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One of the best examples ever that Scientology can only be understood from ex-Scientologists

Michael_Tilse

 
We hear it from the academic types again and again. That there’s some kind of idyllic, moderate kind of Scientology that isn’t being represented in the stories coming out of the controversial organization.

The religious studies types, and some journalists, carp that too much of media on Scientology is based on the accounts by “apostates” — a loaded word that Scientology and some academics use to describe people who have left the church. Such people have an axe to grind, they say, and they only tell us horror stories.

Surely, they suggest, there is some mass number of contented church members who are never heard from. If only we could talk to them, we’d get a truer picture of how Scientology operates for the many contented, non-fruitcakes.

If you think we’re exaggerating, check out the description of the work of one young academic who is shopping around his church-approved project where he did just that, criticizing the accounts of ex-Scientologists and interviewing, with the church’s help, supposedly contented parishioners about how Scientology combines spirituality with science. L. Ron Hubbard would have loved that, wouldn’t he?

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Well, yesterday, something happened on Facebook that just about provided the most perfect example we’ve ever seen about why there’s a problem with asking active Scientologists about Scientology. And that’s because one of the church’s sacraments is hiding the truth of what happens inside of the organization. You want to know what’s really going on? You better ask someone who’s left.

Here, take a look for yourself at this classic exchange, and maybe you’ll get an idea of what we’re talking about.

 
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Gomberg shut off comments for his post. (And Hubbard died in 1986, not 1985, dude. Some follower you are.) But after ex-Scientologist Pete Griffiths shared Gomberg’s statement, Michael Leonard Tilse offered this response.

 
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Ouch. We figure you get a pretty good picture of what Tilse’s talking about even if you don’t know all the jargon. But if you need help, here’s a quick translation. Sea Org: The inner corps that signs billion-year contracts and works for pennies an hour, totally dedicating themselves to working for Scientology around the clock. Main Building and Lebanon Hall: Locations at “Big Blue,” the former hospital turned into Scientology’s administrative headquarters in Los Angeles, also known as PAC Base, for “Pacific Area Command.” Sec check: Scientology’s security check, an intense interrogation intended to extract private and embarrassing secrets from the subject. Estates MAA: A Sea Org ‘master at arms,’ an enforcer of discipline. E-meter: A crude galvanometer that Scientologists are convinced can read minds, used during sec checks to pressure subjects to give up secrets. RPF’s RPF: The Rehabilitation Project Force is the Sea Org’s prison program for workers being punished, and for those who need to be punished further, the RPF has an RPF with even more restrictive conditions.

“It’s the ex-Scientologists who have experienced what Scientologists do to each other,” Tilse told us when we said we’d seen the exchange. “They don’t or won’t talk about it when they are in. That is why you won’t hear the other side. You only hear [the truth about Scientology from] the exes who want to clear their conscience.”

 
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MV3HeberJentzschVintage Heber Jentzsch recalls another Scientology era

A tipster let us know that a classic Art Bell radio program has recently been posted from June 1, 1994 that features Heber Jentzsch, the president then (and still today, for that matter) of the Church of Scientology International.

Heber is a tragic figure. A charismatic, talented man who was a singer and managed to get some small roles in Hollywood, Jentzsch became Scientology’s chief press wrangler during the years it was struggling to deal with the fallout of the 1977 FBI raid and then later when L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986. His position as president of CSI was largely ceremonial, but the church in Jentzsch had a skillful publicity man who actually cultivated relationships with journalists.

By the early 2000s, however, Scientology leader David Miscavige had relegated Jentzsch to a more minor role, and then in 2004 Jentzsch, according to numerous eyewitnesses, was one of the high-ranking executives who were tossed into “The Hole” at the Int Base in Hemet, where he’s been ever since, let out only occasionally, such as for a memorial following the death of his son Alexander in 2012.

In 1994, Jentzsch was at his most skillful as Scientology’s mouthpiece, and we can’t help wondering how much better off Scientology would be today if David Miscavige dared to let someone like Heber deal with the church’s many controversies by taking them on this directly with the press.

The radio program is long, but our tipster broke it down for us…

It’s buckets of PR intershot with a few good eyebrow-raisers.

34 minutes in, Heber gets really close to asserting that the government invented AIDS. There’s a somewhat tragically prophetic anecdote about his son suffering side-effects of “Agent Orange” poisoning.

Also says he’s got, then reads from, “secret documents from the CIA” about Gulf War syndrome.

At the 51/52 minute mark Art goes to the phones — Jentzsch tells one caller that “Laying on of hands” is “a phenomenon which is real and does occur.”

A bit later (the 1:11/1:12 area) he drops this: “We believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God.”

Then,

“I don’t believe evolution. I don’t believe Darwin.”

And my favorite:

“I believe Scientology will be here 2,000 years from now.”

The interview constitutes the first hour and twenty three minutes of the show; the rest is news and random callers.

Nothing wildly explosive. Mostly it elicits nostalgia for the man’s heart. A jarring contrast to frigid DM and his icebots.

 

Heber Jentzsch in 1978, leading a church protest against the Operation Snow White prosecutions.

Heber Jentzsch in 1978, leading a church protest against the Snow White Program prosecutions.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 25, 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: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | 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 | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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

 

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