been declared a “suppressive person,” someone who is toxic to Scientology and cannot be in contact with anyone considered a member in good standing.
What we have for you is the “suppressive person declare” of Dani and Tami Lemberger, which has only become public this week for the first time. We hope you find it as perplexing and fascinating as we do.
It is, in fact, an indictment for thought crime that is straight out of George Orwell’s 1984.
There’s a lot of jargon in it, but even if you’re somewhat new to Scientology watching, you should get a flavor for the thing. And keep this in mind: Until this declare in 2012, Dani Lemberger had been a loyal member since 1980 who had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his Scientology involvement. His wife Tami, meanwhile, had received awards as one of the top Scientology auditors on the planet. Dani had even taken it upon himself to translate some of L. Ron Hubbard’s work into Hebrew so that it could be disseminated more easily in Israel.
Like so many other longtime members, however, they had increasingly become dissatisfied with the leadership of David Miscavige. And then, that June, they made a trip to Texas to meet with former church executive Mark “Marty” Rathbun, which sealed their fate. (We interviewed Dani for our Village Voice story when Dani had a few short hours in Newark airport on his way back to Haifa after visiting Rathbun.) Dani and Tami had consorted with the ultimate “squirrel” (Scientology’s cute jargon for “heretic”), Rathbun, who at that time was openly leading a rebellion of independent Scientologists against Miscavige. The Lembergers had gone over to the dark side, and now the church would excommunicate them by bringing up anything in their past in the most negative light possible.
Now, with all of that in mind, give this document a read…
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL
SENIOR HCO INT ETHICS ORDER 1570 23 June 2012
SUPPRESSIVE PERSON DECLARE
Dani and Tami Lemberger of Haifa, Israel, are hereby declared Suppressive Persons and expelled from the Church of Scientology, pursuant to HCO PL 7 Mar, 1965RB I, SUPPRESSIVE ACTS, SUPPRESSION OF SCIENTOLOGY AND SCIENTOLOGISTS.
Both Dani and Tami have been under a Non-Enturbulation Order since 2008. In early June 2012, Dani was called before a Committee of Evidence to look into his actions and ascertain charges of ecclesiastical crimes and high crimes. Within days of meeting with the Committee and being confronted with evidence of his actions, during which Dani pretended to show ethics change, Dani and Tami joined a small squirrel group.
Impartial investigation into their background has revealed a long list of squirrel activities. In the case of Dani, he was involved in squirrel activities in the early 1980’s; Dani’s squirreling includes false attests to training courses in Scientology technology going back to his first courses and up to his last training. He was found to have been making unauthorized translations and copies of Scientology material in violation of copyrights.
In 2001, Dani and Tami were found to be using personnel to deliver technical actions in their field group for which these staff were not certified. This included Tami herself, auditing and C/Sing actions without valid certificates. Per recent reports, Dani admitted that for the past 20 years he has been giving after-session exams in the field group and mission, while not being trained as an Examiner. He never passed an E-Meter Course and has never done high-crime checkouts on the materials which, if passed, would have allowed him to do exams.
Tami has committed high crimes as a C/S, auditor and Solo auditor. Such high crimes consist of missing withholds on pcs, withholding vital information from the Case Supervisor, squirreling processes on pcs, and falsely reporting in worksheets regarding the EP of processes having been attained. In one instance, in 2008, she missed withholds on a pc and allowed that pc to continue spreading black PR and malicious rumors about the Church.
Both Tami and Dani have been involved in financial irregularities regarding the pcs in their field group since at least 2003. For example, they would charge pcs for things like talking to the pc on the telephone. They also charged their pcs excessive fees for admin and FESing time.
From 2007 to the present, Dani and Tami have been given many opportunities to straighten themselves out, both on HCO and tech lines. They were offered the use of ethics tools to assist them to get KSW in on their lives so they could progress up The Bridge. In the fall of 2011, Dani was also offered auditing sessions by a Flag-trained Class IX auditor, but he refused to pick up the cans. Despite these attempts to help them, Dani and Tami have shown no ethics change. They have refused to take responsibility for their crimes and high crimes and instead, have now shown their true colors and connected with a declared Suppressive who is a known squirrel.
