You can either make a one-time donation to the site via Paypal...

...or you can subscribe and get billed monthly:

To join our e-mail list & get daily updates on new stories, e-mail us at
RSS Feed
Click here to add The Underground Bunker to your RSS Reader

Scientology’s 2016: CNN plans to give L. Ron Hubbard his best press in decades


Last year, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder predicted that 2015 would bring his former employer “pain.” And it sure was a tough year for David Miscavige and his followers. With Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear and Leah Remini’s book Troublemaker, more people than ever are learning about Scientology and its controversies.

But not everyone is apparently happy about that. Back when Gibney’s movie was first getting a lot of publicity, we heard from a couple of national figures who criticized the idea of singling out Scientology for examination. One of them was Reza Aslan, a rising star in the religious writing field and a frequent presence on television. Here’s what he told CNN:

I don’t think it’s fair to refer to Scientology as a cult. I mean, really the difference between a religion and a cult tends to be how long the religion lasts. Christianity was a cult for three hundred years. Mormonism was considered a cult for a hundred years. In fact, there are people today who still refer to Mormonism as a cult. Is it somehow different than other religious traditions in the way that it deals with its internal structure, in the disaffection of its former movement members? No, I don’t think so.

That’s easily the most frequent criticism we run into when Scientology is exposed as a cynical, nefarious organization that hurts its members: Well, religions are all the same. (And we’re not even going to go into L. Ron Hubbard’s exploitation of “the religious angle” and whether Scientology deserves to be called a religious organization at all. Also, Aslan’s statement is exactly why we avoid using the word ‘cult.’ It causes more confusion than understanding.) As we explained to Alex Gibney in his movie, why this common complaint fails is that Scientology’s essentially deceptive nature is what sets it apart…


Anyway, the reason we bring this up is that the new year is bringing a lot of predictions for what 2016 will bring Scientology. And while there’s more controversy on the way — particularly the upcoming memoir by Ron Miscavige Sr., “If He Dies, He Dies” — you can also expect something of a backlash to the criticism Scientology has been receiving.

And one place to expect it from is Reza Aslan and CNN.

Last year, it was announced that Aslan would be hosting a new CNN series in 2016, “Believer.” In its announcement, CNN was clearly anticipating the solid ratings it gets whenever it panders to religious viewers. And here was a chance to have a series featuring good news about different faiths around the world, including Scientology.

We were contacted by a producer for the show in the summer, who tried to convince us that the episode on Scientology will talk about the organization’s controversial past. That may be so, but Aslan is apparently trying hard to find nice things to say about L. Ron Hubbard and his followers. Here’s an email he sent Karen de la Carriere, for example, which she allowed us to show you…

Dear Karen,

My name is Reza Aslan. I’m a scholar of religions, an author, a frequent media commentator, and host of a new CNN documentary series called Believer. Think Anthony Bourdain but “faith” instead of “food.” I’m immersing myself in religious traditions around the world – without judgement or criticism – as a way of understanding other world views, of drawing bridges between believers and unbelievers, and of trying to make what some people may find strange and unfamiliar less strange and more relatable.

I am contacting you because we are filming an episode about people in the FreeZone community. I am interested in the lived experience of normal, everyday Independent Scientologists and members of the Free Zone who have left the official Church of Scientology. I am looking for people who have been helped by the philosophies of L. Ron Hubbard, his ideas and practices, why and how they came to it and how it has helped them in their lives. That’s why I’m reaching out to you: to see if you’d be willing to speak to me about your beliefs.

I understand you may be wary – I would be too considering the treatment of Scientology in the media. But I assure you I have no interest in further amplifying the voices of Scientology’s critics. They’ve been heard plenty. The show is called Believer because it focuses on believers. I myself am a believer – a Muslim – a follower of a religion that is only SLIGHTLY less misunderstood and feared than Scientology 🙂 So I have no intention of treating other believers, regardless of their religion, with skepticism or revulsion. I want to show the beauty and appeal of other religions because I honestly and truly believe these are all different paths to the same destination.

So what do you say? Will you talk to me? I hope so.


This was followed up by an email from one of the show’s producers, who told Karen, “We had great experiences talking to people in the Freezone and independent communities in LA, Reno and Israel.”

Reno was where the Freezone held its annual convention in June. And Israel must refer to Dani Lemberger’s breakaway mission in Haifa.

Back in 2012, one of our favorite stories was our lengthy and non-judgmental story about Dani and his ardent belief in L. Ron Hubbard’s ideas. We have always found the “independent” movement interesting, at the same time that we have taken an unsparing look at Hubbard and his ideas. But is the “indie” movement really a news story except as a foil to the Church of Scientology itself? If the church did not exist, would anyone care that a tiny group of people think that science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard was on to something about past lives and superhuman powers?

We just wanted to make something very clear. On occasion, we are asked whether it makes sense to pay attention to an organization, the Church of Scientology, that has only about 40,000 members around the world. Well, we’re just one person with a small website, and we think it’s worth keeping an eye on a multi-billion-dollar entity that still seeks to have influence over many more people. We do so despite the hazards that come with covering Scientology, hazards that are very real.

Now CNN, a giant media organization, is going to use its media power to shine a favorable light on a movement that, at its national annual convention, managed to gather about 36 people.

Think about it.

As for Karen, here’s her response to a CNN producer who recently contacted her about getting images for the show…

“As long as this show is pushing the benefits of Scientology I want no part in it. This entity killed my son.”


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Rizza Islam at the New Year’s Eve party held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Actual caption: “Peace beautiful family!!! Me, my court-mate, and some of the family at the IAS new years party at the Beverly Wilshire hotel! Even though the new year begins in April we decided to come and have fun anyway! Bring in the new year with love, happiness, peace and PRAYER!”



3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on January 2, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. 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.

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: 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 | 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • beauty for ashes

    I sincerely hope that Reza Aslan learns enough in this journey to be wary of presenting scientology as a benign religion. I do not want to demonize him. Just as I wouldn’t want to demonize people who are in scientology. I might condemn their behavior, but I have enough proof to know that unlike some personality traits, spiritual ideas are more fluid. Frankly I might be biased because a lot of ex scientologists are becoming my favorite teachers, and just people I have ever met. So when I look at them I say, at what point in their journey would I as a critic feel free to embrace them as a friend? And then the hypocrisy of that question makes it fade away in my mind. That too of course depends on the fruits of the tree, how one behaves under the influence of scientology.
    I was in a retail training once with a few muslim women, one dressed very modern wore makeup and died her hair blond. She spoke to another young woman who was wearing a hajib, the traditional head covering. She said that she used to wear the hajib, and it made her feel good because it was about modesty and self respect to her and putting herself in a respectful place spiritually. She looked back on that time with fondness and seeing the girl in her hajib gave her good memories. She said this in front of about twenty people at a long table. as a lapsed catholic, what surprised me was that she was not wearing the hajib anymore and felt no guilt. just fondness. This was an important spiritual lesson for me and I often look back on that conversation that I witnessed.
    I am grateful to both those girls. I feel like everytime I replace ignorance and judgement with human faces, it is a spiritual victory for me. No matter what relationship I have with God at the time.
    So I’m going to wait and see what Reza says before I have a reaction, and see if he says anything that challenges me.
    ps~if I spelled something wrong or phrased something wrong, please tell me the correct way to say it. I’m not entirely sure if I phrased this right. I’d rather be embarrassed than thought to be rude.

