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Scientology celebrates its pandemic response in latest Impact magazine

 
Oh, Impact magazine, how we’ve missed you.

Of all the publications Scientology puts out — and it puts out many, many magazines, pamphlets, brochures, and mailers — it’s Impact, the publication of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS), that we most look forward to seeing, because it’s in that magazine that we learn about Scientology’s big donors and the amounts they’ve given.

But with 2020 disrupted by the pandemic, the big international Scientology events were put on hold, which is when the rich donors get their trophies. We’ve wondered whether the wealthy givers would be recognized this year, and we finally have our answer. (And thank you to the reader who sent us this copy.)

The new issue of Impact does celebrate the big donors but first it celebrates Scientology’s response to the pandemic. We get asked about Scientology and Covid a lot, and so we thought that was worth a post of its own today. We’ll save the whales for tomorrow.

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We’ve pointed out many times how schizophrenic Scientology’s reaction to the coronavirus emergency was, from leader David Miscavige’s remarkable secret bulletin calling the pandemic “planetary bullbait” (in other words, a hoax meant to test Scientology’s resolve), to the way the church seized on the health crisis as a public relations opportunity.

Founder L. Ron Hubbard teaches Scientologists that ailments are psychosomatic and if they have so much as a cold it’s not because of a virus or some other germ, it’s because they’re connected to someone who has evil designs on Scientology. But Miscavige kept the quack medical ideas under wraps and instead saw the pandemic as a way to make it look like Scientology was part of the solution, with sanitation teams and mountains of pamphlets with basic advice about washing hands and wearing masks and keeping social distance.

And although we’re certainly not out of the woods with Covid infections and deaths, Miscavige couldn’t wait to celebrate. So let’s take a look at the front part of the magazine.

 

UNITED EVEN WHEN WE ARE APART

Despite the unprecedented disruption and air of fear and uncertainty caused by the global lockdowns, IAS members around the world are moving forward by staying connected, staying on purpose and staying on Source.

The tremors started in January. News of a novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. Most of us went about our daily lives, unaffected by what was happening in another part of the world. It was just background noise. But within months of its discovery, it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Life as we knew it changed, swiftly and dramatically. International borders were closed, businesses shut their doors and people everywhere were sheltering at home. Individuals were dealing with various levels of anguish, whether reeling from the loss of a job and economic security or just missing the simple pleasures of life — going out to the movies, hugging a friend, getting together with grandparents or grandchildren. Collectively, the world was gripped with uncertainty — about how long the shutdowns would last, how communities would be affected and how economies would recover.

For many parents, suddenly having to transition to working from home while having to home-school their kids meant dealing with a whole new kind of balancing act. And they were the lucky ones, since they were still employed. In the United States alone, millions of people lost their jobs. Some people resorted to filling empty hours with too much television and too many empty calories. Others became hopeless with the 24/7 bad news. But not Scientologists. They studied the Basics at home, leaned into the tech and let others lean on them.

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Immediately after state and national governments issued stay-at-home orders, Scientology orgs around the world reached out to their local fields to help them stay connected, stay on Source and stay at cause — and to help them help others. As a group, it was a time to unite — virtually — and encourage one another to share positive stories and practical solutions.

Just as it takes stress to strengthen a muscle, breaking it down to build it back up, this global timeout — an event that will act as a historic line in the sand, demarking life before and after the lockdowns — provides the opportunity to build something greater.

That’s what the IAS members featured here are counting on. Their stories are as instructive as they are inspiring. As unique as these individuals are, they are indicative of our group as a whole. Not only are they making the most of this time personally, they are also reaching out to others — by every conceivable electronic means — lifting them up and leading the way to a brighter future.

Thinking Big, Thinking in Futures

With businesses collapsing, millions being laid off and the effects of recent events creating a threatening environment at every turn, it’s easy to want to hunker down and try to ride out the storm. But that’s not the approach of Elite FSM Rafferty Pendery. “The biggest mistake we can make at this point is to decide we can’t do something. To think that due to a pandemic we have to contract, get smaller.”

