On Sundays, Rod Keller stops by to bring us a collection of things Scientologists have shared during the week on social media. After avoiding the Internet for many years, Scientologists now share things freely online. And this week, Rod found something really special.
It’s an hour long video from Russia, where Scientology has been going through a very tough time. The Moscow org has been raided multiple times by police forces in the last couple of years, and that’s bad news for Scientology leader David Miscavige, who relies on Russia for cheap labor at his facilities like the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. So what does Miscavige do to counter what’s going on in Russia? Rod, give us a description of what we see in this video.
Rod: This is a briefing given this week by Lynn Irons at the Moscow Ideal Org, with translation by Sea Org member Vladimir Kuropyatnik. Kuropyatnik has been quoted in Russian newspapers as the “founder” of the Moscow org, which may mean he is the HCO Exec Secretary. The briefing addresses public (i.e., non-staff) members at the org in the wake of the June raids by the Federal Security Service in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Russian officials seized documents that may indicate Scientology is violating a prohibition on their activities handed down by a Moscow City Court late last year.
Irons joined Scientology in 1973 in the San Francisco area at the Davis Mission. He later was the Mission Holder at the San Francisco Mission prior to the 1982 Mission Holder’s Conference in which missions were taken back from their owners by Scientology. Many members left the church at that time, but Irons became involved in WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises) and today is one of the leaders of Business Forward, one of the largest WISE consultant groups in countries with Russian speaking populations. After working as ED in Tampa for several years, in 2011 Irons became the Executive Director of the Tampa Ideal Org.
In 1992 he, along with the late Geoff Barton and former GO executive Arte Maren, became “pioneers” to bring Scientology to Russia. “Pioneer” is a Scientology term of art to describe the first to travel to a particular country to set up groups or missions.
The video has four main sections. First, he establishes his bona fides in Scientology and in disseminating in Russia. Then he discusses recent events in Russia and says not to worry because Scientology always wins. He then compares the situation in Russia to the flap in Clearwater over the 2009 publication of “The Truth Rundown” in the St. Petersburg Times, and finally he describes the power of postulates in which anything is possible, from shrinking your feet to re-growing hair, to having Scientology continue to spread throughout Russia.
The Bunker: Irons puts on quite a show. We’re trying to put ourselves in the place of someone in the audience. Your org has been raided by the police multiple times, the courts are against you, and it sure looks like Vladimir Putin wants you out. We’d imagine that’s a fairly precarious situation to be in. So here comes this American to speak, and we’re guessing that your average Russian Scientologist in the room is thinking this is as close to a message from David Miscavige that they’re going to get. In that situation, we might want to hear something about how the mothership back in the US is sending attorneys and money to take on the Russian government or something. Instead, what we get is essentially a pep talk, with the message to “keep your chin up.” The answer to resistance against Scientology, he says, is just more Scientology. Disseminate, disseminate, disseminate. Did his message strike you as very effective, given the situation his audience is in?
Rod: His message is to not worry about it. Scientology always wins. The police are dealing not just with the publics and staff in Moscow, but the Sea Org members in Copenhagen and America who stand behind them. To a public, that sounds like a very powerful force of powerful beings. And if that’s not enough, the police are fighting the 80 percent of the Russian people Irons claims support Scientology, the same Russian people who are only two generations from those who won the “Great Patriotic War,” as World War II is known in Russia. It’s as if the police are fighting Scientology, the Red Army, and Mother Russia all at the same time. They’re fighting the fabric of Russian culture — the music, the arts, their love of children. If you believe all of that it’s inevitable that Scientology will win. Yes, I think it’s very effective and plays off the things all Russians hold dear.
The story he tells of opening offices in the Russian White House is particularly telling. He describes how they were set to open a Hubbard College of Russia and the East, and the grand opening day was the day of the attack. Russians would understand this is as the October 4th, 1993 attack by Boris Yeltsin to suppress an attempted coup by members of Parliament. The point is clear — suppressive Yeltsin destroyed our offices with tanks, but Yeltsin is gone and we are still here. Some day Putin will be gone and we will still be here.
The Bunker: We had to give points to Irons for his presence on stage. He projects a successful persona, and he’s a decent public speaker. We could see the audience members getting caught up in what he was saying. That they will win in the end That the raids are actually a sign of how successful they are. That they can create their “ideal scene” by simply “postulating” it — in other words, visualizing it. And then he starts talking about how the power of that kind of positive thinking can make you shrink down the size of your feet or grow your hair back, and the spell was utterly shattered. We then remember how this has always been Scientology’s essential scam — promise superpowers, and when they don’t happen, it’s your fault for not doing the tech 100 percent correctly. How much of his own spiel do you think he actually believes?
Rod: I don’t know if he harbors any doubts, but the notion that the way to combat suppression is to flourish and prosper is completely standard LRH, lifted almost word for word from Ron’s Journal 31, 1980 – The Year of Expansion. The vast majority of Scientologists believe this, and it’s likely that everybody in the audience is completely aware of this journal as well. The feet and the hair are his own example, but if you believe that we all have a shared reality that we control as omnipotent beings then anything you can imagine is possible. Pigs can fly, you can turn water into wine, mountains can be created or destroyed. Feet and hair seem pretty tame postulates if the theory is correct. But the only way to make your postulates stick, or become reality, is to train and be processed to higher levels in Scientology.
As for it being his own spiel, it is largely not. He is a celebrity Scientologist performing specific tasks in a much more involved program written at high levels in OSA Int, or probably by COB himself. He would be given a checklist of policies to read and star-rate in preparing his talk. The Sea Org member running this will send a Program Compliance Report back daily to say which steps have been completed. This will include all these public actions, the investigations and blackmail, and the search for SPs among the org publics and staff.
The Bunker: Well, it’s a great find, and thank you for bringing it to the Bunker, Rod. Now, let’s turn it over to the commenters to tell us what they think. Here is the video, in three segments…
Bonus items from our tipsters
Speaking of promising superpowers, here’s a rundown on all the nifty powers you’ll get at Super Power in Clearwater…
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: 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