    • “…everytime I replace ignorance and judgement with human faces, it is a spiritual victory for me.”

      wise words!!

      • beauty for ashes

        IKR? Wait what’s in this coffee anyhow? I’m gonna go watch some cat videos before I start sounding like Marty Rathbun! (I kidd)

    • Kay

      Great comment…

  • Lucille Austero

    Update: I’m still standing out here on the front porch of infinity. ..what the haps?

    • Nat-leficent


      • B4you


      • salin

        doon meets slinky meets infinity porch.

      • Lucille Austero

        Ooh, now I’m woozy!

      • dchoiceisalwaysrs

        Can that be done in a Mobious strip fashion?

        • Nat-leficent


          • dchoiceisalwaysrs

            Wow, The infinite porch to a no-where bridge. May DM join in to the tune of Helter Skelter. Thanks Nat.

    • L. Wrong Hubturd

      The rest of us are still trying to figure out how to get there. Any sign of Hubbard or Wee Dinky?

    • TheHoleDoesNotExist

      I am going to have to write the next hit country song, stealing All of your lines today, “On the Front Porch of Infinity”. I must.

      Judging by the brilliance and wit here today, I’m gonna predict a magnificent year in the Bunker.

      • beauty for ashes

        I support this idea. Silly country song about scientology?? Genius.

        • TheHoleDoesNotExist

          hells bells, the song has already been written – it’s all here – I just have to collect them. Mr. Hole needs me to have something to practice the next steps on recording that he learned – this will be perfect. Need something simple.

          I’d like to give NOLAGirl one of Tom Cruise’s big old medals, and maybe a couple of Duggan trophies, and maybe even a certificate in crayon – I think her BAM! right out the gate today inspired us all to put on our best duds, whip out the sharpest snark, and put on our Bunker Deep Thoughts helmet today. I’m so proud of her!

    • stillgrace2

      We’re checking out magic Mormon underwear. Sorry to keep you waiting. You’re at the front, right?

      • Lucille Austero

        Yes! The sacred garments! Not saying whether I have my magical underpants on or not. A gal has to keep them guessing, no?

        • stillgrace2

          Yes! Bibbitty Bobbitty Boo!

    • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

      You should put on a sweater, my dear. It’s getting chilly out.

  • B4you
    • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

      06:41 “…..and when I insult Scientology……” lights go out.

      21:23 “….religion itself is a con. And it’s a con you pull on your own mind….”


  • Kay

    Since I have relatives who are Mormons, may I say that I find it offensive on their behalf that Mr. Aslan uses the example of Mormonism to defend Scientology and it’s practices. You can take any religion and certainly compare different facets of it’s belief system with other religions, but this comparison shows that he is obviously ill-informed as to the actual realities of Scientology, as it contains none of the commonalities of most religions, i.e. belief in and worship of a God or group of Gods, (or universal consciousness) regard for your fellow man, service to others the principle of sacrifice, etc. If he is going to write about religion, then he’d better learn the difference between ANY religion and a highly organized criminal organization posing as a religion. Sigh.

    • And if you didn’t have Mormon relatives? What does that have to do with anything?
      Aslan actually makes a certain point, albeit an irrelevant one, that Mormonism has become accepted through the passage of time.
      Its still a delusional belief system.
      Believe what you will, but once you believe in things that are provably false you cross a line.
      No, Mormonism isn’t a continuing criminal enterprise. Technically.

      • JaxNGold

        Mormonism isn’t anything like $cientology. I was a Mormon for almost 18 years — that was almost 20 years ago. Mormons don’t bankrupt their members, they don’t hold people hostage, they don’t practice disconnection; they don’t stalk and harass anyone who speaks out, etc.

        Not trying to start an argument. Just sayin’. Cheers.

        • Kay

          Thanks…..I agree.

        • No, they don’t do those things.
          Anymore. To the extent Scientology does.
          But really…..

          • JaxNGold

            Well, I assume we’re talking about what’s relevant, not what happened decades ago.

            • That’s what Scientology says.
              But really you have a point and I have a point.

            • JaxNGold

              Fair enough.

        • “Mormonism isn’t anything like $cientology.”
          Actually its quite like Scientology in ways. (Don’t make me list them. You are on a computer, you have access to nearly all available knowledge.)
          And there are differences.
          It isn’t one or the other.

          • JaxNGold

            In this day and age, how is Mormonism like $cientology? I’m fully capable of researching on the internet. But I spent nearly two decades in the Mormon church. I never ever once experienced anything like what members of $cientology do. You’re completely entitled to your opinion, though. Let’s just agree to disagree.

            • You’re fully capable of researching on the internet, but you won’t.
              And if you haven’t been a Scientologist how do you know what they’ve experienced?
              Agreeing to disagree can be a form of cognitive dissonance.

            • JaxNGold

              What do you mean I won’t research on the Internet? Please give me some solid examples of how CO$ is like $cientology..aside from being started by a conman.

              How can I know what $cientologists have experienced? By reading accounts on this blog, on ESMB, etc.

            • “…aside from being started by a conman.”

              that can’t end well

            • JaxNGold

              If the only similarity between them is being started by a conman, well…that isn’t much. Shorpy, this back and forth is getting old. We’ll obviously never agree on this. And that’s ok. Have a good night.

        • pat k

          I will take exception on disconnection. Be a young gay male and try to stay connected.

          • JaxNGold

            Did you mean to reply to me? If so, I haven’t a clue what you mean.

      • Kay

        Well, frankly if he used Catholics as an example and I had Catholic relatives I would be annoyed. I think that is a normal response when you care about someone. Any religion can be criticized, and sometimes for good reason, but in my own opinion Scientology never has been a religion so how can you compare it to one? Also, I think you can look at any religious system and call it delusional if you don’t subscribe to it. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. I don’t want to derail things into a discussion on mormonism per se, I was trying to make the point that this guy isn’t informed enough to realize that Scientology really HURTS people, intentionally.

        • So if he used Rastas and you didn’t have any as relatives, you wouldn’t be annoyed?
          Was my point.

          • Kay

            Well I can see what you are saying, but I don’t think we are going to ever agree on this, but that’s OK. Peace.

            • You’re not going to agree that we should be concerned about the rights of others, even if we aren’t personally involved?