When nonessential businesses closed their doors — including many of his clients — spending money on the services he provides wasn’t a top priority. (Rafferty owns several software and marketing companies, including an online marketing firm.) Faced with a problem, he turned to LRH materials for the solution. “It doesn’t matter whether there’s a pandemic or a zombie apocalypse — LRH Tech applies. It’s timeless.” Already very tech savvy, Rafferty connected with businesses, helping them transition to this new world. “We tripled our outflow and got very creative in how we could service people,” explains Rafferty. “This is a time to expand.”

While successfully generating new business, Rafferty also stepped up his activities as chairman of the Freewinds international OT committee. A New OT VIII, he has been working closely with the Freewinds for more than five years and has spoken at numerous conventions and seminars. When the shutdowns began, he started delivering webinars — one or two a day — aligning them to the Solutions for a Dangerous Environment online course, packing them with real solutions based on LRH Tech and his own hard-won experience. To help spread the message to more people, Rafferty rallied others who had reached or neared the top of the Bridge — including his wife, artist Hana-li, and veteran speaker Emmett Osborn — to deliver a series of virtual events. As a result, hundreds of Scientologists have signed on for future services aboard the Freewinds to ensure they sail safely into the future, no matter what storms the physical universe sends their way.

A Virtual Adventure

For months Mario Morales, a member of Melbourne’s OT Committee, had been working on a project, reaching out to newcomers to generate interest in Dianetics and Scientology. When the lockdowns hit, he was faced with a choice: put everything on hold or take the whole program online. He boldly ventured into the virtual world. Recruiting a team of IT-savvy Scientologists and some seasoned speakers, he created an online events team that is now delivering a series of weekly webinars on Dianetics and other topics.

One of his speakers is Oisin Grogan, an entrepreneur, WISE member and business consultant who has for years delivered lectures about Admin Tech and Scientology. For the past year, he has chaired the Melbourne OT Committee. Since much of his business was already online, it was an easy transition for him to deliver the seminars virtually. “Part of the idea was to get out there and uplift people, give them useful information and take this time to help them. Help them improve their relationships, help them get on better with their kids and help them in other ways by introducing them to the tools of Scientology that can better their lives.” Oisin has been sharing practical solutions for months, delivering weekly webinars to newcomers and Australian Scientologists.

Mario, Oisin and the rest of the Melbourne-based team have been thrilled with the results of their program. “No matter what happens, we’re planning on keeping this structure online, since it’s been very successful,” says Mario. “My dream when we started it was to reach thousands, and we did it.”

Making the Most of the Opportunity

When schools across the United States began shutting their doors in March, the question on Ben and Meghan Fialkoff’s minds was, “What now?” These IAS Freedom Medal Winners run the Drug-Free World of the Americas chapter, which specializes in delivering drug education lectures and training seminars — about 200 a year — mainly to schools. While the world was sheltering in place, they wanted to find a way to continue their important work. At the time, Meghan now laughs, “We didn’t even know how to use Zoom.” After a telephone tutorial with another Scientologist, they quickly got up to speed using online conference software and, working with their team, started mapping out plans for a series of webinars to reach hundreds of educators, counselors, clergy, parents and civil servants. Their online conferences included participants from across the US as well as Drug-Free World (DFW) volunteers from India, Greece and Mexico.

Generally, trying to get meetings with health and education officials, medical representatives and others who live over-scheduled lives is challenging. With everyone at home, the Fialkoffs realized they had the opportunity to capture their attention and explain precisely what Drug-Free World offers. “We had tons of people from the Departments of Health of New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. We had teachers, doctors and nonprofit directors watch our webinars,” reports Meghan. Through the seminar series, officials, advocates and volunteers learned about DFW’s curriculum and how to become more effective by tailoring the drug-free message to fit their audience.

