Scientology Transfusion: Commenters of the Week!
Eternal soul? Works all night? Exteriorizes? Hmmm.
It was a frantic week here at the underground bunker, where we keep an eye on all things Scientology-related.
While we gathered material for some big stories, we managed to post several quick observations, some of which featured a medical theme.
Later that day, we noted that a White House petition asking the Obama administration to issue a statement about the stalled FBI probe into Scientology still had a long way to go to gather enough signatures before its deadline. (Soon after that story appeared, however, things changed!)
On Wednesday, we posted the week's big story: Lori Hodgson was on her way to a hospital in San Jose, where her son was about to undergo surgery for a fractured femur. We reported how she had managed to learn that her Scientologist son had been injured, even though her ex-husband and both children wanted to keep that information from her because she has left the church. This dramatic tale of Scientology "disconnection" really seemed to affect our readers.
Thursday morning, we enjoyed watching Grant Cardone stroke one-percenters and trash talk Occupy Wall Street. What a helluva guy, that Cardone.
That afternoon, we posted our weekly "Thursday 2pm Stats" roundup, which included the wonderful news that Jesse Prince has successfully battled cancer.
Yesterday, we wondered about the consequences after the White House petition zoomed to more than 5,000 signatures well before its deadline. And we also posted Mark Bunker's latest peek inside his upcoming documentary, with remarkable testimony from Gary Morehead about carrying out the forced-abortions policy at Int Base.
Well, our commenters are certainly active, so let's get to the awards...
After we posted an e-mail from church supporter Mark Miglio which included his defense of Scientology's controversial "purification rundown" -- which involves weeks spent in a sauna for hours a day, plus massive doses of niacin -- we were happy to see a comment from friend to Runnin' Scared and fellow journalist, Mark Ebner:
Niacin, in the doses prescribed without medical licenses by the cult of Scientology, are a direct toxin to the livers of the already hepatically-challenged drug addicts suckered into Narconon. Confidential to Miglio the Clown: You do not sweat out "garbage," toxins, residual drugs or radiation in a sauna. You sweat out sweat, or water and trace minerals.
Miglio came in for more criticism from regular commenter SFF:
I wonder what it's like to live in a fantasy land where millions have been helped by Scientology but no one has ever been helped by psychiatry and where niacin has magical properties and massive quantities of it are not dangerous to people with impaired liver functions.
But we were really blindsided by this statement from Warrior:
My wife, Victoria Lin Johnson-Plummer died 24 years ago. She had juvenile onset diabetes and was diagnosed with end stage renal failure in September of 1987. She was involved in Scientology for a few years in the eighties. Her FSM, Carrie Alkins, and other Scienos in L.A. constantly told her that NOTs would "handle" her diabetes and tried to get her to "get up the Bridge to OT." How I wish she had explored real medical options -- such as an insulin pump. If she had done so, perhaps she would be alive today.
We've heard similar tales over the years, of seriously ill people who chose to refuse actual medicine for the superhuman powers promised by Scientology's upper levels. Several of our readers, meanwhile, offered their sympathy to Warrior after he shared with us that story.
There was a lot of reader sympathy on display after we posted this week's big breaking story, about Lori Hodgson's frantic attempt to reach her son after he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. Lori explained how her ex-husband, Jim Leake, and her daughter Jessica tried to keep her from even learning the condition of her son, since the three of them had cut off all ties with her once she left the church. Even cynical, longtime observers admitted that they'd rarely encountered such a vivid, gut-wrenching example of Scientology's "disconnection" policy. Wrote regular reader Patricia Curtis:
What kind of religion turns children against parents and parents against children? Jim Leake, your pathetic belief system is nothing compared to a mother's love. Go, Lori Hodgson, go!
Church defender Mark Miglio, however, stood behind the disconnection policy:
Please, let's respect the privacy laws, leave the boy alone. If you want to get back in good standing with him, make amends for your offenses. Maybe you were a good mother, maybe you were a bad mother. That is not the point. I am fairly certain that Jeremy will welcome you back if you stop attacking his religion.
Miglio's comment produced virulent reactions from many of our readers. Wrote Sanddancer:
Offenses? Of all the unmitigated gall. Your church wedged this poor lad between his father and his mother, and you talk about "offenses." Did you read the part about how the boy's father didn't want Lori to find out that her son had been injured? Did you read about their active blocking? Did you read about how when he was passed a note, he did respond? It sounds very much to me like this boy desperately wants to stay connected with his mother, but is blackmailed by your so-called church into keeping quiet.
LeeAnne Clark reacted with utter disgust, and while we like to keep things civil in our comments, this response was clearly sincerely felt and worth quoting:
Mark, I want to thank you for this post. We all knew you were a weak-minded, brainwashed loser clinging desperately to a batshit-crazy UFO cult. But what we didn't know for sure until you posted this is that you are an evil, morally bereft fuckhead who willingly supports keeping mothers from their children for no reason other than the fact that they believe different things about aliens. You are irredeemable. You are a monster. You are destined to die alone, rotting from the cancer that will eat you from the inside out (in whatever form of physical illness your evilness eventually takes), while your beloved "church" will abandon you for "pulling in" your disease. Maybe at that point, moments before you die in screaming agony all alone in the world, will you look back and realize...DOOP! I sure fucked up!