        • TheHoleDoesNotExist

          Kay, it never fails when there is an attempt to discuss the merits of scientology as a religion. It all just falls flat on its face. Any true scholars have come to the same conclusion. This Reza character has been exposed in the past as to his true nature. Scientology can Only sniff out other charlatans to speak for them.

          Besides the fact that Hubbard himself said many times, many ways, merry profits to me! The religion angle, it’s just for the tax man and law man. This alone should settle the matter. It’s from the founder himself.

          Then there are plenty on the scene witnesses like myself that experienced the extraordinary efforts the organization made to fake religiosity. Most of us didn’t know what was going and certainly not why. There were times when overnight orders came down to spend a ton of money – when this was practically a crime – on getting some minister robes and a lot of collars – of purchase order after purchase order rushed through (another near crime) to get crosses, to get signs made to stick in the lobby and public areas, plus make the public stage area look churchy.

          I think the first time it happened the shore story we were offered up to swallow was that the mean old pyschs were trying to stop students from other countries getting their visas to come to the LA area for auditor training. The solution was to get them religious visas. Something like that. It was an enormous, emergency and frantic plus extravagant production – we called it Hill 10. Those of us who’ve been around enough at least knew what scientology was not.

          • salin

            Interesting history/episode, those events must have both spiked questions, and also stuffed them back to the back of the mind because everyone was suddenly following those orders (as if it was logical/normal) to meet the ‘crisis.’ Insidious in terms of thought control. To outsiders – didn’t this make you question? While to those experiencing the experience with so much confirmation of the actions of others – it probably works the exact opposite ways.

            • TheHoleDoesNotExist

              For me, yes it did pop up a red flag. I was never sold on the whole all psychs are evil – too much I knew was based on stuff from the 40’s and 50’s. It was very disturbing to me that we had to pretend to suddenly be a religious organization – later, most of us laughed about it – but it was more the nervous kind of laugh.

          • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

            If Karen won’t come up to bat and help Reza play his devil’s advocate dark horse underdog “cult” religion defense skills, then maybe another freezoner will step up, and give Reza enough ammunition to blunder his way onto more media attention for his religion defense program.

            If I were Reza, I’d just read the Bridge to Total Freedom chart, and take note that the “upper bridge” has “Operating Thetan” levels.

            I’d look up “Operating Thetan” in the Tech Dictionary and put two and two together and ask some freezoners if they think they will someday become “Operating Thetans” like in the definitions number 1 and 3 in the Tech Dictionary.

            If Reza wishes to prove his point, that freezoners and official Scientologists are all just going for “Operating Thetan” status, as defined in definitions 1 and 3 in the Tech Dictionary, and if Reza can weave that quickly into his intent for the show, then that’s how were I him, I’d do it, simply.

            He’ll realistically have to submit to losing on ALL negative criticism points against Scientology as an organization.

            All he could “win” at, is equating “Operating Thetan” definitions 1 and 3, and that lure or goal of Scientology, as being somewhat aligned with his program’s intent.

            This “cult” argument is a human linguistic issue.

            If there weren’t the word “cult” then some other suitable rejection reaction word would have evolved to today fit what Scientology is.

            If Reza chooses intentionally not to take up Scientology’s negative baggage, if he doesn’t at least give some basic public consumer’s guide type of relevant info warnings about Scientology’s well publicized persistent downsides, then Reza’s just playing rhetorical games and not doing the public a service, and that ought reflect badly back on CNN for not at least mentioning Scientology’s still relevant abusive downsides.

            All he’d be saying is people have spiritual desires, and the Scientology key spiritual lure is the “Operating Thetan” status attainment.

            CNN ought to just get Tony on if they want any kind of overall informed balanced thoughts about current Scientology.

            • Rambling, incoherent, yet understandable post. Kudos!
              It would be nice for Karen, in particular, to give an interview.
              And then investigate the reasons why it wasn’t used or considered.

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              All I should have said:

              Get Tony on CNN, skip Reza. If they want any balanced comments on Scientology.

            • Hey, just think what Dickens would have been like with an editor:
              “Now, Mr. Dickens. was it the best of times, or was it the worst of times? It could hardly have been both.”
              Continue. Cheers and Happy New Year.

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              From Hubbard the mediocre pulp writer, throughout all the history of the Hubbard followers, with a few exceptions, like William Burroughs who gave Scientology a few years of his life, there’ve been no really standout followers.

              And certainly, until like Tony compliments on this blog from time to time, there’s today’s acclaimed Neil Gaiman, as the only standout really skilled writer associated or linked by family, to Scientology, and Neil was the ED Birmingham or something.

              I think most observers on this blog are miles smarter than 100 percent of the Scientologists on staffs in the beehives of Scientology, as you outsiders instinctively know.

              I do wish Tony would get invited sometime to speak, more, he’s done his homework now like no body.

            • Kay

              YES !!

            • Kay

              “If Reza chooses intentionally not to take up Scientology’s negative baggage, if he doesn’t at least give some basic public consumer’s guide type of relevant info warnings about Scientology’s well publicized persistent downsides, then Reza’s just playing rhetorical games and not doing the public a service, and that ought reflect badly back on CNN for not at least mentioning Scientology’s still relevant abusive downsides.”

              I like that statement a lot !

            • chuckbeattyexseaorg75to03

              It’d be so much simply, to include Tony, in the show, to give it Tony’s wealth of understanding that Tony’s accumulated on Scientology.

              Tony, Hugh Urban, put ’em both on TV already!

          • Kay

            Great comment…

          • PerpetualOutflow

            “…Hubbard himself said many times, many ways, merry profits to me?”

            Despite any perceived “wins,” it’s worse than you think and rotten to the core.

      • beauty for ashes

        What is it that you think scientology and Mormonism have in common from a religious critic point of view? I think they both have problems but in mostly different areas and are not a lot alike.

        • old news is old
          1. Started by proven con men.
          2. Space alien cosmology.
          3. Etc.

          • PerpetualOutflow

            Wouldn’t have replied at all if I had seen this first. Ditto.

        • PerpetualOutflow

          I don’t know a lot about LDS beliefs, but I know enough to know that Mormons too have some space theology, so there is some commonality there (e.g. Mormon families populating and saving their own planets…I probably can’t articulate it in PC and totally accurate terms). The also have in common the fact that they were both invented out of whole cloth by American men who wrote their own “scriptures.”

  • What a sad fucking joke this whole premise is. Most people these days would agree that organized religion and politics are the main sources of evil in the world. Fuck this CNN show. So fucking dumb. We need more scientific shows.

    • Still_On_Your_Side

      This guy is so clueless. I bet his next show is about Neo-Nazis and he writes to Holocaust survivors saying he intends to be very “objective” about Hitler.

      • anoni81b4u

        He was a trend setter in hair/moustache design.
        He loved animals and dogs.
        He was a vegetarian and a Christian.
        He only married once, and he and his wife stayed married until they both passed away.
        If you can forget about the tens of millions of deaths he caused, he was not a bad guy.

