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Mexico officially recognizes Scientology as a religion, Miscavige claims at New Year’s event

Last night, the Church of Scientology held its annual New Year’s event at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles so that video of the proceedings can be shown in Scientology churches around the world on December 31.

As usual, the event largely consisted of Scientology leader David Miscavige giving a lengthy address, and during that speech he made one really surprising claim: Miscavige said that Mexico officially recognized the religious status of the Church of Scientology in October.

Our correspondent who attended the event tells us, “The letter of recognition shown on the screen appeared to be from Mexico’s Interior Ministry, and it was dated October 30. Miscavige presented this as breaking news.”

Like in Ireland and Taiwan, Miscavige has been making a concerted push into Mexico, and has run into problems building an “Advanced Org” in Mexico City. So official recognition there, after being turned down multiple times in the past and as recently as 2012, is a significant coup for the church that has been rapidly dwindling in other places, like the United States, Australia, and the UK.


Our person on the scene also reported on a couple of other highlights from last night’s event: “Nation of Islam Sister Nayyirah Tivica Muhammad appeared on stage and was recognized as a Power FSM. Her name appeared on the scroll on the video screen and I recognized her on stage. As Miscavige stated, this means she got at least 100 people onto the Scientology ‘Bridge to Total Freedom.’

“And without using the name Scientology Media Productions or SMP, at the end of the event Miscavige indicated that the SMP will open in ‘a few short months.’ More precisely, he stated, in a few short months Scientology will finally be able to perform dissemination at the correct orders of magnitude.”

That’s a reference to the promise Miscavige made in March that by the summer Scientology would have its own cable television channel. We found evidence that a deal had been struck with Spectrum, the country’s second largest cable system which used to be known as Time Warner Cable. But except for some placemarker web pages at the Spectrum website, no channel has emerged.

We’ll see if, in a few short months, that changes.

Many thanks to our correspondent.


Next week, the final Ideal Org opening of the year

In our regularly scheduled Sunday feature, Rod Keller keeps us up on the very busy Ideal Org schedule going on around the world…

The Joburg North Ideal Org opens on December 23, making it the third in Africa. Fourteen years into a campaign to renovate or relocate every Scientology org, enthusiasm for the project has never been stronger. In 2014 observers saw the opening of only one Ideal Org in Sydney, Australia and some speculated that the program was ending, leaving a string of empty and ruined buildings in its wake. But in 2017 Scientology opened seven Ideal Orgs, and we expect at least 13 more to open in the next two years, including some that have remained empty since early in the project.


No opening dates have yet been announced in 2018, but buildings in Austin, Mexico City, Orlando, Perth, Philadelphia and Silicon Valley are all being renovated now. We expect Barcelona, Boston, Detroit, Hawaii, Kansas City, Manchester and Salt Lake City to join them in 2019.

After Ideal Orgs open the fundraising doesn’t stop. Tampa and Miami public members finished their Ideal Orgs, and now raise money for Orlando. New York and Washington help Philadelphia. Dublin previously had only a small mission and the Ideal Org there opened with an influx of money and staff from all over the world.


As more Ideal Orgs open, more money becomes available for those with less ability to raise the necessary funds. Ideal Org alliances have been established which make everyone responsible for Ideal Orgs in their state or region. When Joburg North opens this month, attention for fundraising will shift for all South African Scientologists to Durban, Port Elizabeth, or Cape Town. Despite a continuing decline in the number of Scientologists the donations, or “flows” as they are known, continue.


The Philadelphia Ideal Org building was purchased in 2007 and until now the only activity was to replace a broken window. It was long considered a casualty of the early rush to purchase unrealistically large buildings for Ideal Orgs. Contractors are now on site repairing the concrete and brick, with heating and air conditioning work to follow. We think it may open in 2018. Detroit was long thought to be impossible to open because of the condition of the building, but Scientology is telling the city they intend to start renovations soon. The church appears prepared to eventually renovate all the empty buildings, or purchase a more suitable building as was done in Boston. It may take decades to finish the rusting hulks in Buenos Aires, Port Elizabeth, Montreal or Chicago but the entire project shows no signs of slowing down. If they can renovate Philadelphia then none of these are impossible.


[Austin, Texas Ideal Org, being renovated]

[Workers at the Orlando Ideal Org building]

[Philadelphia Ideal Org building permit]

The purchase of buildings is keeping pace with those completed. Purchases were made in the last few years in Barcelona, Boston, Costa Rica, Hawaii and Salt Lake City.


[Barcelona Ideal Org resembles a castle]

Some are certainly funded from above by the International Association of Scientologists (IAS), others mostly from local donations. Those who have recently left Scientology report that membership is declining, and we see that org space is rapidly expanding. That contradictory pattern cannot continue indefinitely but for now the expansion continues, in new buildings if not in new members.

— Rod Keller


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,966 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 112 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,175 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,949 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,723 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,069 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,563 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,603 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,315 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 841 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,930 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,070 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,390 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,365 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 721 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,023 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,129 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,532 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,405 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 986 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,491 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,735 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,844 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 17, 2017 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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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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