Sunday Funnies: Birmingham Raises the Odds on Ideal Orgs!
Scientologists don't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.
So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! Our sources regularly send us Scientology's wacky and tacky fundraising mailers, and each week we choose a few of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
Sometimes the church just makes this too easy. Ideal Org "bookie"? Um, sure. I guess at some point it just makes sense to come right out and admit what you're up to. Right, Birmingham?
Hey, Rick Alexander can help you convince happy, stable, perfectly content people that they're actually screwed up and need to mortgage the house on past-life woo-woo!
Alfreddie Johnson is apparently taking his soul duds to South Africa for...for...um... I'm sorry, but I have no idea what else to say about this.
As usual, we trust our amazing commenting community to dig into these fliers to help make sense of them.
Commenters of the Week!
We started things last week with another set of Sunday Funnies, which focused this time on child-rearing, CCHR, and the eternal quest to get L. Ron Hubbard books into more libraries.
Rachel Denk (TheWidowDenk) was the first of several readers who noticed that the library program was offering the opposite of a volume discount!
For any readers who have whipped out their checkbooks to take advantage of this opportunity to send the L. Ron Hubbard Series to libraries, take heed. It's far better to send along the books in lots of 3 ($100 for 3 books) than to use the scale below. For example, if you wish to send along 27 books, use the $100 for 3 books times 9 = $900. This will save $100 on your donation.
And SFF questioned the veracity of the claims made in the library flier...
Almost 6000 LRH books checked out per day? Even if that were true, does the CoS have any way of determining this other tha by using OT powers?
Sid, meanwhile, questioned the disseminating power of libraries these days...
Amazing how the CoS continues laser-focused on the library as their primary source of free dissemination of some of their materials. "Every day 50 million people check out 200 million books". That's a great statistic. I know I should go to the library more often, I've been to my local library maybe 5 times in the last 10 years. As opposed to visiting the Internet every day of my life for the past ten years. Which is where the CoS would place this material, free of charge, if they really wanted to disseminate. Library campaigns are great though -- for getting members to buy the books to send to the libraries. It's almost as if Dave Miscavige needs library book buying campaigns to justify his huge book-printing capability. Oh hang on...
Tuesday evening, our big cover story on Kate Bornstein hit the net. This is something we've been working on for a while, and it included a cover made up as a four-panel comic.
Our friend Denise Brennan provided encouraging words for Kate...
I knew Kate's ex wife Molly very well, as well as her daughter Jessica. It is horrible that they used Scientology to disconnect from Kate like they did, but then that, sadly, is Scientology's legacy - broken and destroyed families. Not much can be worse than not being able to be in touch with your child who you love or never to be able to meet your grandchildren.
I admire Kate on so many levels for having the courage of her convictions, for speaking out for what she feels is right and for working to help so many others. She is an icon in the transgender community and I thought her book Gender Outlaw contained amazing insight into gender and where we as a society really need to go.
John P. connected with Kate's story despite its unusual nature...
I'm just your garden variety flaming heterosexual. Never really conceived of myself as anything but, even for a second. So I don't think I've ever felt the tiniest twinge of the pull that started Al on his journey to Kate.
That said, I think Kate's story is actually universally human -- the details are uncommon, but the quest to find out who we are and to find the community of people where we are truly at home is universal, whether that community is about religion, political outlook, gender, or even fans of the same football team. So even though I've never met a trans-anybody before, I would truly love to meet Kate someday... and in the meantime, I'm buying the book.
Mark Ebner chimed in with his usual cheek...
I'm glad the South Park episode I consulted on helped allay your concerns about cult intimidation, Kate! Now, when can I meet you?
And Schockenawd really made us smile with this one...
Speaking as a "normal," middle-aged white female hailing from Republican Central (Orange County, CA) with a husband, two-point-five kids (well, okay, only two), a dog, a sensible haircut, lot of beige in my closet and all the right cars in my garage, let me just say this: Thank god for Kate Bornstein.
On Friday, we followed our cover story on Kate with a report from her book party, which featured a cameo by Amanda Palmer. As our story explained, it was interesting to see Palmer there to celebrate the book -- she's married to Neil Gaiman, who has his own interesting connection to Scientology.
Mimi The Great explained the debt she owes Kate...
Kate is such an icon and my hero! My brother had an immensely difficult time coming out to our family because of the strict Roman Catholic upbringing. On accident, I came across Kate's 101 Reasons Not To Commit Suicide & I truly believe it saved his spirit in so many ways.
The post also featured our weekly "OT Phenomenon," which included one Scientologist's amazing ability to spot a McDonald's restaurant with his upper-level powers.
That led scnethics to wonder if those powers could have been put to better use...
McDonald's in L.A.? A real OT would have guided themselves to an In-N-Out Burger.
The post also included our weekly "Orders of the Day" from the yacht Apollo, and when commenters asked about Hubbard's frequent rants about crew members screwing up, Kate Bornstein spoke up...
He expected us all to remember how to run a ship from all our past life experience. Truth. All the things that went wrong that he pointed out were because those sea org members weren't making it go right by using their true OT abilities. When I became First Mate, I was expected to remember celestial navigation. Bwah-ha-ha!
Yes, Kate, but if your past lives went back a trillion years, which alien celestial skies would you dredge up in your memory? What a quandary.
We're working on a couple of great new stories and hope to bust out one of them this week -- a maddening new case of disconnection that hasn't been reported anywhere before. And there's more on the Narconon front coming.
Please check our Facebook author page for the latest schedules and updates!
********** Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.
New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.
As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.
Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.
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.