Thanks to tipster “Communicator I/C” for alerting us last night that Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan not only brought up Scientology during his annual “Saviours’ Day” keynote address yesterday afternoon, but he mentioned Leah Remini by name (well, almost), and seemed to question her motives for criticizing her former church.
For quite a few years, we’ve been keeping an eye on the odd relationship that’s developed between Farrakhan’s group and David Miscavige’s Church of Scientology. As best we can tell, that relationship began around the year 2006, when Scientologist and Baptist minister the Rev. Alfreddie Johnson Jr. began bringing Farrakhan to Hollywood Celebrity Centre events. According to NOI’s official publication The Final Call, Farrakhan began introducing Scientology concepts to his Nation of Islam followers on May 8, 2010. Farrakhan had come to the realization that L. Ron Hubbard (perhaps the whitest man who ever lived) had valuable “wisdom” for the black nationalist organization that Farrakhan has led since 1977.
Farrakhan asked his followers to study Hubbard’s original text, the 1950 book Dianetics, which is known as “Book One” to Scientologists. We’ve seen photographs of large convention rooms filled with hundreds of NOI members doing “Book One auditing,” which is the original form of counseling that Hubbard developed and does not use an E-meter. More than a thousand NOI members have been certified as Dianetics auditors, according to The Final Call. We’ve also seen an increasing number of Nation of Islam members doing actual Scientology, and progressing rather far up Scientology’s expensive “Bridge to Total Freedom.” But at this point, we still don’t see much convincing evidence of an actual merger between the two groups.
Yesterday, Farrakhan gave the keynote address at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit at the annual event, which marks the February 26, 1877 birth of the Nation of Islam’s founder, Master Wallace Fard Muhammad. A little more than two hours into his stemwinder, Farrakhan began blaming former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for pushing President Barack Obama to cause the 2011 death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Farrakhan said that he was warned by people that he should turn away from Gaddafi “because everyone is turning on him.” But Farrakhan noted, “I don’t turn on my friends,” and certainly not when they are becoming targets. Farrakhan said that Gaddafi had loaned some $5 million to the movement, but that it didn’t buy Gaddafi influence. “I can’t be no whore for $5 million,” he said.
Farrakhan then turned to his relationship to the Church of Scientology, which itself has come under fire like never before.
“Some of you, my critics, when I saw something of value in Dianetics — ‘ah, look at that Farrakhan. He sold out’ — see, I can prove that I didn’t get a dime from Dianetics or Scientology. We spent a lot of money buying the books on Dianetics. I saw something of value. I thought we could use it. What did you see of value? Let me tell you what I saw,” he said.
He then asked the women in the audience to raise their hands (but then told them not to actually do it) if they had been sexually abused by members of their own families. He talked about how people deal with being victims of such attacks, and how they “overcompensate” with aggressive behavior. Farrakhan spoke about the need to heal from such experiences.
“Dianetics was something that allowed you to confront the things that make you other than yourself to help you move on with your life,” he said. “Now, hell, they’re beating the hell out of Scientology now. So everybody want to run away. Farrakhan not that kind of man.”
He then cited a chapter from the Koran, and used it to say that he was interested in useful knowledge, whatever its source.
“I’m just setting the record straight. I’m not a Scientologist but I respect L. Ron Hubbard. I know that this is the time that they’re making an all out move to destroy Scientology. But what I ask Mrs. Remmy, or whatever her name is, she’s going in hard. She’s hurt, by something.”
Farrakhan then seemed to go on a tangent, talking about his followers looking for understanding but worrying that it was coming from sources that weren’t “perfect.” It was difficult to tell whether this was another reference to Hubbard and Scientology. But he concluded this section of remarks with this line: “The more we strive to make ourselves better, the better we will become in being disciples of Christ or Muhammad or anybody we think we should follow.”
The message seemed pretty clear: Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam will stand by the Church of Scientology as it is marked for destruction by a hurt Leah Remini.
We sent Leah a message to let her know what Farrakhan said. If we hear back from her, we’ll add to the post.
Her recently completed A&E series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, had the network’s most-watched premiere episode in two years, and its audience numbers remained high throughout its nine-episode run. A second season is highly anticipated by fans, but we haven’t heard anything definitive yet about whether it’s happening.
The show focused primarily on the experiences of longtime Scientologists and what they had gone through after leaving the organization, particularly for families that had been ripped apart by Scientology’s policy of “disconnection.” The church’s relationship with the Nation of Islam was not mentioned. But it might make for an interesting subject if a second season happens.
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.
Scientology disconnection, a reminder
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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