Dani and Tami are not Scientologists; they have been pretending to be Scientologists, but are turncoats and squirrels. Dani has sought out and studied anti-Scientology propaganda, false reports and rumors and has forwarded these to Scientologists in good standing in an attempt to divert them from The Bridge.
By their actions, they are guilty of the following Suppressive Acts:
— “Falsely attributing or falsely representing oneself or others as source of Scientology or Dianetics technology; or using any position gained with staff and/or public to falsely attribute non-source material to source or to falsely represent non-source material as authorized Scientology or Dianetics technology.”
— “Intentional and unauthorized alteration of LRH technology, policy, issues or checksheets.”
— “Acts calculated to misuse, invalidate or alter-is legally or in any other way the trademarks and service marks of Dianetics and Scientology.”
— “Continued adherence to a person or group pronounced a suppressive person or group by HCO.”
— “Failure to handle or disavow and disconnect from a person demonstrably guilty of suppressive acts.”
— “Engaging in malicious rumormongering to destroy the authority or repute of higher officers or the leading names of Scientology or to ‘safeguard’ a position.”
— “Calculated efforts to disrupt Church services or the flow of public up the Bridge through the Churches.”
— “Violation or neglect of any of the ten points of Keeping Scientology Working.”
Any certificates or awards that have been issued to Dani or Tami Lemberger are cancelled. Any licenses or memberships they have signed to use the marks and works of Dianetics or Scientology are likewise cancelled.
Dani and Tami are denied any future services from Scientology Churches, missions, field groups and field auditors and they are barred from entry into the premises of any Scientology organization, mission or group.
Should Dani and Tami Lemberger come to their senses and recant, they are to do steps A to E as laid out in HCO PL 7 Mar. 1965RB I, SUPPRESSIVE ACTS, SUPPRESSION OF SCIENTOLOGY AND SCIENTOLOGISTS. Their only terminal is the International Justice Chief, via the Continental Justice Chief.
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE CHIEF
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL
It’s really something, isn’t it? And in case you missed yesterday’s story, a tipster sent us a photograph he snapped recently of the man who wrote this document, Scientology’s International Justice Chief, a man named Mike Ellis, who is rarely seen.
Wow, there’s a lot to unpack from this declare, but we’re going to let the experts in our commenting community help you out if you have questions about specific terms or phrases that are unfamiliar to you.
We will remind you that in January, we mentioned that the Lembergers and their Dror Center had been visited by Reza Aslan, who is gathering stories for his upcoming CNN series “Believer.” We criticized Aslan, whose remarks in the past about Scientology we have found to be uninformed.
We spoke at length with a producer on Aslan’s show, and she assured us that she wanted to get in as much as she could about Scientology’s many controversies and allegations about its abuses. But we are still expecting that the credulous Aslan will provide L. Ron Hubbard his best press in decades.
We have an update on that now. A member of Aslan’s crew recently posted to Facebook that the series has been delayed because CNN is focusing on the election. Since 2016 was always going to be an election year, we read that to mean “CNN is making so much bank on Donald Trump, it can’t take the camera off him even to pander to its religious viewers with a Reza Aslan show.”
Eventually, the Aslan show will run. And we expect it to be rather cringe-inducing. But for fear of being misunderstood, as we were the last time we wrote about this, our criticisms of Aslan and our dim view of the “Believer” series are completely unrelated to the esteem we have for Dani and Tami Lemberger.
We think it took a lot of guts to break their Dror Center away from the Church of Scientology, and we are grateful that Dani was so forthcoming for our 2012 story. And after reading their declare, we have more respect for them than ever.
Tahoe, a murder, and detectives on a cold case
What a bizarre reference to Scientology turned up yesterday in a story out of South Lake Tahoe. Detectives there are trying a new approach to a double murder that took place in January 1982, when two blackjack dealers, Julie Schossow and Marilyn Putt, went missing.
“Julie’s body was found chained and bound in the South Fork American River six months later. A month passed and…Marilyn’s body was also found 150 feet downriver,” the story said.
But then, strangest of all, was what the district attorney’s office said about the new investigation: “If there’s anyone out there that’s directly involved with or associated with the Church of Scientology in South Lake Tahoe, you may or may not know you have information that could be helpful, so please contact us,”
Wow. Bizarre. We sure hope to get an explanation for that at some point.
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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