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The Church of Intimidation: Scientology stalks another ex-member on the taxpayer dime

PrivateEye

 
What we have for you today appears to be a pretty slight item. It’s a letter, and it’s literally only one line long.

But when we saw it, we thought it spoke volumes, and we wanted to share it with you.

Doing so, however, would be tricky. Let us explain.

It’s a letter sent from the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles to someone who was once in Scientology’s Sea Organization as a child, and who has tried her best to put the Sea Org and Scientology behind her.

But Scientology never gives up. It usually manages to find a way to track down former members.

You know this is the case if you’ve been paying attention to Scientology’s practices. Five years ago we wrote about how Scientology will track you down even if you haven’t taken a course in forty years. But usually, when they do find you, they are trying to get you back on the Bridge.

Other times, as in today’s example, the church appears to be engaged in little more than pure intimidation.

Sharing the letter, and explaining the story behind it, we knew might put our tipster into harm’s way with the church. But she decided she’d rather that you all know about this episode and damn the consequences.

She decided to tell you herself the background to the letter, and we’re holding back her name even though we know that the church will figure out who she is. Here’s what she sent us…

After watching Going Clear, I joined ESMB. I felt really empowered to finally start to question the religion I was raised in. I’m a truth seeker by nature, but my past was never a truth I cared to dig up. I was born in Scientology. Both of my parents raised me in it. I was in the Sea Org from 11 to 16. I just wanted to be a normal teen when I left the Sea Org. I still believed in Scientology being a religion until a series of horrifically unfortunate events that occurred post-Sea Org had me changing my mind about Scientology. I just began to sweep everything under the rug regarding Scientology for many years, like a skeleton in the closet. I made plenty of wog friends and grew up without Scientology.

Until I watched Going Clear. That documentary was a huge eye opener for me. I finally had the freedom to start questioning my past. I finally told my husband of eight years, who was never in, that I used to be in the Sea Org and that I was raised in Scientology. It’s like old emotions just started to swell in me when I realized what I had been a part of, and the depths of brainwashing that I had encountered. I told him that I never attended a real high school, and the “GED” [high school equivalency certificate] I was given at 12 years old was fake, from a Scientology front called Dennison Academy. I poured my heart out to him. I was told by the Church never to look online for any news or any story unless it was “source” — meaning their own websites or social media. But after Going Clear, I finally did and I’m glad I did. I started posting on ESMB. I received a friendly warning not to reveal too much, having been a second generation Scientologist, or else OSA [Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs] would figure out who I was. I guess that warning was right.

I started receiving two to three calls per day after I began posting on ESMB regularly. I hadn’t alluded to any personal information and had intended on remaining anonymous, but that didn’t stop OSA. They’re relentless. Because of the intimidating phone calls, I stopped posting on ESMB. My husband had a gut feeling they’d find out where we lived. However, I tried to reassure him that I wasn’t affiliated with the church and that I wasn’t the type of “public to be reg’d,” so why would they want to find me? I have my own reasons for wanting to remain anonymous — family still in. Then I received this piece of mail with my married last name and new home address. They had tracked me down.

She showed us the letter, and we were stunned. After all the years that we’ve been watching Scientology, and all of the things we’ve written about its methods against people like Paulette Cooper, the church can still surprise us.

The church had watched ESMB close enough to detect that a former member who had been a child in the Sea Org was beginning to speak out. It had tracked down her personal information, probably through the use of private investigators. And then, from its “Golden Age of Knowledge Center” on L. Ron Hubbard Way in Los Angeles, it had sent this one-line letter…

 
GoldenAgeLetterA

Do you resort to drinking to solve things or do you have other solutions?

Best,

Jennifer Watari

 
Let that sink in. An organization that had used this young woman as an indentured servant, from the ages of 11 to 16, an organization that gets around child labor laws by claiming to be a church and is subsidized by American taxpayers as a tax-exempt organization, went to the trouble of tracking her down more than a decade later, and for what?

Simply to let her know that it was watching.

That is what passes for a tax-exempt church in the United States.

 
PS: If you happen to have had any personal experience with the Dennison Academy, which closed in 2008, our correspondent would like to hear from you. Please drop us a line.

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

Chill EB in Mexico this Saturday!

 
SciMexico15

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on July 7, 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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