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In February, in an effort to help religious leaders do just that, Ben established a Drug-Free World clergy group. As he says, “Drugs destroy all socio-economic groups, all races and all religions.” He had planned an interfaith conference for the end of March. Rather than cancel his event, he shifted to an online version, holding a webinar titled, “The Drug Epidemic and Your Congregation’s Future.” Reaching representatives from a wide range of faiths, he was able to amplify the purpose of Drug-Free World and familiarize clergy with tools they can use within their own communities. “We need to unite all the religions in the world against the common enemy of drugs,” says Ben. Whether it’s in auditoriums, conference rooms or online from their homes, for Ben, Meghan, and their dedicated team, the fight against drugs continues.

Spreading Smiles Around

IAS Freedom Medal Winner David Pomeranz generally has a schedule packed with performances at venues around the world. The Multi-Platinum award-winning singer-songwriter has put his own positive spin on this stay-at-home period, viewing it as a springboard to launch future projects. Rather than having to squeeze in a little time during layovers to write, he’s been able to devote hours every day to a new musical he’s working on for the stage. David finds he’s operating at a new level of efficiency and productivity, having completed a handful of projects that he never had the time to accomplish. But his biggest focus over the past few months has been spreading a positive message to his fans and the public at large. He joined an array of musical stars, performing on the Scientology Network’s virtual Stay Well Concert as well as the “Spread a Smile” music video, which has truly gone viral, having been viewed more than ten million times. To help spread the word about “Spread a Smile,” he has given television interviews in the Philippines, where he has a huge fan base (one of his albums went Platinum ten times over, making it one of the largest selling international pop albums in the country).

And David has been fulfilling his role as an ambassador for the IAS by speaking and performing at virtual IAS events, including recent ones for Scientologists in Tokyo and Germany. “The biggest challenge for us as a group is to stay a group, and in that regard, these events are working.”

To keep himself productive and upbeat, David, who attested to OT III just before the lockdowns hit, is staying connected to Source by studying the Basics on the Extension Courses. As he puts it, “Because I’m in better shape, I can do more to help others.” In the face of the current scene, David is spreading smiles around the world, sharing his optimism for the future.

Forwarding the Goals

“The pandemic can force us to stay at home, to not go out, to not travel, to not hug, but it cannot force us to give up.” That’s the viewpoint IAS Freedom Medal Winner Raúl Arias Pérez has been promoting throughout this time. “We decided to make this the year that everybody will learn their human rights on the internet.” And with the help of the 15 human rights chapters he runs across Latin America, thousands have started on human rights online courses. “I’m very happy that my team is very on purpose and very inspired. They want to make a difference.”

To that end, they launched “30 Weeks, 30 Rights,” an ambitious human rights initiative reaching all of Latin America. It began in mid-May and will run until International Human Rights Day on 10 December. Each week, the team finds creative ways to promote one of the 30 articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To deliver the message, “We are all born free and equal,” they posted the words spelled out in recycled materials.

Beyond the Latin American initiative, Raúl is also inspiring Scientologists around the world through IAS video event conferences. He makes a simple yet powerful point: This is not the time to be afraid. “If you’re a Scientologist, you need to achieve the Aims of Scientology. There is no way to think of those aims being a reality without also thinking at the same time about the IAS.”

Throughout this time, IAS members have shown their sense of unity, leadership and their strong purpose to fulfill those aims and help others — thereby forwarding our humanitarian goals for all.

 
Pomeranz only just went through the Wall of Fire? After how many decades in Scientology? What a slacker.

Well, that’s a big load of Scientology propaganda. (Did Sugg write it, maybe?)

We look forward to your thoughts on it.

