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Scientology Viscosity: Commenters of the Week!

Someone's been waiting a long time to get his oiliness checked.
Someone's been waiting a long time to get his oiliness checked.

It was an amazing week here at the underground bunker, where we keep an eye on all things Scientology. Let's take a look back at how the week unfolded before we recognize the work of our illustrious commenting community.

We starting things out by having fun with the Tone Scale in our regular weekend feature, Sunday Funnies. Then, on Monday, we asked Jefferson Hawkins for his thoughts on Scientology's sudden big ad buy on network television, which seems to be ongoing. (And the reactions at Twitter when the 2-minute commercials have appeared during shows like American Idol and Glee have been priceless!)

On Tuesday, we gave you yet another look at the wacky plans for the Super Power Building, this time with glimpses of the Infinite Pit, Water Wall, and yes, another look at everyone's favorite -- the Oiliness Table!

Wednesday morning we brought you a lengthy, heartbreaking story about a Missouri family that's been ripped apart by Scientology's disconnection policy. And just for good measure, the St. Louis org sent over a couple of executives to intimidate a 71-year-old grandmother. What a church!

The next day, we had another lengthy investigation, this one exposing the hypocrisy of Scientology's Australian mouthpiece, a woman named Virginia Stewart. We uncovered that at the same time she was going on Australian TV to claim that there is no policy of disconnection, she disconnected from her own father for 22 years!

And yesterday, we continued our Friday feature, This Week Aboard the Apollo, with yet more remarkable crew dispatches by the Commodore, L. Ron Hubbard.

What a week. And now, on to the awards!

Our Sunday Funnies this week generated a lot of great comments. You people are brutal with your critiques of Scientology literature! We had a good chuckle from this observation by Thetan-X...

LRH may be the "Greatest Being EVER" to $cientologists but he looks like the Skipper on Gilligan's Island to me....

A mailer with a classic cartoon version of the Tone Scale was a favorite with readers. And we enjoyed this explanation of it from Kate Bornstein...

I love the tone scale. I do. Makes me giggle just to look at it. The tricky thing they don't tell you (well, they do tell you, but you have to look for it) is the teeny tiny range of emotions that humans (us wogs) can actually experience. Have a look at 0.0 on the scale: Body Death. That means that only dead people (thetans who've lost their meat bodies) can experience the emotions below that. Plus, only amazing cool operating thetans can experience much above 4.0. Humans only get to travel from .01 Dying up to 4.0 Enthusiasm. Thus endeth the tone scale lesson for the day. There will be a quiz next Wednesday. kiss kiss, Kate

Our post about Scientology's big network ad buy generated this smart response by BroekerBroekerBroeker

This was the only realistic way for Miscavige to undermine Cook's message. It's not like he was going to open up the books of the IAS to address her primary concern -- so he bought a few ads, so the Church could point and say, "see, Debbie was wrong all along! We are advertising!"

We were also interested in this perspective from Scnethics describing what the ads may have looked like from inside the church...

Yep, the ads were for Scientology public to see. I hate to admit it, but when I was in my heart would go pitter patter every time I saw a Scientology ad on national TV. I wish I had known this was a signal that shit was hitting the fan somewhere, and it was time to finally google "Scientology"!

After even more plans and schematics from "Flag Mecca," we enjoyed this reaction from LeeAnne Clark...

I just gotta say...these supa-powa blueprint articles are fabulous, but the comment threads are a-freakin-AWESOME! You folks are too funny for words. I'm laughing so hard I can't even stay on my chair.

Well, our commenters certainly deserved that pat on the back. And we also loved this comment from Patty Moher...

At first glance I thought the Low Gravity Harness was a new hat for the Squirrel Busters.

Wednesday, we published our lengthy story about the Little Family in Missouri, who have struggled with disconnection and intimidation from the church. We liked this reaction by JustCallMeMary...