    • TheHoleDoesNotExist

      I’d like to see a follow up on CNN – with Science Doc delivering the message. I’d watch it.

    • “Most

      • Like I give a fuck. Derail much?

        • Sorry, I guess I had no point.

          • Sorry, you did have a good point.
            I should have said – most people I talked to about religion and politics.
            It’s just angers me.

  • B4you

    O/T Something is going on in The Creek

    Why would they need all those skills? and check out the reviews with the driver who explains how they Pick up random addicts from the street! WTF?

    • salin

      Have the job ad open. Where do I look for the reviews with drivers?

    • “Pros
      no uniform required, scientology if you’re into aliens”
      I’m on it.
      Battle Creek Org 10/3/13:

    • “The Creek” makes it sound like you’re local.
      If so, let’s say we do something.
      Not necessarily about this but something.
      Because something can be done about it.

      • B4you

        i’m not… The link was from when Tony wrote about it and i subscribed to this Job posting thing, so i get mails every now and then, like 1 every month, mostly about the receptionist job but this one stood out!

    • nice find
      bc is a bastion of scn scam
      anon has history back to day one

  • Lucille Austero

    If I were standing on the front porch of infinity AND I was wearing a pair of sacred and quite magical underpants, would I be a $cientologist? Or a Mormon?

    • anoni81b4u

      It depends on who is standing behind you and what the underpants look like….

    • All underpants are magical, so, yes.

    • TheHoleDoesNotExist

      In the Outhouse of Infinity, there is no religion, there are no pants. There are only holy assholes.

      and no toilet paper

      • PerpetualOutflow

        Is that the Unibomber’s abode?

    • Intergalactic Walrus

      Depends on the teeth. Do you have an Osmond-style smile or LRH’s licorice chompers?

    • pix or gtfo

    • PerpetualOutflow

      Obvious right–Mormon.

      • PerpetualOutflow

        Mormons have magic underwear, $cienos have magic e-meters…or bracelets…or trophies.

    • ReallyMGM

      If I had to choose the religion ONLY based on church-sponsored underwear or e meters/xenu, I would choose the one with low cost cotton under wear vs an overpriced hunk of plastic that doesn’t work and is deemed obsolete every year. So Mormon wins. (Not FDLS!!!)

  • JanInThePan

    Apologies if this has been posted already, but Mike Rinder and Clearlypissed off have put together an amazing post for today on Mike’s site. Warning: Bring tissues. And kittens.

    • PerpetualOutflow

      It’s a great post in many ways, except that it gives old L Ron a pass in the hopes that will be easier on the sensibilities of those just leaving or about to leave. Makes sense for that purpose, but in the end, no sense since a tree of such rotten Crowleyesque fruit simply cannot bear good and lasting fruit that will help and not harm those who expose themselves to it.

    • ReallyMGM

      Yesterday’s “Degraded Being” was one of the best ever, IMO. Check it out while you are there.

  • stillgrace2

    It’s Saturday night, the family is watching MI5 from Netflix and I am not! I hardly ever post videos, but this one seems so right tonight. I hope you like it. It’s one of my favorites.

    • The album came up on random play tonight.
      Its awesome musically, lyrically, and a bunch of “lly” other ways.
      Very, very fun.
      I can’t believe it won so many Tony’s (no not Ortega) with recurring themes, such as (I will defer some of them)….maggots in my scrotum.
      From the very first note: (ding-dong….doorbell…”Hello”)

    • And yet, I am in a debate downthread about whether Mormonism is like Scientology.
      Get a ticket. Its coming to a town near you.

      • stillgrace2

        Locked and Loaded, Shorpy.

        • The beauty of it’s commentary is that it just recites the beliefs accurately, and lets them fall on their own.
          Even if one doesn’t care about all that, its just kick-ass good music and musical theater.

        • (by the way i have no idea what you meant by that, but i’m pretending that i do)

          • stillgrace2

            I means I locked down the date and loaded up my credit card to buy the tickets.

      • Margie8

        HUGE difference.

        • Huge differences, huge similarities.

          • Margie8

            To each their own but as long as I have the right to walk away, without being threatened, etc., I think it makes a world of difference. However, I’m not a young, gay male who has grown up in the church and feeling like my family will disown me if I do.

    • Thanks, I just asked Alexa to play it, and she is.

    • JanInThePan

      We were lucky enough a couple years ago to win the ‘Broadway Lottery’ completely unexpectedly one night and wound up seeing this show from front row center for $32 a ticket. We were so close we could see into the orchestra pit at the front of the stage- the bandleader was the keyboardist and we could see Cartman stickers saying “Respect MAH Authoritah!” on the keyboard. What an awesome show and an amazing weekend.

      • Totally peak experience.
        What city?

        • JanInThePan

          New York. We had gone to see Matilda the Musical (an incredible show in it’s own right and even bigger proponent of books/using your brain to combat bullies while satirizing culture) and that night didn’t have anything planned and came upon the lottery by chance.

          • Fortuitous.
            (I’m listening to the soundtrack right now for the approximately 37th time)
            So many good things happen by chance if you let them.
            New York!!! Oh my Lord!!!
            I’m sure the audience was in tune.
            Now multiply that by 8+ per week times the run….plus the road show….wow….it adds up….
            My Lord, I have gained so much respect for stage performers.
            (Disclosure: I permanently damaged my knee trying to do one number)
            I just saw a rerun of a number by the cast of “Color Purple” on Stephen Colbert last night.
            Now try to imagine performing the whole production. Eight times a week. For months!

            • JanInThePan

              I know what you mean! I have so much respect for those performers- 8 shows a week is a LOT..and many of them are working more than one job (sometimes more than one show) at a time. Apparently the guy who sings ‘Hasa Diga Ebowai’ on the soundtrack was also a public schoolteacher during the day. Only fairly recently left that job if memory serves.

            • Its still a miracle that they even got this produced, much less won so many awards.

            • PerpetualOutflow

              Huge sacrifice. No days off. Constant practice, performance and pressure for months on end. We all benefit from the result of that sacrifice in the amazing performances.

      • L. Wrong Hubturd

        Oh, lucky you. Very cool to be up close to performers and orchestra!
        I have the son of a friend in the Broadway cast. Thanks to him, we saw the show from the front of the balcony(my favorite spot) and then had a nice backstage tour afterwards. So great!

        • JanInThePan

          Wow! To be backstage withe the cast..what an incredible experience that must have been.

          • L. Wrong Hubturd

            It’s a rather small theater for such a popular production, but when they staged it there, Matt and trey had no idea it would become such a phenomenon. Backstage is very small and the crew had a tough time fitting all the set pieces. It’s like Tetris.

            • JanInThePan

              Which makes it all the more incredible that they can pull it off night after night like they do.

    • Might as well do the whole thing:

    • Susan B.

