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Scientology TV kicks off with Miscavige monologue, settles into familiar propaganda

We’ve seen a lot of video of Scientology leader David Miscavige over the years. We’ve lost track of how many Scientology events we’ve watched him address.

So we can tell you from experience that the David Miscavige who kicked off last night’s premiere of Scientology TV played things a lot cooler than we usually see him. He was more measured, and did his best to sound reasonable as he described the new network and its new shows.

“We’re not here to preach to you, to convince you or to convert you,” he said. “No, we simply want to show you, because after all the first principle of Scientology is that it’s only true if it is true to you. So, take a look and then decide for yourself.”

Well, we have to give him credit for kicking things off with his brief address. But then the channel settled into the kind of infomercial style that we were expecting.

The next couple of hours did consist of new material shot by “Scientology Media Productions,” but it sure felt like the kind of Scientology propaganda we’ve been seeing for years — happy people saying that their lives gained more meaning when they took courses in Scientology.

The shows are very professional and slick, and no doubt some new viewers will become curious enough about it to head on down to their local orgs. But anyone with a lick of sense will ask themselves what Scientology isn’t telling them while they watch these shows.

A “Meet a Scientologist” show focused on banjo makers Greg and Janet Deering. It was followed by a look at the Inglewood Ideal Org and Community Center, and it featured Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s man in Los Angeles, Tony Muhammad. Then another show looked at Scientology’s efforts in Colombia.

A new biographical video series about L. Ron Hubbard then premiered, and it went full tall-tale on Hubbard in a way we haven’t seen the church do in a while.

Hubbard got lots of mentions all night, but just before the channel went live, Chris Owen pointed out to us that a new website had been launched which features David Miscavige, and Scientology’s own main channel had also been taken over with a new look at the church leader…


There’s simply no question that the new television channel is trying to sell Miscavige as a charismatic leader in his own right, and not just the caretaker of L. Ron Hubbard’s spiritual “technology.”

What do you think — is that a good strategy or not?

Update: Great insights from former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder, in Lloyd Grove’s piece at the Daily Beast

…the new channel serves “to divert attention from the steadily declining state of Scientology in the world with a show of ‘We’re here, we’re strong, and we are proud,’” emailed Scientology defector Mike Rinder, the religion’s former chief spokesman. “Though this is what Miscavige TELLS his followers, in truth this step is nothing of the sort, as it’s actually accomplishing nothing they don’t already have.

“He cannot afford to have anyone speak to the media or attempt to counter the stream of negative press that Scientology gets. No spokesperson can deal with the inevitable questions that would come if they were to be questioned by any reporter. So, they have to ‘speak’ through controlled media.”

Rinder added that Miscavige can use the new channel as a fundraising tool with wealthy donors, arguing that the mere existence of the Scientology Network demonstrates that the religion is expanding and deserves their support.

“Will it be successful? From Miscavige’s perspective, it already is,” Rinder emailed. “He has been able to point to this another significant ‘accomplishment’ and that is all that matters. He will be telling them at their next event ‘three people every second tuned in’ or some other such rubbish. When the metrics of viewership become available, it’s going to be clear to everyone else in the world what a bomb this is—but that doesn’t matter to Miscavige… I doubt they get a single person to come in the door as a result. In any other organization this would be catastrophic. Miscavige just spins it as a ‘big win’ and the Scientologists follow suit.”


SMERSH Madness is back! Who is doing the most to forward Scientology world domination?

Five years ago, campers, we held a tournament here in the Underground Bunker that we called SMERSH Madness. It was very popular, but a lot of work, and we vowed never to repeat it.

Oh what the hell, here we go again.

For some of our longtime readers, you’ll remember how much fun it was to read about SMERSH in L. Ron Hubbard’s daily dispatches — his “Orders of the Day” — which he produced on the yacht Apollo in the late 1960s and early 1970s. An actual Red Army counter-espionage unit that operated from 1942 to 1946, SMERSH later showed up in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels (replaced by SPECTRE in the films), but Hubbard told his followers that SMERSH had actually continued on to become a shadow world government that was the only thing standing in the way of Scientology’s global takeover.

