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Indie Scientologists Try to Spoil “Super Power” Release as it (Supposedly) Nears Debut

SPMotionIn January 2012, we spilled Scientology’s “Super Power” secrets — hundreds of never-before-published renderings of what the church’s monster new building in Clearwater, Florida was going to look like, from its basement to its executive offices on the seventh floor. Of particular interest were outlandish contraptions like the Smell Wall, Oiliness Table, Pain Station and other oddities on the building’s space-age fifth floor, where the “perceptics” of Scientologists would be tested.

But seeing all that strange equipment made us wonder: what was the “Super Power Rundown” itself, the special processing that needed a city-block sized, $100-million-dollar edifice that has been under construction for 15 years? What unutterable secrets would be going on in that building? Fortunately for us, a man named Dan Koon gave us a glimpse of some of those secrets.

And now, more than a year later, Dan Koon is spilling the rest of those secrets for the public’s consumption.

Last January, Dan told us about just one of the numerous processes in Super Power, something called the “Bright Think Rundown.” We were stunned to learn that this expensive experience (high-level Scientologists will be charged something like $1,000 an hour for this counseling) will consist solely of an “auditor” asking a subject repeatedly the same question, over and over again: “Where would you be safe?”

Dan suggested to us that after you have to answer that question for hours and hours, your mind starts to come up with some pretty creative answers. But still, that sure seemed like a steep price for something so simple.

Anyway, this week, Dan revealed a 119-page, super-detailed description of the entire Super Power experience (which does include the Bright Think Rundown), and made it public on Andreas Heldal-Lund’s website, Operation Clambake (xenu.net), which since 1996 has been one of the best sources of information on Scientology.

It’s a fascinating document, and we encourage you to go through it and report your favorite items in it. (Much of it will feel familiar for those of our readers following our series on Scientology training, Up the Bridge, with former Scientology executive Claire Headley.)

More importantly, why is this material coming out now? That’s easy: It’s Independent Scientology’s middle finger to Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

To understand that, you just need a quick primer on Super Power’s background. Back in 1978, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard conceived of Super Power as a series of processes to sharpen the senses of burned-out Sea Org employees, members of Scientology’s inner elite who dedicate themselves utterly to the church’s cause. Many Sea Org members had been running afoul of the organization, getting themselves assigned to the Sea Org’s prison detail, the Rehabilitation Project Force. (Numerous historians have pointed out that hundreds of Sea Orgers suddenly found themselves on the RPF’s grim manual labor details just as the church needed a huge renovation done of its new headquarters in Los Angeles, a very convenient coincidence. But Koon assures us in his introduction that Hubbard was actually surprised and upset that so many Sea Org members had been assigned to the RPF. Some will find that a hard story to swallow, we predict.)

For whatever reason, Hubbard designed his series of processes and some initial work was done on them in 1978. But then, in 1980, Hubbard went into seclusion and died six years later. It wasn’t until 1991, Koon writes, that work began to compile and revive what Hubbard had in mind for the full process. We’ve spoken to former Sea Org member Chuck Beatty in the past, who says he was part of the crew who built some of the odd contraptions to help with the “perceptics” portion of the rundown during this testing period at Int Base in California in the early 1990s. (He told us about building a giant chair, for example, which was part of some process about understanding your actual size, or something.)

As Koon indicates, this was still a project for helping staffers sharpen up, and not really something for non-Sea Org members (or “publics,” in Scientology jargon). An exception were two of the Feshbach brothers, who were rewarded for donating a million dollars each to the church’s coffers with a run through the Super Power processes, Koon says. Matt Feshbach was then profiled in a magazine saying that he had achieved superhuman abilities after going through the Super Power Rundown.

At about that time, meanwhile, David Miscavige conceived of a new fate for Super Power: He would make it something for publics to experience, for a (very high) price. In the mid-1990s, plans were made for a massive new facility that would become a mecca for the religion. (And for years it was actually referred to as the “mecca” building, something that only changed recently.) Ground was broken in November 1998, and the building, sitting across the street from the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida, is still not open.

But over the last 15 years, as the Tampa Bay Times showed, the unfinished Super Power Building proved to be a very lucrative fundraising tool as Miscavige pressed wealthy donors for more and more money to get the building done. Earlier this year, Luis and Rocio Garcia filed a federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, alleging that the Super Power Building was specifically used to fleece them of many thousands of dollars.

