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Scientology yesterday and today: Reports from Mark Bunker and Dennis Erlich

Dan_SlaughterFilmmaker Mark Bunker was dubbed “Wise Beard Man” by the Anonymous movement in 2008. We’ve been reading Mark’s observations about Scientology since the late 1990s, and we’re eagerly awaiting his documentary about Scientology, “Knowledge Report.”

Bunker’s recent return to Clearwater to live has us very intrigued. He told us he was going to approach the city’s new police chief about the infamous injunction that defines how protesters and the Church of Scientology can interact downtown, and we told him we wanted to know how it went. So he sent us over a full report! How did it go, Mark?

MARK: I attended Wednesday night’s meet-and-greet with Clearwater’s new police chief, Dan Slaughter (pictured). It turned out to be a rather small affair. The meeting room was set up for a large crowd but only five locals attended along with former mayor Rita Garvey and three others from the police department, so Chief Slaughter gathered as all around in a circle for an intimate chat.

Slaughter began with a little background on how he became an officer. He had set his sights on being an aeronautical engineer but then calculus came along in his studies and he decided to switch gears. One of his closest friends was interested in becoming a police officer and convinced him it would be a good profession. That friend is also now on the Clearwater police force and he was one of the people joining the chief at the meeting.

Slaughter then detailed the various positions he has held in the department and spoke with great sincerity about the pride he took in many of the outreach programs and mentoring programs he had been a part of. One of the attendees brought up Ferguson, Missouri. Slaughter said there were a lot of lessons to be learned there but the most important one was to do neighborhood policing which has been something Clearwater has been doing for some time.

Then the floor was open to questioning and I let everyone speak before me. The chief kept looking to me and waiting for me to launch into my Scientology spiel. He had recognized and greeted me when I had come in. Before the meeting started, I told him I was back in town finishing my documentary and he said he hoped he wasn’t in it.


One of the other citizens said he had moved to Clearwater because he read about how Rita Garvey had been running Clearwater when she was mayor and liked what he saw. I then brought up that former mayor Gabe Cazares was one of the reasons I had moved to Clearwater and told the chief that I had come to town as a big fan of the Clearwater Police Department. I had watched how the police had to deal with Scientology and put up with them protesting, shouting “Sid Klein…what’s your crime?” The chief had been on the force since 1992 so I told him he obviously was well aware of how Scientology operated. I brought up that Paul Maser of the Clearwater police had written an affidavit in 1998 when Scientology was suing to have the names of undercover officers revealed in which the police quoted Fair Game and laid out how Scientology tries to destroy anyone who comes against them.


I told him I was concerned how the city was working hard to make peace with Scientology and find a way to work with them, but I thought it would be much better for him and the city to reach out to Mike Rinder to fully understand how Scientology was operating in the city. I pointed out that there are news stories about Scientology every day including the recent pieces from Joe Childs in the Tampa Bay Times about how Narconon was breaking the law in a nearby city by putting patients in unlicensed and unreported homes. Following the law is not as important as Keeping Scientology Working. I mentioned they were opening a new Narconon facility not far from where we were holding that meeting.

I brought up an issue raised by Tony Ortega and a couple of my friends on Facebook who thought it important to let the police know that the workers in Scientology who come from all corners of the globe have their passports collected and kept locked away. This was something he said he didn’t know about and I pointed out that this is just the type of thing he could learn if he talked to Mike Rinder or other former members. Human trafficking is an issue that the police highlight on their website, yet here is an organization that has been probed by the FBI for that very issue.

In the end, the chief was getting increasingly uncomfortable and wanted to know if others had questions. It didn’t seem to me that there was much of a chance he would take my suggestion and reach out to Rinder. Like everyone else in the city, he seemed to want to strike that “treating everyone equally” stance that seems about as empty as the Fox News “Fair and Balanced” slogan. Sure sounds good but could we face reality, please?