Been There added some personal experience to the mix:
Had I not experienced this myself, I would find such behavior unbelievable. Disconnection is a fundamental tenet of Scientology and its practice is not only encouraged but demanded. This is one of the key reasons for intensifying public contempt of Scientology. It is astounding that parishioners and church officials cling to disconnection tenaciously in the face of demonstrated ineffectiveness and down-right harm the policy causes. Thirty-one years ago my family refused to disconnect from me in spite of church pressure to do so. As a result they were ostracized too. If I had lost my spouse and child it would have destroyed me. Lori has my deepest empathy in her struggle to maintain relationship with her children. At one time I was a staunch and devoted member of Scientology but no more. There are thousands like me. And if the church ever bothers to wonder about the cause of its dwindling membership and public disrepute: THIS IS WHY.
After that emotional day, we needed a laugh, and thankfully, Grant Cardone provided us with one. But regular reader Scott Pilutik also got a serious point out of Cardone's bad poetry:
As I mentioned to Grant on his Facebook page (and for which entheta my commenting privileges at his page have since been revoked), his position perfectly embodies the greed and selfishness inherent in Scientology. The only time Scientology isn't entirely about *you* is when it's about your skill in selling Scientology to others. So it's hardly a surprise that Cardone not only views the protesters with contempt, but shamelessly parlays the news event into a sell opportunity -- not only is the naked greed that led to the world's economic collapse not a bad thing, *you too* can become part of the 1% if you just try a little harder. The #ows protesters have done an invaluable service in articulating how and why the relationship between government and corporate America is a rigged game and why it's ultimately bad for people and the country. And if it's something Grant can't stomach as a Scientologist, it's pointing out the rigging behind the game.
In yesterday's post about the successful White House petition, we also brought up, once again, Scientology's slick "human rights" campaign, which makes use of a 1948 UN declaration about global rights in an attempt, we would argue, to distract the public about allegations of Scientology's rights abuses here in the United States. And thanks to reader Myriam Breitman for explaining even more about the UN document which helps explain how empty is Scientology's pimping of it:
Scientology's constant references to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are nothing short of cynical, though not at all surprising. While an excellent document, the Declaration does not have any legally binding power of its own and is widely regarded as a somewhat Utopian document. Although some of the articles of the Declaration are regarded as forming part of customary international law, the Declaration is a highly populist document that politicians love referring to when trying to promote their own goals. Hence, it's hardly surprising that Scientology keeps on referring to this amorphous document which has no legal effect, instead of referring to the real human rights treaties. Why doesn't Scientology promote specific conventions applicable in the US, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child? I guess because then they will not be able to hire 12 year old children into the Sea Org. And how about promoting the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? I guess they don't like this treaty either, because it states suppressive things such as "the States Parties to the present Covenant recognise the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right." Scientologists are self-proclaimed "the most ethical people on earth". I'd say they are more like the most cynical people on Teegeeack.
Yesterday we also viewed the latest sneak peek from Mark Bunker's documentary, with Gary Morehead talking about how he enforced Scientology's mandatory abortions policy for Sea Org workers at the Int Base.
Again, church defender Mark Miglio stepped right in the middle of it:
When I worked in the Sea Organization, it was clear to me that raising children in the Sea Organization was not appropriate. Some Sea Org members choose to leave the Sea Org and a few others got abortions when they refused to properly use birth control, which they decided to do. If they say otherwise, then they are putting out black propaganda.
And once again, LeeAnne Clark took Miglio to the woodshed:
You are one sick motherfucker. "Refused to properly use birth control"? How CAN they use birth control when they have no ACCESS to it? They make 40 freaking dollars a week, and have no health insurance! "Chose to leave the Sea Org"? Nobody gets to CHOOSE to leave the Sea Org. They get put in RPF, assigned to hard labor. The myth of a Sea Org member turning up pregnant and then happily skipping out of the Sea Org to go raise her child is a total fiction. She would be separated from her husband (who would NOT have the option of leaving) and then either routed to the RPF for hard labor, or dumped and declared, penniless, pregnant and alone. You are so full of shit it is oozing from your pores. I used to laugh at your brainwashed inane posts -- now they make me want to vomit.
I'd say it was quite a week, wasn't it? And just wait until you see what we have coming. We have some big stories brewing, though some of them may take a while to put together. For now, we're going to leave the underground bunker long enough for a spin on the road bike and to pick up some food for the cats. But then it's once again nose-to-the-grindstone time. This Scientology watching just never lets up!
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?] [Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach] [Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]
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] [Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]
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] [Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]
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?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]
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.