This is why many remain quiet and anonymous on the Internet. Disconnection, which all scientologists are educated about with the PTS/SP tech, never seems real enough until it happens to you. The church will say that they disconnected from Jeremy and they would not be wrong. But by the time they realized what they did, it was too late. Scientology is an evil religion and disconnection sucks.

Synthia Fagen moved us with this response...

This story is one of the most heart wrenching I have heard since I have left. The Little's and I left at the same time and so we have gotten to know each other. They are the nicest people you would ever want to meet.

I believe that the church is involved, here, in a true full-blown HATE crime that should be reported as such to the authorities. It is also elder abuse.

What could they possibly have wanted to accomplish other than to crush an elder woman who worked for them for 10 years! Disgusting.

And Jefferson Hawkins once again knocked us for a loop with his words of wisdom. This is probably the smartest thing I've read about how OSA operates in forums such as our own...

Just a word about the OSA sockpuppets who post here and on other forums. Realize that these are not real people, they are synthetic people. They are, in a very real sense, puppets. Sure, there are real people who write these things under pseudonyms, and those real people have actual names and personalities. In fact, if you met them socially you'd probably have a nice conversation and find them pleasant. You might even like them. I've had many pleasant talks, for instance, with Gloria Idda, one of the people tasked with monitoring these forums and "handling" them. She's a nice lady, good sense of humor. She loves her daughter (and here's a key difference: I can say nice things about them, but they could never say nice, or even charitable, things about me or any "enemy"). But Gloria Idda is not allowed to be Gloria Idda on these forums, or to converse normally or give her actual opinions. She has to become this fake, unpleasant, combative persona with pat, Church-approved statements.

The burnout rate on these people is high. Because of the nature of their position, they have to actually read the articles and read the comments, something ordinary Scientologists are forbidden from doing. And so the cognitive dissonance builds up and up. Their own questions and doubts build up and up - naturally. Hubbard tried to handle this by insisting that anyone on "external lines" (as it is called) be audited at least once a week to handle any doubts or other "lower conditions" they might get into. But even so, they eventually burn out, and either get assigned to another position or sent to the RPF - or they blow. And someone else takes over running the sockpuppet - maybe without even changing the name. And if they do blow and end up on the outside and decide to tell what they know - well, they just become another "enemy," another "lying apostate." And so it goes.

These people really have very little information about what goes on above their pay grade. They don't know how the money is handled. They don't know what goes on at the highest levels of the Church. They are told to deny everything and they deny everything. They are told to attack the whistleblowers and so they attack. What do they really think? What does Gloria Idda really think? Who knows? But I guarantee you, they know, in their heart of hearts, that something is wrong with their church.

So argue with the sockpuppet all you want. But remember, that is what you are doing. Arguing with a puppet. And that's kind of silly. Because they put that puppet there for you to argue with, and, they hope, derail and confuse the conversation and veer it off-topic.

The best thing to do is keep talking, keep exposing what you know, keep blowing the whistle. Because that's how you eventually get through to that person behind the puppet.

On Thursday, we exposed the hypocrisy of Virginia Stewart, the Australian spokeswoman for the church, who claimed on television that disconnection is not a church policy, while hiding the fact that she had disconnected from her own father for 22 years.

Once again, Synthia Fagen's response moved us...

Someday, maybe, Virginia will thank you for this piece as it is beautiful even if it would be hard for her to confront.

Virginia, come on out. There is love out here. There is hope and there is freedom. Stop lying for this cult. It is not good for your health.

But we also liked this bit of payback from our friend Mark Ebner...

RIP Ida Camburn. No disconnection policy? Pshaw.

And we'll finish up with a lengthy post that we were thrilled to see. Paul Schofield told us more about his good friend, Allen Wright...

Thank you Tony, for putting Allen Wright's story out there for all the world to see.

Allen and I worked together in Sydney org courseroom in the early 80s. He and I became firm friends. He was a man of wit, charm and amazing ability. He left the "official Church" around 1983 but but came into the org one day in 1984 to be "handled" by an RTC Mission. I saw him standing by himself and went over for a chat - I was the only staff member to do so. There were a lot of people standing around that day looking daggers at us.

