A big thanks to reader Rasha for tipping us to the new issue of International Scientology News. This is a large-format publication that we always enjoy seeing. It’s one of the magazines that Scientology puts out trying to convince its members that the organization is doing better than it ever has.
For the most part, it’s a print version of the same address that Scientology leader David Miscavige gave at the New Year’s event, whose audio we were leaked and posted on New Year’s eve. And, like the New Year’s event, for the outsider it’s just so much hard-to-believe propaganda about how Scientology’s various initiatives are saving the planet.
But the pages that we found most interesting were the ones that were simply slick ads. This is Scientology advertising to Scientologists, who are completely familiar with all of these products and initiatives. Put yourself in David Miscavige’s place — how do you create enthusiasm for going ‘Clear,’ for example, the intermediate goal of Scientology and something every church member has heard about a million times already?
It will typically take you a few years and about $183,000 to go Clear in Scientology, and that’s with a lot of commitment — usually in the form of going to the org every night of the week. So, with that in mind, does this ad get you pumped?
That text is a little small. Here’s what it says…
Clear is the freedom Mankind has dreamed of throughout the ages. But it wasn’t until the path was discovered and mapped by Ron that the state of Clear became a consistently achievable goal. Its value is priceless. As a Clear, the reactive mind is forever vanquished — the source of all fears, anxieties and irrational thoughts has been conquered. And, in that victory, you will regain yourself. Your own basic beingness returns. Your true personality flourishes. That the state of Clear can be attained is a certainty. And today, it is a goal anyone can achieve. That final burst of glory and freedom that is the state of Clear is within your reach. Take your next step up the Bridge.
Those sure are vague promises, especially for something that costs nearly $200,000. Miscavige seems to have given up almost entirely on the much more solid results that L. Ron Hubbard originally made for “Clear,” which included total recall, raised IQ, no more need to wear eyeglasses, and a basic immunity to virtually any medical ailment.
But hey, you get your beingness back.
Moving on, here’s how Miscavige is selling the top of the Bridge, OT 8, which, Marc Headley has estimated, will cost you $500,000 to $2 million to achieve, depending on how many donations they get out of you along the way.
We kind of dig the mashup here of somewhat religious imagery with the sci-fi elements. As we’ve said repeatedly, we think Scientology’s space opera is its best thing going and it’s a shame they aren’t more open about it. Here, at least, you’re getting a hint that for a couple of million, you’ll become some kind of spiritual cosmonaut.
Dave also wants you to come to the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, and spend tens of thousands of dollars more for the “Super Power” rundowns in the massive Flag Building, which was opened in November 2013. Here’s how he’s selling it…
Here’s what it says…
You’ve never seen rundowns like these — what they address, how they are delivered. Rundown after rundown, the power builds. Each rundown, delivered in exact sequence, addresses a unique aspect of case. This is clearing at a technical level only dreamed of — a series of super-fantastic confidential rundowns. You emerge in fantastic shape as a being, in a whole new realm of ability and awareness, with your Super Power unleashed.
Again, lots of vague promises. What do you actually get for your money? Several years ago, Dan Koon helped us understand one of the “rundowns” that make up Super Power. It turns out that for several hundred dollars an hour, you are asked a single question — “Where do you feel safe?” — over and over, hundreds of times. But hey, it’s a whole new realm of awareness!
But easily our favorite of the ad pages was this one, for the Cause Resurgence Rundown and its great text…
Experience amazing technology never before seen in this society and age. A rundown so powerful, it can pull a thetan out of anything. You won’t just blow facsimiles and ridges. You’ll restore your innate power to generate your own energy and flows. It’s based on research in an area of the track that predates this current planet by countless millennia. It’s an OT whole track objective process like no other. A thetan exterior process you can do in a body. Step up to cause.
It’s a thetan exterior process, it costs about $2,500, and IT’S RUNNING AROUND A POLE.
We’re serious. The Cause Resurgence Rundown is a really funny name for running around and around a pole. For hours. At one time, the rundown was used as a punishment, and the stories are pretty legendary about people running around a palm tree in the desert heat at Int Base, for days and days.
Back in 2012, we got renderings of the Flag Building (a/k/a the Super Power Building), and they included this image of the top floor, which is a huge domed area with a lit central pole for running around.
Running around a lit pole. Based on research that predates the earth.
We love it when Scientology is this nakedly ridiculous.
It’s also nakedly going to hit you up for huge donations, and for nothing in return…
So what do you think? How’s Dave doing trying to sell to Scientologists the same damn things they’re pitched on day after day, year after year?
Well, we’ll give him credit for one thing that’s relatively new: His dedication to advertising online. If you remember, one of the things Debbie Cook criticized Miscavige for in her famous 2012 letter was sitting on a mountain of cash and not spending it on much advertising. Miscavige seemed to take that to heart, and Scientology’s spending on Internet and television advertising has been prodigious since then.
We thought you’d be interested to see how ISN summed up 2016’s output in web ads and TV commercials.
Employing broadcast, streaming technology and social media, Scientology was definitely a major presence on the airwaves and throughout the Internet during 2016. Millions of people throughout the US and around the world experienced the positive message of spiritual technology as impactful ads were launched in conjunction with marquee annual events like the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards, as well as campaigns staged across major networks including ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX.
For sheer numbers and positioning, the “Who Am I” ad lit up the scoreboard with its debut during the 50th Annual Super Bowl held on February 7. Watched by 30 million people, the spot boosted visits to Scientology.org during the campaign’s run by a factor of 20. The spot also gained exposure to 28 million people on social media during the Super Bowl and garnered 432,000 online news articles. During the Grammys, it was the “How We Help” ad that powered a six-fold increase in visits to Scientology.org and a similar increase in social media mentions. In total, 15 million music fans were reached with our ad during the Grammys broadcast. On the TV front, ads were run nationally on all major networks as well as strategically placed in the local markets of 18 Ideal Orgs. Many popular shows were targeted with the ad buys, which reached more than 50 million people.
Streaming media was also a Scientology launchpad this year, with three ads coursing through the digiverse with extensive runs on Hulu totaling 1.75 million minutes and garnering 3.5 million views. A constant of every campaign was the social media component which resulted in massive awareness with more than 120 million ad impressions on Facebook; 40 million on Twitter; and 73 million impressions — coupled with 1.9 million video views — on YouTube.
International efforts were just as results-driven, with audiences numbering in the millions reached in major markets where Ideal Orgs are located including the UK, Italy, Spain, Australia, Taiwan, South Africa, and others. Just under 10,000 ads ran internationally, double the number of last year, for a total reach of 125 million impressions.
Add to the mix another 1.4 million views earned by Tokyo billboards in major commuter stations and the gobal total of impressions for 2016 is more than half a billion. That’s what we call presenting LRH Tech on a truly global scale.
Sakes alive, from that description you’d think Scientology was Pokémon Go or something.
Good news Down Under — Leah’s coming!
To our antipodean friends, you don’t have to wait long to see what all the fuss is about here in the USA…
Our brand new 9 part series, Leah Remini: Scientology & The Aftermath premieres Wednesday, February 8 at 9.30pm AEDT! pic.twitter.com/dL2ejgMt0I
— CITV Australia (@CITVAustralia) January 16, 2017
Bonus items from our tipsters
Kerri Kasem spreads human rights abuser Scientology’s human rights message to fiduciary lawyers. How precious!
June will be here before you know it
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.
[Thank you, Observer.]
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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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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.
The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)
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