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Source Code

“You look at the basic mechanism of life, and we see this fellow kicks off as Ebenezer Snouzer and gets born as young Billy Jones. And nobody is more convinced when he becomes young Billy Jones that he has never been Ebenezer Snouzer. Does this have any liability to him? It certainly does. Because the inescapable truth of the matter, contained in earlier postulates, is that he was and is Ebenezer Snouzer. And so Ebenezer Snouzer, to some slight degree, goes on living. And we have past lives cropping up, and fellows going around pleading with us to believe that they can’t shoot, can’t ride, girls just begging to be believed that they have no charm, you know? That’s to keep Ebenezer or Betty Schnouzer from living on, don’t you see?” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 4, 1957

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“Above case gain is COMPETENCE. If you want to see a 9 foot tall OT, look at one who is also competent! And knows it. Like our Qual Auditors. They create new people! After case gain comes progressing improvement by new Competence attained. There have never been Thetans who were Clear OT and COMPETENT. Something new has been added.” — The Commodore, January 4, 1971

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“Personally I think we’ve got the best PR and Marketing Tech. All that has to be done as with the tech in general is to apply it before trying something ‘new.’ For instance years ago there was this whole ‘broken brand’ debate whereas the idea was that instead of correcting the Church — which is currently responsible for dragging the Scientology name through the mud — its proponents suggested changing the name, which was as far as I’m concerned is just a lousy Q&A. Not to mention a suppressive act.”

 
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Past is Prologue

2002: East Bay Express published an article on Jamie Kennedy, the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard. “Jamie Kennedy, slam poet, writer, and self-described ‘asshole,’ is the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology. Not that the Scientologists want you to know that. After all, Kennedy does tend to shove Otter Pops up his ass onstage, grabbing his nuts, screaming, and generally making an insane spectacle of himself at his monthly shows at the Stork Club. Then there’s his complete and total denunciation of the so-called religion. ‘My great-grandfather was probably one hundred percent, totally full of shit,’ he says. ‘What’s really impressive about him, in contrast to other religious leaders, is that I don’t think there’s a single word that he ever said that was true.'”

 
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Random Howdy

“The only thing I want from Disqus is to bring back the downvote, make the AV image bigger and make the YouTube video image much smaller.”

 
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Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to Jan 6.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed for ‘Fatico’ hearing on Jan 19.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court denied Dec 11.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 30, Judge Kleifield granted Scientology’s motions to compel arbitration; Jan 29, Masterson’s request to stay discovery pending the criminal case
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Nov 18: Feshbachs indicated they will enter into consent judgment to pay the debt.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.

Concluded litigation:
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs.
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.

 
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SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.

SCIENTOLOGY: FAIR GAME

After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.

LEAH REMINI: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH

An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.

SCIENTOLOGY’S CELEBRITIES, from A to Z

Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

 
Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Scientology, disconnection, and the worst Christmas ever
[TWO years ago] Tiponi Grey’s daughter: She knew her life might end at any time
[THREE years ago] Even in 2018, Scientology is still selling L. Ron Hubbard like he had the universe figured out
[FOUR years ago] Aaron Smith-Levin appears on ‘Leah Remini,’ hours later gets own Scientology attack site
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s appeal on rehab zoning fight in Maryland to be heard today
[SIX years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology now selling the idea it solved the Ferguson crisis
[SEVEN years ago] MONIQUE RATHBUN FILES FOR SANCTIONS, SUBMITS SCIENTOLOGY LEADER’S FOUL-MOUTHED TEXTS
[EIGHT years ago] John Sweeney’s Trailer for His New Book, The Church of Fear
[NINE years ago] Scientology in Crisis: Debbie Cook’s Transformation from Enforcer to Whistleblower

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,171 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,675 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,195 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,215 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,106 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,413 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,281 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,055 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,859 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,175 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,741 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,660 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,828 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,409 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,670 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,708 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,421 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,946 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 301 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,476 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,027 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,176 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,496 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,351 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,470 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,826 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,129 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,235 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,637 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,509 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,092 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,587 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,841 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,950 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 4, 2021 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 15 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele

 

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