      Jesus Christ, can’t they give these guys t-shirts and comfortable running shoes when they go door to door? They’re in my neighborhood quite frequently in the summer. I cringe every time I see them when it’s 100 degrees out. I wanna give them cold drinks. I need to get a sign on my door for missionaries. I have yet to see these guys at my door but the local Jehovah’s Witnesses, don’t get me started. They ALWAYS ring the doorbell when I am taking my Saturday nap to recover from the work week. ALWAYS! I supposed a nice big pic of Satan on the front door would work. I could put velcro on the door and hang the pic every Friday night and put it away on Sunday night.

  • Katherine Meyrick

    Reza Aslan really shouldn’t call himself a scholar. He isn’t well regarded with other religious scholars. His books are full of factual errors and basic misinterpretations. He is more interested in television appearances than quality research. It doesn’t surprise me that he hasn’t done his homework here, and just assumed everyone is being a bigot. He seems to have his ego tied up in being the open minded, tolerant person amongst a sea of people who just don’t understand.

    • TheHoleDoesNotExist

      That seems to pretty much sum up the concensus and welcome!

      Fox News hasn’t had a rival for some time. CNN looks to be changing that.

      • Spackle Motion

        Agreed. If they keep Dumb Don Lemon around then they will have the same critical thinking skills as Fox.

      • PerpetualOutflow

        In their wildest dreams.

        Edit: Not intentionally dissing you Hole. Just think CNN is off the rails and has no chance in hell of competing with FOX or anyone else for that matter. Kinda sad given where they once were, but they did it to themselves. For a reality check, ask the scores of former CNN journalists what they think about CNN now.

    • salin

      It is ironic, isn’t it, that it attempting to tell a story (how believer’s experience their belief) without bias – that the lack of critical perspectives – leads to a story with a great deal of bias. Not terribly academic.

    • kemist

      He is an associate professor in… Creative Writing.

      I am a bit at a loss as to how that relates to comparative religious studies.

      Perhaps he feels a certain kinship with Hubbard using fiction to bullshit people about religion.

      • I’ve got some creative writing for him. It’s got Hubbard and Mohammed! What’s not to love?

  • Observer

    Dang, I should have worked this into the poster somehow

    • B4you

      Looks like Copenhagen

    • TheHoleDoesNotExist

      LOL = Miss Tia must have us thinking of blimps in our sleep. I just saved this one a little while ago and saved it as “Miss Tia’s Front Porch”. 🙂

      • B4you

        Ohh didn’t see the picture before now. funny – you have to click on it to see the animation.

    • B4you

      I like it and i see what you mean. Tia’s Zeppeliner and Howdy’s Shark attack. Maybe remove the city?

    • I heard somewhere that “should have” thoughts are always someone else’s voice.
      Its fine.
      “Perfect!” (as Ed Wood would say)

    • You still can!

  • Katherine Meyrick

    Scientology looks a bit like the mystery religions of the ancient world. They died out because it’s hard to compete with FREE. You can find out everything you need to know about most religions in 15 minutes. The modern religions of today offer the chance of a rosy afterlife to even a pauper. That’s why no one likes Scientology, COB!

    • salin

      Welcome, Katherine Meyrick, to the UB Commenting community.

      Points well made.

      Mr. Aslan appears to be unable to decide whether he wants to be an academic, or a media figure. I haven’t read his book, so I can’t judge on his work which path he is pursuing. Internet critiques of his misrepresentation of his actual academic training, suggests that media figure is the goal, as does his lack of attempting to read deeply enough (includes various perspectives) enough to develop expertise around the subject covered.

  • MM

    “The show is called Believer because it focuses on believers.”

    Interesting how Mr Aslan never even bothered to ask whether Karen would actually consider herself a ‘believer’…but then again, if one looks closely it seems like there is only one particular person he is really interested in, anyway (F5)

    • B4you

      he he priceless

  • I’m in my speak music mode. Calming myself down.

    Paul van Dyk – Time of our Lives

  • Katherine Meyrick

    Just a few more thoughts: 1. I hope Azlan emails an apology to Ms. Karen. 2. I hope he plans to do a show on Zoroastrians, Yezidis, and other religious groups in the Middle East that have more adherents and face faaaaaaaar more persecution that Scientologists have ever had. 3. I wish Azlan, as a “scholar” would learn the difference between persecution and sincere, honest, well earned criticism.

    • Scientologists have never faced persecution. Only justified backlash from people who were genuinely deceived and mistreated by the organization.

  • This jackass Aslan wants no part in amplifying the voices of the critics. As if the critics are such a powerful immutable force. It’s so frustrating when idiots like this guy act like Scientology is the schoolyard weakling getting picked on by the big bad bullies, when in fact it’s the exact opposite. Stupid asshole. My cynical side wonders how deep Scientology got into this guy’s pockets, my optimistic side says he’s a misinformed jerk off. Either way, while Aslan is riding the metaphorical phallus of David Miscavige, and promoting the enslavement of preteen children, I’ll keep reading and contributing to Tony’s blog to expose the truth.

    • Jimmy3

      Awww. Even his metaphorical phallus is tiny. That’s adorable.

      • OOkpik

        I feel ashamed of up-voting that remark.

    • The exact opposite it is, indeed.

    • Sid

      That “Aslan is riding,,,” line is going down in Bunker literary history.

    • Bobby Tolberto AKA TDA

      His scholarship is very questionable Derek. I would go with shoddy research skills along with an ability to say things that sound profound but are really just trite observations when you look at them closely. He reminds me of this from the movie Mystery Men:

      Mr. Furious: Okay, am I the only one who finds these sayings just a little bit formulaic? “If you want to push something down, you have to pull it up. If you want to go left, you have to go right.” It’s…

      The Sphinx: Your temper is very quick, my friend. But until you learn to master your rage…

      Mr. Furious: …your rage will become your master? That’s what you were going to say. Right? Right?

      The Sphinx: Not necessarily.

    • Mockingbird

      I wish there was a way CNN would give you, Karen, Nora Crest and others a chance to refute the nonsense Mr. Aslan will present. A balanced view on Scientology must include critics. I am very alarmed that he will try to present Scientology as a misunderstood religion and spread the lie that the term cult is just a prejudiced insult.

      High control groups like Scientology are not the same as most groups, by a large and very harmful margin.

  • Sookie Sookie

    Hey Bunkerites, I’m just catching up on the latest stories and want to say Happy New Year to everyone – I miss interacting with you!

    I won’t pretend to guess at Aslan’s motivation. But I’ve got a pretty solid feeling about CNN’s. What’s the equivalent of clickbait when it’s on a 24-hr ‘news’ channel? Because that’s the amount of context they’re going to provide, I’m betting. Pffft.

    • salin

      Happy New Years, Sookie Sookie.

      Agreed about click bait – it seems more about telling a story about a pre-established narrative (persecution of members of different ‘minority religions’) without any academic level of building comprehensive understanding from the person who writes/narrates the story – while basing the ‘heft/seriousness’ of the series on being done by an academic (assumption that the person has expertise and has looked at each topic from multiple perspectives to build expertise). Ugh.

