Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Scientology’s Freedom magazine congratulates itself for going ‘Ideal’

FreedomCoversWe’ve greatly enjoyed the new Freedom magazine. Scientology’s propaganda outlet used to be a lot wackier and in its own way was screamingly funny. For several years it came out only about once a year, and when it did, it was a doozy — issues slammed Marty Rathbun for running his own “cult” (A Posse of Lunatics), or went after Lawrence Wright, Paul Haggis, and The New Yorker (What a Load of Balderdash).

The writing in those issues was slimy and hilarious, and it was quite clear that it had been done to Scientology leader David Miscavige’s exacting standards of ridicule. But then, after about a year with no issues, Freedom reappeared a year ago after a new staff had been assembled in Los Angeles. This new incarnation of Freedom is very entertaining in its earnestness.

Over the past year, editor Jennifer Lankheim has penned artful editorials, trying her best to sound like a serious journalist while also praising Scientology. Then, this week, the August issue of the magazine appeared, and we clicked straight for Jennifer’s essay. Here is its opening…

A year is no time. And it is forever. And it was a year ago that Freedom began a new chapter in its 47-year history as an investigative journal and the voice of the Church of Scientology. The magazine was recast as a regular monthly, to spearhead the Church’s efforts to greatly expand, and enrich, its media footprint. The Church also partnered its own team of writers, editors and designers with veteran professionals in the field, toward creating the “ideal” media voice for the 21st Century.

Did you get that? Freedom has gone Ideal!

For the uninitiated: More than a decade ago, David Miscavige decided to replace existing Scientology “orgs” with more glamorous facilities that had to be paid for by local members. Since then, Scientologists have been under intense pressure to raise the millions to buy and renovate buildings to “Ideal orgs” could be opened in cities around the world. The key thing to remember, though, is that these are replacements for existing facilities, and they represent no expansion whatsoever. Also, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that the new Idea orgs are mostly empty despite their great cost. Some cities have struggled for years to complete fundraising so they could open their Ideal orgs, including Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Montreal, Kansas City, and Boston. Despite those problems, Miscavige then started pushing for other Scientology entities to go “ideal”: Continental Liaison Offices, which are little more than data-collection offices; Narconon drug rehab centers; and Advanced Orgs, where Scientologists go for the highest levels of counseling.


With so many places going “Ideal” — which, for the most part, seems to entail little more than a fresh coat of paint — maybe it’s no wonder that Freedom has now gone ideal as well. But what does that mean, exactly? We turned to Mike Rinder, formerly the top international spokesman of the church for an answer.

“This is such typical Scientology bubble-think,” he told us. “The regular media are just ‘Merchants of Chaos’ and Suppressive Persons (SPs). This is of course the justification Miscavige now uses to explain his refusal to ever respond to the media other than with his silly ‘Karin Pouw’ letters proclaiming things to be ‘provable bullshit’ — Though you can bet he hasn’t taken down his framed Ted Koppel interview shot from his wall. So, instead, he has decided he is going to teach the wogs how to do it, Scientology style. He paid a few people — ironically ‘wogs’ and ‘Merchants of Chaos’ themselves — to try and give the magazine credibility and is now ‘applying the tech’ to turn it into ‘real’ journalism.

“It is pretty hilarious they are calling this the ‘ideal media voice.’ But quite in keeping with the normal conceit they display. They have the ‘tech’ for everything, and with the superior intelligence they gain by being Scientologists and real ‘confront’ Miscavige and company just know they are superior and are setting out to teach the world how a real magazine is to be done. You can bet they are applying to every possible award group to gain recognition and so they can start promoting themselves as ‘award-winning’.”

Rinder points out, however, that you can still find links on Freedom’s homepage to its vicious attacks on Anderson Cooper or the Tampa Bay Times or the New Yorker.

“Sooner or later they will have to shift that over to some other site — but then their stories totally lose even a hint of credibility that they are trying to get for the magazine. Oh, what a conundrum.”


Movie star has big opening weekend. Scientology still fucked.

The new big-budget action sequel starring Tom Cruise had a predictably big weekend at the box office, and already, the equally predictable press pivot is beginning to happen.

We have never been one to root against Tom’s success. He’s a bankable movie star and a fine actor. It’s not really surprising to us that his new movie is doing well.

It was also pretty predictable that in the days leading up to the premiere the press would lay down and ask him all about his amazing stunts in the movie and not about the things that another film, Going Clear, brought up about him and his involvement in the Church of Scientology.

But a successful movie and compliant press really doesn’t change Tom’s quandary. We warned Tom years ago that Scientology’s ongoing implosion was going to continue to worsen and that it would cause him trouble. We still feel that way. Scientology’s biggest problems are internal, and as long as Cruise says nothing about it, those problems will only worsen and continue to dog his career.


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Is this new? A downloadable intro to Dianetics? “Feel free to share the synopsis and first three chapters of Dianetics with your friends and family!”


Pro-Scientology Instagram account ‘The Truth Network’ helpfully points out the proximity of the OC Ideal Org to the Happiest Place on Earth…




We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

August 4: London, Conway Hall, 19:30, (with John Sweeney)

August 24: Boston, Boston Skeptics in the Pub, 7 pm (with Gregg Housh)

Sept 15: Barrett the Honors College, Arizona State University, ASU in Downtown Phoenix campus

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis

Sept 27: Portland

Sept 28: Seattle, Razzi’s Pizzeria, 7 pm, with Seattle Skeptics and Seattle Atheists

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm

Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 26: Melbourne

Oct 28: Adelaide (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 30: Perth

Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29)


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 3, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA 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

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
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



We think we’ve found a solution for our email needs, and you should be getting notices again for new stories if you’ve signed up for them.


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email