We heard from a special correspondent who sent us photos from this year’s Burning Man event at Black Rock City, Nevada.
This isn’t the first time an Underground Bunker reader has reported back to us after visiting the annual arts event in the desert. Somewhere around here we have a photo of The Unbreakable Miss Lovely at last year’s shindig. And now, this year we have another dispatch, but it’s a very special one.
First, here’s that book of ours, which gets around a heck of a lot more than we do…
Our tipster not only brought the book along, but also a special poster, made up of a copy of the “Call Me” sign we associate with Phil and Willie Jones and their efforts to publicize the effects of Scientology’s toxic policy of ‘disconnection,’ which rips families apart.
The poster contained the names of numerous families that have suffered from disconnection, when Scientologists are ordered to cut off all ties from their loved ones who have left the organization.
Our correspondent took the poster to a site called The Temple, where other Burners were encouraged to write testimonials to people who were missing from their lives.
This was the scene inside, with the Call Me poster set amid many other artifacts of loss and remembrance.
“Deep thanks to TrevAnon and Anonymous for compiling the names. And special gratitude to Phil and Willie Jones for the inspiration,” says our correspondent.
After a ceremony, the Temple went up in a conflagration that you see above. It’s an inspiring sight.
Louis Theroux’s ‘My Scientology Movie’ Down Under
Last year, on our book tour, we went to the far end of the earth — namely, the city of Perth, Australia — and met Bunker readers Ella Raitch and What’sup, pictured above with your proprietor and Ella Raitch’s son.
Yesterday, Ella Raitch took her daughter, who she’s calling Ellette, to see Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie on the opening night of its theatrical run in Australia. She posted this account of the film last night very late in our comments, and we wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see it.
ACMI cinema capacity looked to be about 400 to 450 and was about two thirds full. Most in the audience were 20 to 30 years old. The overwhelming reaction was one of laughter, right from the opening where tweets are featured that warned Louis of Scientology’s creepy, psycho behaviour. Like Going Clear, lots of Internet footage here, from IAS events, the LRH death event, the Larry Anderson training video (“If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid. But you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice.”).
The crowd really enjoyed Louis’s interaction with “filmers filming filmers,” especially the parts with Cathy Fraser and the dispute over where the private property begins and ends around Int Base. Jeff Hawkins has the counterpoint that Cathy is a good person at heart. Andrew Perez is amazing. If there is an award category for best performance by an actor in a dramatic reenactment in a documentary, he’d be a shoe-in. Amazing 1000-yard stare.
The reenactments didn’t take up as much time as I expected, but were the parts I was really looking forward to seeing. David Miscavige in “The Hole” was devastating, and it was clear the performance affected the other actors involved for the short amount of time. Biggest laughs (apart from Scientologists making a doco about Louis, and Louis being completely unfazed), was for actors auditioning for Tom Cruise, reading lines from the 2004 Freedom Medal of Valor speech, from the part where he says KSW and “pfffft.” The film highlights one actor after another doing Tom Cruise onomatopoeia….hilarious (well, you had to be there) Marty…. It is not fair to make judgments based on a documentary like this because the filmmaker is using characters and their reactions to tell a story.
It appears that the events are presented in the order they occurred (based on conversation and clothes, for example), but with only one viewing, I can’t be sure that events led to each other the way they were depicted. Marty appeared to be enjoying himself at the start, engaged and a little arrogant, and the audience response to Marty’s comments (around me) suggested they found him full of himself. The times Marty really has issue with Louis are when he is being asked about his behaviour as the cult enforcer (the circumstances are obviously more nuanced than I can record here). At this point in the film we have already seen TR bullbait exercises and examples of “tone 40.”
In the 2nd exchange where Marty gets annoyed (swearing, etc.) with Theroux, I admit I felt that Louis had been unfair, but my daughter (let’s call her Ellette – 21-year-old anthropology student; has seen Going Clear but is not familiar with all of the Marty drama) thought Marty’s reaction was over the top (her muttered response, to Marty: “get over yourself”). It made me think about how deeply-immersed Scientologists can wear an emotion instantly – like a mask. And how they use strongly emotional behaviours to manipulate people (demonstrated by Cathy Fraser for example, ridiculing Louis to get him to “cave in”). I suspect Louis was seeing beyond the display. It makes me consider that we can’t be sure with Marty whether emotional behaviour is an authentic response or manipulative posturing he chooses for whatever reason; whether his blog represents his real feelings or a caricature; a less ironic OTVIIIisgrr8.
One thing apparent from Marty’s appearance….he still has strong emotional…something…to Scientology. This in strong contrast to Marc Headley, Jeff Hawkins, and Tom de Vocht (Tom in particular was adored by the audience…more “fucks” than a Jason Beghe interview). These three spoke with the authority of first hand experience, but with a demeanour that reflects past experience….Marty’s demeanour suggests more immediate, raw feelings. Ellette’s characterisation: he didn’t leave because of the appalling things that were happening, but because they were now happening to him. Big snickersnort from me to hear a “rue the day” comment from Marty, aimed at Miscavige…
Meanwhile, back in the bubble…
Things out here in blogland may be a little confusing at the moment, but the same old song is apparently being sung in the far-flung “outer orgs.” It’s from a far continent that we received an interesting report this week from a tipster about the stories the Church of Scientology is telling members about its evil former members.
We can’t confirm the details of what our tipster told us, so that’s something to keep in mind. But others we’ve talked to have said very similar things in the last few years.
Our correspondent tells us that he keeps his public discussion of Scientology to a minimum because someone close to him is involved in the church. But then, not long ago, he mentioned on Facebook that he was watching a particular feature film that Scientology considers “entheta.”
Someone at the local org notified his companion, who was very upset. She set up an appointment for him with the OSA representative for the area, a man we’ll call Dennis.
“[Dennis] started probing where my ‘entheta’ came from. I didn’t speak much. So he started ‘handling’ the rumors. He told me all the things we already know from the videos at [Freedom magazine]. That Marty Rathbun was an SP who was not letting Scientology handle the IRS back in 1993. That he was the one instituting the violence throughout Scientology. That it was Rathbun who had created an ethics interrogation system by which the ethics officer would interview the staff member having two guards stand by the door, which is ‘squirrel’ [not according to policy]. The weird thing is, he blamed Mike Rinder for having created the yelling scene with BBC journalist John Sweeney, when we all know it was Tommy Davis. He said the BBC had paid $25,000 to Mike Rinder to fly to London to lie on camera and tell lies about the church. He told me how beautiful it is at Int Base. How they have their laundry done. The food. They have their own doctor and dentist, who are both Sea Org members. He said he’d trained under Mike Rinder and that he’d never met Rathbun. And then later he said that he’d trained under Marty Rathbun and never met Rinder. His story was not checking out. Then he told me more about Rathbun’s position in the church. How he’d spent time aboard the Freewinds and then went to Flag and was responsible for admitting Lisa McPherson against all church policies. Then the most outrageous claim: That Lisa McPherson was living in her own separate place and had committed suicide! Obviously, he went on to talk wonders about David Miscavige and the unprecedented expansion. I was there to help my friend stay ‘on lines’ and not to debate the guy so I kept my mouth shut. He offered all of this information without me asking a thing. It goes to show how badly informed the OSA personnel are.”
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