    • seriouslyWTF

      Happy New Year Sookie! I was just asking about you.

    • PerpetualOutflow

      Yes, CNN is desperate and this is not the most egregious example of the tripe they will knowingly peddle in the hopes of increasing their ratings.

    • Juicer77

      Happy New Year! Good to see you 🙂

  • thetastic

    The critics have been heard from”plenty”?? But he somehow missed Karen and Jeffrey? What an imbecile!

  • TheMirrorThetan

    I wouldn’t trust Aslan’s opinion on anything religious, considering he could not be bothered to do even a micro second of research on Karen before asking her to participate. He is a careless idiot and dim-witted tool at the least and if he did do any research and decided to send Karen the invitation anyway, then he is a callous, soulless, irredeemable bastard.

  • salin

    I apologize in advance for our younger members, as this video – which I think is appropriate, is tied to a late 1980s movie (Dangerous Liaisons) movie – so it may seem context-less. Yet it feels so appropriate for a show that will ignore context, and encourage viewers to do the same – and keep (or start) “walking on broken glass” metaphorically.

    • salin

      A second video (1980s) that is a reminder. If Aslan was really approaching his show from an academic/scholarly perspective he would be trying to understand all angles. If he is working from a media (non news) perspective he would be working from a story line. The communications shared indicate an effort with a story line rather than a more thorough approach. That is Aslan’s and CNN’s choice. But this is a reminder of what is missed with those blinders.

      • jazzlover

        Inspired choice, salin! Great band — my favorite of the 80s, as a matter of fact. They make bands like G ‘n R seem like little children. From my city. Corey Glover, the vocalist, is an actor. He was in “Platoon”. Most soulful voice to come along in rock in the last 25 years.

  • Phil McKraken

    Just wanted to say that I’m watching the 1975 movie “Smile,” and it’s got one of those great character performances by Geoffrey Lewis. I miss that guy.

  • B4you

    O/T Interesting research tool (notice the map in the upper right corner)

    • PerpetualOutflow

      Very strange map.

      • Dice

        Yes! but it take a strange map to navigate in Ology. It’s mostly the information in the database and how it connects the records i am curious about and it’s also a beta version of a home project or something.

    • Susan B.

      The Hubbard map looks like it needs updating and I don’t see Crowley’s name.

      • Dice

        I think the purpose is to build a map yourself or maybe you can do some more if making an account (i didn’t have time) If you from the menu select add (person) Crowley is there on the list and you and drag him out, so to speak!

        • Susan B.

          It says this is the beta version of NNDB and I don’t see any way to register and log in. I sent the webmaster a message asking if anyone can join and register yet. For now you can add names to any map anonymously and no doubt they review or edit before anything is saved. Letters stand for “Notable Name Database” which was created by Thomas Dell, a software Engineer, here in the Silicon Valley.

          • Dice

            I just registered a LogIn so it should be there. I am with you on the beta and it’s fun to play around with as you can pick a person and see how he is connected. Try put Miscavige on there – he is there!

            • Susan B.

              Yes, I did searches on various names. Have you added any yet? Would be good to get Shelly M. and Cruise in there.

            • Dice

              No i haven’t, but i might do it some day. I need more time to evaluate the site and see if it will stay up and running since it’s still a beta. I think i will contact the owner. It could be fun to make a full map of all the “actors” and make it more easy to navigate in this cult. It should be possible.

  • ReallyMGM

    Why is CNN giving this clown time and money to back this programming? He isn’t fit for Comedy Central. This man has the sketchiest of CVs of any of their on air “reporters.” While perhaps the initial story pitch is good, the plans and planner are amateurish in these initial efforts. 100👎🏻 Go Karen, Let him have it.

    (lower down comments his academic and professional record is ripped apart.)

  • Lighthouse

    Does he read this blog, I wonder?

    The freezoners and indys are no more than koolaiders, just in another place. They’re not “free” except from the control of the church, which is something I suppose, and are still mind controlled by the tek.

    Example, if you have an accident or become sick or have any untoward experience of ANY sort, Hubbard’s policy says you are ALWAYS connected to a suppressive person. ALWAYS, not sometimes or perhaps. This is ridiculous and, thankfully, I never bought it. The freezoners/indys did and I bet they still search for that SP when anyone’s sick or had an accident or whatever. In another place, Hubbard made a conflicting statement to the effect that one cannot expect to “live in a meat body” and not get sick!

    If you want to leave anything EVER, you must have crimes on the area and/or the people,or have “earlier similar” crimes in earlier similar areas or the people, if you genuinely haven’t any on the entity or relationship you’re currently leaving. You’ve committed crimes and now you need to “blow”. Again, he uses the word ALWAYS. There are ALWAYS crimes against the people or the entity. ALWAYS. He made that up to keep the staff. He said so himself. He admitted to someone, I think it was two people, one night (or early hours of the morning) during one of his rants, that the real reason people leave is because they are upset with someone. Ha! I bet the freezoners/indys will still try to find a person’s overts (misdemeanours/crimes) against the person or entity being left.

    Oh, yes: If you talk about anyone, it’s called nattering. If you natter, you’ve got crimes against that person or entity. So guess what, no one can vent or pass a remark without being thought to have crimes against that person. You’re not allowed to discuss your case either. So, scientologists don’t talk to one another. It’s all a big secret or one is trying to cover up his crimes!

    And, if you don’t like someone, you have overts against them even if you’ve only known them for two minutes; if not them then you have “earlier similars” against someone they remind you of.

    Hubbard covered things from every angle. And this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

    This Reza guy is going to talk to THESE people! Heaven help the world.

    • Dice

      I remember i thought that LRH was extremely generalizing everything, nattering and had most of the 12 points in his description of an SP, pointing at himself. I was reading KSW for the first time and got so confused.

      You are aware that LRH early on admitted that people don’t blow because of overt’s but because of ARC breaks? Not that it makes it better but it is more understandable that way. It was a secret! Jeez.

      • Lighthouse

        That’s what I said. I called it “upsets” because I don’t speak the scn language anymore.

        Of course, Hubbard was showing off again/as usual when he blurted this out. He swore the two people to secrecy because he said he wouldn’t keep any of his staff if they found out about this. .

        When I joined in the early 90s, the whole flavour of the training, everything, was around sec checking and getting off your “overts and withholds”, crimes and misdemeanours. The whold culture of scn at that time was this principle. It was all a lie. The whole purpose was to enslave and for each and everyone to think they’re a bad person.

        • Dice

          How long have you been out/off? I noticed everybody decided not to use LRH words as I also did, and it was so difficult not to use them when talking $cio. But it’s a good practice and i always used normal words where ever i could.