Meanwhile, over the last few years, as a growing movement of former church members has formed a vocal “Independent Scientology” movement, they have repeatedly ridiculed the Super Power project, saying that Miscavige can’t afford to open it because it would only expose how anemic the church is today and unable to fill the giant building with paying customers.

In recent months, however, Miscavige has made more noise than ever that the building is going to open “soon.” He’s been encouraging members to come to Clearwater to go through rapid preparations for Super Power — which has many of them redoing earlier levels of training (and paying for it all over again).

The carrot that has kept these high-level church members forking out more and more money for donations and for repeated training is Super Power itself. It’s a tantalizing prospect for many Scientologists — that they could finally get inside that building, and pay huge rates to finally get their hands on processing that they expect will give them super powers.

Which is why, with the opening of the building supposedly imminent, the independents are trying to spoil the party with Koon’s publication. Relying on Dan Koon’s memory of working to develop the processes years ago, the indies are putting on the Internet, free for anyone who wants to view them, the secrets of Super Power that so many Scientologists are anxious to pay big money for.

And much of it is extremely underwhelming.

For those who are familiar with Scientology “technology,” what Koon has put online looks very much like other low-level Scientology training. More moving objects around, moving people around, touching walls, answering endless interrogations, and other repetitive tasks.

Mike Rinder, Scientology’s former top spokesman, says it only reinforces what a boondoggle the Super Power Building is…

What I consider a “boondoggle” is the fact that what was intended to be a program to rehabilitate incorrectly RPFed staff (it should probably be called the “RPF Rehabilitiation Rundown”) has been turned into the solution to everything from clearing the planet, to giving OT VIII’s a new carrot, to raising hundreds of millions of dollars for an insane building that is not needed at all. It’s exactly the description of a boondoggle — “the term for a scheme that wastes time and money.” As Jeff Hawkins said, it’s 95 percent marketing (quoting Miscavige).

Former church member and prominent independent Steve Hall sent us these thoughts…

I’m very happy to see that Dan is recompiling the Super Power materials so anyone can download them at no cost. I’m sure the veins in David Miscavige’s neck are popping to hear it. LRH said in 1978 that Super Power was soon to be released. Miscavige has delayed it for 35 years, promoting the lie that he needed a whole building first. But the building was just an excuse to distract attention from the death of Lisa McPherson. Then it became such a colossally fat cash cow he never wanted the collections to end.

Then comes Dan who releases the materials by himself at no charge to anyone. No building. No millions of dollars.

As I’ve said from the start, getting rid of David Miscavige doesn’t fix all the problems of the Church of Scientology, but it could at least open the door a crack for someone to fix the problems. And even if that never happens, exposing predators is simply the right thing to do.

It’s a matter of protecting the public to warn them of danger. When a sink hole opens up in the street, someone has to put up a barricade and a detour to keep people from crashing into the hole. With the Church of Scientology, it’s a long way down because the combination of brutality and reverse Scientology is lethal.

 
Lethally boring, maybe. When we looked through all 119 pages, we couldn’t help thinking how long it would take to get through every exercise, and answer every question — and with that high-priced meter running. As actor and former Scientologist Jason Beghe and others have pointed out to us numerous times, a trip to “Flag” in Clearwater ends up costing you much more than the hourly auditing rate. While you’re trying to get through that interminable set of checksheets, you’re paying to stay in expensive lodging, and for meals, and for extras — nothing in Scientology is free, even when a problem in your auditing occurs and suddenly you’re put through a “False Purpose Rundown” or some other interrogation before you can get back to the thing you came to learn.

We recently talked to a former high-level church member who went to Flag, was forced to go through interrogations that weren’t planned, and ended up spending $300,000 for the privilege. And Scientologists who are eager to get into the Super Power Building will be expecting to pay top dollar.

Anyway, we’re looking forward to your thoughts on Dan Koon’s big effort. For those curious about doing Super Power at a cut rate, he’s provided a valuable service. And for those of us who have always wondered what will go on in that building, he’s given us a seat on the front row. Thanks, Dan!

 
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Scott and Karry Campbell on Their Hellish Treatment at “Big Blue”

These installments from Karen de la Carriere, J. Swift, and Angry Gay Pope just get better and better.

 

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on July 10, 2013 at 06:00

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