Five years after our first tournament, Scientology isn’t really getting any closer to taking over the planet. But it’s not for lack of trying! This time, we’re going to ask you to cast your votes for the people doing their best to defeat SMERSH and advance Scientology to its rightful place in the MEST Universe. Yes, you’re going to be voting for Scientology’s champions!

We’ve chosen 24 of the people we think are working hardest to defend Scientology against its enemies. These are not only Scientologists, but also the people who enable the church as it works against its foes. Which of them do you think deserves the most recognition for Keeping Scientology Working, spreading disconnection, and litigating former Scientologists into the ground?

With 24 competitors, we’re going to start out with an initial play-in round, sort of like the way the NCAA tournament does as it starts the Big Dance today. If you weren’t around for our tourney five years ago, it’s really very simple. Cast a vote for your favorite, and in 24 hours we’ll make the call about who advances to the next bracket. So here we go!

Our #16 seed is Orange is the New Black actress Laura Prepon, who has gotten a bit testy about Scientology in public. She denied that the church is homophobic, saying that in her time as a Scientologist, she’d never seen anything anti-LGBT about it — which is actually impossible, because anyone with her amount of involvement would have run into L. Ron Hubbard describing homosexuality as a perversion as a matter of course. Laura also gave Celebrity magazine a bizarre interview about Scientology, which surprised us. “When I have huge wins in session, and when you really cognite that you are a thetan and you have a mind and body, and that the MEST universe does not control you — it puts things into perspective,” she said. Not afraid to dip into the woo, she’s shown that she’s prepared to do some battle on behalf of the church.

She’s pitted in the first round against our #17 seed, International Justice Chief Mike Ellis, the “terminal” that is your only hope of getting back in the good graces of the church if you are booted out and “declared” a “suppressive person.” Ellis has featured pretty prominently in our coverage of the lawsuit filed by Luis and Rocio Garcia alleging that they were defrauded by the church. Most recently, it was Ellis who “hatted” an arbitrating panel in Los Angeles with some of the wackiest Scientologese we’ve seen in a long while. Ellis is a lifer who will do whatever it takes to please David Miscavige and the “Keeping Scientology Working” policy, and he personally has the fates of many Scientology families in his grasp.


[Laura Prepon and Mike Ellis]

In our second matchup for today, our #9 seed is actress Jenna Elfman, who has some pretty legendary bona fides under her belt as far as taking on the enemies of Scientology. In 2006, TMZ reported that Jenna had been so enraged by a man wearing a T-shirt that made fun of Scientology, she screamed at him, “What crimes have you committed?” and “Have you raped a baby?” More recently, Jenna and her husband Bodhi have gained a lot of notoriety among Bunker readers for their YouTube podcast, dishing dirt on their own children and make off-color sex jokes. Jenna and Bodhi also scored points when they were the only celebrities of note at the 2016 opening of the Scientology Media Productions studio grand opening in Hollywood.

Jenna is taking on our #24 seed, motivational speaker Grant Cardone. Grant has provided a lot of diverting material here at the Bunker. There was the time he was David Miscavige’s enforcer and bullied ailing acting coach Milton Katselas, for example. More recently, Grant wormed his way into the orbit of Bob and Trish Duggan just as Scientology’s richest couple was splitting up. (Grant seems to have stuck by Trish in this difficult time.) We’re really going to be disappointed if Cardone doesn’t show up in some capacity on Scientology TV.


[Jenna Elfman and Grant Cardone]

So there are your matchups of the day. Who deserves to move on as champions of Scientology? Who has done more to perpetuate the church’s reputation in this time of crisis? Cast your votes!


Make your plans now!

Head over to our HowdyCon 2018 website to start making your travel plans!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,052 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,655 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 198 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,261 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,035 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,809 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,155 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,649 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,689 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,401 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 927 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,016 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,156 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,476 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,451 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 807 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,109 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,215 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,618 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,490 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,072 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,577 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,821 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,930 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 13, 2018 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | 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 non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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