Yesterday, we published a review of Janet Reitman’s stunning new history, Inside Scientology, which will hit bookshelves soon.
In our general review, we couldn’t get into much detail. But we had to pull out a wonderful nugget from the book this morning that struck us as particularly illuminating of Scientology’s Ultimate Leader, the diminutive David Miscavige.
Wanting to convey what it was like to work for the dictatorial Miscavige at Scientology’s secretive desert headquarters in Southern California, Reitman described what it was like to be summoned to see “COB*”:
Virtually every meeting with Miscavige involved an element of fear: the initial summons required that those called to it drop whatever they were doing and sprint to the assignation place; there they would wait until the leader, who’d often be playing Nintendo in his private lounge, decided to show up.
He would arrive flanked by his wife and Lou Stuckenbrock, a retinue of aides, and, often, his beagles. He had five dogs, two of which, Jelly and Safi, wore tiny blue sweaters with commander’s bars. Miscavige was known to make his staffers salute the dogs, who held ranks higher than those of many people on the base.
Believe us when we say there are many, many more surprising and fascinating anecdotes like this sprinkled throughout Reitman’s excellent book.
* Miscavige gave himself the title “Chairman of the Board” of one of Scientology’s many arcane legal entities. Scientologists often then refer to him as “COB” as well as “DM.”
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he’s been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard’s organization:
The Larry Wollersheim Saga — Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story — How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection — A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Robert Cipriano Case — A Hellacious Example of Fair Game
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum — The ‘Crash’ Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape — ‘Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle’
The Aaron Saxton Accusation — Australia turns up the heat on Scientology
The Jefferson Hawkins Stipulation — Scientology’s former PR genius comes clean
The Daniel Montalvo Double-Cross — Scientology lures a young defector into a trap
A Church Myth Debunked — Scientology and Proposition 8
Daniel Montalvo Strikes Back — Scientology Hit with Stunning Child-Labor Lawsuits
When Scientologists Attack — The Marty Rathbun Intimidation
A Scientologist Excommunicated — The Michael Fairman SP Declaration
The Richard Leiby Operation — Investigating a reporter’s divorce to shut him up
The Hugh Urban Investigation — An academic takes a harsh look at Scientology’s past
Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh — A precedent for a Scientology-Branch Davidian link