          Yes he changed the whole scene with that “Overt/motivator sequence” and old timers (at that time) though it was too much. Also when released FPRD I could see most staff just realized that they where doomed if they didn’t get this rundown of false purposes, so all the stats went down over night and stayed that way. Even the “command” How did you justify you overt? was introduced at that point – i think! Very nasty… Not to talk about the Form Time & Event write-up. I never got that, it just didn’t make any sense to me.

          • Lighthouse

            It’s hard to say how long I am out. I decided I was getting out mid-2011 to the end of 2011. But it was a decision to leave the church not scn.

            It was a gradual process. I actually went to a seminar In 2014 because I genuinely thought I could get something out of it. I didn’t and the whole vibe was cold and unpleasant. I vowed I would never go back again.

            At this stage, I hadn’t thrown out Hubbard and scn per se. That came later. Not much later because I read Barefaced Messiah and this is what decided me. My illusions of Hubbard being a good man, a friend to mankind, were shattered. Forever. Some people, this friend of mine for instance, went back to punting the guy and scn and joined an Indy group. This I don’t understand, of course.

            The writing up of overts and withholds, to be honest, I found quite therapeutic. I only wrote until I felt better and then I followed it with a success story about how bad I WAS NOT! Ha, ha! I didn’t go so far as to take them to the org to get on the cans. That happened only if I was doing an ordered write up.

            • Lighthouse

              I found it easy to stop using the nomenclature. It’s simple. Just stop.

              It’s part of the trap. If you really want to stop thinking like a scientologist, you have to give it up. I get irritated when people use it when speaking to me.

              I also don’t call him “LRH”. To me he’s Hubbard. I have to call him something but won’t use the cosying-up name of LRH. To me, he’s the lowest of the low.

            • Dice

              Just like smoking 🙂
              If you talk about technical stuff it’s hard to avoid his “NewSpeak” I agree that it’s a part of the trap, – so one should step out of it. If there is a normal word(s) or concept, then i would use that. The worst part i noticed is to find and eliminate his idears. Like, try not to use the tonescale in the back of your head. It’s there! 🙂 like a whole lot of other stuff. Those exes i knew, all said, that they are fine now that they are out. But i don’t think so, Hubbard is moving out with them (and me) and they hold on to those false values with out thinking. It’s easy to spot! TR’s ? nahh they still use TR’s but they are not aware of it. There are so much to be sorted out after this man. I did a “reboot” and returned to the values and social skills i had before i even read Dianetics and just started from there and did a fast forward from 1980 up to today and filled in all the blanks with normal wog stuff. It is, as you say, a process and i am still way behind others at my age. I am glad your out!

            • squigg’s

              i call him a failed sci-fi writer and a scam artist..he only wrote one book that was halfway readable and travolta ruined it in that movie… and in the end the fool went nuts..

            • Dice

              It can be therapeutic, i agree. For my part, it was more like, refreshing your memory with details and the laugh about how stupid it was, but doing O/W write-up in the org and strictly on policy with e-meter check out, took forever and was ridiculous.since you already knew all your own “overts”. If you did it on meter you could go past life and trough a fiction on the table. I never tried that on Paper 🙂 Maybe i should have he he.

            • Lighthouse

              Overts and withholds never go past life.

            • Dice

              ? why do you say that

            • Lighthouse

              It’s in the OW Write Up policy letter. Have you never read it? It’s usually read before you start writing.

            • Dice

              Yeah! now that you say it, it rings a bell. I only did the paper O/W once 10 years ago else i did it on meter. But there we go, you cannot use past life O/W on paper but it’s ok in session!. So it’s two totally different things and procedure supposedly giving the same results…. Nahh! It was designed to make you spill all the incriminating stuff with your handwriting on it. Also you was not allowed to use a typewrite or computer as i remember it. What i did was to have my folders shredded by OSA. If they actually did it? i dont know, but i got a paper that say they did it.

  • Michael Leonard Tilse

    Recently I have been reading “Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley” by Lawrence Sutin.

    I picked it up in a used bookstore, as I thought it might throw some light on Hubbard’s relationship to Crowley and his involvement in the Occult.

    I’m only a few chapters into it. What already stands out is that from what I know of Hubbard, he must have consciously fashioned his own life based on Crowley’s. Crowley’s confessions parallel to a degree Hubbard’s “Admissions”, otherwise known as the Affirmations.

    The magical traditions seem to have (If my grasp of Sutin’s introduction is correct) the concept that in magick, Satan is not an evil figure, but rather that of of one who aspired to the same access to power as the god(s). And that becoming an adept in magic is following in the same footsteps, not as a worshiper, as one worships god, but rather as one following the same path to power.

    Crowley liked to drive christians to frothing with great show of Crowley worshiping Satan or the devil. All the while searching for his own ascent to luciferian levels of power with equal standing as the god of his own universe.

    So, Hubbard. Not a worship of Satan, but a worship of self. A drive to attain pure dominance over the universe and all unaware peoples within it. All in Crowley’s image and via his writings and the secret magical texts Crowley himself studied.

    The original OT VIII student briefing, seen in this context, gives Hubbard’s view of himself as the realization of the biblical prophecy of the Anti-Christ, Lucifer the Light Bringer, a new clarity. Scientology is him graciously bringing Lucifer’s light to the Scientologist.

    He unquestionably did not worship or subordinate himself to Satan, or the Devil, or Lucifer or any god. He saw himself as attaining the same standing as God.

    There seems to be evidence that fairly early on Crowley discovered that the secret texts of the Order of the Golden Dawn were forgeries, not transcriptions of true magical texts. And that at least some of the Order knew this. And that Hubbard himself knew it eventually. He may have continued his search privately, even believed he had discovered it (as per “The Telling of Me, by Me” by L. Ron Hubbard Jr., as related by Hubbard’s great grandson Jamie DeWolf) but he also was clearly willing to take the marks for all they were worth.

    Promoting a magical society with levels and payment for advancement is a great confidence game if you can pull it off, be it the Order of the Golden Dawn or Scientology. Throw in a competent level of hypnotism and a narcissistic sociopath’s natural talent for manipulation and you have the recipe for Scientology’s bitter stew,

    High position in religion, as does high position in politics, gives one power over others. The abuse of that power of religion in Europe helped form our hands-off attitude toward faith here in the United States. And that is good. I don’t think a state supported faith or religion or spiritual practice is a good idea.

    Tolerance toward religion and faith is a good idea. It is respectful. It helps us live together as a society.

    But it poses a problem when we include within the definition of religion or faith the destructive and manipulative confidence games and abusive practices run by or created by sociopaths. And sociopaths love to hide under the protection accorded religions. The cleverest trick of the con man, like Hubbard, is to convince the marks that the extraction of their money, lives and allegiance is somehow “religion.”

    And a part of this problem is when so called “scholars” don’t do their job to tease out and expose the con-men and scams who give religion a black eye. Who instead try to paper the evil over with coverage of “good works” and “good results” that are nothing more than hypnotic suggestion and placebo effect.

