Scientology Symposium: Commenters of the Week!
It was an unusual week here for us at our Scientology watching operation. We left the underground bunker for a trip to Southern California, but still managed to put together a few stories while on the road. And our commenters did not let us down, with some of them carrying over debates they were having during our big countdown!
On Saturday, we started things off with another big story out of Birmingham, England. A treasure trove of 7,000 internal e-mails was made public, revealing that the current state of Scientology is even more depressing than we imagined.
On Tuesday, we broke news that another actor had tried Scientology...
While on the road in L.A., we'd been introduced to actor Philip Boyd, who decided to go public about his brief time in Scientology. He said he wanted his story told to keep others from getting sucked into "the business that is Scientology."
On Wednesday, we put up a brief item about Johnny Depp's odd claim in Vanity Fair that while he was a struggling nobody, he was paid to attend Scientology study groups. Our experts said that sounded like pure bunkum.
And on Thursday, we did our weekly Stats Roundup with news of a Moscow raid and other recent developments -- including a protest against your narrator at Cal State Fullerton.
All in all, a lighter week while we were on the road. So which comments stood out?
The leak of e-mails at the Birmingham org included stunning messages pulled out by readers at Anonymous. There was the fellow who is told to stop spending so much time caring for his dying wife and get in for some expensive auditing, for example. Readers generally were horrified by what they read. We liked this summation by Ron:
As the Scientology organism continues to starve for cash nourishment, its great hunger drives it to eat its own edges, starting with individual Scientologists.
We were also struck by this observation by Sid, who saw this as an opportunity to explain why some of us keep coming back for more...
I occasionally see posts by Scientologists asking why we keep going with this, wondering why we commit so much time to it, wondering why so many people give it so much focus in their lives. This is why. We're not SPs, we're not being paid by big pharma or the psyches. We're people who genuinely care about the shocking way Scientologists are being abused by a church they trust. We will continue to put ethics in on the CoS until it stops this sick behavior.
We felt very fortunate to meet and talk with actor Philip Boyd while we were on the road. It's not every day that an actor comes forward to talk about the church, as Damian DeWitt pointed out...
This is most heartening. Please pass on our thanks to Philip for what he has done in having the courage to speak out. I do not know if Paul Haggis or Jason Beghe were instrumenal in encouraging him to speak out, but I suspect that they have been doing much good work behind the scenes, and I hope we will see more defectors from the entertainment industry and among celebrity Scientologists in other fields including, one hopes, Greta Van Susteren at Fox News; Craig Jenner, CEO of Diskeeper; and Grant Cardone, about whom you have written. Another entertainment celebrity who has defected without much attention outside of the outlets of the Independent Scientology and the critics of the ex-Scientologist and Anonymous forums, is Placido Domingo, Jr., son of his famous father the great tenor Placido Domingo, who is a life-long devout Catholic. Each defector who speaks out is another pebble in the the avalanche. It is also noteworthy that Philip has specifically addressed the issue of the dangers of the Purification Rundown, which lies at the heart of Narconon, the cult's most lucrative and deceitful front group. David Love is taking a wrecking ball to the Narconon rehab facility in Trois-Rivieres, half-way between Montreal and Quebec. His complaint to the College of Physicians has already gotten a Scientology doctor banned from serving at Narconon and certifying that Narconon patients are medically capable of undergoing the dangerous regime of overheated saunas for weeks on end and the equally dangerous regime of megadoses of niacin. Replacing him will be extremely difficult if not impossible and might necessitate Narconon having their patients certified in the US.
In our brief piece about Johnny Depp, our experts agreed that the actor must be mistaken about his claim that he was paid to take Scientology classes. But we also enjoyed the rejoinder by Kate Bornstein:
Thanks for clarifying that bit about Scientology paying people to do study groups. I read that piece and wondered why I didn't get into *that* part of Scientology myself, instead of the Sea Org. It would've paid more.
As for the Moscow raid, we pointed out in our post that it was a bad idea for the Russian government to ban L. Ron Hubbard's books, and that raiding the org there would probably only work to Scientology's favor. We can't blame Marcotai, our old pro-church friend, for jumping on the news of the raid to tell us off:
Is someone actually watched the video above? I understand that for hate mongers that video is something to celebrate at. Have you noticed that the receptionist gave all the keys to open all the Church's doors? Have you noticed that some policemen doing their "raid" were wearing anti-terrorists masks? Have you noticed the arrogance of that "journalist" who came along with police? Have you noticed him indicating the e-meter saying that it's a instrument used to brainwash people and make them subversive to the Russian government? LOL What a show! And that is the result of HATRED that you guys are engaged and spreading every single day toward SCN. DO NOT FORGET THAT!
Yes, Marcotai, it was a good opportunity for you to sound off, and you did not disappoint. We feel good about that.
Even for a light week, we're happy with the results. Soon we'll be back at the underground bunker, so keep those tips coming!
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology #1: L. Ron Hubbard #2: David Miscavige #3: Marty Rathbun #4: Tom Cruise #5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin #6: Anonymous #7: Mark Bunker #8: Mike Rinder #9: Jason Beghe #10: Lisa McPherson #11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants) #12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives) #13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists) #14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists) #15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics) #16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ #17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano #18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive #19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons) #20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures) #21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church #22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members) #23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church) #24: David Touretzky (and other academics) #25: Xenu, galactic overlord
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.
Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared
SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE
[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"] [Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology] [Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS
[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties] In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview] The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]
SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"
[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley] [Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?] Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2] [A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession] [Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine] [Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]
SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES
["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise] [Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church] [Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice] [Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense] [Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis] [Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"] Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]
JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY
[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid] [Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post] [A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]
HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT
[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview] [Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams] [86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]
[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested] [All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots] [Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"] [Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?]
ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS
[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"] [Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!] [Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam] [When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers] [Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.] [Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]
THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE
[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth] [Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family] [Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle] [Scientology High School, Dating and Super Powers!]
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.