I was happy to see one other woman who was seated next to the chief agree with everything I had said and told him she had been in Scientology in Clearwater decades ago and had been used by them to infiltrate Clearwater offices. She was happy to do it then because she was a true believer and said she was now sorry and trying to make amends. She pointed out that Scientology no longer needs to infiltrate because essentially they can do whatever they want out in the open with no resistance from the city.

After the meeting ended, I shook the chief’s hand and told him how Denis deVlaming and I had sat down with the last chief early in the year to see if the police would side with me in court and tell a judge that the injunction should be lifted. Chief Holloway had said no, so I asked if Chief Slaughter might be willing to change that position. He said he didn’t think he’d take a position on that at all and mentioned that when the Super Power Building opened, Scientology had called the police to ask that the injunction be expanded to cover more blocks. That hasn’t happened…yet.

My impression of the chief is that he is probably a good guy and may well be a great chief, but he likely joins every other official in the city in washing their hands about doing anything about Scientology. It’s a hell of a lot easier to ignore it and if no one in the state or federal government will help, why risk the lawsuits taking Scientology on?

At any rate, I wish him well.


Dennis_ErlichDennis Erlich helps us understand Scientology’s original appeal

Dennis Erlich is best known as the former Scientologist whose home was raided in 1995 by representatives of the Religious Technology Center along with a couple of police officers. It was Scientology’s first-ever Internet censorship raid, and it sparked a series of legal battles that have affected online rights ever since.

Yesterday, we noticed that Dennis had reposted on Facebook something he had written earlier about what first attracted him to Scientology. We thought it was one of the best explanations of Scientology’s early appeal that we’ve ever read, and thought we’d share it here.

DENNIS: In 1967, when I first encountered the cult at 21, society as a whole seemed somewhat adrift. Whereas the interior of the cult seemed well organized and run with a palpable “fervor of purpose” in comparison.

The ideas they presented seemed to be somewhat familiar. That there are mechanical laws of the universe, that the general public has yet to discover, which define all the relationships of mental/spiritual existence, in much the same way that physics and engineering relates physical matters. And that Hubbard had discovered them all. And that we could use our forthcoming knowledge of those mechanical laws to gain leverage over the difficulties of life, if we used them properly (exactly the way Ron said).

The concept of thetan; a “you”, apart from your physical self, is as spiritual as the subject was back then. The study was all about the existence of this dark, bad “reactive mind” that “Ron had discovered” which was dragging us pitiful humans around by our unconscious (third nostril, the SubGenii call them.) The Third Dynamic Engram, it later became to be known.

But back then it was clearly a therapy to relieve painful and traumatic incidents and free the person from the continuing harmful effects of them. Reduction of incidents. Recounting.

Then, as one advanced, it lead to general thought exercises (auditing) which were designed particularly to prove to you that, with the help of an auditor and an e-meter, you could change your mind and have it stick.

But it was still therapy. I saw myself as an alternative therapist. After getting the training and fulfilling the 2 1/2-year contract, I intended to hang up a shingle and go into private practice. All the auditors did. Because that is the way Elrong had presented the material all through our training. “Here, use this. It works! Become successful.”

The orgs had some very bright people on staff back then. Lots of people from Cal Tech and JPL. Well, a few key people, for sure. I knew and respected a number of them when I was first on staff at LA Org. They mostly left or were driven out by the C-org mentality which Elrong was busy introducing into the cult during those years (1968 – 1973).

The big shocker for me came when, in ’69, auditors were ordered to wear minister’s outfits (collars and crosses) in order to make the operation look more “churchy”. The org was ordered by Elrong to make up one of the normal weekend recruitment Beginning Lectures with trappings that make it look more like a traditional church service. Put up crosses everywhere. That kinda shit.

I was a long-hair, skinny, motorcycle riding, rock guitar playin’, ex-LAfreak, who had just been abandoned by an adulterous wife (taking with her my two beautiful infant daughters), and was looking to start my life over as a scieno-threapist.

The whole “minister” thing, didn’t fit my image. Not my look. But I went along.

After all, Ron said life’s a game.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 29, 2014 at 07:00

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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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