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Texas Blues: David Miscavige Forsakes The Largest State in the Lower 48

According to a slick television ad that played earlier this year, Scientology is adding 4.4 million new members around the world every single year. At that rate, Scientology is adding more members than all the Jews in the world in just a little more than every three years!

Some of us have expressed some skepticism about those numbers. But now, even David Miscavige himself has gone and punched a big hole in his public relations efforts.

Recently, the Scientology leader’s attorneys filed a court document which asserts, quite vociferously and repeatedly, that…

“Mr. Miscavige conducts no business in the State of Texas, has no property (real or personal) in this state, maintains no employees, servants, or agents in Texas, has never filed a lawsuit in this state, does not maintain any bank accounts in this state, and is not registered to conduct business in this state.”

Well, so much for church recruitment in the second largest state in the union. But then, recent events had already convinced us that Texas is, for Scientology, a rocky place where it can find no purchase. Let us count the ways…

For several years, Scientology has had big trouble hanging on to some of its highest-ranking, most loyal members and employees. And some of them, when they wanted to get as far away from the church as possible, chose Texas for sanctuary. Debbie Cook, for example, was a legendary leader of employees at Scientology’s Florida mecca in Clearwater until she left her job in 2007. In court testimony and interviews she gave after a court hearing in February, she explained that when she left her job, Scientology wanted her not to move to California to be near her family. It was so important that she keep away from other church members, she chose the most Xenu-forsaken spot on the map: San Antonio, Texas. (Now she’s living in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. UPDATE: Make that Baja! Tough keeping up with that gal.) Just a couple of hours south of San Antone, former high-ranking official Marty Rathbun found his own spot away from Scientology — although he has not found much peace, as he’s been under constant surveillance from church operatives.

If Rathbun has been the subject of some pretty strange harassment, his Texas neighbors rallied around him. And it’s from his home near Corpus Christi that Rathbun operates a blog which has become a serious crisis for Miscavige and the church. (Hence, the bullying.)

Miscavige probably also needs no reminding that it was in Texas that a certain church member by the name of Lisa McPherson became deeply involved in Scientology. And it was also in Texas where another deceased Scientologist, Alexander Jentzsch, spent some of his last months, apparently in dire straits.

Scientology and Texas just seem to go together like Tom Cruise and incisor teeth.

And now Miscavige is washing his hands entirely of the Lone Star State, and in rather strange circumstances.

We reported earlier the bizarre lawsuit that was filed recently in San Patricio County, which includes Rathbun’s town of Ingleside on the Bay. Two private investigators, Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold, say that since 1988, they were being paid by Scientology between $32,000 and $40,000 a month — in cash for about eight of those years — until they were suddenly cut off in June of this year. For that money, these two former cops say they had one main task: follow and spy on Pat Broeker, Miscavige’s former rival for the leadership of Scientology.

A key part of their detailed amended complaint was their claim that they did not deal with church attorneys, but with Miscavige himself through Marty Rathbun and later another top official. Eventually, that job led them to surveilling Rathbun in 2009, after Rathbun had become an outspoken critic of Miscavige. (That surveillance of Rathbun is what formed the basis of suing in Rathbun’s home county).

We learned last night that Miscavige is challenging the lawsuit by asking the San Patricio County district court to drop him from it as a defendant, arguing that he should not be sued in Texas because he does no business there.

And while Miscavige (or rather, his attorneys), argued as persuasively as possible that a lawsuit brought by a guy from Colorado (Marrick) and California (Arnold) against an employer in California (Scientology) has no business being heard in Texas, it came out sounding very strange for the ultimate leader of a supposedly rapidly-growing religion to keep going on about how he does no business in such a large state, and in fact has only ever spent two days of his life there.

Well, after what Texas has done to Scientology in recent years, we can imagine why Miscavige won’t be heading back there any time soon.

UPDATE: Let’s add two more names to the Texas honor roll. We hear that Tommy Davis has moved to the state after ditching the Sea Org and his former role as the church’s top spokesman. And how could we forget that brave Texan who stood up to expose the Squirrel Busters as the harassment campaign that it was: Bert Leahy, we salute your Lone Star fortitude.

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