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Whale watching update: Your 2016 mid-year guide to who’s propping up Scientology


Our thanks to Artoo45, who procured the newest Impact magazine and let us know what was in it. We love Impact, the official publication of the International Association of Scientologists, because it reveals who has been lavished with praise for increasing their donations and propping up Scientology in its latter days.

Now, normally we’re most interested in the issue of Impact that comes out early in the year, because it shows us who was celebrated at the IAS Patrons Ball held in October, usually at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England. This is the year’s really big party for Scientology’s whales (our word for the biggest donors) and even Tom Cruise is known to show up wearing his Freedom Medal of Valor as a special prize for the wealthy folks who turn over truly prodigious sums.

But there’s also an IAS Patron’s Ball held in honor of Maiden Voyage, the set of summer events that commemorate the 1988 launching of Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds. So this most recent issue of Impact shows us the richies who made the scene on the Freewinds somewhere in the Caribbean.

We don’t think this event has quite the prestige of the October party — none of these folks rates high enough to pose with church leader David Miscavige, for example — but we’re always happy to learn about the people getting trophies for their giving.

Please check out our January story for a full rundown on how we know the amounts that are being given, and for an overview of the biggest of the big donors. OK, here we go.


Patrons: Vincenzo Aloe, Beatrice Guignard, Elizabeth Doria, Margaret Mercado

In order to be named Patrons, these folks have reached a cumulative total of $50,000 each in giving to the IAS. It may have taken them years to reach this level, or it might have been a single donation. And keep in mind, this doesn’t count the amount of money they may have paid for expensive Scientology courses, or the many expenses that come with them (like spending a week on the church’s cruise ship, for example).


Patrons with Honors: Marlies Thuermer, Maurizio Polverini, Wendy Patten, Ghledis Carli, Stuart Guy, Connie Saunders

According to Scientology’s own publications, you have to donate a cumulative total of $100,000 to the IAS to be named a Patron with Honors.


Patrons Meritorious: Elizabeth Gonzalez & Frank Suarez, Shun Min Wang, Sheridan Cyrus, Yu Mei Lu, Louisa Chaubert, Leslie Brock, Paul Seymour, Karen & Eric Berg

These donors have given a total of $250,000 each to the IAS.


Silver Meritorious: Simone Hafenmayer

Scientology’s caption: “Simone Hafenmayer hails from Germany, where she leads an especially energetic Munich OT Committee. In which capacity, she powers her city’s bid for a future Ideal Org and forwards the drive for an Ideal Germany.”

Simone has ponied up $500,000 to the IAS in order to be named Silver Meritorious. And again, that’s not counting what she’s spent for courses, costs, or other donations to Scientology causes, including donations to any future Ideal Org.


Silver Meritorious with Honors: Dennis Romeiser & Simone Lorenzen

Scientology’s caption: “Dennis Romeiser and Simone Lorenzen live in Hamburg, where they serve on multiple fronts: as IAS Disseminators for a Germany united; as Elite Millennium Disseminators for Scientology Media Productions and as leading figures on the OT Committee.”

Scientology’s publications don’t specifically spell out what it takes to be given “Honors” above Silver Meritorious, but we’ll assume that a good guess would be a total of $750,000 in donations.


Gold Meritorious: Monika & Gerhard Lidl

Scientology’s caption: “Gerhard and Monika Lidl are a pair of strategists from Munich’s OT Committee. They thrive on forwarding Scientology expansion and work the game board from numerous angles: as pioneering Volunteer Ministers across Bavaria, Model of Admin Know How awardees from WISE and diehard proponents of Munich’s future Ideal Org.”

Now we’re getting into major whale territory. Monika & Gerhard have reached a real milestone, giving at least $1 million in cumulative donations to reach this level.


Gold Meritorious: Salila Travers – Gold Meritorious

Scientology’s caption: “From Austin, Texas, Salila Travers is a prominent member of the OT Committee and a legendary energy driver for their future Ideal Org. Leading by example, she recently became Austin’s latest New Civilization Builder and champions the IAS as a Gold Meritorious.”

Salila is also a $1 million giver, and she’s from Texas! Yeehaw!


Diamond Meritorious: Steve Wu & Lucia Kuo

Scientology’s caption: “The evening’s highest award was presented to Steve Wu and Lucia Kuo from Taipei. For close to a decade he has helmed Taipei’s OT Committee, now bent on building Taiwan’s next Ideal Org. Together, they stand as New Civilization Builders with Honors, Legions of Honor for the forthcoming LRH Hall, and Mission Holders at Taiwan’s Capital Mission. With the accomplishment of Diamond Meritorious, they became the first Scientologists to achieve this level in all of Asia and ANZO.”

This couple were apparently the big whales of the party, earning this trophy for reaching $5 million in donations to the IAS, apart from all the rest they’ve spent as Scientologists. And they’re from Taiwan, which we learned a lot more about recently thanks to Benjamin Carlson.

OK, have at it, campers. Let us know what you can about these fat cats and their Scientology involvement. We always love to see what our commenters manage to dig up.


Bryan Seymour talks to Louis Theroux


[Louis Theroux yells at an ashtray in one of the movie’s best scenes]

Our man Down Under, journalist Bryan Seymour, sent us this link to his interview with Louis Theroux about My Scientology Movie, which opens in Australia on September 7 and in the UK about a month later. Louis tells us there is still not a release date for the US, but our fingers are crossed.

We really enjoyed Theroux’s film when we saw it last year in London, and it’s going to be fun to see how big of an impact it has once it reaches theaters. We’re also looking forward to seeing what kind of interviews Marty Rathbun gives as part of promotion for the film. We had heard that he isn’t very happy with the film, but we’d love to be wrong about that — we think he did really well in it, even when he lost his temper a couple of times.


Has Scientology got its hooks into Officer Norman?

North Little Rock patrolman Tommy Norman gained national fame for his community policing activities when he was featured last year on CNN with Brooke Baldwin and Killer Mike. His compassionate approach to the people he serves has garnered him nearly a million likes on Facebook and 1.2 million followers on Instagram.

But it was a couple of short videos that showed up on that account recently that has some wondering if Officer Norman has been targeted by Scientology and its front groups. Take a look at this image from a video Officer Norman posted yesterday…


Now, before you Officer Norman fans freak out, it appears that the patrolman is handing out something that had been donated from a fan in Los Angeles, and he didn’t really seem to have any idea what it was. The booklet is The Way to Happiness, the anodyne pamphlet put out under L. Ron Hubbard’s name in the early 1980s that contains basic moral precepts ripped off from other traditions.

We’ll try to find out if the officer has any idea Scientology is trying to get in on his good thing, but we have a feeling it’s not going to work.


Bonus items from our tipsters

Actual caption: “Citizens Commission on Human Rights dinner honoring recipients of the Purple Heart. Robbie was awarded two for injuries sustained in Vietnam.”


Here’s the flier for the event…


Handing out ‘The Way to Happiness’ in the English coastal towns of Bournemouth and Poole…



3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 8, 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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