Fast-forward to 2009. I'd just left the cult and Allen and I re-connected. He came back to Oz for a brief visit and I met him at his hotel in St Kilda and drove him to our house on the outskirts of Melbourne. We spent the day chatting in the yard. I drove him back to his hotel late that night and he went to country Victoria on business then back to Switzerland. He looked dreadful physically - I didn't recognize the old man he'd become at first as he'd always been very healthy - but he was the same old Al, even flirting outrageously with my wife, just like he'd done with the girls back when we were working together.

He told me he had a "physical problem" but nothing more. He chatted about his life since leaving $cientology in Sydney and he had only one regret about it all - his beloved daughters had disconnected from him. He was still a devoted follower of Hubbard - far more so than most of the current group of scilons I know - and he spoke a bit of some of his adventures. He even told me of his first encounter with David Miscavige in the early 80s and how Al's gut reaction was "this guy's like the Gestapo." The time went way too quickly and we agreed to stay in touch and had sporadic contact after that. I hoped to catch up with him in the flesh again someday and was gutted when I was told he'd died.

Allen lived life to the full and was a man of amazing talents. I'm proud to have known him and I pity his daughters for missing out on having his counsel for all the years they shunned him. I knew Virginia well as she was a teenager in the courseroom for several years after I took that over from Al in the mid-80s. Before she joined CMO and was then "swapped" to OSA ANZO because of some "out-Qual."

Underneath that vacant gaze you see on the TV is a good person. It's too late for her to reconnect with her Dad but it's not too late for her to re-connect with the real world.

It was another stunning week for commenting here at the Voice. You really keep us going with your insights and wisdom and humor. And come on, if we have to have a troll like Marcotai, at least he's entertaining in his own infuriating way!

Remember to check in tomorrow morning for Sunday Funnies.


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [What is Scientology?] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] [Commenters of the Week] | [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park] [This Week Aboard the Apollo] | [Sunday Funnies]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[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] [Paulette Cooper, Scientology's original and worst nightmare: a Thanksgiving tribute]

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 | 12. Tommy Davis | 13. Janet Reitman | 14. Tory Christman | 15. Andreas Heldal-Lund | 16. Marc and Claire Headley | 17. Jefferson Hawkins | 18. Amy Scobee | 19. The Squirrel Busters | 20. Trey Parker and Matt Stone | 21. Kendrick Moxon | 22. Jamie DeWolf | 23. Ken Dandar | 24. Dave Touretzky | 25. Xenu

HELD ABOARD THE FREEWINDS: TALES OF THE SEA ORG

[Valeska Paris, held against her will from 1996 to 2007 on Scientology's cruise ship] [Ramana Dienes-Browning, marriage at 16, sexual interrogation, life in the engine room] [Melissa Paris, Valeska's sister: forced to marry at 16]

SCIENTOLOGY VS. SOUTH PARK: INVESTIGATION AS RETALIATION

[Scientology targeted South Park's Parker and Stone in an investigation] [More documents in the South Park probe: instructions to send in a young mole] [Scientology responds in typical fashion] | [Lloyd Kaufman confirms the probe] [Mark Ebner also investigated after South Park involvement] [Mark Chauppetta, private eye, explains what Scientology operatives look for]

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

[Hey, Scientology Celebrity, Here's Your Media Training Checksheet!] [Tom Cruise and X Factor's Stacy Francis singing together on the Freewinds] [X Factor's Stacy Francis: Her first husband, Michael Sandlofer, answers abuse claims] [Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay] ["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

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

["The Money Machine": another blockbuster St. Pete Times investigation] [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]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology in Israel: Arson, attempted murder, paranoia -- and a visit by the Voice!] [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] [Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology chillin' with hip hop!] | [The curious career of Scientology rapper Chill EB] [Chill EB and me: the Voice interviews Scientology's in-house rapper] [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] [Desperate Scientology fundraising caught on video]


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