    This kind of fake “scholarship” and “balanced reporting” is at best irresponsible and at the worst criminally complicit.

    • B4you

      Interesting – I think 666 is more about scaring the shit out of “believers” or sheep’s so they will stay away as they tend to be extremely annoying with all their fake and nice stuff. So why not make up the devil and use magic to impress and dominate some ignorant fools. Add to that, – Take their money!

      Or like me – claim to be a real nasty SP. That apparently works with the chearch.

    • L. Wrong Hubturd

      This is good, Michael. You ought to repost tomorrow morning when more can see it.

      • Michael Leonard Tilse

        Maybe. Not sure I will be up early. Bed time for me soon.

    • Mockingbird

      I read The Book Of Law and found forty one ideas Hubbard plagiarized immediately. Hubbard reportedly stole over a hundred ideas from Crowley. Crowley’s influence is best seen in the affirmations.

    • Juicer77

      Dr. Oz, anyone?

    • OOkpik

      Beautifully articulated! Thank you.

    • Bavarian Rage

      Yeowza! Most eloquent, thought provoking post I’ve read in recent times. I am of the humble opinion that Hubbard, in pursuing the luciferian goal of attaining godlike status, while not intentionally worshipping Satan, was nevertheless placing himself under the dark one’s control – to become a pawn, an agent in the army of evil. When one surveys the cesspool of human suffering that Scientology has inflicted, it’s conceivable that a dark force bent on evil stands behind the scenes, pulling the strings. (Of course no free passes to Hubbard & Miscavige who both bear unspeakable guilt and responsibility for the part they chose to play.)

      Aside: Personally as one who embraces a Christian perspective (a challenging thing to own up to in crowds where faith and religion often take an undeserved beating) I always find Crowley’s “Do what thou wilt” philosophy chilling. In my personal experience, such thinking has always ended up ensnaring me. The lure of total personal freedom turns out to be a Venus flytrap.

    • grundoon

      Michael, this is excellent. I hope you will write more as you get farther in the book.

      • Rita G

        Yes, more please!

    • Rita G

      Very well said sir!

  • Juicer77

    A small part of my brain is wondering if Mr. Aslan pitched this idea to CNN, knowing that the Co$ will show up, nuttier than ever, and get the network lots of free publicity? There’s a lot of competition for viewers right now.

  • OOkpik

    If you want to touch a heart, the little grey Recommended heart at the top left of the comment section is one place where a touch assist can actually do some good. 🙂

  • Susan B.

    Thank you for another article. I’m so sorry for Karen that she was approached like that by someone who’s job it is to be as accurate as possible but failed.

    1.) Aslan contacts Karen and doesn’t have any knowledge of her tragic loss of her son???? He can’t figure out from her videos that she’s completely out of any spiritual practice that has to do with Hubbard???? My high school English teachers (had there been an internet back then) would be truly disappointed in the lack of research on Karen’s current beliefs and views.

    2.) Don’t you think Aslan needs to be really really clear on the definition of a cult? Further below is text I pasted from the online Websters.

    3.) Aslan said, “Is it somehow different than other religious traditions in the way that
    it deals with its internal structure, in the disaffection of its former movement members? No, I don’t think so.”

    Um. YES I DO think so! How many other religious traditions require of its adherents money –lots of it (KA-CHING!) in order to move up and supposedly gain super powers? How many other religious traditions spend millions and millions of dollars decade after decade in the name of “fair game” to sue or harass former members or physically harm them? How many other religious traditions have harassed the IRS or broken into US government buildings? How many other religious traditions prevent adherents from receiving appropriate health care or life saving medical attention when needed? How many religious traditions have clergy-level head holy men/women (aka the COB for Scientology) who beat their staff and throw their upper level clergy into a prison like The Hole? Child neglect and abuse. Forced child labor. Forced adult labor. Forced abortions. Physical and psychological abuse of adults. I don’t have to mention –the list goes on and on.

    I went to the CNN website and couldn’t find an email address for viewer opinions –anyone else find one yet? If one can be found perhaps a fewdozen emails to them would get their attention. Please share if you find it.

    All of the text below is copied from:

    Simple Definition of cult

    : a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion
    and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
    : a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much

    : a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

    Full Definition of cult

    1 : formal religious veneration : worship

    2 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents

    3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents

    4 : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator

    5 : a great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a
    film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or
    intellectual fad b : the object of such devotion c : a usually small
    group of people characterized by such devotion

  • daisy

    ALEX GIBNEY on CNN, Probably will come on again.They run interviews again. It is about Steve Jobs. Documentary on tonight at 9 pm in southern Ontario.

  • RK

    It sounds like this “scholar” knows nothing about $cientology. What gives him the right to do ANY show that includes the words $cientology in it??
    What a Bozo!

  • Chris Bily

    The fact that Reza Aslan is trying to portray Scientology in a positive light tells me one of two things: 1) He doesn’t know the first thing about Scientology or 2) He knows what Scientology is, doesn’t give a shit, and is just trying to kick the bee hive to generate publicity and bolster ratings. I’m extremely confident that the latter is the case. While the world is trying to stick daggers into the monster that is Scientology, this ass wipe wants to elevate them and glorify them. Aslan is a scum sucking bottom feeder who needs to crawl back under whatever rock he slithered out from.

  • Juan Negro

    I just did a search for, “Believer”, via DishNetwork and found nothing listed. Any idea when this new show is starting? I’m hoping our proprietor will keep us up to date! (hint hint)

  • LordXenuCruise

    Pray to whom exactly ? They think Jesus was a pedophile

  • Kristin Rawls

    Whoa, I have been out of the loop and missed all of this. I happen to be aware, by way of friends who are religious studies academics, that Aslan isn’t really respected as a scholar. His book about Jesus was problematic, but not for the reasons the Christian Right believed it was problematic. It was simply poor scholarship. I could find out more if that would be useful.

    When the book came out, some of the more valid criticisms were aired at

    As for the word “cult” — I mean, as a general rule, I think modern scholars avoid the word. What’s more troubling is the letter to Karen.

  • squigg’s

    scientology is a scam and a ponzi scheme built by hubbard. so he wouldn’t have to work again … and he actually even began to believe his own scam… and he went pretty much batshit crazy…… and it’s a belief system made up like a bad sci-fi book. thetains and the galactic empire… give me a mother freaking break…

  • Bruce Decimus Meridius Martin

    Aslan isn’t even a “religious scholar.” He touts this all the time. He has a PhD in Sociology. He will try to spin this with History of Religion but the University he received his PhD (University of California) from does not give such a degree. He’s an apologist. He is a associate professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Riverside. Nor is he a Historian. He has no degree in History of any sort. He has a BA in Religion from Santa Clara. An MTS in Theology from Harvard. An MFA in Fiction from the University of Iowa.

    No Historian or Theological Scholar would over state their studies. He’s a fraud that is trying to sell books.